Here and there...

Trip Start Jun 11, 2012
Trip End Sep 24, 2012

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Where I stayed
At the Keefe Ranch

Flag of United States  , Idaho
Monday, September 24, 2012

Eastward Ho!

Lynnie and I got an early start from Lake Roosevelt on Friday.  The CG was a surprise find.  We had been looking for a while and tried to find one we spotted on a sign by the road, the “Seton Grove” CG.  Not to be found, unfortunately.  The sign was the only sign, so to speak.

We drove over the bridge below the Grand Coulee Dam and proceeded through the small town of Grand Coulee.  It’s pretty barren in this area, with lots of volcanic rock and sparse trees.  The dam itself is huge and quite impressive.

Just a few miles from town, we came upon a federal campground called Spring Valley.  I’m guessing that was the name of the area prior to the flooding caused by the dam.  There was apparently a glacial lake here too in ancient times.  We found a relatively level spot for five dollars for the night.  Lots of trees in the CG, but the grass was brown due to the absence of rain in the area.  We had a dinner of chicken salad from the night before.  It includes grapes, walnuts, chicken and a dressing of mayonnaise.  After dinner we took a walk along the beach.  There’s a large area cordoned off in the water there for swimming.  A boat launching area is present too.  It looks like a great place to spend a few days of family camping.  We finally saw a few birds, including one of our favorites, the quail.  I really enjoy their cry.  It reminds me of our time spent in the Arizona deserts.

The next morning we headed out to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a distance of about a hundred and forty miles.  We met our friends, Lisa and Jim, at the local Costco.  We had already gassed up Shorty and were ready for lunch.  They picked us up and drove us to a restaurant they like in the old downtown area.  We had a great visit and got caught up on all the news, including what’s up with their sons, our God-sons.  

They took us back to our rig and we proceeded up US95 to the Sandpoint area.  Our nephew, niece and grand niece live here.  We got set up before TJ and Viv arrived from work and school, respectively.  TJ is a medical image tech at a local Orthopedic Clinic.  Viv, age five, is a kindergartner.  Both were happy to see us.  Viv is a chatty, precocious kid with lots to share.  She and Lynnie continue to “bond” the more often we see them.  

Before we arrived, we took a walk around their place which is twelve acres in the woods not far from town.  They have fruit trees, bees, chickens and a great vegetable garden.  It brought back memories of our place in the Helena Valley from times in the “dark ages.”
They have made several improvements since we were here last year.  A wood-heated hot tub and new deck add much to the enjoyment of the fine summer days...and evenings.  Viv keep Lynnie thinking fast and fully occupied.  TJ and I discussed a wide range of topics and enjoyed a bit of word play, which is always fun for me.

A bit later, Amy got home from work.  We visited a bit and then left for the Blue Heron, a combo-restaurant-gas station, for dinner.  The food we had consisted mainly of seafood which was very good.  No, so far I didn’t get “gas”.  After visiting a bit more at the house, Lynnie and I retired to our house.  Viv had crashed in the car almost immediately after dinner.  The long and early days of a bus student had taken it’s toll.

Today, Saturday, we plan to go into Sandpoint and go to the Farmers Market.  More on that later.

Off to town we went.  Unfortunately, Amy had to work today, so the three of us went.  The Farmers Market was a real beauty, especially considering that the town is only about seven thousand folks.  There was lots of locally grown produce, as well as bread, cookies and candy.  The crafts were also local and included woodworkers and one gal who made beautiful handmade brooms and baskets.  The people were interesting too, so I took a few shots of them.  Live music was provided by a great country singer.  TJ sang along with most of the songs, so now I have a new “respect” for him...  Lynnie picked up some green beens for Saturday’s dinner and also some Italian Prunes for snacks on the road.

Viv’s friend Stella and her mom and little brother showed up, so, of course, Viv was delighted.  We sat near the fountain while they ran around vigorously and played.  The fountain is a regular gathering place on hot days.  It was only in the mid seventies, so just a few dogs and brave individuals approached the streaming water.

Stella came with us and we moved on to City Beach for Lunch.  It’s located right off the main drag.  It’s a nice sandy beach on the lake.  We lunched over cheese, crackers and some great jalapeņo chips.  Stella’s family showed up later and we had a nice visit.  
I was using my phone when I came across my GeoCache App.  There were two caches right in the area, so off we went.  One was at Barbara’s Bench, right overlooking the beach.  TJ, with his eagle’s vision spotted the first, the smallest I’ve ever seen.  The tiny log was full, so I logged it on the internet.  The second cache was also on a bench about a quarter of a mile away.  The girls were excited and really enjoyed the search.  It’s great to have the kids along.  They make the search much more interesting.  Again, “Eagle Eye” TJ found the cache.  Viv signed her name on the log and I filled in the date.  Great fun!

We then walked down to the main area of town and tried to find a cache on the bridge, but to no avail.  Lots of false readings on the phone and all didn’t help.  We finally gave up and walked back to the car.

We got back to the house and those who wished took naps.  Lynnie and Viv hung out and enjoyed the remainder of the afternoon.  When Amy arrived, Lynnie gave Viv her gift, an “Ariel” costume for Halloween.  She tried it on and looked stunning.  I got a few shots of her outside.  I think you’ll enjoy them.

Dinner consisted of “Dead Jack” salmon on the barby, green beens, olive-herb bread from the Farmers Market, dipping sauce and dessert.  We had brought some of the blackberries from Lisa’s and given them to TJ.  He prepared a cobbler that morning, so we enjoyed it with fresh cream.  After TJ picked some Hungarian Purple Chilies from the garden and three of us tried them out.  He claimed that they weren’t that hot, but I noticed that both he and Amy both turned a nice shade of Red and danced around a bit in their chairs after a couple of bites.  I, of course, ate only to the bearable level of discomfort.  With my good tan, no red showed up.  No winners were declared, but Amy deserves an Honorable Mention, since she was forced to drink the Milk Antidote.

All in all it was  a great meal with wonderful fellowship.  We didn’t get back to the coach until nearly eleven.  Not a record, but above-average for a couple of “Endless Weekenders.”

Lynnie decided that she’s ready to go home.  We left the Keefe’s on Sunday morning and headed north on US 95 to Bonner’s Ferry.  Our goal was to camp at Swan Lake in our beloved Montana.  We drove through beautiful forested scenery with rolling mountains along the Kootenai River, getting one glimpse of the falls.  Entering the time change back to Mountain Daylight Time, Lynnie reminded me that I’d best pick up speed, since we’d just lost an hour.  (I hate that!)

We found our campground easily and found a nice semi-level site.  It’s a Forest Service Campground operated by a contracted service.  There were few folks here, partially due to the amount of smoke in the area.  We got signed up and paid and then took a walk through the two loops.  There’s a nice stream and all the facilities one needs.  

With dinner approaching, we retired to the coach, as the temperature started to drop with day’s end.  We had one of our all time favorites, Popcorn.  Lynnie makes it in the air popper and uses olive oil on it.  I, of course, add a goodly amount of cayenne to add to the flavor.

It was a very quiet night,  so we both slept soundly.  Lynnie is still sawing away as I type this.  We’ll be back home in a few hours and I’ll edit the pictures and post this.  Thanks for traveling along.
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cherie on

loved seeing the pictures of Vivian. Sounds like a great time in Sandpoint!

mike on

A great posting for the end of yet another great trip by the "endless weekenders". I really appreciate your people shots. I used to make slide shows of shots I took of people I didn't know...the ones who seem to be characters. I should take you along on our trips to do the always have great dinners. I hope you are publishing up your blogs for future reading. Anyway, welcome home! for awhile anyway

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