Find us on Google+ Rick and JoAnne's RV Travels: July 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

Winchester Lake State Park, Farragut State Park, and Cherries


On Wednesday July 17 we left Ponderosa State Park and headed to Winchester Lake State Park. This is a small park on a very pretty lake – pretty much in the middle of nowhere. What do people do here? Mostly fish. In fact, they have a couple of pictures in the visitor center of a huge Tiger Muskie that were caught in the lake which brought back memories of Muskie fishing in Wisconsin every summer as a kid. Oh yes… Winchester. The town has a population of 340 and was, in fact, named after the Winchester rifle. Not much else to say. More photos here.

On Saturday morning we drove about 170 miles to Farragut State Park to see our friends Joyce and Jerry who we first met while camp hosting at Ridgway State Park. Farragut is on the beautiful Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced: pond-o-ray) about 20 miles north of Coeur d'Alene, ID.

Jerry and Joyce were spending the summer as volunteer camp hosts at Farragut and invited us up to visit them. Glacier formed Lake Pend Oreille is the largest lake in Idaho and at close to 1200 feet deep making it one of the deepest lakes in the US.

Before it became a park this was the site of the Farragut Naval Training Station – the second largest during WWII with over 40,000 inhabitants. Yes, really a Naval Training Station in the middle of Idaho! The Brig Museum in the park that recounts the history of the training station, which we found fascinating. Today, a small part of the original station is still active and conducts US Navy acoustic underwater submarine research. The rest of the training station land is now a large state park with over 200 campsites, boat launches, swim beaches, museum, and visitor center.

As much as we liked the lake and the park – the real fun was hanging out with Jerry and Joyce and their pal Prince. The park was 100% full. But we were able to “share” their campsite. Yes, as you can see from the picture, it was a tight fit!

They became our personal tour guides around the area and we had a great time visiting Coeur d’Alene and the fun little town of Sandpoint. Did I mention Jerry and Joyce love to cook - no, make that bake. Bake like in chocolate cake, pumpkin pie and Cinnamon rolls. More photos here.

On Monday we drove along more of Idaho’s scenic byways into Montana and the Diamond S campground in Ronan, MT. We stayed here last year on our way to Glacier. This is a very small, well-run commercial campground with great views of the Mission Mountains and easy access to Flathead Lake. It is a perfect place for us to catch up on laundry, stock up supplies in Polson, visit Roma’s our favorite cooking store in Big Fork, and of course eat lots of Flathead cherries. More photos here.

As we arrived in Glacier on July 25 to begin our volunteer camp hosting we were greeted be a beautiful view of Lake McDonald. It feels good to be back in this beautiful park.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Idaho Scenic Byways and Ponderosa State Park


JoAnne mentioned to me this morning that it had been 10 days since we left home. “Doesn’t it seem like longer?” she asked. Indeed it does. Perhaps since we were not home very long this feels more like a continuation of our trip this spring. Whatever the reason we are settled in now to our “on the road routine” which is to say…no real routine at all. I think that not having a set routine is one of the things we like best about RV travel. JoAnne likes to say we are “fluid”.

After leaving City of Rocks National Reserve we headed north for a one-night stop on Forrest Service land just outside of Ketchum and Sun Valley. The next morning we took the Sawtooth Scenic Byway to Stanley where we picked up the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway to Lowman where we picked up the Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway to Banks where we took the Payette River Scenic Byway to McCall and Ponderosa State Park. To say we traveled two days through some of the most beautiful county in the U.S. is an understatement. Yes, we had been to Ketchum and Stanley last October and McCall a couple of years ago. Yet, we never grow tired of this amazing area. The Sawtooth Mountains are spectacular; the Salmon River is one of the prettiest anywhere - add the expansive valleys, mountain streams and funky towns and it doesn’t get any better.

The past three days we have been hanging out at Ponderosa State Park. It is on the shore of Payette Lake and about a mile outside of McCall. This is a “big deal” resort destination in Idaho. There is no end to the lake sports you can take part in – swimming, fishing, kayaking, boating, wake-boarding, skiing, wave running, and sailing. There is also great hiking, biking and scenic drives. In McCall there are plenty of good restaurants and some fun shopping – we managed to do some damage at the Bella Kitchen store.

What have we been doing? Relaxing of course! I have caught up on some work and JoAnne has been working on a project to organize into a book all the patches we collect from each place we visit. We are also trying out some new recipes. OK we did get in a nice hike but mostly we have just been enjoying the beautiful weather and spectacular scenery. Now if only the crows would stop cawing… Oh, and speaking of noise, what are those little blue things? According to JoAnne the best $90 investment ever - ear plugs. 

Tomorrow we head up the road only about 130 miles to Winchester Lake State Park for a couple of days and then on the Farragut State Park for a visit with some friends we met while both couples were camp hosting at Ridgway State Park. We need to be in Glacier by July 25.

More Pictures Here.

Friday, July 12, 2013

We are on our way...


We left our home in Colorado on a bright and sunny Sunday morning, July 7th with both of us looking forward to another adventurous journey on our way to camp host in Glacier National Park again.  

Our first stop was Medicine Bow – Routt National Forest. Now having lived in Colorado for many, many years it was hard for us to fathom we had never seen this beauty in our neighboring state of Wyoming before. There was still snow, the weather was brisk, the mountains were stunningly beautiful…see why we get excited for adventure? Who knew our first stop would bring us such a treat!

Our next stop was Fossil Butte National Monument in Wyoming. Now this place we knew about since we had visited there in 1997…not much had changed except for some new exhibits and a most informative video presentation. Still, the research they do and the discoveries they make are invaluable, referring to the site as an “aquarium in stone”. More pictures here.

Typically we like to mosey along with a self-imposed rule of 200 miles or 4 hours of driving – whichever comes first – however today we broke our own rule! There was such enthusiasm in our souls!

We had a long day of driving and sightseeing and were happy to arrive at Bear Lake State Park in Utah. The lake is so large it actually goes into Idaho. Again, this was a return visit however this time we decided to stay a few days and check out the surrounding areas. Just a little FYI here – we had a full-hook up site #1 in the Birch Campground. We loved, loved it as we were separated from the masses, and the bugs along the water. The water by the way is a gorgeous turquoise blue color.  More pictures here.

The next day we drove around the area and ventured into the city of Paris, ID. The settlers thought they had found a home in Utah, however in 1872 after a boundary survey, they were told they were actually in Idaho. Can you imagine? We had lunch at the charming and oh so yummy Paris Café. The café is right across the street from the imposing Paris Tabernacle. Wow! What an astonishing, historic place! Erected in 1888 it is a beautiful structure. You can take a free tour at any time of the day they are open.

Leaving on Wednesday, we set our sights on City of Rocks National Reserve in Idaho. This charming park in located in the tiny, historic town of Almo, ID. Now I say a “charming park”, but it really is a world class rock climbing destination for enthusiasts from all over the world rivaling Yosemite National Park as a western favorite for technical rock climbing.

In addition to the rock climbing, and its’ geological wonders, it was a point for emigrants on the California Trail to stop - rest and write their names in axle grease on some of the rock faces. Whenever I see names carved or written on rocks from the 1840’s to 1880’s, I am always in admiration of the tenacity and strength of our pioneers. More pictures here.

So now we are packing up camp and heading towards our final destination at Glacier National Park. Who knows what tomorrow will bring along the way, but I can say…we are excited to find out.