Geocaching, that was what our outing the end of June was about. Our destination was Tri Cities Washington. There was a big geocache event going on and we were to be there. After work on a Thursday we left the Spokane area and made our way to Hood Park that was along the Snake River and in Burbank. Burbank is another town in the outskirts of Tri Cities. I made reservations to stay at the park from Thursday night until Monday afternoon. We pulled into the park and checked in. Uh, what? It appeared the Cruise Director (that would be me) screwed up and the reservation for Thursday night was …well…was not. The reservation from Friday to Monday was fine. They did have a site we could stay at for the night but would have to move the next day. No problem, so that is what we did. We got set up for the night and watched the sun set on another day.
The next day we would explore the area and I just happened to know where the brewery was and when it opened. It was going to be a hot day, in fact the whole weekend would be very hot. Today ended up with a a high of 110 degrees. We started with a geocache in the park where we were staying then we drove around and found a few more geocaches. Eventually we made it to the Ice Harbor Brewery and had lunch and beverages. The food and beer was fantastic. Afterwards we would return to camp and get set up in the site we would stay in for the remainder of our stay. Friends arrived for the weekends festivities soon enough. We visited the night away. It was a great ending to the day.
The next day was the main portion of the event, the challenge. The challenge consisted of finding geocaches all over Tri Cities. We would have a passport to write down keywords at the caches or a paper punch was there to use at some caches. When you found all the caches required then you returned with the passport and exchanged it in for a limited edition coin. It was a several hour, all day really challenge to find the caches. We had a great time and really got to see a lot of the area. The heat…yeah…it was hot. 111 for the high on that day.
After getting our coin we returned to camp. There would be more festivities at the event but it was hot and we were tired. We got back to camp and relaxed and talked with friends the rest of the night. We were set up right above the pavilion and the campground showed a movie. Kind of neat that we could sit in our camp and watch the movie.
The next day our friends all left. We would stop by the park where the festivities have been and do a CITO or cache in trash out. That means we clean up the area, a way of giving back. Afterwards we would explore more of the town and do just a little more geocaching. Wow, it was even hotter today with a high of 112!
Monday morning we drove just a few miles east, to Ice Harbor Dam and Locks and did a few geocaches. After we watched a ship go into the locks we went back to camp and packed our things up. We would have to return to that work thing but only for two days before our next outing. It was a great time, even with the high heat.
It was a long work week, two days in a row. That is how a work week should be. After work it was time to head to the membership resort we belong to, Ponderosa Falls Resort in Cheney Washington. We arrived around 5 pm and got our spot. We would stay for 4 nights. They would have a lot of things going on for the kids and adults at the resort this Fourth of July weekend.
The weather was still hot but just a bit cooler than last weeks trip. It at least stayed under 100 degrees, just barely but still under. Since we had water hook ups this time we used our misters to help cool the dogs and us. We had lots of other people ask us about them and say that they needed to get some too. They worked perfectly for us.
Thursday Joanne had to go to work so she was gone the whole day. The resort is not a far drive to her work. So Cody and I hung out all day. It was a nice day to hang out. The next day we drove into Cheney to do a little bit of geocaching in the morning before it got too hot out. We found a few great spots in town.
The rest of our time at the resort we stayed and played games and participated in what was going on there. Saturday morning they cooked up breakfast then at night they had a steak dinner cooked up for the guests. On Sunday morning they had HUGE cinnamon rolls for us. Besides games they had karaoke and yes, I even sang a couple songs. They also did a ducky race (plastic ducks) down the waterway through the mini golf course. Donations went to the Wounded Warriors Fund.
It was a great stay at the resort. As I have said before on other reports about staying there, it is not camping…it is resorting. Sometimes that is perfectly fine. Stays like the one we had was exactly why we joined. The time off is ended and will be back to work. No extra days off until next month and that is a trip without the camper. No worries though, another weekend outing will happen in less than two weeks. Happy Fourth of July to you and yours!
geocaching independence 6/25 – 6/29 & 7/1 – 7/5 2015
What should we do this weekend? That is a dumb question, of course we should go camping. So that is what we did. We set out after work on Friday and found a camp spot in the National Forest along the Middle Fork of Calispell Creek. That is just 25 miles north of home but you have drive around the spot and come in from the north. So it makes it about an hour drive from home. We found a spot and received word that some geocache friends would join us for camping this weekend. I had put out the word to fellow geocachers that we would be camping and over the weekend that I would be climbing two mountains that had a seldom found geocache on top. So if anyone wanted to join us, feel free to join us. It was also working towards my goal to climb all of the mountains in Pend Oreille County as well as Stevens County in Washington. Will I ever finish the goal? Maybe not but it is my goal.
Soon after we got all set up our friends Lisa and JD showed up to camp with us. They were (gasp) tent camping and got their things all set up. Then it was dinner and socializing around the campfire until the wee hours. The next morning I walked around and took a few pictures of the beautiful day to come.
After we had breakfast our friends, Cody and I left to go climb a mountain and find a geocache. Joanne stayed behind at camp and dog watched, cleaned the camper some and relaxed the day away. She said it was a great day for her. The mountain we would hike up today does not have a name but it is a mountain just the same. From the trail head it would end up being a 6.8 mile round trip hike. Not a bad hike at all. There was lots of great views along the way to take in. We even had views to the valley where we are camping. With binoculars we could even see our camp spot.
We made it to the top of the mountain and soon we had located the geocache. We were only the 2nd people to find this cache since it was placed on 3/19/13. For you fellow cachers the cache is GC480V5.
We made our way back to the trail head with a brief stop for a lunch while looking out at the mountain views. We returned to camp and had a nice evening ending a great day.
The next morning we would be climbing Boyer Mountain. Cody would stay with Joanne at camp today. We had more friends arrive at camp to do today’s hike. Tim and Kathleen would join us today. We drove the same road to the trail head as yesterdays hike. We stopped along the way so Tim could find a cache we found on yesterdays drive up.
On our drive up we came across a moose. There were lots of sign of moose and elk in this area. We did see sign of bear yesterday too.
We got to the trail head and it was time to hike another mountain. Today’s hike would only be 4.4 miles round trip but there would be a bit more elevation gain today. The views along the way were once again fantastic. Once on top, wow! What fabulous views from the top of Boyer Mountain. We found a benchmark near the geocache location. Again, for you fellow cachers the code is GC1T919. We found the geocache and all signed the log. We then walked along the top of the mountain to where there use to be a lookout tower and another geocache to find. I could have spent a long time just taking in the sights. This mountain top is high on my mountain top list for favorites.
After some time spent at the top we all hiked back to the trail head and our vehicles. It was back to camp and to get things packed up and head home. What a great weekend it was. Great weather, views and friends to enjoy on this outing. I look forward to the next hike to another mountain top. We have other trips we will be doing so it may be a while before the next mountain climb. The mountains will be calling me to return and I will.
oh boyer! 6/12 – 6/14 2015
It was Memorial Day weekend and time to once again get the camper out. First thing is first though… Gratitude can never be enough to thank the men and women of our armed forces who lost their lives protecting the freedoms we all enjoy in this country. That is what the Memorial Day is about, honoring those men and women. Thank you.
We made reservations for Ableni Cove Campground in Idaho for our weekends stay. Yeah, it is the start of the busy camping season. Long gone are the days of no one else around or only the few other hardy rvers at the campgrounds. Well, like winter camping we plan for it. So yes, reservations had to be made in advance if we wanted a spot to stay. Once again, we love having the camper. This campground recommends no rv’s but if you are 20 feet or less you are okay. Well, alright…we are 22 feet. We got into our spot just fine after work on the Friday and even had room for our van that we brought. We decided to bring the van for errands on Sunday and just keep the camper parked.
We got our things set up and eventually put up our two pop up tents in case of rain. Dinner was made as well as a campfire. The growlers of beer were opened and we filled our glasses. We had beer from the 238 Brewery in Green Bluff Washington. It is one of our favorite breweries.
The night slipped away peacefully, even with a full campground it was quite.
The next morning after breakfast and coffee I took the kayak out for a paddle on the Pend Oreille River. I ended up doing a nice 2 mile paddle. Nothing fast paced, I just enjoyed the scenery and solitude. The morning was beautiful to say the least.
After the time out on the water I got a message from a fellow geocacher asking if I wanted to try and find a cache that was nearby. I had not found it yet either and it was only 2 tenths of a mile from our camp spot. So I said yes. My son Cody and I met our friend near the trail towards the cache location. It would only be a short walk away but a fairly dangerous one. If the weather was rainy or icy I am not sure if I would have tried to get it. It was a nice warm sunny day though so footing was not bad, you just had to take your time. We made it to ground zero and found the geocache. We looked at the trinkets inside and signed the log book. We then took a few minutes to look at the river and chat.
Cody and I returned to camp just in time to visit with my mother and her husband. They live not too far away from the campground and they stopped by to visit. It was a nice visit with them, great to see both of them. The rest of the day was consumed with walking the dogs and sitting in our chairs relaxing. Yes, it was taxing for sure. Hectic I tell you.
Saturday night came and went by. Sunday morning after breakfast we hoped in the van and drove into Newport. It is only a few miles to town so it was a quick drive. I dropped off some geocache supplies to a county worker. I have been working with the county on a geocache and tourism project. We also walked around town to set up whats called a multi cache. It will be one of the geocaches for the event I have been working on in July. Afterwards we did a hike on some fantastic trails and yes, we found a couple geocaches too. Of course we did.
After the hike it was back to camp. No other plans today. Cody and I did take the kayak out on the water for a bit. It was fun to be out with him on the water. When we got back we played a couple toss games.
The evening arrived and soon it was bed time. Remember I mentioned we put up the pop up tents? We were glad we did as it poured rain and lightning and thunder went off like the Fourth of July. It really stormed that night. Monday morning when we went outside there was a break in the storms. We ate breakfast then started to pack up camp. We got everything put away before it rained again, so that was nice. We decided to make a stop at the Albeni Falls Dam and look around. They do tours of the dam but it doesn’t start until next month. We enjoyed the views anyway.
Yes, it was a great weekend away and enjoying our surroundings. Do not forget to remember and honor those military men and women on this weekend who lost their lives protecting us. Take time to thank them in your thoughts. We do thank them.
albeni cove 5/22 – 5/25 2015
I had a planned meeting with a worker from Pend Oreille County for Saturday the 16th in Newport Washington. My wife Joanne suggested we take the camper out and camp nearby for the weekend. She knew I would be gone all day Saturday and she was fine with staying at the campsite with Cody and all our dogs. It would also be a good time to test run our newest dachshund, Max. He has not been out camping yet and we needed to make sure he would do fine. So we decided that we would camp at Freeman Lake. Freeman Lake is just across the Idaho state line and just a few minutes out of Newport Washington. Freeman Lake has a few spots that you can disperse camp. There is no fee to camp there as a bonus. We arrived around 6:30 Friday evening and got camp set up. Soon we had our campfire going and I had my beverage of choice in hand.
Saturday morning after coffee and a quick breakfast that Joanne made, I drove into Newport to meet the county representative. We took the van along on this trip so I could go to the meeting and keep the camper at camp. My meeting today would be to work on a Geocache challenge in the county that will be in July. I have been working for several months with Pend Oreille County in seeing what Geocaching can do for tourism. We have a plan set and today we would be driving all over the county to place geocaches for the July event. There will be 25 caches that cachers will have to find throughout the county. They will fill in a passport showing that they were there and when they finish the passport, it gets turned in for a custom geocoin. So we put on a lot of miles and 11 hours and got half of the 25 caches completed. We will have the rest complete in the next week. I am really looking forward to the event. I had traveled to some new places that day in the county. Saw lots of amazing views on the trip. I took only a couple pictures.
I arrived back at camp at dinner time. Joanne and Cody said they had a nice relaxing day while I was away. We had our dinner and sat around the fire for the rest of the night. It was a good end to the day.
Sunday morning we slowly packed up after breakfast. We had plans to drop the camper off at a secure place in Newport and we would take a drive into the mountains with the van. Our drive was to head out some forest roads in search of 3 geocaches. 2 of the geocaches have not been found in almost 5 years. We were anxious to see if they were still there. While the roads we drove would be better for a higher clearance vehicle the van made it through…with lots of new scratches. It will buff out, right? The drive had many great views and we did indeed find all 3 caches. Yes, the two that have not been found in almost 5 years were there and in perfect shape. We even had a view of Freeman Lake while up in the mountains. Wow, the views were great.
After the third cache was found we made our way down the mountain and returned to get the camper. It was time to head home and get ready for the next work week. We will be back out again after work on Friday for the three day weekend. Our next outing is to Ableni Cove just a few short miles from where we stayed this weekend. So the camper worked great for our business and pleasure weekend. We knew it would, it is always ready for us to use and have fun with.
business and pleasure 5/15 – 5/17 2015
It was finally time for the Wine Tour Gathering in Prosser Washington. We had been looking forward to this event for a long time. After work on Wednesday Joanne and I left home and started our drive towards Prosser. Our son, Cody and the dogs would be watched by our older son Jeff. Then for two of the nights my Dad would watch Cody. We thank them both for that. On Wednesday night we made it to Scooteney Park. The location of the park and campground is west of Connell Washington. We arrived just before sundown and had no problem finding a spot for the night. We had a spot right next to the lake and the view was amazing. There are no hookups at this campground but there are flush bathrooms, fresh water and a dump station available. Cost for a nights stay was $15.00, a great deal for the location.
We sat in our chairs outside for a bit looking at the views then went to bed. The night was very peaceful and we awoke refreshed. In the morning while standing outside we could smell the wonderful smells of the lilac bush right next to the camper. In fact many things were in bloom at the time. We went for a short walk through the park on a mission to find a geocache. There was one not far away and it made for a nice morning walk. We found the cache and returned to the camper. We got the few things put away and left to make our way to Prosser.
Making our way to Prosser we stopped in Connell to find a couple geocaches. Wow, what we found was really neat. We love finding treasures in the little towns that normally we would not stop at. Thanks to geocaching, we do.
We then drove to and made a stop in Pasco to get a few groceries. When we returned to the camper to put them away we were asked several questions by a woman at our camper intrigued about our setup. We don’t mind talking about it and spent several minutes going over things. After the short visit we drove to Prosser. We first went up the hill from town to find a couple more geocaches, of course.
We then went to the Wine Country RV Resort where we would spend the next few days and checked in. We pulled into our site and some friends of ours that were there for the gathering were in their site. We dropped off a couple things at the site and we all went to the Horse Heaven Saloon to have lunch and try a beer or two from the brewery. The food was great but we were disappointed that half the beers made at the brewery were not available. Something I will keep in mind for future trips to Prosser.
Later on Thursday more friends arrived. About 10 of us went to the resort office and did a wine tasting that was going on. Yes, a wine tasting at the resort office…how cool is that? After the tasting we walked down to the local Mexican restaurant for dinner. Lots of laughs and good food were had.
A little rain passed through the resort and a beautiful double rainbow appeared. The picture I got does not do justice for what it looked like. We returned to the resort and visited for a little while before calling it a night. There would be lots of wine tasting to do tomorrow and we needed our sleep.
On Friday a few of us drove to Zillah Washington just a short 25 miles away to do some wine tasting. There are a bunch of wineries to try out there. We stopped at some we did not like and several we did like. It was fun to travel around with fellow campers.
We returned to the resort and visited for a little bit. Joanne and I decided to walk to the wineries next to the resort to find something for dinner. We ended up at Wine O’ Clock. Wow, what a neat place. The food was amazing and the seating area was very cool. It was like a home kitchen and you sit and eat right next to it. We really enjoyed our meal and were happy that we decided to stop there.
After dinner we walked back to the resort and visited with fellow friends for a little while before calling it a night. Yes, there would be another full day of wine tasting on Saturday.
On Saturday most of us did our wine tasting in the Prosser area. Saturday turned out to be a very busy day with the Spring Barrel festivities. Lots of crowds and some interesting people watching. After a full day of wine tasting it was time to return to the resort for the potluck dinner. As always, a ton of great food to share among friends.
After dinner I handed out a 10 question test on wine tasting. The winner with the most correct won a cheese cutting kit. We all had a bunch of laughs at our uh…attempts at getting the right answers.
After the fun of the test and the prize handed out I thanked everyone for attending the gathering. I talked about the upcoming events like the National Rally in Colorado Springs and a couple other events later this year. I also hinted on a location for a rally in July 2016 that it would be in Northern Oregon. Details for that will be later this year. After that we cleaned up and then visited for a while back at the campers.
On Sunday morning we had our farewell breakfast. It has become a tradition for the rallies and gatherings we host to have pancakes, sausage and scrambled eggs for breakfast. Joanne and I started a couple hours earlier so it would be ready by 9 am.
After breakfast we cleaned up the meeting room and then packed up our things in the camper. It was time to say goodbye to our friends and leave the resort. We had a great time these last few days. We met some new friends and enjoyed seeing other friends again. When we checked out at the office we set dates for a return wine tasting trip in 2016. The dates will be May 5-8 2016.
We left the resort heading east towards the Tri Cities. We decided to stop and do a few geocaches and do one more wine tasting. We stopped and had some great wine to taste and had a little lunch before making the drive back to home.
We drove straight through to home, only a 3 hour drive for us. What a fun last few days. It would be a get back home and return to work deal now. We look forward to the next time we meet our friends again. Thank you to those who could attend the wine tour and thank you to Wine Country RV Resort for letting us have our group stay there.
wine tour gathering 4/22 – 4/26 2015
Yes indeed, all good things must come to an end. Nothing lasts forever so they say. We had so many great memories and traveled many a miles with it. It gave us laughs standing around it and most importantly, it gave us great food to enjoy. Yes, it was time… time to replace our barbecue. Many have seen our dear friend that is attached to a swing out bracket and mounted to the rear of our truck. Heck, some have had food cooked off of that grill. After many a meal it was breaking down. We can not really blame it, it hung out on its bracket all year long out in every element known to man. Eventually, I think everyone would break down. So today was the day to move it aside and bring in its replacement.
After removing the mounting bracket from the old barbecue I had to measure the new one so the bracket could be swapped over. I had to get some spacers from the hardware store and a couple gas fittings but other than that, no problem at all. For those that do not know, our barbecue is piped into our camper via a quick connect. So I take off the regulator that comes with the barbecue and then I pipe it in. It is all pretty easy really.
After getting the propane hose connected and testing it for leaks, I drilled bolt holes in the new barbecue for the mounting bracket. I placed four bolts with spacers and snug it all down. Simple and quick. Well, it would have been quick if my cordless batteries were charged. After they charged up it was then, no problem.
I had Chef Joanne come out and try out the barbecue. It got her approval, good thing since she cooks for us.
The new barbecue swings out and back into its storage spot just like the old one. It really is convenient for us.
So yes, some things must come to an end. Could I have patched up the old one and made it last a bit longer? Maybe. Parts for that barbecue were hard to find since it is not made anymore. We also wanted to get a two burner and the old one had only one burner. We are pretty happy with it and we look forward to the next meal cooked on it.
all good things must come to an end 4/11 2015