Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Busy Week

023(Jan)  We’ve back in Iowa for one week and what a very busy week it has been! A wonderful visit with son Brent & wife Donna and family was quickly followed by a marathon 4 day visit with my mom, my brothers and sister and many in our families. Fun times were had; great memories created. The 4 of us kids went to visit a nursing home for mom as she is needing an increased level of care. And today we moved her to St. Anthony Nursing Home across town in Carroll, Iowa. The move went very well. We were impressed with the facility and especially the friendly and helpful staff. My mom is pictures at right with her youngest grandchild, John, a recent HS graduate.  

Chuck and I are once again home here at Swan Lake State Park. We’ve been doing a little walking and biking.The weather has been a mixture of very warm days and a couple rainy ones. The rain was a much needed relief but many more inches are needed.

Monday, June 18, 2012

At Gavins Point Dam, Missouri River

001(Chuck)  Today we awoke once again by our old friend The Missouri River. We are at the Corp Of Engineers park near Yankton, SD. The COE parks offer half off to camp with the America The Beautiful (Senior Pass). Most RVers call it the Old Guy Pass. At any rate, we can purchase it at age 62 for $10.00. It is good for lifetime and allows you entrance to National Parks and reduced rates at many Federal recreation sites. COE sites are usually large and offer electricity. In the Midwest you need electricity in the summer heat and humidity.

Old Muddy or Muddy Mo are names for this river. It is the longest river in North America and it travels 2341 miles from the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana to where it enters the Mississippi just North of St. Louis. Along this route it is harnessed with fifteen dams that impound the main stream of the river. Hundreds more dams contain its tributaries.002

We were by the river 11 days ago at Great Falls, MT. We found the bike trails there to be a great way to experience the river. Here we are two weeks later, again riding bikes along this ever flowing road which is on its way to the Mississippi and continues to the Gulf of Mexico.

(Jan) After leaving Great Falls, we stayed in Lewiston, MT and near Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. We then spent four days at the Hart Ranch Resort near Rapid City, SD as guests of our friends Betty & Duane. Shared dinners, walks, bike rides and playing a game or two of Pegs & Jokers were on the agenda. 032On one of the days, we drove up to Spearfish Canyon to hike along the Sunshine Creek up to the Devil’s Bathtub. The two mile hike had us crossing the stream many times and it made for a wonderful adventure.

(Chuck) Tomorrow we leave here and travel on to Iowa. We will be in the Midwest for the duration of the summer and fall. Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and hopefully Michigan will be our homes as we spend time with family and friends.

I just looked at the weather ahead of us. In Carroll, Iowa at 8:17 A.M. it is 77 degrees with a South wind of 29 mph with gusts of 44 mph. Humidity is 80% with the dew point of 71 degrees. For those of you who travel and follow the weather in degrees, also look at the dew point and observe what it feels like when the DP gets in the 70’s. I always describe it as walking out the door and walking into a wet blanket. It is not like that clear mountain air that we have left behind.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Missoula and Great Falls Montana

Boone & Crockett(Chuck) Often times when we travel we find that we bump into something completely unexpected that turns out to be a little gem that makes you smile. It happened the other day as we were riding on a bike trail in Missoula, MT. Located on the bank of the Clark Fork River is the historic Old Milwaukee Depot. It is a beautiful building with two castle like observation towers and large Romanesque windows. We rode around it once to look at the architecture and discovered this was the home of the Boone and Crockett Club. Over one hundred years ago Theodore Roosevelt and a small group of conservationists formed this organization. Read the Mission Statement photo and you will find these men were dedicated to preserving big game and hunting in North America. The Boone and Crockett Club now also provides a standardized scoring system for measurements of antlers, horns and skulls of trophy big game animals. To learn more of this conservation organization go to http://www.boone-crockett.org 

The inside of the Boone & Crockett lobby at left and their Mission Statement at right.

In Great Falls we visited the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. It was another nice surprise. It was very well done and informative. We watched two movies. The first was a general Corps of Discovery and the second dealt with the monumental task of the almost twenty mile portage of the Great Falls and its smaller companions. Nearby is the Giant Springs State Park. It is one of the largest freshwater springs in the world with a volume of 156 million gallons of water per day. It was first recorded by Lewis and Clark in 1805. The large volume of fresh water sustains its pure color for several hundred yards downstream in the muddy Missouri River.

  036The amazingly clear waters of Giant Spring mingling with the waters from the muddy Missouri River. 035The springs tumbling down the rocks from the pool at Giant Springs State Parks. The Roe River is recorded as the one of the world’s shortest river at 58 feet.

040(Jan) We loved biking in both Missoula and Great Falls. Both had a large variety of trails. In Missoula we road along the river, through the university district, into downtown and back. In Great Falls, starting at the Train Depot, we road a loop along the river and over the river bridges. It was amazing to be able to ride that closely along the Missouri. Swollen from spring water flow, the level of the river is quite high but not flooding.

Another thrill was getting to see the falls on the Missouri River, particularly the Great Falls. There have been dams built just above several of them. It’s hard to imagine Lewis and Clark coming upon this sight and having to portage around these mighty falls through the rough countryside.The picture below, was taken at Ryan Dam built just above the 80 foot tall Great Falls of the Missouri.042

Monday, June 4, 2012

Plans Are Made In Jello

036(Chuck) We enjoyed the Highway 12 trip through Idaho. The whole route was next to several very exciting rivers. First was the majestic Clearwater River which we joined at Lewiston. At Lowell we diverted up the Selway River to explore a boondock site which I had found on a blog. It is a gorgeous site and we may have brought the motorhome to stay there a while, except there was no Verizon signal available. That has become important to us. 029The Lochsa River overtakes the Clearwater at Lowell and we followed it nearly to Lolo Pass. On the East side of the mountain we were soon joined by Lolo Creek which we followed to Lolo and nearby Missoula, MT. We enjoyed being in the mountains in the spring when the rivers are active. There was a great deal of whitewater and a few kayaks on the water. We spent a night at Kamiah, Idaho which I recorded in our RV Log as: 3 June, Kamiah, ID, County Park, FB, $00/$00, N 46.22924 W116.01871, 1180’. Lewis and Clark stayed here exactly 206 years ago, May 14 to June 9, 1806 on their return trip east. That makes me smile. 001Pictured are; the Clearwater River, the co-pilot with her feet up enjoying the Lochsa River and kayakers running the rapids.

At this time we are in Missoula, MT. The original path was Highway 2 which leads through Glacier National Park. Currently the ‘Going To The Sun Road’ is not yet cleared of snow. We wanted to travel that road when it has water falls and without that, we may divert South to Yellowstone Park. We have been in Yellowstone in the fall many times and it would be good to be there in the spring. So, as all Boomers know, “Our Plans Are Made In Jello”.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Grand Coulee Dam Area

image(Jan) We were on our way from Seattle east when our Pressure Pro alerted us to a low tire on our tag axle. Chuck discovered a 3/8 inch bolt had been driven into the face of the tire. He removed it and plugged it. That got us over the pass but soon we were losing air again and it became apparent that a new tire was in our future. Actually two new tires. The size that was on our tag axle has been replaced with a different number/size so we drove into Wenatchee to find a a truck place that could help us. TDS fit the bill; they had what we needed. They were out the next morning to replace the tires and get us back on the road.

Later that afternoon we stopped in Manson on Lake Chelan to see our buds Diane and Jim. They were busy moving a storage shed on their property but had time to visit. We enjoyed a great Mexican dinner together downtown and then visited some more back at our rig.

036(Chuck) We had planned to take Highway 2 across the Northern region of the US on our Eastward journey. One of the highlights scheduled was the Grand Coulee Dam and it was well worth the visit. It is a gravity dam built on the Columbia River . It is one of the largest cement structures in the world and the largest power producing facility in the United States . It was completed in 1942 and is also a source of water for agricultural irrigation. The visitors center was a good experience, in addition, a little WWW research was very helpful.

While we were at FisherBakers, Jim mentioned that we should be sure to stop and see the Dry Falls . He briefly described the Lake Missoula and the events of 12,000 years ago. While in the area, we learned that Coulee means loosely “dry watercourse”. This is one of the largest known and is the Grand Coulee . The dam actually sits at the North end of the Grand Coulee . There is a story here and it is worth looking up to understand it well. In short it goes like this: Between 17 and 11 million years ago there were huge lava flows that engulfed 63,000 square miles of the Pacific Northwest.image These deposits were up to two miles thick. During the last Ice Age a sheet of ice up to one mile thick moved South into the area. One of the leading fingers of this ice sheet dammed the existing Clark Fork River and formed what has become known as Lake Missoula . This lake covered a significant part of Western Montana . Several times in history this lake burst through the ice dam and flooded and reformed again. Dry Falls is the remains of a gigantic waterfall that dwarfed present day Niagara Falls . Dry Falls is 3.5 miles wide and has a drop of over 400 feet. Several hundred feet of water made this plunge over the falls. It is estimated that the flow of the falls was ten times the current flow of all the rivers in the world combined.

We are deviating from our Highway 2 route tomorrow. We leave Post Falls, ID (Cabelas) and will go South and follow Highway 12 through Idaho to Missoula, MT. Bruce and Dee recommended it as a great journey and I am sure it will be a good route.

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