Eastward to a Rally

Location: Spokane KOA, Spokane, Washington

Dates: Sept. 5 to 6, 2017

We left Gig Harbor with our ash-covered truck and trailer around 9:00 in the morning. The forest fire smoke grew greater as we crossed Snoqualmie Pass on I-90 east of Seattle. It got somewhat better through the state of Washington but was still bad enough we left the air conditioner on recirculate.

IMG_1902

At a fuel stop west of Spokane, we saw Mr. Peanut’s vehicle parked at the gas pumps. Malcolm had to go inside to pay for fuel but didn’t see Mr. Peanut around anywhere.

IMG_1904

We arrived at the Spokane KOA in the afternoon. Spokane was having some pretty smoky skies, as well. Their smoke was from western Montana fires.

IMG_1905

We ate dinner out at Panera Bread and stopped by the store to pick up a couple items, fueling the truck up on the way back to the trailer.

Location: Deer Lodge KOA, Deer Lodge, Montana

Dates: Sept. 6 to 7, 2017

Before we left Spokane, Malcolm called our neighbor in Florida as we were getting emails from our Florida neighborhood indicating that volunteers were helping lash down any loose items before hurricane Irma came ashore. Our neighbor couldn’t help, but sent someone who was volunteering and was helping him. They came over and put a couple items away for us.

IMG_1910

We had a smoky drive from Spokane to Deer Lodge, Montana. The smoke was especially bad through the mountains in Idaho and on into the west end of Montana. The smoke was thinner in Deer Lodge.

IMG_1911

We just left the trailer hooked to the truck at Deer Lodge and just took it easy for the evening.

Location: Red Lodge KOA, Red Lodge, Montana

Dates: Sept. 7 to 10

On Thursday, September 7, we drove from Deer Lodge to Red Lodge, Montana to the KOA there. We were attending the Montana Chapter rally for the Heartland Owners Club. This was the Montana chapter’s first rally.

IMG_1918

Right after we got the trailer set up and the air conditioners running, we headed over to the chapter leader’s site to enjoy a meet and greet with others that had already arrived. We also had a pitch-in dinner later in the evening, with the club (including Malcolm) grilling up hot dogs and hamburgers.

IMG_1917

On Friday morning, many of us drove into Red Lodge and ate breakfast at the Red Lodge Cafe. The food was very good and there was plenty of it.

IMG_1919

After breakfast, we headed back to the campground (it is about 4 miles north of town). Malcolm rode with several others to Woodbine Falls for a photo expedition and hike. Val stayed at the trailer and did some sewing and visited others that had stayed behind.

IMG_1927

The hike back to the falls was a bit strenuous, and we were at around 5,600 ft. elevation. But the views were worth it (despite it being smoky again).

IMG_1933

The actual falls are very narrow and tall. Malcolm didn’t get the best vantage point to photograph the top part of the falls but did get some good shots with his big camera (these photos are from his phone).

IMG_1937

When the falls group got back into town, it was time for the 2:00 brewery tour at Red Lodge Ales. Val drove into town to meet Malcolm there. Malcolm skipped the tour since he hadn’t had lunch and we ate something there at the brewery while others took the tour.

After the brewery stop, we headed over to Absarokee, Montana, about a 35 mile drive west of Red Lodge. We visited with Malcolm’s cousin Sue and her husband, Rich. We’ve been trying to stop through and visit them every year that we’ve been passing through the area and just haven’t matched up schedules. This year we gave them advance warning and called a few days in advance.

We talked for a while at their house then headed to a nearby restaurant for dinner. Afterwards, we returned to their house and talked for a little longer and took a selfie of the four of us.

IMG_1943

After that visit, we headed back to the campground, arriving after dark.

On Saturday morning, everyone was gathered again for a pancake breakfast with all the trimmings and pitch-in sides.

IMG_1945

After the breakfast, a group headed out in vehicles to drive the Beartooth Highway. Malcolm was torn on whether to do that or to walk around downtown Red Lodge and chose the latter. We had a great visit in downtown. They have a lot of nice shops and restaurants. We found some gift items for Christmas to put back for later and a couple items for ourselves.

IMG_1950

We also stocked up on some Red Lodge ales for Malcolm.

IMG_1954

After taking our goodies back to the trailer, we changed clothes and headed back downtown to the pizza place where the final rally dinner and prize giveaway happened. We all had great pizza and salad and many prizes were given away.

Two prizes were auctioned off, with all the auction proceeds going into the Montana Chapter funds to help offset costs for this rally and future rallies. Malcolm was the winning bidder on this nice Yeti cooler. He bought it for half of the price that Amazon was selling it for. The other prize that we didn’t bid on was a nice smoker grill.

IMG_1957

After the dinner, everyone headed back to the campground for margaritas and great conversation. We stuck around for that for a while before heading back to the trailer to start packing up to leave on Sunday. We said goodbyes just in case we missed anyone the next morning.

On Sunday morning, we took our time getting ready to leave and said goodbyes to many of the folks that were trickling out all morning. We eventually hit the road around 9:30 am heading towards our next stop in Gillette, Wyoming.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Out at the Lake

Previous Location: Crystal Gold Mine & RV Park, Kellogg, Idaho

Current Location: Lake Chelan State Park, Chelan, Washington

After leaving Deer Lodge, we stopped at Kellogg, Idaho and stayed in the really nice little campground at Crystal Gold Mine. The gold mine was a fun attraction. We found out a lot about the mine and how the miners searched for gold in the 1890’s when the mine was active. The campground was really nice, as well, with full hookups and more recently paved pads.

IMG_8458

Ready for our tour of the gold mine

IMG_8459

Panning for gold

We left Crystal Gold Mine RV Park on Sunday around 9:00 am and headed west into Washington state. We arrived at Lake Chelan State Park about 3:00 PM, a half hour behind our daughter and her family. After getting set up, the family dropped by to greet us. Since Sunday was a partial day, we all took advantage of it and did last minute grocery shopping in town.

Monday was chilly and cloudy. We tried a little swimming at the beach, but it was pretty miserable, so we decided to drive into town and walk around downtown. We did some souvenir shopping before heading back out to the campground.

Since Monday, the weather has been more typical of the area – 90’s during the day and 60’s at night. We’ve done a bunch of lake swimming, some bike riding and cooking out. Other cousins and friends arrived mid-week. All in all, we’re having a great time and will be here until this coming Wednesday.

IMG_8468

Lake fun

IMG_8469

Malcolm on his float

IMG_8470

Violet learning how to ride on two wheels

Heading East

Current Location: Wolf Lodge Campground, Coeur D’Alene, Idaho

Malcolm had too much caffeine too late in the day yesterday and ended up spending half the night awake. Consequently, we were up a little later than normal on a travel day. We hit the road around 9:00. It was an easy but very windy drive today.

We stopped at a truck stop west of Spokane to fuel up and the wind was strong enough to pull the door out of your hand and made it difficult to walk. Thankfully, we didn’t feel much effect of the wind as we traveled. We attribute a lot of that to having a dual wheel pickup truck.

Once we set up here, we cooked dinner out on the grill. After dinner, we just generally took it easy. Malcolm will be working all day the next two days, involved with conference calls and design meetings. On Wednesday, we will hit the road in earnest and start east and south.

Our site

Our site

Here are some catch-up pictures from the girls’ first days at school:

Violet's first day of pre-K

Violet’s first day of pre-K

Violet ready to paint

Violet ready to paint

Violet helping Scarlet get settled at her first day of pre-school

Violet helping Scarlet get settled at her first day of pre-school

Today’s license plates – 13 of 51 found. Low number but interesting pattern.

License plates

License plates

Idaho – Our 28th State

Current Location: Blackwell Island RV Resort, Coeur D’Alene, Idaho

Previous Location: Bearmouth Chalet RV Park, Clinton, Montana

We included two locations in today’s blog post, since we didn’t have any internet yesterday at Bearmouth Chalet RV Park. We’ll start there, since it was a pretty nice park and has a bit of a story behind it.

Last year, as we were heading west through Montana on the way to Washington, we took the easy road and stayed in the KOA in Deer Lodge, Idaho, using our “it’s easy enough to get a reservation on the road with the KOA website” mentality. The Deer Lodge KOA was more or less a big gravel lot on the edge of town, but admittedly the folks there were very friendly. Within an hour of leaving the KOA and traveling through the mountains of Montana, we saw what looked like a really nice RV park next to a river and decided we would try to stay there if we came through again. So we did.

On the road in Montana

On the road in Montana

Our site at Bearmouth

Our site at Bearmouth

Bearmouth is apparently under new ownership this year, so they’re making improvements to the whole park. The sites are pretty level, the power was fine, the water pressure was a bit low and there were no sewer hookups, which is fine by us. They did have a dump station that we did use on the way out this morning. Other than a general lack of internet (AT&T was showing Edge network that was OK for very light usage and we didn’t try to hook up the Verizon to try it), the place was pretty nice. You have to pay the camp host with cash (for now, anyway), but that wasn’t a big deal. The overnight rate for 50 Amp was $30.

Another view at Bearmouth

Another view at Bearmouth

Once we left Bearmouth this morning, we had a short-ish drive to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. It was a good midway point between Bearmouth and tomorrow’s destination at Chelan, Washington. Plus, we got to put another state sticker on the map.

Idaho added

Idaho added

This campground is a big lakeside resort. We took a chance at just showing up at noon and asking for a spot and we were rewarded with a nice and easy pull-through spot on the end of a row. Doesn’t look like much in the picture, but the place is pretty nice with lots of amenities.

Blackwell Island site

Blackwell Island site

Since we were here early, we ate lunch in the trailer then headed into town to pick up a prescription for Malcolm at Walgreens. We decided to go ahead and fill up the truck while we were up that way and had to find a gas station that wasn’t full of travelers. We passed a Lowe’s Home Improvement store on the way to the gas station, then stopped in on the way back through. Val picked up a can of carpet cleaner spot treat stuff that we needed and Malcolm went ahead and purchased a two shelf pullout Rev-A-Shelf unit he had been debating for his camera and computer gear.

Once back at the trailer, Malcolm installed the Rev-A-Shelf unit and figured out that the fabric containers he put all his gear in were too wide for the wire shelves. We’ll have to find better containers that fit in the less-than-twelve-inch wide shelves.

Before installing shelves

Before installing shelves

Shelves installed

Shelves installed

With the shelves installed, we called in reservations at the restaurant down the street – The Cedars Floating Restaurant. It is on the water and we chose to eat outside. The food was excellent and plentiful and we had coupons from the campground that gave us $6 off per person on bar drinks.

Entrance to The Cedars

Entrance to The Cedars

Entrance to The Cedars

Entrance to The Cedars

Our view at dinner

Our view at dinner

Once we got back from dinner, we ran all our laundry at the campground laundry facility so that we’ll have plenty of clean clothes for our stay at Lake Chelan State Park starting tomorrow. That’s where we are meeting our daughter and family for 10 days. We can’t wait!

On to Washington

Current Location: Gig Harbor RV Resort, Gig Harbor, Washington

This morning we were up early, awakened by the sound of birds arguing on the roof of the trailer. We’re trying to get used to the longer days up north. 5:45 AM and the sun was already above the horizon and shining brightly, after having watched the sunset colors the night before at nearly 10:00 PM.

As we were loading things in the truck and getting ready to pull it around to hitch up, Malcolm noticed several scratches in the glass on the outside. We aren’t sure how they got there, but they weren’t there yesterday. They’re fairly visible when the sun is shining towards the window and one of them runs right down the center of the driver’s side right where you look out the window when you are driving. We may end up replacing a windshield while in Washington.

We got all hooked up and headed out about 7:30 AM, determined to get as much distance in today as we could. That would make the trip tomorrow much shorter on into Gig Harbor. As you can see by our “current location”, we went ahead and drove the whole way in today – 587 miles.

We stopped briefly at the top of the pass between Montana and Idaho to check out the scenery and stretch legs. Here area a couple of pictures from that stop.

Welcome to Idaho

Welcome to Idaho

Looking into Idaho

Looking into Idaho

Looking back on Montana

Looking back on Montana

Since we were driving across the panhandle of Idaho, it didn’t take long to get to Washington state. Here are some random pictures from Washington.

Welcome to Washington

Welcome to Washington

Columbia River

Columbia River

Wind farm in Washington

Wind farm in Washington

Mountains in Washington

Mountains in Washington

After a stop at a rest area in Washington, we figured that it was a little over 4 hours to Seattle from the place we were and it was only about 1:00 PM. Checking the map app to see how to get to Gig Harbor without getting tangled in Friday afternoon rush hour in Seattle, Malcolm called our son-in-law, Cole, to verify that taking Washington 18 cross-country would be a viable alternative to heading into Seattle and catching I-5 south.

Malcolm then called the campground to see if we could show up a day early. After checking around for available spots, they said we could come on in, but might have to move to our reserved spot tomorrow. We agreed that wouldn’t be a problem and headed on into town.

As we got onto I-5 near Tacoma, traffic ground to a halt and crawled for several miles. We hopped off and filled up the truck at a Love’s truck stop. Malcolm did the fuel chores while Val and David grabbed dinner to go from the Subway in the building. We ate sandwiches as we traveled the rest of the way to the campground.

Our site at Gig Harbor RV Resort

Our site at Gig Harbor RV Resort

Though the campground office was closed, they hang out envelopes for those arriving late to grab and park. We grabbed ours and pulled through our site, doing a quick setup (unhitching, leveling, run out the slides, hook up the power, turn on the A/C and outside light). Once set up, we hopped back in the truck and headed out to Fox Island to visit our family, who is camping out there. Since it was getting close to bedtime for the grandchildren, we didn’t stay very long. We headed back to the trailer and plopped down for the night.

David and Violet

David and Violet

Here are today’s license plate finds – 23 of 51.

Today's license plates

Today’s license plates