Monday, July 29, 2013


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Heber City, UT. Mt. Timpanogos in background. The valley with granite walls reminds me of Carson Valley in Nevada

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I expect we will be seeing more of these as private companies take over the management of Forest Service campgrounds. No charge for campers, but enforced payment for non-campers. Unintended consequences - illegal dumping.

Sunday, July 21 - We left Utah today which always makes me a little sad.  It was a long drive for us (5 hours) to get to Grand Junction, CO.  We are going to spend the night in the driveway of fellow Lazy Dazer, Dale Ellis.  We thought that the heat in Grand Junction was unusual, but Dale said that it was normal for this time of the year.  It's in the high 90's and low 100's.  After we arrived, Dave took us on a tour of Grand Mesa National Forest for 4 hours.  It's 10,800' at the summit. This place is large with lots of camping opportunities and it's cool. The daytime high averages 70 degrees.  We went out to a Mexican dinner and by the time we arrived back at Dale's we were exhausted.

Monday, July 22 - We drove  hour to Grand Mesa and are camping at Little Bear CG. The sites are well spaced which provides privacy and we have a fantastic view of the lake.  We got set up and after lunch I took a long nap because I still have not recovered from the sinus infection and the trip yesterday.  After nap, we toured some other CG's along the different lakes and decided our spot is the best.  If we decided to leave here, then there are a lot of very nice dispersed campsites, but they don't have the lake view. This is a nice place to sit outside and have Happy Hour. Looks like we may stay here a week as rains are forecast for here the area south. Great to put out the fires. Not good for us going up a dirt road to a dispersed parking location near Owl Creek Pass.

We did not have much of data signal yesterday, but it's fast today. We have three ABC stations here in the forest and a CBS station that comes and goes.

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25 Grand Mesa03 resizeGood eating in Dorothy's Kitchen. Cauliflower with Turmeric, Chayote Squash with Tomatoes and Green Chile, Avacodo and Tomato salad

Tuesday, July 23 - We lazed the morning away surfing, then napped. Dale came up to visit in the mid-afternoon. We took a late afternoon drive looking at the variety of wild flowers blooming.

Wednesday, July 24 - Some clouds moved in and we got 3 minutes of mist, but the forecast rain did not get here. We paddled the yaks around the island in Island Lake. Yesterday, we had a really hot cell signal. Today, nothing. We decided to take a look at Island CG, found it had some sites with a view of the mountains and two bars of 3G, so we moved. On arrival the cell coverage was gone.  But the CBS station was rock solid. Of course, the only the thing of interest to watch is the news, which is not that interesting.

I had hoped that I had cured the problem of the refer cutting off every day or so by cleaning the jet. It went out last night. It relights without a problem. Conflicted on what to do. We could go back to Grand Junction and try for service. Which might or might not work. It would be several days until we would know if the tech did anything but take our money. And without phone service, we don't even know if they could look at it.

Thursday, July 25 - We have wanted to return to Silverton ever since we were there in 2008. They say you can not go back, but we want to try. It will be a new cast of characters this time. It may be crowded. And there is now a 14 day stay limit. Dorothy said this morning this trip was all about Moab, the Palouse and Silverton. The rest is just filler.

We drove 19 miles to get a cell signal so we could surf a bit. We are addicted. Still wondering where the two bars of 3G we saw Tuesday go?

I don't want you to think that we don't do anything but have fun or shop or lay in our sick beds.  We felt good today, but the elevation of 10,500' prevents us from doing anything but a little walking.  So we were constructive today - we cleaned the rig.  Now we have clean floors, windows, mirrors, bathroom and kitchen.  It's a lot easier cleaning Koko than a house.

Friday, July 26 - We sleep until 7! Lazed around, reading, drinking coffee. My blood pressure is 135/100, higher by far then ever. Perhaps it's the 10,000 elevation, but I have zero "breath" to hike. Ditto Dorothy, but her blood pressure is fine.

This has been one of our better days.  Don suggested that we take a walk around the CG. We are on the highest level, so I knew coming back up would be challenging.  But after a couple of stops so I could catch my breath and rest, we completed the walk.  We saw the sign to Land of Lakes and I wanted to see it. In the afternoon the drove there but discovered that it was a trail not a drive.  I decided to blow it off, but thank goodness, Don wanted to walk. It was a half-mile hike on a paved trail to an overlook. But, what a view to the south. The same view we have from our campsite, but with seven small lakes in the foreground. We sat on the rocks for an hour or so taking it all in. We also chatted with a group of LDS students. That always a pleasure.

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We stopped by a lodge on the way back to ask if we could use their wi-fi. Sure, no charge, and would we like a free cup of coffee. 

Saturday, July 27 - We surfed at the lodge and spent the rest of the day reading. We heard thunder in the distance and the sky clouded up from time-to-time. But no rain until after midnight. The forecast calls for an 80% chance tomorrow - the day we plan to head south.

Sunday, July 28 - We woke to clouds all around the horizon and occasional rain. We watched Sunday morning TV and suddenly the skies cleared. We took off down the Mesa to Delta where we found a City Market and bought $200 of groceries. We have stuff crammed everywhere. We continued south and paused at Montrose to wait out a shower. The vehicles are fairly clean and I just did not want to mess them up for no good reason. Well, we had not gone far when another shower overtook us and in 10 miles we got a little slimy. And so it goes.

Not wanting to go into the forest in the rain we opted to stay in the BIG state park at Ridgway. Electric for $29. Holy Moly. Oh well we can see the San Juan's all around and perhaps tomorrow we can find a suitable spot near Owl Creek Pass.

For any history buffs, this being the an anniversary of the Korean War, we are in Ridgway and it was General Ridgeway that saved South Korea after MacArthur botched the war all around. The general is all but forgotten now, but it was the force of his maverick personality that rallied the troops and prevented a disaster.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Heat Wave and it ain't tropical


What's the proper response to one or more motorcycle riders with their tires just inside the yellow line, and their left handle bar over the line? I have started to put my outside rear tire close to the line. This leaves several inches of the rig on or over the line. Just want to make sure I am doing right with these picket riders.

We note, with pleasure, that our friend Jim now has clean bill of health. We were worried about him. I mean all he gets to eat is vegan food and IPA. Plus forced high altitude hikes. Dorothy's brother is also vegan and his health is on the skids. I am telling you guys, the only way is processed pork for breakie and prime rib for dinner. Sure you can eat rabbit food for lunch if that will make you think you are eating right. Me? I would rather have a greasy pork chop.

Saturday, July 13 - We continued driving east on US26 this morning. This is a great highway because it is semi-scenic through the high desert and has very little traffic. It could compete with US50 in Nevada for low traffic. We camped at Bully Creek Park near Vale, OR.  Oregon has many city & country parks, which is one of the reasons we love this state. This is one of the best. The sites are very large, level, grassy with lots of shade trees - what more can could you want in a campground. Oh yes, we have a view of the reservoir. This is the desert and in the current heatwave the daytime temperatures are hot, but it cools off in the evenings.  You can sit outside in the shade and be very comfortable.

Sunday, July 14 - Since we are not in a hurry and this is a nice spot, we decided to stay another night. Almost every one was gone by noon, so we moved to a site with more shade.  Very nice sitting outside in the shade with a little breeze.  Our last night in Oregon. Just haven't spent enough time here this trip, so we will have to return. I am finally feeling much better.

Monday, July 15 - We said goodbye to Oregon and hello to Idaho once again. We are again camping in a county RV park. This one is on the Snake (everything in Idaho is either on the Snake or named Lewis & Clark) and has full hookups for $21. A deal.  It's hot and going to get hotter, 95+ for the next week or ten days.  Very few people here so it is extremely quiet. I feel so much better that I drove for 2 full hours so that Don could rest. I find it much easier to drive on the interstates because I can use the cruise control. We think Don is coming down with the cold stuff that I had. We did a big shopping trip at Walmart and got lots of veggies which we really need.  

Tuesday, July 16 - Today we resumed our usual method of camping - boondoocking or dry camping. That means that we do not have hookups.  You can do this when the weather is not hot!  We are in a Forest Service CG 18 miles from Heber City, UT at 7,800 feet.  We are situated in a lodgepole pine and spruce tree forest.  We had "Happy Hour" outside yesterday afternoon and the temperature was around 78 degrees.  Slept great!  

How did lodgepole pines get their name?  Indians used the tall straight pine trees to build their lodges - clever name, right.  More tree trivia - how do you tell the difference between a fir tree and a spruce tree - spruce tree needles will Stick you and the fir trees are Friendly.  Now you know that our trips are educational.

When we go to Oregon and Utah,  I feel such a sense of peace.  I don't know what it is, maybe it's the scenery but it certainly makes us happy - it's like coming home again.

Wednesday, July 17 - I won't say that the day was wasted but we didn't do anything fun.  We went into Heber City and made an appointment the Heber Valley Clinic because I was not getting any better.  The appointment was for 2:00 so we had time to kill.  We found a beauty shop and I got a much needed hair cut, then went to the library and to Tony's Mexican Restaurant, where we had a good meal.  It's so good to see people still using libraries.  Finally got to the clinic where I saw Dr. Tullis.  He's a young man and very pleasant.  We started talking about traveling and I told him we like Moab and we did some jeeping there.  He told me about going in March and leaving at 5:00 am in 10 degree weather to go on a 100 mile bike ride.  He said it got up to 20 degrees during the ride - I told you he was young.  I have a sinus infection - haven't had one in years, so I have medicine and should be better in two or three days.  And to top it off, Don is not feeling very well either - runny nose, sneezing, etc.  We got medicine for him also.  We MUST get well and soon.

Thursday, July 18 - This is not the day we are getting well.  The camp host said that they have been getting afternoon rain each day for about a week.  Had a light rain Tuesday, just enough to mess up the windshields.  Yesterday, we had very light rain, thunder and lightning.  But it is keeping the temperature down so that it's comfortable.  We stayed in our sick bed almost all day. Bleah!

Friday, July 18 - We were not in top form, but felt good enough to take a drive. First to Cascade Springs. Not worth our time, but the views along the way were OK. Then Mount Timpanogos Cave. We knew we could do the cave tour as you have to hike up 1,000 feet to the entrance. When we pulled into the parking lot around noon, there were teenagers laying down all over the place that had made the hike and survived - just. That confirmed to us that it was way beyond our best effort on a good day.

Saturday, July 20 - I will once again say that this has been a most unusual trip.  We have spent more time in cities and shopping than ever before.  Today was no exception.  We went into Orem to shop at Costco.  Then we had to buy a new phone.  My phone is in the throes of death and would not hold a charge.  I did not want a new phone and certainly not a smart one.  I just want to be able to talk on the phone, like in the old days. We had the great luck of getting a very knowledge sales lady that was most helpful and did not try to get us to buy any upgrades.  We rounded out the day with Walmart and laundry.

Our park host has a little dog that seems to suffer separation anxiety and has never been disciplined, so there has been a lot of yipping going on.  It was pretty bad yesterday.  The host site is fairly close to us and his family is camping here also.  Tonight the family had a cookout and they did not want the dog to bother them while they were eating, so they tied him up at the vacant site next to us.  We were sitting outside trying to read when we heard this dog crying.  Don went to see what was going on and came back and told me about the dog's situation.  It was breaking my heart, so we took our chairs over to the site and sat with the dog trying to keep him calm.  He's a cute little dog and very sweet, even let me hold him several times.  If you aren't going to take care of your dog, why have one.  

Moving to cooler Colorado tomorrow.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Back To Oregon - Again

This trip we have been back and forth between Idaho, Oregon and Washington several times. Not a lot driving, as many of our destinations were just across a state line.

We have had hookups and stayed in more private campgrounds this trip than ever before. Washington state parks are pricey, not as much as California's, but getting there. As we head south we hope to get back to parking where there is nothing but horizon and the cost is low or free. The stats so far:

  • Private - 13 nights at 6 places
  • Public - 54 nights at 19 places
  • National Parks - 10 nights at 5 places
  • Free - 13 nights at 9 places

Dry camped 40 nights. Hookups 42 nights. A BIG change for us.


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Our last free parking place

Wednesday, July 3 - One of the things we like to do when we travel is to visit state capitols. The outside of the capitol in Olympia is less than impressive, as they used local sandstone which discolors quickly. But once you step inside, it's breath-taking in it's grandeur. They used three different marble's and all the chandeliers are one-of-a-kind by Tiffany. The main chandelier weights 7,000 pounds made of bronze. Obviously they are priceless since Tiffany no longer does that kind of work. The capital was started in 1920 and only took a couple of years to complete.  It is the most impressive we have visited.  In the afternoon, we took a kayak trip on the Hood Canal.

All of the lighting in the Washington Capital is by Tiffany. These are two examples. This is said to the heaviest chandelier in the world. It's larger than it appears as the room is huge.

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Thursday, July 4 - We arrived in Portland and have "camped" in our friends driveway.  They are at their beach house and won't be back until Saturday. We are certainly glad to have a place to stay since everything is full for this week.  They have a very beautiful home and you can tell that a lot of time has been spent in the yard.   
Friday, July 5 - We went to the Rose Gardens and the Japanese Gardens, which is the reason we are here. There were so many types of roses so I didn't even try to remember the names. There was a Cambodian couple having their wedding pictures made and were wearing the traditional bridal attire for the occasion - lots of gold on the bride.  The groom was less than happy about the whole thing, but he smiled and posed when necessary.  

 Taken In The Rose Garden Of Portland's Washington Park 

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 The Japanese Garden in Portland's Washington Park 

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Saturday, July 6 - Another grocery shopping day.  We have been to Costco, Barbur World Market and Safeway.  I am amazed that our small refrigerator and freezer can hold everything we bought, but we will eat well for the next week or so. Don replaced backs of the kayak seats. Good thing as mine has been broken since I first fell in it a long time back. 

We ate dinner with Mary Ann and Debra at the Thai Orchid Restaurant. I had Evil Jungle Noodles. I could not resist the name. Chicken, bean sprouts, in a curry over a bed of cabbage and rice noodles. Yum

Sunday, July 7 - I needed to do a little laundry and Mary Ann & Debra did it for me - how's that for wonderful hostesses!  I cooked dinner for them and their friends, Merl & Jerry.  It was a little more difficult cooking a large meal along with dessert when you only have one mixing bowl.  But everyone seemed to enjoy it.  The broccoli salad was a big hit.  Jerold Packard is an author of nine books.  The one I want is "Victoria's Daughters", that's Queen Victoria.  I told him that we were going to the Maryhill Museum the next day and he told me that one Victoria's granddaughters was a contributor to the museum.  We had great conversations all afternoon and evening.

Monday, July 8 - We bid goodbye to Mary Ann & Debra, but not before they gave us blueberries and thick sliced bacon.  They are absolutely the best!  We met fellow campers, Ken & Cora.  The Maryhill State Park is extremely expensive - $41 and I can't say that it was worth it.  It is along the Columbia River, which seems to always have wind.  Our campsite had Cottonwood trees which were really dropping "cotton".  My throat was a little scratchy and I had a dry cough - maybe pollen related. [Peach Park CG adjoins the state park. $25 for W&E. No reservation fee, no dinging out of state people $6 to stay at a state park.]

Tuesday, July 9 - We all went to the Maryhill Museum.  It was built by Sam Hill who had a friendship with Marie, Queen of Romania, one of Queen Elizabeth's granddaughters.  There is a collection of royal memorabilia which includes her coronation gown, crown, silverware, ornately gilded furniture and jewelry along with other memorabilia.  They also had an area dedicated to American Indian artifacts.  There was much that we had never seen before.  It was even better than the Neah Bay Museum.  One thing that they had that I had never seen before was a collection of chess sets - talk about ornate!  By this time I was getting tired and coughing a lot more so we made a brief visit to the Auguste Rodin Collection of drawings and back to the RV.  

Wednesday, July 10 - I was really sick and probably only awake about 3 hours all day.  Don cooked spaghetti and I was even too sick to enjoy that!

Thursday, July 11 - We had been wanting to return to John Day National Monument for several years. It is divided into three units, Clarno, Painted Hills and Sheep Rock.  The Painted Hills are spectacular at the right time of day and we got there at the right time.  We thought that we would need air conditioning so we went to the Mitchell City Park to spend the night.  Mitchell, OR is another small eastern Oregon desert town that does not have much going for it, but we did appreciate the park.  Of course, the weather was perfect and we had no need for electricity.  Oregon has a lot of city and county parks where you can camp and they are usually reasonable.

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23 John Day09 resizeThe Painted Hills in late afternoon

Friday, July 12 - We continued our John Day tour at Sheep Rock unit. We were most impressed with Cathedral Rock.  We had no idea where we would spend the night, but found Grant County Fairgrounds in John Day. It has dry camping for only $11 and a much needed Verizon signal. We parked under a large shade tree and surfed the afternoon away.

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Cathedral Rock at the Sheep Rock unit of John Day NM

It looks like we are going to be using private campgrounds on our way to Colorado. Highs in 90's are forecast for all the valleys in the surrounding states the next few days. Oh and gas prices are going up, again. Our printer died. Curse Canon. I did not get to paddle the Deschutes River. If it's not one thing it's another.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Still on the Olympic Penisula

Still here, still wondering why we came.

Monday, June 24 - We wanted to see Hole In the Wall rock at Rialto Beach. The sky was gray, but no rain.  We parked the car and walked a few feet when the rain arrived. We waited a few minutes and the rain went away and so once again we headed down the beach. My new sandals are great - my feet don't hurt and I walk well in them. The sand on the beach is dark gray and there are enormous trees that have washed down the rivers and up on the beach over the years.  We started our walk and I had a goal of how far I thought I could go. Remember, no matter how far you hike, you have to return the same distance. I had a couple of rest breaks, as suggested by my physical therapist, Brian.  We noticed the gray sky, but it didn't look like rain so we kept walking. Once we reached my destination, we turned around. The gray sky contained lots of blowing rain. Luckily we had our rain jackets with us, but I had on jeans - yuck, wet jeans!  It continued to rain off and on all day as the weather forecast said it would.  

Forks is where a series of novels called Twilight were set. It was made into a TV series. The towns tax revenue went up 25% the first year of the series and has held at that level due to teenage girls with a crush on the vampire coming to Forks to swoon. There are several shops that sell series related items and even van tours to locations mentioned in the novels.

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No Vampires Beyond Treaty Line

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I posted the pictures for our daughter. But, I don't think she takes the time to read the Blog.

Tuesday, June 25 - Before we left Forks we had several stops to make. We had a 40 mile drive that took us 1.5 hours. It is a very curvy road to Lake Ozette.  We are camped with a view of the lake, but can't put the kayaks in because there are whitecaps on the water. The advantage of being here instead of Mora is that the site is open to the sky and the trees have leaves. The translation of that is it isn't depressing because it's so dark and we are not tracking in wet spruce needles every time we go out. There are many parks that we can return to time and again - this isn't one of them.  We're glad we came here and we are doing the whole loop, so we get to see the whole park. We will go to Neah Bay tomorrow.

Coming out of Mora we saw several exotic cars, Aston Martin's, AH 3000, Porsche, etc. even one with a prancing pony badge, What were they doing on a back road to nowhere on a Tuesday morning?

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The last picture is heavily photoshopped. It was very gray day and everything in the original picture was gray. But through digital magic, it appears like there was some color to be seen.

Wednesday, June 26 - Left the CG around 8:30 and drove to  the Makah Indian Reservation on Neah Bay,. We wanted to see the Makah Museum which is a very informative archeological center of the Makah Indians. The village was buried in a mudslide in the 1500's and was excavated in the 1980's when a storm uncovered the village. Many artifacts were recovered which are on display in the museum. No camera's allowed inside.

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More photoshop magic. Weak green are now vivid.

We stopped at a smoked salmon place where I bought two packs of smoked salmon. I should have bought more because it is nothing like what you buy in the stores at home.

We are now "camped" at a RV park in Port Angeles waiting out the rain and weekend.  Most of the time that we have spent in Washington is not the way that we normally travel.  After this trip, I can safely say that we have "done" Washington.  Weather wise, this has been a wet trip. Our first trip in 2006 was rain free for eight months and 15,000 miles.

Remember the herb encrusted salmon in the last post?

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Thursday, June 27 - I woke up sick.  I don't know what was wrong, but I had severe chills but it was not the dreaded stomach bug. I had my sleeping bag and a fleece throw over me and Don put another one on me and I continued to shiver.  I slept intermittently for 12 hours. I rallied for lunch and we went out foraging. When we returned, I took a nap and then did nothing but lie around and doze the rest of the day.

Friday, June 28 -  I felt a lot better, thank goodness.  We went looking for a place to spend the next few days. Salt Creek CG looks good. Only $32 for a county park.  Washington state is expensive for RV's. In the afternoon, I did laundry and Don washed Koko and Pelli. We drove to Hurricane Ridge for sunset. Great views of the Olympic mountains. A little froggy to the north. No clear view of Canada.

18 Port Angeles01 resize18 Port Angeles04 resizeSaturday, June 29 - We went kayaking this morning on Lake Crescent, which is a very clear lake, but right on busy US101, so the trucks can be heard on the lake.  I still can't paddle very far and our adventure was only one hour.  And it was an adventure because I fell into the lake getting in the boat and again getting out of the boat.  Actually, I was just testing the water to see if it was cold and it wasn't too cold. The Ridge is over 4,000 feet high and the wind was blowing 15 so it was damn chilly even with fleece on. A herd of deer live at the VC and two Israelis' with camera lens that looked like tank rocket launchers were taking pictures of the deer. I did not know that a lens with that sort of focal length could be used within 10 feet. We dodged deer all the way back down the mountain. What is about people and "wild" animals? Have they lived in an apartment too long? 

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Trying to find a place to stay for the week of the 4th was getting extremely stressful. We want to go to the Japanese Gardens in Portland and this will be our last chance.  We called many places within a 25 miles radius, but everything is full.  I sent an email to my friend, Mary Ann asking for suggestions. She said that they were going to the beach, but suggested we park in her driveway!  We have "camped" in many driveways so we can add one more to our list. This has taken a load off our minds!  We thought you could always get in a private park, but they are full, so are the state, city and county parks.  People go to Portland for the holiday. Why? It's going to be great to see our friends again.

We have decided to try to find a place near Port Townsend for Sunday and Monday, then go south to the Hood Canal and spend two days there and then to Portland.

Sunday, June 30 - Straight line distances to most destinations on the Olympic Peninsula are short. However, travel times are long. This morning the GPS showed it was 22 miles from Port Angeles to Port Townsend. It also predicted it would take 62 minutes to drive there.

Port Angeles is the end of the rain forest. Sequim which is only a few miles east of PA is in a rain shadow and you could tell it as the grass along the road was brown.

We are parked at the Port Townsend fairgrounds. It's open grass field, very quiet, about 1/3 full and it's $17 for W&E. That's half what we paid the last few days so we could  use the Internet. Our "wi-fi" resets tomorrow so we will be online wherever. Terrible addiction. I guess it's like text messaging.

I know Canada is just across the water, but why are there so many Border Patrol here? Are the Canucks trying to sneak across the border to get Obamacare?

Monday, July 1 - I paddled around the Port Townsend. We did the tourist walk in town. Bought some seat back for the yaks at Pygmy Boats where gorgeous wood yaks are sold. Perfect weather, much cooler than yesterday.

Tuesday, July 2 - On the Hood Canal. More later.