A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Mountain Meadows, Mountain Goats and DIRT

I went for a ride on my bike up some Forest Service roads 
and through some pretty meadows full of flowers.

A sign along the road said there are mountain goats to be see in these mountains and lower foothills but I never saw them.  But then how could one possibly see a tiny speck of white way up on a mountainside so far away, even with the aid of binoculars or Hubble Space Telescope?

Back at camp I went over to say hello to my only camp neighbors.  They were an older couple (older than I...I think) locals from Idaho and the discussion ended up as to how things have changed in camping and being in the great outdoors compared to 30 or 40 years back.  They were commenting on how people are today and I could only agree with them for they were bringing up points that I was beginning to think is it just me and some bad attitude towards people I've nurtured as I've grown older?  I thought more on our visit afterwards and about how some people are just  Disrespectful,  Inconsiderate, Rude Tourists, and so will be referred to as DIRT from now on.  And with that, later in the day some DIRT moved in and I just had to leave the next morning.
It turned out to be good thing as I found a better place that even has strong cell signal,
something I haven't had in days and was able to update and post onto the blog my grumbling.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Prairie Campground

I found this free campground that was high in altitude (not hot), had shade (not hot),

next to the confluence of two rushing mountain streams (drowns out nearby highway noise),

no other campers nearby (nothing need be said on that point) and best of all no
mosquitoes!  How can that be?  The only thing missing was a cell signal so
I couldn't post to the blog.

Once I parked I let Beans out on her camp lead and she immediately caught
a bird under the RV.  The scuffle moved out to where I could see that she
had a fledgling robin.  The poor bird never had a chance.  I got them
separated and the robin half flew and half hopped away.  I put Beans
inside and then went and caught the bird and relocated it some distance
away.  It had one feather out of alignment but otherwise was okay.  The
next morning I saw the bird again near camp (dumb bird!) and it flew off up into
the tree so it seems to be getting this flying thing down.

Nearby there was this bridge which I didn't think was safe to even just
walk across.  There are large logs beneath all the plywood but I think the
logs and bridge have just about had it and the locals are trying to
salvage it in some countrified manner.  No thanks!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Should I or Should I Not?

We were driving through some pretty remote areas, places that have towns many many miles in between them.   My dilemma was whether to get fuel in the only small town in a 50 mile radius and pay high prices or take a chance on making to the next big town 67 miles away.  I felt I could make it but not knowing how much climbing there was ahead of us, I made the decision (a good one for a change) and got fuel in the little town.  I didn't need any added excitement in my day like watching the fuel gauge rapidly fall.  The price was around 30 or 40 cents more per gallon.  I paid for not planning ahead.  When we arrived I learned the power was out in the entire valley so we all just stood around for an hour.   Fine if you are not in a hurry to be anywhere and I am not.

Back on our way I stopped for a scenic view.

Then I noticed along the fence line what appeared to be an apology that didn't go well.

Looks like she through the flowers out the window and drove away even madder.

Further on another scenic turnout.

Good thing I filled up when I did for it was a long hard pull up this grade
and I would be in a nervous sweat at the River of No Return.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Battle Won

In the afternoon I finally screwed up the courage to take Beans for a walk and give this new mosquito repellent I bought a test.  I don't particularly care for the smell or feel of products with DEET in them and saw some good reviews for Sawyer's Picaridin online so I picked up a can.  With hat, long pants and a long sleeve white shirt on we stepped outside.  The swarm came instantly.  It took me a minute to overcome my natural repulsion of them flying around my face but when I realized they were not landing on my skin I relaxed some.  This stuff really works!  It is so nice to buy a product these days that actually does what it's makers claim it will do.  Poor Beans though, they were flying all around her head and she kept twitching her ears but I don't think any got through her thick coat.  So I am very happy with this Picaridin stuff and will now be able to enjoy the outdoors a little more than before.  Oh, and no smell or icky feel to it either.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Decisions Need to be Made

This may be the last post for awhile unless I can make a decision as where to go. 

  One place got pretty warm and poor Beans spent most of her time up on the top of the slide-out
which is bare metal.  That is her moving blanket that she usually lies on.

We had to leave this area as it was too warm.
So cute! 

I try to find cool places to camp which means going up in altitude.
If I kind find shade to camp in that helps, 
if not then later in the day when the sun goes down she wants to go outside.

I've learned she does not like to be in the direct sun as she gets pretty hot with her dark fur.
On the other hand, I watched a ground squirrel come right directly towards me in camp not knowing Beans was lying right there in the shade, she was so well camouflaged with the pattern of her fur.
The squirrel had no idea and barely escaped her attack.

At another camp I woke in the morning seeing this chicory making repeated trips to and fro from the RV.  Look what the little varmint did in the engine compartment!

He or she had got into the hood sound proofing, pulled it out and had stashed it all on top of the window washer tank and from there was transferring it out to his of her house in repeated trips.  
I stuffed it back in, taped up all the possible entry points and moved away from that camp.

If it isn't the heat or the raiding rodents then there is always the mosquitoes I can count on to make conditions undesirable.  Where we are as I write up this post I am virtually a prisoner inside the RV.  It is impossible to go outside without being attacked by a battalion of those little buggers in a matter of seconds.   Of course Beans doesn't understand why I won't take her for a walk.  Through the fog of mosquitoes at the window screen I can see another RV from Canada in the distance and no one has stepped outside in hours.  But it is cooler here and we have a bit of shade which I keep moving the RV around a tree to be in so we've got that going for us.

And when I say decisions I mean GOOD decisions.
I already have a long list of poor and bad decisions going.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Along the Lower Salmon River

Near us was an Osprey nest.  
She did not like for me to stand outside trying to get a photo

and would leave the nest circling out over the river

then back over her nest

which would agitate the blackbirds who constantly dive-bombed her while she flew around.

Finally she gave up and landed back in the nest. 
While eating dinner I missed the male mating with her.

Then about 15 feet from the side door there was a Killdeer nest in the grass. 

So between Beans and I we were pretty much making the local birds pretty nervous and we left early the next morning and had breakfast a couple miles up the road.
This sculpture was created from junk and trash collected downstream on the Salmon.

Too bad a busy background makes if difficult to see the details but I think you can see the fisherman.

I didn't catch the Indian with the bow until I started to walk away.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lind and Beyond

We left Odessa and headed south towards some camp areas along the Snake River.  This is the little town of Lind, the first little town I leisurely drove through that day. Few if any businesses appeared to still be in operation although they were closed. Most all of the buildings were boarded up, out of business, empty, abandoned or were being used for storage by their owner. Lind was the largest of a half a dozen little towns I drove through and seemed the hardest hit. Kahlotus, Washtucna, Hooper, Pampa (I must have blinked my eye because I never saw Pampa), LaCrosse (this one was on a side spur for the main highway and showed more life than the others) and Dusty (well named) all looked to be on life support.  I should have stood in the middle of the street to get this photo so both sides full of vacant buildings would be visible.  There surely was no chance of my being hit by a car; nothing moved in this town. No people were out, not even a dog or cat did I see.

I stopped at their lovely little park, the only thing of life in Lind.  There was a heart felt dedication plaque along with this large metal sculpture, erected some years ago by the residents expressing the love of their little town and wanting to preserve it's history and heritage.  They knew of the two brothers who founded the town and platted the land in 1888 giving names to the streets that started with each letter from their last name, Neilson, but the town didn't quite grow enough to use the final "n". No one knows why they named the town Lind and they were sorry that they would never know.

No doubt if you are a local you will find this park bench very comfortable.

Ever try to get a cat to pose for a picture? Finally she got wrapped around the pole and laid down.  I wish I had stepped to the side and got the park in the background instead of a empty building.

Now this would be something to see, combines getting a good threshing.

I had bad directions to the proposed camps along the Snake and after going half way of the 15 miles in on a dirt road I was facing signs stating "End of County Maintained Road" (it got visably rough from then on) and "Road Closed Ahead - No Trespassing".  So now I was in a funk, tired and with nowhere to go as I drove out from there. Back on the highway we soon came upon these hills.  
A bright spot in an otherwise dismal day.

A half hour later I saw this sign and it was good.

It just felt nice to be out of the State of Washington and Back in the USSR. (Beatles song)
There is no real proof that the town changed its name in 1875 
from Paradise Valley to Moscow in reference to the capitol of Russia.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Odessa, Washington

We spent two nights at this little town in east central Washington. It was settled largely by German Russians (or Russian Germans) and was named after the town of Odessa in the Ukraine. 
 The current population is 1000 give or take.

I took a walk downtown, all two blocks of it.  There was one grocery store, two eateries, a coffee "haus", two gas stations one of which out of business, two banks, one dentist, one health care service, one hair salon, a hardware store, two lawyers and a "town marshal".  Now when have you last seen or heard of a town marshal?  A couple streets over I discovered what was the only hotel which is now a private residence.  Long ago if you stepped off the train in Odesssa for whatever reason you would, you didn't have too far to walk to your accommodations.  I saw a house for sale nearby and realized there was no real estate office in town.  No motels either.  Imagine that.

Despite its smallness Odessa had an impressive modern school complex, a nine hole golf course and an aqua center.  Few small towns can boast that.  There even was a museum open on Sundays from 
1-3.  Too bad it wasn't Sunday as I am sure the museum caretaker would have been thrilled to see me step through the front door.

Each year the town hosts their Odessa Deutschesfest with several thousand visitors arriving from all over the world to experience a traditional German festival.  There are lots of German food and beer to be had along with some good old polka music, and a long list of games and events.   I'm not sure if this has anything to do with Deutschesfest but it was the only unusual item I spotted downtown.
An accordion would be more fitting.
(Where do they put up all those people with no motels or hotels?  Nearby towns there aren't any.)

 So you might ask what brought me to Odessa where we stayed for two days.  They provided a place for tourist camping free of charge at their nice little city park.  I have come across a few of these community offered tourist camping places in my travels, mostly in the mid-west with Texas having probably the most some of which even include free electricity and water hook-ups.  More small towns really ought to do this sort of thing for travelers bring with them lots of money...
except for this one.

Now you could stay here, a small town city park for a couple of days couldn't you?

As you can imagine I saw all there was to see in Odessa in no time at all, so what did I do to pass the time away.  For one I watched the trains.  We were only 50 yards away from the train tracks and I could see them roll by right out my window.  In a 12 hour period 18 trains rolled through with only 3 of them being at night so they were not a bother and besides, I like trains.  It was those darn doves in the trees overhead with their incessant cuckoo-coo that was annoying.

Now here is something I learned.  One of the trains was all tanker cars.  I noticed on the sides of the cars they had TCBX, UTLX or TILX followed by a number.  I was curious as to what the letters meant and got online.  Well! Not only did I learn what the letters stood for but I discovered there is a site where people track railroad cars by their numbers, take a photo of the car and log it in on the site as to the date, time and location that car was spotted!  That left me shaking my head for a awhile wondering why?   I'm sure there is some sort of satisfaction in seeing a railroad car you spotted in your town later on be discovered clear across the country by someone else such as yourself who has nothing else to do but track down train cars, but for me I don't see it.  Oh well, I am sure there are less exciting hobbies one can have.