Friday, September 18
It’s been a wet few days. The rain starts before sunrise on Tuesday and we have a good day at the store, everyone is hanging out indoors shopping instead of walking the basin. Not the best sight-seeing weather, but at least this will help the fires.
When I wake up for work on Wednesday it’s still raining. On my way back from West Yellowstone for groceries in the afternoon I can see snow accumulating in the mountains, but it’s a balmy 34 degrees on the valley floor keeping the road clear. The sudden change in temperature has the Gibbon river steaming. Hope it waits to start snowing at lower elevations until I get home.
Thursday is a mix of wet snow, rain, and we even get a thunderstorm with hail in the afternoon. I hunker down in the Casita with my little electric heater going and divide my day between writing and reading.
Today I finally make the trip down to Jackson WY, happy to get out of the park and do something.
Craig Pass has a dusting of snow which decorates the branches of the spruce and fir trees. It’s beautiful and I snap several pictures while driving, knowing it’ll all be melted by the time I drive back through the pass later. This is the way I like snow, when it’s a novelty and not an all-winter-long ordeal. Of course in Yellowstone it will be an all-winter-long ordeal, but I won’t be here to deal with it!
In one way I picked a great day to drive through Grand Teton National Park. The aspen are near peak color and their cheerful yellow and orange make an already pretty drive quite extraordinary.
In another way I picked a poor day to drive through the Tetons. Low clouds obscure the tops of the mountains, brief glimpses of snow-capped peaks taunt me the whole way to Jackson.
I’m really not a city girl and to be honest I can take or leave most towns. I probably wouldn’t have made it down to Jackson at all if I hadn’t needed to find a UPS store. You see, last month I ordered some stuff from Amazon and they sent me my order… and someone else’s order too. It was a little like Christmas, what could be inside the mystery package?
Disposable coffee cups and roll on deodorant in bulk. There was never any question of me returning the goods I hadn’t paid for, but if it had been, say, a laptop, outdoor patio mat, hiking gear, or LED RV lights I might have had a harder time being good…
After getting the mailing done I make a phone call to the Animal Adoption Center, a non-profit rescue located in town. I learned about them from a pamphlet I picked up in Moose my first time visiting the Tetons months ago. No, I’m not looking to adopt yet, but like many rescues they have an extensive volunteer system in place, and one thing people can volunteer to do is walk dogs. I figured that would be an interesting way to explore downtown Jackson, but as it turns out they’re rather light on dogs right now and don’t need walkers today. Oh well.
Not far from the UPS store is a thrift store, the first one I’ve seen in months. Its magnetic pull draws me in like a moth to a flame. I don’t buy anything, but it’s always fun to look around.
Downtown Jackson is a pretty neat place. It’s very much a tourist town with all that entails, but the smells coming from the restaurants are inviting and the crowds aren’t so bad now that we’re past Labor Day.
I do love the town square. It’s a well manicured little park with good shade trees and elk antler arches at every corner. In the early days of the town, it was much more open and cows and elk often grazed in it, pretty cool!
When I notice a Wells Fargo right by the town square, I walk over to use the ATM to withdraw $20 so I’ll have cash to buy pizza at the employee pub this week. Normally I wouldn’t mention something this mundane on the blog, but this becomes important later.
Satisfied with my downtown walk, I mosey on back to the truck. Between spending more time in Jackson and spending more time gazing at the Tetons, I vote for the later. Just north of Jackson is the Elk Refuge. I don’t see any elk, but I do spy a lot of ducks.
I’m glad I decided to spend more time in the park. The clouds are breaking up, and the Tetons come out of hiding. Yesterday might not have been a very pleasant day, but without that precipitation I wouldn’t be getting this lovely view of frosted peaks now. If you like mountain views, you’ll definitely want to visit here someday. The lack of foothills makes the mountains stand taller in a photograph, it’s a one of a kind place.
And right about here is where I actually look at the receipt from the ATM and notice that my account balance is off. My Verizon signal inside the park isn’t great so I can’t get on my phone to investigate further.
I have a couple options, my first urge (and probably the normal reaction) is to drive back to Yellowstone as fast as possible to get on my computer and start making phone calls. But darnit, I probably won’t get to visit the Tetons again before I leave, and whatever happened has already happened. My rational mind says an extra half-hour to stop at a couple more pullovers and take pictures is unlikely to make a difference. I’m over an hour away from home anyway.
And so I refuse to let fear guide my decisions, and make a couple more stops for pictures on the way home despite my nervousness.
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And then once I got back to Yellowstone, I went online and started making phone calls. As predicted my extra half-hour of delay didn’t make any difference. It wasn’t that someone got my card number, someone walked into a Wells Fargo branch and withdrew cash from my checking account directly. How they managed this is beyond me, they didn’t even sign using my name and the account is only in my name.
It’s going to take up to ten business days for my claim of fraudulent activity to be processed, but until then I should be getting a “credit” to my account for the amount taken today (Monday) or tomorrow, and assuming the claim goes in my favor (if it doesn’t, there’s going to be an angry phone call) I’ll get to keep that money, no harm done.
Well, there was some harm done, but in the end it’s going to amount to inconvenience more than anything. The process of opening a new account and transferring all of my automatic bill payments and deposits into that new account is taking up time, which is why this post didn’t go up on Friday as originally planned. I won’t have my new checks in time for the drive down to Texas at the beginning of next month, which could make paying for some campgrounds a hassle.
But all in all, this “disaster” isn’t as bad as it could have been. There’s a saying that goes “life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it”, and I’m glad I chose to react like the world wasn’t ending and took the time to enjoy the Tetons a little more.
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