Monday, July 26, 2010

Day Twenty-six - Anacortes WA - July 24

Day Twenty-six - Anacortes WA - July 24: "
We might call this a wildlife we head across the walking path leading to town center, we are greeted by the honking of Canadian Geese and we see how close we can safely get to them. They don't move much, but watch us closely, and we see others sitting on the beach of Fidalgo Bay.

Farther along the tree and flower lined path a couple out for their morning exercise tells us about the eagle atop a telephone pole. He is pretty far up and surveying his surroundings, when a seagull does a few fly-bys to try to scare him away. Not successful! He stays put.

On our return we see the geese still feeding, and a couple of rabbits scampering through the campground.

It is hard to decide which restaurant to visit for lunch, but choose Rock Fish Grill and enjoy some salmon and almost halibut. A poster on the wall tells us how much people here love fish, and we think of our neighbors Sam and Bob in Port Isabel.

More exploring today takes us up to a viewpoint high above Cap Sante Harbor, and I begin to wonder how many boats there are in the world. I think they are all here. As we turn to leave, we see tourists observing our trikes, so Herb gives a bit of information on what it is like to ride them.

Back down the hill in a residential area as we return to the campground, we see more wildlife -- a deer crossing the street in front of us at a leisurely pace, and one on the side of the street enjoying more grass before she moves on.

In the late afternoon we take the trikes (and Jake) for a ride on the bike path that passes by the campground and which is fairly level -- an easy feat!

Willie of Walldog, Willie and Jake


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day Nineteen - Victor ID to Colter Bay Campground, Grand Teton Natl. Park, WY - July 17, 2010

Day Nineteen - Victor ID to Colter Bay Campground, Grand Teton Natl. Park, WY - July 17, 2010: "

The campground host advises us not to go over Teton Pass; however Herb has other ideas. We leave at 6:30A in order to be 'first in line' for a campsite in the Grand Teton Natl. Park, as they are vacated. As we travel, I am as much intrigued by the road signs as I am by the awesome mountain scenery -- 'steep curve,' '10% grade,' 'park for chain-up only,' 'runaway truck ramp,' and 'trucks use low gear.' Fortunately for the cars behind us, there are turnouts along the way, and we pull over to let those vehicles pass, as we go very slow. Herb notes at one point that the computer on his instrument panel tells him he is getting one mile per gallon of diesel. (We left Victor with a full tank.)

About 25 minutes later we reach the pass and the sight we see of the tiny village below is beautiful. We made it!

As we pass through Jackson Hole, we begin to see the Tetons again, and as I exclaim, Herb tells me that we were IN the Tetons minutes ago. Oh...............

Now I see a couple of small glaciers. An easy drive on into Grand Teton National Park, we find Colter Bay Campground, and sign up for our site. It is on a loop with half-moon turnouts, close neighbors, but we have plenty of room for our slides and Jeep.

After getting settled in, we pick up our tickets for the breakfast cruise tomorrow, and look up Joan and Capt. Jim Bathurst, our friends from Port Isabel, who are working in the park this summer. We especially chose the day for the cruise when Capt. Jim is piloting. Jim now gives us a tour of the marina and a bit about how things work around here. Our visit in interrupted when he is called for a 'blue shirt' duty.

Lunch is a huge buffalo burger with copious quantities of fresh vegetables at John Colter Cafe Court. Salsa they bring out is a bit different from what we are used to in the Valley.

In front of the Visitors' Center we see pay phone booths -- strange -- but then I remember that cell phone service here is unreliable at best. We meet a guy who is interested in our trikes, and he tells us that he has ridden his trike from Portland OR to Death Valley CA. Incidentally, he is a Death Valley books author.

At the end of the day we join Joan and Jim for snacks and Happy Hour. I get to meet Izzy, the well traveled kitty, about whom much has been written. She inspects my camera at length. I want to photograph her, but I discover there is no chip in my camera. ..................but then, that's another story.

I ask Jim who should be responsible for the chip being in the camera (1) the one who uses the camera or (2) or the one who took it out to download the pictures into the computer. He agrees with both answers, and reminds me that he is wearing a sport shirt and nowhere on it does he have a badge that says 'manager.'

We catch up on the news fast, as we all have an early morning tomorrow -- Joan to the gift shop, Capt. Jim to the marina to prepare for the day's tours, and Herb and I to the marina in anticipation of a fantastic tour of Jackson Lake, views of the Tetons up close, and a scrumptious breakfast!

[No pictures posted here for obvious reason. :) ]

Willie of Walldog, Willie and Jake

Day Eighteen - Island Park ID to Victor ID - July 16, 2010

Day Eighteen - Island Park ID to Victor ID - July 16, 2010: "
One last walk around the RV park with Jake and he finds a Shih Tzu he falls in love with. Soon we are on the road, stopping for diesel at a good price. Before long we come to a 6% grade area which gives us some gorgeous scenery. The Tetons are 'everywhere;' we see them for miles and miles. Along the highway are many pastures, all being irrigated. "If it a'int rock, it is being irrigated." At one point, the irrigation equipment is too close to the road and washes our windshield.

The rolling hills we see give us a ribbon like highway -- still with the Tetons in the background. We come upon a silo with a faded sign, "Pillsbury Mills," but the fields look like grass for hay and not wheat. The bicyclists are very brave, riding on the narrow strip of roadway, but I am sure they are enjoying the hills.

Arriving in Victor we see 'Old West' decor on the buildings and miss a flea market by just minutes. Lunch is Japanese fare in the cafe area of the large supermarket in the neighboring town of Driggs, where we stock up on supplies for the next few days. We are delighted to at last find the wonderful fresh cherries grown in the Northwest.

Our campground for the night, Teton RV Park, is lovely with its pines, spruce, and roses. Jake enjoys a run in the dog yard pasture near our RV site. It is good to be free!


Day Seventeen - Island Park ID - July 15, 2010

Day Seventeen - Island Park ID - July 15, 2010: "

Our day begins with an expected cool morning, so I dress a little more warmly than yesterday. We leave the Harwells supervising Tim the carpenter and his crew, and drive to West Yellowstone to Wild Bill's Pizza and Saloon, the restaurant David recommends, and enjoy one of the three best pizza places we have ever found.
We then pick up a few items for dinner, which will again be at the Harwells,' and a cookie sheet for David to use for appetizers on his outdoor grill.

We drive a ways into Yellowstone and take a side road along the Madison River, which at that point may not get your ankles wet if you waded. We do not. We see many fallen trees returning to nature as the forest renews itself.

Late afternoon we return to the Harwells' for what will be the last visit for a while. Did I mention that today I am wearing a turtleneck and Herb for the first time on this trip is wearing bluejeans instead of shorts! Before long, everyone is a bit warm in the sun on the patio, and we decide the best place to be is inside the cabin among the remodeling activities. Shady, cool, and a great view!

David gets their journal and it becomes a guest book, which we and the Dahls sign as guests at the first house party in their new mountain home. We are honored to be the first. Hors d'oeuvres of Al's avacado dip and fruit are served prior to David and Herb's tamales and chili. After much picture taking, we say "so long for now" and drive down the hill for a good night's sleep.


Day Sixteen - Island Park ID - July 14, 2010

Day Sixteen - Island Park ID - July 14, 2010: "
Today Patti and David Harwell take us still in the Island Park area to the Johnny Sack cabin, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places, and is owned by the US Forest Service. Sack was from Germany and became known for his craft of split bark carpentry. He took three years to build his cabin single handedly with mostly hand tools. We pass Big Spring, which is the headwaters of the Henry's Fork of the Snake River, and we watch for a time to see rainbow trout, without success. Indian paintbrush and violet geraniums line the path to the cabin.

Outside the cabin we see -- still operating -- Sack's construction of a water wheel and generator to create electricity and bring water into his cabin. If only we could capture the quiet, soothing sound the wheel makes........ The design features of the cabin itself and his furniture are nothing short of amazing, and we have the best historian and tour guide ever -- our own friend Harwell. Inlaid flooring with a different pattern in each room, handmade furniture with the split bark trim, and a lamp shade made of some of his photographs on parchment add to the awesomeness of the home. A must-see!

We are joined for the rest of the day by Melba and Al Dahl, friends from Longview, who are camped in the Valley View RV Park as our 'neighbors.' David now drives us a short distance to the Madison River Canyon Earthquake Area, and we see the mountain where a section broke off during a 7.5 on the Richter scale earthquake in 1959 and killed 28 people camping along the river. The slide dammed the river, creating Earthquake Lake, which we still see today. It will be allowed to revert to a river as erosion occurs downstream. One of the survivors was an 80 year old resident who jumped five feet from her floating house to the bank of the river.

There are several faults in the area, and it was determined that two of them moved to cause the quake. During the interpreter's talk at the Visitors' Center, the group is asked what would be the first thing they should do if they came into the area to camp overnight. Some of the answers given are 'register with the forest ranger,' 'pitch a tent,' (where is he going with this question?) and 'don't feed the bears.' Then someone is heard to say, "Pour a glass of wine." As the audience laughs, I forget what his answer it.

As we leave the Center, we see the many-ton boulders that slid during the one minute quake. The rapids that are created downstream of Earthquake Lake are rated #5 and most dangerous.

We stop for lemonade at Longhorn Cafe, and then on to the Harwell cabin for heavy hors d'oeuvres. Because of the cool mountain air Annie and Jake travel with us and enjoy frequent walks and water breaks. Leashes used and no squirrel chasing today.

From Willie of Walldog, Willie and Jake

Friday, July 16, 2010

Grand Tour Summer 2010 Day 14-15

Day 14
Moab to Ogden Utah Log 274 Miles 2884 Miles total

We plan our stop here primarily to see our long time friends Karl and Emily from South Louisiana.  Karl is retired, but doing some consulting work for companies that build electrical substations.  They have been in Ogden since February and will leave next week.  So it is great that we were able to catch them here.

We park at the Century RV Park and Karl and Emily arrive shortly after.  After a visit in our motorhome, we head up the mountain for a drive and dinner at a local eatery.  The Oaks is a perfect setting to continue our visit and experience the excellent climate at this time of year.  We have a table overlooking the river that supplies Ogden's drinking water from a reservoir above this location.  Lots of foliage and the pleasant sounds of rushing water.

Back at our RV we get a good nights sleep and plan our next day.

Day 15
Ogden Utah to Island Park Idaho Log 272 miles 3156 Total

After leaving Ogden, we cross into Idaho and start to see the Tetons off to the East in the distance.  Lots of snow still on them.  Soon we will see them up close.

We arrive in Island Park and are shown to a spot in the Valley View RV Campground and Laundromat.  Our large grassy spot overlooks Henry Lake, a prime fishing spot in this part of the world.  Our friend Bob passed through here a few days ago, so I am sure there are no fish left.

After getting settled, we go to the cabin David and Patti are remodeling on the North shore of Henry Lake.  They have a new Golden Lab that came into their lives after Jake's cousin Gunner died a few months ago.  Annie and Jake pick up right where Gunner and Jake left off when they came to visit us in Port Isabel over New Years.  Dogs are wonderful, they became BFFs immediately.

After filet Mignons on the grill for dinner we say goodnight to rest for a full day of sight seeing tomorrow.

Walldog, Willie and Jake 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer 2010 Grand Tour Day 12-13

Day 12 Pagosa Springs to Moab Log 205 Miles, 2610 Miles Total

Today we move from the higher altitudes of the San Juan mountains to the lower more arid area of Moab Utah.  We warm up considerably.  Our stay for the next couple of days is the OK RV Park located next to the Canyon Land Stables and Arena.  This is a neatly maintained oasis which we rate high.

Day 13 Jeep Roads Moah Utah

We spend the day crawling over rocks in our jeep.  Our first off road trail was the Gemini Bridges road.  This road goes up to the end of Bull Canyon, which is between Moab and the North access to Canyon Lands National Park.  As you may have guessed, the road goes to the two natural bridges named Gemini.  Bridges are similar to Arches, but formed somewhat differently.

After driving through Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyon Lands National Park, we find another jeep road that promises to be an exciting short cut back to Moab.  Short yes, quicker no.  Our road is named the Long Canyon Trail or Pucker Point Road.
We quickly find out why it is so named.

Traveling from West to East this road goes down into the canyon with steep walls on each side of you.  We encounter a spot where a gigantic fallen boulder makes an arch over the road.  Believing that the trikes would not clear, we lower the rack until we pass through.

As we arrive back in Moab, Willie spots what she thinks is a C-Dory boat behind a motel on a trailer.  I turn around to check it out because we may know them as they are a close knit group.  When I see it, it is actually a Ranger Tug.  We drive up to it and find that it is "Gabriella" owned by a neighbor of ours from Port Isabel.  Small World.

Many more exciting pictures of our adventures today are found here.

Walldog, Willie and Jake

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Grand Tour Summer 2010 Day 10-11

Day 10 Angel Fire NM to Pagosa Springs CO Log 175 Miles, 2405 Total

Before leaving Angel Fire, we missed the best photo of the trip.  This little rabbit came hopping down the road while Jake was tethered outside.  He spotted Jake and stopped for a closer look.  Then the rabbit ventured even closer until he and Jake were nose to nose about 6 foot apart.  Willie was struggling to get the shot from inside the coach.  Not successful.  Jake merely sat looking at the rabbit without moving or getting up from the position you see in the next picture.

We must have disturbed the rabbit as he broke and ran, then Jake jumped up and acted like he was going to chase him.  Hilarious, but then I guess you just had to be there to appreciate it.

Here is a shot of the Rio Grande from the Royal George Bridge about 6 miles West of Taos.  Hard to believe that this river makes it all the way to Brownsville, Texas.  We have enjoyed crossing it several times on our trip.

We end our day at the Happy Camper RV Park just West of Pagosa Springs.  Our Passport rate makes us very happy campers.

Day 11 Pagosa Springs

We spend our day enjoying the sights, sites, scents and flavors of Pagosa Springs.  Pagosa Springs has built a very nice park and walk path along the San Juan River.  We took full advantage of it.

Tomorrow we pack up and move on to Moab UT.  More pictures are here.

Walldog, Willie and Jake

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Grand Tour Summer 2010 Day 9

Monte Verde RV Camp, Angel Fire New Mexico

Today we treated ourselves to breakfast at Michael's Kitchen in Taos.  A nice drive in the jeep from Angel Fire.  Driving around we pass many shops with lots of trophies that Inez and Myrna could have bagged.  They may disown Willie since she passed them up to have a nap.

Back in Angel Fire, we rest up before returning to the Segar's home for happy hour and spaghetti dinner.  We have really enjoyed our visit here and appreciate them welcoming us into their family for the past two days.  But after two days, it is time to move on.

Tomorrow we break camp and motor on to Pagosa Springs for a couple of days.  Pictures are here.

Walldog, Willie and Jake

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Summer 2010 Grand Tour Day 8

Raton to Angel Fire New Mexico, Log 74 Miles 2230 Miles Total.

After three nights of boon-docking, we take advantage of the 50 amp service and full hookups.  We do a few loads of laundry and catch up on our other household chores.

The day starts cool and crisp.  What a difference a few thousand feet in altitude makes.  Although not as cool as it will be further up in the mountains, low 50s make for some nice sleeping without running the air conditioner.

Finally around 11AM MDST, we departed for the 74 miles to Angel Fire.  We have been really confused about the time today.  Our cell phones changed automatically, but our atomic clocks needed to be told that they changed time zones.  But what really threw us off was the TV.  Last night we fired up the satellite antenna for the 10PM(??) news.  Which runs on the East cost feeds at 11PM their time. Wilma actually got up and turned the coffee pot on at 4AM because she thought it was 5 and was not set properly.  Anyway we must have gotten enough sleep as we made the day fine.

The drive from Raton to Angel Fire is a very neat fun road that we always enjoyed on the motorcycle.  All I can say is that in the motorhome it is exciting to say the least.  We pass by a campsite in the Cimarron Canyon State Park that we stayed at in a tent.  We laugh about now about the bear that visited us the next morning.  At the time it was plenty exciting also.  We see a great view of the valley and lake at Eagle Nest as we come down the hill.

Arriving in Angel Fire, we pull into the RV park and are shown to a site with great few of the mountains.  Plenty of rough grass for Jake to play and exercise.  After setting up, we go over to our Joe and Pearl's home.  A nice visit and a great dinner with them and several other friends finishes off another great day.

Pictures are here.

Walldog, Willie and Jake

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Summer 2010 Grand Tour Day 7

Emporia KS to Raton NM Log 411 Miles, 2042 Miles Total.

After restocking a few supplies at our SuperWally overnight stop, we continue our Westward journey.  Plenty of rain has swollen the rivers and streams to flood stage and beyond in Missouri and other states along the Mississippi River.

Appropriate to the Independence Day weekend, we pass through many "Amber Waves of Grain".

Today we also follow parts of a motorcycle trip taken by Herb and Sam several years ago passing through Dodge City and SE Colorado.  The Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands are Located in this area.  Pretty wide open spaces.  We see many signs posted along the way stating that this property is  NOT for sale to the Army.  Interesting, wonder what that is all about.  As we travel, the elevation rises to over 3500 feet.  We do not really notice that we are continually climbing.

SE Colorado is pretty desolate, so we motor along a little further than we like.  We gain an hour as we change time zones, so it all works out.  We find a full hookup facility in Raton, NM to catch up on laundry and empty and refill our tanks.

Tomorrow a short day to Angel Fire to visit our friends Joe and Pearl.  As usual more pictures are here.

Walldog, Willie and Jake

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Summer 2010 Grand Tour Day 6

St. Louis to SuperWally Emporia KS Log 311 Miles, Total 1596 Miles

We waited at Dwight and Nancy's until Heather arrived with the "Twins".  They are Heather's children.  They got a grand tour of the motor home and had a great time playing with Jake.  Izzy learned quickly how to get Jake to drop his toy.  She threw another toy and of course he could not resist to go retrieve it, dropping his other toy.  She played switch with him until he gathered both together and stood over them.  He does not share his toys....he only likes to show them to you.

We finally hitched up and drove out about 10am.  Heading West on 64 and then 70, we picked out a Super Wal-mart in Emporia KS for our destination for the day.  Arriving there, just before the sky opened up with a downpour.  We have our reserved spot near the garden center against a curb with grass and a line of trees to block the outer street.

Tomorrow we plan about another 300 miles toward Angel Fire.  We will stay somewhere West of Dodge City.  Herb remembers fondly a time on the motorcycle when he and Sam had a great steak in Dodge City on their way to Napa Valley to meet Willie and Inez for an Elderhostel tour.

A link to our tour album is here.

Walldog, Willie and Jake

Summer 2010 Grand Tour Day 5

A Day with family in St. Louis.

Today was spent with Wilma's brothers family in St. Louis.  We all went down the swim club in their sub-division.  They spend a lot of time there in the summer.  There were games for the kids of all ages and lots of sun.  

Again happy hour on Dwight and Nancy's back patio.  Jake spied a couple of rabbits and then gave chase.  No problem for the rabbits.

A beautiful fireworks display capped off the day.  I left my reading glasses and could not find the correct exposure setting to get proper pictures.  I posted a couple that were a little artsy if not accurate.

Tomorrow we are back on the road again.  Heading West.

More pictures are here.

Walldog, Willie and Jake