Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow At The Beach?!

The snow never lasts for long though. It’s raining and windy now, slushy and just a big mess. In Portland you would think the sky is falling! That’s all that’s been on tv, news coverage of the snow and ice in and around Portland. I’m surprised they don’t file for emergency relief, jeez. I am glad we are here for another week or so, and not having to drive anywhere. The gorge is closed today, as are a lot of other roads in and out of Portland.

The snow never lasts for long though. It’s raining and windy now, slushy and just a big mess. In Portland you would think the sky is falling! That’s all that’s been on tv, news coverage of the snow and ice in and around Portland. I’m surprised they don’t file for emergency relief, jeez. I am glad we are here for another week or so, and not having to drive anywhere. The gorge is closed today, as are a lot of other roads in and out of Portland.

The snow on the beach sure was pretty though, no snowmen on our agenda, just a short walk.

Frank found this on the beach the other day, any guesses on what it is? I would never have guessed or even known that there was such a thing…………
Any guesses?

Frank finished the flooring in the laundry room and one of the bathrooms, it looks so nice. Tomorrow am the new carpet is supposed to be installed. My mom will have a whole new house by the time we leave. Franks been fighting his allergies the whole time we have been here. My mom has 3 cats and he can hardly breath most of the time. We did find some naturopathic tinctures for him to try, he says they have been helping. From all of the coughing he has boogered up his neck, so as soon as we get back up to the Tri-Cities he’ll head for a chiropractor. Poor guy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Columbia River Gorge

The drive down the Columbia River Gorge was just beautiful for us. Growing up in Portland and later living in the Tri-Cities I had many opportunities to enjoy the historical sites and towns along the Gorge. If you have never driven this area, I would highly recommend putting it on your “to do” list. To really see everything I would recommend at least 2-3 days, there are so many great stops along this route on Hwy. 395. I took all of these pictures from the van as we were driving West on 395, if Frank would have stopped for every picture I wanted to take we never would have made it to Long Beach, plus, Trader Joe’s was calling in Portland!
Wind Mills, ACK, they have invaded everywhere we have been traveling. I know it’s a great source of “clean” energy, but they sure are UGLY!!!! They have disturbed our views of the countryside from Montana, the Tri-Cities, and now they are invading the Columbia River Gorge. I was so disappointed to see them along the bluffs on both sides of the Columbia river just out of Boardman, Oregon all the way to John Day Dam. I’m sure everyone was thinking the same thing when the dams were being built too.

More were still being built along the tops of the hills near John Day on the Washington side. Parts were passing us on semi trucks as we headed west. A propeller is huge when being transported on the extended semi’s bed.

This is near John Day, you can't really see them is this picture, but on the top of the hill is where they are putting in more windmills.

The view of Mt. Hood heading west. This day was so clear we could see Mt. Hood from just past Arlington.
Mary Hill Museum has been a part of my whole life, the Gorge would seem so empty without it. You can’t go to Mary Hill without stopping at the replica of Stonehenge too. Mary Hill was built by Sam Hill for his wife before the new “highway” was built all through the Gorge, I believe she never lived there, I don’t think she liked the isolation of the area. I should stop again and read all the details since I can’t remember all of them. But it’s a huge place, and I know I would live there! This stop would take a day to enjoy all of the sites here, there is a new winery or 2 now, and of course Peach Beach which is down below the museum. Peach Beach is a wonderful park, with RV and tent camping, there is also a day area with a swimming area for the kids, we’ve stopped here many times when traveling with the kids to break up the long drive to Portland. There is also a small and old town just down from the park. I have a friend who’s mom actually grew up there. She said when she was a girl this was a trading stop for Indians that were traveling by boat along the river. She has many great stories.

The Vista House is probably my favorite stop on this route. It has been restored and you can go through the whole building with displays of pictures from when they built this highway. The Highway itself is a historical site with the block cement style guard rails. As a teen, a friend and I would by pass the guard rails and work our way out on the big cliff you see below the Vista House. I always thought I wanted my ashes thrown from here. (but since I don’t want to be cremated this could pose a problem!) To access the old highway to get here you must enter at Rowena when heading West or either at Troutdale or Corbat When heading East.

Mt. Hood face East, taken from the bridge crossing over from Portland to Vancouver.

The traffic in Portland is a lot more then our rush minute and second traffic in Juneau and Hoonah. This is on the Freeway heading over to Vancouver.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Feels Like Home

Dayton, Washington. I love this town, I love this whole area of Eastern Washington. I don't know what the draw is for me here, but this is where it is. We were driving from Couer d'Alene to Dayton and came across this great old farm house near Dusty, WA that's for sale................boy, oh boy, it's going to be hard to go back to Alaska. I love big old houses, and right now there are so many homes for sale wherever we go. Big decisions ahead.
Main street of Dayton. Looks like all the old towns around here with a big City Hall and lots of refurbished brick buildings.

We spent the week-end at Sven and Olga's in Dayton (Jerry and Ruth), they have a great place just outside of Dayton, it so comfortable at their house it's always hard to leave. It was the Fall Festival in Dayton over the week-end with lots of kid activities, carolers, and fire works to round it all off.

Frank and I took T-Rex for a walk early Saturday morning. He's Svens dog. He's such a great dog, but we walk a little too slow for him. He likes to take off when you aren't looking to go run on his own, so he doesn't get out much these days.

We saw this big flock of wild turnkey's up on a hill not too far from their house too. Frank is planning on coming back in April when the season opens.This was another great old house that's for sale, but it is right in town. Frank took this picture to show me, since he knew I would want this one too!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Random Pictures

Happy Thanksgiving! Today will be a pie fest since we are having dinner with Franks family. It's a great tradition they have, more pies then people! I have made coconut cream and will be making an apple pie soon. His other sister is bringing 5 pies, and I know some more will show up. One year there were 27 pies! That seems to be the best part of the day, PIE! Frank has 5 sisters and their families are to the point of growing so much that now they split up so that the sisters with grandkids and son/daughter in laws have their own dinners and then show up later for pie. I love being around this huge family, it reminds me of growing up with my dads huge family gatherings. My family now is so spread out that we won't be together for Thanksgiving or Christmas.......but Frank and I will be enjoying a small Christmas with my mom in Long Beach, Washington.

Here are some pictures I've been taking and now seems like a good time to post:

Leftover pumpkins that were left in a field, outside of Pasco, Washington
Ever wonder where canola oil comes from? This is a field of canola flowers in bloom just outside of Pasco.

This is Chucky, Franks sister Leah's cat, he's huge, his front paw is on the counter, he's such a beggar! I think she said he is 13 years old, his teeth are mostly gone, but he's deadly with his claws still.And gas was even cheaper in Couer d'Alene...........................can you believe diesel is so expensive still?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wide Open Spaces

On our last day in Eastern Montana we explored one of the huge sections of public land that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), it is also land that is available to hunt on for everyone. You definitely need maps, available at the BLM offices, of the area. Without them you could get endlessly lost. We drove down above a north section of Fort Peck Reservoir . There were a lot of private cabins along the bank over looking the lake, what a great place for weekend fun. Frank had intended to get a doe, we saw a good one early in the am, and decided to pass so we could explore the area more, then ended up not getting one, but the purpose of the day was more to see the area anyway. One wrong turn and thinking you are on one road but really on another can make for a long day getting out of the BLM property and onto a highway, we realized this when we should have been heading north, but kept going west, we finally found a road sign that matched on the maps, got our bearings and started our trip back to Idaho.
Frank pointed one of the "Buffalo" trails out to me that are all over the place. They look just like a small draw where water would run, but they are zig zagged and run deep in the ground. Once you start looking for them you find them everywhere.
Over looking Fort Peck Reservoir. This was created by damming up the Missouri river, and is over 100 miles long.

Some Sage Grouse along the road. I had never seen these before. They look a lot like dull colored pheasant, but fatter.
Finally, a picture of Antelope. With snow on the ground they really blend in good. When a big herd is on the run all you can see is the white on their rumps and it looks like a flock of white birds flying low to the ground, the rest of their bodies blend into the ground so well.

These nice thorny catus are all over the ground, mixed in with the sage brush. We took about a mile hike, but the mud was so awful that a mile was more then enough fighting it. The mud isn't the kind that you sink into, it's the kinds that sticks to the bottom of your boots, so that after about 5 steps you have 4-5 inches of muck built up so it feels like you are walking on high heels or wedges. It didn't do any good to knock it off, but you couldn't help but stop and get it off, it was so annoying. The walk was still good, there are old bones all over, some are even petrified. We were hoping to find some dinasour bones (very common here) but think we only saw buffalo....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Big Sky Country

The weather has been fantastic for a road trip, the passes were clear and it was in the 60's the first day of the trip. Eastern Montana reminds me a lot of Eastern Washington, just a whole lot more of it. We spent our first night in White Sulfer Springs and woke up to snow flurries! Even though the land is flat we were still at 5,000 feet! The snow didn't last but the cold temps did, today was a very cold and clear 10* when we woke up. I think I have seen more deer in one day then I have at one time in my whole life, they are everywhere. Frank bought a doe tag over the counter and we will surely find a nice one tomorrow, before heading back west.
Coming over the pass into Helena, a very beautiful valley.

There were 4 of these pheasant on the side of the road, they didn't want to stay still for pictures.

On this "short cut" we took if there weren't horses in the road it was cattle, and in the distant, Antelope (still need to get a picture of them)
We are always having to watch the sides of the roads for deer, I don't know why, but they like the sides of the highways best to find something to eat.

The Badlands don't look bad at all, very beautiful, full of color.
It's been a long time since we have seen deer this big! The fawns are about the size of our full grown deer in Hoonah.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pay to Play

I found an ad in the Tri City Herald last week: Guided pheasant hunt in Eastern Oregon, they supply the dogs, land, birds, and they'll even clean your 6 pheasant for you. I was just kind of kidding when I read the ad to Frank and Coach, but they thought it was a great idea. So, yesterday the boys grabbed their other hunting buddy Clintsinger, and headed over to Summerville, Oregon to C Bar C Outfitters for some pheasant hunting.
Coach with the hunting dog on point.
Frank only got a couple of pictures before the batteries in the camera died, of course he didn't have extra.....Coach making a great shot, the dog is already on the go to retrieve. The guys had a great time, said C Bar C Outfitters were great, they had licenses there for them to buy, were very perfessional, and their youngest son is even a PBR rider!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fun in The Fall

We've been busy visiting friends, kids and grandkids. Time seems to be flying by. I've forgotten how windy it used to be in the Tri-Cities, today we had 50 mph gusts, but it was about 60 degrees outside so it really wasn't that bad, except it blew all of the leaves from the trees. Oh, and tumbleweeds (I'll try and get pictures) all over the roads.After the winds yesterday there are hardly any leaves left on this tree. This is in Coach and Sally's yard, where we are staying.

Frank wished he would have shot these geese.........our friend Max brought them over for us, since he knows how much we miss geese.
I had forgotten about road kill veggies. I passed some squash before seeing these potatoes, and usually there are onions all over the roads too. Frank and Coach found a mound of potatoes and brought a bunch home yesterday. OH! There is a bunch of tumbleweeds just waiting to break loose behind the taters......
And this is Kizzy, Sally and Coaches dog. I went to town with Coach and Frank the other day and they decided to let Kizzy come along. We had stopped at Walmart, then they dropped me off at Target before heading back to the "man" department at Walmart. When I was at the check out, I looked up at the automatic doors and in comes Kizzy, all by herself. That was a shock, so I called the guys and asked if they had lost the dog, they didn't even know she was gone! I guess Coach had left his wallet in the cart at Walmart in the parking lot, and they were so flustered over that they didn't realize the dog had gotten out of the car. But it all turned out ok, Coaches wallet was still in the cart and a store employee captured Kizzy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chinook Pass

We thought we would drive across Chinook Pass to get over the mountains to the Tri-Cities, since the roads were reported clear and it had been a long time since we had taken this route. It used to be that there wasn't much traffic going this way, so we were expecting a nice slow drive. Frank did take it slow, but we had to pull over to let others that were riding our bumper pass. I don't remember all of the cabins, camp grounds and trails last time we drove this pass. Frank is getting used to sea level too, he wasn't comfortable driving those winding roads with no guard rails, and my side of the van wasn't that comfortable either, looking down into open space. On the East side of the pass there were a lot of housing developments, like log cabin developments, or maybe there were just cabins. But why would you want a cabin right next to someone else's? It didn't seem like we were in the "woods," just another suburb. I think Alaska has grown on us. It has been warm though, 67* when we left the West side of the state and in the 50's here in the tri-cities. The leaves are just turning, so we get another fall.
The West side of Chinook Pass. Mt. Rainer is behind the clouds on the top left. There were no guard rails on this side of the pass, and it just got more steep as we climbed to the top.

The East side of Chinook Pass, not as winding as the other side, and the traffic was less on this side.

I couldn't resist, I had to put a picture of gas prices up. In Bellingham we filled up for $2.11 a gallon. At least all of our cash won't go for gas!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ketchikan and Beyond.............

We had a 5 hour layover in Ketchikan yesterday, of course it was raining sideways, I don't think they get nice days. Frank and I jumped on the city bus, only $1 there, and headed downtown to play tourist again. Just like Juneau the majority of shops are closed for the season, but we did make it over to the famous "Creek Street", but Ray Trolls shop was closed for lunch. So we walked around, found a thrift store and scored about 10 vintage crochet books for .10 each. Walked and shopped partway back to the ferry then hopped back on the bus. Having layovers does help break-up the long ferry ride, it doesn't seem so bad this time. We should be in Bellingham tomorrow around 8am.

We thought this was kind of cool, how it was built into the rock, I thought about going out in the street to take the picture so I could get the whole building in it, but I figured this time of year they would run over any leftover tourists!
I wonder how loud it is in the houses above the tunnel, inside the tunnel was very LOUD.
The famous "Creek Street" in Ketchikan, for some reason I thought all of downtown was like this, but it's only one street. We did notice though that most of downtown is built on pilings just like Juneau.
Our cubby hole, not very private, but very cheap!The front half of our suite.
Somewhere in Canada, I think we were by Bella Bella. Wouldn't this be a great place to retire?!!
Arriving at the ferry terminal in Bellingham. Can you believe it's raining!!! Once we got through the massive traffic in Seattle, the skies cleared up and it's a balmy 60* out, nice. We are actually spending the night in a hotel with our own private room, then heading over the pass tomorrow. Frank is really enjoying the gem show and knappers, so he'll go back tomorrow in the am, I think I'll get my walking in then.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Budget Cruise

We loaded onto the Malispina Monday night around midnight, at least there was no backing the vehicles in, it was hard enough staying focused and awake driving straight. The ferry is full of teen girls traveling to play volleyball, so our usual sleeping space up on the top lounge was full. We could have booked a room, but decided to save the $300-400 and use that for gas on our road trips we plan on taking. We ended up finding a spot in the front lounge. Not too bad, except the fire check box is right above my head and someone checks that every hour......I'm hoping tonight since I know what the noise is that I won't wake up every time. We woke up to sunshine in Peril Strait, absolutly beautiful. Of course the camera was still in the car, so didn't get pictures on the way in, I think Frank got some on the way out, so I will post those later. Dean and Pat from the Sportsmans B&B are also on this ferry. Pat fell down the stairs this am going to the car deck before we pulled into Sitka, cut her head and twisted her foot. Her time spent in Sitka was in the emergency room. Thankfully she didn't break anything, but ended up with a few staples in her head. We were in Sitka for 3 hours, and had the option of taking a bus into downtown for a mere $10 roundtrip per person. So we played tourist. Sitka is a nice town, first time we've been able to walk around, and the hour and a half was plenty of time. I saw where the Tlingit spelling is Sheet'ka, guess that's where those tourists got Shitka from. I think we have a stop in Petersburg tonight around 2am, oh boy!
Frank boarding the Malispina, this ferry is a lot bigger then the LeConte, but not as big as the Columbia or Kennicott
Mt. Edgecomb from downtown Sitka. This is an "extinct" volcano.
A Russian Orthodox church in downtown Sitka.
A replica of one of the bunkers that was used by the Russians to protect their forts. Very cool construction.
This was the view from one of the many marinas in downtown Sitka. There seems to be a tremendous amount of commerical fishing boats here. There were also a lot of B&B's around town.