After a detour to the fairgrounds, about three miles from the Bremerton Elks lodge campground, to use the dump station, we were on the road a little after 10 a.m. yesterday morning. The weather report was for partly cloudy skies, but as soon as we were on the road the clouds closed in, and it began to rain steadily.
It rained all the way south on State Route 16, across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (where I didn’t snivel even one little bit), and into Tacoma, where we picked up Interstate 5 northbound. I had hoped that on a Sunday morning traffic wouldn’t be too bad, but it was pretty much bumper to bumper all the way to Auburn, where we got onto State Route 18, and then all the way to Interstate 90, near Snoqualmie. There the rain let up, and as we turned east, a thick band of clouds looked like a white belt stretching as far as we could see, on both sides of the highway.
We climbed up to Snoqualmie Pass, admiring the heavily forested mountains and Keechelus Lake as we passed by.
Of course, no trip is complete without road construction, and a traffic jam that doesn’t move for several minutes. 🙁
Finally, things started to move again, and we began the downhill run. Even in mid-July there was snow on the mountains and in some of the meadows we passed.
It’s amazing that as soon as you get east of the Cascade Mountains, within a few miles the countryside changes from tree covered mountains to rolling hills, and the trees start to disappear.
We passed a wind farm, and then the landscape started to flatten out and we were in agricultural land, with roadside signs telling us what crops we were passing.
Is this what they are talking about when they say wide open spaces?
We stopped at the Flying J in Ellensburg for fuel, only to learn that it’s not a Flying J any more, but some type of affiliate or franchise dealer. The price was higher than listed online, and the help was rude to say the least. We’ll avoid this place in the future.
We didn’t stop, but we waved as we passed George, Washington. Yes, there really is a town in Washington named George!
Eventually we started getting into more hilly country again, with some short but rather steep grades, and then we were back into forest again.
We were trying to decide whether to stop at the Elks lodge in Spokane, or the one in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, another 35 or so miles east. But then Miss Terry’s phone rang, and it was our friend Bill Becker. Bill had read the blog and knew we were headed east, and told us that he and his lovely wife Mabel were in Coeur d’Alene. Well, okay then, that’s one decision made for us! We told Bill we’d call them once we got in and parked.
Traffic is always bad in Spokane, and this trip was no exception. There was also a lot of road construction, with narrow lanes and rough pavement to contend with.
As we crossed into Idaho, we saw something we had never seen before, a sign saying that all watercraft must stop for inspection. I guess the two kayaks on our roof are watercraft, so we pulled into the Welcome Center and followed the signs to the Watercraft Inspection Station. There were three or four workers there, who kind of swarmed over us, one asking where we were coming from, when was the last time our boats had been in the water, and where was that at. Meanwhile the others were carefully checking over our kayaks. I guess the folks in Idaho take invasive marine species seriously, as they should. I wrote about this problem in a Bad Nick Blog titled Mixed Up Priorities. Once they were satisfied that we posed no danger to the waters of Idaho, and that we were only passing through and would not be paddling this trip, they wished us well and sent us on our way.
Of course, I never mentioned the two inflatable Sea Eagle kayaks inside our Explorer. I figure it’s kind of like the military – don’t ask, don’t tell. 🙂 Hopefully sometime this summer Miss Terry will finally get to paddle the Sea Eagle I bought her for Christmas, and then I can pretty much bet you we won’t be hauling the two Manta Rays on top any longer. Anybody want to buy a couple of kayaks?
We arrived at the Coeur d’Alene Elks Lodge campground about 5:30 p.m. We have stayed here before and liked it. The lodge has 32 RV sites on level grass, with 50 amp electric and water, for $18 a night.
Once we were parked and hooked up, we met Bill and Mabel at a nearby Texas Roadhouse for dinner. Bill and Mabel are a wonderful couple, who are always going the extra mile helping us at our Arizona Gypsy Journal rallies, where Bill sells rally T-shirts, and Mabel teaches seminars on Swedish weaving. They told us they are thinking about coming to our Eastern Gypsy Journal Rally in Celina, Ohio in September, and Mabel said if they do come, she’ll be happy to present her Swedish weaving class there too. So ladies, sharpen your needles and be prepared! The waitress took a picture of the four of us, and even though Bill looks grouchy, he really isn’t. He’s just wondering how a guy my size can survive on the petite portions I eat. 🙂
Miss Terry loves photography, especially taking pictures of critters. So when Mabel told her there was an osprey nest right behind their RV park, we followed them home to check it out. Unfortunately, it was getting dark, and Terry was shooting from a distance at maximum zoom, so the shots were not as clear as she’d have liked, but here are a couple to show you.
She also got a nice picture of the beautiful sunset.
We were worn out after driving 370 miles, so after a short walk on a trail behind their RV park, we said our goodbyes to Bill and Mabel and headed back to our motorhome. Today we’ll press onward, and we’ll end up in somewhere in Montana tonight, but we don’t know where yet. Probably around Butte or Bozeman. I don’t see any Passport America campgrounds or Elks lodges with RV hookups listed, and since it’s going to be hot, we’ll just wait and see what plays out. Hopefully it will be someplace where we can get a decent signal on our Verizon air card to get a blog posted.
Thought For The Day – Never explain your actions – your friends don’t need it, and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.