Thursday, October 29, 2015

Stark, beautiful in its own way: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

A place where NASA’s Apollo Astronauts came to learn about basic volcanic geology in 1969 as they prepared for their moon missions…how stark can that be? It’s hard to describe and my photography doesn’t do any justice, but then I don’t know if any pictures would do the trick. This is a park that you just want to experience. Walking in lava tubes, seeing landscape covered in lava from the most recent eruption about 2,000 yrs ago, and having a rocky campsite in the park, unprotected from wind, makes this a memorable visit. Add to that our first “ happy hour” with 2 other traveling families with young kids, and we are happy campers. 

"sky light" in the lava tunnels

short bike ride, as it was cold!

On our way here we stopped at the Oregon Trail Interpretative Center – in Baker City, OR – which has done a great job in telling the story of 300,000 people crossing the harsh Oregon Trail from the East in search of a better life, and the Native Americans they met and who lived here way before their arrival. We had to move on, but Tessa could have stayed in this interactive museum for a long time.

Before we know it, we will be melting in the Mexican sun again, so we decided we could gear up for some extra snow/cold, and added Yellowstone to our itinerary before their campsites and roads will be closing around November 2nd (we are getting a lot of mileage out of our $80 annual National Park pass!). Tessa got excited to see the little snow on the deserted campground of Lewis Lake, at altitude of 7,800 feet. More about Yellowstone next time.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

relaxing in Oregon

Tessa has been playing for a couple of hours at the playground and is now watching two young men changing the license plates on their car, Tod is doing a short project, Betsy is parked next to a great park and I have found a lovely library to work in. We are having a relaxing day, just drove 85 miles today to a small town in Oregon, Baker City.

We spent last night at the RV parking space of a casino (a first for us, as we mainly stay in state parks or forests). Hey, it was free parking, we were tucked in between massive Class A motor homes, and we got to do a few things we don't do very often. Tod went to see a late night movie in the casino/resort, lost a few dollars at the casino, and he and Tessa had breakfast, while I just snoozed away a little longer.

Our last visit in Washington State was to Mount Rainier National Park, and we lucked out again with the weather. Another great park, well worth the visit (sorry the pictures don't do much justice to the park).

Tomorrow we will be heading to our next state, Boise in Idaho.

camp ground just outside the park

dry river bed near Mt. Rainier

taking it slow in Baker City, finally got to do some yoga

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Biking in Vancouver, BC

With Betsy parked next to Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, we decided to take out our bikes and discover Vancouver by bike. It was a gorgeous day, and right over the bridge is Stanley Park. We had fun exploring the park, admiring the scenery and history, and eating some yummies on the waterfront. Vancouver, we will be back by bike!

On our way south to Port Townsend to see my sister Corine and Jak, we visited our dear friends Liz and Kathy in La Conner, and got to stay on a berry farm. Betsy did her first ferry ride from Coupeville to Port Townsend.

view from Lions Gate bridge

the bridge we just biked over

bikers (left) and pedestrian (right side) friendly

the Vancouver Yacht Club

back in the US on Birch Bay

on ferry to Port Townsend

art with tante Corine

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fall is here and a wonderful Canadian Thanksgiving!

A road trip with gorgeous roads, fall leaves, and a great Thanksgiving weekend with my Canadian relatives in the Okanagan Valley in BC....really it doesn't get any better!

Betsy parked in the cute town of Leavenworth, WA

The border crossing near Oroville. On the way to Penticton, BC we passed
countless boutique wineries

Tessa having a blast with her cousins

Okanagan Valley is just gorgeous, we can imagine why my cousins love it here!

Courtesy photo of Jak: meet part of  the de Boer & Marsh ladies

Lightening lake at Manning Provincial park, BC

Friday, October 9, 2015

Gorgeous Crater and Diamond Lake

The drive between Lassen National Park and Crater Lake National Park was as scenic as we hoped our road trip would be. Endless miles of Wild West beauty, with not much civilization in between. Crater Lake's camp ground was already closed for the season, and the lodge on the main park road will close a week after our visit. While this park sees an average annual snow fall of 44 feet per year, and already had some snow storms, we just walked in light clothes.

The park ranger informed us that Diamond lake was well worth a visit, and that the camp ground was open for one more month. Wow, are we glad we went there. Prime spot, on the lake, with no neighbors close by, an inspiration for the cabin that Tod would like to build some day.  The bikes came out for a partial trip around the lake next day

Wednesday morning we left early, to make our way to the border of Oregon and Washington State, finding another state park on the Colombia River. We passed through Bend, OR  (not much charm IMHO), but did manage to spend some money at the Columbia Outlet store. Tod just parked Betsy in the parking lot of Trader Joes (you gotta love a smaller RV), and we loaded our fridge up with another week worth of food.

After being on the road for a week, we can say hat we like traveling with a RV so far. Sure, we are consuming quite some fuel (like 8 miles/gallon!): dealing with our grey water waste  (for shower/dishes) is a bit more challenging because we are mostly dry camping: Betsy is much smaller than Bliss and has no privacy to speak off. But it's easy, and you get to see great landscapes. You see something you like, you just stop,  park, and enjoy! No wonder we see so many RV's on the roads we travel. When you do this outside main travel season, you get to enjoy lots of beauty without the crowds.  With little miss Social leading the way, we still get to meet new people too.