Lily Lake the 16th!

That's right - time #16!

Nothing was much different on this trip from all the others - we drove, unloaded, set up and HAD FUN!  In that order.  The drive is fun but the unloading and setting up, not so much.

The day we got there we first visited Kev and Shirley's new discovery, Granite Lake.  It looks like a decent enough place to camp but the road getting there is not for the timid.  It takes a SUV with plenty of clearance,  the road consists of a plethera of large rocks and gullies.  Driving speed ranges from 2 - 10 mph.  So we checked it out and then headed on to Lily Lake.

The loading and unloading is a daunting task and we're talking about switching the family camping tradition to something easier for the new family demographics.  Maybe next year we'll try Potholes. But in the meantime...

Camp went up without a hitch.  I'm sure wherever we end up it will always be that way, we cooperate pretty well.  Once camp was set up we just relaxed.  It was late in the day and the day wasn't very warm.

That evening, around the campfire Elise said her first family name - she pointed at Keith and said his name very clearly!  Rach was exasperated!  She said "No!  Auntie!  Auntie!"  Well, "Keith" is a whole lot easier to say.  Then the next morning when Keith stepped out of the tent it just scared Elise!  He was in black and had a "scary" hat and dark glasses on!  So he had to leave the hat off for a while, let the little girl recognize him again.  It's Keith - your FAVORITE uncle!

The next morning when we woke up we all spoke of our struggles to sleep that night, we were all cold.  Then Rach drove to the nearest restroom and when she returned, well after sunrise and after it began to warm up she announced that it was 38º!  AFTER it started to warm up!  We were all having sleeping problems because IT WAS LITERALLY FREEZING!  I know part of my problem was that a sleeping bag had fallen in the water and when we separated everything my sleeping bag got put in Kevin's tent by accident.  When I went to get something to sleep in I got a much thinner bag than I'm used to, but that was better than nothing! I ended up sleeping in 2 full layers of clothing!  I don't think any of us got more than 2 - 3 hours of sleep.  

Kevin noticed that the fog on the lake in the morning had small funnel cloud-looking formations.  Little whirlwinds would whip the fog into twisty shapes!  Then, while I was crossing the log for the bathroom I heard a strange bird and it flew past.  It was a pretty blueish-colored kingfisher!  I've never seen one of those there before!  During our visit Rick and I spotted quite a few salamanders in the lake, Keith saw something bright orange come to the surface quickly for air (another salamander?), the camp robbers came every morning instead of just Sunday like they always did in the past.  Rach decided it was the lack of human interference that caused the animals to be more numerous and curious.  OK, I'll buy that...

But the day warmed up and we did our usual - lay out on the lake and soak up the sun.  Kevin and the boys fished a lot, he brought his new rowboat with a small electric (very quiet!) motor and Keith stayed all day in the paddle boat.  Kevin caught a small fish and Joe caught one about 10 - 12" long!  Joe learned how to use the paddle boat and was our water taxi when we wanted to go to the car, he's getting SO big!

Evening came and our Friday workers started to arrive.  Rick got there about 7:30 and Dane and Chelsea were about an hour behind him, it was actually dark when they got there.  

That night was not as cold and we all went to bed fairly early.  Shirley was intent on being warm and donned her cute, pink, footsie jammies.  I think we were all jealous!  

Saturday was another delightful day of playing in the water, after the gang had fun feeding the camp robbers.  Rick started it, I think.  The boys eventually had crackers sitting on their heads to get the birds to take away gently.  That night was the warmest of all and I think most of us got a pretty good night's sleep.  

We had our usual Sunday morning breakfast made from anything left over that can be incorporated into a breakfast and began to pack up.  Since there are different people with different needs and abilities the loading job up the hill was more laborious than in the past.  Hence the decision to think about another family camping tradition.

But Lily Lake will still be a trip the most hearty and determined ones will do every year or two, at least I hope we will!

Wrap Up This Trip!

Well, the best part of the trip is over and now we just need to get home. 

Before we left town we went back to the abandoned airbase and took some photos. It was the closest thing to a ghost town we were able to shoot on this trip. We had much more success back in our home state when we visited Okanogan County a year or two ago. 

I didn’t get any souvenirs but when we were out exploring on our way into town I spotted an animal skeleton so I requested that we stop when we get back to that spot and I’d check out the skull to see if it was clean enough to take home. It was pretty good but I’m going to boil it when I get it home to make sure. I think it’s some kind of cat, maybe a bobcat. It has a row of small teeth across the front and two pretty large canine teeth, over an inch long! 

We did stop a few times to see some sights, Rick went on a trip with his daughter about 5 years ago and he took me to see some of what he saw on that trip, Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho and Malad Gorge Park a few miles north of Twin Falls. We paid $3 to go to the falls and neighboring lake and I think I actually enjoyed the gorge better! It was a jagged steep chasm with a waterfall at one end and blue-green water snaking its way through the length of it. There was a picnic area, park and playground at the gorge as well, very pretty. But it was currently dubbed (by me) “Picnic Lake” as the pretty park was flooded about 2 feet. The picnic tables and charcoal bbq’s were all in their places sticking out above the water. Realistically, you could still use the bbq’s and sit at the tables, but you had to wade to get to them and then stay in the water as you cooked and ate. It was hot enough, though, that it didn’t actually sound like a bad idea! 

So we mostly just drove, and on an interstate highway. When it started to get late we wanted to tent again so we grabbed some McD’s, and borrowed their wifi. Their wifi was lousy and they were very disorganized. Then we went to Albertson’s to get ice. I got out of the car to rearrange things and there was puke right outside the car. Then when Rick got to the car with the ice he was breaking it on the ground and the truck next to us started its engine and blew a big blue cloud right in his face! Needless to say we weren’t thinking very highly of Baker City, Oregon after all that. 

We headed out of town to try to find a place to pitch a tent but didn’t find anything. But the drive was enjoyable. We drove all around a beautiful valley in the vicinity of the town of Keating, saw quail running around and then had to stop for a whole group of deer in the road, at least a dozen! So we ended up driving back to town to get a room and got a sweet deal in a nice motel and took a half hour swim instead of enjoying the stars. Not a bad compromise! 

On to the last day and, basically, our drive home. We did run across an accident with 2 trucks in a ditch. One was a cement truck that looked to be fine. The other was a tanker – not so fine. It was on its side and the contents were still spilling out when we passed. Whatever it was, it wasn’t flammable. 

Further on down the road we saw smoke once again. This time we were much closer and could see the planes and helicopters fighting the fire. It was not too far from Cle Elum and was burning homes. When I got home I saw posts on facebook and an email from a JW in the area whose house was spared, but only by a couple of feet.

Now that we’ve been home for a couple days and can look back we both totally enjoyed our night in the tent and wished we could have had more. So now we know – more research to be able to “tent” the next time!

Speed Week, Days 2 & 3

Day 2: Wake up, break camp, shoot some of the area we camped in. Rick gets bit by some kind of red ant and discovers that Carmex does a pretty good job of killing the pain of ant bites. Motate our way to Winnemucca and allow our GPS to lead us to McD’s for a quickie breakfast and then on to Walmart to pick up some necessities. Gas up and we’re back on the road. Oh, yeah. When we gassed up the car we discovered it got 42 mpg on this tank! Woohoo! 

This day was spent mostly on an interstate freeway with an occasional side trip to try to find ghost towns. Unsuccessfully. We continued on in the same manner until we finally arrived in Wendover, Ut. 

So we got our $$$ room settled and decided to head over to the salt flats for a quick look-see. The girls at the entry waved us in so we just began to meander. The scenery is best described as other-worldly. It just doesn’t look like anything one has ever seen. It resembles snow but not exactly. And the way the sky seems to just blend into it is so beautiful. Looking one direction as far as the eye can see is nothing but salt. Turn around and the salt extends all the way to some chiseled rocky mountains. 

We found ourselves in the “pit” area and finally decided we had too many questions that were still unanswered. So Rick found some folks at the registration area to ask. They were very friendly and helpful. They even told Rick that he was at the friendliest place on earth! 

Next we headed up to the starting area. A whole world we knew nothing about. It was fun to learn, though! 

The western half of Wendover lies in Nevada so we decided to check out the casinos to see if they offered any discounted meals like I remember finding in Vegas back in the 70’s and 80’s. Nope. We ended up dining in one anyway since it was late and their prices were decent. 

Day 3: Today was the big day! I set the alarm for 5:30 so we could be at the salt flats to view the sunrise. It was such a fantastic red – no doubt thanks to the fires that are probably still burning… 

It was a very comfortable temperature for a while in the morning due to a nice layer of clouds but about 8:15 the sun came out full blast. Then the temperature started to rise! 

We had been warned about certain things so we were pretty well prepared. We had the necessary hats (virtually EVERYONE wore a hat!), comfortable shoes that cover the feet, light clothing, sunscreen and plenty of water. I found some Bullfrog SPF30 spray-on sunscreen that worked fantastic. We applied it before we left the motel and touched up lightly around noon and have no burns! That was nearly a solid 8 hours in the blazing sun that was also being reflected off the salt! 

We wandered through the pits. Then we parked ourselves on the course to watch the 200+ mph cars flying by. Next we moved closer to the end of the course to see their parachutes open to slow them. Finally we headed to the starting area again. It was so entertaining to watch all the goings on. Everything was so interesting to see. Many cars had a crew, a crew car, a push car (to start them down the track) a truck and trailer, a pop-up shade over a tarp, drivers, mechanics, small vehicles to ride up and down the 5 mile stretch alongside the course which could be bicycles, motorcycles, or anything they choose to create for the purpose. We saw all sorts of motorized skateboards, bar stools and whatnot. We were having a wonderful time but I finally needed a break from the heat. At one point I began to feel nauseous. I was going to the bathroom constantly and the honey buckets were saunas, they must have been 120°! 

So for a break we spent a little time in our room enjoying the air conditioning while we looked at our photos before we headed back to the salt for one last visit. Rick decided he wanted a souvenir t-shirt so that gave us the excuse to explore some more. Being as late as it was though, we knew we could get away with just driving everywhere and shopping from the comfort of our air conditioned car. Rick found 2 shirts that met with his approval (not easily accomplished!). 

Finally we bid the beautiful, interesting salt flats goodbye and headed out to find the abandoned Wendover Air Base buildings. In doing so I found a Kingdom Hall, the first of this trip, and it was a Spanish one! 

So the main focus of this road trip was well worth the hype. We enjoyed it immensely and agreed that we’d love to attend again in the future. Maybe in another 4 or 5 years.

Tomorrow we hit the road again for the final 2 days of this vacation. Check back in a couple days!

You're Going WHERE???

Well, here we are on another road trip!  Destination: Wendover Utah, neighbor to the Bonneville Salt Flats, site of the world speed record attempts.  And 800 miles from home…

I’ll have to back up when this trip is over and tell the tale of the stump removal, which ended up taking place on Friday, a day that I should have been preparing for a 5 day road trip.  So, with a job as big as that turned out to be, we got a slightly late start with little downtime before hitting the road.

So we got out around 5:30 and drove straight through to Pendleton Oregon, somewhere around 300 miles from home, stayed in an EconoLodge for $58 which provided our bed, wifi, shower, and breakfast.  Nothing spectacular to report about that leg of the trip, merely revisiting past trips on 2 and 4 wheels.

Saturday morning we were up with the chickens and hit the road once more, a beautifully smooth, quiet, curving road that lead through the Oregon hills.  We’d crest a pass at around 4000 – 5000 feet, covered with fir trees, then descend back into the stark, desert valley.  We did that probably half a dozen times.  Some areas were more high country type atmosphere with ponderosa pines and little undergrowth, while other areas were just like home, Douglas fir and much green growth below.

At one point near noon we needed a bathroom break and it was time to clean the windshield so we found a campground with the necessary facilities on one of the Ponderosa pine-covered hills along the Battle Mountain Forest State Scenic Corridor.  I said I would actually consider staying in a campground like that – but it was uninhabited.  I may not feel that way if it’d been full. 

We’d been running across quite a few old homesteads and barns and stopping to see what interesting shots we could get.  In one area the little grasshoppers were so thick...  We took a dirt road and we were pelted with them!  Then further south we hit clouds of white butterflies.  I seem to recall the same butterflies in Central California when we’d travel to see family when I was pregnant with Kevin.  Rick had them landing on him but I couldn’t get a decent shot of it, video would have been far better.

We came across the side road to the sleepy town of Ukiah, Oregon which was not too far off the beaten path so an exploration was in order!  It was one of the quaintest small towns we’ve run across.  Not leaning toward becoming a ghost town as so many of the small towns are in our current financial state.  The town was chock full(!) of oddities and the people were more than friendly!

We found a pretty park just outside of Mt Vernon, Oregon to stop and have lunch.  It was a nicely maintained park on a creek with an interesting addition – 2 large teepees that could be rented for overnight stays.

The next town we passed through was John Day.  There are signs indicating points of interest and in this town one simply read “Kam Wah Chung”  What’s “Kam Wah Chung”?  So we went to check it out.  It was a museum.  When we went to turn around Rick noticed the road it was on – Ing Hay Way!  So we went to Kam Wah Chung on Ing Hay Way in John Day!  Go ahead – say it out loud!

Not long after lunch we started noticing a haze.  Then I noticed how the sun was shining differently and thought it looked like the sun shining through smoke.  The further we drove the thicker it got.  It was ruining any scenery shots we may have been wanting to take.  The further south we went the thicker it got.  We were hoping to sleep in a tent so were planning to look for a spot before it got dark.

We finally crossed the border into Nevada and stopped in that town to eat.  We knew it would be a mini-casino and that it would most likely have decent food and prices and we were right.  While we were there we saw firefighters eating.  So while we were paying the check we asked the cashier where the fire was.  “All around us!” was her reply!  Then in listing off all the areas battling flames she mentioned the very road we wanted to scope out for a tenting spot – Old Cordova Mine Road.  Oh well.  We decided to go ahead and check it out, as long as there were no roadblocks.

This was fun.  We drove out to the Cordova Mine area and came to a dirt road we wanted to explore and lo and behold, right there on the corner was an old buckboard wagon.  Then, while we were shooting the buckboard we saw a vehicle off in the distance heading toward us rather quickly but it turned before it got to our intersection and headed up over a hill – it was a firetruck!  We WERE right there close to the fire!  The smoke was thick, the sun was shining red and ash was falling around us.  The orange glow warmed up our pictures amazingly!

We were supposed to circle around and get back to the highway but the road ended abruptly and a dirt road lead off in the general direction of the highway so Rick decided to try it out.  Heck, it had a speed limit sign, it must go through, right?  Wrong!  It just progressively got worse and worse until we finally decided to head back the way we came.  While we were driving aimlessly, though, we saw 3 times a desert hare run across the road.  They were so cute with their great big black tipped ears and big black tails!

We decided to continue south to see if we could get away from the smoke.  It worked, we were nearly to the large town of Winnemucca, Nevada when we finally got out of the smoke and found a dirt road to camp off of.  We set up camp and grabbed a movie on Rick’s iPad.  Then I set up my camera to try to shoot some start trails and we decided to enjoy the dark sky that was displaying the Milky Way like I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.  Then we spotted a shooting star – oh yeah!  Perseids and other meteor activity was supposed to be peaking that night!  So we sat and enjoyed the show for a while.  Then a dog, fox I think, started howling in the not-too-far distance.  Rick had to answer it and it started barking and then finally doing a yip-yip-yip thing.  It didn’t do it for long.  I finished my star photography (I have yet to see if it worked) and put in my earplugs so I could stop hearing things (“what’s that?”) and go to sleep.  Ahhh!  What an adventure!

About Me

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After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.