Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Historic Heat Wave (114°+)

 So, what do you do if you are RVing in a historic heat wave?  The answer is, frankly, not much. We gave up going for walks when the temperatures were just in the high 90°s. We have changed our average departure time from around 9:00 am, to as early as 6:30 am. A few days ago Craig got up before dawn so he could wash the windshield before it started to bake.

Basically we have been
about as active as a rock!

We spent three nights in Cashmere WA, but did not go out except for a quick run to pick up some takeout BBQ. We kept the mini blinds closed, a large box fan blowing and the coach AC running. Netflix, TV and our mutual love of reading kept us occupied.

We have continued our usual after-dinner game of gin rummy.

The dash air of the Alfa has not worked for a couple of years. We got it "fixed" but the fix didn't do much, so as we drive in this hot weather we have been running the generator so that we can run the coach AC. It works to keep things tolerable, but we still have felt the urgent need to drive as many miles as early as possible. I know many RVers get up before dawn and get going. I have seen them leave the parks. This has not been our style, and we look forward to returning to more leisurely departures in the future.

We arrived in Grand Coulee, not far from the dam, early on Monday.

On the first night we went to the dam to see the laser light show at 10 PM. By this time the temperature had gone down to the high nineties, but although it was after dark, we noticed the cement benches were quite warm from the day's heat.  

For the show they open the flood gates on the spillway (dark gray section on the right of the above picture) and project an animated "stick people" story on the white water pouring down. 

On Tuesday we went to the Visitor Center. 

We knew it would be air conditioned. We learned a little more about the Grand Coulee Dam and the forward-thinking President Franklin Roosevelt. His fearless leadership was such a big factor in our country's recovery from the Great Depression. It makes me wonder if we as a country can come together and deal with the challenges of climate change. We have come so far, it would be a shame if we allow the minority in the Senate to prevent the much-needed work to be done. While I'm skeptical that man can actually change the course of climate change, I feel we must make major changes to improve our chances of dealing with it. More clean energy is needed, sooner rather than later. We will need more power for air conditioning in summer and more power for heating in winter.

Speaking of climate change, on Wednesday we took a 30 mile Jeep drive south to see an area called the Dry Falls.

At the end of the last Ice Age the melting glaciers resulted in huge lakes. The coulees are the result of when they broke and caused massive floods.

The waters crashed over long falls that were bigger than Niagara.

These massive basalt cliffs are what remains.

On our way there and back we drove along Banks Lake. The water was very still and we only saw one boat in a half hour.

One remarkable sight along the way was of Steamboat Rock. It was carved by the same flood waters and is 800 feet tall and covers 600 acres. In many ways the area reminded me of the carved cliffs of southern Utah, except the rocks are brown and black instead of rusty red.

When we visit areas like this I am in awe of the power of natural forces. This happened millions of years ago. Reminding me that our time on earth is so brief. And yet when I visit the dam, I am also amazed at the power of man to use natural resources. 

We have been so lucky these last six years to have been able to see so many places. Even short outings like this drive will remain in our memories. Blogging helps!

Our next stop is at McGregor Lake, about sixty five miles west of Glacier National Park. We have checked the weather forecast and are happy to see it is a bit cooler there. Only in the 90°s! 

Friday, June 25, 2021

A Right Turn

Many of you know that we drive an Alfa, manufactured by a company that went out of business in 2008.  They have always been a brand with many fans, but are slowly going away.  But by the end of the three days, we were sharing the Washington State Fairgrounds RV Park with four other Alfas.  I often wonder if owners of other brands smile when they see their own brand.

On Thursday we went to the Tacoma Zoo and Aquarium. It wasn't the best we have been to, but since it was our first real activity in over a year, it was good to be out.

We did make a parking mistake, and ended up walking (uphill) for quite a long way before we actually got to the Aquarium. I was not a happy hiker.  Too hot!

But the fish were pretty cool, and with limited admissions it was the least crowded aquarium we have ever been to.

These two fish reminded me of us. I'm the bigger one on top, but Craig is a bit round too after our inactive year. 

Our goal for the summer is to get more exercise and eat less. The extra walk was probably good for me. Now if the weather would just cool down a bit! 

Craig was not a happy fish Friday morning. He had a new problem with the dump valves that we had had repaired a few days ago. 

I was not in the best mood either when he asked me to try and find a repair place. Everyone I called was booked for weeks if not months out. 

The problem was that he could not get the gray tank valve to open so he could empty the tank. I kept making calls and he kept trying to get it open. After a while, it opened, he dumped the tank, and we were on our way. 

Driving in any metropolitan area is no fun, and Seattle is no exception. I got to drive so that Craig could catch the "start of US 2" image below.  I just kept reminding myself to keep calm and be patient. 

We both smiled when we saw the sign for the turn onto US 2 East.

We were really ready to say goodby to I-5.


We were now officially on a road we have never traveled. US 2 goes from Everett WA to Mackinaw City MI. While some of it is a divided highway, mostly it's a 2 lane road that goes through many small towns and scenic country.

The first 50 miles or so were beautiful. The high country of the Cascades is covered with lush forest. The alpine meadows are still the greenest green you can imagine, and we traveled along the fast-flowing Wenatchee River. 

We are now in Cashmere, Washington. It is on the east side of the Cascades; the landscape is dryer and trees are quite sparse. It is going to be very hot here for the next few days. I doubt we will go out much, but the Alfa is cool and comfortable and we heard there is a great BBQ place in town.

[From Craig] The white water of the Wenatchee River was exciting to drive next to.  It was so captivating that I had to force myself to keep looking back at the road.  So if you come this way and have two drivers, let the one less whitewater-oriented drive the stretch along the Wenatchee.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Everything Going Smoothly - and find the hidden Alfa

 Sometimes the moon doesn't have to be full, or the sunset briliantly colored to be peacefully beautiful.

We seem to notice more sunset skies as we travel than we do while in Jojoba. There our western view is somewhat obstructed, and only the more spectacular colors are noticeable.

One of the joys of fulltime RVing is being able to vist RV community friends we have met over the years. When we were in Grant's Pass Oregon we met up for a nice Sunday night dinner with Sue and Mo, a pair of delightful ladies we met through our mutual blogs. I hope to see them again the next time we come this way.

It is always good to take care of a maintenence problem before it becomes a problem. Recently, Craig noticed the black tank valve was leaking a little when he dumped. Knowing we had an easy travel day on Monday, I called around about a week ago and found an RV place that would shift their schedule so that we could just drive in, get the one hour valve replacement job done, and be on our way. South Country RV Repair, in Myrtle Creek, did a good quick job of it. The tech also noticed that a row of screws had broken, so that the lower part of the side fiberglass was no longer firmly attached to the frame. They fixed that too and charged us for 1/4 hour labor to do it. Always good to know you have a tight bottom!

I had planned on overnighting at Timber Valley, the SKP park in Southern Oregon, but they do not take reservations, and all they had available when I called that morning, was in their boondock area. Since the daily high temperature was still hovering around 100°  I called our planned alternative, the Polk County Fairgrounds, near Salem to get a space for the night. We have stopped there before and I knew that there were no events going on, and so was sure we could just drive on in. However, since they have locks on the power and water it is a good idea to call before the office closes for the day to let them know you are coming.

Craig sent me out to take this picture. Notice the big space between our Alfa and the Rig to the left. He called it "Social Distancing for RVs". It is a very basic place, but it did have water and power for air conditioning. For $25 a night with no reservation needed, it was great for an overnight stop. 

Note: We can boondock in the Alfa, but prefer to have power when it is so hot. I don't mind listening to the generator running for a few hours in the morning, but not at night. We did consider solar panels in the begining, but knew we wouldn't be boondocking enough to make them worthwhile.

Alfa owners: There are three Alfas here.  Can you find them all?
Tuesday's drive of 210 miles, was to Puyallup Washington just east of Tacoma. The Washington State Fair Campground was totally full, but we had reservations. It is not a "pretty" park, but it is convenient to a couple of urban things we want to go to. 
We tried to go to a farmers market on Wednesday, but it wasn't open. Thursday we are planning on a trip to the Aquarium in Tacoma, and a stop at Trader Joe's. 
Friday is another "drive day", the last on I-5.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Heat Wave and an departure "OOPs"

I'm afraid the current heatwave has done in our summer walking plans for a while.

We left Redding CA very early to make our drive north to Valley of the Rogue state park, located between Medford and Grant's Pass Oregon. Luckly the tempertures at the park were a bit cooler. 

 Site B5 at Valley of the Rogue State Park in Oregon

We did have one small OOPS on our way. Apparently, I did not close and lock the power bay door correctly. 

It popped open and the lower edge dragged (a little) on the road. 

We did wonder why those three nice big rig drivers honked and waved at us as they passed us on I-5. They were not just trying to express a friendly "Hi".

We were actually very lucky the whole door did not tear off and cause a road hazard for someone else!

I didn't take any pictures while it was in the broken stage, but basically the edge was roughly burred and slightly bent, the hinge on the aft side was broken, and the door would not close.

Craig used his sander to smooth the burrs, and we were fortunate to find an RV Mobile service that was willing to come to the park that afternoon. The guys from Granger Mobile RV service from Gold Hill OR managed to get it all straightened out in a short time. They had the right tools and know-how. We felt the $85 service charge was well worth it since we didn't have the tools along to do it ourselves. Craig will touch up the scuff marks with a bit of paint.

There used to be two cables that held the door parallel to the ground when open. Both broke shortly after we bought the Alfa.  Since it was easier to access the power cord and water filter with the door open all the way to the ground, they were never replaced.  They were yesterday, and we will now be able to see the bay door if such a thing happens again.

I have to say I really appreciate the fact that when I do something stupid like not closing the door properly, Craig does not give me a bad time. I felt bad enough by myself. 

Just another bump in the road!  

[From Craig] Actually I-5 was quite smooth.  If there had been bumps, the door would probably be laying along the road.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021


Nowadays people have a variety of ways to keep in touch with each other and to share their daily experiences. Personally I don't use Twitter or TikTok at all, but I do look at Facebook almost every day. For me it is a way to keep in touch with friends, family, and a few groups I belong to. But, for me, it is not a satisfying way to record and share our travels or pictures we take.

Black Swallowtail at McConnell Arboretum and Garden

In my eye, this blog is more like a diary or a series of travel articles. It gives us a place to share our photography. A single picture on Facebook works, but adding several becomes a mismash. When I create a post on Blogger, I try to look at it as if I was creating a magazine page layout. 

A feature of the Blogger platform I really like is the ability to go back and see what I wrote in past years.  I don't know how many times I have used the SEARCH function on my blog to verify when we went to a particular location. 

Try that with Facebook!  

I do put links for my Blog posts on Facebook,  so my friends there know when I write a new one. 


For now, I want to say thank you, and welcome 
aboard, to my friends who commented on my first blog of the year and wrote they would be "traveling with me". It makes me feel like I am writing a letter to each of you when I do a post. 



The pictures in this post were all taken Monday at the McConnell Arboretum and Gardens. It is located in the same park area as the Sundial Bridge.  These orchid-like flowers grew on a tree!

We walked 2.4 miles,  just a little farther than on Sunday. Monday was quite warm, but some clouds kept it from getting as hot as the day before. 

Splish splash, I'm takin' a bath.

Not all interesting things in nature are "pretty". I find the vast range of textures in both living and dead plants to be like eye candy.

This fallen log definitely says: "don't sit on me!"

We will still be in Redding, CA on Tuesday, but do not plan on any outdoor activity. Predicted temperatures are over 100°. There is a bowling alley just around the corner from the RV park we are at. We haven't bowled for 40 years.  It might be fun if our old backs and knees feel up to it. 

Check back for the rest of the story.


Sunday, June 13, 2021

On the Road Again

After seven sleepy months at our home base, Jojoba Hills SKP Resort, we hit the road again in our 07 Alfa motorhome for a long summer of travel.


Our route will include more stops than shown on this map. 

We are going to drive US-2, the northernmost US highway that runs from Everett Washington to Mackinaw City Michigan, about 3446 miles. 

Our return route will be conditional on fall "color" and weather.

I have posted a page, Summer 2021, on the right side of this blog that lists what parks we will be stopping at and for how long. I do have reservations at most of them, but I am always open to the fact that RV plans are written in Jello and can change for a lot of reasons.

So far we have driven a little over 700 miles and are in Redding California where we will stay for four nights. 

On Sunday we took our first walk of the season. We were very lazy over the winter, and my knee blew out this spring, so we are starting very slowly.  

Also, we have both gained weight during this COVID year, and although we are not yet officially on a diet, we are trying to eat less.

We went to the Sundial park which is the starting point for several easy trails along the Sacramento River. The bridge itself is very interesting.

The water sparkled in the sunshine.

 Several Canada Geese kept an eye on the people.

I was somewhat disappointed in the fact that the trail we took was not along the edge of the river. At ten in the morning it was already in the 90s. I do have to get used to the heat! This trail goes on for 17 miles. We walked 1.7 miles (round trip). 

We will do better tomorrow!