Sunday, August 21, 2016

Fallen Leaf Campground

We arrived here about 2:30 PM on Sunday, August14.  Our favorite place on earth - Lake Tahoe.  We reserved site 42 for one week.  We finally signed our papers for the refi on our home that we started before we left home in Riverside.  We met our good friends Kathy and Grant Stephens here for a couple days.  No satellite reception from this site and cell reception was spotty, but I was able to get 2 channels over the air for our TV.  We are heading south to Manteca tomorrow for one night to dump tanks and refill water as we will head to Morrow Beach for 4 days of dry camping before we head towards home.  I could not kayak down the Truckee River as it was very low, but I did manage to take out the kayak on Fallen Leaf Lake for a couple of hours one day and I went for a short swim in the lake.  The water was unusually warm, maybe 70 degrees.  Lake Tahoe is low again this year as it was last year.  We took our usual 88 mile ride around the lake one day and went out for Mexican food at Chevy’s Mexican Restaurant.  Tonight we will go out for a sub at Subway and then to mass,  and then

go out for a Cold Stone ice cream.  I also donated $100 at the poker tables.  I do miss taking our boat out on this lake though.  We went to a concert  at the Vahalla to see a country singer, Rita Hoskins and three piece band.  They were quite good and Aggie and I got the last 2 tickets as it was a sold out event.  I have rated this campground before so it has not changed F****.

Bend, Oregon

We headed south to Bend, Oregon to visit our friends Chris & Gary Jewell.  They have a beautiful home on ten acres just outside of town.  We stayed there for 3 days where they had full hookups and camping was FREE.  The weather was beautiful with temps in the high 80’s every day and clear skies.  We went for a 4 mile hike along the Deschutes River one day where Buddy went for several much needed swims along with their dog Red.  We also went out for breakfast one day and had a great 3 course meal at Anthony’s, a local seafood restaurant on the Deschutes river.  We dined on the patio while listening to the concert going on across the river.  We feasted on fresh vegetables from their garden daily and Chris and Gary sent us off with some fresh eggs from their chickens.  Yummy!!!  What can I say; Good Food, Good times, and Great company.

Merrill Campground

This campground is located in Susanville, Ca.   We stayed here one night to empty our

holding tanks and refill water before our one week dry camping in Lake Tahoe.  We have stayed here before and it does not get any better than this for a federal park.  We had full hookups with 50 amp electric, water, and sewer at our site.  The sites were level and heavily treed in the forest along a large lake (Eagle Lake).  The sites are long and wide with picnic table and fire pit.  I was not able to get satellite reception from our site.  All sites are $20 less 50% for senior pass.  You add $5 for electric, $5 for water, and $5 for sewer.  They had dry camping spots, spots with water and electric and full hookup sites.  They accept reservations, but we were able to get one for one night.  We paid $25 per night for ours and we needed to wash some laundry in our motor home while here.  There is also a dump site for dry campers.  I rate this campground F*****.

Jantzen Beach RV Park

We arrived here at Jantzen Beach RV Park located on Hayden Island in Portland, Oregon on August 2 and will be here for 8 days to visit our son Matt and our granddaughter Danika.  Our site had full hookups including 50 amp electric, water, and sewer.  Our site was relatively level, but very tight.  We did have cellular reception and satellite reception.  As in most RV parks I have visited the wifi was unusable.  Many full time residents in this park, which was fine as the park was well maintained except the trash dumpsters seemed to be always full.  We paid about $29 per night with good sam discount.  I rate this park P***.

Matt only worked 3 days while we visited, one of which was the day we arrived.  So we got to spend some quality time with him and Danika.  We drove down to Coos Bay to pick up Danika on August 3 which was an 8 hour round trip excursion.  Matt does this every weekend.  We visited the Oregon Science Museum one day which was set up for children.  Danika ran from one venue to the other the whole time we were there.  I think she enjoyed the sand box the best.  One day we visited a train museum and that was interesting with old steam powered trains from the late 1800’s.  We took Danika and Buddy to a park one day where Buddy played with other dogs and got in a good unleashed run.  Danika played with some other children on slides and swings.  We also went to Battleground State Park where Damika and Buddy went for a swim in the river.  It was quite low though and we had some snacks before heading to Joe’s Crab Shack, a seafood restaurant on the Columbia River.  Matt & I shared a bucket of lobster, crab, shrimp, sausage, potatoes, and corn on the cob and washed it down with some local craft beers.  Danika opted for mac and cheese (go figure) and Aggie had halibut.  We also went to a park to play miniature golf and Matt and Danika also drove some inter tubes that squirted water at other riders.  It was very warm out and they dried out pretty quickly.

The motor home got a much needed wash and wax, and I repaired our tow hitch as the rubberr covers that protect the bars had cracked, which left one side unprotected from the elements.  We had a couple overcast days while we were there but just a little rain.  Most days were sunny and warm in the upper 80’s and 90’s

Columbia River

We spent the night along the Columbia River in Oregon for a free night of parking.  We stayed here last year and it was quite nice.  The grass was brown and trees needed trimming but we got our money’s worth.  I managed to catch the last available spot which would accommodate our 65 foot length.  Could not get satellite reception due to the trees and the wind picked up to a sustained 30 mph winds and lasted all night long.  There were white caps on the river.  I did manage to go for a swim in the river as did Buddy.  There were trash bins, a boat ramp and rest rooms here.  I rate this parking area P****.

While walking the dog the following morning, we noticed the trailer parked behind us had an open door flapping in the wind and a rolled up blanket that looked like something was under it.  There was a foul odor coming from the area and Aggie and I thought there may be a dead body or animal beneath the blanket.  I called the local ranger who came out quickly in about 10 minutes.  He inspected the blanket and inside the RV and found no bodies or inhabitants.  He suspected the odor was from rotten fish.  He referred the incident to the tribal police who patrol this area.

Our journey continued toward Portland to see our son Matt and granddaughter Danika.  We hit a strong headwind which resulted in reducing our speed to stay on the road.  The wind was blowing our 38000 pound  rig all over the road.  We did arrive safely at Jantzen Beach.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Blue Valley RV Park

Arrived here July 30 for 2 nights.  All sites had full hookups, but no pull through's.  It was 100 degrees (unexpectedly hot) when we arrived.  Thank goodness for AC.  The park is located near downtown in a very old industrial type area.  The grass between sites and around the park was green and well maintained.  Not much to do here, however, I was able to catch up on my blog.  No pool or spa and the clubhouse is locked up early when manager goes home for night, which was 12:45 PM on Sunday.  We paid $38.22 per night with my military discount.  I rate this park P***.  We found a catholic church just one mile away which we attended on Sunday.  The downtown section is quite cute with many older brick buildings.

Granite Lake RV Resort

We arrived here July 28 for two nights.  This campground is located in Clarkson, Washington and directly behind a COSTCO Store.  There was also a Walmart and Albertson's nearby.  The campground was situated on the bank of the Snake River where it merges with the Clearwater River.  The river is dammed up at the Columbia River which have locks so ocean going vessels can travel the waterway to Lewiston which is just across the bridge.  We saw a hugh paddle steamer which docked next to our RV park.  This section of the river they call Granite Lake even though it is no wider than a river as far as we followed it.  It may widen out near the dam.  We did visit the Asotin County Historical Society Museum in Asotin, Washington.  They had a log cabin, pole barn, out house, and one room school classroom all decked out with period furniture.  The pole barn had several horse driven buggies and a huge assortment of over 200 branding irons.  They are open from 10 AM - 2 PM on Tuesday - Saturday and it is FREE, however they do ask for a donation.
The park was well maintained with green manicured grass between sites and one tree on each side.  Full hookups (50 amp electric, water, & sewer).  There was a bench on each site instead of picnic table and fire pit.  There was 3 or 4 covered picnic tables throughout the park.  There was no pool or spa, but you could pop into the river to cool off, but there was not a sandy beach (mostly mud and rocks). We had a pull through site, but it was only 40 foot long and we still had to detach our toed.  There were some great riverfront pull in sites that filled up after we pulled in. (they must have been reserved).  They did deliver a local paper to our site each day.  We paid $46.50 per night.  I rate this park F****.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Farragut Naval Training Station Brig

We toured this jail museum just a short walk from our camping spot in Farragut State Park.  I liked this old refurbished truck.

Farragut State Park, Idaho

Arrived here July 26 for two nights.  We chose dry camping as electric & water sites were $40 per night.  We paid $26.50 per night and had a gravel area on the side of the roadway with no water, trash, picnic table, fire pit, or anything.  You could park along any roadway for free and have the same services.  On the plus side, we had a view of an open field of grass and local mountains in the background.  There was very little traffic and we had the whole area to ourselves for the two days.  It was pitch black at night and Buddy was so uncomfortable he would not pee and wanted back inside the motorhome.  The coyote's were quite loud in the early morning hours, both nights. They also have great dump stations with water for your coach.  The regular campgrounds with electric and water were quite nice in the trees.  Our fee included $3 extra for out of state resident, extra $5 for day use fee for our toed vehicle, and an extra $5 for not having a Idaho State Park annual pass in addition to a sales tax.  I rate dry camping F* and electric camping F***.
The park itself was quite nice and had a boat ramp on Lake Pend Oreille.  There was a free museum at the Brig, which was the jail for military personnel and prisoners of war.  There was information on David Farragut, the first Admiral in the USN and the leading Naval Officer during the Civil War.  He is the person who coined the saying "Damn the Torpedo's - Go Full Steam Ahead."  This area was the Farragut Naval Training Station (the largest in the world) and trained over 300,000 recruits between 1942 and 1946.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center

We stopped here while heading north on hwy 200 and drive around Lake Pend Oreille, the largest lake in Idaho.  After heading west on the north side of the lake we headed south on hwy 95.  A few miles south of Sandpoint, Idaho, we traveled down a long winding road to this museum after we called if there was parking for our rig.  We spent a good three hours at this museum which was free, but they ask for a $5 donation per person.  The volunteers were very informative, friendly, and helpful.  We did enjoy some home made vegetable soup before we left.
Forest Bird was an inventor and pilot who lived 94 years and died in August 2015.  His second wife died in a plane crash at age 59 just 2 months after his death and is still under investigation.  Google Forrest Bird and wikipedia has great wealth of information on his inventions.  The first floor had refurbished aircraft, military awards and medals, and gift shop, while the top floor was dedicated to his many inventions and copies of patents.  There was another hanger with more planes, old cars, and motorcycles on this 250+ acre compound.  The last picture was a 1927 model T ford which was the first year a Ford came in a color other than black (green).  It was also the first year that came with an automatic starter, you did not have to crank it to start.  The car to the right was a 1928 Model A Ford which replaced the Model T.  It was a worthwhile detour.

Bull River Campground

July 24 we left Flathead Lake and took a scenic route 28 west to route 200 north.  Beautiful ride along the Clark Fork River.  We left late after attending mass at the local church in Polson, Montana.  We arrived at our campsite at 4:30 PM in the Kootenai National Forest.  Our GPS took us off track up a residential area which turned into a one lane dirt road.  We had to detach our toed and were ready to back into a helpful residents driveway when another resident came by and escorted us one half mile up the dirt road to a turn around point and Aggie followed in the Tahoe.  We would not have found this on our own as the turn off point was in the middle of the woods with high grass between some tight trees.   This campground is located on the Bull River which empties into the Clark Fork River nearby.  Campsites along the river had great elevated views of the lake, our's was not one of them and we were surrounded by trees just off the river view sites.  Aggie loved being under the trees, but I could not get satellite reception so we had our first campfires of our trip.  The sites were well spaced and many could handle a 40 footer.  There was water, trash, pit toilets, picnic table and fire pit at each site.  I did take out the kayak both days we stayed here and did find a bald eagle on the other side of the river.  We paid $5 per night for 2 nights with our senior pass.  I rate this park F***.

Flathead River Resort

We arrived here one day early as we intended to stay in Missoula, Montana on July 22, but all campgrounds were full, so we continued onto Polson, Montana, on the southern shore of Flathead Lake ( the largest lake west of the Mississippi River).  As it turned out campgrounds were full here too because of some basketball tournament going on in town this weekend.  We left messages at several campgrounds to call us if a cancellation occurs while we were on the road.  We needed to dump our holding tanks and refill water as we have been dry camping for four days in Boseman, Montana area.  We were preparing to spend the night at Walmart in Polson when we received a call from Flathead River Resort that they had an available site for the night.  We gladly took it and it was a very nice park located on the Flathead River one half mile from downtown Polson.  All sites were pull through with full hookups (50 amp electric, sewer, and water).  All but 2 of the sites were owned by private owners, and there were no facilities as pool, spa, and no one manned the office.  While this park was on the river, no RV sites had a view of the river; those were taken up with mobile homes.  The park was well maintained, but at $60 per night I found too pricey for us.  I rate this park P****.
We stayed one night and spent the second night on the same river adjacent to Sacajawea park.  There was 48 hour free parking here and we had a great view of the river and satellite reception to boot.  We did not extend our street side slides as it would obstruct traffic.  I rate the free parking spot P****.
We took a ride around the whole lake one day to check out campgrounds and all were booked.  They are known for cherries here and we did stop in a local market/gas station and purchased some..They were yummy.

Grand Teton National Park

We toured the park two days while we were camped in Gros Ventre Campground.  We visited Jenny Lake and Jackson lake.  We popped into a campground on Jackson Lake to have snacks and let Buddy go for a swim.  We took a ride to the top of signal mountain where there were dramitic views of the valley.  There was a cell tower there and I had 5 bars on my phone.
The following day we toured Menor's Ferry and the Chapel of the Transfiguration.  Bill Menor built the first ferry to cross the Snake river in the early 1900's.  A replica of the ferry still operates in the summer, but the person who operated it was promoted and had other duty's to attend to when we visited.  There were several buildings on the site; a cabin, a church, and a storage building for wagons and sleds for transportation.

Episcopalian services are held at the Chapel in the summer.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Jackson, Wyoming

This neat little town is just south of the Grand Teton National Forest.  There are elk antlers all over the town and in the shops.