We are back on the road... We recieved the truck about 3 yesterday afternoon with snow falling and blowing. We decided the road to Idaho Falls should be good so we pulled out. SNOW, SLEET, RAIN, and Heavy WIND right in our face...Were the heck is that SUN we've been expecting??? Idaho Falls this morning is right at 30 degrees, we are just finishing breakfast and READY !!!
We are all packed up and ready to pull out of our storage area in the morning...Mexico, Belize, and beyond...this is going to be one hell of a journey.
In celebrating Lou's birthday, Amy had a birthday cake (Gluten Free) made in the image of Bumble Bee the van we had in Europe...what a great surprise.
Today is feeling a little like Fall but that only means our Mexico journey is only getting closer...all this and the plants are just starting to come together...
What started out to be a long drive to the Farmers Market in Moscow, Idaho turned out to be a FULL day of very interesting tastes and beautiful sites of Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington. I saw this photo in the market of one of 3 wooden bridges in Washington state so being close by we went out to find it...the drive to find it even took us over miles of dirt road. The dust and ruts made the drive worth it with the bonus of, amazing farm lands, green valleys, rivers running wild, and a HUGE MOOSE foraging deep in the ponds and grassy areas around it!!!
Oh boy it is bitter cold up here. I just checked the weather in Cabo, La Penita, and Benidorm, Spain. We've just got to get out of here... Fact is, we are process of "practice" packing now and soon.... Oh Yaaaa.... Have a HAPPY and HEALTHY NEW YEAR!
_OK, OK, I’ve fallen and I had a heck of a time getting back up…(to write the blog of course). Our drive out of Mexico was un-eventful with but one exception… a few miles north of Santa Anna, I got a little sleepy so I decided to find a spot just outside of a small village to pull over and grab a quick nap. Our location was directly in front of a gated hotel and with the large pull off they had, I felt it was just perfect. I had been back on the bed about 15-20 minutes and I heard Louise talking with someone and telling them that I was just back taking a short nap…well hearing that, and already having had my shut-eye, I got up. What I found as I walked to the front of the couch was one of the most unbelievable sights I could have imagined…we were being “guarded” by a large group of “Federal Police”. I’m not sure why, but I sure didn’t mind one bit. As we pulled away and continued heading towards the border, we both waved at our regiment but they just kept their eyes and emotions to themselves. After we had our “vehicle import” stickers taken off and crossed the border, we stopped for the night at the Oregon Pipe Cactus National Monument. That is one great and beautiful spot to enjoy a night or a couple of weeks stay. Yuma was our next stop for a couple of weeks and then another week in Pahrump.
_While in Pahrump we decided to head toward Death Valley and another visit to the China Ranch Date Farm. I had a need for a date shake...
_Unfortunately we had to make an appointment with Cummins motors in Las Vegas. I say “unfortunately”, but we had a problem and they fixed it, so all was good. It was so good that we decided to stay in Las Vegas 3 more nights to enjoy the “Fremont St” area AND take a drive out to the Valley of Fire.
_From that point we finally decided as to which way we were going to travel to Spokane…I-15 to Butte and then I-90 to Spokane. Bbbuuuttt…., not so fast !!! This route also took us into some areas of Utah that we haven’t been in before. Provo, Salt Lake City, and I must say so much more. Our drive north was great. We celebrated Louise’s mother’s memorial in Spokane, drove to Seattle in our car to see our doctors (for our “annual check-ups), visited great friends in Mt. Vernon,
_family in Manson, and then back a month and 2 days later to pick up the coach and move to Coeur d’Alene. If we plan our trips to Coeur d'Alene right, we find ourselves there in time to enjoy the annual "CAR d'Alene. They always have a great weekend for this and this year was no different. Outstanding cars from all over the Northwest come into town to drive the circuit and show while sitting in the "show and shine" area.
_In the meantime, I ordered a new bicycle that was delivered to me when we arrived in CDA and now we’re ready to finally head east.
_3 October 2010 Stepping out of the coach this morning with my first cup of coffee I could see we were in a very special place. Part of it was the play of light as the morning sun crosses the lava. Our plans were to stay a couple of days and see and do as much as we could. I hate to say it, but the elevation of 5,900 feet showed me that it’s been awhile since I’ve been hiking at this altitude. Fortunately the effects of 5,900 feet didn’t last long but I know that it’s going to take a while for me to bet used to it. Soon Louise joined me and we drove off into the lava fields. Seeing as how there are over 400 square miles of lava fields to see we opted to see and enjoy the closest 1/3rd, but that also entailed driving a little closer to some of the locations we wanted to see and explore. The Monument contains some outstanding examples of spatter cones so that was one of our first stops. A spatter cone
_is the later stages of an eruption that pushes lava streams out through the side or top which usually ends the life of the flow. Throughout the Monument there are over 25 such cones, but we only closely explored 3 of them. One hike that we took was to the top of the largest cones in the “near” park. It was over 180 feet deep…
_We also hiked out through the lava flows to find 4 or 5 tubes (caves) that we could explore up close and personal. One of the caves we explored left us with a small opening to climb out of that would have been real tough if we were but just another 4 to 6 inches in diameter larger.
_It was also very interesting to see the twisted, wavy sea of the now hardened lava flow. In the moonlight its glazed surface has a silvery sheen that comes across as a fine piece of artwork.
_Now speaking of “moonlight and artwork”, you should see the stars that we enjoyed on our first night during a perfectly clear night, amazing...
_Well I’m going to use this time and page for a little “catch-up”. About 3 months ago we were sitting in the parking lot of the Snohomish Indian Casino. This Casino is located just outside of North Bend, Washington or about 15 miles east of Seattle. We were on our way to Infinity Coach in Sumner to have the coach serviced (oil, filter, etc…). Just as we were pulling away from our spot at the casino we noticed a good sized oil glaze on top of the wet pavement. I crawled under the coach to find that the fuel tank was leaking diesel fuel, drop by drop. As luck would have it we had them pull the tank and take care of that while doing the service. Then about a month ago I decided to get rid of the water filter that sat under our kitchen sink…it looked like it would only take a few minutes to remove and re-attach the two water lines to each other. Well that was a mistaken thought, it took me about 2 hours of sweat blood and tears and it still leaked off and on. Now it only leaks when it wants to surprise me…what the hell is that all about? Just as I think things are all good, the hot water tank decides that it will only work on propane. Well I grab the circuit tester and go to work checking all the switches, wires, and the electric element to see if any of those was the culprit. Sure as heck I found that one of the switches had completely burned out so with a quick trip down and back from Lowes, I had it fixed in no time. Today we finished up with our last on-going, and we hope won’t happen again, problem. My debit card was compromised a couple of weeks ago and someone charged just under $3000 on it at Best Buy in New York. Then Louise lost her purse and had to cancel our credit cards. Well today we are happy to say that we are able to use our new CC and our debit cards again…Wheew… Friday we leave Coeur d’Alene and head into Montana, Salt Lake City, and then Steamboat Springs, Colorado before heading into Mexico for our second winter there.
_15 August ‘09 Saturday
Boy last night turned out to be a long session, but I got most of it done. Now to bring “us all” up-to-date. Just after we got back to the coach from Saturday’s wedding we got an email from Laurie and Bob Lynch. The last time we saw Bob and Laurie just outside of San Francisco last year. They have been making a swing through the northwest and had just moved out of Montana and found a place to settle in Idaho. I tried to call back but soon found that our phone service wasn’t the best. The next morning Louise and I decided to head up north and join them for a couple of days just outside of Hope, Idaho. This was our first time to camp in Sam Owen State Park and found it to be a great camping site and right on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille.
_Bob and Laurie have been kayaking buddies for a number of paddles and this is giving us another opportunity to get on the water with them and that’s one reason we’re here. Louise and I have paddled 2 or 3 places on Lake Pend Oreille, but not up here on the north end. Laurie found a great book with some amazing locations to kayak and we were soon off to do a couple of them. Our first outing took us out of Johnson’s Landing. We followed the channels as they stayed close to the tall hills (small mountains…) and then out into the lake. Crossing one of the larger channels we soon found ourselves paddling into a water path that was set up on both sides by tall reeds and trees that guided us around one bend to the next…we did this for well over 4 hours (including time off for eating lunch in the kayaks).
_We did have a couple of times when the wind worked against us and sent whitecaps splashing hard against the paddles but most of the trip was just amazing. We had been watching the Osprey pretty much all morning and as we rounded one of the corners we saw a very unusual site…a young Osprey sitting low to the water and hiding behind a stump (it thought it was hiding anyway). Louise and I turned our kayak and headed back to get a photo and a better look. We didn’t want to scare it, but I’m sure we did….sorry… The next morning we were off to kayak a river. For a river run, we needed a drop-off vehicle and a pick-up vehicle so we loaded the kayaks into the back of Bob’s truck and after leaving our car behind at the exit of our paddle, we drove up to the beginning to get into the water. The water level looked a little low but we decided that low or not, we were going to give it a try. We hadn’t paddled but a hundred yards and we were out and pulling the kayaks.
_We pulled for about 25 yards and then with the water deep enough, we got back in. Now that wasn’t the last of the “shallow” water but we were able to get through most of the shallower areas by “raising our butts” and pushing with our paddles until free.
_This was another great day of kayaking as we leisurely paddled the 9 miles of winding and twisting water of the Pack River.