Adventures in the Villa


September 2017

2017-09-26 Westbound; Whidbey Island;

We pulled out of Larrabee State Park this morning, having an interesting time threading our way between the trees.  I don’t think the designers of this campground was anticipating 35′ long trailers…

We had an uneventful drive south, over a few bridges, and onto Whidbey Island.  We parked in the town of Oak Harbor and took a quick shopping trip to the local Safeway.

We then met an old Airstream friend, and professional photographer, Bill Ferry:

2017-09-26 Washington 01 Oak Harbor

We enjoyed a tour of the town and then we shared lunch at Seabolt’s Smokehouse.  The Penn Cove mussels (a local favorite) were spectacular!

After lunch we proceeded down the island. We checked out the Coupeville ferry landing from which we will be leaving in a few days.  Then we arrived at the Island County Fairgrounds in Langley, WA.  They have a simple campground that is usually crammed with 50-60 RVs during the fair and other events, but today we shared it with only 7 other rigs…

2017-09-26 Washington 02 Langley 01

We have long time friends who recently moved to Washington from Laguna Beach about 1 1/2 years ago.  While they live in Seattle for now, they are building a new house here in Langley.  We walked the short one mile to see the progress of the house (slow), then we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Prima in Langley.  After dinner we walked along the shore and through the town.

2017-09-26 Washington 02 Langley 02

We returned to the Villa and an enjoyable time was had by all…











2017-09-25 Westbound; Bellingham and Fairhaven…

We awoke in the woods, in rain and fog.  Washington never disappoints…

We went for a walk to find the “beach” and to see the water…

2017-09-25 Washington 01 Larrabee State Park 02

It was a nice walk and the rain was light and intermittent.  The beach was a little rocky:

2017-09-25 Washington 01 Larrabee State Park 10

On the other hand, it was nice to get back into my Rainbows…

The water was, as usual, very nice:

2017-09-25 Washington 01 Larrabee State Park 09

2017-09-25 Washington 01 Larrabee State Park 08

2017-09-25 Washington 01 Larrabee State Park 07

2017-09-25 Washington 01 Larrabee State Park 06

2017-09-25 Washington 01 Larrabee State Park 01

After our walk we drove into Fairhaven, then my brother and I drove back down Chuckanut Drive to an Oyster Farm.  We picked up three dozen oysters to have with dinner.  This farm has been here for over 120 years, and they actually own over 4,000 acres of seabed, all under this water:

2017-09-25 Washington 03 Oyster Farm

Later in the day we strolled the streets of downtown Fairhaven, and the adjacent waterfront:

2017-09-25 Washington 02 Fairhaven 04

2017-09-25 Washington 02 Fairhaven 02

2017-09-25 Washington 02 Fairhaven 03

We saw this little marker, telling of the merger between Bellingham and Fairhaven many years ago:

2017-09-25 Washington 02 Fairhaven 01

2017-09-25 Washington 02 Fairhaven 05

2017-09-25 Washington 02 Fairhaven 07

2017-09-25 Washington 02 Fairhaven 08

This evening we enjoyed a lovely dinner and the views from Jim and Pam’s deck:

2017-09-25 Washington 04 Fairhaven 02

2017-09-25 Washington 04 Fairhaven 01

2017-09-25 Washington 04 Fairhaven 03

And an enjoyable time was had by all…





2017-09-24 Westbound; Bellingham via the “Washington Alps”…

We left early and headed towards the west.  Our destination today is Bellingham, WA, home of my brother Jim and his wife, Pam.  There is no nice direct way to get from Grand Coulee to Bellingham, so we are taking the scenic route through the “Washington Alps”.

The first several miles of our travels the landscape was very similar to what we saw in Eastern Washington yesterday.  One exception were the “haystack rocks” scattered about the landscape. These rocks were carried along with the glaciers as they receded and were dropped randomly across the countryside.

2017-09-24 Washington 01 Haystack Rock

Soon the landscape was taken over by apple trees; it appears to be time for harvest:

2017-09-24 Washington 02 Apples

2017-09-24 Washington 03 Apples

We passed by beautiful Lake Pateros…

2017-09-24 Washington 04

At about 10:00 am we rolled into the western-looking town of Winthrop.  It has old west storefronts, wood plank sidewalks, and lots of trinket shops.  After a stroll up and down the street we decided to have a late breakfast/early lunch at Three Fingered Jacks Saloon and Cafe:

2017-09-24 Washington 07 Winthrop 08

2017-09-24 Washington 07 Winthrop 07

2017-09-24 Washington 07 Winthrop 06

2017-09-24 Washington 07 Winthrop 05

We had surprisingly good food!

2017-09-24 Washington 07 Winthrop 01

We walked around the town and found this bridge over a nice little river:

2017-09-24 Washington 07 Winthrop 02

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2017-09-24 Washington 07 Winthrop 03

2017-09-24 Washington 05 River

And some beautiful fall colors:

2017-09-24 Washington 07 Winthrop 04

We continued into the “Washington Alps”, beautiful, tall, snow-capped mountains, through the towns of Twisp and Mazama. We went through Washington Pass at 5,453′ and Rainy Pass at 4,862′.  It was all quite scenic!

2017-09-24 Washington 08 Alps 01

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2017-09-24 Washington 08 Alps 07

2017-09-24 Washington 08 Alps 08

2017-09-24 Washington 08 Alps 09

2017-09-24 Washington 08 Alps 10

We soon arrived at an overlook at Diablo Lake:

2017-09-24 Washington 08 Diablo Lake 03

2017-09-24 Washington 08 Diablo Lake 02

2017-09-24 Washington 08 Diablo Lake 01

2017-09-24 Washington 08 Diablo Lake 04

We finally came out of the mountains and drove through Rockport, Concrete, and Sedro Woolley, eventually reaching the 5 and arriving at Larrabee State Park.

We maneuvered through the trees and into a nice, long, but very sloping and non-level site.  However, we were able to get set up quickly.

2017-09-24 Washington 10 Larrabee State Park

We then left the Villa and drove to Bellingham, more particularly its southern neighborhood of Fairhaven.

We met up with my brother and his wife.  Happy hours ensued on their deck overlooking  Bellingham Bay, Lummi Island, and beyond to Victoria, BC…

2017-09-24 Washington 10 Bellingham 01

2017-09-24 Washington 10 Bellingham 02

2017-09-24 Washington 10 Bellingham 03

2017-09-24 Washington 10 Bellingham 04

An enjoyable time was had by all…

















2017-09-23 Westbound; On to Washington and the Grand Coulee Dam…

We left Couer d’ Alene early this morning; Brent came out to wish us well:

2017-09-22 Idaho 05 Walters Phil and Brent

We stopped for fuel early; Washington welcomed us:

2017-09-23 Map Washington

Only two more States to visit before we return to California!

We then set our across the countryside of Eastern Washington;

2017-09-23 Washington 03

2017-09-23 Washington 02

I’m not suggesting that Eastern Washington is boring… Wait – yes, I am…

2017-09-23 Washington 01

2017-09-23 Washington 05

2017-09-23 Washington 06

We soon arrived at our destination: The Grand Coulee Dam:

2017-09-23 Grand Coulee Dam 19

I thought something was odd.  This is not what I remember from when I was here in 1956… I remembered a long, wide dam, with a simple, straight-forward design.  What was this strange dog-leg off to the left?

We stopped into the Visitors Center (Marcel Breuer, architect).

2017-09-23 Grand Coulee Dam 01 Visitors Center

2017-09-23 Grand Coulee Dam 06

We soon found out that in 1967 the left 250′ of the dam was removed and the new dog-leg portion was added; it includes a third powerhouse, allowing the dam to be more efficient and produce more electrical power.

The Grand Coulee Dam is a concrete gravity dam on the Columbia River, built to produce hydroelectric power and provide irrigation water. Constructed between 1933 and 1942, plus the “remodel” from 1967 to 1974, Grand Coulee Dam is the largest power station in the United States, with a capacity of 6,809 MW.  (Hoover Dam produces 2,078 MW…)  It is 550′ tall and 5,223 wide.  (Hoover Dam is 726′ high, but only 1,244′ wide…)  The dam is the second largest concrete structure in the world, containing almost 12,000,000 cu. yds. of concrete.  (Hoover Dam contains 3,250,000 cu. yds…)

Power from the dam fueled the growing industries of the Northwest United States during World War II.  As the center-piece of the Columbia Basin Project, the dam’s reservoir supplies water for the irrigation of 671,000 acres.

The reservoir behind the dam is called Franklin Delano Roosevelt Lake. Creation of the reservoir forced the relocation of over 3,000 people, including Native Americans whose ancestral lands were partially flooded.  While the dam does not contain fish-ladders, neither does the next down-stream dam, Chief Joseph Dam.  This means that no salmon ever reach the Grand Coulee Dam, making the issue moot.

We joined a tour of the powerhouse #1, along with the treat of being able to be driven across the top of the dam.  (The roadway atop the dam is closed to public traffic…)  We saw the pumps and generating turbines inside the powerhouse, and had opportunity to take photos of the surrounding areas from atop the dam.

2017-09-23 Grand Coulee Dam 03 Powerhouse

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2017-09-23 Grand Coulee Dam 17

2017-09-23 Grand Coulee Dam 07 Powerhouse 3

2017-09-23 Grand Coulee Dam 04 Spillway

2017-09-23 Grand Coulee Dam 05

2017-09-23 Grand Coulee Dam 02

After the tour we walked across the bridge below the dam.  It contained many photo boards describing the surrounding geology (fun for Lynda) and the construction of the dam (fun for me…).

After viewing the dam, we checked into the RV park nearby; it is Saturday, so: Football!

2017-09-23 Saturday College Football

We took a break from football from time to time to walk about the neighborhood.  On one such walk we found some wild turkeys:

2017-09-23 Grand Coulee Dam 59 Turkeys

In the evening we drove back to the dam; they have a laser light show projected onto the dam, but what I wanted to see was the release of eater over the spillways.  We arrived about 8:15; the parking lot was mostly full, and people were milling about.  At about 8:25 they shut off most of the lights in the area and opened the spillways.  We could see the “whitewater” cover the face of the dam.  Unfortunately, they never used the thousands of flood lights mounted around the dam to light up the water.  So, while we could see the water, we could only see it dimly.

The laser show started.  It was not much of a big deal.  It told the story of the dam through giant speakers mounted about 6 feet from where we were sitting… The laser show was mostly the drawing of stick figures on the face of the dam to illustrate the story.  We won’t be back…

So we returned to the Villa in the dark.  An enjoyable time was had by all…











2017-09-22 Westbound; Moving on to Couer d’Alene, Idaho…

Another easy drive today.  We relaxed and spent the morning in the Villa. It was still cold, and it was raining off and on.  I hitched up early, and we pulled out at about 11:00 am.

2017-09-22 Missoula 01 KOA

We drove north through the beautiful Montana countryside:

2017-09-22 Montana 04

2017-09-22 Montana 01

We stopped for a break to do some walking; before too long we crossed over into Idaho:

2017-09-22 Map Idaho

It was a short drive to Couer d’Alene, Idaho, where Airstream friends from SoCal have moved;  we found their house and parked the Villa:

2017-09-22 Idaho 03 Walters House

We immediately noticed a visitor in their front yard:

2017-09-22 Idaho 01 Walters Deer

We had a lovely afternoon visiting and walking about the neighborhood; we shared a delicious dinner with Brent and Cheryl Walters…

We retired to the Villa.  An enjoyable time was had by all…


Also, since this is a short post, here are the latest photos of our grandchildren, back home in Hollywood:

2017-09-17 McAnoy
























2017-09-21 Westbound; A day in Missoula…

We had a quiet morning in the KOA, doing laundry, walking, and blogging.

We found this interesting building nearby which has taken the concept of a “green roof” to a new level:

2017-09-21 Missoula 01 KOA

At about noon we drove back to downtown Missoula; it is quite a bit larger than downtown Bozeman.

Missoula is a great little city; population is about 72,000; it is home to University of Montana.  It was founded in 1860 as Hellgate Trading Post.  In 1866 the settlement moved east, and was renamed Missoula Mills, later shortened to Missoula.  The mills provided supplies to western settlers traveling along the Mullan Road. The establishment of Fort Missoula in 1877 to protect settlers further stabilized the economy.  The arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1883 brought rapid growth and the maturation of the local lumber industry.  In 1893, the Montana Legislature chose the city as the site for the state’s first university.  Along with the U.S. Forest Service headquarters founded in 1908, lumber and the university remained staples of the local economy for the next hundred years.

We walked the streets and enjoyed the ambiance of an active city:

2017-09-21 Missoula 10

2017-09-21 Missoula 09

2017-09-21 Missoula 08

2017-09-21 Missoula 05

We found this great building.  We think it would be great fun to live in a “penthouse” apartment like this:

2017-09-21 Missoula 06

2017-09-21 Missoula 07

By about 1:30 we were ready for lunch.  While we reviewed our lunch options we stopped into James Bar for a pre-lunch cocktail:

2017-09-21 Missoula 02 James Bar

We decided to have lunch at the Iron Horse Brewery, not because we drink much beer, but because breweries usually have good food.  We were not disappointed:

2017-09-21 Missoula 03 Iron Horse Brewery

2017-09-21 Missoula 04 Iron Horse Brewery

We had a lovely lunch, walked around a bit more, then headed back to the Villa.  We relaxed and eventually Happy Hours ensued.  An enjoyable time was had by all…











2017-09-20 Westbound; From Bozeman to Missoula…

We had an easy morning, and left Bozeman at about 9:00 am.  The countryside is beautiful:

2017-09-20 01 Montana 01 River

As we drove we got to thinking; we Googled some information on our recent drives:

City                                    Elevation

Hill City, SD                      5,159′

Buffalo, WY                     4.646′

Billings, MT                     3,123′

Bozeman, MT                 4,820′

Butte, MT                        5,538′

Missoula, MT                 3,209′

We’ve been going up and down, climbing up mountains and cruising down into valleys. Out side of Butte we climbed to about 6,400′, until we saw snow on the ground next to the highway:

2017-09-20 01 Montana 02 Snow

2017-09-20 01 Montana 03 Snow

2017-09-20 01 Montana 04 Snow

The temperature read-out on the dashboard dropped down to 37 degrees… And then the windshield started getting wet, but we could not hear rain.  Yep:  Snow!

2017-09-20 01 Montana 05 Snow

2017-09-20 01 Montana 06 Snow

2017-09-20 01 Montana 07 Snow

Certainly a first for us on this trip.  (I think the last time I drove while it was snowing was on the way to Mammoth Mountain in 1982…)  Obviously, at 37 degrees, the snow was not sticking to the road, but we slowed down a bit.  It was quite a trip!

We eventually arrived in Missoula and checked into the KOA.  It is probably the nicest KOA we have stayed at.  Huge sites, lots of grass, moderate number of trees (good for satellite TV), and just around the corner from lots of suburban shopping centers, in case we need anything.  (We don’t…)

We took the advice of the folks at bisl in Bozemon; we went to The Pearl Cafe for dinner. As avante garde as bisl was last night, The Pearl is not.  Traditional French Bistro. Wonderful.

2017-09-20 01 Montana 10 The Pearl Cafe

We shared the Charcuterie plate, then we shared Bison Tenderloin. And a bottle of Gigondas…

2017-09-20 01 Montana 09 The Pearl Cafe

We asked for some lunch recommendations for tomorrow.  An enjoyable time was had by all…

















2017-09-19 Westbound; From Billings to Bozeman…

We left Billings and headed to Bozeman.  We climbed some mountains, and we cruised down into some valleys… Montana is beautiful!

2017-09-19 Montana 01

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The snow-capped mountains and the cloud-filled skies were beautiful, and we moved easily along.  We moved into the RV park, and set up the Villa.

Bozeman is a great little town; population is about 45,000; it is home to Montana State University.  It was founded by John Bozeman in 1864.

In 1863 John Bozeman, along with a partner named John Jacobs, opened the Bozeman Trail, a new northern trail off the Oregon Trail leading to the mining town of Virginia City through the Gallatin Valley and the future location of the city of Bozeman.

At about 1:30 we drove into downtown Bozeman, parked the truck, and then walked the streets.  The downtown area is about 10 square blocks, all of which have been designated as an Historic District, and it is a lovely place:

2017-09-19 Montana 09 Bozeman

2017-09-19 Montana 10 Bozeman

The more we walked, the colder it got.  The clouds grew blacker:

2017-09-19 Montana 11 Bozeman

2017-09-19 Montana 13 Bozeman

We stopped into a artisanal distillery for a tasting and just to get warm…

Then we selected a restaurant called bisl for an early dinner.

It was Spectacular!

I’ve posted pictures of the food on my Facebook page, but suffice it to say that this is the best restaurant we’ve found in all of Montana…!

We were the first people through the door at 5:00 pm when they opened.  We opted to sit at the kitchen counter, where we could see and interact with the kitchen staff of chefs and preppers.

2017-09-19 Montana 14 Bozeman Dinner at bisl

It was great fun.  About halfway through the meal we realized that the owner was sitting at the table just behind us.

Not only was the food and the environment excellent, they gave us recommendations for restaurants in Missoula, where we will be for the next two nights…

After dinner we walked back to the truck and returned to the Villa.  An enjoyable time was had by all…
















2017-09-18 Westbound; Through Wyoming and into Montana…

Long travel day today…

2017-09-18 Map Wyoming

We left Crooked Creek RV Park at about 8:00 am, in the very, very cold… We traveled north through Hill City, then Deadwood; we turned west and crossed over into Wyoming.

The drive was easy, uneventful, and a little boring…

2017-09-18 Wyoming 1

2017-09-18 Wyoming 2

Then we turned towards the north and on the horizon we could see snow-capped mountains, off to the west:

2017-09-18 Wyoming 3

As we continued north, towards Montana, we saw more…

2017-09-18 Wyoming 4

2017-09-18 Wyoming 5

2017-09-18 Wyoming 7

The actual views were better than these photos show…

We crossed over into Montana:

2017-09-18 Map Montana

And we headed into Billings, MT.  We stopped of at Costco to stock up on Kirkland Vita Rain bottled water (fake Vitamin Water, with even fewer vitamins than real Vitamin Water…) We have been looking for these since New Brunswick and Nova Scotia – none of the Costcos we found carried it.  I have had to substitute real Vitamin Water, and it is a poor substitute…

So we happily checked into the RV park; again we were exhausted – it was a long day… almost 400 miles, almost double of our preferred pace.  But there was no reason to stop any sooner; tomorrow we move to Bozeman.

Happy hours ensued, and an enjoyable time was had by all…







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