Friday, August 31, 2012


Is it Friday already?  Seems like we just shut down the Detroit Diesel a day ago.  We continue to do our daily 4 mile walk.  I sensed a little more humidity in the air this morning, and TLE concurred.  There was a chance of rain today, but it never materialized.

After our walk we cooled down for a while then took showers, and headed into town to do our shopping.  We needed to restock our supplies as we head east into Utah, and Wyoming.  After stops at Costco and Frey Meyers we headed to the Post Office to get some Priority Mail boxes so I could mail off a couple of things I had sold on Ebay.

By the time we arrived home the temperature had climbed into the 90's, but soon a heavy cloud cover came over and dropped temps back into the high 80's.

I got to work boxing up the Ebay items and ran them back over to the Post Office on 2nd Ave.

We had decided to head back to the movie theater to see the Expendables 2.  Of course it was cheesy, but it was fun!  All, and I mean ALL of the bad guys were eliminated.  Claude Van Damm was the BIG BAD guy in this movie.

After the movie we decided to head back to Canyon Crest Restaurant for drinks and some more appetizers, and to watch the sun set.

This is an amazing beer!

The view from the patio of this restaurant is amazing.  This is the biggest sky, out side of Montana, I have ever seen.....WOW!  We chilled for about and hour and a half.  We were the only ones on the patio....everyone else was inside watching the Boise State v. Michigan State game......we would hear occasional cheering from inside the bar area as the home team did something positive.

It was kind of a lazy day.......yes, I know, we did walk 4 miles, that is hardly lazy....but the rest of the day resembled a lazy day.  We have really enjoyed our time here in Twin Falls.  I never would have expected to spend a week in Twin Falls, but that is what serendipity is all about.....when serendipity calls you must answer, and I'm glad we did.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Since we arrived at Rock Creek RV Park we have been walking every morning about 4 miles around the park trails.  So far we have walked about 12 miles.  We're trying to get our feet and legs used to that much walking every day as we will probably be walking 4-5 miles a day while we are at in Campbellsville, KY starting in October.  We have done a lot of bike riding the past few months, but that does not prepare one for being on one's feet 10 hours a day, 4 days a week, and walking 4-5 miles each of those days.  

After our walk Elaine got our dirty laundry together and we drove into town to do the laundry.  After helping her carry in the laundry into the laundromat, and then I headed off on a couple of errands.  First I wanted to try to find a grease cap for the trailer wheel.  As you will remember the one Big O Tires got for me was too big, and is currently taped on.  Well, all the auto parts stores carry is the 2.5" outer diameter cap, and I need one about 2.44".  I've found the part on line that is exactly like mine made by TruRyde (they also make the electric brakes on my trailer), and I can get that online at, but I would like to pick up one locally, so I'll visit a couple of trailer supply places in the next couple of days to see if I can find the elusive grease cap.

The TruRyde grease cap that I need!

Next on the list was Lowe's where I wanted to get some small eye hooks and some clear urethane spray for a project I picked up at a local thrift store.....a Merry Christmas plaque.  When we are in Campbellsville  I will hang this on the front of the coach using the small eyelet hooks, and since it was only painted and not sealed, I wanted the urethane to put a coat on both sides to protect the paint from the weather.  Came out real nice, and Christmas will be here before we know it.

I mentioned yesterday that I took off the trailer fender and straightened it out, but forgot to post a picture of it, so here it is.  Looks pretty good.  You can still see the damage, but it is much straighter, and fits flush against the trailer side again.

On our way back we checked out a city owned RV dump station, which was supposed to be a few blocks from Rock Creek on Washington, and sure enough it is there, and it is free, so that will be our first stop Monday morning when we depart Twin Falls for the eastern regions.

I took care of a few insurance customers this afternoon.  Tomorrow some more site seeing....maybe even some kayaking!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Forty-one years ago on this date I said "I do", and, thankfully, so did my wonderful wife Elaine.  We honeymooned at Lake Tahoe, and began our life of "until death do us part".  It never occurred to me that we would not be together the rest of our lives.  I was blessed to marry a woman who first was a good friend, and then gave me time to grow up (we were married just shy of our 22nd birthdays) and gets me, as they say.  Over that 41 years TLE gave birth to our 5 children....Chris, Meredith, Kate, Sharon and Tim who have blessed us with 4 grandchildren to date.  It has been a good life....has it been, but has it been a wonderful 41 year better believe it.  Not everyone gets to marry their soul mate on the first try....sometimes it takes a few tries.  

We began our 41st anniversary with a 4 mile walk around Rock Creek Park.  I cannot adequately tell you what a cool place this park is, and how close it is to views like the above.  Afterwards I installed the new spoke on the tandem, and trued the wheel again, and then worked on a brake adjustment.  Next I worked on straightening out the trailer fender that got bent badly in the wheel mishap the other day.

We decided to celebrate our anniversary with a movie, and cocktails/appetizers, in that order.  We went to see the remake of Total Recall (first one starred "Arnold") which starred Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel.....I know there was another female star, but Jessica Biel is all that matters.  This movie grabs you at the outset and really does not let go until the very end.  The story was changed a little, and, frankly, we both liked it better than the original.

Afterwards we drove a mile, or so over to Canyon Crest Restaurant, which is right on the edge of the canyon over looking the spectacular Snake River gorge.  We sat out on the deck and enjoyed a few Samuel Adams Summer Ale's, and some appetizers just enjoying each other and the view.  

Centennial Falls is close enough to throw a rock at.....I didn't, but you get the idea.

 Centennial Falls

The view from this restaurant is just what a 41st anniversary required, and we ate it up along with the Sliders and deep fried green beans....YUM!

There is a bike path that wanders by the restaurant, and we walked down there after our appetizers and beer and took some more pix.

And then drove down into the canyon to Centennial Park for some more pictures from a different perspective.  The bridge is HWY 93 which brings you south from I-84 to Twin Falls.  There are several other waterfalls in the area, and we will run over and take a look at Shoshone Falls tomorrow, and I think there are a few bike rides in the next few days now that it has cooled off sufficiently.

 Taken at Centennial Park

Taken from the road down into the canyon

It has been a great day of celebration, and remembering, and the temp dropping to 81 .....16 degrees lower than yesterday....never turned on the A/C today.  We have decided to stay here through the Labor Day point in heading out on the road tomorrow trying to get a spot on the last long weekend of the summer.  Rock Creek is already beginning to fill up and it's only Wednesday.  Should be rockin' by Friday!

Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012



Looking back across the river to site #23

We have decided to spend at least 3 days here.  This Twin Falls County Park is a real find.  As I wrote previously, we came across this park while reviewing possible overnight spots in the Days End Directory.  Most of the locations in this directory are free, but they also highlight inexpensive ones.  Anything for hookups that is under $25 is inexpensive.  At $15 a day for water and electric in a park setting is great.  Also, "a river runs through it"!  This park has miles of walking trails, and the locals take full advantage of them.  We went out for a walk early today before the heat set in and walked about 4 miles.  

We stumbled upon this cool waterfall on our walk.  There is an 18 hole frisby golf course that winds up the canyon.  Frankly, this is one of the harder courses I've seen.

The trail ultimately takes you up to the top of the canyon walls where I snapped this picture of The Lovely Elaine.

The campground is virtually empty, but no doubt it will be teaming with people this Labor Day weekend coming up.

After we took showers we headed into Twin Falls for a few errands, and to look for a laundry.  One errand was to find a good bike shop to buy a few spokes for the tandem.  You will recall we broke another spoke in Vancouver, so I decided to buy several this time in anticipation of the next one going.  Using my Droid I found Spoke and Wheel Bike Shop  located just a few blocks from us and they had exactly what I needed, so I bought 4 at $1.50 each.  We next headed down to the old town area on Main Street to visit a few local thrift shops, and to drop off a few donations....TLE did some "house cleaning" in the kitchen and her book collection.  Of course, she couldn't leave without buying at least one book, right?  We first stopped at Idaho Youth Ranch Thrift Store where we made the aforesaid donations, and TLE came away with another book, but the big find was a portable stairstepper for $5.35!  I had been looking at one just like this on for $70, so I snapped it up.  Then it was on to St. Vincent DePaul Society where I found an AbRoller for $, two things I've been wanting for under $8.00!  These two items are in near new condition.  And, of course, a few more books were under TLE's arm......hmmm......I thought we were getting ride of books, and ended up adding a few back.

Our prizes!

Prior to leaving our "home" we had turned on the rear A/C so we would return to a cool "home",  and she is still doing her up to 96 today....I know by Phoenix, AZ standards this is a typical winter day (smile), but these temperatures have been few, and far in between for us since May.....they feel like 120 to us...:D

It has been a nice relaxing day with no trailer emergencies......however, at the advice of a good friend I re-torqued the bolts on the miscreant wheel, and they are still fine.  I will check them every 50 miles or so for the next couple of days of travel to be sure the new lugs are completely seated.  I went ahead and checked the other 3 wheels and found a nut on each that was under torqued, so now they are all in order.

That was our day, and what a fun day it was!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Good Samaritan

The culprit - note the damaged lug holes....all oblong

We got up early today in order to get on the road before it got hot, and hopefully get to our next stopping point, Twin Falls, ID and Rock Creek RV Park (a Twin Falls County Park) before it really got hot.  We got the lead to this cool county park through the Day's End Directory....$15/day for water and 50amp electric.  We hit the road without breakfast and planned on eating at the first rest stop only about 20 miles east of us.  We arrived at the rest stop around 9:45am, and while Elaine made some breakfast I went out and checked the tires.  They all looked good, and their temperature readings were all in line.  We departed the rest stop around 10:15am headed for Boise, ID, about 60 miles east of us.  Just as we were entering the city via Interstate 84 a motorcyclist passed us on the left waiving us over to the shoulder....he obviously saw something wrong that we needed to check out.  As I eased onto the shoulder checking the right side view mirror I saw the fender on the trailer's passenger side flopping in the first thought was I had blown a tire.  I stayed the shoulder, put my flashers on and slowed to 20mph....the next exit, Vista (the exit for the Boise Airport) was only a quarter mile.  We exited and pulled onto a side street with a shoulder.  I got out and walked back to assess the damage....I was shocked to see that the entire wheel was gone!  The lugs had sheared off right at the drum brake was just thinking I would have to buy a new tire, and now I'm looking a new tire, rim, dust cover and 6 lugs.  I called Elaine out and showed her what had happened.  We talked about what to do and decided I should call Good Sam ERS to send someone out.  Just as I got to the door of the coach to get my phone a gentleman named Royce drove up in a public utilities truck, and rolled down his window.  I said "Hi!", and he said "Are you missing something?".  I said "yes, a trailer wheel".....he said "I was behind you on the Interstate when I saw the wheel come off and roll into the brush along the shoulder, so I stopped and found it"......I asked "how did you find us?"....he said, "Well Vista was the next exit and I just got off and drove both directions hoping to find you, and I did!".  Well, was I ever happy to meet Royce....a modern day Good Samaritan.  How many people do you know that would stop along a busy Interstate, get out and look for a wheel in the brush?  I don't know if I would, but I tell you one thing...from now on I will.  Royce saved us a couple hundred dollars.

Instead of calling Good Sam I decided to take off the brake drum, and take it along with the wheel over to Big O Tires, about 3 miles from our location.  I got there around Noon, and was approached immediately by Brant who listened to my story, and told me they had the exact rim for $30, and could transfer the good tire to it, and then get new lugs for the brake drum. I also needed a new dust cover, so they also ordered that along with the lugs from a local parts store.  Unfortunately the first two dust covers they brought didn't fit, so we had to wait for a 3rd while they put in the new lugs, and put my tire on the new rim.  Eventually the 3rd dust cover arrived, but it was too big, so Brant slightly modified it to I could install it and get on the road.  Ultimately the modification didn't work, so I used some duct tape to hold it in place until I can secure one that does fit tomorrow at a local parts store in Twin Falls.

 The new lugs installed

 The damaged fender screwed back in place with duct tape 
holding the dust cover in place.

The bottom where the screw was ripped out

I got back to the coach around 1:30 and, with TLE's help I began to re-install everything so we could get back on the road.  Elaine held an umbrella for me to keep the sun off....and believe me, this was a very important was in the mid 90's by this time.  After I got the tire back on I got my torque wrench out and set it as 90lbs as Brant had instructed, and torqued down all 6 lug nuts.  I was so hot after all of that I had to take a cold shower before we could leave just to stop sweating!

We finally got back on the road around 2:30 and began our trek eastward 130 more miles to Twin Falls.  We stopped twice at rest stops just so I could get out and check the wheel.  We arrived and Rock Creek RV Park around 5:30pm and quickly connected to the 50amp outlet and turned on both A/C' was still over 92 degrees, and we were hot.  Within a few minutes order was restored, and we were enjoying the cold A/C's....eventually I shut off the front one and got started on connecting our DirecTV satellite.

As I finish writing this blog post I am comforted that we had another emergency and handled it, and my heart is warmed thinking of a man on the freeway that witnessed our mishap, stopped, found our wheel, and then tracked us down.  Royce is a rare man, and I will be forever grateful to him for his sacrifice of time.  This could have been a lot worse, but it turned out OK.  It just goes to show you that even when you do your due diligence bad things can still happen.

It will hot again tomorrow, and I think we will just sit tight for 2, or 3's supposed to cool off Wednesday into the low 80's...that sounds more like traveling weather to me.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 26, 2012


THE SNAKE - looking west

OK, I made you look.  We were out of Arlington, OR by 9am this it is supposed to get into the 90's at our next destination, only 221 miles away, and we wanted to get there before it got too hot.  We found a nice park right on the SNAKE River called Catfish Junction RV Park, which is located just east of Huntington, OR.  Again, we chose the no reservations route knowing it was the Sunday before the Labor Day Weekend and usually RV parks are not quite as busy on this weekend, and we were right!

Before we talk about how right we were, let's cover what we did today.  Our elevation at Arlington was around 350' above sea level.  We knew we would have to go over Blue Mountains Summit at 4,193' above sea level.  Thankfully, it was a gradual climb over 80 miles to the summit, and the DD (Detroit Diesel) ran around 198 degrees on the entire climb.  Before we steam cleaned the radiator back on Whidbey Island it would have been over 210 degrees, so we are seeing the direct benefit of that cleaning.  

There are apparently several fires burning to the south of I-84 along the route we traveled today, and the smoke from these fires really obscured what would have been spectacular views.  Instead we had a great view of HAZE.  Other than the 80 mile climb, most of the drive was flat, or downhill.  I was able to set the cruise control and just hang on to the steering wheel.

We stopped twice at Rest Stops to take a break and walk around the coach checking tire temperatures.  If any single tire's temperature reads significantly higher than the others the odds are that there is a problem developing with that tire.  All the tires checked out, and there was no coolant on the ground, so all was well each time we stopped, including our final stop of the day.

I-84 appears to follow the route of the Oregon Trail as we saw a number of signs for several Oregon Trail interpretive centers along our route today.

Around 30 miles from our destination we saw a sign informing us we had passed into Mountain Time......whoops.....lost an hour I wasn't expecting today!  Instead of arriving at Catfish Junction at 2pm, we arrived at 3pm.....but no big problem.  The RV park was virtually empty with the exception of 4, or 5 rigs we had the pick of 65' pull through spots.  We settled on #17, got plugged in and turned on the A/C.  It was now 92 degrees, and I don't care how dry it is, that is still much hotter than we have been used to, with a few exceptions, the past 3 months.

 View of the Snake from site #17

 Still looking good after 10,000 miles on this journey

Looking east

After setting up I dialed in DirecTV and settled in to watch the Denver v. 49er game.  Haven't watched an NFL game since the Super Bowl!

Well, that was our day.....thanks for stopping by!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

To move, or not to move? That is always the question...

Our intent when we got up this morning was to get ready to move further east, but ultimately we decided to stay put another day/night and just enjoy where we were.  The weather was still nice,  and no wind.  The forecast was for a little higher temperature than yesterday, so we took a 2.3 mile walk into town while it was still cool, and up a hill, a very steep, long hill I might add, to the high school and back.  We stopped off at the local Ace Hardware store and browsed around.  I love Ace Hardware stores, especially the small town ones...they always have something you're not expecting.  This one had a small saddlery shop in the back, and saddles for sale.  After that we walked across to the local supermarket (Thrifty Food) and browsed around...I actually found some Bug and Tar remover by Turtle Wax.  I have been using this stuff for a couple of decades to clean bugs, tar, and other foreign substances off my cars, and was almost out of my current supply, so finding another bottle for $2.57 was just too hard to pass up.  Never expected to find that in a supermarket.

After our walk it began to heat up so we retreated to the coach and spent the rest of the day napping, reading and watching golf.....and, of course, turned on the A/ is nice to have 50amp service (actually comes out to 100amps.....50amps per leg on the plug), because we had both A/C's on for a while.  

This is a cool little park, and the monthly rate is $321......including water and electricity....not bad.  Might be nice to spend some time here in the winter when it is a little cooler.  Of course, it would be nice to have a boat, or canoe, or kayak.

We'll be out of here tomorrow morning around 9am heading southeast on I-84 to Huntington, OR, and then on to Twin Falls, ID on won't be long until we leave the Pacific Time Zone for a long time.....we won't be back in this zone until next May, or June.

Life is good....thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Days end and serendipity

2:30pm - Friday: One of our sources for places to overnight is called "The Days End Directory", which is compiled by a member of Escapees, and regularly updated, and sold to Escapee members.  It contains information on thousands of places to overnight for free all across the US, and Canada, or very little money.  In this case the directory indicated that the Port of Arlington has a small RV park (and marina) with full hookups, as well as a dry camping area near the boat ramp.  The dry camping area is $9/night, and the full hookups section is $21.  We have used this source on countless occasions over the past almost 7 months and have never been disappointed.  We decided to take the last pull through spot, which fits our 62' rig perfectly with a couple of feet to spare.  The information is very accurate....thankfully the part about the strong winds did not materialize today.  There are no is all first come, first served, and that brings me back to why we left Vancouver by 9:15am.

The marina

Our "made in jello plan" called for us to leave around 9am to miss the morning traffic,  not wake our hosts up too early, and to get us as far as Arlington so we might snag a spot for the weekend.  The plan worked with close to perfection timing.....we left Lee's home around 9:15am....not bad, and just before we left I discovered our day's drive to Arlington was only 141 miles, not 169, like I had the 15 minutes late still got us to Arlington around time to beat the end of the day crowd on a Friday, and get our first come, first served spot right on the Columbia River.  Frankly, site #5 is the only pull through that would have taken our length.....that's what I mean about serendipity.

The drive south and east along the I-84 corridor was 95% flat with great views of the river most of the time.  We even stopped for 20 minutes at a rest stop and still got here by 12:30pm.  We passed several dams, including the gigantic Bonneville Dam.  We will definitely stop there on another day for the tour.

In just 141 miles we have left the heavily forested mountain slopes and find ourselves in high desert with very dry air, and yet, relatively cool temperatures....right now it is around 75 degrees, and we just have the windows A/C necessary.  I use the term "high desert" liberally here, because we are only around 500' elevation right now.

Today we have no obstructions of the southern sky, so we have DirecTV again.  Our hosts, Lee and Patty, were kind enough to allow us to watch the one program we don't want to miss....."So You Think You Can Dance!", so we haven't really missed TV that much.....TLE is smiling, because she knows I did miss it the first couple of nights....OK, maybe the first 4!

We're not sure if we will stay here one night, or two nights......tonight will tell the tale.....if the trains bother us we may not stay a second night.....if they are like the ones that passed by several times a night in Ventura, CA when we dry camped along Rincon Parkway in the past, then it won't be a problem.

Thanks for stopping by!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

We have begun the launch sequence......

Wow....has it already been 10 days?  Our days here in Vancouver have just flown, and that is probably because they have been busy days.  We put about about 50 miles on our bikes, and have seen a lot of cool places both by bike and by car.  

By the way, we apparently broke another spoke on the tandem again yesterday.  I will need to locate a small supply of appropriately sized spokes, as I have a feeling this won't be the last.  I really need to have that rear wheel rebuilt with new spokes.  My experience has been in the past that if one breaks others will follow.  Ironically, these are not breaking on the cassette side, which is more typical.

Since we will be leaving tomorrow morning around 9am I spent most the day finishing up a couple of projects, lowered the solar panels (not good to drive with them!), and straightened up the trailer for the insertion of the T-Bird tomorrow morning after we back out of the 85' driveway we have been parked in.

One of the projects was to mount the hiking poles on top of the cabinet in the trailer.  I had purchased the hardware last week at the Home Depot in Hillsboro, OR, but had had the time until today to do the work.  Here is how it turned out.

And this is what the trailer looks like just before we insert the T-Bird.  It takes a couple of hours to get it looking like this.  The boxes in the foreground will not be there tomorrow.....where they will end up, I'm not sure, but we will find a spot for them.

We will head south and east on Interstate 84....the farthest we will go is Arlington, OR, but we may stop in Hood River, OR....we'll see what strikes our fancy.  As usual we have made no reservations, and will trust to serendipity.  One thing is for sure, we will be staying somewhere along the Columbia River tomorrow night.  We are just hoping it is not the typical wind tunnel that it normally is, but either way, we will proceed in style!

We took our hosts (well, just Lee, as Patty was feeling under the weather) out to El Rancho Viejo Mexican Restaurant for an early dinner.  This is a great place, and I highly recommend it.  The food is high quality, and the service is magnificent.  And the Negra Modelo's were ice cold....just like I like them.  To make it even better we arrived during Happy Hour (3pm - 5pm) and got 20% off our tab!

We had missed "Dancing With the Stars" last night, but Lee's DVR records all prime time every night and holds it for 24 hours, so we got to watch it tonight commercial free.  His DVR automatically skips the commercials if you ask it to, and we did.  We watched a 2 hour show in less than 90 minutes!

We will, as always, feel a little melancholy about saying "Good Bye" to our hosts tomorrow, but we are looking forward to new scenery, and adventures.  Tomorrow will be new territory for us after Cascade Locks, and we can't wait.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


07:26am - Thursday:  Don't get me wrong, I love perked coffee; I love hearing it perk,  and I love how long it stays HOT.  The Corningware coffee percolator we have as backup makes the best coffee, but, and this is a big BUT, I like waking up to coffee already made and ready to drink.  The only way I can get that is if I have an automatic drip coffee maker with a clock and a timer built in, so it will turn itself on at 6am, and keep my dark elixir hot until I get up.  With the percolator I have to get up, grind the coffee, turn on the stove, and then wait 15-20 minutes before I can have a cup of coffee.  Now that is plainly, and there can be no dispute, not natural.  The replacement Starbucks Barista Aroma coffee maker arrived via USPS yesterday, was dutifully cleaned by TLE, and did its job this morning promptly at 6am.  I once again awoke to the aroma of fresh coffee, and just got up and poured a cup.  Order has been restored, and all is well in my universe.

The prior Starbucks drip coffee maker that bit the dust in my "FRIED!" blog was a 12 cupper.  This one is an 8 cupper.....we usually only made 10 cups in the old one, so we're losing 2 cups.....really half cups, right?  We all know that the industry's definition of a "cup" is not our definition.   And, additionally it fits a little bit better in the space....slightly more appropriate for our petite kitchen.

More to follow!

05:58pm - Wednesday: After all that great coffee we got out the tandem and headed down to Fort Vancouver.  The distance is around 12.5 miles, so that is a cake walk on the tandem.....we run around 16mph, and can cover that distance in around 45 minutes.  The weather was partly cloudy, but quite cool....we left around 10:15am and arrived at Fort Vancouver around 11am.  When we were there on Sunday they were closed, along with Pearson Air Museum.

Fort Vancouver was established by the Hudson Bay Company as a collection point for all the furs, minerals, etc. that flowed from other forts, and eventually back to England via the various trade routes.  Again, the entrance fees at this National Park were waived, saving another $3/person.  The fort has a working period carpentry shop....typical of what would have been back in the mid 1800's, with real carpenters working will only hand tools making things of wood for the fort's current maintenance.  There is also a working blacksmith shop where metal is being worked on fired hearths with manually operated billows, etc.  Very, very cool

 A typical "middle class" one room cabin for Hudson Bay Employees

 Above:  The building on the right housed the Doctor's quarters, infirmary and apothecary, and the building on the left is the blacksmith shop.

1943 Texan used for flight instruction in WWII

 1952 Trojan - replaced the Texan

There were a lot more airplanes....these were the ones that interested me, and a great display for the B-17, better known as the "Flying Fortress" - I wish they had a B-17 on premises as I would love to see, and go through one of those amazing bombers.  

After touring the fort and air museum, we rode down to the Columbia River, and then back into downtown Vancouver, where we found, on a weekday, that there is a lot open.  We were looking for a quick lunch spot, and I spied "Woody's Tacos" on the right......I love serendipity.  They serve the most amazing fish tacos and I gladly consumed two while Elaine had a single shrimp taco sans beer for both of us....part of our new streamlined diet.  We need to lose a few pounds before we begin working at Amazon in 5 weeks.

From Woody's we rode north on St. John......Elaine spied a thrift shop run by the Humane Society, so we stopped and she picked up another book, and a couple of soup thermoses she says we will use for lunches at Amazon.  After that brief stop we made it back "home" in about 40 minutes.

Today the USPS delivered my new Progressive Dynamics charger/converter to replace the one I "FRIED" a week ago, and 10 LED automotive bulbs, which I used to replace the many incandescent 12 volt light bulbs that if all turned on the same time use about 10+ amps.  Now if they are all on the draw will be around an amp.....big improvement!  The charger/converter was installed in about 10 we only have to replace the microwave/convection appliance and we are made whole again.

It has been a good day.  We have decided we will be here one more day, and then depart on Friday morning going southeast on I-84 toward new unknown adventures.  We hope you will continue following along!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mount Saint Helens, WA

Mount Saint Helens in all her majesty....just before the clouds obscured her crater.

Today was the day we made a break for Mt. St. Helens while the cloud cover was only described as "partly".  Since Saturday there has been a heavy cloud cover each day, but today it dawned partly cloudy, and, as you can see from the picture above we captured at least one picture of the mountain with no clouds obscuring the crater.  

We managed to get under way around 9:30am....a pretty early start for us lately.  After fueling up at Costco....$4.05 for 92 octane....up 10 cents since Friday.....we headed north on I-5 to HWY 504 and then east to the mountain.  There are actually 4 visitors centers along this route....the first is run by the State Parks people (Silver Lake Vistors Center), the second is a privately owned operation (Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center) offering 30 minute helicopter rides to and from the volcano for $99/person.....longer rides can be purchased for substantially more.  They also have a nice on site restaurant with a great view of the Toutle River Valley right up to Mt. St. Helens.  The 3rd is The Forest Learning Center, owned and operated by Weyerhauser, and the king of the hill, number 4, is Johnston Ridge Observatory (elevation - 4,200'), and is run by the National Park Service.  The pictures taken by us were at Johnston Ridge which looks directly into the north face of the volcano.  There is a great 15 minute film that is shown every 25 minutes, or so, and is very good, and there is also a very well done interpretive center.  The facility is state of the art.  In addition there are a number of day hikes....the longest takes about 4 hours (2 hours out and 2 hours back).  The Silver Lake Visitors Center does cost, whether, or not you are a senior citizen....we chose not to pay.  The Forest Learning Center and Hoffstadt Bluffs are free, unless you take the helicopter ride.  The National Park center does cost $8 per person unless you have the coveted Senior Discount Pass....which we do....another $16 saved....we have probably saved close to $100 on entrance and camping fees since we got those passes in February.

Below is a file picture of what St. Helens looked like before 1980....very symmetrical.  57 people were killed after the eruption, which knocked down whole forests for up to 17 miles away with the initial blast.  Is has been 32 years since the May, 1980 eruption, and the area within 8 miles of the volcano is still pretty barren.  Plant and animal life began returning very quickly, but the old growth trees that were knocked flat will not reappear for generations.  Trees are growing, and eventually the surrounding area will once again be heavily forested, but that will not be in our life time.  The areas further away, outside the National Park boundaries, owned by Weyerhauser, were replanted in the mid 80's, and look pretty good, but the National Park area is being allowed to return on its own, naturally.

The every Lovely Elaine - the clouds are rolling in

The evidence of the destruction just below the crater is still there 32 years later.....pretty barren still.

We hung around the Johnston Ridge Observatory for about an hour and a half, and then began our drive back to Hoffstadt Bluffs where we planned to have a late lunch.  We got there around 2:15pm, and had a nice, leisurely lunch on their deck.  The micro brews featured at Hoffstadt are from Dick's Brewing Company out of Centralia, WA.  I had Dick's Lava Rock Porter @ 6.5% by volume....probably one of the best Porters I have had.....and, believe me, I have had a few Porters over the years!  They only served beer by the bottle, so I can only imagine what a draft would have tasted like.

We arrived back "home" around 5pm, and found that our replacement coffee maker (Starbucks Barista Aroma) had arrived via USPS!  Yea!!!!!  I'm so glad I had that one in reserve.  Should have the replacement converter/charger in tomorrow.   And I hope those LED lights I purchased 10 days ago show up in the next day, or so.  

Tomorrow, Wednesday, we'll pull out the tandem and ride down to Fort Vancouver for the was closed on Sunday, so we'll take the grand tour of the fort, including the Pearson Air Museum.  

That's another day in the life in the books.....thanks for stopping by!