Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Rock and a big suprise.

I kept my secret till about 8:30 PM when Linda walked into the camper before I could stop her. I had set the computer up with the card from Diane and Aldee and it was right there when she entered. The card and a CD, of pictures, came in the mail today so I snuck it and the computer into our camper. I figured if we didn’t have power where we camped we would have enough battery that Linda could see the pictures of the kids, Mom and Dad. It worked well, and she was very surprised.

Our camp site is on Banks Lake in Steamboat Rock State Park Washington. The drive was about two hours and twenty minutes of clearing skies and pink sunset. We’ve never been over here in Washington camping and with it being the end of October; we decided to explore Eastern Washington’s sage lands. We chose a site with full hookups so water and power won’t be a problem. Within about fifteen minutes we were all set up and the fire was blazing. I cooked a bag of sweet and sour stir fry, and baked (burnt) some cookies. We enjoyed the meal, warm around the fire, with the sound of coyotes yipping of in the distance. By 9:00 PM we were ready for bed. Tomorrow we will wake up and be able to see the area around our campsite. I feel we are in for a treat!

At about 7:30 AM I heard the camper door open and Linda said “I’m leaving the dog here, and the radio too.” The next thing I was aware of was the opening of the truck door to let the dog out for the day. Linda had gotten up, run with the dog, put the dog away and ran the rest of her four miles and all the time I slept like a baby snug in warmth of the bed. I rolled out of the sack and put the water on to boil. It wasn’t long before I had coffee and Linda’s tea ready, a fire in the fire ring, a book in my hand and the dog by my side. The sun was peeking over the edge of the rim of the plateau to the south. Our campsite was about 50 yards from the shore of Banks Lake and to the North was the mesa they call Steamboat Rock. This state park is way cool! When you arrive at the park you drive out onto a peninsula where the camp sites, a boat ramp, day use areas and hiking trails lay on its southern shore. We were a quarter mile from Steamboat Rock so when the sun splashed upon the rock cliffs we got quite a show. We drank our hot beverages by the morning fire as I entered the coordinates for some nearby geocaches. Today’s plan was to hike up on to Steamboat Rock find a couple caches and then come back down for lunch.

The trail up to the mesa is steep and rocky. It follows a vertical gap up where several rock faces give way to the path. The first cache was very easy to find, but it turned out to be a multi cache and the new coordinates we found were somewhere on the top of the rock. So we climbed higher! At the top of the final pitch the land spread out before us and we were amazed how big this formation was. Our GPS pointed us northeast and we walked about a half mile where we found the second part of the cache. The cache was a rock cairn with the ammo box hidden under the stack. We signed in and decided to walk a little further to the north edge and look down on the lake. I took some pictures and we turned around and hiked our way back to the steep trail we came up on.

At this point I noted that another cache was within 250 feet so I hiked around trying to find it. I was having trouble because I was walking on a steep rock slope and right next to me was the cliff face that towered up 80 to 100 feet, but I was not getting any closer to the cache. So that told me the cache was up. Linda sat down and I hiked up to the top of another rock cliff area hoping to find the cache. I scrambled quickly up to where I thought I should be following a super steep well worn trail. But the GPS showed that I was way off. Breathing hard and sweating like a pig, I hiked back down towards the original trail Linda and I had first hiked up on. This time I watched the GPS closely. Sure enough, about ten yards off the trail I found the cache. When I found it I realized my first mistake, the cliff formed a V and the area I was first looking was 250 feet on the other side of these rocks. Man what a goof ball. I signed in and quickly got back to Linda and Baka, who were waiting patiently back at the main trail. We scrambled down, walked back to camp and had lunch. The sun was warm, there was no breeze and I fell asleep in my chair completely beat from the hike.

The sun moved along towards the west and we rotated our chairs along with it. If we got into the shade at all it was real cool, so about every fifteen minutes we would do a little shift dance. At about 3:30 PM I took my shower and as soon as I got back to camp Linda left to take hers. Dinner was my responsibility and I had been planning it for about a week. John Jensen and I had eaten at the Fort Ground Café recently and I had a bite of his Gorgonzola pasta dish and boy it was good. I purchased all the ingredients that I thought made up the sauce and now all that was left was to put it all together and see if it turned out. Cooking everything took about an hour and fifteen minutes, but when I got finished I was very surprised how good it turned out. Linda said it was good enough to serve to guests, her seal of approval. We ate and just after finishing the meal the weather changed, the wind came up and we headed into the camper for the night. Tomorrow’s weather report doesn’t look good. The barometer in the camper is falling and we will probably wakeup to rain, just like we did two weeks ago at Heyburn State Park. But today was truly one of the most gorgeous fall days we have ever had camping.
When morning broke for the Bennett’s it was apparent that we were suppose to get up and get going. First off I set off the gas sensor and the four beep alarm started chirping. This signals that we should exit the camper because there is a gas leak somewhere near. We had the sensor go off up in Canada when the folks next to us were idling their truck prior to driving into town. The exhaust set it off and it quit as soon as I closed the window. Now I am going to be as politically correct as I can with this, but I think I set the little screamer off with a series of morning flatulations that anyone would have been proud of. It’s a small area up there in the bed and that is exactly where the sensor is located. As soon as I opened the window and the 60 mile and hour, 41 degree wind cleared the air, the little thing shut up. The second thing that got us going was the change in the weather, yesterday we basked in the sun under blue skies. Today, wind and cold are the obvious predictions from the morning weather folks.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hope this isn't the last!

Baka will not leave my side when I am packing the camper for a weekend trip. In fact he usually lays on the lawn and keeps his eye on the truck, hoping I will leave the door open to the back seat. Then when Linda arrives home all hell breaks out and he runs to her, then back to the truck about a million times. I had the day to mow the lawn and get the camper packed, we were on the road abut fifteen minutes after Linda got home from work. We drove south on I-95 to Plummer and the took a left towards St. Maries. We set up camp at Heyburn State Park. It's the first weekend of hunting season and our past experiences tell us that the state Park system is the way to go. Most other areas are like going to a big party where everyone is carrying a gun. Hunting, beer, guns and campfires always add up to noise and we tend to avoid those situations.

It was a easy set up and once we took a little walk we settled in around the fire for the evening. Linda a brought chicken and salad so we ate and enjoyed the warmth of the fire. We turned in about 8:30 PM and read till we fell asleep.

Next morning we built a fire and had coffee and coco as the sun warmed up the camp. We got our bikes ready and put Baka on the leash. The ride to Harrison was beautiful but it also was cold. In the shade our fingers froze but in the sun we were great. We were glad we wore the clothing we had, my only regret was not having gloves. In Harrison we hiked the bikes up into town and looked around. It looks like the burg is surviving, One Shot Charlies is still open and there is an art gallery above the place. We didn't add to the economy at all, but enjoyed the walk about. As we got ready to hit the trail back to Haybern, a group of riders pulled up. There was one familiar face in the bunch, Dan, of Vern and Dan, was riding the trail with a bunch of friends. It's a small world! We rode with him for about two miles but I could tell Linda wanted to pick up the pace so we said good by and pulled away. When Linda rides she rides consistently strong. I can just keep up when she is going at an easy pace. So the ride back was good but I got real tired. I stopped for a restroom break and took a picture of a deer, noticed my old NIC hat was missing and then plugged on back to camp. Baka was glad to see us when we arrived.

We took a break, I slept and Linda read. Then we took the dog to the Wildlife area across the bay and let him run. We cam back and I made a Dutch oven meal. We ate around the fire and were ready for bed by 8 PM. What an exciting group! We went to bed with the sky's clear and stars out and awoke during the middle of the night to rain falling on the camper top. Morning was cold and wet so we drank our morning drinks and packed up the wet items. We drove home hoping that we will be able to get out once again. This weekend can't be the last.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Dean goes to Seattle

It was a work trip and we did get to have some fun. Alex, Ryan and I drove to Seattle to the ACUI Region 14 conference at the U of W campus. On Friday night we got to go down town to the Sci Fi museum and have dinner. The meal was so so, but we had fun taking photos out side and touring the museum.

This is a shot of the Space Needle from below. Used the new camera and played with the F-stop, what ever that is.

This is the front of the Sci Fi museum. I liked the architecture of the building, but I guess it is very controversial.

Rolling stones gather no moss. MUST PUSH BIG MARBLE! (augh)

Statue of Alex, a different view point.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Up the River Again

Ya take the camper, the dog, add the Beckwiths and head up the Coeur d'Alene River to about Teddy Creek and you get a great weekend!

One of these pictures is of Fern Falls and the other is of Vail Falls, your guess is as good as mine.

I played with the shutter speed on the new camera and this is what I captured.

Caroline in the Roaming Chariot Camper. We had great sun and a whole lot of fun.