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Two for the Road - 2009

Mary Ellen's Trip Notes

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MARY ELLENs TRIP LOG
PERSPECTIVE AND COMMENTS
2009 NORTHWESTERN USA TOUR
8/19 8:30 PM pulled out of the driveway. We overnighted at a Wal-Mart Supercenter, Fredericksburg, Maryland

8/20 Cumberland, Maryland: Drove thru; looks like a neat old town. We overnighted at a Flying J truck stop in Spiceland, Indiana, just east of Indianapolis.

8/21 Eldon, Iowa: the American Gothic (Painting) house is located here. We overnighted at a Wal-Mart, Oskaloosa, Iowa.

8/22 Oskaloosa, Iowa: Breakfast at the Jaarsma Bakery. Drove to Pella, Iowa; beautiful country farms, corn and soybean fields. Walked around Pella; cute town, a little Holland. North Platte, Nebraska. A sad little town. It has the worlds largest railroad yard and hobos. The home of William Buffalo Bill Cody. We overnighted at the Wal-Mart Supercenter there.

8/23 Cheyenne, Wyoming: Stopped at the Sierra Trading Post outlet store. Overnight at a Flying J truck stop, Rawlins, Wyoming.

8/24 Thermopolis, Wyoming: The drive had miles of nothing, but had radio stations and listened to Rush Limbaugh. We arrived at Thermopolis, Wyoming. We drove around and viewed the hot springs and a herd of Buffalos. The hot springs area are quite a bit run down.

8/25 Thermopolis, Wyoming: Went to the hot springs, soaked and played on the (water) slide for about 3 hours. Met an elderly lady, Katie Jane Vines, that lives here. We talked with her in the pool for about an hour. Quite a character, widowed, wealthy (Oil wells) and had lots of great stories about her life. On the way back to the RV park, a car towing a boat in front of us, had the boat fall off the boat trailer onto the middle of the road. Everybody (including E.V.) stopped to help. We thought that if this happened in New Jersey, people would just drive by.

8/26 Cody, Wyoming: Arrived and stayed at a Wal-Mart Supercenter. It looked like an RV park with about 20 RVs. Rode around the town; found it touristy, very hot. We did not go to the Rodeo, which was just a exhibition/show for tourists.

8/27 Left Cody and drove to Yellowstone National Park and set up at the Fishing Bridge campground (For hard sided RVs only) for 2 nights.

8/28 We drove around the park. We visited the Old Faithful geyser, many other geysers, lakes, herds of Buffalos and Coyotes. We later had dinner at the Grant Village restaurant.

8/29 We drove thru the park heading out. We stopped several times for photo opportunities (waterfalls) and later we arrived at the Mammoth campground. A cloudy day, took a few photos around the Mammoth Springs area. We stopped for a coffee. E.V. freaked out; $2.46 for a small cup. Maybe next time he will look at the price before he buys something. He filled out a comment card with: O.M.G.! $2.46 for a cup of coffee? W.T.F.!.

8/30 We left Yellowstone and drove north towards Glacier National Park. We overnighted at an Interstate rest stop in Montana. It was very nice, big and not busy. In Montana, a lot of gas stations have tiny Casinos in the back. The weather was great, 50: 80.

8/31 Kalispell, Montana: Overnighted at the Rocky Mountain Hi RV park for 2 nights. We drove around the town a bit.

9/1 Glacier National Park, Montana: Pretty, not great. The haze in the mountains is not good for photos. Kalispell is a cute town with a historic downtown and newer sections.

9/2 Sandpoint, Idaho: We drove there along scenic country roads. Sandpoint has a population of 6,835, a nice small outdoorsy town on a huge lake with beaches, boating, also bike and walking paths, with downhill snow skiing in the winter. We had dinner at a cute restaurant, home cooking and lots of homemade pies. We both had the special turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, mixed vegetables, cornbread and a slice of pie, all for $8.50, very good. Overnight was at the Wal-Mart Supercenter.

9/3 Omak, Washington: Overnighted at a Wal-Mart there. A small lumber town, lots of low class people. We came across a guy driving a stolen car with a gal and begging for gas money.

9/4 We drove across the state of Washington thru the Northern Cascades National Park. I slept, but EV said it was beautiful and took photos. We arrived at a campground in Birch Bay, Washington for 3 nights (about 6 miles from Canada).

9/5 We drove to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. It took 1 hour to get through Customs (it seemed like 5 hours). The suburbs of Vancouver are beautiful, English looking houses with tall hedges (much taller than a 2 story house). Downtown Vancouver is nice. We walked down to Water Street in Gastown. Shops, coffee shops, tree lined streets, antique car show was going on. Huge passenger ships at the pier. The Tim Horton donut shops (a chain restaurant) are all over Canada, we tried them, not that good.

9/6 We stayed in all day to rest. It poured rain all day. I felt sick in the morning from being dizzy and slept for the rest of the day. EV stayed on the computer.

9/7 We departed Birch Bay and arrived at Marysville, Washington to overnight at a Wal-Mart. We unhooked and went up to the Seattle Outlet Mall which was very crowded. It took a long time to find a parking space. The mall was more crowded than a Black Friday. The people in the area are very rude. I got pushed a couple of times, with no apologies. Also in the Wal-Mart, a woman pushed her shopping cart in front of me while I was waiting on one of the checkout lines. The cashier agreed, the people are rude here, she was from Idaho. Later, we had dinner at the Tuliup Indian Casino. The buffet was very good with a large variety.

9/8 Bellevue, Washington: We set up at the Travel Inn RV park for a week. We took a tour of the Boeing Aircraft factory. Its a huge building that covers about 75 football fields. Walking around the outside of the building, you would cover 2 miles.

9/9 Seattle, Washington: We went to the main REI Store in Seattle, visited a nice mall in Bellvue, lunch at P.F. Changs (a chain restaurant), overall its a very nice and ritzy town. We had dinner at my cousins Clarine and Richs home, a good time.

9/10 Seattle, Washington: We went to the Pike Place Market in downtown, really neat. Later we took the Monorail cross town to the Space Needle (1962 Worlds Fair) and visited the Music Experience Museum: OK.

9/11 Mount Rainer National Park: We drove down to the park, about 75 miles away. It was nice, later we had lunch in their Lodge. On the return leg, we passed through a town called Eatonville. The road signed left a lot to be desired, so we had to make a U-Turn. In doing so at a driveway of a closed storage facility, a posted sign said NO U-TURN IN OUR DRIVEWAY, THIS MEANS YOU STUPID.

9/12 Snoqualmie Falls: With Clarine and Rich, we visited the falls and took a few photos. Then a lunch at a 50s style diner and then back to the RV for chatting into the night.

9/13 Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington : With Clarine and Rich, we visited Boeings Museum of Flight. It was really nice and big. A lunch afterwards at Claim Jumpers (chain restaurant), good. Later we went hiking in the wood at the abandoned Coal Creek mining operations.

9/14 Bellevue, Washington: For a day of rest. EV went to Frys Electronics and I did the wash. Later we went over to Clarine and Richs for dinner.

9/15 Olympic National Park, Washington: About 10 miles west of Port Angeles enroute to the campground, an accident happened in front of us. A truck camper, a city bus with about 15 school kids and a small car had a head-on collision. Only minor injuries, but it was a 4 hour wait before the road was opened. A half mile away, another car was not paying attention and smashed into the rear of the car(s) stopped on the road waiting to go through. After hour we unhooked the pickup truck from the RV and left the scene. While we were driving several miles around the accident detour, we encountered another accident, a huge logging truck full of logs made a too sharp turn around a corner and fell over. We didnt know if we both could fit through, but eventually we were able to do so.

9/16 Olympic National Park, Washington: We went to the Sol Duc Hot Springs, it was raining the whole way. Just a drive through the woods, no photos. Later we went to Hurricane Ridge, a couple of miles up the road we were into the clouds. Turned around and went into the town of Port Angeles. We went into a cowboy (western) store were the lady recommended a Mexican restaurant, which was very good and busy.

9/17 We departed the campground and headed west to the Oregon coast. We stopped at the Kalaloch Beach in Olympic National Park for lunch time. We walked the beach, lots of washed up trees on the beach. Good photos. Later we overnighted at a Wal-Mart in Aberdeen, Washington.

9/18 Portland, Oregon: We checked into Roamers Rest RV park about 5 miles outside Portland. A very nice area, lots of green.

9/19 We south to an Outlet Mall in Woodburn and Frys Electronics store in Wilsonville.

9/20 We visited Mount St. Helens National Monument (a volcano, now dormant) after a long 2 hour ride. Not worth it. EV liked it.

9/21 Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon: We drove to the mountain and visited the Timberline Lodge on the side of the mountain (a dormant volcano). This was the location were parts of the movie, The Shining starring Jack Nicholson was filmed. We had a buffet lunch at the Lodge, very good.

9/22 Downtown Portland: We visited Powells City of Books: HUGE! Later we went to the Fabric Depot: HUGE! Later dinner at P.F. Changs in Bridgeport Village, a really nice shopping area, classy stores, nice buildings, flowers and shrubs.

9/23 Departed the Portland area and drove to South Beach State Park campground on the Oregon coast near Newport. We tried the Abbys Pizza (a chain restaurant in Washington and Oregon) for dinner, very good.

9/24 We visited Agate Beach; no agates are to be found. Very windy, no fun. We went to Fred Meyers store (a chain department store) like a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

9/25 North Bend (Coos Bay), Oregon: We stayed at The Mill Casino RV Park for 3 days. It is a nice place; we had Wi-Fi, Cable TV, workout room, pool, hot tubs. The towns are boring and VERY windy all the time.

9/26 We sat at the pool, sunny and the wind was blocked by the buildings. Used the gym.

9/27 We sat at the pool, sunny and the wind was blocked by the buildings. Used the gym.

9/28 Crater Lake National Park, Oregon: We drove all day to get to Crater Lake and got there at 5 PM to find out that the campground closed that day for the season! I felt like we were Wally World! We stayed in the campground anyway. E.V. was so mad; until I pointed out that we saved $25. We drove up to see the lake before dark.

9/29 A good thing because the next day when we went up. It was snowing so bad we couldnt even see the lake. We sat in the Lodge for about and hour and a half, but it did not clear up so we left. We then hooked-up and drove to Grants Pass, Oregon and stayed at a Wal-Mart Supercenter for the night. It looked like a homeless camp. People sleeping in old cars, begging for gas money and old beat-up RVs.

9/30 We drove to the coast of California. Very pretty, nice weather. Arrived in Eureka and stayed 2 nights at the County Fairground RV Park for $20/night with full hook ups and free Wi-Fi.

10/1 Humbolt Redwood State Park, California: Enroute down the California coast, we stopped at a tiny town, Loleta, since they have a small cheese factory. We sampled all the cheeses and bought some. In the state park, there were huge beautiful trees. It has a nice museum at the information center. We went to search for the 6th largest tree (formally the 2nd largest) in the world. Found it. Later, we stopped at a gift shop and EV bought a chunk of redwood to carve. I want a tree carving. Stopped at a Marie Callenders restaurant (a chain) at a sale of freshly bake pies for $6.99 each. We bought an apple and blueberry.

10/2 Lassen Volcano National Park, California: We drove eastward though Redding to stay at the Child Meadow campground outside the national park for a couple of nights.

10/3 Lassen Volcano National Park, California: Drove up to the summit. Very cold and windy, a little snow. A neat place, but too cold to hike and explore.

10/4 Drove southeastward to Reno, Nevada. On US 395, 11 miles north of the California/Nevada state line, we spotted a tree that was full of shoes on the east side of the road. We went back for a closer look and saw that people took their old shoes, tied the laces together and threw it up the tree to hang on the limbs. About a 100 pairs of shoes were on the tree. We took a few photos. Continuing onward and stopped at the Grand Sierra Resort Casino (Formally the Reno Hilton) RV Park to stay 3 nights. Really nice. We just relaxed, rode around, went to Circus-Circus, played $5 in slots and I left with $5 and EV left with 36 cents.

10/7 Departed Reno and headed eastward on I-80 through Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Overnighted in Wells, Nevada at a Flying J truck stop.

10/8 Continued eastward on I-80 and later we overnighted in Rock Springs, Wyoming at a Flying J truck stop.

10/9 Continuing eastward on I-80, we stopped at the Sierra Trading Post outlet store in Cheyenne, Wyoming again. EV napped and I was in the store. A blizzard started so we went to a Wal-Mart Supercenter to stay overnight. It was freezing cold, we both had to buy sweatpants.

10/10 We woke up to 6 inches of snow, but it was melting quickly, so we left about 4 PM and headed south and quickly arrived in Aurora, Colorado (just east of Denver) to stay at a Flying J truck stop overnight.

10/11 We woke up to a dead RV coach battery and the generator would not start. We drove to a Wal-Mart Supercenter about a mile away. The batteries got recharged and the generator started. We got Wal-Mart to change the oil changed on the RV. Then EV changed the oil in the generator. Later that afternoon, the RV coach batteries died again. So we drove to an RV park for the night and everything was charged up.

10/12 We departed Aurora and headed eastward again. Overnight along the route in Hays, Kansas.

10/13 Overnighted in Boonville, Missouri at a rest area along the Interstate. Rain, drizzle and fog.

10/14 Overnighted in Indianapolis, Indiana at a Flying J truck stop. Rain, drizzle and fog.

10/15 Overnighted in Cambridge, Ohio at a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Rain, drizzle and fog.

10/16 Overnighted in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Rain, drizzle and fog.

10/17 Arrived back home about 1:30 PM. Whew!