Revelstoke to Cranbrook

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, pictures, Travel

An awesome night’s sleep in one of the most comfy beds I have ever slept in. The room was one I hated to leave but there’s no way I could ever afford to stay in a place like this for an extended period of time.

I finally got to see my surroundings this morning since I arrived after dark last night. Boy, was I surprised.

IMG_4199

Southern View from Revelstoke Mountain Resort

This is what I saw from the windows of my suite. I took this one outside when leaving. AS you can see the weather is beautiful.

I went to Tim Horton’s (again) and got a delicious breakfast – a back bacon, egg, and cheese croissant, hash brown patty, and a dark-roast coffee black.  Great way to start the day!

After I ate I went hopped in the truck and headed east to Mount Revelstoke National Park. The Canadian Rockies I have seen before (Banff, Jasper, etc.) have been spectacular and this park was just as incredible. I drove up to the parking area as far as I could go then hopped a shuttle for the last part – which ended up not being very much farther.

The weather was perfect but it was cool – it was in the mid-30s F and later on started spitting snow on me.

At the top there are several trails and I opted for the one that went up to the old fire lookout. Nearly every trail I saw has signs about grizzly bear activity so you bet I was very aware of my surroundings. I hiked around and, well, I’ll let the pictures do the narration:

IMG_4207

Yours Truly – Mount Revelstoke National Park

IMG_4214

Mount Revelstoke National Park

IMG_4218

View of Revelstoke from Mount Revelstoke National Park

IMG_4217

View of Revelstoke from Mount Revelstoke National Park

IMG_4216

Painted Footprints Mark the Trail as They Cross the Roadways – Mount Revelstoke National Park

Instead of riding the shuttle down I opted to take a walk in the woods and it was a really nice trail and the surroundings were beautiful. I did not see any bears, but I told some people behind me they looked more delicious than I did and they could go ahead. I don’t know how they took that other than a nervous laugh…then they stopped somewhere behind me. Maybe a bear ate them. I heard no screams though.

I left the park and went back to town. Unfortunately I had to get fuel and a snack to make the trip to Canada’s own Glacier National Park. It was another beautiful drive:

IMG_4221

Glacier National Park – British Columbia

IMG_4220

Glacier National Park in British Columbia

IMG_4219

Glacier National Park in British Columbia

I stopped at the Visitor’s Center to buy souvenirs (which they did not have) and I discovered that you are REQUIRED to hike in groups of four or six (depending on the trail) because of the bear danger. Since I was alone, I could NOT hike there so that was disappointing. I also saw a sign that said the fine for feeding the animals is TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS! I had to look at it twice to make sure what I was reading was correct. Holy shit! That’s serious!

I kept on going and thought I would get a room at Radium Hot Springs until they told me it would be over $200 so I drove on. I ended up in Cranbrook at a Super 8, and this is a far cry from the luxury I enjoyed the previous night.

While driving I do a lot of thinking. I had just listened to a few hours of music and it hit me…after checking my posts here in the Super 8, it was during my journey five years and two days ago I was driving this very stretch of road! This was totally unplanned and quite ironic that this unfolded like this almost five years to the very day. Tomorrow, though, I am heading a different way than I did before. I’ll be heading southeast into Montana instead of southwest into Idaho toward Washington.

I remember driving this particular stretch of highway. I had come out of Kootenay National Park after spending time in Banff, Jasper, and Yoho National Parks. Radium Hot Springs village is at the end of the highway coming out of Kootenay and then you either go north or south. This junction is in a beautiful valley and here I was again!

More thinking – the last few days I have been leaving my phone off. International roaming and data are spendy so I put my phone in airplane mode and just update my daughters when I get wifi. No phone ringing since Monday and it has actually been kinda nice. I wonder how many messages I will have when I turn it back on…

I bought a candy bar the other day called a “Wonderbar”. It is basically a Butterfinger, but there is caramel around the peanut butter part and they are sooo good. Thinking about that experience, I stopped at Walmart to grab a few Canadian snacks to take back with me. It ended up being about $90 worth.

Hahahaha!

 

March 8th, 2017

Adventure, Travel

Not much longer!

After going back and forth on the route to take, I left West Wendover, NV this morning and took some back roads up to Twin Falls, ID to catch I-84. The KOA there that I stayed in was behind a bunch of casinos so that was a bit strange. Nothing quite like being out camping in the wild!

Heading up the pass leaving there I got a glimpse of the Great Salt Lake in my mirror. I have been this way a few times before so I have seen the vastness of the salt desert. It is interesting to see the “desert” landscapes while traveling. There is so much diversity of landscapes and scenery in this country you can usually find something visually pleasing everywhere.

It was a pretty nice drive on this stretch of U.S. Highway 93, one that I had never been on until today – decent pavement with plenty of passing lanes and scenery. One mountain in the distance looked like it was a volcano, and given their prevalence here it would not be surprising. To even further reinforce that is there were a few signs for hot springs.

After all of the miles driven so far over the past 2+ weeks, I hit the first precipitation of my trip a few hours ago in Oregon. Yep, I made it part of the way across Oregon today. Glad I taped up the holes under the trailer yesterday nor it would have been bad inside the trailer.

On road trips you can find and see all sorts of things. I remember seeing Miss Budweiser, the racing boat at a rest area. A few years back I saw the giant Marilyn Monroe statue  on a truck at a rest area in western Colorado. Today I saw something I had never heard of.

A flat-bed was heading east on the interstate as I was heading west. On the back of it was this weird-looking creamy yellow and red-striped old truck with the words “Levi’s Puppet Rodeo” painted on the side of it. It was a pretty cool-looking piece of Americana.

That’s about all I have for now. It’s movie time!

The Calm After the Storm

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Travel

Yep, the turmoil, at least for now, has subsided and life as I know it is starting to be back to my version of normal.

Work has been rather busy the last few weeks. We are getting this park (Sacajawea) in pretty good shape – tree branches picked up, leaves sucked up by the leaf-picker-upper (actually it’s a “turf sweeper”), and my house has new paint and carpeting throughout (except the usual areas that will be tiled). We have to get the rest of the leaves picked up, the water turned on, de-winterize and clean the bathrooms, and get the sprinkler systems ready for the park to be opened for the season. Here are a few pictures of Sacajawea State Park:

Sunrise Over the Confluence

Sunrise Over the Confluence

Looking south toward the confluence of the Columbia River (n the right) and the Snake River (on the left)

Looking south toward the confluence of the Columbia River (n the right) and the Snake River (on the left)

Looking west towards the Columbia River

Looking west towards the Columbia River

Looking east towards the Snake River

Looking east towards the Snake River

Sacajawea State Park

Sacajawea State Park

Last week we worked on Lyon’s Ferry. There is some really incredible scenery in that area. We went over to check out Palouse Falls and that is a beautiful park to visit:

Palouse Falls State Park

Palouse Falls State Park

I am planning on some road trips the next few weeks to explore the area before I leave and maybe get some more pictures to post.

I spent three days running a chain saw to trim trees up to make the park look nice for opening. There were three of us and we worked hard to get as much done as we could in that amount of time. It was hard to keep ahead of the two trucks hauling brush away so one guy would do some raking while the other would load brush into a truck. We had beautiful days to work outside and it made me realize how fortunate I am to be able to have a gig like this and the I get to work with some great people in so wonderful places.

I guess we are going to have some dignitaries visiting here in a few weeks. We don’t have a lot left to really do and we will have it looking good for their arrival. We’ll be spending next week working on Sacajawea. The guy who we worked with over at Lyon’s Ferry will be coming over to help next week, then we go to another park the following week unless the plans change – which they are subject to.

Updates

Last week was sooooo busy. I went to Seattle on Sunday for a Monday morning appointment then came back here. A long day indeed. I worked Tuesday then left to go to Anacortes and got a room because I had a job interview on Wednesday. After the interview I left and came back down here. Another long day. I went to work Thursday and was planning to leave after work to go see Meghan in Montana. I just could not do it. I was beyond tired and needed to stay here and get some rest so I left Friday morning. I just don’t bounce back like I used to be able to.

It was a nice drive and is quite scenic. The short drive through Idaho reminds me of the Central City/Black Hawk area of Colorado and I would like to go back there in the future and spend some time there looking around.

I really like to stop and see things on my travels so I HAD to go see the “$50,000 Silver $ Bar”. There’s a lot of money in that place and some old, old coins:

50,000 Silver $ Bar panorama picture

I also stopped at St. Regis and got one of those dee-licious huckleberry shakes you see billboards for. Don’t question or ridicule me until you stop and get one for yourself. Get the whipped cream too. They are a bit pricey, but they are big and oh so tasty. I stopped at Roslyn, WA. Its is where the TV show “Northern Exposure” was filmed and the show is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a neat little town and they still have some of the TV props in various buildings and windows.

I got to Meghan’s and I was sure glad to not be in that damn truck any longer. I had enough windshield for the week.

It was sure good to see her and Loran and the animals. We went out to eat at a few places, went to the dog park, hit a few stores, and went to the museum as well as sit around and watch TV and chat. The museum we went to has the most complete T-Rex skeleton of any museum and it is pretty impressive:

T-Rex

T-Rex

Dinosaur Skulls

Dinosaur Skulls

Triceratops Skulls

Triceratops Skulls

They said the skull found with it was so big and heavy they could not mount it with the skeleton so they put it in a case and used a different skull, and it was pretty big!

I am really having a tough time giving up the idea of getting another motorcycle. It just really sucks to have that taken away from me and that pisses me off. I have had fairly real flashbacks about the wreck quite a bit lately and, honestly, it scared the hell out of me. My family was upset as well (rightfully so). I just cannot get those two things out of my mind. The motorcycle saying about “It’s not a matter of IF you crash…It’s a matter of WHEN you will crash”. It’s odd that I had no issues riding my Yamaha last year after my wreck but now I just cannot think about it.

The issues with my neck and left arm and hand are going to probably have to be resolved with surgery in the fall and even that my not fix it. We just don’t know. Having a fully functioning hand and neck are a bit important on a bike and that weighs on my decision as well. What good is spending thousands on a bike if you cannot ride the thing?

I also thought a boat would be cool, but “boat” stands for “Bust Out Another Thousand” and I just cannot afford the maintenance so I will just rent one when I want to go boat for pleasure. No headaches, no hauling it around, no tags, no taxes, no boat registration, no maintenance…quite a list. So, I will have to do some more road trips in my truck. I can sleep in it, it’s comfy, can go off-road, and I own it free and clear.

I really have been itching to get back on the highway. My trip to Montana last week was fun and it made me think about some things. I will have my truck in the islands this summer (don’t ask) so I will be able to get around. I had not had a vacation since September 2012.

But, then again, all I really HAVE had is a vacation since September 2012.

Ahhh… Home Again

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

I am starting this post sitting on a ferry heading back home after a weeklong road trip. I was heading toward the ferry and the first glimpse of the water was a sense that my trip was finally over. It was really good to see the water again.

I went to South Dakota to visit my youngest daughter and pick up some of the few possessions at her storage unit that I have left (wow… I sure have a lot less stuff than what I thought I had left…). It was great to see her, and we had fun (as we always do). I was hoping to get to Colorado for a day or two on this road trip, but with the floods I just did not want to take a chance. I was disappointed to not be able to go to CO, but I thought it was for the best to not go. I could not take the chance on getting stranded.

I love road trips because you can actually SEE the country and all of the quirky and cool things there are to see. When I travel I mix up my routes. My adventure getting up here to Washington was just going where I ended up by whatever road I took, and it was fun (see my first several posts on this blog). If I am going to a destination and returning where I started sometimes I stay on the interstate highways just to get there faster and then I can take my time coming back to where I started. That is what I did on this trip. I made a beeline for SD so I could get there and take my time getting back and stopping to see a few things and take a different route home.

I left Seattle a little later than I wanted to. I stopped to get a AAA membership to save on hotel costs, and the discounts I got paid for my membership plus I got maps as well. It was money well-spent, as it is good for a year so I can save even more on hotels. I left and headed across Washington. It is a fairly nice drive, but the eastern part of the state is considerably less forested than the west. That night I got to Coeur d’Alene and stayed there.

The next day I drove across Idaho, as well as most of Montana. The drive across ID is beautiful, and most of MT was too. In the center of the state it gets to be more plains. I spent the night at Billings.

The next day I went south toward Wyoming and got to Little Big Horn and then went SE towards Spearfish, SD. I had no cell phone coverage for hours and it was rather odd but nice. It took me through some pretty out-of-the-way towns.

I got to Spearfish and immediately went to get food at Culver’s. Culver’s is an upscale fast food place with great food. Their burgers are awesome, and before the weekend was done I ate there three times before I left Spearfish.

I got to watch the BHSU football game while Meghan was at her rockclimbing class near Custer. It was a nice day to be outside watching the game. Later on after Meghan got back to town we met up at my hotel and decided we would go out and have a few drinks with some of Meghan’s friends. We had a really good time, and it has been quite a long time since I closed a bar.

The next day Meghan was off work and school so she showed me around. We went out to the lake near Belle Fourche. On the way there of course I just had to stop and see the Geographic Center of the U.S. Wait, just a damn minute… there is a big marker for it in town but the actual site is outside of town. It seems the vandals would not leave the markers alone so they had to put it in a park in town.

We went got to the lake and met up with a couple of her friends that we were out with the previous night. They were really cool people to hang out with and I hope to do it again! After they left we drove around and looked at wildlife, but it was mostly birds. The coolest thing was we were driving sown a dirt path to look around, and we saw a huge Great Horned Owl sitting on a fencepost. Just as we spotted it we were close enough to spook it so we stopped but it was too late. It took off ahead of us and landed in the top of a tree. We got out of the car and walked along and I kept snapping pictures of it until it flew away.

We left to head back toward Spearfish and hung out a while. I was leaving the next day so that was a bummer, but she had to get back to real life and I needed to do the same.

The next morning I got up and it was raining. Dammit… I KNEW I should have loaded the boxes into the car the night before. Oh well, it worked out fine anyhoo. I went and loaded up the boxes and decided that since she had only one early class I would just hang around and leave late so I could see her and Michael one more time before I left. So we went to Culver’s! Yay!

I took out west on the interstate after saying bye. That always sucks – saying bye to family. I wasn’t sure of my route past Sheridan, WY so I had time to ponder it. I decided to head through Yellowstone, and I could stop at the Medicine Wheel National Historic Site since it was on the way. After Yellowstone I was thinking of cutting over toward Boise, ID via Craters of the Moon and up toward home from there.

Audiobooks are a great way to pass the time on a long road trip. On the way to SD I listened to the George Carlin biography audiobook. The guy was absolutely a comedy genius and it was interesting to hear about how he came to be such an important comedian and one of the all-time best. I started listening to the Pete Townshend biography audiobook when I left Spearfish. I was a big Who fan back in the 70s, but have liked them since the 60s and still do. It has been a really interesting book so far, but I still need to finish it up as of this writing.

When I took off west on the two-lane Alt 14, I discovered a beautiful drive. I do remember driving that road years ago but it was so foggy we could not see anything during the last part of the drive headed east. We really missed out on a gorgeous part of the drive.

I drove along and got to the Medicine Wheel. I got off the highway and drove up a gravel road to get to it only to find that the signs are of no help because many signs are missing for some damn reason. Very frustrating since I have wanted to see this place for years and now that I am here I cannot see it. Back to the pavement.

Westward I am heading once again, and the sun is racing me to the horizon and winning quite easily. My goal now is to get to Cody, WY for the night, then in the morning head out north to go into Yellowstone through the NE entrance.

I got to Powell, WY and stopped at a rest area. I saw some touristy signs inside and suddenly realized I was looking at some pictures of some serious history and it was on my way to Cody. I absolutely had to stop and see this.

Heart Mountain was an internment camp for Japanese citizens during WWII. It is located between Powell and Cody, WY. A few of the original buildings are still there and the visitor center (which, of course, had just closed) looked to be a reconstructed barracks area with a guard tower and fenced-in prison yard. There is a memorial there, as well as an interpretive trail to walk around. It was a very interesting stop and it really brings up many different feelings visiting a place like this. These places need to be preserved without a doubt.

I got to Cody and got a room at a mom and pop hotel. I went and got Chinese food at what was called something like “One of the 10 best Chinese buffets” by some magazine. Wow… imagine finding a gem like this in, of all places, Cody, WY!!! I shoulda known better seeing that, but I did it anyway. Nothing special, and pretty much average. I need to remember to add them into my Trip Advisor ratings.

I got a good night’s sleep and got on the road early – before sunrise. I needed to make some time after the beautiful yet slow and winding drive the day before. I gassed up the car and hit the road. Another incredibly beautiful drive on highway 296 going to Yellowstone. There were scenic vistas, mountains, rivers, valleys, twisty highways… a diverse area.

I got into the park and went south along the eastern side once I got to the first junction. I headed down toward Fishing Bridge thinking I would see some wildlife, but there was virtually nothing except a couple of what looked to be herons. Driving through the road construction was slow and had very little payoff. It was getting late in the day and I needed to re-think my travel plans to get back home in time for the volunteer picnic I had to cook at. Boise was going to have to wait it looks like.

I decided to head across the center of the road loop, then go north along the NW part of the road and head out the north entrance. On the way I stopped for a few animal sightings and one was a pair of trumpeter swans. I went on out of the park north up to Livingston, MT to the interstate, and then west toward home. This was yet another beautiful drive. Montana is a beautiful place and the sky really is quite big there.

I was glad to be out of Yellowstone because they were expecting a snowstorm that I did not want to get caught up in, especially since I had to get back. This was, I think, my sixth trip through there. I can say that this time of year it was a bit busier than I thought it would be, but thousands less than the summer. This was a good time of year to go through there, albeit a bit risky with the weather.

I did have to drive through some rain and wind on the way back once I got back on the interstate. Again, it is a fairly pleasant drive and the scenery is good. I drove well into the night and stopped in Ritzville, WA for the night after eating at a “Zips” restaurant next door to the hotel. It was a pretty good burger and fries, but at 9:30 at night I usually do not eat like that so it laid in pretty heavy. I would definitely eat there again, and I believe it is a chain.

The next day was the push for home. My sense of adventure took me off the direct route, of course, so after I stopped at Ellensburg, WA to get a salad and a Pop-tart Ice Cream Sandwich (Hey… I had a salad so it was okay) at Carl’s, Jr. I headed north on highway 97 heading towards highway 2 and Leavenworth, WA. Man… another beautiful drive through mpountains and along a river, but it was an hours-long drive that ended up getting me back much later than I wanted to get back. It was well worth the sacrifice, though.

This brings me back to the start of this post… the ferry at Edmonds heading back over to the Olympic Peninsula and going home. As I stated in another post, I am going to start using Flickr to post my photos instead of using WordPress. I just uploaded my first album and it is so much easier to do it this way. The photo album that corresponds with this blog posting is at this link: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjKE48gM. Please feel free to have a look at my pictures, but please remember that they are copyrighted and cannot be used by anyone other than myself.