Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Sun is Still Shining!

It’s Monday morning and Linda said to me, “I think this will be our last trip in the camper this year.” I looked at her and shook my head. It’s only October and we have until the end of November to get out and enjoy camping.  This is our annual Steamboat Rock State Park camping trip and I will guarantee that we will get out camping again before we head to Mexico.

Steamboat Rock has been our favorite fall, end of the season, camping adventure.  We usually make the trip over here around Halloween, but this year we have scheduled a bit of surgery for our dog, Kobi around that time.  Kobi has a lump on his back near his butt and we feel we need to give our vet another $500.  Oh, I guess we need to take care of the little mutt, but he is starting to run up quite the tab. He’ll have to do a lot of face licking and acting cute to pay for this.
We drove over to the park on Monday. The weather was misty and foggy all the way over. We entered the area.  Linda and I thought we knew the routine so we picked a spot and as I set up, Linda went over to the usual area to pay. She was back in a short time carrying the check and registration card. We no longer paid there, we had to walk up to the park entry and pay via our credit card. So we walked over and Linda called using the “Yellow” phone. After several minutes and quite a bit of conversation, she hung up and said, “Let’s go, we can’t check in until 2:30 PM.”  We were a bit confused and frustrated. It was now 1:30 PM and we had to walk back to our rig, about a 1/2 mile away, and then come back and call again at 2:30 PM.

Off we walked.  After a few minutes, the park ranger drove up.  We talked for a bit and asked about the process suggesting that they put a note up as you drove in stating that you couldn’t register until 2:30 PM.  He laughed and told us that all we have to do was drop our check into the box at the park entry pay station. He also said that all spots were first come, first serve.  We smiled and reiterated that it was very confusing and he agreed. Off he drove and Linda walked back and dropped our registration check into the box.

The mist had gone and the fog had burned off leaving us to lounge around in the warm sun.  We read and played with Kobi as deer and turkeys sauntered through our campsite.

Tuesday morning Linda and Kobi went for a walk. After their adventure, Linda was soaking up the morning sun and Kobi got stung on the paw by a couple yellow jackets.  It was tragic! At least to Kobi and Linda it was. Kobi was shaking his paw and licking it so we confined him to his leash and Linda and I went for a long hike around the area.  One of my goals was to climb up to the top of Steamboat Rock while we were here.  We have done it many times, but this time it would be with new knees and I wanted to see if they have healed enough to make it to the top.  Today’s climb was postponed due to me having to use the restroom and there is no pot on the top. I’ll make it up tomorrow!

We hiked on and went down to the east end of the park.  The water in Banks Lake is very low, the lowest level of all our visits.  The shores made for great walking and sightseeing so we followed them around to the east face of Steamboat Rock. There were two red tail hawks floating on the air currents above us and just off the huge rock faces.  Suddenly we heard a commotion and looked up to spot one of the hawks attacking a nesting pair of birds.  It was so high up on the cliff face that we couldn’t identify the birds that were attacked, but we could see the hawk as it sat at the nest after the attack.  I took a picture with my camera's telephoto, but just as I got ready for my second shot the battery went dead. So much for my National Geographic Moment!

Back at the camper Kobi was still favoring his paw, but it looked like things would be OK by morning. We sat in the sun, looked at maps and planned our future trips. We took a walk to the west campground area. On the lawn in the middle of everything were 30 turkeys and 22 deer, none of which were afraid of us. Once the sun, set we went inside, fixed dinner and played cribbage. The series is now tied at two apiece. We decided that we can’t go home in the morning because we are now in a best of five series.

We packed up the camper and headed out to Electric Avenue; I mean Electric City and turned North.

We decided to take a different route home, one that we had never driven and one that could lead us to another night's camping.  After driving through Grand Coulee and Coulee City we followed Highway 153 to split on to #13 Cache Creek Road where we drove easterly. This took us over a pass to Highway 21 and ended at Republic WA. We followed Highway 20 southeast and went over Sherman Pass ending on Highway 25 at Kettle Falls. We followed Lake Roosevelt’s eastern shore until we found Gifford Campground.

Gifford was right on the lake and we were one of four rigs using its campsites. There must have been 80 sites available so all of the RVs were spread out and individual camps were very private. Our site looked west over the lake. It was very pretty. About a quarter mile down lake was a free ferry that operated during the day.  It crossed over the lake about every half hour and seemed to always be loaded with vehicles.

We left Gifford and drove the scenic highway south. At Davenport, we turned east and drove through Spokane and on to home.

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