Sunday, June 16, 2013

Starting at an Old Begining

San Diego.  One of my several homelands.  My mom came here when I was three and we left when I was seven.  Delightful years once I was six and roaming on my own with a bicycle and Balboa Park three blocks away.  The canyons and park were my wild kingdoms to explore and conquer.  The zoo and museums were my familiar neighborhood.  On my return sixty years hence I find the museums to be the only remains.  Bits of the Zoo survive, but not much more than some reptile cages and pitiful big cat enclosures.
I near departure for a tour of the West.  All winter I've been scooting around so Cal and AZ while I worked through some medical details at the VA and got the truck motor rebuilt in Tucson while I attended an ARAMCO Brat reunion there.  Meanwhile in San Diego I was having the wr250r motorcycle prepped as an adventure tourer.  All is ready and I just have to pack up and go.
Gad, it's hard to blog from my phone.  Facebook is so much easier...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Still on the Road

I'm back and starting a new chapter in my travels.  Since I last posted 3 years ago a lot of the same stuff has been happening.  I'm not going to pick this up from where I left off but I will write some stories about what I've done during this time.  3 weeks ago I drove the pickup back to NM to drop off some stuff and sold my 91 LeBaron.  I needed to get my motor rebuilt and some other deferred maintainance and upgrades done.  I then rode my wr250r motorcycle back to San Diego to go to some VA spots.  I left the bike there for some upgrades aka "farkles" while I flew back to Tucson to attend an ARAMCO Brat reunion at the Westin La Paloma resort.  There were 750 of us there ready to party.  What fun to see friends from jr high and meet Facebook friends for the first time.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Olympic Peninsula

Aug 22 Sunday, Collins Campground near Seal Rock, WA
Danee is holding the next installment of “Dexter” for us to watch on my return when I pick up the replacement phone for the replacement phone from TMobile.  I have a couple weeks to wait, so I might as well go around the Olympic Peninsula instead of roaming around Seattle and being under foot when Danee gets home from work. 
I was on the road by noon to take the Fauntelroy ferry from South West Seattle to Southworth across the Puget Sound.  $3.60 saved me riding about 70 miles through Olympia and 2 or 3 hours of urban traffic.  It cost the same as riding and I got the minor thrill of being on a ship.  Within an hour I was on US 101 and on curving roads with a grin on my face.  
I went to the Brothers National Forest on the inland side of the peninsula and looked at some dispersed campsites along forest roads.  I started to go up a steep side road, but stopped about 30 yards up, except I didn’t stop.  With the front brake holding the wheel, the clutch in and the front tire sliding, I went down the hill backwards, dragging both feet.  It sure felt like I was going to fall, but I finally came to a stop in a bush.  Whew!   
None of the camp spots suited me, so I chose the campground by the Duckabush River.  The water sounds so nice, so here I am at #10.  I can see the rapids while I lay in my tent.   
I can also see big black slugs oozing along.

Aug 23 Monday, Dungeness Forks Campground near Sequim
Continuing north on 101, I kept stopping beside the road to eat wild blackberries, so juicy and delicious.  I met Steve, who sells used fishing gear beside the road.  He is a stutterer like me, but he struggles much more.  We talked about stuttering and fishing for a long time and he set me up with some tackle.  I can fish in national parks without a license and wanted to give it a try.  Right next to him was a roadside used house wares dealer and I finally found my little frying pan.  I had been to about 20 yard sales and 3 thrift stores with no luck.  Now I need a lid…  After groceries in Sequim, I headed off to camp.  I found several blah spots and liked the camp ground better.  I had a spot on the Gray Wolf River and could hear it all night.  My pan worked perfectly to cook a hunk of salmon I had bought at the store with no illusions of actually catching something.

Aug 24 Heart O’ the Hills Camp Ground near Port Angeles
Eggs cooked in my pan, a small delight.  Hot coffee and then off to try fishing after dawn.  No fish, nor did I hook myself nor did I fall in the river; a 2 out of 3 success in my mind.  I wonder if my red coat or not so subtle fishing rod stick made a difference.  I didn’t see any fish jumping or rippling the water.  It was a simple pleasure to watch my spinner lure in the current.  Time to move on, I thought.  I get goal oriented about getting to the next camp ground, thinking that the last camp site will be taken and rush to get there.   
Well, there were about a hundred open sites when I got to this, my first actual Olympic National Park visit.  I settled on a view location with a jumble of fallen trees and the sound of a stream.  Snug and peaceful.

Aug 25 Heart O’ the Hills, day 2
I met Joe, a Thai bicyclist, and we chatted cycling and camping.  I rode off to Hurricane Ridge to join scores of other seekers of alpine serenity.  Despite the crowds, I did enjoy seeing the saw tooth horizon of snow spotted peaks.
This spot was worth waiting 20 minutes for a bike to come along.  As I was returning down the hill, a doe and her 2 fawns were beside the road grazing on the plentiful grasses that grow there.  They were not the least camera shy as each passing car stopped to capture the moment of wild encounter.

Aug 26 Forest Road 2819, mile 9
A shopper at the Port Angeles Safeway struck up a conversation with me.  So many other motorcyclists are curious about the TW that I never lack for human contact.  This guy suggested a sweet spot near a bridge by the road to Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort .  He and his girlfriend had stayed there just this last weekend.  Sure enough, it was a perfect place to camp, with huge trees to deflect the rain and near the Sol Duc River.  Maybe it’s just me, but the sound of the rapids reminds me of rush hour traffic on the freeway, minus the trucks.  Oh, so peaceful hearing all those other people going to work and to not be in with them.  It’s sort of like hearing lawn mowers on the weekend and not having to do it myself because Pedro, who came earlier in the week is our mow, blow and go specialist.  I’ve been reading John le Carre`s “Absolute Friends” and was at the most suspenseful point just before dusk when someone fired a shotgun from across the river.  Such an emphatic punctuation made me jump and sent me right back to Viet Nam.  I was unsettled for the next several hours until about 2 am when I slept.

Aug 27 Fri Hoh Camp Ground near Forks
For me, this is the single most sought camp ground of my trip so far.  It is in the mossy rain forest along the Hoh River.  On the way here I stopped at a state fish hatchery to see if I could beg a fish.  The first thing before I could get off my bike, a guy came over to talk to me before he went to the hatchery pond to fish.  Wouldn’t you know, he says that he likes catching fish more than eating them and would I like a big fillet of Coho salmon.  Such luck!  He had soaked it in brine and then flavored it with brown sugar, pepper and smoke concentrate to mask the flavor of fish, which he didn’t like.  Some went into my shrimp chowder that night, saving having the rest for lunch and dinner tomorrow.  I met two off duty park rangers, Ryan and Kiley, this evening as a result of seeing his KLR650.  I let him ride my TW around the parking lot and he was struck by its light weight and great gas mileage.

Aug 28 Sat, day 2 at Hoh
I was up at 5am, did exercises in my sleeping bag to warm up and put on about every layer of clothes I had.  As the dawn broke, I was sipping hot coffee and eating eggs in a pita.  My aluminum stove cover/cooking pot smells of salmon even on the 3rd pot of boiling water.  I love fish, but not like this.  I believe in the separation of fish and coffee. 
A pack of coyotes serenaded their farewell for the night as the first light came over a hill and washed the river into brilliance.  I’ve created an evaporative cooer for the fish by wrapping it in a wet towel and putting it in the shade.  It should stay fresh until this afternoon.  
I made a quick trip to Forks for more food, library and internet.  Pity the library is on its summer hours and is closed weekends.  Just inside the foyer was the object of my desire, paperbacks for a donation.  Sigh.  So near…  Back in camp, the salmon was delish with a tomato, cucumber and onion salad with Italian dressing and the nectarines grown locally and sold at the combination grocery, clothing and hardware store, The Outfitter.  They even had my favorite yogurt, The Greek Gods – Plain.  With stevia to sweeten it, there’s none better.  Sorry to go on so about food but my life has distilled down to eat, ride, sleep and then repeat.  
As I sit at the table in my camp, I am savoring how the trees move in the breeze.  Leaves rustling on the ground as they are blown by seem to say, “Come run with us as we skip and hop in the wind.”  Feeling the sun warm one side of my face when the wind softens, I am content to sit at the table, watching ravens scout for left out food.  “Caw, caw.  Those careless campers from yesterday are gone,” as they fly from tree to tree seeking opportunity.  None for them here and I am left to listen to the wind in the trees, the river flowing and my stillness within.

Aug 29 Sun Hoh Oxbow campground
The weather report predicted rain tonight, so I went looking for a free spot.  I had heard that the primitive State campgrounds are free, so I rode around looking at them nearby and found it to be true.  I rode through a camp on the Hoh River and 101 and was approached by Isaac and Kyler who are hitchhiking around the peninsula for adventure.  They live near Shelton on the south end of the Olympic Peninsula.  Since they are hitching, they are not using the whole space and offered to share since the campground is full.  I dropped off what I had in my bags, went to Forks for more food, brought that back and went to my site in the National Park to break camp.  When I got back, there was still no rain and I pitched my tent on a ledge overlooking the river. 
Dinner was a big trout that I caught at the market and shared with Issac and Kyler.

Aug 30 Mon Ho Oxbow
Another trip to Forks to the library for internet and to get paperbacks.  Steaks were 2 for 1 at the market and they still had great nectarines. I brought back 3 pounds of meat and we ate it all with BBQ sauce.

Aug 31 Tue  Hoh
Rain half the night, all day and night.  I fixed coffee and scrambled eggs for breakfast in only dry place, the foyer of the outhouse, cooking for Isaac and Kyler, then reading in my tent while they stomped around staying warm.  Pitching their tent in a flat depression when it is going to rain pretty much guaranteed a close encounter of the wet kind.  I went back in the late afternoon and fixed a stew for us and back to my tent to finish my book, “A Case of Need” by Michael Crichton.

Sep 1 Wed South Beach CG
The rain stopped and I went again to Forks for food, gas and internet.  
A couple hours later, I finally came to the Pacific.  I’ve returned to Mother Ocean. 
Several miles further and I was at the South Beach CG with a spot overlooking the shore.  My neighbors had been camped there for 10 days on their honeymoon and looked settled in for the rest of the season.  Driftwood sticks holding a tarp over their tent and an old van parked alongside looking like it had spent much time with the hood up, coaxing more miles from its engine.  A Ron Paul sticker was squarely in the middle of the hood, declaring its identity to no longer be Ford or Chevy.

Sep 2 Thur South Beach

I remained another day, savoring the ceaseless muted roar of the surf.  Rows of 4 to 8 waves continually breaking with an occasional whooshing slap of the length of a wave toppling at once reminded me of many languid days and camp nights along the Pacific coast.  I feel at home here laying in my tent with my feet sticking out, brushing the smooth, dry autumn grass, warm in the sun. I fell easily into a nap, soothed by the ocean’s lullaby.

Sep 3 Seattle
Cold and foggy at the beach, time to move on and back to Seattle to pick up my 2nd replacement phone from T-Mobile.  Back to four walls and TV at Danee’s.  I’m so grateful to be able to come here.

Sep 6 Seattle
I’m planning to head southeast tomorrow to get away from the rain that is coming.  Maybe my luck will hold and I’ll be able to ride between showers. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

While We Wait for Me to Catch Up...

- Drizzly, misty Santa Cruz - Friday Oct 22
I ground to a stop three times today. It was just starting to mist when I left my cousin's house near Hwy 92 and continued to the coast at Half Moon Bay. That's a beautiful ride and I would have enjoyed it if the road were dry. I fought condensation and rain on my visor to the coast and on south. Feeling freaked by the rain and hoping to outrun it southward, I passed the last gas stations before Hwy 1 and thought those stations would be challenging to get to across congested traffic and through U-turns in the rain. I thought that surely there will be gas right on 1 and I could glide in on my right side. Hmmm. No gas. But wait, there is a distance sign... Davenport just 38 miles. Sure, I can do that. The adage for TW owners of never passing a chance to refuel whispering in the back of my mind, I continued and there ahead was Davenport. Whew. Or so I thought. There was no gas and I had another 11 miles to Santa Cruz. My trip meter was at 110. opps. I turned around and rode past all 8 buildings and parked to start asking people for gas. After the highway prospects were eliminated, I started up the residential street. The first house had a guy and his wife near their pickup and after discussing the options (none) he offered to siphon gas from his truck. He cut off a length of his garden hose and worked it into his tank. I found some empty drink cups, wiped them out and had the precious liquid in hand. He, however had gotten a more gas in his mouth than he intended and some in his eye as well. I felt so bad for him, especially remembering the swigs of gas I had as a teen. He came back out of the house with his eye and around it red and swollen. Well, just a little puffy. He clearly had gotten the worst of the transaction. He wouldn't take money or an invitation to lunch, just glad to help someone in need. Just then his mom pulled up, saying that there had been a head on collision on the way to Santa Cruz and the road would not be open for a couple hours. I had lunch and rode down to see if I could get through. Of course not. The LEO at an intersection was directing traffic through a detour and it would be an extra ten miles. But there was a town with gas in the hills through which the detour went, but I had to make several turns to get there. Naturally, I could only remember the first turn and couldn't stop to write anything down in the rain. Soon lost, I pressed on until the bike died and coast to a stop in a driveway. No one home there and I went back down the road to an intersection with a bank of rural mail boxes. The 4th person I asked offered to go home and fetch back a can of gas. As I was pouring it into my tank I asked "May I empty it?" "Sure, please do." There was nearly a gallon and I was so grateful. He gave me directions to the closest gas station and I was on my way after profuse thanks and good wishes. This new road was narrow, twisty, and oh so wet. After several stretches of signed one lane pavement, I was beginning to wonder if I would need to repeat my begging further down the road when suddenly I was on Hwy 9 and in Ben Lomand, going into a gas station. Now this seemed survivable after I had wiped clear my glasses and visor. Back out into the misting rain, I was soon passing Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park campground. I debated; push on or camp in the rain. Onward I went into Santa Cruz to find creeping traffic on Hwy 1. For the better part of an hour I crept along, thinking it would break soon and I could stay with my plan to camp south of Monterey if only I could out run the rain. Actually, I wasn't thinking clearly at that point. Traffic stretched on ahead disappearing into the rain. I saw a motel from the highway and gave in, getting off at the next ramp and checking in. 66 bucks, but I'm warm and dry. I'll find the Youth Hostel here in town and wait out this rain through the weekend. Monday will be good to ride Big Sur, dry and less people.

Saturday October 23rd Atascadero
After watching the TV weather report and verifying it on line, I decided to take the forecasters at their word and believe rain would hit the coast at 2 pm. I figured I could make it from Santa Cruz to Atascadero by then and left following the Google map route I had transcribed to note paper that was placed under a clear plastic panel on top of my tank bag to refer to while I was at stop lights. A couple turns into it and I was off track, so I made my way back to Hwy 1 which was a freeway at that point. Vroom. On down the coast past Monterey I stopped at the Safeway as I have on every other trip I’ve made though here. I sort of had a sense of home there, wherever home might be. I’ve been up and down Big Sur by car and by thumb at least 10 times and this is the first by motorcycle. I can recommend it highly and would like to do it again. The road was dry except for a few places in the shade where I was extra careful and the way it is banked on some of the curves, I could come closer than ever to being horizontal as I caromed through. This motorcycle riding thing is fun.
On this trip through Big Sur I went faster than any previous time. Landmarks where I had stayed and hiked before clicked by quickly and soon I was near sea lions basking on the beach. It was easy to tell where they were by sense of smell as I rode past them. I stopped to eat at San Simeon with a watchful eye on the clouds to the west; it was 1:30 and I was expecting the rain to be on time. In fact, it did not rain at all until the evening in A-Town. I’m glad I didn’t stay in the motel believing that it would rain all weekend.

Thursday Oct 28
I'm headed for Bakersfield today.  Looking forward to seeing friends and family.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Aug 1, 6 pm Dinosaur National Monument

FLASH! – Lightning lights up everything in the tent like I’m surrounded by paparazzi and less than a second later – KRAKA BOOM! Thunder shakes me and I can feel the sound go through my body. I’m camped on BLM land with the closest people 7 miles away. Rain is pummeling the tent and I’m laying on my sleeping bag and pad. If the tent takes a hit, maybe the aluminum poles will shunt it to the ground. Just an hour before, I had decided to not ride 20 miles to Rangley for food – the overcast sky had turned darker and I could see the gray out of rain under clouds in several directions. I raced back to my campsite up 5 miles of pavement and 2 miles of dirt road with the first drops hitting my face shield during the last ½ mile. With the bike covered, rain fly tied to it and my gear thrown inside, I had made it just in time. Celery, a handful of trail mix and a cup of yogurt would be dinner tonight. Tomorrow I can get food in Vernal, UT on my way to Flaming Gorge.

This has been a fun day of riding into the Yampa Canyon to Echo Park at the confluence of the Yampa and Green Rivers down a steep dirt road of 24 miles round trip. Going down was less controlled feeling with the back tire sliding and most of my weight on the hand grips, but the return trip up was so easy that I was surprised to reach the top as quickly as I did. This was much different than riding a bicycle; I could not have made the trip in only a couple hours. It would have been a day from my present camp to the road head and down the dirt road to Echo Park, spend the night there and ride/walk back out. Turning the throttle and going up a hill still seems delightfully magical.

The road down the mesa and into the canyon went past the old Chew Ranch with several apricot trees still alive, but too late for the fruit.

(click on this picture to see the petroglyphs)

On past Pool Creek petroglyphs pecked into the cliff face and finally to the campground and white water craft take out point at Echo Park where the monolith Steamboat Rock stands 800 feet high.

Returning, I stopped at Whispering Cave where a cool breeze washes down through cracks in the wall. Thirty miles later I was in the town of Dinosaur deciding what I should do for dinner.

… Going back to the last 3 weeks, I was at Robin’s much longer than I had anticipated. I was only going to stop and say hello, but it turned out there was a project for me to do there. Her father, who was a famous wildlife painter, had left several thousand prints of his work as her inheritance and I volunteered to photograph them for her so she could sell them on line. I set her up with an eBay seller’s account, PayPal and posted them on Flicker as well. We had to go to

Montrose every other day and fiddle with it on the library computer, but finally we finished about July 25th and I was ready to go. But, a friend of hers, Andras had arrived about a week or two before and he wanted some similar help. So, on the 26th I was off on my journey again, taking a scenic route to Grand Junction and camping in the forest on the way. Food, bike parts and a visit to AAA for maps and then on to Dinosaur where I’ve been riding around and getting back in travel mode after a month break.

Monday Aug 2 Dinosaur to Ashley Natl Forest

Waking up with the scent of wet sage, I packed feeling hungry. I was eager to get to Dinosaur and buy anything they had to eat. I had to rest between stages of packing like Survivorman conserving his energy to keep from boinking. This was a laundry day in Vernal, meaning that I was wearing just a tee shirt, swim trunks and moccasins during the process. I could charge my phone while I waited. After a quick stop at the Forest Service office to get a suggestion for a camp spot and I tore off to get to a cooler altitude. Too soon, as it turned out. I was just in time to get wet the last 2 miles before my camp site. I guess I should have taken the time to look at the museum in Vernal – lots of dinosaurs. Just as I got the tent up, the rain stopped. I was in a beautiful spot, though. Aspens, fur trees and flowers everywhere. Sorry, little lupine. I had to put my tent somewhere and you got squashed. Pollination should be no problem for the rest of the flowers, there were plenty of flies. None made it into the tent, but I could watch them from inside where they were trapped between the mesh top of the tent and the rain fly. I’m easily entertained.

Tue Aug 3 Cache Natl Forest

The tent fly was wet inside and out this morning but I couldn’t wait for it to dry. I need to ride about 220 miles to get to the next forest. I stopped at a scenic turnout and almost dumped the bike turning through some gravel on the road. Both feet were out like training wheels and if the bike had been heavier, I might not have been able to stay up.

I was at a pretty view of Flaming Gorge. Later I stopped at Fossil Butte Natl Monument and admired their display of fossilized sea creatures and plants. Bear Lake was a treat with its turquoise water, then up into the forest and down a dirt road to find a good spot.

Wed Aug 4 Jackson WY

I saw my first moose cow and calf in a field as I left Montpelier, ID. Big. I collected my replacement Therma-rest sleeping pad from the post office in Jackson, asked directions to dispersed camping at the FS office and made it to a gas station to wait out a rain shower. I met another biker staying dry there who was on his way to a motorcycle rally in Sturgis. So, that’s why there are so many Harleys on the road. He went across the street to inquire about a motel room and offered to split it with me. He would pay $100 and I would pay $50. Sorry, that’s out of my budget of $20 per day and I already had directions to free forest camping with a view of the Tetons. Showers provided by the sky. 10 miles of dirt road and I was on the slope across from Teton with the National Elk Refuge below.

Aug 5 & 6 Thur Sheffield camp ground.

I stopped at the Jackson library on the way out of town to see where to camp using the FS info and Google maps. Sheffield was just a mile or two from Yellowstone; perfect for a dash through the park and time to get to a Natl Forest on the other side. This was grizzly territory and the other 4 sites had bear boxes, but none on mine. Dusty, across from me shared his bear box and I stayed an extra day for personal grooming. Shared a campfire with Valerie from Lexington, KY.

Aug 7 Sat Quake Lake CG

Yellowstone Urban Wilderness was predictably crowded on my way through, with the camp grounds full and lines going into parking lots to see the geysers. The cheapest food to be seen at Old Faithful Village was a prepackaged burrito for $2. I rode a side trip through Fire Hole Canyon, recoiling at the crowds and on to West Yellowstone for groceries.

There was an Old Time Photo studio there and I chatted with Holly as I waited for the storm I could see to the north to blow by. She recommended a for-pay CG that I went for. It was the first time I used my mosquito headgear as I sat at a picnic table eating an apple.

Aug 8 Sun Beaverhead Natl Forest

I nearly ran out of gas before Ennis, MT. I had neglected to refuel in West Yellowstone and stopped at an invasive weed control station to bum gas from some guys with ATVs on a trailer. I stopped in Virginia City to see Holly’s husband, Grant. He runs their other Old Time Photo studio there. Business was going strong and he barely had time to talk. I didn’t want to wait 2 hours for him to take lunch and ended up waiting 1 ½ hours in Dillon until a storm passed. I had to ride all over town to find the road out that I wanted, 387. Pizza and beer in Wisdom and a referral to this campsite past Big Hole Battleground. I missed the rain that fell here this afternoon and got a good site where I am 10 feet from a babbling brook. $3.50

Aug 9 Chief Joseph Pass to Harper’s Lake State Camp Ground

147 miles today, with rain off and on up US93 to Missoula where I stopped at REI to buy a new down sleeping bag and a raincoat. $274 (ouch) and on to camp at a Montana state fishing spot and campground. $12 Pretty expensive day I got $10 for my old bag and camp backrest at Play It Again, Sam.

Aug 10 Tue West Shore State Park CG

I had a great ride up Swan Valley on State 83 – a little tail wind sweeping curves and gentle hills past lakes and woods. I stopped in Lakeside to buy binoculars from Dan Baldwin for $10. He is one of only two people in the USA who does authorized repair and restoration of binoculars. We met in Twin Bridges as I was eating lunch at a streamside park. A room in his house is dedicated to his repair business and he happily works when he wants. During our conversation I started to think about going back to work as a dental technician. I had passed a denture lab in Lakeside and was thinking and imagining working at that now that my knees are shot. I went on to the campground and worked on the computer, listening to music while talking to friends on the phone and typing blog. Camp was $15, an all time high.

Aug 11 Lost Johnnie Point CG USFS $13 for 2 nights.

I stopped by the Post Office in Lakeside to check general delivery for my replacement phone from T-Mobile, then more cherries from Cherry Haus, yum. Leaving to go to Glacier, I rode past the denture lab and after a couple miles I turned back to see if they needed help. When I left the lab biz 20 years ago I thought it might be something I returned to when I got old and feeble. Well, I guess I’m there, kinda. My knees won’t let me do massage any longer and photography seems to be too hard on the knees as well. So, they didn’t need help at the denture lab, but it got me thinking about pursuing a lab job when I get to the West Coast. There must be a lab between Seattle and San Diego that would work out. I can rent a room while I work. I find I’m spending more money on this trip than I had planned and a layover for the winter while I make money would work fine. “Motorcycle Tramp/Itinerant Dental Technician” My lifestyle evolves. I went on to the Hungry Horse ranger station and got directions to this great CG. It’s densely wooded and each site is isolated. No worries about bears, they are busy gorging on huckleberries. Dinner was fresh fish from the supermarket cooked in aluminum foil that the ranger gave me. We were talking and found we are in the brotherhood of ex-military.

Aug 12 Thur Lost Johnnie Point

Rode Hwy 2 to East Glacier – another beautiful day. I was going to take the circle route and go through Glacier on the way back, but it was too cold, windy and wet, so I came back the same way and still caught a little rain. Back to the supermarket in Columbia Falls where I bought the usual fried ½ chicken and a couple pounds of cherries. This is cherry country and they are great; my favorite food.

Aug 13 Fri Trout Creek, MT

I stopped at Cherry Haus for the 3rd time. The first 2 were for 2 lb of cherries each time. Well, these were about the best cherries this side of Hood Valley, OR and I bought 10 lb for $10 and ate them all today with no ill effects. The PO in Lakeside had my gen del package with my UPS drop. They wanted the phone returned within 7 days of signing for it or I pay for a new phone. With the 5 days from Caballo to Lakeside, I could make it in time. I stopped at Trout Lake for the huckleberry festival and a burger, then on to a forest road to find an unused side road with a campsite.

Aug 14 Sat Tiger, WA

Stopped in Sandpoint for library computer access, shopped for a frying pan in the thrift stores, but could only find a pie pan. It works with my pliers for a handle. I got a 7” kitchen knife and sharpened it on a rock after dinner. I stopped at Walmart for a spatula, ground beef, tortillas, taco sauce and eggs. I’ve used my backpacking stove only once on this trip and I thought I’d start. I found a good spot by a FS tree nursery and dump for chipped wood and branches. It smells like a cedar closet and there are few bugs. Dinner was quick to cook and I could hear bulls bellowing several hundred yards away. A deer walked past my site and stopped to look. I stayed still and she was there for about 30 seconds. Deer hooves make a distinctive clop. Eventually that night the cedar closet smell became a little much.

Aug 15 Sun Lake Wenatche 280 miles

Happy Birthday! I’m 65; feels like 64. I was going to stop sooner, but it was too hot and I had plenty of daylight left. Saw some deer by the road both alive and dead. One of them was a freshly killed fawn. L I treated myself to dinner out: jambalaya and Hostess cupcakes.

Aug 16 - 20 Seattle

I’m staying with a fellow ARAMCO Brat, Danni for about a week. I slept in a bed the first time in about 2 months. It’s great to get laundry done and caught up on sleep and post my blog. We went to the Seattle Aquarium and then had to have fish and chips. My replacement phone doesn’t work right either, so after 2 hours with T-Mobile, they decided to send a new one.