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Glacier Park 2016

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The Gang of Eight, aka The Saltines, aka Crackers gathered once again with trailers in tow to convene in yet another national landmark! Traveling from varied parts of the western United States to gather together for friendship, carousing, and reconnecting with the beauty of Nature that surrounds us all! Our home camp was at North American RV Park in the small town of Coram, MT north of Kalispell. The RV park was very nice and very clean and the staff were friendly and helpful. They put us all together in the back of the campground (very strategic to other campers nearby, wink wink).

Our adventures started by visiting the city of Kalispell. Unfortunately, like many small towns we visit on a Sunday, most of the stores and shops were closed. That made the visit short and we headed up the road to Whitefish. It didn’t take us long to find a food and beverage establishment that was well suited to the gang. We headed over to Casey’s and went to their rooftop area. The food was great, but even better was their Mule drinks, oh my gawd!!! Those sent us on a quest to find the exact ginger beer they used for them. After our quest found the elixir, back to camp we went to concoct mules of our own!

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Ruger

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Ursie and Ruger

Yes we ate a lot and of course we drank a lot, but we did manage to get some hiking, sightseeing, and the obligatory shopping in while we were there. Glacier Park rivals Yellowstone in it’s beauty and we were very impressed. Our first foray into the backwoods territory was to travel up the Going-to-the-Sun-Road to Logan Pass. Bob, our travel advisor, had warned us before hand that the winds would be howling up top so we didn’t really prepare to do any serious hiking. We were enthralled with the scenery and a bit nervous with the narrow road. When we got to the pass, we stopped at the visitor center and had a look then decided to venture out into the wind and cold and hike a bit up the trail to Hidden Lake. Well, we just kept going all the way to the lake, wind and all. See, that’s just how we roll! During the week we did other hikes and saw other areas of the park. Another hike took us to Avalanche Lake along the Avalanche River. It was a magical place although very crowded. Had it not been for the car disabled passes our two old and decrepit men of the Saltines possess, we would not have found parking. There, in the parking lot, we tested our bear spray. It worked, especially when the breeze blew some of it back in our faces!!! Not so smart! We also took a trek around the park to the east and through the town of Browning in the heart of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, uhhhh ok, enough said. We entered the Many Glacier entrance to the trailhead of the Apikuni Falls and hiked that trail. There were some tough spots, but the reward was incredible!! Another hike was on the Lake Stanton Trail to Lake Stanton, a very quiet and secluded hike just as beautiful as any other. The Ruger dog came on that hike with us and just bounded with the youth of a pup. It was on this hike a few of us sustained minor injuries with Ursie taking a fall and getting cut up, and Debbie getting multiple sting bites from a crazed wasp. Luckily she is not allergic. Ruger gave us all a scare when he started acting lethargic at camp one day and refused to eat. He then threw up bile and started shaking. Rob and Ursie had to take him on an emergency vet visit. They found one that could take him in and he had an infection and fever. With some meds and rest, he was back too himself in no time!!

Glacier Park and Montana is abundant with wildlife, right??? Well it wasn’t on this trip for us. We hardly saw anything much in the way of animals. We caught glimpses of mountain goats, one was very close to us, a few deer in the far distance, many dead skunks on the roads, a couple of squirrels having a love moment, the sound of a moose or loons, and ONE bear. FB_IMG_1472342636646The bear was seen by Bob, Patti, Rob, and Ursie. We were in the second truck and when we pulled up, I opened the door to turn around to get a good picture or video perhaps, and Pam screamed as she does often, bear disappeared and photo is courtesy of Ursie……sigh!
The week sadly flew by and it was time to leave. We took a more scenic route back that just didn’t have us on I90 the whole time. We drove through never seen towns of Sand Point and Bonners Ferry, Idaho which we thought were gorgeous! I think they are both even prettier than Coeur D’Alene and that is saying quite a bit! Our last spot on the way home was at Sprague Lake Resort. It is just a tiny fishing campground on the lake run by a sweet German lady named Monica. It was crazy windy and the bugs were a bit overwhelming, but a quaint place for an overnight stop. We had our last hurrah and sadly returned to the reality of the working world!

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Our Last Night!

Thanks for reading our adventures and you can find all the photos in the photo gallery here! Until next time!!!

Wine, Women, and Smoke

Yep, that’s right, another camping vacation in the books and it was another fun one of course! This one took us to the wine country of Eastern Washington and into the foothills of the Blue Mountains of Northeast Oregon. Four couples and four trailers involved, us, Rich and Pam, Bob and Patty, and Rob and Ursie, otherwise known as “The Gang of Six”! The ride over was a white knuckled extravaganza due to high winds blowing and reduced visibility to to blowing dust and smokey skies. It was also a boys(Cordell and I) solo journey without Debbie. See got her calendars crossed and signed up for a half marathon in Vancouver, BC during the same weekend as the beginning of the vacation. It was all good and we arranged it so she could still go up, by herself, do the run and then fly into Walla Walla the second night and join in the vacation fun! So after the trailer blowing from side to side most of the way into Walla Walla, the boy and I made it to the first stop RV Resort Four Seasons safe and sound.

Now there is Bob McEvoy, one of the unluckiest and in the same note, luckiest guys we know! As I arrived and started backing in, there he stood blood all over his hands, arms, dripping down his clothes with his permanent grin plastered on his face. He looked like a scene from a horror movie. Seems their camping cat they rescued some time ago and may still be a bit feral, escaped from the truck when they pulled in. Afraid the cat might just take off for good, he and Patty made a mad rush after it. When Bob got his hands on the crazed feline, it went catnip crazy on his extremities. The result was a bloodied Bob but a captured cat! These injuries hampered him throughout the trip, requiring a trip to an urgent care then surgery back home as sever infection set it! It could only happen to him.

The second night, Debbie flew in from Vancouver, BC at the large international air hub that is Walla Walla Regional Airport and the following two days we spent indulging in the region’s many many wineries. Wine tasting all day, four women, many bottles purchased, well you might take an educated guess how the nights went. We found Walla Walla to be way more interesting than imagined. I don’t recall ever actually being in downtown Walla Walla although have driven by and near it many times. The downtown core is bustling with many cool shops, restaurants and many tasting rooms. One restaurant we stopped for lunch was the Red Monkey, a funky little place with some really good food, and you can see the tasting tour list we did at the end of the post. It was a very nice town, but would we live there…….naw!

The next half of the trip was just over the border into Oregon, taking a road from Milton-Freewater into a canyon along the south fork of the Walla Walla River to a campground called Harris Park. It was a nice clean place and we had it all to ourselves for the first two nights. They had a group camp section and that’s where we all gathered.

Camp Crazy!

Camp Crazy!

We really wanted to do some hiking and that we did. The only problem there was really only two good trails and one was closed due to the large number of rattlesnakes infesting the hillside around the trail. Debbie does NOT do snakes………of any kind! We ended up doing two days of hiking the same hike. That is kind of boring but on the second day we went a bit further and stumbled on a very cool cluster of cabins at the end of the trail. It probably could only be accessed on the other side of the range by ATVs or four wheelers. The place looked like an old homestead, but was being visited and kept up. We let our imaginations run wild. Our campground was totally off the grid, no cell or phone service was to be had. We actually had to look at and talk to each other the whole time we were there….imagine that! The closest town was Milton-Freewater about 12 miles back the way we came in. We had to go there to get ice and also had to hit their only laundromat to do some washing because our boy Cordell decided to blow bits into the bed one early morning. We have only one set of bedding in the trailer(make note to buy another). Now unlike Walla Walla, the town isn’t so….well…..bustling! It is actually kind of depressing, but one weird thing, there are statues of frogs all over town and Debbie was fascinated with them.

Debbie and the Frog!

Debbie and the Frog!

There are over 40 of them placed throughout the town and do you know why? Well you can read why here! The one gem we did discover was the El Sirloin Mexican Restaurant. They had a mexican food lunch buffet and it was very authentic and excellent. Do not pass it up if you ever find yourself in town. The only downside to the whole trip was the constant haze and smoke in the air. As you might have heard, Washington State has had one of it’s hottest and driest summers on record. That has not bode well for Eastern Washington and it’s fire season. It has been horrible with hundreds of thousands of acres burned and many homes lost! We were surrounded by fires while there and the hazy skies and the smell of smoke reminded us daily. As we slide into Fall please help us with your prayers for rain, we need it! There you have it, our fun vacation filled with wine, women, and smoke! I should add blood to the list! Happy trails until we write again!

WINERY TOUR LIST!

Woodward Canyon Winery
Lodmell Cellars
Three Rivers Winery
L’ Ecole No. 41
Sleight of Hands Cellars
Otis Kenyon
Cougar Crest Winery
Henry Earl Estates

Vacation 2013 Part One

It is vacation time again and we took two glorious weeks off!! The weeks were as separate as night and day and we start off with part one, the first week! This was the fun one. We got or trailer hitched up and made our way down to Oregon to hook up with three other couples and their trailers to make the Crazy Caravan! After enduring the horrible Friday afternoon traffic in Portland, we finally made our first destination and hooked up with the first couple (Rich and Pam) in Eugene. Our overnight stay was at Premier RV Resort which is a clean and convenient stop for an overnight stay! We had a nice evening hanging out and catching up.

Our next stop and destination was near Cave Junction, OR at the Country Hills Resort. There we hooked up with the rest of the gang, Patti & Bob, and Rob & Ursie. It was hotter than hell and luckily we had power to run our A/C cause it was a furnace! The place was nice and tucked back into the woods but soon we felt a strange vibe about the place. There wasn’t anything wrong with the place, just strange and had some strange folks staying in the other sites! More about that later! It was also where some trailer breakdowns started occurring. Bob’s brand new rig had one of the cabinet and doors come away from the mount. Rich’s fairly new trailer’s water pump started leaking. Our shower stall started leaking water onto the floor when showering. That just took some heavy duty caulking to finally get it to stop! I had recently bought a new fangled PocketHose that seemed perfect for the trailer! I was excited as I hooked it up, it expanded, and water flowed into the trailer….all was well with the world! My trailer buds were ready to buy one ASAP! The very next day this happened:

What a piece of “made in China” shit!!!! Do NOT buy one of these pieces of crap!!! That deflated my bubble and back to the old stiff, hard to manage, regular hoses we went. At night we would hear strange noises and see shadows in the woods and out of our trailers. Scary and weird! Then to top it off, we had the “magic mushrooms boys” across the way from us. Twice they brought us various containers, one being a blue pumpkin candy holder and the other a glass with figures of nude females on the sides, filled with glass beads. Then on the way out, I ran into him again and he offered me some of his magic little shrooms of which I courteously declined. The big highlight of the stay was taking a trip through the Oregon Caves. That was a blast and it was a refreshingly 44 degrees in them also and the caves themselves were fascinating! Another highlight was all piling into the McEvoy rig and playing Cards Against Humanity! Yes, we are all horrible people! It was nice to finally pull out of there and head on down the road!

Down the road meant driving into Northern California and heading toward the coast and into the redwoods. As we did that, we watched the temperature plummet from the low 100’s into a very cool and comfortable low 70’s. i may speak for myself but I was now a very happy camper! Our next stop was at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. It was a beautiful place hugging the Smith River. We took a nice hike into the majestic giants and felt really small and insignificant against these beauties of Nature. We decided to take a break from campground cooking and cleaning up after and drove into a fog shrouded Crescent City and located a nice restaurant, the Harbor View Grotto, and had a decent meal, drinks, and camaraderie.

Up into the Oregon Coast we went to our next destination, Humbug Mountain State Park. I had driven by this locale many, many times in the past and had never stopped. It was a very nice campground and just a short walk to the beach where whales were spouting off in the distance. We hiked the Humbug Mountain Trail, which was a pretty steep trip and surprisingly offered few good views of the coast and ocean, but was beautiful none the less. Then the inevitable occurred as it always does when Rich and I get together, we got really spanked on Jager and stayed out on the beach until 3am with our girls. We were looking at the mountain in the darkness and saw lights among the trees and actually thought there were hikers up there in the dark. It turned out to be the full moon rising up from behind the trees! I didn’t feel too hot the next morning and also pulled my back out, just great for the rest of the vacation. I managed to get camp up with help from Rich and Bob and hobbled on to the next and final stop.

Cape Perpetua was our final stop of this fun trip. In my opinion it was the most beautiful part. The coast of Oregon is at its most rugged and captivating along this stretch. It took awhile to get there, as I was contacting my local doctor trying to get a prescription for something, but after a long wait in the parking lot of a Safeway, they declined to get me anything. So I just winged it with a little help from my buddy Rob who shed some of his muscle relaxers to get me through the worst of it. Since some of us were either injured or just worn out, we did minimal hiking. We went up to the top of the Cape and went out to the rock shelter. We also went into the town of Yachats and had big Bob’s 60th birthday dinner at Ona Restaurant. It was a great dinner and we had a fantastic waitress who endured our craziness and partying. Bob had a good time on his milestone day and it was a great fun trip with some great fun friends. Check out the pictures in the photo set. Stay tuned for part two of the 2013 vacation……more work…less play on that one!

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