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.

Hood Creek Campground

We arrived here on July 20 for 2 nights.  The forest service told us there were sites for 40 foot motorhomes here.  This park is just south of Boseman, Montana and is off the beaten path with

a 12 mile ride along a narrow winding road which follows Hood Creek.  When the road turned to gravel our GPS got lost and there was no signage.  It was a real challenge negotiating the 140 degree turn just to enter the campground.  I did pick up a couple minor scratches on our rig inside the park on two very tight turns in the park.  This is a very primitive park; no cell phone coverage, no dump station, no water for RV, but we did have a picnic table and fire pit.  About half the sites had RV's in the 13 foot to 32 foot range.  I was able to get satellite reception though.  We had a filtered view of Hood Creek Reservoir and I did take my kayak for a two hour cruise.  Once we were settled in we enjoyed our stay.  I would not recommend anything over 28 feet in this park even though our site was quite long enough.  We paid $7.50 per night with our national senior pass which was a 50% discount.  I rate this park F***.

Yellowstone National Park

We spent one day to drive through the park.  Traffic in the park was horrendous so we did not visit the main attractions.  Here is a sample of sights just driving through on the main road.

Moose Creek Campground

We ended up here on July 18 for two nights since we could not get any camping in or near Yellowstone National Park.  We drove in the south entrance, which is just after exiting the north entrance of Grand Teton National Park.  We were able to find a parking spot along the roadway with river and waterfalls nearby.  We took a short walk to the falls and along the river to let Buddy get his paws wet.  We stayed here a couple of hours watching tourists enjoy wading and swimming in the fridged  waters.  We headed north toward Old Faithful, but did not think we could find parking for our 65 foot length.  We got stuck in over an hour traffic jam near the midway geyser basin and then hit 10 miles of construction on a gravel road.  We decided to head for West Yellowstone on the west entrance.  We stopped along a long pullout along the river with a family of elk grazing along the river.  Took some pictures and headed out of the park, but all campgrounds were full, so we headed north toward Bozeman, Montana.  That is where we found this campground about 90 miles from Old Faithful.  This was a small campground with only 18 spots along a river and we purchased the last site and it was right on the river; a pull through alongside the campground roadway.  It had a good view of the river, picnic table and fire pit and we had our first campfire of our trip here.  We paid $7.50 per night with our senior pass.  There was no dump station or water for the RV here, and there was traffic noise from Hwy 191.  I rate this park F***.
We cruised into Bozeman one day to get supplies and do our laundry.

Gros Ventre Campground

We arrived here July, 14 for 4 nights and selected this campground since it does not accept reservations and it is the closest federal campground to Jackson, Wyoming and the Grand Tetons National Park. We arrived on a Thursday, before the weekend around 3PM and had a choice of 3 remaining sites which would accomodate our 40 footer.  We choose dry camping as all electric sites were gone and electric only sites were very pricey.  We paid $13 per night with our America the Beautiful Senior Pass verses $39 for electric and without the pass rates are $26 verses $51.  Even though we had trees blocking our view of the SE sky's, we were able to get satellite reception.  We had picnic table and fire pit at our site and the site was relatively level.  I rate this park F***.
We visited Jackson one day and treated ourselves to a pizza at Pinky G's and pizza and bar.  Since we are pizza snobs, we were not impressed even though we had to wait 45 minutes for the pizza and 10 minutes in line to order.  While, they bring out your pizza, you do everything else including cleaning your table.  We also shopped some unique art and furniture shops that made chandeliers out of elk and moose antlers.  Also furniture made from exotic burlwood.  All of which was over our pay grade.  I broke in my new kayak in the snake river.  I put in at the dam of Jackson lake and Aggie picked me up about 6 miles downstream.  While the water was moving pretty fast near the dam, there were no rapids on this section of the river which was OK with me as I have rafted rivers before, but this was my first adventure with a kayak.
We also cruised by Jenny lake, Jackson lake, and a trip to the summit for a skyline view of the area.  We attended two campfire programs put on by the park rangers on Pronghorn and how the Grand Teton National Park was formed.

Park City, Utah

We took a day trip to Park City on July 12 from Heber City.  This is an upscale skiing community, full of restaurants, bars, and art shops.

Mountain Valley RV Resort

Arrived here on July 11, located in Heber City, Utah.  We stayed here last year and really enjoyed our stay here.  The sites here all have 50 amp electric, water, sewer, and picnic table.  A few gravel sites, but most are level concrete pads with well manicured grass between sites.  There is a clubhouse with swimming pool and spa which were immaculate.  We were assigned site U12 which is a premium 80 foot long site.  We paid $50 per night with 10% AAA discount which included taxes.  Good Sam rates this park 10 10 10 and I agree.  This is a picture of the huge fenced dog area.  I rate this park P*****.

There are many watersport, hiking, biking, golf, restaurants and shopping available in the area.  We plan to visit Park City, Utah and I may launch my new kayak in a local river.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Zion National Park

I was not impressed with Zion National Park.  Fortunately, we did not pay the $30 National Park Fee as we have our Senior National Parks pass.  Before we entered the park there were signs that the park was full from 10 AM to 3 PM.  What that meant was there was no parking.  At $30 per carload, $25 per motorcycle, $15 per bicycle, and buses paid per passenger; you would think they could provide parking for the tourists who attend.  It seems to me that they could dedicate 10 additional acres to parking near the visitor center; that would leave the other million acres natural.  There was a 1.2 mile tunnel that charged large vehicles 11 - 13 feet in height an additional $15 so they can close the tunnel to opposite direction traffic as high profile vehicles must travel in the middle taking up both lanes. If your rig is taller than 13 feet 1 inch, you will not fit in the tunnel.   We waited about 10 minutes for four sets of cars to pass with a motorhome in each group.  There is another road in the park called the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, but you must take their bus and dogs are not allowed.
On the positive side, we did manage to snag the last parking spot at the nature center after 3 PM which was so narrow Aggie had to dismount the Tahoe before I parked so I would have enough room to exit after parking.  We took Buddy for a hike on the only trail available to dogs in this park and it was also colored concrete; not quite rustic but it was wheel chair accessible.  Buddy was able to cool off in the Virgin River and take a little swim.  He was able to get a nice cool drink of water, however the water was probably 70 degrees, much warmer than most alpine rivers and streams we are accustomed to.