Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Cities’ category

Hike Squirrel Cache, Bike to Ralph’s for a Milkshake

September 29, 2017

As we got ready to hike Squirrel Cache Trail, Ken and Ruth came over. We had spoken last night as they were cooking dinner because they have a new 19’ Bambi. They are from Spokane and wanted to get their new Airstream out. They knew all about the campground and the area. Previously tent campers, this is all new to them, but Ken is an avid reader of the Airstream Forum. As we stood there talking, another couple came up. They too have an Airstream, a 23’. Both couples were very nice and interesting to chat with.

The Squirrel Cache hike was an easy hike, even though we made a wrong turn somehow. I keep looking at trees with holes all through them for a baby owl to be sitting in the opening.

After lunch we rode the bikes into Bayview and Ralph’s for ice cream and WIFI. Riding the Lynx Trail over gravel, rocks and tree roots slowed things down quite a bit. It makes it interesting for a while, but we rode on the road coming back. Bayview is really a nice, little town in a beautiful setting with big mountains surrounding a beautiful lake. I ordered a double scoop chocolate cone, while Martha went for the Huckleberry milkshake. Both were outstanding. I’m going to miss Ralph’s. He is sponsoring a fishing tournament this weekend and had 78 entries.

Back at camp, Martha cooked salmon, potatoes and brussel sprouts over an open fire. She is very good at cooking this way.

Travel to Hayburn State Park on Chatcolet Lake

September 22, 2017

We drove through University of Idaho, where our friend, Karen Human, went to graduate school. It is a beautiful school in a beautiful area, and Moscow is a cute, little university town.

On the edge of town, we visited the Appaloosa Museum. These horses were likely brought by the Spanish, but their heritage goes back thousands of years, probably originating in China. The Nez Perce developed this breed along the Palouse River and throughout their region. Their traits are they have a great disposition and work well with children and all members of the family. They are strong, durable and very fast.

In the war of 1877, Cheifs Joseph, White Bird and Looking Glass and a small band of women, children and men managed to outrun the army for four months over 1500 miles, partly because of the Appaloosa horse. There was a map in the museum showing the routes of the Nez Perce or the Palouse tribe, the army chasing them, and also the routes of Lewis and Clarke.

Nez Perce National Historical Park

September 21, 2017

A few miles out of Lewiston is the headquarters for Nez Perce National Historical Park. The rest of the park is composed of 38 sites in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana. We would visit two more sites today, one the basalt area north of our campground, and one at Buffalo Eddy on the Snake River.

We watched a 33-minute movie about the Nez Perce, who call themselves the Nimiipuu. They were a huge tribe that inhabited the Columbia Plateau. A very spiritual group, they are one with the land and waters. In 1804 they were instrumental in saving and guiding Lewis and Clarke, giving them food and trading for Appaloosa horses. In an 1855 treaty, they were granted approximately half of their homelands as a reservation, but a later treaty reduced their lands to 10%, and they were forced to move in the spring when waters were high and dangerous. Thousands of white settlers had moved into their territory. Chief Joseph led 500, many of whom were women, children and elderly against 2000 cavalry. He had only 145 men burdened with many noncombatants, but through many skirmishes and four major battles, they managed to hold off the soldiers for four months, crossing the dangerous Snake River many times. In Big Hole Basin in Montana at 3:30 in the morning Colonel John Gibbon attacked the sleeping Indians with 183 men, killing women and children. The Nimiipuu counterattacked with guards from the surrounding hills. The soldiers lost 29 men with 40 wounded. The soldiers fought with rifles and pistols, while the Indians fought with bows and arrows. The army counted 89 Nez Perce dead, mostly women and children.

The remaining Indians escaped and managed to elude the army for another two months, but in the Battle of Bear Paw Mountains, Colonel Nelson Miles dealt the final blow. Those not killed surrendered. They were only 40 miles from the Canadian border. Chief Joseph famously said, “I will fight no more forever”.

The museum is very well done, with excellent exhibits, and the movie is also excellent. I hope I am not related to John Gibbon. Roger Dailey of the park service was very helpful and generous with his time telling us other sights to see and places to visit. He is from this area and was a fire jumper for many years. There is so much to see in Idaho!

We took the “Spiral Road”, as Roger suggested, back to camp for lunch. Lewiston is the lowest point in Idaho at 700 something feet, and is surrounded by mountains. After lunch we took Roger’s advice to visit another Nez Perce site at Buffalo Eddy on the Washington side of the Snake River. It is a gorgeous drive up the river toward Hell’s Canyon. The Snake River canyon is the deepest in the United States. Driving 25 miles into the canyon, the river becomes more wild, yet there are houses and cabins all along the Washington side.

Buffalo Eddy is a huge eddy on the powerful Snake River. Having fished for trout for three weeks, I know to look for backwater currents where fish find calmer waters to rest and eat from a constant easy flow of food. This eddy is huge, at least two football fields long and about 40 yards wide. Beautiful basalt rocks lie beside the pool, a perfect place from which to fish. Native Americans came here for 10,000 years to fish for salmon coming upriver all the way from the mouth of the Columbia River to spawn. I imagine there were thousands of salmon in this pool. These large hard, black, flat-sheared rocks were a perfect place for the Nimiipuu to hammer out figures on the rocks. It would be quite a job to chisel these out with stones on these hard surfaces, but that is what made them survive all this time. It was very cool to be in this incredible place.

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Returning to camp, we walked a path two miles up river to a basalt rock formation along the river. This is rock formed from a series of lava flows 17-6 million years ago. Surging up to form the Columbia River Plateau. The weight of the flow caused Central Washington to sink, forming the Columbia River Basin. It and also damming up the ancient rivers and forming two huge lakes, Idaho Lake and Columbia Lake. There were a series of catastrophic floods known as the Ice Age Floods. “the deluge caused American Falls Lake to breach its natural lava dam, which was rapidly eroded with only the 50-foot-high American Falls left in the end. The flood waters of Lake Bonneville, approximately twenty times the flow of the Columbia River…swept down the Snake River, leaving debris and sediment deposits across southern Idaho. For miles on either side of the Snake, flood waters stripped away soils and scoured the underlying basalt bedrock, in the process creating Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Crane Falls, and Swan Falls, while cutting and deepening gorges and canyons along the way”. (Elizabeth Orr, Geology of the Pacific Northwest)

We think of all the disasters going on today with fires, hurricanes and earthquakes. Then every now and then I read these things and try to imagine the rocky mountains being formed or that a whole part of the western continent just fell off into the sea. I love the Will Durant quote, “Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice”.

Lewiston

September 20, 2017

On a rainy morning, we went to the Hell’s Gate Visitor’s Center and watched an excellent movie about Lewis and Clarke’s crossing the Rockies in Idaho. Then we read the plaques and pictures throughout the center and looked at a big relief map showing their incredible journey through these huge mountains in the snow. They never would have made it without Sacagawea or the help of so many Native Americans along their whole journey. It would be fun to ride horses along their route. I don’t know how they made it in 11 days, but they almost died.

We went to the very nice Lewiston Library to post and pay bills. It is worth the trip just to see all their art and statues. We had sandwiches at the Stax Restaurant, which was quite good, then went down the block to the Nez Perce Museum. I was disappointed that only a small part was about the Nez Perce Indians, but realized this is Nez Perce County, so it was more about history of the county. The Nez Perce were instrumental in saving Lewis and Clarke’s expedition only to be persecuted by the Army years later, stripped of their lands and forced to cross the same treacherous mountains in spring high waters to a reservation in Montana.

On a rainy, cold afternoon, we took the afternoon off, read and watched a movie.

McCall to Lewiston

September 19, 2017

It is a beautiful drive with a variety of terrains along Rt. 95. At Riggins it follows the great Salmon River. Riggins is a cute little village with a bunch of river guiding companies. It was cold and rainy, so we opted not to stay in Riggins and float the Salmon. Maybe another time. The river takes one side of the mountain at White Bird to turn and join the Snake River, while the road continues north to Lewiston. Big rain clouds were in the distance. We had rain earlier, but all of this is so welcome. The whole northwest has been plagued by tremendous fires all summer, smoke covering the whole area. Makes you wonder – fires here, hurricanes in the east and a big earthquake in Mexico.

We pulled into beautiful Hell’s Gate Campground just outside Lewiston. We are on the Lewis and Clarke trail. The visitor’s center has all kinds of information and a movie about their crossing of the Rockies in Idaho and the terrible time they had in the Bitterroot Mountains.

We were setting up camp when Carol came over from the adjacent campsite. She and David are on their way to McCall, so we traded information north and south. Dave came back over later with a drink. We talked about travels and the troubles you have fixing things. You just have to learn how to work on all kinds of problems, because it happens to all of us. He was a Ford mechanic for years, so that really comes in handy. He told us about a bike trail that goes along the Snake River and through Lewiston. Clarkston is on the other side of the river. This is the area where the Clearwater joins the Snake River on its way to the Columbia. Lewis and Clarke followed the Snake into the Columbia River to winter at Fort Clatsop, near where I met my friends at the mouth of the Columbia. I have not followed the Columbia through the United States, but have seen its origin, fished it there and as it leaves British Columbia south of Castelgar, and have crossed that monster bridge at its mouth. With beautiful rivers flowing into it, like the Snake, the Clearwater and the Salmon, it is a heck of a river. It is nice to know about the hatchery in McCall, Idaho that hatches millions of Chinook Salmon, and that they can find their way to the ocean, returning five years later all the way back to McCall. Fish ladders allow them to make their way over four or five dams.

Boise

September 14, 2017

Martha and I spent two days exploring a bit of Boise. We walked and biked the great riverside trail along the Boise River. What other city has a river running through it where people fish for trout? We explored  downtown, shopping and had a nice lunch at Wild Root. In the evening we met Ron Lowry for drinks and dinner at the Ram. Ron is a VMI and MCV grad a class ahead of me, and is an avid fly fisherman. We enjoyed hearing his stories about fishing throughout Idaho. We are going to sign up for a trip he has taken every year for 15 years down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, a six-day trip through wilderness. I can’t wait until next July! Boise is a beautiful city with an interstate running through it, about the size of Richmond, Virginia.

We drove out to World Center for Birds of Prey. They were vital in the restoration of the Peregrine Falcon after DDT caused their demise. Now they are working on restoring the California Condor along with other projects. Even Martha enjoyed the great presentation, pictures and displays.

As we were packing up to leave, Justin, the manager at Mountain View RV Resort, came over to say goodbye. Not only is he a biker, but also a fly fisherman who grew up in Riggins and McCall. He gave me some good tips on places to fish as we headed north. He also told us to stop at Tackle Tom’s in Cascade. What a nice young man!

Driving north, Route 55 follows the Payette River, a world-class white water river. We stopped for lunch at a pull-out where there is a white, sandy beach on the river. We went into Tackle Tom’s and met Tom, who has been working there for 38 years. I bought a fishing license and a few flies as he gave us great advice where to go hike as well as fish. He advised us to stop at the Boise National Forest-Cascade Ranger Station just down the street, so we did. I bought a couple of maps as Steve advised us on places to go, and explaining the fire restrictions. Ranger stations are getting to be one of my favorite places to go.

We drove through McCall and out onto a peninsula jutting out into Payette Lake to Ponderosa State Park. Kevin Handford had recommended it. He is another VMI grad as well as an excellent financial advisor, who has a place in McCall. There was no one at the gate. Reading the board, most of the campground was closing next week. We drove through and picked a nice spot, filled out the form, put the money in and put the envelope in the slot. Martha said five days would be good.

Fishing The Bitterroot River with David Hufman

September 9, 2017

We drove 30 minutes to the Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop in Missoula to meet our guide at 7:00. We met David Hufman and did all the paperwork in the shop and put our rods in his Toyota truck. We drove south about 45 minutes to the Bitterroot River. We thought we were going to fish Clark Fork, but David said the Bitterroot was fishing better. We talked about the fires as we headed toward Lolo National Forest. He said the smoke acted like a cloud cover for the river, keeping it cool and making fishing better. I asked about his beautiful Boulder boat. He said it is the third one he has had. A client had given him this one! He has guided this man on many fishing trips. He is a very wealthy man, now 90 years old, and still comes fishing with him. He had bought the boat and wanted his aid to learn how to use it and to take him fishing. That never quite worked out, and it sat in a shed for two years. One day David got a call from the man’s aid, who said, “David, this is your lucky day. Mr. … is giving you his Boulder boat. He is going to have it shipped to your house.” The drift boat is a light, thin-walled boat that slides easily over rocks.

We learned that David grew up in western Pennsylvania. His best friend moved to Montana and kept telling David he needed to come join him guiding fishing trips. Finally, he came, and now he has been guiding for 18 years. By the time we got to the river we learned David is a bright guy with tremendous knowledge and enthusiasm for his profession. After pushing off into the river, he put tippet and different hoppers on our lines. Then he gave us some instructions on how he wanted us to fish. We told him we were here to fish, but also to learn, and we welcomed any instruction and coaching. You might think we know how to fish, and we do to some extent, but a great guide, like David, is fishing every day. He talks to other professionals, and he spends every day with fishermen and women, talking and watching techniques. He knows where the fish are, what they like to eat and what time the hatches are. Even if you had a boat like this to float the river, we would just start fishing flies we thought might work, but we would likely make the wrong choices, the wrong colors or the wrong presentation. We would probably catch some fish, but we would not have the kind of day we were about to have.

David coached constantly, in a soft, positive manner all day. It was like going to a clinic with a great expert. We started catching fish from the start – big, strong cutthroats, rainbows and a cutbow, which is a cross of the two. The biggest fish of the day was a 19-incher Kelly caught. He almost made the 20/20 club, where you catch a 20 inch fish with a size 20 fly. That is a very tiny fly! After about an hour and a half the Trico hatch started. These are tiny little flies that hatch, spawn and the males die. David said they must be like cocaine for trout, because the love them, and while feeding on them, they will ignore everything else. We watched a real bug float over feeding fish, and they ignored it.

In one area, they had put old cars on the bank to try to stabilize the river banks. It didn’t work so well, but it makes great cover for fish. It also makes a great place to break your line and lose fish. It doesn’t look like these old car frames will do what they wanted. David said the powerful river moves every year, washing these sandy banks away. In one  area the river will likely go up and over the banks and take an entirely new route.

We have seen feeding trout before, but never like this. Big noses poking out of the water as they sipped Tricos. They were schooled-up in certain areas with 10-15 fish feeding. David called them pods of fish. He could tell the big ones by the size of rings they made in the water. Sometimes you would get a glimpse of the tail or the whole fish sipping tiny Tricos, 3-4mm in size. Looking into the water by the boat, you could see hundreds of dead males floating by. Similar to salmon, they hatch and mate. Then the males die while the females live on. This river is full of food for fish. The trick, and it’s a demanding trick, is to pick out a ring where a fish is feeding and cast the tiny fly one foot above it with absolutely no drag from the line. You have to drop the fly right on the target, not a foot in front or behind. Why would the fish move when the food just keeps coming down the river. You have to drop the tiny fly so gently, it looks like it has a parachute on. The fish then has 100 options, one of which is your fly. If he takes it, you must wait for him to swallow it. He has his big mouth open and if you jerk the fly, it just comes out of his mouth before he has a chance to close. This is a whole, new level of fishing. There were so many fish feeding that we managed to catch some of them. Big, powerful, hard-fighting fish that and take 15 minutes to land. Even then it takes an expert lunge of the net by David to finally land the fish.

After a while, we went back to hoppers and kept catching fish. We agreed this was the best day of trout fishing we have ever had. It was a beautiful day on a beautiful river with a great guide and coach. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

Solar Installation Naples, Florida

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March 26, 2017

The whole reason for this great trip was to have state of the art solar installed on the Airstream. After many hours of research and considering doing it myself, I found the best man for the job was Lew Farber in Naples. Lew splits his time between Oregon and Naples. I am so happy I didn’t try to do this job!! Lew did a fabulous job and is a really nice guy. It took 8 days for Lew to get it done, so we toured Naples for a week, which made Martha very happy. 

We stayed at the best Best Western there could be. The staff was great, the grounds were very cool, nice pool and a good location. I have never seen so many fancy, expensive cars in my life. Rolls, Bentleys, Ferraris, Teslas, Porsches, Jaguars and Maseratis. Mercedes, BMWs and Lexus were a dime a dozen. The car of the year in Florida though is the Mustang. I have never seen so many Mustangs. Of course this is a very rich city with incredible houses, and there are stories of success everywhere. 

We rode bikes through neighborhoods with landscaping so beautiful. We took the tour tram to get the big picture. We drove to beaches and restaurants, the winner being Capt. Marco’s for fresh fish, fried plantains and black beans. The chocolate soufflé was the winning desert at an Italian restaurant. Then there was the gourmet hotdog place. We had to leave town while we could move! 

There are so many new developments surrounding this area, it is mind-boggling. All the congressmen want the Federal government to help them with water to save the Everglades! Typical! There are just too many people in Florida. I could say that about Charlottesville too. The amount of development and people with all the water consumed and put back into the system makes me wonder how it can be done. Then the landscaping, and every house has sprinkler systems. Fruit and vegetable farms are abundant, along with cattle. They have to irrigate a lot too. The Everglades are at the end of the water line.

Lancaster County Bike Ride

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41℉ at 5:00, high of 64℉

Monday, October 31, 2016

I went to Nissan in Lancaster to have a pinion seal replaced. Suddenly I was just like everyone else, rushing to get somewhere. At 6:15 in the morning, there was a lot of traffic. I wasn’t expecting that at that time of day. I wouldn’t have made it without the GPS telling me where to go.  It was nice to catch up on posting with their great WIFI. As I drove back I saw Martha walking home from shopping. She had seen some good things, so we went back. I needed a snack, so we went to the pretzel shop on Main Street. A young Amish girl greeted us, and we asked for two whole wheat pretzels. She suggested we sit outside while she made them, and she would bring them out. I got a freshly squeezed lemonade and we sat outside. Fifteen little chickadees knew the routine. Sitting on the railing, in a bush and on the deck, they watched our every move. Once the pretzels came, they really got excited. The pretzel was so good, hot, soft, but I should have requested massive amounts of salt. Otherwise, it was a perfect pretzel.  I saved a few crumbs for the birds. 

There is a great jam and jelly store, where they make everything right there. I watched them for a while cooking and stirring, and loading jars. There were several cool things about this store. One, you could watch them making it, so you know that part is authentic. Two, you can taste everything with sampling jars and chips or crackers all around. Three, there are some concoctions I have never heard of. I wanted to try them all! 

On the way back, we passed a beautiful Vis-a-Vis carriage. Two young ladies were removing the gear from two beautiful Percherons. They had come to take a disabled girl for a carriage ride. I wish I had seen all of this in action, but we had a nice chat as I imagined driving this beautiful rig.

After lunch Martha took me for the bike ride she had done yesterday, along the Scenic Road, along Ridge Road and to the ice cream store on one of the farms. This was a good ride through beautiful country. Little children were happily walking home with their bright yellow alert vests on. We turned into Lapp Valley Farm, up the drive and past the house. Across from the barn where someone was feeding the milk cows was an ice cream store. A porch surrounded it with tables and chairs arranged around it. I pretty kitty cat greeted us from the railing. Three young Amish girls greeted us. As she scooped our chocolate and raspberry ice cream, I looked around the store. There was a window behind the counter, and realized people were driving around back to order from their cars. There was a pretty steady line. A gentleman walked out with a bag of pints of ice cream. They don’t take credit cards, so there was a handy ATM machine to the side. Two tall rotating racks were filled with Amish books. I thought several would be interesting reading. We headed out tot he porch in the sun and sat down. The kitty followed and soon was crawling down Martha’s arm to get a taste of our ice cream. Her twin followed. I politely put them on the ground several times. Surely the girls would be watching, and they were very cute cats. We had turned out backs to the table, trying to protect our prize. When we finished I held the cup shoulder level. Both kitties put their feet on my shoulder and put their heads into the cup, quickly cleaning it. 

Riding back over the hill and turning along a ridge, a buggy turned out behind us. I could hear the lovely clip clop trot behind me. On level ground he was catching me. I love that sound! I looked at my bike speedometer that registered 11mph. That’s a fast trot! When I was eventing horses, I used to say a horse walk was 4 mph, trot 8mph and canter 12mph. Of course a racehorse can run 40mph. This trotter behind me had to be doing 12mph, which is a fast trot. We came to a down hill stretch where I coasted at 15mph, putting some unwanted distance between us. I will miss seeing the horses on the roads, in the barns and working the fields. 

We went back to Kauffman’s for some sausage to go with the sauerkraut. Then I went to a couple of antique stores looking for campfire tools, but couldn’t find any. I have been so amazed by the tracks and  grooves the buggies leave, I took some pictures. On one, you can see the wheel tracks that are rimmed with steel, but the other amazing thing is the deep groove the horses make in the paved road.

Wear of the road outside Intercourse where the horses trot along