Our travels this weekend took us north of home to the Ione Washington area. Saturday we camped at Big Meadow Campground west of Ione. Then we rode the train on Sunday from Ione to Metaline Falls along the Pend Oreille river. What a great time it was.
Saturday morning we left home on a very foggy dark morning. Visibility was sketchy but we drove at a nice safe speed. The weather was suppose to break later in the day and eventually did.
Our camp spot for the night was at Big Meadow Campground. It is a National Forest campground west of Ione Washington. We have never been to this campground and did not really know what to expect. The road there takes you on a well maintained gravel road up to the mountains. On our way the fog started to lift more and then like it was planed the fog disappeared when we arrived to the campground. There are about 16 sites at the campground in two different loops. There was only one person using the campground so we had a whole loop to ourselves.
We set out to hike around the area. There are great trails all around this campground and lake.
We decided to head the other way on the trail past our camp spot and on another trail to the west of the campground. One loop is paved then other loops branch off of that trail. There was a lookout that you could climb up on and see great views.
We went back to camp and relaxed taking in our surroundings.
The next morning we packed up and went to Ione. We found out where we would have to be to ride a short train excursion a while later. We had some time before our train ride so we drove north a short way to Box Canyon Dam. We looked around briefly before we had to be back to Ione. We would be riding on the train above the dam soon afterward.
We arrived at the depot and got our passes to ride the train. The train has some enclosed cars, open air cars and a caboose. We choose to ride in an open car. The train uses a modern locomotive to pull the cars.
The train ride returned to Ione, we had a great time. We had a quick lunch then drove home. Another great weekend out with our camper spending time with each other.
When we returned home I winterized the water system in the camper as the weather was turning colder the next day. I think our warmer fall days are over. We still have other trips planed, so for our water needs we use water jugs. Sure the camper is made to handle the cold with its heated compartments but we still winterize it to be safe. So the camper is ready for colder outings now. We just have to wait for the next time we can go, soon I hope.
water and steel – October 26-27 2013
It was time again for the Fall Colors Rally. A rally we really enjoy going to. This would be our 3rd year of going to it. This year would be a little different for us as the caravan part of it from Winthrop to Leavenworth was not going to happen. That was perfectly fine with us as it gave more time to be spent in Winthrop, an area we really like.
We left the Spokane area on Wednesday afternoon and drove to Banks Lake and stayed at Coulee Playland Resort. Our plans were to originally stay at a park along the Columbia River but due to the government shutdown it was closed. It was the off season so getting a spot elsewhere was no problem. So we got a spot at the resort 20 feet from the shore of Banks Lake.
The next morning we drove from our camp spot to Winthrop. As we almost always do, we took our time about it. We stopped several times to find a geocache along our route.
We arrived to Silverline Resort in Winthrop Washington in the afternoon. We set our campsite up and relaxed. The rally group would not arrive until Saturday so we had a few days to hang out. There was one other couple who arrived on Thursday also and we enjoyed talking with them. I took our kayak out in the early evening for a nice paddle around the lake.
The next morning we set out exploring the area and looking for geocaches. As this was our 3rd time in the area we have started to explore more and more of this lovely place.
After our time hiking and geocaching it was time for some good cider. We went to the Methow Cider House just a mile north of the campground. We really love this place, its a great place to relax and sip cider. The owners are very friendly people.
We then went back to camp and had a great night at the campground. The next day was Saturday and the rally group would be arriving in the afternoon. So our plans today were to hang out and get some kayaking in. Joanne and I took turns taking Cody out in the kayak. I then went out for a long paddle around the lake. Wow, that was a work out. On our outings on the water we watched a bald eagle fly around the lake edge. There were many other bird varieties there too. The fish were jumping and the sun on our faces felt great. What a wonderful time.
It was around noon and the fellow truck camper friends started showing up. They all got the campers set in their spots and we visited with each other. For dinner we would have a potluck dinner followed by a great campfire.
On Sunday morning Joanne, Cody and I went for a drive west of Winthrop to do more exploring and geocaching. It was going to be another beautiful fall day. We had biscuits and gravy at the clubhouse before we left on our adventurers.
We ended up heading west of Mazama and north of highway 20. We took a forest road until it dead ended and went for a short hike. What spectacular views along the way.
We then returned back to camp and our friends. We got together and shared some leftovers from the potluck. Afterwards it was followed by a campfire and friendship.
The next morning it was time for us to make our way home. We stopped several times and took in the sites to be had. What a great time.
It was another great time on this rally. It was announced that the hosts for the rally would be stepping down after this one. We really hope someone else takes over being the host for it. We look forward to going on this rally as soon as the one we were on ends.
fall colors rally – October 9th-14th 2013
Over the last couple weekends we did two different outings with one love. The outings were geocache gatherings that brought some of us who love the game together. The love was time out with our camper, time spent geocaching and time spent with my family.
Our first trip was to Rathdrum Idaho where a geocache gathering was scheduled at a park in town. A nice park that we have passed by before but never stopped at. The gathering was just that, a gathering. It was great talking to local cachers about the game and life in general. When you all have a common bond it is easy to have time slip away while in conversations. We brought our camper with us because after the gathering we would camp some where. We did not have definite plans on where. A great thing about going out in the off season is that there are no worries of crowds and places filled up. Another is that we have a truck camper and can park dang near anywhere due to our size.
When it was time to leave we headed towards the east. We took our time as usual and found a couple caches along the way. Where would we camp for the night? We had plans on maybe heading up into the mountains. My mom called and said she might be at home if we wanted to head north and camp at here house. Her house is on waterfront and a fun place to stay for the night. So we headed north slowly while we gave her time to call that she made it home. However by the time we got to another place we like to camp she did not make it home. So instead we made our way to Farragut State Park in Idaho. We have stayed here before and it is a fantastic park. We would only be there for one night. So we got a place to park and then went for a bike ride to find some more geocaches and explore the park. This park is huge with many trails and rich history. Farragut was a gigantic navy station during WWII. We will be back to stay here again soon and I will get more into detail of this lovely place.
We had a nice and relaxed evening. The next morning we explored more of the park before heading home. This weekend was a short trip but any trip out is a good one. We returned home and worked the following week.
The next weekend our plans were to head west from home into central Washington. There was another gathering we wanted to go to on Sunday. This weekend was a no kids no dogs weekend. Just Joanne and I on this trip. We would spend this weekend exploring the little towns along highway 2 west of Spokane and take several back roads. After work we made our way to Wilbur Washington. We would stay the night there at a small RV resort along the highway. That was after we had a burger at a small place in town. Billy Burger was a highly rated place for a burger joint. The ratings were right, it was great. We loved the small seating area inside with the chatter of locals. Small towns, we really like them.
The next morning we had our breakfast and set out for a nice slow day of exploring. The weather was a bit windy and rainy today. Oh well, that is what rain jackets and warmer clothes are for. We drove around the small town of Wilbur exploring.
The next town west is Almira. We stopped there and looked around. It is a smaller town than Wilbur but not without its charm.
We then drove north of town away from highway 2. We made our way to the highest point in Lincoln County. There is suppose to be fantastic views of the surrounding farmlands. With the weather it made it impossible to see the view. We could only see about 200 feet away while up on the bluff.
We next made our way towards Moses Coulee, past Banks lake. The land is amazing out here. From sage brush desert to rolling farmland hills to deep gorges. We love it out here. During the summer it gets real hot but we obviously did not have that problem on this trip.
We stopped along the dirt road heading north into the coulee for a short hike to a waterfall. There still was a little bit of water coming down. I am told in spring it really cascades over and is a sight to see. Even with the small falls its worth the short hike. An oasis in the desert.
We then went further north into the coulee to Jameson Lake. This lake has great fishing from what I’ve read.
Next we found the old highway 2 road going up the west side of the coulee. It really is neat finding old roads that have been abandoned. The unfortunate thing was that we found out it is on private land. The state sold it to local farmers. We did not mean to trespass but there were no signs letting you know that the wildlife area turned into private land. We talked to a couple of farmers who stopped us. They were nice about it and let us drive to the top. Up top the road is blocked off.
It was nice the farmers let us explore the old highway. We love history and before long the road will be gone completely.
We then continued west towards the towns of Douglas and Waterville.
We drove around Waterville a little bit and fueled up the truck. We would be there the next day for the gathering. For the night we stayed in Douglas. A very small town but a worth while stop to see the old general store and church. The RV parking at the general store is nice with power and water. All for a whole $20.00 a night. That is where we parked for the night.
It was very windy that night with storms passing through. We were nice and warm in our camper and slept well. The next morning we set out for more back roads to find geocaches and to sightsee. The gathering was not until the afternoon so we had a few hours to spend enjoying the area.
After driving around the area for a while it was time to go to the geocache gathering in Waterville. We had a potluck lunch with great company and conversations. We met new people and reconnected with others we have met before.
After the potluck everyone went their separate ways. We went out to find a couple other geocaches before heading back home.
This trip was a lot of fun. We were so happy to have a chance to see the back roads and explore the little towns.
two trips and love – 9/21-22 and 9/27-29 2013
Our trip this time takes us on a journey to the Hiawatha Trail, the Trail of the Coeurd’Alenes and Wallace Idaho. We left work on Friday and headed east on I-90 to Montana and exit 5 off of the interstate. From there its just a few short miles up a well maintained gravel road to the Hiawatha Trail head. We stopped just a half mile before the trail head and camped for the night. We found a nice spot next to a creek and a beaver pond. It was far enough from the interstate that no road noise could be heard. A very peaceful and nice night.
The next morning we got up and made coffee then drove the half mile to the trail head. It was very early and no one was there. I took our bikes off the bike rack and prepped them for our ride. We had our dogs with us but they would have to stay in the camper as dogs are not allowed on this trail. That’s a bummer but we don’t set the rules. The time we would be gone would only be 3 hours and it was a cool day so no problem. So, we had our breakfast and walked around the trail head and read signs. We were waiting for a few people to show up that we would ride with. This gathering was with a few fellow geocachers.
Our fellow geocachers showed up and we were ready to start our ride at 10 am or so. The start of the trail is at the big tunnel, 1.7 miles long. Lights and helmets are required to ride the trail. We were all prepared and started our ride after a safety meeting with the trail monitor.
We made it through the tunnel, no problem. I forgot gloves for myself and my hands were a bit cold by the time we got out of the tunnel.
The trail is a wonderful trail for bike riding. It is downhill slightly going through a few other smaller tunnels and high trestles. All on a compact gravel surface. There are many interpretive signs along the route to learn from, plenty of picnic spots to relax and eat and non stop beauty of the mountains.
We made our way to the end of the trail. For those who wish you can turn around and ride back up to the top. We decided to take the bus back up to the top. The bus ride takes about a half hour to reach the west tunnel portal. From there you ride back through the tunnel to the trail head.
We all gathered around our camper and we had a potluck lunch. Time slipped quickly by us as we talked and ate. Eventually we all left and went our separate ways. For us, we were off to Wallace Idaho to stay the night. We would be staying at the Wallace RV park, the one we stayed at in May. It is a nice place to stay right in Wallace. We really enjoy the small town with its shops, restaurants and breweries. Well, I enjoy the breweries. I found out a great fact about the town on this trip. You are allowed to have a drink to go as long as it is in a red cup. Well heck ya…give me a beer to go then!
The next morning we were going to ride a small section of the Trail of the Coeurd’Alenes with a fellow cacher friend. There was a cache series along a section of the trail we wanted to complete. It was a nice sunny warm day for it. This time our dogs could go with us. They rode in the bike trailer.
We had a nice ride and we said our goodbyes to our friend. We pointed our camper west and made our way home. We took the side roads and did geocaching along the way. I can not say it enough on how we love taking the side roads. So many things to see that are missed by flying by at top speed on the interstates.
We got home a few hours later. Another fun trip enjoying what our area and life has to offer.
While we were in Wallace I thought…”I should schedule a truck camper gathering next May for here.” I will in fact do that. You fellow truck camper people will see it announced on the NATCOA, RVNET, LOA forums as well as on TRUCK CAMPER MAGAZINE come January 2014.
Here are some links for more information on the trails and Wallace…
bikes to caches September 6-8 2013
The Fall Festival at Schweitzer Mountain in Sandpoint Idaho was here again. Last year was our first year at the festival and we had such a great time that we said it would be our new annual event. This year we would be there for a longer time, instead of just one day we would be there for three days. The time flew by as if it was only one day. Something a bit different this year would be that we would have a couple fellow truck camper friends joining us. That was the cherry on top of the fun at this event, truck camper friends to visit with.
Our first night out was right after work. Schweitzer is only a couple hour drive from our home but we decided to stay at a campground we have not been to in a while for Thursday night. So after work we jumped in the truck and got to our site at Riley Creek Campground. Riley Creek is a Core of Engineers park. We really love this place. The only issue is so do many other people and usually is very busy and hard to get a spot. Luckily for us there was a spot for the one night.
We settled into our site and Joanne cooked us up some nice rib eye steaks and salad. Dinners while out camping is terrible. We managed to get our dinner down and then we set off to walk around the campground. There were five geocaches to find while we were here. The sun was going down for the day and night was upon us. Hey, this was the first time we tried to geocache during the night. We did find the caches and liked the extra challenge of the darkness looking for them. We returned to our campsite for a beverage or two then it was bed time.
The next morning we got up fairly early, nothing unusual for us. We took a couple pictures of the campground before we left. We would take our time getting up to the mountain. It only was another hour drive away.
We made our way up to the resort. Parking would be at the Gateway parking lot for the next few days. There was no charge to park and camp. It is only a dirt parking lot with no hook ups but the views are fantastic. It is free camping right below the lodge, no complaints here. So we set up our spot and waited for our friends to arrive. We listened to music and tossed the football around to pass the time.
Our friends arrived pretty much at the same time. They got their campers parked and we visited for the evening. We had dinner and a good time visiting.
We all went to bed and were ready to go the next day for day one of the fall festival. Joanne and I start our day early as most of you know by now. We were up before sunrise, sitting in our chairs and having our coffee.
The event started at 11am. So we hung out at the campers until shortly before then. When it was time we, made our way up to the event area. So many booths with things to see and buy. A kid and family zone with games and things to do. Of course the music stage and beer section was there too. Cody got to play, we bought lift tickets to ride the lift for later on and we got our glassware and drink tokens. Shortly after 11 we had our first taste of offerings at the “tent”.
We listened for a while to the bands then Joanne, Cody and I went for a ride on the chairlift up to the top of the mountain.
We returned back to our chairs and friends at the stage area and enjoyed listening to the bands.
After 6pm the event was over for the day. That doesn’t mean that everything stops but the beer tent and music ends. We returned to our campers and shared food and stories. The next morning brought us day two of the festival. We pretty much did the same thing as the day before. Why wouldn’t we? It was awesome. This day our friends joined us on a ride to the top of the mountain to take in the beauty of the area.
Once we all got down to the lodge area Jay, Joanne and I did a trip on the zip line. That was fun. We have never done a zip line but I love the adrenaline rush of those kind of things. Jay, not so much but he was determined to beat his fears. We all did it and it was a blast. I look forward to more zip line rides in the future.
After the zip line we returned to the stage area. The last band of the day was The Black Lillies and I really wanted to see them. What a great band, the did not disappoint.
After the the band was over the night drew to an end. We spent a bit more time visiting with each other. Monday morning we would be leaving early. We would not get a chance to see our friends again in the morning but we hope to see them again. I then realized we would. We were told that they planned on going again next year.
The Fall Festival at Schweitzer Mountain has so much to offer for everyone. You don’t need to be a beer drinker to enjoy this event. It is very family friendly and well run. We will be back again next year. The count down begins.
fall festival – labor day weekend 2013
Going APE (Alternative Primate Evolution). It is a geocache thing so don’t be confused if you don’t understand.
This trip took us to Snoqualmie Pass in Washington state. We took our time as we usually do and took the back roads as much as we could. We left after work on Thursday and that part of the trip was a bit faster. We took I-90 west to Frenchmans Coulee. Frenchmans Coulee is just west of George Washington and north of the interstate. It is a very pretty place to spend the day walking around and to boondock for the night. That is exactly what we did. We arrived there and set up camp for the night. That meant throw a couple chairs out and open a beer. Man, life is tough.
The next morning we had breakfast and our mandatory coffee. Sitting there while looking at our surroundings we thought, we are so very lucky to be able to have times like this. Our trip on Friday was to go a whole 35-40 miles away before we stopped for the night. Such a long drive, but it did take us 4 hours to get there. We stopped and did several geocaches and walked around to look at things. Our trip today would take us to Ellensburg Washington.
The old highway dead ends at the river and serves as a boat ramp. We parked and set out to look for two more geocaches. Well, we tried. Both times we got to with in 20 feet from the cache and there was some HUGE spiders blocking the path. I am not sure what they are but I was not going to get any closer. The body on them was the size of a dime, not the legs too…just the body. So yeah, we skipped those two caches.
So it was on towards Ellensburg with lots of stops along the way. I think we made somewhere near 25 stops in that 35-40 miles. We enjoyed every minute of it.
After we crossed the river we stopped at a gift shop in Vantage Washington. It is a pretty neat place to check out.
We made it Ellensburg. We parked downtown, so easy to do with a truck camper. There was a winery to find. It was the deal that I had to do with Joanne…stop at a winery if I was to stop at the brewery in town. Not a hard deal to make because I like wine too. Ellensburg is a historic place to see, there are several old buildings. A very welcoming town.
After we did our shopping and walking around we went to the KOA on the edge of town. It was a far cry from the solitude of our camp spot last night but that is okay. It was nice to have sewer hookups so I could flush the camper tanks real good.
The next day was another very long drive…30 miles. Again we would take the back roads and stay off the interstate. We would be driving highway 10 to Cle Elum. After Cle Elum we would jump on the interstate for just a few short miles to Lake Easton state park, our camp spot for the next two nights.
We eventually made it to Lake Easton state park. We found our spot for the next two nights. We took a short hike then went back to camp. Later we had a couple truck camper friends join us for a chili potluck dinner. It was great visiting with them. Bread, salads and chili…it was very good. Our friends left for the night, one couple back to another close by campground and the other family to the campsite next to us. We would see that family again, briefly up at Snoqualmie pass.
We found out that I-90 would be closed for 1 1/2 hours in the morning. Well, we are early risers so we left camp at 530am and headed to the pass. What was at the pass? The Going APE event! It is a big geocache event that brings people from all over the world. The day before in Seattle there was a big block party and this event is part of it too. It was a great time. There is a tunnel that you hike through as part of the event, the Snoqualmie tunnel. A 2.25 mile long tunnel. Since we were volunteers for the east side tunnel monitors we did the walk before most everyone got up there. We had to be at our post at noon. First though was to cook up breakfast at the parking lot before we took the hike.
We found a few geocaches on the west side then walked back through the tunnel and back to the camper. The event was going and the people were there.
Time for us to go back to the east tunnel portal for our volunteer duties. We had to make sure people had flashlights and warned people about heavy traffic in the tunnel. We also had to warn people that there was a monster in there. No really, there was someone dressed up as a monster to guard his geocache inside. They were warned.
After 300pm our duties were done. We walked back to our camper and then drove back to camp. The event was so much fun. We talked to people from all over the world. People from the farthest away that we talked to were from Sweden. We plan on attending this event again next year. Too much fun to miss it.
The next day we made our way back home, taking the long way of course. Our first stop was back to the Vantage Washington area to walk up to the wild stallions monument.
The next stop was to potholes reservoir, south of Moses Lake Washington. Then it was on to Palouse Falls state park. We had lunch there.
Our next stop was at Steptoe Butte state park. We love this place. We have been here before but the views are amazing. 360 degrees of fabulous views.
We stopped for one last cache towards the bottom of the butte. We could not get to the cache as there was a blockage to the cache. We got to with in 30 feet of it before we saw a moose and her two calves.
After this we made our way home. It was another wonderful trip for us. We really do count our blessings that we get to go on all these great trips. Life is short, get out there and enjoy it.
Interested in reading more about what the APE event is about? here is a link: http://www.markwell.us/projectape.htm
going APE – august 15-19 2013