Walking the Line

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



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?
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

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.

McGregor Lake


Our Overnight Spot at McGregor Lake

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

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.

Picture 326.jpg
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


Coulee Dam


Camping in Okanagan National Forest

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Walmart Adventure Camper
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.
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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

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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.............

Deception Pass


Sign Just Outside My Camper Door - Not Strictly Enforced

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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

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

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"

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