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What's New from July &August 2003

July 1
We have added two new articles. Both are about campgrounds. Don't Ignore the National Parks for Great Camping and don't be afraid to dry camp. is my current article. Ron's is Nation Park Campgrounds---Another View and Recent Observations in a Commercial Campground. We hope you find these informative and interesting. We are still in Provo, Utah, and speaking of campgrounds, we are really enjoying Lakeside Campground here. It is close to the freeway, shopping, the bike path and other interesting sights and has great hookups, nice pool, laundry, store and so on. We are also enjoying pleasant weather (hot during the day and cool at night), good bike riding, great restaurants and shopping and pretty scenery. I love the mountains. 

On our way north we stopped at Canyon deChelly National Monument in northern Arizona. The red rocks were beautiful and it was interesting to learn of the history of this sacred Navajo land. On the scenic drive I fell in love with some of the beautiful pottery for sale by one of the local gals. I couldn't resist and purchased the pot she is holding.

In Utah, we have a much different kind of scenery. The mountains are green and rugged. Here is just a small sampling.

New Mystery Picture

Only folks familiar with southern California guessed correctly on last month's picture. This month's picture might be a challenge to folks from the west. I have intentionally smeared the first name which appears over the second row of awnings. To play from other months please go to our Guess Page.

July 5
We had a wonderfully quite 4th this year. Lakeside RV Campground is mostly an overnighters campground so it wasn't packed with folks having noisy parties. We were surprised at how many came and went during each day of the weekend. I sure wouldn't want to travel on a holiday weekend. We will be leaving here on Monday morning and will stop for a couple of days at Three Island State Crossing State Park in Idaho. We will celebrate Ron's birthday there with dinner at the winery which is next door to the state park and we will play golf too. Then we move on to Cascade, Idaho, for two nights before driving to Moscow to begin the fun week at Life on Wheels. 

Remember that we said we came here to bike because I had done some research before we left Arizona on bike paths and liked what I read about the Provo Jordan River Parkway Trail. There is a bike path that begins right near the campground and the first 2.5 miles of it are fine. The path is paved and runs along the river which is shaded with trees. Then it crosses a busy road and suddenly narrows and is fenced on each side. The KOA campground is on the left with other businesses on the right. The fence falls away after a while and the route is nice and wide again but because it is in town it is rather crowded with mothers pushing strollers, kids on roller blades (some with unleashed dogs by their side), and lots of walkers. Suddenly there are tunnels and poorly designed at that. They are again very narrow with either a rather sharp curve right in the middle of the tunnel or a steep incline at either end of the tunnel. No fun!!! We met kids running through in the middle and nearly lost it on more than one occasion. That is not the kind of bike path we like. But we kept on determined to go the distance. One more tunnel did us in. We turned around and gave up.

I kept reading the information I had printed from the web site about bike trails and it just didn't fit. This wasn't the trail they were talking about although the name was the same. We did some more research and found heaven north of here in Lehi. The trail is supposed to go from Salt Lake City to Provo someday but it has some broken spots and there is no consistency in the construction of the trail because each town/county does its own thing. The section of the trail that we finally found is beautiful and we were able to bike 20 miles easily. In fact, had we know what we now know we would have camped in Lehi instead of here in Provo although our stay here has been nice. 

There is an unadvertised county park campground right along the Parkway Trail in Lehi. Willow Park has enough spots for the biggest rigs if you go during the week and park  in the huge parking lots (the campground host said that would be fine). The majority of the campsites there are not clearly marked and are in the woods which would be more suitable for tents. There is a $10.00 fee per night. From the park you could hop on the bike path and bike south or north or both. It is not used much and a joy to ride. I wish we had camped there to begin with at least for a few days. If interested here is how to find the park. Take I-15 to exit 282 and go west through the small town of Lehi. Cross railroad tracks and continue on through a traffic circle. Go 2 miles to an unmarked paved road (there will be a sign saying "Willow Park"). Turn right and go one half mile until it dead ends and turn left to go into the park. The roads are good for any sized RV. Go with full water and empty holding tanks and you will do fine. There is no dump station. It would be worth it for a wonderful bike ride.

July 8
It is Ron's 71st birthday and we are at another beautiful public campground with huge sites. We have 50 amp electricity and water and our nearest neighbor is far away. In Provo, that commercial park, had sites so close our neighbor's sneeze could be heard in the middle of the night. Three Island Crossing State Park in Glenns Ferry, Idaho, is a beautiful jewel in an otherwise run down (almost ghostly) town. But it is easy to get to (just off I -84) and next door to a winery/golf course.  We had dinner there last night and played golf there this morning. You may remember that we were volunteers here two years ago.

July 10
We are at the Arrowhead Campground in Cascade, Idaho, and we had forgotten how beautiful this area is. There is something about the smell of a tall pines, cool mornings and rushing rivers that get me excited.. Idaho is rugged and awesome. Our drive yesterday from Glenns Ferry took us up Idaho Route 55; we ran with the rushing Payette river most of the way. Miles of angry rapids left me wondering if anyone dared to run them. We stopped for lunch at a pull off right next to the river. I opened the windows and we could hardly talk for the loud noise of the river. When I went outside to take this picture I noticed another car parked in the same area. It belonged to a  local business so I approached and asked what the rapids in this area were rated. He answered. "dangerous." We talked more and he said the 19 miles of rapids from Smiths Ferry down to Banks are rated five and six and yet every year kayakers try to conquer them and several die trying too. Last year a world class kayaker died in these rapids. The man I talked to thought that perhaps because the river is small the kayakers think they can beat it. So far two have been lost already this year. It was the angriest river I had ever seen. 
Tomorrow we head up White Bird Pass. It is quite a climb but we have done it before. Then we go down (steeply) into Lewiston before climbing up again to Moscow.

July 18
We have been so busy that I forgot about updating this site. Sorry about that. The Life on Wheels Conference this year was well attended and we did 7 seminars on four different aspects of serious RVing (full-timing, finances of full-timing, packing an RV and volunteering in may different areas). We met many wonderful people. It was surprising that quite a few attending the conference this year did not yet own an RV. What a terrific way to learn before you buy. The Life on Wheels Conference will be held here again next July and in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in September, Bowling Green, Kentucky, in May and also in Iowa (but I forget which month). We will head up to Spokane on Saturday so we will be close to the airport in order to pick up two very excited granddaughters. We will head to Montana on Sunday afternoon. 

July 21
We are with Kailee and Taylor in Troy, Montana, on our way to Glacier. We stopped here for a short rest so the time zone change could catch up with them. This morning we took a nice hike to check out the Kootenai River, Falls and swinging bridge. It was a fun hike.

Taylor and Kailee at the falls

July 23
We did the hike to Hidden Lake from Logan Pass today. It was an unusually hot day but the wildflowers, animals and spectacular views made it worthwhile.

Taylor and Kailee

Kailee, Taylor and Ron resting on the 5 mile hike ******* Taylor and Kailee at the Hidden Lake viewpoint

We were within touching distance of the mountain goat, but a little further away from the long horn sheep (right).

The air is a little smoky in the park because of three small fires, but yesterday a new fire broke out just north and west of the park (north of Columbia Falls) and the air in the campground is now very smoky. 

Fire as seen from the entrance of Glacier Campground on U.S. 2

July 24
So much for our stay in Glacier. The park was closed late this morning and we were told to be ready to evacuate our campground by afternoon. We decided to just take off anyway. Once we were packed up we headed south and are in a Jellystone campground in Missoula. We might stay here a couple of days then go somewhere else. We aren't due in Yellowstone until Tuesday. 

July 27
We are making the best of our time here in Missoula. We went to the Smokejumper Visitor Center and took a tour too. It was very interesting. We went whitewater rafting yesterday and we all loved that. Other than playing cards, swimming in the pool, seeing movies (Seabuscuit was terrific) we are having fun. No, it is not like being at Glacier but we have Yellowstone to look forward to. That reminds me that we will be late updating this at the end of the month --- really late. While in Yellowstone we will not have internet access and the girls don't fly home until August 5 so don't look for anything much before then. 

August 4
We are on our way back to Spokane. The girls fly home early on Tuesday morning and we will start heading towards Kansas City, Missouri. I have decided that I will make this a two month What's New page and just keep it going until the end of August and start a new one in September. Hope you don't mind. Ron and I may or may not get a new article out this month; we are on vacation I guess.

Here are some photos of our visit to Yellowstone.

-Falls---Old Faithful---Mammoth Hot Springs

Roaring mountain

Climbing up out of the canyon---more hot stuff
The girls earned their Junior Ranger badges while at Yellowstone and in doing so learned a lot about the unique features of Yellowstone and the animals. Saturday we went to the ranger station where they were awarded their badges. 

Kailee (left) and Taylor (right) with ranger Harlan Knedit. 
We had been on a ranger walk at the mud pots with ranger Knedit and loved every minute of it. He has been a seasonal ranger at Yellowstone for 31 years and in fact is responsible for discovering one of the recent mud pots. His group named the new feature Big Gumper. In his "other life" he is a biology teacher (10th and 11th grade) in Washington state. When the girls were a little bashful about getting their picture taken after receivine their badge, he walked them outside and said that it was "not a debatable issue" then he put his hat on their head.

August 10
We are in Buffalo, Wyoming, primarily so we can eat dinner at our favorite restaurant tomorrow evening. The Winchester Steak House which is right across the street from Deer Park Campground (another favorite) is just super. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. We told several friends that we are here and why and they are jealous because they have eaten there too.

After the girls flew out on the 5th, we went to the Cummins place in Spokane to have our odometer fixed. It had died before we picked up the girls and we didn't have time to get it fixed with our vacation planned.  We spent three days (evenings) at Cummins. First the diagnosis, then the part was ordered, then installed, but it didn't work, so they put the old module back in and gave up. They told us that we really need to have a Fleetwood dealer work on it. We tried to get into a Fleetwood facility in Spokane but all were booked up. We even tried to get into one in Denver or Kansas City thinking that making the appointment ahead of time would help. They are all either busy or don't work on anything on the dash. We know where we can get it fixed in Arizona so we will just have to wait until we are back. To our surprise the old odometer (once it was back in)  kind of works. It is stuck in the kilometer function only we discovered later that it actually records in miles. At least we didn't have to pay for camping and had water and electric when they weren't working on the problem. Such is life on the road sometimes.

August 15
We are in Peculiar, Missouri, which is just south of Kansas City. My son Jim and his family live just up the road 9 miles in Belton. We will be here for two weeks before we meet up with our good friends Judy and Cec to plan for the bike trip across Iowa.

Today was a very special day for my dear daughter in law, Sue. She became a United States citizen and we were so excited to be there with her. Sue is from England. She and Jim met when Jim was stationed in eastern England (Air Force). They were married 14 years ago and came to the United States 10 years ago. Sixty three people were sworn in as new citizens today at the Federal Court House in downtown Kansas City.

Sue and the Judge-------Sue, Jim, Kristopher and James (in front)

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