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Adventures in the Villa

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Idaho

2021-06-22 – Springtime in the Rockies caravan… Day 27 – End of Caravan – Heading Home – Tremonton, Utah

We wanted to beat the traffic entering Yellowstone, so we pulled out at 6:45 am. We headed from the RV Park in Montana, into Wyoming, and through the Roosevelt Arch…

The early morning drive through Yellowstone was beautiful, but, other than the elk that was standing in the Roosevelt Arch, which delayed our drive for a few minutes, we saw no wildlife…

That isn’t to say that there was no excitement today… Back in Burbank our two older grandchildren boarded the big yellow school bus for the first time… They are heading to Beach Camp! We expect them to return tired, sandy, and sunburned (just a little…).

So we continued through the park. Believe it or not, this is the fastest route from Gardiner, MT to California…

We came upon some geothermal activity. This was bigger than any similar sulfur-smelling steam venting we had seen in all our time here…

But we continued on, traveling south, then heading west, exiting the park at the west entrance…

It took about one hour to travel the park. As we left we saw the lines of cars trying to get into the park. This line of traffic is still 3-4 miles from the park entrance…

So we passed on out of Wyoming, back into Montana, and on through to Idaho.

Somewhere in Idaho we stopped to stretch our legs and eat a snack. We pulled off an anonymous offramp and parked between the Potato Growers of Idaho Association and a FedEx Distribution center…

Back on the freeway we continued south…

We ate lunch at a nice rest stop somewhere in southern Idaho…

We passed over into Utah, and on the Tremonton, where we found a very nice RV Resort…

Aspen Grove RV Resort, Tremonton, Utah. Large sites, concrete pads, full hook-ups. Come back in 5 years – they have planted a tree at each site – in five years we won’t be able to use our satellite TV…

There was another Airstream in the park – pulled by a Porsche Cayenne… We had an interesting chat about tow-vehicles, hithes, and Airstreams in general…

Another interesting feature of the RV Park is that several sites have Electric Vehicle charging stations…!

For our 47th wedding anniversary dinner we selected the finest restaurant in Tremonton… It is a diner at the bowling alley…

We tried to have a toast, but this being Utah, there was no wine…

After a fairly unremarkable dinner we returned to the Villa…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-06-21 – Springtime in the Rockies caravan… Day 26 – Yellowstone National Park and Farewell Luncheon

Today is the last full day of the Caravan. We head for home tomorrow…

We had a quiet morning, with a rare breakfast of bacon and eggs… We headed for the Final Banquet (lunch) at 10:30 – if you show up on time you are late!

We walked about the town of Gardiner. By the way, the town is named after a 19th century fur-trapper named Johnson Gardner. Oh! The Ironing!

We walked over to the original entrance to Yellowstone, the Roosevelt Arch…

We also found out we were in the Gallatin Custer National Forest… Lots of Federally owned land around here…

From the town we could see the Airstreams parked in the adjacent RV Park. (Due to a variety of mix-ups, the Villa is parked at another RV Park seven miles out of town…

We like watching rivers. Here the Yellowstone River flows right through the town… and it continues down past our RV Park…

The Yellowstone River is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 692 miles long. It drains an area stretching from the Rocky Mountains in the vicinity of Yellowstone National Park, across the mountains and high plains of southern Montana and northern Wyoming. It eventually joins the Missouri and then the Mississippi Rivers.

We also saw a lot of the Snake River, in Yellowstone as well as in Grand Tetons NP. At 1,078 miles long, it is the largest tributary of the Columbia River, in turn the largest North American river that empties into the Pacific Ocean. The Snake River rises in western Wyoming, then flows through the Snake River Plain of southern Idaho, the rugged Hells Canyon on the Oregon–Idaho border and the rolling Palouse Hills of Washington, emptying into the Columbia River at the Tri-Cities, Washington.

So the Yellowstone River is on the east side of the Continental Divide, and the Snake River is on the west side… And they are both here in Yellowstone…!

We returned to the Cowboy, on their upper open-air deck. Caravans don’t usually repeat locations like this, but the restaurant that was planned for the final Banquet burned down last winter…

We all gathered for a social time together…

Lunch was served. This time it was baked Montana trout. (I would have preferred the fried chicken that we had last time…)

After lunch we had presentations, accolades, and door prizes…

That evening we all gathered for Happy Hours…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-06-17 – Springtime in the Rockies caravan… Day 22 – Travelling to Yellowstone National Park

So we bid farewell to the Grand Tetons! It was the prettiest park we have seen on this trip. On to Yellowstone!

We left about 8:00 am to avoid traffic in the park. We’ve been told traffic can be terrible in Yellowstone.

The drive was short – only 112 miles. We drove directly through Grand Teton National Park, through the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, and on into Yellowstone National Park…

Yellowstone National Park is located in the in the northwest corner of Wyoming, with some areas extending into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone was the first national park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world.  The park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful geyser.

We loved the Grand Tetons NP. In comparison, Grand Tetons covers 485 square miles, while Yellowstone covers 3,500 square miles. However, Grand Tetons is much more scenic, while Yellowstone features geothermal natural wonders and much more wildlife…

The views along the road are nice…

We soon stopped to see Old Faithful. First we hassled the very busy and crowded parking area. We only needed to jack-knife the Villa into 6 parking stalls, and we were set!

We entered the Old Faithful Lodge. Interiors were nice…

But the exterior was less than impressive…

We walked out to the viewing area where people were already waiting to see Old Faithful; they will wait another 45 minutes…

We wandered over to the Old Faithful Inn. It is much more impressive…!

The lobby is this giant 3-4 story high space, all done up in National Park architecture…

The dining room is also very grand… Unfortunately, it is closed…

We ignored the sign and walked up the stairs.

Very nice upper level lounge areas…

Near the top is what they call “the Crow’s Nest”. It is a room at the top of these stairs where orchestras would play in the evening. The top is 76′ tall! Unfortunately, in 1959 an earthquake damaged the structural integrity of the Crow’s Nest, so it is no longer habitable.

These writing desks are all over these upper floors… Beautiful!

Unfortunately, there are no dining or lounge areas that are open. Only fast food is available, and only for take-out… Gift shops have such a restricted capacity that there lines hundreds of people long just to get inside. Yellowstone is much more shut down for Covid than Grand Tetons was…

So we moved on to a modern Visitors Center. Again, capacity is restricted… But the views are grand…

We returned to the Old Faithful viewing are. The crowd has tripled…

Old Faithful is a cone geyser. It was named in 1870 during the Washburn–Langford–Doane Expedition and was the first geyser in the park to be named. It is a highly predictable geothermal feature and has erupted every 44 minutes to two hours since 2000.  The geyser and the nearby Old Faithful Inn are part of the Old Faithful Historic District.

So thousands of people are standing around looking at this for the past hour. The next scheduled eruption is due at 11:06 am.

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About ten minutes before the scheduled time the geyser spouts briefly…

Finally, at 11:07 am Old Faithful earns her name…

And it goes on and on…!

Finally the eruptions start to fade…

Eruptions can shoot 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of boiling water to a height of 106 to 185 feet, lasting from 112 to 5 minutes.

We continued to drive north. We found some Bison…

We found some Fumaroles at Roaring Mountain: (Fumaroles are similar to geysers, except that they do not have enough pressure to erupt; they just emit steam…)

We had some fine views

The traffic is bad and the roads are rough, slow, narrow, and curvy…

More green valleys…

We saw this female elk hanging out along the side of the road…

More Pronghorn Antelope… But they are far away…

We continued out of the park and into Gardiner, Montana…

The town of Gardiner is just outside the park; it was the original entrance to the park, and at the time all guests would arrive by train, so there was a large train station here…

Today Gardiner has mostly tour companies, gift shops, lodges, motels, and RV parks. We met with the club for dinner at this recently-constructed dining terrace… (Construction workers were still working when we arrived…)

Airstreamers started arriving (early, as usual)

We enjoyed a very good fried chicken dinner buffet…

After dinner, we returned to the RV park and walked around. We are right next to the Yellowstone River, but only tent sites are adjacent to the river.

The park is dry and dusty, but there is a small grill for dinner and other amenities…

There are extensive hot spring pools…

After checking out the hot spring pools we returned to the Villa. We have an early morning tomorrow.

And 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

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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

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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 07 Powerhouse 3

2017-09-23 Grand Coulee Dam 04 Spillway

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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:

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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