April 2017 ~ Northbound

Chronological Order

Day 2202 ~ Ferries and FlowersApril 30th, 2017

Had to get an early start, before the 'men with big sticks' arrived and to make the ferry by 7:30am check-in.  The sun came out and we had blue skies all the way across and up Whidbey Island.

Once on the mainland crossing over to Mt. Vernon, I spotted some tulip fields in full bloom and told Peter we must stop.  Parking was an outrageous $7 so and he's not really into flowers so he dropped us off and left to get gas.  I finally pulled myself away and we continued on to see our friends.  We've known Mike since we all worked for the legislature in Alaska. He and his family have lived down here for just over a decade. It was good to catch up.

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Day 2201 ~ April 29th, 2017

 Visited with Steve before we headed out.  Pleasant drive with no rain until we arrived.

Found a marina parking lot that offered parking no more than 72 hours so we decided to try it.  Well, about 9pm, the man with the flashlight arrived to inform us there's no camping.  Peter mentioned how nice it was here and that we're booked on the 8am ferry in Port Townsend.  He paused then said, "I'll tell you what, if you're leaving that early you can stay. Just be gone before the men with the big sticks arrive."

Will do.  Gotta love those small towns.

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Day 2200 ~ April 28th, 2017

The day dawned sunny so we finished the coast as the fog burned off and headed inland toward Olympia.

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Day 2199 ~ Sun and SurfApril 27th, 2017

We awoke to a nice sunrise.  However, in Washington fashion, the rain clouds moved in and turned everything wet and grey again.  We drove to the Raymond library and, by the time we were done, the sun returned for coastal exploration.  Hooray.

At Grayland, we found a road out to the beach and planted ourselves on it for dinner.  With a brisk and cold wind blowing, it was nice to enjoy the surf without freezing.

Oregon Oregon Catamaran Oregon Raymond Oregon Raymond Oregon Raymond Oregon Raymond Oregon Raymond Oregon Raymond Oregon Grayland Oregon Grayland Oregon Grayland Oregon Grayland Oregon Grayland Oregon Grayland Oregon Grayland Oregon Grayland Oregon Grayland

 

Day 2198 ~ River RunApril 26th, 2017

Headed out in the rain from Portland. Stopped in Scappoose for a bit of library work before continuing on toward the coast.  By the time we left, however, the rain had stopped and bits of blue sky could be seen so a good time to enjoy it.  We made a pit-stop dinner break in Astoria and started up the river path.  In the distance, barking seal and sea lion calls echoed loudly off the walls.  Arriving at the dock, we found they have completely taken over one marina pier rendering it useless to boats.  We watched a listened for a bit, then were driven back to the RV by a passing rain cloud.

Just over the Astoria bridge, we found a nice waterfront rest stop in which to call it a night.  Hopefully tomorrow will be drier.

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Day 2197 ~ More FamilyApril 25th, 2017

Well, we almost made it.  Security came knocking at our door in the middle of the night.  He was very nice about it, but said that the store closes at midnight so no parking allowed.  We 'didn't hear it from him', but the street bordering the mall has been dubbed 'RV Alley' so headed over to finish out the night.  Traffic was busy at first, but quieted down for the rest of the night until morning

By 6am, work and school prodded the masses to action and it sounded as if we were sitting next to a freeway.  The numbers of teens walking by, cars heading to work and homeless pushing their loaded shopping carts made me a bit uncomfortable so I headed back to the Walmart parking lot to finish our morning chores.  As I passed the other parked RVs, it was quite evident that they were not of the 'passing through' variety.

On the way to visit my Dad's step-mom, Betty, I took a detour through the Willamette National Cemetery for the view and to see where my grandfather is buried.  Perched on a tall knoll, I was treated to some great views.  The clouds were thick, but high enough to expose all but the very tip of Mt. Hood.

Betty took us to a Chinese restaurant for lunch, then later I went to the airport to pick up Peter.  We all joined Betty and my uncle, Mike, for dinner.  I haven't seen them for a good 15 years so nice to catch up with more family.

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Day 2196 ~ Beaches, Blue Sky and More RainApril 24th, 2017

The turnout was fine, despite traffic noise, but not scenic in any way and Sara wanted to do lessons before driving anywhere.  It also rained most of the night so, first thing, we headed into headed in to Cannon Beach to find a non-muddy area to walk Pippin.  The town is definitely geared for tourists, even those toting their homes, and have a designated RV parking lot, specifically off-limits to regular cars.  The rain continued through the morning.

However, just about the time I wanted to start packing up, I spotted blue sky over the ocean coming our way.  With such a gift, it's important to be flexible, so I revised our plans and we headed for the beach before it disappeared.  Many others with cabin fever filled the beach flying kites, digging in the sand and walking their dogs.

Wanting to get to Portland before sunset, we broke away and headed inland over the pass.  Discovered a spring water fountain in the middle of the forest and topped up the tank.  It rained most of the way so I quit looking for hiking trails and instead drove on until our gas stop at the Beaverton Costco.  Calling a couple friends, I found one home so we went for a quick visit before heading to our default camping spot, Wally Town.  Unsure if this one allows overnighting, I tucked the rig into a corner and hoped for the best.

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Day 2195 ~ Rain, Rain, Go AwayApril 23rd, 2017

Hit the road early this morning to see how far up the Oregon coast we could get before turning in toward Portland. I took as watery of a route as possible and, turning off the 101 through Pacific City, we wandering off and on the coastline, then climbed through a beautiful rainforest.  Too bad the wind and rain were blowing about, or we could have tried some nice trails in Cape Lookout State Park.  Rejoined the 101 in Tillimook and continued on just past Cannon Beach where I read of a turnout where overnighting is allowed.

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Day 2194 ~ Hanging with FamilyApril 22nd, 2017

Hanna's girls colored, drew and painted while we visited.

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Day 2193 ~ Forest RunsApril 21st, 2017

We awoke to a calm, blue sky day, much the opposite of yesterday's foul and windy weather and a good time to get out and enjoy it.  We donned our coats, hats, cameras and set out for the lakeside campground, still gated for the winter season.  At the bottom, Pippin discovered a path around the lake so we went exploring the shoreline.  Finding a set of stone steps, we headed up the hill and just happened to pop out where our RV was parked.  Perfect.

Continuing on Highway 20, we crossed the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests.  Beautiful countryside with thick forests, winding roads and bordering rivers.  Once out the other side and down in the Willamette Valley, the temperatures definitely rose a few degrees, finally.

Peter's sister, Hanna, and her family were home so we stopped by for a visit and enjoyed meeting their motley crew of artistic girls, three rescue dogs and a cat.  Spent the evening catching up on life.

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Day 2192 ~ Chillin' At SistersApril 20th, 2017

Spent a relaxed morning working through the blog and school, then headed in to the town of Sisters, a cross between an upscale resort town and the wild west.  We found the city park easy enough and the showers and restrooms were immaculate.  Plenty of hot water and only a buck for two minutes.  Once clean, we ate lunch then hit the town.  Though sunny, the air was frigid and the biting wind didn't help much so we made a quick tour of the town before returning.

After a quick library stop, because they don't allow uploading or outgoing email, I did my boondocking research and we headed west toward the Deschutes National Forest.  The plan was to make a dinner stop at Suttle Lake, but the day use area was still gated for winter. I drove further in and found a wide spot at the campground entrance.  I think we'll wing it and stick around for morning or until someone comes to shoo us off.

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Day 2191 ~ Scenic BywaysApril 19th, 2017

I started off the mountain early.  It's a lovely spot, but close to the highway, cold and we have no cell service.  The sunrise drive down was beautiful.  This whole highway is gorgeous, actually.  The terrain varies from flat valleys bordered by hills to forested mountains to river canyons and back again.  I stopped in the sleepy town of John Day in hopes of finding a library or cafe with an open network.  I was in luck and the downtown parking spot I took happened to be right across the street from Java Jungle so was able to catch up on emails, texts and plan our next sightseeing options and camping spot.  I even found a shower.

The plan was to stop in Sisters for a shower then continue into the National Forest for a boondocking spot.  I also thought this would cover about 124 miles, entirely do-able before sunset.  By noon we were off again and lunched at the Mascall Formation Overlook and then cut right through the John Day River canyon.  Ahead, on the right, we spotted an odd tree.  At first, it looked like it was full of birds, but upon closer inspection, we saw that it was completely covered with shoes!  One of those odd sightseeing adventures.

Up and over a few more passes, small-fry compared to those in Wyoming, before settling on the valley floor.

Propane was a dollar less than what we paid in Idaho and Utah, so I topped the tank.  After all our stops, we still were a couple hours away from Sisters and showers.  By the time I was ready for a break, we were within 8 miles of the town, but I just couldn't go any further.  Plus, our boondocking potential was another 20 miles from there.  

As we crossed a plateau, I kept seeing vehicle tracks leading to nowhere just off the highway and finally went off-road on one of these paths.  We popped out onto a remnant of old highway, deemed it relatively level and called it a night.  The area was mostly dry and far enough off the road for Pippin to safely explore and wander about.  When I finally figured out that we'd driven 173 miles, it's no wonder seemed more than 124 miles. 

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Day 2190 ~ Repairs and FrustrationsApril 18th, 2017

We were up and ready by 8am, just in case, but they came to fetch the RV at 9:15a so we worked in their lounge while we waited.  At 10:45am, the prognosis was that sales switch was de-jury-rigged and our new one installed, but the furnace didn't turn on.  When I mentioned it was working when I handed it over, they could only offer to (1) re-jury-rig the old sales switch or (2) use another hour (at $129/hour) to diagnose the problem and then a third hour to fix it.  So, I could spend $200 to get it back to where it was (complete with safety issue) or $300 to maybe get me heat again.  Such choices.  After grumbling and handing the phone to him (with Peter on the line), he agreed to charge us $89/hour to get it working again; I detected a car salesmanesque manner to the 'deal'.

At 1pm, (yes, over 2 hours later), he came in to announce that all was working again and they took it upon themselves to vacuum out the dust, cobwebs and wasp nest from the compartment.  The $89 diagnosis and fix?  A lose wire in the thermostat.

Hmm.  Could the thermostat have worked yesterday with a loose wire?  Hmm.

By this time, I was ready to flee, so I paid and put the whole business in my rear-view mirror.  However, I didn't stop stewing for quite some time.  Is the standard operating procedure of these types of businesses to aim high (not reaching a conclusion and coming back with 3 hours at $129/hour) then agreeing (out of the goodness of their hearts) to half that cost but taking twice as long to make the customer think she's gotten a really good deal.  Only, the end result actually ends being four times as long for double the original estimate.  Disable the customer, aim high, cut big and end up with a bit of profit when the dust settles.  Convenient.

Just after crossing the Oregon border, we diverted from the freeway and took 30 to 26, Oregon's Scenic Byway.  Perhaps a few hills, dales, meadows and mountains will reset my feelings of being scammed.  Mostly farmers and ranchers inhabit this part of the country and there are plenty of wide open areas with no sign of life except for a barbed wire fence.  Made me think of all those pioneers heading West in covered wagons and wondering what they thought when they saw all those mountains.

Passing over several summits (at least three), we settled on a forest road in the Malheur National Forest.  We parked at the gate and then took a walk down the road until the snow got too deep.  Just after we turned back, we heard what sounded like freeway noise, but increasingly louder.  Looking up to dark clouds ahead, however, told a different story and it was coming over us like a freight train.  Funny how long the way back seems when being pelted by hail!

Border ID-OR Border ID-OR Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Malheur Park Oregon Malheur Park Oregon Malheur Park Oregon Malheur Park Oregon Malheur Park Oregon Malheur Park Oregon Malheur Park Oregon Malheur Park Oregon Malheur Park Oregon Malheur Park

 

Day 2189 ~ Camping at Camping WorldApril 17th, 2017

Our friends' CC&Rs allow only 48 hour RV parking in driveways so, as we pushed that a bit, we must get elsewhere before they get fined.  Camping World is 4 miles away, so I headed over to get an estimate on some things that need fixing like the delamination due to a water leak ($7,000), installing a sales switch ($129) and replacing a fogged window ($450) and broken running light ($65).  Dealers, they give me the willies.  The sales switch is the only reasonably priced fix, and one Peter doesn't want to mess with, so we scheduled an appointment tomorrow morning.

All their RV overnight spots were full, so we headed for Costco in hopes something will open up later.  When we returned around closing time, we had our choice of 3 parking places, and electric to boot.

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Day 2188 ~ Easter SundayApril 16th, 2017

We didn't do much today but relax, walk to the park and have dinner together.

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Day 2187 ~ ReconnectingApril 15th, 2017

Kris was generous enough to make the 6:30am airport run, a 20-minute drive away.  Once we arose, Sara worked on her lessons while I changed all our visa auto-pays; our card company had a security breach and sent us new ones.

The day broke sunny, but cold and the trees are in full bloom and our friends' neighborhood is full of them.  We hung out for the day with Kris, Dean and their son, Derek.  We first met them in the summer of 2012 in Charleston, SC, then rejoined them in the Caribbean one year later so it was fun to catch up on their 'return to land' experience after three years on their boat.

After a grocery run in the afternoon, we all went to dinner at Fiesta Guadalajara.

Idaho Meridian Idaho Meridian Idaho Meridian

 

Day 2186 ~ WaterfallsApril 14th, 2017

It was a nice library, but not to be.  Peter needs to return to Juneau for work and the closest airport is Boise.  In order to have time to see Shoshone Falls, we needed to leave sooner than later, so we bought a ticket and headed west.

Despite strong westerly winds and dark clouds overhead, we pressed on.  At one point, the road turned white, either from hail or snow.  Thankfully, it didn't last but 300 yards before turning to rain again.  Severe Storm Warning signs dotted the highway, these flat potato farms of southern Idaho must be brutal during storm season.

We found Shoshone Falls, one of the "Twin Falls" for which this town is named.  The wind whipped the mist into such a frenzy, it was difficult to see through to the actual falls.  The dark storm cloud overhead didn't make things better so Peter and Sara headed back to the RV in short order.  I, however, spotted some blue sky coming so tucked myself behind a tall bush and waited for the sun to reappear.  To my relief, I only had to wait about 10 minutes.  A rainbow even appeared through the mist which made for even cooler photos.

Frozen to the core, I finally pulled myself away and we were off again toward Boise.

Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho American Falls Idaho Storm Idaho Storm Idaho Storm Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Shoshone Falls Idaho Idaho Idaho Idaho Idaho Idaho Idaho Idaho Idaho Meridian

 

Day 2185 ~ Friendly IdahoansApril 13th, 2017

In Idaho Falls, library patrons are allowed only 2 hours in their 'library only' parking lot.  Seems a bit extreme, as well as odd, but the librarian confirmed the city is a stickler on the rule.  Considering we generally need 4-6 hours, I figured it was best to just ask for an exemption.  While waiting for the police station to return my call, Sara and I left to catch up on laundry.  By the time we got back, we were good to go, or stay as this case may be.

After our work was finished, we wandered over to the waterfalls.  A six-lane road provides the backdrop for a Japanese garden where it crosses the river.  The falls are quite short, but water does fall some distance and runs very wide.  We wandered up the path until the clouds rolled in and chilled the air.

South of town, we found a city campground that allows one night free.  While we needed to keeping rolling, we did take advantage of the dump, fill and trash bin.  Another gesture of friendliness.

Idaho Driggs Idaho Driggs Idaho Driggs Idaho Driggs Idaho Driggs Idaho Idaho Idaho Idaho Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Idaho Falls

 

Day 2184 ~ Grand TetonsApril 12th, 2017

With another early start, we made it to Jackson a couple hours before the library opened so we turned toward Grand Teton National Park, located a few minutes' drive out of the town. We're still a bit early and only three miles of the road was open, but our annual pass gets us in for no extra charge so we went to check it out while we're so close.

Towering above us at 11 and 12 thousand feet, they were quite spectacular.  Too bad the loop wasn't open, but we'll have to save that for another trip.  After tromping around in the snow making photographs, we headed back to town.

The library matches the feel of the town.  Jackson, like so many others, has been discovered by the well-to-do, and doing well.  Sara liked it so much that she spent a good part of the day lounging in the comfy chairs taking advantage of her spring break and fast wifi.  Upon entering, I saw that some certified tax people were coming in the afternoon to offer free tax preparation so I took the opportunity to get a few questions answered.  Peter slogged away at coding projects.

By late afternoon, we were ready to move on.  Phone apps and paper maps didn't quite convey the steepness of the last pass for the day.  The way up was short, but that meant it was also quite steep.  Slowly, in first gear climbing its 10% grade, we plodded our way up at 15 mph, stopping often to keep everything cool.  After helping the guy whose transmission went out on the Utah pass, we didn't want to emulate him.

That which goes up must also come down, and at the same grade.  It's either brakes or transmission, but we made it down without incident and found a nice roadside boondocking spot in the middle of farm country.

 

Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Grand Tetons Wyoming Jackson Wyoming Jackson Wyoming Jackson Wyoming Jackson Wyoming Jackson Wyoming Jackson Wyoming Wyoming Wyoming Wyoming Wyoming WY-ID Border

 

Day 2183 ~ ElevatedApril 11th, 2017

Baby, it's cold outside...at 7,000 feet.  Lots of snow still remains on the mountainsides.  We departed early as we had no cell coverage near the Beaver Mountain ski resort.  Once we popped out of the pass, however, we not only were rewarded with a commanding view of Bear Lake, but found 3 bars to boot.  Descending into Garden City, Utah, we wound around many hillside homes, many of which looked rather deserted.  Turning north at the water, we entered Idaho shortly after as both states each claim half the lake.

Following the valley floor, we make it to Afton, a small town of around 2,000 residents living at 6,000 feet.  They have a small library, bustling with Story Time children and noise.  It's interesting how varied libraries are with their quiet policies.  In yesterdays', one could hear a pin drop.  Today, well, someone may have to drop a whole tray of plates before someone noticed.  I think I prefer the noisier ones as I either forget to turn off my bells and whistles (texts are announced with a quacking duck) or I need to make a phone call that requires referencing something on my computer or write down some sort of information.  Managing all while standing outside in the cold wind does not a pretty picture make.  Needless to say, when I had to make a few phone calls, I remained in my warm seat.

When it came time to leave, we really wanted to find some showers before blowing town.  Peter checked with three RV parks and only one had running water this early in the season.  However, at $7 per person, we may as well spend the money to benefit from their rest of the amenities.  When I asked the librarian, one of the patrons overheard and offered the shower in his house if we came up empty.  He told me he just lived in the trailer park down the road and we were more than welcome. When I called the gym the librarian suggested, their standard price is $6 for each guest pass.  When I told her that we really only needed three quick showers, she told me we could all go on one pass.  Welcome to Friendly-ville.

Continuing on, we turned and climbed toward Jackson, Wyoming. All the recreation and camping roads are still gated for winter, but we managed to find another boondocking spot at the entrance of a snow-covered boat launch along the Snake River canyon.

Utah Utah Utah Utah Utah Utah Utah Utah Utah Utah Utah UT-ID Border Idaho Ovid Idaho Ovid Idaho Ovid Idaho Ovid Idaho Ovid Idaho Ovid Idaho Ovid Idaho Ovid Idaho Ovid Idaho Ovid Idaho Ovid Idaho Ovid ID-WY Border Wyoming Wyoming Wyoming Wyoming Wyoming Wyoming Wyoming Wyoming Wyoming

 

Day 2182 ~ Up in the SnowApril 10th, 2017

Amazingly, sleeping at a train station turned out to be as quiet at the previous night.  I think the last one went through around 11:30p and the first one started taking morning commuters around 5:30p.  The trains are also quite short, about 4-5 cars long, so they really don't make all that much noise coming or going.

We got an early start and continued our drive through the valley north of Salt Lake before cutting over on 89 to Logan.  Spent most of the day working at the library then continued through picturesque Logan Canyon.  Unfortunately, the sun was just setting so the lights wasn't great.  Despite the top being covered with snow, darkness was closing in so we ended up pulling into a large turnout near Beaver Mountain ski area.  Having passed two porcupines waddling around foraging for food, we kept Pippin on a short leash.

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Day 2181 ~ Solitude & SceneryApril 9th, 2017

Peter awakened early with the excitement of fresh powder ahead.  Several ski resorts reside next to each other along the pass walls. Names like Snowbird, Alta, Brighton and Solitude, where Peter is headed.

Dark clouds hung thick over the skiing mountains all day yesterday.  It rained most of the day in town, even turning to snow through the night that thickly blanketed the city and the new tree blossoms by sunrise.  The dark clouds hung low over the peaks and we drove to the park and ride lot where other season pass holders anxiously awaited the ski buses.  By the time Peter packed and walked to the shelter, the skiers were gone.  We couldn't figure out how the bus got by without us spotting it so we waited another 15 minutes and tried again.  This time, a bus employee was there.  She called the driver asking what had happened only to be informed that he made his last ski bus run...yesterday.  It's one thing not to post signs, but to forget to alert all the other bus drivers?!  Ending service on a Saturday, during an epic snow dump and one week before they all shut down for the season anyway, just added to the frustration.  Thankfully, these folks are quite friendly so one offered Peter a ride with him up the mountain.

Meanwhile, I watched group after group come, wait, wait, call and leave.  Sara and I ate a leisurely breakfast and opted for a drive along the foothill roads.  As we went north, the clouds dissipated and eventually the sun popped out and blue ski appeared.  We lunched in a rich neighborhood's park overlooking the valley below, then continued on and ended up at the State Capitol.  The place was nearly empty, but the building was open so we took a quick look around before heading back to pick up a weary skier.

Local intel acquired last night, Peter checked out a couple other train stations north of Salt Lake.  We are in luck, as two near Ogden have large lots that accommodate 'extended parking' as they call it.  It was dark by the time we reached the Roy station.  With only three other cars in the lot, we had our pick of spots and chose one away from the street lights.  Perfect.

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Day 2180 ~ Unexpected VisitorApril 8th, 2017

We returned to Walmart because last night was so quiet, but what a difference a day makes.  One semi ran his compressor until about 3am, the one next to us started his departure proceedures about a half and hour later.  Just after he left, a third semi drove in, faced us and left his engine running.  Not exactly conducive for light sleepers like me.  Peter was up around 7am so we left shortly after to get up and over the pass before Alaska business hours.

We had a nice drive up, but the top of the pass was socked in with thick and low rain clouds. We made a quick trip to Costco then went through IKEA while we had the opportunity.  There, Peter spotted James, an actor in the Studio C group that our girls like to watch on YouTube.  Sara got excited so I asked if he would mind me taking a photo with her.  She then spent the next half hour texting her sisters and fellow fan friends about her good fortune.

Peter plans to ski tomorrow at Solitude so we were going to drive up to check out the lay of the land.  Just before the exit, we saw the flashing lights warning that the road was 4x4 or chain only.  Oh well, it was a thought, but we also found the ski bus stops so Peter will get there that way.

We then stopped in a nearby town for lunch, took Pippin for a walk and wandered around some of the neighborhoods looking at the local architecture.  Later, when we were parked in a K-mart parking lot, we got a call from Karina, the daughter of friends we met cruising three years ago; the girls and I visited them at their apartment in New York City last year while Peter was working in Alaska.  She goes to school in Provo, but was in Salt Lake City for a choir concert. It was great to catch up.  When we dropped her off at the train station so she could get home, we discovered a new city boondocking venue.  Large parking lot, not too bright, and overnight parking allowed.  Handy.

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Day 2179 ~ Progress...NotApril 7th, 2017

Life is a little different with only one teen.  The RV seems a bit larger even.  We spent a lazy morning in the Walmart parking lot.  We parked on the south side and it turned out to be a little-used area.

After a convenient stop in the store for a few necessaries, we wandered back to the library around 11 and worked until 6:30.  We then returned to Walmart to plan what we're going to see next.

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Day 2178 ~ RecuperatingApril 6th, 2017

Needless to say, we slept in before tackling the RV departure list.  We settled back at the library and then found a nice, quiet side of Walmart to camp for the night.  We even could reach its free wifi.

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Day 2177 ~ Coal Miners & AirportsApril 5th, 2017

Today is a big day. For one, we actually left Moab and, two, Anna flies to visit the family with whom she sailed to Suriname in December 2015.  We got an early morning start as Peter needs to get to a library for work.  We've also rented a car in Price with which to take Anna to the airport, two hours closer than Moab.

When we picked up rental car, a tiny office stuck in the corner of the tire shop, the lady was a bit surprised at us being out of town.  "What are you doing in Price?" she asked, as evidently not many see the town as a destination point.  Her relief came when we said we'd just left Moab this morning.

Price is a coal mining town with a prehistoric bent, as evidenced by names such as Dinosaur Tire Services, Carbon High School, Hard Hat Furniture & Appliance and Carbonville Road...all encompassed by Carbon County.  A prehistoric museum with a large sign takes up a corner of the municipal building.  We parked across the street and didn't really see people flocking to its entrance door.  I called an orthodontists for a quick fix to Sara's braces but the doctor only comes four times a month; the other I could see from the RV, but was locked up tight and didn't answer a call.  Other businesses near us sit quiet and devoid of life.

Late afternoon, we secured the RV in a nearby campground then headed out about 7pm toward the Salt Lake City airport. Good thing we left early as we returned for Anna's passport, just in case they changed the minor ID rules since the last time she flew.  Just over Soldier Summit, at 7466 feet, we spotted a guy with a sign near an RV with flashers.  He said he'd been standing there a while and no one stopped to help.  All he needed was a phone call to a tow truck since his drive train conked out on him just before the summit.  Normally, we'll have zero coverage while the rest of the world is connected just fine; get us 10 feet past a large city's limit sign and the bars immediately switch to 'no service'.  This one time, however, our T-mobile service showed two bars and our Verizon JetPack was able to get us online to search for a nearby tow company.  Amazing, really, and the guy was mighty grateful.

Even with another stop at the grocery store, we made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare.  Little did we know that huge rain storms back east were causing havoc with plane schedules.  Anna's was already a half hour late and another was added when we arrived.  The agent bumped her to the next flight out of Boston without a problem and let Sara and I walk her to the gate.

We didn't get back from our marathon run until 2am.

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Day 2176 ~ Arching One More TimeApril 4th, 2017

Knowing that mornings are far better on several accounts, we again headed into the park early, though not quite as early.  The entrance booth was still quiet at 8:30 and each viewpoint might have had a couple cars more than yesterday.  We had a choice between Delicate Arch and Windows Road, but after seeing a closed sign related to the former, we chose Windows.  Plus, there were several other arches listed, not just one.

We all hiked around North & South Windows and Turret Arch and then I continued on to check out Double Arch.  We all agreed that this viewpoint was, by far, the best in the park.  It also helped that we had cloudless blue sky to boot.  After getting our fill of the rocky beauty, we worked our way back.  Peter and the girls dropped me off at the Courthouse Towers so I could hike the mile-long trail and meet them at the Park Avenue Overview.

With that, I felt like I had completed Arches National Park.  It's so picturesque and hard to take it all in.  I can only offer some photographs of what lies within, even though they don't do justice to the real thing.

We moved again to the library in the afternoon, seeing some of the same vans and RVs we've seen before parked in much the same places as we do.  Despite all the 'no camping' signs around town, we're obviously not the only boondockers; we're just curious as to where they go for the night.  Hmmm.

The plan is to head north tomorrow so we did one last dump, fill and gas run before returning to our regular spot.

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Day 2175 ~ Arches & Boring StuffApril 3rd, 2017

Arches National Park is small by comparison, about 16 miles of road, which makes shorter visits possible.  This is great, because sunrise or sunset is the best time to photograph and it's just not possible to get to everything before the sun gets too high.  Being parked only a mile away is quite convenient so we made an early morning run before Peter had to get connected for work.

Today we focused on the end viewpoint called Devil's Garden.  On Saturday, by the time we arrived, all the parking spaces were full with more cars streaming in by the minute.  Today, however, at 7:30am, everyone must still be asleep as the park was virtually empty; the rangers hadn't even arrived yet at the entrance booth so nothing to show or pay.  We hiked the trail and knocked several arches off our list: Tunnel, Pine Tree, Landscape, Partition and Navajo.  By the time we left at 11, the we had two people trying for our one spot.

After a quick bite to eat, we headed into town to the gas station to dump and fill.  I then dropped Peter and Sara off at the library before going with Anna to do laundry so she could pack clean clothes for her trip to Virginia in two days.

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Day 2174 ~ Off-Road ExploringApril 2nd, 2017

We rented a jeep to explore the dirt roads of Moab and got lost.

We planned to make two half-day runs with a check on Pippin in between. We Followed 279 along the Colorado River to the Long Canyon Road cutoff. We popped out on UT-313 and headed south to Shafer Canyon Road cutoff.   After the steep descent into the canyon, we continued on, what turned out to be, the White Rim Trail starting here. At some point (because we forgot to mark it), about an hour and forty minutes along, we realized we were going the wrong direction and obviously not on the right road. Studying our maps.me and the trail guide, we eventually realized our mistake...way back near the beginning, of course.  We then returned the way we came, turned right onto Potash Road (the name of which the guide doesn't mention) and followed it back to UT-279 and the RV.

Whew.

Returned for showers then camped in the park by the Colorado River bridge until after nightfall so as not to attract too much attention at our roadside turnout.

  • Long & Shafer Canyon Roads & White Rim Trail
  • Thelma & Louise Point, Potash Road (we passed the point where the car drove off the cliff as seen in the movie)
  • 7:40am - 1:59pm, 138 Jeep miles
  • 2:30am - 10:00pm, 12.1 RV miles (43,864.2 - 43,876.3)

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Day 2173 ~ CanyoningApril 1st, 2017

We finally made it to Arches National Park and, boy, does it have a grand entrance.  Huge red looming rocks, pinnacles, spires and, of course, lots of arches.  We hiked a trail which included Sand Dune and Broken Arches, then stopped for a few pictures at Balanced Rock.  Weather was partly cloudy, but managed to get some sun in my photos.

Returned to our roadside camp spot that night.

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