Sunday, September 3, 2017

September 2nd 2017 - The drive from Winnemucca to Rancho Cordova

This was our last day of our vacation as we drove from Winnemucca to Rancho Cordova, but we made the most of the trip none the less. As we drove on Interstate 80 from Winnemucca towards the Sacramento area, we stopped in Lovelock Nevada for the lovers plaza to add a lock that we had to the vast collection of locks that already existed. This collection of locks started in 2005 when a couple placed the first lock there on Valentines day.

We were thrilled to add our own lock here, especially since our own anniversary will be here in the next couple days.

We were also surprised to see one of the old style Safeway stores. This is the style of store that Karen, Mike and Eric have all worked at during one point in time in their working careers.

We continued the remainder of our trip home, arriving to Rancho Cordova around 3:45 on Saturday afternoon. The estimate was that we would drive the motorhome 2,328 miles. In reality, we drove 2,308, so only about 20 miles less than originally estimated. Also, we got on average 7.6 MPG on the Allegro bus. We were very happy with how the Allegro bus and our new Jeep Wrangler performed.

Safe travels all!

Eric and Carol

September 1st, driving from Heyburn Idaho to Winnemucca Nevada

On this day, we had a fairly easy but 350 + mile run to Winnemucca Nevada from the RV park we had been staying at in Heyburn Idaho. After we left Heyburn, we once again passed through Twin Falls to stop at the Blue Beacon to get the Motorhome a bath, and to get a Starbucks drink. Once the motorhome was washed, we topped it off with fuel and continued on to Winnemucca. All in all, the run went very smooth.

When we arrived in Winnemucca, we parked for the night at the 'New Frontier RV park'. This is a great RV park in a high desert area that is always a favorite of ours. This RV park had probably the best infrastructure of all of the ones that we stayed at this trip. There was solid, Power, water and cable TV as well as fairly solid Wi-Fi. We are concerned though that since there were very few rigs in the RV park on this date, the WIFI might be undersized when the park is fuller. This RV Park has a little fenced in dog yard to take your dogs for a run, but there is lot of open lots around the RV park where you can take your dogs to get up a real run if you want too. This RV park did not have any Breed restrictions so bringing our pack of pit bull mixes was not a problem for us.

We had dinner at the restaurant that is part of the property, and the food was very good, though the waitress had a problem getting our drink orders correct.

Tomorrow, we make our final run for home in Rancho Cordova.

Safe Travels all!

Eric and Carol

August 31st, Heyburn and Twin Falls Idaho

For two nights we are staying in Heyburn Idaho at a wonderful RV park that is adjacent too and managed by the City parks system. This RV park is nicely set up and has a solid infrastructure system. There is 50 amp pull through sites with water and sewer but no cable. The Wifi is over taxed as you will find with most RV parks these days. The bathrooms and showers have been around for a while, but are well maintained. There is easy river access at the end of the park and an area to take your dogs to stretch there legs, though there is no fenced in dog yard. On the plus side though, there is an elementary school right next door which is almost completely fenced in, which allows you to let you dog off leash to stretch its legs if you'd like too. This RV park did not have any Breed restrictions so bringing our pack of pit bull mixes was not a problem for us.

We were thrilled to make a new friend with a lady who works for FEMA who also has a pit bull mix that was a wonderful dog. We loved passing on what we could about RV'ing with Pit bulls to her. Sadly, we didn't take any pictures of the RV park when we were there.

During our day off here, we drove to Twin Falls and explored the Snake River and Shoshone falls. Neither of us had seen the Shoshone falls before, and we were both surprised as to how massive the snake river gorge is (where Evil Knievel jumped across the river many years ago). We truly enjoyed our visit to this area. It is one of those places where you can perform a quick visit in about 30 minutes and feel like you have done the visit justice.

If you are passing through the area, it is definitely worth taking the time to stop by and check it out.

Safe travels all!

Eric and Carol

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 30th, the drive from Missoula Montana to Twin Falls Idaho

On this Wednesday, we had a long but un-eventful drive from Missoula Montana to Twin Falls Idaho. We drove 443 miles leaving Missoula Montana at 8:05 AM and arriving at 5:15 PM. That drive time included putting on 50 +/- gallons of Diesel fuel before we actually got on the highway followed by three potty stops for the dogs as well as a lunch stop in Dillon Montana. We stopped at a McDonalds in Dillon Montana which was a perfect halfway point between our Campground in Missoula and the one we are spending two nights in at Heyburn Idaho, which lies between Idaho Falls and Twin Falls. This McDonalds was just a couple blocks off the highway, it had a Safeway with Fuel in one part of the shopping center, RV parking and of course the McDonalds. But the highpoint of the stop was the fact that the McDonalds had picnic tables under Pine trees in a nicely cared for Grassy area.

We have found that fuel prices have been pretty consistent on the trip. In the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, fuel prices were all pretty much the same. They all were within about a dime of the $2.64 for regular unleaded and $2.69 for Diesel that we paid in Rancho Cordova California before we left. This shot is of a gas station in Heyburn Idaho.

For those that are curious, we are getting about 7.5 miles per gallon on the Motorhome towing the Jeep Wrangler on this trip.

Safe travels all!

Eric and Carol Anderson

August 29th, A quick stay at Missoula Montana

We had a brief two night stay in Missoula Montana. As we headed home, Eric had try to build an itinerary where we were not driving every day and it gave the dogs a chance to have some existence other than a rolling box. Eric had been intrigued for sometime with Missoula Montana for a couple reasons. For one thing, there is a Smokejumper base there and because Blackfoot communications is headquartered there. Eric use to work with a subsidiary of Blackfoot Communications by the name of Telesphere software when he worked for Volcano Telephone. Now that Carol works for Cal-Fire, Eric has remained intrigued with Smokejumpers, even though Cal-Fire doesn't have any smokejumpers, they are a US Forest service operation. None the less, we took a quick trip to the smoke jumper base in Missoula to check out the Visitors center (Sorry folks, there is no visitor center for the smokejumpers in Redding California).

A very nice young lady who is a US Forest Service intern took us on a tour of the facility which we both found to be very interesting. She explained to us all of the fire gear that smokejumpers take with them when they are deployed and how additional supplies and equipment are dropped to them to help them fight the fire and to survive in that hostile environment.

We also got to see one of the aircraft that is used to deploy smokejumpers and their equipment. Additionally, we went into the rooms where they inspect the parachutes to ensure that they are safe, and into the room where they are packed so that they are prepared to be used.

The young lady who conducted the tour was amazing. There was a couple of young families there who sadly were not watching their kids very closely. And even when their kids were in full view, they were letting their kids be disrespectful of the equipment of the facility. The tour guide kept her composure in the distractions and how she managed to not pull her hair out was amazing. It was sad though how the parents were doing so very little to control their kids.

The campground that we stayed at in Missoula Montana was called Jim and Mary's RV park. This is a wonderful facility where they are always working to make sure the facilities are in good working order. The bathrooms were clean and functional and the infrastructure at the sites was all in good working order. The grounds were beautifully maintained and the camp store was well stocked. They even have entertainment, in the form of a local band there at the park on Wednesday nights! They don't have any breed restrictions, they just ask that you don't bring any aggressive dogs to the camp ground which we completely understand. The only drawback to this campground is that the water here is very hard. When the sprinklers ran during the early morning they got our car and motorhome wet and caused a lot of spotting. We may have to give our motorhome and car a pretty good polish and wax job to get rid of the spots.

We were saddened by just how much smoke there is in the western part of Montana. At the time we passed through, there were at least 6 major wild fires raging in this region, and it was hard to see the mountains in the distance because of all of the smoke.

Our next stop is Twin Falls Idaho where we will spend a couple nights as we continue our trip home.

Safe travels all!

Eric and Carol Anderson

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Wrapping up our visit to Glacier and moving on to Missoula Montana

On Sunday the 27th, we wrapped up our visit to Glacier national park by checking out Apgar Village and the visitors center doing a little souvenir shopping and a visit to the Canada visitors center! On Monday the 28th, we packed up camp and started to head towards Missoula Montana. While making our way to Missoula, we made a stop at the National Bison Range which is located between Hungry Horse and Missoula. This location has a 'Visitors center' and a drive through park similar to what Eric remembers as 'Lion Country Safari' when he was a kid. The National Bison Range allows you to drive among the Bison and up close and personal with them. as we drove along the route, there was a lot of open range to be seen. We understand that since the park opened during the Teddy Roosevelt administration in 1908 when only 100 Bison remained. Today, the park maintains about 350 to 400 bison on year round.

Annually, there are anywhere from 50 to 100 baby Bison that are born in the park. The park holds a round up every year that results in some of the heard being relocated to other Refuges across the country. Today, the drive takes you near a river where you can frequently locate the Bison. We were fortunate to see many bison and found that they frequently walk between the cars passing through. Rex was pretty excited about all of the bison around him and was barking up a storm. We had to get him to be quiet, because we were concerned a bull bison might decide to take us on.

After we finished our visit to the National Bison range, we continued our trip on to Missoula and Jim and Mary's RV park. We arrived at Jim and Mary's RV park around 4:00 PM. This is a beautiful RV park on the north end of Missoula Montana. The grounds here are well maintained and the sights are nice and roomy. Some of the sites are shady and others are in full sun. It is easy to navigate through the park with the RV. This is a great park for those of us with dogs of discriminated breeds. They don't exclude based on breed, just behavior. The Wi-Fi is a little marginal, primarily because people stream video over their network, even though they ask you not too.

We had a great dinner at the Blue Canyon Kitchen and Tavern. We had a great steak, with Mashed potato's and vegetables. Our trip continues to go great! We are having a wonderful time enjoying our trip on the road.

Safe Travels all!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

August 26th, 2017 - Traveling to Canada

Today we made our second road trip to Glacier National Park this time with the destination of  village of Waterton Canada. It was a little village that Carol had visited back 30 years ago and we also took in the 'Prince of Whales Hotel' which was absolutely stunning! We also had lunch in the dining room at the 'Prince of Whales' which was a wonderful experience. Though they admitted us in our slovenly attire, the food and service was exceptional.

We also got to see a couple of places firmly etched in Carol's mind, the old motor inn that she and Brian had stayed at 30 years ago in their previous trip, and also the bicycle shop that had ripped them off of their $50 (US) deposit.

On our way back from Waterton, we Stopped at a couple of the visitors centers which normally have been too busy to allow us to find parking. We loved checking out the really impressive views especially from the Logan Pass Visitors center which is at the Continental divide. The continental divide by the way is pretty much the high part of the country. All water that falls on the east side of the continental divide flows eventually to the Atlantic ocean or south to the shores off of Louisiana. All water that falls on the west of the continental Divide flows west to the Pacific ocean.

We are truly enjoying our trip this summer. Though we have had a few bumps along the way such as the refrigerator door falling off the night before we were supposed to depart and the retractable steps completely giving up the ghost the morning that we departed, things have been working out great and we are having a wonderful time. All of our planning has seemed to work out well for us too. We had absolutely no problems making it to Canada and back, even though our new Jeep Wrangler does not have plates yet. The Customs folks on both the Canadian and US Ports of Entry have been very understanding and had the knowledge to deal with the issue.

It just goes to show you, be sure to plan ahead and a be sure to have a current passport if you are traveling internationally. If you do that, the rest is a piece of cake!

Safe travels all.

On Friday the 25th of August, Hungry Horse Montana

Today started out with a wonderful road trip up the ‘Going to the sun’ highway that took us from the West Glacier entrance to the East side of the park. We took the dogs with us, which limited some of our exploring of ‘Visitor Centers’ but we got to spend quality time viewing many of the Glaciers from the road as we made our way up the road. Carol had been here 30 years ago with her first husband Brian, as well as friends Mitch and Monica. She sadly reported that she has seen a huge retreat of the glaciers especially those such as the Jackson Glacier. It is so sad to see what mankind has caused through ‘Global Warming’. 

The area is very beautiful and though there are areas that have been burned by forest fire, where the tall cedar and pine trees have been eradicated, there is a lot of other greenery compliments of scrub brush and oak trees that are starting to return. There are many beautiful small waterfalls and this unique location called 'Goose Island' that was cool to observe from shore.

Once we returned to Camp, we found that our replacement Kwikee steps had arrived shipped to us by Amazon. These steps we un-damaged and within an hour and half, Eric was able to have the steps installed and in working order. There is even a cool step light that now turns on, when the door is opened! While Eric was working on the steps, Carol was working diligently on her speech for Brandon. For dinner this evening, we ate at a local restaurant that supposedly had great burgers and pizza. Though we did not try any of the burgers, we did try the pizza at the Glacier Grill and Pizza, and it was pretty darn tasty.

Safe Travels all!

On Thursday 24th of August – Coeur D’ Alene Idaho to Hungry Horse Montana

The drive on this day was supposed to be a fairly short one, only 220 miles, which we thought would only take 4 to 5 hours. Instead, it ended up taking closer to 7 hours. The reason for the elongated run, was because of the mountain driving we involved with. And while fortunately the roads were not particularly windy, there was a lot of altitude changes over the trip. Also fortunately, Charlie, Rosie and Rex are all being real troopers when it comes to being on the road.

For us two legged adventurers, the drive however was worth the effort. After departing Coeur D’ Alene at 10:30, we arrived at the campground at 5:20, pacific time (6:20 Mountain time). Montana is very beautiful country, much like the Amador county foot hills in California. The one big difference being is that the trees here in Montana have not suffered from the Bark Beetle the way the trees in Amador County and all over the state of California have suffered from it.

The ‘Mountain Meadow’ camp ground that we arrived at here in Hungry horse is beautiful. It is just like staying in a ‘National Forest’ while still having the amenities of an finer RV park. The roads and sites are paved with gravel and each site is lined with trees. This is a fairly large facility that really puts you back in nature. Everywhere you turn there are pine trees, and greenery of all shapes and sizes. There is a beautiful little fishing pond, and convenience store. Their rest rooms and shower rooms are absolutely beautiful. There is a dog park and best of all, no Breed Restrictions. They just don’t want anyone bringing ‘Aggressive dogs’ in to the park. If we are ever back in this area, we will definitely stay here again.

Safe travels all!