Friday, August 29, 2008

Port Angeles, Washington

We left Vantage at our usual time between 10:00 and 11:00. We didn't want to leave too early because we were meeting my chatroom friend Phyllis and her husband Bob for lunch and we were only a few hours away. I forgot about all the fruit stands in eastern Washington so when we came upon the first one, of course I had to stop. Then we came upon a HUGE one in Thorp and had to stop there too. We finally found corn. Boy, do I have produce now! I have to take a day and freeze some bags of peaches. I bought a whole box of them! We made it to Kent and took the exit Phyllis told us to take and it took us right through the middle of town! We missed the turn we were supposed to take and ended up in construction. I called Phyllis and she knew where we were so she had us park behind this convenience store that had a huge lot in the back and then came and picked us up. We had a great lunch at a pizza restaurant called The Rock. It had a wood burning pizza oven and the pizza was fantastic!! Phyllis and Bob are really nice and fun to be around. We had a GREAT time with them and our lunch took about two hours. I really hope we can get together again sometime before we leave here.


We left Bob and Phyllis and headed for Graham to my brother George and sister-in-law Jolene's house. Normally this would have been only about an hour or so away but it was already time for rush hour traffic. UGGHHHH The traffic was awful and it took us about 2 hours to get there. As we were driving down the road I just happened to look to my right and saw a car sitting at the light and the driver was frantically waving. I immediately recognized my sister-in-law. She was coming from the grocery store and saw us. She passed us and led us right to their driveway where Rod had to back in along side their motorhome and car trailer. He did really good and was so pleased with himself. I think his fear of backing into places is going away.

We spent two days there and had a FANTASTIC time! They have three beautiful daughters. Stephanie, the youngest stills lives at home, the oldest, Tiffany, is married with two kids and the middle one, Ashley, is working and owns her own home with a cousin. We got to see all three while we were there. That was really nice. Tiffany came over one night with her two little kids Camryn and Jaedon. Sorry, Tiff, I don't know if that's the correct spelling but probably not. They're so cute and we call her daughter a "mini me". She looks just like her mom. She was really stubborn about having her picture taken though.

Ashley & Stephanie


Tiffany and Jaedon


I snuck a picture of Camryn


Here's some pics of our "campsite" in the back yard. Yes, they're really were SIX dogs!



We left Graham on Thursday morning and stopped for gas before hitting the freeway. It was $4.09 a gallon for diesel!! We haven't seen it this low since we've been on the road. After we were almost out of Tacoma we realized we hadn't even gotten any teriyaki chicken. If you've never been to the Northwest you wouldn't know that they're are as many teriyaki places as there are Starbucks and we really wanted a fix. I put it in the Garmin and we found a place in Silverdale and there was a big mall there so we were able to park and walk across the street. Well, it wasn't there but we did find a Chinese restaurant so that worked out just as well. We got some really yummy teriyaki chicken and continued on to Port Angeles. We had to cross two very large bridges to get there. The first one was the Tacoma Narrows bridge which only recently had a second one built because of the horrible traffic.

The Tacoma Narrows bridge. The one on the left is the new one.


The second bridge we had to cross was the Hood Canal bridge. This one is a floating bridge and swings open in the middle to let ships go through.


We are now at our campsite at Salt Creek County Park outside Joyce, Washington. I had to put that name in for my Sissy. We'll start our jobs here on Monday which consists of cleaning out fire pits, replacing TP in the bathrooms and picking up trash. Not too bad for a free spot. The other camphosts are still here but will be leaving Tuesday. We have no sewer hookup until then but I think we'll make it. Our view here is absolutely incredible. We're up on a hill overlooking the Strait of Juan De Fuca and over into Canada. This was one of the cruise ships we saw yesterday heading into Seattle. Are you onboard, Nancy??



I haven't taken a pic yet of our campsite but we'll be here for two months so I'm sure I'll be getting one soon. Also, I'll take LOTS more pics later of our incredible view here. People pay a lot of money to have a view like this and for us it's free........

Monday, August 25, 2008

Spokane & Vantage, Washington

We got a late start leaving St Regis. It was a little after 11:00 when we finally pulled out. We didn't have too far to go though and we were picking up an hour crossing into the Pacific Time Zone. YAY! We finally made it to Washington! We went from the southeast corner of the U.S. to the northwest corner of the U.S. in just eight months. We did stay in Georgia for a month, Texas for a month, Utah for two months and Idaho for a month. We're going to spend the next two months in Washington at Salt Creek County Park workamping. We get a free site for the time we're here so that'll be a big savings (that we'll probably use for fuel).

After we got set up at Riverside State Park in Spokane I called Jenny to let her know we were there. She was surprised we were so late but that's the way it goes when you're fulltiming. Can't be sure what time we're ever going to be somewhere. She came over with her gentleman friend, Richard and we had a little visit before heading out to dinner. It was a really cool local bar with a BUNCH of TVs. We weren't interested in what was going on with the TVs because we had so much to talk about. We had such a good time and it was sad to leave. I wish we would have had more time there. It was a GREAT visit and I can't wait for our mini rally in Texas so I can meet more people from our chatroom. We took it easy for the rest of the evening chatting in the chatroom and watching TV. We went to bed earlier than usual because we're still used to Mountain time and now we're on Pacific time. You'd think we would have gotten up earlier too but nope, that wasn't the case. We pulled out of Spokane at about 10:15.

Our campsite at Riverside State Park


Do you think they're having any fun at all??


Me and Jenny


She couldn't finish her dinner


We are now in Vantage having gotten here at about 2:30. We stopped at a produce place along the way. I was so happy to see one of these. I have been wanting some fresh produce for so long. I was like a little kid in a candy store in there. I bought green beans, tomatoes, Walla Walla sweet onions, and oh yeah, some Rainier cherries for my friend PennYE in Florida. She really loves them and they are so expensive in Florida so she's going to be SOOOOOO excited to be getting these.

We were also going to stop in George because there is a cafe there called Martha's Cafe . I've always wanted to eat at this place but we saw a little grocery store in town and stopped there first. They didn't really have anything cool or unusual there. We walked out the door and Rod spotted a Mexican restaurant on wheels. Well, forget Martha's. I'll take Mexican food any day! It was really, really good too.

As we got back on the freeway we saw Martha's and it was all closed up with a lot of weeds growing in the parking lot. I guess it didn't do very well and it's now closed. Oh well, good thing we got the Mexican food.

The bridge going over the Columbia River into Vantage



It's very windy here but the temp is nice. It was 77 this afternoon and now it's 70 so not too bad. Now we're just staying in tonight and watching the Chargers and Seahawks on TV. I don't usually get into pre-season football but we don't get to watch either team that much during regular season. Since I'm from San Diego and Rod's from the Seattle area it gets interesting in our house when these two teams play each other. Not really, it's just a game.

Tomorrow we're headed to my brother and sister-in-law's house in Graham. We're just gonna park in their yard for a few days before heading to Port Angeles. First stop though, is Kent to have lunch with Phyllis and her husband. Phyllis is another one of my chatroom friends that I've never met. It's so cool to be able to meet these people that you kinda already "know" from nightly chats on the computer. It should be another GREAT meeting.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

St Regis, Montana

Yesterday we went to the National Bison Range. It's a preserve set up by the American Bison Society back when the bison were on the verge of becoming extinct. That is no longer the case but they still have the preserve. They even have a corral here where they round up the bison to give them their vaccines. There are a lot here but not near the number we saw at Yellowstone. These are right by the road also but there are several other animals in the preserve as well. There are 6 to 8 bears (they're not sure of the number?!), elk, pronghorn antelope, big horn sheep, mountain goats, weasels and various birds. We only saw the antelope, bison and big horn sheep but we were pretty excited about that! We consider that a JACKPOT.


Do you think we were close enough??


Pronghorn Antelope


Big Horn Sheep


We still haven't found the elusive moose. We were told several places to go by the office staff here but we've been there quite a few times and still haven't seen one. They're supposed to be out either early morning or early evening. Well, anybody that knows us knows we're not going to go looking early in the morning. We've been out where one is supposed to be every evening but nothing. Oh well, maybe we'll just have to wait for next summer when we go to Alaska.

Today we took a long drive through some beautiful parts of Montana and into Idaho. We were on a gravel road until we reached the Idaho state line and then the road was paved all the way. The canyons and rivers were absolutely amazing. The rivers are pretty low right now but apparently they are raging in the spring. We saw some rafters but they were standing in the water pushing their rafts. The water was up to their knees. There were a lot of fishermen too. We saw this one group of four guys. One of the guys apparently thought the fishing would be good on the other side so he tried to "walk" across a wire but wasn't having much luck so he was attempting to come back. We thought it was pretty funny watching him struggling with the wires while holding onto his pole so I took a picture. His buddies were completely ignoring him and going about their fishing.


We took a picnic lunch and found a really nice spot right on the river with a covered area and about six picnic tables. It was a little chilly but we got a table with a little piece of our table in the sun. There was nobody else there so it wasn't a problem finding a seat. Despite his expression he really did like his ham sandwich.



Some more of the amazing scenery


A Heron?


Tomorrow we're heading for Spokane and are staying at Riverside State Park. It's close to my internet friend Jenny so we're excited about that. After tomorrow she'll no longer be known as my "internet friend". She'll just be a friend! I'm looking forward to it but I just wish we had more than one day there.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Nugget RV Park, St Regis, Montana

We left Helena yesterday in the rain at about 10:30 again. Seems to be our usual time to leave now. We're not in any hurry to get where we're going and we did make a reservation for this park so no reason to get out early.

The drive here was pretty easy. We had to drive through the middle of Helena (along with a funeral procession) on Highway 12 to get to Interstate 90. Once out of town we had to go over the 6500 foot MacDonald pass. Traffic was very light but it rained off and on most of the way. Rod had to do all his "chores" outside in the rain.

Having been born and raised in the city and pretty much NEVER having been on a farm I was amazed to see all these haystacks. I've seen them in pictures before but never have I seen one for real.


See how much traffic there was?


We got to our camground and found out we really didn't need a reservation. This place is pretty empty. That's okay with us. We were hoping for an end spot again but they didn't have one that was long enough for us with 50 amp electric. If we have 50 amp we're able to run just about everything in our "house". Usually we're concerned with running the A/C but here we need to run the heater. As I write this it's 52 outside and a toasty 70 inside.

The rain stopped just long enough for us to set up. Pretty nice of it, huh? As soon as Rod was done with his outside "chores" it started raining again. We were stuck inside but we have TV and internet so we can entertain ourselves. By the way, the satellite locked on the fastest ever this time. Sometimes it's so fickle and takes awhile but not this time.

Here's our campsite




We didn't do anything last night except watch Big Brother and the Olympics. It was a nice relaxing evening. We'll be here until Sunday when we'll head for Spokane and the Riverside State Park. YAY!! We LOVE staying at State Parks. We're also going to meet up with Jenny there, one of my internet friends from our RV chatroom. It's so cool meeting people that you've been "talking" to for a few years.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lincoln Rd RV Park

We left Island Park, Idaho at about 10:30 Monday morning on our way to Helena, Montana. It was pretty warm when we left which was kinda a bummer cuz it's been so cold and now that it warmed up we were leaving. It was supposed to warm up into the lower 80's. Oh well, we had to leave anyway.

Yes, it all has to fit....


We had a really uneventful (read boring) drive through southern Montana. Kept the speed at 55 and averaged 9.9 mpg towing!! That's the best we've EVER done. We only drove 170 miles. Since my friend Dee loves campground pics I'm trying to take one at every campground we go to. This is a nice little campground but I think we like it because we got a spot on the end. I think we'd feel pretty crowded otherwise.




We went into Helena today in search of a Ford dealer. The Sirius radio in the truck went out when we were in Yellowstone on Friday. It's still under warranty and we really don't want to do without our Sirius. We've never had it before but it came with the truck and now we can't do without it. We found the dealership but they can't look at it until tomorrow so we'll bring it back.

We also saw a RV dealership and since there were a few things we needed we stopped in. I was looking for the hot water handle for the bathroom sink which had broken off. I've been super gluing it but it doesn't stay. The guy said I would have to replace the entire unit. Uh, I don't think so. He did give me the part number for the water filter though so I can buy it at Lowe's or Home Depot. So it wasn't a complete waste of time.

After that we went for lunch. We found a Chinese Buffet here. Yummy! And yes it was really, really yummy. I hope we can go back again before we leave here. We only have three days here, so probably not. Hmmmmm, I can hope.

After that we went into Helena for grocery shopping. I can't remember the last time I was actually excited to go grocery shopping. They have "real" stores here. There's a Safeway and an Albertson's. WOOOHOOOO. We chose to go to Safeway because, well for one thing there's a Starbuck's inside but really it's because they have a gas station and you can get ten cents off per gallon if you spend $100. Our total came up to $96.40. Oh no!! What to do??? Rod grabbed four Snickers candy bars and we were okay. LOL

That was it for our exciting day. From here we're headed for St Regis on Thursday.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Yellowstone Friday (??)

Yes, we went to Yellowstone yesterday. When Michele and the kids were here we went on Monday instead of Wednesday. This is our last week here so we wanted to go one more time. We stopped in West Yellowstone and picked up a pizza. While we waited for our pizza to be done we decided to each have a salad. We finished those, picked up our pizza and headed into the park. We drove about 14 miles into the park and then turned north. Almost as soon as we turned there was a bison walking down the middle of the street. Todd was so disappointed when we took them and they didn't see any bison. He thinks they don't really exist. He'll probably think I "doctored" this photo.


After leaving the bison we traveled about ten miles further and there was a HUGE bull elk. Boy, did we hit the jackpot for animals today! It was so cool, just eating his grass on the side of the road. Every once in awhile he'd look up at us and then continue eating. Check out this guy's rack!




After leaving Mr. Elk we drove to our favorite spot for wildlife viewing, the Lamar Valley. We forgot our chairs so we just ate our pizza in the truck. We watched the huge herd of bison, finished up our pizza and decided to drive a little further down the road. We found a group of people with binoculars and scopes and asked what they were looking at. Turns out there's a female grizzly and her cub. One lady said, "they just went around that hill but I wouldn't go up there." Well, duh. I'm not going any closer. We'll just wait until they come out. They finally came out and WOW what a site. The mother was HUGE!! The baby was already a year old so didn't look so small himself. Every once in awhile they'd poke their heads out of the shrubs and look at us. What an awesome site. I couldn't take any pictures because they were too far away for my little camera. You'll just have to take my word for it.

We also found out from these same people there were two bison carcasses in the Slough Creek. Don't know what happened or why there were two of them but we headed that way because we figured where there were dead animals there would be LIVE animals eating them. YUK! By the time we got there it was too dark to see anything. When I looked through my binoculars I couldn't tell the large rocks in the creek from anything else that might be there. They were definitely there though because the park rangers had put up signs on the road saying, "Caution Congestion Ahead". That's because a lot of people had already heard about the carcasses.

We got home at about 11:00 after stopping for fuel. We weren't planning on staying so late this time but we couldn't resist watching the grizzlies until they were gone out of sight. We didn't see anymore animals on the way home but that's okay. We got to see so many today. What a GREAT last visit. I'm so glad that we got to spend so much time here in this area.

We're pulling out of here on Monday. We were really supposed to leave here yesterday but we extended our stay so we wouldn't be traveling on a Friday. It's much better to wait and travel on a Monday. We're not really sure yet where we're going except that it will be north. We'll probably end up around the Deer Lodge area in Montana or somewhere around there.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wolves & Bears

Two posts in one day???!!! I just figured out how to upload videos so here's the wolves and the bears that we saw at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

Wolves

video

Bears

video

Visitors

This picture is for Dee who said "don't put your kids on the back of the bison" LOL



Wow, what a week! Michele, Todd, Ashton and Reilly arrived at about 7:30 on Saturday and we were going, going, going nonstop while they were here. There is no playground or pool here for the kids so keeping them busy was definitely on the agenda.

On Sunday we went to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. This was definitely the place to see bears and wolves (hence the name, lol). There was also a playground for the kids to play on.

There's a pack of 4 wolves here that have been together for 13 years at the center. They are all showing signs of arthritis and limp around a little bit. It's pretty cool to see them that close up though. They are fed elk and bison steaks and occasionally they put trout in their little pond and will give them a carcass of some dead animal every now and then. YUK!

Aren't they cute??



The bears are here at the center because they were either orphaned as cubs or they were "nuisance bears" which means they were getting too close to people's homes or were digging in their garbage.

Here's some of the bears




I wanted to take this couch home but I don't think it would fit.....


On Monday we went to Yellowstone. I know, we cheated and didn't do our usual "Yellowstone Wednesday" but they were leaving on Wednesday so, whatever. They wanted to see Old Faithful so that's where we headed. National Parks aren't exactly the place to take little kids. It's just a bunch of driving to get where you're going and they could care less about the beautiful scenery. We only saw elk along the way so there weren't even animals for them to see. Ashton kept thinking lava was going to be coming out of Old Faithful even though we all had told him over and over again that it was water and steam. I guess he just wanted it to be lava.

What else do you have while waiting for Old Faithful to "blow"?


Well, not everybody got beer.....


There was a lot of walking



On Tuesday we went fishing at Henry's Lake. It's very close, just a quarter of a mile down the road and across the highway. It was such a relaxing day. We decided not to take the boat because it would be kinda crowded and the kids would get bored with just sitting in the boat for hours. There was a rocky beach where they were able to play while we were fishing. We took a picnic lunch (of course) so between food and the beach they were content. Nobody caught any fish but that's okay. Michele and I decided we don't care if we catch anything, we just like casting.



What's more fun than the beach?




Now that everybody has left the exciting stuff begins. Yeah, right. Today we're doing laundry, cleaning the rig and vacuuming. We have to get stuff organized and put away because we are leaving on Monday. We're heading north and west. We need to be in Port Angeles in ten days so it's not like we're in a rush. We still have plenty of time to get there. We were thinking that we might want to look at a state park in Montana but all their state parks are boondocking only. That means no electric or sewer hookups. We can do without sewer for a few days but we don't want to do without electric. We'll probably just do a campground. After that we'll be heading for Washington state. We have really enjoyed our stay here in Idaho but it's time to move on.

Friday, August 08, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY REILLY!!!

Today is little Miss Reilly's 3rd birthday. It seemed like she was two years old forever for some reason. We won't be able to celebrate until tomorrow when they get here though. She was born while we were on a plane trying to get there in time, we celebrated her 1st birthday a few days late and we weren't even there for her second birthday so I guess it's becoming tradition to celebrate her birthday a little late. I gotta make cupcakes today. That should be a challenge here because I've never baked in high altitude before.

Isn't she lovely?

Our trip to Ennis was pretty successful yesterday. There was an awesome meat market there. We spent $70 and got a HUGE bag of meat. Yummy. We asked where the grocery store was and it was right down the street. We had forgotten to bring our ice chest so we had to buy one of those styrofoam ones and a bag of ice for the meat and the cold stuff. The grocery store was pretty good sized though. I got almost everything on my list. Funny though, the little store in West Yellowstone has those things I still need.

We had a visitor in front of the campground the other day. A bison came walking down the street right in front of us. Now, we're not on a lazy little street out in the woods. We're right on busy Highway 20. I mean it's REALLY busy. It's a major highway that leads right into West Yellowstone which leads into the park. Semi trucks go by here all day and night and there's a busy gas station within our view.


He was walking really fast, like he was on a mission and had somewhere he had to be. Rod was outside and called me to grab the camera and come look. I started to take a picture and DRAT! Dead battery!! I ran back inside and grabbed another battery and by the time I got back outside he was already going past us. I guess we don't even have to leave the campground to see wildlife.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Yellowstone (Part 5)

Here we go again on Yellowstone Wednesday. First we stopped at the KFC in West Yellowstone to pick up some chicken wings for dinner since we didn't feel like sandwiches.
This picture was hanging in the KFC and I just thought it was SO cute!


Somebody asked my why we only go on Wednesday. Well, it takes almost a full tank of fuel to get there and drive around the park and with they price of fuel we figured once a week was enough. When we got here we decided to go on Wednesday because it's the middle of the week and we thought maybe it would be less crowded. Well, after talking to Linda who works there she said every day is a weekend. The crowds don't let up until August. Yesterday didn't seem to be as crowded either. But then again, we didn't even leave home until 3:00 in the afternoon. We figured we've been everywhere we wanted to go to in the park so our mission was to look for wildlife. We haven't had a whole lot of luck in that department. Wolves were our target yesterday. Well, guess what??? We saw wolves!!! First, a little history of how we knew where they were. I Googled "wolves in Yellowstone" and found a very interesting article about this guy who studies the wolves. It said anywhere you see his yellow Nissan Xterra you'll find wolves. Well, we saw his Xterra yesterday so we stopped and of course there was a HUGE crowd of people. I was surprised how nice this guy was. He had a telescope set up (the wolves were very far away) and he was allowing everybody the chance to look in it. It was so cool to see these black wolves just sitting there and when you looked in the telescope it looked like they were looking right back at you. Pretty amazing experience. That was our highlight of the day.

On our way to the wolves we saw a black bear and then a huge herd of prong horn antelope. While we were sitting in our lawn chairs watching the antelope a coyote came up behind us. He didn't bother us and just went on his way. It's funny that the animals are just as curious about us as we are about them. Last week we saw some deer down in Grand Teton in the woods and we stopped to look at them. They looked right back at us as if to say, "What? Can we help you?" Just cracked me up.

Prong Horned Antelope. I think if you click on the photo you can see him better.

I tell you I have a new respect for wildlife photographers though. It's really hard to take pictures with my little digital camera. I have a 10X zoom and for normal photography it works just fine but for wildlife it's just not enough. I see other people out there with these HUGE cameras with HUGE lenses and I guess I can see why they carry them. I don't want to carry that kind of camera with me nor am I going to set up a tripod. I guess you'll just have to believe me when I tell you about the animals we've seen.

Of course we also saw tons of Bison as well. My friend Dee said the babies are red. Well, the babies we've seen were already brown so I guess they were born a lot earlier. Yesterday we DID see a red one.


More Bison photos



That's it for now. We're on our way to Ennis today for a grocery run before the kids get here. It's 60 miles from here and we're hoping it's a bigger town with more to offer than West Yellowstone.