Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hells Canyon, Idaho

Since most RV parks offer WiFi I had decided to not renew my mobile broadband until our next trip. Well, here's the deal...we rarely got WiFi at a park where the service was worth having. It was slow and often intermittent. This morning I gave in and renewed, so let's try to get caught up on our Meandering this past couple of days. 

Driving into Hells Canyon...

The Snake River

Brownlee Reservoir Dam

Dora and Bella enjoying a picnic beside the Snake River, just above the Brownlee Reservoir Dam.
Several other awesome views of Hells Canyon!

Beautiful wildflowers! 

Even the gray skies contributed to the mesmerizing views!
 Lovin' Life ~~ Gray Skies and All!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Look at Boise

After our good news about the car, it was too late to go to Hells Canyon today so we decided it would be a good idea to check out the bed situation for when the kids are traveling with us. We had never really tested them. Here are Rich and the girls relaxing on the sofa bed and a shot of the dinette bed too, no gaps between the cushions in this one. Will this be okay, kids?
We treated ourselves to a delicious celebratory burger at Sonic since we don't have those near us at home and it was a beautiful day to sit outside there. Curiosity about signs for a recreational area named Bogus Basin led us to drive 17 miles up into the mountains on a gusty, twisting, steep, narrow, curving road overlooking the city. Bogus Basin is a ski resort in the winter. Today many bicyclists were riding this steep 17 miles and lots of hikers were taking to the many trails. If you thought the drive up South Mountain was scary, you should have been with us today, kids!

Part way up you enter the Boise National Forest. Another scenic drive today with changing terrain along the way, all of this in a mere 17 miles. There's no end to the variety and beauty of this great country!


At the edge of town as you enter or leave this 17 mile drive you pass the Idaho Governor's House. The house was the former home of Boise’s wealthiest citizen, potato baron J. R. Simplot, known as the man who brought the french fry to the American masses. It's said that if you have ever eaten a McDonald's french fry, you've eaten a Simplot potato. He donated the home to the State of Idaho in 2005; the sole restriction was that a 30 x 50 foot American flag continue to fly above the home. Isn't this magnificent? The home sits high on a hill overlooking all of Boise. Like the Illinois Governor's Mansion, there is much controversy over the cost to maintain the residence, especially since the governor has refused to live there. Sound familiar?

 Lovin' Life ~~ Kids, Scenery, & Controversy

Hello Idaho!

Take my word for it, this lot in Baker City, OR was filled with semis the night before but obviously they all got a much earlier Friday morning start than we did.

While we were getting ready to roll, we noticed people pulling into our lot, getting out of their cars, and leaving a few minutes later. Rich was outside and had me bring my camera to get a shot of what was so interesting to folks. This was in the lot next to the one we were parked in and was attracting much attention in this small town.

Do you think the driver should have given more thought to his load distribution before unhooking the trailer??? Too funny!

I guess he may not have seen the humor in it when he had to call in for assistance.
As we continued through Oregon Friday morning, here were some of the sights. There is nothing near that huge concrete plant but a ready supply of lime, we could see it in the rocks along the road. We came upon the Snake River which Meanders throughout the Northwest it seems, just like we have. And, I must confess that I never realized that the name Ore-Ida referred to Oregon and Idaho until we saw this plant just before the state border. We also saw lots of straw being baled.



Shortly after entering Idaho, we stopped at a lovely rest area along the Snake River for a break and lunch. 
Then we drove on into the capitol of Idaho, Boise.

We planned to stay here for a few nights and explore the Hells Canyon area. This stop was on our original itinerary, Rich had heard about Hells Canyon years ago. After setting up at the RV Park, we made a quick trip to the nearby Wal-Mart for a few items. On the way back, the Saturn was not shifting right and we could smell transmission fluid. This was not a happy thing...ya think?

Rich checked out what he could and then did research to find a shop that would be open today. He left for the suburb of Nampa at 7:00 this morning hoping that he could get the car in today. It drove great all the way out there but, when he called me, we still decided that he should see if they could check it out. They could get it in early this afternoon and their records did show that it is still under warranty. He just called a few minutes ago with the great news that they got it in earlier than they thought and all systems checked out fine. Apparently it was just still hot from the road when we drove it. Anyway, what a relief!

Lovin' Life ~~ And Great Outcomes!

Blown through Oregon

Still a day behind, this post is about our Thursday drive through Oregon. We started out driving down the Pacific Coast of Oregon from Warrenton and talking about how far we could continue because we would love to see more of that coastline. Common sense prevailed by the time we got to Cannon Beach with the realization that it was time to turn eastward on Hwy 26, in the direction of home.
Part of that decision included delaying until our next Northwest trip the exploration of Portland. Often we stop at Wal-Mart knowing that the parking lot will be large enough to pull through. In Portland, we didn't even get out, just relaxed a while and enjoyed our lunch before moving on.

Leaving Portland we entered the Columbia River Gorge and were soon ogling incredible scenery along this massive river. Looking for a place to stop to clean windows for the "photographer", Rich turned off on the exit to the Bonneville Locks and Dam. The person at the entrance assured us that driving the RV to the Visitor Center would not be a problem...she was right...Rich was amazing. "We" drove over three narrow bridges, one is a swinging bridge, on railroad tracks that run along the front of the old power generating plant, and short spans of very narrow roadway! Here are some photos of that stop.


The power of the water coursing through that dam is overwhelming to contemplate. We were so glad that we stopped there. And, if Rich can drive the RV through there, he can drive it just about anywhere.

A mixed bag would best describe our impressions of the rest of our Thursday. Driving conditions all day along the 155 miles of Columbia River Gorge between Portland and Boardman were horrible: strong winds gusting up to 45 mph, dust clouding the views, hot temperatures, and driving one grade after the other. There were miles of absolutely nothing and miles of incredible beauty. We had planned to stay at the Wal-Mart in Pendleton but the winds were so strong that Rich decided to try to outdrive them, which is how we ended up parked between two semis in a gas station parking lot in Baker City, OR last night.

Here are a few of the many photos taken of the varied and often gorgeous terrain we viewed. Because of the dust, the colors and shapes are not as distinct as they would be on a better weather day. You can see the smoke of a forest fire in the second photo and a helicopter with water bucket that was fighting the fire in the third. No matter how far or where we drive, there are interesting and beautiful and unique sights to behold. As you scroll through this assortment, keep in mind that this enormous variety of terrain was all on I-84 from Bonneville Dam to Baker City in Oregon.

Mile after sleepy mile; they are great travelers!


We initially thought the winds were a weather pattern that we were just unlucky to experience. Today, however, reading a pamphlet I picked up at the Bonneville Dam, we learned that they are planting a virtual forest of wind turbines in the Gorge because "winds channeled through the Columbia River Gorge create one of the best wind resource areas in North America." Thus the title of this post because we truly were "blown" through Oregon!

Lovin' Life ~~ Even When It's Blowin'