Friday, May 31, 2013

Oh Canada!!!!!

First off ... OMG !!!  I've never been so frustrated with an internet connection (I'm on the park WiFi now).  I've tried everything, even using Chrome and Firefox.  Nothing seems to work.  I can't upload any images no matter how small they are, and nine times out of ten I can't get my blog site to open.  Funny it worked great in the US ... now I just can't seem to figure out the problem.  To make it worse, Dan's computer with Firefox seems to work just fine .. and we use the same blog site.   Finally I got a few photos to load ... I think someone turned on the amp this morning.

Blanchard, Idaho to Golden, British Columbia Canada ... 364 miles by my odometer!!  Not exactly a relaxing drive this time.   The roads were rough causing my RV to roll side to side and we hit quite a bit of rain.
We fueled up in Laclede on Hwy 2 and headed to the border.  When I stopped at the border crossing, she told me to turn the engine off and NOT use the air brakes.  Wait--Wait-- I've never done that before.   Do they go to school to learn that look??  Thankfully I kept my foot on the brake and was able to restart.  I guess I passed the Canadian driving test because she let me go!!

I haven't seen much in the way of wildlife yet.  A couple deer, LOTS of crows and a gaggle (or whatever you call them) of turkeys crossing the road.  I've never seen a wild turkey before ... pretty cool.
We got into Golden about 4:00pm and found Whispering Spruce campground ... I would call it an RV park, but it's really not for our size rigs.  The roads are VERY narrow with lots of trees.  We have no satellite (too many trees) and had to relocate to get 30 amp power.  Dan tried to picnic at a table from the drivers seat, almost moved a tree over two feet and could have run off the cliff, were he not an excellent driver.  Then it was my turn ... good thing I'm shorter!!  I did think it was kind of funny that the guy with the 20' Class C came running out with his camera taking pictures as I negotiated the campground.  I just smiled and waved!!!

I'd love to show you more of the beautiful green tree-covered mountains and the cold white stuff on top, but alas, every time I try to upload any images, it comes crashing down.  I'm really hoping when we get into Alaska my internet connection will return and I can show you how pretty it is here.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Coeur d' Alene .... Moving On .....

Back to Coeur d' Alene for Patty's hair cut today!!!  A quick Walmart stop for a couple things, then it was off to Bear Paw Quilt Shop!!  3200 sq ft of beautiful fabrics.  I think I walked around three times before picking several pieces PLUS something called a "charm pack" that I had never heard of.  Beautiful fabric pieces, already selected and cut into 5" squares.  You can make your design as easy or as hard as you like!!
Next door was a yarn shop ... it's funny how I can make quick decisions in a quilt shop ... but in a yarn shop, I walk around and around and can't decide on anything!!!  Thirty minutes later, I had one skein for a pair of fingerless gloves.

While Patty got her hair cut, I checked out YELP for a quick lunch before heading home.  I found a place that specialized in grilled cheese sandwiches ... MELZ !!  I wasn't sure I could convince Patty to take part in the cheesy goodness, but she agreed to share one.
It was AWESOME!!!!!  Sourdough bread with 4 different cheeses ... we could have added bacon or chicken, but why mess up a good thing!!

As you can see, Patty thought it was pretty good too!!!
Shopping done, I couldn't leave without one more look at the church.  One of the locals suggested it be registered as a historical building, making it eligible for restoration monies.  A good possibility, but I don't have time to check it out.  I'll see if it's still on the market when we return from Alaska.  You never know ... make an offer and they just might jump at it!!!
Our comped week at Stone Ridge Motor Village has come to an end and it's time to pack up.  We will cross the Canadian border this morning and head north.  This was a perfectly beautiful place to spend our week.  If you picked up a "ticket" at FMCA, be sure to head this way ... and if you play golf, all the better!!!  There will be little to no internet connection for the next week or so.  Dan's Sprint seems to work a little better than my Sprint MiFi ... so check out his Travel By Chance blog if you don't find anything here.

Head 'em up ...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sunday Drive on Tuesday!

I think our main focus was to find a bank in Sand Point to get Canadian money so we wouldn't get conversion charges on our credit cards.  We ended up doing much more!!

First stop was Albeni Falls.  The emigrant that homesteaded here was named Albeni Poirie, but no one could pronounce his last name, so they used his first -- Albeni!! (Albany)  It's funny when Dan and I take the exact same image.  I'll try to be more "original" ......
There were actually two small falls here, but the dam did away with them.  Built and operated by the Corps of Engineers for electricity and flood prevention, it has created a beautiful lake for the locals.  By the way, if any of my historical data conflicts with Dan's ... HIS is correct.  He has a much better memory than I do!!
We found the bank and made the exchange easily.  I tried to upload a picture of the Canadian money ... it's gorgeous with silver strips, each bill a different color.  Interestingly enough, my program recognized it as currency and refused to open the images.  I will try my phone camera ... when I have service again!!!  In all our travels so far, AT&T is WAY behind in service.  Sprint seems to be the way to go.

By now it's lunch time, and Dan and I are starving, as usual.  A quick check of YELP brings up 5 out of 5 stars for Joels Mexican food.
Fish tacos were recommended by the cashier, so that was the order.  They were definitely 5 star.  As Dan said, funny how good fish sticks can taste!!!
Patty had a list of Thrift shops to check out ... MUCH nicer than the Thrift shops in my neck of the woods.  She picked up a couple of things, including a $4 Black and Decker steam iron I need for my RV ... not that I iron anything, because I don't!!!  However, it might come in handy when I get a miniature sewing machine for quilting on my breakfast table!!!  Dan was very patient with us, but that's because we plied him with ice cream and carrot cake for dinner!!

The flowers up here are amazing ... everything is in bloom!  Patty knows the name of EVERYTHING ... I just say look at the pretty flowers!!  These columbines were gorgeous!!
We hit the Amtrak train station and drove down by the beach before heading home.  Tomorrow Patty and I will hit up quilt store #37 .... so many quilt stores, SO LITTLE TIME!!!!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Quilt Shop Dream .. or Maybe A Nightmare!!

A quick consultation in the morning resulted in Patty and I heading out to Coeur d' Alene.  Looking for a Great Clips for her and a quilt shop for me, we went through an amazing little town, Spirit Lake.  Wouldn't you just like to say you were from Spirit Lake???  We saw a little church for sale and took note.  Finally on Hwy 95 headed south, we passed by Silverwood Amusement Park.  It wasn't open yet, but on our return trip, people were flying high in the parachute drop!!  They have something called the Spin Cycle that I'm sure I would hate, as well as a huge wooden roller coaster.  They even have a 1915 Steam Locomotive you can ride around the park.  At the far end is a huge water park for when it's warmer.  Looks like RV camping is available, 30 amp full hookups for $39/night.
It being a Holiday, Great Clips was closed, as was Bear Paw Quilt Shop.  I netted a couple pieces at Hancock Fabrics and Patty found an I.D. tag for Miss Gracie at Petco.  On to Walmart, we stocked up on printer ink, a blanket, baking materials, yarn and several $5 Old Western dvd's in preparation for the lack of TV and Internet connections in Canada and the outback of Alaska.  We thought Broderick Crawford, Highway Patrol would be hilarious, but Dan didn't quite agree!!!

On the way back, we stopped by the little church.  I think it would be a great place to open a quilt/yarn shop, since there don't seem to be any in the area.  A small building attached to the back looks like the residence, and it has a great basement.  It looks like it has been for sale for a long time.  I couldn't quite convince Patty ... even though she need only work during the summer months.  Later I found it on-line for $49,500 cash only.  Built in 1908, no financing was available.

Main Floor (from internet site)

Outside (this is my image)
I just think it would make the cutest quilt/yarn shop ... people would stop just to see the inside!!  Course it does need just a little restoration!!  It even still has some of the stained glass windows.  At the very least, it would be an amazing 6000+ sq ft summer house.  I wish I had the nerve to take it on!!!

Dinner at the Golf Shop Grill was okay, but nothing to write home about.  Back at my rig, I have had a hankering for banana bread, which I set about making.  I love to bake, but have never used a convection oven, even though my oven at home is both electric and convection.  I checked on the internet for a time/temperature conversion chart and found all I had to do was lower the temperature 50 degrees.  I have to say, it came out pretty good.  I think I cooked it a little too long, something about small loaves versus one large loaf ... the bottom is a little crusty, but delicious!!!!
Looks like a rainy day today as we head to Sand Point for Canadian money to avert any conversion charges.

If you are interested in the church, give me a call ..... I won't hold my breath though!!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

PONDERAY .... it's French!!!!

It's actually spelled Pend Oreille.  I guess you have to be French to get that pronunciation!!!
A huge river with lots of islands, it's half a mile wide in places.  Yesterday we drove down one side (and back on the other) on an exploration trip.
All along the river were rotting posts in the water, the remnants of docks.  We read that steam ships came all the way up here from the Columbia River, dropping off supplies and taking back lumber and people.  At several points on the river, bridges have been built ...
At this small store/museum at Tiger I spied chocolate chip cookies.  In talking to the young man at the counter (it was his second day at work), he said PLEASE eat them ... they were free and he didn't want to eat them all.  No problem there my friend ..... but just because, I stuck a couple dollars in their donation crock.  This store, named after Mr. Tiger, sported some great museum pieces, as well as the original post office for this area, complete with letters and postcards in the boxes from as far back as 1949.  Definitely stop in here and check it out.
At this point, we saw this sign on the road ... I guess we are pretty close to the Canadian Border.  I'm really hoping this is NOT the way we are driving ... it's a nice road for small jeeps, even tractors, but maybe not our huge RV's.
Finally our destination ... Ione.  Dan had heard there was a train that ran here, operated by the Lions Club.  We found the cars, but no engine.  It only makes a few runs beginning in July.  Like all small tourist trains, this one needs help too.  A gentleman making repairs to one of their buildings, said they were one rockslide away from being closed down.
We headed back in time for watching NASCAR ... well not me.  I spent my time on the internet researching spinning wheels and playing with the puppies.

They have a great dog park here, so I took the two terrors down while no one was there, to run and play.  Except they didn't!!!  Neither have been to a dog park and had no idea what to do.  I threw a ball for Cooper a couple times, but he doesn't bring it back and Jessie just kept rolling in something that must have smelled nice!!!  Okay, we're done with that!!!  

Dan's famous BBQ'd chicken and Patty's best ever salad finished off a great Memorial Day.  It's nice to see so many flags flying in remembrance of our Veterans.  They have given their all so we can live free!!  Lets celebrate them!!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Farmers Market and Ben Franklin ...

While Dan repaired a motorhome problem yesterday morning, I washed my Jeep.  It was just too disgusting and covered in pitch from Grass Valley.  It took about 45 minutes to clean the pitch off with some magic goo I borrowed from Dan, but it stubbornly refused to come off the windows.  Washed and pretty, it wasn't 15 minutes before the rain started.

Patty and I decided to head out to Sand Point, about 50 miles away.  Everywhere you go there are huge rivers and lots of lakes.  Did I mention this country is gorgeous???  We passed a large sawmill ... the biggest I have ever seen.  It's good to see them still in business, because the bad economy has certainly hit here.

The first surprise was a Farmers Market in the center of town.  Not only were there lots of vegetable plants for sale, there was fresh bread, jams, pastries, goat cheese ... all hawked by "hippi-ish" locals.  Of COURSE I tasted lots of stuff and bought some wonderful roasted garlic bread along with dewberry/rhubarb jam.  We asked one nice lady if there were any quilting stores in this area.  "Oh I go to Portland" ... which is what we have heard from scores of people.  That's a little too far away!!!

No matter, we hit the local Ben Franklin store which has everything you could ever ask for in the way of crafts, including some nice quilt fabric.  The prices weren't so great, but I snagged a couple of pieces before we headed back home.  These are a combo of Joseph and Ben Franklin.
Miss Jessie spends her afternoons keeping watch on the neighborhood.
I've been having computer problems ... maybe someone has some answers!!  I'm currently on my Sprint MiFi Wireless, which is pretty slow, but lets me upload images on this blog.  I have a MacBook Pro and surf with Safari.  When I join the Motorpark internet, everything works fantastically fast ... except  it refuses to upload the images on this blog.    I've changed every setting I can think of, but can't seem to get it to work.  I have a limited amount of MiFi time, so would rather use the local internet I paid $25 for!!!  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sales Pitch 101 .....

Today was our meeting with the real estate sales associate about purchasing a lot here in Stoneridge Motor Coach Village.  I wasn't looking forward to this at all, but I must say Aaron Knight was as nice as he could be.

We started out in sunshine, but by the time we hit the sales office and got in the private-tour golf cart, it was raining.  We drove around a little, while he explained that the townhouses were time shares, handled by a different company.  I figured that was one less "no" we had to verbalize.  After seeing where the new Golf Clubhouse was going to be, Patty politely asked if we could stop by their coach for jackets.   Now layered up to our chins, we headed back to the real estate office.

After Dan explained that none of us were interested in golf at all, Aaron quickly figured out we weren't going to buy and began to talk about where he used to live in Alaska, an area that Patty and Dan were familiar with.  Thirty minutes later, we said our goodbyes and headed back to our rigs.  That was the easiest sales pitch I didn't even have to say no to!!!

We did get a list of those units for sale, along with the prices.  Here's what it looks like ... these are all Developer owned.  There were another 10 lots for sale by owners.
I'm in 316 ... $104,900 if I wished to purchase.  We are at the back of the park where the lots are bigger, thus the higher price.  If you love golf and are looking for a place to park for 4-5 months every year, this is a gorgeous place to stay.
Sites like this one that have been upgraded with outdoor kitchen and building, for resale by owner, run from $199,000 to $260,000.  Woohoo ... thats too high for my blood!!!
Back at our rigs, I got the best birthday present from Patty and Dan ..... a spike from the Sumpter Valley Railroad!!!!  I'm going to enlarge one of my engine images and attached this to the frame!!!!
Another awesome Patty dinner of tilapia and veges finished the day for me.  A little puppy play time and I'm ready to hit the hay!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

It's My Birth-Day .. It's My Birth-Day!!!

Actually, it's the 25th anniversary of my 39th birthday!!!  What better place to spend it than with friends at Stone ridge Motor Coach Village up by Coeur d' Alene Idaho.

We left Camp Walmart after picking up a few more supplies before crossing the Canadian border.  What goes down, must go up, at least in RV world ... the steep drop into Clarkston by the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers was followed by another steep climb out of the valley up Lewiston Hill.  The view from the top was hazy, but amazing.

The drive up was beautiful.  There's miles and miles of green farmland here.  Make hay while the sun shines ... and that's exactly what they do here in the spring.  Hwy 95 was a little narrow and somewhat rough.  I really had to pay attention navigating the rolling mountains!!!
We turned off at Coeur d' Alene and headed West on Hwy 41 to Blanchard, population 261.  A semi-ghost town, it was previously a large logging community.  Where's the quilt shops?

Stone Ridge Village also has homes, condos and townhouses and a beautiful golf course, all at a pretty hefty price, by the looks of it.  Our free stay, isn't exactly FREE!!  We have to listen to the sales pitch ... I already have my "NO" answer ready to go!!
This is an example of a local owners lot ... seems everyone puts in a large shade structure, BBQ and building which I assume holds a washer and dryer, maybe a kitchen.  This particular one also has a large pond and waterfall.

Well at this point, I planned to upload a couple more pictures, but Google Blogspot isn't cooperating.  It took 1-1/2 hours to upload the top three, which usually come up in 10 seconds.

One of the considerations in a private park like this is that you never know WHO might be your neighbors when you purchase your lot (which isn't going to happen!!).  In my case, last night a rig pulled in with 7 people and one dog being led by maybe a four year old.  I bet you can guess what happened when I took Jessie and Cooper out.  They didn't seem to be bothered at all that Jessie was about to take his head off, nor did they apologize for the dog running loose.  I think I'm taking after "Bad Nick"!!

Hopefully Google gets their act together and I can upload more images later.  For now, it's off to the "Sales Pitch"!!!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

An Exciting Drive ... Where's The Valium????

Snow ... snow ... everywhere you looked ... snow!!!  We kept checking the weather forecast for Enterprise Oregon.  Here's what we saw ...  no rain, certainly no snow and sunny weather.  WRONG!!
The Weather Channel is not the only one I checked.  I looked at Yahoo Weather and lots of radar that showed zip .. nada .. nothing.  So this is an optical illusion!!  And it only got worse.  Where's the Valium??
Finally at 1:30 pm it quit and we quickly said goodbye to Buddy and BooBoo ... oh, and Diana and Bob, who had provided the best hospitality EVER over the last few days!!
We rushed out, unhooked everything and took off up Highway 3.  Where's the Valium??  Talk about an exciting ride.  From 4100 ft (where it was snowing) we went up to a little over 4600 (no snow thank goodness), then dropped to about 500 ft!!!  It sure felt like it anyway ... cliff on one side, sheer drop off on the other ... 25 mph for a really long way.  At the bottom, we crossed a bridge and headed back up.  I think it was worse going uphill!!
A really long, long, two hours later, we arrived in Clarkston, WA, next to Lewiston, ID at Camp Walmart.  Later, while waiting for dinner, I read that neither Lewis or Clark set foot in Clarkston.

The recommended restaurant for dinner was Roosters on the Port Walk, a half mile walk.  About the time we headed out, the wind came up along with some huge raindrops, so we hotfooted it over to a much closer Bogeys Restaurant at the Quality Inn hotel.  YELP said it had 4 out of 5 stars ... but not this time.

Patty's salad seemed to be okay ... Dan's "full" chef salad looked like Patty's half salad, and my spinach stuffed chicken was raw ... RAW!!!!  So we sent it back.  I suspect the Chef was having a bad day.  The waitress said she would get another whole dinner for me to-go.  When she finally arrived with the box, she said it was not on the ticket, AND offered a free dessert, which was pretty nice.   A tray of goodies was brought by ... apple crisp with ice cream and two spoons (Patty deferred).  If you happen to come here (but please don't) I would NOT order the apple crisp!!  

Back in my rig, I checked out my "new" chicken dinner.  Believe me, this piece of chicken is cooked really well ... but that's okay, it was free!!  

Happy Trails

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

OH NO, IT'S SNOWING!!!!!!!!! (Joseph and the Fainting Goats!)

My second worst nightmare has come true.  We are supposed to leave this morning at 10:00 and it's SNOWING!!  A LOT!!!!!
After that wonderful train ride, we headed North again, reaching Enterprise Oregon around 4:00 pm.  Patty and Dan's good friends Diana and Bob live here in a beautiful house on the hill, along with their dogs Buddy and BooBoo.  Here's the view from my rig.  Amazing sights!!!
Also visiting were THEIR good friends Brenda and Bob, who brought their labradoodle Chloe and the newest addition to the family, Bella.  Little Bella was full of you-know-what and wanted to growl and bite everything in site, including the black lab Buddy.
 Here's Chloe ... best personality ever!!!  As you can see, everyone gets to stay inside at this house!!
We went to the town of Joseph, named after the "real" Chief Joseph of the Nez Pierce Indians, to shop around (quilt shop) and have lunch.  Little Bella didn't last long before she fell asleep under the table.
For whatever reason, several bronze foundries are located here, and on every street corner, each has a bronze statue.  Some were for sale, but I'm pretty sure they cost more than my house!!  Even "Arnold" had a sculpture commissioned (of himself of course) and in driving around we saw it at the foundry.
 These were all lifesize .....
 One more jump and this guy goes off ... he's lost a stirrup and I see "butt air" ......
 This was the view from our lunch table.  Pretty amazing here in the spring!!!
Once home, we went next door to see the fainting goats.  No, Patty didn't scare them, so they didn't fall over ... but boy are they the cutest things you ever saw.  There are two moms, both who had twins, being fed by the daughter of the owner.  They were just adorable!!
How could you turn down this little face???  We fed, cuddled and petted them, just like they were dogs.  One kind of stiffened up a little, but no one crashed!!
 King of the mountain!!!
On the way out this guy was fluffing up and cleaning his feathers.  I thought it was a robin red breast, but he was more orange colored.  Lots of geese here, peacocks, horses ... my kind of neighborhood.
We leave today heading further north to Stoneridge Estates, a private RV park in Idaho, through something called Hell's Canyon???  Nothing like a "trial by fire" RV driving test!!!