Sunday, May 31, 2009


We've spent the last 2 days at Evergreen Campground on US-95 south of New Meadows, Idaho.  Earl went out fishing this morning and caught two trout!  Not big ones, but large enough not to have to throw back, and will be enough to eat together with our steak for tonight's dinner.
We will have to find someplace cooler, was in the high 80's yesterday and looks like it's going to be the same today.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

We're sitting in a church parking lot in Council, ID having lunch...and I have Internet access!
Yesterday's trip to Hells Canyon was a disappointment.  We missed the turnoff to go up to the Visitor's Center, and once we figured it out, we were several miles down the road and didn't feel like turning back.  So we ended up boondocking outside of McCormick Park on Oxbow Reservoir just downstream from the Brownlee Dam.  It was over 90 degrees, so we turned on the generator and the A/C.  Fortunately, it cooled off in the evening.  The biggest disappointment, for me, was that I was expecting to see the deep canyon of Hells Canyon...I don't know where one can see that, but it certainly isn't at this location!  We'll have to do some more research to find out WHERE we can actually see the canyon and go earlier or later in the year when the temperatures are cooler.
The road southeast into Cambridge was exciting, particularly as it winds it's way along Brownlee travels right along the edge of the drop off with little in the way of shoulders and very few guard rails!  Next time we come this way, we'll travel from Cambridge...that way, we'll be on the INSIDE!
We stopped in Cambridge to dump tanks and fill up with water and then in Council to fill up an empty propane tank. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

We'll be leaving Hilgard Junction State Park sometime this morning and stopping by the La Grande post office to pick up our mail...hopefully. 
Our mail forwarding service sends priority mail out with a delivery confirmation, but the post office's tracking of said piece of mail is rather hit or miss.  For example, the tracking page on the USPS's website says that our mail left the Portland facility at 11 PM Tuesday night, yet there is no indication that it has arrived at the La Grande post office.  Now, it simply cannot take 3 days to make it from Portland to La Grande, can it?  So, we'll go by the post office with our fingers crossed that the mail is there.
Our plans are to head south from La Grande on SR-203 to Baker City and then head east on SR-86 to Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.  Depending on how hot it is there, we may spend a couple of days or so there.  I doubt very much that we'll have Internet access there, so I probably won't be posting anything here for a couple of days.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Yea, new steps!

Before leaving Baker City, we stopped by Sumpter Junction for breakfast.  We both had their special with German sausage and new potatoes...yum!
Then in was on to Thunder RV in La Grande where we had the new steps installed that we'd ordered last week (actually, only the bracket was installed, since the steps are removable).  We bought the Torklift 5-step Glow Step,  While we had a folding step stool to help with the step from the ground to the bumper, the step from the bumper up into the camper was a big one and wasn't doing my hip any good, so we decided to pay the money to get the steps. 
While we were at the dealers, we had them fix a couple of small things we'd noticed: one of the rails on the slide needed to be tightened up (although it hadn't caused any problems) and one of the interior decorative pieces was coming loose, so it was reattached.
After we got through at the dealer's, we went to the Wal-Mart next door to do grocery shopping and then went by the storage yard to get some things from the fifth wheel (since Earl now has an annual Idaho fishing license, he wanted to pick up the waders he'd bought last year and has yet to use).
We're spending a couple of days out at Hilgard Junction State Park waiting for our mail to come, and the new steps are really nice!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Before we left Melba this morning, we took Mom to the Super Wal-Mart in Nampa to do grocery shopping.
Afterward, we drove to Kuna to dump tanks and fill the fresh water tank.  Since we were so close, we decided to stop by Camping World to pick up a few items.  When we walked up to the counter to pay, we found Mike and Mary Michaels (neighbors who live across the street from the house we used to own in Quartzsite) there, too!  They're on their way to Spokane and are spending a few days with friends in Caldwell. 
Since it was lunch time, we all went to Say You Say Me in Nampa for lunch.  It was great seeing friends in unexpected places!
We're spending the night at a highway gravel storage yard on SR-86 east of Baker City...not the most exciting place, but it's quiet, and better yet, free.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

We decided that, instead of fighting the mobs of people heading for the mountains to fish over the 3-day weekend (fishing season started here in Idaho this past Saturday), we'd visit my Mother's place in Melba.
My youngest sister, Randi, was here with her new baby...the first time Earl and I have seen him since his birth.  He's a real cutie...I'm glad he's someone else's, though! ;-)
I helped cut some flowers from my Mother's yard and we all (including my brother and sister-in-law and their kids) went to put flowers on Andy, Sr.'s grave.  It was a beautiful day out and Melba Cemetery sits up on a hill with a great view of the valley below...not too shabby a place to spend eternity!

White Bird Pass

Here are the pictures I said I'd post that we took from the Nez Pierce War Interpretive Site while we were driving down the road from White Bird Pass.  They don't really do justice to the magnificent view, though!

More Pictures

Here are some pictures of a relief that was on the "comfort station" at the Kooskia, ID city park.  Although it doesn't really show up well in the pictures, they were 3-D, not just a flat painting.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This is my first chance to make a post since we were at the city park in Kamiah since we haven't had Internet access since then.
When we left Kamiah on Wednesday, we went by the laundromat in town to do laundry (of course...why else does one go to a laundromat).  We walked in the door and quickly turned around and walked out again...bad!  Of the half-dozen or more front-loaders along one wall, most of them had "out of order" signs on the place just didn't look clean.  We did stop at the Texaco station next to Harvest Foods grocery store which had the least expensive diesel that we'd seen in town, $2.359.
We checked out the laundromat as we went through Kooskia, too, but pretty much the same story as Kamiah...bad. 
So on we went to Grangeville...very pretty drive on SR-13 between Kooskia and Grangeville,  particularly once the valley in which Grangeville sits opens up to view.  Earl tells me we've been through Grangeville before, but I don't remember...maybe we came in from the opposite direction and the views aren't as grand?
Anyway, we found the laundromat in wasn't so bad, so we did laundry and then went to Subway for lunch.
When we left Grangeville, we drove south on US-95 toward White Bird.  Our intention was to leave US-95 and drive the old 95, which is now CR-95, but we missed the turnoff, so we'll have to try again at a later date.  However, even on US-95, the views heading south into White Bird are FABULOUS!  Wow!  I did take some pictures, which I'll post later (the connection is too slow where we are currently to try sending pictures), but I know they won't do justice to the view.
About 5 miles south of White Bird, and just after passing over the Salmon River, we pulled off into Twin Bridges Sportsman Access to spend the night.  It's a large, grassy area next to the Salmon River where you can camp for up to 10 days...for free.
In the morning, while Earl was walking Maxx, he noticed a lone duckling swimming in the some what quiet waters along the edge of the appears that it had gotten separated from its mother.  Hope the little thing finds her soon...I don't know how long a small duckling can survive on its own.
This morning, we continued our trip down US-95 and then on SR-55 once we got to New Meadows.  We're spending the night at Tripod Sportsman Access west of Smiths Ferry a couple of miles.  Strangely, while we have no phone service on our Net10 phone, we DO have Internet access with our Verizon USB modem...slow, but useable, at least for email.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


View from the beginning of the grade on SR-11 down to Greer.

View from our campsite looking up the North Fork of the Clearwater River.

View of our campsite at Aquarius Campground.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Well, we're down off the mountain...went as far as Aquarius Campground near the end of the paved section of FR-247, about 24 miles from Headquarters, and spent the night there.  Thunder, lightening, and HAIL during the night!  Noisy inside the camper with the hail bouncing off the plastic vent covers and skylight cover in the bathroom.  Maxx didn't like it at all!
We drove the remaining portion of SR-11 through Pierce and Weippe, down the mountain to Greer at its junction with US-12.  On the map, the last section of road down to Greer looked to be really twists and turns its way down the mountain and has lots of 15- and 20-MPH curves, but the road has wide shoulders and concrete barriers on most turns (and we were on the inside for most of the trip down), so it wasn't as bad as we had feared it would be.
We're spending tonight at the city park in for 48-hours or $5 per night with electricity.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I forgot to mention that when we were out and about on Saturday, that Earl stopped and bought an annual Idho fishing license (expensive for non-residents!!!). He went out fishing yesterday, but didn't catch anything...wrong bait? All he had were lures, no worms.

We're taking off today to drive the loop that goes east from Orofino (Grangemont Road), south through Pierce (SR-11) and then southwest and west back to US-12. I don't know if we'll make the complete trip today...we may decide to drive up FS-247 at least as far as the Aquarius Campground (the road becomes unpaved shortly after that) and may stay overnight at one of the campgrounds along the way. I doubt that we'll have Internet access any place along this road (with the possible exception of Pierce or Weippe), and we certainly won't have cell phone service (we haven't had any cell phone service even when we drove into Orofino), so no new posts will be added here for a day or two.

We do have a Spot Messenger which has both a 9-1-1 feature and a "Help" feature which summons roadside service. It works off satellite, so we don't need to be near any cell towers for it to work.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

On our way back from the Dworshak Dam Visitor's Center, we stopped by the Dworshak National Fish hatchery. We saw just a portion of this large hatchery, but had a laugh watching the fingerling in one of the holding tanks trying to jump up the water cascading down from the higher pond just like their larger relatives do.

We drove up to Dworshak Dam expecting to tour the Visitor's Center. Unfortunately, they were closed, but we did get some nice pictures:

The above picture shows how low the lake behind the dam is.

The above two pictures was part of a display outside the Visitor's Center

Friday, May 15, 2009

I guess perhaps I should mention that we've decided against going to Alaska...a fact you'll probably figure out once you realize that we're headed in the opposite direction. For the next three nights, for instance, we'll be spending at Pink House BLM Recreation Area on the Clearwater river west of Orofino, Idaho.

Why aren't we going to Alaska, you ask? Well, besides the fact that the price of diesel is creeping up (and will be even more expensive in Canada...the farther north we would have gone, the more expensive it would have become) and the exchange rate is going down, we keep pointing out all the neat places we can go now here in the good old USA now that we have the camper. We kept saying that we could visit those areas next year, but finally decided that perhaps we weren't all that excited about a third trip to Alaska and would rather check out all the little places in Idaho and other Northwest states (perhaps as far south as Nevada) that we wouldn't go in our larger fifth wheel.

When we arrived at our site here, we unloaded the camper from the truck...the first time we've done so. We'll most likely do some exploring up at Dworshak Dam...the camp host here says they have an excellent Visitor's Center there. We may also check out some of the campgrounds along Dworshak Reservoir.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We had a great time in Spokane visiting with our friends Mary & George Doran (Mary and I went to high school together back in Phoenix...way back in the dark ages).

Last night we went to dinner with them at Thai Bamboo, a restaurant we hadn't been to in the past (the one we used to go to is apparently no longer in business). Thai Bamboo is located on Sprague, east of Pines...and they have great food! Definitely someplace to which we'll return.

Before we left Spokane this morning, we stopped at PetsMart to pick up more Missing Links Plus and dry food for Maxx, Wal-Mart for groceries, and then stopped on our way out of town at the Petro station for diesel ($2.639).

We took back roads south to St. John where we are spending the night at a small RV Park (6 sites) sponsored by the St. John Community Club. It's right next to the golf club, has full hookups, and the fee is by donation. Although we've never stayed here before, Earl and I checked it out several years ago after someone who lives in St. John had told us about it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Last night was spent at Hilgard Junction State Park about 8-9 miles west of La Grande at the junction of I-84 and SR-244...we were the only ones there.

When we left Heppner yesterday morning, we drove SR-74 into Pendleton where we did laundry, grocery shopping, and diesel ($2.369).

This morning, we drove up to Eagle Cap where they fixed the bathroom wall which the door slides against (it had started to bow). As Earl was walking around, he noticed that they are apparently now using a different hand like we have on the fifth wheel, instead of the piece of junk they put on ours. They offered to change out the hand rail, so we now have a much nicer one.

After we finished up at Eagle Cap, we went by D&B Supply to get a long-sleeved shirt for me (for protection against those Canadian and Alaska mosquitoes) and new shoes for Earl (he'd only brought one pair with him).

We stopped in Elgin and had lunch at Huang Gheng, a Chinese restaurant, where we had some really good food!

When we left Elgin, we turned on SR-204 and drove through the Blue Mountains. This is the first time we've ever driven through the Blues on any road other than I-84 and it was beautiful! We checked out several of the Sno-Parks for possible summer camping on a return trip...the mountains were still deep with snow (except for the road) and cold.

Tonight we're at the Walla Walla Elks Lodge, the first time we've stayed here. The property is really pretty at this time of year with lots of white and pink flowering Dogwood trees! The lodge is in the downtown area, so there's lots of traffic going by on the street behind us, but I imagine that it will quiet down come night.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

When we left Haystack Reservoir, we headed north on US-97, stopping in Madras to fill up with diesel ($2.399). We turned off of US-97 at SR-293 and drove up to Antelope, the town most closely associated with the Rajneeshpuram, a religious group of some notoriety during the 1980's.

From there, we drove SR-218, which we'd never been on before. While the road was narrow with no shoulders and lots of twists and turns, it had some spectacular scenery, especially once we got to the area where we could look down into the valley through which the John Day River flows. This is also the area of the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil beds. We stopped at the Trail of the Fossil pullout at the base of the Palisade Cliffs and took the short 1/4-mile hike up through the lower portion. After the hike we drove about another 1/4-mile to 1/2-mile to the picnic area and had lunch.

After lunch, we continued east and north on SR-218 to Fossil, SR-19 to Condon and SR-206 to Heppner. Originally, we were going to stay at the Elks Lodge, but besides it being right in the middle of town, with no good place to walk Maxx, they have dinner on Saturday nights, and the parking lot is pretty small. So, instead, we're out at Willow Creek Lake RV Park, which (I believe) is a city-run park...$15 for partial hookups of water and electric and $18 for full hookups. They also have weekly and monthly rates, but I didn't really note the fees for the longer stays.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Before leaving AM Solar this morning, we filled up with fresh water and then dump tanks at the Union 76 station on Main Street (south of AM Solar's location) where we also filled up a propane tank.

When we drove from Sisters to Springfield this past Sunday, we traveled US-26 and SR-126 which dumps right into Springfield. Leaving this morning, we drove up Marcola Road (the same road on which AM Solar is located) to SR-228 and into Sweet Home. From there, we traveled US-20 east back into Sisters. Neither of us remember ever driving this road before, so it was all new to us...and a beautiful drive.

We're spending the night at Haystack Reservoir, West Shore, a few miles south of Madras. We tried going to South Shore, but the entrance had a gate across it with a note that it was closed for renovations. Later, Earl got to talking to another camper who said that by next year, West Shore (which is currently free) is going to become a fee campground and South Shore will become a day use only area. Don't know who the guy is or if he knows what he's talking about, but I guess we'll see the next time we come through this area.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

I don't know what we were thinking, but we figured the inverter installation would go quickly and we'd be out of here by noon at the latest. Well, they weren't done until about 3:00. We were planning on going back to the Springfield Elks Lodge, but Deb and Greg offered to let us spend another night at their place, so we're spending another quiet night on AM Solar's park-like property.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

For breakfast this morning, we walked across the street to the Ye Olde Pancake House. Since we don't have to be back at AM Solar before 5:00 this afternoon (we're spending the night there in preparation for our inverter install tomorrow morning), we hung around the Eugene Elks Lodge until after lunch and then took off.

Our first stop was to fill up with diesel ($2.379) and then found the Wal-Mart where we did grocery shopping. We finally made it back to AM Solar and found a place to park in the back. They gave us the key to the bathroom, so later this evening, we took long, hot showers!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

We arrived at Don Marr's place around 9:00 AM and pulled into his bay, out of the rain. The crank-up dish was taken off and the Motosat has a 24" dish rather than the standard 18" dish, which is even better and will allow reception of TV farther north into Canada than would the smaller dish.

After the dish and controller were installed, and we were shown how to use it, we headed up to the Camping World in Junction City, stopping first at Dairy Queen for lunch.

We're back at Eugene Elks Lodge for the night, this time hooked up to electric so that we can watch TV...the first in over a week! OK, I know there are lots of people out there who don't watch any TV (so they claim), but we have our favorite programs (mainly on CBS) that will be having their season finales coming up.

Monday, May 04, 2009

We arrived at AM Solar's place just before 8:30AM and were directed to the open bay. Michael, the person who will be doing the bulk of the installation, checked out the camper and we determined the best place for the solar controller.

AM Solar has a really nice waiting room with Wi-Fi and we can even bring Maxx inside. Deb Holder even put a blanket up on the couch so that Maxx could lay up there (even though we brought his bed in)...what a spoiled dog!

The solar panels, batteries, and controller were installed today...the inverter will be installed on Thursday.

After today's installation was done, we drove over to the Eugene Elks Lodge in preparation for tomorrow's appointment with Don Marr at Oregon RV Satellite Service to have a Motosat Executive satellite TV dish installed.

When we ordered the camper, we debated whether or not to get the manual crank-up satellite TV dish offered as an option, or to have them install a dome. We chose the former which was a mistake. For one thing, the crank up is in the overhead, necessitating laying down on the bed to crank it up and turn it to find the satellite. Plus the fact that the Digital Magic, used to find the elevation, didn't work, we figured that we'd be much happier with an automatic dish.

We could have gone with a dome like we have on the fifth wheel, but I really wanted an open-faced dish since it's not subject to as much rain-fade because of rain and it will allow us to get a signal farther north into Canada than a dome. Winegard used to make a single-LNB automatic open-faced dish, but I couldn't find it on their website any more, so I looked at the Motosat dishes. The Motosat Executive is a single LNB automatic dish (we aren't interested in HD programming, so don't need one of the multiple-LNB dishes) which will fit our needs. In checking out the dealer locations on Motosat's website, we found Don's information and gave him a call. Fortunately, he was able to fit us in between the lull of having our solar installed, and better yet, he had a used system which will cost us less than a brand new one.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

We're spending tonight at the Springfield Elks Lodge in preparation for our appointment tomorrow morning at AM Solar to have solar panels, AGM batteries, and an inverter installed.

On our way from Sisters to Springfield, we stopped at a pullout along SR-126 about 3 miles or so north of its junction with SR-242 for a break. There was a bridge across the McKenzie River, so we decided to go for a short walk. We discovered a couple of places, one in particular, that would make a great boondocking spot...once it stops raining and the ground dries out. I took the picture below from the bridge looking upstream.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Tonight finds us at Sisters Overnight Park in Sisters, OR. This is the first time we've stayed at this particular park and it's nice, although expensive ($15 for dry camping sites, $13 for Seniors). They've converted 19 of the sites over to fullhookups: 15 30-amp for $34 ($30 for Seniors) and 4 50-amp for $38 ($34 for Seniors). I don't know what the other two RV parks in town (a KOA and Mountain View) charge for a stay...probably I guess this park's full hookup rates are the cheapest in town, but *we* wouldn't pay those prices!!!

Friday, May 01, 2009

We left the RV park early and headed for the storage area to finish up the preparations for storing the fifth wheel for several months: pumped the tires up to 85#, took off the Pressure Pro sensors, covered all the tires, covered the A/C unit, etc.

Then we headed off to LePage Park, a COE park along the John Day River where it dumps into the Columbia River, stopping in Pendleton to pick up groceries at Albertson's. The last time we were at this park was back in 2006 just after we'd finished up our volunteering at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Maxx was having problems, and he (apparently) got stung by something at this park and the area swelled up and was very painful. It broke open a day or so later necessitating a trip to another vet. It wasn't until we were in Sutherlin that the vet there finally diagnosed Maxx with Valley Fever.