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Archive for June, 2009

Orlando Bingles’ Rocky Mountain High: Pictures

by on Jun.23, 2009, under Richard Bingle Family

I’ve added some pictures to most of the posts about our recent trip. To see the entire gallery (which includes more pictures than what is included in the individual posts, yet is only a small sample of the nearly 3900 pictures from the trip) click on the picture below.


Other interesting numbers:

  • Days of trip – 18
  • Countries visited – 2
  • National Parks/Memorials visited – 9
  • Miles driven – 4282
  • Hours of video shot – 9
  • Wolves seen – 2
  • Elk seen – 1404
  • Bears seen – 24
  • Buffalo seen – 896
  • Moose seen – 6
  • Mountain goats – 3
  • Pronghorn antelope seen – 627
  • Raft trips taken – 2
  • Horseback riding trips taken – 1
  • Old Faithful eruptions witnessed – 4
  • Switchbacks at Lower Falls hiked – 10
  • Trees at Jenny Lake down across path – 46

To get to Day 1 of the trip, click here

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Website and Gallery Issues

by on Jun.15, 2009, under Site News

I am having some major problems getting the website and gallery back up and working correctly after a disk failure last night.

UPDATE (06/18):

I believe I have managed to restore everything and have even upgraded the blog and gallery software to newer versions in the process. I’m still tinkering, so you may notice some (hopefully) minor oddities over the next few days.

UPDATE (06/21):

Ok, so my tinkering ended up leading to trying out a new look for the entire website, hopefully you enjoy the new look.

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Long Time Since Last Post

by on Jun.12, 2009, under Anthony Hatfield Family

It has been a long time since I have posted anything.  Amber just turned 7 a couple of weeks ago.  My parents came over to celebrate her birthday.  Both girls also had a dance recital this past weekend, so my parents got a two-for-one deal.  Celebrate a birthday and see the recital.  It amazes me how much effort goes into a recital where the actual dance routine is about 3 minutes long.  They had to practice on Saturday and of course had professional pictures taken.  Then on Sunday we had to go for the actual recital.  I thought Amber and Abbie both did a very good job and looked very cute.  I added a new sub-album with pictures to my amhatfield album for those that might be interested. 

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Gamer Fantastic Anthology

by on Jun.11, 2009, under Donald Bingle

I have a story, “Gaming Circle,” in Gamer Fantastic, an anthology edited by Kerrie Hughes which will be coming out in July.  See the pretty picture:

Gamer Fantastic Cover_edited.jpg (29052 bytes)

Never mind that there is a typo on the cover referring to “role-paying” games.


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Connect to Amazon Through My Website

by on Jun.11, 2009, under Donald Bingle

Just a reminder that I have joined Amazon Connect, which means that you can read my blogs about my books and stories through Amazon’s Author Central.  If you are thinking of buying stuff on Amazon, also don’t forget that if you go to and click through to one of the webpages with my stuff on it via the handy click-through ads, I’ll get a tiny percentage of what you spend even if it isn’t anything to do with my writing or the page you clicked through to get to Amazon.


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Orlando Bingles’ Rocky Mountain High: Day 18

by on Jun.05, 2009, under Richard Bingle Family

The final day of our trip started early. Way too early for Rich. Our wake-up call was scheduled for 4:30 a.m. as our flight was to leave Jackson at about 7:45 a.m. and we were supposed to be there 2 hours before our flight. The Jackson airport is pretty small and we had toyed with the idea of getting there a bit later, but it turned out that it was good we hadn’t. Despite the airport being pretty small, the security is pretty tight and even though there was only one person in line ahead of us as we went through security, it took us about ten minutes as they scanned and rescanned our carry on bags. Our first flight would take us to O’Hare in Chicago. We had about a two hour layover which worked out well as we had to change terminals and “hike” to the very end of the terminal to get to the gate for our fight to Orlando. Karen managed to get our seats changed so that Ashley and Alyssa could sit together in row 6 and Rich and Amber could sit together in row 7, while she ended up in row 16 by herself. At least it was an improvement over our original seats which had us scattered individually throughout the plane. The in-flight entertainment on the two flights was exactly the same so the girls ended up watching movies on the laptop and iPod.

Once we landed in Orlando, Rich caught a ride to the house with a friend from church who works at the airport and took the van back to pick up the rest of the family (who had spent the time getting the bags and playing yet more card games). We stopped for (you guessed it) pizza on the way home and after eating our fill had our final “event” of the trip – the battery on the van was dead and it wouldn’t start. A quick jump-start later we were safely home.

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Orlando Bingles’ Rocky Mountain High: Day 17

by on Jun.04, 2009, under Richard Bingle Family


Day seventeen was to see us return to Jackson, WY via Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. As the girls had enjoyed visiting Hoover Dam during last year’s trip the day started out with a stop along our route at Buffalo Bill Dam which is located near Cody in Buffalo Bill State Park. Rich remembered visiting the dam back in 1970 on a trip out west with the folks, but things had changed since then. In 1993 a project was completed that added 25 feet to the height of the dam. This redesign meant that Rich didn’t have to have a death grip on the girls like his mother had on him back in 1970.


After our stop at the dam, we continued on our way into Yellowstone. In the ten days we’d been gone, Yellowstone Lake had finished thawing out and appeared to be ice free. At one overlook we met a couple who had locked their keys in their truck and were waiting for OnStar to unlock it for them. They were very jealous of the number of bears that we had seen as that was to be their last day in the park and they had yet to see any (although they had seen four coyotes earlier in the day).

We decided to head north past the falls and cut across the center of the park between Canyon and Norris since we’d only driven across that section once during our earlier visits. Unfortunately we didn’t see any more bears.


Ashley wanted to stop at Artist’s Paint Pots and hike up to see the one that looked like it was spitting wet drywall mud. It was threatening to rain when we parked, so we threw on our jackets and hurried up the path. Turned out it was a good thing we hurried as the valley was soon filled with the sound of rolling thunder and it started to rain. With the weather turning worse, we didn’t tarry and were soon on our way back down to the van. We were less than ¼ of a mile from the parking lot when it started to hail – fortunately lightly and less than pea-sized. A few minutes later we were back in the van and on our way again through the rain. Then the heavy, but thankfully pea-sized, hail started. With the temperature around 48F, the hail didn’t melt right away and the road soon looked like it was snowing. The hailstorm was short and soon we were back to just driving in the rain.

The rain followed us throughout the rest of our trip through the park and was probably the reason we saw so few animals as compared to previous days. We were very thankful for the good weather we had experienced earlier in the trip.


As it had been several days since we had truly “hiked”. Ashley wanted to stop at the Taggart Lake trailhead in Grand Teton National Park and hike the other trail leading to the lake that we hadn’t taken before. As the weather had cleared considerably after leaving Yellowstone, we decided to give it a try. As it was 5:45 p.m., the trail was 2.6 miles, and our average speed was a little over 1 mph, Rich decided we’d go as far as we could by 7:00 p.m. and if we hadn’t reached the lake by then we’d turn around and head back. Ashley led the way at a fast pace! The landscape along the trail was much greener than it had been two weeks prior and that coupled with all of the bear sightings during the trip had Rich a little nervous about stumbling upon a bear as we hurried along so he had the girls sing songs, and even occasionally had everyone “Sound Off” with a loud “One! Two! Three! Four! Five!” along the line. With Ashley determined to get to the lake before having to turn around, we reached the lake in about an hour, probably doubling our normal pace. As the path we had taken on our first hike was shorter, had considerably less elevation changes, and according to some folks we passed going the other way no longer had snow on it, we decided to take that way back. The hike to the lake definitely had taken its toll as the 1.8 miles back also took an hour.


There were a few people across the road from the parking lot when we got back to the van so walked over to take a look. It was a good thing we did as there was a moose cow down by a beaver dam. We spent about twenty minutes watching her before heading back to the van and heading on our way.

We knew we were going to have to get up early to get to the airport in the morning and the girls wanted to try out the small lap pool before going to bed, so we opted for fast food before a quick swim.

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Orlando Bingles’ Rocky Mountain High: Day 16

by on Jun.03, 2009, under Richard Bingle Family


We started out day sixteen with a trip back to Mount Rushmore to see it in the daylight. It turned out that it was a good thing we went first thing in the morning, as soon after we got there the mountain became socked in with clouds. Every once in a while there would be a few seconds where you could see the faces again, but by the time you tried to take a picture, they would be lost in the mist again.


We spent some time doing a .8 mile loop that on a clear day provides several different views of the faces on the mountain. The loop also includes a stop at the Artist’s Studio which includes a 1:12 scale model that was used during the carving of the mountain.

Then it was back in the van for another long day of driving, again in the rain. This time to Cody, WY. Most of the route was back along the highway we had driven east on the day before, I-90. We again saw lots of pronghorn antelope along the way. We left the highway just west of Sheridan, WY and got on US-14. Immediately the terrain changed from rolling prairie to a mountain pass and we got high enough to be driving in the clouds. Most of the drive up US-14 to Granite Pass took place in dense clouds/fog – which may or may not have been better for Rich’s nerves as the road was switchback after switchback. At one point, Rich and Karen both swore that they had seen a large animal (like a buffalo) run across the road less than fifty feet in front of the van in the fog, but it immediately disappeared. They had just come to the conclusion that it must have just been the swirling of the fog/clouds playing a trick on them when the truth became “clear”. There was a car in front of them and they had seen its vague form going around a curve in front of them. Even though their lights were on and it had been so close, it had tricked us completely.


The clouds thinned considerably after we crested the pass, which was nice as we spotted a couple of cars pulled over with people out looking at something. It turned out to be our fourth moose of the trip.

The trip back down was again through the clouds, but the visibility wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been on the way up. Once back down through Shell Canyon the terrain returns to prairie and the road runs almost straight to Cody.


We arrived in Cody in time to see a “gunfight” put on daily during the summer. It was conveniently located right in front of Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel which was our destination for the day. The gunfight was pretty corny but entertaining nonetheless. Afterwards we checked into our room at the Irma and had a nice dinner in their dining room.

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Orlando Bingles’ Rocky Mountain High: Day 15

by on Jun.02, 2009, under Richard Bingle Family


“Day fifteen was to be yet another long driving day. This time we were trying to reach Mount Rushmore National Memorial in time to see the evening program. The drive through Montana and Wyoming produced dozens of pronghorn antelope sightings, sometimes singular antelope, once a few dozen. In all, we probably saw over a hundred antelope.

The day was dreary and rainy most of the time, which made the drive seem all the longer. It didn’t help things that we ended up backtracking about twenty miles along our route to get gas when we noticed we probably weren’t going to make it to the next available station along our route. It was a good thing we went back – we would have definitely run out. The rain stopped as we neared Mount Rushmore.

As we pulled into the Mount Rushmore parking area, the girls spotted what Alyssa initially thought was a poodle. It turned out that it was Mount Rushmore’s unofficial mascot, a mountain goat. We didn’t get any pictures because we were in line to pay for parking and it was getting dark anyway.


We had arrived in time for the evening program which includes a talk, a twenty minute movie, the lighting of the mountain, and a flag lowering ceremony. It was just starting to drizzle lightly when the program was ending. We were thankful we had arrived in time and that the rain had held off, as the program was very enjoyable.

After the evening program, we drove a short ways down the road (about twenty minutes) to our hotel in Hill City. Unfortunately, Hill City closes sometime before 10:00 p.m. so we ended up having to get dinner from the only place open in town – a gas station.

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Orlando Bingles’ Rocky Mountain High: Day 14

by on Jun.01, 2009, under Richard Bingle Family


Day fourteen was a long driving day. We had reservations in Great Falls, MT for that evening. The plan was to drive straight back through Jasper and Banff and out the southeastern entrance towards Calgary without stopping since we’d already seen things on the way north. Our plans were interrupted fairly quickly when we spotted yet another male black bear loping along near the road. We pulled over and paced him for about ½ mile before he disappeared into the woods.

When we got to the Athabasca Glacier, the sun was out, so we stopped for a couple of pictures (since it had been overcast when we had been here before). We ended up stopping a few more times for quick “sun on the mountains” pictures other places as well.


Shortly after leaving Athabasca Glacier, Karen suddenly asked that we pull over. She had spotted two white spots up on the side of a cliff near the top. Sure enough, they were mountain goats! We watched them (and took pictures and video) until they both scampered over the top of the cliff and disappeared.


We hadn’t seen any big horn sheep since entering Kootenay National Park on our way to Banff, but that soon changed. We encountered three big horn sheep shortly after seeing the mountain goats, including two that were in the turnout for the Weeping Wall (which is a rock face with dozens of little water falls on it). They were nibbling at the gravel in the turnout, presumably using it a salt lick. We stayed in the van and got some pictures from pretty close by, so close that Amber asked for the sliding door on the van to be closed.

The next animal sighting was a coyote out in a field after we had left the parks. We turned around to try to get some video, but it quickly disappeared in the distance.

We saw various deer and antelope on the remainder of our drive to Great Falls while we listened to a book on tape to pass the time. After checking into our hotel and having dinner, Karen and the girls went swimming in the (cold) indoor pool while Rich recovered from driving by soaking in the hot tub.

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