Summer Trip Diary 2006
 
Diary of Linda, Meghan, and my RV trip summer 2006 July, August, September



6/28/06 Day 1 summer trip. 358 miles today, total 358 miles. Found a loose wheel on the 5th wheel back driver's side yesterday while changing a flat tire, so I decided to stop at Alignment Plus at 8:00 a.m. in San Marcus to have it checked out. They found that the 36mm axle bearing nut was loose. They tighten it up to 140 foot-pounds and all was well, the run out is now gone. They checked allremoved the drums and also checked the brakes and adjusted them. I have about 10,000 miles left on the brakes. Got on the rode at 10:00 a.m.and arrived in Bishop at 4:30 p.m.

6/29/06 Day 2 summer trip. 200 miles today, total 558 miles. Drove to Reno arriving at Hilton KOA around noon. Went over to Conrad and Kathy’s house about 3:00 p.m. Kathy cooked a nice pork chop dinner. Returned to trailer early and went to bed.

6/30/06 Day 3 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 558 miles. Had breakfast buffet at the Atlantis Casino, the best buffet in Reno yum yum. Kathy and I scouted out our rafting trip on the Truckee River from Crissy Caughan city park to the Kensington kayak park in down town Reno. Conrad and Linda helped us inflate the kayaks and shuttled for us. There were some nice class 2 + rapids on the short run, as the river was at 2600 cfs flow, very high for this time of year. The 3 mile run only took 30 minutes so we decided to do it twice. It was really fun and the two Soar rafts handled very well in the fast water. Rested 3 hours after the rafting and then we all went out to dinner at the La Strada restaurant in the El Dorado Casino Hotel. It was wonderful as usual

7/1/06 Day 4 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 558 miles. Casino. Kathy, Linda, Meghan, and I then went for a 3 mile walk along the Truckee River trail. Got back around 11:00 a.m. and went out shopping for a couple hours. We all then went out to Western Village Casino for some BJ and slots action. We all lost moderate amounts. Matt, Linda’s brother, showed up around 5:30 p.m. We all went down town to the Sands Hotel and had dinner at Tony Roma’s restaurant. We all had baby back ribs except Matt who had a steak. The food was quite good. Conrad and I played BJ on a 2 deck game for an hour after dinner. I won $60 helping pay for the dinner.

7/2/06 Day 5 summer trip. 320 Miles today, total 878 miles. Conrad and Kathy met us all at 8:00 a.m. for breakfast at Baldini’s Casino. Got on the road at 9:30 a.m. and drove to Jordon Valley, Oregon. Checked into Sunny Ridge RV Park, a totally grassy park. The hot 98 F. afternoon cooled down to 65 F. and we had thunderstorms with marble sized hail for about 2 hours. Meghan was very upset by the noise. Had leftovers from La Strada for dinner.

7/3/06 Day 6 summer trip. 198 miles today, total 1076 miles. Left about 9:30 a.m. Stopped in New Meadows at the Sage Brush Barbecue restaurant for lunch. Matt and Linda enjoyed their brisket sandwiches immensely. Checked into Canyon Pines RV Resort about 9 miles south of Riggins Idaho. We got a pull through site right on the river. The AC worked marginally with the 92 F. temperature in the shade.

7/4/06 Day 7 summer trip. 120 miles today, total 1196 miles. Left at 10:00 a.m. and drove 120 miles to O’Hara NFS camp ground checking into site 14 which was just big enough for the trailer and two vehicles. The newly asphalted site was huge with lots of shady places, a huge stone picnic table, fire pit with stone benches, no hook ups but water about 30’ away across the street, and a pit toilet about 60’

7/5/06 Day 8 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1196 miles. Got up about 9:00 a.m. and had bacon, eggs, and English muffins for breakfast. We then drove 18 miles on the gravel road to Selway Falls taking some photos and continued another 3 miles to Meadow Creek Trail Head. We walked in two miles to a falls. The trail was beautiful but very wet. We got mostly soaked from foliage and light showers. Returned to camp like wet ducks and changed into dry cloths. Had mustard marinated barbecued chicken with green beans and sweet corn for dinner.

7/6/06 Day 9 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1196 miles. Had sour dough pancakes and bacon for breakfast. I did a ½ day raft trip with the Three River’s outfitter. The had one large oar raft and two Aire inflatable kayaks. The guide was one of the owners and very knowledgeable about the area. Had barbecued fillet mignon, sweet corn, and green beans with bacon for dinner. Yum yum.

7/7/06 Day 10 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1196 miles. Stayed in bed until 9:30 a.m. I had bacon, eggs, and homemade hash brown potatoes for breakfast. After a very leisurely breakfast and clean up we drove 6 miles up stream on O’Hara Creek. We took Meghan on an off leash short 2 mile hike down one of the old closed off beautiful logging roads. Linda made Taco Bell type tacos for dinner.

7/8/06 Day 11 summer trip. 130 miles today, total 1226 miles. We succeeded in keeping our gray water tank from getting full during our stay. Dumped our tanks at a dump station 2 miles down stream from O’Hara camp ground. Left about 10:00 a.m. for the beautiful drive along the Lochsa River over Lolo Pass to Missoula, Idaho. Wanted to do Johnson Warm Springs Trail along the way, but dead beats Linda and Matt wanted to smoke instead. Arrived in Missoula early around 2:00 p.m. and checked into the Jellystone RV Park at a price of $41 per night. Linda washed all our clothes at the laundramat spending $12 using the over priced machines. We then went to town for dinner at Famous Dave’s Barbecue which was quite good. Matt ordered beef brisket which was excellent. Linda’s baby back ribs were also good. My salmon was to be avoided and too salty. We then went shopping at Wall Mart and the Sports Store. Returned to the trailer and watched two Law and Order shows.

7/9/06 Day 12 summer trip. 86 miles today, total 1312 miles. Felt lousy this morning, so I slept in and watched the finals of Wimbledon on Satellite TV. I have mosquito bites all over my lower arms and hands. They keep itching big time especially at night. Aloe Vera gel and Cortisone cream helps some. Matt and Linda had breakfast at the Cracker Barrel and then did the shopping for the next 5 days of camping at the St. Joe River. We packed up and drove to St. Regis Montana where we checked into the Campground St. Regis RV park which had 26 chain saw carved bears at many of the sites. It was hot in the high 90’s so we hunkered down in the RV and watched satellite TV.

7/10/06 Day 13 summer trip. 39 miles today, total 1351 miles. Left early from St. Regis on the Little St. Joe Road a curvy, steep, partial dusty gravel road to Conrad’s Crossing on the Wild Scenic St. Joe River. Joe Scarlet Willingham and Dianna Fred Rooney were camped out there right on the river. There was no room for us, so we camped in the upper camp ground. Had fun talking with the Willinghams and the Rooneys. They and Linda went huckleberry picking in the afternoon. Matt, Meghan, and I walked up the beautiful Simons Creek Trail. Matt got some good footage on his video camera. After dinner we had a fun camp fire with the Willinghams and Rooneys. Two white water canoer’s also joined us from Wisconsin. I enjoyed discussing with them all the rivers they had rafted and will raft this summer.

7/11/06 Day 14 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1351 miles. Both the Willinghams and Rooneys left today so we took the first site on the river which Linda claims is her favorite camp site any where. We all did a 2.5 mile hike on Bluff Creek logging road while Matt did more video. Had mustard barbecued chicken for dinner with white rice and vegetables. We had a nice camp fire before bed.

7/12/06 Day 15 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1351 miles. Made huckleberry sour dough pan cakes and bacon for breakfast. Matt and I did a 7 mile raft trip in the 12’ and 14’ Soar inflatable kayaks. We departed just above Bluff Creek and floated to Eagle Creek. It was a perfect first run for Matt, class 1 2 with lots of big rocks to avoid, but the level was high enough to prevent dragging. Matt enjoyed himself and had no problems, except he didn’t like the canoe type chairs with legs placed underneath and feet laid straight back. The run lasted only an hour and 15 minutes. Linda did the shuttling for us. Had some great barbecued Costco fillet and rib eye steaks with vegetables for dinner.

7/13/06 Day 16 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1351 miles. More bacon, eggs, and English Muffins for breakfast. Everyday we had bacon or sausage for Matt. My weight will certainly increase this protein and the wine. Today we hiked Eagle Creek and Quartz Creek. Had chicken, ham, and vegetable fried rice made on the Red Devil for dinner which turned out really good.

7/14/06 Day 17 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1351 miles. Made another fattening French toast and bacon breakfast for Matt before he took off for home at 10:00 a.m. I tried a float from Fly Creek camp ground down to our camp ground. The scenery was beautiful but the water level was way too low. I got caught on many rocks and on two rapids; my boat got hung up and I nearly capsized. I used the 12’ raft which is not as stable and it is harder to keep a line with it.

7/15/06 Day 18 summer trip. 180 miles today, total 1531 miles. Got under way at 8:00 a.m. on our way to Clarkston, WA on a very tedious and slow road along the St. Joe River through St. Maries, ID. Washed the truck and trailer at a gas station high pressure truck wash. Stopped in Moscow Idaho for a great tasting hamburger at Lefty’s. Arrived in a very hot 96 F. Clarkston about 3:00 p.m. Checked into the Granite Hills RV Park on the Snake River. This park has beautiful green grass with most sites having a nice view of the river. It cost $33 per night for a non view site, but does have free wi fi. Linda is washing all our clothes and we will shop tomorrow for food at Costco and other local grocery stores that are close buy.

7/16/06 Day 19 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1531 miles. Got up at 8:30 a.m. and had grape nut cereal with fresh strawberries and black cap berries from Oregon. Did a 3 mile hike with Meghan along the Snake River town green belt trail. Linda and I then stocked up with food from Costco for the upcoming 10 day stay in the Clearwater NF wilderness. Doug and Lana Willingham arrived around noon with their new Monaco Rig. Scarlet and Joe Willingham arrived around 4:00 p.m. Gretchen also arrived around 4:00 p.m. We had a group Costco pizza and salad dinner in picnic pavilion over looking the Snake River. I enjoyed a nice bottle of Chardonnay (wine spectator 91) with mine.

7/17/06 Day 20 summer trip. 105 miles today, total 1536 miles. Drove 105 tedious slow miles but scenic through Orofino into the Clearwater NF arriving at Aquarius camp ground around noon. The 3 other parties in our group naturally arrived earlier as Linda will not get up early to travel. We got site one quite far from the rest of the group but nicely shaded in a grove of Red Alder trees and a nice view of the river. This site seems to have more air then most of the others. It was hot the remainder of the day in low 90’s. I honkered down in my comfortable chair for most of the day.

7/18/06 Day 21 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1536 miles. It cooled down to 53 F. last night. Linda, Meghan and I walked the NF Clearwater River trail from Isabel Creek down stream to a water falls about 1.5 miles one way. It’s a beautiful mostly Western Cedar and Douglas Fir wooded trail, mostly high above the river with lots of little side streams.

7/19/06 Day 22 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1536 miles. Linda, Meghan, and I drove up Isabella Creek gravel road for 30 minutes up to Heritage Cedar Grove trail head. Did about 4 miles round trip of this beautiful trail. The last ½ miles was a bit strenuous with several fallen trees to climb over. Meghan had a great time smelling all the wild life scat; bear, deer, elk, mountain lion, wolf, etc. There are lots of small streams crossing the trail which Meghan had to explore. Took us about 3 hours for this pleasant scenic hike. Its very remote and if you get injured it could be up to a week before someone comes buy, so it pays to be careful here. We all provided appetizers in camp tonight which also served as our dinner. We provided cooked fresh asparagus with Italian dressing, cheeses, carrots, and strawberries. I had a nice bottle of Chardonnay with my appetizers. The Willingham’s had dry martinis.

7/20/06 Day 23 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1536 miles. Feeling a bit hung over from last nights festivities. Had breakfast very late consisting of English muffins and cheese omelets. Fix our water storage bottle and began assembling my telescope equipment for tonight’s viewing at Beaver Divide on the Continental divide about 16 miles west of here. At this latitude of 46 degrees north it doesn’t get dark until 10:00 p.m. and gets light again around 4:00 a.m. I arrived about 8:45 p.m. and got my G11 and TV85 all set up in a nice green flat meadow area that is sometimes used for camping. Got Jupiter in field of view before dark and noticed that that seeing and transparency was excellent. At 10:00 p.m. I started on my polar alignment having reasonable success with just a tad of drift (just out of cross air square on 9mm ep) on the declination axis in 15 minutes. I had a nice time viewing for about 2 hours. The summer milky way was as bright as I have ever seen. M31 Andromeda galaxy, I have never seen brighter or bigger. It was really dark out here. Unfortunately the dew got really heavy and I decided not to set up my camera. Got my equipment packed up around 12:30 a.m. Drove back 16 miles on that windy road home arriving at 1:00 a.m.

7/21/06 Day 24 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1536 miles. It really got hot today 93 F. in the shade. My M.S. pins and needles really get worse in this heat. Linda said that we may have to stop coming here because of this high heat with no AC. I eventually went to the river swimming sandy beach hole to cool off in the water which was quite refreshing. Went to camp fire after dinner.

7/22/06 Day 25 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1536 miles. Matt Wheeler, Marin Wheeler, and I rafted 4.1 miles down from Skull Creek to Aquarius camp ground today. Matt and Marin flipped the boat on one of the rapids, The bow of the boat hit a rock and the boat twisted getting hung up sideways in the rapid and filling up with water and slowing flipping over. Both swimmers were momentarily captured by the hydraulic hole down stream of the rock. Both are in peak health in their 20’s and had no problem pretty much self rescuing themselves. Fortunately the water was deep in the rapid and down stream was a slow moving pool. I had gone through the rapid first with no problem, so I collected one lost paddle and helped hold the boat steady while they both jumped back in from some shoreline rocks. The rest of the beautiful float was uneventful including the final White Fish class 3 rapids at Aquarius. I really enjoyed Marin and Matt’s company on this pleasant float. The temperature today got up to a very unpleasant 94 F. in the shade with high humidity

7/23/06 Day 26 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1536 miles. Fred Rooney and I collected about 240’ of water hose from other campers today, so that we could restored our 5th wheel’s fresh water supply. Barbara and Tim Tyler showed up this morning with there trailer and two dogs. I did a short hike up Collins Creek a tributary of Skull Creek with Meghan this afternoon. According to the locals, this trail goes many miles to the St. Joe Wilderness area and crosses the creek 23 times. I forgot my thongs and only crossed it in one place where I could use rocks and logs to jump over the water. The water was 18” deep so you wanted to stay out of it with your hiking boots. Apparently this trail is used mostly by outfitter horse pack animals for guided fishing trips into the St. Joe area. The heat continues to be miserable at 93 F. today. The camp ground celebrated Scarlet and Lana’s birthdays today by having a group dinner party. We barbecued an excellent Costco Morten’s pre-marinated tri-tip roast for the troops. After dinner we played an electronic Charades type came men against women which deteriorated into disastrous over competition especially by the two high school coaches in the group. Matt cut the game off confiscating it.

7/24/06 Day 27 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1536 miles. Got up at 7:30 a.m. and did a short hike of 2 mile ridge near camp with Meghan. The Wheeler’s left at 10:00 a.m. and I am holding their site for Joe Herring who is coming tomorrow. Did another 16 mile trip to Beaver Divide flat area to set up my telescope. Had a grazing deer and wild turkeys for company while there. Got a decent polar alignment with zero drift on Altair over 15 minutes with my TV85 and 9 mm ep. Photographed M31 Andromeda Galaxy, NGC 869 Double Cluster, M11 Wild Duck Cluster, and M13 Hercules cluster with at least four 2 minute and 4 minute exposures. It got wet at 11:45 p.m. so I began doing four each 2 minute and 4 minute dark frame exposures for noise subtraction while packing up my equipment. Got home at 1:00 a.m.

7/25/06 Day 28 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1536 miles. A bit cooler 91 F. in the shade today but still miserable during the hot 6 hours from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I may never come this early to Aquarius Campground again without a rig capable of operating the AC with a generator, because of the heat and how it affects my MS symptoms. I spent the day talking to Doug, Gretchen, and bird watching from my camp site chair. During the last 8 days I saw the following; Western Tanager, Spruce Grouse, Bald Eagle, Yellow Breasted Chat, Belted King Fisher, Cedar Waxwing, Tree Swallow (thousands of them), Osprey, Raven, Wild Turkey, American Robin, Rufus Hummingbird, Stan and Joy Rey Gienger showed up today at 4:00 p.m. taking site 6 which we had been holding. Joe Herring and family showed up about 7:00 p.m. and took site 2 which we had also been holding.
7/26/06 Day 29 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1536 miles. Started packing up for our exodus tomorrow on Thursday. I went rafting with Joe Herring about noon up 4.1 miles again. The flow was only 1,100 cfs but was still possible with some careful paddling maneuvers. Joe tried both of my boats and liked the Soar 14’ the best. He had no problems on the float. I almost dumped myself on the last White Fish Rapids, hanging up on a rock and barely getting off it without flipping. I let Joes daughter Abby and friend use the 14’ raft to take a float down the 1 mile stretch to Isabella Creek. Spent the afternoon cleaning up the boats and packing them away. Had a nice camp fire after a fried rice dinner.

7/27/06 Day 30 summer trip. 100 miles today, total 1636 miles. Said our good byes and was on the road at 9:30 a.m. out of Clearwater NF. Arrived in Clarkston Washington and checked into Granite Lakes RV Park at 1:30 p.m. It was deadly hot at 106 F. I purchased food to make a pot roast for dinner. I invited Gretchen over who went out the same time we did. The pot roast took 3 hours to cook and heated the trailer up beyond comfort, but it did taste good. Linda did laundry.

7/28/06 Day 31 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1636 miles. Got up at 7:30 a.m. and did a 2.5 mile hike on the river walk with Meghan. Next I got the truck engine oil and rear differential oil changed at Jiffy Lube. They didn’t have solvent to clean the air filter so I went to Napa Auto Parts and purchased a cleaning kit for the KN cleanable air filter. Cleaned it my self in the afternoon. Picked up Linda and went to car wash to have truck washed. We then went to Tri State Sports where I purchased a pair of Keen water shoes for $85 expensive, but I really love them for rafting and various water sports. Next we visited Costco for some miscellaneous items. Slept a few hours and then had dinner with Doug and Lana Willingham in front of their rig while watching the boats go by on the Snake River / Granite Lakes. Had a nice time socializing with them and then went to bed early.

7/29/06 Day 32 summer trip. 120 miles today, total 1756 miles. Headed north today after refilling propane tanks at the Flying J for $1.99 per gallon. Headed up the hill out of Lewiston on a very steep grade 6-8% for about 8 miles, guaranteed to overheat a poorly serviced engine cooling system. Stopped in Moscow Idaho and toured their Farmers Market. Got some great produce and cinnamon rolls. Arrived in Coeur d’ Alene around 3:00 p.m. and checked into the Rockwell Island RV Resort right on the lake with WI-FI and full hook ups. Was tired and hung over so we ate in the trailer cooking fresh green beans from the Farmers Market, some shredded pork from Costco, Tillamook Huckleberry ice cream.

7/30/06 Day 33 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1756 miles. Beautiful morning in the 60’s. Took my laptop to RV office LAN administrator and discovered that my WI-FI wouldn’t work because I was entering the encryption password in the wrong place. It needs to be entered in Keyword 1 for future reference. At 1:00 p.m. we left for Tom Suzzie Pautler’s house. We got lost on the wrong side of Neuman Lake but eventually found them. Linda and I really enjoy Tom and Suzzie’s company having a fun afternoon visit. Their home has had many improvements since our last visit; lots of landscaping, new storage shed, nice signage, better egress and turn around for large RV’s and trailers. Really liked Toms new Lowrance gps mapping assistant for his truck. It cost $499 on the internet with all rebates at buy.com. Suzzie had appetizers and we drank 2.25 bottles of chardonnay with the appetizers and dinner. I was feeling no pain by sunset. Tom barbecued some great ribs and had fresh corn on the cob served in sour dough bread with lots of butter in the bread, a unique presentation for me. Had a great day and returned to the trailer about 8:30 p.m.

7/31/06 Day 34 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1756 miles. Got up about 9:00 a.m. and had a blueberry bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. Caught up on my email on the WI-FI and also did some diary updates. We drove to Post Falls Walmart to stock up on some staples. The Pautler’s stopped by and we went to the Cedars Floating Restaurant for appetizers and drinks.

8/1/06 Day 35 summer trip. 100 miles today, total 1856 miles. Left at 7:45 a.m. for Doug Willingham’s house in Sandpoint, Idaho. Arrived at 9:00 a.m. and got the 5th wheel parked in Doug’s driveway. Linda went off to her hair appointment. I took Meghan for a walk and then spent time talking to Doug on his deck. We went to Home Depot to buy a 3/8” male socket to ¼” drill drive so I can run my 5th wheel stabilizer jacks up and down with my battery operated drill. Tested it out and it worked great. Took Doug to Dukes barbecue restaurant for early dinner. We all had brisket with various sides and the dinner was excellent as barbecue fare goes.

8/2/06 Day 36 summer trip. 60 miles today, total 1916 miles. Left at 10:00 p.m. for Usk Washington to visit Joe Scarlet Willingham’s ownership Skookum RV Park. The park, recreation center, and grounds were very nice. We got to stay 4 nights free on a possible buy promotion. In the afternoon we used the Jacuzzi and pool which was really pleasant. We barbecued salmon and steaks having dinner outside together.

8/3/06 Day 37 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1916 miles. Temperature low was 38 F. last night very refreshing after all the hot weather we had this trip. Spent about 3 hours lubricating 5th wheel slides and waxing the bottom of slides to help prevent inside carpet from getting dirty. Hope it helps. Tried to get my WI-FI working but found out that I am in the worst site in the trailer court for reception. I signed up for a week $9 with www,nomadisp.com. Unfortunately it only works intermittently from my trailer, so I will have to walk to the recreation center to get on the internet. We went out with Scarlet and Joe to a local bar called Cusick Tavern where they had taco night for $1 per and amazingly enough they were very good.

8/4/06 Day 38 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1916 miles. Linda and I after having a light breakfast and shooting the breeze with Scarlet and Joe, finally got on the road to visit Priest Lake about 55 miles away. Its in the northwest panhandle of Idaho and is one of the most beautiful lakes in the US on a par with Lake Tahoe. We only made it to the lower end of the main lake. From the Outlet campground we and Meghan took a 3 mile hike along the lake heading north on the south east end. The trail crossed many private residences and we had to deal with several dogs / packs that were off leash. I would not take this trail again because of the dogs and private residences. I however really did like this lake and want come again some day and go up the eastern side and stay at Indian Creek camp ground. I then want to drive up to the northern end of the main lake and kayak from there, up the 2 mile channel / though fare to an Upper Priest Lake campground only accessible by boat or back packing. This is suppose to be one of the most pristine beautiful boating trips in the world. Linda drove home as I was tired. Another retired teacher- school administrator named Ellie joined our camping group. Ellie was a very interesting women, who was traveling with her 32’ RV and tow vehicle solo. She had traveled allot in Alaska and Canada giving me several hints on routes etc. for when I do it. Joe and I did the nice Jacuzzi and pool before dinner. We did another group dinner tonight. Ellie provided fresh white sweet corn from Oregon.

8/5/06 Day 39 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 1916 miles. The weather here in Usk has been excellent; around 83 F. hi and 44 F. low really great for sleeping. At 1:00 p.m. we all drove to the Calispel Indian reservation about 7 miles from here and attended their big weekend Powwow. The facility was impressive probably financed by gambling revenues. They had free buffalo barbecue dinner and really excellent Indian squaw bread especially good was the desert version with hot honey on it. They had a huge Hogan where they had Indian dancing and drum competition. The program dragged somewhat but the costumes and dancing were very impressive. Returned home, rested a bit and did the Jacuzzi soak again, most relaxing and soothing.

8/6/06 Day 40 summer trip. 186 miles today, total 2152 miles. Left Skookum RV Park at 8:30 a.m. after saying good bye to Scarlet, Joe, and Ellie. Drove about 60 miles to the border. The last 14 miles being a rough road under construction and we saw a huge panicky bull moose running down the road. He finally found a spot to exit after unsuccessfully trying to jump a fence and then going up a steep grade which he did not make. The moose made the one on Northern Exposure TV show look small. Got my case of wine into Canada without being it being confiscated, but they did take a bag of potatoes, apples, peaches, and bananas which irked Linda. Drove north over a 8% grade mountain pass and through some very beautiful wooded country. Arrived in Fort Steele about 3 p.m. and checked into the Original Fort Steel RV park about a ½ mile off the road into the forest. Had hamburgers for dinner and then walked Meghan on a beautiful wide gravel road to a ranch that was also beautiful and large. This open expansive country makes the Montana big country look small in comparison. Meghan went crazy treeing the squirrels, smelling the deer, elk, bear, etc. We were warned to watch out for a cub black bear in the area but did not see one.

8/7/06 Day 41 summer trip. 170 miles today, 2322total miles. I was really tired and did not leave until 10:00 a.m. for Banff NP. The drive was very beautiful. We entered the Canadian National Park system at Radium Hot Springs which is in Kootenay NP. The cost for an annual pass to all Canadian National Parks was $125 Canadian. We were on very scenic hwy 93 in the park which followed the Kootenay River most of the 132 km into Banff. About 20% of this park was burned in 2003 during a huge 500 – 1000 year big fire. The trees also suffered in some areas from the pine bark beetle, killing off large stands. We arrived at Banff around 2:30 p.m. and checked into a full hook up site at Tunnel Mountain RV Park at a cost of $33 per night. We had to share the site with a couple from Quebec, Canada. We have found the Canadian people to be very friendly and accommodating so far on our trip in. We had a light lunch and then drove to Johnson Lake. This crystal clear small Alpine lake is very beautiful with the Rocky Mountain peaks in the back ground. Meghan, Linda, and I did a 3 mile hike around the lake. After about a ¼ mile in we had the trail to ourselves and let Meghan run off leash. Returned for a short rest and then went to a camp fire lecture about fire at 8:00 p.m. which was excellent. It was a serious lecture about natural and controlled burning in park along with the problems they are in encountering. It was a lecture which was earmarked for adults not kids which you will never hear in the US NP’s.

8/8/06 Day 42 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 2322 miles. Got up late again and had a packaged wheat waffle bacon for breakfast. Linda, Meghan, and I drove the truck to downtown Banff. We toured the main street shops and then walked on a trail along the Bow River to the Falls. This falls looks to be a class 6 unrunable unless you are a brave expert hard shell very qualified kayaker. I for one would never dream of running this rapids. After walking about 4 miles we returned home; to eat lunch, rest, and do computer things. Went out for diesel gas and paid $1.05 per liter this time. After dinner we attended another ranger talk about the people who have habituated this park. Like the previous night it was an excellent presentation.

8/9/06 Day 43 summer trip. 37 miles today, total 2359 miles. Had tough day of 37 miles droving to Lake Louise <grin>. Checked into the Lake Louise campground, an electric only hooks site at a cost of $30 per day. We actually got a site that had a partial opening to the south and was able to receive satellite 110 giving us a few TV stations. We went to the village to do some shopping and then drove to the Lake Louise chateau but could not find parking so we drove to Moraine Lake 12km away. We did a short 2 mile hike on the lake with Meghan on leash, to a beautiful creek and waterfall. There were several small receding glaciers in the mountains surrounding this very scenic lake that was mobbed by people at the parking lot. As usual however there were very few people after walking in a mile. Canoes were available for rent at $35 per hour and there were lots of them on the pretty turquoise colored lake. We went to a ranger camp fire program about interaction dependencies between the Clarks Nut Catcher and the White Bark Pine tree.

8/10/06 Day 44 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 2359 miles. We woke up to a very cloudy intermittent rainy cold 48 F. morning. Had a very light breakfast toast and coffee. Drove up the Lake Louise Hotel toured the hotel, grounds, and viewed the beautiful lake with shear glacier covered mountain backdrops. Got a few good photos as the thunderstorms passed through. The four diamond Fairmont restaurant was closed for lunch. Linda was to cheap to spring for dinner at this restaurant, so we opted for the lunch buffet in the Victoria Room. The room was very beautiful with a full view of the lakes. The service and food was outstanding. I especially enjoyed the salad and seafood bars. I visited both twice. The smoked salmon lox was the best I have ever had. I had several portions with fresh croissants. For desert the fresh fruit and a wide variety of French cheeses ware really a treat. I also liked the lemon tart allot. I had two glasses of house Chardonnay which was very drinkable. The total bill with a 10% tip was $101 Canadian. I really enjoyed it and even Linda tried about 5 deserts and was impressed. It was raining very hard, so we went to the village to go grocery shopping. The prices in the store for food and other staples were a little less than 4 times US prices. Linda hated to pay these prices but reluctantly upchucked the credit card to the clerk. My advice to campers visiting Lake Louise, is to stock up on food in Banff before going. The rain stopped around 5:00 p.m. so we took Meghan for a hike along the Bow River next to our camp ground. Meghan had a great time romping through the wet vegetation and running along the shores of the Bow. Had left over fried rice for dinner.

8/11/06 Day 45 summer trip. 80 miles today, total 2439 miles. We got up about 9:00 a.m. had breakfast and went to the sewer dump to drain our gray and black water tanks. Filled up our 50 gal fresh water tank as the next camp ground does not have water hook ups. Drove 80 miles through the Columbia Ice Field Park to Wilcox Camp Ground just before the Columbia Ice Field Information Center. This is considered by many with good reason to be one of the most beautiful 80 miles stretch of road in North America. The rain along with added water falls made it even more beautiful and lush. Checked into Wilcox Campground, site 2 with a $300 per night view of the Athabasca and Dome glaciers and several mountains for $13 per night. Linda really whined about the 41 F. temperature and rain as we got the 5th wheel leveled and position into the very tight sight. After getting set up we drove the short distance to the Columbia Ice Fields Visitor center and toured the exhibits. As it was raining we decided to do the large ice vehicles to the glaciers tomorrow, Came home and did a very strenuous short 2 mile hike with Meghan on a trail out of our camp ground. It was very slippery and steep in the rain. We had Costco Lime sauce Shrimp and a nice Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc wine for dinner. Cranked up the 5th wheel heater to 69 F. as it was 46 F. outside. Hope those batteries and propane hold out tonight.

8/12/06 Day 46 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 2439 miles. The temperature dropped to 35 F. last night, but we kept the heater set to 55 F. We awoke to broken clouds and sun which was a welcome site being the first time we saw the snow and glacier capped mountains clearly. Warmed the trailer up to 69 F. and cooked French Toast with fresh blue berries and maple syrup. We then drove to the Ice Fields and purchased our $33 tickets to ride unto the Athabasca Glacier. The machines are 6 wheel drive and cost ¾ million dollars each. We rode in two buses and eventually got up to the first level of the Athabasca field where the ice was 1,000’ thick. We were allowed to get out of the vehicle for 15 minutes to take pictures and walk around. This is a huge operation run by the Brewster concession. I wonder how much money they make and how their contract works. People on our bus where from all over the world about 6 countries, many Japanese, Germans, and Chinese many of whom could speak English. It was lots of fun, but I think the 4 hour guided hiking tour would be more fun. There is actually one huge ice field on top of the Mt Columbia 12,000’ tall that feeds 6 other glaciers below it, one of them being the Athabasca. The following data is all about the Athabasca Glacier. The average snow fall at the top is 23 foot per year. The largest depth is 1200 feet. The surface speed of the Athabasca glacier is 400’ per year. The elevation at the icefall was 8900 ft. It was 7000 ft high where the ice vehicle turn around was and 6300 ft at the toe. Our tour took about 2 hours total. The weather continues to suck with intermittent rain showers, but somewhat warmer at 57 F. high today.

8/13/06 Day 47 summer trip. 80 miles today, total 2519 miles. To my relief the large slide retracted OK on this cold 48 F. morning. It was a sunny beautiful morning, what a relief from those clouds and rain. Got on our way to Jasper at 9:00 a.m. Stopped at Sumwapta Falls to take a look at an incredible rapid that looks totally unrunable in a raft. The final descent through a very narrow perhaps two foot wide crevasse – chute and then spilling out into a huge turbulent hole with a large under cut at a 90 degree turn. We then stopped a majestic lookout of slopes on the Athabasca River and views of several snow capped mountains. A close by slope had lots of snowy white mountain goats, one of them within 15 meters of me. I got some great photos. There are so many photo opportunities on drive, perhaps the most beautiful 80 miles in the world. Next we stopped for photos of many water falls in view on the side of a green mountain called the weeping wall. We arrived at Whistler camp ground (near the ski slope and gondola) around 2:30 p.m. The camp ground has 781 sites and 77 with hook ups. Apparently the only way to get a hook up site is to reserve way in advance. We settled for no hook ups at a cost of $23 per night. We dumped and filled with water at the campground community site. Our site was in a loop with aspen, lodgepole pine, fir, spruce, a meadow, and views of snow capped mountains. The site was to die for, We met two people next to us from northern Wisconsin who were on their way back from Alaska. They related to us some of their adventures and told us that highway 2 from Glacier NP is good scenic route to Wisconsin. Had grilled hamburgers for dinner and then went to a camp fire program about famous men in Jaspers history. The program was too kid oriented again to suit me.

8/14/06 Day 48 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 2519 miles. Rooted Linda out of bed early 7:45 a.m. Had to heat the trailer bedroom up to 68 F. from the low morning temperature of 39 F. before she would get up, Had strong coffee and bagels with cream cheese for breakfast. Warmed up the diesel truck for 15 minutes and we were on our way by 8:30 a.m. to hike and see some sites. We headed for the famous Maligne Canyon where we did a 3.5 mile round trip hike up and back through a sandstone canyon that got so narrow and deep that we couldn’t see the bottom. Of course the raging Maligne river flowed through it. At the top of this area the river was basically subterranean fed from the Medicine lake about 8 miles away. The water falls, flora, fauna, and mossy scenery along the way was beautiful. The trail was quite safe for humans with railings at some of the really high steep lookouts. Meghan made us nervous but she had enough sense or self preservation instinct to stay back from the drop offs she could not climb. We got there early enough to have the heavily used trail all to ourselves. Meghan went crazy smelling all the animal trails. This is one of the most beautiful short hikes I have ever done. Next we drove up the valley to Medicine lake viewing it as we drove past on our way to Maligne Lake 24 miles total up the valley. The shear mountains and forest along the way presented breath taking scenery. Arrived at the lake and checked out the 1.5 hour boat tours for $41 each but decided to walk a mile down the east shore instead. The mountains in the backdrop of this 20 mile long lake are comparable to Lake Louise in beauty. The lake is less commercial than Lake Louise as it only has day operations with no overnight facilities. We had a delicious stew and cheese croissant for lunch at the Maligne Lodge while watching the view on their wood deck outside patio. Got back around 2:00 p.m. after stopping at the IGA store and information building in Jasper. I spent a couple hours resting up for dinner.

8/15/06 Day 49 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 2519 miles. Got up early again to broken sun and clouds. We were on our way at 9:00 a.m. to Mt. Edith Cavell another must see recommended tourist spot. It was a very slow rough and curvy rode to the mountain. Stopped at many locations to photograph the mountain, streams, and numerous aqua colored lakes. Parking lot was almost full when we arrived. Dogs were not allowed on the meadows trail so we did a glacier loop trail. It was very steep but worth the climb. We came right up to the lake that the glacier was creating. Meghan drank from it which is suppose to give eternal health, why didn’t I have a drink? Numerous small glacier fed waterfalls poured into the small lake. The lake was full of large chunks of glacier blue aqua ice. The short hike took us about 2 hours. We then headed back down the mountain on hwy 93A for Athabasca Falls. Stopped at another pristine lake along the way and had a picnic lunch. Just down stream of the falls we discovered several rafting companies putting into the Athabasca river for 7 mile run toward Jasper. This is only class 2 + and would be very suitable for my boats. If I ever come here again with someone who likes to raft, I am definitely going to do this beautiful run. Wet suits may be advisable as the river is mostly glacier fed. We viewed the impressive falls from above. The drop is so steep with so much water and swirling hydraulics that I doubt if even expert kayakers would try this falls. Drove home to our trailer and found 5 elk grazing in our meadows. I got within 5’ to photograph them. This campground and in particular this beautiful large site is in the top 5 places I have ever stayed. Linda and I spent the rest of the afternoon in our trailer watching the elk graze, reading, and really feeling retired now. We had grilled chicken, fresh pasta with sautéed garlic, onion, cabbage, and KJ Chardonnay for dinner. Yum yum. Life is good. Did the ranger talk at 9:00 pm.

8/16/06 Day 50 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 2519 miles. Wow, it was cold last night down to 32 F. It took 1.5 hours for the trailer heater running to get up to a living temperature of 70 F. Wanted to wait for the US to buy propane but may run out if I wait. In Canada propane is $1.04 per liter / that’s about $4 + per gallon US. We only paid $2.00 per gallon in Idaho. The first day without a cloud in the sky for two weeks. Stayed around Jasper resting up and doing some shopping. Tried to have lunch at the Jasper Inn but could find no parking. The golf course at this resort looks world glass. My Red Devil barbecue broke after 6 years of great service. The fire started shooting down the tube to the gas line, so I threw it in the trash bin. Finished up those hamburgers in the frying pan on the stove. Watched a Canada’s Parks DVD tonight, which I purchased as a souvenir today.

8/17/06 Day 51 summer trip. 180 miles today, total 2699 miles. Got up at 7:30 a.m. and was on the road for Banff at 8:30 a.m. The scenery on this Ice Fields Parkway again amazed us. It is one the prettiest 180 mile drives in the world. Arrived in Banff about 2:30 p.m. and checked into Tunnel Mountain RV park for the 2nd time on this trip to Canada. Finally we got satellite TV as we are getting close to the border this time. I met a charming retired couple from Holland who I drank wine with for a couple of hours. They were doing a 4,500 mile RV trip around Canada and gave me several ideas for future travel in Canada. As I had no barbecue for the chicken, I decided to do a Wienersnitzel rendition of it and to my surprise Linda liked it, served with Fettuccini noodles cabbage. We went to the ranger talk about animal migration across the main freeway hwy1 via animal over and under passes.

8/18/06 Day 52 summer trip. 260 miles today, total 2959 miles. Drove from Banff to St Maries, Montana via hwy 1 and hwy 2 near the North East entrance to Glacier NP. The city of Calgary was huge and it took us for ever drive through the city on surface roads. After finally getting through the city and heading south the mountains disappeared and became mostly flat huge ranches and huge farms. The two crops appeared to be hay and wheat. All of Alberta that we traveled through appeared to be very prosperous. Made it through customs at the border without loosing any produce or wine. Arrived in the very small town of Saint Maries, Montana around 4:00 p.m. Checked into Johnson’s RV Park with full hookups at $35 per night. We smelled smoke but saw none as the recent rain appeared to completely extinguish the fire. We had sautéed shrimp in garlic butter, green peas, steamed white rice, and KJ Chardonnay for dinner.

8/19/06 Day 53 summer trip. 150 miles today, total 3109 miles. Got up at 7:30 a.m. and was on our way into the park by 9:00 a.m. getting onto THE HIGHWAY TO THE SUN ROAD which goes through the park over Logan Pass. My truck just passed as 21’ long and 8’ wide is the max dimensions allowed to drive through the park on this road, The park has several large lakes but the Logan pass area is the most beautiful in my opinion. Linda and I stopped here at the visitor center and did the most popular hike in the park to Hidden Lake. It was 3 miles round trip with perhaps 800’ of elevation, Part of the trail was wood stairs and decking which was no fun to come down. The trail was through a meadow just above tree line and after a ½ mile on the trail there were lots of flowers in full bloom with lacy looking creeks and water falls everywhere. It was like a lush wonderland up their with the clear fresh air, glacier clad mountain back drops, marmots, chipmunks, mountain goats, squirrels, and Ptarmigans game birds. Of course the US does not allow dogs on most National Parks trails so Meghan had to stay in the car. Finished the wonder exhilarating hike and continued driving through the park to the West entrance and then returned to our trailer view the south border of the park driving mostly in Lewis Clark NFS land. It was a grueling dangerous 50 mile mountain drive and I was really tired when I got back around 4:00 p.m. Linda did our past 2 weeks laundry at the RV Park while I caught up on this diary. We went out to dinner at Johnson’s Café in our RV Park tonight. It’s a family style café serving fresh baked bread and homemade soup with every meal. Linda had the special meat loaf dinner with baked potato and salad. I had local sautéed white fish caught in St. Maries lake which we have a view of in our 5th wheel. The food and western ambiance in this café is excellent.

8/20/06 Day 54 summer trip. miles today, total 3109 miles. We decided to stay one more day here in Glacier NP. Had a great breakfast at Johnson’s Café. We visited the MANY GLACIERS inlet into Glacier NP. It had more lakes and a resort hotel area which was quite busy, so we skipped the hikes in the park and headed back out stopping at a reservoir which was out of the park. We gave Meghan a two mile hike along it. As we continued out we saw a black bear around 40 yards from us. Did not get the camera out in time.

8/21/06 Day 55 summer trip. 280 miles today, total 3389 miles. Started east today first on hwy 89 through the fire area and then onto hwy 2 which turned out to be a good hwy so far at least to travel east on. We stayed in Malta, MT at the Rivers Edge RV Park. The good was free WIFI and the bad was a busy railroad track near us. I made sautéed shrimp, rice, and green peas for dinner.

8/22/06 Day 56 summer trip. 340 miles today, total 3449 miles. Got started early for us 8:15 a.m. and drove forever until 4:00 p.m. The relatively flat wheat and hay land changed to more varied crops as we drove into North Dakota. Mixed in with wheat and hay was corn and sun flower crops. There was also numerous small lakes, ponds, and wet lands which would afford excellent birding and hunting. We drove to Minot and checked into the Roughrider Campground which had large flat sites with nice open grass, maple trees, and a pretty pond. I made a pot roast with Lipton onion soup, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes for dinner which turned out really good.

8/23/06 Day 57 summer trip. 330 miles today, total 3779 miles. Left Minot at 8:00 a.m. Central time. I always thought North Dakota was a poor state but not so. The farms are huge and look quite productive. We continued on into Minnesota which became more hilly and had more diversity of crops and agriculture. The last 60 miles was a real drag, I really hate driving day after day. Minnesota really does have lots of lakes and wet lands along with many ducks and water birds. Drove to Lake Bemidji and checked into another great RV Park call Royal Oaks. The trees however were mostly paper birch. The Trailer Life book is really quite accurate and a great reference.

8/24/06 Day 58 summer trip. 270 miles today, total 4019 miles. Didn’t get started until 9:00 a.m. this morning. Northern Minnesota sure has lots of lakes and wet lands with extensive mixed forest. Crossed the Missouri River near its headwater. Crossed the Mississippi into Wisconsin. Had views of Lake Superior for the first time ever. Stopped at Culvers for lunch in the town of Superior and had deep fried Walleye fish for lunch. The forests and many lakes were beautiful. We planned on driving 350 miles, but game across a very nice Indian Casino called BAD RIVER which had free RV sites with electric and water, so we stopped early. It was in the forest and had ATV trails which we used to take Meghan on a nice long off leash hike into the forest. I played some black jack and Linda played some slots. We ended up paying $100 for that free site. I cooked fresh sweet corn for dinner which we had purchased from a farmer in Wisconsin. The yellow corn was as good as Linda’s dad’s corn in Vista. I ate 4 ears yum yum.

8/25/06 Day 59 summer trip. 280 miles today, total 4299 miles. Between a hard rain and a diesel semi tow vehicle running his engine all night I didn’t get my 8 hours of sleep last night. Non the less we got onto hwy 2 by 7:45 a.m. Had some light showers, but made it to the Deforest, WI KOA RV Park by 2:00 p.m. Mother, Allen’s, Linda, and I all went out for a Friday night fish fry which is a really popular thing to do in the mid west. The fish at the Bridge Restaurant was very good, but I ate too much.

8/26/06 Day 60 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4299 miles. Went to a company picnic near Mazomamie with Dave and Joanne in the afternoon. At night I went to my 45th and first high school class reunion. My small class of 1961 only had 37 graduates. 6 have died. About 20 graduates show up at the Owls Nest Restaurant. The food was acceptable but not great. With wives and companions the total party was 40 people. Linda and I both had a great time socializing with the graduates and their spouses. I missed the first 1.5 hours of personality adjustment, but I still was there from 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Classmates I had extended conversations with were; Jeanne Stoltenberg, Barbara Aimsworth, Delmar Kylman, Ken Vinge, Judy Brown, Sandy H, Marilyn, Laverne Pitman, Marvin Mankee, Cinthia Kleinert, Barbara Aimsworth. Sorry about the spelling if any classmates read this. I found out that Lavern Pitman had been a librarian for the Library of Congress, living in the DC area apparently most of his career. He is in process of publishing some books. I intend to contact him via email for travel info when and if I visit the DC area. He said that the nearest RV Park to Washington DC is at the BATTLE OF BULL RUN monument.

8/27/06 Day 61 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4299 miles. We had planned to take my 92 year old mother to church this morning, but she called and told us that she was having dizzy spells today, so we cancelled. We drove to Madison and bought a new Weber Baby Q 100 portable barbecue for $150 at the FARM FLEET store. We later picked up mother and went to my sister Joanne’s house for dinner. Joanne and Dave’ log cabin house still looks great nestled on that heavily wood property. We saw two white tailed deer in a field next to them. Joanne made a nice chicken taco salad for dinner. We had a camp fire outside after dinner where we toasted some marshmallows.

8/28/06 Day 62 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4299 miles. Its raining again, yuk yuk. Went to Best Buy and purchased a new laptop for $1666 out the door, It’s a Toshiba Satellite with 17” really good bright screen, 2GB of memory, 120GB hard drive, DVD player and writer, Media Center MS software, TV tuner, Tivo like recorder and player, USB 2.0 ports, fire wire port, blue tooth port, built WIFI card, and dial up modem, thumb print scanner, and various card readers. I got Linda to allow me to buy it because I couldn’t get the old machine to work on WIFI at the current KOA site we are at. Unfortunately all my software is at home, so right now I can only use it for internet and email. In the evening we picked up mother and went to Joanne’s to watch the Packer Game. We had pizza for dinner. The packers had a real bad night.

8/29/06 Day 63 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4299 miles Visited a Carvers meeting at mothers Senior Center and went to Culvers for lunch. Met Joanne and Dave after work and went to Linda’s favorite yarn shop in Madison. After that we went to Mandarin Gardens Chinese Restaurant and had an excellent feast. This in my opinion is the finest Mandarin food Chinese restaurant any where in the US.

8/30/06 Day 64 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4299 miles Joanne, mother, Linda, and I went to Wisconsin Dells in the afternoon. We bought fudge at two shops. Tried to get a western photo of Linda and I, but some pushy women barged in front of us and it looked like two hours before we got out of there so I cancelled out. We then went to a nice outlet center where Linda Joanne shopped into a frenzy. Next we drove to East town Madison for more shopping. Then we took Meghan to Token Creek County Park to a dog park area where Meghan had a wonderful time playing and running with the other dogs. Next we ate at Red Robins a gourmet hamburger place that was great. The mushroom burgers were great, but that pole of onion rings my sister wanted to share was a stint clogger. We also had a cup of French Onion soup each.

8/31/06 Day 65 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4299 miles Linda did washing today. Linda went to Sun Prairie to get a haircut.

9/1/06 Day 66 summer trip. 60 miles today, total 4359 miles We drove to Verona south west of Madison to see my nephew Justin, Crystal, and their 4 month old son Tyler. They have 100 year old fixer up house. Its sitting on a big deep lot with a lovely view of Donald State Park. We backed the 5th wheel up into the back of the grassy lot. Justin and Crystal is in the process of remodeling the house. Their work so far in the bathroom and Tylers room looks very nice. Before dinner we did a hike in the state park with Meghan on one of the beautiful wooded and green equestrian trails. We brought big steaks from Schultz’s store which we barbecued on our new Baby Weber grill. It was so hot that I overcooked 3 out of 4 steaks. Justin made a big bon fire after dinner.

9/2/06 Day 67 summer trip. 80 miles today, total 4539 miles Got up about 9:00 a.m. Crystal made a huge for good breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy. Linda was very impressed with those biscuits and gravy. Justin showed me all his tools in the basement as we are both serious wood workers and tools rule. Crystal put in her request for a multi colored wood rolling pin from my work shop for next Christmas. We adjusted Justin’s satellite TV dish. We both really enjoyed Justin and Crystals friendly company. They are both laid back fun people. Next we drove to Belvidere, ILL to my sisters house to see Charlene and Mike Winter. Their house and huge green yard looked beautiful as usual. We did a walk around the neighborhood before having a piece of delicious rhubarb pie made by Charlene. After that we visited a impressive apple orchard which sold lots of gourmet products. We had a light dinner at the ordchard.

9/3/06 Day 68 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4539 miles Char made a nice quiche for breakfast. We then took off for the Field Museum in Chicago. I purchased tickets on the internet for the King Tut exhibition, It took about 2 hours to see the exhibition. We all liked it but Linda enjoyed it the most reading every plaque completely. After the exhibition we toured the mammals and American Indian sections of the museum. Linda and I both love this museum. Mike did the driving and the traffic was light on this Sunday. We stopped to eat at a restaurant called the Weber Grill. It was quite good and I would go to this restaurant again.

9/4/06 Day 69 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4539 miles We had a light breakfast at Charlene’s. We then drove to Rock Cut State Park only about 5 miles from Charlene’s house. It’s a huge park with two big lakes, many trails, huge grassy picnic areas, an RV Park, dog training area, boat ramp etc. It was free admission as all state parks are in this liberal state. Meghan had a great time running around and chasing the squirrels at Greyhound type speed from a long distance. Meghan was great entertainment for us all. It did start raining however and we had to cut our hike short. This park will be visited again in future visits. Next we drove about an hour towards Chicago to a fancy Outlet Mall called the Harding Center. Stopped for pizza on the way home. Mike and Char had deep dish Chicago style. Linda and I had a thin crust Hawaii pizza. We all crashed to bed early.

9/5/06 Day 70 summer trip. 80 miles today, total 4619 miles Drove back to Deforest, WI. Picked up mother and went to Joanne and David’s for dinner. I helped David a bit with fascia board and roof plywood installation on his shed in process of construction. Joanne made butternut squash puree for me yum yum. Also had salad, fresh bread, and cheese ravioli. Went home early.

9/6/06 Day 71 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4619 miles Caught up on my diary this morning. Worked on fixing mother’s old electric fire place display. Replaced the switch with a new one from Ace Hardware. Picked up mother and went to visit my 89 year old aunt Evelyn DeGroff in Portage. They are working on the Portage Canal right beside her apartment causing lots of noise. The noise doesn’t bother Evelyn as she is deafer than mother. We visited about an hour and then drove to the Wal-Mart Super Store to buy a few things. Stopped at Schultz’s on the way home to buy some super thick pork chops wrapped in bacon for the barbecue. Barbecued the chops, sautéed the cabbage, and Linda prepared a good rice pilaf. We ate outside on our picnic table. Everything turned out really good and mother especially loved those thick juicy 2” thick pork chops whose appetite continues to amaze me.

9/7/06 Day 72 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4619 miles Got an haircut at Chris’s barber shop in Sun Praire. Stopped at Schultz’s Market to buy supplies to make a pot roast stew for our canoe trip. After cooking, I decided that we had too much so I invited mother over to help eat some of it. It was really good. We froze the remaining for the canoe trip.

9/8/06 Day 73 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4619 miles Picked up mother at noon and then Joanne at her house. We visited the Amish bakery, store, and wood working shop north of Wyocena. Bought lots of fattening pastry and some decorative squash for mother. Next we visited Richards Apple Orchard near Joanne’s house for bags of fresh apples and some caramel apples. At 5:00 p.m. we all met at Mr. G’s for a fish fry dinner.

9/9/06 Day 74 summer trip. 250 miles today, total 4869 miles Left the KOA at 9:30 a.m. Drove north to Spooner Wisconsin. Checked into the Country Motel and RV park about 3:00 p.m. The Allen’s and friends stayed in the motel. I decided to skip the Blue Grass Festival as I was tired and it was getting quite cold for an outdoor event plus I wanted to see the US Open Women’s Tennis finals on TV.

9/10/06 Day 75 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4869 miles We prepared all our gear and food for the 5 day boat trip on the Namekagon River. We all went out for dinner and then lounged in Joanne and David’s motel jacuzzi for an hour before retiring.

9/11/06 Day 76 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4869 miles Drove to Log Cabin Resort in Trego to meet our shuttle. Rented two kayaks for Linda and Mollie and got loaded up. We were delivered to K Street Landing on the Namekagon River at 10:30 a.m. We loaded up our boats. Dave Joanne (my brother-in-law and sister) had a 17’ fiber glass canoe, Mollie (my niece) had a 13’ 8” Old Town kayak, Linda (my wife) had a 11’ Old Town kayak, and I had a 14’ inflatable self bailing canoe/kayak made by Soar (nick named the BARGE by Mollie because it’s hard to paddle and steer on flat water.) Meghan the Irish Terrier rode on the barge with me. We discovered that that she had outgrown her life jacket so she cruised without protection. We only paddled 3 miles to our first group camping site. The Namekagon is a wild and scenic river which is oh so beautiful cutting through a mixed forest of Fir, Pine, Oak, White Birch, and Aspen trees. It has virtually no residential houses on its shores. Northern Wisconsin has been suffering a drought for the past 3 years, but its sure not obvious as all the meadows and shore lines are a luscious green. We had a bit of trouble remembering how those tents fit together, but got set up for 2 nights at this location. For dinner we had pot roast stew which I had made and froze several days before the trip. Dave found some downed dry fire wood, which we all hauled to our fire ring. Had a pleasant evening in front of the camp fire. After going to bed it rained lightly on and off most of the night. The tent did fine and kept us dry.

9/12/06 Day 77 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4869 miles Got up about 8:30 a.m. to a partly sunny day. Joanne made pancakes for breakfast. David and Mollie got all their gear together for a ¾ mile portage of their canoe to Leisure Lake for snorkeling and fishing. I packed lunch in my back pack and the entire group including Meghan the Irish Terrier walked on a cross country ski trail to Leisure Lake. It was a beautiful clear small lake shallow with blooming water lily’s on one end of it. Mollie and David first did some snorkeling with their spear guns, but had no luck at finding some legal fish. Next they did the canoe with some conventional fishing poles and lures. They caught 3 large mouth bass and 3 northern. While they fished the rest of us did hiking and visiting. Linda and Joanne also did some sock knitting. After about 5 hours we all returned to camp on the river. We had fresh large mouth bass fried fillets for dinner that night. Yum yum. Joanne also did some baked apples in tin foil over our camp fire which were very delicious.

9/13/06 Day 78 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4869 miles Got on the river about 7:45 a.m. and did a long day of approximately 18 miles. I left 45 minutes early and saw at close range 6 deer, a beaver, American eagle, flocks of Canada Geese, black belted Kingfisher, Northern flicker, and a Yellow Night Heron. Mollie paddled my barge for about 2 hours while I paddled her kayak. We made camp at a Landing and camp site. This was a buggy site, so I really loaded up with mosquito repellent. I was very unhappy and very tired with the long day. David and I walked about 1.5 miles out to higher ground, and with his cell phone called our shuttle provider for a closer pick up cutting off 15 miles of the trip. David identified a hoot owl call that night. We also heard coyotes.

9/14/06 Day 79 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 4869 miles Got on the river about 10:00 a.m. The water this year is crystal clear compared to previous years. We saw lots of huge fish, some 5-6 feet long which apparently were Sturgeon. Namekagon is an Indian name which means Sturgeon. David Joanne helped me out by towing my barge with their canoe, but it did not work well, because my barge kept swerving back and forth almost capsizing both of us. We paddled 8 miles to another group camp. All these camp sites were scenic enough to die for, with easy access. The group sites had a picnic table and toilet throne sitting 50 yards from the table. Downed dry wood was very prolific and close to camp sites. If you had a saw and an axe, firewood was no problem. There were nice wide groomed cross country ski trails into the woods near all group sites perfect for hiking with Meghan. At sunset David identified the Whip-poor-will call which was a thrill for me, as this bird is really rare in southern California.

9/15/06 Day 80 summer trip. 250 miles today, total 5119 miles Got up at 6:45 a.m. after a very good nights sleep. I have slept remarkably well on this trip. My full size pad has really kept me comfortable. Joanne had a bad night because a mouse kept raiding their food bag, and it ate right through the soft plastic ruining all the dry food inside. (good thing it was the last day) I put a hard plastic water proof and vermin proof dry box on her Christmas list. The mouse eventually paid dearly for the raid. It crawled into a half full bucket of water and drowned, as it was not able to crawl out the slick sides of the plastic pal. We had a power bar and coffee for breakfast. I burnt my lip on my coffee as Joanne did not snap on the lid of my cup tight and I poured boiling coffee right on my lip, chin, and chest. I really used some bad language, but was not seriously burnt. I got on the water by 7:40 a.m. ½ hour before the rest left, for the final 4 mile push to the Namekagon Trail Landing. My arms and body felt good this final morning. The scenery and river was so serene and spiritually relaxing on my final paddle. I actually got stronger at the end on this trip as opposed to previous flat water trips I have paddled were I was weakest at the end. We arrived at our take out at 9:20 a.m. We unloaded all our gear and cleaned up the boats a bit. Our shuttle company Log Cabin Resort arrived early at 9:50. Did the 1 hour drive back to our vehicles. We all declared that we had a nice 5 days in the wild. A vacation like this in the wilds away from people is way more relaxing than one in the city. Its what I live for. We all showered and got back on the road for Deforest Wisconsin. We arrived about 4:00 p.m. at the Deforest KOA. We decided that we had enough energy left to take mother to a Friday night fish fry at the original Mr. G’s bar and grill. Returned home at 7:30 p.m. and I was in bed by 8:30 p.m.

9/16/06 Day 81 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 5119 miles Got up at 8:00 a.m. and started cleaning up and drying out the camping gear. The mornings on the river were always wet, which necessitated putting the tent away wet. Went shopping at Schultz’s Market purchasing $80 worth of steaks and thick pork chops. The Wisconsin meat is way tastier than what we get in California. Bought mother some milk and then stored the meat in her freezer for a quick freeze. The whole family including mother, Justin, Crystal, and Tyler Babcock all went to Token Creek County Park for family pictures. After that we all went to Biaggi’s Italian Restaurant for dinner. Elaine Allen, David’s mother joined us for dinner. The food was excellent as usual. Mother picked up the tab for the entire dinner. We returned home and said good bye to mother.

9/17/06 Day 82 summer trip. 330 miles today, total 5449 miles Left at 8:00 a.m. to head west towards Reno. Drove south from Wisconsin on hwy 94 and then hwy 39 into northern Illinois toll road 88 to hwy 80 heading east into Iowa stopping at Rolling Acres RV Park 35 miles east of Des Moines. I was really tired and crashed at 8:30 p.m.

9/18/06 Day 83 summer trip. 360 miles today, total 5809 miles Left about 8:30 a.m. driving through Iowa and into Nebraska staying at an RV Park in Kearney about the middle of the state. Before checking in we visited Cabella’s, their first satellite store selling sporting and outfitters gear. I bought a high tech Swedish axe and a pair of NB hiking shoes. Linda bought a corduroy shirt and a new campfire toaster.

9/19/06 Day 84 summer trip. 460 miles today, total 6269 miles Left about 9:00 a.m. and did a very long day of driving through Nebraska and into Wyoming. Checked into Western Hills RV Park in Rawlins. Switched to mountain time loosing one hour.

9/20/06 Day 85 summer trip. 410 miles today, total 6679 miles Left at 8:30 a.m. for the drive west through Wyoming, Utah and then into Nevada. As we approached Evanston, WY we ran into 35 miles of heavy snow and temperatures dropping down to 35 F. Fortunately the snow did not stick to the road and I only had to slow down because of low visibility. As we drove west the snow went away and the weather began to turn partly cloudy. Going through Salt Lake City around 1:30 p.m. was not bad at all with minimal traffic. Drove past the great salt lake and then stopped at the Bonneville Salt Flats and took Meghan for a 1 mile run on this amazing dry lake. Its perfectly flat for as long as the eye can see. The surface has large puzzle like pattern lines which make it quite interesting. The speed way where the land records are made was some distance away to the north west so we did not go there, but I sure want to do it some time perhaps with Wendover as the base camp. We arrived at state line into Wendover Nevada about an ½ later. Checked into a nice RV Park at the Nugget Casino that only cost $16 per night. A Peppermill Casino was right across the street where we had a reasonably good dinner buffet. After that I drank wine and played BJ until 1:00 a.m. All BJ games in this border down is single deck, insurance, hit soft 17, double on first two cards anything, and resplit aces. I bet $5 to $21 based on count and never once got shuffled up on. This is a great location for small time BJ counters. The attendance during the week was very low with a few junket people from Austin, TX and Vancouver, Canada.

9/21/06 Day 86 summer trip. 400 miles today, total 7079 miles Got up late about 8:30 a.m. getting the 5th wheel ready for travel. Took off west for Reno. It was not fun driving tired and hung over. The Harry Potter audio CD - THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE helped keep me awake. We listened to the final CD’s 15,16, 17 the completion of the audio book, a Christmas present from my sister Joanne. Linda and I enjoyed this long book allot. Passed the Pacific time zone and gained out final hour going west to San Diego. Arrived in Reno about 4:30 p.m. and got one of the last two RV spots at the Hilton KOA. The cost was an outrageous $62 per night because this is STREET VIBRATIONS weekend, the equivalent to Sturgis in South Dakota. Harley Davidson motor at Baldini’s. Went to bed at 8:30 p.m. falling a sleep immediately.

9/22/06 Day 87 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 7079 miles Slept until 8:30 a.m. a full 12 hours in bed. Its heavenly to have no driving assignment today. I took the truck to Costco to get the tires aligned and balanced. Bought another case of wine all Wine Spectator 90+ as my previous 2 cases finally ran out after 3 months of drinking wine on the trip. Called Kathy Evans and she came over to our trailer. We took a short walk on the Truckee River trail with Meghan mostly off leash. Watched a few new TV shows on Tivo and Kathy cooked us an excellent dinner recipes from Rachael Rays new Martha Stewarts magazine.

9/23/06 Day 88 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 7079 miles Got up early and went to Kathy’s house at 9:30 a.m. to have her Crème Brule French toast breakfast. The breakfast was delicious. At night we went to La Strada at the Eldorado and had an excellent dinner. Kathy and I had the chef's surprise. This restaurant never disappoints us.

9/24/06 Day 89 summer trip. 0 miles today, total 7079 mile We visited Virginia city today. We were not overly impressed as it was very commercial. The weather was perfect and there is a great view of Reno on the drive up there. Had a barbecued chops, cabbage, and rice for dinner at Kathy's at night.

9/25/06 Day 90 summer trip. 210 miles today, total 7289 miles Had an early breakfast with Conrad and Kathy at Baldini's coffee shop. Left for Bishop at 10:00 a.m.

9/26/06 Day 91 summer trip. 340 miles today, total 7629 miles The final day of our trip. Arrived home around 3:30 p.m
   



Last updated on April 23, 2009