Monday, October 28, 2013

Apples and the border.

I will combine two days into one blog and so there will be a few more photos than usual. 

Donna and I wanted to take Ashley over to the Sherman Creek Orchard which is now in full production. They have ten or more types of apples and a few pear products as well.

This is one of the reasons for our trip to the apple orchard, besides showing it to Ashley.  The orchard sells damaged apples for 20 cents a pound which we load up for these guys. Now, after a few weeks of training, if they are within ear shot when I go out the back patio and say with a low voice..."hey now, how are you doing" they actually run into the yard for apple treats.

We were here just two weeks ago and at that time the trees were very green...a lot has changed in just 14 days.

It day was cold but the girls had fun running around the beautiful apple trees.

Once we got into the warehouse Ashley was like, "I want this one, and this one and maybe a few of these too"!

The next day Donna and I took a trip up the Pend Oreille River where it crosses the Canadian border, but first stopped to check on the motorhome. We found a shed with electricity across the valley to store the home for the unforeseeable future.

The North Pend Oreille Scenic Byway starts near the town of Tiger, Washington...about 30 miles east of Colville.

On the way to the byway we came upon Crystal Falls on highway 20. I found a 2 gig photo card in it's protective cover on a rock. When I got home I looked at it and found that some guy from Washington Department of Transportation had a letter on the photo card with a phone number. He was so happy that we found the card and came right over to retrieve it.

Box Canyon Dam was our next stop. I quickly found out what is a "run of the river" dam. In other information plaques we found that Box Canyon was an extremely dangerous rapid to run in the 1900's.

This plant, that has no storage capacity and still generates 60 megawatts of power... just by having the river flow thru the turbines. 

I thought this 1910 railroad bridge across the Pend Oreille River  upstream from the dam was awesome.

There are 4 of these "propeller turbines" bad boys in the Box Canyon Dam pumping out the 60 megawatts.

Our next stop down river was the town of Metaline Falls, Washington. This was a neat old hotel that caught my eye. I looked it up and it is the "#1 hotel" in Metaline Falls by tripadvisor...out of 1 :-)

Heading into "Cathy's Cafe" for lunch in Metaline Falls. I would give you the link but it's a Facebook link and I don't do....Facebook!

What a neat old movie theater in downtown Metaline Falls. Like every other small town theater, in any town we have visited lately...the movie Gravity was the main attraction.

My younger brother would kill to be able to walk through history like this and other old decommissioned power houses I have only seen from the outside. The Sullivan Creek Power House that was built in 1910 but does not have a great position on the internet that I could research.

Nelway, BC is the entry point here into Canada. We decided not to cross today because it was already 2:30 in the afternoon and I really don't like driving in this part of the country after sundown.

"Honey, I can see Canada!" We stopped at the Boundary Dam overlook but could not photograph the dam because of lighting problems. The river below flows across the border into Canada for a few miles until it meets the mighty Columbia 500 yards above the US border.

This is the only photo I could get without the sun blinding me. I believe these 6 tubes are the outlets for tubines. This "youtube" video may explain it more.

The dam at Sullivan Lake feeds into Pend Oreille River which is an "oldie but goodie" and the water seemed to be drawn down quite a bit for the winter season.

The fall season beauty of the area can be so overwhelming, that around every corner seems to offer a better palette for your paint than the one before.

Most of the fall color here is from the tamarack trees. I was going nuts because the tamarack looks like a pine, has needles like a pine and a cone like a pine...but is not a pine tree. It is a deciduous conifer that drops its needles like leaves in the fall. The roads up here are covered in a gold velvet cushion from the tamarack.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday drive to Trail, Canada

Woke up Sunday early enough to watch the news programs until 10:00 and thought a back road trip up to Canada might be fun...since I'm not a football addict. 

Drove out of Colville on Aladdin road until we got to Deep Lake/Boundary Rd, which heads north to Canada. I guess 49 feet is considered deep up here in Washington because that is Deep Lakes maximum depth. Deep Lake is a beautiful lake but being 20 miles from Colville means a long drive to the only stores living here must be tough. 

Here is the border crossing at Boundary, Washington from the road above. We are excited to be able to zip over to another country anytime we long as we are back before the border closes, and they do close every evening!

As luck would have it, Donna must fit some kind of criminal profile because the Canadians (while being very polite and professional) had us sit in the office for a while as they did a searched our car. I know they did a thorough search because it took two of them 10 minutes. Maybe my Harley Davidson sweatshirt raised some flags like: I'm carrying weapons or meth for sale in Canada?

Within 100 yards of arriving into Canada you hit a one lane bridge over the Pend d'Orellie River (pond oh ray) which adds about 1/4 or so in volume to the Columbia River. I've noticed in the west that one lane bridges have red/green lights to regulate traffic...not here! You see someone coming, you's that simple...ha ha

The Canadians are upgrading their electric generating just before the border...get as much as you can when it is on your land seems to be the theme. The river starts deep in Idaho before flowing north to Canada and then south towards America  again before joining with the Columbia just one block from the international border.

Not sure if you can tell but the flow from the Pend d'Orellie River is very heavy even this late in the season. Some of those rapids behind Donna are 4 to 5 foot tall where it joins the mighty Columbia River.

The town of Trail, Canada was much larger then I had imagined...just don't visit it on Sunday because everything seemed to be closed except the local Wal-Mart.

Right dab in the middle of the town is Teck. Teck is a huge smelting plant, one of the largest...that produces zinc, lead and copper. Teck supposedly milled the gold medals for the Canadian Olympics a few years back. There is definitely an odor when you get out of the car, all attributed to the smelter. Teck is now being sued by the USA for polluting the Columbia River... for years.

This beautiful bridge connects the east and west side of Trail, separated by the Columbia River.

Coming back into the states at Boundary, Washington (this building is the whole town) was effortlessly this time...yeah!

Cool old cabin with fall as a background.

Northport, Washington is truly the last town on this particular road to Canada from the USA. There was a small boat launch and jetty, with a couple of people fishing on it, that offered a great reflection.

How awesome would it be to have a house sitting on your own private island in the middle of the Columbia River.
Well we made it back home...much to the delight of the dogs and deer. Now planning a future trip to Nelson, BC which we understand is another great town to visit.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Party at Tom and Donna's

There goes Donna's IRA. I guess the little female fawn from the the previous blog did what girls too much about our treats.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fall is here and winters right around the corner.

This beautiful little girl hung around the yard most of the day eating apples and carrots. Judging from her size I'd say she was born this spring.

About a half block from the house is a dirt road going straight up the mountain into Washington forest lands. Donna and Riley took about a mile hike up the road with the dogs last week and later we were informed by our neighbors that she should have had bear spray with her. Guess we dodged a bullet this time.

Up near the top I told Donna we must be at least 5000 feet or so in elevation. Both phone apps told a different story...3500' 

We were blocked about a 1/2 mile from the top by this gate. You can hike the rest of the way but I'll wait until I have bear spray and a 9mm before I do it. A look on Google Earth shows me there is a tower and some buildings on's called Paradise Peak.

Here is the Google photo of Paradise Peak with our loop at the top of the photo.. I find it odd that just 30 miles west is another Paradise Peak, in Ferry County. I realize place names are duplicated across America but rarely in the same state.

A couple of days earlier we headed over to the Sherman Creek Orchard for fresh apples...and I mean right off the tree fresh!

Donna I got some very good advice from a lady shopper who had been buying here for years. She pointed out the best ones for applesauce, pies and for eating. The orchard also has pear trees.

Some of the apples were as big as cantaloupe, this was a granny smith.

Donna was thrilled that the owner gave us about ten pounds of blemished pears for our friends, the dear. While the hard freezes we have already had do not effect the apples, they do ruin pears.

A stop at this heritage site on state hi-way 20 was a tribute to the CCC workers in the 1930's

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) were filled with young unemployed men from across the nation. They faced back breaking work, low wages (of which a percentage had to go back home to family) and long hours just to put food into many, who had none. When you go to a national park and see beautifully constructed picnic table made of pavers like this, you can bet these young men did it.

Sighting of a wolf on Sherman Pass...ha ha. There were three of these metal structures in the rocks looking down upon us.

Sherman Pass is the highest pass in Washington that is open all winter. If the pass near you is 5580 feet're screwed!

Republic is a little town some 40 miles west of us. From here we will head north to intersect hwy 395, then state 602 (Boulder Creek Rd) and head home. I was interested in hunting and hunting rules... my main question was whether I could sit on my porch and shot? Heck ya said Stan, I got two a couple years ago that long as you are not in the city limits. The rule is you can not hunt or shoot a gun in any city.

It was kind of funny when we were leaving Republic to see this two or three point buck laying in front of a home...within the city limits! Who knew a deer could READ?

On the way home we had seen a number of campgrounds and lookouts closed by the federal shutdown. Only Washington State campgrounds remained open and I heard a lot of hunters who got kicked out of the federal campgrounds on Oct 1st were hot under the collar.

We thought we were funny crashing a closed site until I heard some folks who had done the very same got $125 tickets given to them for going into a closed federal site...dodged another bullet I guess. We did see two moose on the way home and that really topped the day off for us.
Till next time....