Monday, June 28, 2021

Beautiful ride

 Since we had one more day left at our LaGrande campground we decided to drive up into the mountains to check out the little town of Joseph, Oregon.   We had planned a motor home stay there two different times before  -  first COVID blocked our way and then Dave's surgery and our Arizona house purchase derailed the plans.     This time we only had one day but, since we were so close, at least we could get a quick feel for the place and then try for a longer stay later.

It was an absolutely beautiful ride along the rushing Wallowa River.    Through thick pine forests and alpine meadows, mammoth hay fields with incredible looking yields and  in and out of small towns that  seem to have hit hard times but obviously still have pride in their communities.       


We arrived in bustling Joseph around noon so we decided to drive through town to investigate the glacial Wallowa Lake, the end of the road.     It was Saturday, in the summer, in the triple digit heat so we weren't surprised to find the swimming area and boat dock at the lake's north end packed with people enjoying the cold, clear water.    We stopped for a few minutes and walked on the dock before following the road around the lake to it's end.    More people.

By then it was nearly 2:30 and the restaurants along the main drag were relatively empty.    We chose one (for no particular reason other than it was in front of the Jeep's parking spot), Embers Brew House, and settled ourselves on a shady picnic table on their patio.     We were far enough from the street to be able to watch the world go by without needing to participate.    We each enjoyed our meals enormously and the people watching was quite entertaining.

Joseph's streets are beautifully landscaped with lovely flowers and many bronze statues depicting things in the area.    In front of the Brew House was a realistic looking mountain lion crawling down some rocks under a shady tree.      The real entertainment was watching strolling dogs (who should not have been on that murderously HOT sidewalk at all - but not every dog owner has the brains they were born with....) do a double take at the big cat.    Some hurried by, pulling their human's arm out of it's socket (fair enough....) but some attacked the lion, barking and snarling at it.   It was a real hoot watching the different reactions.

Yesterday we left LaGrande and headed north to our next stop in Plymouth, Washington.    The landscape along the way was quite a departure from green and mountainous LaGrande and Joseph.     It was all so very blonde   


We're in a Corps of Engineers campground just on the Washington side of the mighty Columbia River until Wednesday morning.

Beluga hunkers down in the shade to try and keep cool

It is unbelievably hot here.   I've never been in such heat, and the humidity is higher than we've been used to lately.      Beluga is doing a good job keeping us comfortable but I hate to have her old systems running non stop, 24/7.

Our original reason for stopping here for a few days was to visit a few wineries and  do a little tasting, but the heat has zapped me and the thought of sitting on a patio drinking wine in 115 degree weather is not appealing to either of us.    We took a short drive around the area today just to see what was here and parked beside the river to watch a tug laboring to push two large barges against the strong current.      A quick turn down a gravel track brought us to a marshy area with several small ponds.    We watched birds and ducks for awhile and noticed a shy deer watching us from the shade.

so much milkweed surrounding the ponds - Monarch delicacy!

floating forest

 terrible picture of  mother Wood Duck with her huge brood
quite the responsibility.....

Tomorrow promises to be hotter so I doubt we'll do much more than another short ride around.   Better luck next time.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Uh Oh

During one of Dave's many walk around checks, he discovered that Beluga was bleeding!   Not gushing, but oozing.     Beluga shouldn't be oozing anything, especially in this heat, so he went to work mentally diagnosing, deciding on how serious a problem the red ooze was and how much time he had to fix it.    

He could certainly fix it himself, but had no parts.    Should we wait until we get to Spokane and  make an appointment at a Freightliner dealer,  would the ooze become a gush before then?

We're in LaGrange, Oregon for a few days so we decided to check out the local Freightliner shop on the off chance that they could order a new radiator overflow tank for us and get it in before we have to leave.    We could, perhaps, stay here a little longer to facilitate a later delivery? 

We must be living well because the Parts clerk here actually had ONE exact match tank for our "vintage" girl, in stock!    Our lucky day.

This morning, bright and early, Dave emptied our closet onto the bed, lifted up the floor and got to work.


He worked from inside and outside, going back and forth to disconnect, empty the antifreeze without spilling or dripping, remove the oozing tank and reinstalling the new one.   A couple quick trips to the hardware store for a new clamp, more antifreeze and a couple other small things and Beluga was good as new!    No more red liquid oozing from her back end.....and that's a good thing.   

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Stopped for a few days

 The dark skies I told you about last night didn't bring any bad weather.     We were beginning to think that we should take the alerts on my phone seriously and check out where we could go if the strong winds were to materialize.  Just the night before, another cell had produced out flow winds of 50-60 mph in this very area.     I'm glad the storms dissapaited before they got to us but the dark skies made for some beautiful light on the trees and flowers around our site.

Just when I thought the night would be uneventful.....the Rose Robber struck again.....I found this beautiful flower on the table in the morning....

Today we drove out of Idaho and into beautiful Oregon, along the Snake River and through the high, golden velvet mountains to La Grande, Oregon.

Lewis was happy to remove his harness, extend the slides, rub his face around on the newly exposed carpet,  and settle down in front of  "his" fan.    He doesn't enjoy going places, he enjoys being in places.     He's happy we'll be here for a couple of days so he can explore the lush grass and trees and Beluga won't be jigging and growling around underneath him all day.   He says it's nerve wracking.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Another lucky stop

 Tonight we're in a small RV park in Caldwell, Idaho (actually Sand Hollow but who's checking).    This is the second,  last minute reservation I've had to make in the last two days and it is, once again, wonderful!

OF by 5

Originally I had planned two quick overnight stops at two different Elks Lodges along our route.   They're usually available and inexpensive but mostly offer only 30 amp. service.   Because of the extreme heat situation in the west, we decided that these Elks Lodges wouldn't work for us.  We need both air conditioners running, non stop, to stay comfortable in this weather and 30 amp. service is marginal for those needs.   I looked for a 50 amp site but everyone place I called was completely full. 

Last night we lucked out getting the very last spot in sweet Heyburn Riverside RV Park (because of a last minute cancellation)  and tonight the kind owner of Country Corner's RV and Campground took pity on us and provided an "overflow" site since they were also completely booked.

I'll take this overflow site any day!  We're parked under tall trees with thick emerald green grass and flowers everywhere.    The regular sites look a little close to me but this spot, this "overflow" site is perfect.  We're hooked up to the 50 amp service and water  of one of their groundspeople's unit so we have all we need!   We're told he doesn't mind and is very hospitable to travelers.

Lewis is over the moon with all  the soft grass to walk on (and roll on) and trees to pee on.   He can't make up his mind which one to water so he dutifully takes care of them all!

pretty nice view from my chair!

   Today's drive from Heyburn was uneventful.    We crossed the Snake River a few times and were buzzed by crop dusters taking care of the huge potato fields in one area.

The sky is looking pretty dark right now.   I think a storm is coming this way but we're tucked in for the night.   Tomorrow we move on to a multiple day stay in La Grande, Oregon.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Moving on north

 We're now in the small town of Heyburn (or is it Burley?) Idaho for just one overnight.   Heyburn Riverside RV Park is a small city owned rv park that is just delightful, just what we needed after the busy, busy KOA in Salt Lake City.   It backs up to a green municipal park along the banks of the full Snake River and this little campground is green and well spaced with a very friendly camp host.  The reservation process is a bit odd - first going through the camphost (who knows what is what) and then paying on-line on a city owned and run website.   After all is paid and confirmed, one has to either text or email the camp host to confirm payment.....odd, but doable.    

Back to Salt Lake City......we left Cedar City and took I-15 north on Saturday.    We ran through some interesting weather and through a significant, but short, rain/wind storm near Mona, Utah.

The ominous looking storm didn't turn out to be much, and it really just made Beluga and Rocky dirty.

We made our stop in Salt Lake City to visit with old friends Jack and Marilyn.     They live in a beautiful little jewel box of a house on a leafy green street.

Sunday afternoon we went to the house and had lunch.   We haven't seen each other for a few years and had lots to talk about.   Dave and Jack have quite a business history together and, with the past year's Covid isolation, we found ourselves talking and talking and talking about everything and nothing.   It was a wonderful afternoon, the time flew by.

Monday Dave and Jack played golf at 6:30 a.m. and after they showered and changed, the four of us headed up into the mountains for a walk around and meal in Park City.

he wanted me to sit next to him but......

We've all been there many times so none of us had an agenda.   We parked and walked and talked and enjoyed the beautiful high altitude day.

In and out of a few stores, feeling stunning alpaca jackets and scarves,  trying on leather hats, checking out art galleries, appreciating the flower boxes and pots and noticing the details of the carefully kept old buildings.

Jack and Dave talk while Marilyn and I check out Dolly's Bookstore

We enjoyed a lttle wine and a luscious lunch outside at Cafe Terigo on Main before deciding it was time to head back to SLC.   Actually after lunch, Jack and I waited in a long line outside a tiny shop called Cow something or other, for some yummy ice cream to top off our nice day.    It was a beautiful ride home and we left with promises to return soon.

Tomorrow we move on to the next stop (Caldwell, Idaho) on the way to our long awaited Spokane visit.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Just in time

Today was all about wandering.    We had a few errands to run but decided to drive up into the  cooler temps and  wander on some of the less traveled roads and tracks we'd seen the last few days first. 

We turned off State rt. 14 near the Woods Ranch Park.   I thought I remembered seeing a sign saying something about a reservoir so we made a hard right and off we went.     The road was deeply rutted dirt rising through steep slopes of beautiful birch/aspen.

I love the solitude of these forests where we can just stop in the middle of the "road" and get out to watch a bird, or check out a little wildflower.

The only watching eyes were the trees....

We passed a little dammed pond and spent a few minutes walking arount it, watching the small fish dart and jump.

The road became more rutted and the small rivulet of water running down it's center was becoming a little more vigorous as we climbed so we decided to enjoy what we had and turn around and head back to the city and take care of those errands.

Just in time!

As we picked our way carefully down the one lane road we came upon a couple side by sides trying to pull over far enough for us to pass.   We managed to do that without touching vehicles and waved our thanks.   A second later, around another curve in the road we met more of them coming our way.   We found a wide spot to turn out and wait for them to pass.   and pass, and pass.    There were probably 20 all together, they looked like they were a group or club, and if we hadn't decided to turn around when we did they would have been crawling up behind us all the way.    Up hill, on a single rutted dirt track all the way.....Ugh.    I'm so glad we decided to call it a day, just in time.

Neither of us was excited to grocery shop in 100 degree weather so when we saw another road turning up into the mountains we took it.   We couldn't resist finding out where a road called "right hand canyon road" would take us.   Up and up we went, again, this time on a paved road.

We stopped at a few overlooks and were amazed at how quickly we had gotten to 8500 ft.    The views went on and on.    We were high enough to see  the jagged ridge of mountains running up the center of the valley where we had driven through the Parowan Gap and explored the petroglyphs on Wednesday.

My height nerves were thrumming so I only took pictures from the Jeep's open window.   I felt too dizzy when I got out and walked near the edge.  


At one spot, and only one spot, beautiful light pink flowers were growing right on the very edge.  We passed them on the way up and then again as we descsended.    Dave was able to find a spot (safe enough for me to not become paralyzed) and I shot a quick picture or two out his window.   He's a gem.

Back in Cedar City we bought a few groceries and ended our day by driving around looking for the Empanada Bus.     We had seen the food truck in a parking lot yesterday and talked about getting some of our favorite treats for dinner the next day (today).   It wasn't there.   Grrrrr.      We finally found it on the Southern Utah University campus and happily took some back to Beluga.

They were good, but I think we've been spoiled by the one and only Rincon Argentino's (Boulder, Colorado) offerings.   They are to die for.      The Empanada Bus didn't quite live up to our high expectations.    We ate them all up, however.......

We're back on the road in the morning.   Our visit here was great, we'll be back!