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!

Making Cheese and Putting Greens

We went to the Tillamook Cheese factory today to watch them make cheese.  There were a lot of visitors, so it was very crowded.  I didn’t like that, so we didn’t stay long.  Most importantly, we got some ice cream before we left.  Tillamook ice cream is very good!

Across from the cheese factory was a miniature golf course.  It was unlike any miniature course I have ever seen.  The putting areas were real grass.  It was a great opportunity to really practice putting.

Following are pictures of where our balls landed on the second shot on the second hole.  My ball is the one in the second picture.  The orange ball in the rough in the first picture belongs to Regis.  I pointed out to Regis that his lack of a camera resulted in me only taking pictures favorable to me.

Here is another favorable picture.  Regis is in the sand trap. I am on the green.

By the third hole, my inability to play well showed and it took 9 shots for me to drop the ball in the hole.  We each had good holes and bad holes but in the end our scores were tied.  We had a little trouble figuring out the rules.  Since there were sand traps and we only had putters and no sand wedges, it was a bit of a dilemma.  It was the best miniature course I have every played and would love to see something like it on the East Coast.

Tide Pools

We got up early to see the tide pools at low tide.  The weather was sunny at the campground but foggy at the shore.  We spent a couple hours looking through the tide pools.  The water is very clear in the pools, so it is easy to see the marine life and take pictures.  It may also have been difficult for Dart to tell where the water was because he spent a lot of time jumping through pools of water.  He usually prefers to jump over water rather than run through.  Either he now likes water or he was having difficulty.  Here is a picture of him shaking off after one of his little dips.   

The first time we came to Oregon was over a decade ago and we saw lots of sea stars.  We had a very hard time finding them today, but we saw a few.  We found out that the sea stars have been devastated by a virus.  (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/scientists-solve-mystery-of-west-coast-starfish-deaths/)  We met a gentleman on the beach who said he had not seen a sea star in the past two years but had seen about a dozen over the last couple days.  We hope that’s a good sign.

We saw lots of other kinds of plants and animals and I posted several of them on the flickr feed.  Below is a picture of sea anemones open and one closed.

At one point, we walked by a bunch of seals (I think they were seals) and didn’t realize it.  A guy let us know they were there after we passed them.  Apparently, it is a good thing I didn’t become a wildlife biologist.  I would have been fired for my inability to see wildlife right in front of my face.

Here are a couple pictures with Dart and Regis that also shows the ambiance of the beach.

We met this dog and his people on the beach.  I am grateful that he’s not my dog.  He was having a really good time rolling around in the sand.

Of course, Dart didn’t look too good either by the time we got back to the truck.  I ran out of dog shampoo cleaning Coco and Dart yesterday, so all we can do right now is rinse him off.

After our visit to the tide pools, we stopped at an overlook to eat lunch and watch the ocean.  The weather began to clear up and the ocean turned a beautiful shade of blue.  The best part was that a couple of whales showed up.  We spent a couple hours watching them.  Because we were trying so hard to take a picture (too far away for a good one) and watching with binoculars, a lot of folks stopping at the overlook wanted to know what we were doing and got very excited to realize there were whales out there.  Just give me a comfortable chair, a glass of wine, and a pair of binoculars and I could sit on the coast for hours watching the waves and looking for whales.