Thursday, July 24, 2008

On the move again

Just a quick update for you. We spent a week in Ephrata and Jackie wanted to go to a Rotary meeting so it was about 2 on Tuesday before we got out of there. Went over Snoqualmie pass (52 deg) and headed to Tall Chief campground between Fall City and Redmond. Yesterday we went to Snoqualmie Valley school district and had lunch with friends and then spent some time with Gloria from our old Church (Snoqualmie United Methodist Church) there.

The Church had VBS this week and there must have been 75 kids there, that was exciting to see as in Ephrata we have had very few children.

We took CC for a walk yesterday afternoon and just a few camp sites from us we read a sign on a motor home "Sweeney". Turns out they are old friends (Jim and Barb) of ours and we had a chance to sit down and spend some time with them last night. We saw them last just after we sold the house in Ephrata so it was good to catch up on last year.

It's 8 in the morning on Thursday and Jackie got up early as she wanted to visit the Snoqualmie Valley Rotary this morning so I am getting things ready to move. If all goes well we will be in Port Orchard early this afternoon to spend some time with Deanna, Darin and Daisy and also will visit Michelle and family as well as Deb and Rich.

Sorry about the lack of pictures but the camera is in the truck with Jackie right now and I need to get some things done around here so she thinks I have been busy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Idaho and Washington, family everywhere...

Arrived in Lewiston after about a 5000 foot elevation drop in 190 miles from Lolo pass to here.

We were excited to be able to visit the Church we were Married in here in Lewiston Orchards in 1977. Not much has changed and got to meet some real nice people. (Dick said not much had changed, but actually neither of us remembered much about the church from 1977!) Lots of nice folks asked about Rick and one lady even commented on remembering Mom.

This is the same spot as the picture above only 31 years earlier with Jackie's brother Rick in the middle.
And then we spent some time with family. Here are some of Jackie's nephew, Jim, and his family, Shelley, Jesse, Wyatt and baby Morgan, who was only three days old when we met her. Their house barely escaped the fire that raced up the hill while Jim and Shelley and Morgan were still in the hospital! But everyone is safe and the boys are so proud of their little sister.

Then the next day we visited with Jackie's sister, Teri (no pictures) and had a barbeque at Jackie's niece Michelle's home. Here is nephew Steve and his wife Angie:
Niece Michelle (some of you remember her as "Missy" but she's grown-up now and prefers "Michelle") and husband Jeff:

Steve and Angie's son Dominik:(when he wasn't covering his face from the camera)
If you travel south out of Clarkston the road follows the river for about 30 miles and then there is a new bridge that will take you east into Idaho again. Have no idea where is goes but before we got to that point we came around a corner to Jackie saying "watch out for the deer" I said "that is the funniest deer that I ever saw, with curved horns". I was able to stop and get several good pictures of the Mountain Goats next to the river...

and it's hard to tell but the other pictures are of them way up on the hill. Who is checking out who? Part way up the side was a momma and her baby.
Didn't spend too much time outside that day taking pictures as it was close to 100 deg., but nice and cool in the truck.

We are now back in Ephrata and I don't think we will update the Blog until about the 25th or 26th unless something exciting happens around here this week. If you read this and are in the area please stop by and say hello to us out at Oasis. Just look for the "Big Sky" at site #10.


Lets see how long it takes to find out where this picture was taken. This may be unfair as only a few (maybe 5 or 6) of our fans should be able to determine the location, but it's our blog so I can do what I want. Grin, Grin. It is now 8:50 AM PST on Thursday July 17, 2008.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

White knuckle drive

After the Caverns we took the long way back to Ennis, going through Virginia City again, over the hill and down into town. We tried to find a place to fish but all the rivers are high and wide. We did stop at a little town, found a city park and spread the blanket out by a river and took a well needed nap. I found a fishing hole with lots of fish outside of Virginia City but it was for kids only. That's all I need was to get caught without a fishing licence and fishing in waters closed to adults.

We hooked up and headed out on the 8th. On the way we decided to stop and stretch our legs and I figured this was a good place to get a photo of what our rig looks like going down the road. A nice backdrop of the mountains would look good. As I backed up to get this shot I realized that the big dark spot in the rocks was the huge opening of a cave. Not sure if it's a mine or what.

We continued down the road and went through Anaconda, Montana looking for the "Georgetown Lake Road" that Jackie had got directions to our next stop. We found the road and took it real slow because it was a very narrow dirt and gravel road. It just kept going and going and going until we came to across a "Y" with no idea of which way to go. We stopped a car and the man said that "Piney" campground was just a short ways up the road just before you start up the hill. Off we go again and found the hill but no campground. We hit pavement and thought "good we must be close", and then back to dirt and gravel again. We finally came to an intersection with a sign to our campground.

We pulled in, set up camp, had a cold one and just relaxed. Come to find out that we should have taken the second "Georgetown Lake road" that was all pavement and just 6 miles from the main road. We ended up going all the way around the lake, and getting the truck and trailer dirty to boot! It was a huge lake.

Here is a picture of part of the lake with our campground to the right of center.

While there we visited the little town of Philipsburg and toured the streets, both blocks and then went back to Anaconda to do get some groceries. Checked out several camping places but most Forest Service sites are too small for us.
On the 10th we pulled out heading for Missoula to get some work done on the suspension of the 5th wheel. We got there just at lunch time so had to wait for them to finish and also to complete work on another rig. Finally got ours into the shop when the wind picked up and turned the inside of the building into a dust storm. Yes, we had all the doors and windows open. Still trying to get it out.

It took them about 2 hours to do the work then we were able to get out of town. Our destination was Lewiston, Idaho but we decided to only go part way because it was getting late and I was tired of driving. We got off I90 onto highway 12 and headed to Lolo summit where there is a visitor center and large parking area. We found a place to park and spent the night there. Our elevation was about 5200 feet and it got down to about 40 at night.

Up early, had a shower, breakfast and headed down the big hill. Lewiston is about 700 feet of elevation so had a long drop on a road that was narrow and it followed the river all the way here so it was really one curve after another. We did stop a few times to rest and here is one of the pictures of the river. I did have white knuckles on this one. Jackie said the river was beautiful on the way down. Did see a few deer on the way down, not what you want when you come around a corner at 50MPH with no place to go.

Finally reached Lewiston and we are camping at Hells Gate State Park. We got in only because there was a cancellation just before we arrived. Turns out nearly everyone else in our loop (B) is a member of the church that Jackie's nephew and his wife, Jim and Shelley, are members of. They have a "family camp" every year here. Jim and Shelley are not here this year because Shelley gave birth to Morgan just three days ago (9th).

Still trying to figure out the best way to get out of Lewiston and get back to Ephrata. No matter what way you go there are some big hills to climb. Hopefully I will have it figured out before we pull out of here next week. In the meantime, we'll be visiting with Jim and Shelley and also Jackie's sister Teri and her family. We'll include info on that in our next post.

Lewis and Clark Caverns in Montana. W-O-W!!!!!

We took a day trip from Ennis to the Lewis and Clark Caverns. Our tour started at 10:30 in the morning and took about 2 1/2 hours. It was a beautiful drive from our campsite, but nothing compared to what was in store for us once we got underground.

After a half mile walk straight up to the entrance. most of us got in the shade to cool down until the stragglers finally arrived. After a short lecture we entered the caverns (now a very cool 50 deg).
Before starting we got a picture of us without our jackets.
We went down and down and... (overall about 600 steps) You wanted to stop at each step and spend time just looking around as the sights were spectacular. The formations have taken thousands of years to form just from dripping water
into several rooms
This picture gives some size to the structure on the right, go down 2 pictures to get a better view of it.
I think the floor next to the handrail has warts

"Just" another huge room in the cavern structure. We continued to be amazed at every turn.

The water came off the ceiling from several locations making this beautiful structure standing about 10' high.

See, Deb, you can be a mile high and not in Denver! And we were still several hundred feet below ground!

The exit was a tunnel over 500 feet long that was blasted years after the caverns were discovered. They had to put in double air-lock doors because they found when they blasted through that the wind came in at 40 mph through the tunnels.
We are now in Lewiston Idaho and with poor cell and internet connection so will post the last few days as soon as we can. They have been interesting but not exciting.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ennis Montana area, population 840 people & 11 million trout...

Welcome to Montana! Cowboys moving cows down the highway, this picture taken through the windshield of the truck. On July 1 we moved to Ennis, MT, which is a small town in southwest MT.

On Wednesday we drove to Virginia City, MT, about 15 miles from Ennis. Virginia City is a restored mining town, not quite as "touristy" as Virginia City, NV. The first picture is of a back street, not the restored part of town.
Virginia City from Boot Hill. Boot Hill is so named because five highwaymen who were hanged are buried there. The building where they were hanged is open in town, and you can see the beam over which the ropes were suspended. Dick was finally able to get a picture of the downtown street with no cars, so it looks more authentic. It really was a fun little town. The museum was very interesting. We also took in a show at the Opera House -- vaudeville, which was cute.
Back in Ennis on the 4th, we went to the parade. A big deal in this little town.

Here are some of the many horses in the parade (especially for Molly).
The end of the parade in downtown Ennis. They allow parking on the main street, which we found very interesting. After the parade we enjoyed barbequed brisquet sandwiches, a fundraiser for the "Teen Center". We had ridden our bikes to the parade, and on the way back to the RV Park we took in a car show on the grass at one of the shops along the highway. That night we drove down to Cameron and enjoyed barbequed ribs and music by "Montana Rose". An outdoor pavilion was set up, and lots of cowboys (and cowgirls) love to dance. It was great.

This little deer or antelope was resting beside the road to the hardware store. The highway is in the background.

And look what decided to perch on the bicycle tire at our campsite:
The view out the back window of the 5th wheel: We sit outside in the morning with our hot chocolate and enjoy the view and the quiet.
Tomorrow we're off to Lewis and Clark Caverns. Then from here the plan is to drive north/northwest toward Anaconda. The weather here has been a little of everything. Lots of wind, some thunderstorms, quite warm (90s), and then today pleasant (75-80 or so).
Dick found a problem with the Mor/Ryde suspension system on the RV so have to contact the factory on Monday morning and see what we can do to get it fixed. Keep your fingers crossed that we can find a place to repair it.
We may be dry camping for a few days so you may have to wait for the next update.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Yellowstone 2nd loop

As promised, here is our 2nd day into Yellowstone Park. Another 5 am get up and on the road by 6:30. It took us all day, as we never got back home until 9:30; 15 hours in the park. It was nice and cool to start the day and our first stop was another of those vertically changing waters. It was up a canyon called Firehole Falls. It was still all in the shadows. Everywhere we went on this loop we ran across more rivers with hot water and steam leaking out of the earth.
If not steam, how about mud pots bubbling up. Lots of strong sulphur smell.
This was our firs elk of the day and also the first with a rack. Boy was he big.
After a few hours we finally arrived at "Old Faithful" and had about an hours wait until it's scheduled eruption. We are sitting about in the middle so this is just about half of the people waiting with us. A bunch of kids at one end started a "Wave" and after about the third try it finally went end to end of the boardwalk.
Here she blows...what more can we say except "we have seen it" now. We walked to the post office about a half mile away only to find it closed, so back to the car and hit the road to find a place for lunch. Because of our delay in getting out of the parking lot, most of the other people had left and the road was ours again.

We crossed the Continental Divide twice and on the second time we ran across the road to have another couple take this in exchange for us taking there picture. (They were from Texas.) Still a little cool at this elevation.
This is where we stopped for lunch but had to get wet getting to the table. All of the rivers are very high this year due to lots of snow and a late melt.
This is the second elk we found and again it had a rack. We later ran across more.

What can I say, how did this tree survive and grow on the edge of the cliff in the rocks?
Pictures of what is called the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. It was late in the afternoon when we found this place and most of the people had left, so we had lots of time to get some good pictures. One with trees and one without. What a contrast.

We ran across Bison all day long but got a kick out of these two on the way out of the park. I can just hear them whispering to each other, "this is our road so let's just stand here and get our pictures taken".
It was a long and wonderful day. We stopped at lots of places in the park and just took our time and I was able to take over 70 pictures. In contrast to this we met another couple who jumped out of there car and both took several pictures and told me that they take about 1,600 each, each day. Must be professional photographers. The problem with this they only get to see the sights if they take the time to look at the pictures.
We are now in Ennis, Montana and it's in the 90s with the wind just rocking the trailer. Went to the Rodeo (my first) last night but left the camera home.
Happy 4th of July to all