Saturday, July 25, 2015

Fossils and Flamming Gorges

July 25, 2015

BJ's Campground
Luske, Wyoming

We have been staying in too many deep canyons for a good Internet connection the past couple of days.  Today we are back to flat land so will try to catch up.  This week is Cheyenne Frontier Days so the state is full of tourists.  The ones that aren't going to Cheyenne seem to be on their way to Sturgis for the motorcycle rally.

Thursday we stayed at Ham Fork Grill and RV Park in Kemmerer, WY.  The pricing for the RV sites was a little unusual.  If you buy dinner in the restaurant the RV site is free, otherwise it was $20.

The first place we visited was Fossil Butte National Monument.  The opening of a new exhibit was being celebrated so not only was there a special speaker program, but food was also furnished! I can't remember the last time food was actually encouraged in a museum.

This town is the birthplace of James Cash Penney and the site of the first J.C. Penney store.   I remember his first business was a meat market on Main Street in Longmont, CO.  Unfortunately that business failed and he moved back to Wyoming and opened a dry goods store that eventually became the "Mother Store" for his retail chain.


Historic memorabilia decorated the inside of this still operating Penneys store.  Evidently there were only two people who were trusted to handle money so every time a sale was made, the money was transported to the upstairs office via this system and the change was returned to the customer in the same manner.
As we were driving through Flaming Gorge Recreation Area a truck pulling a fifth wheel passed us in a no passing zone going much faster than we thought safe.   A few miles later we saw him with a blown tire on the side of the road.

Even though we have about had our fill of canyons, rivers and dams we decided to check out Flaming Gorge before we headed east.

A pronghorn  was quietly enjoying lunch across from our RV site.  She didn't seem the least bothered by people and even starting the diesel truck didn't disturb her meal.

Naturally since the Green River runs through this area, there was another dam.

The water below the dam was very clear because the sediment settles in the lake.  I can see why the Green River is considered one of the best fishing areas in the country.  These fish were definitely keepers.  This is also a popular rafting area.

It's hard to see through the grass, but this herd of bighorn sheep was grazing by the visitor center.  The one that had been tagged looked like it was wearing red earrings.

More pronghorns.

We will be heading towards Nebraska tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mountains, Lakes and People

July 22, 2015

Gros Ventre Campground
Grand Teton National Park
near Jackson, Wyoming

Several days ago after seeing all the potatoes in Idaho we left for Wyoming.  Since then we have been enjoying all the beauty of Grand Teton National Park.

It took us about 2 minutes to check in at the ranger station but about another 20 minutes to listen to the bear lecture.  I don't know if that was the result of trouble with the bears or more than likely trouble with the tourists.

  This is our view from the camper.  In the other direction is a short walk to the river.


There is quite a bit of construction going on around here.  That backed up the traffic more than a bear sighting.  Several of the trails were closed while some improvements are made.  The final phase of a paved bike trail is also being completed.

Love the lakes!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Waterfalls, Canyons & Superheros

July 19, 2015

Rock Creek RV Park
Twin Falls, Idaho

We are camped at a beautiful city park situated in a greenbelt along a fast moving creek.  The charge for 50 amp service is $15.  Can't beat that.  When we arrived we saw a group of people dressed as superheros.  Later as we were walking around we found them in another section of the park.  They were filming a movie.  This appeared to be a low budget (probably no budget) production.  I can only hope that it improved after the sound track was added.

Yesterday we went out to see Shoshone Falls.  The photos don't do it justice; it is much more impressive in real life.  Luckily it didn't start raining until we got back into the truck.

This is Perrine Bridge spanning the Snake River.

While we were walking along the trail at the rim of the canyon, several parachutist jumped off the bridge.  By the time Dave got the camera out, most had already landed.

Everyone as old as we are will remember Evel Knievel.  The dirt ramp is the only remaining remnant of the day the daredevil attempted to cross the Snake River Canyon on his motorcycle.  He didn't make it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Brig, Beach. Wagons & Moose

July 14, 2015

Elks Lodge #1254
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Yesterday we took a short scenic drive to Farragut State Park near Bayview on beautiful Pend Oreille Lake.  This was the site of the 2nd largest US Navy Training Base during World War II.  It seems strange for it to be landlocked.  The entire base of over 300 buildings and 35 miles of roads was built in 6 months. 

 The museum is housed in the former brig. 

 This area is now a very nice state park with a swimming beach and campground.


On the other side of the lake is Sandpoint, a scenic town with a wonderful pie shop where we ate lunch.  

This is a Peace Pole with the same message written in different languages on each side of the post.

When we got back to the campground, the host told us that quarter size hail fell while we were gone.  We checked the camper, but didn't see any damage.

Today we drove over to Spokane for a stop at Riverfront Park.  The park is built on the site of the former 1974 Expo.  Love this sculpture of people running along the path.

 I've never seen a wagon this big.

The handle is a slide.

It is very peaceful to walk along the river.

Spokane has an upper and lower falls on the river.

We spent this afternoon walking around Coeur d'Alene. This area is so pretty.  It's quite a change from Arizona.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Boots, Underground & Wool & Dams

July 11, 2015

Coulee City Community Park Campground
Coulee City, Washington

Yesterday we spent the day in Pendleton, Oregon, a very interesting town with much of the historic architecture preserved. 

Around town are several large cowboy
boots, each decorated in a different theme.
Our first stop (after those delicious cinnamon rolls) was the Pendleton Underground Tours.  Many years after the original town was built an extensive tunnel system (8 miles) was dug under the town by local Chinese laborers.

Since law enforcement was absent, the tunnels originally functioned as a means to transport goods from the railroad depot to the merchants without going on the streets where bandits frequently took possession of the items.


In  later years functions varied from bars, ice cream making, storage, opium dens, Chinese living quarters, meat storage, etc.

Originally large skylights were cut into the sidewalk to allow light into the tunnels.  The town government later declared the skylights a hazard and had them replaced with a wood grained concrete sidewalk intended to resemble a boardwalk.  Don't you love progress?
After the underground tour was finished, we were taken to the "Cozy Rooms" in the upper floor of the hotel.  This was the site of a very progressive brothel.

Next we toured the Pendleton Woolen Mill.

  This is where the wool is spun into yarn and the blankets are woven.
It is hard to believe how rough these beautiful blankets are before the numerous finishing processes the fabric eventfully goes through.  At this stage the fabric feels like burlap.

Today we drove up to Coulee City, Washington and then on to see the Grand Coulee Dam.

This was a stop along the way, Dry Falls.  During the Ice Age this was the largest waterfall in the world.  Not much water left today, but still a spectacular site.

I never realized that Grand Coulee Dam is largest dam in the U.S. This is a view of the reservoir.

This is one of three generating stations.

View looking down the spillway from the top of the dam.

Downstream on the Columbia River.

 The Hoover Dam would fit into the middle section of the dam with room to spare.
 This is a view from a bluff overlooking the town showing the dam and the bridge.  Every night there is a music and laser light show on the dam.  Since it didn't start until after 10:00 we decided to skip the show.  That's past our bedtime.