The Beautiful West

  
Mount Rainier, WA, surprised us around a bend in the road.  

  
Washington is the “Evergreen State”.  We were surprised here as well to find dessert over more than half the state!

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Great wineries in Washington!  Especially enjoyed our visit to 14 Hands.

 

More cows!  Montana’s  mountains offer scenes like this everywhere!
  
Everything in the mountains smells good too!

  
Lovely RV park in Ennis, MT.  The airstream is looking a little worn.

  
The Blue Moon.

  
Next stop….. Yellowstone National Park.  Stay tuned.  

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A Modern Wonder of The World

  
The Grand Coulée Dam in Grand Coulée, Washington was built between 1933-1941.  Absolutely amazing!!!  On the tour a question was, “How does the Grand Voulee compare to the Hoover Dam?”  The guide said that the Hoover was a “pipsqueak”.  That’s how they talk out here.

   
 
Built along the Columbia River in north central Washington, the Grand Coulée is a marvel of pre-WWII construction.  The power from the dam is supplied to eleven western states!  It is one of the largest concrete structures in the world, containing nearly 12 million cubic yards of concrete!  For purposes of comparison, the Hoover Dam contains 3.25 million cubic yards.  

  
We were able to find this vista for viewing point.  The structure at Tom’s foot has tiny little cars crossing.  

The Visitor Center offers a tour taking a bus part way over the dam as well as into the pump area.  Security was very serious with metal detectors and armed escorts for the bus.  I wanted a picture of the Security personnel, but decided not to ask when they failed to laugh at my jokes.

The movies at the VC had great old footage of men hanging by a thread as they scaled the cranes and concrete, wearing fedoras!  The good old days!

  
So that was this morning’s adventure.  With the temps hitting the high 90’s we then had lunch and headed to Roosevelt Lake which was created by the dam.  A quick swim cooled us off nicely.  Leaving tomorrow for more of Washington!  

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Oregon pronounced Oregun

There’s a lot about Oregon that keeps it unique… The coast and the Pacific Northwest version of “the beach” run counter to the sun and fun vision.  Bold winds, rough seas, and fog greeted us.  Absolute beautiful landscape!

   

There’s a whole sense of being at a different ocean.  The west perspective is strange…never realizing how aware we in the east are of where the ocean lies until it’s all flipped around!  Good thing Tom has a good sense of direction, because I sure don’t!

  

Then there’s the whales.  Grey whales can be seen right off shore… they’re at times within 50 feet, blowing and swimming around!  And… they’re huge, averaging 35-45 feet!  They are the only bottom feeding whale, scraping up the mud and stuff from the bottom, filtering their chosen diet through baleens.  Their showmanship is less dramatic than our beloved humpbacks, but a long boat ride isn’t necessary to spot them.  Very cool!  No whale pics, but I’m sure they were under there!

   

We took a fun seaside harbor tour where whales were the star attraction, but crabs were highlighted as well.  Dungeoness crabs are a really big deal out here.  Our east coast bias… lots of work for little yield… but it is tasty!

  

I have to mention the trees.  Oregon has the tallest trees we have ever seen.  They are enormous!  We stayed at Union Creek Campground in the National Forest  near Crater Lake.  The day before we arrived, a tree fell right in the campground… it had to be 75 feet tall with a shallow root system at least 15 feet in diameter!  It happened after a rain.  Apparently it’s a rare happening.

  

This is Crater Lake.  I need to write about Painted Rocks too, but too much for one blog I’m told, so stay tuned!

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Happy 4th of July!

Camping at Cape Blanco State Park, Oregon, about 75 miles from California.  This is the western most point in Oregon.  

The campground is windy, foggy, and very cool with temps from the low 50’s to the high 60’s.  We’re loving it because 20miles inland they’re experiencing a heat wave into the 100’s!

   

Today, the 4th of July, we drove 5 miles south to Port Orford, also on the coast but much more seasonal.  We started with a pancake breakfast at the Rotary Club… very good, then onto the annual quilt show… amazing!  Then came the Farmers’ Market where berries were the big purchase.  The blueberries were very tasty, but no blues can hold a candle to Maine’s wild blueberries.  

11AM… off to the parade!

 

  
  
Then to the beach for the dingy races… and some serious agate searching in the sand.  All very traditional beach activities on the Oregon coast!  

Now we’re exhausted, so a nap is in order because the fireworks display starts after 9pm!  

Small towns are the heart and soul of America.  We are honored to be celebrating Independence Day in Port Orford, Oregon!  Happy 4th of July to all, with our love!

  

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Idaho, Lots More Here Than Potatoes!

 
That little dot at the top of that hill is a person.  This is Crater of the Moon National Monument.  We camped here in the blackest earth we’ve ever seen.  

   

Just like it’s name, it truly felt like a moonscape.  We took a hike that we later realized was listed as “strenuous”.  Only 5 miles but a lot was straight up hill.  We bit off a little more than we probably should have, and nearly gave in to bumming a ride, but we made it back safe and sound.  

  
Yes, that’s Tom panning for gold along a river.(neither of us can remember which one.).  Although never very successful in this venture, he is persistent.  The river was at Kirkham Hot Springs in Idaho.  The water in places was 130-140 degrees!  The area for bathing was 115 degrees… Just lovely.

   

Then a little incidental flat tire.  That’s the tow truck that came to assist on the highway leading to Boise.  Just a few miles before we were on a steep, windy, narrow mountain road.  We were actually pleased to be on the highway for the blowout… could have been much worse.  


Fortunately we weren’t pulling the trailer here…but we probably would have fit.  It’s so cool…just driving along and come upon this great little tunnel!   

  
This one’s for you Ken!  Love the color.

  

Not sure if these guys were in Idaho or Utah, but they were just too fabulous to not be posted.  There were actually three babies, but one was camera shy.  People who were watching them in the campground said they had not flown yet, but it looked like it would be real soon.  Momma looks proud doesn’t she?

  

When we see these signs we can’t help but share!  We miss you all… and Happy 4th of July!

  

 Currently we are on the coast of Oregon. Almost no cell (ATT) and minimal Internet (Verizon). Stay tuned to hear about the Pacific Northwest!

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The Beehive State

  

Who knew!  Everywhere we looked… these little road signs popped up, marking the routes.  When we asked the locals, they said, “Utah is the beehive state!”  Now you all know too.

   

Tremendous scenery.  We camped in the Canyonlands National Park and hiked to Lost Canyon.  Yes, Tom let the Ranger know we had found the Lost Canyon…  Lots of climbing the rocks, we ended up quite satisfied with our day’s accomplishment.  

 

Then.. Off to Moab, Utah.  We camped right on the Colorado River in a canyon with walls that reached 1000ft!  Pretty cool.  

Arches National Park was our adventure from Moab… spectacular!

   

 

Salt Lake City was next…  The center of this thriving city is the world headquarters of the Mormon Church.  Temple Square is pretty awesome.  Only Mormons are allowed into the Temple, but we were able to enter the Tabernacle  where the world famous choir performs.  We heard a half hour of organ music from this amazing instrument.  Pretty special.

 
They have these wild little flags you carry when crossing a street!  In Boston you’d be fair game!

  

Now we’re on the Utah and Idaho border at Bear Lake Campground.  The color of the lake is a beautiful Caribbean blue from the minerals and sandy bottom.  We kept saying how Bonaire like!

   

 

And finally, we’ll leave with more cows… can never have too many cows…

  

Keep following, and we love comments! 

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Oh, Which State To Choose!

We were driving West, leaving Colorado and passed through 4 Corners.  This is the spot where four states meet, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. 

   
This is a Navajo site. It was a little anticlimactic. They charged $5 each to get into the parking lot and place you in a gauntlet of stalls selling Native American  wares.

We chose to go into AZ and right up into Utah, where we met our first open range cattle.

  
   Gives a startle when the speed limit is 75.

Then we got into the canyons heading towards Monument Valley.

This road is a 10% grade, gravel, multiple hairpins. Fortunately we left the camper elsewhere. 

  
  
  
  
Then, Monument Valley left us speechless. Turned out to be a long driving day but all worth it.

   
 

 Thanks for following.

 

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