Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rocky Mountain Canada goldenrod
Solidago lepida

Ow! Ow! Ow!

I'm in pain after spending Tuesday unloading stuff from the camper to the fifth wheel. Up and down the camper steps; up and down the fifth wheel steps...over and over again. I have problems with my hip hurting, anyway, but a whole day spent going up and down steps just exacerbates the problem. Wish I had a hot tub to soak in! Even though we have a lot of duplicates, it's amazing how much stuff still has to be transferred back and forth...mainly food, clothing, and toiletries.

After getting stuff transferred, we dropped the camper from the truck in the space to which we were assigned and took off to Ken & Joanne's place to pick up our fifth wheel hitch. Once installed, we went back to storage to pick up the fifth wheel and take it over to La Grande Rendezvous RV Resort.

On Wednesday, we went back to storage to winterize the camper. Before we could start, Earl discovered that we didn't have the right size socket wrench with which to take out the anode rod from the water heater so it could be drained, so we hopped back in the truck to find an auto center where we could buy one. We finally found a Napa store, go the socket wrench and went back to storage. We finally got the camper winterized...the first time we've ever had to winterize any RV we've owned, but it was a pretty simple job.

After completing the winterization, we went back out to Ken & Joanne's place to pick up the rest of our stuff and then went back to the RV park to relax (except Earl had to secure the generators into the bed of the truck).

This morning, after leaving the RV park, we went by Wal-Mart to pick up groceries and then headed back to Baker City to pick up the stuff we'd left at the truck & RV wash when we were there on Sunday. While there, we had the fifth wheel washed.

We're currently at Hilgard Junction State Park for the night.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chamerion angustifolium

On Thursday, the 20th, we left Wild Horse SRA and drove to my mother's house, stopping in Owyhee to fill up with diesel ($2.619) and in Mountain Home to have lunch at McDonalds.

Mom fed us a great dinner that night of homemade lasagna and the next night we had roast chicken...all delicious! On Saturday night, we took Mom to Krung Thai in brother and sister-in-law apparently don't like Thai food all that well, so we usually try to go there when we're visiting.

We had a great visit with Mom...didn't get to see my brother, Andy, or his boys as they were all off on a Scout camping trip, but we did get to see my sister-in-law, Kim.

We left my Mom's house yesterday and stopped in Nampa for groceries at Wal-Mart. We stopped in Baker City for diesel at the Albertsons ($2.709) and had the truck and camper washed at a truck/RV wash. Unfortunately, we left the chair, table, over-the-ladder caddy on which these two items were hung, and two bungee cords there...Earl had taken all the stuff off the ladder so that they could wash back we'll have to go back and get them!

The first thing we did when we got to La Grande was to go by the storage yard to turn on the refrigerator in the RV, in preparation for getting stuff transferred from the camper to the fifth wheel. We then drove out to Hilgard Junction State Park to spend the night.

This morning after breakfast, we drove out to Eagle Cap to have the bathroom vent repaired...they ended up replacing it with a Fantastic Fan...for free, which we didn't expect. They also took care of a couple of other small items.

We then went by the storage yard to get a spot for the camper and then had lunch at Denny's.

After lunch, we went by Thunder RV to pick up a couple of gallons of RV antifreeze since we'll be leaving the camper in La Grande over the winter, but they didn't have any in stock yet (as Dan pointed out, it's a bit early for most people to be winterizing, but we most likely won't be back to La Grande until next spring), but D&B Supply down the road had some in stock, so we went there and bought two gallons.

We're now at La Grande Rendezvous RV Resort where we will clean out the gray and black tank really well tomorrow morning, and drain the fresh water tank.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Campanula rotundifolia

Today is Maxx's 14th birthday! He's not doing too bad for a dog whose average life expectancy is 12 to 14 years, especially considering he's had Valley Fever for 3 years and now heart problems, probably due to the VF. Happy birthday, Maxx!

Last night we spent at South Fork SRA, south of Elko, Nevada. We found a site overlooking the reservoir. This is a nice would have been even better had it not been for the two young men who brought in a muscle car and had to keep revving the engine, and the grandfather who arrived after dark with his two young grandchildren and proceeded to let them scream. Fortunately, by the time we went to bed, everyone had quieted down.

We're now at Wild Horse SRA north of Elko, near the Nevada/Idaho border. We again have a site overlooking the reservoir and, so far at least, are the only people in this loop. Everyone else in this campground is crowded into one of the other loops. It always amazes me that given lots of room, some people feel a need to pick the spot right next to another camper. We were once parked at a BLM area south of Lake Havasu City...we were the only ones there, until someone else arrived and proceeded to set up within about 30 feet from us, despite the fact that there were acres in which to park!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cow Parsnip
Heracleum maximum

Earl didn't have any luck fishing in the river after lunch, either. :-(

We got up early yesterday morning, had one cup of coffee and headed over to the Frenchglen Hotel to have blueberry pancakes. Seating at the restaurant is family style...we sat at a table with a family who lives, I believe she said (it was noisy and hard to hear some of the conversation) in Lakeview, Oregon. The daughter will be a sophomore at the University of Oregon in Eugene this coming fall. Also with this family was a young man from Serbia (I assume here on a student exchange). After that family left, a couple from France sat down with us. All in all, it was a pleasant morning...and the blueberry pancakes were delicious!

After breakfast, we headed south. We were planning on stopping in Fields to have one of their great hamburgers and milk shakes, but we were still full from breakfast, so passed it up, stopping, instead, at a pullout along US-95 north of Winnemucca to have lunch.

We stopped at the Wal-Mart in Winnemucca for groceries, and then drove up to the Water Canyon BLM Campground south of town. This campground has a great view of the valley, although Winnemucca itself is hidden behind one of the hills.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mule's ears
Wyethia amplexicaulis

Earl and Maxx in the Crack in the Ground:

After having lunch at Sage Hen Rest Area, we drove into Burns, stopping to get groceries and diesel ($2.739). By the time we were finished with everything, it was nearing 2 PM (our usual get-off-the-road time), so instead of driving all the way down to Fish Lake, we ended up at The Narrows RV Park, about 30 miles south of Burns and at the intersection with the road that goes east to the Malheur NWR Headquarters. We had dinner at the Narrows restaurant...we were planning on having a piece of their homemade pie for dessert, but, as usual, were too full after eating dinner to even consider it!

The next morning, we decided to drive down to the Sod thing we hadn't seen when we volunteered at the Refuge back in 2006 because it doesn't open until August. Well, as it turns out, it doesn't open until August 15...the next day! Oh well, one of these days, we'll hit it just right and be able to visit.

We drove on up to Fish Lake, about 18 miles or so up into Steens Mountain from Frenchglen. Earl blew up his boat and did some fishing (we'd stopped at Steens Mountain Resort to buy a 3-day fishing license), but didn't catch anything, even though he said he got some bites.

It was cold up there, and even colder overnight...cold enough for there to be frost on the ground, so we decided to come back down the mountain this morning and camp at Page Springs, the campground at the base of the mountain. After lunch, Earl's going to go fishing in the nearby river.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sticky geranium
Geranium viscosissimum

When we left Moonestone Landing on Friday morning, we headed for my mother's house in Melba. We had a nice visit with her and a yummy steak dinner that evening.

The next morning, Saturday, before we left, my brother Andy, brought us over some fresh veggies from his garden: green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn on the cob, and others. Nothin' better than veggies fresh from a garden!

We stopped in Notus to fill with diesel ($2.699) and had lunch in Nyssa at the A&W. This time on our way west, we drove US-26...we have not driven this road east past John Day, so the portion from Vale to John Day was new to us. We spent the night at Yellowpine Campground along the road.

On Sunday evening, we stayed at the Elks Lodge in Prineville.

Monday morning, we left Prineville and continued our trip west to Springfield. Before leaving Prineville, we stopped to fill with diesel ($2.649) and stopped at the Wal-Mart in Springfield to do grocery shopping.

Our appointment with AM Solar was to be mid-morning on Tuesday, but after we were finished at Wal-Mart, we called them to see if they had room for us to park overnight so that we'd be there on Tuesday whenever they were ready for us, and they said come on over.

We made the appointment at AM Solar because we had discovered that our generator wasn't charging the batteries (solar does a great job of charging the batteries except on those cloudy days). Although our appointment wasn't until Tuesday, Greg came out to take a look and discovered that the Inteli-Power wasn't plugged into the converter...either it had not been plugged in to begin with, or the cord had worked itself out going over bumpy roads. Since the cord is short, we may have to end up getting an extension cord, but for the present, at least, that solved the problem!

We did spend the night at AM Solar. The next morning we left and did laundry. While I was doing the laundry, Earl went to dump the gray tank and fill up an empty propane tank. After laundry was done, we went to the self-service dog washing place to which Deb Holder (of AM Solar) had given us a $2-off coupon. Maxx doesn't like getting wet, but he sure does feel a lot better when he's all clean!

After that, we shopped at Costco, went to Camping World, and had lunch at McDonalds. Usually when we eat at McDonalds, we order off the Dollar Menu, but this time we both ordered their Angus Burger...yum!

Finally, we were done with all our chores, so headed off east on SR-58 and spent the night at a Sno Park at Willamette Pass.

Yesterday, we went through Christmas Valley and headed up a gravel road to the Crack in the Ground (scroll down to the article), a 2-mile long fissure. I've taken pictures, but don't have them uploaded from my camera yet, so will post them another time.

We're currently parked at Sage Hen Rest Area west of Burns and are heading to Fish Lake in the Steens Mountain. We probably won't have Internet access while we're up there.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Since we've been traveling in Idaho this summer, we've driven all or part of many of the state's Byways.

In the Panhandle Region:

Elk River Back Country Byway
Gold Rush Historic Byway
Northwest Passage Scenic Byway
St. Joe River Scenic Byway
White Pine Scenic Byway

In the West & Central Region:

City of Rocks Back Country Byway
Payette River Scenic Byway
Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway
Salmon River Scenic Byway
Sawtooth Scenic Byway
Thousand Springs Scenic Byway
Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway

And in the East Region:

Fort Henry Historic Byway
Lost Gold Trails Loop
Mesa Falls Scenic Byway
Sacajawea Historic Byway
Teton Scenic Byway

That leaves several more to drive...I'm particularly interested in doing the Owyhee Uplands Back Country Byway.
Rosy Indian paintbrush
(Castilleja rhexifolia Rydb.)

When we left the snopark on Tuesday morning, we stopped in McCall to pick up groceries and fill the truck with diesel ($2.559).

We then headed south on SR-55, taking CR-24 east at Banks. CR-24 runs along the Payette River and the South Fork of the Payette River...sometimes far above the river (this is the Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway). At Lowman, CR-24 ends and we continued northeast on SR-21 to just past Banner Summit (at 7,020') where we took the turnoff to Bull Trout Lake. We checked out the campground at the lake, but none of the sites were actually on the lake; however, we'd spotted some free spots driving in that were right on a smaller, unnamed, lake, so we went back and parked.

Earl got out his boat, inflated it, and went to fishing. Unfortunately, nothing was biting, either that evening when he was fly fishing or the next morning when he was using worms.

We spent last night at Elk Meadows Road northeast of Stanley on SR-21, the same place we'd boondocked when we stayed in Stanley earlier. When we left this morning, we stopped by the Stanley Ranger Station to dump the gray tank and add more fresh water. We also stopped in Hailey for diesel ($2.699).

Tonight we're at Moonstone Landing, a sportsman access area on US-20 west of its junction with SR-75. Fortunately, the weather has cooled off, at least temporarily, so we don't need to run the generator for the air conditioning.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Silky lupine
(Lupinus sericeus Pursh)

One picture I forgot to post yesterday was of a B&B we saw from US-95 while driving by Cottonwood. It was so unique, that we got off the road to get a closer look and take a picture of the Dog Bark Park Inn Bed & Breakfast:

After leaving the RV park this morning, we stopped to do laundry in town. It was the type of laundromat that gives a bad name to laundromats, and is why I HATE going to them...dirty with a good portion of the machines out of order. To make matters worse, when Earl went to the bank to get a couple of rolls of quarters, the woman there told him that she uses the laundromat to wash things she doesn't want to do in her own machine at home! Well, that really gives one confidence!

We're spending the night at the sno park we've boondocked at before that's located off US-55 between New Meadows and McCall. It's hot enough to have to run the generator and the air.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Lanceleaf stonecrop
(Sedum lanceolatum Terr.)

We left Elk River this morning and headed back the way we'd come, stopping in Juliaetta to fill up a propane tank. When we got back to US-12, we headed south on US-95, stopping in Lapwai to get groceries.

We traveled through some really pretty farm country...reminded us a lot of Washington's Palouse country. We saw several trestle bridges and stopped at an historic site that explained about them:

So why is the canyon called Lawyer Canyon?

Tonight, we're at Sundown RV Park in Grangeville.