Thursday, October 17, 2013

Our Joad trip to Glacier National Park

Finally a month after our trip to Glacier National Park, here’s the story of the adventure.

Day One
A couple of months ago, soon after the Tardis camper remodel, the bride started talking about wanting to make a trip to Glacier National Park.  So I got Neal the truck ready, being named so after the Astronaut for going to the moon, my truck is on the return trip at 274 thousand miles.  So after a few smaller shakedown camping trips, we took off on a Sunday morning drove 30 miles stopped to get some ice and came back to the truck and the engine had seized up. 
You see, a while back ago on another adventure, one of my hoses had popped off and the truck overheated blowing the head gasket and I had not got around to fixing it.  Well, the final straw was tossed on Neal’s back and he wasn’t going to take it anymore.  So I called a tow truck and right when the tow truck arrived, I turned the key and he started up.  I paid the tow guy for his trip and drove home.   Guess the engine is at such a stage that it seizes when it’s hot.  Sigh.
We decided, well, I am on leave for a week, let’s just pack up the car with the tent and supplies and head out.  So, 2 hours later, after a very quick packing job because we had to cut down on what we were bringing.  We hit the road much later than expected and decided that Louise Erdrich’s, The Plague of Doves would be a good road tripping book.  It set the tone well for the first part of the trip.
Sunset behind us over my moonroof
11 that night, we were tired, I was grumpy because one of my cars was mortally wounded and we decided to stay at a Super 8 in Spokane.  One thing about owning dogs that you can’t expect to stay in a really nice place but Super 8’s are always accommodating to pets and give a military discount.  Sometime in the life of this particular Super 8, it looked like it had hosted regularly graduation parties and biker parties.  I’m okay with that.
Day 2

Next morning, bring shiny after a good night’s rest, we hit the road again and broke our fast at Dawn of the Donut, a zombie themed donut in Spokane.  

By the next afternoon after driving through some beautiful country in Idaho and Montana with a stop for Bear repellent we arrived at Glacier National Park only to find that there were only 2 campgrounds open after Labor Day due to the government sequester.  Apgar was full and the other, Many Glaciers was only taking hard shell campers and mine was still sitting at home hanging his hood in shame. 

When we planned the trip, we planned it for camper.   We kept driving because on our map, there were some campsites in this particular direction and the wife indicated a dirt road which we abandoned early on, deciding that it was too rough after a mile for the Fusion.  Instead, we turned around and drove down a different road, on which there was supposed to be another campground.  However we missed an important right turn at Polebridge village in the dark and ended up randomly wandering down some dirt road for over an hour, every once in a while passing a closed campground.  Until we saw the a campground symbol with an arrow pointing down a small one lane dirt road with a 10 underneath it.   So we drove those 10 miles slowly in the dark. 

Consider at this point, we had spent 3 hours of just driving in one direction on a dirt road and had not seen another car.  I had scary movie themes running in my head, considering how many Wrong Turns it took to get here and that we were totally cut off from cell service, it was to be expected.  Finally after a very long and slow 10 miles we were at this mystery campground, which wasn’t a mystery anymore.  It was called Tuchuck and it was just miles away from the Canadian border and we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was free, had 7 very large, clean camp sites and we were totally alone.  Added bonus, there was a stream singing merrily right behind the campsite we chose.  I could have kissed the ground but didn’t.
Picture of the campground sign in the daylight

Many people are horrified about having to set up tents in the dark.  To me, those people don’t practice enough, we were veteran campers and had the Montana 8 tent up in less than 10 minutes and started the queen sized air mattress inflating.  Okay, even though we were totally caught by surprise having to switch out of a camper with no notice.  We were used to tent camping more than anything else and it wasn’t that big of a shift to us. 

I made steaks that night with corn and home fires, and we enjoyed the fire and the music of the wind through the trees and water in the back ground.  This is life.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Road tripping to Glacier National Park

The bride has been talking about wanting to go to Glacier National Park for years and now that we live in Washington, it's just a hop, skip and a jump.  Taking a week of leave, checking out the sights and taking a bunch of pictures.  Also get a chance to test out the Tardis camper, hopefully Neal (my Toyota Tacoma with 274 thousand miles) can handle the trip and we don't get eaten by bears getting ready for winter.

I'm also testing out my EC tech bluetooth keyboard that I picked up off Amazon for 13 bucks with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 with Evernote.  Blogging light.  Too bad I can't use this to upload my pictures from my camera but I do like the Photoshop touch, which does work on the Kindle.  You upload the pictures up to Adobe and from there you can edit them on the Kindle.

Enough with geek speak, I'm still here and alive.  Have a year of left of this canoe club and then need to find out what I'm going to do when I grow up.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Doctor Who Tardis Camper

I remodeled a cabover camper and painted a Tardis on the back.  Yes indeed,  I'm an ubernerd.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Camping in Sasquatch Country

Wednesday, the bride texts me and says, “I want to go to Canada this weekend.”  And for half of the day at work, I kept getting texts about places that she wants to go in Victoria and how much the ferry is going to be and what time we have to be there.  Realizing that there was one ferry going there in the morning and one coming back in the afternoon, I was a bit skittish and said, how about going camping on the mainland side?  And she picked a place called Sasquatch Provincial Park which is the actual place where the Native American’s or in the case of Canada, they are called the First Nation people; came up with the name Sasq’uts which means hairy man and of course the English speaking people changed it to Sasquatch. 

Anyhow, according to the oral traditions of the local First Nation people, they believed the Sasq’uts to be a spiritual being that could vanish into the spirit world at will and there have been centuries of sightings in these parts.  Camping out here, with the mountains that seem to reach into sky and undergrowth that seems so thick that it looks like jungle, it’s easy to believe that a giant could walk a couple of feet off the road and totally cease to exist.  (Now, I look around the dark woods with no fellow campers about and strange sounding birds crying out in the dark, hmm, it is a bit spooky out here)

Sasquatch Provincial Park is located a next to Harrison Lake which is 60 km long and is home to 5 kinds of salmon and 14 foot long sturgeon.  The closest town is called Harrison Hot Springs which has a bunch of touristy type shops and there is a public pool where you can relax in the hot spring water for 9 bucks a head.  When you’re dirty and camping, it’s a pretty good deal, rinse off in the hot showers then head out to the 4 foot deep pool and just lay and relax soaking up the warmth and peaceful vibes, when you leave, you’ll feel like a new person.  If you’re hungry, there are all sorts of small restaurants, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, Schnitzel and a scattering of burger joints, from elegant to bars, the grub seems pretty good.

Camping works like this, check the board and pick a slot that hasn’t been reserved and start setting up, before too long, a ranger will come by and take your money and offer you wood.  At this point, I have to mention, the rangers who took our money the first night were the most attractive rangers I have ever seen which is total truth, the bride thought so too.  We picked a place in the Bench Campground, vault type toilets, a bit primitive but we’re an old hand at the camping racket.

Tomorrow, I’m making pancakes with some real Canadian maple syrup.  So far, our first take of Canada has been good.  Roads are smooth, locals friendly and food isn’t too bad, an added bonus, all of the trails are dog friendly.  Maybe next time, I’ll see how my fishing luck holds out.

Here are some pictures, more over at Facebook for you Facebookers located here.

 our campsite
 A water park that you have to take a boat too
 usual suspects
 checking out the fine day
 ride on doggie
 mushrooms by our campsite
 That's a glacier off in the distance
 Hanging out with the locals
Bridal Falls

Monday, January 07, 2013

Sarah Lynn Rouette, April 21st, 1974 to January 7th, 2013

I can’t believe you’re gone, a month ago, you had a close call and by the time I got to your side, you were already bulling people around about the proper texture of your coconut jello and the feng shui of the Christmas decorations in your living room, 6 months ago, you were risking your life on that damn mountain bike of yours flying down steep mountain slopes and 2 years, 9 months and 21 days ago you went into see a doctor for a excisional biopsy on her right breast and woke to a world that had cancer in it. But this blog post isn’t about that disgusting disease, it’s a selfish post about me and her and choices we made in life.

 Sarah was younger, other than her shoe collection, she was a minimalist. She was a stubborn, smart, pig headed, fun and had great dreams, she would focus on a goal and it was hers. She made life look easy. She saved up her money, lived in a shack and took huge elaborate trips to far distant lands with a pack on her back but she always came back to Prescott to roost. Me, I ran away like I was being chased by wild dogs and then spent the next 2 decades coming back for sips from that well. I became a Gypsy, joined a band of roaming sailors who pulled into home port on rare occasions and somehow in the middle of that wildness I had got married and had a kid. Sarah being Sarah and never one to beat around a bush, called me a breeder (with great distain) and that I was making a foolish mistake, alright, I admit, she did call that one sort of right.

Years go by, me traveling the world and wearing out my soles while she stayed in Prescott and gathered a community around her.

She did finally settle down and had two beautiful children that she could call her own and somehow became a super momma involved in all sort of outlandish mommy activities. Most of the mom’s I see are military wives or military members and she out momma’ed most of them. For those of you who do not know Sarah, it’s hard to explain the gaggle of momma friends she had around. These girls were her life and she was theirs in ways that I can’t pretend to understand.

If my sister and I have one thing in common, we can pull people together when we put a mind to it. By this time, I had gathered my own community of nerds and oddballs that was connected by electrons and ether and scattered across vast gulfs.

The point I’m getting to is that even though I’m torn up and weepy right now and even though I’m her brother. It’s been two decades since I’ve made a real impact on Sarah’s life and even then, I don’t’ think I shifted it an inch out of the path she made, over the last few years, she’s formed this commune of friends that have been her strength and armor, she was a part of Prescott, not meaning that she lived in it or that she was a Prescott girl. She was as much of the town as Whiskey Row. I’ve only touched her life briefly, a dab here and a dab there, dumb little things like setting up her blog and attempting to pull her out of the dark ages because even though she had a huge brain, she was still at heart, a total Luddite and thought of technology as a passing fad that the rest of us would get over.

We were always off on our own private holy mission that seemed so important at that moment.  If there is anything in life that I regret, I regret that we did not have a proper brother/sister relationship, I regret rushing off those moments when I could have taken more time to take in her amazing life that she had built like a castle around herself and I regret not being there for you when you needed me. This armor of hers, it’s just not hers, it’s the people she’s drawn to herself and right now, it’s torn asunder and I’m sorry, I’m just a dumb boy and don’t have a clue on how to mend it.

My heart aches, I love you sis and miss you terribly.

Her blog is called Drink Water and Breathe