Wyoming to Pacific to Montana

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The day by day format is getting old.  Who cares what happened on a particular day in our trip?  Of course we keep internal records of places, dates, prices, etc.  Latitudes, longitudes, mileages, altitudes, ham radio contacts.....it's a long list!!!  (We even record our weights daily, sad to say---and those numbers tell their own story, which we won't discuss at the moment.  Or ever.)

I doubt I can choose pictures that really show what we experienced in the western states since the first trip report.  Stan will be choosing the best of the best.  Our camera has developed a maddening dot just above center, and he, the technical wizard, may be able to airbrush it out. 


From Casper we took the Mormon Trail to Lander, seeing sights like Split Rock and the Wind River Mts in the distance.  Our spot for the night was next to four little killdeer neighbors-to-be.  We watched the local cat get fooled by the watchful mother.  Great camouflage!
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Worked our way (with a stop for RC planes) through Shoshoni, Thermopolis, the dizzying Wind River Canyon, and Cody, to Wapiti.  Wapiti is the word for elk.  Just outside Yellowstone's east entrance, Yellowstone Inn RV provided our first hot tub of this trip.  When we walked in there was one lone guy and a big black dog.  They left and we enjoyed a warm tub.

Yellowstone is not a cheap place to stay!  Our priciest yet, and worth every penny. We did the north loop (as much as was open) one day and the south the next.  We awoke to snow but it was never a problem, just a nuisance. 
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Montana, Idaho:

After one night in Montana (West Yellowstone) we turned south to a wonderful Idaho state park, Massacre Rocks, where we spent two nights on the Snake River.  Walked around a lot, saw all kinds of birds and wild flowers.  And a bunny.
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In Burley, Idaho, I was scalped, not by hostiles, but by a very nice woman who hypnotized me with conversation while the razor did its work.  Certainly cooled me off nicely. 

In Boise/Nampa we visited Edith and Biscuit's old house, where we'd visited on winter trips.  Hiked through the Botanical Garden downtown, made our first visit to a mall, ate food court food, naughty us!
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Further into the country in Marsing, we passed Lizard Butte and collapsed at a spot, again on the beautiful Snake River.  It was Very Hot and we just rested for a second night.  Since we had passable wi-fi, Stan downloaded lots of Oregon state park info. 

Oh yes, and the French Open started, so I was a happy camper.  Vamos Rafa!!

5/28--- out for 4 weeks.


Entering Oregon, we were ready for anything.  Our experience to date was coming up the coast to Portland, and then escaping as fast as possible down I-5.  Two main roads get you from eastern into central Oregon, 20 and 26.  We took the low road to Bend, much of the way crisscrossing the Malheur River.  Cooler here, in the 60's and oh so welcome!  This land is your land, this land is our land. 

Oregon is a wonderful state, wild and wide open and ever-changing.  We thought Bend was a pretty nice place (apparently it's "spendy" and next only to San Francisco---this we got from Ron, an old geezer who'd crossed the country 45 times).  The surroundings are some of the most scenic mountains in the Cascade Range.  Brian, you MUST come out here!

The loop through McKenzie Pass in the Three Sisters Wilderness area was still closed with deep snow, so we opted for the Century Drive past the Cascade Lakes and Mt Bachelor ski area.  Much volcanic action in these parts, enormous piles of volcanic rock.
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We headed south to Crater Lake, on the way getting cool views of Mt Shasta.  We waved hello for you, Vicki!

One state park had a logging museum where Stan shot about 100 pictures.

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Crater Lake.  The extremely steep approach gave us a chance to see deep gorges and the basalt columns and plugs associated with volcanoes.
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Deep snow, 12 ft and more, no warning of what's to come, and suddenly there it is, and we need a new name for the color BLUE.  I don't think a picture can show it properly.  Since it was so early in the season there were few people.  We ate at the lodge (very fancy!) and drove around on the west side (east still closed). 
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Evan, we wish you could have been with us.

The drive down to the east along the wild and scenic Rogue River was quite exciting.
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Stan spotted an interesting old grain mill. 
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We stayed again on the Rogue, but temperatures were in the mid 90s.  Time to start up the coast, this time really taking it slow and easy.


We spent part of the day on I-5, and headed to the coast on Rt 42, a precipitious bit of road.  Cape Arago (air ago) was wild and foggy, and we stumbled upon a botanical garden with rhododendrons and roses glowing in the gloom.
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We could not pass Tillamook without getting a little cheese snack.
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Along the coast we had only brief glimpses of blue sky.  Hard to believe how we sweltered just over those mountains.  Our destination was Fort Stevens state park at the mouth of the Columbia River. 
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Washington (briefly):

After a visit to the Maritime Museum in Astoria and poking around the town, we crossed the big bridge into Washington and Cape Disappointment state park.
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A great park with campsites right on the water.
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Onward to Portland, where we enjoyed much hilarity with family and friends for several days.  Here is some of what we did:

saw a 5th grade graduation
taught people to play mah jongg
went to an air museum
had manicure and pedicure
hiked and experienced the great Rose Garden (perfect timing)
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Theo played with his new helicopter
visited old friends from MIT and Kiewit
watched granddaughters ice skate and do aerial acrobatics
saw Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer at the French Open
hot tub with Nita
dim sum with Nita and Colleen
brunch with Jeanne David Brud Grayson Sara Jane, yum!
drove all around town.

It was all so much fun that we are still recovering. 
We cannot thank everyone enough for such fine hospitality. You know who you are: Nita, Theo, Olivia, Rachel, Colleen, Dave, Jeanne, David, Grayson, Sara Jane, Joanne, Jerry, Lou, Linda. I loved meeting Marie and Matt, whom Stan had met several years ago.

Based on advice from various sources, we headed for the Wallowa mountain area, touted as the Swiss Alps of Oregon.  On the way:

along the Columbia River
Bonneville Dam
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fish ladders
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Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center
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windsurfers on the river, brrrr!
soft pillowy hills with basalt columns below
the Blue Mountains
and finally the surprising Wallowa Lake area.
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Remember "Heidi"?  The hills are alive with the sound of music......well, not really.  A spectacular place with snowy mountains towering over a jewel of a glacial lake.

Exiting the area was very exciting, Rt 3 up the Joseph River, our first major encounter with the tragic Nez Perce story.  We went up up up, down down down, and back up again.

Our first years out I could not have endured that much vertical change.  This was beautiful AND fun.

Back into Idaho after a stop in Asotin (aah sew tin, accent penultimate).  A lady there told me there was once a murder there and "the television" kept calling it "ah sot tin", which bugged her!  Keeping up with how place names are pronounced is my mission.  I try hard!

Asotin is a bedroom community for Lewiston, on the Idaho side of, yes....again, the Snake River. We spent the night in Winchester at a state park.  From there we toured through Nez Perce Reservation land through tens of miles of greens and yellows, barely a soul to be seen.  This excursion, it turns out, is the Camas Prairie area.  The fields and hills are a dreamy patchwork of greens and yellows; rye, wheat, oats, grasses, canola (the brilliant yellow).

We drifted along into the Nez Perce Reservation to Kamiah (pronounced Cammy-eye) and then up the Lolo Trail.  Route 12 follows the Lochsa River, liberally spattered with kayakers and rafters, nearly to Lolo Pass, at 5233 feet above sea level.  From there into Missoula, a new state and a new time zone. 
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It's hard to imagine scenery that can beat that of the last few weeks, but we are ever hopeful.  We are staying in good health and great spirits.  We miss home in so many ways, but are thrilled to be on this new trip in a new season.  May the vacationing hordes not destroy our faith in being able to find a good time in almost any circumstances.