A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: BevH

Wrapping up our latest roadtrip

June 22 until we arrived home July 3

Seems like a lot of time has passed since I last wrote. As you might imagine, that means the time was quite busy and more personal rather than travelling.

June 22 we left Oliver for Penticton to take in some of the Elvis Festival there. We attended the Saturday in the park and then the Sunday morning gospel in the park, followed by the Finals which were held in the Conference Centre. As per the last two years that we have attended, a good time was had and no big drama over the judges' choices. Being down at the Skaha Lake part of Penticton this year since the RV park we had been in two years was now a pile of dirt to become condos let us make the decision to watch the Peach City Cruise parade in its entirety this year.

Our site in Oliver and then in Penticton. The dirt pile was where we camped the past two Penticton Elvis festivals.

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Peach City cruise

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From Penticton we travelled to Alberta, staying in Canmore then proceeding to Calgary where we visited with friends who showed us around a little more. No matter that we have crossed so many states and seen so much, not much compares to the grandeur of our Rockies.

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Next stop Sylvan Lake via Pine Lake and Red Deer en route to Lindale for a Colby family reunion.

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Homeward bound after three nights boondocking at the Lindale Hall we stopped in Kamloops before making a run for the ferry to Swartz Bay.

After 57 nights on the road through 23 states and 2 provinces, covering 15920 kilometres (despite what the map states, as we zigzagged sometimes getting from A to B) we were back in our own home.

Posted by BevH 15:48 Comments (0)

Drive, drive, drive... then make a run for the border

The past two days (June 20 and 21) have not been much more than driving then stopping for the night and moving on bringing us back on Canadian ground this afternoon. There is something comforting about being on Canadian soil. Both Denis and I admitted to feeling just a little emotional on crossing the border this afternoon. We're home.

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Yesterday we drove more of Montana then into a bit of the panhandle of Idaho to settle for the evening at the Coeur d'Alene Casino. In hindsight, this proved a rather expensive evening but our casino totals are way below typical so we are not beating ourselves up too much. However, just a little frustrated at the RV park at the casino that only provides power and such slanted sites that Denis used the most boards ever – 5 boards between three of the four sets of tires – and we were ALMOST perfect!!! And, they actually charge $20 to spend the night there. Our choice, I know.

Today we headed out early and drove through Davenport and Grand Coulee before heading north, crossing the border at Oroville. In Omak, thunder and lightning and rain was encountered briefly and then we had some of the same once we settled in this little RV park in Oliver but now it has cleared.

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Really not much calling me to take photos the past two days. Yesterday, big sky Montana did graciously prove true to those words when the clouds cleared a couple times during the trip. So pretty and eventually the muddy, rushing creeks and rivers turned clear – so much nicer. As I have said before, I do like Montana – it's rushing rivers, geological variations, and big sky.

Today, we did come through a town in Washington state, Davenport. The name being significant for other reasons we stopped to take a photo and we also encountered the quaintest motel that begged to be photographed. We obliged.

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We didn't stop this time at the Grand Coulee Dam as we have a number of times. We both are fond of the place. It is an impressive dam and it holds childhood memories as mom took Gary and I there, one of the last family holidays she took us on. It impressed me enough that, as other places have done so, I was wanting to share my memory with my husband and kids. There are a few places such as these and I think we have managed to visit them all.

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Posted by BevH 16:41 Comments (0)

Take me to Montana

June 18/19, 2018

Yesterday (June 18) was chiefly a driving day with little in the way of stops, traffic or attractions. Pretty, but eventually just a little boring. It offered great opportunity for the mind to wander and our curiosity to surface. Let me share a little. As we crossed the panhandle of Nebraska the day before we had started noticing trains with numerous rail cars loaded with coal. Then yesterday, we entered Wyoming shortly into the day's travels and saw another train with the same kind of rail cars but no coal. Where were they picking up or dropping off coal? Must be somewhere in Wyoming?? We also spied a train with flatbed rail cars, each carrying 3 or 4 military vehicles. Curiosity spiked again. 'Round about Guernsey we think we found an answer to both. A military base there was undergoing some construction. Aha, perhaps they needed to transport the vehicles elsewhere during construction?? And, also around Guernsey we saw lots more empty "coal" cars and then a loaded train full of coal. We surmise the coal was being loaded there. Where it is mined we are still not certain.

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Those curiosities were closed in our minds. Now what? How would we entertain ourselves? We noted pronghorns and eventually started counting them, reaching 47 before arriving at Sheridan. We figure the number would really be 2 or 3 times that as we merely pointed them out for a number of miles!! There were lots and we have not seen much wildlife this whole trip. Another pastime since we entered Wyoming was to watch the elevation for this state, thankfully, declares that info on the city signs along with the population in many cases. As we drove northwest our elevation was rising. By the time we hit Casper we were pushing the mile-high mark so watched it intensely on Randi. We came just shy of the 5280 mark on our highway. One can find all sorts of things to pass the time on the road. One day a while back we were trying to figure out all the presidents of the USA. Don't think we ever completed that and then we decided, more important, we should know the prime ministers of Canada. We failed that as well-- but we tried.

We ended our day in Sheridan at a lovely park (perhaps one of the nicest) - Peter D's - very well maintained all around, clean, green grass, full amenities, fairly level sites of gravel and even a garden from which I was given a bag of fresh lettuce when I answered I thought we would eat in camp tonight. What a little something extra! Before settling in the RV park we had sought out an oil change for Harvey which also brought a little bonus. I had gone for a little walk while awaiting the oil change and only across the street had spied a sign with slot machines. The building looked like a restaurant but I wandered in. Most likely once a restaurant for sure but now a wee casino -- maybe 20 machines. Long story short, or shorter at least, friendly people, I got a card, played on the $20 they gave me as a new member and left with $20. I knew Denis would be envious so brought him once Harvey was done and he repeated my process only was even luckier, leaving up $100.

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As for the oil change, Denis was very pleased with the service at Grease Monkey and when I returned to Harvey, in front of my seat on the dash, was a carnation -- what a sweet touch!

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This morning (June 19) as we bid farewell to this lovely RV park we were also granted just a wee peek at maybe the Rockies to the west (need to brush up on geography too I think) between the low level cloud. Denis mentions the total population of Wyoming could fit on Vancouver Island. I check. Yep, according to our 2015 road atlas Wyoming's population is 563,626, making its population rank 50th while it ranks 9th in land mass. No wonder there are not too many communities and lots and lots of ranch/farming land. As we entered Montana early in the day I check its stats -- 4th in land mass and 44th in population at 989,415.

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Montana, big sky country, but much of today that big sky was covered by big cloud. Still, I have always liked Montana. Something about it . The terrain varies from Wyoming -- more hills and mountains, rivers and trees. The Yellowstone River is running fast and high and looking awful muddy - not my recollection of previous visits. All the rivers and creeks are pretty much the same. They have had some rain and we also encountered rain. I would hope for us to drive on and get through the weather and we did and then I would see another bit of weather down the road and we would drive right into another downpour. Still, a nicer, less boring drive. Once again with not too many stops.

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Around Big Timber that same curiosity surfaced for a bit. Now where was the coal coming from and/or going to? We spied those same "coal" cars around there. Hmmm..... more research needed.

We hit some higher elevations today while driving as well and surpassed the mile-high mark -- 5771 and 6453 according to Randi. The only signposting given was when we crossed the Continental Divide at 6393. Quite the climbs, something we don't miss having been east of the Rockies for a number of weeks, but not as steep as they could be as they start the big climbs over the 4000 ft. mark.

We settled in Riverfront park in Garrison, Montana for the night, though, I must confess we did joke about it being under water like in North Carolina with how high and fast rivers were and with a name Riverfront. This park was built with water levels in mind and obviously these rivers are not at such a rare high level. The rain continued off and on, heavy at times but we did not float away and we are facing a lovely range of mountain with snow still visible (well at least until the clouds socked them in).

Posted by BevH 20:56 Comments (0)

Long day on the road

June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband/father/grandfather and to all my male friends that fulfill one or all of these roles. Lots of miles put on the road today and we stop in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Been here before, this very campground, in the shadow of Scottsbluff National Monument.

Leaving Russell this morning we travelled the Interstate for some 30-50 miles before heading north towards Nebraska. Prairie chickens were pumping and golden grain waving in the breeze awaiting harvest (according to the news the wheat is some 6-8 inches shorter this year as it's been so dry). The wind was much less of an issue for driving and, combined with lower temperatures and less humidity, made for a much more pleasant drive. It was a mere 80 degrees or so when we left Russell. Things changed dramatically by the time we got off the road here in Scottsbluff with a temperature board reading 60. Big swing. Denis has donned long pants and a jacket for the first time pretty much in four weeks.

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We crossed into Nebraska before hitting another interstate and heading west until Ogallala where we got onto a scenic Nebraska byway heading northwest, making a stop at Boot Hill in Ogallala first. Interesting burial ground from the 1800s era when this little town was apparently quite a violent place. I feel like there are a number of Boot Hills that we have come across or the term is certainly familiar to me, but not to Denis. The route was quite lovely but the threat of nasty weather was there from time to time and we did hit a bit of rain and saw some lightning.

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I will end tonight's blog with a mention of the big hand in crib I got last night (maybe my biggest ever) -- 28, just missed having the right Jack. Though I skunked Denis that game he is way ahead of me in total games this trip. The score stands, as of last night's games, at 66 to 37, in Denis' favour (give or take a couple as the ongoing score sheet went missing).

Posted by BevH 18:15 Comments (0)

Yes, this is still Kansas

June 16, 2018

Off the road just around 2pm.... distance-wise we might've been able to travel westward another hour or two but the cross-wind was making driving a struggle and very tiring. We left our camp outside of Topeka early, driving into Topeka to check out the State capital building. The building was readily found this time, not like in Littlerock, Arkansas.

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Shortly west on the interstate, one of those brown signs, you know that ones I've talked about in the past, lured us off the interstate onto Scenic Byway - Native Stone Scenic Byway. Well, it was prettier than the interstate but we could not figure out why the name, Native Stone. After about a 40 mile drive we turned off to read an historical marker that explained it. When the law came in abolishing open ranges, the government offered to pay 40 cents per rod (16 1/2 feet) of stone fence built and maintained. There had been little evidence of these stone fences during our drive until this stop. DSCF3072.JPGDSCF3073.JPG

Back on the interstate, we moved westward and the wind picked up. A billboard declared Abilene the best small town to visit per the Smithsonian Magazine. Off the interstate we ventured on Buckeye where we pulled to the side of the road shortly for the passing of a funeral procession. A police vehicle led the procession which was followed directly by a horse-drawn carriage with clear windows showing the casket inside, draped in the American flag with flowers on top (never seen such a sight). A lengthy procession of vehicles followed.

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A stop at the Visitor's Center offered suggestions of what to see in Abilene and a brief history lesson. Aside from being the place Dwight David Eisenhower considered home, having been raised there from before his second birthday, and the home of the Presidential library and museum, Abilene was the end of the Chisholm Trail. Cattle barons would buy the cattle down in southern Texas for $3 a head then they would have large cattle drives brought up to Abilene where the cattle would be sold for $30 a head and put on a train to move them east. This brought wealth to the area so it isn't any wonder that we saw a number of beautiful mansions and mansion-like homes.

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More interstate driving until the wind grew too tiring. We settle on a park in Russell, Kansas. The wind is still blowing strong and with memories of the Wizard of Oz (Dorothy lived in Kansas) I feel a little stress and do hope the wind calms down just a little bit.

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Posted by BevH 05:03 Comments (0)

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