We've been enjoying our camp at the Riley Creek Recreation Area along the Pend d'Oreille (pronounced "Pawn Dor-ay") River in Northern Idaho. Once again the Corps of Engineers came through with a great campground... the best in the area according to the locals we've talked to... which would be why it's so popular. Despite the post-Labor Day, early Fall, after back-to-school timing, the place is packed this weekend. Every one of the 67 sites is full. But it's a weekend phenomenon this time of year, and we'll almost have the place to ourselves by later this afternoon.
Firewood has been our biggest problem. After a busy summer of campers scavenging the woods for every dry stick and twig the only option left is to either bring your own (which all locals do), or buy it. But despite being in the middle of billions of trees and the forest products industry being the major economic activity around here and no shortage of people trying to eek out an existence up here... the price of firewood is the highest we've run across in our travels. $5 for a small bundle seems to be the going rate... and it's really a small bundle. It takes a minimum of two bundles for an acceptable fire that won't last much beyond dinner. Yesterday Dar and I went down the road a ways in search of another less expensive source, but had to resort to buying a couple bundles at an Ace Hardware store. At least these were slightly larger than the little bundles available at the campground. Oh, and the price? That's right... $5 per bundle.
This afternoon we're heading down to Spokane. We're meeting a couple of fellow explorers that we first met up with last year at Zion National Park. They're from the Spokane area and will be leaving in the next week or two on a maybe 6 month long exploration of the perimeter of the USA. Julianne and Jimmy are an interesting couple who have done some amazing things through their lives. At Zion, we enjoyed a couple meals together, a hike, and couple of memorable campfires -- one of which involved re-engineering the traditional campfire S'mores recipe. That's all I'll have to say about that. Here's a link to their website.
Because we're so close to our destination -- the Portland area, a couple grandkids, and some wonderful family and friends, the horse is "smelling the barn". The plan now is to leave here on Tuesday, spend a night somewhere near Grand Coulee Dam, then traverse the Cascades on US-2 to it's terminus in Everett, WA. There, we'll spend another quick night before driving to our month long camp near Portland/Vancouver on Thursday.
That's it for this morning kids...