Sunday, October 28, 2007

Last trip and we're putting it away.

The temperature this morning was about 23˚ and we made the most of it by sleeping in until about 8:30 am. It looks like Heyburn is about ready to close up and to tell you the truth. Canyonewren is going to be put to bed for the winter this Sunday. The sun was out in all its glory on Friday when we left Post Falls. We drove down to the campground and found that we were one of three campers in the entire park. So we we took our favorite spot and settled in to a dinner of tortilla soup and chips. We set up the computer and watched a Harrison Ford movie called “Firewall” and following that got ready for bed. This would be our first real cold night in the Northern Lite so we experimented with the propane heater. I set the thermostat so that it would keep the camper warm and the basement from freezing. Then we climbed into bed and closed the curtain, keeping the heat out and the cool in where we were sleeping. It was surprising how well this worked. I figured the heater came on about every 20 minutes and that was good enough to keep the water lines from freezing.

With our rolling out of bed late, Linda had to get out and run to calm her wild urges to be free with the deer. She spotted ten deer as she followed the woods on her six mile run. I got up and made coffee and then went over and took a hot shower. It was great and by the time I shaved, dried off and dressed, Linda had returned and was taking her shower. I made her tea and started breakfast. We ate and then got our close on for a walk. As you can see by the pictures it was absolutely gorgeous out there and we stayed out as ling as we could. As the sun moved to the west it started getting colder and so we returned and settled into the camper where it was nice and cozy.

We fixed dinner, our usual Chicken Alfredo, and settled in to watch a Bruce Willis movie. We’ll call this our action adventure weekend, as apposed to the British movie theme of our last trip.

We got up and ate. Then we packed up and drove home. We were back home by about 11:00 am and got everything picked up and packed out before we went shopping. When we got home I winterized the camper and put everything away. We were sad that the camping season was over. We'll try to do better next year. (wink)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Campers Campers Everwhere

This weekend was what I called Camper Weekend at Heyburn State Park. We pulled into the park on Friday night and found a spot in our usual area. It was right next to an Eagle Cap camper owned by Bob and Marilyn of Post Falls. While we were there a Lance pulled in next to them and an Arctic Fox with a slide pulled in across the road. Down below us was a Palomino Pop-up like the one we used to own. So it was like a little camper village at Heyburn. Bob was not real happy with his Eagle Cap and said that it was purchased as an entry level camper and he plans to upgrade in the future. He definitely said it was constructed poorly and he felt the workmanship inside left a lot to be desired. The people in the Palomino, Lance and Artic Fox kept to them selves, but we were able to see several other travel set ups around the park. A Tab pulled in and set up next to the restrooms. It was cute, but real small. A couple from Montana set up their Coyote a couple spaces down from us and we really liked the looks of that little trailer. Bridget would be a real good candidate for ownership of a model like that rig.

On one of our hikes we came across the owners of the little trailer and talked about the virtues of traveling light and little. They had come through the same evolution we had to get to the Coyote stage and we laugh about that. Small tent, larger tent, back of truck to camper/trailer; this seems to be the path many people follow in getting to the comforts of the mobile travel world. They were very nice and we enjoyed our little chat.

We spent a lot of the day down at the dock, in the sun reading. A couple came down with a dog, he was a Husky mix and was very friendly. They laid in the sun on the dock and their dog came over to us and laid between us. As the couple left, we talked and they asked if we had a dog. When I told them about our dog being gone, they said that their dog must have known that because he usually stays close to them. He must have sensed that we missed our dog and felt he needed to be there to help us. After they left we talked about getting another dog, it will probably be spring before we do, but we will have one.

Each night before we went to bed this weekend we watched a movie on the computer. It was real fun and very comfortable. We will get a flat screen TV for the camper some day. Until then we’ll use the computer. When it gets dark at 5:30pm and you sit around the fire for two hours, it it fun to be able to come in and watch something till you fall asleep.

In the morning we woke up and sat around eating muffins and drinking coffee/tea. We packed up and headed in to Coeur d’Alene at about 11:00am. We won’t be camping next weekend, I have a conference I am in charge of and Linda has to go to Seattle for a conference of her own. We plan to be out in two weeks, it might be our last trip in Canyonwren until spring break. That’s something sad to think about.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Last Camping Space

Highway 2 out of Spokane takes you west through the wheat country. You begin the trip with the sun directly in your eyes, thus they call this red line on the map the “Sunset Highway”. You pass through Reardan and Davenport, cruise through Creston into Wilber. At this little farm town you veer northwest on Highway 174 to Electric City. Dropping in to the Grand Coulee you come to a junction at the west end of Banks Lake and follow Highway 155 down to Steamboat Rock State Park, our home for the weekend.

The drive to this park is 125 miles and 2 hours, 17 minutes as recorded by our navigator, Linda. If you look back in time into this blog you will find that we traveled here last year at the end of October. There were very few campers here and the camp host, park rangers and the likes had packed up and went south to other camping hot spots. This year when we pulled in it was a very different story. We did the required loop of all the camp sites and pulled up to the pay station where we were greeted by Gene the camp host. “There is only one possible spot available, and that is the one next to me. We save that one just in case the computer booking system makes a mistake and we have to move people around. Drive up to the park headquarters and ask Audra if you can camp there.” Gene suggested. So off we went to find Audra and see if there was a chance of getting that spot.

We met Audra at the park office; she was a think dark haired lady that Linda said was very cute. Note that I let Linda describe her, it keep our marriage together. She assigned us the spot next to Gene and we boarded our camper, Canyonwren, and quickly grabbed that last spot in the entire park. These spots are rather deluxe here at Steamboat. They are very level, have water, power and even sewer hookups. We took advantage of all the provisions except the water, because I forgot the white hose. We have been camping rustic so much that I forgot to store the hose in the proper location and it got left behind.

So what do two education professionals do on their weekend off? ABSOLUTLEY NOTHING! Yep, we sat in the sun all weekend and read. Oh a couple walks were in order, but that was it, nothing else, nada. As we reclined in our Lounge Lizards, we watched the mini dramas of the campground and kept ourselves entertained.

We watched our neighbor to the right get ready to go fishing. He had a real nice Ranger bass boat, not the pro model, but a real nice one. We started chatting about the area and fishing. He told us about Banks Lake and how it had a dam on both ends and the water is pumped into the lake via huge pipes. The water is used to irrigate great expanses of the upland prairie that has been clamed for agriculture. He said that they have enough water in the lake to double the farm land it they needed to.

Fishing in Banks Lake is real good and very diverse. In our conversation he mentioned coming up here and fishing for Walleye, Crappie, Smallmouth Bass, Cutthroat Trout, and the usual Perch. It sounded like he spent several weeks fishing each time he came up and he camped here about three times a year. Oh retirement must be good.

One drama involved a big 5th wheel that pulled in and did the camp site tour. It was obvious that they had reserved a camp site on line, but they all were taken. Gene met the driver and called Audra, who appeared immediately. After some discussion and looking at the reservation printout the newbie had and comparing it to Audra’s printout, it was deemed that the camper four slots down from us was in the wrong spot. Problem was that they were hiking to the top of Steamboat Rock and could not be contacted by their neighbors. So the neighbors agreed to let the squatters know that they had to move when they returned. The 5th wheeler shook hands and pulled out and it was calm for the rest of the afternoon.

The hikers returned to the camp and out of no where Audra appeared. She did this every time something new happened in the park, it was like magic. She told the hikers they would have to move and she showed them and open handicap spot where they could stay the rest of the weekend.

Now why did I tell you all this? Well during this entire dram, Linda and I sat in the Lizards and watched, hoping that we would not have to move. We took the emergency overflow spot, Audra knew we could camp in a tent spot because we are self contained with power and water. So we kept quiet, hoping that they didn’t need to ask us to move. Everything worked out; the hikers moved and were happy in the new spot. But here is the weird thing. The 5th wheeler never returned! After all that they must have gone else where to camp. Oh, such are the dramas in the land of mobile camper cities.

The rest of our weekend was spent checking out the various events of Steamboat Rock State Park. On Sunday we packed up and drove the 125 miles back to town and got ready to face the upcoming week.