Grand Hotel

Lake_Hotel_MArriving at Yellowstone Park was quite a change. I thought that a couple of days of sightseeing would provide a little rest from the road and an opportunity to see some of the “wonders of America.”  The park, if you have not been there is big, I was told it is about 63 miles long and 54 miles wide. So once I reached the South entrance it was another hour of riding to reach my hotel. Inside Yellowstone the speed limit is 25 to 45 miles per hour depending on the area you are in. After riding through incredible  views, I turned off onto the road leading to the hotel. I made the last turn and was met by the spectacular “Lake Hotel.”  The hotel faces “Yellowstone Lake ” which is over 130 square miles. Big by anyone’s standards. This was quite a change of accommodations from what I have  been use to so far on the journey.  I pulled up in front, turned off the bike and pulled off my helmet.  The hotel guests gave me a pleasant smile as they past this sweaty individual decorated with various smashed bugs that offered a full range of colors. I went in and was was visually stuck by the enormous size of the  grand lobby.

Lake Hotel Interior web releaseIt seemed that my quest for rest and relaxation had reached it’s goal. I went through the usual process of checking in, credit card and license for identification. I was then asked if it was just me, I answered yes and then was asked how many keys did I need…one or two. After careful consideration and much thought, I opted for one key. The clerk accepted my choice and handed me the key along with a little folder with my room number on it. As she pushed the folder towards me she she looked around and then pointed to the room number and said in a hushed voice “this is your  room.” I always enjoy the “Cold War” spy drama of maintaing total room number security.


Now that I was checked in, the process of unloading the bike began. The procedure is always the same, find a luggage cart, roll it outside and remove each of the 3 metal cases from the bike. Next step unstrap the tie downs and remove the yellow dry bag. Once this is completed and the cart is loaded, it’s off to the room with the “secret number.”

Finally it’s time to relax. I had dinner at the lobby bar and enjoyed a few conversations. Of course I talked about my journey to create awareness and raise money to build specially adapted homes for our most seriously wounded vets. Dinner completed it was time to head back to the room for the night. I needed to be downstairs the following morning to join a bus tour of the park’s most interesting wonders. I signed up for this day in a bus since the roads in the park were not Motorcycle friendly for roadside stops. Most had no shoulder and the ones that did were usually banked downward and mostly gravel. So the bus it was. I am officially a tourist on a little vacation for the day!

The following morning I was down stairs and out front at the appointed hour. Camera in hand, I was ready for the air-conditioned tour of Yellowstone Park. The bus arrived and we all piled into a 1975 bus that was a sign that I had made the right choice for the day’s activity.

The tour was complete with visits to “Old Faithful,” the mud pots, and waterfalls. And of course there were the sightings of Bison, Elk and one lonely Moose.

After a long day as a tourist I was ready to return to the room. So I picked up a sandwich at the hotel deli and enjoyed a night of reading. The next day was going to be another little vacation day before leaving for Idaho. This content tourist fell asleep early, I guess as a result of my weeks on the road and the altitude change.

About 3:30 am a noise in the room woke me up. The room was dark and as I laid there, eyes open, listening for the noise. Again I heard it. It was like the sound of someone moving across the room.

At this point I sat up straight. I remember saying to myself it can’t be possible “you must be dreaming.” So I cleared my head and was now fully awake. The sound was now right beside my bed, I turned and looked and was terrified at what I saw. A shrouded figure was standing right next to my bed only about a foot away from me. I yelled and threw a desperate straight right at the intruder. I felt my fist pass through noticeably warm air. And at the exact same moment the figure disappeared. I was terrified.



Apparition: a ghost or ghostlike image of a person …ghost, phantom, specter, spirit.

I was physically shaking. I turned on the lights. I did not sleep for the rest of the night.

Now I’m a person that does not think that an apparition is real. But this really happened. I was not asleep. I sat there in bed with all the lights on. Morning could not come soon enough.

The next day I was feeling completely stresses. Everything and everyone annoyed me. I couldn’t believe that my “vacation day” was going so terribly. Instead I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to get back on the motorcycle and ride.

That evening I was sitting at the hotel bar having dinner and a couple sat down next to me. After a few minutes we said hello to each other. They asked where I was from and if I was enjoying my vacation. I explained that I was not on vacation but on a solo motorcycle ride through out the country called “Long Road Home America.” They seemed interested so I gave them some more details about my effort to raise money to build specially adapted homes for our wounded warriors.

I don’t know why but I told them about my previous nights “bedside visitation.” They laughed and looked at each other and then back at me. Their expression was one of disbelief. It was shortly after that they excused themselves and left. I sat there for a few minutes and felt like I was in a completely wrong place. The bar and lobby area were filled with people, laughter and music. Everyone was on vacation, everyone but me. Yes, it’s true that I spent a day as a tourist. I did tell myself that I was on a little vacation from “the journey.” But ever since the appearance of the apparition in my room I only wanted to get on my motorcycle and ride.

It was at that moment that I realized that I do “believe” in apparitions. In the early Greek translations of the bible the definition of belief is not what it is today. Today in western culture we define “what we believe” to be “what is true or factual.” The Greek translation defined belief as “what you give your heart to.”

 What I give my heart to is this journey. What I give my heart to are the many wounded vets that can’t be forgotten. The apparition came to my room the previous night not to frighten me, but to remind me that there is work to be done, miles to be ridden and people to reach out to. This apparition represented the fallen and wounded that have sacrificed so much.

That visitation was real. Now I understood why no matter how much I tried the day after its appearance, I was not on vacation. I was not a distracted tourist.

The next morning as I was getting ready to leave the hotel and resume my riding, I saw the man that was part of the couple that I told my apparition story to. He gave me an uncomfortable look and asked if I had seen any more disappearing ghosts. I said no I had not. He began walking into the grand lobby of the hotel and looked back and said, “you don’t really believe that stuff do you?” Before I could answer, at the exact same moment, he vanished into the crowd of “vacationers.”





  1. Joan Yetter says:

    We were so glad to meet you at the Lake Hotel and hear about your work for veterans. Hope you enjoy the book! Blessings on your journey as it continues and on the important work that you have committed to.

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