Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Digging It In Westport

The hole in the camper looked real bad.
We took the camper in to get it repaired and the RV repair went way better than expected.  We had a leak in a small access door and the water went into a location that then rotted out and rusted through the surface.  I discovered it on the way to Mexico and worried about it all the way home.  You can see by the photo it looked real bad.  The good thing is that it wasn't half as bad as we thought and it only cost us $380 to get it repaired.  I had projected about $1200.

After the repair, we took the camper off out at our friends and immediately hit the road for Westport, Wa. We were invited to go Razor Clam digging by our good friends Don and Caroline.  Clam digging is a tradition for these friends and I have really enjoyed the hunt.
On the beach in Grayland getting ready to dig.

Here is my take on the event.  First the weather changed from clear skies to 100% rain, part of the tradition I guess.  Then you load up and drive down to the beach and onto the sand.  You grab a bucket and your Clam Hawk and off you go.

The Clam Hawk looks like a raft pump except that it is hollow and it has a thumb hole in the handle that creates a suction after you shove the device into the sand and start pulling.

Got my bucket and Clam Hawk.
Once on the beach you look for little round spots on the sand and then you place the tube of the Clam Hawk over the hole and push it into the sand.  Once you are in the sand up to the handle, you put your finger over the air hole and then pull the handle up.

The Hawk then pulls up a big plug of sand and when you release the suction hole the big round plug of sand drops out.  You break up the sand plug and you can see the clam moving about, so all you do is pick it up and put it in your bucket.  Each person is allowed 15 clams on a permit.  It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to get your limit.
After the boiling water bath.
Shellless little critters.
Gutting and cleaning the bastards.
A Razor Clam.
At home you bring the clams in and wash them off.  You pour boiling water over the clams to kill them and then cold water is sprayed over them so that they cool before they cook.  Next you shell them and after that you turn to Linda and tell her to clean them.  Once she stops laughing, I went ahead and cleaned and gutted them.
Finished product, Razor Clams!
Erik, Caroline cook the clams as Linda watches.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Post Post

It’s Tuesday and the sun is out, they say it is about 70 degrees out there today.  I got up and made coffee, it took me a bit to remember where everything was. Linda went out for a run, Kobi found his spot over by the entertainment bar.

We had several things to get done today. I wanted to get the water out of the camper and to put bleach in it to disinfect the tanks and hoses. Check. We needed to go to the bank and the store. Check.  We wanted to unload the trailer and start to put stuff away. Check. Finally we took the trailer over to the place where I bought it to get the six month check-up completed.  Check.

I figured out how much we spent in diesel fuel to get down there ($911.20) and how much we spent coming back ($1146.18). Our total was about $2057.38 for the 6204 miles we drove.  I have the costs for tolls ($260.29 for 31 stops), truck insurance, tourists fees, policia payoffs and damages incurred, but that only come to about another $1000.00. Is it less expensive to drive? No I don’t think so. Are we glad we did it?  Yes, definitely.  Will we drive again?  Probably not, been there, done that.

It is a bit strange coming home to the place after being gone since November 23.  We drove directly into Coeur d’Alene and stopped at Linda’s parents place.  They were so relieved to see her. We could see it in their eyes.

The trip from Moab to Coeur d’Alene was uneventful.  The only thing to report is a bad report about the KOA in Dillon.  The place was old and well used and the shower areas were dirty.  I had more complaints then Linda, but for $5 more we could have had big clean showers at the other RV campground in town.

The weather was great and we sailed over the Utah and Montana highways. As we got closer to home we started talking about the trip and what we thought.  Both of us are of the same mind, we loved it and think we are going to miss everything about traveling, Mexico, Melaque, and the Big Adventure. 

Friday, April 04, 2014

The Days Go By

Linda is outside sleeping in the sun, so I thought I would do a bit of catching up on the blog.  We are still enjoying out spot at Goose Island.  It is a great location to sit and watch people come and go.  The movement of campers’ makes our days go a bit faster because we can watch them set up and tear down; or drive around trying to get a spot.

We needed a few groceries yesterday so after Linda did her 11 mile run and Kobi and I met her at about 6 miles, we rode into Moab and went shopping.  The place was jumping and everyone we talked to said that it had been that way since February.  This week is spring break and next week the big Jeep rally starts, so they all were preparing for a long season.

Shopping was our first order of business and we looked in about a dozen shops but came away with nothing.  Mexico has made it hard, things there were very affordable. T-shirts were $10 whereas here they are $21. We ate lunch and it cost us $23 for a burger and a wrap.  In Melaque we were spending $11 and getting stuffed.  Guess we just need more time to adjust.
Nothing caught our eye in the gift department so we moved on the super market. Keep in mind that we were on bikes so our selections had to fit in our packs or could be strapped to the back rack.  We bought the necessities and filled the two packs.  I bought two gallons of water and strapped it onto my rack in the back.  As we rode back home Linda stopped and got a gallon of water for Kobi.  We definitely looked a little strange riding our old Mt. bikes with water strapped on back and packs a bulging.
When we got home we unpacked and fell asleep in our chairs.  I guess we were a bit tired.

End of the trail, the largest natural bridge in Utah.
Today we rode our bikes along the highway to the starting point of the Negro Bill Hiking Trail.  We locked the bikes and helmets to a sign post and then hiked the 4.5 mile trail to the Morning Glory Bridge.  The day was perfect for hiking, high clouds and a bit of blue sky.  We hiked very briskly and when we arrived at the bridge there were only one couple there.  It was very quiet so I took some photos and we drank some water. 

We turned around and made our way out.  As we did we passed probably 30 or so hikers the journey into the bridge.  Many families with kids and a large number of hikers with dogs were on their way in.  We were glad we had left Kobi at camp; he probably would have been a pain in the butt with all the dogs and people to distract him.

Back at the bikes we drank some water and then rode home.  When we got home we unpacked and fell asleep in our chairs.  I guess we were a bit tired, again.

Morning Glory Bridge

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Goose Island

We made it to Goose Island and got a good spot. We met a German couple who have been climbing in Arches Park, they let us have the spot and will possibly be back tonight to share it. We said we had lots of room and all they need is a spot for their car. They will spend the night and leave in the morning.

Arches and Aches

We left Beaver in a flurry of snow and goose bumps. Roads were clear and the sun was bright. The next few hours wound us up and over a pass and then dropped us into the area North of Moab. We kept in communication with the Anderson's bus via phone but coverage was spotty at best.

The caravan pulled into Slick Rock RV in Moab in a mood of skepticism. As we traveled Linda read the web reviews of the place and they were not good, in fact they were down right terrible. Most of then told of the run down nature of all the facilities. The rest spoke of the lack of cleaning of said facilities.  We had reserved for two nights so we felt we would give it a shot.

They assigned us two sites together and we parked and got set up.  Exploration showed that the place was run down but they had cleaned the bathrooms so all was good for us. The landscape around the camper was red dirt, there was not a blade of grass to be found. The place would do for our two days.

We had dinner with the Anderson's and made plans for the next day.  The troupes would squeeze into Earl's tow car and we would explore Arches National Park,Tuesday.  With plans set we all faded off to bed.
Tuesday we got up and ate breakfast, hitting the road about 8:00 AM.

Our one day wind tour of the park started at the visitors center where Julia got all the information needed to become a Jr. Ranger. Then we picked up a park map an made the decision to drive into the park to the Delicate Arch and hike their first.

Back in the car and on the road we got our first taste of the beauty of this natural wonder.  I can't even explain how cool the rock formations are, I could never do them justice.  We looked about as we drove and got a good feel for the area.  Many questions were formulated, but the answers would have to wait until we returned to the visitors center at the end of the day.

Earl's Saturn seats 7 Mexican style.
At the Visitors Center we had made the decision to drive to the Delicate Arch first so that we could all do that hike first.  That is where we unloaded and that is where we stared our first very windy hike of the day.  The trail was dotted with hikers everywhere.  This would not be an experience in the solitude of these mighty arches, we would be sharing the experience with many visitors.

Delicate Arch is a round trip of about 3 miles, the trail starts out flat, gains some serious elevation and then levels out at the arch its self.  Linda and I led the way and when we crested the last bit of hike we were hit with a blast of wind that could almost knock you down.  The wind rushed over the rock face and struck you hard as you came out into the open.  However, once you climbed over the face and moved along the bowl of the area the wind was much more manageable.

Linda hiked to the arch first and I took some pictures, then she returned and I climbed out to the famous photo spot of Delicate Arch.  We were impressed that people were courteous and would wait in the distance allowing you to get a photo of the arch with no one in the shot.  The wind prevented many hikers from going directly to the arch. It took a bit of nerve to climb the short distance to the area where the wind was blocked, so we were able to get a few good shots.

The Anderson’s arrived on the ridge and we took photos of the bunch. Earl had made the hike up the steep hills and was very excited to see the arch. Once we rested and took a bunch of pictures we returned to the car.  The hike back was down some steep slick rock and by the time we were back to the start we had some sore knees and feet.  The wind was blowing sand and grit around the entire hike so all of us could feel the grit on our bodies.

We then drove out further into the park.  We passed the Fiery Furnace area and ended up turning around at the Devils Garden Trail head. Then we returned and stopped at Sand Dune Arch where we hiked the short distance and took some photos.  Off in the distance was Broken Arch but the wind kept us close to the car and all we got were some distant pictures of the arch.

Back in the car we stopped at several viewpoints including the Fiery Furnace but we only took pictures. Our final hike was into the Double Arch where half the group climbed and the rest of us watched.  This turned out to be Julia’s favorite area because she got to climb up to the area directly under the two arches.

As the others climbed Earl, Lorrain and I stayed down and greeted people as they came up the trail.  Earl met some hikers from the area where he fishes and within a few minutes had discovered a catering outfit that could possibly take care of the food for their daughter’s upcoming wedding.  Leave it to Earl to be in Utah, in a National Park, at the base of an arch making connections and working angles to get his little girl hitched on a dock in Washington.

Linda ducks out of the wind at Delicate Arch.
We loaded up and on our way out, we took pictures of the Cove of Caves and Balanced Rock. Then we returned to the Visitors Center where Julia watched the movie about the park as Mike and I hakey sacked with two guys in front of the building. We stopped hacking long enough for Mike to watch Julia get her Jr. Ranger badge then we squeezed back into the car and returned to Slick Rock RV.

That evening we had pizza delivered and watched a NIT semifinal basketball game on TV. Then we went to bed and the rain started.

Rayelle, Mike and Julia approach Delicate Arch.

Mike Anderson at Delicate Arch.

Linda at Sand Dune Arch.
Happy dance under the arch.
Linda photo-bombs my shot of the distant arch.
Fiery Furnace area.
Double Arch

Cove of Caves
Balanced Rock
Park Avenue, hummmmmm.
Lorraine and Earl at Park Avenue.