Friday, August 30, 2013

After nearly two years on the road we will be taking a break for a year or so....

We are taking a break sooner than planned, not that we are at all tired of traveling but because we found a place we really like.

Just closed on a house 3 miles outside of Colville, Washington in a subdivision with mostly two or three acre lots. Colville is in the most northeastern part of the state, very near to Canada. Ours is just under one acre which is more than enough for me to take care of. 

There is room to park the motorhome but plan only to use it as a base until we get some furniture...of which we have none.

I may of mentioned the fabulous view from our patio...right?

After Donna sat there, she jumped up and told me to head for Sears in town where I got a trimmer, rake and a shovel (thats just to get started).

After a little elbow work between us....

We now have our view...even from my "out of place" beach chair!

Here we are watching our "invisible" 55 inch LED TV in the corner. We got a great garage sale deal on these two teak recliners and tables as a start (which will eventually be our patio furniture).

With no television I guess we'll have to look out over the valley. We were there three times today changing locks and dropping off sale items and each time a different neighbor knocked on the door to introduce themselves. Each and every person we have met or did business with in our neighborhood and in Colville have been so friendly and helpful. We think it will be nice living in a small town. 

I truly believe I could sit here every day to watch the sky and clouds. I'm sure very soon I will mostly be looking at clouds and some snow but after 34 years in the Nevada desert we are ready to experience 4 full seasons.

We hope that Benji and Missy don't hassle the deer to much in our yard. Even though they tend to eat the plants you happen to like and poop everywhere (the deer not the dogs lol)...we still like seeing them. All three neighbors we met today said that although the deer eat the best part of their yards they still love seeing them. I went up at dust to replace two wood-stove bricks and found a buck and doe in the yard.

Our blog will slow down in the future until we start traveling again.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

More on Canada

We are staying another night in the Grand Forks/Greenwood area of our northern neighbor because of the many places to see and more people to meet.

I got a rare photo of a 12 foot poisonous green grass snake. Ha ha, just kidding...we took a road tour to an old mining town called Phoenix west of Grand Forks and this little three foot grass snake was warming his belly on the road. I stopped to chase him off before he/she gets squashed.

Along our driving tour of the mining town we saw these, over grown weed eaters, sitting by the road. These beasts will cut trees up to 15 inches like they were nothing but a blade of grass.

Our dirt road took us up the mountains for a great view of a healthy Canadian forest.

Got to hand it to the Canadians for erecting this memorial in the middle of nowhere to the soldiers of WWI, or at the time was called the "Great War", who lost their lives in the pursuit of freedom. The Phoenix Cenotaph was moved from the ghost town of Phoenix to its present location in 1956.

These are some pretty nice camping digs overlooking Marshall Lake in the ghost town of Phoenix, BC.

Cute sign with clever wit applied. Marshall Lake is the result of the past mining and I guess the state is trying to drain it but some people don't like the idea.

The open pit copper mine at Phoenix was a result of over inflated copper prices in the early 20th century. By the end of the great war the copper prices dropped through the basement and the mine closed in 1919.

Donna likes to tour old cemeteries which is cool with me because I try to see patterns in them.

There was obviously a love story in this plot that should be further investigated. We did read and see on many tablets that half the grave-sites were from the mine accidents, oddly the rest were from years 1918-1919 and they were attributed to the horrific flu epidemic after WWI.

Empty but still in good condition is the Forshaw homestead that was built in 1909 and occupied until the late 1970's. The Forshaws are credited with being the last family of the Phoenix ghost town.

This old concrete water trough in the meadow must of belonged to the Forshaw's at one time.

Coming down the hill on some switchbacks we can see this very large brick smokestack in the distant town of Greenwood, BC.

We drove up to the smokestack at the B.C. Copper Smelter in Greenwood and were surprised that it was only partially fenced in we go. This is the top of a 620 foot flue that drew off the deadly gases that would otherwise killed workers.

I am proud to say that I spare no expense in taking my love to the depths of a fire breathing "furnace" ha ha!

A half mile long 200 foot high, mountain of black slag.

We found that Greenwood B.C. had not one, but two claims to  fame. In 2012 this little town came in first for best tasting municipal water in the world...or at least of every town that submitted an entry.

We couldn't help but dump all our water tanks and jugs, then fill them with "the worlds best tasting" was good water too.

The other claim was that it is the smallest city in Canada. Besides the best water and smallest stature, Greenwood has taken care to keep itself very attractive to tourism. 

We happen to catch four fawns hanging around us. Both moms were 50 feet away and did not perceive us as any threat. From here we have to head for the border and back to the good ole US of A!

Funny story...I drove up too close to the radiation machine which in turn gave the border guards a false reading. We then went through a 30 minute pat-down, Geiger counters ran over each of our bodies...even the dogs had to be done separately...then the motorhome and tow-car had to be inspected for radiation. The motorhome was then searched by one of the agents. I felt so sorry for the cars behind because we blocked the whole lane.
We picked the obscure crossing at Midway, BC just so we could bring back all the veggies we picked up at Canadian farmers markets...they took it all!

The Boulder-Deer Creek summit was a shortcut back to Colville, Washington that cut off 45 miles to the drive. A very small county road but a beautiful and rural drive.

More later.........

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Motorhome trip to

We started our 50 mile trip from Chewelah, Washington to Grand Forks, BC after a wild weather night. The campground casino where we stayed lost power three times during the night. As we drove past Kettle Falls about 38 miles to the north we saw that even at 11:00 pm that morning the whole town was still without power.
It's good to have a 7.5 KW generator on hand!

I remain amazed at how healthy the forests in Northern Washington and Canada look. California, just now is under attack by horrendous fire storms...partly do to the Japanese Pine Beetle, global warming and the USFS misplaced past attempts to squash any and all forest fires...even the good ones. 

Here we are approaching the Canadian border entrance at Cascade, BC. I was prepared for the questions on handguns, ammunition or rifles but was taken aback at the pepper or bear spray? I don't have any of the above but going into grizzly country without spray just seems a little crazy to me.

The Kettle River starts way up here in Canada before flowing across the border into the USA.

The Cascade Water, Power and Light Company had a dam and plant here in the early 20th century. It was also here that Nicola Tesla tested his 3-phase 60 cycle-power, Which I'm sure means something to an electrician, but to me it's all bla bla bla!

Okay, time to start mentally changing MPH to Km's, fahrenheit to centigrade and the first gas station I came across showed a price of $, I'm filling up here. Then I saw that it was for one liter...of which nearly 4 make a gallon. OMG, over 5 dollars per gallon? I wonder why all of Canada is not driving Toyota Priuses?

Five miles into Canada one of the greatest routes abruptly ends. I can say that I have driving US 395 from bottom to top. Starts near Hesperia in Southern Cal, running through Nevada, Oregon, Washington and a few miles into Canada...I have been on every one of the 1305 miles. (or 2100 km if you are Canadian) It used to run to San Diego before the I-5 replaced it...and I drove that section too!

Grand Forks City Hall.

We took a auto tour near Grand Forks of the North Fork of the Grandy River. The black slag pile along the river is all that remains of the largest copper smelter in the British Empire from 1899 to 1920. The slag is now used as an abrasive for sandblasting and roofing granules.

The slag that remains looks very much like the black sands we encountered on Hawaii... Walking on them in Birkenstocks wasn't my brightest idea, not sand at all but very sharp granules of jagged metal...ouch!

This beautiful valley was once a lake for the smelters down river. It was abandoned in 1946 and two years later the dam collapsed freeing up hundreds of acres of farm land.

I kid you not! From a 1/4 mile away I thought these were those large round bales of hay until one moved. With binoculars and my strongest camera lens I see huge beasts. Long horns, long hair on the head and ears and look to be at least as big as a bison. I had no help in town identifying the breed but will keep trying. Not Texas longhorns unless they average 2500 lbs or more and not Scottish highland cattle either.

Yesteryear the economy was metals now a-days lumber fuels a lot of these small towns which is good...except when the mill closes. 

While Donna and I drove the backwoods, 25 Km auto tour, we were anxious to see some wildlife and saw none other than some big bovines. We then took a bike ride around town and saw no less that 8 deer grazing nonchalantly in the local 'burbs. We even witnessed a doe standing curbside on the main street waiting for traffic to stop, then waiting for opposite traffic also to stop before leading her fawn across the road...cheers to all the people who were patient. 

Donna and I stopped at a local clothing store and asked about the winter weather. The girl behind the counter said they were in the sun belt of Canada which is mild. Only gets a week or two of 30 to 40 degrees below zero, other than that it is nice at around 10 below. Either centigrade is different than I think it is or mild to this girl is a popsicle stuck up the bum?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Last days in Chewelah, Washington

We have been in Chewelah for about five days finalizing some  paperwork that I will be elaborating on next week... but for now it's business as usual.

How could you argue with a windshield view such as this? This is from our camp spot in the Chewelah Valley.

For two nights I watched this coyote hunt for mice and rats among the bales of hay. I must curb my enthusiasm for the coyote in this area because he is not well thought of in the area.

We took a ride over the hill to Usk, Washington just to see what was there. While driving over the mountain we saw an unusual sight, an 8 ft wood craving of a bear that did not appear to belong to any nearby property. I could only think of that old proverb...does a bear **** in the woods? ha ha

On top of the pass between Chewelah and Usk, by way of the Flowery Trail Road, is of all things a "ski resort"? Not to be too uppity, but neither of towns folk seemed like ski people to me...just saying. Even way up here, the ski tickets are $50+ which really astonishes me.

Donna is walking down a dirt road in the heavily moose populated northeast Washington calling out..."here Bullwinkle, here Bullwinkle"!

We both thought to our could this marsh not have a moose in it?

Off in the distance is the Pend Oreille River that flows from the USA to Canada then back to the USA as a tributary to the mighty Columbia River.

There were many homes and docks along the Pend Oreille River and as you can see, the water level must fluctuate quite a bit otherwise there would be no reason for the 20 foot dock poles.

The geese make a great foreground for the logging poles from yesteryear on the Pend Oreille River. Before you get too twisted in trying to pronounce the rivers name, apparently it's French...just say "pond o ray".

Here is a group of bikers heading for the "no helmet" law of Idaho.

Just a hint of next weeks blog...

Just before I closed out this blog our power went out and the wind suddenly started howling. Totally unexpected, the second most powerful electrical storm we have ever seen was overhead. 

The #1 storm was 30 years ago in Kansas where I swear you could read a newspaper in the middle of the night just by the constant flashes. This storm was a close second! Wild and we loved it but I fear for some fires tomorrow.