Why is it SNOWING?????
You can click on "photos" to get directly to the first photo page, which has a connector to the second page, or you can click on specific links in the text to get to the photos associated with that part of the travelogue.
We left the Wal-Mart parking lot on Wednesday and started our journey to Yellowstone National Park where we would meet the Holders and Hawk. We headed north through Denver, AFTER rush hour of course, and picked up I-80 in Cheyenne, WY to head west. Not being a poet I don't know if I can find the words to express my impressions of our drive into Wyoming other than to say I was overwhelmed by the vastness and openness and beauty. Sometimes flat, sometimes rolling hills. We drove to Rawlins and spent the night in a Good Neighbor Park. John needed to get his rig serviced and found out the best place to get it done would be in Rock Springs. They left at 7 A.M. the next morning as Diane and I slept in. It's amazing how quiet these rigs are. John and Libby were parked right next to us and we never heard them fire up that diesel engine. We agreed that we would hook up again in Rock Springs.
After we got up and had breakfast, we hit the road for Rock Springs. We stopped at the Flying J there to eat lunch and use their phone jack to do email. John called us and said that they weren't able to get in for service on Thursday, so they spent the night at the facility. Diane and I parked our motorhome at the Wal-Mart in Rock Springs and spent the night. There were seven other rigs in the parking lot, plus a couple of trucks.
The Veaches got their rig serviced on Thursday and we continued our journey to the west on I-80. The vastness of the countryside was amazing. You look straight out and see the interstate all the way to the horizon and then when you get there and crest a hill, you see it again all the way to the horizon. I don't ever remember being able to see an entire train from engine to last car in one view. But we saw two trains as we traveled west and you could see the entire train.
Then when I thought I'd seen everything, we started to drive parallel to the mountains off to the south. They were all snow capped and were visible for many miles. Absolutely beautiful. We picked up US 30 and started north to pick up US 89. At one point, we were driving through a pass. Just imagine a road surrounded by hills on both sides and up close. We stopped at a Flying J in Cokeville to get gas, eat lunch, and do email and then finished the drive to Thayne, WY to the Star Valley RV Resort.
What a place. It was very big and had large RV sites. It also had an 18-hole executive golf course. After checking in and getting set up, Diane and Libby gave us guys "permission" to go play, so John and I went over and played the course. It was like playing in a bowl surrounded by mountains, although the course was pretty flat. We decided to walk it rather than ride carts. We made plans to play again with the ladies and ride in carts. It was a bit different, however, to play golf at 6193 feet. I could definitely feel it in my chest and breathing.
On the way to Thayne we went through Afton, which is home to Rulon Gardner, the Olympic Wrestling Champion who won that dramatic match against the undefeated Russian guy in the heavyweight class. What was cool about Afton was the antler arch in the middle of town. They got the antlers from the meadows where the elk shed them and finally had enough to build the arch.
We went to eat a couple of times with John and Libby to a place called "Field of Greens". Apparently, the owner is a golf fanatic and he built a mini-golf course unlike any that any of us had ever seen before. They are usually made of wooden borders with mats that you putt on through the obstacles. The Field of Greens was made up of manicured greens with REAL GRASS. The grass was higher along the edges (as in rough) to keep the ball in play. It was very beautiful and a unique idea. Unfortunately, we never did get a chance to play the course.
The weather started to get pretty cool as a front was moving through. Diane and I wanted to play the golf course, but John and Libby just wanted to go hit some balls at the range. Diane and I were the only ones on the course. After a few holes, we saw another cart behind us and it looked like John and Libby, and it was. So we waited for them to catch up and found out that the driving range was closed, but the guy said he'd let them play for the cost of the cart. So we played the remaining holes together. We weren't quite done when we noticed snow flurries coming down. So we all quit after nine holes and went home.
Sunday was something else. It was SNOWING!!!!! At the end of MAY!!!!! All I could say was "WHY IS IT SNOWING? I made a vow that apparently I was not ever going to be able to keep and that was that the motorhome would never see snow. Well, it got snowed on in Atlanta last December, TWICE, and now it got snowed on again. As you will see, this wasn't the last time the motorhome would see snow. We only spent three nights in Thayne, but it would be easy to spend more time there. We would soon be in Yellowstone, which would be a first for Diane and me.
We woke up Monday morning to cold weather and John feeling ill. They decided to stay in Thayne an extra day, and we decided to stay, too. By Tuesday morning, John was feeling much better and we continued on the final leg of our journey to Yellowstone. Although we didn't plan to stay in the Grand Tetons, our journey took us through the park. We did stop at the visitor center for a while to look around and take in the scenery of the Tetons. We arrived in Yellowstone National Park early Tuesday afternoon which was also our 24th wedding anniversary. What a great place to celebrate.
We got side by side sites and saw that Hawk and his dog Huckie had already arrived and were several sites down from us. The Holders had been there for several days and were in another section close to where our sites were located. It was great to see everyone again. Hawk saw us pull in and came out to greet us. He was on his way to join a caravan for an adventure to Alaska. Mind you that he is 80 years old.
Here are some facts about Yellowstone:
* it is the world's first national park, established on March 1, 1872
* it is the second largest national park in the contiguous U.S. at approximately 3,472 square miles in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho
* there are more than 300 geysers in the park
* it is one of the world's largest active volcanoes
* it is home to the largest concentration of elk in the world
* Yellowstone Lake is the largest lake above 7,000 feet in North America with about 110 miles (170 km) of shoreline
* it is home to grizzly bears, bison, elk, pronghorn sheep, black bear, moose, bighorn sheep, wolves
The most interesting fact to me was that we were inside the crater, or caldera, of an active volcano. The caldera is 30 x 45 miles in size and can be seen from space. It has been determined that the volcano erupts approximately every 600,000 years, or so. It last erupted 630,000 years ago. There was no danger of it erupting while we were there, however, someday it will erupt again and it certainly will be a massive eruption given its size.
Although signs of the 1988 fire that destroyed thousands of acres were still evident, it was amazing to see how the forest was recovering. I learned that it is fire that causes the pine cones to explode and spread the seeds contained within them. One could see many new trees of varying heights as the forest continues its recovery.
On Wednesday, we planned to drive around the loops in the park to get the lay of the land and we asked Hawk if he would like to join us. So off we went for our first look at Yellowstone. We drove around the lower loop and stopped at the Old Faithful Inn. What a great place. It was old and big and had a lot of charm with its huge logs and open space in the lobby area. We checked out the dining room and planned to go back for dinner one evening. It looked like Old Faithful was about to blow, so we walked out to watch. There were lots of people out there waiting patiently for Old Faithful to show up. Finally, just about right on time, it erupted. I was like a kid. It was so great to actually be there watching Old Faithful after seeing photos and TV shows about it. Of course, we did see lots of bison and elk on our drive and it was interesting to watch these animals in the wild. I always wanted to see bison up close and personal. There was one walking right along the road as we started our day's drive.
On Thursday we planned to drive the upper loop to Mammoth Hot Springs and again invited Hawk to join us. No sooner we were on the road heading north from the Fishing Bridge campground that we were in when we saw lots of cars stopped and parked along the road. We learned that these are called "animal jams" or "bear jams" or "whatever jams" depending on which animal everyone is stopping to see. In this case, it was a bear jam. A big grizzly bear was feeding on a bison carcass in the river and everyone wanted a look. We stopped and parked and headed to where the crowd was gathered and there he was, a big grizzly down below in the river standing on top of the bison carcass. We watched for a while and then continued on our drive around the upper loop for lunch at Mammoth Hot Springs. We didn't walk the trails on this drive, but Diane and I planned to go back and do it another day. Along the way we saw lots of bison and elk. That evening, Hawk invited us and the Veaches to dinner at the Lake Hotel overlooking Yellowstone Lake. We had a great time chatting about what we have all been doing in the months since we were last together. We hadn't seen Hawk since we visited him for lunch in Florida over the winter.
Friday arrived and it was time to say goodbye to Hawk and Huckie and wish him well on his journey to Alaska. He was excited about his upcoming adventure and we were all excited for him. He told us that he would send out periodic notes to keep us informed about how his journey was going and we all told him we'd look forward to receiving them.
Diane and I started out for another drive into the park and, once again, there was a bear jam just as we started north. This time the grizzly was on the side of the road opposite the river and looking for a place to cross the road. I had my video camera with me because it had a much better zoom lense than on the digital camera. I stopped the car and looked around and could see the grizzly walking in a field across the road, so I took some video and then we got in the car and started moving up the road in the direction the grizzly was moving. At one point, he was in the woods looking for a place to cross the road. Cars were stopped and I could see the bear in the woods. He was close. So I grabbed the video camera and zoomed in on him. WOW, it was like he was right next to me. I got some great video of this grizzly. All of a sudden, he bolted across the road in front of one of the stopped cars about four up in front of us. That must have been exciting for the people in that car. We parked our car and got out to go view the grizzly in the river, however, this time the rangers had moved the barriers all the way out to the road. Apparently this grizzly had charged some people the day before and came within ten feet of some of them. So the rangers moved the barriers back to the road.
Now you would think that people would have enough sense to be careful when there is a grizzly bear feeding on a bison carcass. However, this is not always the case. It was early in the day and there were no rangers in the area yet. We noticed some folks, mostly teenagers, heading down to the river bank. They moved to a point that was almost right in front of the bear and calling to it. How stupid. If that bear had felt at all threatened about its meal, it would have been on those people in two or three jumps from the carcass. Unfortunately, I didn't have the digital camera, only the video, so I only got video of these nuts down at the river bank taunting the grizzly. My commentary on the video went something like this:
* point the video at the bear and comment: "See bear".
* point the video at these nuts standing close to a feeding bear and comment: "FOOD for bear". ;-)
At about that time, the rangers were arriving because they had gotten word that the bear was feeding again. They arrived with sirens blaring and one ranger yelling over his PA system that it was a dangerous bear and everyone needed to stay back at the road. They really jumped on the folks who were down at the river bank. It was only pure luck that no one got hurt.
We got lucky again on Saturday as we started out for another day's drive around the park. There was a bear jam at the area of the bison carcass, so we parked and got out to investigate. There was a grizzly on the other side of the river that was moving up and down the bank as though looking for a place to cross. We figured it was not the same grizzly, but another one that knew the carcass wasn't in his territory. He finally moved off and out of site, so we got in the car and continued north. We stopped at Hayden Valley to take some photos and video and noticed movement across the river and way up on the hill. I used the zoom on the video camera and could see that it was a grizzly making his way across the open area and then up into the woods. We were pretty sure it was the same grizzly we had just seen down the river a bit.
On the way to Mammoth Hot Springs, there was another animal jam, this time for some sheep on the mountain side. They weren't the big male bighorns, but some females with their young. It's amazing they can keep their footing on such steep and rocky slopes.
I'm sure you all know that I'll talk to anyone. To my ex-colleagues, I think you'll appreciate the following two anecdotes that continues to reinforce our decision to become nomads. We meet so many interesting folks as we travel around the country.
We had our mail sent to the Lake Village post office, which is where the Lake Hotel is located. It overlooks Yellowstone Lake, which is the largest fresh water lake above 7000 feet. Thanks to a tip from Liane, I had access to a phone jack to do email and web stuff. We drove over every day to do our email (about three miles). Well, one day there were four young folks using the other phone line trying to find a place to stay because everything in Yellowstone was booked. While one of the guys was using the other phone, I asked one of the gals where they were from. They said they were from Sweden and were college students taking a trip together, two guys, two gals. Ah to be young again. ;-) Obviously, that immediately caused me to tell them that Diane and I spent five weeks in Stockholm and we loved it. One of them had lived in Stockholm and was familiar with where the Sheraton was located. She also knew all about Gamla Stan, "The Old Town", where we spent many evenings dining after work. I told her we got there the week of the Water Festival, which is a week-long party that went on all day and into every night. She said she'd been there and it was a great party week. We had a nice conversation and then the guy on the phone got them reservations at a hotel near Teton Village and they left.
On another evening, Diane and I were doing email and a lady came up and asked if we knew where the church services were (people think we worked there because we were behind the desk). I asked which service and she said Catholic. Diane had scouted it out and told her where the services were going to be held and the times. I asked her if she was Japanese, and she said she was. Obviously, this meant a conversation about Japan. She and her husband were from Tokyo (Shibuya), so I told her how much I loved Japan and looked forward to each of the five trips we made there. She asked where we stayed and I told her the Hotel New Otani, to which she acknowledged how people in Japan dream of staying there. They save their money just to be able to spend a weekend at the Hotel New Otani. I was lucky enough to spend about 23 weeks in that hotel. It definitely became home when we were in Tokyo. My friend Peter and I spent eight straight weeks in that hotel in 1993, which is when we both fell in love with Japan. Diane and I had a great conversation with the Japanese lady about Roppongi and some other place we visited in Japan and then they left.
We love driving around the country in our home on wheels. But we also have loved, and remember fondly, our trips and stays in some great hotels around the world. We were able to combine both here in Yellowstone. Diane and I spent a couple of evenings at the Lake Hotel to sit in the chairs in the lounge area of the hotel that looked out over the lake. It was so relaxing to just watch the water and the snowcapped peaks in the distance. Diane nursed some cokes and I treated myself to a Grand Marnier to sip on (too expensive to get too many of them). :-) What a life!
One of the great things about the national parks are the ranger programs. We went with John & Libby to a couple of them and they were very interesting and well done. The first program was at 9:30 P.M. on a nice, but chilly, evening. The ranger discussed the fact that we were in the caldera of a huge volcano. The ranger for the second program discussed animal youngsters in Yellowstone. Both were very interesting. Diane and I both wished we had a grandkid, or two, along with us, but that didn't work out this year.
We hadn't driven out to the east to see the Lamar Valley, so Diane and I did that the day before we left the park. What an incredible piece of property. I couldn't begin to adequately describe the beauty of the valley. All I could think was thank goodness it was inside the boundary of a national park because surely it would have been developed into a city.
We got to the end of our week in the park and it was time to say goodbye to John and Libby and head out. We would part company for a few weeks as they were going west and then north to Spokane. They had plans to fly to Tampa to visit their grandtwins and Spokane offered the best flight. Diane and I had plans to go out the east entrance of the park and spend several days in Cody, WY. The weather was kind of iffy, so we toyed with staying in the park another day. However, we decided to head out while the weather was not as bad as it was going to get. So we said our goodbyes and headed out. We climbed up out of Yellowstone and went through Sylvan Pass, which was pretty steep, but a good road. We arrived in Cody and settled into the Absaroka Campground. This park was suggested to us by Norm and Linda Payne and it turned out to be a very nice park just outside of town, but close enough to do everything we wanted to do in Cody.
Cody was founded, of course, by William Frederick Cody, aka Buffalo Bill Cody, in 1895. He was married to Louisa for 51 years and they had four children, two of whom, a son Kit and daughter Orra, died in childhood. In 1902 he built the Irma Hotel, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service. Buffalo Bill was probably the best known American in the world during his lifetime as a result of his "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show" that he created in 1883 and toured the world for 30 years. Every evening the Irma Hotel hosts a gunfight out in the street. We went to watch it one evening and it was fun to see all the kids enjoying the show. Buffalo Bill lived to 71 years of age and died in 1917 in Denver.
After his death, several citizens in Cody wanted to build a monument to Buffalo Bill, so they created a memorial association. Out of their efforts came a museum that has grown into the Buffalo Bill Historical Center housing several museums and galleries. The Plains Indian Museum housed collections of Plains Indian art and artifacts. The Plains Indians included the Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Crow, Comanche, Blackfeet, Sioux, Shoshone, and Pawnee.
The Buffalo Bill Museum contained material related to the life of Buffalo Bill Cody.
The Whitney Gallery of Western Art had a great collection of western art and sculpture. Diane and I both enjoyed the art in the gallery very much.
The Cody Firearms Museum contained more than 4,000 firearms from different eras. Not being very much interested in firearms, and having spent many hours at the Alcazar, a firearms museum in Toledo, Spain, we didn't spend much time in this museum. However, we were glad we didn't skip it because it had some trophy animals in one section that were incredible. The most incredible were the stuffed bears, grizzly and polar. They were HUGE.
Also in the center was the McCracken Research Library.
The weather was pretty cold, rainy, and nasty on Tuesday, so we thought that would be a good day to visit the center. Well, it was and it wasn't. It was because we were out of the nasty elements. It wasn't because the power kept going out, which rendered the rooms in the center very dark. We were all herded out to the lobby of the Center until the power came back on. So we only got to see a small part of the museum that day. We bought a two day pass and returned the next day to complete our visit. It did, however, SNOW on Wednesday, but we were still able to visit the center without any difficulty. I did turn to Diane and ask her WHY IS IT SNOWING IN JUNE?????
We decided to go see a movie one afternoon. We knew there was a four-screen theater in town and went to find it. Thinking it would be a big structure, we drove right past it as it turned out to be what looked like a small pre-fab building. We both wondered how they could get four screens in such a small building. Surprisingly, they did have four screens in the building and they were reasonably large considering the small building. Just another new experience of going to a movie theater in a small town.
Luckily, the weather broke and got warm again, which was great because we wanted to spend a few hours walking around the town, which we did one day. There were several other things we wanted to do in Cody, such as the rodeo and the Plains Indian Powwow that was scheduled over the weekend. We did the gunfight at the Irma Hotel on Friday evening, the rodeo on Friday night, and the powwow on Saturday morning and afternoon.
The powwow was pretty interesting. Neither of us had ever seen indian dancing in person. There were dancers from many tribes, male and female, and different ages. It was actually a competition with judges deciding the winners who received cash prizes. The costumes were magnificent. The junior dancers were cute.
I didn't expect much from the rodeo, but it was much better than I thought it would be. The facility was pretty large and the participants were very good as they rode bucking broncos and bulls, did calf roping, barrel racing, and other events. We enjoyed it.
We liked our stay in Cody very much. Our travels would now take us up into the northwest for a couple of planned events, the Life on Wheels Conference (LOW) in Moscow, ID and the Family Motorcoach Association Convention in Redmond, OR. However, prior to making our way to Moscow, we had to find a place to have our washer/dryer fixed. It decided to stop spinning back in February as we were making our way across the country. We have a combination unit, a Splendide 2000, which is an Italian made washer/dryer. It fits nicely in a closet and both washes and then drys. The machine shook violently during the spin cycle from the time we picked up the motorhome in May 2000. It shook so much that it "walked" in the closet until it got such that I had to move it back into the center of the closet. In September 2000 we were at the Newmar factory for warranty service and reported the problem to them. What they did was to brace the bottom of the machine so it wouldn't move, however, it continued to shake at the top during the spin cycle.
Finally, the unit stopped spinning. I dug out the warranty information and wouldn't you know that the ONE warranty card that I forgot to send in was the one for the washer/dryer. SIGH! So now we found ourselves in a 60-day warranty registration period. The normal warranty was only one year for parts. The warranty card extended that to two years parts and labor. That was unfortunate as we could have gotten the machine fixed during our seven-week stay in the Phoenix area. Oh well. It did give us a chance to compare life with, and without, a washer/dryer, and we are glad we opted for having it installed. The place we found to fix the machine was the Foretravel dealership in Liberty Lake, WA, a suburb of Spokane.
We decided to take two days to drive from Cody to Liberty Lake. Our first stop was in Bozeman, MT and we spent the night in the Wal-Mart parking lot. We met a couple, Dan and Eileen, who lived near Rochester, NY. They weren't full-timers, but were interested in the lifestyle. This was there first real long trip in their motorhome. We decided to all go out to eat. We may never see them again, but we had a nice evening of conversation.
Our next stop was in Missoula, MT and we finally found the Wal-Mart as the directions were not very clear. This ended up being an interesting stop. There were signs posted in the parking lot that said no overnight parking was allowed per a city ordinance. However, we asked inside the store and they said the signs were there because some ex-KOA campground owner complained and got the ordinance approved. The Wal-Mart management said it was not really enforced, so we decided to stick around and see what happened. As it turned out, there were eight rigs in the parking lot that night. A police car went through the lot earlier in the evening and didn't blink an eye at any of the rigs already in the lot. So we ended up OK. No citations were issued, but I guess we were criminals for the night. :-)
We did see a very interesting van in the lot. Several folks were looking at it and taking photos. The owner finally returned and he was dressed like a monk, and with no shoes. He was on his way to the annual gathering of hippy types who gather somewhere in the country every year on public land to protest their right to gather on such land without a permit. The guy didn't come across as much of a radical, but more like an educated guy who just likes to be a rebel. Takes all kinds.
We drove I-90 through Montana and Idaho into Washington. I have to say that the drive through the panhandle in Idaho was stunningly beautiful. We arrived in Liberty Lake and settled into a site at the Foretravel dealership for service on our washer/dryer the next day. They did a great job, although we found out it was not going to be covered by the warranty. When Newmar installed the unit, they forgot to remove two shipping brackets from inside the machine, and that is what caused the violent shaking during the spin cycle. However, Newmar was very good about it and agreed to reimburse me for the $722 it cost to fix the machine, which they did promptly.
One of our neighbors at the Foretravel dealership was a couple from western Washington traveling with their grandson. You need to understand that Foretravel motorhomes run up in the $300-500,000 range. These folks had a 1994 Grand Villa, which is a "highline" motorhome. They had come over to the dealership for service and ended up trading in their unit for a 1999 U320, and that still cost them more than $100,000. Talk about impulse buying. Come in for service and go home with a newer motorhome.
John and Libby were in Spokane at the Jellystone RV Park. They were flying out of Spokane for a weekend in Tampa for their grandtwins third birthday party. John called us to tell us that Dick and Kay Ackerman were on their way to Couer d'Alene to attend a wedding and found out via John's web site that John and Libby were in the area. They decided to stop for the night for a visit and John wanted to let us know. So Diane and I hopped in the car and drove over to the Jellystone park to visit with Dick and Kay. We all drove over to a Denny's for dinner (we all had "breakfast" at 8PM) and conversation.
Dick was a Vietnam veteran who fought in the Ia Drang battles in 1965 very early in the US involvement in that horrendous conflict. We saw Dick and Kay at the Y2K-2 Party in Phoenix in April and it was nice to see them again. They were in California at the set for the movie being made about Ia Drang. Mel Gibson plays Gen Moore and Sam Elliot and Greg Kinnear are also in the cast. The Ackermans had photos of their visit to the movie set. They got to schmooze with Mel and Sam. The photos were great with the actors in their battle uniforms. I asked if the movie stars were chatty and they said both were chatty in a crowd, but Mel was pretty quiet when it was just him, Dick and Kay. Sam, however, was chatty all the time. We found out that Kay was a longtime admirer of Sam Elliot and melted when he hugged her for the photo. He chatted with them a lot. Dick said he was treated like a VIP when they found out he was one of the 80 survivors, out of 450 men, at the LZXRAY battle and the LZALBANY ambush by the Vietcong a couple of days later.
Dick was a point man in a recon unit and always believed he was responsible for leading the men into the ambush with so many getting killed. It wasn't until he bumped into Gen Moore (I think he was a Col in 1965, and he was on a recent Vietnam series on the History Channel) who told Dick that he was not responsible for that ambush. It was the senior officers back in Saigon who didn't relay the information fast enough to avoid the ambush. They go to Washington, DC every Veterans Day for a reunion dinner of the survivors of Ia Drang. It is really an honor to know Dick and hear firsthand about his experiences in that war. One can watch the TV shows and get a feel for the war, but without having been there, it is not possible to really understand what these guys went through over there (in any war). You can't really know the sound and clearly can't sense the smell of war, as was indicated in the series on the History Channel. I can't wait to see the movie, which is scheduled for release in 2002.
We were able to spend the weekend at the Foretravel dealership and moved over to the Jellystone park on Monday to await John and Libby's return from Tampa. Someone at the park came over to tell us that he recognized our motorhome because he had seen the mural when we were in the Phoenix area.
John and Libby got home late Monday night, so we didn't see them until Tuesday morning. Since they were also going to the LOW Conference, we decided to travel together to the Lewis and Clark RV Resort in Kamiah, ID (pronounced Ka-me-i) for the week before the conference. The resort had been written up in magazines as a five-star resort which, as you will see, it is not. It was not a particularly pleasant driving day as we drove almost all day in the rain, and that included the LOOONG and STEEEEP grade down from north of Moscow to Lewiston. But the road along the Clearwater River to Kamiah was the most beautiful drive we had to date. Picture hills on both sides with a railroad track, a river, a road going through. It was mind boggling. We saw many logging trucks on our route and one of them raised us on the CB. Mostly it was John and the truck driver doing the chatting, but it was interesting to hear the guy's interest in our lifestyle. He was going through Kamiah and told us exactly where the park was located.
We decided very early in our planned five day stay as to why the Lewis and Clark RV Resort was not a five-star resort. At exactly 6:12 A.M., I snapped up in bed to the sound of horrific noise. We had sites in the back of the park and against a fence that bordered, of all things, a SAWMILL. Every morning they cranked up the saws and other equipment in the mill and it was not possible to sleep through the noise. We were told they don't run the mill on the weekend, but that turned out to be not true. I guess there is always someone who is conscientious, or wants overtime, and someone was in the mill at 7 A.M. on Saturday running some equipment around and making a racket. No one said this lifestyle wasn't without its problems. ;-)
Kamiah, with a population of 1200, was a nice, small town on the banks of the Clearwater River. It had some interesting buildings, including a Town Marshall's Office. Kamiah was the winter home of the Nez Perce Indians. They would go there to fish for steelhead, a staple in their diet, and to manufacture "Kamia ropes", which gave the town its name. It means the place of many rope litters. Lewis and Clark camped in the Kamiah valley for several weeks in the early spring of 1806 as they waited for the snow to melt before they could cross the Bitterroot Mountains and continue their journey back east.
Diane and I drove to the Wolf Education and Resource Center (WERC). We had seen the IMAX movie "Wolves" and I knew that some of it was filmed at the WERC. I didn't realize that it was located so close to where we were staying. It was a nice drive, albeit some of it on a dirt road along a ridge, through the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. The land on the plateau above Kamiah was lush farmland and beautiful to drive through.
We hoped to see some wolves at the WERC and we weren't disappointed. We saw several from the area set aside for viewing. The mission of the WERC is to study wolves in their natural habitat. The site encompasses twenty acres of rolling timberland with meadows and streams. It is home to the Sawtooth Pack: Wolves of the Nez Perce. The pack has ten members and they are all tracked to study their movements. If you ever get the chance to see the IMAX movie, I recommend it, especially if you like the wolf. It's a great movie.
We did one of our long loop drives the day we went to the WERC. On the way back, we noticed the Slim Slider factory in Orofino. The company is owned by Dave and Sharon Gladhart and they make sliding trays for the bays in a motorhome. We had seen the trays in a motorhome at the campout we were at the Lost Dutchman State Park in Phoenix. It was owned by Cec and Judy, friends of the Hofmeister's. Diane had been wanting slide trays, so we stopped to check them out. We took a brochure and told them we'd think about it.
The noise at the Lewis and Clark park was getting annoying. On a day-trip with John and Libby, we stopped in Orofino at the Pink House, which was a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) campground right along the river. It looked great and we thought we'd camp there someday. Well, we all decided that we would give up a night at the Lewis and Clark resort and move over to the BLM park so we could get a good night's sleep. We moved on Sunday with plans to head up to Moscow on Monday. I called Slim Slider to tell them we were interested in trays and could they come over to the BLM park on Monday morning to measure our bays. We told them we could return in August prior to the FMCA for installation. They agreed and Dave came over to measure our bays and take an order.
That done, we and the Veaches packed up and got ready to head up to Moscow for the LOW Conference. There we would hook up with Norm and Linda Payne, Jim and Patty Hammond, Steve and Amy Turner. We would also get to visit again with Ron and Barb Hofmeister.
Until next time, safe travels.
Copyright © 2001, Roaming America with Rich & Diane Emond - All Rights Reserved
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