Sunday, June 30, 2013

Celebrating with our Friends from the North, well almost


Yesterday did not get as warm as predicted. Around 5:00 AM we woke to the sound of thunder. We scrambled to cover the things outside. It was chilly enough that it woke us up to the point where we stayed up and started the day.

There was enough cloud cover that the daytime temperature stayed below the mid-80s.

This weekend was

Celebrate With Our Friends to the North


The idea was that Canadians would spend the weekend here at resorts on the U.S. side of the border and later in the summer the Americans would spend a weekend at Canadian resorts. The problem is that Calgary to the north of us was flooded as well as many of the Canadian highways. The result was that only one Canadian was able to make it to our resort.

All was not lost through as the resort was fairly full of locals coming from Coeur d’Alene and Spokane as well as the summer RVers, such as ourselves, that are here for the summer. I should point out that it is still early in the season here and many of the RV people are just starting to arrive.

Saturday we enjoyed our first concert of the summer.

Montana Skies



Montana Skies is classical guitar & cello

It turns out that they met at University of Georgia in Athens where I worked. Of course it was after my time. They went on to study music in Bozeman, Montana.

"...rambling across a map of influences from American folk and Arabic music to jazz, flamenco and pop. And Montana Skies' unrelenting tour schedule is geared toward taking this harmonious hybrid to the masses." - Atlanta Journal Constitution

"A wide reaching..and rocking duo...with wondrous eclecticism and dynamic sound "
- HONEST TUNE MAGAZINE-The Southern Journal of Jam

"Their first piece elicited a standing ovation, one of many throughout the evening. Their virtuosity left the audience exhilarated and wanting more." - Pat Crawford, host, WUWF RADIO LIVE

"The buzz these talented musicians created will give our series an enormous boost. ...reminds us of the power and magic of a live performance."
- Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, Boise, ID

"Your show last evening here in Macon was outstanding...What incredible musicians and the creativity of your performance was stellar. And the chemistry between you was palpable..." - Richard & Roz, GA

"...amazing technique and mastery of the guitar and cello in a seemingly effortless fashion..." - Director, Glema Mahr Center for the Arts

"The duo moved smoothly from classic to ...popular melodies, giving everything their signature touch and confidence. Bravo to the concert association for finding this wonderful team." - Valley City Times, Valley City, ND

Indeed their first piece gave rise to a standing ovation. It was one of the best concerts that we have attended here.

Today, Sunday, was a busy day. First problem was that the Wi-Fi was up and down all day yesterday and then failed altogether last night. So the first priority this morning was to get it back up and running. That took about an hour. Next was the daily pool maintenance. By the time those chores were completed, it was time to setup the outdoor lunch BBQ and get ready to cook hamburgers, hot dogs, chili, turkey burgers and veggie-burgers. It was our practice run at running the outdoor lunch for the big festival “Skin to the Wind”, coming up in a couple of weeks.

Tonight is the Sunday Pot Luck dinner, so by the time lunch was over, it was time to start smoking the boneless pork ribs that will be our contribution for tonight’s dinner. The full recipe, overnight marinated ribs with my version of homemade Kansas City rub, smoke ribs for two hours, then put ribs in crockpot with BBQ sauce and Hatch New Mexico green chilies.



Friday, June 28, 2013

The Heat is Catching up to us


It looks as if the heat may be catching up with us here in the northwest. The forecasted highs for Sunday through most of the coming week are 100 to 102. The nights are forecasted to be the mid 50’s to 60’s.

Since we have been here, we had to the run the heat every night. Last night the heat still came on but now we are running the A/C in the motor home. Outside temperature is 90.

This morning Raija ventured out on the Coeur d’Alene trail.  She even went over the bridge and back. In all we did about seven miles.

We purchased an Idaho State Park annual pass for $40. That covers the parking fee at Heyburn State Park. We can now join the trail at Chatcolet Trail Head which is only a few miles from the RV Resort. At that point the trail is fairly level all the way to Harrison where the Ice Cream Creamery Store is. The annual pass is valid for all Idaho’s State Parks. The parking fee at the Chatcolet Trail Head parking lot is $5. Eight times out on the trail from there and we will recover the $40 for the annual pass. Of course that means I will have to have at least seven more Huckleberry ice cream cones.

I still have to come up with a way to mount the video camera to the bike.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Coeur d’Alene Trail


After several days and nights of rain, the sky finally cleared on Saturday, June 22nd.

Terry, one of the RV Resort’s owners organized a 21 mile bike trip on the Coeur d’Alene Tail.

The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes bike path follows the Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way from Mullan, a mountain mining town near the Montana border, to Plummer, a town on the prairie near the Washington border. More than 71 miles of paved path takes one from high mountain splendor, through the historic Silver Valley, into the chain of lakes region, along the shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene, over the Chatcolet Bridge to Heyburn State Park, and finally climbs to the Palouse prairie. It was created through a unique partnership between the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Union Pacific Railroad, the U. S. Government, and the State of Idaho.

Coeur d’Alene Trail

The trail is not only a recreational facility, but also a solution to environmental problems left behind by Idaho's mining industry. Silver was discovered in the valley around 1884, and a rail line was built to access the mines around 1888. Much of the rock in the railbed was either waste rock from mines, or tailings containing heavy metals. The railbed was also contaminated with spillage from passing trains. To remedy these environmental problems, the Union Pacific Railroad, U.S. Government, the State of Idaho, and the Coeur d'Alene Tribe partnered to build a trail. The thick asphalt and the gravel barriers on the sides of the trail serve as a permanent cap to isolate contaminants from the surrounding environment.

We started at the trailhead in Plummer, ID to Harrison, ID, 15 miles. In Harrison we treated ourselves to large waffle ice cream cones at the Creamery. I had my favorite, Huckleberry.

Downtown Harrison

Downtown Harrison

We then made our way back, seven miles, to the Heyburn State Park boat launch where we were picked up and returned to the RV Park.

Along the trail04

Trail Alongside Coeur d’Alene Lake

Along the trail05

Asphalt now covers the old railroad bed

It was somewhat of an overcast day so the pictures and video did not turn out all that well.

Raija did not feel that she was up to a 21 mile trip and remained in the RV Park with Strider. The trail from the boat ramp to Harrison is fairly flat, except for the bridge over the lake, so we will be practicing on that part of the trail to build up our stamina for longer rides.

The bridge is the original railroad bridge. It was a swinging bridge to allow boat passage. When the railroad bed was converted to the bike trail, the ramps were added to raise the swinging portion of the bridge to a height high enough for boats passage. The bridge no longer swings open.

Riders coming off the bridge

Old Railroad Swinging Bridge

Bridge 02
Ramp leading to bridge is stair stepped

Along the trail03
Looking across the lake from the trail

Along the trail02
Homes along the lakeshore

I will need to come up with a way to rig the video camera to the bike so I can capture the view as seen from the bike.

The forecast for today and tomorrow is overcast skies, rain and possible thundershowers. Today’s low was 49. The forecasted high is 65. By the weekend we should be back to clear skies and into the low 80s.




Monday, June 17, 2013

A Move and Another Day of Packing Up and Setting Up


Yesterday I reported that we were some 90% plus settled in our assigned RV spot for the summer. Well this morning that percentage went to zero.

The rule here is that if you spend three or more consecutive months one can reserve the same RV spot for next summer or any other spot that has not been reserved.

Well we have had our eye on two other spots since last summer, number 8 and number 15. They both were occupied last summer and reserved for this summer. We had reserved our last year’s spot number 16 and were setup in it for the summer.

This morning number 8 opened up has the couple that were in it had to leave due to a family problem and would not be able to spend three months in it this summer. The spot became fair game and I was able to stake my claim to it. Plus we will be able to reserve it for next summer.

This of course meant a move so we had to pack enough stuff in the motor home to close the slides, move the coach to the new spot and plus all the things setup outside. It turned out to be almost an all-day affair.

It was well worth it. We now have a much bigger, private yard, more shade and less traffic going by our home away from home.

Drivers Side Quarter
Our new location for the summer

Driver's Side
The trees shade the coach from the afternoon sun

Main Yard 01
We have a hedge row and trees that separate our outside area from the adjacent RV pad

Main Yard 02
We are now setup and ready for some serious Barbequing
Strider’s Playpen is in the left foreground

Fathers Day Present
My Father’s Day present to myself – a portable smoker / grill

Hopefully tomorrow we will have time to relax and enjoy paradise. I do need to install a Kreepy Krauly Kruiser that I ordered for the outdoor pool. I am trading the Kreepy for tickets to all the summer concerts.   

Sunday, June 16, 2013

At Last Settled In for the Summer


At last, Sunday, Father’s Day and our Fortieth Wedding Anniversary, we are 99% settled in for the summer in paradise.

We picked the coach up a little after 4:00 PM on Friday and we were back at the RV Resort a little after 5:30 PM. We had just enough time to get setup enough to spend the night in the coach and still make the 6:30 salad, soup, homemade bread and desert dinner at the lodge.

Saturday was a busy day setting up the coach and yard which continued into Sunday. Sunday I also did my good deed for the day by helping a fellow RVer get his generator slide out back in.

Our Summer Home 01
Almost setup for the summer

Our Summer Home 02
Our Front yard

Our Summer Home 03

Our Backyard

Raija & Strider Morning Walk

It gets light here at 4:00 AM
Raija & Strider out for their early morning walk

Tonight is the resorts $6/Free Famous Potluck
Bring something and it’s free
or bring $6 and its guilt free.

We are cheating a little bit tonight as we are bringing Kirkland Italian Sausage & Beef Lasagna instead of my usual BBQ something.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Settled in–Waiting for Coach Work to be completed


We arrived Monday, June 10th, at the RV resort where we spent last summer. While the coach is undergoing refurbishing in Spokane, (windows, new carpets and slide seals), we are staying in the resorts “Pet Friendly” cabin.

Pet Friendly Cabin

Strider, our new dog, likes it very much, I think it might be that the size is on par with his previous residence, plus like at home and in the motor home, he can sleep in the bed with us.

Lounge Hotel & Office
Office, Hotel and Lounge

The resort has a heated (95 degrees) indoor pool, heated outdoor pool (currently 75 degrees) and an outdoor hot tub (100 degrees) along with hotel rooms, RV sites, tent sites and several outdoor games courts. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are also available.

View of Outdoor Pool, Some of the Game Courts and RV Area

It is still early in the season here, so not many of the long term, summer RVers have arrived yet. Night temperatures are in the upper thirties to upper forties. Day time highs are still mostly in the low seventies and sometimes in the mid sixties.

We expect the coach to be finished and ready for pickup no later than this coming Friday.

Today, I hope to mow the grass in our assigned RV space to ready it for the coach.

I have also assume taking care of the pools and hot tub. Many of the long term RVers help with the maintenance or chores to aid into keeping the costs down.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

2013 Summer Travel


Our 2013 summer travel plan is to spend the summer in the same RV Park where we spent last summer which is just south of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Our original plans was to depart home on May 13th, arrive in Post Falls, Idaho on Sunday May 20th, dropped the motor home at TruLine RV on the 21st and then proceed to the RV Resort where we would rent a cabin while the windows were resealed in the motor home.

All was going according to plan up to Thursday, May 9th when I ended up in the emergency room at Oro Valley Northwest Hospital. I was released from the hospital on Sunday, May 19th, minus a 10 mm gallstone and my gall bladder. Follow up doctor visits further delayed our departure to June 3rd.

Normally we spend our first night at Cameron AZ. We decided to shorten the first leg a bit due to my still recovering from the operation ordeal so spent the first night just short of Flagstaff, AZ. The intention was to make up the difference on Tuesday by driving to our usual second stop at US 89 and Utah 20. Little did we know that it was really going to be a long day’s drive on Tuesday.

There was a huge landslide just south of Page, AZ that blocked US 89. We had to detour around Page by taking US 89A to Kanab Utah. Bypassing Page was no big deal and our route takes us through Kanab anyway. The problem is the US 89A added over 40 miles to the travel day plus it is a narrow, winding, road with many steep hills which greatly lowered the driving speed. It was a long and exhausting day’s drive.

The next day was not much better. We were looking for a shorter driving day and a relaxing night at Willard’s Bay north of Salt Lake City with full hookups. Well when we arrived at Willard’s Bay, the state park was closed due to an oil spill in the park. There was nothing to do but to keep on trucking north. We ended up dry camping overnight at the Idaho Welcome Rest Stop just across the Utah / Idaho state line. It was warm plus a refrigerator truck park closed by. Not only did he keep the truck engine running but the reefer diesel unit kept starting and shutting off all night.

Thursday we decided that it would be nice to have full hookups and to be able to relax with air conditioning for a change. So we decided to again extend our normal driving time and go to Deer Lodge, Montana and spurge for the RV Park there.

Friday was a short drive to Missoula, Montana which was our original Friday destination. The difference was now we arrived at 10:00 AM instead of late afternoon. Upon arrival at Bretz RV & Marine, we topped off the propane tank for $0.99 per gallon. Set up camp in their parking lot and I was off to get new tires for the Hummer. We were now a day ahead of schedule as the original plan was to get the tires on Saturday and spend a second night in Bretz’s parking lot.

The tire purchase took most of the afternoon the first two stops, Costco and Firestone only had four tires in stock and I needed five. Finally I found a Les Swab store that had four tires but could get a fifth delivered quickly from another store.

Today, Saturday was a quick drive from Missoula to Post Falls, Idaho. We will spend two nights here in an empty field between a Super Mal-Mart and Cabela’s dry camping. There are several other RVers here. We are well spread out as it is a large field. Tomorrow, Sunday will be a welcome no drive day.

Monday we will drop the coach off at TruLine RV to have the double pane side windows cleaned between the panes and resealed. While that is being done, we will proceed to the RV Resort and stay in their “pet friendly” cabin with our new dog, Strider. Hopefully, the coach will be ready by the end of the week so we can settle in for the summer.

Now a little catching up is in order, 2013 has gotten off to a very sad start.

First we lost our beloved pal, Mik in late December 2012. January through May three friends and a relative passed away.

Jim, Mik & Raija

We purchased a beautiful puppy, Monte, in February. Monte passed away at four months while being neutered.


We now have Strider, a three year Bichon Frise. This is Strider’s first motor home trip. He seems to be enjoying riding in the coach and checking out the rest stops. He especially enjoys sitting on Raija’s lap and watching the scenery go by.

Raija & Strider 
Raija & strider at Idaho Rest Stop

Today was Strider’s first encounter with small critters. He really pulled on the leash trying to get closer.

Priere Dog

There will be lots of ground squirrels and chipmunks waiting for Strider at the RV Park.

Stayed tune for future updates.