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Yellowstone

Click on map to enlarge

We camped near Yellowstone National Park from August 11 through the 22nd. However, before arriving in the area we stocked up on groceries in Helena, MT:

$500 of groceries

 

YELLOWSTONE HOLIDAY RV CAMPGROUND

We stayed at Yellowstone Holiday RV Campground for 4 nights. The campground is right on the shore of Lake Hebgen:

Tom & Flirt on the shore of Lake Hebgen

 

YELLOWSTONE GRIZZLY RV CAMPGROUND

We stayed here from August 15th through the 22nd. Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park was one of the best RV campgrounds we’ve been . . . spacious, clean, great service, close to Yellowstone’s West Entrance, and the largest dog run I’ve ever seen.

That Grizzly statue scared the bejeezus out of Flirt when she first saw it at night

 

#272 was our camp site

 

The dog run was an opening in the park’s fence that led into a national forest

 

Plenty of places to poop

 

YELLOWSTONE TOURS

Just like Glacier National Park, we decided to let others do the driving and we both signed up for Yellowstone tours. We did this reluctantly because the tours were 8 hours long . . . a lonnnnnng time to sit on a bus or van. Also, we both couldn’t go at the same time because we couldn’t leave Flirt alone that long. So Jan took the 1st tour, and I did the 2nd. Both tours turned out to be really good.

Along the Firehole River

 

 

One of many Yellowstone Moonscapes

 

 

Upper Falls in the “Grand Canyon” of Yellowstone

 

 

Glacier has Red Buses, Yellowstone has Yellow Buses

 

Tom’s tour bus

 

Bison or Buffalo

 

 

 

Earthquake Lake

Click on map to enlarge

In mid-August we took a day trip to Earthquake Lake. The lake was formed 60 years ago when a 7.3 Richter scale earthquake caused an 80-million ton landslide that dammed the Madison River to form Earthquake Lake.

Submerged tress still remain

 

A visitor center was built on the landslide debris

 

View of the landslide scar from the visitor center

 

The visitor center offered an interesting perspective on the 60-year-old event. On one hand it presented a comprehensive overview of the landslide that killed 28 people, but the center also sold trinkets like earthquake T-shirts and coffee cups. A bit cringey. So I had Jan buy a T-shirt for me.

Seriously?

Automatic Internet Satellite Systems

Click on chart to enlarge

While we wait for Elon Musk’s SatLink to become available, current satellite Internet options provide an alternative or at least an add-on to cellular Internet data service as you travel in your RV.

On our multi-month West Coast journey this year, our portable HughesNet Gen 5 system has supplied Internet service several times when traditional call service was unavailable.

Satellite Coverage Maps (updated 9-17-2019)

 

THE PLAYERS

Now enter “affordable” automatic satellite Internet service that is both reliable and fast.

 

DON MARR www.oregonrv.net

Refurbished MotoSat G74

 

Don has recently made available the most affordable automatic satellite Internet systems. He did it using refurbished MotoSat F1 and G74 equipment. For example, the original F1 and G74 rooftop systems came with 0.74 m dishes. However, both have been fitted with 0.90 m dishes in order to work with HughesNet Gen 5.

While Don offers upgrade parts for current owners of original MotoSat F1 and G74 systems, he also offers complete systems:

  • $4,075 for upgraded MotoSat F1 with a D3 satellite controller + HT2000 modem.
  • $4,695 for upgraded MotoSat F1 with the newer J1 satellite controller + HT2000 modem.
  • $4,850 for upgraded MotoSat G74 with a D3 satellite controller + HT2000 modem.
  • $5,495 for upgraded MotoSat G74 with the newer J1 controller + HT2000 modem.

It I were buying, I’d go with the MotoSat G74 with a J1 controller, the most expensive option. Refurbished or not, this is older equipment, some of it exposed to the elements for years on RV rooftops. The MotoSat G74 was first introducted in 2008 while the MotoSat F1 was introduced at least 5 years earlier. In addition, the D3 controller came out in 2005 while the J1 debuted in 2010.

 

ISPSAT www.ispsat.com

iNetVu System with the big 0.98 m dish

 

I include ISPSAT for comparison’s sake. For almost $20K more than Don Marr’s, what more are you getting?
– bigger dish (0.98 m vs 0.90 m)
– newer controller (iNetVu 7710 vs a D3 or J1)
– newer automatic dish system (iNetVu Ka-98 vs refurbished MotoSat F1 ot G74)

But here’s a gotcha that’s in both the expensive ISPSAT and the cheap refurbished systems: neither is actually fully automatic. Because HughesNet Gen 5 systems require left and right-hand feedhorn settings, you may occasionally have to climb onto your RV roof and manually adjust the feedhorn. I’ve done it. It’s a simple adjustment, but a PITA nevertheless.

This is definitely an ISPSAT deal breaker. When the ISPSAT customer service rep told me that their $25K system had the same gotcha as a $5.5K one, that was it. The rep went on to say that there was a $32K system that “might” do the Left/Right adjustment automatically, I ended the phone call.

 

RVDATASAT www.rvdatasat.com

RVDataSat’s 0.84 m and 0.98 m systems

 

This is a HughesNet Ku-band satellite system, essentially it’s the one your dad used. It’s a modern MotoSat. While the RVDataSat data plans tout no caps “unlimited” download capability, the fastest plan tops out at 4 Mbps — and that’ll cost you $329/month. Also, unless you like streaming video in the wee hours of the morning, then this system probably isn’t for you.

However, the advantage RVDataSat (and your father’s MotoSat) has is that you have the ability to receive satellite signals outside the Lower 48. On the other hand, HughesNet Gen 5 coverage pretty much stops at the Canadian border.

Nevertheless, dish size matters as you travel north. The base RVDataSat 0.84 m dish will probably not get you deep into Canada. RVDataSat does sell a system with a 0.98 m dish, but that will set you back $16K.

Fixing Things: Water, Propane, Toilet

WATER

Meet the Sterilight ICE Controller

If you remember from my June 28th post on my UV Filter , I was going to put off buying a new ballast for my UV sterilizer, but I caved and purchased one. I figured they may soon be in short supply as my particular UV system is no longer manufactured. $387.47.

 

PROPANE (and CO as well)

My Carbon Monoxide / Propane sensor/alarm gave up the ghost, so I bought and installed a replacement. $89.64.

Good for another 4 years

 

TOILET

First, the sewer hose spouted a leak. Nothing huge, but I didn’t want it to open up on me unexpectedly. $49.86.

A Ribbed Sewer Hose . . . There’s a Joke Here Someplace

 

Finally, the spring-assisted-toilet-closer thing stopped being spring-assisted. Manually closing the toilet so that it would hold water quickly became a tiresome chore. Thank god, I had Dometic toilet spare parts 385316140, 385314349, and 385318162. $24.79, $26.21, and $34.98, respectively.

 

BEFORE

 

AFTER

Glacier To Yellowstone

GPS, don’t lead us astray (click on map to enlarge)

THE ROAD FROM HELL

We left Glacier National Park on Friday, August 9th.

Almost as soon as we hit the road, it (the road) turned bad. Very bad in spots.

Driving to Choteau, MT

 

 

For the End of the Road

 

MONTANA THE BEAUTIFUL

After an overnight in Choteau Mountain View Campground, we headed for Helena, MT and discovered an incredibly beautiful stretch of American road . . .

 

Click on photo to enlarge

 

Flirt Enjoying the new Helena KOA

 

YELLOWSTONE

We arrived at Yellowstone Holiday RV Campground & Marina on Sunday afternoon August 11th.

Much More on Yellowstone soon