September 29th, 2020

Adventure

Slept great (finally) last night. Actually the last two nights I have slept pretty good and had restful nights for a very welcomed change. I got out of bed and took the dog out then came back. A nice, crisp morning – about 37 degrees F and blue skies.

I decided to take a drive after all this morning. It was a quick drive to check out Newport, WA. I think this is the way I will be heading back tomorrow – more new roads over to Sandpoint then south on 95.

I have decided that there are now, unfortunately, certain places/cities/states in the U.S. that I no longer feel I can visit safely. I got to thinking about it more in-depth lately and I am altering many plans and ideas of things I wanted to do in places I wanted to visit (like coast-to-coast on US 2) because of the pandemic and certain political factions making life dangerous. I feel the risk is too great and not worth the potential for problems. I am hoping Canada will open up after the election so we can finally go back and visit there.

It was 75 degrees today and sunny. Another beautiful day after a nice cool night and morning. It’s been a pretty good day today. We walked the trail around the lake which ended up being quite a bit farther around than the sign said. It was good exercise for both me and the dog and it was good to be on a trail in the woods again. Then we came back and kicked back in the shade. We got in a few miles again today so that felt good.

Looking back toward the dam

Lately I have been pondering replacing the missing trailer microwave. There are just a few things I gotta have a microwave for and it does make life easier big picture. It will mean losing a very handy storage space but I am streamlining the kitchen aspect of trailer life a bit and a microwave would help with that considerably.

It has been kind of interesting staying here in this campground. When I was a kid we always took family vacations every summer and this place kind of reminds me of a couple of those campgrounds from all those years ago. Lots of activities for families – playgrounds, lake, pool, hiking…many things to keep most everyone happy. We would end up mostly in Forest Service or National Park campgrounds but sometimes private campgrounds or a KOA.

I have been watching the series “Long Way Up” and it is just like the two previous series for the most part – two friends going on a months-long motorcycle adventure through different countries. It makes me want to do a ride like that with a friend, but more than that it is yet one more thing that makes me want to travel to foreign lands.

I am calling it a night for now. Tomorrow I head back to MT. It’s not an all-day drive but i want to make a stop on the way so up early and gone!

September 28th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel

Today, I woke up.

YAY!!!

Seriously, today I wanted to get somewhat of an early start to drive back over and down to Coeur d’Alene. I have never been downtown or by the waterfront so I wanted to do that. And, it JUST so happens that there is a famous place there I want to eat called Hudson’s Hamburgers.

I left the KOA and Apple Maps routed me east and south through Idaho which is how I wanted to go anyway since it is a road I had not been on. It ended up being a very scenic drive through gold farmlands in amongst the dark green hills. A very beautiful drive and one worth the time – it took me an hour and twenty minutes or so to get to where I was going. If you have ever driven through CdA/Spokane on I-90 you will understand avoiding that mess even by taking backroads.

I got into downtown and it’s a nice area if you are a shopper and like sidewalk cafes and beers – not really my kind of place to hang out. I got parked and just 600 feet around the corner there it was. Hudson’s. Nothing fancy and a very limited menu. Since I was here for a burger, I ordered up a cheeseburger with spicy mustard and onion. I stepped outside, unwrapped it and angels sang as a bright light shot out of the wrapper. Absolutely one of THE best burgers I have ever eaten. Yes, he said “ever”. Juicy, homestyle burger cooked perfectly, a slab of white onion and some fairly spicy brown mustard. I damn near went back for a second one it was so good. That alone was worth driving over six hours yesterday and the drive down to the restaurant.

I took a walk around the area, but since I am not really a shopper it didn’t do much for me. I did stop and buy an almond blackberry cookie at a bakery that was a little spendy but it was really good. I decided to get back on I-90 and head west of Spokane to pick up US 2/395 north toward the trailer.

I took my exit, and of all the bad luck there was a Dick’s Hamburgers joint at the bottom of the ramp. NOT all Dick’s are the same. This is not affiliated with the chain in the Seattle area. But, it has piqued my curiosity driving past it many times and ever since I ate at the Seattle ones as much as possible as you know from previous posts.

This was quite different than the Seattle ones but still a pretty good burger, and both are definitely much different than Hudson’s. I thought the fries were good but the Seattle ones have a soft spot as a similar memory from my childhood – my grandma’s hand-cut fries cooked in a cast iron skillet in lard. One of the top four fries I have ever eaten (Dick’s, my grandma’s, the ones at the bar near Grand Coulee Dam, the duckfat-cooked fries in Galway at a pub). Anyway, Hudson’s you MUST stop at and any Dick’s location east or west you cannot go wrong for different reasons.

Rider and I headed back to the trailer. I don’t think he is feeling very good. He hasn’t eaten much the last few days which isn’t normal. We got back and I tied him up outside. He eventually got to feeling a bit more lively and we took a walk over to the lake. I think tomorrow we are gonna just stay here and take the trail around the lake, and maybe walk around other parts of the campground.

It’s pretty quiet here right now but it is probably hopping when there’s no pandemic. They have a lot of family activities here along with the little lake and it is also part of a camping club network so yeah…it gets busy. But it is a nice place and the people are very friendly. It has great ratings and I see why. Not my usual style of camping but I knew I could get a spot here.

I actually ran into an issue in a spot last night and had to be moved. No, it was not another redneck blowhard asshat. It was an odd problem; the sewer pipe hook-up pipe was higher than my trailer tank outlets so they just would not drain. Of course I discovered this after I had already unhooked the trailer and got it set up. Something to remember to check for more often. I talked to them about the problem and they moved me to a better site and there was no extra charge. Luckily I had only hooked up the grey water and not the black but I knew what I needed to test it with and it wasn’t poo-related.

Sometimes I buy frozen Bird’seye garlic chicken with vegetables and pasta and it is really good. They came out with a new plant-based protein version (made with Gardein brand Chik’n) and it was not bad at all. Tonight I stir-fried it up (without the garlic butter) in some General Tso’s sauce. It was pretty good, but I find myself steering away from that old favorite to something less sweet and more savory these days. I guess my tastes have changed considerably as I noticed this about a year ago. I guess it’s why I have been eating more Thai food the last few years.

Unfortunately, I was in a hurry and I forgot I used all of my eggs up so I guess it will be either bacon and cheese in a tortilla (a “breakfadilla©” I shall call it and © 2020) or a Noosa yogurt. I did not realize it until I got back earlier but I didn’t want to leave again – not even tomorrow. I just want a down day to go hike around. I’ll make it work!

This has been a very relaxing trip so far. Today after we got back I just sat on the tailgate of my truck looking and listening for an hour or so. I am looking forward to the walk around the lake, too, and I know the dog will like that. It looks to be another gorgeous day tomorrow so it will be a great day to really lay back. Yeah, there’s several days of stuff to see and do around here but I only have a few days so I’m having a slack day.

It is very pleasant outside tonight. Cool but not too, perfectly still air and fairly quiet – a nearly-perfect evening that recharges you. The dog wanted to go for a stroll to check the irrigation so we walked leisurely down the road a bit and came back as he inspected; I have not seen a night like this in quite some time and it is so nice…even soothing. We have had cool nights but the never-ending wind…well, it never ends.

Getting out on these trips brings out the travel bug in a big way. It feels good to be on the road seeing things. I am so ready to get back to Europe I cannot stand it. I have been thinking about both my trips over and the girls and I were talking about our trip again. I need a long stay – enough to rent a place for a month, then another place for a month, and maybe a third, all in different countries. I still have enough miles to schedule a flight but I just can’t go for it yet.

I went out to close the front window cover a few minutes ago and had this weird flashback of doing the same thing in Banff National Park in September 2012 (almost eight years to the day…within a few weeks). My parents let me take the trailer to Washington State when I was moving, and I had a pretty big adventure. It’s why I started this blog. I didn’t know much about the trailer but I got through it and learned along the way. I have learned so much and I am still learning not just about the trailer, but a different way to live. It has an oddness and uncertainty about it most people would think “no, it’s not for me”, and rightfully so, I guess. It really is not for everyone. I really am enjoying it though. Most importantly I have had a lot of fun doing it.

It’s now time to kick back for the evening.

See you next time!

September 27th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, pictures, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel

Guess you can’t have it both ways…

Hard to believe another summer has come and gone and it is nearly October. It certainly feels like Fall in the air now and it is a welcomed change from that 100 degree BS of not long ago. The days have been pleasant, the nights cool, but the air is still choked with smoke. A few days ago the air cleared out and it was once again clear and breathable. Too bad it only lasted the one day.

With the weather getting cooler I am having to make some adjustments in the trailer. I now have to keep an eye on the cooler temps to make sure things don’t freeze but that has only been an issue a couple of nights so far. I have been using the electric heat instead of the propane furnace but I will be digging out the electric blanket at some point when I can figure out where it is buried in the storage unit. I also put some long sleeve shirts in the trailer and put the kilt in storage but left out a pair of shorts just in case. It is that time of year when you don’t know how to dress on any given day so best be prepared for most anything. It is the mountain way of life!

He’s loving this travel thing too!

Since it is getting into the time of year where travel in the northern part of the country starts shutting down, this morning I left for a campground north of Spokane, WA for possibly one of the few remaining leisure trips with the trailer this year. I did hope to get out a day or two sooner but the winds were blowing so hard that towing the trailer would be too dangerous, so between that and avoiding the weekend crowds I decided to leave today. It’s going to be about 6-7 hours of driving (adding extra time to stop for more fuel and exercise breaks).

Other than an old truck with a bumper sticker that said “You’re about to exceed the limitations of my medication” that made me laugh out loud, it was an uneventful drive and a nice day for a drive other than a little headwind. This is the first trip with the truck pulling the trailer up over a couple of fairly steep passes and it ran great. Plenty of power and the gas mileage improved even over the passes.

I have a few days here to relax and explore this area. I have not really spent much time in this area but I have been through areas west and east of here and north into Canada (too bad it’s still closed at the border) in years past. One really nice thing about being in a campground like this is your rig is pretty safe if you want to go adventure out doing some day trips. I plan on taking advantage of that every day since the forecast is not too bad for the next few days. The full utilities are certainly nice to have and come back to at the end of the day, especially having electricity on these cold nights. I do like the solitude of boondocking, though.

I got here right at the tail-end of the open season for the campground here. I believe they said this coming weekend is it for the year so I lucked out. It is in a really nice setting – lots of trees and a lake nearby that we will go check out at some point.

Tomorrow I am probably going to go back south to check out stuff around the cities plus I am on a food mission. I have never stopped here for more than a night in a hotel or the trailer and I thought this would be a good opportunity to see some of this area and not be rushed of crushed by tourists. It is a pretty area with lots of trees and Lake Coeur d’Alene is beautiful.

Tonight, however, it’s time to do some stir-fry noodles in the wok and relax with a beverage.

September 17th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel

I got up early to get an early start and decided in the interest of hitting the road faster i went and got breakfast and coffee. I usually do not unhook my truck so I can just wake up and get gone but I wanted to run around, and the trailer is not level in this spot if it is hooked up – it kinda goes uphill so the trailer tongue has to be cranked down lower than the hitch on the truck to be level for the fridge to work properly and the shower to drain.

The air quality is not good today – much worse than yesterday and I am starting to cough and wheeze from it so apparently I am leaving at the perfect time. I wish I had longer to stay and drive around but with the air getting unhealthy it’s just as well I leave now.

Luckily, with all my recent trips I have gotten into a pretty good rhythm to getting things done fairly quick both setting up and packing it back up for the road. Nice thing with a trailer is when it is raining hard you just park, open the door and go to bed. Dry and warm. Gotta use the toilet? It’s in your closet (basically in mine it is).

I got everything unhooked and put away then hit the road for the drive back. The winds were not quite as bad as they were on the way down but pulling a trailer still knocks the gas mileage down even with a tailwind. I stop often for gas – when I am at about a half-tank – so I don’t run out again like I did a while back. I got gas for $1.99/gallon in Cheyenne and in the low-$2.00 range most of the rest of the trip. The KOA was only $42/night and that was with full hookups.

Having the dog with me it’s good to let him out to exercise and do what he needs to do, and it gets me out of the truck as well so I stop often for that. He still loves to travel and does pretty good but I have had to put the crate in the back and lock him up in it to keep him from wandering.

All the way back the air quality was really horrible so I had the air conditioning set on recirculate to keep the bad air out. I saw the mountains very little and in some places they are not that far from the interstate. Even getting back to the house the smoke is thicker than I have seen in almost the entire time I have been here. I can’t stop coughing and clearing my throat. It sucks and I hope I do not get sick again, but I am staying inside, keeping the inhaler going and doing whatever else I need to do to to fight it off the best I can. I have not taken many pictures on this trip since there was really nothing to see due to the smoke so I did not bother trying.

It was so fantastic to be back in Colorado once again and revisit some long-ago visited places and memories from the past 40-odd years. I had not thought about those ‘shoestring adventures” of those days in quite a while and as I did I smiled inside and out. I only stayed in free places, I froze my ass off at times and was hungry on occasion, but I had a great time traveling like that. I still travel on a low budget but it is because I want to and because I enjoyed doing it in my 20s. Sure, I have the luxury of a trailer now but that doesn’t mean I have to give up the best and most honest way to travel; one that makes you find your happiness without much money.

So, Colorado…I hope to be back very soon! No need to leave a light on for me.

I know the way very well.

September 16th, 2020

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, pictures, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel

I got up today after sleeping like a log for the first time in months and no back or neck pain. The air quality is not real great but not quite to the point of staying inside all day. I think I will probably just stay another night here since everywhere I want to go is the same as far as the air. It’s right at 9 hours back to the house from here so that is a little longer in the trailer because of the winds. I checked the drive time going west and up and it’s 15 hours plus I’d still have to go through SLC, which is the travel version of the movie Groundhog Day. Lots of traffic, every exit is the same and it just goes on and on and on…

I decided to go north to the historic site in WY I saw on the way down that I wanted to check out. It is called the Quebec 01Missile Alert Facility just off of I-25 about a half hour north of Cheyenne. It was not too far away from where I am staying and well-worth it. I decided to go today instead of stopping so I could make some good time Thursday on the way home.

I found this stop just north of Cheyenne, WY very interesting and even a bit unnerving

If you are a history buff or just simply curious about our tendency to want to efficiently kill millions of other people on the planet then you should stop and take the quick and inexpensive tour. It has only been around for a year or so and that is why I had not seen it before.

They take you down into the control center where the keys and codes were.

Perhaps for some of those of us who remember this stuff it will being back memories of the “Red Scare”; those evil Commies, with fallout shelters and “duck and cover” hysteria in the schools, and the planes for Operation Looking Glass overhead 24/7/365. It was interesting to see this place because I love history; I sure as hell don’t love war and seeing this place makes you realize just how fanatical and scary this crazy game of real-life Risk is. One thing so very fascinating about history is when it is actually something from our own lifetimes. It makes it different and many times you get the real story versus what we were told when we were younger. Check out the weapons-count poster. It is just insanity. There is a term for it – Mutually Assured Destruction. Yes, MAD hits the nail on the warhead.

I walked around the grounds a little then drove back to the trailer after another run to Ft. Collins for treats. While out picking up a few things I spulrged on a Good Times Guacamole Bacon Burger with Wild Fries. I’m such a rebel; Wild Fries and I EVEN had a Dr. Pepper to go with it. Yep, that’s right…a full-course COMBO meal. It’s been about 10 years since I had eaten at a Good Times and oh man it was soooo good. Not the kind of stuff I eat often these days but if I get a need for it I will buy it. It is getting a little smokier in the area. When I get back at the trailer it’s inside for a bit to avoid that bad air and hopefully it will clear out later.

It’s really been a good trip despite the air quality issues and the brake repair – you just gotta deal and move on. It’s done. Even though it is definitely not what many would call a fancy place (three of five stars) the campground was reasonable (about $43.00/night w/full hookups) and I made a few side trips to see some things. Mainly, I got to relax & unwind and that was really the focus of this trip.

I just saw an article titled “9 Unique National Parks You’ve probably Never Been To”. I just had to know, and I was surprised to find out that I have been to five of them. There are so many National Parks I want to see that I would have thought the entire list would be those places. That was kinda cool.

Tonight is just a kick back night, pop one open and the smoke has calmed down a bit. I can enjoy sitting outside relaxing on this final night out on this trip. The entire state of CO is under a fire ban so no campfires to sit around to ponder the universe and perhaps think about how to fix the crap in your life that needs fixing. Tomorrow is a bit of a drive and I don’t want to be starting on the road very late if possible so I guess it is just as well that I call the game a little early.