Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Idaho (2) 2009

We left Waterton at 8:00 AM and arrived at the US-Canada border at 8:30AM. We had to wait 30 minutes for the border to open up. Two female US border officers and two male Canadian officers came out at 8:58 AM and lifted the gates.
We arrived at St. Mary at 10:00 AM and 30 minutes later we were on our way to the Blackfeet Community Hospital in Browning, Montana.
The Emergency Room was not busy and Doreen saw a nurse and a doctor in a short time. The doctor was a young man and very helpful.
He gave her a three day supply of medication and a prescription for her bladder infection. Doreen has not been a happy camper for the last week.
Doreen had to fill out papers, they asked her about tribal associations. We belong to a strange tribe and it is not Blackfeet. This whole area is the Blackfeet Reservation.
Across from the Emergency entrance is a big statue of a horse and Buffalo and Elk.

In 2006 there was a big fire here.

The Johnson’s of St. Mary RV Park has camp sites on a high hill. We chose one of those sites. From our front window we see the mountains in Glacier National Park, and from the dinette window we see mountains and Lake St. Mary. It is such a beautiful sight.

After breakfast we took off for the park. The scenery along the "Going to the Sun Road" is spectacular.
We had again blue skies and just perfect weather.

In the afternoon we took it easy, but did two loads of laundry. While I was running the machines I did my computer work.

Today was a driving day. We left St. Mary at 8:00 AM and arrived at the Elks Lodge in Kalispell at 11:30 AM.
It was a scenic drive along rivers and through forests.
In Kalispell we went to Costco to have Doreen’s prescription filled and to do some shopping. We are now four weeks on the road and had to restock our supplies.
From Costco we went to a large grocery store and bought fruits and vegetables. The prices were a lot better than in small towns.
In the evening we had dinner at the lodge. It was Taco Night and one could eat as much as one could push down the hatch. The shredded meat and ground beef was good. I made myself a tostada and later a taco.
We shared the table with a very nice local couple. They would like to do the same things we do, the woman would like to see the coast. The husband is still working and they have two houses, because they have too much stuff. She can not get rid of her dead parents belongings. So they are stuck.
When Doreen told them that she had to go to Emergency at the hospital in Browning, the woman acted like she could not believe that Doreen came out alive. She had been an inspector for the State of Montana and inspected hospitals. She also dealt with people at the reservation.
We thought Doreen was taken care of very well, and she feels better.
When we mentioned that we take care of most of communication and finances on the computer, they told us that they get so much spam. I told them that I told all my friend not to send me any forwarded junk, nothing political, no jokes, only personal letters. They thought their friends would take offense to such a request.
We had a wonderful evening. To top it off, we have three stations on the TV. Doreen was able to watch Grays Anatomy.for two hours.

We went to the Whitefish Mountain Ski and Summer Resort.
We thought it would be too expensive to take the lift up the mountain. I inquired anyway and found out that it was only $ 5.00 for seniors. When we bought the tickets, the girl asked us whether we were seniors past 70 years. When we said yes we got the tickets for free. I never heard of something like that. Sometimes it pays to be old, other times it is a pain, literally.

The view from top of the mountain was great, unfortunately there was some smog in the valley from the fires in Oregon.

We are on the way home now. From Kalispell we took US highway 93 South.
In San Ignatius we stopped for a while and visited the mission. There are beautiful pictures on the ceiling and on the walls.

We had to climb over the Bitterroot Mountain Range. The motorhome performed well. When we were on top I installed the BrakeBuddy in the car. I had underestimated the height of the mountains and had it left off.
When we arrived at the Elks Lodge in Salmon, Idaho, we rested for a while and then went to the Sacajawea Interpretive Center. Sacajawea was the Indian woman who acted as an interpreter for Lewis and Clark on their journey out west.

Beginning at Salmon, highway 93 is the Salmon River Scenic Byway. It is scenic, but very slow.
The Byway continues at Challis with highway 75.
The road follows the curves of the river.
When we came close to Stanley we stopped at an outlook area and the Sawtooth Mountain Range was before us, with the town of Stanley in the valley, what a sight.
We found a Forest Service Campground a few miles south of Stanley.

It was cold last night. When I got up it was 36 degrees F in the motorhome. I ran the furnace for 20 minutes and then turned on the catalytic heater.
In the middle of the night I got two more comforters to keep warm.
We left our little forest campground at 8:30 AM and arrived at North Fork campground at 10:00 AM.
Highway 75 becomes the Sawtooth Scenic Byway South of Stanley.
The Byway runs parallel to the Sawtooth mountain range, through a beautiful valley.
We set up the motorhome and left for Ketchum, which is eight miles to the South.
Next to Ketchum is Sun Valley, the famous ski area. In Sun Valley we went to a fancy shopping mall.
They have two ponds with swans swimming around.
On one store I saw the sign:"Konditorei". I thought I was in for a treat, like torte, but they only had cookies and sweet rolls. When I talked to the lady and told her what I expected she smiled and said: "You sure know how to pronounce Kondidorei".
Our next stop was the Hemingway Memorial. He has a beautiful view down to a golf course.

They have two ponds with swans swimming around.
On one store I saw the sign:"Konditorei". I thought I was in for a treat, like torte, but they only had cookies and sweet rolls. When I talked to the lady and told her what I expected she smiled and said: "You sure know how to pronounce Kondidorei".

Our next stop was the Hemingway Memorial. He has a beautiful view down to a golf course.

Most of the National Forest campground are closed. Half of North Fork is closed and the water shut off.
The fee is now only $ 5.00 per day, we pay $ 2.50 with our Golden Age Pass.
Last night we were alone. Today another rig came in, a couple from the Phoenix, Arizona area.
I forgot to mention that I ran over a dead deer three days ago. It was laying in the middle of my lane and I could not avoid it because there were two cars coming in the other lane.
The motorhome cleared it, but the car is lower and I could feel when the car hit the carcass.
There was blood all over the front of the car. It was a mess and no fun cleaning the poor Saturn.

It rained half of the night. Most of the leaves on the trees are gone now.
We left by car to see the Shoshone Falls near Twin Falls, Idaho. The falls drops 212 feet in the Snake River Canyon. It is a few feet higher than Niagara Falls. Unfortunately this is the wrong time of the year to see the falls. Farmers and ranchers use the water from the Snake River for irrigation in the summer and deplete the water.
In the spring the falls are full. I bought a postcard and when I get home, will scan it and add the picture next to the picture I took today.
Even with only a few trickles coming down the falls, it is very impressive.

On the way home we stopped at the library in Ketchum for our E mail.
I rained again in the afternoon. This is time for relaxing and planning the next stop.
Our itinerary has gone to the wayside, it changes constantly. We take it as it comes.
In the evening we played scrabble.

We hooked up the car to the motorhome while snow flakes were around us. It was cold.
It had rained most of the night.

As soon as we were south of Ketchum, and out of the mountains, it stopped raining. We went east on highway 20 to Craters of the Moon National Monument. The monument is in higher elevation and we experienced snow flakes again and later rain.

It was difficult to get good pictures. Doreen took one out of the front window and the snow flakes are visible.

When we arrived at the Elks Lodge in Idaho Falls it started to rain real heavy.

We took the Riverside Drive in Idaho Falls. From there one has a good view of the Mormon Temple.
We also did some shopping and relaxing.
Our plans changed again. We will not go to Yellowstone and the Tetons. It suddenly got very cold. Going south makes more sense.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Idaho 2009

After we had emptied the holding tanks, and added some fresh water, we left Burny Falls. I stopped the motorhome and took one more look at the falls.
I was the only person there, which is unusual, but the sleepy heads were still in bed.
We continued on highway 299 until we reached highway 395 North. The first few hours on 395 were fine, but then it got boring. In Oregon the cattle ranches disappeared and all we saw was sage brush. We saw another vehicle every hour.
We passed Alkaline Lake, with Alkaline floating on the edges of the lake.

When it got warmer I tried to get some cooler air from the dash controls.Only hot air came out of of the vents. The knob on one of the controls was broken.
Even the air conditioner blew hot air out.
Now I had computer problems and this problem.
When we arrived at Burns RV Park I talked to my neighbor and he wanted to look under the hood of the motorhome. He knew where the cable for the controls was and moved the lever to the cool position. Now I can set the controls in the morning to warm and in the afternoon to cool. While eating our lunch at a rest area two young men had approached us and asked us for some gasoline. When we are on a long trip I always carry two and a half gallon in the trunk of the car. I gave it to them. My camp ground neighbors help was the pay back.
The RV Park has WIFI and Juno gave me no trouble. I am happy again.

We arrived at Cambridge, Idaho at about 10:00 AM. The plan was, to stay in Cambridge, and travel by car to Hells Canyon.
When I saw the sign: "Hells Canyon National Recreation Area" I changed my mind and kept on rolling.
After traveling three miles on Idaho highway 71, I knew I made a mistake. It is a narrow, winding road, with steep hills. There was no way to turn around.
We drove 26 miles to the Brownlee Dam, on the Snake River. The Idaho Power Company has beautiful camping facilities along the river.

Our camping site at Woodhead Park had water and electricity.
After lunch we drove by car, along the scenic Snake River, to Hells Canyon. It is the deepest canyon in Northern America.
At Oxbow Dam the Park Service has a little visitor center. We watched a movie about the canyon, enjoyed the view, and saw the jet boat arrive.

We left Woodhead Park at 7:00 AM. Doreen drove behind me, in the car, the 26 miles to Cambridge.
I felt better without the car on the motorhome on this narrow winding road.
We continued on highway 95 North.
From Riggins to White Bird the road follows the Salmon River. It is one of the most beautiful spots in the country. Unfortunately there are not many spots, along the highway, to stop for pictures.
From White Fish we had to climb a high mountain. I am very satisfied with the V-10 engine in the motorhome. It performs very well.
We stopped on top and the view reminded me of Switzerland. White Fish is nestled in the valley.

The Elks Lodge in Moscow has its own nine hole golf course. We took the site with water and electricity. They have many dry sites along the golf course.
After lunch we looked for Marvin Rudd. He was one of the regulars at Peg Leg Smith, in Borrego Springs. Because of bad eyesight he had to stop driving.
Nobody was home, so we went grocery shopping at Walmart which was almost in Washington State.
In the evening I went again to Marvin’s house and he was at home. We had a nice conversation about Borrego Springs and the snow birds who come every winter to enjoy the Southern California weather.

Today we visited friends in COEUR D’ALENE. Rosary and Leroy used to live two houses down the street from us. Like many other Californians they sold their house and were able to buy bigger homes in other states for less money. They have a big beautiful two story house, overlooking the lake.

We left Coeur D’Alene at 6:30 AM and crossed the border into Canada at 8:45 AM.
This time the Canadian border guard did not ask us whether we had apples. Last time I sacrificed two apples at their refuse can, We had hidden the rest.
The scenery along highway 95 and 93, through the mountains, was spectacular.
We almost had the road for ourselves, not much traffic.

Fairmont Hot Springs has some houses just like in Bavaria, large verandahs around the house and flowers at every window.
We arrived at Lake Louise at 3:00 PM and after setting up the motorhome and some rest, drove to Lake Moraine.

From there we went to Lake Louise and the Chateau Lake Louise.
There were many people, one could hear many languages.

In Germany they have a saying: "When Angel travel the weather is beautiful".
In our situation it fits. We have super weather. During the day we wear T shirts, and at night it is cold. This morning it was 43 degrees F in the motorhome. There was a thin layer of ice on the roof of the car. The windshield was ice free.
I let Doreen sleep late, cooked a big breakfast, and did some little maintenance work around the motorhome.
We went again to Lake Louise and to the Chateau Lake Louise.

From the dining room of the Chateau one has a magnificent look of the lake.

Then we went to the Village of Lake Louise. While Doreen was shopping I went on the Internet, got E mail and did my blog.
The rest of the afternoon we took it easy and enjoyed the view.

In the park they have bridges for animals.

Today we drove the Icefield Parkway to the Columbia Glacier. There one can take tours in a special bus on the glacier.

We left the motorhome at the Icefield Center and went by car towards Jasper..

We had left Lake Louise at 7:00 AM arrived at the Icefield Center at 9:00 AM, set up the motorhome and left for Jasper at 9:30 AM.
We did not get very far. The road was totally blocked. A crew had tried to remove some material from a bluff on the side of the road. They used too big of a charge and took the side of the hill down.

It took three hours to clear one side of the road. We had to wait two and a half hours.
We talked to people and ate our lunch.
Down the mountain were several water falls.
When we finally arrived at Jasper, we took the Jasper Tramway up a high mountain.
Some people walked further up the mountain. The view from up there was fantastic. The color of some of the lakes is turquoise.

We had some soup and a roll at the little mountain restaurant and then came down again.
After a very short visit of Jasper we headed back to the motorhome. We stayed there for the night.

We left the Icefields at 6:45 AM and went back to Lake Louise. From there we took the Bow Valley Parkway to Banff.

This is a narrow, two lane highway, no shoulders. Sometimes the two lanes separate and join again, after a while. All the roads follows rivers.
It is a very scenic drive. Doreen tries to take pictures, because we can not stop on the side of the road.
She took this picture on highway 93.

When we arrived in Banff we got stuck in a small parking lot. We are getting good in unhooking the car, turning the motorhome around and hitching the car again to the motorhome.
We are again in a beautiful National Park. It is located on Tunnel Mountain. Because of construction we had a hard time finding it. We followed an English couple in a rented RV. We finally stopped at a big parking lot and started talking. They got lost on their way out of the park.
We finally got to our destination and what a view we have. We have mountains around us and can look down in the valley.

After lunch we went to the village. Banff is a very beautiful little tourist town.
Doreen went shopping while I went to the library to get on the Internet.
We still have fantastic weather. Last night we thought it was over. It rained a bit but it was dry in the morning.

I cooked a big breakfast and then we played tourist.
Normally we eat cereal and milk, but when we have a lot of time we change the routine.

We went up the mountain to the Banff Gondola. From there we went to The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

This must be one of the biggest hotels in the world. It was built by the Canadian Pacific Railroad in the 1880’s to get tourists in this area. It burned down but was rebuilt.
Then we went into town again. Banff has some beautiful parks and everything is so clean. The color of the river is turquoise. The pictures do not show how beautiful it is.

It is tough to leave a beautiful place like Banff, but more adventures are waiting for us. We left again early.

We had planned on staying at the Moose Lodge in Calgary. Unfortunately the Moose lost their lodge. It is now a church, and the Moose are renting upstairs. They have to share the parking lot with the church, there is no room for motorhome parking.
We went across town to a Passport America RV Park, where we pay half price.
After lunch we visited Colin, a WIN friend.
It was wonderful to see him. During the visit it rained. Late afternoon the sun came out again.

We had prepared to go to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. It is Canada’s Dinosaur Museum.
Doreen got up and did not feel well.
Not very far from here is a drug store. We went and Doreen talked to the pharmacist. At the same time we checked the hours of the clinic next door, just in case.
When Doreen felt better we took off for the Calgary Heritage Park. Here they brought old buildings and stuff from all over the country, similar to the place in Dearborn, Michigan.
Our day did not get any better though. When we got on Beddington Trail, a three lane highway, we encountered construction. From three lanes we went to two and then to one. It took us a long time to go to highway 2. When we finally reached highway 2 and went south, we found the exit ramp to Heritage blocked off. There was an accident.
To top it off, the Heritage Park is open all week in the summer, now only on weekends.

We had planned to go there tomorrow. If everything works out we will go tomorrow to see the dinosaurs.
On the way home we got in another traffic slowdown on highway 2. With the help of the GPS we managed to go around it.
We went home, ate the lunch we had packed and took it easy all afternoon.
We did one load of laundry, and I played around with the TV antenna cables. I finally found the correct cable from the unit which increases the signal from the antenna.
We got only one channel before while our neighbors had five or six. I had used the wrong cable. There are a few more cables in the cabinet, and I do not know what they are used for. One is for the TV outlet in the bedroom.

Today we made it to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta.
The first 30 miles of the 90 miles to Drumheller were kind of difficult. We drove straight into the rising sun and could not see the street signs. I finally used the GPS on voice command.
The museum is located in the badlands, a low valley of the Deer River. It must be one of the largest museum dedicated to dinosaurs. Those creatures come in all sizes, small as a bird and large as a house

One can get lost in that large place.
They have interactive exhibits, movies and talks with an expert.
In town Visitors can climb up the 86 feet fiberglass dinosaur, and stand in its mouth.

We still have unbelievable good weather.

It rained during the night. I had hoped it would stop in the morning. It did stop but started again when we were leaving Calgary.
We hooked up the car in the rain. I attached the Brake Buddy when we were at the Flying J gas station, while the car was under the roof of the station.
I bought about 120 liters of gasoline, about 30 gallons, just enough to get us across the border. Gasoline costs about $ 4.00 US dollars a gallon in Canada.
I had problems at the pump with my Master Card. The lady in the store got the pump going. When I came back she told me that my card was not accepted. I went to the motorhome and got my Discover Card. They do not take that card. Doreen then used her card.
It rained from Calgary to Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada.
We arrived there at 10:30 AM. After we set up the motorhome it really started to rain. We can not complain. After all it is late fall.

At 4:30 PM the sun came out and we saw blue sky. We got in the car and drove to the Prince of Whales Hotel. It is located on a hill overlooking the lake. It is closed for the season.

From there we went on the Red Rock Parkway, one of the scenic drives in the park.
We saw several deer and a bear.

We had another encounter with wonderful people.
In the town of Pincher Creek we got lost. We ended up in a neighborhood with small streets. I stopped and waited for a car coming towards us. I talked to the couple and the told me to follow them. They turned around and guided us to the highway. There are more good people than bad ones, unfortunately the bad people get the headlines.

This is our last day in Canada. I paid the camping fees for today in cash. This way I got rid of all my Canadian coins and small bills. I have $ 20.00 left. This I can spend on gasoline.
It was cold in the morning with blue skies.
We took the Akamina Parkway to Cameron Lake. It is a beautiful, scenic road.

The first animal we saw was a young buck, standing on the side of the road, and looking at us. He did not move, we could have almost touched him.

We stopped at the site of Western Canada’s first producing oil well.

On the way home we went to the waterfall.

In the campground are a lot of deer. They leave a lot of presents and one has to be careful and not step in it.
From the motorhome we see mountains on two sides, the lake and the village on the other sides.