Winthrop to Ellensburg

17 Aug

On Sunday we left the tourist mecca of Winthrop and took US 97 south to Ellensburg. The traffic was unbelievably heavy making it impossible to enjoy the scenery. We did pull off at an historical marker near the Wenatchee River to stretch, read the marker, and take a few pictures. Since irrigation is plentiful along the rivers in Washington, land that would otherwise be quite barren to the eye is rife with fruit orchards and grapes and other crops.

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Small roadside stands appear all along the route offering all sorts of produce. The river is dammed in several places creating lakes for boating and other water activities.

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The roadside marker told of a strong earthquake which brought down the stone from the cliff pictured and revealed the lava tubes, black lines in the photo, as the mountain was once an active volcano.

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My experience with the heavy traffic, the fact that campgrounds in the area are quite full in the near future, and their high prices [especially with the Labor Day weekend coming up] made me decide to abandon plans to go on to the Olympic Peninsula. Plans are to stop in Yakima for ‘minor’ recall repairs on the Ford; that appointment is on the 22nd so there’s time to decide where to go from here….

Trip to Town

11 Aug

We walked to town [only two blocks] at about 6:30 this morning to get some pictures before the traffic built up. Going and coming home, we saw a number of mule deer including this townie.

Townie

Having been a great fan of Western movies growing up, I can visualize the horses and wagons passing thru the dusty/sandy streets, bad guys shooting from rooftops, the sound of cowboy boots on the boardwalk….

DSC03390Boardwalk

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And back at the ranch…I mean campground…

Pine Near RV Park

(I have to say that Pippy was a great girl as we spotted and took pictures of the townie, the buildings, and all. Our picture taking routine requires her to stand/sit quietly with me standing on her leash, positioning the camera, shooting pics, and resuming our walk.)

10 Aug

Having heard conflicting comments as to whether ‘deer whistles’ have any value in deterring deer from running in front of your vehicle, I still bought and installed a pair. This was after my friend hit a deer on her short drive, a mile, from work at Crazy Horse Memorial to our campground. She had no whistles and her vehicle suffered substantial damage. Although I still don’t know if deer can hear and are alarmed by the whistles, I saw three deer in two days who clearly intended to cross the highway in front of me and, instead, turned and hightailed it back into the woods. And a little later a wild turkey, despite my approach, decided to cross the road on foot. Only at the last split second did he take wing and avoid what would have been a fatal mishap. This raises the question whether turkeys can hear the whistles if indeed the gadgets do whistle…. On that same day, we passed two dead deer, lying on the berm, who I assume were struck by vehicles with no whistles?

 

Be that as it may, we are now in Washington having spent our first two nights in the state at the Cedar RV Park in Ione. When I called the day before, I was told there were no spaces with hookups available but I could dry-camp for a couple of days. When I arrived, the owner offered to locate me in front of his garage/shop building with electric and cable hookups as the temps were forecast to be quite warm. And, indeed, they were: my outside thermometer registered 102! The following morning, the owner told me that one of his monthly tenants [construction and mine workers] had to leave for a family emergency. So we spend the second night in a shady spot in the woods with full hookups.

 

On the morning of our departure, I browsed the ‘Cedar Chest’ gift shop and picked up some interesting gift items. Then we headed for MT 20 and our drive through several beautiful national forests. Due to the slow speeds on this curvy road, Pippy spent most of the day in the passenger seat enjoying the views. We stopped at Colville for some shopping which include mostly RV type supplies plus some lunch for a later stop at a forest campground/hiking area/rest stop. Our destination for a week’s stay was the Methow Valley with its tourist towns of Winthrop and Twisp.

DSC03380[not a great shot but moving quickly to even get one of Pippy watching is a challenge]

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The Pine  Near RV park is just a block north and uphill from the busy tourist town of Winthrop [more about Winthrop on another day] but it’s broad, grassy scape is quiet and relaxing. This morning as Pippy lay napping on the ‘living-room’ floor, I looked up from my crossword puzzle and cup of coffee to see a deer outside the rear window. Cautioning her to be very quiet, I urged Pippy up onto the sofa to see our visitor. As it turned out, there were two, a doe and a buck. As they spent ten minutes browsing, we watched quietly. They were ultimately startled by a runner and her border collie and vamoosed across the road.

A few minutes later, two more does passed thru the empty site beside us headed in the opposite direction. Guess we’ll be keeping an eye out beginning at six each morning.

Still in Montana

4 Aug

After spending two nights in the busy, crowded, expensive Kalispell area, we moved farther west to Troy, MT. Our route took us by the shelter where I adopted Ursa Pippy just over a year ago. We visited with the manager and then moved on down the road tracking along several rivers via MT 200. Although there was a forest fire in the area we passed through, smoke was only detectable briefly. Stopping to view and take pictures was prohibited. We settled in at Kootenai River Campground which, with its wooded setting is a very welcome change from the west edge of the Rockies.

Yesterday and this morning we took walks down to the river. The rocky shoreline makes for tricky footing but Pippy did venture into the water briefly. She was fascinated by the inflatable kayak equipment wheeled down to the river by two fishermen. With a single wheel under each rig, it can be pushed like a wheelbarrow to a spot with access to the water. They carried a nifty pump to properly and quickly inflate the ‘floaters’; Pippy was very curious about the sounds coming from the pump. We watched the launch and then returned up the path for a relaxing evening.

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Glacier Meadow

26 Jul

Our life since I last posted has been quiet, which was planned. Having done all the tourist things in the area many times before, I wanted a good place for Pippy to play occasionally off-leash and for me to rejuvenate and do a bit of writing. Most of the latter consists of a personal bio and transcribing/editing some earlier writings. Although we do have one ‘black’ squirrel in the area, so far there have been no critters for Pippy to chase and she does seem a bit dubious about forays into the forest. The campground is quite busy as is US 2, which sits between us and the southern edge of Glacier National Park. The Family Foods store in Browning is ideal for weekly grocery shopping and the town and the rest area at the Continental Divide afford opportunities to use the internet, make phone calls, and even listen to the radio [at this posting, however, connection at the CD was non-existent – had to come all the way to Browning]. None of those luxuries are available at Glacier Meadow RV Park.

You’ve heard of carnivores and herbivores. Pippy is definitely an ortivore, i.e. she’s happy to eat anything that comes from my plate or bowl. She did have a chance to revert to her roots on her re-birthday [one year from the date I adopted her from the shelter in Polson, MT] – she got a large portion of steak! And Sunday brought an unexpected pleasure: some folks from Lethbridge, AB, were here for the afternoon along with their shepherd, Sable. Although not as heavy as Pippy, Sable was agile and a wee bit faster on the run so they had a great play date.

Because of the risk of attracting bears, no seed and suet bird feeders are out but I am feeding the hummingbirds. It’s not uncommon to see at least four jockeying for position at the three ‘drinking’ ports.

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I’ll plan to post this, along with some pictures of our environment on Monday. In addition I’ll be sharing some less up-beat thoughts on my other site, New Leaf.

 

Pickup

20 Jul

This is a message to the folks who dumped their trash in the parking lot in East Glacier Park, MT. Don’t worry, I cleaned up the mess and deposited it all in a garbage bag and in a dumpster just across the street. I can only assume that you were all too full of beer, and Fritos, and whatever was in the deli-tub to walk that far and dispose of your trash properly. What I don’t understand is what part of good manners and responsibility that your momma taught you did you not understand?

On a brighter note, we arrived at Glacier Meadow RV Park on Thursday as scheduled after passing thru East Glacier Park. After a relaxing weekend, we did some grocery shopping in Browning on Monday and settled in to enjoy the setting, one of my favorites. The picture below was taken this morning as the moon was setting over the west end of the meadow. With daylight savings time in effect, I’m likely asleep by the time it rises over the mountain to the east.

Moon over Montana

18 Jul

The journey from Choteau to Glacier Meadow, a lovely RV park on US 2 between East Glacier Park and West Glacier, is relatively short. Therefore, Pippy accompanied me on my annual pilgrimage to Chief Mountain. Although this sacred mountain is often visible for perhaps a hundred miles on a clear day, the clouds obscured our view most of the way. North past Browning and St. Mary and Babb, we turned on MT 17 to reach the viewing area near the Port of Chief Mountain where one can enter Canada. On earlier visits, The Chief was clearly visible but on this occasion his head was hidden in a cloud. Could he be hiding his eyes from the anger and sadness in the world?

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Although most of those who stop to view this icon snap a quick picture and move on. Pippy and I spent a good spell walking and absorbing the feel of peace and calmness there. She had the opportunity to watch two calves who were observing her with great interest. And two prairie dogs were also watching intently to announce us as a threat if need be. When lunch time arrived we descended to the small town of Babb where I frequently stop for lunch at Glacier Edge Café and buy local honey at Thronson’s General Store across the road. As always, the meal [a veggie sandwich and fries this time] was delicious. Unfortunately the honey producer has gone out of business but the clerk suggested that I try the store in East Glacier Park which may have a few jars remaining. We stopped in East Glacier Park to fuel up and opted to pass up the honey on this time through the town as there was very heavy tourist/weekend traffic.

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