Welcome up… again!

By , August 19, 2010 11:08 pm

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If you’ve been following our travels, bear with us for a little bit here…

If you haven’t been following us before, welcome aboard!  Smile

It’s come to my attention that we have some new folks checking us out here.  We’ve gotten some unexpected advertising from a few different sources recently and wanted to give everyone a quick heads up. 

I won’t rehash who we are and what we’re doing here… just go click that “About Us” link right above this post.  It’ll fill you in, just make sure you come back! Winking smile

If you want to contact us, just make a comment on a post or email us.  You can email us at smthngelse@gmail.com.  Don’t worry, I share all message with Dasy too!  Speaking of which… please keep the comments clean.  If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry about it.  Our computer tells us there’s a comment from someone it doesn’t know and asks me if it’s a real person or not.  If we happen to be out and about, it might take a few minutes for us to accept it.  Of course, if we happen to be in the middle of a desert with no cell phone service, it might take more than a few minutes!

If you use a newsreader and want to get our regular updates, our RSS feed is http://wegofar.com/?feed=rss2 .  If you don’t understand that, don’t worry about it, you get the same stuff right here!

All the photography is done by us unless we state otherwise.  I generally do some minor color correction unless I get real gonzo about a picture.  I’ll be sure to tell you when I really break out the digital paint brush on something. 

There’s also usually a little map over to the right that shows roughly where we are. If you aren’t seeing it, make sure you are accessing our site directly ( http://wegofar.com ).  If you’re still not seeing it, uh…  it might be broken or I’ve lost my cell phone (which is what helps make the maps).

Enjoy reading about our travels, be patient with us as we go, and welcome to our journey! Winking smile

–Jonathan

ps. For those who recently did a little unknown advertising for us… Thanks!  You rock! Smile

pps.  We’re currently in Loveland, CO for a few days.  We’ll let you know where we’re headed as soon as we’ve ironed out a few details!

Crater Lake

By , August 17, 2010 1:33 pm

Dasy really wanted to see Crater Lake, so we headed down there for a couple days.  Crater Lake is pretty much in the middle of no where.  We could have camped in the park, but it was primitive (no water or electric) and we weren’t sure if we’d fit, so we decided to stay at Collier Memorial State Park instead.  There we found full hookups, pleasant sites, a nice little creek and LOTS of very bold ground squirrels. ;)  We’d recommend it if you don’t mind the drive from there to Crater Lake.

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Crater Lake itself is one of the smaller National Parks.  It has a couple of little villages and visitor centers, but it’s mostly just one loop road around the lake.  IMG_2807Our main goal was to catch the boat tour around the lake, with a stop at Wizard Island.  Even though we bypassed several overlooks to get there at a reasonable time, they were already booked up for the entire day (cost is $28 per person, $10 extra if you want to stop at Wizard Island). :(  We contented ourselves with a hike down to the lake instead. 

The hike is on the Cleetwood Cove Trail, which goes from the crater rim down to the boat dock and it is the only place you can actually get to the lake.  It is not for the faint of heart or the weak of knee!  It was just over a mile in distance, but the elevation difference from the rim to the lake is about 700 feet.  It took us about half an hour to go down.

Once at the bottom, we stuck our feet in the water and ate our lunch while watching several people swim and jump off the rocks into the lake.  It was cold, but apparently bearable “once you get in”.  We didn’t test that, mainly because I didn’t want to be hiking back up in wet clothes and shoes.  Were I to return, I’d probably bring trunks or some extra socks and shirt at least. 

IMG_2837The hike back up was significantly worse, but bearable if you’re in reasonably decent shape, or if you have a LOT of time and a couple bottles of water.  In the parking lot they sell shirts that say “One mile down, six miles up”.  ;) 

The lake itself is pretty cool and is an awesome color of blue.  Depending on where you are at different stops and at different times of the day, it can be more or less blue.  Our photographs show that somewhat.  I tried to keep the photographs as true to the original colors as I could… I didn’t enhance any of them to make them more colorful.

There are a few other areas of the park that are worth mentioning that we checked out…  Vidae Falls are quite nice, accessible from the road and worth stopping for.  There is also a section called The Pinnacles that is quite neat and worth the extra drive (it’s about 7 miles off the main loop).  The Pinnacles are spires of volcanic rock that are now exposed due to erosion of the surrounding rock.  Our final stop for the day was at the Castle Crest Wildflower Trial.  That was pretty cool, but we made some navigation errors at the start and had to do some backtracking before we found where we were meant to be (from the parking area, keep to the right, over the footbridge).  If you manage to go the right direction, it’s a 1 mile loop through some very nice growth areas around a small stream.

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Portland and Vancouver

By , August 14, 2010 10:43 am

We spent about a week in Portland, OR.  Actually, we were in Vancouver, WA, but that’s just across the river from Portland.  We met some great people in Vancouver at the nearby congregation. We didn’t originally plan to spend that long here, but a number of coincidences changed our schedule a bit…  More about that later.

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Portland is a pretty cool town.  There’s not much traffic for a city this size, once you’re downtown.  IMG_2683There are a lot of public transport options and a lot of people use bicycles to commute.  It’s a town that’s known for being “green”.  Unfortunately, that means parking for four-wheeled vehicles is a bit of a premium.  Just keep it in mind if you’re visiting.  Be prepared to park somewhere then walk to where you want to go.

IMG_2689We started by doing a guided walking tour, by Portland Walking Tours (I’ll supply a link later when I have a decent connection).  It was interesting and a good way to see the downtown areas.  It was a good introduction and gave us an idea of what we might want to do for the rest of our trip here.  I’d say it’s worth the cost if you don’t mind walking a bit.

At the end of our walking tour, we went back to where our Jeep was parked and had lunch.  The parking lots in the area are surrounded by little food booths of just about every ethnic variety you can imagine.  The food was pretty inexpensive and almost everything was cooked up as you order.  I ended up having something that was kind of Bulgarian, but I forgot what it was called.  It was basically a sausage, but made with some kind of thin dough as the wrapping instead IMG_3683of the usual sausage skin.  The whole thing was wrapped in a spiral, steamed and then grilled.  It could have been a bit spicier, but was good and plenty filling.  Dasy opted for some Thai Drunken Noodles, which were also pretty tasty, but I prefer the thin rice noodle dishes.  A couple next to us ordered a teriyaki chicken and rice bowl which looked and smelled incredible, so we snagged an order of that to go as well.  Our original assessment was correct… it was awesome!

IMG_2721We spent another day at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) and we also did a drive around Washington Park.  Washington Park is sort of a big collection of smaller parks.  It would probably be great for day hiking and/or biking, although it’s a bit hilly.  OMSI is one of the better science-type museums in the area (way better than Seattle), but it also reinforced our belief that we’ve been spoiled by the Smithsonians in Washington DC.  There’s a lot of hands-on stuff for kids, but there were some decent exhibits tucked away that we enjoyed as well.  The temporary Einstein exhibit was kind of cool, but I suspect it’s a bit too “deep” for the average bear and kid just walked right through it because there wasn’t really a lot that they could mess with there.  It made a valiant effort at explaining some of Einstein’s theories and I don’t think there would be many ways to do a better job.

Unfortunately, our plans got tossed out the window after that.  We ordered a couple packages that turned out to take a lot longer to arrive than we expected.  The campground we were at was completely booked, so we ended up having to move to another while awaiting the shipment.  It didn’t help that I caught some kind of nasty stomach bug or something.  I spent three or four days moping and trying to keep some small amount of food in me, while Dasy did her best not to get frustrated with me.  I’m still not completely up to snuff, but at least I can get out and do stuff now.

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Yes, it’s a pickle.

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

By , August 10, 2010 6:05 pm

Our final destination in the Rainier area was Mount St. Helens.  We drove in from Randle, WA on 131, then turned off at Forest Road 26.  If you’re in the area on a motorcycle, this is a road you shouldn’t miss. Winking smile  The pavement isn’t in the best of shape, so use caution, but the twisties are awesome! Smile

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There’s not much in the way of scenery or exhibits or anything on the way to Mt. St. Helens, but it’s fairly impressive in it’s own way.

IMG_2583Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, which drastically changed not only the mountain (volcano), but the area around it as well.  Unfortunately, 57 people were also killed in the eruption.  The eruption blew sideways, not up.  This knocked about 1200 feet off height of St. Helens and left a mile wide U-shaped crater in it’s place.  It’s estimated that the blast cloud was travelling horizontally at approximately 300 miles per hour.  Needless to say, this left it’s mark. 

The park area is mostly dead trees now.  Most are fallen trunks, but a few dead trunks remain standing.  It’s not as scenic as most other parks, due to this.  There are some overlooks and a ranger station that’s worth checking out. 

At the end of the road, we came to Windy Ridge parking area.  We managed to arrive just a couple of minutes after a ranger’s presentation started, so we settled in and caught the rest of it.  If you time it right, it’s worth listening to the talks here.

IMG_2552The other point of interest here (other than the volcano itself) is the hike up to Windy Ridge.  I warn you, this is not for the faint of heart.  From the parking area, it looks like wood steps up to the ridge (which I estimated to be at least a 300 ft climb).  Unfortunately, once we started, we found that it was actually just a wood frame for steps, with each step filled in with pumice stones.  This did not make for an easy climb. Confused smile

At the top is a viewing platform that shows about as much of St. Helens that you’ll see without doing a serious hike.  It’s also a good place to see the blast field and Spirit Lake.  The lake is now about a third filled with dead floating logs.  The other two thirds have gotten waterlogged and sunk over the years.  It’s kind of eerie.  There are some interesting flowers and some nice areas of growth, but it’s mostly fairly barren land.

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IMG_2599On the way back out, we stopped at Iron Creek Falls.  This is technically outside the national monument and is part of Gifford Pinchot National Forest.  It’s definitely worth checking out!  From the parking area, it’s a short hike down a fairly well maintained trail to the falls.  We were able to cross the stream below the falls, due to some piled up log debris.  I imagine this can change radically depending on rain and snow melt.

This is probably one of the most pleasant areas we’ve found with falls in our trip.  The falls are impressive, but not so huge that you can’t get to them.  You could easily swim here if it were warm enough (I doubt it would ever be “comfortable”).  The fall shoots out almost vertically before falling in an unobstructed pool.  The entire area is incredibly green and nicely shaded.  It would be a good place to chill out and have a picnic. Smile

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Mount Rainier National Park (continued)

By , August 9, 2010 12:27 pm

IMG_2618For the rest of our time in Mount Rainier, we spent a fair chunk of it at the Grove of the Patriarchs.  The Grove is on an “island” in the middle of the Ohanapecosh River.  You can get there via a nature trail that starts just past the Stephen’s Canyon entrance to the park.  If you hit it on a weekend, expect parking to be a scarce commodity.  We actually went up to the next parking area on the road and walked back a fair distance to get to the trail.

The trail leads through some old cedar next to the river, before crossing a small suspension bridge.  The bridge is only wide enough for one person, so everyone alternated with those on the other side.  I almost waded across the river instead, but the water was cold and I didn’t want to be walking around with sandy or wet feet the rest of the day.  Winking smile

Once you cross the river, you’ll eventually come to a boardwalk that leads around the grove.  Here are some of the oldest of the trees in the area.  Exceptional ones will have small plaques around somewhere describing them.

These are some monstrous trees!  After seeing these and the ones previously at Olympic National Park, I have a real hard time comprehending how big a redwood or sequoia might be. Confused smile

IMG_2612After a pleasant hike around the grove, we headed back to the Jeep so we could check out the Sunrise and White River side of the park.

Be careful of the drive to Sunrise, especially on weekends.  The rangers are pretty diligent about monitoring and penalizing speed limit violations.  I pulled into an overlook to let a motorcycle pass us… he was pulled over getting a ticket about two minutes later.  We spotted plenty of rangers both in and out of the park, so watch your speed everywhere (the park rangers do have jurisdiction outside the park, as they cooperate with the forest rangers in the area too).  There’s not much need to speed through…  as the drive is very scenic and it’s worth taking your time for it.

IMG_2642Once you make it to Sunrise, there is a ranger station, restrooms, backcountry and hiking permits, plus a cafeteria and gift shop.  Expect prices to be fairly unreasonable.  You’re in the middle of nowhere and at their mercy…  I seem to remember that the going rate for a hot dog was $5.  Pack your lunch!

Dasy did a half-hour tour on one of the ranger programs, while I chilled out for a bit and checked out the buildings and stuff.  I just wasn’t in the mood for more walking around today.

The rest of our time was spent in the campground or at Mount Saint Helens.  More about that next time!

 

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Mount Rainier National Park

By , August 6, 2010 7:43 am

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Ok, I’ve got to start this off with a disclaimer and a warning…

The disclaimer: The picture above is heavily processed and is more of an “art” picture than a historical or reference shot.  But, it is almost exactly what I was hoping to get when I set it up.  For those interested in why it looks like it does, do some research on HDR processing (later).  Winking smile

The warning: This is a long post.  I have an excuse though…  The weather was just about perfect and it’s pretty hard not just point a camera at something here and get a good picture.

IMG_2430“Here” was Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state.  We spent five days in the area, divided between Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens.  Instead of jumping back and forth, we’re doing a couple of Rainier posts first, then we’ll do another one on St. Helens.

Mount Rainier National Park is pretty awesome!  In my book, it’s close to Glacier NP in scenery and photography value.  It’s easier to get around and it’s more “tourist friendly”.  However, it’s also got a LOT of area that isn’t easy to get to unless you plan to do some major hiking and camping.  We did a few walking trails, but mostly stuck to the main roads in the Jeep.

IMG_2435Surprisingly, you can’t actually see Mount Rainier unless you’re far away (up to 100 miles away on a clear day) or until you’ve driven a few miles into the park.  The mountains around Rainier aren’t ridiculously impressive or anything, but they’re big enough for it to hide behind. 

We were staying in Randle, so we came in on the Southeast corner of the park, at Stephen’s Canyon entrance.  If you come the same way, it’s worth stopping at the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center on the way in.

The first scenic stop that we made was at Box Canyon.  Here we found a nice plaque explaining that the rock I was standing on had been polished by a glacier at one time.  The road also goes over the canyon, so you can get a nice perspective from the sidewalk.IMG_2442

The first real “viewpoint” of Mount Rainier from the entrance we used had plenty of parking.  If you’re coming in from the Stephens Canyon entrance, keep going.  There are a few nicer views after you cross a deep valley.

One of the stops we made was at the Reflection Lakes.  This is a small collection of lakes that the main road runs right next to.  I would imagine they earned their names by being smooth as glass… when there’s no wind.  We had just enough wind to ripple everything, but it’s still a nice view.

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After Reflection Lakes, we took a scenic loop up to and around Paradise.  It was absolutely packed and there didn’t seem to be any better view than the ones we’d been seeing all morning, so we didn’t stop.

Further down the road is Narada Falls.  We definitely stopped for that!IMG_2514  We actually stopped once to eat lunch and enjoy the falls at the top, then we stopped again later in the day on the way back to do the trail.  The trail is pretty steep and is loose rock and dirt in some places, but it’s worth it.  The Narada Falls parking area is at the top of the falls.  Unfortunately, it’s somewhat behind the fall area, so you can’t actually see the falls.  You can see the stream that feeds the falls, and you can sit on the bridge that goes over it.  The trail goes to the other side of the river and down a steep hill.  We stopped at about half the height of the falls, which is probably the best view you’ll find without bushwacking.

The falls do send up a water mist, so be careful with you’re camera and electronic gear.  Just keep stuff covered until you’re ready to take a picture and you should be fine.  The reward, of course, is the rainbows that are pretty much always present due to this (check the lower right corner of the picture to the right).

IMG_3510Narada Falls are clearly the biggest and most impressive of the easily accessible falls off the road we were on, but they aren’t the only ones.

Christine Falls is a multi-level fall that starts well above the road (there’s a steep hike up to the top) and ends well below the road.  There’s a short walk down from the road to see the falls under the bridge, which is definitely worth it.IMG_2502

Our next stop was at Longmire.  There is a museum here, along with most of the park’s administrative offices, an inn, plus shuttle busses to run back and forth to Paradise.  We checked out the museum and the administration building.  They were interesting, but not very photographic.  I’ll probably include some of those pictures in another slide show that I’ll get to eventually. Winking smile

At Longmire, we ended our trip for the first day in the park and headed back to our campground in Randle, WA.

Note: There will be another post on Mt. Rainier NP, this one was getting long enough. Winking smile

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Olympic Peninsula – Cape Flattery

By , July 31, 2010 4:28 pm

IMG_2352On our last major outing in the Olympic Peninsula area, we went out to Cape Flattery.  This is supposedly the most northwest point of the continental US.  It’s on the Makah Reservation and requires a reservation pass (available all over the reserve for $10 – good for a year) and fairly decent hike. 

The hike was about a 3/4 mile each way.  But, be prepared for a 300 foot descent on the way to the point, which means a climb on the way back. ;)  The trail is pretty neat, but expect parts of it to be made of split timbers, with steps and stacked logs as well.  Not difficult for most people, but you’re not going to be getting a wheelchair or anything back there.

There are several points on the way out where there are small overlooks onto the coastline.  They’re pretty cool, but the real reward is at the end!  There’s a viewing platform with a spectacular view (when it’s not foggy) of the light house and surrounding coast.  It’s well worth the trip.

After heading back to the Jeep, we drove into the main town on the Makah Indian Reservation and found “the salmon guy”.  We’d heard that there’s a guy who makes great smoked salmon.  Our neighbors at the campground even asked if we could get some for them!  Well, we found the guy, tasted the salmon and promptly bought a couple pounds.  I have to say that I don’t like salmon.  Dasy does, but I don’t much care for it… at all.  But, this smoked salmon was incredible!  Suffice to say, it didn’t last very long. :S

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From here, we headed back to Shelton to spend a couple more days with my sister and her family and then headed out to Mt. Rainier.  More on that next time! 🙂

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Olympic National Park – Hoh Rainforest and Sol Duc Falls

By , July 31, 2010 8:17 am

Our second outing in the Olympic National Park took us to the Hoh Rainforest.  The is on the west side of the Olympic mountains, where the mountains push the wet sea air upwards, causing it to rain much more than anywhere else in the park.  Fortunately, we seemed to hit a good time in the year to avoid the rains and it was a beautiful, sunny day. 

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IMG_2169There aren’t any real scenic views or anything on the way into the park from the Hoh entrance.  The scenery is the forest!  The trees are HUGE and there’s a primeval feel to everything as you drive under that dense canopy.  Most of the ground is covered with water, mud or moss.  Ferns are also quite abundant.  We didn’t spot any dinosaurs, but I suspect there are a few wandering around in there somewhere. 😉

We stopped at the Sitka spruce, which is one of the first of the ‘giant’ trees that you’d encounter in the park.  It’s probably wider than our Jeep is long!  It’s big, old, and a bit gnarly looking.  I think it’s about 500 years old.

IMG_3322But, the real attraction is the visitor center at the end of the road.  Here you’ll find information on the rainforest and a few exhibits on the animals and plants in the area.  There’s also a small gift store, picnic area, restrooms and backcountry hiking permits.  Plus… trails!  There are trails for just about all levels, from 1/4 mile paved “kid friendly” trails, to multiple day hike-through-the-entire-park trials.

IMG_2193We went on the “Hall of Mosses” trail.  It wasn’t too long, but went through some of the old groves that we wanted to see (and we like moss).  The trail is about a mile and is relatively flat, although there are some fairly gentle inclines. The trees here are simply monstrous in size!  My poor attempts at describing them wouldn’t come close to doing them any justice.  There are a few pictures that give an idea of the size, but I’m not a good enough photographer or writer to really get the idea across.

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Our next stop was the Sol Duc entrance so we could see the trail and falls.  We decided to skip on the hot springs, as we’d heard that they’re not really that nice and are kind of commercialized (and we were there on the weekend).  I got the impression that it had been built up enough that it would be a stretch to call it “natural” any more.

IMG_2305I don’t know if the Sol Duc area is technically rainforest, as I think it’s far enough north to get a little shelter from the rains on the west slopes, but it’s still huge and primeval.  The trees are a bit different than the Hoh section and there doesn’t seem to be quite as much underbrush.  The trees at Sol Duc seem to be a brighter green and there were a fair amount of younger trees.  If you come to the area and don’t have time to see both Hoh and Sol Duc, it would be a tough to decide which to skip.  The trail is nicer at Sol Duc, but we only did the one.  There are a lot more trails at Hoh and a lot more species of trees there.  Hoh clearly has older trees, but there’s also a lot of dead stumps there.  Hoh is awesome, but there’s a feeling of “life” in Sol Duc that can’t be ignored.  It’s the kind of place where you wouldn’t be overly surprised to find a triceratops grazing on a patch of ferns just off the trail. 😉

Of course, the other thing that Sol Duc is known for is the falls. As with any decent sized river, there are generally smaller “feeder” streams.  You’ll cross a few of these on the way to the falls.  I always like these little streams because I can go rock-hopping and actually mess around a bit.  Bigger ones like the falls are kind of off-limits to anyone with the slightest bit of sense.

IMG_2316I only managed to get one decent picture of the falls (above), mostly because they spray up a water mist and my camera is afraid to get wet. ;)  There main trail crosses almost directly over the falls using a very stout footbridge (it would probably hold a decent sized truck easily).  This gives a great view right down the “throat” of the little box canyon than the falls have carved.  The amount of moss here (due to the spray) is ridiculous!  You could probably belly-flop on some of the rocks and be more comfortable than on some mattresses.

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Unfortunately, that pretty much finished our time IN Olympic National Park, but we also did a bit of exploring outside the park.  We’ll get into that on the next post!

Olympic National Park – Hurricane Hill

By , July 30, 2010 10:11 pm

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Our first real outing in the Olympic Peninsula area took us to the Hurricane Ridge entrance of Olympic National Park.  Hurricane Ridge has a number of scenic vistas and interesting areas, but the main point for those who don’t mind a bit of a hike is Hurricane Hill.IMG_3163

The hike to Hurricane Hill starts at the very last vehicle-accessible area from the entrance at Port Angeles.  The last section of road is extremely tight and windy.  A small class C RV might be able to make it, but I doubt event a 30-foot class A could manage it.  We parked at the bottom of the trail and proceeded to head upwards.

The trail climbs through fairly arid areas that can be a rather odd mix of snowfields, dry sandy soil, flowers, meadows and windswept trees.  To make it even more odd, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky (no shade) and it was quite hot.  We got pretty well baked on the trail.  Serves us right for not planning.  We didn’t think we’d do the hike, we kind of decided to attempt it at the last minute. :S

IMG_2124The hike is about 1.7 miles each direction and climbs about 700 feet.  The trail is dusty and rocky and was absolutely infested with bees for the entire trip.  A few signs at the entrance to the trail indicated that if we just kept moving when any of the flying critters investigated us, we’d be fine.  I guess they knew what they were talking about, as we didn’t have any issues with them.  Just be warned should you go in the summer.

IMG_3190Other than the sun, heat and bees, we really didn’t have any problems and it was well worth the effort.  The flowers were really surprising considering the terrain and weather conditions.  The views were spectacular and the hike wasn’t that hard until the very last section.  Note: If you are actually a real “hiker”, consider our description to be woefully tainted by the fact that we’re wimps and we don’t really hike.  A real hiker would probably consider this to be a gently sloping tourist trail. :S

At the top of Hurricane Hill, you can see down to Port Angeles and if it’s clear enough, you can see Victoria, BC across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  It kind of feels like the top of the world!

IMG_2100The area is pretty much infested with chipmunks!  They’re not at all shy and they will pretty much be running around just about any rock you look at.  They were cute, but not very cooperative for the camera. 😉  Fortunately, that wasn’t the only thing we saw…

IMG_2130One of the things I’d been hoping to see on our trip to this area, but hadn’t really expected to see was a marmot.  We found one running around a meadow just below the peak!  They look like big groundhogs, just furrier. 🙂

We also went to Obstruction Peak, but it was a dusty unpaved road and the end wasn’t that impressive for us.  Half the trail was still covered in snow and we’d already done far more hiking than we’d planned, so we just took a look around and headed back home.

If you’re headed here, there’s a nice visitor center and some nice overlooks just off the main road.  But, if you’re really looking to see the area, expect to put forth some effort to do so.  It’s well worth it, but bring some water, a good hat and sunscreen or a long sleeved shirt. 😉

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It Floats and Barely There

By , July 30, 2010 10:18 am

After Seattle, we decided to make our way to Olympic National Park.  After doing a bit of research, we found that the ferry was probably the cheapest and fastest method of getting our collection of vehicles over.  We hopped on the ferry at Edmunds, after a number of issues.

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First, there were no signs to tell us that we had to disconnect the Jeep from the Dutch Star.  Second, there was no designated space to do so after getting through the entry booth.  We pulled over, blocked a lane for a bit and got everything unhooked.  IMG_2076Dasy took the Jeep and I drove the Star.  Dasy loaded up first, while I sat there for a bit and was then directed to take up two spots and straddle the lane to park.  Dasy unloaded first and ended up in front of me.  Unfortunately, she didn’t know where we were going and there was no where convenient to reconnect.  So, she drove for about a half an hour with occasional horn honks and lots of turn signal warnings from me behind her. 😉IMG_2069

The icing on the cake, however, was there were at least four other RVs on the ferry.  One was larger than us, directed to take a single lane and did not disconnect his toad.  There was another smaller class C, also with a toad that was connected (“toad” is the nickname given to a towed vehicle by RVers).  So, we ended up with a lot of confusion and a lot of extra hassle and work because the ferry system is inconsistent on what to do with RVers.  Ah well, it was still cheaper and faster than driving all the way around the sound (about $75 for both vehicles).

The ride was fine, but the view wasn’t great from my perspective. IMG_2073 I did get out a couple times and take a look around, but it was kinda gray and there wasn’t a whole lot of decent pictures to get on the trip.  But, it did get us over to the Olympic peninsula pretty quickly and easily, so it’s all good.

Now for the other part of our headline for this article… “Barely There”.

We’re currently just outside of Mount Rainier National Park.  It’s pleasant and will give us the opportunity to see Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens, but we have no wifi.  We also have no cellular data connection.  That means we’re essentially without any kind of connectivity for a few days.  The nearest coffee shop with Internet is about 15 miles from us (which is where we are right now). So, we’ll not be regularly replying to emails, text messages, comments on the blog or anything else for about four days.  The bright side is that I can work on the blog posts for Olympic National Park offline, then upload them when I get to town.  So, you might be seeing three or four posts roll in on one day (but probably not today).

That covers us for now… we’re off to see Mt. Rainier, then we’ll start batching up blog posts on Olympic tonight. 

Seattle Meanderings

By , July 28, 2010 8:55 am

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In total, we spent about a week in Seattle.  The weather was just about perfect and we found lots to do (hence the lack of updates).

IMG_1884We went back into the city a couple of times and somehow managed to end up at Piroshky Piroshky again. Winking smile  Dasy had a smoked salmon piroshky, which was shaped like a fish (and still quite tasty).  Speaking of fish, we also went to the Seattle aquarium.  The aquarium had some nice exhibits and a cool “touching pool”, where you could touch starfish, urchins and anemones.  It was pretty neat, but I didn’t get many decent pictures.  Shooting through glass and moving reflective water doesn’t work so well without some filters that I don’t have right now. 

We also went to the Space Needle, the science center and the sci-fi museum.  All of this was paid for with a City Pass.  City Pass is a collection of tickets to various shows and attractions, all at one price for a “book”, which is good for nine days.  Most of the tickets are good for one entry to the attraction, but some are good for multiple…  The Space Needle allowed for two visits in 24 hours, so you could see the view during day and night (we only did night). IMG_1828 The City Pass isn’t a bad value if you plan on hitting multiple attractions.

Another area we visited a couple of times was the International District.  Imagine a “Chinatown”, but instead of being just Chinese shops, it’s a little bit of everything.  Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Mongolian, etc.  We even found a Cambodian noodle shop!  Unfortunately, it was closed on Monday, which is when we were there. Sad smile We ended up having noodles somewhere else (I think it was a kind of Asian fusion place… a little mishmash of everything).

IMG_3145Seattle is kind of a big melting pot.  There are a lot of nationalities represented by both the inhabitants and the visitors.  We spent a fair amount of time with a group of Cambodian friends from one of the congregations in the area.  We had a lot of fun, met a bunch of new friends and it gave Dasy a bit of an insight into how easy (or hard) it would be for her to relearn Cambodian (she speaks just fine, but would need to learn reading and writing again).  Mostly, we just had fun hanging out with them. Winking smile

I’m not going to take a lot of time going into each of the museums and what there is, but I’ll give you a few general opinions that I think Dasy and I agree on.IMG_3110

First, we’re probably spoiled by living in Washington, DC for so long.  All of the museums and attractions we went to were “nice”, but none were great and we probably would have been a little miffed at all of them if we’d paid the regular admission prices.  The aquarium was small and overcrowded, the science center was almost completely geared towards children, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t hate any of them and we’re glad we went to each of them. But, we’re used to the Smithsonians in DC.  Those are museums!  We should spend more time in them when we go back to DC.

There were a couple of exceptions though…  One of the items in the City Pass is for Argosy Cruises, which offer a number of sightseeing tours around the sound.  It was very interesting to see Seattle from the water and the announcer did a good job of explaining everything.  It was just a pleasant cruise and a good break after walking around the city all day.

IMG_2035The other one that we really liked was the Science Fiction museum.  It’s a little on the small side and there’s nothing “interactive”, but if you’re a sci-fi buff and in the area, you need to go.  They have a ton of cool stuff on display and most of it is pretty well known, even by those who aren’t really into sci-fi movies and books.  They have about four full outfits from Blade Runner, a bunch of stuff from all the Star Wars and Star Treks (including the original captain’s chair), a Terminator robot, Buck Rodgers robots… I could go on and on!  They have some cool “classic” stuff too…  Like Logan’s Run and even Metropolis!  Ok, I’ll stop now. Winking smile 

Oh, if you plan to take pictures at the Sci-Fi museum, bring a compact tripod, a fast lens and a circular polarizing filter.  Everything is behind glass, poorly lit for photography and no flashes are allowed!  I managed to get a few decent pics, but I wish I’d known the conditions earlier.

Speaking of pictures, I have way too many to stuff into one blog post.  So, I made a short slide show of the highlights.  It’s probably about 30 pictures or so, but if you’ve been following us so far, you’ll probably enjoy it. Winking smile  Just click here for the slideshow whenever you’re ready and it should open in it’s own window (hit the little play button if you don’t want to click them manually).

Note: We’re currently in Shelton, WA and will be heading to Mount Rainier tomorrow.  We’re about a week behind on the blog and will be filling in some posts about Port Angeles and Olympic National Park over the next few days.

Pike Place Market

By , July 20, 2010 3:40 pm

One of the places we’d been told to see by pretty much everyone was Pike Place Market.

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IMG_3091We drove into Seattle and got parking on a very steep street, as we haven’t quite figured out public transport yet.  It seems that they have a very nice light rail system here, but it doesn’t do us much good if we can’t park at a station.  I’m sure there’s something we’re missing, but I haven’t been able to figure out what.

The market was crowded and it’s hard to move.IMG_1754  I don’t like being around crowds of people and my leg was bothering me (I fell off the slackline the other day and landed badly).  In spite of that, it was interesting and the great food made up for the crowds!  We sampled a few items as we walked around, like cherries and strawberries from the fruit stand.  Generally, the fruit and food was excellent, but more costly than we’re used to in a grocery store.  I normally don’t mind paying a bit extra for freshness, but we don’t have room to store much and it’s hot enough in the RV in the afternoon to make fruit spoil pretty quickly.

Dasy had some clam strips from a little Korean store.  They were pretty good and didn’t cost that much either.  IMG_1760We saw the original Starbucks store, but declined fighting the lines of people.  Starbucks always tastes burnt or “oily” to me anyway, so I didn’t mind. Smile  We then went up to Piroshky Piroshky and ordered a cheese piroshky…  And a beef and cheese piroshky… and a sauerkraut and cabbage (with fennel seed)… and a blueberry cream.  They were awesome!  Smile

Note: Now that I’ve just thought about that, I want to go back… NOW! Confused smile

We went to a park across the street to eat our piles of piroshky and relax for a bit before heading back.  It gave us a nice view of the sound and the city. 

We were planning on wandering around and seeing a bit more of Seattle, but we settled for full bellies and a little bit of driving instead. Winking smile

 

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Seattle

By , July 19, 2010 10:30 pm

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Hello everyone…  Just wanted to post a real quick update to let you all know that we’re currently in Seattle, WA.  We’ll be here for a few more days, then we’re headed south again.  We’ll post up a full entry of our exploits tomorrow!

Slackers? Maybe…

By , July 15, 2010 12:12 pm

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We’ve been in with my sister, Wendy, and her family in Shelton, WA for quite a while.  She has a small farm with a number of critters…  horses, llamas, alpacas, geese, dogs, cats, etc.  I’ve been helping out a bit with some farm work (like loading hay bales) and Dasy has been doing some of the cooking.  We’ve also been watching the niece and nephews when needed.

While hanging out with the family one night, Jim and Wendy showed us some videos of people on a slackline.  Jim showed me a clip of how someone set up carabineers to make a primitive block and tackle and we started talking about how much equipment it would take to set up a slackline.  I mentioned that it wasn’t really necessary, as I already had just about everything needed, since that’s pretty much the same stuff I use to pull stuck vehicles out when off-roading.  One thing lead to another and we soon had an impromptu slackline in the front yard. Winking smile

For those who don’t want to go read the link above, slacklines are like tightropes, but generally are made out of web straps (kind of like a seatbelt) and are supposed to be a bit loose (“slack”) so that they flex when weight is on them.  This allows some people to do some really interesting tricks on them.  It’s kind of fun and turns out to be pretty good exercise too.  We might do this periodically, depending on where we camp and what the room is like.  I probably need something a little less “beefy” than my tow strap though… it has almost NO stretch.  Right now, that’s a good thing.  We set it up very tight, as that’s easier for newbie “slackers”. Smile

From here, we’re off to Seattle for a week or so.  After that, we’re kind of undecided.  We want to see Mount Rainier National Park and we may come back and visit Olympic National Park as well.  We’ll work it out on the way.

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Still Here!

By , June 30, 2010 9:21 am

Just wanted to do a quick post to let everyone know I’m still here!

IMG_1613 “Here” is currently Shelton, WA.  I’m spending some time visiting my sister and her family while Dasy is in Virginia.  I haven’t had much time to see the sites, so there’s not much going on here other than just spending time with family, catching up on a backlog of work, and trying to get some mechanical gremlins out of my little Yamaha TW-200 (the valves don’t seem to want to adjust correctly).  I’m catching up on getting mail and packages caught up to me while I’m parked for a bit. 

Hopefully I’ll make it out to Mount Rainier and/or Olympic National Parks in the next week or two.

Glacier National Park

By , June 16, 2010 8:49 pm

After Dasy went back to Northern Virginia and the Star was done with it’s major work, I headed up to Glacier National Park.

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I was hoping to spend a fair amount of quality time on the TW-200 (motorcycle), but the weather wasn’t cooperative.  It wasn’t bad weather, just highly unpredictable. 

Glacier is probably the prettiest of the national parks I’ve been to so far.  Everything was so green and the plant life and terrain was so varied.  Most of the other parks seem to have a couple types of trees (or no trees), but Glacier seems to have a little of everything.  I’d have to say it’s possibly my favorite so far. 

The first day, I got the Star checked in and set up around 5pm.  That left me only a couple of hours to run up the Going To The Sun road to see the park.  Unfortunately, the road was closed after about 15 miles, as they haven’t finished snow plowing yet.  Since that’s the only road that goes through the park, that left me able to only see a portion of it.  It remained closed throughout my visit and is only scheduled to open about now.  Maybe I’ll take Dasy with me and we’ll see the rest of the park on the way back from the west coast.

Glacier is pretty much lots of lakes, streams, forests and mountains.  Most of the streams contain a number of waterfalls, of varying sizes.

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On the second day in the park, I’d bumped into Jennifer of LivingInMyCar.  We talked a little about some of her RV problems, and made arrangements to do a short tour the following day.  I ended up caulking what we thought might be leaky spots in her roof, then we spent the morning on the Going To The Sun road.  Jennifer only has her RV and didn’t want to uproot and drive it out there.  So, I volunteered the Jeep as transport and we spent an afternoon taking pictures on the road.  Luckily (for me), on the way there, I spotted a black bear and a ranger promptly showed up to “deal with it”.  This involved shooting it with a bean-bag cannon, which didn’t work at all.  The bear simply ran up a tree. ;)  I didn’t hang around to watch the aftermath, as there was quite a bit of traffic building up to watch the show.  I also saw a grizzly bear later, but didn’t have the camera handy, so no pictures of him (sorry).

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IMG_1537The next day, I took the Jeep out to Polebridge, via a gravel road in the park.  The ride out was pleasant, but long.  It also rained for about half the drive.  I decided to go back on the TW when the weather was decent, as it would handle the potholes much easier than the Jeep would.

IMG_1538I also checked out the local national forest and found a trail up there that I thought the Jeep could handle.  Unfortunately, I ended up sinking the Jeep in snow up to the bumper, which is where I turned around.  I might have attempted to go further, but the surrounding trees in that area were too small to support the Jeep if I needed to winch through any deep snow or mud.  But, it was a nice drive and I got to see a few of the more out-of-the-way streams and waterfalls.

IMG_1552 IMG_1553I spent a couple days in the RV due to the weather and work needing to be done.  But, when I had a decent day, I took advantage of it.  IMG_1579One of the trips I made was out to East Glacier, which is a small town at the entrance on the opposite side of the park where I was staying.  Normally, I would have taken the Going To The Sun road, but since it was closed, I took highway 2 around the south end of the park instead.  It’s a nice scenic drive if you’re in the area for a while.

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IMG_1584For my last day in the Glacier area, I managed to get good enough weather to go back to Polebridge.  There’s exactly two stores there, one of which is a well known bakery; Polbridge Mecantile.  I waited a bit for some particular lunch bits to come out of the oven.  I was rewarded with one of the best turnovers I’ve ever had…  Chicken with ranch dressing and bacon, stuffed in a flaky crust and baked to near perfection.  It was pretty awesome and was worth the 40 miles on bad roads I took to get there.  I got a roast-beef with grilled onion and horseraddish to go, which would be lunch for another day. 😉

While waiting, another set of motorcycle guys showed up on very well equipped (farkled) BMWs and KLRs.  They wanted to take the park road back instead of the main pothole-riddled road.  Since I’d done it a few days ago in the Jeep I offered to guide them/requested to tag along. ;)  The TW is still fairly new to me and it has a few “quirks”, so I prefer not to be in the middle of nowhere without some kind of possibility that someone can send for assistance if needed. 

We arrived back at the park entrance an hour or two later, said our goodbyes and then I headed out to pack up the Star.  My next stop would be somewhere in Washington state.  I would be heading past Tacoma towards the west coast to spend some time with my sister and her family.

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Soon…

By , June 13, 2010 12:44 am

I just wanted to do a quick post to apologize for the lack of updates.  I was fairly busy at Glacier National Park and I haven’t had time to go through the pictures yet.  I’m currently at a campground in Sprague, WA.

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I have electric, so I can pull the pictures off the big computer and back to my laptop, but the only internet access here is my cell phone (which is why this is such a short update).  I should be able to post up about Glacier in a day or two. 

Going Underground

By , June 10, 2010 11:50 am

IMG_1475On Thursday, while the Star was waiting on a new control module, I decided to head out to Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park to check out the caverns.  It was one of the few days that it didn’t rain (well, it didn’t rain on the way there).

I could probably ramble on ridiculously about the cave system and what makes it different from the majority of other caves, but if you’re not into caves (and I’m not really) it probably wouldn’t mean much.  You can do some research on the internet if you really want to know about the caves.  What I can tell you about is how the trip was and what you might want to know if you decide to go.

IMG_1346First, the caves aren’t horizontal or vertical.  They’re tilted, at about 55 degrees due to the mountain shifting a long, long time ago.  The entrance is up on the side of a mountain.  The exit is several hundred feet below it on the same mountain.  You’re looking at about a two mile hike, with a lot of elevation changes.  You’re also looking at climbing up and down a few tight and dark passages.  Plan to spend at least two hours in the cold and dark.  It’s 50 degrees and it is damp (I found several puddles the hard way).  You should be in relatively decent physical shape and you shouldn’t be claustrophobic or afraid of the dark.  Now that all the nasty disclaimers are out of the way… 😉

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The cave tour is very interesting and worth the effort.  Unfortunately, I’d have to take an entire lighting rig down there to get decent photographs, so I have only mediocre ones, at best.  Near the end of the tour, they’ve upgraded the lighting to multicolor LED projection bulbs.  They approximate sunlight, but I’m pretty sure they added a few filters for effect. Still, it’s better than the standard incandescent bulbs in the rest of the place.  Any pictures that have a lot of color (like the one below) were taken near the LED lighting.  Anything that looks mostly orange or brown were taken near the incandescent lights.

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Umm… it’s a cave.  IMG_1395It’s neat, but it’s definitely a cave.  I’m sorry, but I really don’t know how to describe a cave.  It’s such an alien place.  The pictures will have to do my talking for me.  I can tell you that this particular cave system is known for it’s formations, which are quite interesting and varied.  Some are strange enough to appear to defy the natural laws of physics.

Oh, expect to get a little cozy with others if you end up in a large tour group.  Some of the rooms and the passages are quite small. 😉

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Goodbye Yellowstone, Hello Repair Shop!

By , June 7, 2010 9:21 pm

My previous post pretty much wrapped up our trip to Yellowstone National Park.

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On Saturday morning, I said goodbye Dasy, Rob and Lara and they headed off to Jackson Hole to catch a flight back to Washington, DC.  Dasy was going to visit family and friends for a couple weeks and Rob and Lara were going back to “normal life”. 

I finished packing up the RV and talked with our host for a bit (by the way, Wagon Wheel RV Park in West Yellowstone gets our seal of approval).  Then I started heading for Bozeman, MT to get some work done on the Star.  Here’s the short version of the issue (trust me, the long version would be several pages)…

Note: Some people I’ve discussed this with aren’t clear on what is meant by “chassis”.  In most cases, the chassis is the frame of a vehicle and all the bits attached to it that make it go or stop.  This normally includes axles, brakes, the steering components and wheels, but in some instances can also include the engine, transmission and any electrical bits associated with any of the above.  For RV’ers, we generally use the following rule of thumb for determining if something is chassis-related:  If the part in question is also found on a delivery truck or a semi (tractor-trailer), it’s probably a chassis part.  Things specific to an RV, like a refrigerator, a roof fan, or a 50 amp electrical transfer box, are not considered part of the chassis.

When we were in Texas, we noticed that the driver’s side front wheel was leaking some fluid.  We have air brakes, so I knew it wasn’t brake fluid.  It turned out to be axle fluid (gear oil).  The axle fluid keeps the wheel bearing lubricated, which is kind of important.  We stopped on the way out of Texas to get that fixed.  It’s my belief that we were completely scammed.  The shop that did the work tried to bill me for the brakes and seals for both front wheels.  It was obvious they’d only done one.  The mechanic refused to talk to me when I complained about it and the owner was “unavailable”.  I managed to get the cashier to bill me for only one wheel, so we chalked it up to “lesson learned” and moved on.  I checked the wheel several times on our way to Yellowstone and noticed that it started leaking again (almost as soon as we left the shop in Texas).  In my opinion, the mechanic did a lousy job and botched the new seal.  The lack of fluid then ate up the wheel bearings.  So, I found a shop just outside of Bozeman that was certified by Freightliner to work on RV chassis’ in order to get the seal done again.

Another problem that popped up on the way from Moab to Yellowstone was the ABS light.  It came on and never went off.  I’ve had ABS computers fry in other vehicles before, so I wasn’t worried about it, but I wanted it fixed.  I don’t think our ABS system has ever kicked in, but when I’m driving a 30,000 pound vehicle, with a 5000 pound Jeep and a motorcycle attached to it, I want the ABS to work if it’s ever needed!

We also have had an ongoing but intermittent problem with the air pressure gauges on the Star.  There are two air tanks that hold the air used to operate the brakes.  They generally stay at about 120 psi.  When we would drive the Star, one or both guages would regularly drop to zero.  This would cause alarms to sound (which I disconnected fairly quickly) and a warning light on the dash.  I  checked the actual pressure on the tanks and I checked the operation of the compressors and all was well.  So, the air system was working, but the sensor system wasn’t.  I have no idea what else relies on those sensors and I don’t what the long term effects would be, so I wanted that fixed as well. 

I ended up going to Rocky Mountain Truck Center in Belgrade, MT (about 7 miles west of Bozeman).  Out of all the shops we’ve been to for just about anything, this is probably the place I’d try to come back to if I needed more chassis work done.  They diagnosed everything fairly quickly, spent most of a day trying to get the replacement computer needed for the air system and dealt with my Good Sam service insurance (although it wasn’t quite enough of a bill to meet my quite high deductible).  The best part is that they pulled the Star out of the shop at night and they let me sleep in it in the back lot.  They even let me run an extension cord out to get power at night!  They also took care of a Freightliner recall and reprogrammed the engine and transmission controllers.  They were quite tolerant of my being around all the time and they treated me and the Star with consideration and respect (including making efforts to avoid getting my home dirty).  I can’t recommend them enough!  It would be nice if they had a better wifi antenna though, as I couldn’t get a reliable connection when in the back lot. 😉

It took about a week for everything to get done…  Most of that was waiting for the new control module for the air system.  Apparently even Freightliner had a hard time figuring out what it was and where they had one…  The parts guy spent most of a day on the phone with them trying to track it down.  I wouldn’t want his job! :S

At the end of it, all was done to satisfaction and I now have a safe and drivable RV that I can trust again.  The Star made it all the way from Belgrade to Glacier NP with no issues at all!

While I was stuck in Belgrade, I didn’t do much other than arrange things on the RV at night.  I did have one outing to Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park, which I will write about next time.

I’ll leave you with a picture of the old air system control module (the new one looks exactly the same, just less dirty)…  I’ll be pulling it apart soon. 😉

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I really don’t want to tell you how much it costs to have one of these replaced. :S

Hunting The Hunters

By , June 6, 2010 9:23 pm

Gallatin National Forest

On our last outing while in West Yellowstone, we decided to go see if we could find some bear in Gallatin National Forest.  There’s a section called The Narrows that’s on Hegben Lake that we’d been told was closed to visitors due to bear activity.  Apparently, there were some carcasses (of unspecified type and origin) that were on the beach and the bear were feeding on them.  When I’d gone on my morning outing a few days earlier, I’d gotten close to the closed area, but didn’t actually go as far as I could.  I figured that was our best shot at finding some bear.  Even if we didn’t see any bear, it would be a nice drive through the woods and would be close enough to town that we could call it quits in an hour or two if we got tired (we did).

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We ended up going north of Hegben lake to see if we could see any bear activity across the lake.  We figured that would be easiest and safest… bears can run fast, but they aren’t the quickest of swimmers. ;)  We saw nothing of bear or carcasses.  So, we headed back and took a bunch of Jeep trails towards the bear area. 

We stopped first at Horse Butte Overlook.  We saw evidence of bear (shed fur), but again there were no bear.  We did see a couple of Ranger looking people but they didn’t stop us or say anything, so we pretty much ignored them. 🙂

The view from Horse Butte was nice and we spotted a herd of bison in the distance (the picture above is taken from Horse Butte Overlook).  But, our quest for the day was BEAR!

We headed back down the butte and followed some more Jeep/forest roads towards the closed area.  The sign marking the road closure had been knocked over earlier and… um… we didn’t see it until we left.  So, we headed all the way through the closed area and all the way to the beach.  Unfortunately, I think this was another park service publicity stunt… no fanged or clawed furry critters were to be seen.  While it was little consolation to us, we did spot our first picah on the way out (sorry, no pictures, they’re skittish and FAST!). 

After that little drive, we headed back along Hegben Lake towards town, stopping at various little scenic overlooks.  At one point we had to drive through the herd of bison we’d spotted earlier from the butte.  A few of them did NOT look happy about it!  I don’t have any pictures, because I was driving and didn’t want to stop the Jeep.  I thought there was a real possibility of one of them getting unhappy enough to charge us.  They’re awesome creatures from afar, but they much more intimidating when staring at you from three feet away!

There were two other interesting things we spotted though…  Osprey and eagles.  There were several osprey, but one of them flew pretty close to us and he’d just been fishing!

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I don’t know how big that fish was, but I’d have been plenty happy with the portion size if it was on my plate.  One of the bald eagles must have thought the same thing and it started chasing the osprey!  I figured the osprey would just drop the fish and run, but he was quite set on keeping his own dinner.  Much to our surprise the osprey just kept climbing (with the fish) and managed to keep several flaps ahead of the eagle.   We’re not sure of the final outcome, as they were eventually too high for us to keep track of them.  My bet is on the osprey!

After that we headed back to town.  Rob and Lara had a flight to catch the next day and Dasy was going with them, as there were some family and friends back in northern Virginia she wanted to visit. 

Oh… we never did see a bear on our trip to Yellowstone. 🙁

Note: This was about a week ago… I’m playing “catch-up”.  I’m currently in Coram, MT, just outside Glacier National Park.  The Star is all fixed and working and I’m chilling here for a week.  I’ll be in or around the park for a couple of days when the weather is decent and will be working when it rains.  Judging by the forecast, I’ll be working quite a bit. :S  But… I saw a bear today! 😛

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