Meeting Nice People…& Lots Of Wheat!

While we are staying at the KOA at Lyons Ferry…which is of course no longer a ferry, but a bridge….

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A very high bridge, over the Snake River….

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View looking over the side of the bridge.

We check out Palouse Falls State Park, just 5-6 miles north, and we also take in the small town of Dayton, about 27 miles beyond Starbuck.

The state park is famous for the falls, has a small tent camping area, and a day use area with grass and trees.  Unless trees and grass are purposely planted in these parts, they seem pretty hard to come by.

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The falls, on the Palouse River, are a bit low on water right now, so I’m told.  It’s a long drop though, at 200 feet, to the inviting pool of water below.  Reading reviews, it seems quite popular for folks to hike down there and swim.

I’ll take the elevator, thank you.  Oh well.  No elevator available!

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Another day we head over to Dayton.

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I need a few groceries.  Well, not really, but it’s my excuse to go to town and shop at the Mercantile….a nice little grocery store in this case.

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I didn’t think about taking a picture while I was there so I found this one on line.

Also I read about Blue Mountain Station Artisan Food Center, where I might find some organic fruits and veggies.

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Notice they have solar panels on the roof?

Sure enough, I find corn, heirloom tomatoes, plums, peaches, along with a loaf of fresh, home  baked bread.  Oops!  That last item is not a fruit or a veggie.  How did that sneak into my bag??

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Dayton Town Hall

Back at the camp ground Monday evening while watching the sun set from the marina, we meet our next door neighbors doing the same.  We sit talking awhile, getting to know each other a bit.  I meet the nicest people in my travels, and Larry and Polly are prime examples.

I can’t even remember the last time I bought propane but the tank I’m using feels very light, which makes me think it’s time for a fill up.  Speaking of good people, the KOA maintenance fella takes my tank in his cart, fills it, returns it, and hooks it up for me.  I certainly appreciate that, given my back issues of late.

Tuesday morning it’s time to move on, heading north to Wilbur, Washington.  It’s 120 miles through the wheat!  I’m following a back road route (there isn’t much else) and no matter which little road my GPS tells me to follow, there are fields and fields of wheat, as far as the eye can see.

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And then the farmers home place.

We arrive at Wilbur and Country Lane Campground and RV Park, a small place at the edge of town.  It will cost $87 for 3 nights with full hookups, grass, and great big trees!  Yay!

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Joy and Shiloh wait for me to register at the RV park.  :-)

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Again we find ourselves next door to some friendly folks, Nancy and Duke, who have been on the road for 10 weeks in their Airstream.  We talk for quite awhile sharing ideas and info about things to see and places to stay.

The weather has changed!  It has cooled off considerably and we are really happy about that…for as long as it lasts!

We will be checking out the Grand Coulee Dam in the next day or so!

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A different view of the precious trees at our campsite.

 

 

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Amber Waves Of Grain vs Desolate Desert

(a story in pictures)

Wow, we are really ‘out here’.  At least that’s how I feel.

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That’s the moon, above the KOA sign.

All the country side near here looks like this….like desert.

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A railroad track runs through it…

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And a river runs through it:

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Sunset on the Snake River, from Lyons Ferry Marina.

The ‘town’? of Starbuck is about 6 miles south of the KOA.  The KOA store sells shirts.  :-)

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But the town itself, isn’t so fancy…and no shirts for sale there, either.

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I think it says the population is 188, but it could be 138.

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Here’s the….umm….gas station.  Actually 2 pumps, no building.  Credit Cards only.  Across the street with the US flag is the post office.  the red brick building next to the post office is boarded up.  I think they might be remodeling though.  I don’t know what kind of store it is.

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And then there is the little community church, and that about sums it up for Starbuck!

On the far side of Starbuck, nearer to Dayton is where you find the ‘amber waves of grain.’

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Much of it has already been harvested.

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Rolling hills of it….

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And then the grain elevator thingie, which I happened to catch in action…

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Wheat?  Corn?  I don’t know, more likely wheat.

Wow.  This is such a big country….so much space….so open….so free…..so varied….from the town of Starbuck to the city of Seattle, from the town to Quartzsite to New York City ….from the desert to the amber waves of grain to the purple mountains majesty.

And I have to opportunity to roam it….explore it….from sea to shining sea….if I wish.

I really do love this country.

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KOA To The Rescue….Again

Sunday, August 14 we leave the KOA in Kamiah, Idaho.

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Above and below are some of the friends we met in Kamiah, on our daily walks.

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We move on only about 45 miles to a COE (Core of Engineers) park called Dent Acres.  I’ve heard good things about this park and am looking forward to spending time here….8 nights in fact, at $10 a night with my Senior Pass.  This includes full hookups, covered picnic table, fire pit, and showers.

It’s a long and winding road, up hill and down, that leads to my campsite.  Top speed here is 35 miles per hour and this last 20 miles is not a drive I enjoy.

When we arrive at Dent Acres the temperature is near 100 degrees and there is almost no shade at our site.  Plus, another problem seems to be bees and hornets.  We end up moving to another site, attempting to get some shade, but there still isn’t much, at least not where and when we need it, and there is no decrease in the bees.

Joy and Shiloh tend to snap at bugs, so loads of bees are a big problem for us.  It turns into a three ring circus as they snap and I swat and slap, and we get more crabby and cranky in the 100 degree heat.  We go inside to sit in the air conditioning, and I raise the Clam (6×6 ft screen house). Other than our early morning and our evening walks, we are more or less held prisoner in WS and the Clam by heat and bees.  Joy ends up getting stung.  We are not happy campers.  I have no phone or internet service.  I read and the kids sleep.

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Dent Prison.  Sorry, I told you I get cranky in the heat.

I’m sure this is a lovely park at a different time.  The camp host couple are wonderful.

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Here is the reservoir, and the Dent Bridge, as seen from the campground.

I cut my 8 days to 3 days, get a refund for the other 5 days, and off we go.

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We are about to cross Dent Bridge as we leave.

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View of the Clearwater River, as we go back down the long and winding road.

We  are heading in the direction of Grand Coulee Dam.  In Lewiston, ID we stop at the Petco for dog food, and oh my gosh there is an AT&T signal….first I’ve seen since Missoula, plus I haven’t had internet since Kamiah.  I buy chewies for Joy and Shiloh and they lie on the grass in the shade by the Petco parking lot, while I sit on the curb catching up on some on line business.

When we leave Lewiston it’s over 90 degrees and I’m not sure where I’m going.  After awhile and asking around, I find myself near Starbuck, Washington, at the KOA at Lyons Ferry Marina  on the Snake River.  I ask if they have a spot in the shade for us….and it just so happens they do!  It’s only available for 2 nights, but I take it.  I can’t seem to get away from the heat, but having good shade and green grass for J&S to lie on helps.  I spend literally hours on line (good free wifi here!) trying to figure out where to go next, but nothing is making me happy.  (Our reservations near the dam start on August 23.)

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This was taken this morning.  In the afternoon the shade is even better.

The sun sets and we step outside….there is a breeze.  Ok, it feels like the furnace blower, but hey, it’s a breeze.  A few minutes later the lady from the KOA office comes to see me.  “We had a cancelation” she tells me.  “You can stay in this spot until you need to leave on the 23rd if you like.  I put this site on hold for you.  Just go to the office when they open in the morning and let them know.”

That’s good news to this crabby, cranky old lady!  With my KOA 10% discount it’s about $32  a night here….not bad for KOA.

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Train trestle over the Snake River, as viewed from our site, with a train on it, no less!

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Bridge over the Snake River.  Can’t see this from our site, but when we walk around the marina it comes into view.  I didn’t know the Snake River was this big! (wide).

Golden dogs in the golden grasses.

Right now there is almost no one here at this campground, but apparently it will fill up with boaters on the week end.  We will be mostly laying low, trying to keep cool.

 

 

 

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A Minor Change In Plans

Sunday, August 7 we arrive at Lolo Hot Springs RV Park.  I plan to stay here for a week.  I’m not much a fan of donning a bathing suit, but I’ve been considering it for the possibility of the hot springs helping my back.  So maybe.  (BTW, my back IS getting better.  I’d say it’s at about 75% now).

But wait.  I get here and see that there are some nice sites and I am able to nab one of those.  But….there are also some areas here that put me in mind of the movie “Deliverance”.  Mind you, I never saw that movie, but I heard about it and well…it just doesn’t feel right here… with some dilapidated old RV’s and old school buses with cardboard in the windows passing for permanent homes, yards full of junk and trash, overflowing garbage containers and piles of trash where trash shouldn’t be.  Hmmm.

But my site is so sweet, backed up against Lolo Creek with wildflowers all around, and I AM trying to focus on the good….

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And yes, I did back in! (and managed not to end up in the creek!)

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Our own daisy bouquet.

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Joy has a soak in the Lolo Creek

So I decide to stay.

I find that there is no need to concern myself with the bathing suit issue, the pool is closed.  The hot spring pool at Lolo Hot Springs is closed?  Odd.

This is Sunday afternoon.  Fast forward to Tuesday morning.  I wake up to the sky threatening storms and no electricity.  No water either. (as you know I have my own power and water, but in this case I’ve paid for it to be supplied.)

When the ‘resort’ bar and grill opens at 8am I’m there asking what’s up?  Why no electricity?  “Well, someone ran their car into the main electrical thingie last night.”  And why no water?  “Well, they rammed into that too, and also our propane tank, and my cook didn’t show up this morning, and….”

So I’m thinking things just keep on feeling less and less right around here and this just might be a good time to LEAVE.  I ask for a refund on the rest of my time here and by gosh, I get it!  So I hook up in the rain and head west on Hwy 12 in a downpour.

Happily the rain stops rather quickly and I am able to drive this beautiful road under mixed skies.  I drove (without towing) this route many years ago and remember it as being one of the most beautiful places ever.  It still is.  Lewis and Clark made their way across this route  with the help of Indian guides over 200 years ago and it’s still wild and scenic and mostly undeveloped even today.  Much of it follows the Lochsa River.  Absolutely beautiful.

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The Lolo Pass Visitor Center/Rest Stop is very nice for a rest or a picnic or having questions answered.

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After some hours I find myself on the Nez Perce Reservation in the little town of Kamiah, staring at the KOA Campground.

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My site at the KOA

I’m not always fond of KOA’s but this one looks pretty decent with lots of big old trees and it’s in a good spot right across the street from the Nez Perce park that holds the key to their creation legend, “The Heart Of The Monster.”

(I won’t try to tell the story about the monster here, but if you want to learn it, just Google “Nez Perce, Heart Of The Monster”.)

I sign up at KOA for 5 nights and every day we go for a walk around the ‘heart’.

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The Heart Of The Monster

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The heart from a distance

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Joy and Shiloh have a dip in the Clearwater River behind the Nez Perce park.

I felt relief when I left Lolo Hot Springs.  I feel contentment here.

I’m far, far from any AT&T signal so am relying completely on free internet.  KOA has it, but it’s so weak I couldn’t even add one picture to my last blog.  I find the Visitor Center in Kamiah and ask about free internet.  I’m told it’s right here, just for visitors, at the center!   So here I sit,,at a little desk, writing to you, while Joy and Shiloh wait in JR, parked under a tree.

The next place I’m planning to stay is a COE Campground called Dent Acres about 44 miles from here.  Finding internet there may be another challenge, so it might be awhile before I post again.  Or not.  Who knows?  :-)

My sweet boy Shiloh had a birthday yesterday!  He is 10 years old!

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Such a sweet boy!!

 

 

 

 

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Two Years

Two years ago this morning I set out on my journey.  I can say I’m grateful beyond measure for this time and for this experience.  It has been extraordinary in every sense, and for every day that I can continue on with the journey I’ll be rejoicing in this opportunity.

I’m not saying life is perfect or problem-free.  I’ve had some bumps along the path and some rocks in the road, as you know if you have followed this blog.  Life didn’t turn into lollipops and roses because I chose to do full-time RVing.

But…there are so many experiences and thoughts and sights along the road!  I love the relative freedom to go where I choose to go, when I choose to go there, led by weather and whim.  I love being able to watch the trees waving in the wind in Wyoming, the clouds moving through the mountains in Montana, daisies bobbing in the breeze, seeing a multitude of colors in a rock I found, or in an extravagant sunset.  There is the grandeur of the snow capped Rocky Mountains to consider, and the sun glittering on the water in Lolo Creek, or the Salmon River, or the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon coast.    I love looking out over a sea of stately saguaro in Arizona, with arms all lifted to the sky.  Natures beauty is abundant.  It’s everywhere, and with it comes wonder and amazement and joy.

There is another major aspect I love about this lifestyle, and it’s the lack of attachment to ‘things’.  The sense of freedom this gives me is nothing less than exhilarating.  Letting go of ‘stuff’ is liberating in a way that is hard to explain.  It’s an ongoing process and can be painful at times, but the more I let go of, the better I seem to feel….there is a sense of breathing deeply….of floating or gliding or flying like a bird, in my spirit.

I’ve found that it’s true that having a lot of ‘things’ doesn’t make me happiest, and ‘things’ don’t necessarily give me security.  Security is so relative….

Thank you for coming along with me on this journey by reading my blog!  Since I’m solo and I love to write,  this is how I share these experiences, and sharing somehow makes it all the more real for me.

Some of you who are reading this are contemplating your own adventure in the future, so I would encourage you to do whatever it takes to KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE!  If this is the desire of your heart it’s well worth it to pursue.

Continue On.  Focus On The Good.

Peace.

(Sorry no pictures today.  Very weak internet where I am.)

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Missoula Farmers Market

We leave North Fork, Idaho after a two week stay, and go back to Jim and Mary’s RV Park in Missoula for a few days.  I need my prescription filled at Walmart and to stock up on this and that before we go off into the wilds again.

We meet up with the same friend who wanted to remain nameless in Ronan, MT (because she was hard at work updating “Casita Travel Trailer A-Z Owners Guide”, which she wrote some years back and it is the BEST Casita instruction manual out there. Highly recommended!)  That would be “Arizona Eileen”.  Since she’s finished with that big job she no longer needs to be incognito.

By the way I would also highly recommend Jim and Mary’s RV Park if you don’t mind the expense. ($116 for 3 nights with Good Sam).  It’s a beautiful park (remember all those flowers from a few posts back?) with roomy sites, lots of trees and green grass, many pull throughs and clean, clean, clean!

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As it turns out, every Saturday morning in down town Missoula there is a gigantic Farmers Market, and I feel in the mood to go check it out.  I walk around for maybe 45 minutes and don’t see all of it, but that’s ok.

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Missoula is home to the University of Montana, with a population of about 70,000.  To me it seems like an old western town mixed with college town, and it does have character!

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To the far left it says “We buy anything” and on the right, the name of the place…”Pie Hole”.  This was across the street from the Farmers Market.

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Joy and Shiloh are not allowed at the Farmers Market so they wait in JR.  It’s not hot yet and the windows are down, as usual.

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Missoula is also a train town.

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There was music, and coffee!

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As you can see here, I was able to get my Soy Latte!  Not infrequently I come across coffee places in my travels that don’t offer options to cow milk.  I probably have the college students to thank for the option here.  They also offered almond milk.

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And now for some fruit and veggie and flower pictures!  This is a tiny sample of what was available.

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Sunflowers and Glads and Snapdragons.

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Huckleberries!  I’ve never even seen huckleberries for sale before and there were many tables like this!

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Greens!

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These cauliflowers are as big as my head!  Not exaggerating!

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Such pretty colors….fruits and veggies are wonderful!

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This is what I came away with.  Basil, cilantro, apricots, fresh bread, leaf lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, corn and huckleberries.

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Oh yeah, how could I forget to tell you I bought this?  :-)  A cherry tart.  It may look like a pie, but truly it’s just the size of the palm of my hand!

Can’t leave Joy and Shiloh out of this post!  Below are pictures of them playing on the leash free island behind Wagonhammer RV Park.

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Joy in the foreground.  Shiloh behind.

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Shiloh….tail up!

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A little blurry but I just thought it was so cute because Joy’s ears are flopping up as she lopes towards me.  :-)

Tomorrow, August 6, we travel on to Lolo Hot Springs, in Montana near the Idaho boarder.

 

 

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Idaho Adventures

On Saturday, July 23 we travel the 19 miles to the town of Salmon, and then just beyond it to the Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural and Educational Center.  There is a nice visitor center here and a large area with trails, placards explaining many things, and various structures to demonstrate how it looked back in the day.

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A picture from inside the visitor center.

I learn the story of how Sacajawea was chosen to guide Lewis and Clark through the mountains and rivers so they could map their way to the Pacific Ocean by way of the Columbia River.   What a difficult journey!  Lewis and Clark had hoped to do the whole trip by river, but that wasn’t possible.  They were able to buy horses from the Shoshone Indians.

I wouldn’t have lasted 5 miles.

Joy and Shiloh are allowed everywhere here, even into the movie area.  Actually what that means is that I can relax and learn and enjoy.

 

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Joy meets a wolf…sort of.  Though she is a natural leader, and this looks very much like a dog, she gets it, and takes the submissive role.  Interesting.

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We walk some of the trails along the river, and enjoy our day here.

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On Friday, July 29 we backtrack into Montana to the Big Hole Battlefield.

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We need to cross the Continental Divide to do this.  The hot temperature cools off 10-12 degrees as we climb in elevation.  It’s a relief, but it’s still fairly hot.

The battlefield is a National Park, but there is no charge to enter.

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This place gives me a heavy heart.  The battlefield is actually a cemetery with 60 to 90 unmarked graves of Nez Perce Indians, many of which are women and children.  They were  attacked in the early morning hours of August 9, 1877.  The People, of which there were about 800, only about 200 being warriors, were still asleep when the US Army began firing shots and setting fire to teepees.  Besides the dead, there were many wounded and many horses lost.

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The Nez Perce were traveling peacefully with their families. They were hunting buffalo and would eventually try to make their way to Canada, and freedom.

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Those that survivedcontinued from here towards the Yellowstone area.

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Wildflowers adorn the area…maybe some of the graves.

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The dogs aren’t allowed anywhere here except in the parking lots.  It’s hot and there is no shade and I don’t feel comfortable leaving them in the truck for more than 5 minutes or so, even with the windows wide open.  I get these pictures by leaving JR running with the air conditioning on while I go to a viewing area at the Visitor Center.

I’m the only one there, and the silence is….loud.  In the quiet, as I gaze out over the area, I can almost hear the screams of the women and children as they seek shelter in the trees along the river.

The limited time here due to no dog access and heat, has been enough.  I’m still covered in sadness as I write this, hours later.

*****

Then on a happier note….

Saturday, July 30, Wagonhammer RV Park holds it’s 4th Annual Lavender Festival!

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I dont’ really know what to expect, never having been to a Lavender Festival before.  I dress up the kids in their bandanas….Joys happens to have a lot of lavender in it, and she was wearing her purple harness….so she fit right in. I didn’t take a picture of that but you can see her purple harness is photos above.

We walk across to the big open park-like area where people had been setting up since the day before.

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It was set up really cute with 8-10 vendors, and little tables set with pretty table cloths and bouquets of lavender.

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That’s my lavender lemonade there on the table. Tasty!

They sold everything from the dried lavender bouquets, crocheted purple pot holders, lavender bath and body products, hand made baby cloths, quilts and jewelry, and even some fresh veggies.

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I buy a little dried bouquet to go with the lavender ‘joy’ I already had.

There is a really cute gift shop here at the RV park too, where among other things, you can buy items made by local artists.

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Sorry, blurry….but pretty in it’s own way.  :-)  They decorated a lavender ‘Christmas’ tree in the gift shop in honor of the festival.

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Pretty stuff.

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I actually try on those skirts hanging in the middle of this picture, but they just weren’t working for me.  :-)

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Our biggest problem here has been the heat.  It’s been in the upper 80’s and 90’s every day…99 degrees being the highest so far.  Because of this we spend all of our afternoons either in WS or traveling in JR, with the air conditioning on.

The mornings are surprisingly cool, and that’s when we walk and I do chores.  The sun goes behind the mountains at around 8pm, and after that we come outside again.  They say this is unusually hot for this area , but it’s lasting the whole time we are here.  It saps my energy and makes me crabby if I have to be in it, and the dogs are miserable, and rush to get into the a/c.  This has limited our exploration of the area.  Also there was a fire a few miles away, which lasted most of the week, so the air has been smoky.  It was quickly controlled so no damage was done to homes.

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I need to pay better attention when I plan….I must have been thinking it was a higher elevation here but actually it’s less than 4000 feet in North Fork, where we are.  If we come back this way probably fall would be a good time.

 

 

 

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