Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our Home for 6 Months

When we first came to the Strasburg Colorado KOA last October the trees were almost bare, and when we left in April they were still bare. So arriving in mid-August this year gave us a better idea of how the area looks when the trees and fields are green. We've had 90+ degree days, though, and have decided we like the cold better! We will be in this spot against the back fence until the end of September when the other workampers leave, and then we'll get our old spot back. We are treated to the constant buzz of cicadas all around us, and we see the bunnies we fed all winter still running around. Or maybe they are descendants of the winter bunnies! I look forward to feeding the birds again, too. In a way it seems we never left, but when I think back over the last few months, a lot has happened.

Our trip north last April included a visit with the Oregon Trail at Scottsbluff Nebraska, a fun stay in Rapid City visiting friends, and a shorter stay in Missoula also seeing former co-workers. We enjoyed our job at a campground in Coeur d'Alene for three months. What a beautiful area north Idaho is! A highlight was getting to see our best friends for 3 days in the Spokane area where they were camping. Our favorite couple of weeks were the ones we spent in Wenatchee visiting with our kids and granddaughters and some old friends from the years we lived there. Wenatchee is where our hearts reside, with loved ones.

Our trip back to Colorado was a good one. We saw lots of beauty. What a gorgeous country we have! We stayed in Baker City Oregon where we saw more Oregon Trail history, then journeyed across southern Idaho to Pocatello for a night. We took a different route from Pocatello to Rock Springs Wyoming, Highway 30, and discovered more Oregon Trail history and some incredibly pretty country. The drive across the bottom of Wyoming can be barren, but there is lots to see there, too, windmills, antelope, incredible rock formations, prairie grass. Our last night was spent in Cheyenne Wyoming, a scant 130 miles from our final destination. It was a long trip, nearly 1300 miles, and we wish we had stayed 2 nights in each place instead of just one. then we could have seen more in each town had we stayed longer. Our trip between jobs is really our vacation.

Well, we start work in another day,  on to meeting more people and having more adventures during our second season in Colorado! Who knows what's in store for us next?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Baker City to Pocatello

Well, I'm a little embarrassed to say I only took one photo today, a shot from my moving car, to capture this amazing edifice out in the middle of nowhere. I think it was somewhere below Baker City OR and before Ontario ID. We passed through so many long miles of similar scenery that I don't remember where we were when I took this picture. It is a huge cement plant, the sign said. Actually, it just said Cement Plant. I added the 'huge'. And there goes Mr. Keith and the 5th wheel down the road in front of me. (Click to enlarge the photo.)

We traveled 368 miles today, much farther than we like. We won't do that again. There was road construction everywhere along I-84, and lots of traffic around Nampa, Boise, Twin Falls. We had one close call. Mr. Keith was listening to the radio when a preacher came on whose name was Keith Wilson! He became so engrossed in the sermon that he missed a sign saying 'right lane closed' and nearly crashed into the big orange barrels put out for road construction barriers. I was hollering on the walkie-talkie and he swerved just in time. It's kind of scary watching a big 5th wheel swerve, believe me! But, God was with us and we were fine. Oh, yes. Keith turned off the radio.

The prettiest place we passed through was around  Glenn's Ferry ID. There are 3 islands out in the Snake River which the Oregon Trail pioneers used for their crossing. It was called, obviously, the Three Island Crossing. They would go from one to the other, making their dangerous trip across the river much easier. We couldn't see anything from the highway, and we couldn't stop with our trailer, but it was one place I'd really have liked to see. We also passed a sign pointing to Massacre Rock State Park, intriguing, but I couldn't find anything on the internet saying why it was called that. It was a resting place for the pioneers.

The KOA here in Pocatello is pretty and quiet. They only had a 30 amp site for us, but we're doing okay with that. They served up delicious soft ice cream cones to these 2 weary travelers, and we may try their breakfast in the morning. Since we are traveling to work at a KOA we received vouchers for 3 free nights at KOAs on our journey. That's a nice perk! Our next 2 nights will be at Rock Springs WY and Cheyenne WY, then on to the Denver East/Strasburg KOA where we'll spend the next few months.

Tomorrow I'll try to get more photos along the way and in the town of Rock Springs.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Oregon Trail

 This morning we left Wenatchee and headed south past the tri-cities into Oregon. We saw miles and miles of gorgeous orchards and grapevines, some desolate country, and, finally, the beautiful Blue Mountains of northeast Oregon. But my favorite sight by far was this one, real Oregon Trail wagon ruts! These are found a few miles east of Baker City, out amidst the high desert sagebrush, plainly in view down a paved pathway along the road. I am fascinated by Oregon Trail history! We did see and walk on part of the original trail when we were in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, but it had become a walkway and no longer showed the tracks left by 2 wheels. I can only imagine the bravery and determination of these pioneers. By the time they got here they were nearing the end of their journey and were weary and worn.

 On a high hill overlooking the original Oregon Trail and Baker City we found a wonderful museum and interpretive center. It was near closing time so we couldn't see it all. Inside there were life sized figures of the pioneers, their horses, oxen, wagons, a few animals, and even some Indians, as well as artifacts of that period of history. Here is one old artifact standing in front of a beautifully restored wagon!

 These two wagons are part of several in the typical circle, with campfires all around.

 The sagebrush, prairie grasses and flowers in this area are beautiful. I couldn't resist these sunflowers growing wild by the entrance to the road leading up to the Interpretive Center.

As we drove around the town of Baker City we discovered a common theme everywhere — the Oregon Trail! Even our RV Park featured wagons, buckboards, and other old west decor. Click to enlarge this photo and you'll see that we are parked right beside a wagon of some sort, planted with flowers. It is a lovely spot! We wish we could spend more time exploring this historically important area, but tomorrow we must resume our own journey in our "covered wagon"!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fun Family Times

 Our reason for returning to the Wenatchee area between jobs is always our loved ones. We made an overnight stop in Ephrata to see my sister and her family. Here 'sis' stands with her pitchfork beside her amazing container garden. She lives in a second floor apartment, but has made a wonderful vegetable and herb garden in a bare spot at the entrance to her building. We were very impressed, especially when we ate a dinner featuring many of the yummy veggies she'd cultivated. She even put nasturtiums and pansies in the salad, and they were good! Sis truly has the greenest of thumbs!

 The Wenatchee River County Park is our favorite place to stay. The beauty of the park is unsurpassed, and we've stayed in lots of RV parks in our travels. Here is Mr. Keith with our granddaughters, taking advantage of some of the park amenities. These 'Tractor" style carts provide lots of fun for the youngsters. Katy chose the red one, and Natalie took the green. Grandpa even had a turn!

The girls did a switcheroo and rode the tandem bike for awhile. It was a hot, hot day. We are thankful for the tall trees in the park.

Finally, to cool down, we waded in the beautiful Wenatchee River, right at the edge of the park. Oh, that felt good! Now, back to the trailer for a fire and roasted hotdogs followed by s'mores! It was a happy day with our granddaughters!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Few Final Idaho Shots

 I thought I would post a few final photos from Idaho. We have good internet here in Ephrata and a couple of hours to spare.
It was such a thrill to see this moose mama and her baby right near our campground on the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene. People kept stopping to look, and some brave boaters from the park got an even closer look. I wouldn't mess with mama moose!

 We took a hike in a very nice park in Post Falls. This is the dam on the Spokane River. In pioneer days there was a big mill and a log dam here. I don't know much else about the history of the place.

 This busy and curious guy greeted us at the entrance to the Post Falls Park. Guess he's used to tourists and hikers!

 I'd seen a photo of this building in a magazine, but had no clue as to where it was. As we were driving around on the North Idaho College Campus, there it was! The site of the college is where Fort Sherman was, the original settling of the Coeur d'Alene area. The sign says, in part, "Built on this site in 1880 by the U.S. Army, the Fort Sherman Chapel is Coeur d'Alene's oldest church, school, library, and meeting hall." It is beautiful! I love the red color!

This building is even older. It is the Fort Sherman Officer's Quarters, built in 1878 to help maintain peace on the frontier. The Fort was officially abandoned in 1900. As far as I know, these two buildings are all that remain of the earliest settlement. They are both now on the National Register of Historic Places. They are surrounded on all sides by the North Idaho College complex, which is right on the shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene, a gorgeous setting. We have surely enjoyed the beauty of North Idaho during the 3 months we've been here!