View Full Version : My Journey
06-06-2012, 01:30 PM
So I've spent the past month selling most of my belongings, renting a small storage unit for some of the things that I just couldn't part with, and completed the sale of my cabin at 4:00 p.m. yesterday. I now find myself homeless and living on the road. This is something that I've dreamed of for years so I finally decided to take the plunge. I'll have a close friend along for the first three weeks. Last night night we traveled about (130) miles and slept in Cumberland, Maryland. We were headed for Montana but this morning we have changed our minds and decided to stay further south, hoping that the weather will cooperate and the temperatures will stay cool enough. We are also traveling with a Golden Retriever and a Yellow Lab. And yes it's quite cramped in the little camper but we all get along great. I've posted a picture below to give you an idea of my rig. I hope you enjoy.103964
Hill, Bill E.
06-06-2012, 09:49 PM
Paint me jealous!! Have a fun and safe adventure!!
06-07-2012, 02:36 AM
Sounds like a great adventure!
I'm taking the summer and fall off to travel the western US and Canada. Maybe we will run in to each other.
06-07-2012, 12:39 PM
Nothing is better than traveling without a schedule or destination. Yesterday we took our time getting on the road but we drove for most of the afternoon and evening and covered nearly (500) miles and we spent our second night in Corydon, Indaina. It's a real challenge to make this story exciting or even interesting at this point as interstate travel just isn't exciting nor interesting. We are having a great time and look forward to some awesome times.
My friend has never been to the western U.S.A. so I would love to take him to the Grand Canyon (as well as many of the other lesser known awesome places out there), and from there go north. Eventually we'll make it to Montana where he'll depart and fly home. I'm thinking of going to the Arctic Circle this summer and then possibly heading south into Central America for the winter. But I don't know. Maybe I'll find a cool town and stay for a few months or longer. My motto for this trip is definitely "one day at a time".
06-07-2012, 12:54 PM
Awesome. I'm jealous!
Looking forward to following your story!
06-07-2012, 01:10 PM
Looking forward to following this trip also, good luck
06-08-2012, 12:49 PM
Another high mileage day and nothing to write about again. We made it to Topeka, Kansas (about 550 miles for the day) where we spent the night in the Wal Mart Parking lot. We hit our first toll booth of the trip. I never quite understood why we pay federal taxes for our highways and then get hit again for using them. I guess we are always victim to this double taxation but it just seems more blatant on the highways. Anyhow, the plan for today is to continue west and we hope to hit Colorado tonight. And we'll stop for our first shower of the day later this morning. Can't wait !
That's Yukon and Montana shown below. Two of my travel companions.
06-08-2012, 10:05 PM
Cool travel buddies bud - I will be reading about your travels. Enjoy and stay safe!
06-08-2012, 11:51 PM
If you hit the grand canyon, then you have to go an hr and a half to Zion , near st George where I am at. Tons of good views of rock formations along the highway here. Then head north and hit Bryce canyon and bear lake before leaving Utah and going up to Jackson hole and into Yellow stone. (grew up in Bozeman MT So I know the route well ). There is a ton of stuff to do up into Montana Utah is full of crazy amazing sights The following are local to St George , for a slice of whats here.
A few views of the surrounding hills and our hidden swimming hole, Good luck with your trip
06-09-2012, 03:09 AM
Another (500) plus mileage day mostly done on the interstates. We took time to stop by a Flying J and get ourselves showers. I usually last much longer without a shower but my friend likes to be clean. In the afternoon we stopped at one of those beautiful Kansas wheat fields and went for a short hike with the pups. We've made it to Colorado Springs and are once again staying at a Wal Mart. Tomorrow things will get better as we plan on visiting Great Sand Dunes National Monument and Preserve. I love that place.
Irish1371.......most of those spots are on our to do list. I've been traveling out here for years and actually owned land in Bozeman. I'll be staying there with a friend. I have lots of history with that town and love Bozeman.
06-09-2012, 11:25 PM
Today we were up with the sun and on the road early. After (4) days on the road and (4) nights at Wal Marts we were both ready for some back country adventure. We made it to Great Sand Dunes National Monument and Preserve in the early morning hours and hiked up to the highest points on the dunes. By the time we began to descend the place was packed with tourist and the sand was so hot the poor dogs were dancing. Below is a picture of my friend and my dog Montana on the sand dunes.
Love the dog/wheat field shots! Nice!
Enjoy your travels...
Headed to Durango area next week for a trip. Can't wait...Enjoy your time in Colorado!
06-12-2012, 04:44 PM
After the sand dunes we continued west towards Durango, Colorado. We found a nice forest service road near Wolf Creek Pass for some back country camping. After (4) nights at Wal Marts I couldn't wait. We found a waterfall in the late afternoon and did some rock scrambling. Since we we were camped along the Continental Divide Trail we decided to take an evening hike and we came across some elk. Pretty nice hike. Slept well that night and woke up to a welcomed 29 degrees.
06-12-2012, 04:55 PM
Up early again the next day and off to Mesa Verde. We checked out the Indian ruins and enjoyed the scenery as well as the brand new Earth Roamer. Later that afternoon we continued west again with the Grand Canyon being our next destination. Since it was 90 degrees that evening we decided to stay in a campsite where we could hook up to electricity and use the a/c for the night. We were up the next morning at 4:00 a.m. and were able to catch the sunrise over the canyons. Well worth the early wake up and so very beautiful. It seems as though I can never get enough of the national parks in the western U.S.
06-12-2012, 05:03 PM
After leaving the Grand Canyon that afternoon, we went to Lee's Ferry for a swim in the Colorado River. The water temperature was 49 degrees but it didn't matter to us since we were feeling so grubby. The dogs couldn't get enough of it while we were happy for just a quick dip. Afterwards we found ourselves a cool spot in the higher elevations near the north rim of the Grand Canyon with lots of shade from the large pine trees. It was so beautiful and truly one of my favorite spots out west. This morning we finally chose to sleep in and we are now in Hurricane, Utah on our way to Zion National Park. All is good.:sunny:
06-12-2012, 11:28 PM
I've never done a trip at the pace we are doing this one but my friend only has three weeks so we are moving right along. We spent the day at Zion National Park climbing several of the rock formations. We had a good time watching the dogs climb some of the steeper pitches but they were actually quite good at it. The heat kind of sucked for the dogs. After Zion we headed northeast to Bryce Canyon National Park. We stopped along the Sevier River and let the dogs have a well needed swim after the hot day at Zion. We are now camping outside the park entrance in the Dixie National Forest. As soon as we stopped the dogs chased a bunch of Elk in the pine trees which gave me a bit of a scare. Fortunately they returned after about fifteen minutes. Time for dinner............
Zion National Park
Camping In Dixie National Forest
06-13-2012, 12:36 PM
Up at 6:00 a.m. and having that first cup of coffee. I love to get up early and get the day going. My friend loves to sleep in as late as possible. Unfortunately for him the kitchen table folds out for his bed so he has to get up when I do. I posted a picture of the back half of the camper if anyone might be interested. After arriving here yesterday evening we decided to hunt for elk antler sheds. We spent two hours walking through the forest but came up empty handed. The temperature was perfect with a slight breeze and a setting sun. We really didn't care if we found antlers......the setting was perfect. I awoke during the middle of the night and went outside to observe the stars. We don't have the same night sky back east and enjoyed a minutes of star gazing. Shortly we are leaving to hike in Bryce Canyon. We'll leave the dogs behind this morning as they aren't allowed on the trails below the rim (seems to be norm with the national parks and trails).
I'm having problems loading pictures on this site. It seems to work best if I load text and then edit and add pictures so maybe many of my posts will be edited (in case anyone cares)......Ugh..........not working at all now.
06-15-2012, 12:22 PM
Get off the interstate.
My wife and I have found that the best sites you see while travelling are along the old US Routes. We often travel cross country on the US Routes instead if the interstate, and stop off to see the interesting sights and landmarks along the way.
06-16-2012, 01:24 AM
Well, I think that's good advice if you have the time but I only have three weeks to show my friend some of my favorite places and they're out west. So I use the interstates even though I don't much care for them.
After a good night's sleep we unhooked the Jeep and drove into Bryce National Park for a day of hiking. More awesome views and the diversity of the western states and parks continue to amaze me.
We left late in the afternoon and headed north towards Capital Reef National Park. I knew of a nice spot from a previous trip to overnight and we made it there late evening.
06-16-2012, 01:43 AM
The next day we traveled north to Capitol Reef National Park. Miles more of awesome rock formations. I love the southwest but I must admit at this point I'm looking forward to getting to Montana (my favorite state). We didn't spend much time here and didn't hike, but only drove through the park.
Late afternoon we were back on the road heading north towards Salt Lake City. Four years ago I traveled this route and spent a week camped at a small reservoir along Route 24. I met a guy back then that lived in his camper and spent every summer there. So I stopped in and there he was. We spent the afternoon together and he treated me to some freshly caught trout. My friend and I both took baths in the lake, it felt great, and the dogs loved swimming again.
We decided to move on that evening as we needed food from the Wal Mart in Richfield. We spent the night on top of a mountain in Fishlake National Forest. This guy's rig was camped nearby and I thought it was quite unique and worthy of a picture.
06-16-2012, 01:47 AM
Today we drove into Salt Lake City and are staying at my niece's house. I needed to get a few things repaired on the camper and truck. I guess that my rig is beginning to show it's age as I have (4) things to get repaired. I got one repaired, one rigged to work, and two things left to work on. Enjoying the shower and television for a few days now, then back to life on the road.
06-18-2012, 01:33 PM
We are really enjoying our stay in Salt Lake City so we decided to stay a few extra days and hang out around the city. On Saturday we spent the day walking downtown sightseeing and checking out several of the malls. The weather continues to be perfect for the traveler.
Yesterday I woke up early and decided to hike up to the top of Ensign Peak. This little mountain is located just behind the state capitol building in downtown Salt Lake City. It has quite a bit of history with the Mormons and their settling of the valley.
So today will be our last day in Salt Lake City. We plan to leave tomorrow morning / afternoon and head north to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. My niece has a friend there that has a (200) acre ranch just outside of town so we may stay with him for several days. Not too sure that I want to impose on him since we don't actually know the guy. Time will tell....
06-19-2012, 06:32 PM
It's finally time to leave the comforts of a nice home and move back into the camper. I've been busy looking for something to keep me occupied and yesterday I recalled that I've been interested in volunteering as a camp host for the National Parks. Well, I started contacting all sorts of state and federal agencies to see what was available. I found out that most of these jobs are filled in January or February so things were looking pretty bleak. I spoke with a ranger this morning at Glacier National Park but he didn't have anything available either. I took a break from my searching and took the dogs for a walk. When I got back there was a phone message from the park ranger saying that they just had a cancellation and that I could have the position if I wanted it. I accepted and I will be a volunteer in Glacier National Park starting July 1st. I'm assigned to Kintla Lake, the most remote campground in the park. I'm quite excited at the opportunity. I know this area and it's incredibly beautiful. And that's all for today..............
06-22-2012, 11:04 PM
After a very late start from Salt Lake City, we were back on the interstate heading north towards Grand Teton National Park. We made it into Idaho that evening and stopped at Montpelier Reservoir for the night. We got a great spot overlooking the lake and the dogs, of course, were in and out of the lake all evening. In the morning we went hunting for fossils along the mountainside. My friend had his fill within a half hour and we were back on the road. We stopped for lunch and found this really cool spot where a stream flows out of the side of the mountain.
We drove along one of the most beautiful highways as we paralleled the Snake River into Jackson, Wyoming. We continued north and then west of Grand Teton National Park for another night of free camping in the national forest. We spent the following day in town running errands and visiting lots of the shops in Jackson. It's a little too touristy for my likes but I'm showing my friend around and he loves the towns / cities. The following day was spent in the park but once again we mostly toured in the truck. Fortunately I've been getting in some nice walks with the dogs and we are doing a limited amount of hiking. It's all good for sure. That night we drove north and camped along the Snake River just south of Yellowstone National Park. We had one more great free campsite in the back country. This morning we were up early and I ate breakfast with a British couple cycling from Alaska to Virginia. Then it was off to a day in the east side of Yellowstone National Park. It was a good day for bear sightings.....(6) today. Prior to that we had only seen one black bear in Colorado and one brown bear in the Tetons. Anyhow, we stopped for a dip in the lake and ate lunch. This evening we are outside of the park near Cooke City on Forest Service land. We have yet another awesome free site for the night. We've unhooked the Jeep and are off to explore some back country. Here's some more pictures of our trip so far:
Camping West of Grand Teton National Park
Camping Along the Snake River South of Yellowstone National Park
Swimming in Yellowstone Lake
06-27-2012, 04:25 PM
We spent that night east of Yellowstone Park on forest service land. We had a great spot (as usual) and we unhooked the Jeep and spent the evening four wheeling. Lots of snow in the higher elevations but we had a blast exploring the back roads.
The following morning we headed back into Yellowstone Park and did a little hiking. We saw quite a bit of wildlife in the park and the highlight for me were the bears and the lone wolf. On our way out we stopped and swam in the Madison River. It felt so good to get cleaned up once again although it was without soap. The water was the warmest we had yet and I assume it was because we were below Old Faithful.
06-27-2012, 04:35 PM
Leaving Yellowstone that evening we went northwest and camped in Gallatin National Forest. I was hopeful that we'd see some grizzlies here as this is known as the area which has the highest concentration of grizzlies in the lower (48). Once again we went the evening four wheeling but never once spotted a grizzly. The following day we unloaded the kayaks and spent the afternoon floating the river. It was a blast as each of had a dog in our kayak. We did let the dogs out and they were able to swim for quite a bit. That night and the following night were spent camping at Hyalite Canyon and spending the days in Bozeman, Montana shopping and visiting with friends. Time was up for my friend and I dropped him off at the airport yesterday morning. He'll be attending summer school for the last half of the summer. And now I'm moving west and plan to over night in Missoula, Montana (or close by). I've got to get to my new 'job" soon. All continues to go well on my journey...........
06-28-2012, 03:03 PM
Just couldn't get myself motivated yesterday so I spent a second night at the Bozeman Wal Mart. The dogs and I hung out, watched a movie, and went on lots of walks around town. The weather continues to be perfect for the traveler, no humidity, clear skies, and temperatures around 80 degrees. I have to be in Polebridge, Montana on Saturday for a short training session, then Sunday at Kintla Lake to get camp set up. I plan to continue to post here whenever I'm in town. I realize that this is an expedition site, but this short stint with the park service is part of my expedition. My plan is to still go north to the Arctic Circle, it will just be a little later in the year. I actually think it will more interesting as the cold weather moves in. So, now I'm off to visit a friend here in Bozeman and we will be on the road by noon.............
06-28-2012, 11:56 PM
Just pulled into the Missoula Montana Wal Mart after a beautiful drive along Interstate 90 from Bozeman. We stopped for lunch at a small lake and the dogs got into some of their favorite activity....swimming, and then a hike for a few miles in the national forest. Things are really dry this year and we spotted several forest fires today. Quite a bit of this around Bozeman as well. I've been on the road for almost one month and it only rained the first day as we left Virginia. Since I don't follow the news I wonder if there is a major drought going on ? Maybe I should get on the internet tonight and update myself as soon it will be impossible.
06-30-2012, 01:38 AM
I would have to say that today's drive from Missoula to Kalispell is one of the most beautiful drives in the United States. The Mission Valley is absolutely incredible. We stopped in St. Ignatous for lunch and also to visit my Yellow Labrador's home. She was born there almost (4) years ago, as I bought her up when she was (5) weeks old. We traveled together on that trip for (5) months, from Montana to Alaska, down the west coast, and then cross country to Virginia. Anyhow, a few things had changed in St. Ignatous. The family had moved to another farm about (3) miles away. We found it fairly easily and the family remembered me which was pretty cool. Unfortunately the mother of my dog was lost this past year while the family was on vacation in Washington state. They also lost one of her children as well as both dogs wandered off and were never found. Pretty sad story. They did have one dog from her last litter so my dog met her sister (?).....or whatever. I was asked back for another visit after my stint at Kintla Lake and I plan to come back. Such nice people up here. St. Ignatous is an interesting town with it's mix of Flathead Indians, Pennsylvania Dutch, and the regular locals. And the scenery is spectacular.
The Farm Where I Bought My Yellow Lab 2008.
My Yellow Lab. With Her Mom 2008
The New Farm 2012..........An Absolutely Incredible Place
06-30-2012, 02:39 PM
Ugh..........woke up this morning to the sound of (10) people laughing and talking loudly. I swear they were all the bathroom of my camper. I opened the camper door and there they all were. With all their Canadian / Montana accents it reminded of the movie Fargo. Anyhow, they wore out their welcome with me so I cranked up the generator and they left. Hmmmm........I wonder if this is what life will be like as a campground host ? Maybe a precursor as to what lies ahead ? So today I check in and start my assignment. I can't wait to get into the back country again. Not sure when I'll post again.
Wal Mart Camping in Kalispell
07-05-2012, 08:18 PM
I started my new job this week at Kintla Lake. It's an incredibly beautiful place but not near as remote as I had envisioned. The National Park Service has done a great job of getting me set up in my site. My days are spent reading, hiking and kayaking, and occasionally doing something constructive (but not very often). The weather has been quite good with lows around 40 and highs in the 70's. The water temperature is 52 so I've yet to swim. Today starts my long weekend (3.5 days off) and I'm headed for the back country and then maybe a day in Kalispell as well. I love it here, love what I do, but I must admit I continually think of moving down the road. I just take things one day at a time and we shall see where it leads us.
My Drive to Work-North Fork Flathead River
My Office-Kintla Lake
Dogs Are Not Allowed Off Leash in National Parks So I Was Provided This
07-08-2012, 08:18 PM
Great thread! Looking forward to more.
I have a couple questions for you.
1) Just curious about the overnights in the Wal mart parking lots. Is this a common thing for traveling on the cheap? is it because awl mart is open 24 hours or something?
2) You mentioned hiking in the national Parks and that you'd have to leave the dogs behind (I love your dogs btw) where do they stay? In the camper or something?
07-09-2012, 04:43 PM
Wal Marts are great for free over night camping. No it has nothing to do with their hours, it's always been a rule of Wal Mart to allow people to camp there.
My hiking in the National Parks is always along the roads. Fortunately for me the road is rarely traveled up there so it's not so bad.
Quick update............I spent the weekend outside of the park and enjoyed myself getting to know the city of Kalispell. I found a beautiful lake to the west of town and spent Saturday and Sunday there doing lots of swimming with my dogs. I met some wonderful people there. It was such a nice change from the strict rules of the National Park regarding dogs. I have to admit that I'm a bit bummed to have to report back to work this morning. I loved my freedom quite a bit. So off to get a shower and on with my park uniform. I did watch a big black bear this morning while I had my coffee. Got to love the bears.
The Very Expensive Mercantile That Sits Right Outside the Park Boundary
North Fork Headquarters - My Boss Works Here
07-13-2012, 08:27 PM
So we decided this week that camp ground hosting in a national park was not going to work for us. There are just too many rules when you have two dogs and it almost seems like being in prison. I felt bad to leave but the fact was that I was a fill in for someone else so at least they got a few weeks in. And there really isn't much to do there. Not much more need to be said about that.
Yesterday we drove to McGregor Lake which is just west of Kalispell. It's a beautiful lake where we spent the afternoon and evening swimming. This morning we got in one last swim and then we pulled stakes and are headed west again. We are currently in Libby, Montana trying to figure out where to go next. So many possibilities.
I met some awesome people in Montana and it will always be my favorite state.
Our Overnight Spot at McGregor Lake
07-14-2012, 05:43 PM
Yesterday we found ourselves headed west along Route 2 through Libby, Montana. We came across Kootenai Falls so we decided to stop for a bit. After a short hike we arrived at the falls. As temperatures were soaring yesterday (98 degrees) we were quite pleased to find that the temperatures along the falls were at least 20 degrees cooler. We sat at the edge of the falls and enjoyed watching the power of the rushing waters. But the three of us seem to have trouble sitting for long and we all wanted to go for another swim. Soon we were headed west again and found ourselves once again stopped at a boat check point. They pointed us to a swimming hole along the Pack River. The water was surprisingly cold so we didn't stay long. As we approached Spokane I spotted a Wal Mart store and stopped for the night. I need to get some laundry done today so maybe we'll stay another night before moving west.
I'm thinking that I'd like to do some peak bagging in the Cascade Mountains and then maybe continue west to the Pacific Ocean. We shall see.........
Kootenai Falls and Us
07-15-2012, 06:45 PM
Thanks for posting...pictures sure help to tell the story...have a safe journey.
07-15-2012, 10:45 PM
So yesterday became clean the truck camper and truck cab day. After six weeks on the road (and off the road), everything had become a bit disgusting. I emptied much of the truck camper and the truck cab out onto the Wal Mart parking lot. Worked great for me but I must admit that I drew many odd stares. But the good news is that I was able to locate a horrible smell in the truck cab and get it cleaned up. I also decided to remove the carpet from the interior of the truck camper. The dogs seem to definitely like it better now (the cooler tile floor) and it probably smells a bit better in there as well. We also headed over to the laundromat and cleaned a load of dirty laundry. Combined with our daily walks (we set our record for this trip....10.10 miles for the day), the very hot and somewhat humid day went by fairly quick. We stayed up late last night reading a book, watching a movie, and taking a bath in the kitchen sink.
I had planned to leave Spokane this morning but after a very late awakening, I looked outside and the skies were dark and gloomy. I decided to hang out to see what the weather would do and it wasn't long before the skies opened up. I don't care to drive in inclement weather so I hit the Red Box, got me a movie and stayed inside most of the morning. The passing storm brought cooler temperatures, what I like to call sleeping weather. So I found myself napping the day away. Of course it's too late to pick up and move today so we'll spend a third night in Spokane. This is one of the advantages of no schedule and no destination.
I have no pictures for today so here's one of my favorite pictures of my dog on her first journey 4 years ago............what the hell.
07-16-2012, 01:21 AM
That's a winner.
07-17-2012, 10:34 PM
Haha...........somebody spammed my thread. Poor guy. What a waste of time and effort.
Yesterday we took a tour of downtown Spokane before we continued our journey west. I saw a sign for Gonzaga University so being the college basketball fan that I am i thought I'd have a look. Wow, what a beautiful campus. I really knew nothing about the school but learned that it's a small Catholic school with 3 to 4 thousand students. The school campus was immaculate and all I could think of was "dogs please don't poop on their beautiful landscaping". After a tour of the old city we drove west to Coulle Dam. That was OK but we didn't stay. Just a jump out of the truck and get a picture type thing. It was just too hot to hang around and I wanted the air conditioner in the truck on. So we drove into Okanagan National Forest where we found ourselves a spot for the night. That evening we took a long walk on a forest service road before calling it a day.
I will add some pictures in day or two when I can get some good internet access. I'm trying to use my AT&T account for my smart phone to upload pictures and it's horrible (and always has been).
School With Great Basketball Program
Camping in Okanagan National Forest
07-18-2012, 02:03 AM
or two when I can get some good INTERNET access. I'm trying to use my AT&T account for my smart phone to upload pictures and it's horrible (and always has been).
Been enjoying your travels. FWIW I do a lot of uploading pictures while on the road. What seems to work best (assuming you have a smart phone with a decent camera)
Open a dreaded Face Book account, you can make it private, to be use only for pictures hosting.
Add a Face Book App to a smart phone.
After taking a picture that you want to post on Expo, first post it to Facebook.
Facebook will auto resize and reduce file size. The best part, it will keep on trying to upload the picture even with a week Internet connection.
If it fails to upload, just try again later.
To post the picture on Expo, find picture on your Facebook page, right click on properties, copy URL and paste to "insert URL' on Expo post.
I do the same type of thing with a good camera too, by transferring pictures to my computer first and then uploading to Facebook.
Later I'll update a Expo thread when a good Internet connection is available, with the posts and pictures that have already been downloaded to Facebook.
07-20-2012, 04:30 PM
Regarding the Facebook account, I guess I'd rather go to the dentist than do that. I have some aversion to that. Posting on Expedition Portal was a big step for me. Thanks for the tip though...........
I spent the last few days slowly driving west along Route 20 and enjoying the drive and the cooler weather. Not sure why but I seem to be more aware of the hotter weather more then ever before. Maybe it's age or maybe it's just hot. Life (well, the weather) was really good once I hit the higher elevations of North Cascades National Park. This was my first time there and it was absolutely beautiful (when I travel out west I feel like I need to learn more adjectives to describe what I see.........tired of beautiful, awesome, and wonderful). But that's how it is out west. Thankfully you don't have to rely on my photography to see for yourself but I continue to post my lame pictures. We found a nice spot at a view point to camp at a place called Washington Pass (5,477'). If it was a campground it would be 5 star for me. I thought I could hear Elk in the meadows below me so that evening I was out hiking in the forest looking for antler sheds. No luck but certainly enjoyed my time in the forest. The drive through the park was fantastic and we took our time stopping often. Unfortunately since it's a National Park we couldn't hike any of the trails.
Now we are settled in in Burlington, Washington. Once again doing the Wal Mart thing. As far as parking lots go, this is a good one. We are right next to the Skagit River so the dogs can swim plenty and there's a rarely traveled country road behind the store for our long walks. Last night I met a 70 year old woman traveling in her motor home solo. She went along on our evening walk and now she wants me to go to Alaska with her. I haven't decided what is next for us so I doubt that will happen.
Today the truck goes into the shop for a minor repair. Not sure what is next. I've been thinking about putting the dogs into a kennel for a few days and climbing Mount Baker. It's been a few years since I've climbed one of the Cascades' volcanoes. I still want to swim in the Pacific Ocean so maybe that's next. Soon I'll need to make a decision where to go but for the moment it's 60 degrees here, so why leave ? I'm content for now.........
Cabin That Caught My Eye
Loved the Snow !
Camping at Washington Pass
Driving Through North Cascades National Park
07-22-2012, 04:38 PM
Still hanging out in Burlington, Washington. I like the town and am loving the cool temperatures here. Spent one day running errands, lots of walking along the river, and getting the truck repaired. Yesterday we finally made the trip out to Whidbey Island. Deception Pass was phenomenal although being that it was a Saturday and the weather turned great that afternoon, everybody seemed to be out there. The roads were packed but we still enjoyed ourselves. We drove down to Oak Harbor and hung out there for a bit and then off to Anancortes, a quaint little town, and last we checked out the San Juan Ferry Terminal. It was nice spending the day exploring the area a bit. My original plan was to hike up a small peak outside of Burlington but with the early morning bad weather we canceled that idea. Now it's on the agenda for today but once again we are waiting for the clouds and light mist to go away. We'll probably be heading south and west to Seattle and then to Olympic National Forest soon. But then maybe not.............
Sign Just Outside My Camper Door - Not Strictly Enforced
07-23-2012, 03:06 PM
Yesterday was another wait and see day as far as the weather went. The forecast was for intermittent showers all day. I've wanted to hike in the nearby mountains so finally I decided to go no matter the weather. We got a late morning start and drove to Silo Mountain (4,150'). It's mostly an easy hike up logging roads but the distance is a killer.........about (8) miles to the summit. The scenery was great with lots of flowers and old growth forest. The logging operation provided nice view points along the way although it's sad to see so much forest destruction. As we neared the summit temperatures dropped, rain moved in, and the clouds moved in below us. I saw large patches of snow along the northern sides of the mountain. We took a brief rest stop and with my freezing hands and damp clothes, I decided that we needed to get down pronto. I was so thankful to arrive back to the Jeep and the dogs were as well. We all ate like pigs last night as we watched a movie from Block Buster Video. It rained all night and continues to rain this morning. The weather forecast for this week looks outstanding so I look forward to getting back into the mountains plus seeing the city of Seattle. Today could be the day we move a bit south.............
I had more pictures to load but once again AT & T does not cooperate. Just love paying those monthly bill for this service that rarely works.
Views of South Skagit River Valley
A Beautiful Shrub
07-24-2012, 03:34 PM
Woke up once again with cloudy skies and light rain. I had decided last night that it was time to move on and after a quick internet I found a small mountain that would provide the ideal afternoon hike. So we drove a bit south to Little Mountain (934') located just west of Mount Vernon, Washington. I didn't realize that the road went to the summit, so we parked there and did a reverse summit ?? Anyhow, it was a beautiful spot for an afternoon hike and quite frankly my shins were (and are) still hurting from the hike up Silo Mountain. After the hike we got onto Interstate 5 and drove south with a brief stop at a rest area to dump the RV tanks. Washington state is awesome when it comes to that. Each rest stop has a dump station for RV's. Now it was evening so I was on the lookout for another Wal Mart to spend the night. The first two Wal Marts didn't allow RV's so I decided to get on the phone and call around. Well, every Wal Mart said no to staying overnight. It seems as though all of the cities around Seattle have passed ordinances against it. I finally found a Wal Mart in Auburn, Washington and stayed there last night. It was adjacent to Super Mall so last night I walked around the mall (what a waste of time). Today we plan to take the Jeep into Seattle and have a look.
View From Little Mountain
07-25-2012, 04:46 PM
Turned out to be a picture perfect day to visit Seattle ! I thought I'd wait for traffic to die down but my late start at 10:00 a.m. didn't seem to help one bit. I'm not sure how long we sat in traffic on Interstate 5 but I know we were all ready to get out of that cramped Jeep. It's actually hilarious to watch the dogs battle for the best spot as they share the front passenger seat. Seattle is such a beautiful city and first off we drove along the wharf area looking for some free parking which we never found. People were everywhere enjoying the beautiful weather along the wharf. I also wanted to visit the Space Needle so we headed over there and found ourselves a spot to park the Jeep. The Space Needle is surrounded by a large park with lots of exhibits and lots of things going on. We walked so much that my shins were burning once again (I hope this doesn't become a problem). I spotted a Peruvian band playing so we found ourselves a seat, took a break and enjoyed the music (I'm a big fan of Latin culture & music having been to South America 7 times). Lots of people came up to play with the dogs and several took pictures of themselves with the dogs (too funny). I was having a great time. Three ladies approached me and we talked for 10 or 15 minutes until they finally offered me their addresses and phone numbers. I guess I'll look them up later if I pass by their town. When I returned to my Jeep I noticed a guy leaving a building and approaching me. He came over and said "you're a photographer, aren't you ?". I said no (I suck at that). He said "oh, we wanted to offer you some of our free gear". We chatted, he went back inside when I noticed that the building was a large photography supply house. Hmmmm .... I guess it would have been a good time to be a photographer. We returned to the camper in more heavy traffic and spent the evening walking and reading a good book.
So now it's time to move on and I'm thinking I'll either head northwest for the Olympic Peninsula or into the mountains. Yesterday was such a beautiful day and Mt. Rainier was in full view. I climbed Mt. Rainier in 2002 and would love to return. Tough decision at this point. I'm off to hook up the Jeep and then I'll make my decision.......
Northbound On Interstate 5
The Dogs & the Space Needle
These Guys Were Good !
Mt. Rainier & My "Campsite"
07-26-2012, 03:20 PM
We decided on the Olympic Northwest for our next stop. We drove at a leisurely pace along Routes 16 & 3 as we moved northwest towards Olympic National Park. I spotted a sign for a YMCA, always a good bet for a cheap shower. So we made a stop at the YMCA in Silverdale, Washington and what a great decision. Their nearly new facility was so clean and modern with friendly staff. I got unlimited showers for $3 which is as cheap as they come. Afterwards we went for a long walk with temperatures nearing 80 degrees and perfect blue skies. It felt so good to be clean again ! We continued north and stayed at another Wal Mart in Poulsbo, Washington. I guess it was kind of a boring day.....come to think of it. Today we're planning on some peak bagging in Olympic National Forest.
Our Goal - The Pacific Ocean (old photo)
07-26-2012, 03:52 PM
Very nice adventure. Just how well did your truck tow the jeep and camper? I'm assuming it's a 2500 Silverado?
07-27-2012, 04:57 PM
The truck does great........the only problem to date was on a trip (4) years ago when it overheated while pulling on a uphill grade for (10) miles in Utah on a hot summer day. I've previously towed it to Alaska (5 month trip) and also on a trip through Labrador / New Foundland (2 month trip). Yes, it's a 2500 HD but I do have lots of upgrades including 19.5" wheels and tires (14 ply commercial tires), Firestone Air Bags, and an additional leaf spring.
I was listening to the radio yesterday and the guy says on a scale of one to ten, today's weather is a twelve. I agreed completely. Wow, what an awesome day. The high temperature for the day was 69 degrees, and even cooler at the higher elevations. The skies were a perfect blue. I find that weather plays such a large role in enjoying my travels. Today's weather, well, not so good. Woke up this morning to a light rain and (50) degrees. Actually put the shorts away after our morning walk and got the blue jeans out. Anyhow, back to yesterday...........drove north to Highway 101 and then headed south for Mount Zion (4,278'), the first of two peaks we planned to hike up today. I don't know how I finally found the trail head after miles and miles of gravel forest service roads but fortunately there was a guy sitting in his car at a small parking lot and I stopped and asked him if he knew where the trail head was and he pointed to the other side of my truck and right there was a sign which said "Mount Zion Trail". Hmmmm........I parked and off we went. It was a nicely maintained trail and an easy hike up to the summit (3.8 miles round trip). The views were minimal from the summit but the hike was peaceful and quiet enjoyable. Next on the to do list was Mount Walker (2,804'). Mount Walker had incredible views to the east (Seattle) as well as to the west (Olympic National Forest).
After our second hike and summit of the day we drove north and west to the town of Sequim, Washington. We stayed at the Wal Mart last night and plan to stay another night since the weather sucks so bad this morning. I've been thinking about taking the ferry to Vancouver Island and it's only the weather forecast that keeps us from going there tomorrow. Rain is forecast to the north so maybe it's not worth spending the money for that. Also thinking of putting the dogs in a kennel for a day and doing some peak bagging in the national park. There's some great climbs there I think. Time will tell as to where we go next.........
Dogs Relaxing in the Shade on Mount Zion
Mount Zion Trail
Looking East from Summit of Mount Walker
Looking West from Summit of Mount Walker
07-28-2012, 03:28 PM
The rain continued yesterday until noon or so, the temperatures below 60 degrees. The mountains to the south (where I wanted to go) were completely engulfed in a heavy cloud cover. I could see to the north into Canada and the skies were clear but the Strait of Juan de Fuca seemed to be the borderline for the good and bad weather. So yesterday was a rest day in Sequim (pronounced Squim). Not much to talk about on a rest day.....the typical long walks, reading and a movie from Red Box last night.
Sequim is a very nice town. I found out that it's a retirement type community due to the weather...........never hot and never cold. The Starbucks was packed yesterday and almost everyone was elderly so it was there that I asked the question. One other thing about Sequim, it seems like one happy place. Lots of friendly people here, lots of beautiful smiles, way more than I typically see anywhere else that i travel. Must be a good place to live I think.
Today Canada to the north and Seattle to the east appear to have clear skies. Here it's overcast again and the mountains are still hidden in the clouds. Forecast is for some sun today so maybe I'll wait to see what's next. Sequim is not a place to just hang out and relax.
07-30-2012, 04:11 PM
Saturday turned out to be another day hanging around Sequim. The more time I spend here, the more I like it. I found a neat little restaurant in town when the owner came outside to chat about my dogs. She was so nice that I returned for lunch and spent the remainder of the afternoon there chatting with the staff. The skies began to clear in the afternoon and we walked lots (set my new record of 13.5 miles for the day). In the evening I met a shop keeper and we talked about the mountains being in the clouds. He told me to try and drive into the park / mountains and that it should be clear. So that became my plan for Sunday.....I found a few peaks on the internet that looked interesting and that was the plan..............
Saturday night we drove in the Jeep to the public library to attend an out door folk concert. With the perfect weather it felt great to lie in a field and listen to the music while viewing the beautiful Olympic Mountains in the background. The dogs were beat from all of our walking so they slept through most of the concert. Great way to end the day.
A Main Street Through Town
Wal Mart Camping
A Local Folk Band
07-30-2012, 04:34 PM
I was up with the sunrise Sunday morning and excited to finally get onto a mountain. I had plans to hike up to Baldy and Peak B, two peaks which were very close to one another. I started the truck and saw that I had less than a quarter of a tank of diesel. Since it was so early all the stations were closed so I decided to risk it and drove onward into the park. I came across a fallen tree above the road and I was unable to drive under it so I attempted to drive around it. As I tried to drive along the edge of the road and with all the weight of the rig, the road gave way and the right front of the truck dropped a good foot. If not for the four wheel drive I would not have gotten out of that jam. Since all my tools were in the Jeep, cutting was out of the question but I did have some rope and I was able to tie the tree out of my way. It was pretty scarey actually. The good news was that the skies were an awesome blue and the temperature was perfect for hiking. I spent the remainder of the morning lost as I hiked up several trails but never found my peaks. On my return to town the fuel light came on and we rolled into town on empty. I was back at the same restaurant for a late lunch. In the evening we went for a long walk at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge (along the Strait of Juan de Fuca). We ended the day at a county park (Dungeness Landing) where the dogs could have a cool swim in the Strait.
The U.S. Side of the Strait of Juan De Fuca
And Another One
07-31-2012, 03:09 PM
Hey there...just got caught up on all your posts and enjoyed your comments and especially the photos! Sounds like it's been a fabulous trip so far. I'll remind the gang to visit your site as well as I know they'll enjoy keeping up with your trip. Lisa and Jay head will be heading west for their 10th anniversary trip this Thursday. It's a surprise for Lisa so I can't tell you online where they'll be going until after the fact.
Safe travels and a pat on the head to the pups :) Love, Glo
07-31-2012, 03:55 PM
Just read through all of your posts, and despite the 49+ hours that we just spent in a car from SLC --> ATL --> Boston, this makes me want to jump back in the car for more adventures. I loved reading all of your posts. The pictures are great. Yukon and Montana look like the perfect road trip companions. Wilson is jealous :) Lots of love from me, Albert and Wilson.
08-01-2012, 03:47 PM
This is it! Living the dream.
Love your dogs! Bet they are having as much fun as you are. It's funny for me to see the wal mart camping, it's the EXACT same in Spain where we spent a while CarreFour camping (bit like wall mart).
Keep the updates coming, I can see the tone more relaxed now that your really into it. It takes a few days or even weeks to believe it's really happening, at least thats how it was for us.
Merv and Sarah.
08-01-2012, 04:29 PM
Hey sis and guys (Wilson, Lauren, and the good doc)..........quite pleased to see you checking in. All is good here in the Pacific Northwest.
Meryifwdc............exactly, it does take time to get accustomed to a new way of living.
Sunday morning we awoke to cloudy skies and 54 degrees. I decided to go for my planned hike / summit attempt, so off we went for a summit attempt on Mt. Townsend (6,280'). It seemed like this would be a fairly straight forward climb based on the topo map posted at the trail head. Unfortunately for me it wasn't and once again I was unable to make a summit as I was hopelessly lost again. I did get in about (7) miles of hiking in some of the most awesome forest in America. On my way out I picked up (2) backpackers in my truck and sometimes it pays to be nice. They had a great topo map of the entire area with all of the trails shown.....exactly what I needed and they offered to give it to me. Sweet ! But my plans were to leave Monday morning. Hmmmm........after lots of thought Sunday night and constant reviewing of the map, I thought, I need to summit something in that area so my plans were changed and I decided to stay for another day.
A River Who's Name I Know Not
Stop For Lunch
08-01-2012, 08:50 PM
Up Tuesday morning and had a look outside and saw mostly blue skies with a bit of white clouds here and there. We got a late start but soon enough we were headed south into the mountains. Of course we easily found the trail head with our newly had map and we were off on our adventure. The trail was sooooo steep I could hardly believe it. At about 5,200' we left the trees and entered into beautiful fields of wild flowers, every color imaginable. It was awesome. I finally made it to the ridge line with sore thighs and calves. Literally I spent much of the hike on the balls of my feet as it was so steep. Anyhow, I hiked along the ridge line and made my summits of Baldy (6,280') and Peak B (6,120') which had eluded me several days before. The strait was cloud covered and the clouds were rolling up along the ridge line. I began to get concerned that finding the unmarked trail in the flowers would be difficult so I descended into the woods where the trail was easily found. Going down was every bit as difficult as going up...........just a different kind of difficult. After 1 1/2 + hours of descending I was back at the truck and quite content with my day's work. I was tired and sore, and I returned to my Wal Mart home, took several Motrin PM's, and hit the sack early. Slept wonderfully. Below are some pictures from the ridge line / summits from my day's hiking:
08-02-2012, 07:16 PM
Wednesday was a planned rest day. We hung around the camper doing some camper cleaning and I decided to hit the laundromat. I kept glancing into the mountains and kept noticing that there wasn't a cloud in the sky. After lunch and finishing up at the laundromat, I couldn't take it anymore. I decided that since I had that map I would give Mt. Townsend another try. By the time we arrived at the trail head it was early evening and I started to think that it would be cool to watch the sun set from the summit. It took us a little over (2) hours to make the summit and I was so glad that I tried again. The views were phenomenal in all directions. I took my shirt off and soaked up the rays. We snacked on Gatorade and Granola Bars and just enjoyed the views to their fullest. After a while the winds started to pick up so I decided to head down to the camper. And once there, I decided to spend the night in the mountains rather than return to the Wal Mart. Last night I enjoyed the nearly full moon over the mountain peaks. Just so beautiful...........
We returned to Sequim this morning under cloudy skies and light rain. More errands and maybe it's finally time to move on........
View from Mt. Townsend Summit
08-03-2012, 11:09 PM
Ohh my doggies!!!! Miss them! Pictures are amaaazing! Million dollar views! Glad youre having fun! Stay safe!
08-04-2012, 03:30 PM
The dogs miss you as well pal I'm sure.
I guess my biggest news is that I found a place to take hot showers for $0.25. Hard to believe you can get anything for that. So after my last post I was off to get a shower. The remainder of the day was spent hanging out as best I can remember.
The following morning we finally left Sequim and drove west towards Port Angeles. I had plans to stop along the way and hike up to the summit of Blue Mountain (6,007'). Most of the work is done by your vehicle as there's a parking lot about 0.5 miles below the summit. I decided to take the camper up and spend the day up there since temperatures were expected to hit nearly 80 degrees. It never reached 70 degrees that high up so it turned out to be a wise decision. The road up was steep and narrow with lots of trees and rock walls to navigate around. I could see the temperature gauge on the transmission slowly rising. Once the transmission hit 220 degrees, I decided to stop for lunch and let it cool down. After we arrived at the parking lot we hung out there for the remainder of the day mostly hiking around, exploring, and I finally finished my second book of the trip. The truck didn't like the trip down either as the brakes were definitely burning. Once down it was a short drive to Port Angeles where we spent the night.
Today is (2) months living on the road. Hmmmm...............
Views From Blue Mountain
Dogs On another Summit
08-05-2012, 04:40 PM
I was up early this morning with plans to head into Olympic National Park and climb another peak but the road is closed this morning for the bicyclist, so here I sit at Starbucks waiting for the noon road opening..........
Anyhow, yesterday morning after my typical late start we drove into the park but this time we were on the main entrance road to the park, Hurricane Ridge Road. Tons of people up there as it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, not a cloud in the sky. We drove as far as we could and parked near the visitor's center. People were everywhere and it really sucked compared to my other days in the park. One guy yelled at me because the dogs weren't on a 6' leash. He was at least 100' from us. Oh well, just a reminder why I love being solo and away from the crowds. I decided to hike up to the summit of Hurricane Hill (5,757') which is a very popular hike in the park since there's a paved trail all the way to the summit. The RV was not allowed to go the trail head since the road is quiet narrow. I decided to hike from the visitor's center which was a (6) mile round trip hike to the summit on the hottest day of the year here (like 83 degrees I think ?). Afterwards we drove part way down the mountain, found a shady spot with a cool stream that flowed out of the side of the mountain. We spent the remainder of the day there relaxing and the dogs played in the small icy cold pool. After watching them,I decided to get my swim suit and lie down in the icy cold pool. That turned into a non soap bath which felt great. On the way down we came across a head on accident.....a van load of Asians and a Honda sports car full of teenagers.......can't imagine who was at fault there. Anyhow, we returned to our over night spot late that evening, and called it a day.
I've been thinking a lot about where to go next. I don't think that I'm going to Alaska now and I've been thinking about the Portland area although the temperatures don't look too good..........highs around 90 degrees. Oh well, one day at a time...............
Our Ice Cold Soaking Hole
Crash On The Road
Very Cool Expedition Vehicle
08-07-2012, 06:20 PM
So for Sunday the plan was to hike early because temperatures were expected to be in the lower 80's. Unfortunately the park road was closed to vehicles until noon for the bicyclist. Pretty cool idea but it spoiled my plans. We drove down to the pier / port in Port Angeles for the morning. The dogs got some swimming in in the Strait and we walked along the shoreline and through the old part of Port Angeles. In the afternoon I was back in the park and drove to the trail head for Mount Angeles (6,454'). I had no problem finding the trail head but I had a huge problem finding the route up. I swear I'm always lost in this park. I met another guy hiking on the way up and he decided to tag along. We went up the worst route possible, something that should have been a class 1 or 2 climb turned into a low class 5 climb. It was also in the lower 80's with no clouds so it was a bit of a challenge to say the least. The dogs and I spent the remainder of the evening parked in the park under some huge shade trees. We also bathed ourselves in the icy cold pool of water once again. We returned to the Wal Mart at dusk after a fun day in the mountains.
Large Tanker in the Strait of Juan de Fuca
08-07-2012, 06:35 PM
Monday turned out to be the reverse of Sunday. I decided to leave the dogs in the camper at the Wal Mart and drive the Jeep into the park for some more hiking. I got an early start and this time I was going to hike up (2) peaks, Elk Mountain (6,764') and Observation Peak (6,450'). The weather had changed drastically overnight and it was cool and windy, with intermittent light rain. The first hike was Elk Mountain which was about (4) miles round trip and a fairly easily hike with awesome views. Next was Observation Peak which really was just a run up the side of a nearby mountain. I was back at the camper for lunch, then the sun came out and it warmed up considerably, so we spent the late afternoon and evening back in Port Angeles walking and swimming in the Strait.
Still haven't figured out where to go next so I guess it's here for one more night.
08-08-2012, 02:57 PM
Yesterday turned out to be a well needed rest day. We drove down to the Strait and walked along the water and I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what I wanted to do next. I really was at a crossroads with going into Canada or going west and then south. I finally made up my mind yesterday afternoon about traveling to Canada and have decided not to go to Canada on this trip (at least for now) and to go further west and south. Not much else to write about for yesterday. Last night I did my grocery shopping since affordable shopping will be limited or non existent on the next leg of this trip. So it's almost 8:00 a.m. and the truck and Jeep are loaded and the dogs are anxiously waiting in the cab as they just love traveling down the road. So here we go.........
Port Angeles Log Mill
08-11-2012, 05:22 PM
It was good to get on the road again. We were all in high spirits as today was the day we would finally arrive at the Pacific Ocean. As we traveled west out of town we drove by the animal shelter and you could see all the dogs tied to the chain link perimeter fence. There was a dog every 12', each tied to a 6' chain. It just killed me to see it and after about a mile down the road I turned around and stopped to visit with the dogs. I gave each one a rawhide chew, probably about (30) dogs. It was funny driving off seeing all the dogs chewing away. It also broke my heart to see dogs treated this way. It stayed with me all day.
But we continued west and made our first stop at Marymere Falls. It was a short hike in and really they weren't all that much to see or talk about. We also checked out Crescent Lake and hiked around the rainforest. Pretty nice place.
And finally we arrived....the Pacific Ocean.....Day #65. Really, really nice with all the huge rock formations jutting up from the ocean. We were in La Push, Washington which is part of an Indian reservation. We were able to sleep right along the beach and watch the sunset that evening. Since this wasn't a part of the park system, the beach was wide open for the dogs. They had a blast running and jumping into the waves. At night we walked along the beach and people had campfires going....pretty cool. We had a great time camped here.
Poor Dogs So Sad.............
The Pacific Ocean
08-11-2012, 05:36 PM
The following morning we got a late start since the beach was covered by a heavy, dense fog. Once the skies began to clear we left La Push and drove for only (5) minutes before I decided to stop at Beach #3. This beach is located in the Olympic National Forest so dogs are not welcome. So I left them in the truck and hiked the 1.4 mile trail to the beach. It was just as beautiful as yesterday's was. I hiked as far as I could before large rock cliffs halted my hiking. Beautiful rock formations everywhere and even a waterfall at the end of the beach.
After Beach #3 we headed south along Highway 101 and made our first stop at Ruby Beach. More of the same but the dogs were allowed on this beach so we spent a few hours hanging out here. Next stop was at the Quinalt Indian Reservation where I was able to get a hot shower for $4. Ahhhh....felt so good. After that we took Forest Service Road #21 into Olympic National Forest and camped along the Salmon River. It was unbelievably beautiful here and so quiet. Barely saw another vehicle for the remainder of the day.
Yukon Washing Off The Salt Water
08-11-2012, 05:42 PM
Since it was so nice and peaceful along the Salmon River, I saw no reason to hurry our departure and we hiked and read, and hiked and read. I finished my third book of the trip and after a late lunch we packed up and hit the road. Today's goal was Aberdeen, Washington, a small town further south on Highway 101. We arrived here last night and stayed in the Wal Mart parking lot. I stayed here (4) years ago and as I pulled up I remembered that this is one of my least favorites. So here I sit at Starbucks knowing that I need to leave here but sure where to go once again. I keep thinking Portland but I know it's hot there so maybe 'll go for the Oregon beaches. We'll see............
08-11-2012, 06:07 PM
Amaazing shots! Dogs look sooo cute! I miss alll of you!! Salmon river seems nice!
08-13-2012, 05:58 PM
Woke up the following morning and decided to head south for Portland. I had a couple of things to take care of so it just made since. The first day was rather uneventful although the temperatures began to increase significantly as we drove east. We drove into Longview, Washington that evening and decided to spend the night there rather than continue into Portland.
The next day I woke up to find that I was camped next to a dog kennel. Oh my gosh it was unreal at 6:00 a.m. as the whole crowd began to bark together. Needless to say we didn't last long there and we were off to Portland, Oregon bright and early. I was surprised at the amount of traffic on Interstate 5 for a Sunday morning and also at how quickly temperatures rose. We drove into downtown Portland as I needed to visit an REI store. It's always quite an experience to drive this rig into a big city. The downtown area was pretty neat........lots of people trying to look different.......therefore they all looked kind of the same ? Anyhow when the thermometer hit 97 degrees, I'd had enough of Portland. Someone had told me that the Oregon beaches were very nice so we went west again. The highlight of that drive was the Krispy Kreme factory that we passed. Yahoo ! Got to love those doughnuts. Anyhow, we arrived at the beaches in the evening and drove north on Highway 101 looking for a spot to camp. Turns out that most good spots are marked "no overnight'' so we drove all the way into Washington and camped along the Columbia River. Woke up this morning to 58 degrees and cloudy skies........much easier to handle when living in the camper. And that's about it for now............
Leaving Portland, Oregon
Bridge from Oregon to Washington (Astoria, Oregon)
08-13-2012, 08:29 PM
Jerry, Saw you pulling into La Push Wed as we were heading out to the Hoh rain forest. We were camped over at Mora and were at Rialto Beach that night. I think we were just a couple of days ahead of you all the way to Portland. We really enjoyed LaPush.
08-14-2012, 05:02 PM
Hello Brad........too bad we didn't hook up. What are you driving ? I'm at the point where I'll talk to anybody who'll stop and listen. Maybe you just got lucky that you missed me........
Anyhow, yesterday I decided to stay along the beaches and also to stay in Washington state. I have to admit after spending over a month in Washington, I love this state. Most of the people have been quite friendly and it's definitely accommodating to people like me that are living like a bum. So, the weather cleared along the coast yesterday and we took a leisurely drive north along Route 101 (and a few other roads). We made numerous stops and visited several small towns. One of my favorites was ..... yikes, I can't remember the name of the town ! They sell lots of oysters there. Anyhow, I sure did like it ! Last night we camped right on the Pacific Ocean. The sunset wasn't spectacular but it was certainly a nice place to end another day.
We were up early this morning and the fog was incredibly thick. Everything that had dried out from our trip to Portland was once again damp. I felt like I needed to move on so we packed up and arrived back in Aberdeen, Washington this morning. I think we're going to try going east again and spend some time in the Cascade Mountains, maybe around Mount Rainier. Temperatures are expected to hit the 90's this week then they should cool after Friday so hopefully if I camp high it will be OK. I guess we shall see soon enough.
Sign in my Favorite Town...RV Friendly Town...Not Like Oregon
Another Sign in my Favorite Town...Undecided Today I Guess
Sunset on the Pacific Ocean Near Tokeland, Washington
08-15-2012, 02:41 PM
We left the Dodge and the Alaskan at home this year so I was driving a white Jeep Liberty it matches about every other vehicle up there so you probably wouldn't have noticed it. I looked around the Mora campgrounds for you. We headed back home from Portland Fri. morning.
08-15-2012, 11:33 PM
Cool to see you boomeranging around Aberdeen. It's gonna get hot this week. I'm headed to St Helens for the weekend. Sounds like your plan to hit Mt Rainer is right on track. I'd do St. Helens, Rainer, Chinook Pass. Then down to Oregon, Mt. Hood and Bend.
08-16-2012, 05:33 PM
Yep......I'm sure we saw plenty of those Jeeps.........
As Awkragt put it, we are still boomeranging" around Aberdeen. It turns out that after we left Aberdeen on Tuesday, we only drove about (14) miles before we made our first stop. As we crossed over the Satsop Middle Fork River on Route 12, I noticed a large parking area with a boat ramp and great access to the river. It seemed like the perfect spot for lunch and a brief swim. Well, we just left this morning. The water was cold but so clear and clean. It just seemed like the perfect spot for two water dogs to hang out for a little and it just turned into (2) days before I knew it. I was still questioning my decision to go to the mountains with this heat wave moving in. Neither the dogs nor I enjoy being in that camper when it's hot. It just plain sucks. Yesterday we took a short trip to Montesano and stopped in at Fish, Game, and Wildlife to purchase a Discover Pass. This is a permit that Washington requires to use their facilities. I'd gone without it for over a month and I finally decided that I was pushing my luck. While we were in town we stopped by the local coop and filled the propane tanks and found a used book store where I bought myself a few travel books. So we've just been chilling, reading (finished my 4th book of the trip) and swimming. And that's about it for that.
The plan now is to hang around the beach until temperatures drop..........that's predicted for this weekend. So I guess we'll see what's next. Take care............
The Loud Bridge Over Sotsap Middle Fork River
Sotsap Middle Fork River
08-18-2012, 05:22 PM
I went with Plan "B" and bagged the mountain idea and turned around and went west. We made a brief stop in Aberdeen (once again) and did some shopping at the Safeway (sorry Wal Mart...but your Aberdeen store sucks) and we walked around the old part of the city. It's kinda cool to hang out around a city and get to know it a little better than just passing through. In the afternoon temperatures were rising (remember the heat wave ?) and when it 84 degrees with clear blue skies, we were ready for the beach and cooler temperatures. We took Route 105 southwest and I swear you could watch the thermometer drop as we left town. About (10) miles outside of town we stopped at Bottle Beach, a bird watcher's hangout along Greys Harbor. The temperature was 73 degrees. After walking the trails and a brief swim in the bay, we were back in the truck and our next stop was North Cove, my campsite right on the beach, just north of Tokeland. The temperature was 58 degrees and there was a thick fog that left us with very minimal views. Just amazes me how different things are in a drive of less than (30) miles. I got out my new to me (used) book "Fatal North" and what a great read. I couldn't put it down. If you like books about Arctic travel, check this one out. I loved it and finished my 5th book of the trip after only (2) days.
Our Campsite....The Ocean is About 50' From This Spot
08-18-2012, 05:34 PM
We woke up yesterday and the fog had lifted a bit but I knew that the heat wave had moved east so we were good to go. We headed back to Aberdeen (again) and made another stop at Bottle Beach (should be named Tire Beach-check out the picture below). We actually spent half a day here just hanging out and walking and reading. Yesterday was mostly a rest day although we did stop at a car wash where I washed the truck and camper (hate that salt water), found another used book store where I purchased one more used book, and then the high light of the day..........a FREE hot shower at the YMCA (I'm going back for seconds today !). I thought that the shower in Sequim for 25 cents was a good deal but the YMCA in Aberdeen beats them all !! And it's a really clean and modern facility with friendly staff. We spent last night at my least favorite Wal Mart. Up this morning to cloudy skies with the possibility of storms all day. So, now what ?
Bridge in Aberdeen.... Hitting a Bridge is Always a Fear of Mine
08-20-2012, 05:00 PM
Since the skies were ugly on Saturday and, of course, since we're in no hurry to go anywhere or somewhere, we just stayed in Aberdeen another night. In the afternoon I rented one of the worst movies ever from Red Box (I'm beginning to think that all of their movies suck), and we took some long walks along the river, and of course plenty of reading. I think I'm finally at the point where television no longer enters my mind. I rarely miss it anymore. In the evening a bunch of cops showed up and arrested a guy right outside my camper door. Poor guy.......who knows what was up with that. We took our last walk of the day just before nightfall and were treated to (3) otters feeding in the river. We (the dogs and I) were all mesmerized by their activities. I know we followed them for at least half an hour while they fed on fish (??). They totally captured the attention of both the dogs. And that was it for our Saturday. I guess you'd call it a rest day.
Highest Diesel Price Yet...I Filled Up a Few Blocks Down the Road for $3.95 at Arco......Go Figure
08-20-2012, 05:30 PM
So the weather was looking awesome for Sunday so we dropped by the wonderful Abeerden YMCA and to take one last hot shower. As I undressed I could hear (not see) some guy in the showers grunting and groaning. Yes I was apprehensive to go in alone, but I went in anyhow naked as a jay bird. As I walked in, there was this guy that must have weighed 400 pounds. Yikes. He was struggling to shower himself. Ugh........not a beautiful sight and enough said about that. We left town feeling good and drove west to our planned destination, Olympia. What a beautiful city Olympia is ! I loved walking through the city, strolling along the walkways along the water, checking out the boats, and visiting many of the shops in the old district. Lots of the people here were like the people I saw in Portland, but in my opinion, a little more laid back. I don't know, I just liked Olympia.
Last night we drove south on Interstate 5 and camped at the Chelialis Wal Mart. I was awakened at 2:00 a.m. by loud music right outside my window. I looked outside and it was Marilyn Manson in his 1995 Pontiac. After about half an hour I couldn't take it anymore and I went outside to tell Marilyn to hit the road. Well, it turned out not to be Marilyn Manson but some want a be crazy kid with nothing to do but hang out at Wal Mart. I scared him to death (seriously) and he left shortly thereafter. Thirty minutes later, just as I was dosing off, three car loads of teenagers pulled up and were acting like three car loads of teenagers. Ugh.........that lasted for another (30) minutes or so. I finally got back to sleep and then at 5:37 a.m. (PST) my most wonderful most beautiful most awesome niece texted me from Boston (3) times. Ugh......not a good night's sleep. And that's it for now. We plan to leave today and head west into the Cascades, and more specifically Goat Rocks area to do some hiking. Take care.............
One More Olympia
Dog Water Fountain in Olympia......How Cool is That ?
08-20-2012, 05:58 PM
Haha, whoops! You'd think after living in the MST time zone for the past year, I'd remember the time change and wait to send a text or call until later. My bad! Apologies to Montana and Yukon as well. Continuing to love reading up on your adventures and checking out all of these amazing pictures! Safe travels (Lauren via Mom's account :)
08-21-2012, 03:54 AM
.......and then texted you around 8am and woke you up!....wow, such punks those teenagers were! those pictures are amaaazing! oh look, there's Tanner! I like the pictures of the big tires on the beach, and that open/closed sign! HA! dogs are cute as always! enjoy and stay safe!
08-22-2012, 01:38 AM
Hey there little bro....I'm just checking back in again and catching up on your adventures. Amazing, amazing photos....though you do need to ask someone to take a shot of you from time to time :) Must admit I envy your travels...reminds me of my days traveling with the Fritz family all across the beautiful USA. Glad you seem so relaxed and enjoying this trip so much. I'm going to look for that book "Fatal North". Safe travels and a pat to the pups! Love ya, Glo
08-22-2012, 05:51 PM
Quick update.....met some good folks at the Walmart.....they invited me to their cabin in unalaska.....spent (2) days with them. Now I'm in the cascade mountains south of mount Rainier.....will be hiking / climbing in the goat rocks area.
Don the donut guy
08-25-2012, 08:15 AM
You must have forgotten to post about our amazing hike today (er, Friday 8/24). Well maybe you are busy. I will fill in your fans, and tell it from my perspective.
My name is Don, and my son (Preston) invited me to go hiking with him in the Goat Rocks area of the Cascade Mountains. He also invited four of his friends. Three of his friends cancelled. So Preston, Andrew, and I left our place to hike in the Goat Rocks area (about an hour's drive).
Preston has been in the area before, so he is driving. He turns left at this unmarked "Y" in the road, and right at that one. (Does he see a mark on a tree? Are we on the right road?) Eventually we are on this crude, one-lane logging road. We are still climbing, but a pickup with camper is on the road, but stopped. As we slowly try to drive around him, he flags us to stop. Preston talks to this camper dude and discovers that we all want to go to the same trailhead, but camper dude couldn't find it. Ahh, that's because he took the wrong turn at the next unmarked "Y" that we have yet to see. So Preston leads in our front-wheel drive minivan and camper dude follows. I am watching the gas guage. Yes, we did leave town with a "half-tank" but the gas guage was in a real hurry to hit the "quarter-tank" mark. When we find a wide spot in the road, I ask Preston to pull off. We should be about a mile from the trailhead, but we could walk it.
Camper dude stops and parks at the same wide spot. He's been watching his fuel guage, too!! Camper dude introduces himself (Jerry) and his passengers, Yukon, Montana, Louise and Mathias. Then Jerry says these two (Louise and Mathias) are hitchhikers that he picked up. And Camper dude holds up the sign that they were holding beside the road: FRENCH STUDENTS. They are slowly making their way from Los Angeles to Vancouver BC, where they will be students (University of British Columbia) for the coming school year. The best part: They speak much better English than I speak French!
We had a GREAT day for hiking! Blue sky, great company, nice trail, and a good mountain. We hiked to the top, relaxed, ate lunch, took pictures and came down. Preston enjoyed sliding down a snow field in his sport shoes (skiing, sort of). Yukon and Montana enjoyed the hike, too. On the way back to the vehicles, the canines took a diversion (through the woods) to chase some deer. I never saw the deer, but we heard running that sounded more like deer than dogs, and the dogs were very reluctant to respond to Jerry's beckoning whistle. I honestly expected to wait 30-40 minutes for Jerry to reclaim the dogs, but it only took about half that long.
Oh, and donuts. I brought a box of donuts because I expected that Preston's friends would like them. Since there were only three of us in our van, I offered donuts to Jerry, Louise & Mathias. They were delighted.
We had a great day. And Jerry, I expect to see you where I work someday. Maybe this year or maybe next year...
Enjoy your adventures!
08-25-2012, 07:16 PM
Hello Don.........yep, have still been busy with the French students but I dropped them off on Route 12 this morning and they are were off for Aberdeen and then north. They texted me within (15) minutes of dropping them off and already had a lift at least to Aberdeen.
So, I guess it's time to catch up on my travels. I don't recall the exact days but here's what I've been up to. When I awoke at the Wal Mart I noticed a guy having problems getting his old Volvo started. I decided to offer a hand and we messed around with it and I decided it was his battery. A couple pulled up in their Jeep and offered a jump start. Perfect, it started and the Volvo went down the road. The couple stayed to talk with me about my trip, one topic led to another, and once the guy and I figured out that we both enjoyed antler hunting, he invited me to stay at their cabin near Unalaska (this town was on the way to Goat Rocks...more perfect). Once I got my rig set up in his front yard, he and I were off to do some elk antler hunting. After (3) hours and (6) miles of hiking through creeks, forests, and logging operations, we came up empty handed. But my new friend didn't leave me disappointed as he gave me a nice set of moose antlers that he had found in eastern Washington. They are piled up in the camper with (3) sets of Mule deer antlers and (1) Elk antler. So, that evening I treated them to dinner at a Chinese restaurant which was tons of fun. We finished the evening watching a movie and it was so nice to kick back on a couch.........yep, sort of miss those days (only occasionally).
My New Moose Antlers
Nice Lake Along Route 12
08-25-2012, 07:31 PM
The next day we hung out around the cabin and didn't do much of anything. I should mention that I snagged several great hot showers while I lounged at their place. Love my showers ! Since he had to work the following day I decided that I should move on and late that afternoon I packed up and hit the road for Goat Rocks. I found a nice clean rest area along Route 12 and we pulled in and decided to stay there for the night.
The next day I drove to White's Pass where I planned to hike into Hogback Mountain (6,789') to summit another peak. It was a (7.5) mile hike one way so we had a long day planned. The trail to Hogback Mountain is also the Pacific Crest Trail. It was a beautiful hike and once we reached the summit we had some fantastic views of Mount Rainier to the northwest and some nice views of the Shoe Lake valley to the southeast. Shoe Lake was about (2) miles further and since we were all (me and the dogs) hot and tired, we hiked down to the lake where I further enjoyed my day skinny dipping in the beautiful lake (nobody was around I assure you!....totally remote). Anyhow, we made it back to the camper that evening after a (23.5) mile day of hiking. What a fantastic day for sure !!
Ginnette Lake (along the Pacific Coast Trail)
Views from Hogback Mountain
(8) Mountain Goats Along the Trail
08-25-2012, 07:46 PM
Well, the next morning when we got up we could barely move. And I mean WE. The dogs and I were hobbling around and it was definitely going to be a rest day. So after one of our typical slow starts, we drove to Mount Rainier National Park. Just as I tuned off of Route 12 onto Route 410 (which leads into the park), I spotted (2) young hitch hikers with backpacks and a cardboard sign which simply said "French Students". Poor guys.........I pulled over and snatched them right up. Little did they know that I don't get many opportunities to have a conversation anymore, and I didn't even care if they spoke English as they could just sit there and nod their heads. Turns out they spoke perfect English and so a friendship was in the works. And we really were a perfect match. My plan for the day was to ride around the park and really to just hang out....no walking. They wanted to hike in the park so I took them to a trail head near Paradise and off they went as I stayed at the camper with all of their gear locked in my camper. They were so happy to have a safe place for their heavy packs while they hiked. They decided that they wanted to stay the night with me so we returned to my campsite at Whites Pass. We made big bowls of soup and they made us salads and then we watched "Into The Wild". That's a great movie to inspire the traveler. And our first day together came to an end.
I'll continue to update as time permits.............
Louise and Mathias
And One More
08-26-2012, 01:25 AM
The next morning we awoke to beautiful blue skies, so after our morning coffee and Pop Tarts, we headed into Goat Rocks with the summit of Bear Creek Mountain (7,337') as our goal. Initially we did well with the directions but as usual I got us lost. We took one wrong turn and the road ended after a few miles at a fairly massive cliff. We messed around looking for a trail head but to no avail. We did find a pretty cool cave but I felt it unwise to explore it without ropes.....it went nearly straight down. So, we turned around and as we were leaving we ran into Don, his son, and his son's friend. You can read Don's detailed report (above) on our day as we all hiked together and had a great day together. These guys were awesome and absolutely made the day for us. Without them we would not have found the trail nor would we have eaten the best doughnuts around. For those who follow this blog, you know that I like doughnuts. Anyhow, I hope top see Don again when I travel through Yakima, his home town.
After the good byes, we returned to Whites Pass where we had left the Jeep, got it hooked up, and we headed back to the Chehalis Wal Mart where I had planned to stay for the night. Louisa and Mathias had hoped to hitch hike north that evening but we were so late that they accepted my invitation to stay another night. I treated them to dinner at Wendy's and we spent the remainder of the night sitting in the camper talking.
That's Me (For My Sister)
Views From Bear Creek Mountain
The French Connection on the Summit
They Were Visiting From Oregon
08-26-2012, 01:41 AM
And finally the last day to finish my catching up.........today Louisa and Mathis were up early and they were excited to continue their trip north. I had agreed to drive them up Interstate 5 to Route 12 (Centralia) so they could resume their trip north without having to hitch hike on the Interstate. I was really, really sad to see them go. They were two extremely nice kids and I can honestly say that they inspired me in many different ways. It's such a neat thing to see young people with the adventure bug and these two definitely have it. They are two very special kids. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to meet them in Vancouver or maybe even France..........who knows. Anyhow, I dropped them off on the side of the road and headed back to the camper. They sent me a text message maybe (15) minutes later saying that they had a ride. So nice of them to let me know. I wish them the best.............
So the remainder of this day has been spent at the dreaded laundromat (you know it's time when you buy new underwear rather than go there), taking the truck to Jiffy Lube, then taking the Jeep to Jiffy Lube, cleaning the camper, and of course, updating my blog (this is really time consuming but enjoyable as well).
Tomorrow I plan to return to Goat Rocks...........a most awesome place to hang out. Take care all...........
Posing for the Camera
And Still Posing for the Camera
Don the donut guy
08-26-2012, 02:10 AM
Jerry, you post some amazing photos! Do you use Photo Shop to make them so great??!!
I am still recalling the delightful day that we had together. My wife, Julie, will get to hear snatches of our encounter now and then for a week, I am sure.
Today Preston is bicycling with a co-worker from the ShopKo pharmacy. He never stops moving!
08-26-2012, 03:53 AM
AMAAZING MOOSE antlers, id steal those in a heart beat!
08-26-2012, 10:31 PM
Thanks for the photo ;)
That's so cool that you met those young French students....they are adorable and inspiring! I sure hope we (the good 'ole USA) extends them great hospitality on their travels...it sure sounds like you did....Mom would have been so proud! (For those reading Jerry's posts who don't know, our mother was born and raised in LeHarve, France coming to the US after WWII.)
Fun to read the posts from Don, the donut guy! You certainly have run into some very nice people and that makes me happy....
PS Where are you going to put all those antlers?!!!
08-26-2012, 10:54 PM
Don..........I don't use photo shop and actually my pictures pretty much suck. But thanks. And yea, Preston and I had some conversation about bike touring. Nice kid you got there.
Glo...........check the picture below to see where moose antlers go.
So last night I hooked the Jeep up to the truck and did my shopping as I had planned to leave early this morning. Well, I had noticed that my Golden Retriever had started to scratch and bite at himself the last couple of days. The guy that owned the cabin told me that his dogs had fleas but I really didn't believe him. I guess they do. Today was spent trying to make sure I don't have a flea problem. First I took Montana in for a wash and he had fleas. Next I took Yukon in for a bath and she had fleas. So I took everything out of the camper and the truck, took my clothes and all the blankets and junk to the laundromat, and then set off a bomb in the camper. Ugh, what a day. The Wal Mart parking lot had stuff everywhere. I was quite the spectacle. And the show went on.................
I had been planning on moving the moose antlers onto the top of the camper so I got that done today as well. What an attraction that became. Amazing how many people stopped for a look or a quick chat. I finally decided to put a cable and a lock on them since they were so popular.
Should be gone tomorrow..........
Moose Antlers on the Camper
08-27-2012, 12:14 AM
those are the saddest pictures i have ever seen of these dogs, behind bars! :( awesome moose antler setup!
08-27-2012, 04:26 PM
Rain moved in last night and it's very foggy this morning so I've decided to hang out at Starbucks, do some research on mountains to climb, and get a late start, so here I am again...........whatever.
So, ever wonder what kind of an RV/ motor home that Joe Walsh of the Eagles uses. Well, here's a picture for you. I talked to his driver yesterday while he was at the Wal Mart. I took the picture before I knew it was a celebrity rig. It is really, really nice.
08-27-2012, 08:49 PM
I live in hotels, tear out the walls.
I have accountants pay for it all.
They say I'm crazy, but I have a good time.
Life's been good to me so far!
08-27-2012, 09:40 PM
Enjoyable read for a New Englander stuck at home in the rain this afternoon. I'm really quite jealous of your adventure. Good for you! Safe travels.
08-29-2012, 06:32 PM
Hondarider..........I hope you have the opportunity to travel like this. It really is quite enjoyable. I understand your feelings. I remember sitting in my cabin feeling the same. Take care.
Hello again..........so, I just couldn't seem to get my act together on Monday and before I knew it the day had nearly passed. Therefore I stayed one more night at the Chehalis Wal Mart.
But yesterday I woke up and was ready for some adventure. It was another trademark late start, then we headed south on Interstate 5, and then shortly thereafter exited on Route 12 and headed east for Goat Rocks. Just love climbing and hiking here. On our return trip with the French students, I stopped at a gas station for a fill up of diesel since it had the best prices I'd seen since leaving Aberdeen, $4.19.9 per gallon. Well, thought I'd stop in and top it off again but the price was now $4.59.9. Yow !! 40 cents a gallon in like five days ?? Well, now they were the most expensive. Too weird........Anyhow we continued east until we came to Forest Service Road 21. I found a nice spot here for a campsite, unhooked the Jeep and drove into the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area, headed for our attempt of Old Snowy Mountain (7,930). It was a great hike and once we were above treeline the views were magnificent with lots of scree slopes and large snow fields to cross. The dogs were in heaven chasing all the pesky marmots. Eventually we connected with the Pacific Crest Trail and crossed the highest point of the trail in Washington state. It was here that I tied the dogs to a sign post and climbed the last 300 or so vertical feet to the summit. I was surprised to find about 15' to 20' of lower class 5 climbing which was pretty cool. I was on the summit for maybe 30 seconds......the winds were blasting from the west and it was cold plus Yukon sounded miserable at the bottom yelping like a baby ! We hiked pretty much straight back to the Jeep, hauled butt to the camper, and called it a day with a little over 16 miles of hiking completed for the day.
I had another hike planned for today but the weather currently sucks so we shall see. We're are now sitting on the side of Route 12 at White Pass. It's cold and there's been an occasional light rain all morning. Might be a good day to hang out and read a book or magazine and wait out the weather. Time will tell...........
08-31-2012, 05:45 PM
So we did indeed make Wednesday a rest day. We took several long walks along the Pacific Crest Trail, spent time reading a magazine, and reading my book. It was also interesting to talk with the hikers that are doing the entire Pacific Crest Trail. The consensus seems to be that they average around (25) to maybe (30) miles hiking per day. That's pretty amazing in my book. Anyhow, that was about it for Wednesday.
On Thursday we drove about (6) miles to the east, all downhill, to the trail head (3,400') for Spiral Butte (5,940'). The entire hike was thickly wooded, unlike the other hikes that I'd done in this area. The dogs and I were the only people we saw the entire day. When I realized at first that it was entirely wooded, all (7) miles, I was a bit disappointed, but this didn't last long. The trail was so quiet it truly was unbelievable. Several times I had to stop to listen to the silence. And it was a great hike. Once we reached the summit (which was heavily treed as well), we hiked down about 50 feet or so and found a great spot for a snack and a bottle of Gatorade. The views were awesome to the west and we caught a glimpse of Mount Rainier to the northwest. I laid my day pack down against a tree and soaked in the sun and enjoyed the 70 degree temperature. It was amazing how good it all was. Seriously. The hike down was just as silent and again we took breaks just to listen to it. I loved it, and left the forest that day feeling very good about my trip, and my life too. In the evening I walked in my swimsuit to Leach Lake, leaving the dogs in the camper. I waded into the ice cold lake and washed myself off. It was so cold and so refreshing after the past few days. Can it get any better than this ?
This morning I plan to leave the Goat Ricks Wilderness Area and head south into the back country. There's waterfalls, caves, and more mountains that await us. Take care all.......
Views from Spiral Butte
The Silent Forest
Last Night's Almost Full Moon
Don the donut guy
09-01-2012, 12:24 AM
I love the silence in the forest! I like your photos, even though you call them poor. Maybe it is different by perspective. Here I am in my house, and I think the wilderness looks great. Jerry, you are in the wilderness (360 degrees) and a photo only captures a part of it. So you might be disappointed by the photo but the rest of us love em! - Don
09-01-2012, 05:21 PM
Hey Jerry, my name is Andy, Im pretty new to this forum, and have just read through this report, and have to say, that now I really want to get back to where Im from, which is on Vancouver Island. I you were thinking of heading up to the Island, take the trip...you wont be disappointed!!! Im planning a trip out there with my family for late next spring. Thank you much for sharing your experiences with us, many more miles and smiles, have a safe and enjoyable trip...:smiley_drive:
09-01-2012, 05:38 PM
Fantastic report! Thank you!
09-02-2012, 05:50 PM
Don......Yakima isn't looking good at the moment. Maybe you deliver ?
Hey...........thanks guys. Appreciate that.
So I'm somewhere in the middle of Gifford Pinchot National Forest (along Route 88) and all of a sudden my phone starts downloading text messages (what a surprise that was) so I thought I'd pull over and check messages and then I thought what the hell, I'll post a quick update.
I've been doing a bunch of hiking and peak bagging, and having a blast. I think I've hit three more summits since my last post. I also did one of the biggest bonehead things that I've done for quite some time......... the vehicles are currently limping their way towards Portland. Since everything is still held together, I decided not to freak, drive slowly, and continue onward with my plans. Today we're going to Indian Heaven Wilderness Area and we plan to hike up to the summit of Sawtooth Mountain, and tomorrow we'll hit Bird Mountain and Lemei Rock.
09-04-2012, 07:34 PM
OK Jerry, I just spent an hour reading your last 40 days' of posts. Sounds like you made the right decision back in the spring. Keep up the blogs and especially those great pictures for those of us not on the road. I tried to get B to look at RVs to no avail. Take your time getting back and enjoy the journey. I also sent you an email earlier today.
09-04-2012, 09:29 PM
Hey Ed........got it.
So.....let's see....since my latest postings, here's what's up...........
On the 31st of August, I left White Pass, headed west and stopped in at the Forest Service Ranger Station in Randle, Washington to pick up another access permit. Great people there and they didn't charge and they gave me stickers for both of my vehicles. Turns out that my National Parks Pass covered these fees. Awesome as I hate buying passes. I bought a very useful topographic map of the entire area for $6. Then we drove south down a different Forest Service Road 21 and found a nice spot to spend the night in Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Nice relaxing day and nothing more than that.
The following morning we were up early and on the road to Potato Hill (5,387') for a back country hike. This little volcano is located right on the boundary with the Yakima Indian Reservation. It was a short hike in along the Pacific Crest Trail and then about a half mile of bush wacking through Huckleberry bushes and spruces to reach the summit. I spoke with a bear hunter at the base of the mountain and he told me that the biggest black bear that he'd ever seen (he estimated 400 pounds) lived in the area. Once I got to the top I began to see huge plies of bear scat (the biggest I've ever seen) everywhere. I never saw the bear but no doubt he was around. The views were good and it was a nice way to spend the morning doing an easy, short climb / hike.
From there we took several more forest service roads and ended up at Horseshoe Lake to climb Green Mountain (5,107'). Parking was an issue here so I had to unhook the Jeep. Well, I got distracted and forgot to clip the hitch while I was moving the Jeep. The hitch feel forward and I proceeded to drive over top of it. Ugh. Huge big deal.........but I was able to to remove the bolts and get the hitch off, and then I could move the Jeep from the middle of the roadway. After a little hammering and what not, I reinstalled it although the metal had ripped apart in two different places. Fortunately it wasn't bent badly so I was still able to tow with it. I decided not to cancel my plans and we spent the afternoon hiking up to the summit of Green Mountain. Great views and you could see five different volcanoes from the summit. Unfortunately I forgot my camera so no pictures from there. We returned to the trail head, took a dip in Horseshoe Lake, and then drove down Forest Service Road 88 and camped in the National Forest once again.
Big Bear Scat
Always Beautiful Skies
09-04-2012, 09:44 PM
The next day (September 2nd), we were on the road by 10:00 a.m. and continued south to Sawtooth Mountain (5,250'). This was another short hike, maybe like (3) miles to the summit. And once again we were hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail head was located in a huge Huckleberry patch and apparently this is a really big deal for the local people. One side of the road is for Indians to pick on only and the other side was for everybody else. Interesting to see the segregation of pickers. And this was the only time I saw law enforcement in the national forest (twice there) so I think they're serious about this whole segregation thing. Well I wasn't interested in Huckleberries so I hiked on to the mountain. Sawtooth Mountain is really rocky so finding a way to the summit was difficult. I climbed one rock spire (after tying the dogs up) to find out that there was another point higher up. So I down climbed and made my way there. Once again I tied the dogs up and scrambled to the summit of Sawtooth Mountain. Lots of fun. We spent the evening camped in Indian Heaven Wilderness Area. Great day for sure.
I'll add pictures and continue update as time allows..........
Handshake Agreement With the Federal Government ??
Posted Along the Road
09-05-2012, 01:20 AM
And finally the last day of hiking in Gifford Pinochet National Park. We got another early start on another beautiful day. It was only a short drive to the trail head to Lemei Rock (5,926'). As the name implies, it's a huge rock wall and was a blast to climb. After about (4) miles of hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail we took a side trail to the bottom of the rock wall. There were (2) chutes leading up to the crest and I chose the easier of the two which was furthest from the summit.The dogs did great on the way up but once we got to the ridge, it was much too sharp for them to go all the way. I tied them off and scrambled across the knife ridge line until I made the summit. The scrambling wasn't too bad but a fall would have really sucked. I didn't stay long since the dogs were waiting but once we made it down, we laid down next to a snowfield and enjoyed the beautiful day. After a short nap we were back on the trail and headed for the camper. We made a brief stop at Cultus Lake so the dogs could have a swim. Once we got to the truck I decided that I also needed a swim so on the way to our next campsite, I stopped at South Prairie Lake and washed off. That night we camped next to the volcano fields. Another great day !
Lemei Rock Summit
The Dogs in Cultus Lake
09-05-2012, 01:27 AM
OK all caught up. Today we are hanging out in Hood River, Oregon. My first stop was at a welding shop. They agreed to repair my trailer hitch so that worked out great. In addition I had lots of errands to run here. Since I arrived this afternoon I've been able to get my grocery shopping done at Wal Mart and Safeway, fill up with diesel and fill both of the propane tanks, purchase a few gifts and get them mailed, and whatever else needed to be done. Time to chill out this evening. The welder is allowing me to stay in his yard tonight so I've got that covered as well. But oh man it's hot here....like 85 degrees. Second time in Oregon and both times too hot for my liking. Hmmmm...........
At the Welding Shop
Cool Van at Wal Mart
09-05-2012, 04:20 PM
So...........one last post and a few more pictures before I hit the mountains this morning. The welder did a great job repairing my trailer hitch and also did a few adjustments to my camper stairway platform. All for a mere $70. Since yesterday was my birthday I decided to clean things up a bit and go out for dinner. I drove the truck over to the car wash and did the high pressure thing to the truck and camper. Looking good although I did drive over some newly painted yellow lines and the left side of my rig is a bit yellow. Anyhow, we then we drove to McDonalds where I had my birthday dinner. Every time I eat there (very, very, very rarely) I always say never again. By then it was late enough to head back to the welder's yard and set up camp. And here we are now having a coffee at Starbucks. I'll be leaving shortly for the Mount Hood area. Temperatures are expected to soar around here this week so I think I'll camp high and play in the mountains. I've got to be in Portland on the 11th to pick up a friend. Looking forward to the company.
This Was the Wrong Peak I climbed on Sawtooth Mountain
Another Ridgeline Shot on Lemei Rock
Mushroom on the Pacific Crest Trail
Evening Sky in Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Driving into Hood River, Oregon
Don the donut guy
09-06-2012, 04:05 AM
Happy Birthday, Jerry!
It looks like Sawtooth Mtn has some really dicey climbing! Glad you are OK.
Deliver donuts? Uh, we deliver like 5 miles, but you are about 150 miles from me at the moment!! Sorry, pal.
09-06-2012, 05:59 PM
I just spent my lunch hour reading your thread Jerry.
Made me feel like I was right there riding shotgun with you.
Great pics and your dogs are beautiful.
Happy birthday and safe travels. Looking forward to your updates.
Regards from sunny South Florida.
09-06-2012, 06:43 PM
Quick update.....standing on top of lookout mountain (6,525'). The dogs & I just hiked 5.5 miles to the summit. Amazing views...can see 5 volcanoes at the moment and forever to the east. Thankful to be here on this wonderful day..........
09-09-2012, 09:09 PM
Thanks TwinCruiser and anyone that has commented. Appreciated.
Woke up this morning on the side of Mount Hood with plans to hike up to the summit of Devil Peak. It was cold and raining, and that was all I needed to get me off the mountain. I'm tired. So here I sit at a Starbucks just east of Portland enjoying the day. Anyhow, this is what we've been up to since posting last time in Hood River, Oregon.
September 5th..........we completed all of errands by 2:00 p.m. and headed south on Route 35 for Mount Hood National Forest. First stop was the ranger station to pick up a trail map. I've decided that I'm tired of being lost all the time so I plan to get trail maps for now on. We drove further south into the national forest and camped at a spot that the ranger told me about. It turned out to be perfect......Little John Snow Park. It was free (most important), had a picnic table and a fire pit. It was so good that we spent three nights there. And that evening I made my first fire of the trip. It's been so dry that I'm always concerned with starting a forest fire. Just not worth the risk (usually). I cooked up a bunch of sausages and the (3) of us pigged out. I'm not so sure that the dogs tasted them but they sure were happy with my choice for dinner. We slept well that night.
09-09-2012, 09:19 PM
The following morning we drove south a few miles and parked at the trail head for Lookout Mountain (the mountain top I posted from previously). I thought it was going to be a short hike based on the map but with all the switchbacks on the trail it turned into a 5.5 mile hike. It was well worth the effort due to the incredible views combined with the great weather. We spent an hour lounging up there alone before heading down the trail. There were signs of Elk everywhere so we spent nearly an hour searching for antlers. Nothing once again. I needed another dip in a river or lake, and with the East Fork of Hood River being across the road, we jumped in the Jeep and drove through the campgrounds to a private spot for a swim & cleansing. The water was sooooo cold my toes froze (literally). But once I was dried off I felt great. Back to the campsite, some reading, a few short walks, and another day had passed us by.
09-09-2012, 09:29 PM
Up this morning with something other than a mountain top on my mind. Another short drive brought us to the trail head for Tamanawas Falls. This place is super popular so I wanted to get there early enough to miss the crowds but not so early that I would freeze my butt off (the mornings have been cold lately). Pulled into the parking area and nobody was there yet. Perfect ! After a short two mile hike along a beautiful creek we reached the falls. It was awesome. Unfortunately my pictures show no scale but they are 125' high and loud. It was pretty cool too because you can hike around the back of the waterfalls for a different view. We probably spent about an hour there taking it all in, and climbing around acting like a 5 year old or something. The change from a mountain top was well needed (I think). On the return trip to the Jeep, the dogs were in and out of the creek. The remainder of the day was spent like many others, reading and short walks in the forest.
The following day was very uneventful. We drove to Timberline Ridge and checked out the lodge and I bought me a tee shirt at the gift shop. Then we drove to the trail head where we spent last night. And the trip goes on..............
09-11-2012, 04:53 PM
Not much going on the past few days. I've been in Portland, Oregon resting, I guess you could say. I'd hiked and climbed so much that I had sores that needed healing so the rest time is good. I had planned to stay at the local Wal Mart for a few nights but once again city ordinances would not allow it. I decided to walk the dogs before leaving and on our walk we passed by a Camping World store. I stopped in to see if they had any ideas and they said that I was welcome to stay in their lot. Wonderful people here.....they even hooked me up with electricity and let me use their dump station...all for free. Funny how sometimes things work out when it seems like they just can't. So I spent the last (2) nights at their place. Now it's time to move on.........
09-12-2012, 11:40 PM
I had planned to check out the lava caves in Gifford Pinchot National Forest while I was in Washington but I missed them so I decided to return to Washington to see what I missed. It was driving me nuts that I'd bypassed them. The drive from Portland to the caves along the Columbia River was beautiful and I didn't arrive back to the national forest until it was almost dark. Since I had been here last week large forest fires had spread along the southern side of Mount Adams. The sky was black and grey from all the smoke and the fire fighters were everywhere.
Up this morning to an absolutely beautiful day and we took a short drive to (2) different cave systems. It was a little disappointing but still worth the effort. Afterwards we drove to a small lake along Route 14 and swam for a bit and had lunch. This lake was actually warm compared to most of the stuff that I've been in recently. The remainder of the day was spent hanging out in Hood River, Oregon once again. Now we're headed south through the Cascades.
Today was the first day that I've noticed that the foliage is beginning to change here. And the days have shortened considerably. Fall is beginning in the Pacific Northwest..............
09-13-2012, 02:20 PM
Hey there Jerry! I've been following your trip reports for a while now, and just have to say...I'm really homesick now...LOL! I was born in Vancouver, B.C., and moved out the the great No. Eastern part of New York with my parents nearly 30 yrs ago. Now that my kids are in there teens, I'm hoping to take the family on a trip next spring to show them where I'm from, and your trip reports have been really helpful in making it possible...so with that, I thank you...
Thanks again, Andy
09-13-2012, 04:01 PM
Great updates, thanks for sharing!
Mathias and Louise
09-14-2012, 02:18 AM
Sorry for the late answer, but we've been kind of busy since we left you. Our trip went perfectly well, we arrived in Lake Quinault pretty soon and slept in Hoh Rain Forest in the evening. We hiked there in the morning then hiked again on the beach, to sleep in Port Angeles. For there we went to Hurricane Ridge to do a wonderful hike of about 10 miles. We spent the night in Sequim before joining Seattle the day after, where we visited, and slept-in before our final destination : Vancouver. Since then, everything went well, the city and the university is great but we don't have much time for ourselves.
You remain one of our best memories, and we hope that you're still enjoying your trip (we didn't have time to read your blog yet). Let us know when you're coming up to Vancouver, we'll be so happy to catch up with you... and the dogs!
Louise & Mathias
PS: we couldn't upload any pictures, so send us your email so that you can post them yourself ;)
09-14-2012, 10:51 PM
Louise & Mathias........thanks for those kind words. I sent you my my email by private message. I would love to see your pictures. Thanks for that and I wish you achieve all your dreams.........I'll see you in France though !!
Andy, Jay.........glad that you can enjoy the journey with me.
After leaving Hood River we drove south and ended up staying at the same snow park that I stayed at last week. The next morning we drove to the trail head of Frog Lake Buttes (5,294') where I planned to hike up to the summit of my 23rd peak on this trip. Wow, no wonder I've been sore here and there, and just about everywhere. After another struggle to actually find the trail head I found a spot to leave the rig and we were on our way. Well, it was only about a (2) mile hike to the summit with about 1,400' of elevation gain. It was a pretty quick hike and the summit was really boring. Turns out that there was a big tower on the top with a gravel road up the east side of the mountain. Plus it was tree covered so there were no views. Yep, it pretty much sucked. We made a quick retreat and planned to swim in Frog Lake but that sucked too. Left there, took a short drive and camped at another snow park. It was excellent for camping and of course free.
The Boring Summit........
09-14-2012, 11:06 PM
So today was the day to drive into Bend, Oregon. We've been driving quite leisurely and made several stops along the way. It's so odd to be on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. Everything is desert like now.......and hot. It hit 90 degrees this afternoon so I'm not liking that too much. We made a stop at this cool rest area along a 300' deep gorge. While I was having my lunch a bunch of antique cars started to pull into the lot. And they just kept on coming.......I'd say maybe a 100 or so. That was pretty neat to check out the cars. After lunch we took a drive to Smith Rocks. That's a big climbing site, very well known amongst climbers. It was so hot that we didn't even stay. I did take a few pictures but that was about it. And here we are in Bend, Oregon. Hmmm.......not sure what is next. I'd like to climb one of the Sisters (big mountains east of here....all over 10,000'). We shall see........take care all.
09-15-2012, 04:46 PM
Sitting at a Starbucks this morning having a cup of coffee and trying to figure out where to go next. After yesterday's 90 degrees I think it's back to the mountains for sure.
We spent yesterday late afternoon walking around the downtown district in Bend and then in the evening drove a little further south to the Mill District. It was a pretty neat shopping area and it had an REI store. I stopped in and told them that I was disappointed with the hiking shoes that I bought in Portland so they replaced them with a nicer shoe and I only paid the difference. You've got to love REI's policy of 100% satisfaction. Then we had a late night dinner at a sushi place. One of the best meals I've had for a while. Arrived at the Wal Mart late and spent the night there. It was great because the overhead lights were out so it was dark ! Woke up this morning and the first thing I saw was a sign saying that overnight RV camping is prohibited. Yikes.
Cycling beer wagons in Bend ??
My Dinner (LOL)
09-19-2012, 01:03 AM
Quick update.....sitting on the beach watching the sun set at gold beach, Oregon. Will update the blog when the opportunity presents itself. All well here.....
09-19-2012, 08:30 PM
So here I am sitting in a Starbucks in Crescent City, California (wishing I had spent more time in Oregon but oh well....) and here's my update:
On Saturday we left Bend, Oregon and headed back into the Cascade Mountains to hike up to the summit of Mount Bachelor (9,065'). On the way there we noticed something going on at one of the snow parks so we stopped thinking that it might be an outdoor concert. Turns it was the USA Cycling National Championships for mountain bikes. So we hung around there for a bit and we moved on once the top 10 had finished racing. The next stop was Mount Bachelor. It was a pretty hike to the summit and we had some great views of the Sisters Mountains to the north. That night we found the most peaceful spot to camp along an ice cold stream. The birds were incredibly happy that evening and sang well into the darkness. Great day !!
09-19-2012, 08:45 PM
On Sunday we traveled south to Crater Lake National Park. Wow !! This place is unreal and I can hardly believe that I've never traveled to this place before. It's almost hard to believe that it's real. We drove around the lake and after taking in the all the different views of the lake and after finishing the circular drive, we stopped at Mount Scott (8,938') and hiked to the summit of one more mountain. More awesome views of the lake. I read that the only place that the entire lake can be seen is from the summit of Mount Scott. Once back to the truck we drove to the campground to check on the possibility of using their showers which turned out to be a great idea. Seventy five cents for (4) minutes. My shower never turned off so it was hard getting me out of there (haha). That night was spent at another snow park to the west of Crater Lake in Umpqua National Forest. One more very nice day in Oregon.
Trail to Mount Scott
09-20-2012, 03:05 AM
Incredible journey you have, its making me miss the PNW something fierce.
happy belated bday !
you have to do the rim trail while there at crater lake I did it in 82 I think (was as a teenager), not sure if they still have the ferry there & the cable car ride, thats fun to some degree for photo ops
my only suggestions since it looks like you are hitting all the good spots is to see the bridge of Gods, kalamath falls, & maybe if you go back north mt st helens alot of nice old roads up there
cant remember where in OR it was but if you're into fly fishing check out eagle rock & the river that runs by there, its all catch & release salmon fishing
I am green with envy :D
09-20-2012, 03:02 PM
Just caught up on the past couple weeks' entries and was glad to learn the trip is still going well and you're seeing such fabulous places. It sounds like you are experiencing some truly relaxing and peaceful moments through your travels, though I'm sure all the hiking has been a tremendous amount of exercise for you and the pups. I remember visiting Crater Lake with the Fritz family years ago. Gorgeous, take your breath away type experience! Traveling anywhere out west (particularly through the Rockies - US and Canada- always made me wish we had grown up out there instead of in the east).
All's well here with the gang in Atlanta....temps have dropped a little (low 80's) but looks like we're going to have a beautiful Indian summer. Love this time of year!
Take good care and a pat to Montana and Yukon....
PS Jeez, couldn't you have found something better than McDonald's for your birthday dinner?!!! We'll have to make up for that next time you're in Atlanta :chef:
09-20-2012, 03:22 PM
AA1Pr........thanks for the suggestions. It's looking like I'm done for Oregon for now. Two weeks was not enough. Heck, I was two months in Washington. I'm working my way toward Latin America. Glad you enjoy the postings.
So, on to Monday...........we got a really late start and didn't leave our camp site until after lunch. I think I was hesitant to leave the mountains but the drive down (so to speak) was very nice. Much of the route followed the Rogue River which is just beautiful. I made a stop at a state park and we all went swimming in the river. Of course it always feels great to rinse off, even though we just had showers the evening prior. We drove into the Wal Mart in Grants Pass, Oregon to do some shopping before heading into California. Sometimes I'm so cheap but Oregon has no sales tax and California has 7.5%. I bought $125 of supplies so it was worth the stop. I also filled the fuel tank and the propane tanks. The temperature hit 98 degrees so sleeping here was not a choice.
We went north for a bit on the interstate but quickly departed for the Coastal Route to the Oregon coast. The road (which turned out to be the wrong one) paralleled the Rogue River but at this point it was through an awesome canyon.....oh so wonderfully beautiful. The road began to climb up the mountain and I found a spot to camp that overlooked the canyon with just unbelievable views. That evening & night I sat in my lawn chair and watched the night sky develop. One star, two starts, seven stars, and then a billion stars. What a show it was !!
09-20-2012, 03:43 PM
So Tuesday morning was another beautiful morning weather wise. I'm beginning to wonder when the days will ever be filled with rain again. It seems as though every day is beautiful and it rarely rains anymore. We headed west and within a mile the pavement ended and the road came to a "Y" with no signs telling me where to go. I then thought about how I had only seen (2) cars between 7 a.m. and now, 1 p.m. I took the high road and knew I was in trouble (was lost again). With luck on my side a car came down the mountain within minutes and they let me know that I'd missed the Coastal Route by about (12) miles. Unhooked the Jeep, made a hairy turn around on a one lane dirt road, got rehooked up, and headed back east to our missed turn off. I decided that I was lucky to have got lost or I would never have found that awesome spot last night. The Coastal Route is a seldom traveled road, very steep and very narrow. Lots of nice views and much better than taking the normal route to the coast. We arrived in Gold Coast that evening and found us a spot right on the Pacific Ocean to camp. Took a long walk that evening along the ocean and also watched a bi plane dive bombing my camper for fun. Quite beautiful here to say the least.
09-20-2012, 03:57 PM
The plan for Wednesday was to enjoy the drive down the Oregon Coast and then visit the northern half of Redwood National Forest. We took our time and stopped over and over. It's such an amazing drive. It seems as though every stop allowed for an adventure as you can access the beach so often. Thanks to Oregon for that. At one point the dogs for a swim in the ocean but it was just too cool for me.....air temperatures at 54 degrees. The road changes completely when you enter California. It turns inward and away from the beach. That sucked a bit but I knew we'd be in the redwoods soon, something that I'd never seen before. We arrived in Crescent City, California late afternoon and headed to the ranger station for information on Redwood National Forest. I will post the remainder of my day in the next post......
09-20-2012, 04:33 PM
.....so this is Part 2 of my "yesterday's thread". I walked into the ranger station looking for a trail map and a few tips on some nice hikes in the northern end of Redwood National Park. He pulled out (2) maps and began telling me about some cool places that I could spend the evening. On one of the maps he drew (2) circles and said that there were (2) loop trails that I could take, short, easy hikes, and that I couldn't get lost. Hmmmmm...........I wondered what this guy knew about me. For anybody that has read this thread they know that I'm always lost on this trip. And I mean always. Anyhow we drove into the forest and it is incredible. The trees are huge !! We did one hike through the forest and it was great. Next we were off to the two loop hikes that he told us to take. It seemed fairly simple and the hiking was wonderful. We exited the forest onto the dirt road and then I realized that I had made a wrong turn. No Jeep. Well I walked down the road for a good ways and still no Jeep. By now it was almost dark so I decided that I had turned down the road the wrong way so I back tracked and walked down the road the other way. And things just got worse for me as a huge (I'd say 300 pounds or so) black bear stepped out onto the road right in front of me. What to do ?? Well, I held my ground and told him not to be a bad bear (I actually shouted at him). He just stared at me and after several minutes he turned and walked back into the forest. Thank goodness for that but now I too had to retrace my steps and head back into the forest to figure out where the hell I was. Well, obviously he didn't eat me and I finally found my Jeep just as dark had arrived.
The Crescent City Wal Mart doesn't allow campers so I drove to a casino that I saw earlier. They allow gamblers to camp in their lot so I joined some gambling club (??) and acted like I was a gambler so I could stay there. I got a $5 discount at the buffet so I'm hoping it was a good decision. I ate so much it was unreal........nervous energy maybe ? After the meal I returned to the camper and I never did gamble. At one point they came looking for me but I acted like I was asleep and they finally left. What a day !!!
09-22-2012, 07:19 PM
The next day we traveled south and decided not to hike in the redwoods anymore. Not sure why.....just feeling lazy I guess. So we casually drove south along Route 101. Our first stop was at a pier that the rangers had mentioned where we watched seals and walruses hanging out. It was here that I found out that I can imitate the sounds of a walrus really good. As we continued south we stopped at an ocean overlook to view whales. You couldn't see too much other than the flopping of a tail or the blow hole. It was pretty cool. Further down 101 we spotted elk in several locations. Late afternoon found us in Arcata, California. Not sure what to say about this place other than cool town with lots of young, homeless, hippie type guys everywhere. We decided to stay that night at the local KOA to get a warm shower. I never wanted to come out. It was well worth the $25.
The following morning was back in the shower forever. Afterwards we drove to Eureka, California to shop and get diesel. Another cool California town. From there we got onto Route 299 again drove east through the Coastal Mountains. We slept along a river in the national forest last night and continued east this morning to Redding, California which is where I am at at this moment.
The plan now is to go a little north and east and look into climbing Mount Shasta tomorrow. Not sure that I want to do it..........but maybe.
09-24-2012, 10:06 PM
So we didn't stay long in Redding since the temperatures were above 90 degrees. We drove north up Interstate 5 heading for Mount Shasta and the high country. We arrived there Saturday afternoon and I came up with this great plan to get a hotel room for Sunday and Monday nights. The plan was to watch football all day Sunday and Sunday night, climb Mount Shasta (14,162') on Monday, and then watch Monday night football. I'm really missing the NFL right now (and daily showers). I worked out a great deal with a hotel clerk on Saturday and that night we slept at the trail head for Mount Shasta. When I returned on Sunday morning the hotel clerk changed his mind and doubled the price (in line with the competition). Of course I was disappointed so I left town.....no football and no Mount Shasta. We drove southeast and spent the day in Lassen Volcanic National Park but made one quick stop to check out the Subway Cave. Much like the caves in Washington but much larger. Interesting. Lassen Volcanic National Park is a great park with great showers ! I had planned to climb Lassen Peak (10,457') since I missed Mount Shasta but the trail was closed due to trail construction. Ugh. That night we continued south and spent the night in Lassen National Forest at another snow park. Up this morning and we currently are hanging out in Susanville, California headed for Lake Tahoe............
09-25-2012, 02:13 PM
Wow, I like the most is Mount Shasta. It seems like a fantastic place and good for recreation and entertainment. I prefer to go on such type of places on vacations and would like to spend time in such superb places. These type of places make you feel fresh and energetic.
09-27-2012, 05:35 PM
(This is Lauren on Mom's account again :) )Love catching up on your posts and seeing all of the great pics (and a very, very belated Happy Birthday)! At least you didn't miss any good NFL action this past weekend, just a bunch of replacement refs seriously botching a number of games/major calls. It caused quite the stir, but fortunately the Falcons were unaffected and are 3-0! I'm sure you're thrilled, haha. Keep on living the good life and thanks for letting us all live vicariously through your amazing travels! Lots of love from me, Albert and Wilson
09-28-2012, 04:41 PM
Hey Lauren........thanks.........I picked up (2) hitchhikers in Yosemite a few days ago. They had just climbed a big wall and had huge racks of climbing gear with them. They jumped into the backseat with the dogs and I swear the girl reminded me of you so much......very, very upbeat and with an eternal smile. They were a treat for me.......just like you guys.
So, time to get caught up. All is well here as I have returned to Reno, Nevada this morning. Since my last posting here's the news. Starting with Monday (09/24), we drove south to Reno, Nevada hopeful that we could overnight in a Wal Mart parking lot. Once again we ran into city ordinances which forbade it. Our next stop was at one of the casinos but they wanted $45 for one night.....much too steep for this unemployed bum. We left Reno that evening and headed southwest for Lake Tahoe. Fortunately Tahoe National Forest began soon after leaving Reno and we found a great spot to camp for the night (although it was posted no camping).
Up Tuesday morning to beautiful weather (again) and we were off for Lake Tahoe. We chose to drive the western shoreline first.......lots of traffic and lots of construction. Not so beautiful here. As we progressed south things changed for the better and it was very nice with lots of forests. We had lunch along the shoreline and the dogs swam the entire time. From there we continued driving around the lake until we came to the big city with all the casinos and shops (sorry.....forgot the name). We wanted to walk around there and hang out some but I swear there was no place to park a rig like mine. I've never seen so many threatening signs regarding parking. So we left town and headed south for Yosemite National Park. We found an adequate spot just outside the entrance of Yosemite in Inyo National Forest for the night.
Up early Wednesday morning and we were in the park by 8:00 a.m. As we only had one day in the park it was mostly a driving day. We did stop in at the housekeeping camp and had hot showers. For some reason the guy gave us free showers (a savings of $10...sweet!). The only hike we did was Bridalveil Falls. I guess that the drought has affecting the flow significantly since there was very little water falling over the rocks. We also got the binoculars out and watched (3) groups of climbers on El Capitain. Amazing climbers !! We returned to the same camping spot as as the previous night.
Thursday's goal was to return to Reno which was only about (130) miles so we slept in, then just hung out doing nothing (I did give myself a very nice haircut). I decided on our way back to Reno to take a short detour and visit Virginia City, Nevada. I had no idea what was there but it turned out to be a real tourist trap. Tons of western / cowboy type stores in this little town.I bought a cup of coffee and hit the road. Last night we returned to the same camp spot in Tahoe National Forest.
And today, Friday, I'll be dropping my friend off at the airport as he needs to return home. As for me, I've said that I'll let the weather steer my course. It seems as though I may have gone south a bit too fast (although I wanted to share some places with my friend). So this afternoon 'm going north. I'm headed for Bozeman, Montana. I have friends there and I have an invitation to stay with them for a week (or so). I'm tired right now and I'm looking forward to some time on a couch watching television, getting up in the morning and taking a hot shower, just living the old life (kind of) for a little. I may hang out in Bozeman........my friends are climbers so we're talking about doing some stuff together. I'm excited...........
Montana in Lake Tahoe
Highest Prices Yet
Yosemite National Park
09-29-2012, 02:01 PM
Just read your post about the 300 lb. bear.....YIKES!!! I can only imagine the adrenaline pumping through your veins at that moment not to mention being lost again! Bozeman is sounding real good :)
Love ya...stay safe and not lost!
09-30-2012, 06:41 PM
Here's a few more pictures:
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
My Burmese Friend Goofing Off at the Well
Montana Helping With the Trip Planning
09-30-2012, 08:49 PM
So today I'm posting from a hotel room in Wells, Nevada. Since it's football Sunday and it's been almost (4) months since I've seen television, I finally broke down and got a room. It feels a little strange to have a place but I'm sure enjoying watching the games, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, and taking showers all day.
As far as travel goes, not much to talk about. Driving across Nevada's deserts on Interstate 80 isn't boring but it's certainly not exciting either. The scenery is interesting and the easy driving is enjoyable. Anyhow, we spent Friday night in a Wal Mart parking lot in Winnemucca, Nevada. Camping was allowed here and the lot was full of RV's. I decided to hang around Saturday morning and didn't leave until well after lunch. I found a dog while walking my dogs and called the owner. It turned out that the dog was owned by a trucker from Arkansas and the dog had put the window down and jumped out while the trucker was shopping. I spent several hours in the desert that afternoon along the interstate sitting in my chair.......did a little reading and lots of thinking. Last night I arrived in Wells with the sun setting and slept at the Flying J Truck Stop. And that's about it...........
Driving East And Looking West
Rhino the Escape Artist
09-30-2012, 11:47 PM
Great thread, been reading your updates since you started. If your heading back up to Bozeman your probably coming through Idaho Falls. If you do and have some time and let me know, I would love to meet up with you and shoot the breeze.
10-02-2012, 01:39 AM
Krazytoy.....I didn't respond earlier because I wasn't sure where I would land tonight. It turns out I'm at the Walmart in pocatello. Lots of driving today. I'll be driving through Idaho falls in the morning and then onto the tetons. I assume you're working ?
10-02-2012, 02:07 AM
Krazytoy.....I didn't respond earlier because I wasn't sure where I would land tonight. It turns out I'm at the Walmart in pocatello. Lots of driving today. I'll be driving through Idaho falls in the morning and then onto the tetons. I assume you're working ?
10-02-2012, 02:31 AM
Great Thread, Sounds like your having a great trip. I have to admire your energy!
10-02-2012, 04:09 PM
Merv.....thanks for your kind comment. Energy level is definitely low at the moment. Krazytoy...I can't figure out how to access your pm on my smart phone so I guess we'll miss meeting this time. Maybe when I go south again.....
10-02-2012, 06:21 PM
I can't figure out how to access your pm on my smart phone so I guess we'll miss meeting this time. Maybe when I go south again.....
Those damn things are not as smart as everyone thinks they are! Definetly look me up on your way back or if you need a good camp spot or two. :smiley_drive:
10-05-2012, 06:15 PM
Awesome thread and photos man! Been taking me quite a while to get thru all of it!
10-06-2012, 11:29 PM
Well, time to update my blog. I left Pocatello, Idaho and decided to take the long route north through the Tetons and Yellowstone. Once I left the interstate at Idaho Falls and began the drive along the Snake River, the scenery greatly improved. I've always come into the area from the east so this was all new to me. The timing was perfect for the fall colors and I felt as though I was driving through heaven. Once I drove further north near Jackson Hole, the colors had faded and the show was mostly over. It was still beautiful, just a different kind of beautiful. I camped that night in Teton National Forest along the Snake River. It was the same spot I always use between the Tetons and Yellowstone. I met a guy there that has the exact rig that I dream of. I spent the evening and the following morning picking his brain about his build.
The following day I was stopped at the south entrance to Yellowstone because of all the antlers tied to the top of the camper. Apparently you need to get a permit to transport and they need to be covered but the ranger gave me a free pass and let me through without covering them. As usual, the drive through Yellowstone was nice and I did get a glimpse of a lone wolf as he crossed my path. Wolves and bears are the best in my book. I exited the park at West Yellowstone and the rangers there busted my butt because my antlers were uncovered. I hated to throw the other ranger under the bus, but hey, what choice did I have ? They let me go on but warned me not to come back with those antlers exposed. Shortly after leaving the park the snow began to fall. I drove through some heavy spots and the ground began to turn white, but not the road, it was only wet.
I arrived in Bozeman, Montana early afternoon and headed for the Wal Mart parking lot. Oddly I hadn't heard from my climbing buddy for a few days but another friend in Bozeman invited me for dinner and the presidential debates. I ate, watched a little of the debates, and then hit their shower. So much better than the debates. Ahhh......The next two days in Bozeman were spent running errands. I did hook up with my climbing buddy but I decided to stay in the camper rather than his place. My other Bozeman friend offered me their vacation place in the mountains for the next two months at no charge (I pay electricity). WOW !! I accepted and here I am today nestled in a nice, little, warm condominium. After (123) days in the camper, it's amazing what it feels like to have my own place again. After unloading the truck, I made a pizza, turned on college football, and filled the bathtub to the brim. Oh my gosh.......heaven again. I'm not sure how long I'll stay here. As I've said repeatedly, the weather drives me. It's so cold here..........I think it was a high of 31 degrees today.
I doubt I'll be posting much while I'm staying here. It doesn't make sense. Maybe an occasional post to stay in touch with friends and family. And that's all folks........
Snake River in Idaho
And One More
The Perfect Rig
10-11-2012, 07:13 PM
Posting this afternoon from the summit of Lone Mountain 11,166' Big Sky, Montana. It's our 26th peak and the highest yet. Still having fun.....
The Summit Dogs
Really enjoying your journey, long may it continue!
10-13-2012, 01:19 PM
"long may it continue".........funny these words.
I have decided to return to Virginia for the winter. Several weeks prior to leaving on this trip I developed a hernia (ugh...bad luck). Anyhow, my doctor has been completely against me going to Latin America until I get this taken care. So I've been browsing Craigslist this past month looking for a place thinking that I would go home and get it done, but if I couldn't find a place, I'd take my chances and go south. Well it's been difficult to find a nice home that would accept (2) dogs but I think I did this while I was holed up in the condominium. I'll be renting the third (top) floor of a quite old farmhouse on a working farm. The price is right, there's plenty of space to store my stuff, and I'll be able to get right. So, yesterday we drove from Big Sky, Montana to Wibaux, Montana, just a few miles west of the state line with North Dakota. I thought that I would take the shortest / quickest route home, but I was pleased with myself yesterday when I came to the split in the road. I chose the long way, the route I'd never traveled before. That made me happy. I haven't lost my lust for travel, my desire to see things I've never seen before, my ability to suffer when there's an easier way out. I'm already thinking about hitting the road again, and I haven't even got home yet.............
Sleeping at the Visitor's Center
A Montana Morning Sky
And One More
10-21-2012, 11:45 PM
Hope all is well, havent seen any updates
Thanks for the great read and pic's. Looking forward to more when your able to.
10-25-2012, 01:05 PM
I'm doing just fine. I decided that I needed to get this health issue taken care before I go south. I'm a fairly active guy and it continues to bother me daily. I'm currently living on a 150 acre farm with a month to month lease. It's a sweet deal actually. And I'm scheduled for surgery on December 7th. I'm still unemployed (8 years now and I'm still homeless.....so to speak). I've also got some work to do to my camper (just ordered 2 new happy jacks since the old ones locked up when I tried to remove the camper from the truck). The plan now is to hit the road in February, 2013. Also looking to fly somewhere since I've got over 400,000 frequent flyer miles to burn. And that's all for now.................
10-25-2012, 03:47 PM
I just found your thread last night, wish I had known about it earlier and we might have been able to connect while you were on the west coast. Anyway I had only read up to page 8 so this morning I jumped to the end to see when you were leaving Montana! What a surprise to see you are back in Virginia! I hope your surgery goes well, take care of your self.
I've been in Torrance (L.A. area) for almost a week now, visiting friends and taking care of some camper issues. I ended up having to get a new inverter because my old one wouldn't run the refrigerator any more. The inverter company said it was working normal so finally bought a new pure sine wave inverter from a different company. It should arrive tomorrow so hope that solves my problem.
10-26-2012, 07:11 PM
Hey Vic......I was certain that I'd sent you an email letting you know that I'd changed my mind on going south but obviously not. I just couldn't take the chance. Anyhow, I'll be back on the road in a few months and we can connect then. Stay safe.
10-29-2012, 05:40 AM
I finally got done with your posts, sounds like you really had a great summer! We hit many of the same places, Bend, the 3 Sisters, Lassen, Crater Lake, Tahoe....I stopped just outside the East entrance to Yosemite. Glad to hear you got in lots of peak bagging! Smiley and I did another eight 13er peaks in the Whitney area after I met him in Mammoth, was a great but tiring time. I think my total # of peaks for the summer was 45. Here is my peakbagger list. ( http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/climblistc.aspx?cid=4354 ) I spent a week at a hot springs after I left there and got to the L.A. area. I plan on visiting friends in Orange County this coming week and then head up to the local San Gabriel Mountains next week. I just got my new inverter so will install that tomorrow. I plan on heading to the Salton Sea area right after Thanksgiving, and should be around there at least through the end of Jan. Hope you are back on the road by then.
10-31-2012, 12:43 AM
Double hernia surgery for the third time about a bit over a year ago... Life on the road becomes then difficult.
Hang in there. your buddies will carry you well on the Journey. Mine has.
Ara and Spirit
Don the donut guy
11-11-2012, 08:12 PM
I enjoyed reading about the rest of your journey! You're smart to get your surgery done and then you can enjoy hiking more (without worrying!) I really enjoyed the hike with you and the French students in August. Preston is leaving soon for a month in Thailand. Maybe we can connect next summer, if you're back in the Northwest!
11-28-2012, 12:20 PM
Don..........that would be great.
05-18-2013, 11:34 PM
So it's finally time to resurrect this thread. It's been way longer than I would have ever guessed. I returned to my hometown in November to get a hernia operation but that never happened. I found a fixer upper house and bought it for a place that I could recuperate. Prior to the planned surgery I took a medication for an infection that had developed while I was traveling previously. Well, I had an extreme reaction to the medication and it nearly killed me. I'm almost back to normal but after months of recuperating I've still got a ways to go. Hopefully getting back on the road will be a big help. Anyhow, this morning I accepted an offer for the house and we (the dogs and I) plan to be back on the road on Monday, May 27th. We're thinking that we'll head north to the UP, then west, maybe to Alaska, then south. We'd love to spend this winter in Latin America but I guess we'll just have to wait and see what we get into. There's nothing like life on the road............
05-19-2013, 09:22 AM
Good to hear you will be back on the road soon. Make sure to take 'er easy until you get that hernia looked after. I know they can sort of "go away" temporarily, but just be careful. If you want to get it done up here, I've got a guy, haha.
All the best,
05-27-2013, 02:37 AM
Tomorrow was my planned day for departure but a few issues regarding the sale of the house have come up. So now it looks like I won't be on the road for another week or two. Not such a bad deal as it's giving me some additional time to prepare for the trip. I'll be updating again as I get closer to departure day.
06-18-2013, 10:59 PM
Just read your thread Jerry, glad to see your about to head back out. I'll be watching for your updates.
I missed you by 3 weeks at Kintla Lake last summer, beautiful country up there.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.11 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.