Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘States’ category

Kearnie, Nebraska to Columbia, Missouri

Friday, November 3, 2014

We got off to a late start after I added DEF (diesel exhaust fluid, keeps the exhaust from smoking) to the truck, and put air in a couple of tires. Back on I80, we drove through Lincoln. Outside Omaha City we dropped down to I70 via I29, which is also a pretty drive. By lunchtime we pulled into Squaw Creek National Wildlife Preserve and ate sandwiches. It has been renamed Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Preserve, since squaw is a derogatory term. We started to take the 10-mile drive around it. I could see ducks going everywhere, and it would be a field day for a photographer on an overcast, cool day, but the road was a dusty gravel road. I didn’t want to fill the Airstream with dust again. I could have unhooked, but I could have easily spent the rest of the day shooting ducks with a camera. It’s a very cool area that I would love to return to, but Martha Jean had the homeward look in her eye.

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DON’T VEER FOR DEER

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183 NEBRASKA DEATHS THIS YEAR

Driving through Kansas City was a bit harried on a Friday afternoon. Frantic drivers were anxious to get the weekend started. Leaving proper stopping distance between us and the car in front just makes a void for drivers to pass through, but you just have to do it and be patient. Thankfully out of the city and on our way to the next, St. Louis, we were on I70. We noticed signs for the Katy Trail. From http://www.bikekatytrail.com, “The Katy Trail is a 237 mile (386 km) trail stretching across most of the state of Missouri.  (Use this link if you’re looking for the Dallas Katy Trail).  Over half of it follows Lewis and Clark’s path up the Missouri River, where you can ride beneath towering river bluffs while eagles circle overhead.  After leaving the river, the trail meanders through peaceful farmland and small-town Americana.

America’s longest “rails-to-trail” project, formerly the MKT rail line, is flat and scenic.  It’s ideal for hiking, running, or cycling on just about any kind of bike.  Horseback riding is also allowed on a 35 mile section of the trail, from Sedalia to Clinton.  Also, the Katy Trail’s Tebbetts-Portland section now allows equestrian use.” Reading up on it, this would be a fun ride, all flat and along the Missouri River. I’d love to do it!

We also passed Warm Springs Ranch, where Budwiser’s Clydesdales live. By the time we got to Columbia, Missouri, we had done 450 miles. We stayed at Cottonwood RV Park, where I stayed on my way out. This is an excellent travel facility with nice staff, restrooms, laundry and a pool. It was completely filled since the University of Missouri was playing Florida. They won the game 45-16, so they must have been thrilled.

 

Rawlins, Wy to Kearney RV Park, Nebraska

Thursday, November 2, 2017

People ask why I post several days at a time. Most of the time it is due to inadequate WIFI, so when I get to a good one, I can catch up. That might be a campground, a coffee shop or library.

We were happy to wake up to winds that weren’t so strong. I started to fix breakfast, but Martha Jean said, “Let’s go!” For the first time we were on the road before sunrise. From Rawlins, we drove to Laramie and Cheyenne, crossing the Continental Divide at 7,000′. The wind was still blowing hard at a rest stop. Reading the signs was pretty interesting. This area always has strong winds, and it blows the snow off these high ridges, allowing elk, deer and antelope a place to graze.

As we dropped down toward Cheyenne, the entire valley was wrapped in fog. OK, good. A different challenge today! I put my flashers on and slowed down as we headed down into it. Then finally up the other side and out of it, I was relieved. Changing time zones to Central Time, we arrived in Kearney, Nebraska at about 4:30 and 470 miles for the day. As we checked into Kearney RV Park, we asked about this being the Sandhill Crane capital of the world. She said March is the peak month when they are all over the place, as she described it. I’d love to see it. With a good laundry and showers, we had some catching up to do.

Drive Lakeview, Oregon to Wendover, Nevada

October 31, 2017

It was 27 degrees and windy when we got up, and we were feeling the need to get out of the Rockies. Looking up the top 10 things to do in Lakeview, we discovered there was a geyser right next door, so we hooked up and drove over. It’s a pretty cool area where “Old Reliable” spews steam about 100 feet in the air. It sits in a hot pool. There are several ponds on the property that are loaded with ducks. There is a motel on the property in need of serious money infusion. I could have stayed and shot pictures, but Martha pointed the arm to the east, and off we went.

We drove Rt. 140 east across Oregon and northern Nevada, the same way I came out in July. It is an all-day drive through arid sagebrush prairies and mountains. It is more impressive in this direction, looking at the big, blue mountains in the distance. This is Jeep country, where you could drive and camp forever. Best bring your GPS though. You could get lost out there. Houses are few and far between out here, and you’d better gas up before setting out, but I think this is a very cool drive.

Time changed to Mountain Time. 440 miles today

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Brookings to White City to Lakeview

October 30, 2017

Heading back home, across the country, we left Brookings and drove through the Redwoods National Park on our way to Grant’s Pass and on to White City. 199 is a beautiful drive along the Smith River. My new Pickup Pack was leaking water badly, so I called Highway Products to see if they could help. They very efficiently recaulked the sides while we ate a quick sandwich. I got a chance to talk with Steve, who guided me on the Rogue River twice. I sure hope I can get back here to fish with him again. Now we were in the “going home mode”, trying to make miles. Unfortunately, we went the wrong way for 30 minutes and had to backtrack.

It’s another beautiful drive from Medford, Oregon to Klamath Falls. We considered going up to Crater Lake, but one road was closed, it was cold and winter was coming. We didn’t want to get caught in the Rockies when it is snowing. Martha pointed her arm straight forward and on we went.

We made Lakeview by late afternoon, checking into Base Camp RV Park. It is run by a nice couple and was a good stop with a beautiful sunset.

Redwoods National Park

 

October 29, 2017

We stopped at Bakery by The Sea and got a muffin and some scones. Soon after we got there, a long line developed in this tiny shop. Then we headed south on 101 to the Redwoods National Park. A young ranger gave us suggestions of where to go. We drove the Howland Hill Road, a gravel road winding through the forest. We hiked “The Stout Grove” for an hour or so. Huge, beautiful trees standing along the Smith River were so impressive.

 

Somehow we chose the Hungry Clam for our last seafood dinner before heading home. We were early, so we disregarded the absence of cars in front. It was awful. As we drove away, we passed a pub and another restaurant packed with cars.

The Oregon Coast

October 28, 2017

We drove north from Umpqua Lighthouse Campground to Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area. I had been there in July and liked it very much. It is a beautiful area with the creek running through and the river across the street. Little hills with changing leaf colors were shrouded with fog. Ducks, geese and egrets love this place, and why not? We didn’t see elk at the main viewing area, but I could have shot pictures of ducks and geese all morning, but driving to the north end, we found a surprising group of all bulls. Maybe the big bull has already kicked them out.

On the way back we stopped at a bakery with lots of cars parked outside. It was a happening little spot where people were lined up to get coffee and some of their many pastries, donuts and cookies.

As we came back through camp, we stopped at a Silver Streak trailer. A lady was outside, so we got out and chatted a bit. Martha was her name, and she was worried about finding a sports bar to watch the big game. “What game is that”? we asked. “The Ohio State/Notre Dame game”. She and Bob are from Ohio, but have been traveling west for a while. Bob’s brother gave him the trailer, which was produced for years by a former Airstream employee. We told them D&D Pub where we had gone the night before. They gave us a tour of the trailer, which was very cool.

Then we hooked up and headed south on 101. Although I had driven it the other direction in the summer, It was a different perspective in a different direction on a foggy day. It is an incredibly beautiful drive, and hard not to stop at every pull-over, picnic area or state park. Oregon has done a magnificent job of preserving the entire coast. We drove the Scenic Coastal Loop through Bandon, stopping for lunch where the Coquille River meets the ocean. Ducks were feeding frantically right in front of the trailer while geese and a kingfisher flew about. Seagulls sat and watched the happenings while a crashing surf pounded a jetty.

We stopped in beautiful places along the way. I love the scenery in misty fog. Harris Beach Campground in Brookings was surprisingly busy for this time of year. It was a weekend, and a pretty one at that. We found a nice site, but it was one of those days when I found it difficult to back into the spot without 19 maneuvers. Martha was just shaking her head. I decided I should go into town and get some wine. Fred Meyer grocery store had a great selection with good prices. A few other odds and ends and back to camp for dinner and a little reading.

 

AM Solar and Highway 101

October 27, 2017

The solar system has not been performing right since we had a power problem back in August. I called AM Solar in Springfield, Oregon and talked to a technician named Mitchell. We agreed the best way was to bring it in. I was delighted they could see me. I didn’t think it was a big problem, but it needed reprogramming. AM Solar is the leading center for solar, and I have read a lot of information on their website.

Mitchell met us at 9:00 and quickly reprogrammed some things. He was so quick, I couldn’t follow what he did, but he explained a lot of things, and I understand a few more things about how to manage the system. Mitchell and his team helped write the software that manages the system. He gave me his card saying I could call any time. Whew, what a nice, professional team they have, and so nice to have another contact when I need help!

We headed west to Highway 101 on the Oregon coast, stopping at the Visitor’s Center in Florence. We got some good information on the coast. Next door is a good seafood store where we got a great cup of clam chowder and some canned tuna. I wanted to go north to Hecela Lighthouse. It is such a gorgeous spot that I had quickly passed in July. A beautiful bridge was built in the 30’s in the Roman aqueduct design. A sea lion area is just around the corner, where we spotted some from the cliffs above.

Heading back south past Florence, we went to Umpqua Lighthouse Campground. Camp hosts, Liz and her husband, met us in front of the sign-in board, telling us the available sites. We chose a good site and went back up to pay. Liz gave us a lot of information about the area, including a bar in Winchester Bay that serves the best oysters around. They are farm-raised in Triangle Bay, washed by fresh Pacific waters every day. A beer and oysters sounded good, so off we went.

I ordered fried oysters and Martha Oysters Rockefeller, both of which were great. We were so lucky to find great company. The couple at the table behind us were Liz and Larry, farmers from Quincy, Washington. Liz was just a trip, telling all kinds of stories. Then Kent pulled up to the bar next to us and asked the very busy server/bartender/waitress to put on the world series game. Well, good company and conversation, good food and a good baseball game, what more can you ask for? Kent is a paramedic who travels around the state teaching courses. He had some good stories, particularly about dentists using Ketamine on drug users who were compromised. Liz talked about farming and corporate farming today. They come here frequently, and they also like Montana, going to different towns each time they go. She loves farmer’s markets as well as going to music events. They like to crab here. Although they hadn’t caught a lot, they caught enough to eat. “What more can you ask for? It’s just like farming”.

I had to have at least a little time to read my book, so we went back to camp thankful for another good day.

Seattle

October 1, 2017

Poor Martha. I just had to go see the fish hatchery in Issaguah. It’s October and the salmon should be running. Sure enough, these big fish were frantically trying to get over the dam or up the fish ladder. They open and close them at different times, harvest the eggs, then return them to the stream. Issaguah is a cute little town on the edge of Seattle.

We had a great visit with our friends, Becky and Dick Dudley in their beautiful home on Mercer Island. They are from one of our favorite places, Abingdon, Virginia. Becky was a hygienist who worked with us back in the late 70’s. It was great spending time with them and their family. Becky brought out some old pictures. One was of Martha holding Mac when he was a baby. We took a picture of Martha holding Mac’s baby, Bronson, who is just 10 days old. It was so cool to see Mac and Si and their families. Mac is a lawyer and Si is an orthodontist who just opened a new office in Issaguah. Becky and Dick fixed a great dinner of Salmon, mixed vegetables, spinach balls, potatoes, and a wonderful fruit pie. We so enjoyed old memories and new. Thank you so much Becky and Dick, for being such great friends. I hope we can get together again in the not so distant future.

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.

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.