Socks

Wow, it is nice to be in a cool town.  My first goal was to find some great socks for hot weather.  My feet are sometimes a size 10 and sometimes as size 11.  I went to Walmart and found 40 billion socks that would not work and go from size 4 to 10.  You can imagine they would barely fit.  I’m looking for something that will wick the moisture away in the heat.

To be continued.

We went to the camera repair shop this morning and they think they can repair the lens.  If not, they will send it to Canon but either way it costs less than a new lens.  I LOVE this lens, so I want it fixed and prefer not to spend at least $699 to buy a new one.  But, it means I am without out it for the duration of this trip.  I will live with that.

We think we can do with what we have. I have a 100-400m for close up shots.  If I see a wolf in Yellowstone, I will get something.  I have a good lens for wide lens landscape shots.  Regis is responsible for everything in the middle with his lens.  It will have to do.  Someday, maybe we will come back with a better set up and be better prepared for really cool pictures.

I don’t know how many of my east coast friends remember the guy in the following picture.  I made Regis go through all kind of gyrations so I could get this picture.  Do you know who he is?  He is probably a trademark.

Additionally, we saw this flame going on in town and don’t really don’t know why.

I thought this picture was cute so I’m sharing.

On the way back to the our camp ground, Regis noticed an REI.  We were on an exit ramp that was backed up, but the REI would have been within walking distance of the camp site.  I jumped out of the truck and left Regis and Dart to find their  way home while I went to REI.  I had a great time shopping.  I found great socks in the correct sizes.  I checked out other items and paddle boards.  Regis called while I was there asking if I was still at REI and I said yes.  He said Dart was waiting for me.  I assumed at the campground.  With no one waiting for me in the parking lot, I had a great time perusing the store and all the cool things REI currently has available to the adventurer.  Eventually, I finally just bought some socks and left.  As I walked out the front of the store, Regis and Dart were sitting there waiting for me.   Had I known, I would have left earlier. Dart knew his way back to the camp ground in a direct route.  If Regis had not been there, Dart would have easily been able to get me back to the RV.  Once I got back and tried on all the socks, All I can say it was an exceptional experience.  There is nothing like a great fitting sock.  They are all cool max socks, so they should handle the heat well.  I am here to say, don’t settle for sucky socks.  Get good socks to meet the purpose they need to serve and you will be extremely happy for having done so.

In order to move from Dworshak to Missoula at the last minute, we had to get a premium site at this KOA campground.  We don’t usually do that.  This is what is looks like.

Yes, you get a swing and a great picnic table with a concrete pad.  I earned enough KOA points to save $50 dollars so it didn’t seem so bad to be spoiled for a couple nights.  The days are hot, but the nights are cool and lovely.  We washed Dart while we were here with sewer access. He hated it, but he looks lovely with his white feet.  I even went so far as to make an apple martini.  I haven’t had one in a long time, so it’s been a fun evening with a nice swing, apple martinis, a nice breeze, and watching planes land at the local airport.  There has been a haze but you can see the mountain ranges from here.

I am really looking forward to heading south tomorrow.  We get closer to Yellowstone and the possibilities are endless.  We don’t have far to go to Deer Lodge, so what we do depends on whether they will let us drop the RV off in the campground once we get there early.  I have a couple options and any of them work for me.  I am so pumped.

We will be close to Yellowstone in two days.  Once there, I intend to become a wolf stalker.  I would love nothing more than to see a glimpse of a wolf while I am there.  I have been a wolf fan since as long as I can remember.  It is truly the one animal that would mean the most to me if I was able to see one.  The chances of seeing one are very remote.  But, we will do everything possible.  It requires us to get up at unreasonable hours to drive into the park and be available when the sun rises.  Regis is probably ready to divorce me at this point, but he’s a VERY cool guy and ready to do what it takes.  Dart is just happy to be wherever we are.  Since he can’t talk, he doesn’t complain. He’s a real trooper. Regis can talk but he doesn’t complain either.

Can You Hear Me Now?

We’re back!  Yes, cell phone and internet access.  How cool is that?

When we headed to Pomeroy, Washington.  We had no idea how far away from things the area was.  When we followed the GPS signs to Pomeroy and made the turn as it told us to do, the sign said that RV’s and trucks could not drive on the road.  We had to turn around and drive a long way around to get to the campground.  As we were leaving the last day, we took this picture of the sign at the other end of that same road.

While we were in Pomeroy, we decided to take a scenic route loop that we saw on the map.  Almost the entire route looked as follows:

Once you see this picture, you have seen what almost the entire southeast portion of Washington looks like.  We came close to to the Snake River and I think the Columbia.  We got a quick glimpse (below).  You realized you were getting close to water because you began to see orchards and vineyards.  There are a lot of vineyards in the west.  I suppose we are a country of wine drinkers.

There was a spot not far from Dayton, Washington where someone took the time to sculpt something on the side of the mountain.  In some groups, it would be called crop circles (only it’s not a circle).  Who knows?  Maybe it was done by aliens and they either look like us or they are depicting us.

There are a lot of deer around these parts.  Unfortunately, we saw a car hit a deer.  The woman had several kids in the car and she was traumatized.  The deer jumped out in front of the car, so there was no way for her to avoid the event.  The only good news is that the deer died within about 5 minutes.  It was sad, but it happened fast.

Here is a picture of Bambi running across the road.  The deer here are out 24 hours a day.  There is no avoiding them.  You must always be cautious.

We were pretty happy to head out to Idaho.  When in Iadho, we went to the Dworshak State Park which turns out to be in the middle of no where.  There is no internet access and no cell phone access.  It requires a 24+ mile drive to the nearest town.  Once you get to the park, there are two trails (1/2 mile and 10 miles).  Yesterday, I drove to town to make a call and it was 108 degrees.  Back at the park is was only 102 degrees.  I don’t even want to hear anyone talk about the lack of humidity.  Hot is hot.

The reservoir is about 30 feet below it’s maximum level.  The water is released to help the fish down river if the water gets too hot down river   I rented a paddle board for the day on Friday.  In the morning, there was enough wind that it was a real workout to go anywhere.  I paddled until exhausted and returned.  We went to town so Regis could find a tool he needed.  He had to go to 3 different stores and one of them was an Ace hardware store combined with a grocery store.  They didn’t have the part but he did finally get it at another location.  There were a couple jokes in the process about the size of the tool he needed.  When we got back, I went back out on the water for a long paddle and it was very calm but very hot.  Where you got in the water was very silty.  When you stepped in the silt, you sunk up to your shins in it.  I did not consider it very pleasant.  Although I did enjoy the paddle and becoming very, very fond of paddle boarding.  Following are some pictures of the reservoir and my paddle board adventure.  That small dot in the first picture is me.

On Saturday, the place was packed.  I think every human in Idaho owns a boat and came to this reservoir.  I am so glad I didn’t choose to paddle board on Saturday.  It would have been very risky.  Late in the day, we went to the dock to watch all the boats line up to come out.  It was the most entertaining thing we had done all day.

We really enjoyed the signs and the rules at the park.  We drove down a road to the group camp and saw signs that were simply laminated 8 1/2 by 11 pieces of paper.  An example follows:

Along the road were additional signs with silhouettes of animals.  The first animal appeared to be a coyote or wolf.  The second was an elk.  The third was a swallow.  Eventually, the sign was a silhouette of Sasquatch.  Yes, that’s right,  Sasquatch.  Really????  We went back the second night to bring the camera and take pictures but they blocked the road.  Perhaps there was a Sasquatch sighting????

Here was another couple lovely signs.  Please note that the second sign places the dog off leash area in the same location as the archery range.  I’m not kidding.

We also got some do’s and don’ts to the park.  I won’t bother you with all of them but would like to list my favorites from the don’ts:

.  Do not leave pets unattended in your campsite and always keep them on a leash.  Unattended pets will be confiscated and taught how to beg for food, jump on people, sit on furniture, lick faces and chase skunks.

. Fires must be extinguished prior to departure or you will be doused with a hose upon your next return….Yes, we know who you are.

. Pack it in, pack it out, leave not trace.  All garbage left in your site (this include fire rings) will be delivered to address given and placed in your yard.

. Quite hours are from 10:00 pm-7 a.m. No generators, radios, or amplified sound may be used, and your voices should not be heard by other campers who come here to enjoy the cycle of play hard, then rest, play hard, then rest, etc.   Please be considerate of your fellow campers.  If you choose to disobey this park rule, at 7 a.m. be prepared for a parade of lawn mowers, chainsaws, and a loudspeaker booming Rap music, circling your campsite like sharks.

. You want to have fun and may wish to stay longer, but please vacate your site by 1:00.  check out time.  Your camper may be moved to the activity field so the next person can enjoy their reservation. (We saw a camper in the activity field and Regis is convinced they disobeyed the check out rule.)

How can you not like a place like this?

Unfortunately, 1 day was enough for us and we reserved 5 days.  We gave up after 3 days and headed to Missoula which is where we are now.  On the way out of the camp ground, we had to stop and wait for a bunch of turkeys (appeared to be 2 moms and their offspring) cross the road.

The drive to Missoula through Idaho was awesome.  For most of the drive, you drive along some river (it changes).  It is actually tiring to look at such beautiful scenery non-stop. It goes on for miles and miles and miles.  There is really nothing else there, just the scenery and trail heads.  Since you are surrounded by mountains, the trails can only go up.  The trails are places for healthy and strong people.  We saw hundreds of motorcycles.  They weren’t all together and they were going in both directions.  I seriously think they were going on this route for the sheer beauty.  For my motorcycle loving friends, I highly recommend this ride.  We can vouch for the route from Orofino, Idaho to the Montana State line on US 12.

I am SOOOOOO glad to be here in Missoula.  I will be speaking with the lens repair people tomorrow to see if they can repair my lens.  If not, I’ll cross that bridge.  They don’t sell lenses here and I would have to go to Bozeman.  That’s not out of the question, but not something I would like to do.  In the meantime, I’m truly enjoying my cell phone and internet access.  I’m obviously not the wildness type.  A couple days are okay but then I get the DT’s.

Not Posting For a Few Days

We are in a place in Idaho without cell phone service or internet service.  Once we get back to service, we will continue posting.  We hope to be in Missoula on Monday and should get back online at that time.  We had to drive 24 miles to get to this spot just to catch up on a few things.

I’m going through withdrawal!!!

The campsite at Dworshak State Park is lovely and I rented a paddle board for the day, so we will enjoy it here.  It’s mostly quiet but there are quite a few campers with tiki bar kinds of set ups.  They aren’t too rowdy, but clearly they know how to have a good time around here.

Amber Waves of Grain

We have to find a top of a hill or a town with access to cell service.  Dayton had access so we sat in the park and uploaded pics. We also ate lunch and played with dart.

We will post today’s pictures when we can.

I would say that today was mostly about amber waves of grain.  There is a lot of grain growing here and they are harvesting it all over the place. There is a constant train of trucks hauling gain to the silos.  We will load the pictures tomorrow when we can find a place to upload them.

As beautiful as it is here, I miss my version of civilization.  We went to a hilltop and took pictures of the sunset with the windmills and hills in the distance.  It was stunning and I loved it.  We brought our chairs and sat and enjoyed the sunset.  Oh my gosh. What can I say?

We will post our favorite pictures tomorrow.  There are lots of deer around.

We took some pictures of harvesting the grain.  I would normally think brown when I look at this area but amber might be the better description.  We think it is wheat but we don’t know for sure.

This is an amazing place to spend a couple days but I would not like to stay for an extended period of  time.  We’ve enjoyed our evenings at the top of the ridges. Tonight was much better than last night, much warmer with very little breeze. Hopefully it will be just as nice tomorrow.

Limited Access!

It’s a good thing I went grocery shopping in Ellensburg because we are in no man’s land.  By going the way the GPS sent us, we turned on a road that said you couldn’t drive trucks or RV’s on it.  That was how we were supposed to get to the camp ground.  Fortunately, I had enough cell phone signal at that location to find out how to get here.  We had to go 24 miles the other way to another road and then 19 miles up a canyon road.  The road where the camp ground is dead ends at a wilderness area further up this canyon.

I have NO cell phone signal and the WiFi access is very limiting.  It appears I will still be able to post, but I won’t be able to get pictures posted until we can get to a signal.  I can use the cell phone as a hot spot to upload photos if we can find a signal on the top of the canyon somewhere.  We have some great photos, including one of a baby deer.  We’ll see what we can do tomorrow.  If not, we’ll just have to wait until we get back to civilization.

I think Regis is in his element.  I’m scared.  At least 60 miles off the interstate and another 19 miles up the cayon, what if I have appendicitis?  When I registered at the camp ground, the host made a point to warn me about the rattle snakes.  She said it has been very dry and they are thirsty.  She said they aren’t normally a problem but they are more bothersome this year.

Of course, I’m petrified to walk Dart.  I’m happy to explore the country side from the safety of the car but that won’t satisfy Dart’s needs to be a dog.

The little camp store is called The Last Resort because it is the last place you will get any food, gas, drink, etc. as you head up this canyon.  We are so far away from an interstate that Regis will get his biggest desire which is to get away from the noise of the traffic.  He would like to have the RV windows open but at night it is down right cold.

I’ve never been to a place quite like this.  It awesome, beautiful, and fascinating.  it is probably good for me to get sort of off the grid for awhile.  But, I admit, I like technology and the advantages it brings.  I want the best of both worlds!

First Paddle Board Dunk

We went to Leavenworth, WA today and I went paddle boarding on the Wenatchee River.  It was a couple firsts for me.  It was the first time I used a blow up paddle board.  I’m amazed out how sturdy they are.  I struggled more today with keeping my balance but I’m not sure whether it was the board, the river, or both.  The river had a swift current.  I’ve had to deal with currents before, but never anything like this.  This was a one way river.  You went with the current, period.  The water was very clear and the scenery was outstanding.  But, I spent most of my time looking down for rocks.  There were several rapids on the river and I lost it in the first rapid.  I managed to keep my paddle which is amazing if you were to have been a witness.

After getting through the rapid, I stood up on the board again and promptly dunked in the second rapid.  (Annie would have been proud of me!)  I went almost the rest of the way on my knees after that.  It’s not as far to fall!  But, I never lost it in a rapid again once I gave up standing up.  I clearly need a guide next time I do a river with rapids so I can have some one teach me how to keep upright!  It was definitely exhilarating.   I would have preferred that it be warmer if I was going for a swim, but I was smart enough to wear clothes that dried fast.

Dart and Regis greeted me at the end of the trip.  I changed into dry clothes and we ate lunch at a place that allows dogs out on the deck.  The view was fabulous.  Leavenworth is a touristy town with a Bavarian flair.  It was a little crowded, but fun nevertheless.  Here are some pictures of the town.  The last picture is the scene from our lunch table on the deck.  What a view!!

Dart and I took a nap when we got back.

I found a camera repair shop in Missoula, MT.  Since we are driving by Missoula on the way home, I plan to stop and see if there is any hope for getting my lens fixed.  I really like that lens and can’t stand the thought of finishing this trip without it.

I also went grocery shopping tonight.  We are going to Pomeroy tomorrow and it looks like a very small town.  I don’t know what kind of phone or internet access we will have.  Even though most camp grounds have WiFi access, it isn’t always usable.  When that happens, I use my phone as a hot spot so I can still post the blog.  In our Burlington camp ground, my phone was useless but the WiFi was great so it worked out.  We are a little concerned that the next couple of places may not have good access.  If you don’t see any blog postings over the next couple of days, we are hopelessly lost in the wilderness or we lack internet access.

Goodbye to Seattle, Jason and my lens!

This morning we headed to Seattle to have lunch with Jason and say our good-byes.  When I was getting out of the car after we arrived, I dropped my camera on the ground.  The good news is that the camera still works.  The bad news is the lens I just fixed is broken, perhaps beyond repair.  See picture below with exposed electronic parts.  Argh!!!!

We had a wonderful lunch with Jason at Cutter’s, right on the sound.  The food was delicious and the company delightful.  After lunch, we went to a camera store where I purchased a 10-18mm lens.  The one I broke is an 18-200mm lens.  I’m hoping it can be fixed but I will have to wait until I get home to find a repair shop.  We won’t be in one place long enough before then to try to get it repaired along the way.

I need to find an Otter case for my camera.  I doubt they make them, but it would work for me.  I have an Otter Case for my phone and my kindle and it has saved their lives on many an occasion.   If I continue to be such a klutz, I may have to give up photography because I can’t afford to keep fixing camera parts.

Worst of all, was saying good-bye to Jason.  It has been awesome to get to see him so often and I don’t know when we’ll get to see him again.  We’re going to miss Coco too.  The two of them are an amazing combination.  I hope we get to see each other again soon for the right reasons.

Gingko Petrified Forest

Today we had to choose among a couple hiking options.  We usually wind up hiking because having Dart with us limits our options for adventure.  Most places don’t allow dogs.  We decided to go to the Gingko Petrified Forest.  It also happens to be on the Columbia River and I was interested in seeing the river again.  Additionally, the drive was only about 30 miles.

The Interpretive Center is right on the Columbia River, so we got some outstanding views of the river.  There were several interpretive signs explaining the landscape and I loaded them on flickr for those of you who are interested in the geology.  It explains that there was once a plush forest there and that is why there are all the petrified trees buried in this spot.  The first picture shows several pieces of petrified logs with the Columbia River in the background.  While we were at the center, three bighorn sheep showed up.  I think it was a mother and two young.  They were very brave and I was able to get a bunch of good shots.  The interpretive center contained some original petroglyphs that were very interesting.  I posted an example below and the interpretive signs.  I hope you can read the signs if you expand the pictures.

The local tourist trap had some cute dinosaurs out front.  This was my favorite.

A couple miles from the interpretive center had a trail you could hike that contained quite a variety of petrified logs.  There was a warning sign at the beginning of the hike about rattlesnakes.  So, I was right about those rascals!!!  Except for the petrified trees, there are no other trees around.  The sun beats down on you and there was a dry wind.  We were worried about Dart, so we decided not to do any more hiking after we finished this trail.  After a brief stop in town to pick up dog shampoo, we headed back to the camp ground for a late lunch.

The wind picked up a lot and really spooked Dart, so I gave him medication to calm him down.  It made him very wobbly, so I will either cut the dose in the future or just cuddle with him when he gets that nervous.  It continues to be very windy.  I wonder if Dart will get any sleep tonight.

Umtanum Falls

We hiked to Umtanum Falls today.  

Once we got to the trail head, it was only a mile hike to the falls, but we were able leave Dart off the leash so it worked well for him.  After all those hikes in the mountains and on the coast, this was definitely different.  There was very little water in the stream, so the falls were not particularly spectacular.  I had read that you can see the old lava flows in the Pacific Northwest.  We noticed them on the coast but we could also see them on this hike.

On the way back, we headed further down this gravel road that we thought would end shortly.  It didn’t and it seemed we drove forever.  We eventually got to a paved road and was able to use the GPS to get us back.  The trail head for the hike was about 10 miles from our camp ground.  By the time we hit pavement on the way home, the GPS sent us on a path that took 55 miles to get back to the campground.  Here are some shots on the way home.  Wherever you see green, someone has water available to them or it is along the creek bed.

Yesterday, when I went shopping, I picked up some cashews.  We like to nibble on cashews as a snack.  Regis took this picture to point out that I didn’t pick up regular cashews.  I don’t think Regis likes them which means I know that I won’t like them.  My favorite cashews are Planters Honey Roasted Cashews but sometimes they are hard to find.

One last thought.  Coco seems to have rubbed off on Dart.  There were a couple of chipmunks along the trail today and he was obsessed with them.  He usually gets curious but is easily called off.  Today, it was harder to get him to come along.  After we got going on the trail, I got to thinking about rattlesnakes.  I think this might be rattlesnake country.  My dear friends husband told me a story about rattlesnakes before we left on this trip, so I was obsessed with thinking about them most of the way and worried about Dart getting bit.  (Thank you so much Erik!)

We think we saw a pair of Golden Eagles on the hike.  We paid a great deal of attention to them and tried to note their markings and sounds.  We came back and looked up in the book and listened to sounds on the internet and it appears they were Golden Eagles.  I read they are in this area, so it is possible that is what we saw.  Nevertheless, it is hard to believe we got that lucky.

Back to Washington

We went from the Oregon Coast to Central Washington today.  To start the trip, I needed my cappuccino and Regis needed his latte.  It’s hard to go through the drive-through with the RV, so Regis had to pretend he was driving a car.

The change of scenery from the coast to the current location was amazing.  The coasts are verdant (google it) with all types of vegetation.  As we made our way over the coastal range and up the Columbia River Gorge, the scenery changed from lush green to brown.  It gets increasingly arid as you head from west to east until there are no trees and very little color.
This is a picture taken just outside of Portland.  (Sorry, most of these pictures were taken from the car driving down the interstate so there are glass reflections, etc.)

This picture is taken further east.  Notice the brown on the hills in the background. 

This picture is taken even further east.  Regis was taking a picture of the barge with the happy face on it but the background shows you the terrain becoming treeless and brown.

And while you are driving up the gorge, the wind is very strong.  It makes for great wind surfing and kite boarding.

All that wind is great for windmills.

Along the way, I saw this sign.  I guess there is an unfortunate story behind this name.

Several of the bridges along the way were very beautiful.

Once we crossed the Columbia River, we were able to see Mount Hood and Mount Adams.

When we stopped for lunch along the Gorge, it was too windy to play flying disc with Dart.  It was a long day for him, so once we got away from the Gorge, we pulled over just to play.  I know he was ecstatic.

After 8 hours and 330 miles, we eventually arrived in Ellensburg (perhaps named after my aunt-in-law :)) around dinner time and we had no food.  We spent the last couple of days cleaning out the refrigerator and cabinets by eating everything.  We were too lazy to go to the store so we ate whatever we could find in the RV.  Therefore, we arrived in Ellensburg famished with no food in the RV and I went grocery shopping hungry.  Not good.  I’m surprised I was able to fit all the bad stuff I bought into the RV.  I did buy some fruit and vegetables but I bought 3 cartons of Tillamook ice cream.  I will need Susan and Vickie to put me on a strict diet and exercise regiment when I get back because I am going to need it!