Jasper and Maligne Lake

Sunday July 8, 2018. We decided we’d spend our day by driving Maligne Road to Maligne Lake, about 25 miles up the Maligne River. Guess it was a Maligned day. But first…we stopped by the Bear’s Claw bakery and Coffee shop in Jasper to get a cup of coffer for the trip. Yeah right…couldn’t resist the strawberry/Rhubarb muffin, so we split one. Gotta watch the intake you know.

We were taken by the Jasper Community Garden across the street from the bakery and on the street where we parked. Nice job Jasperites.

Just like driving CA93A Saturday , we were again taken in by the majestic views. This is Medicine Lake, about half way to Maligne Lake. The lower landscape still show a lot of burned area from a large 2015 wildfire. Idiot Ed climbed up on the rocks shown in the first picture to get a better view for the Medicine Lake picture. He got black char on his clothes from the climb, but got the picture. After driving on around the bend, there was a pullout for a much better view!

Difficult to tell the majesty and depth of the mountains with a cell camera, or probably any camera, but from the road, this rocky peak was impressive. Ed nicknamed it Mt Rushmore Wannabe as it looked perfect for the faces of historical Canadian forefathers, waiting to be carved into the granite.

Again, can’t really tell how dramatically steep this mount looked from where Ed is standing, pointing, no…I won’t be climbing this one.

We saw three Caribou on the drive to the lake. They stood very still. Surprised that caribou can be spotted so far south.

Made it to Maligne Lake. Three parking lots and spaces all along the road were taken and the area was swarming with site seers. We stopped long enough to get this picture.

We stopped on the way back at this pullout because it had a toilet. Found this group of bighorn sheep strolling around, oblivious to all the cars pulling in. They were quite straggly. None of them had a full rack.

Jasper and Athabasca

We left Valemount at 10:15am Saturday July 7, drove up CA5 the 13 miles until we headed west on CA16 47 miles through Jasper National Park entrance and to the village of Jasper. It had rained on and off through the night and it was quite gloomy when we left. It started to clear off a bit by the time we crossed over to the province of Alberta and the park entrance. $C39 for a 2 day pass.

We pulled into the village of Jasper and found it full of RVs and people. A little uncomfortable pulling our 38′ trailer, so decided to just go down CA93 a couple miles to our camp site at Whistler Campground for the next couple nights. A bit challenging backing into 30GG without tagging a tree, but got set up fine about 2pm (changed to MDT when we crossed the Alberta province border). No hookups and not a lot of sunshine for the solar panels because of all the trees. We do have our Champion 3400 watt generator just in case.

After setting up, we drove back to explore Jasper. The day turned out to be quite beautiful. A little cloudy, but still lots of sunshine. Temp was cool, around 64°. What a great town to wander around. There are lots of shops and restaurants as Jasper is also a winter sports mecca. Found the Jasper Brewery of course. The sleeve (10 oz) of 6060 stout and the bacon burger hit the spot.

A lot of daylight left, so we ventured south, taking CA93A loop, a less traveled road on the east side of the Athabasca River. Beautiful drive with snow capped mountain peaks around every bend.

We drove along the Athabasca glacier fed river, lending itself to incredible views of God’s creation. So many mountain peaks it was hard for us to identify them for certainty. Thinking this one must be Mt Edith Cavell (11,033′).

Athabasca Falls is located just before CA93A loop joins back with CA93. Spectacular views joined with the roaring sound of the water purging through the rocks was absolutely breath taking.  The observation area was swarming with other tourists, all appeared as amazed of the beauty as we were. It appeared to us that most people were from other countries. Perhaps Europe, Asia, Middle East, and India. Many rental class C RVs parked in the parking area and along the road. Including Adventurer, CanaDream, CruiseCanada, as well as private RVs. Jasper is a wonderful destination for vacationers. God is good.

Salmon Arm to Valemount British Columbia

Here is a picture from a Visitor Center Brochure that shows our route from Washington to Salmon Arm on CA97; then CA1 to Kamloops,  and CA5 to Valemount. Over the next few days we’ll take CA16 east to Jasper and down to Banff.

 

 

 

 

 

British Columbia is so incredibly beautiful. Wonderful drive up from Salmon Arm to Valemount. Pulled in to Irvins RV park around 3:30pm Wednesday and enjoyed having full hooks ups. A chance to drain tanks, refresh our fresh water tank, do laundry, and run the AC a bit. Haven’t really needed AC, but just ran one for an hour or so.

After showers and getting ready, we drove down the road to explore Valemount. First, we headed for fuel (diesel). Wow! $1.379 per LITER. Almost 200 liters for $270C. But US $ is a bit stronger, so after all the calculations, the Visa charge was $211US. A little better, but still a little over $4.19/gal compared to cost per gallon in the US.

We saw billboards on the way in to town for “Fresh Craft Beer” so had to check out Three Ranges brewery. We tried the “Tail Slap IPA”. Pretty good, but not quite up to Arizona Wilderness, or BRI (Beer Research Institute in Gilbert).

Before leaving for more exploring Thursday, we decided to try this Swiss Bakery we heard about tucked away in Valemount. Quite quaint. A cup of pretty good coffee and sharing a cinnamon pastry was just what we needed to get our morning started.

After asking for information at the Valemount Visitor Center, we decided to drive the 30 minutes to Mt Robson Provincial Park toward Jasper. We stopped to view Mt Terry Fox (the 8694′ snow capped peak on the right side of the picture). Interesting story on Terry Fox. He was a Canadian athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist. In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, he embarked on an east to west cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Although the spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometers (3,339 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over C$750 million has been raised in his name, as of January 2018.

Geez. Mt Robson (12,972′) looks a lot like Denali and Rainier…clouded over. But it is still quite spectacular. We got a couple shots on our way to the Mt. Robson Provincial Park Visitor Center. The center is very nice. Somewhat crowded. Most of the visitors we heard inside were speaking another language.

Overlander Falls on the Fraser River is just up the CA16 from the visitor center and called us to try a short trek to check it out.  The falls are named for the Overlanders expedition of 1862. A group of some 175 men and 1 woman from Ontario that traveled across the prairies and through the Rocky Mountains, intending to reach the Barkerville or Cariboo goldfields.

Having a little energy left from the Overlanders Falls hike (really a simple hike), we made one last stop for the day for another short hike at Rearguard Falls. The sign reads that this is the farthest point that salmon migrate up the Fraser River to spawn, about 1,260 km (783 mi) from the ocean.  The Fraser flows into the Pacific at Vancouver BC. It is an awesome river, we think comparable to the mighty Columbia in the US. We were very impressed with the board walk and railing the park installed. Made it a lot easier to get down to where we could almost touch the water going over the falls. We could feel the spray.

Next, on to Whistler and Jasper National Park.

Washington to Salmon Arm British Columbia Canada

We left Bonair Winery mid-morning Monday, July 2 and drove the 100+ miles to Wenatchee. We enjoyed all the agriculture along the way. Lots of Cherry orchards, vineyards, and hops. Shirley told us the this area grows more hops than anywhere in the country. Yes…future IPAs.

After fueling at a Fred Meyer, because we had a $1/gal off up to 35 gallons, we drove to “Sleepy Hollow”, our Boondockers Welcome location for the night.

Jack and Shirley greeted us like family and invited us to share happy hour with them around 5pm. Now we’re talking great hosts!

We arrived around 2pm on a beautiful Washington day. Our hosts are located a short walk from the Wenatchee River so we were able to get out for a little stroll to enjoy it. The river joins the Columbia a short distance down.

Jack is a retired welder but still loves to weld up about anything that hasn’t been welded. One of his specialties is fabricating huge wind chimes, using high power electric transmission line insulators as clangers. He made so many he didn’t have a count of how many. We felt welcomed as soon as we pulled in when we saw Jack’s “Yea Trump” sign on the side of the garage. We were also invited to plug in to their 50amp outlet and use their very handy water spigot.

Tuesday July 3 was quite an interesting day. We left Wenatchee mid-morning with full intentions of staying at a Harvest Host winery in Oroville, just before the border crossing. It was an incredibly beautiful drive following the Columbia River most of the way. When it was time for a rest break we stopped at Wells Dam welcome park, a Douglas County Public Utility point of interest. Nice restrooms, a kiosk explaining the dam history, a walkway trail and an observation area.

As we traveled north we still had a lot of daylight ahead of us, so we decided to forego the Oroville winery stop and proceed on to our next destination. A unique Harvest Host market in Salmon Arm, BC that we have been looking forward to. We had been quite worried about what challenges we might encounter crossing the border with our “house” since they don’t allow, or were limiting certain food, plants, alcohol quantities, firearms and such. We were VERY pleased when we were welcomed to Canada after showing our passports, registrations and insurance papers….and answering just a few entry questions; like where we were going and for how long. Once in to British Columbia, we were surprised with all the traffic. Lots of stop and go though Kelowna. A much larger city (pop 125,000) than expected. Later, we realized the increased traffic was because July 1 is Canada Day and a week to vacation. There were lots of recreation places around Kelowna, primarily because it is on Okanagan lake. In addition, Ed thought DeMille’s market was just over the border in Osoyoos, but soon realized we had another 150 miles to travel from the border.

Another beautiful drive, this time along the Okanagan River in route to our next Harvest Host location; DeMille’s Farm Market in Salmon Arm, BC. Arrived around 5:30pm and parked in the large front parking lot for two nights. We passed miles and miles of irrigated agriculture on both sides of the river and hillsides. Many more cherry tree orchards. Seems like there was fruit stand every mile.

We were very welcomed by owner Brad. Connie was elated with the market and all they had to offer in the way of produce and fruit.

Walking around the grounds a bit, we could easily see why DeMille’s is called a “farm” market. Not to mention the fresh fruits and produce in the market, mostly provided from area farms. All and all it was a wonderful stop for us. The only negative was Canada Highway 1 next to us was quite busy, but not that annoying.

Salmon Arm seemed like an unusual name, but a local explained to us that Shuswap (shoe-swap) lake is in the shape of a huge letter “H”, and Salmon Arm is one of the arms.

Leaving Big Creek for Canada, via Washington

Pulled away from our Big Creek Hatchery site about 7am July 1. Got a chance to say so-long to Jessica and Travis. Bitter sweet as leaving was like leaving family.

Wednesday before we left, most of the techs and their families surprised us at the 10am break with a good-bye cake, some Tillamook ice cream, and a very nice don’t leave card.

 

Ross instructed Connie on proper fish feeding the week before we left. Click on the picture or attached video to view the 4 second video.

Retired tech Mike (was here when we volunteered in 2016) took 3 techs and Rob’s son Jaxson halibut fishing while we were there. They returned with their fish ready to fillet for the pan, or freezer, all in the same day. Jessica was kind enough to give us a couple generous fillets from her catch. We also enjoy some Spring Salmon (Chinook or King) that has been given to us. Yum yum,

Kayla and Ross hosted a crawdad boil the Sunday before we left. They trapped the crawdads in a slough a short distance from the hatchery. It was quite an event getting the live crawdads ready to drop in the pot. Click on the picture or view attached to see Kayla and Connie prepping them.

After leaving Big Creek on Sunday July 1, we drove US30 to Longview, then up I5 to US12 over White Pass Scenic Byway, and through the edge of Mt Rainier National Park to Yakima and Bonair Winery.

Stopped near the summit at a Mt Rainier View Point. And reminiscent of trying to catch a glimpse of Denali while we were in Alaska, it was clouded over too.

Got set up next to Bonair’s vineyards around 2pm. Fantastic! As members of Harvest Hosts, we are good to park here and no cost. The wine was NOT free however!

Mt Rainier can be seen from here on a clear day, but not clear enough today. We did get a great view of snow covered Mt Adams which is a little closer. Rainier is over 14k’ and Adams a little over 12k’

Vineyard/winery owner Shirley was very gracious and served us a variety of their selections. Wonderful wine… and hospitality. Shirley and Gail planted their first vineyard back in 1980 and have been going strong ever since, starting the winery in 1988. They boast that this Rattlesnake Hills vineyard area is on the same latitude as Burgundy, France….noting that the California vineyards are on the same latitude as Baghdad, Iraq!

We  enjoyed walking around the grounds on such a perfect day in the low 70s. Later we walked down the peaceful country road along side huge cherry orchards. All agriculture in the area is irrigated with water from the Yakima river. Needed water as Shirley said their annual rainfall is only 6 inches.

Couldn’t resist buying Bonair’s  2013 Rattlesnake Hills Malbec (pink label), Touriga Port, and a Bung Dog Red for on the road.

Monday, we continue north a short distance to a Boondocker’s Welcome location in East Wenatchee. Another no-cost night, then one more winery before crossing into British Columbia Canada.

 

Ooops and Lots of People

First of all…So sorry for sending out the last post 3 times. There was a glitch in the Email Plugin and  it continued send to the post automatically…and from Admin at StreamingAround instead of Ed. I think we got it figured out now, so stay tuned.

Turns out our RV friends from Mesa are serving as park hosts just 60 miles from us in Washington at Seaquest State Park near Castle Rock, which just happens to be directly across Washington hwy 504 from Mount St. Helen’s Visitor Center. We had a delightful visit with Don and Doreen and enjoyed seeing their park. They are there June and July, then will move over to Yakima Sportsman State Park for August. They enjoy the cooler summer climate in Washington, but will be happy to get back to their new home in Queen Creek, Arizona after their volunteer stint.

We enjoyed stopping at the visitor center across from the state park to check out the view and a little history. We learned that the US Forest Service’s Johnson Ridge Observatory, about an hour up WA504 (end of the road) where you can see the west side of the 1981 blowout. Don told us that it is a beautiful drive and some fantastic views. Next time maybe.

We put in our 20 hours a week by working 4 hours per day M-F. The day starts out in the office with 4-6 hatchery techs and Rob, the hatchery supervisor. Clockwise from Connie is Rob, Tanner (a roaming tech that serves 3 area hatcheries), Jessica, our neighbor and new friend, Nick, Dustin, Travis (our volunteer coordinator) and Ross (the hatchery senior tech). All our great folks, as well as their families we have grown to know. Rob, Dustin, Travis, and Ross were here when we volunteered back in 2016.

As noted in our May post about “Lost Salmon“, Spring Chinook  Salmon stray up Big Creek and wind up coming up the fish ladder and into the pens normally used to process spawning Fall Salmon later in the year. Consequently, Spring Salmon fishing is pretty good in May and into July, but the salmon that get past the anglers, wind up in the pens. We transported them back to the mouth of Big Creek last time, but they were not quite so fortunate this go round. They were killed with a club and bled (one of their gills pulled out). Sounds cruel, but they are destined to die anyway. Like all salmon during spawning time. Connie got in on the clubbing. This video is where the fish are first brought up from the pen and are very active. Click HERE to see the 34 second youtube video.

Travis, our host coordinator/tech,  takes advantage of the excellent fishing in Big Creek, as well as other locations around the area. Often rises early before work and goes down to the creek. Note that “work” and “the creek” are closer than some folks walk to get their mail. At any rate, Travis always makes sure we have plenty of salmon. He came by here to drop off a few fillets, along with his son Everett. The boy next to Connie is Benjamin, another neighbor. We’re very fond of Benjamin.

Cousin Lia and Jerry from Klamath Falls brought their motorhome to Astoria for a few days and Cousin Mike and Colleen, came down from Seatac and stayed with them. They all came up for Connie’s Instant Pot meatloaf dinner on Friday. Mike was a little boy when Ed last saw him, so it was great re-uniting and meeting Colleen.

Lia and Connie have really hit it off, as displayed on our trip to Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. We all drove the short distance from Astoria to enjoy a rather cool (56°), with a little wind, beach combing experience. The tide was very low, enabling walking out to the rock and exploring tidal life (like starfish) that are normally under water.

After tide pooling at Haystack Rock, we headed back north to the Muscle-Chrome car show in Seaside. About 3 blocks of vintage cars parked on the street and surrounded by hundreds of folks taking a closer look. Most cars were 1960s thru 1978. We had a great time, taking a break at the Seaside Brewery for lunch.

Couldn’t get enough of the large crowds, so walked the 3 blocks of vendor tents at Astoria’s Sunday Market. Mike and Colleen left earlier that morning, so Just Lia, Jerry and the Allens participated. Ed and Jerry enjoyed a Vortex IPA as we all stopped by at the Fort George Brewery before heading back to Big Creek

How to Spend a Courtesy Day Off

Friday June 1, 2018: We were told at our 7:30am meeting that we should just take the day off. No problem! We got ready and departed mid morning. We drove up Washington’s Long Beach peninsula on US 101 and Oregon 103 to Oysterville on the peninsula between Willapa (Willa-Paw) bay and the Pacific.
We visited the quaint Willabay Oyster Sea Farms company and store and bought some smoked osysters. Willabay generates revenue for the restoration and preservation of Oysterville’s last oyster buildings. These buildings were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and they are a key reason why Oysterville is designated a National Historic District.
 
Oysterville was once a thriving village and served as the County Seat in it’s early history. The area was populated by Chinook Indians prior to Europeans coming to the area to harvest oysters, shipping oysters on schooners to San Fransisco during the Gold Rush days. Many of the homes were built in the mid 1850s and  are restored. They make for a scenic drive down the short streets through the village.

From Oysterville, we drove south on Sandridge Road and stopped at the Nahcotta interpretive center. It was low tide so we were able to see harvest beds from the building. The building is a replica of the residence used by oystermen and their families when they lived over their oyster beds for security. We also watched a short video that helped us to understand the oyster harvest process and history. Several commercial oyster operations are next to the center.

 
Driving a little further south on Sandridge Road, we couldn’t resist checking out the LJ Ranch Goat Farm. The sign “Kids for Sale” caught our attention before we realized it referred to “kid” goats. Jerry and Lisa were very gracious as they showed us around their farm consisting of 38 goats from babies to older Billies (too many Jerry said). We had to succumb to purchasing a small block of Gouda goat cheese and lavender soap .
 
After all that, we were ready for a snack. After driving the short distance down Sandridge, we unexpectedly spotted Bailey’s bakery and cafe in Nahcotta. Actually drove by before realizing it was there. Connie enjoyed a cup of delicious clam chowder and Ed had tortilla soup. Had to throw in a couple yummy ginger snap cookies to fill the gap….oh yeah, and a peanut butter one too 🙂
Before heading back to the hatchery, we just happened  [sce emoji=”wink”/] to drive past the North Jetty Brewery in Seaview. Had to stop of course. Ed tried an 8oz glass of their Discovery Coast Coffee Stout, but Connie held out for a glass of water. How boring. It was a delightful day! God is GOOD. Got home around 4pm.

May at Big Creek

This is a view from the meadow in back of our trailer. Trees in the foreground are plum. We can hear Big Creek babbling from the meadow, and from our trailer if we listen close.

A heard of elk meander around the hatchery grounds and we’re able to capture a view now and then. Majestic.

We venture in to Astoria, as well as nearby Warrenton, about once a week to shop and check in at a brewery. Astoria was used to film several movies, the most noted is the 1985 movie “The Goonies.” We stopped at Astoria Coffee Roasters, located a block away from the Goonies house, and also the Kindergarten Cop school building. Because of all the unwanted traffic created by Goonie fanatics, you can’t get close to the house, but Kindergarten Cop school is an easy drive by. It continues as a school today, known as the John Jacob Astor school… Or “Astoria Elementary”

We enjoyed a short drive on US 101 across the Columbia to Ilwaco, Washington and their Saturday market along the docks. Mostly crafty items this time of year, but it will expand as local farmers can harvest their produce. At any rate it was a fun day to explore.

We met Lauren and Caleb at the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook on Saturday over Memorial Day weekend. They are young couple that serve as traveling nurses around the country, generally working 12 hour days of night shifts. We met them while we were all staying at Twin Palms RV Park in Mesa. They needed a break from their long night shifts, so we suggested they try volunteering at Alsea Fish Hatchery near Corvallis. We had volunteered there in 2015. They did, so that enabled us to meet them at Tillamook and catch up. Sad that the factory was closed for remodeling, but we were able to visit their temporary visitor building for cheese tasting and their delicious ice cream. Later, we stopped by De Garde Brewery for a taste, and the Pelican Brewery for a burger and an Umbrella (their IPA).

Meanwhile back at the hatchery, we had a fun time gathering with the tech families for a little BBQ. The added social life makes our stay here extra special.

Life at the hatchery this time of year is somewhat slow as far as the hatchery operation. Mostly maintenance. But we got to participate in gathering up some Spring Salmon that couldn’t quite find their way back home. These Chinook (King) average around 12 pounds. Here is a 26 second video of the operation.

“Springers” aren’t hatched or released at Big Creek, so they shouldn’t be coming up the creek to spawn from the ocean, but some occasionally stray up the stream each year. They “become lost” in part because of net pens in the sloughs.

After gathering the “lost springers,” we took them down close to the mouth of Big Creek and released. We helped punch a hole it their tale for identification, but so far no one has reported catching one.

TULE SALMON RELEASE

Tule Chinook (King) salmon spawn and hatch at Big Creek Hatchery. Columbia River Indians called them mitúla, or “white salmon,” because the flesh of the salmon is light colored when they return to spawn. When ready, the young salmon (2-3 inches) are released into Big Creek to begin their journey to the pacific, where they live 3-4 years before returning to spawn. To help get them ready, techs will poor on the feed, looking for about 70 fish per pound before releasing. View the 8 second video below to see the feeding process.

When ready, the pond gates are opened and the young Tules are coaxed out through a large pipe over to a larger pipe that runs under the spawning building.

Look closely and you can see a couple young Tules as they come out of the channel under the spawning building. These guys are only a couple inches long.

Then they follow the channel into Big Creek, and eventually the Columbia River and the Pacific. Big Creek released around 2 1/2 million, and less than 1% will make it back to spawn.

 

Arizona to Oregon

April 24, 2018: Say goodbye to Steve and Jenni and others as we depart Twin Palms RV Park around 9am toward Kingman, Arizona.

With months of Arizona dust build up on our home, we decided to run it through the Kingman Blue Beacon Truck Wash before venturing down Historic US 66 about 5 miles to the Desert Diamond Distillery, a Harvest Hosts location. Even though they were officially closed Tuesdays, John and Deborah welcomed us to their distillery and showed us where to park; right along side a quaint gazebo patio area and the vintage Pullman car that came with a story on how the heck they got it there from Kansas… along with their plans to refurbish it into a restaurant.

John took the time to give us a tour of the distillery and an informative presentation on how they distill rum. Afterward, we joined Deborah at the bar tasting room for some samples of their product. Connie favored the Barrel Rum Reserve so we purchased a bottle as a reminder of our D³ (Desert Diamond Distillery) stop.

We met up with John and Deborah for breakfast at the Airport Cafe Wednesday morning. We were able to walk to the cafe as it is located a short distance from the distillery. The area is next to the local airport located in the industrial area of Kingman.

After breakfast at the cafe, we traveled US 95 by Hoover dam and continued though Las Vegas. We hoped to find a truck stop along the route where we could pull in/out easy with our big 5th wheel. Nope! Wound up making a U turn north of town and heading back to a station located in a shopping center area. Got into a rather tight situation, but managed to find an end pump and a couple nice young ladies that were there to pump our fuel. Whew! We were off and going again after about 1/2 hour.

We tried to figure out this spectacular bright light in the desert as we approached Millers Rest Area, 10 miles west of Tonopah. With good cell service we were able to Google that this was the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, a 110 megawatt solar thermal project with 1.1 gigawatt-hours of energy storage.

Just past the huge solar project is Millers Rest Area. Like an oasis in the middle of the desert. Very non typical as no trucks are permitted. There is even a dump station for dumping our holding tanks.

Incorporated next to Millers Rest Area is a large area for overnight parking. We got there mid-afternoon so had plenty of time to relax a bit. It was so much better than a Walmart stop, other than Walmart is nice if you need supplies.

We got settled in to Silver Sage RV Park Thursday night and met up with daughter Shannon and grand daughter Faith where they were staying at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino. Enjoyed dinner with them at the Purple Parrot in the Hotel. The Atlantis enclosed walkway to the convention center made it very convenient to get back and forth to the volleyball games over the next couple days. The convention center is less than a mile from our RV park so we walked to the convention center for exercise as weather permitted.

The “Far Western National Qualifier” volleyball tournament was amazing.  They had 77 courts (see map) set up and games going on continually on all the courts throughout the Friday and Saturday, plus teams waiting for their time on the court. The courts were also busy Sunday  for playoffs. I calculated 77 courts, 12 girls on each court, plus subs and 12 girls waiting for the court…plus coaches and subs…and easy 2000 plus volleyball players and coaches. Connie says there had to be lots of drama ;-).

Grand daughter Faith and her mom were our motivation for being in Reno. Great to see them and great to see Faith play in such rigorous competition. She plays with Colorado Juniors 16. They did well and the team placed 4th out of the 50 teams in their Division.

Colorado Juniors warming up, Faith in the forefront.

We did take a little side tour to get fuel while in Reno. Well…diesel for the truck. But couldn’t resist stopping at the Great Basin brewery for human fuel recommended by friend Annette. Ed enjoyed an “Icky” IPA, while Connie tried their Alpenglow Hazy IPA. The beer went well with an order of wings.

We took daughter and grand daughter to the airport early Sunday evening so they could fly to Denver and get back to their regular life. Then Monday we were on the road again toward our ultimate destination at Big Creek Fish Hatchery in Knappa, OR; near Astoria.

Ed had recently established a re-newed relationship with Lia, his 2nd cousin, when she and her husband Jerry stopped off at our place in Mesa. They invited us to overnight at their place near Klamath Falls on our way to Big Creek. WOW! A fantastic place in the woods outside of Klamath Falls. They made us feel especially welcome and offered full hookups for our 5th wheel.

Now this is hospitality folks. Jerry cooked up some tri-tip meat and BBQ chicken. Lia fixed a salad and mashed potatoes. Doreen, another 2nd cousin came up from California to see us and stay overnight. We had an awesome visit with everyone, and enjoyed the libations along with the company.

Lia and Jerry not only have a fabulous home, but Jerry gave us a tour of his “Man Cave” where he builds guns and loads his own ammo.

Next to the man cave is a garage where they keep the fishing boat and Jerry makes fishing poles. The man has many talents, including upgrading their kitchen. We think he’s best at hospitality. Here is a picture of Jerry with the cousins: L to R: Doreen, Jerry, Lia, and Ed.

We pulled in to Big Creek Tuesday May 1 at 5pm Tuesday and got settled in after a wee bit of a backing in problem. Ed’s pride was crushed that he didn’t get it backed in with one fail swoop.

Reported for our first 4 hour day on Wednesday and got right to it after a morning meeting. We spread lime pellets on all lawns in around the tech’s homes.

Thursday Connie worked in the flower garden near the entrance while Ed mowed on the John Deere. We’ll take before and after pictures of her garden work next time as she made a big difference here.

We’ve been invited to a BBQ Saturday, hosted by Dustin and Brianna. Dustin is a tech and lives in the green house in the picture. Not counting our trailer, there are six homes in our quaint neighborhood. All for the techs and their families. A great group of folks. Yesterday, Brianna brought muffins over and Travis brought over a salmon filet he caught caught earlier in the day. It’s going to be a good May and June.

Winding Down in Arizona

A well known Mesa landmark that always catches our eye when we’re driving on Main Street is the historic Diving Lady neon sign. It has quite a story. Originally erected in the 1960’s but came down with a crash during a storm in 2010. Mesa Preservation Foundation was instrumental in restoring the landmark in 2013,  and it now stands proud in front of the Starlite Motel…that no longer has a pool.

We’ve had several visitors since our arrival last November. Janet and Nancy from Utah stopped by the afternoon March 10. We took them to the Mesa Beer fest and our favorite BRI brewery.

We got together with Mike and Marva a couple times in Mid March. They are friends we met at Brazos Bend State Park near Houston mid-March. We served with them there Nov-Dec 2015. Mike and Marva parked their RV trailer down the street and we had an awesome time with them in the area…including the Olive Mill Farm, the Pork Shop, and riding bikes to the Gilbert Farmers Market. Great seeing them again.

We are thankful that Colorado friends Jann and Jeff Fox that have their RV parked across the valley (Goodyear) and we are able to see them from time to time. They came to see us Friday April 6, bringing Jann’s sister Jeri and her husband Bruce. Great visit, meatloaf, and beer.

On Thursday March 22 we road our bikes the 4+ miles down the Consolidated Canal path to the Oakland A’s Hohokam Stadium to watch the Rockies beat Oakland 4 to 2. Nice day to enjoy a beer, hotdog and the ballgame.

Ed took Connie to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport on Saturday March 24 for her flight to Colorado and a family connection fix. Her flight was 5:15am, leaving Ed plenty of time to attend the Men’s breakfast at Christ Church in Gilbert. He had a great time meeting and sharing with some other Men. Connie enjoyed her week with sister Cheri and daughter Shannon and family.

We took a long drive to Wickenburg and Jerome on Thursday April 12. From Mesa we drove the freeway to Scottsdale Rd and the Carefree highway (highway 74), then over to 60 and up to Wickenburg. We loved walking around Wickenburg a bit, stopping at the Chamber of Commerce located in the old train depot. Shopped a couple antique stores before moving on toward Jerome, through Yarnell and Prescott via winding highway 89. Yarnell is known for the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots that died fighting a wildfire back in 2013. Josh Brolin stars in Only the Brave, a movie about the tragedy.

Drove highway 89A from Prescott to Jerome. Now Jerome is quite an interesting town. Reminded us a bit of Central City, Colorado. An old copper mining town built on the side of a hill. In the old days it was sometimes referred to as the Wicked City. Brothels and such you know.

Our drive happened to coincide with Arizona Bike Week so we saw lots of Motorcycles.

A potter had a few of his things set out in a spot between two buildings. Connie couldn’t resist buying yet another unique cup.

The Wicked City Tap House is up yet another hill we had to climb, but was worth the walk to get a little refreshment. Connie found a stool next to a very bony fellow.

We’re saying good bye to friends and family in Arizona April 24 and going back on the road. God willing, we’ll be back here November 2.

4/24 Depart Mesa. Drycamp at a Desert Diamond Distillery in Kingman
4/25 drycamp at Millers rest stop near Tonapah, NV
4/26-4/29 Silver Sage RV Park Reno, NV for Faith’s VB tournament
4/30 Lia & Jerry’s place Klamath Falls, OR
May-June – Big Creek fish hatchery near Astoria, OR
7/1 – Ice Lock Dam & Visitor Ctr near Pasco, WA to see Geidels
7/2 – Boondockers Welcome Pearts Wenatchee, WA
7/3 – Harvest Hosts Esther Bricques Winery & Vineyard Oroville, WA
7/4 – Harvest Hosts DeMille’s Farm Market Salmon Arm, BC
7/5-7/6 Irvins Campgroud Valemount, BC
7/7-7/8 – Whisler CG Jasper – diyr 30GG confirmed no hookups
7/9-7/10 – Tunnel Trl Court CG Banff FHU
7/11 – Boondockers; Canal Flats BC
7/12-7/13 – Glacier Sun Winery Kalispell, MT
7/14 – Harvest Host Miracle of America Polson, MT
7/15-7/16 – Peggy & Tom’s DoubleArrow Golf Course near Sealy Lake
7/17-7/20 – Helena Fairgrounds space 20 w/electric
7/21-7/24 – Sunrise Campground Bozeman, MT
7/25-7/26 – 7th Ranch RV Park Garryowen, MT
7/27-7/30 – Gillette, WY
7/31-8/1 – Spearfish City Park RV campground
8/2 – City Park Wheatland, WY first come first camp
Aug 3-4 Hi-Camp campground no hookkups-Cheyenne for Connie’s 50th HS reunion
8/5 – Cheri’s Loveland
Aug 6-Sept 6 Loveland RV
9/7-9/10- Monument RV Campground , Fruita, CO
9/11-9/13: Ridgway State Park site 18 confirmed
9/14-9/21: Fraser
9/22-10/6: St. Vrain
10/7-10/10: Bear Creek Lake Rec Area Lakewood, CO
10/11-10/25: Chatfield SP
10/26-10/27: Cheyenne Mtn SP Colorado Springs
10/28: Childress, Tx
10/29-10/31: Stephenville, TX
11/1: Las Cruces, NM
11/2: Twin Palms