Saturday, September 29, 2007

Grand Canyon-North Rim

Today we decided to visit the Grand Canyon. This is not the Grand Canyon that most people visit, the South Rim, but the higher, pine tree surrounded North Rim. Our location in Kanab, UT, is about 75 miles to the North Rim.

When we left the campground the wind was starting to blow a little. Kanab is located on the high desert, with a lot of sand and not much else. As we drove towards the Grand Canyon, the landscape began to change from desert to pine forest. In the forest were a lot of Aspen that were just starting to turn golden. It made for a very scenic drive.

As we drove, the road climbed, the weather got colder, and the wind picked up. The highest point we reached was 8860 feet, just outside the entrance to the park and the temperature was 48 degrees. We continued on to the visitor's center to orient ourselves. The visitor center is located next to the lodge which was built in 1928. The windows looked out over the canyon with a beautiful view through large windows. There is a deck outside with chairs and an outside fireplace, which we were sorry to notice was not lit.
The first thing we did was go to the gift shop and buy John a jacket. John must think he's still in the desert. Luckily, there was a season ending sale.
There was a path that led down to a point overlooking the canyon that we went out to get a close up view.

Since it was about lunchtime we decided to eat at the lodge. The dining room had a view of the canyon from our table. We shared a very good lunch and just drank in the atmosphere.
After lunch we hiked the Bright Angel Trail, which leads out to a point that juts over the canyon. It's a short hike, but with steep drop offs on both sides of the trail. Normally it would be an easy hike, but with 30 MPH winds blowing, it made it a little, well a lot, scary. The view was spectacular, but because we were on the North Rim, we couldn't see the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon.

We took turns taking each others pictures at the point between wind gusts. And then it was time for the windy walk back up to the parking lot. We thought about doing some more hiking, but with the wind and the cold we decided to just relax and take in the fantastic sight.

Everyday we try to take a moment and remember how lucky we are to live in this great country and be able to explore it many great lands. As the shirts say, "Life Is Good". As Fall begins, we look back at a wonderful Summer on our adventure and the wonderful sights we've seen. Hopefully, you've enjoy sharing this with us. And we know it will just continue to get better.
If you would like to see the rest of the photos, please click on this link:

Friday, September 28, 2007

Our Anniversary-9/28/68

Boy, a lot of time has pasted since that memorable day. It seems like it wasn't that long ago, but 39 years is a long time!

How times have changed. Back then, we were lucky to have a color TV. There was no computers, no cell phones, no microwave ovens, no answering machines. How did we keep in touch? Oh, yes, we wrote letters. Of course stamps were only 3 cents.

We're glad we have all the modern conveniences. It would be hard to travel without cell phones to keep in touch with friends and make reservations, computers to get email, pay bills, post pictures, and write BLOGs. It's amazing how much easier it is with all of these modern tools. It makes this fulltiming adventure possible.

We decided to visit St. George, the largest city in the area. It's about an hour's drive from Kanab. When we got there, what did we find? A TJMaxx store with a sale going on. So John dropped Linda off and went exploring while she started on our Christmas shopping. It's hard to believe that the holidays are getting so close. We went on to the mall which had a Dillards, one of our favorite department stores. It reminds us of the Meier & Frank department store from our days in Portland. John even bought a couple of new shirts.

We had a nice lunch, took calls from our mothers and children congratulating us on our big day, and then headed back to the motorhome. We took Pearl on a walk, fed her dinner, and then went to the best restaurant in Kanab, Rockin V. It was interesting, but not that great. John had halibut, Linda had a chicken salad, we had wine, and the best part, a lemon mouse tart that we shared. There was a full moon that we enjoyed on the way home. It was a nice way to celebrate our special day.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Zion National Park

While Linda is working with Best Friends, John is exploring the area surrounding Kanab, UT. This area of Southern UT is known as the Golden Circle, because of all of the National Parks in the area. These include Zion, Bryce, Grand Staircase/Escalante, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Today John decided to go to Zion. He came into the park from the East side of the park, off Hwy. 89. Once into the park, the first main stop is before the big tunnel where there's a trail that leads to the canyon overlook.

This trail climbs up the side of the canyon using the rocks as a trail. At some points it gets a little narrow. But the view at the end of the trail is spectacular!

Then, it's through the 1.1 mile tunnel that doesn't have any lights other that the headlights of the cars. The height at the center of the tunnel 13.3 feet, but at the edges of the tunnel is only 11 feet. When a tour bus or RV needs to go through the tunnel, cars are stopped at each end and the bus goes through the middle of the tunnel. Did I mention that the tunnel curves? At the end of the tunnel a series of switchbacks leads you down into the canyon and to the visitor center. From the there you can catch a shuttle to go through Zion Canyon. The views in the canyon are fantastic.

If you want to see all of the pictures John took of the park, please click on the following link:
If you have any questions or comments, please email us.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

One of our goals during our adventure was to visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UT. We've been members for a few years and really admire this organization. The Sanctuary is about 3800 acres adjacent to another 30,000 leased acres of BLM land. At any given time the sanctuary has 1500 dogs, cats, & other animals. Once they're at the sanctuary, nothing bad will happen to them. Hopefully they'll be adopted by a family, but if not they have a home for a lifetime. This is the welcome center. Each year about 20,000 people visit the sanctuary and take a tour.

During the tour, we visited the many different areas devoted to the different animals that are currently at the facility. That includes Dogtown, and the new dog area, Dogtown Heights.

The buildings are designed specifically for the dogs and include exercise areas, and agility areas for training dogs for stairs, cars and other everyday obstacles. The areas that contain the dogs include an inside area with a bed and warm floors. There also an outside area that the dogs can access at any time through a doggy door. Each dog is evaluated and given a collar that defines their sociability. Green collars for very social dogs, purple collars for dogs that are sociable with adults, with other dogs at different levels.

There are other similar facilities for cats, birds, bunnies, horses, and wild animals that are being rehabilitated for release to the wild. They also have rescue operations during emergencies such as Katrina. Every weekend they have adoption events in nearby areas like Las Vegas & Phoenix. This is a large non profit organization with over 400 employees and many volunteers, which this week includes Linda! She plans to work for the week we're here to learn more about the Best Friends, and their mission.
If you would like to see all of the photos of Best Friends, please click on the following link:
Thanks for reading our adventures!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

We Arrive in Kanab, UT

We left Hart's Ranch on Sunday for the long drive to Southern UT. On the first day we made as far as Rawlins, WY. It was a stressful day, because we had 30-40 MPH winds mostly from the side, but some head on. We didn't make as much progress as we wanted to because of the winds. We overnighted at a Flying J truck stop, a first for us, but we didn't have many choices in WY.

The next morning was cold, and as we drove west on I-80 it got colder. In Rock Springs it started to snow, which broke one of John's rules about never having snow on the roof of the motorhome! It didn't stick to the freeway, but it stuck to the windshield. It continued to snow on and off until we reach the UT border when it stopped. It's a long down grade into Salt Lake City, where we merged onto I-15 south. We overnighted in a Wal-Mart in Cedar City UT where it was sunny, but cold enough overnight to put a coat of ice on the motorhome and pilot. When we tried to start the pilot, the battery was dead. Luckily, since we were at Wal-Mart it was easy to purchase a new one and we were on our way. By mid day we found our campground in Kanab, parked the rig, and headed on to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for a visitor tour. Linda's going to volunteer for a week at the sanctuary while John going to explore the area and catch up on some chores.

More on Best Friends in our next post. Stay tuned, it'll be interesting.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Last Days in SD

We're winding up our stay at Hart's Ranch. It's been a fun week, even with the interesting weather. Thurs. night we had 60 MPH winds, yesterday was breezy with a high in the high 60s, and today it hit 92. If you don't like the weather, just wait a couple hours and it'll change.
Rapid City is called the City of Presidents, not only for it's close proximity to Mt. Rushmore, but because they have placed bronze statues of the Presidents on street corners in the downtown area. We enjoyed doing a virtual geocaching, identifying each President based on the coordinates we downloaded. Here's a picture of John with Thomas Jefferson.
As you can see, they're very well done. They cost $50,000 each, and 4 new ones are placed each year. They are there 24/7, but there's been no vandalism.
After we visited with the Presidents, we found some other geocaches, including one at an actual section of the Berlin Wall, and one near Dinosaur Park. Geocaching is a lot of fun and a great way to get some much needed exercise.
On Friday we drove West to Spearfish, and a scenic drive through Spearfish Canyon. The trees were just starting to turn on the creek that had created the canyon. It was very beautiful, and we found another Bridal Vail Falls. There must be one in each state. At the end of the canyon the road wound through Lead and Deadwood, both historic gold rush towns. Lead has a producing gold mine called the Homestake. It's currently at the 8000 foot deep level and is stilled being mined. Deadwood's claim to fame is the location of where "Wild Bill"Hickok was killed. He was sitting in a poker game, holding a pair of aces & eights, forever after known as the dead man's hand. He was shot from behind. He's buried in the Moriah Cemetery next to Calamity Jane, who he couldn't stand. Today Deadwood has many small casinos that keep the town in business. We were disappointed in the commercialism of the town, but we had a nice lunch at Kevin Cosner's casino which contained a lot his memorabilia.
We ended the day back at the Mt. Rushmore Monument for the evening program. They had a nice dining room, so we shared a nice chicken dinner, then went to the outdoor program. It started with a talk from the ranger, then a stirring movie about the carving and the history it represents. At the end they played the Star Spanked Banner and the mountain slowly lit up. It was very moving. At the end, the ranger invited all veterans up on the stage to lower the flag. It was a great way to end the day.
On Saturday, we cleaned the motorhome, did some shopping, and got ready to leave our home state. We're heading back through Wyoming towards Utah. Hopefully we'll get good traveling weather with little wind.
If you would like to view all of our photos of the greater Rapid City area please click on this link:
Thank you for sharing our adventure with us.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Custer State Park, SD

On Wednesday we decided we needed a wildlife fix, so we went to Custer State Park. This is one of the largest state parks in the US. In fact, we only saw about half of it before we ran out of time.

It has 3 lodges, campgrounds, 3 lakes, forest, prairie, and a lot of acres. The main reason we came here is to see the Bison herd.

On the way to the park we almost ran over some wild turkeys in the road. There was about 15 turkeys in the group, and one did actually fly to get out of the way of the car. Pictures are in the Picasa Album. You can click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Once we were in the park, John insisted we stop at visitor center. He never gets his fill of visitor center! We got a map from a volunteer, who just happened to be a fulltime RVer. It seems the park has a large need for staff during the summer, and some rvers will work 20 hours a week for a full hookup site in a beautiful place. We also visited the general store and the game park lodge. It was pretty quiet, most of the visitors leave after Labor Day, which makes it nicer for us.

From the lodge, we followed the Wildlife Trail, a road that meandered through the park past meadows and forest where the local animals hang our. The main herd in the park is Bison, or Buffalo, and that's what everyone comes to see.

Here's a picture of a mother & her calf walking along the creek. Up on the hill was a large herd, just hanging out. The park has about 2000 Bison. Every year they do a roundup, This year on the first weekend of October. All of the Bison are moved into corrals, where they're evaluated, given a medical checkup, tagged, branded, and sorted into different groups. Because the park can only sustain about 2000 Bison, some of the herd is seaparated and auctioned off in November.

Bison aren't the only inhabitants of the park. Years ago some burros were released into the park, and they multiplied. Today, they are the popular begging burros. As you can see, they like people, or at least people food. Check the online album for pictures of Linda & John embracing the wild.

Other wildlife we saw on our journey include white tail deer, prong horn antelope, and more turkeys. We saw some birds, but the park has over 65 different varieties that we couldn't identify.

Finally, we saw a Prairie Dog Town. We almost missed it because John expected a lot of mound close together, but these were very spread out. There was no road sign, so many visitors just drove past without seeing them. Linda thought they were very cute. In fact she thought she heard one of them bark! It sounded like a dogwood tree, Bob.

If you would like to see more pictures, click on this link:
and it will take you to our Custer Park web album. As always, any comments or emails are appreciated.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's Officical

We're completed our move to South Dakota! Today we went to the DMV and exchanged our CA licenses for SD. It took about 15 minutes total. Quite a difference from CA where you have to make an appointment.

We just gave the clerk our old licenses, filled out a form, had our pictures taken (UGH), and then we were issued our new licenses. Oh, and we registered to vote at the same time.

SO LONG CALIFORNIA, HELLO SOUTH DAKOTA! And we don't have to renew them for 5 years.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mt. Rushmore

On our first full day here in SD we wanted to see Mt. Rushmore. It was as spectacular as we thought it would be!
It started out as an overcast day, but later in the afternoon the sun came out. And, lucky us, it cooled off into the 70s. This retirement life is great. This is called the avenue of flags, where each state flag is flown with a plaque explaining when the state came into the union. There's a visitor center at the end of the avenue with a large deck for viewing the mountain. There's also a large amphitheater that is used for a lighting show at night.
Inside the visitor center is a theater showing a film on the other parts of the monument, including wildlife and geology. We were at first disappointed because we wanted to learn more on the carving of the mountain. Well, under the theater is a large exhibit hall showing all phases of the carvings, information on the artist and his family and all of the laborers who worked on the monument from 1927 to 1941. One fact that really surprised John was that no one was killed or seriously injured during the entire project! Some of the pictures of the workers using dynamite and hanging in mid air with air drills were scary.
We're planning on going back to the monument to see the night light show while we're here in SD.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

We Travel to South Dakota

We left the Glacier area on Friday morning for a long two day drive to Rapid City, SD. We didn't realize that the trip would involve so many up and down hills. In a 35,000 lb. motorhome you learn not to like up and down very much. We cut over to I-15 thinking that the interstate would be easier-wrong! One of the worst hills was when I-15 dead ended into I-90. I-15 is a long downhill road, meets with I-90 in a 25MPH corkscrew entrance. We think we could smell our brakes!

We overnighted in a very nice rest area outside of Billings, MT. Montana is a big state, it was about 530 miles to this rest area. Normally we stop at Wal-Marts when we overnight, but this rest stop was right on the freeway and it had an area where we could open our slides. After a good nights sleep, we pushed on through Wyoming to Rapid City, SD. It's 92 degrees and hot, especially after leaving Canada and Montana where the highs were in the 60s.

We arrived about 4:00pm at one of the nicest campgrounds we have stayed at so far. It's called Hart's Ranch, and it have concrete pads with lots of grass and space between the spots. Pearl really likes it. We're going to stay here a week in the Black Hills and explore the area. If you would like to see what Hart Ranch is like, please click here:

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Glacier National Park

We stayed two nights at Glacier Meadows RV Resort near East Glacier, and on Friday we drove into Glacier National Park. It was a beautiful day, and we drove up the "Going to the Sun" road that goes up to Logan Pass. It's a very twisty road that climbs the side of the mountain through a series of switchbacks. It's very narrow at times, and they're working on it this summer to repair parts of the road that washed away last winter. But we were not in a hurry, we wanted to enjoy the views!

There's a visitor center at Logan Pass and you could really tell that the glaciers are receding due to the warmer climate. Instead of continuing on the loop road that would of taken us back over roads we had driven the day before, we turned around and started back down. It's amazing how different the views are when you're driving the opposite direction. It's like an entirely different road. There was some smoke in the air from 3 different fires that were currently burning around the park. Some of the hillsides were damaged from the major fire in the park in 2006.

When we got down off the mountain, we stopped at the Lake McDonald Lodge for lunch and to enjoy the views of the lake.

The dining room was closed, so we ate in the lounge. John even had a sample of the local brew and the view from the deck was fantastic! We walked down to the lake, but John couldn't see any fish from the docks.

On the way back to the car we saw one of the famous tour trucks that was built by White Truck in the 1930s. Back in the 1990s they were falling apart, but the visitors loved them so much that Ford Motor Co. rebuilt them all with all new components. They're beautiful and they run on propane instead of gasoline.

If you would like to see all of our pictures from Glacier National Park, please click on this link to see our Picasa Album:

Thanks for sharing this adventure with us!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Change in Plans

We had planned to journey with the motorhome to Banff National Park, then on to Calgary, before going back to the United States. But, since we visited Banff and Lake Louise while we were parked at Radium Hot Springs, we decided to head back south and visit Glacier National Park before we go to SD to get our drivers licenses.

Looking on the map it showed we could start back south on Hwy. 95, and then connect with Hwy. 93/3 before Cranbrook and wind up on the west side of Glacier with many choices of RV parks to choose from.

Well, John started driving the motorhome and he somehow missed where Hwy. 93 split from Hwy. 3. Before we knew it, we were in Alberta, scratching our heads as to what to do. We looked at the map and saw that Hwy.6 would connect with Hwy. 98 in the US and get us to the east side of Glacier and then we could take Hwy.2 into the main entrance area.

Hwy. 6 was up and down hills, then up and down mountains. We made it to the US border with no problems, John even got into the right lane and didn't have any sirens going off. The real problems started on Hwy. 98. It went curvy up and curvy down, the road got worst and worst. There were frost heaves, pot holes, and the whole motorhome shook and bounced. And it went on & on.

We finally made it to Hwy. 2, exhausted and shook up. We turned right towards Glacier and drove about 25 miles to a great park, Glacier Meadows. It's still 35 miles to West Glacier and the entrance to the park, but we're in an open meadow with nice grass and a lot of space between sites. It's super quiet, and we even took Pearl out without a leash! The joys of the off season.

PS: It got down to 31 degrees last night, but it got up to 75 degrees during the day. The leaves are just starting to turn! Got to love the Fall.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Radium Hot Springs Pools

We couldn't visit the Radium Hot Springs area with visiting the original Hot Springs!

The pools are located inside the Kootenay National Park, and run by Canada Parks. There's also a spa offering massages, facials and assorted other stuff spas offer (you women know).

There are 2 different pools. The Hot Springs Pool, which is about 3-4 feet deep and huge, and a 50 meter cool pool with a diving board and swimming lanes. The hot pool is between 100-103 degrees and the cool pool is about 82 degrees. People don't swim in the hot pool, they just walk from place to place. One end of the pool is slightly hotter than the other. There's a shelf all around the perimeter of the pool that people can sit on, or lay back on.

The pedestal in the middle allows you to sit and look up at the cliffs. We sat there for awhile and looked up on the cliff hoping to see some wildlife like Mountain Goats, or Rocky Mountain Sheep, but they never appeared. We didn't even see any birds flying in the air. We did see some chipmunks!
We went back and forth between the two pools and it was really enjoyable. We didn't know if it cured anything, but we were both very relaxed and slept really well that night.

Moose, Meese, Mooses, Whatever

We've seen a lot of signs of moose since we've been in Idaho & Canada, but no real Moose...
We've seen a bear cross the highway right in front of us and almost cause a traffic accident! Cars swerved every which way to avoid the bear, and he just ambled across the road as if he owned it, walked along side of the road and then disappeared into the brush.
We also saw Mountain Sheep along side of the road as we were going downhill off the pass. They wandered back and forth without any though to the large semi trucks barreling down the road.
We saw lots of moose signs, shops, tee shirts, plaques, mugs, plates, clothing...
And even a fly fishing moose...but not a real one. I guess we'll just have to continue in our quest for a wild moose!
To see pictures of all of the real and fake animals we've seen so far, click on the link below:
We'll be adding to it, and I hope someday a picture of a live moose!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kootenay National Park

Today we decided to explore Kootenay National Park. We drove through the park yesterday to get to Lake Louise & Banff, but we didn't make any stops. So today we went back to look at what we missed and to do a little hiking.

Our first stop was Olive Lake, which was at the top of Kootenay Pass. It got it's name from the green color of the water. As you see from the picture it was a beautiful day with little wind so we got a good reflection. We walked around the lake and saw some very small brook trout which populate the lake. This lake is formed by springs in the lake and as you look at the bottom, you can see bubbles rising from where the springs are letting water into the lake.

We drove further into the park and stopped to hike along the Kootenay River. It's a blue-green color from the glacier flour in the water. The bottom is very stony. We never saw any fish in all of our stops along the rivers in the park, nor much plant life in the river. The water was very cold.

We stopped for lunch at the Kootenay Lodge, which consisted of a few cabins and a gift shop. The restaurant was only open for breakfast & dinner. Go figure. So we got some snacks and headed on to the paint pots.

The native americans (indians) used the dye from the paint pots as make up and to decorate their homes. It's an orange red color, and the natives would mix it with grease from animals, then bake it, then pound it into a powder. Then it was mixed with oil and used for decorations. It was an interesting walk with a lot of good historical information.

Our last stop was at Vermillion Falls. The stone here is black and very soft. Over the years the river has carved a canyon creating this falls. You can see where the water has carved away at the side walls making bowl shaped impressions. It was very pretty and sound of the water rushing over the falls was musical.

If you like to see all of the pictures from this day, just click on the link below:
Thanks for joining us on this trip.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lake Louise & Banff

Today we left the motorhome in Radium Hot Springs and drove through Kooteny National Park to Banff National Park. It was a beautiful drive except for the area that had a major forest fire in 2003. When we hit the junction of Hwy 93 and Transcanada 1, we turned left towards Lake Louise. We had very fond memories of a summer trip here with Jeni & Matt in our travel trailer. We camped at Lake Louise and always remembered as breathtaking. It hasn't changed, it's still a fantastic site. The blue-green water that starts at a glacier at the end of the lake has a milky quality from what is called glacier flour. It's very fine rock, so fine it stays suspended in the water causing the beautiful color. The end of the lake is occupied by the Chateau Lake Louise hotel which was built by the Canadian Pacific Railroad as a destination for vacationers to ride the train. It's a glorious old hotel managed by the Fairmont group of hotels-very high end and 5 diamonds on the AAA list. We enjoyed walking around the public rooms and listening to a lady play the harp at lunch. We then walked around part of the lake shore just drinking in the beauty.

We then left there and went to Morine Lake, another high lake fed by glaciers, but smaller with much less touristy attractions. It is reached by a narrow twisting road that seems to climb straight up. It is a deeper blue and the glacier seems closer and larger. You can rent canoes and paddle around the lake, but we were afraid John would tip a canoe over!

After a deli lunch we went back to the car and drove about 45 miles to Banff. It is more of a small village with a lot of shops and restaurants. It also has a famous CPR hotel built on some natural hot springs.We enjoyed the sites and parks. We found this beautiful falls just outside of town.

Then it was back to the motorhome to feed our dog and ourselves. It was a fun day of reliving great memories and making new ones.

If you wish to see all of the photos from our trip, click on:

and it will take to our web album.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Welcome to Canada

On Friday we spent the day cleaning the motorhome top to bottom. John got ambitious and washed to exterior of the motorhome by hand. It looked great. Of course, now we're expecting rain. Linda cleaned the interior and caught up on the laundry. Just like a stick, we need to keep everything neat & tidy.

On Saturday morning, bright & early for a change, we pull up hoses, dumped and packed everything including Pearl, and headed north. Naturally we had to stop just before the border because we forgot to get our passports out of the safe. Continuing on, we reached the border. Now this was a very small two lane road crossing from Idaho to British Columbia on Hwy. 95. US border agents just waved us through, and then we pull up to a very narrow window in Canada. There was no one in the guard window, so we waited. Then the light turned green, and John proceeded to leave the border, and all kinds of sirens when off! They ran after us with guns drawn and wearing body armor after we stopped, and had us do a u-turn back to the guard window. Stupid John thought that he could pull into the bus lane to avoid the narrow pathway, but they came out again and had us do another u-turn. This time John got the motorhome into the narrow lane, without hitting any of the barriers. We handed them our passports, they walked away to check them in the computer, then we were waved through without any other problems. We heaved a huge sigh of relief, and started to our final destination of Radium Hot Springs.

The campground is very nice and we'll be here for 5 nights. Of course, in Canada our cell phones don't work except for 76 cents a minute roaming charges. Don't expect to hear from us until we get back in the U.S.A. We thought we could keep in touch by email using their wifi service. When we went to the clubhouse on Sunday night to try it, it was broken. We had to settle for a few laps in the pool and time in the hot tub.

We did look around the aria on Sunday to get the lay of the land. It's located in a valley, mostly a tourist area with many hotels, restaurants, and golf courses. There's some beautiful lakes and rivers.

John insisted we stop at the visitor center like he always does, but Linda made the real find behind the visitor center was a group of deer. Up close and personal!

Tomorrow we're going to explore the National Parks near here. We'll let you know what we find.
If you want to see the rest of the photos of this day click on:

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Coeur D'Alene

On Thursday, 9-6, we drove over to visit the city & lake Coeur D'Alene. It's the largest city in Northern Idaho, with a population of about 40,000. It has a neat downtown right on the NW side of the lake, with a nice resort, park, marina, and the world's largest floating boardwalk.

It was such a pretty day and the lake was so beautiful we decided to take a 2 hour boat tour of the lake. It's a natural lake, extending 23 miles to the south, with 109 miles of shoreline. Coeur D'Alene had two major industries before the tourists took over, timber & mining. Both of these industries created much wealth and some of that money was spent on lake front homes. In fact some of the homes are only accessible by boat, and all of the materials to build the houses had to be delivered by barge. To this day, these homes receive US Mail by boat to a mailbox on their dock. The boat tour took us by many beautiful homes, some resort developments, and the Coeur D'Alene Golf Course with it's famous floating green in the lake. There is a special boat, named "Putter" that takes golfers from the tee to the green. Each golfer gets two shots on making the green, or if it lands in the lake they have to take a drop on the green. That way everyone gets to putt out, but it doesn't hold up play very long. They stated that each year 24,000 golf balls drop in the lake, to be recovered by divers and resold at the pro shop. Sounds like a profit making hole.

After the boat tour, we went to lunch in the downtown area. John spotted a small hamburger shop that had been in business since 1907 so we thought we would try it. The menu consisted of a hamburger, a double hamburger, a cheeseburger, a double cheeseburger. No fries, chips or salads. We were asked if we wanted pickles and onions. We said no onions. That's what we got. A bun, a patty, and pickles-no lettuce or tomato. As condiments they offered hot sauce, hot mustard or ketchup. And the only other items on the menu were drinks or pie. Talk about a limited menu! The restaurant consisted of a counter with about 24 stools. We ate about 2:30, and there were people waiting for a stool. The hamburgers were OK, but we couldn't see the appeal.

We wandered around downtown enjoying the unique shops and art galleries. Then as we were leaving, John noticed a small museum that had a train display so he had to stop. It was interesting to see the history of the lake region, what part trains played and how things had changed over the years. These small museums can be very interesting and it shows how some area develop and change.

After the museum we decided to visit the Coeur D'Alene Casino, which was about 20 miles away to compare it to Matt's establishment. The hotel was smaller, and casino was for slot machines only with no table games, and it was smoky. The big difference was the golf club, a very nice course that was 3 years old and seemed to be a very nice design. We took some pictures for Matt as his hotel will be opening their golf club next year.

It was a long drive back to the RV resort as John took the wrong direction which led us through Spokane during rush hour. Pearl was very happy to see us as we were late with her dinner.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sandpoint, ID and Lake Pend Oreille

Today we visited Sandpoint, ID, which is about 45 miles east of the RV Resort. The drive was beautiful along the Pend Oreille lake. It is the largest & deepest lake in ID. It's 43 miles long, and has 111 miles of shoreline. The deepest part of the lake is 1358 feet, deep enough that the Navy tests submarines here.

Sandpoint is an interesting city that has a lot of art and cultural charm to the downtown. Unknown to us, it is the headquarters for one of Linda's favorite stores, Coldwater Creek. The flagship store was nice, but nothing was on sale. John really appreciated that, and also the wine bar upstairs. He had a good California Voigner while Linda shopped.

We didn't buy much, but we did buy something for little Iris, our niece. She'll have to wait to find out what we found for her.

John's in heaven as there's a lot of Moose stuff, including the cafe called The Mangy Moose. Luckily for Linda, there's not a lot of room in the motorhome for Moose stuff.

On the way back we were on the south side of the lake and though we could make it back to the campground that way on backroads. Well, the backroads started getting narrower, and then we saw a sign that stated "Pavement Ends". Rather than going back, we trusted our car GPS and finally made it back to blacktop and a bridge to get us over to the other side of the lake and home. It was a fun end to the day. Pearl was glad to see, as she though we got lost.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

We Move-And Have a Bad Day

We wrapped up our stay at Tall Chief RV Resort in Fall City, WA on Tuesday, 9-4. We extended our stay here through Labor Day to avoid the holiday crowds. We also liked our private space, good TV reception, and the adult craft classes they offered that Linda enjoyed.

On Tuesday the weather was supposed to be chance of rain, but late Monday night (Midnight)we had a terrible thunderstorm that dropped a ton of rain and scared our dog Pearl. She jumped in bed shaking like a leaf in the wind, and panting hard. When we got up the next morning, our awning was full of water and the arm that supported the canvas was broken. You'd think by now John would know enough to get the awning in when rain is expected!

John called Girard, the awning manufacturer, and they walked him through bringing the awning in and securing it so that we could move to our next park. We won't be able to use the awning until we get it fixed when we get back to L.A.

So off we go over the mountain to Newport, WA, which is just 40 miles north of Spokane. We got there without any further problems, but after setting everything up, John turned on the TV and nothing happened! The front TV stopped working and it blinks a red light 2 times every 10 seconds. And we're in the middle of nowhere and can't get it fixed. The TV in the bedroom works, so we're not totally out of entertainment. We're just wondering what's going to go wrong next. It's almost like owning a home.

We're going to stay here in Newport until Saturday, 9-8, and then we're going to move onto our adventure in Canada. Our first stop will be in Radium Hot Springs, BC. So if we're glowing when we see you next you'll know why.