Two Hikes

We went to Whidbey Island today and had a great time on two hikes.  We had to take the ferry to the Island.  The first hike was on the beach.  We went to a beach that allowed dogs off leash.  Dart had such a good time.  We plan to go again tomorrow and we’ll see if we can get some video of his exuberance.  This dog loves being off leash and loves the beach.  I’m am loading this blog post up with pictures below to make up for the last couple days.

We saw lots of eagles, immature and adults.  We also saw lots of little crabs running on the beach.  I posted a picture below of a crab up against my shoe.

The sky was incredibly blue.  The evergreens were deep, dark green.  When you looked at the evergreens with the backdrop of the deep blue sky, it was stunning.  I couldn’t stop looking at it.  The song “The Bluest Skies You’ve Ever Seen in Seattle” kept running through my head as I looked at the sky.  The water was blue, the trees were green, and the sky was blue.  It almost overwhelms the senses taking it all in with bald eagles screaming in the background.  It makes you feel so alive.  Maybe that’s why Dart was zooming all over the beach jumping and barking.  He was so happy.  I know why.

Our next hike was through an old growth forest.  The trees were awesome.  There were lots of ferns.  The trees are so big, it’s hard to take a picture.  I’m stuck with my big zoom lens for now and couldn’t take a picture because the trees were so big.  Any pictures we got are from Regis’s camera.

The first picture is a view from the ferry.  The third picture is a fort Dart found. The fifth picture is a crab next to my shoe. The sixth picture shows how patriotic this community is.  Everyone is flying a US flag. The seventh picture is a telephone booth.  When is the last time you saw one of those? The next three pictures are in the old growth forest.  That last picture is a view of the Cascades from the ferry.

When on the beach you could see Puget sound with the Olympic mountains in the background on one side and the Cascades in the background on the other side.  What a view!!!!!!

Whole Foods

We did not get to Whidbey today but I don’t see any reason why we won’t get there tomorrow.  We had to move our campsite today and that didn’t take place until about 10:00.  We are staying 4 nights here and have to move twice.  It’s a pain in the neck.  I didn’t think through how much it would hold you up that day.  You have to make the move by 11:00, but you have to wait for the person in your site to leave first.

After we set up camp again, we dropped my lens off to be fixed.  The guy thinks he knows what’s wrong with it and it will be ready in 1-2 weeks to pick up.  It sounds like a straight forward problem to correct.

After we dropped off the lens, we went to a nearby Whole Foods for groceries.  OMG.  OMG.  OMG.  I could have stayed in there for days.  I bought so much fresh food, there is no way we can eat it all.  Did I say OMG?  If Regis and Dart weren’t waiting in the truck, I’d probably still be in there.  For dinner tonight we had seasoned tuna (Whole Foods seasoned it perfectly and Regis cooked it just right), cabbage crunch, beet and kale salad, and a glass of local wine.  They bake their own tortilla chips, so I bought a bag of those with fresh salsa.  I munched on that all afternoon along with the fresh strawberries.  Yum, yum, yum.

I’m not particularly fond of Everett where we are camping (too congested), but I may just move into the Whole Foods parking lot and live there.

Regis fixed broken things in the RV this afternoon and worked on getting my computer humming.  He’s been getting screaming WiFi access in this campground, enough to watch Netflix last night.  My computer can barely load a page.  After buying gear and tooling around, it appears my WiFi card may be the problem.

This week-end Jason and Coco will meet up with us in the Cascades to go hiking.  Jason may make some Daiquiris with fresh fruit like nectarines or strawberries.

This is a picture from the produce section in Whole Foods.  I was too busy buying food to take more pictures.  Thank me.  Otherwise, you would be drooling on your keyboard.

No Pics Today

We moved from a campground south of Seattle to one north of Seattle.  It is just as unappealing.  At least it’s clean.

I went to the Camera Clinic to get my lens fixed but didn’t bother to check their hours of operation before I left.  They are closed on Mondays.

Tomorrow, we plan to go to Whidbey Island.  They have a beach that allows you to have your dogs off leash.  If the weather is nice, we might get some good views of Mount Ranier.  No matter, it should be beautiful anyway.  It’s two miles long, so we can do a nice hike.  I should be able to get some pictures tomorrow.

The Road From Hell

Today we headed to Mount Rainier for a hike.  We found a couple hikes in the wilderness lands next to the park that allow you to bring your dog.  The lands are managed by USDA.  Once we found the Forest Service road, we had to follow it for 8 miles.  It was the worst road we have ever driven on.  We almost turned around after the first mile.  I’m glad we didn’t, but the ride was horrible.  Dart hated it.  There were so many potholes, bumps, rocks, and washouts on the road that it probably took us 45 minutes or so to get the trailhead.  There was some spectacular views of Rainier, so it was worth it.  It took awhile to find the trailhead, but we finally did.

The hike was beautiful.  Dart loved it so much I think he forgave us for the ride up.  We got a couple good views of Rainier and the wildflowers were lovely.  I decided not to lug my camera on the trail, so I don’t have good wildflower pictures from the hike itself.  I grabbed a shot of some Foxgloves as we descended the forest road.

Once again, Dart exuberantly ran back and forth the entire hike.  He had as much energy when he finished the hike as when he started.  I could barely make it back to the car.   We also left him off the leash when we met other hikers with dogs.  He did much better interfacing with them when he’s not on the leash than when he is.

We went briefly into the National Park, but it was late in the day so we didn’t stay long and headed home.  You probably get your best views of Ranier outside the park anyway.  But, the road going in to the park went through a beautiful forest.  It was really awesome.

Today we saw some of the tallest trees we’ve ever seen.  It’s typical for here, but new for us.  I would love to take a Loblolly Pine and stand it next to one of these trees to see the difference.

Dashing D’Artagnan Meets Coco Cristal

Dart got to meet Jason’s Bedlington Terrier, Coco today.  All went well.  We took them to a local coffee place and I got another fantastic cappuccino.  It’s Seattle.  It’s to be expected.  But, wow!  Afterwards, we left the dogs to bond in Jason’s apartment while we had a fabulous brunch.   It appeared to go well.

After brunch, we went on a hike in Discovery Park.  It was a beautiful day and I think the dogs loved the hike.  We loved the great views.  If you look closely below in the second picture, you will see Mount Rainier.  The third picture shows Regis, Jason, Coco, and Dart and Puget Sound.  On the way back to the campground, we took a picture of Mount Rainier while driving.  It is so big, it is surreal.  You don’t get an appreciation from this picture.  Mt. Rainier is over 14,000 feet high.

We found a couple hikes we can take Dart in the Mount Rainier area, so our current plans are to head that way tomorrow.

Fresh Fish!

We woke up to a chilly and overcast day.  Jason says that the weather has been sunny and warm until today.  Regis blames the change in weather on me.

Jason took us to Seattle where we went to the new Starbucks Roastery.  I got a cappuccino.  It was unlike any cappuccino I have ever had, but it was very delicious – and beautiful!

We then went to Pike’s Place with Dart.  The place was crowded.  I’m sure that Dart was hating every minute of it but he was very well behaved.  I went to the fish market to get fresh fish.  It was awesome.  So many choices and not enough room in our freezer/refrigerator to purchase a lot.  I settled for rainbow trout and Copper River salmon.  We ate the trout for dinner with fresh corn and fresh baked bread.  I am going to make French Toast tomorrow morning with the leftover bread.   I’m ready to move to Seattle for the fresh food.  I’m not really a city person but could probably get over it with such accessible great food.

We also got fresh nectarines, strawberries, and the corn at the market.  The nectarines were so juicy you had to eat them over the sink and suck the juices in as you were taking a bite.  Jason told me he was making a Nectarine Mojito with his nectarine.  I almost drove to his apartment to get one myself.  Maybe I can get him to make a Mojito tomorrow with the strawberries.  Yum!

We made plans to go to the North Cascades next week-end to hike.  I searched some other campgrounds around Seattle and had some difficulty because of the US open golf tournament taking place this week (here of all places).  Who would have known it would impact camping availability.  I was able to make reservations in a campground in Everett but we have to move 3 times in 4 days in the campground.  It’s better than moving to another campground!

The last picture here is all that’s left of the delicious trout – skin (which Dart happily ate).

Seattle!

We went from Spokane to Seattle today and crossed the Columbia River.  The country is very brown and mostly desolate.   We saw lots of wind turbines when we got close to the Columbia.

As we approached Snoqualmie Pass, I played the song “The Bluest Skies You’ve Ever Seen Are In Seattle” from the show Here Comes the Brides.  I played both the Perry Como and Bobby Sherman versions.  I think Regis could have done without it but I thought it appropriate for the occasion.

We drove longer than usual today and for the last hour Dart kept poking his head in the front of the cab like he was checking on progress.  I think he was getting antsy to arrive at our destination.

So we arrived at our main destination.  We traveled 3,167 miles in 24 days.  Now, we hang around Washington for awhile.  Our campground is in Kent which is not too far from Seattle.  The campground is not pretty, but meets our needs to be close right now.   We will have breakfast with Jason tomorrow and begin to plan our stay here.  We plan to do some hiking in the Cascades and the Olympic mountains.  I’ve been researching campgrounds.  I found one or two not too far north of Seattle that we will check out this week-end for possible stays when we’re aren’t hiking the mountains.

Trains and Dogs That Need to be Rescued

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the temperature rose to 99 degrees yesterday.  By the time the sun had set, it was cooling off and we opened the windows.  By the middle of the night, we were putting on the blankets.  By this morning, Regis turned the fireplace on to warm it up a bit.  It’s crazy.

Last night, we heard many trains go through town.  Lots of them.  Since we entered North Dakota, we have noticed trains.  The train tracks and the interstates tend to be close together, so you are often by trains if you travel the interstates.  But, there were LOTS of trains last night.  I did a little internet research this morning.  (I have limited access.)  I was able to determine that many trains from the interior of the country must pass through Spokane to get to the Pacific Coast.  Because of the boom in the energy industry, there are more trains.  One source I read said 50 trains a day pass through here.  Since we notice that the majority of the trains pass through at night, that accounts for the near constant train whistles that we hear.  It’s amazing.  As we drove through Spokane this morning, we could see trains lined up waiting their turn to move on.  The most visible train to us had probably 75-100 cars.  Unless you are in an airplane, you can’t take a picture of that.

We went to a Farmers Market and got some fresh produce.  The strawberries we got were red all the way through!  I can’t remember the last time I got a strawberry like that.  We also got cherries, apricots (would make a great martini), green beans, and zucchinis.

When we got back, I went to the campground store to get quarters to do the laundry.  I overhead a woman asking for the phone number of a locksmith.  They just arrived in the campground and accidently locked their dog in the car with the keys.

When I got back to the RV, I asked Regis if he knew how to get into locked cars because a dog was locked in a car.  He rushed out to see if he could help.  Remember, it’s hot here.  I brought our blanket that reflects heat so they could drape it over the windows while they tried to get the car open.  There was a beautiful, young German Shepard inside.  He seemed to be in great spirits, not understanding his peril, and loving all the activity taking place.  Eventually, the guy who owned the dog gave up on how long it was taking to try to get the car open and took a hammer to one of the windows so he could unlock the car.  The couple and their children were so distraught, but the dog popped out of the car like this was all great fun.

Whenever we slow the car down for bad traffic, etc. and when we arrive in camp until we set up, we always open the back windows of the truck.  That’s a great habit that we must continue so we don’t have a similar crisis.

It wasn’t as hot as yesterday, but it does get very hot in the sun.  In the shade, it is not bad.  I was reading a passage in the Lewis and Clark journals where they mention the heat in the mid-day sun is so intolerable it is difficult to breathe but you need two blankets at night.   Perhaps the lunacy of freezing nights and scalding days has been typical, at least for the past 200 some years.

Did I Say Hot?

We entered Washington today.  Our drive from Missoula to Spokane Valley was entirely through the mountains.  Idaho is beautiful.  There were no flat spots to be seen on our route.

When we got to Spokane Valley, we took Dart for a walk along the Spokane River.  They have a paved trail, which is great for hiking, jogging, biking, and roller blading.  It was hot.  I was worried about Dart’s feet burning on the pavement.  When his tongue started dragging on the ground (only kidding) on our walk, we turned around to come back.   We later found out that the temperature reached 99 degrees in Spokane.

There is a Kamp K9 here at the KOA that has a miniature agility course.  I took Dart to the course this afternoon and he went bonkers.  It was like whetting his appetite without satisfying it.  He ran the equipment well and even stayed at the end of the contacts until released.  But, he was so exuberant he kept barking and jumping up.  He loves agility and I think he wanted a real course.  If we are able to get settled in one place when we get to Seattle, I will see if I can find a training facility that we can go to.

We entered Pacific time today.

We have no plans for tomorrow.  We hope to keep out of the car to give Dart a break.  We know there is a Farmers Market tomorrow morning in Spokane, so we will try to get there early and then keep close to the campsite the rest of the day.  Thursday we will head straight for a campground south of Seattle.  We see Jason on Friday.

Hot, Hot, Hot

It went up to 95 degrees today.  Whew!  I had a polartec jacket on this morning because it was chilly and right now we are all wilting.  Hot, hot, hot.  I’m glad we have 50 amp service so we can run both air conditioners.  With them both running, it’s 80 degrees in the RV.

We decided not to go to Glacier National Park today because only 16 of the 53 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road (15 on the west side and 1 on the east) are open.  We’ll have to go back some other time.

We went for a hike this morning in the Rattlesnake Recreation Area.  I love hiking in the mountains.  It’s been awhile since I’ve done it and it was so good to be out there.  Dart loved it.  You could tell that he was very happy.  We chose this hike because of the wildflowers.  It was a pretty hike.  We set out this morning so we could get the hike in before it got too hot.  That was a very good move.

Dart was fascinating on the hike.  Regis and I don’t often hike right next to each other because one of us was off taking pictures or I was slow.  Dart ran back and forth between the two of us because he preferred we both be together and kept on eye on each of us.  I think we hiked about 3 miles.  Dart hiked at least 6.  After one of the switchbacks, while I was in front, Dart ran in front of me and started spinning in circles and barking.  It was as if he didn’t want me to go further.  While I stopped to ponder what had gotten in to him, Regis caught up.  At that point, Dart stopped his antics.  We later noticed that Dart has issues with switchbacks.  His herding instincts appear to kick in when one of us his headed in one direction and the other person is headed in another.  Once the lagging person makes it through the switchback, Dart is fine.  I think Dart feels we can’t hike without him.  He has to work hard to keep us both going in the same direction and not lose each other.  We exhausted him.

We passed about 12 people on the trail.  Except for one couple, everyone had dogs.  No dogs were on a leash.  All the dogs appeared to keep to the trail.  Dart did.

When we got to our furthest point on the trail, Regis noticed a road not far away.  He said, “you mean we could have driven?”

On the way in, Dart did his business and we left the bag by a tree to pick up on the way back.  On the way back, Regis was way ahead with Dart.  I was looking for the tree with the bag that should have been on the right.  I found a bag on the left.  I was puzzled, but picked up the bag.  When I reached the truck with Regis and Dart, Regis had already picked up the bag.  Apparently, I picked up a bag of another dog’s poop.  Apparently, our brand of bag is pretty popular!

After we finished hiking, we headed to the National Bison Range.  Upon entering the refuge, we saw the signs below.  Now, I ask you, where do you think the burger joint is getting their meat?  It sure looks odd to me.

We got good wildlife viewing in on our ride through the range and some of my favorite pictures are included below.  We’ve included additional pictures in the flickr feed.  The odd thing I’ll say about our picture taking, is we didn’t take any pictures of bison.  There were numerous bison and we saw so many in Theodore Roosevelt National Park that we didn’t take any pictures.  At the end of our two hour ride through the refuge, I asked Regis if he thought these bison looked any different from the ones in the National Park.  He said he thought they looked like they might be a slightly different color.  If we had taken pictures, we would be able to compare.  But, no, we didn’t take any and we’d have to go on another two hour drive through the refuge (it’s one way) to get a picture of a bison.  What can I say?  We’re all stupid sometimes.

When Regis is driving the car and I would like him to stop, I tend to be indirect.  This doesn’t work.  He needs me to say STOP.  Then he will stop.  It’s better to make him aware that STOP means STOP now if a particular picture requires an immediate stop.  I’m getting better at this, like this morning when we were leaving the trailhead and a deer jumped out into the road from the driver’s side and Regis didn’t notice him.  See below.  When we were leaving the National Bison Range, I said “oh they have huckleberry shakes”.  Please note that I didn’t say STOP THEY HAVE HUCKLEBERRY SHAKES.  Nevertheless, you could almost hear the screeching of wheels as he stopped the car, pulled into the parking lot and asked “Do you want one? Would you get me one too?”

I love Missoula and would like to come back and spend a summer here.  Let’s see how many times I say that before this trip is over.  But, I am crazy about this place.

The Bighorn Sheep we saw in the National Bison Range are naked.  I saw Bighorn Sheep around Jackson Hole, WY about 1 1/2 years ago in January and they were very furry.  Since it was 95 degrees, it’s a good thing these guys were naked.