Iwetemlaykin State Heritage Park, Joseph OR

Joseph, OR; 6/24/16

“At the edge of the lake”

In Nez Perce, Iwetemlaykin, means ‘at the edge of the lake’.  The park adjoins the Old Chief Joseph Gravesite and cemetery at the north end of Willowa Lake.  It is about 65 acres including the pond and walking paths.  Sacred land, it is open to the public and offers varied terrain and view of the surrounding mountains. 

Sunset at the park was a perfect ending to my 2 weeks in the Wallowas.

Every Maintenance Task requires 2 trips to the hardware store!

Wallowa Lake State Park, Joseph OR; 6/24/16

Camp Chores

Traveling for about a month now - the trailer was filthy!  I can clean inside but the outside was getting really disgusting.  So, when I saw a self wash car place I decided to run the car and the trailer through when I moved out of the Methodist Church Camp and back into the Wallowa Lk SP after the weekend.  I was too busy feeding quarters into the voracious machine to get pictures of the trailer all pink with suds, but it looks a LOT better now.  Not as clean as when I do it at home, but at least it's not disgustingly dirty anymore!

Some of the shine is back!!

Checking the torque on the tire lug nuts

I have never, ever done this - but apparently, I'm supposed to do it regularly.  And, since I got a torque wrench as a door prize a couple years ago, I figured now would be a good time to learn how.  Got out my owners manual, read all the instructions and then headed into town for a 13/16" socket.  

The hardware store in Joseph had the socket (yay!) so back to the campground.  Figured out how to pop off the wheel covers, and then found that the socket was too short - the wrench kept hitting the tires.  Dang!  I need a socket extension.  Back to the hardware store - yes, they have socket extensions.  I think 3" should be enough.  Back to the campground.  YES!  it works!  I check all the lug nuts - they are all nice and tight.  

Bonus: the new socket and socket extension fit into the same box as the torque wrench!  Score!

Fay Wray doesn't understand all the running around . . . 

She spends the afternoon lying in the sun . . . 

The End

My friend, the practical joker.   I'm glad I do a final walk-around before leaving a site or I would have been driving down the highway sporting this 'tail'.

Hike on Chief Joseph Trail to BC Falls

Wallowa Lake St. Park; 6/22/16

Short, but lovely hike along the West Fork of Wallowa River

There are tons of trails in the area - it is a gateway to the Eagle Cap Wilderness.  I chose a short hike (2 hr round trip) to check out my new knee with something fairly easy (also, I'm not accustomed to the elevation yet - 4600' at the start).

The trail starts at almost river level, switchbacks over a small ridge, and finds the river again at a wooden bridge.  The river is running very fast and cold from recent snowmelt.

Lots of flowers . . . 

The one orchid I saw was too far past blooming to make a good photo.  I don't know what kind it was but my friend Melissa tells me that she has seen Fairy Slipper in the area. 

Finally, a glimpse of the lake!

The overlook through some trees to Wallowa Lake would have made a good lunch spot and/or turn-around - but then I would have missed the falls which was just a few minutes ahead.

Then the falls - or a very steep, fast part of the river

Ok, so it's not a waterfall on the same order as Multnomah Falls, but, especially at this time of year, with all the snowmelt - it's still an impressive place to have lunch!!

The young man in the photo offered me his arm for the last 10-12 feet of muddy slope to the rocks - I hate looking old!!

Some kids tried crossing the river using these slippery, not attached logs.  I was appalled!  (guess I am old)

Joseph, OR

Wallowa Lake State Park, OR; 6/20/16

Joseph is, surprisingly, quite an arts center.

I have relatives in Joseph who own a really nice gallery (Phinney Fine Arts).  Their's is one of several nice galleries.  Joseph is home to Valley Bronze Foundry, which is perhaps why the main street is lined with bronzes.  The following photos are by no means comprehensive - just a sampling.

Titled "Attitude Adjustment"

I forget the exact title ~ he who thinks he is invisible  -something like that!

Chief Joseph

Strolling through galleries and admiring all the art can make a gal thirsty . . . 

Although Joseph has many yummy places to eat (including Arrowhead Chocolates - locally made truffles!), this trip I chose Terminal Gravity Pub and Brewery in nearby Enterprise.  The atmosphere is very laid back, the burgers are outstanding (locally source Corriente Beef or Bison!), and the beer is great!

Wallowa Lake State Park

Joseph, OR: 18 June, 2016

Crowded State Park

Well, you can easily see why this State Park is always booked!  Right on the lake with a marina and easy access to trails leading into Eagle Cap Wilderness and adjacent to several resorts, a tram up into the mountains, bumper boats and putt-putt golf for the little ones - this place has something for everyone.

Camping Strategy

I knew weekends were booked solid - so I planned to arrive on a Sunday and get a tent site big enough and sunny enough to use my solar for dry camping.  I didn't want to reserve a tent space in advance because some sun is so essential.  I snagged a site that was sunny and just barely long enough for the trailer and the Pilot.  I could self-register for one night.  So, after checking out other sunny spots, I went online and reserved for the week (Monday through Thursday).  

During the week, I checked out several forest service campgrounds nearby.  The campground at Hurricane Creek had a couple of spots that would have worked for my rig and was pretty close to town for visiting friends and family - but was crowded even mid-week.  Lostine River has several campgrounds; I checked the first two; Canyon CG was appropriate only for tenters with 4-wheel drive.  Williamson was very nice - long, level site spurs.  Very shady but I figured it would work for a few days over the weekend.  Best of all - it was empty!

But, as it happens, a friend I am visiting works summers at a Methodist Church Camp - sort of an all-purpose family camp, retreat center.  They have several RV sites used by clients or guests so my friend got permission for me to stay the three weekend days that the State Park was booked!  So, instead of driving all the way over to the Lostine River CG for the weekend, I only had to move a mile to the Church Camp right behind the State Park!  Very convenient and the people are so lovely.  

So nice, in fact, that I may consider coming back sometime to volunteer.

The river is fast but beautiful; this was taken at the 'River Chapel', a small sitting area at the camp.

Bear scat sited, but actual critter sitings are pretty mundane

The mule deer, white tails, and the chipmunks are really quite cheeky.  They wander through campsites, look in my windows, and generally do not seem at all disturbed by all the people.

This is not a critter

In addition to the beautiful scenery, visiting a friend, I also have family nearby!  My great-nephews and their mother are spending the summer with their grandparents in Enterprise - just a few miles away.  

One of the twins - they are at a 'busy' age and couldn't be bothered to pose.  This is Wyatt; he's 3.

South through Washington: Spokane, then Lewiston

Wallowa Lake SP, Joseph OR: Jun 12, 2016

An odd, but very pretty campground

I had a bunch of little city chores to get done; oil change, post office, etc. so I arranged to stay a few days in Spokane.  I booked a few days at Willow Bay RV Resort north of Spokane near Nine Mile Falls.  I got a deal on the rate through Passport America.

Apparently, the campground is a member owned campground that's been around for awhile.  Unlike most RV parks the camping area is just a huge grassy area by the lake.  Campsites are vaguely defined by the large trees and occasional power/water poles. The power outlets contained one 30 amp connection and one 20 amp - and the connections were shared between adjoining sites.  The first campsite to be occupied got to choose which connection they wanted!  

I found a set of unoccupied sites and nabbed the 30 amp connection so I could use my AC unit.
I had a nice view of the lake and the campground also had a nice swimming area and marina.

Really a lovely place to weather the heat wave and come home to after a day of chasing errands in town.

Next stop: Chief Timothy Park outside Lewiston WA.

Chief Timothy Park is on an island in the Snake River.  Another pretty, if more conventional, park.
While Chief Joseph is remembered for fighting the governments attempts to contain the native population and push them onto ever smaller, less desirable reservation land, Chief Timothy cooperated with the soldiers and saved the lives of most of his people.

The area around Lewiston is also renowned for marking a segment of the Lewis and Clark Expedition trail.  At 3 Forks, one can still see the old Indian Trails that Lewis and Clark took in 1806 as they took a shortcut across the region.  I was amazed that the trails cut through the hills are still so visible over 200 years later!!

The wild flowers were in full bloom on the surrounding hills,  Although the color is pretty washed out in the next photo, the hillsides were blanketed in purple flowers.

Cat Temperature Gauge

June 7, 2016:  Willow Bay Resort, near Spokane, Wa

Who needs a temperature gauge when you have a cat?

< 65 F:  Unrecognizable bump under the heavy duvet.

65 – 75 F:  Tight ball on top of the heavy duvet.

75  -85 F:  Spread out on the light fleece blanket.

> 85 F:  Spread out on the dinette giving me the ‘stink eye’.

Gran Coulee Dam

June 5, 2016; Grand Coulee Dam, Washingtion

Impressive, but not as pretty as Hoover Dam

Stats:  Taking over 8 years to construct, the dam was completed in 1942 and is about a mile long.  It contains about 12 million cubic yards of concrete; it weighs about 24 million tons; and generates about 3 times the power that Hoover Dam does.  Franklin D Roosevelt supported the dam and the upriver reservoir is named after him.

Common story; but always sad to me.

The visitor center at the dam focuses on what a huge engineering feat the dam represents (and it is impressive), the immense power it generates and the benefits of reducing the annual downstream flooding that used to occur.

There is a footnote regarding the complete barrier to returning salmon, and the social and ecological impacts to the region.  No visitor to the dam should miss visiting the museum of the Confederated Tribes of Colville to hear, in really wrenching terms, the downside impacts of the dam.

The dam, and subsequent reservoir, flooded rich bottomland that had been home to over 21,000 native people who had lived in the region for many thousands of years.  The dam brought an end to their lifestyle as salmon was a mainstay of their diet and an important element to their culture.  Impacts were felt far into Canada as well – all the way to the headwaters of the Columbia.  The dam projec was done, of course, with little analysis of the impacts or involvement of the people most affected. 

When the reservoir flooded their homeland, native tribes held a ceremony - "The Ceremony of Tears."

Today, native populations are still fighting to improve the ecology of the river, stop pollution (at all the fishing areas I’ve seen, there are charts showing the heavy metal content of various species of fish and listing safe levels of consumption – not very much!) and restore some kind of ecological balance to the region.

And every year, they hold a ceremony by the river, praying for the return of the salmon.

I don't have a picture for this section because it's all underneath 400 feet of water.

Glad I'm not camping here!!

The site of an RV park right under a whole bunch of high power lines was just too much!!  I spoke to Dennis, the manager, and he didn't seem to think it was that odd - but, to me, this would be worse than parking at Walmart.

Will we survive the heat??

Jun 4, 2016: Spring Canyon CG, Grand Coulee Dam, WA

SO Hot!  Will my fridge keep things cold enough?

My perfect temperatures would be 65-75F.  This weekend in my very sunny campsite will be in the 90’s!  Too hot by far.  I’ll be looking for elevation, shade or perhaps hook-ups come Monday! 

After everything I’ve been reading on the Escape forum about fridge performance, I was worried about how my fridge would perform in this heat.  Unfortunately, the fridge is on the ‘always’ sunny’ side of this site – but, overall, I’m very pleased.  I’ve got it jacked up as cold as it will go and am being super careful about not opening the door very often.  So far, it does warm up during the day – but not dangerously so, and cools down nicely overnight.

I have been keeping a cooler of ice for drinks (guess I’m going to have to add a line item to the budget for ice).  It’s a whole lot easier to keep hydrated with something cold.
FW is doing OK in the heat – every time I let her outside, she beelines for the sun (silly cat!).  She’s drinking OK, but not eating as much as I’d like.  She’s losing weight – I think she’s still adjusting to the travel.  However, she really can’t afford to lose much weight – she’s already a tiny thing.  Perhaps it’s a ploy on her part to get me to share my chicken and fish with her (it’s working).

Can this be true?

Could this actually be a golf course?  I haven’t been on one for over 7 years; vowed never to golf again.  But, strangely, I’ve been thinking about taking it up again.  So, today, I visited the driving range and putting greens at the Grand Coulee public golf course.  Hmmm . . . I was terrible, but it still went better than I had expected.

PS:  If only I had a selfie stick . . . 

You would see my beet red face - It is way too hot here, so we're outta-here!!  I'm off to find a power bush - even if it is an RV park right on the side of the road - I need me some AC! 

The rally, as usual, great fun! and then more firsts for 'en Plein Aire'

May 31, 2016; Keller CG, Colville Indian Reservation

Staffing the 'free stuff' table

A really neat idea from last years rally was to have a free table so people could find new stuff and release back into the world all the stuff they've accumulated that no longer works for them.  So, Paul and I volunteered to staff the table this year.  There was really some good stuff, sets of side mirror extenders, coffee maker, lanterns, a big wrench that also ratcheted (one of my contributions - really handy for quickly swapping propane tanks).  

I picked up a flexi-lead for Fay Wray - no more fraying string leash for her.  She's really styling now!

Also picked up an led, 12 v light.  I think I'll use it on the side of the  trailer where I sometimes set up my grill.  There is a 12v outlet there and all I need is some kind of dohicky to attach the light to the side of the trailer - I'm thinking of suction cups that I could glue to the back of the light.

As usual, I visited too much; ate and drank wonderful potluck stuff (someone who makes their own wine, labeled and provided bottles of red and white wine for every table at the potluck - over 250 people!).

So, after the rally, I was looking for some quiet and remote camping to recharge.

My least favorite driving - narrow, steep, winding, with no shoulder and lots of drop-offs. 


I decided to take a road that wound through the Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation and camp at some lakes.  Big mistake – after miles and miles of the aforementioned narrow, difficult roads, I find that the campgrounds are reserved for Tribal Members only (oops).  So, back down the narrow, scary roads and on I drove.  Finally, I found a campground open to everyone on Lake Roosevelt (Sanpoil CG).  I knew I’d love it when I stepped out of my car into sunny quiet with the surrounding mountains perfectly reflected in a mirror-still lake.

Especially after a very social few days, I appreciate the stillness and quiet of a remote campground.

en Plein Aire’s first Ferry Ride!

There are a couple of free ferries that bridge Lake Roosevelt.  Tell me that the following view doesn’t look scary!!  I hate the feeling that I’m driving into the water (guess I need to wear blinkers!).  And, of course, I was one of the first vehicles on – the loading guy was laughing as I cautiously moved forward – he told me that there was still 10 feet ahead of me, even though all I could see was water!

May 25, 2016; Nk’Mip RV Resort, Osoyoos, BC

Very bad day on Highway 3 . . .

Minutes after leaving Cold Springs Campground on my way to Osoyoos, traffic abruptly halted (in both directions).  After a few minutes of no traffic moving at all, my thoughts that the delay was due to construction gave way to fears of a major accident.  This thought was confirmed shortly after by the arrival of a Life-flight helicopter.  It would be 2.5 hours before the road was cleared (the semi that had rolled over an embankment was still hung up on the jersey barrier and the 2 cars that were demolished at the same time were still there as we soberly and slowly drove on).

In the meantime, I made lunch, did some chores in the trailer and then – I gave trailer tours!  Talk about a captive audience!

Fay Wray was not happy about such a troubling day and let her discontent show by howling in her crate for hours and then barfing.

By the time I got to the rally, I was so ready for help unhooking, hugs and a drink (all generously supplied).

Like salmon returning to their home stream

May 25, Manning Provincial Park, Cold Springs CG

Second night on the road, now I’m camping with FOUR other Escapes!

Seems like everyone traveling east to the rally in Osoyoos, stops at Cold Spring CG in Manning Provincial Park.  Many of the sites are really lovely, backing up to the Similkameen River (running fast and high this time of year).  Again, I spent the evening with four other couples on the way to the rally.  Another great campfire. 

The border guards are used to seeing Escape trailers coming through.  Instead of the usual litany of questions (well, there were a few) – he had questions about my 19 and expressed his own preference for the 15.

Even Fay Wray got into the spirit and did some exploring around the camp.  There was a lot of underbrush – so, she took the ‘high road’ and did most of her exploring along big fallen logs.

NOT an Alpaca Farm!

May 24, 2016; Douglas Fir CG, Snoqualmie Forest

Harvest Hosts sounds like a great idea, but . . .

I’m excited about the idea of staying overnight at wineries, farms, etc.  so, on a recent trip, I called a participating host (Moonshadow Alpaca Farm, Bellingham, Wa).  I mean, what could be better than Alpacas!  Unfortunately, my timing was not good – the two women who own the farm are retiring and had just cancelled their participation in HH.  The woman I talked to was sorry and said that they will still be offering farm tours (but, I really didn’t have time for that).

Oh well, I’m enjoying my retirement – I can hardly begrudge some one else theirs.

So, instead, serendipity stepped in.

As I was driving up I-5 contemplating my options for the night, I was overtaken by another Escape 19!  We both got off at the next rest stop and I met Rita and Dave from Iowa – of course, on their way to the factory for some mods, and then on to the rally.  So, we decided to meet up that evening at the Snoqualmie  Forest campground, Douglas Fir Campground.  Dave had plenty of firewood, I had made lots of sangria  (couldn’t let the border guards take my citrus fruit!) and we had a lovely evening.  Rita gave me a tour of their trailer and I got several ideas for cute and/or clever things to do in my trailer.