Sept 3-5, catching up

Trip Start Aug 31, 2010
Trip End Sep 19, 2010

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Where I stayed
Ponderosa State Park

Flag of United States  , Idaho
Sunday, September 5, 2010

Thurs Sept 2nd
Glen:  After a fun morning at some campground, eating breakfast in the camper and mountain biking, we spent most of the day traveling (East? Maybe North, I don‘t know) to this other campground, where we‘re at now. (Maybe you can figure out where we’re at if I told you the nearby village had a ice rink right downtown! Neat. But no one sells hockey sticks… I‘m not joking.) It’s worth mentioning now that Cindi plans these trips and I basically just agree to come along. Therefore, I don’t always know where I’m at, or where I’m going. We starting in Reno and we’re going North and East. You get the general idea. (She told me there’s be mountain biking, and maybe ice hockey playing, so I agreed to come.)

The highway we took to get here was really windy in spots, and sometimes way up on the cliff. (Hmm, windy, as in too much wind, is spelled the same way as windy, as in too many curves… that’s odd.) Those were clearly mountain roads, so that’s surely a good clue as to where I’m at. So far we’ve got, camping, ice rink and some mountain roads (that were windy).

We crossed a damned up river and climbed a road that gave me the heebie-jeebies (quite seriously). I was in the passenger seat, there was no road shoulder, and there was no guardrail, and it was a long ways down. And the RV is not exactly “Porsche-like“. (I should have taken a photo but I was “busy”.) Clearly the idea of plummeting off a mountain road, into a gorge filled with water from a damned -up river, is upsetting to me.)

We saw a farm technology graveyard along the route (old farm equipment, etc) along the route, and a lineup of old pickup trucks. A neat slice of Americana. Getting those pictures took four turn-a-rounds, which means we saw it at 60 mph, and decided it would make a good picture. We had to stop and turn around and go back and turn around and then take the photo. And then immediately see another good photo opportunity in the same farm field, and repeat it again. It was actually me who really wanted to turn around, because you only travel the road you don’t know, to a destination you’re unsure of, once in life. (Actually, in my case, this happens all the time.)

We’re getting great use out of our GPS. Cindi even approves of this one. GPS’s are great. They just tell you to turn left and right, and you don’t even have to pay attention to where you’re going. I bet it’s appeal to me doesn't surprise any of you.

Cindi:  p.s. That was Hell's Canyon I was driving through that freaked Glen out.

We pulled into McCall after dark again.  This was the evening of the 2nd.  Fortunately they had a space at the state park in town.  It's a nice park, right on the lake, very nice camp spots with power hookups, showers and wi-fi.  Unfortunately they were completely full for the rest of the Labor day weekend.  But they told us they had another, rustic, campground on the north end of the lake, so we went there.  It was quite nice.  We got the bikes down and went for a ride into town.  This was 19 miles round trip, along the west side of the lake.  It's a very nice little resort town, with a ski hill similar to Mt Rose, a hockey rink (5000 people and they have a hockey rink, and Reno can't even pull off a rink!), shops and restaurants.  I was scoping out all the for sale signs on the lake houses as we drove by.  Definitely a bargain if you don't mind the smallness and being 1.5 hours from a city (Boise.)  After the bike ride we had dinner on the grill.  (My favorite meal these days: chipotle black bean burger (from Costco), pepperjack cheese, bbq sauce and an over easy fried egg. Glen substitutes a buffalo burger for the bean burger.  But either way, Mmmmm)

Saturday Sept 4th.


We got up at a more respectable time today (9am) and had some cereal in the camper. (If we didn’t confess it yesterday, we got up at 11am.) Another beautiful day in (so I’m told) McCall, ID. We stayed in the rustic campground at the North end of lake “something-or-another” in McCall. It was just 100 ft walk across the camp ground loop to a winding river that feeds the lake, so we pumped up the inflatable kayak and headed out. It took about 2 and a half hours to reach the lake and return. It was a beautiful trip, filled with thoughts of how I might put some kind of propeller system on the kayak. (Even bike pedals with an old-timey paddle-wheel seemed an improvement. )

Back at camp we had a PB and J, and decided to go mountain bike riding. Just West of town there is a nice Mtn bike park with various trails for various skill levels. Ultimately we had a good time, but not all the trails were perfectly well marked. I got off trail at one point and figured it out (I had the map, which was not great, but helped). Cindi did not have a map, but was only going to do a short loop and go back to the camper and work on this blog. She got off the trail and was rescued by a nice couple with a truck who brought her back to our meeting point. (We had walkie-talkies, which proved quite helpful, but not helpful enough. We needed the kind with the GPS and radio locating built in. Hint hint... Christmas list)

We finished off with a fun switchback trail to the packing lot. There are no pictures of any of this, but imaging a tired, filthy Cindi who biked about 300% more than she intended. We were both in need of a shower, but our campground is rustic, so we paid $3 each to have an old man douse us with his garden hose. He said his dogs liked it. Ok, that’s not true. In fact we paid $3 each to shower at the main campground. $3 was never so wisely spend. (I believe I exclaimed “deal!” when the attendant stated the price.

Off to dinner. Maybe Italian or pizza (which I guess is also Italian). Were hitting the road tomorrow… to another place, with another name.

Cindi's take on the same events: 
So the night of the 3rd was uneventful.  Right across from our campsite was a sandy beach, so in the morning we inflated the kayak and went out for a paddle.  We were on this long windy river/lake (river or lake?  it was narrow and windy like a river, but wasn't moving, and fed into the big Payette Lake.)  Anyway it was a great paddle, about 2.5 hours round trip down to the main lake and back. It was early afternoon when we got back so after some quick sandwiches we headed out for mountain biking.  This was a park that was a joint venture between the Federal and State Park services, and the local mountain bike association.  They had trails set up for easy, intermediate and advanced riding.  I figured if nothing else I would learn what was considered easy or hard.  I thought I might do a half hour then go blog in the RV while Glen kept going.  But after getting lost a few times and finding fun trails, 2.5 hours later I couldn't believe I was still going.  Lesson learned: Make sure you know where you're going!  5 minutes downhille the wrong way is 20 minutes back up!  The second time I got lost on a poorly marked spot, I ended up so far away that a nice couple that had just finished ATV'ing took pity on me and drove me a couple miles back up to where I was supposed to meet Glen.  I was very grateful for that, because that road was the rockiest road I'd ever seen, like a cobblestone street.  They knew right where to take me as they had rescued other people in my situation before.  (the trails really were not marked well and the map was wrong.)  The last run down we took a series of switchbacks, banked like you are doing motocross.  I was a little scared at first but did the last 4 without putting my foot down.  So all in all, I did a lot better than I expected. (Yes, Tom, having a good bike pays off.)  I can't believe my butt isn't more sore, but maybe it's this new bike.  But I don't love tons of climbing!  I definitely can see in my future getting a season pass to a ski hill in summer so I can ride up and bike down!  Anyway, we really needed a shower after that so we went to the full service campground and paid them $3 apiece for a shower.  The best $6 we ever spent!

Speaking of which, our average nightly stay is under $20 so this camping thing is a pretty good deal. (We won't amortize the cost of the RV and the extra gas we spend hauling around a house.  Let's just leave that part out!) Sunday Sept 5
Cindi:  After our thid night in town (the 4th), we left to head north.  We stayed longer in McCall than expected, but there was a lot to do.  We're still kind of getting the feel of this traveling kind of vacation.  I guess the lesson we learned a while back in Europe was you can't do one hotel a night and see anything.  You need to do 2-3 nights in one place, or you're just spending your whole time traveling.  That seems to be the case here too.

We're on the way now to Couer d'Alene.  That's another lake town, getting pretty north.  (We just passed the 45th parallel which is half way between the north pole and the equator.)  I've picked up some of those small local newspapers to read along the way, mostly to laugh.  There's quite the survivalist / libertarian bent around here, and these papers are so far right there is nothing to say in response except to laugh.

We just stopped in the town of Riggins, about a half hour north of McCall.  This is the gateway to whitewater rafting on the Salmon River.  The gas station / corner store was great, one of those old mixtures of everything from a deli to groceries, drugs, camping supplies, drinks, you name it.  Those stores are great.  I always figured they are overpriced but we got a soap holder for half what we paid at the sporting goods store in Reno.  Anyway, it seems we're following the river through deep canyons all the way up.  The trees have gone, now it's grassy mountains.  Like a lot of the west, a lot of the country actually, there's a lot of nothing in between towns.

We will post more tomorrow after we arrive in Coeur d'Alene.  
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