Archive for May, 2007

Yellowstone National Park

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

We have RV’ed to Yellowstone two previous years (2004 and 2006 pictures).  The beauty of Yellowstone draws us back into the park.  This time we arrived at the beginning of the season and still experience a little snow fall, saw lots baby bison and enjoyed Old Faithful again.  When we leave the area with our RV, we decided that we will drive into the West Entrance and exit via Mammoth at the North Entrance, instead of skirting around the outside of the park.

Why didn’t I think of that?  Virtual Tour Guide – A GPS automated tour – is a new private service being offered in West Yellowstone.  What an invention!  A GPS (Global Positioning System) integrated with an audio tour guide.  It does not direct you through the park, but as you approach an attraction, no matter what pace or direction your trip is taking, it starts to describe that park feature.  We wish we could have all of those "Historical Land Mark" signs along the highways across the USA, transcribed to audio, triggered by GPS!!!!!  If you don’t rent one of these units for $49.99, we would recommend that you first do two days of tours by small bus (Lower and Upper loops) to learn about the features of the park (we did that in 2004), then go back via your automobile on your subsequent days.

We highly recommend Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone, especially their newest pull-thru sites – 210-244 where your patios face east instead of west. Very clean park and pleasant staff.

Today, we saw an interesting IMAX movie entitled "Hurricane on the Bayou" which focused on the eroding wetlands which help block the hurricanes. 

Tonight, we went to the Playmill Theatre in West Yellowstone for the "Footloose" musical.  The 13 men and 10 women actors were from universities like BYU, having previously audition in Provo UT and Rexburg ID.  They also have a new theater in Jackson WY.  The producers remodeled a motel to house all of them here for the summer.  Much to our surprise, this theater has been in operation for over 40 years.  How did we miss it?  The group was an fun, enthusiastic set of performers with a fun show with a great storyline.  They will also be doing "Anne Get Your Gun" and "See How They Run" this 2007 season.

Please check out our photo gallery for the first part of our trip through Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Idaho is mountain country:  a seeming unending array of rocky summits with one notable exception — the Snake River Plain part of which we crossed today from Boise to Arco.  The Snake River Plain is a broad flat arc. Like a huge geologic smile, grinning across Idaho, the plains marks the path of a series of volcanic eruptions that took place millions of years ago.

The first eruption on the Snake River Plain, about sixteen million years ago, was in southwestern Idaho.  The cause is believed to have been a "hot spot" that melted deep crystal rock creating a thick magma called rhyolite.  As the rhyolite explosively erupted, it literally blew holes, called calderas in the earth’s crust.

At the same time, the crust of the earth in this area was moving forward to the southwest over the stationary hot spot.  As a result the bottom of the moving plate was repeatedly heated, causing a long sequence of eruptions, which formed a string of calderas across southern Idaho — spaced about two millions years apart.

These explosive rhyolitic eruptions were followed by less violent volcanic activity that produced lave known as basalt which covered the land in thin sheets as the earth’s crust moved away from the hot spot.  These flows also buried the calderas under a frosting of black rock.

At Craters of the Moon, calderas that formed five million years ago are totally buried by basaltic flows.  The most recent eruption to place just two thousand years ago.  Originating from a weakened zone in the earth’s crust known as the Great Rift, fiery fountains shot cinders high into the air forming cinder cones.  Liquid rock poured from the cracks to create dozens of lava flows that can be seen there today.

After driving our RV through the National Monument (there were some tight loops in parking lots), we proceed to Arco ID about 20 miles to the east.  Arco is near the site of the first nuclear power plant in the USA, and is the first city to be totally powered by its power.

Memorial Day Weekend in Boise ID

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Flag with sunWe stayed four nights in Boise ID at the Hi Valley RV Park — a nicely maintained park. 

Boise is the home of "The Peregrine Fund World Center for Birds of Prey".  At the World Center they propagate birds of prey for release to the wild. They house about 200 falcons and condors for breeding.  They have several captive birds (broken wings) and birds which, when born, saw humans before they saw another bird — imprinting I believe — and cannot be release. 

One park had 800 American Flags erected for Memorial Day weekend.  Absolutely beautiful. 

We went up to Idaho City, a very small, almost ghost town, that once was the largest city in the northwest of the United States, during the 1860 gold rush.  There Herb tried his skills at quick draw, with target, electronic timer and wax bullets.  He did a respectable 1.05 seconds, beating anyone else we saw that was also a total amateur.

We looked around for homes in the area.  We were especially impress with one builder — Feekes, who is currently building in Banbury Meadows in Eagle ID, a suburb of Boise.

Herb wanted to bicycle the trail following the Boise River, but did not get a chance — next time.  But we did have fun at a street fair on six blocks in downtown Boise, one block from the capitol building.  We had a pleasant time with Ted and Gail, our friends from Desert Shadows RV Resort near Palm Springs, where we snowbird.

Please see more pictures in our photo gallery.

Bend / Redmond / Sisters, OR

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

We took a drive along the back roads on Tuesday from Sandy and Larry’s home at the Crooked River Ranch to Sisters OR.  Along the way, we stopped on the roadside for a view of the Alpacas and the The Sisters at the Crescent Moon Ranch. The alpacas were so curious and friendly.  A sign at the ranch pointed out:

The rare alpaca is a charming and valuable member of the camelid family.  Alpacas are prized for their luxurious and costly fiber which is harvested by shearing once a year.  An alpaca sweater or blanket is a cherished possessioon, frequently handed down from one generation to the next.  The alpaca gestation perion is 11 months.  The baby is called a cria.  Alpacas are a herd animan and are native to the Andes Mountains of South america.  Alpacas are very gentle, clean animals and make wonderful pets.


Wrapping up our stay in Junction City OR

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

Final Days in Junction CityAll of our service is done on the coach. We are staying at Richardson Park, outside of Junction City OR, near the edge of Fern Ridge Lake, at site 81. We will be here Friday and Saturday nights. Saturday we are heading with our car to Florence OR on the coast to see the Rhododendron Festival.

Saturday: I never knew that so many motorcyclist like Rhododendrons!!!

Waterfront DepotIn Florance we had our favorite meals at the Waterfront Depot, an old kite shop — Crab Encrusted Halibut w/Chile Cream Sauce and Caesar Salad for only $10.00.  So good we ordered four for the two of us — two to take home.  Reservations are recommended.  Small place.  Table #5 is best by the window.  Address: 1252 Bay Steet, 541-902-9100.  See the gallery for more photos.

We have extended our stay an extra night here because of the rain.  We met a delightful Country Coach couple who recognized us, in Florence, as Country Coach owners by our jackets.  They moved over from Florence to a site next to us in Richardson Park Sunday evening.  We had a great afternoon and evening with them — Patrick and Susan Grant.  We played Phase 10 and Progressive Rummy and are looking forward to meeting up with them again — possibly in Tucson in February.

Camp Country Coach

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

We arrived at Camp Country Coach on Sunday afternoon and enjoyed an impromptu get together for appetizers and BBQ in the parking lot!  Camp Country Coach is a "parking lot" for up to 25 coaches that are here for service.  It is located in Junction City OR (near Eugene) across the street and adjacent to the Country Coach Customer Care office.  We are here for one strange problem with the generator not running under 25 to 35 amp load, but runs okay below 25 amps or between 35-65 amps.  We have a few other minor problems to be addressed by Country Coach or one of the other service facilities in the area. 

Jake is our outstanding service specialist, and is assigned the difficult/puzzling problems.  He picks up the coach around 8:30 a.m., visits/calls us at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. with a status report, and then returns the coach at 5:15 p.m.

We also plan to have our dining table lengthened with a leaf and drop leg at Davis Cabinets later this week.

Pre-trip to Maine

Saturday, May 12th, 2007

After doing the sound for five TOMMY O shows, we headed out Saturday morning, May 12th, from Beals Point State Recreation Area in Folson CA (near Roseville CA) to Oregon.  After 415 miles, we decided to stay at Seven Feathers Casino on US 5 exit 99 in their dry camping area. 

We ate a wonderful dinner (day before Monther’s Day) in their Camas Room – fine dining.  The waitress asked if we were going to the show.  We said, "What show?"  The one that is sold out!!!!  Turns out that John Michael Montgomery with his 15 #1 singles and 16 million albums sold was performing.  It would have been fun to see his production!


After dinner we drove over to the new, adjacent Seven Feathers RV Resort.  What a beautiful place that is!!!!   Grass, new trees, flowering plants, beautiful top knotch indooor pool and spa, clubhouse, outdoor BBQ pavilion and fitness center with top notch equipment — definitely a 10/10/10.  A wonderful stop (for several days) for an RV Club or even individuals.  $25 per night for groups of 10 or more.

Sunday, we are heading to Junction City OR to have some work done on our generator, soffet lights and an extension to the dining table.  We expect to be there through Friday night, May 17th.