Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Toppenish, Washington, September 17

After leaving Lake Chelan, we headed towards Quincy, Washington to the Crescent Bar Thousand Trails.  One word for this place, smokey. ...  do to all of the wildfires nearby.  Joel had arranged for his mail to be forwarded to Quincy, and since the Post Office wasn't open on Saturday, we had to stay through Monday. No problem.  It gave me a chance to catch up on laundry and other mundane chores and a chance for Joel to "fix things".  This time it was replacing the awning spring that had broken.

Quincy is a huge agriculture area and reminiscent of some of the little bustling communities in the California Central Valley.  Lots of "hard"fruit is grown here....apples, apples and more apples along with peaches and pears.  We picked up some honey crisp apples which are to die for.They are so juicy you need a bib when eating them. Ymmmm.

I think these are gala apples. They are also delicious. All of the trees are over loaded with apples this year.  The harvest is just beginning and I was told there is a huge crop.

After leaving  the Thousand Trails we headed  south we notice these power wind mills.  Only problem is, that there is no wind, which is highly unusual for this area. I think the wind would be welcome in some areas to blow all of the smoke away, but it wouldn't be helpful for all of the fire fighters.

We stopped at a rest stop near Selah Cliffs and I noticed this sign.  It is so smokey that neither Mt. Adams or Mt. Rainier are visable.  Highly unusual.
But there was a nice view of the Selah Gulch  and this bridge.

Picked up the mail and headed towards The Dalles, Oregon, where we plan to spend two nights with a day trip into Portland to see Joel's new grandson.  On the way we entered the Yakima Nation ad  stopped at the little town of Toppenish, better known as the town of murals, and rightly so.  There are very few building that have been untouched by an artist hand. As we were wandering around we came upon Jim and his nice horses Frank and Jess and Joel arranged a tour of the town and some of the prominent murals.

These horses were amazing.  They responded to voice commands as well as the reins.  

A major portion of the worlds hops are grown in the region and the mural below is located on the Hops Museum.  It was closed so we didn't get to go in.  But the mural is so realistic.  All the brickwork and detail is painted.

This mural depicts the various tribal chiefs on one building and then Pepsi Cola on the other.
Every year, the first weekend in June the town hosts a "Paint a Mural Day".  Artists get together and paint a mural in one day.  The mural below is one of those and depicts a Halloween prank.

This mural is very long.  I had to stitch three pictures to get it all in.  

We continued south and caught highway 84 which follows the Columbia Gorge.  For the first time in almost a week we were out of smoke.  
We camped at Mamaloose State Park which is between the river and the highway.  It is OK for a quick overnighter, but pretty noisey with the highway being so close.

On Tuesday, we drove into Portland to see Joel's new grandson and his daughter and son.  The hospital was releasing Jennie, so we transported all of the baby stuff to Jennie's apartment.  Things have sure changed since I had children.  I remember being released with baby in arms and a diaper bag and had to be wheeled out in a wheel chair per hospital regulations.  Now days, baby has to be in an approved car seat and mom can walk out.  Joel's comment was "kids are sure expensive these days with all of the stuff".

We spent the day visiting as it may be sometime before Joel gets back to Portland.   Tomorrow (Wednesday) we head for Bend, and probably back in smokey territory.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Meet Ethan..

Joel would like to introduce you to Ethan.  Yep, Joel is a new grandpa...

Ethan was born September 15 and arrived in a tiny package of 4 pounds 14 oz, by C section.  Mom is doing well, and we hope to visit her and baby Ethan in Portland on Tuesday or Wednesday on our way south.

 Isn't it amazing to have all this technology and instant communication!  I remember when my youngest son was born (1976) and my parents were on vacation on a cruise and I had to send them a telegraph announcing the birth of their new grandchild and they had to wait two weeks before they could see their new grandson. Wow, have times changed!

Lake Chelan, September 14-15

On the way to Lake Chelan, we stopped at the little town of Winthrop.  It used to be mining and logging town , but now it has morphed into a western style  town with false  western fronts and wooden sidewalks located along the Chuwuch River. Everything was really smokey from all of the fires near Wanatchee and Lake Chelan.

 Joel's motto:
 That's a live squirrel advertising the pet area.

We continued on to Chelan with the idea we would park at the ferry parking lot.  The Lady of the Lake makes daily cruises to the little village of Stehekin at the very end of the lake.   We checked on the parking and were told although we could park overnight the city ordinance prohibited any over night camping on any street, parking lot etc. and apparently they were very strict.  We turned around and ended up parking at the casino in Manson, a few miles away.  I call Chelan the city of "no".  No parking, No swimming in the lake, no skate boards, no RVs, etc.  Not really RV friendly.  They want you to stay in the city, county, and state parks for big bucks.  Lake Chelan is about 52 miles long and the road ends on the south shore after about 25 miles at a state park.

Lake Chelan National Recreation Area is located at the end of the lake and Stehekin is considered a gateway to wilderness. The cruise to Stehekin turned out to be a really relaxing day.  The only thing that would have made it better would have been clear skys.  Due to the fires, it was really smokey and everyone was complaining about it. The only way to get to the village of Stehekin is by boat, plane, or hiking in.  The Pacific Crest Trail crosses about 10 miles from the village.

The Lady of the Lake ferry.
 Once we arrived at Stehekin, we took the bus a few short miles up to rainbow falls.  Later we found out we could have rented bikes and road up to the falls for the same price as the bus or we could have taken a shuttle to the end of the road and rode bikes back to the landing.  We only had a three hour layover before returning to Chelan, which really wasn't long enough.  Rainbow Falls is 312 feet high and usually flows a lot bigger, but it has been dry.  We were told most of the mountain tops usually had some snow at this time of year, but there isn't any.  The cascades, which we drove through the other day had 1/4 the snow they usually have.
 The bus driver said he rarely uses the bike racks on the front. A ranger on the short 45 minute tour talked about the residents of the village and how they survive. Most only go into Chelan when necessary and provisions are brought in by barge, boat, or sea plan. We later visited the Golden West Visitor Center which the remaining part of an old hotel, one of the major draws to the town. People come here to camp and enjoy the quite. There is no TV, cell, or internet coverage, so if you want to get away from it all, this might be just the place.

The Stehekin Landing.  See how smokey it is 
 One of the ways to arrive at Stehekin.  This plane makes regular drop offs and pick ups during the day.
 We look back at Stehekin as we leave. There are numerous beautiful hiking trails leaving from Stehekin so it would be nice to return someday and explore them...when there is no smoke.  We were told the ferry runs all year and that it is beautiful in the winter time.
The smoke had cleared somewhat as we arrived back in Chelan.
 Mid day with all of the smoke.
We left Chelan for our next stop in Quincy, Washington which is near Crescent Bar on Saturday.  Joel's daughter called and the doctors have induced labor and her water has broken, so Joel should have a new grandson soon.  More to come.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

North Cascade National Park, September 12

The past  few post have been about oceans, marinas, and boats.  Well, we have moved on to the interior of Washington for a change of scenery  and caught the North Cascades Scenic Byway.  It passes through the North Cascade National Park on our way to Lake Chelan. 


The Newhalem visitor center located in the middle of the park is will worth the stop.  The views are great. The photo was below was taken from the visitor center. 

The road was a little curvy, so some of the pictures are a little blurry.  Also the skis were a little hazy due to all of the fires in the area.  Enjoy.

Pretty breath taking.. We stopped at a forest service campground for the night way outside of the park in the Okanogan National Forest, which was really quit.  Many of the campgrounds close at this time of year but the Lone Fir campground was still open even though there was no campground host present.

Next we head over to Lake Chelan.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On to La Conner and Anacortes, September 10-11

With the Wooden Boat Festival crossed off Joel's bucket list, it was time to move on.  Good bye to Port Townsend and a great festival.

With time at a premium we decided to bite the bullet and  take the ferry across to Whidbey Island rather than drive all the way around to catch the Cascade Highway.  As it turned out, with the cost of fuel, it was less expensive to to take the ferry rather than drive all the way around to catch the highway.  Reservations were recommended and while I wasn't able to make reservations on the internet, a quick phone call to the Washington State Ferry System solved the problem, and reservations were made easily.

We arrived at the ferry terminal the requisite 30 minutes ahead of departure and the coach was one of the first ones on the ferry.  We had already unhooked the car, so I drove the car onto the ferry.  As you can see, Joel was one of the first ones on and had a front row seat!
The Ferry terminal coming into Whidbey Island.

We headed to the La Conner Thousand Trails without reservations.  Shouldn't be a problem this time of year, and it wasn't. On the way we crossed over Deception Pass.

 We found a site and parked, then headed over to the little town of La Conner.  It's a cute little town with lots touristy shops and pretty marina, but doesn't have the charm that Port Townsend has.

Today we lounged around in the morning...well not actually lounging, it was time to catch up on emails and chores. and was really nice not having to rush off some where. Also, it was nice to have hookups..something we hadn't had for almost a week. Later, in the afternoon we drove over to Anacortes, a jumping off point for the San Juan Islands and explored the little town.  The marina is full of yachts for sale.  Sign of the times.  Anacortes is more of a working town than La Conner and much bigger than Port Townsend.

Well, we shook the jello and changed our plans again.  We originally had planned to stay in the area a few days, and do some kayaking,  but Joel talked with Jenny today, and if she doesn't go into labor within the next few days, the doctors are going to induce labor so we will head out tomorrow morning with a destination of Lake Chelan before we head to Portland.  So the jello is a shake'n...stay tuned.

The Wooden Boat Festival, Port Townsend, WA Sept 6-9

Off to Port Townsend, a little  village on the north eastern part of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. Once we arrived we headed to the transit center/visitor center parking lot for some black top camping only to find out that the parking lot would be closed during the festival for shuttle parking. We parked there for the night and then moved on to the Elks about 4 miles from town.  There is a bicycle path all the way into town...mostly down hill, but that means mostly up hill on the way back...sorry about the hills, Joel. :)

If you like boats, you are at the right blog...its rather long this time.

This is the 36th annual Wood Boat Festival, and it is nor ordinary festival.  Yes, there are the food booths and vendor booths, but for the three day entry fee of $30 ($20.00 for us old people) you can attend any number of seminars during the festival, from how to build a stitch and glue kayak to how to apply different kinds of fiberglass and different epoxies to sailing the open seas for women.  When Joel mentioned we were going to attend this festival for three days, I groaned as I figured I'd be on my own exploring the rest of the area while he looked at boats. My attention span at these type of events usually is a maximum of 1/2 day.  Not so this time.  Much to my chagrin,  I spent  three  full days looking and learning, which left no time to explore the Olympic Peninsula.  

A nice calm slough/bay on the way to Port Townsend.
I didn't see any otters other than these.  Didn't know they were in the North West . These were located on the deck of the new maritime center.
Another interesting sculpture.

Beginning of a wooden boat.  Wooden Boat building classes are offered in the new maritime center.

Lots of boats to explore and check out.

Boats come into the harbor from all over and there are all shapes and sizes.  The weather turned out to be perfect. This guy looks like he is really enjoying the life!

 There were lots of kayakers.  These wooden kayaks were most likely built by their paddlers.
These are all home built kayaks from kits. They are just gorgeous as well as sea worthy.
Look at the detail of this one.  Truly works of art.

 Many of the boats on shore are dingys for the boats anchored out in the bay, other are for fun.

Then there were prototypes, hand built out of wood and fiberglass. The solar panels in this boat provide power to run two small electric engines.
 A tranquil view from one of the docks.  The clouds were moving in.
 There was a kayak roll demonstration with one of the wooden kayaks. As you can see it was a pretty popular event.

There were lots of paddle boards, and these were all made from kits.  Just beautiful!

This is the Pacific Grace.   It was really interesting watching her turn and get positioned just right to tie up when she came in.  Here she is actually leaving on the last day.

This is the beginnings of a SCAMP (Small Craft Advisory Magazine Project), a small wooden boat only11'11''  long and virtually unsinkable.  It is a kit boat and pretty simple to put together. 


This is a completed SCAMP
 A demonstration was given on how hard it was to cap size the little boat.  The skipper had to try  really, really hard to get it to capsize and when he did capsize it, it popped right back up and he was back in the boat within a matter of seconds and there was very little water in it from the capsize.  It is touted as a "self rescue" boat. Amazing. Looked like a lot of fun.

These folks are taking some time off and enjoying the day.  Note, Mt Baker on the horizon.

Port Townsend has lots of Victorian Homes, and this is just one example.

The paper mill is one of the main industries of Port Townsend. The use all recycled material to make nearly 20 million grocery bags and other paper products.  Note the stacks of recycled bundles of paper

and they also use sawdust waste.

Port Townsend's has a huge working boat yard, which is a major part of the economy. It is  probably one of the largest non government boat yard I've ever seen.  Most of the boats in the yard  are older boats being restored. This ship is being restored by a non profit and they expected to  be in port only for a few weeks while they cleaned her up and do some repainting. Looks like more than a few weeks job to me.
 This was a smaller boat being worked on.  Pretty sweet.

The ferry crosses the straits every hour and goes to Whidbey and Keystone Islands.  We'll be taking the ferry when we leave Port Townsend over to the island on our way to Cascade National Park our next destination in a few days.

We didn't get to explore area around Port Townsend this time as we need to move on.  Joel's daughter  is due to have her baby boy any day as I write this, and we have to be in Arizona in less than a month so  we must move on is we want to see any of the Cascades and see the new baby when he comes.