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Showing posts from May, 2012

May 29 - This, That, and a Real Buzz-Cut

I have no idea what I'm going to write about today. As I sit here, laptop atop my lap, punching at keys without deep thought or any idea of the structure of a well-thought-out journal entry, we'll all just have to wait and see what develops.

It's been 11 days since my last entry. After a string of daily entries for the previous 6 weeks as we made our way from Texas to Washington, my writing muscles are taking a break. I can't deny that there's been a real shortage of available time for writing as most of our available hours are focused on family... especially grand kids. While in town we like to relieve the regular local cast of caregivers... which means picking kids up from school, getting them to activities and appointments, running errands, and helping with household chores. It's a change of pace for us and a nice break for Mom, Dad, and others at the same time.

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Speaking of change:  just a few moments ago Dar said "com'on... let's get this…

May 18 - Update

Our first week in Portland/Vancouver has been busy, but it's also been enjoyable. The routine around our daughter and son-in-laws home is always busy, always something going on, always something to do, and always someplace to pick-up or deliver kids. Every time I'm here I understand, better than ever before, why child-rearing is a young person's game.

And it's Friday already. Today, after a relaxed morning we're driving up to the Seattle area to visit our son and daughter-in-law for the weekend. We haven't seen them since last Fall... and haven't seen the house they bought in December. Really looking forward to the visit. We're leaving the bus-house in Vancouver and just driving up in the toad.

May 13 - The End of the Trail

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Move from La Grande, OR. to Vancouver, WA.Route:  I-84 all the wayFueled (diesel) at 4.149Miles Today:  272Total Spring12 bus-house miles :  2,548Total Spring12 toad miles :  1,002Tonight's camp: Van Mall RV Park   elevation  180'Weather: morning low 37f, high 88f. too dang hot... but niceNotables: 1.Never tire of the fantastic drive along the Columbia River GorgeLink to photo album for today. =====

With a long-ish drive in store, we were on the road before 9am.

What a marvelous drive through the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon, followed a little later by the "E-ticket" rated drive along the Columbia River and it's Gorge cut through the Cascade Mountains. I never tire of the Gorge... I think of the native people who lived here for thousands of years... the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery coming through in the fall of 1805... settlers along the Oregon Trail enduring so much hardship as they sought a better future... all of it watched over by the bright white…

May 12 - Bronze and Hot Water

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Explored Hot Lakes SpringsToad Miles Today:  2Total Toad Miles Spring12:  1,284Tonight's camp: Eagles Hot Lake RV Park near La Grande, OR. elevation: 2,700 ft.Weather: morning low 37f.  afternoon high 70f; Warm sunny dayNotables: 1.) Found far more than I expected at Hot Lake Springs. 2.) Met sculptor David Manuel and learned about the process of creating cast bronze art. 3.) Amazed at the extensive collection of historic artifacts in the History Center.Link to photo album for today =====

Eagles Hot Lake RV Park got it's name from a large historic facility just up the road called Hot Lake Springs. There, a natural spring spews some 30 gallons of 208f degree hot mineral-laden water out of mother Earth every second... making it one of the largest/hottest hot springs known.

In 1812, early explorers traveling through the valley on their way to the mouth of the Columbia River (present-day Astoria), found and recorded the existence of the springs. Shortly after, a crude early tradi…

May 11 - Three Surprised Badgers

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Explored the Elkhorn Mountains from North Powder to Anthony LakeToad Miles Today:  106Total Toad Miles Spring12:  1,282Tonight's camp: Eagles Hot Lake RV Park   elevation:  2,700Weather: morning low 34f,  afternoon high 63f, lots of sunNotables: 1.) Saw our first American Badger in the wild.  2.) Another great day of linear exploring in scenic country.Link to photo album for today. =====

Today we explored most of the rest of the Elkhorn Mountain Scenic Byway... the portion we couldn't complete the other day as the road wasn't yet plowed out from all the winter snow. So today we thought we'd attack the problem from the other end.

Starting in the town of North Powder, we headed west and into the Elkhorns, in the opposite direction we were going the other day. On the way up we stopped a few times to soak in the scenes, smell the cool pine air, and snap a few photos. At the top, not far from the summit, we found the Anthony Lake Ski Area, pretty much abandoned at this poi…

May 10 - La Grande, Oregon

Spent the day today around La Grande... the small town of 13,000 folks near which we've camped most of this past week.  It's a friendly little place with a lot going for it:  a college town (Eastern Oregon University), great views of mountains in every direction, clean, neat, sense of community pride, very good hospital, and tons of recreational opportunities within an hour or two in every direction.

A guy and gal could get to like a place like this.

May 9 - Daily Posts to the Journal

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Since April 2nd, the day we left Rockport and began this current travel leg of our RV Sabbatical, I've been posting an update to the online journal (our blog) every day. It's the first extended period of daily posting I've done in the 5 years the RV Sabbatical Journal has existed.

In the past I've said, and written, that I don't want to be forced into a daily schedule... which implies a deadline... and a routine... which are exactly the kind of things we're trying to get away from by simplifying our life.

But, for the sake of the experience, I wanted to give daily posting a try. I wanted to learn how I'd handle it, how I'd feel, how it affected my life.

So how did it go?  Not so fast... first, a little background: The main intended audience for this journal is (in this order) 1) us, Dar and me, as a record of our travels and experiences during this chapter of our life, 2) family and friends who may want see where we are and what we're up to, and 3…

May 8 - Elkhorn Mountains Scenic Byway

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Explored the Elkhorn Mtns. area west of Baker City, ORToad Miles Today:  174Total Toad Miles Spring12:  1,176 Tonight's camp:  Eagles Hot Lake RV Park   elevation:  2,700Weather: morning low  37f;  afternoon high  78f;  mostly sunnyNotables: 1. Learned how to mine for gold with a dredge.  2. Really enjoyed exploring a forest road closed due to heavy snow... unsure of what we'd run into and how far we'd get.  3. Got a taste of the linear exploring style... until we had to turn around and make the long drive back home.Link to photo album for today =====

This morning we loaded the car with the usual exploring supplies... compass, gps, snacks, water, extra clothing layers, a bottle of wine (it's important to be prepared for anything)... and headed into the Elkhorn Mountains to the west of Baker City. Actually part of the much larger Blue Mountain Range, the Elkhorns are sometimes referred to as the "Little Alps". When they're snow-capped, like they were today…

May 8 - Procrastination Edition

We had a very good day today, up in the mountains west of Baker City, OR... the area behind the Elkhorn Mountains or, as they're also called, the "Little Alps".  We found a narrow gauge railroad, a large lake behind a big dam, an old gold mining dredge,  marvelous views of snow-capped peaks, and two roads still closed for the season due to heavy snow.

I'm supposed to write about all this and more. But I'm just not a writer that can force things in the evening... especially when I'm tired.

So today's post will be along about mid-morning tomorrow, after I've been refreshed.

T

May 7 - A Needed Day at Home

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We've been moving a lot and exploring a lot the past week or two. So this was a day of compensation. That is, we did very little beyond the borders of our camp. Sleeping in was just the start...

This is all the update you'll be getting tonight.

May 6 - Into the Eastern Oregon Mountains

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Move from Boise, ID. to La Grande, OR.Route:  I-84 all the wayFueled (diesel) at 4.169Miles Today: 174Total Spring12 bus-house miles :  2,276Total Spring12 toad miles :  1,002Tonight's camp: Eagles Hot Lake RV Park    elevation 2,700Weather: morning low 33f, high 60f, mostly sunny.Notables: 1. Fun drive on I-84 as it winds through valleys and around hills and snow-topped mountains in Eastern Oregon. Link to photo album for today. =====

I didn't remind Dar... but I was aware that we'd be crossing into the Pacific Time Zone today, and "gaining" an hour in the process. That way, she prepared herself and the bus-house for travel with a dash of her usual urgency... and I could be a little more relaxed than normal. As it was, we were off at 10:30am MDT (9:30am PDT) with a plan of about 175 miles today, which, even with stopping for lunch in a rest area along the highway, would get us into the La Grande area before 2pm PDT.

We stopped for fuel at a Pilot/Flying J befor…

May 5 - Idaho State Capitol

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Moved from Mountain Home ID to Boise IDExplored the Idaho State Capitol (yes, a move and an exploration all in one day)Bus-house Miles Today:  44Total Spring12 bus-house miles:  2,103Toad Miles Today: 22Total Toad Miles Spring12:  1,002Tonight's camp:  Mountain View RV Park  elevation: 2,880Weather: morning low 34f,  afternoon high 55f; windy and  mostly cloudy, but clearing later in the day.Notables: 1. Exploring an impressive classically styled Statehouse  2. Doing a move and an exploration... both in one day.  3. Improving weather means more sun and warmth in the next few days.Link to photo album for today =====

After yesterday's wind storm that resulted in us hunkering down at Mountain Home RV Park in the town of the same name, and after a good nights sleep, we were up and on the road at the startlingly early time of 10:30am this morning.  Dar came up with the great idea that if we could find a convenient RV park near the highway in Boise (which is only 45 miles away), we…

May 4 - Blown into a Mountain Home

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Move from Brigham City, UT. to Mountain Home, ID.Route: I-84 all the wayMiles Today: 244Total Spring12 bus-house miles :  2,059Total Spring12 toad miles :  980Tonight's camp: Mountain Home RV Park, Mountain Home, ID.  elevation 3,140Weather: morning low: 55f  afternoon high?: 66f before dropping to 48f as cold front passed; Ran into wall of dust, water, ice, and wind near Glenn's Ferry, ID. as cold front and storms went through. Possible freeze tonight with snow.Notables: 1. The power of storms  2. The comfort of finding refuge from the stormLink to photo album for today. =====

Travels today were going along smoothly and without any concern. Dar drove most of the way. We had a few light showers as we neared the Utah-Idaho border, but it all dissipated quickly and the drive was mostly dry. We left Brigham City about 10am with the objective of making it as far as we could by late afternoon. There were no plans or reservations anywhere. It was fun carefree day of spontaneity and …

May 3 - Catch Up (and Mustard)

Tonight's camp: Golden Spike RV Park in Brigham City, UT. elevation 4,230: No traveling or exploring todayWeather: morning low 54f;  high 64; mostly cloudy - no rain Notables: Getting caught up... reducing your backlog of things to do... is a great feelling. No photos today =====

Just a short recap of today's work. We completed journal entries and photos for most of our last few days of exploring.  Here's a list of what we did today. The links to the photo albums are included in each post.

April 30 - The Utah State Capitol

April 30 - Salt Lake City Temple Square

April 30 - Bingham Mine... the biggest man-made hole in the world.

May 2 - The Golden Spike National Historic Sight

Tomorrow, we head out on the road again... into Idaho. Hmmm... potatoes. We'll know where we end up tomorrow night when we get there.

p.s.  I have no idea what the mustard reference in the title of this post means... other than I'm tired and getting punchy and going to bed now.

May 2 - Four Feet Eight and One-Half Inches

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Explored Golden Spike National Historic SiteToad Miles Today: 74Total Toad Miles Spring12:  980Tonight's camp: Golden Spike RV Park in Brigham City, UT  elevation: 4,230Weather: morning low 49f  afternoon high 68f; partly cloudy, coolNotables: 1. There's nothing in the world like the sound of a real steam locomotive.  Today we had two.  2. The stunning amount of work that was accomplished by those who built the first transcontinental railroad.  3. Walking in the footsteps of history... on the actual roadbed put down by those tireless, scared, passionate, hungry, dedicated workers.Link to photo album for today =====

I love trains... railroads. Since my childhood I've been fascinated by the whole idea of two steel rails running over the ground and big locomotives pulling all kinds of things, almost effortlessly it seems, to wherever the steel rails went. I also love history. And when both of these things come together in one place, well, we've just got to go and explore.

May 1 - An Advance for Position

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Move from North Salt Lake to Brigham City, UT.Route:  I-15 all the way.Fueled (diesel) at 4.069Miles Today:  52Total Spring12 bus-house miles:  1,815Total Spring12 toad miles :  906Tonight's camp: Golden Spike RV Park in Brigham, UT. elevation 4,230Weather: morning low 51f, high 65f, rain early this morning, then clearing to partly cloudy.Notables:  Found diesel fuel for 4.07Link to photo album for today =====

Just a short repositioning move today from North Salt Lake to the Brigham City area... 52 miles. During our busy exploring day in SLC yesterday we were able to knock off all three things on our list (a trifecta!!)... making us free to move northward to be in position to visit the Golden Spike National Historic Site in the next day or two.  Even though we're way behind again on journal updates and photo albums, we agreed that if the weather was manageable we'd make the move today giving us more options between working and exploring.

Over the past few days we observed …