Friday, June 23, 2017

2017 Southwest CHRPA Trek - Homeward Bound!

NOTE: This post for the end of our Spring 2017 SW trip is very late due to poor internet while enroute and then a hectic and emotional May-June!  (I was waiting to add the photographs!)

Click HERE to see all the Trip Home Photos OR HERE for the WHOLE trip!

Friday, 3.24.17
Tucson to Page, AZ
401 miles

          What a beautiful day of driving!!!  Might even make me think Arizona isn’t so ordinary a state after all! 
          We pulled out of Camp Shalom at 7:20am, prepared for a little Tucson morning traffic, but amazingly by 7:50 we were north of town and heading for Phoenix!  Smooth sailing!  Again, the interstate between Arizona’s two largest cities is ablaze in yellow – golden wildflowers line the road for miles.  Quick stop at the rest area south of Phoenix and then on through town. 
Yellow-orange patches dot the

Traffic wasn’t too bad, but then again, I wasn’t driving!!  Followed the signs to I-17 and just kept cruising.  By 10:15 we were stopping in the tiny town of Anthem – a beautiful setting of green hillsides dotted with saguaros and patches of yellow.  Gas, coffee, and then I take the wheel for the stretch north toward Flagstaff. 
          We climb out of the Phoenix basin steadily toward Flagstaff, more gorgeous hillsides of yellow, orange desert mallow, and saguaros.  At the top of a long pull, we crest to a broad mesa of brown grasslands and far reaching vistas!  Occasionally we catch of glimpse of Mt. Humphries’ 12,000’  in the far distance near Flagstaff.   Long drop into Camp Verde where we stayed several years ago for a quick explore of Sedona.  We still plan to return to hike more of the Sedona area, but not this trip!  At the top of the hill above Sedona, we pull over for a rest stop and a second chance for me to make contact with the Panguitch CG we hope to stay at in Utah.  At that point, Rick takes the wheel again.  Good move on my part!  We instantly pass a sign saying ‘Entering Winter Driving Conditions’!!  And we did find snow between Sedona and Flagstaff – a steady 5-6” along the roadside.  But the highway was totally clear!  It was beautiful with the pine trees, elevation 6,000 feet for much of the way. 
Just north of Flagstaff
          Last part of drive into Flagstaff just gorgeous with Mt. Humphries dominating the horizon. We get onto Hwy 89 north, stop for gas, and then a LONG stop at a Subway for lunch.  Long because two huge groups of families on vacation were ahead of us.  But we waited patiently!  Ate standing in the sunshine by the truck. 
          Then on to Page, 125 miles to the north!  First part of road is rimmed by mountains with snowy tops, pines, and Joshua trees.  Past Waputki Ruins NM and we enter a broad grassland plateau with the Painted Desert in the distance to the NE.  From Cameron and the junction to Grand Canyon South Rim, the road is bordered by towering red cliffs to the east.  We are on Navajo Nation lands at this point.  We traveled this road several years ago in leaving the South Rim bound for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (Hwy 89A).  This time we plan to stay on Hwy 89 toward Page and circle the north side of the Vermillion Cliffs NM. 
          What a surprise we found at the junction between the two!  89A turns west and follows at river level below the cliffs.  The main hwy 89 veers sharply UP and OVER those red cliffs we have been following and thru a narrow gap cut in the rock.  Amazing views to the west, but not in a position to get good pictures there.  (No room in the one scenic pulloff for a truck and trailer!)  Once through the ‘slot’ we stayed on a high plateau and a gentle downhill run all the way to Page! 
          Page is NOT the flat desert area we both envisioned next to the dam.  Sandstone cliffs, hills, and the convoluted fjords and bays at the end of Lake Powel define the area.  We find our campground, get settled, and then at 4:30pm take off to explore a few scenic vistas (and walk around a little).  We view the dam from the west at one point, then drive along the south shore to a point above the lake, then over the dam bridge to the views from the visitor center on the north side.  VC was closed, so we will check it out tomorrow.  We have to check out of the campground by 11, so our plan is to take a few short hikes in the morning, check out, grab a brunch at Denneys, hit the VC, and then head north toward Panguitch, about 140 miles north of here. 
          Quick restocking run to the Walmart and then back to the trailer by 6:15p to relax!!  Rick is tired, as he did MOST of the driving today (I only logged about 85 miles L)

First two days route
Saturday, 3.25.17
Page, AZ to Panguitch, UT
144 miles

          Well, we definitely left the warm nights of Tucson!!  Had to get the heavy sleeping bag back out last night, and will definitely need everything we’ve got when we get to Panguitch tonight!  A little disturbing sleep last night as we were close to the tent area and a group was out talking until after midnight.  I can’t fault them, but a little quieter laughter would have been nice! 
Ging at Horseshoe Bend
    We headed out around 8:30 to explore a couple of trails.  The first was Horseshoe Bend, a famous curve of the Colorado located just downriver from Glen Canyon.  The parking lot for this ¾ mile trail was packed yesterday when we drove past, and it is surprisingly full this early in the morning on a Saturday!  Several tour buses went through while we were there, filled with Asian tourists!  It is somewhat surprising in an area where the Navajo have capitalized on the tourism business, this trail is still FREE!  It was absolutely beautiful, in spite of the overcast skies.  In some ways the lack of sunshine might have reduced
harsh shadows and lent for better pictures.  The canyon walls drop a thousand feet down to the river level.  We watched a feet boats motor around the bend, and could see the campsites and rafts parked along the beaches. 
    From Horseshoe Bend we drove north on 89 to a side road leading up to the Lakeview homes on Ridge Road.  We had seen a trail marked on the little map the campground gave us and hoped it would lead out on the mesa to some views north to more of Lake Powell.  We got on the wrong trail at first, but then cut cross country over the plateau, seeing a variety of flowers among all the mormon tea, ironwood, and ???  We got to a point where we could see more, but with the water level in the reservoir so low, it was tough to get ‘classic’ views. 
          Back to the truck to find the young couple we encountered when we parked STILL trying to get into their vehicle.  They had locked the keys inside, along with purse and phone.  Very friendly and personable Native American young adults, the gal was pregnant and sitting on top of the truck trying to work a wire inside to push on the unlock button.  NOT a simple task.  He asked if we had anything else that might help and Rick looked all through our truck to no avail.  I asked if her phone was inside as well.  Affirmative.  Do you want to borrow mine to make a call?  After struggling a bit more, she accepted the offer.  It was her father’s car and she knew he was going to be furious, so reluctant to call!  In the end, we were only able to make suggestions and offer little real help.  L 
Springtime tree at Visitor Center
          A gas stop where Rick helped a lady use the pump (must be our helping morning) and then we had to get back to the campground to check out!  Fortunately we had left the trailer pretty well ready to hitch up and roll.  Pulled out 9 minutes ahead of time! 
          Down to Denneys for brunch.  I was hungry!  We ordered by had to patiently wait nearly 40 minutes for our meal to arrive.  Not the fastest Denneys!!  But the food tasted good!!  Then to the Visitor Center to learn more about the dam (it was closed by the time we arrived yesterday).  A well situated center set on the cliff between the bridge and the dam – wonderful views down to the river and to the face of the dam.  Answered many of our questions! 
          Finally, at 1:30pm we are ready to head north to Panguitch!!  The drive is beautiful through red rocks, white rocks, juniper forests, and grassy plateaus.  Rick didn’t appreciate the strong west headwind we had for much of the way, but we lost a lot of traffic after the dam.  A stop in Kanab (Abra-Kanabra!) for gas and drinks, and then north past the roads to Zion and Cedar Breaks, past the little campground we stayed at 4 years ago in
Between Glendale and Panguitch

Glendale, and up to Panguitch.  Arrived around 5:10 (having switched our clocks to Mountain Time when we passed the Utah border).  A warm welcome from the host and we got into our site.  Hitching Post was one of only a few choices – most everything else is still closed. 
          It will be in the mid twenties tonight!  We chose to leave the front up and not hook up the water.  The restrooms are conveniently close!!  Relaxing evening.  Tomorrow is the better of the next two days weather wise – we are Bryce National Park bound! 

Sunday, 3.26.17
Kodachrome Basin State Park

          Brrr!  It is 26 outside when I arise!  We don’t get a fast start today….it is cold and we need a little time to just relax!!  But by 10a we are ready to hit the road.  The skies are crystal clear and the sun is shining.  A BEAUTIFUL day for exploring! 
          I think this area of Utah is at the crossroads of all the major airplane routes.  All morning long the only ‘clouds’ I see in the sky are the contrails of crisscrossing planes, diffused in the upper level winds.  You can’t look up at any time without seeing at least one or two planes.  Later in the day it overcasts with ‘real’ clouds! 
          I mentioned to Rick that Kodachrome Basin looked pretty neat and was something NEW!  So we drive past the entrance to Bryce and another 13 miles to Cannonville, and then 10 miles down a PAVED side road (a rarity in this part of Utah once you get off the major highway) to the state park.  Named for the wild variety of colors and the newly invented Kodak color film in the 1950’s, it is a well maintained and marked state park.  A nominal $8 fee per car to enter.  I knew of one 3 mi trail, but we found several others that we ended up taking first (a good choice to make, as they were more spectacular than the one in the brochure!).  We drove out to Shakespeare Arch, hiking only the mile RT to the arch.  A small feature nestled at the top of a rock wall, but pretty.  Then back to the main part of the park and the 1.5 mi loop (my pedometer says a little further!) on the Angel’s Palace trail.  This took us up a broad slot to the top of a layer of rock and a convoluting pattern of figure 8’s out to the end of fins (on the top of them!), around what Rick described as piles of solid dinaosaur poop (dark chocolate colored rock!), spires, and such.  Always the solid sheer face of the white gypsum layer beyond with its pinnacles and red stripes. 
          Kodachrome Basin is known for its 60 plus spires of debatable origin.  Many are of a different layer of rock than the surrounding features; eg. A gray pillar set in the midst of redrock.  Geologists are still working that one out. 
          A bite of lunch and then the Panorama trail – at least the 3 mile loop of this potentially 6 mile trail!  A variety of spires – one looked like a volcanic plug the sides were so smooth (Ballerina Spire) and another nearby looked like a gnome.  We passed the Hat Shop, but some of the hats had fallen off their pillars.  Secret Pass was a short side loop well worth the mini slot canyon and the beehive shaped pillars.  I logged 15,000 plus steps today so we hiked a few miles!! 
          Quick stop at Visitor Center for water and a look at the gift shop (I picked up a post card with a cute Kodachrome Film ‘joke’ on it. 
          Westward again toward a quick stop at the Bryce Visitor Center to pick up trail information for tomorrow.  By the time we waited in the line to enter the park, we watched the flag lowered (it was 4:30pm) and just as we got to the booth, the man shut the window and pulled the blinds.  We drove on through, but found the VC had also closed, so….not brochures!  A wasted side trip! 
          Back to the trailer in Panguitch for a restful evening.  Rick hooked up the water earlier before we left so we could take a hot shower in the trailer.  (The park has probably the weakest water pressure we’ve found anywhere around for showers!)  A call to Liz and Mom, and photo work (I only took 175 today!) and bedtime!! 

Monday, 3.27.17
Bryce Canyon National Park
Navajo-Peek-a-Boo Loop Trails 4.9 miles
Mossy Cave – Tropic Canal Waterfall .8 mile

          We awaken this morning and find pellet snow falling to the ground!  Not hail, not flakes, but little tiny balls of snow that ‘clink’ when they hit the top of the trailer!  Forecasts are hard to read as most of them say rainy later in the day, but the clouds are upon us now! 
          But we decide to head into Bryce and do what we can do!  We rather hoped the weather would keep the crowds away, but it IS spring break and people are out in droves!!  Bundled up, but here!
          A quick stop at the VC to check on trails, and we decide to take the Navajo-PeekaBoo Loop, a moderately strenuous (I didn’t quite catch that part at the time!) 5 mile journey.  I thought we had done this trail before, but I sure didn’t remember most of it if we have!  (Fact check.  Just reviewed old blogpost from 2012.  We did NOT do the Peekaboo Trail that day, but the Queen’s Garden-Navajo Loop.  New trail!)

          The Peekaboo portion of the trail is a constant delight of ever changing vistas, little passes.  You are changing elevation all the time – up and through a notch or tunnel, then down again into another mini amphitheater.  The skies were overcast, then big patches of blue with billowy white clouds.  It was like the sun was playing PeekaBoo as well!!  I once again took way too many pictures!!  We were forever amazed by the changing colors of the strata.  The top layer with its big cave-like pock marks.  Then the dark red layer of hoodoos.  Then a white layer, then pink.  I took one picture (but I think I deleted it) of yellow surfur and purple rhiolite colors on the path – Baker Bulldog colors!!
          The amphitheater is filled with pockets of snow, especially on the north slopes.  Makes for amazing pictures and color contrasts.  Also makes for a wet and muddy and icy trail in places.  Glad we took our hiking poles with us today!   
          The Wall Street portion of the Navajo Loop is closed during the winter (just too steep, narrow, and hard to keep clear from the snow), so we retrace our steps back up the multiple switchbacks 700’ to the rim.  I put myself in creeper gear (once again!) and made it the whole .6 mile without stopping.  Was dead at the top!! 
          Quick lunch from the tailgate of the truck and then down 3 miles east to the Mossy Cave/Waterfall Trail.  A short one, but a lack of water in the Tropic Canal means the waterfall was pretty anemic, and the cave had lost all of its ice except for one ice pinnacle deep on a shady corner. 
          Back to the trailer to cuddle up and get warm and watch the storms descend.  We actually had a few drops of rain at the Mossy Cave Trail, but mostly wind the rest of the evening.  A cold bitter wind.  Will probably fight it all the way across Utah tomorrow!

Route home! 
Tuesday, 3.28.17
Panguitch, UT to Wells, NV
357 miles

          Once again, there is a dusting of snow pellets on the ground.  Rick had shut all water down last night so all we had to do this morning was close up the bed and unplug!  Not a fast start, but we are on our way by 8am.  Check with a trucker at the coffee stop leaving town to find that Bear Valley (Route 20) across to I-15 is passable, although some snow on the road and slick in places.  ‘Just take it slow’ he says! 
          The snow, however, makes the journey beautiful!  (Of course, I wasn’t driving!)  What started as a slightly scratchy throat last Friday has evolved into a good case of congestion by this morning.  Enough so, that I actually take some Daytime cold medicine in Beaver. 
          Our drive through the barren reaches of Southeast Utah on Hwy 21 is gorgeous – the wind not quite as bad as we feared, although still a definite factor! (We gassed up a lot to make sure we could get across the big stretch!)  Up and down, over and through snowy mountain passes (not on the road, however…) It has been 15 years since we traveled this route and we had forgotten how lonely and beautiful it is.  Traffic was nonexistent other than an occasional truck.  Remote ranches, wild horses, and sheepherder’s wagons…
          Past Great Basin National Park and Mt. Wheeler’s 13,000’ summit, over Conner Pass at 7700’ (the highest on our return trip), and into Ely, NV by 12:30.  A stop at the Subway for lunch and gas, and then I drive for about 90 miles toward Wells.  I pulled over 40 miles out of town to let Rick take back over.  I was struggling abit. 
          We both decided we were tired, so found Crossroads RV Park in Wells and stopped!  We’ll have 370 miles to go tomorrow, but will also gain an hour! 
          Read a little on the bed with the afternoon sun hitting the tent, then showers (the best I have had since Randy’s!!), and a quiet evening. 

Wednesday, 3.29.17
Wells, NV to Baker City
369 miles

          Home!  No pretty snowy mountains welcoming us today, however, as the valley is socked in with clouds and rain! Bummer!
          A little delayed getting out of Wells as we had trouble draining the sewer system – the hookup didn’t drain.  But we figured it out!  Rick drove up to Buhl, gassed up, and I bought some cold medicine!  Really stuffed up.  After hitting the freeway, I drove for about 70 miles, giving Rick a break, - until the rest area just east of Boise.  Rick took us the rest of the way in.  We are both tired. 
          Didn’t hit the expected high winds (thank you, God!) and no rain really until we got into Oregon!  Better than expected. 
          Pulled into the driveway to find Patty walking down street bearing a package with dinner for us and goodies for Mom!  She is amazing….and Wally is in the Boise hospital dying! 

TRIP TOTALS: Facts ‘n’ Figures
Miles Total:3995      Trailer Only Miles:3107
Nights Slept in Trailer: 32
Volunteer Days: 11
Total Expenses:$2105
Housing:$294                    Gas: $676

Food: $751              Misc:  $384

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Kalispell Habitat Trip Spring 2017

Friday, April 21
Baker City to Wallace, ID
363 miles

Beautiful Elkhorns as we leave Baker Valley. 
            Another trip to Kalispell!!  Earlier this year than usual as we are going the end of April rather than the end of May! 
            We pull out around 7:30 and while Rick gets the tires all checked at Lew Schwab, I pull the Prius around to the garage and lock everything up.  By the time we stop for drinks at Yorks, it is 8am before we are on the road.  I take the first shift driving – the freeway part up to Milton Freewater.  The Elkhorn Mts. are gorgeous to the west, the clouds shifting around constantly and revealing the peaks.  The valley is green due to the abundance of recent rains! 
Big grain elevator outside Dayton WA
     The Palouse area of Southeast Washington is once again wrapped in springtime greenery – although we are early enough that some wheat fields are still waiting to be planted.  Smooth sailing up through Colfax and past Spokane.  We stop at the Steptoe Rest Area north of Colfax for a 15 minute lunch break.  Another stop in PostFalls for gas where I make a quick call to Wallace RV to doublecheck on a site for tonight.  No problem! 
            We pull into Wallace RV at 3pm, set up, and then take a good walk around downtown historic Wallace.  We even explore up the first level of steps on the hillside south of town where many of the old homes are located.  Back to City Limits Brew Pub right next to the trailer park for dinner!  You can’t beat the innovative food this place serves, plus Rick is always guaranteed some sort of craft beer. 
            I was hoping to get a call in to Liz this evening, but I have emergency service only on my phone.  (And yes, boys, I DID try rebooting the phone! I’m learning!)  Want to see how Mom made her move today to assisted living.  No internet in the trailer, would have to walk down to the pub for that.  And it’s chilly outside! 
            Quiet evening in the trailer and early to bed! 

Saturday, April 22
Wallace, ID to Kalispell, MT
166 miles

Clark Fork near Paradise, MT. 
            A lazy start to the day as I didn’t even get out of bed until 8am!!  (Confession – I had been reading since 6:30, however, finding the morning sun this far east in the time zone provided plenty of light!)  On our way shortly before 9am, as I was driving into Montana.  Road conditions not very good, but at least they weren’t actively WORKING on the highway.  Just a lot of one lane passages and 35 mph slowdowns!  I got us down to St. Regis and then up the Clark Fork to Paradise and Plains, where we stopped for gas and drinks.  Rick took us on up into Kalispell. 
Flathead Lake and Swan Mountains
            The drive was beautiful – green fields, lush meadows and grasslands, and snowcapped mountains.  Water in abundance!  (More than we will want in the coming week as rain is forecast every day!) 
            We went up the new 93 Alternate on the west side of town – smooth sailing!  Much better than going through Main Street of Kalispell!  Over to Walmart for a grocery trip and then to the RV Park.  No one was in the office, so we were glad Kathy had told us our site number (really glad as no one was even here from the CAVs!)  Hinkles returned shortly after our arrival.  The afternoon was a
Rick is ready for
the build to begin! 
myriad of arrivals and visitations as one by one folks arrived.  Only one group waiting until Sunday to come (with the exception of Rusty who will arrive Monday or Tuesday). 
            Rick and I enjoyed portebello mushrooms again for dinner, along with an ear of corn.  Then over to Happy Hour in Hinkle RV (it was cool outside!) One couple, Gary and Karen, are new to CAVs so we were full of stories to introduce them to the experience.  Headed back to trailer around 8pm. 
            Did get ahold of Liz mid-afternoon to get a Mom update.  It was not good, but hopefully the next couple of weeks will allow things to settle down and she will adapt to a new living situation.  She was at The Pearl for 6 weeks and adapted there, finally.  The move was rough, however, due to mis-communication and Mom was transported without Liz – very confusing.  Will keep in touch and keep prayers flowing! 

Sunday, 4.23.17

            Not much happening today.  We are taking a Sabbath Day of REST!  I need it!  Group went to Sykes for breakfast – had a private room so that was nice as we could talk and hear each other.  Then Gayle, Kathy, and I went with Diane to Costco, Lowes, and Dollar Tree!  Listened to the rainfall.  Organizational meeting at 4pm.  Laid back day!! 

Monday, 4.24.17
Habitat Build Day 1
Opening gathering.  

            We did it!  Inspite of rainfall early in the morning, rainfall during break, and rainfall during lunch, we got a full day of work in today!!  All the Habitat staff was at the morning meeting, including meeting the new volunteer recruitment gal, Nicky.  Vicki has taken over some of the development part of the job Katy B had in addition to family coordinator.  Mary Davidson has been hired as the On Site Hostess – and she is loving that!    Rick gave the opening devotion….I have to remember I am down for Wednesday. 
Cold and wet lunch. 
            Once all the ChitChat was done it was almost 9am!  Time to get busy…before the rain comes!  Rick was working with a team to install some of the wood pressure treated along the foundation of the house, another crew started clearing the dirt away from the edge to install the metal skirting.  Tom and Clint and Gayle worked to align the walls and square things up.  I worked with a team of 5 to install the sheathing on the remaining framed walls for the first floor.  Steve said he really wanted to get at least the front walls ready to go for stone work while I was here.  Allison Ashley is excited for that as she wants to help with her stonework as well.  We have aways to go.  Maybe by latter part of next week! 
Moving a floor joist into place. 
      As it was, I grabbed the skill saw (circular) and went to work measuring and cutting out the windows for a section of wall.  Kevin and Gary were working the nail gun, Kathy N helping me.  Gary’s wife, Karen, was also working on our crew.  We did pretty well!  Got 3 sections of framed walls done during the day. 
Rick, Mahrias, and Brie
Rick plays with Ben and Vida's newest! 
            Back to the campground to clean up, and then back over to job site for our Welcome Dinner.  All the families were invited, which was really nice.  Hoping to see the Kearneys again, but they didn’t make it.  Davida was also gone, but Ben was there with the new baby and little Khoen.  Ashleys were by briefly, as they had another activity to attend.  Davidsons hosted at their home, and Schultzes came by also.  Got my hugs from the girls, especially Mahrias.  Rick played football with Ethan and the boys, and we both got to hold the baby!  A good time.  Korey has invited everyone to their house for a BBQ on Sunday for Mary’s birthday. 
            Rusty pulled into the campground around 7:15 – hungry as he hadn’t eaten any dinner.  Rick made him a sandwich, I took pineapple, and Norrels and Hinkles both brought a small dish of leftover salads to him!  Ask and you shall receive!  He could use a good night’s sleep! 

Tuesday, 4.25.17
Habitat Build Day 2
Scaffolding crew at work. 
            Well, a half a day before the rain demanded we stop (and a good thing as the afternoon produced a few thunderstorms that were exciting! )
            Rick finished up his metal skirting around the foundation, while I got the final panels of sheathing up.  Rusty joined our crew, while Steve took Kevin and Gary away for another job.  Second half of the morning we worked to erect scaffolding in prep for the floor joists for the second floor. 
Happy Birthday, Rusty...a few days late! 
            Therefore, a lazy afternoon in the trailer as I drew pictures, and took a good walk during a lull in the storms.  Rick took the truck over to the Honda dealership for the recall repair on the airbags.  Happy Hour was at the Hinkles, and I brought a ‘cinnamon roll’ birthday cake for Rusty.  It was a lively HH with cozy quarters, and plenty of wine and beer! 
            Topped off the evening with phone calls to Liz and Mac.  The latter was with Mom at the time, so I got a chance to talk with her.  She didn’t sound great, as her back is bothering her.  Discouraging, to say the least.  Walked the whole time I talked, so I got in my 10,000 steps today and plus some! 

Wednesday, 4.26.17
Habitat Build Day 3 – CANCELLED!  

Genia plants teacups for the shower. 
            It didn’t bode well this morning and as it turned out….we didn’t work!  We all gathered and I was able to share my Groundbreaking Devotion Poem, but that was it!  Mary’s group of “Girls on the Run” (3rd graders!) had made our sandwiches for lunch, etc. but they will hold until tomorrow (IF we can build then…the forecast is just awful!) Mary did send us a picture later in the day of a rainbow across the sky at the build site which was beautiful. 
            Rick and I stopped at Walmart enroute home, and then I crawled in bed to read for a little bit (having not slept very well the night before).  At 10:15a I got a call from Diane (who was down at Genia’s trying to make apricot jam)…Can you come help us?  Neither Genia, nor Diane, nor the friend present had ever made jam before! 
Genia with teacup, Diane and I with Jam! 
            So….Rick spent the day watching the rain fall in the trailer, and I drove down to Somers and made apricot jam, baked a loaf of bread, and had a chance to visit with my dear friend.  She is hosting a shower in Bozeman this weekend (along with help from daughter Stephanie) for daughter Samantha.  Full of ideas that needed a little help for completion since Genia’s energy level wans quickly.   I was delighted to be able to help. 
Flathead Lake from BigFork and brewery. 
            Around 4 we drove over to Big Fork and met the rest of the gang at the Flathead Brewing Co. for Happy Hour prices!  Everyone came.  (Rick had ridden down with Rusty, Tom with Dickinsons)  Beautiful building filled with environmentally and recycling positive features. 
            Evening spent in trailer, once again listening to the rainfall. 

Thursday, 4.27.17
Rain Day #2

            Well, Kathy came a knocking on the door at 6:45am to let us know “NO WORK TODAY!”  It was pouring down rain at the time, so pretty much a no-brainer!  Cold and windy.  I wouldn’t have wanted to be working.  Didn’t even get out of my jammies until 10:30, when I dressed so I could get my mail down to the mailbox before the postman came! 
            Mary Davidson’s daughter Breanna and three friends from a school group Girls on the Run had prepared our lunch (intended for yesterday).  When we were cancelled yesterday, we promised we would come for lunch today no matter what.  So, everyone headed over to the job site at 11:45 to have lunch in Mary’s garage!  They got ‘out of school’ for the hour, so were pretty excited and giggly as only 3rd grade girls can be! 
Girls on the Run - our lunch time hosts!  
            Rick and I then drove up to Whitefish for a little Main Street shopping time.  Didn’t pick up that much – a card for Cherrie, postcards, and a new quilt pattern for fireweed.  Was nice. Rest of day was spent catching up on computer stuff, drawing pictures, etc.  Very lazy day!
            Happy Hour at the Neighbors trailer – the only other rig big enough to host 14 people.  It was cozy, but we all squeezed in!  A lively time….Gary Neighbors is almost as dry in humor as Carl.  They were sitting together and both can tell a tall tale!! 
            Trailer is under 60 degrees tonight and we have had the little heater going all day long!  Brrrr!

Friday, 4.28.17
CAV Build Day 3
            We worked today!  HARD!!  And the rain didn’t fall (ok, some light rain earlier, but it didn’t last long…), REALLY fall, until 3pm just as we were driving home!  In fact, the weather was cool enough to not be hot, but not windy and biting cold.  I actually shed down to just my two tshirts (long and short-sleeved) in the afternoon. 
Rick busy with joists and walls. 
            And maybe the reason we weren’t cold was because both Rick and I were very physical for the day.  Rick was up on the second floor joists most of the day, either helping to place the big joist beams or later to glue and hammer the tongue and grove plywood sheets into place. 
            I worked for awhile with the scaffolding crew, but then Karen N and I were pulled to move a stack of the flooring tongue-grove ¾” plywood.  Heavy boards that took both of us to move one.  We had to take 20 of them out to the front of the house and stack vertically (so Rick’s crew could later push them up into place).  Then move the rest of the stack out of the way of the scaffolding to go up. 
My board moving partner, Karen. 
            Just before lunch we started the process of moving all the trusses from the vacant lot across the alley (not Habitat owned) onto the lot and into a good place to make them easy to locate and install.  The first trusses needed will be the ones that were on the bottom of the stack, so…..eventually after lunch we had 6-7 people helping with the job because the trusses just kept getting bigger and bigger and heavier and heavier!  It went from the little porch ones that Karen and I could carry two each to the trusses that span the back of the house from corner to corner (7 people!)   By the end of the day I had logged over 12,000 steps and nearly 6 miles!!  (Not to mention my back and shoulders!)
            Happy Hour in Schaffer motorhome – the usual laughter and banter, sometimes a modicum of ‘serious’ talk, but not usually! 

Saturday, 4.29.17
CAV Build Day 4

Hauling another second story floor joist up
        Well, we almost got in a full day, but at 1:30p the skies starting DUMPING and the hail began to fall.  We basically hid for a moment and then cleaned up in the downpour!  As we drove away the rain was ebbing, but by then everyone was rather wet! 
Building the stairwell early makes it easier
to go between floors!  
            Scaffolding and planking erected to be ready to put up the trusses as soon as weather allows!  Second floor totally floored (thank you Rick and Karen D!) and front wall is totally built and ready to be raised.  We got a lot done, but pictures don’t really show it because you can’t see what’s being done upstairs yet!  Clint has finished the stairwell, so it is easy to get up to the second floor – especially since we had over a 100 2x6 boards to haul up for the wall building! 
Mahrias and I pose for our
 "Best Friends" photo
            Rick and I opted not to go up to Whitefish last night – just didn’t feel like another night of drinking and meal out.  Instead we got our laundry done and I drew the next four pictures for my prayers!  A good dinner eating up some food that needed to be eaten, conversation with Jed, and early to bed! 
Scribble from Rainbow picture Mary sent earlier in week.  
            Our $20 WalMart heater is finally dying.  It doesn’t work on the low setting and I detect a burning smell when it cycles off the high setting.  It has lasted 4 ½ years of heavy use!  Will put that on the list for Sunday. 

Sunday, 4.30.17
A Day of Rest
Rick got giant pancakes
at Cislos! 
Literally.  We went out to breakfast at Cislo’s Family Diner (Rick got a plate-size pancake), to JoAnn’s to pick up a few supplies, and then WalMart.  Looked for a new heater, but apparently it is supposed to have warmed up because they have made the switch to air conditioners and fans!  But ours seems to have fixed itself! 
Beautiful views from behind the trailer. 
Scattered sunshine.  We tried to have Happy Hour outside, but it was a bit shorter than usual as the sun disappeared and it cooled down quickly! 

Wall crew gets some tips from Steve
Monday, 5.1.17
CAV Build Day 5

Lunchtime hosts - WITH their tie dye!
            A perfect day of work!!  Not too cold, a mix of sunshine and clouds.  It was chilly leaving for the site, as most everyone had frost on their windows!  But that was due to clear skies!  Rick’s crew got the front wall of the second floor finished, raised, and then the back wall ready to go.  I worked all day with the truss team – we got all the garage trusses up.  A team of men worked the rafters while another team of about 7 brought the trusses over and hoisted them up to the scaffolding level.  I was in charge of the ground crew, calling out our actions so we could stay in sync.  (I think I got the job due to a loud voice!) 
An awesome truss hauling team!!  
            Jen and EJ brought lunch today – spaghetti with a delicious meat sauce, garlic bread, and choco chip cookies!  It was perfect!  Both of them were wearing their tiedye shirts! 
            We stopped at WalMart enroute home to print off some postcards.  Happy Hour in the Hinkle rig, and by the time we all left a light rain was falling. 
            More calls/texts to Liz and Marg to figure out what was happening with Mom. 

Tuesday, 5.2.17
CAV Build Day 6

            Not quite as cold this morning, but definitely more clouds in the sky.  And it never warmed up quite as much because a wind started blowing.  But Rick’s crew has nearly all the walls done, several in place.  I worked on blocking between rafters, then putting OSB into the same spots.  Later did a lot of hammering as we put the strip of OSB between the two stories.  My arm was tired by the end of the day. 
Ashleys put their prints
on garage floor. 
Putting up a wall!  
            The cement crew was here to put in the garage floor.  It was fascinating to watch their progress from a level above.  They did a beautiful job, and later Allison and the kids came by to put their hand prints in just inside the door between house and garage.  Tomorrow they will pour the inside slab. 
            We were on our ‘own’ most of the day as Steve was with Genia for a doctor’s appointment and test.  He had lunch with Genia and then came over to check on our progress.  Pleased. 
            Evening skies cleared and the mountains are GORGEOUS to the east!  Happy Hour in Neighbors RV.  Maybe by tomorrow it will be warm enough to actually be outside and enjoy it! 
            Mom was to be discharged today back to Tanner Spring.  I talked with Liz during morning break.  Marg is now with her. 
Swan Mountains behind campground.  

Wednesday, 5.3.17
CAV Build Day 7

Yellowheaded blackbirds at Genias. 
            A beautiful morning with clear(er) skies and sunshine.  I went out to the job site with Rick and then took off with Diane to spend the day with Genia.  The concrete boys were already on site preparing to pour the main floor of the house.  I would have like to have seen that!  Rick spent the day on the roof trusses (surprise!) putting down decking.  He’ll probably spend the next two days doing the same!  More scaffolding put up, the framework for the front porch done. 
Walls continue to go up! 
            Diane and I drove down to Somers (chillier down there, but still sunny!) and had a very pleasant time visiting with Genia.  She slept a lot in the morning hours, so we worked on painting the wood slats for Thursday night, and did a little computer work (WIFI!!!!)  Afternoon saw a friend visit briefly and then a lot of chitchat on our part.  Nothing serious – talked about my mom, dogs, religion, you name it!! 
            Happy Hour outside!!  Cool, but possible! 

Thursday, May the Fourth Be With You!
CAV Build Day 8

Rick and his ladders!  
            Finally!!  An incredibly beautiful day from dawn until dusk!!  The snowy mountains were outlined all day with deep blue skies.  Temperatures reached the high 70’s – most of the crew was down to t-shirts!! 
After sheathing, we took on painting!  
            The roof is almost done with the decking – just a portion over the garage is left.  Rick was up there all day long working with Kevin and Carl (latter down on the ground doing all the cutting for them.)  Another crew finishing up walls upstairs, another on east side roof decking.  Clint and Rusty worked all day on the front porch. 
            My team of ladies (Kathy, Arletta, and Karen N) finished the sheathing on the top floor outside, working off scaffolding 3 levels high.  I was mostly on top, Karen on level 2, Kathy and Arletta handing stuff up to us.  I had to get Carl to come and nail gun the last 6 nails on the very top.  Then we installed another smaller piece of sheathing on that side, before moving to the east side for another full board way up there! (Got those top nails myself – it was a stretch!!  Then added more levels to the scaffolding.  Just before lunch we were off to paint the trim boards, setting up a drying station in the garage, covering the new floor, etc.  Finished that up after lunch and had more scaffolding work to do!  I climbed A LOT!!  
Heading down the back roads to Somers

      The HFH office gals were present for lunch, provided by a board member.  Delicious soup, bread, jello, and homemade cookies.  I was a little puzzled that there was no ‘thank you’ speech or anything since this was our ‘Farewell Lunch’.  I talked with Erin was about 15 minutes after lunch about the repair possibilities they are exploring. 
Milepost signs. 
            Quick cleanup and everyone off for Somers to Steve and Genia’s for what we’ll consider our real Thank You Party!  An absolutely beautiful evening.  Steve BBQ dogs and burgers, we all brought plenty more.  Ashleys were out for awhile, but had a track meet to attend. 
Genia and Steve
       We built a campfire and roasted s’mores. And mostly we worked on Genia’s ‘craft project’ idea – crossroads mileage markers to all our homes.  Everyone painted a stick with names and hometown and mileage.  It looks pretty cool. 
            Home by 8 and early to bed!! 

Friday, 5.5.17
CAV Build Day 9

Views from top of scaffolding
            This was a LONG day!!!  A final gathering at the job site, with a few less people – both Kathy and Diane were gone, but also Rusty who we hoped was going to Urgent Care (and he was!).  Rusty arrived shortly after the break was over.  Steve T was late in arriving as well, so we all just went back to work on the jobs we knew needed to be done.  KarenN and I tackled the top of the scaffolding to prepare it for the truss installation – both sides of the house, putting platforms on top of the third layer and then guard rails around the sides.  We had Arletta and Allison passing parts up to us, but it was a lot of monkeybar business!  Also got the last sheet of sheathing in on the stairwell wall. 
Our scaffolding handiwork. 
            Rick was STILL up on the roof installing decking!  Another crew busy on the front porch framing. 
            After lunch….we installed the second floor trusses for the roof – the last major job Steve had hoped to accomplish while we were there with a big crew.  5-6 of us on the ground, more on the back section of garage roof, and a whole team inside the second floor to actually nail it in place.  The first two were double trusses, so HEAVY!!  Once they were in place, the rest went fairly quickly. 
Rick and top half of truss crew. 
            A more major cleanup of the job site then and final gathering for words of inspiration from Steve.  He is pleased beyond words with the progress made in spite of the weather. 
Lisel, war paint, and tie dying! 
            THREE O’CLOCK.  Time to pull my tie-dye materials from the truck and bid Rick goodbye for the afternoon.  It is PARTY time!  While Mary and Allison leave to gather their kids, I get their garments soaking and the dyes mixed.  The next two hours are a fun blend of chaos, dye on table (it looks beautiful!), dye on little faces, and hopefully some wonderful end results!  I had eight kids dying, plus Allison, Jen, and EJ.  All cleaned up by 5:45 when I walked down to the Kearney’s house for the potluck.  Rick met me on the way!  A quick change of clothes and it is….
Tie Dye crew! 

SHISH-KA-BOB time at the Kearneys!  Jason and Angela had invited the whole CAV crew over.  Knowing I was going to be ‘tied’ up, I had purchased a chocolate pudding cake for our contribution.  The evening turned out to be beautiful – the light rain shower that swept through right before tie-dye clearing to blue skies for awhile.  The Kearney kids were so openly glad to see us, with warm welcoming hugs.  Rick and I stayed for an hour-half and then left to meet our last commitment of the day…
Jason and Angela Kearney
            SOCCER!  Mahrias Schultze had invited us earlier in the week to her soccer game.  We got there just as the short game was beginning.  Her team was definitely out-matched, but Mahrias ran hard and gave it her best.  Hugs goodbye and ‘until we meet again’! 
            Whew.  I was tired tonight.  Rick is tired.  Looking forward to a relaxing weekend. 
Trailer boo boo
            Forgot to note the other major happening of the day….while Rick was home in the afternoon, the trailer got damaged again by the lawn mower.  Second time this has happened at the park.  Only this time we know for sure what did it.  The guy was VERY apologetic and assured us that insurance would cover.  So Rick spent some time digging into the files to contact Bish’s and find out a quote, etc.  We will have to follow up more over the weekend on this because the damage is more severe than last time.  Nothing that makes the trailer unusable, but our waterseal is probably compromised as it stands. 

Saturday, 5.6.17
Dining Together and Departures
Daffodils at Whitefish Presby Church across from Buffalo Cafe

            We only did three things today….breakfast with 4 other couples at the Buffalo Café in Whitefish and dinner together as a whole group.  Laundry in between and dead time (yes!). 
            We weren’t going to go out to breakfast, which actually was late enough to be brunch, but when I heard it was the Buffalo Café, Rick and I decided YES!  We can mess with the trailer details later.  Excellent food as usual – Rick finally getting to order the Huckleberry French Toast Bake.  I had what amounts to a veggie omelet served on top of hash browns. 
Kearneys at DeSotos
        Back to talk with office and do our laundry.  Then at 4:15 we left for downtown Kalispell and DeSotos Grill, which is housed in one of the oldest buildings in the city.  Formerly an automotive shop, two old cars are in the patio area which they open up when the weather is warmer.  Glad we got there early because they place was jammed with waiting people when we left shortly after 6.  Excellent BBQ and smoked food.  Rick and I shared a Salmon Hoagie with a side of Smoked Bacon Macaroni and Cheese.  Best M&C I’ve ever tasted!   A glass of wine (beer for Rick) and we were satisfied!  Live music came on around 5:30.  The single singer had a great voice and gave his own rendition of some familiar old tunes.  Dressed in overalls and a headband with a big round face, he was fun to listen to!  (Pretty painted guitar too!)  Kearneys were invited to join us, and they arrived with Kaeli, their oldest, who had to miss out on the BBQ and wanted to see everyone!  It was a fun time at a good restaurant! 
            Home to get an email and then phone call from Liz.  Mom is VERY confused and not doing real well.  I suspect our plans are going to change.  L  There are people on a waiting list for Libby that can take our place, as much as I want to go there. 

Sunday, 5.7.17
Day of Rain and Rest

            Well, decision made.  We are heading home on Tuesday.  I emailed the CAV office and Dyanna Todd up in Libby.  Hopefully Kevin and Karen will be able to get on the build in our absence.  I’m not sure how many are on the wait list ahead of them. 
            It rained most of the day until late afternoon.  We did very little but relax, read, draw, and say goodbye to the Neighbours.  I made a run to JoAnn’s to pick up a few craft supplies. 
            Happy Hour at 4 that lasted two hours and we didn’t even have appetizers!  Then 7 of us went to Five Guys Burgers for dinner.  Beautiful rainbow on the way home.  Rusty joined us tonight, the first night he has ‘come out’ for HH or meals since he got sick last Tuesday. 

Monday, 5.8.17
Glacier NP Bike Ride
            Three years ago, when Rick and I first came to the Flathead Valley affiliate in the spring, we discovered that the Road to the Sun opens to hiker and biker traffic long before it is officially open to automobiles.  We didn’t have our bikes with us.  The past two spring visits, we have taken our bikes in anticipation, but each year the Sun Road opened EARLY and we missed the biking opportunity.  So…since we were coming in April-May this year, we KNEW the road would not open on us and we brought our bikes!  Then the weather was so bad the last two weekends, there was no point!  But today was forecast for definitely clearing, although it was quite cloudy in the am when we left.  But today it must be as we leave for home tomorrow. 
Riding along McDonald Creek

      We drove up through West Glacier and into the park to MacDonald Lake lodge.  The lodge isn’t open, but the road is maintained this far all winter long.  The park is used by xc skiers and snowshoers heavily in the winter months from the lodge on up.  But the report was the highway was snowfree up to The Loop, and bikers were ok to ride that far as long as the plows weren’t working.  And even though it was a Monday, we heard they weren’t working!  We had no intention of riding THAT far anyway!!  (Remember, this is a relatively new bike to me and I really haven’t ridden it more than 3 miles at a time and that rarely!)  I knew I would be sore regardless!
Avalanche Creek area
            The first part of the ride we were in the clouds – the peaks above us as we rode along MacDonald Creek totally obscured.  But gradually, I would look up and see a snowy summit through breaks in the clouds.  By the time we passed Avalanche Campground, the peaks were coming into full view, the sky blue, and the vistas just kept getting better and better. 
            We rode just past Logan Creek and the bend in the road to head north to the Loop.  Not far enough for views of the east side of Heaven’s Peak, but definitely far enough for full views of the Garden Wall, Mt. Oberlin, Mt. Clements and the twin peaks of Mt. Cannon.  Absolutely awesome. 
   Up close along the road we were greeted with hundreds of trilliums in bloom.  They were largely the only flowers we saw in abundance, but the showy white petals and leaves are so beautiful.  Every creek and rivulet was running full with the spring melt.  We gradually found more and more snow along the side of the road as we slowly gained elevation.  The road is actually a very gentle grade for much of this distance.  It steepens more as you approach The Loop and then?  Well, then it’s not my kind of biking!! 
            There was more bike traffic on the road for a Monday than I expected, but then again, this was a day when the forecast was good which drew people out!  We did encounter two groups that gave us bear warnings.  The first group had actually SEEN the grizzly, the second just said ‘lots of bear activity’ up ahead.  In each case, my heart rate goes up, but Rick graciously yelled ‘Yo, Bear!’ frequently and often.  Noise is our best precaution as well as vigilance!  We did NOT see any bears!  (Thank you, God!)
Lake McDonald and peaks from Apgar Village
Back to the trailer park by 3:45, in time for a 4:30ish small Happy Hour at Norrells.  The group is shrinking!  Carl and Arletta had also been up at the lodge and saw our truck.  Dickinsons drove to the east side of the park today.  Rusty laid low, still hoping to get well!  Evening spent packing up and getting ready to roll early in the am. 
            Final note – before leaving this morning for the park, we stopped at the RV office to discuss again the damage from the lawn mower.  We were having trouble getting a quote back from Bish’s, but the one we got was for $800 to replace the back bed door unit (not the canvas cover).  Ouch!  The park was more than willing to cut us a check for $500 and not have to turn it in to insurance.  We are too, as we will probably make the repairs ourselves!  (Final, final note several days later.  Rick pounded out the dent again – it looks passably good!  I spent $10 on a vinyl patch kit and took care of the fabric part.  It looks repaired, but it is serviceable!!)

Click HERE for a link to all our Bike Ride Photos!

Tuesday, 5.9.17
Kalispell, MT to Baker City, OR
527 miles

            Heading home today rather than west toward Libby.  Someday we’ll get that route along the Clark Fork and through Thompson Falls into our plans, but duty calls me home to go to Portland and help my sister.  I am thrilled to have heard last night that Kevin and Karen Dickinson, who were on the waiting list for Libby, got the confirmation that they are IN, largely due to both Norrells and us pulling out.  At least I know good folk are in our place!  Rusty will head on over, as will Hinkles as well. 
            So…shortly after 6:30am we are on our way, stopping for a quick coffee, and using the new Alt 93 route to bypass the downtown area.  The new highway has been wonderful this whole visit with easier access to the build site.  Rick takes the first shift.  It is a clear sunny morning with the snowy peaks rimming the eastern skyline for miles to the south. 
            The valley of Hot Springs is lush and green.  Rick drives us to St. Regis where we gas and re-coffee.  I take us from Montana to the edge of Idaho-Washington and our favorite gas station in PostFalls, ID with the Subway.  We sandwich up and Rick drives us down through the hilly Palouse country of eastern Washington.  The wheat fields are greener, but there are still more fallow fields than we expect for this time of year.  A quick $5 of gas in Dayton, just to make sure we can get to Milton-Freewater.  Gas in Dayton is 30 cents more expensive than across the border in Oregon.  (We also discover it is 10 cents more than the next town over….log that info into our brains!)
            I drive the final stretch home to Baker, from M-F down to I-84 and over the passes to Baker Valley.  We are home by 4:15p, having gained an hour at the Montana-Idaho border.  It is still a long 10+ hour day of 527 miles!!  But I will have two days to ‘catch up’ at home before heading over to Portland for the weekend. 

Total Miles: 1576
Trailer Miles: 1056
Nights: 19
Total Expenses: $1343
Expenses per day:  $70.68