June 23 – Off to Alaska

After waking early and hanging around for several hours we decided to move our motorhome to the storage area

Fortunately these sites have 110V power so we can keep our refrigerator runing during our absnece

at the campground we were staying at and head for Pier 91 in Seattle where we would be boarding our ship, the Holland American Lines'' Eurodam

The MS Eurodam  is the 80th ship to enter Holland America's service and, at 935 feet and 86,700 tons it carries carrying 2,104 passengers and a crew of 929.  She is the largest Holland America Signature-class ship.  The Eurodam also has dynamic positioning abilities using three 1.9 MW (2,500 hp) bow thrusters and two 17.6 MW (23,600 hp) aft mounted Azipods. Total electrical power generation is 64 MW by six diesel generators.

The 24 mile drive was a pleasnt surprise with pretty light traffic (a rarity in and around Seattle) allowing us to arrive at the parking area where we'd booked a spot.  A shuttle took us to the pier

Our first view of he ship

where we were processed through inspection at near "light speed".  As our cabin room was ready, we headed directly for the gangpank

While still somewhat smaller than the aircraft carrier I lived on for two years, the Eurodam was still impressive!

and we were into our cabin and unpacked well before our original scheudled 2:00 PM boarding time.

After taking a tour about the ship's restaurants and outside decks, we returned to our cabin to shed some of the clothes we had on as the sun had come out and the temperatures were now in the 70os.  Shortly thereafter, the ship's "abandon ship" muster drill came off as advertised over the ship's PA system.

Then, as we were supposed to sail at 4:00 PM, we headed for the aft section of the 9th deck.  However, our departure wsa delayed for 90-minutes apparently due to illness of two passengers who had to be debarked before the ship could sail.

Meanwhile, I discovered the ice cream bar and we enjoyed coffee and an Alaskan beer while chatting with some folks we met.  This delay provided a great opportunity to get some interesting pictures of the Seattle skyline,

including the city's iconic Space Needle,

three World War II bombers which passed overhed

B-17 Flying Fortress

B-24 Liberator

B-25 Mitchell

several private yachts,

an unbelieveabbly huge marina filled mostly with sailboats,

a police boat which kept watch around the piers at which our cruise ship and another across the pier until both ships sailed (a sign of the times I'm afraid),

two cruise ships likely heading for Alaska,

and several passenger and car-carrying ferries.

Finally around 5:30 PM we got underway leaving Seattle in our wake.

We passed several passenger ferries and acommercail boat running between islands in the San Jaun Straits and Seattle.

Best friends Ken and Cheryl had recommended we get a balcony room … and it was great advise.

We love the views.

As the ship headed west into the sun,

we could see the snow-capped summit of Mt. Baker (10,781') in the distance.

Dinner was great!

Can't wait until tomorrow

 

 

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June 22 – A Day in Bothell for Packing and Country Village

This morning we had to change sites here at Lake Pleasant

and took the time walk this rather large campground.

The campground's signature water wheel

Flower baskets everywhere

Mural on the office building

Ducks,

Ducks

and More Dicks

We also finally packed for our Alaska Inland Passage Cruise which begins tomorrow.

After lunch, we decided to take in Country Village where meandering paths lead you through a whimsical world of duck ponds, flowers, murals, home decor, restaurants, one of a kind toys, gifts, antiques & more.  After strolling through some of the "antique stores" we wondered (a) where and how long it took the store owners to amass so much "stuff" and (b) how, economically, they manage to stay in business.  Still, it was fun to wander through them as some of the items brought back memories of our youth, many decades ago.

The entire village is slated to be razed next April to makeway for 144 new condos.  Progress sometimes comes at the expense of others.

 

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June 21 – Ellensburg to Bothell, WA

After leaving the KOA campground and topping off our gas tank, we jumped back on I-90 westbound and were immediately advised of

We were quickly back in farm country

Along a nearby ridgeline were more wind turbines … with the Stuart Range, reputed to be the single greatest mass of exposed granite in the United States, in the distance 

From roughly 25 miles away only the highest peaks are visible, including Mt. Stuart at 9,415 feet. are visible.

At the only rest stop along the way was a poignant painting.

Back on the road, we began our slow climb up to the Snoqualmie Pass (3,022'). 

\ Unlike many of the muddy rivers we've crossed during the past week or so, the rivers in Washington are clear and blue

An army truck we played hop-scotch with … passing us on the downhills while we caught up and went by him on the climbs

However, the clear skies were soon replaced by a thick overcast

with low hanging clouds shrouding the nearby mountain peaks.

Once over the summit of the pass, the visibilty went further downhill for a couple of miles

before we broke clear of the overcast on a long descent

into the Seattle area … where apartment and condo building reminds me of the hillside developments in Hong Kong …

before turning north to Bothell wher ewe'll leave our coach for our upcoming cruise.

 

 

 

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June 19 – Ellensburg, WA (an interesting city)

Ellensburg is a city with a population was 20,326 in a 2017 census estimate.   It is located just east of the cascade Range on Interstate 90 and is known as the most centrally located city in the state.  Ellensburg was officially incorporated on November 26, 1883.

John Shoudy

came to the Kittitas Valley in 1871, and purchased a small trading post from Andrew Jackson "A.J." Splawn, called "Robber's Roost." Robber's Roost was the first business in the valley, other than the early trading that occurred among American Indians, cattle drivers, trappers, and miners.  Robber's Roost was located on the present-day 3rd Avenue, just west of Main Street near the alley.  There is a placard on the wall commemorating the location, as well as a small stone monument against the wall on the sidewalk.  When asked what he wanted to call the town, he replied, "Ellensburg", after his wife, Mary Ellen Shoudy.

thus officially began the city of Ellensburg around 1872.  Shoudy was not the first settler in the Valley, nor was he the first businessperson, but he was responsible for platting the city of Ellensburg in the 1870s, and he was the person who named the streets in the downtown district.

Our first stop today was at the Kittitas County Historical Museum

to pick up a walking tour map.  However, we quickly disscovered that the museum had far more to offer than we could have anticipated … much of it donated by past and present residents of the city … including many artifacts from long ago.

Train freight wagon

Coal stove

"Crummy" Stove

Dental chair and X-ray machine

Doctor's examination table

Newspaper dispenser (5-cents each)

Offset printing press

Elementary school desks

Dial phone

Old wall phones

Telephone switchboard (circa 1906)

Wooden wheel chair

Eight day clock (circa 1883)

Eureka Wonder Grain Grader

Handless cup and saucer (circa 1764)

Knabe Square Grand Piano (circa 1840)

Linotype printing press

Richfield gas pump

Road sign of the early 20th century times

Velobike

With its 1919 unique design, the disc wheels eliminated a common problem of wheel spokes puncturing holes in the bike tires.

Cost:  ~$10.00 per bike

Velocipere tricycle

VIntage organ

Cornhusk bags are unique products of the Columbia Plateau Native American groups.  Designed to transport and store dried foods and other valuables, these bags were made of a plain twining of cotton warp., Indian hemp and cotton werfs.  Following contact with European Americans, new materials such as brightly colored wools became available and were integrated into the existing art forms.  These bags represent examples of this stage of the form’s development.

These beaded bags are products of craftspeople of the Mid Columbia Plateau Notice American groups.  Earlier and less decorated examples were used for everyday transportation and storage, but bags with elaborate beaded designs were used as trade items and personal decorative accessories, and oftern passed down through generations.

They had a fascinating collection of cars from the  late 1800s and early 1900s.

Ford Model TT Truck (circa 1922) – equipped with a 20 hp engine it could haul a one-ton load

Ford Model T Speedster (circa 1923) – 20 hp engine it could hit 37 MPH on 1920s gravel roads and up to 50 mph on paved roads

Mobile Steam Runabout Dos-a-Dos (circa 1899) – tiller-steered, speeds up to 25 MPH – believed to have once been owned by Henry Ford

Flanders 20 Suburban (circa 1910) – was a passenger transporter and delivery vehicle; and it had a 30 hp engine and internal expanding drum brakes

Ford Model T Depot Hack (circa 1914) – used as a taxi

Holsman Highwheeler Surrey (circa 1903) – 2-cylinder, 10 hp air-cooled engine; it has no clutch and no speed-changing gearing, just one lever beside the steering handle

Its under carriage is refelctred in a mirror

There was a room dedicated to wars our country has fought and in which young men from Ellensburg served and frequently died.

Civil War

Spanish American War

World War I

World War II

World War II Jeep

Korean War

Vietnam War

Then there were some truly old items … hundreds of years

Native American Petroglyphs

and even millions of years old in fact.

Petrified wood

After more than an hour … actually just skimming the surface of what the museum had to offer … we headed out on a walking tour of the historic downtown area of Ellensburg with its many architectually-unique buildings (nearly all having seen many occupants since their were built).

Bossong Building (1889)

Davidson Buuilding (1919)

Farmers Bank (1911)

Former Masonic Temple (1890)

Geiger Woods Building (1889)

Kleinberg Building (1889)

Lynch Building (1888)

Several Main Street Buildings (1880 – 1911)

 

National Bank of Ellensburg (1888)

National Bank of Ellensburg Art Deco

Pearson Building (1908)

 

Shaw's Furniture and Appliances (since 1919)

even private residences

The sides of many of the building have been used for advertising … a few badly faded

while most are still legible

and even a couple of evidently newly painted ones.

Around the city there were a great many bike racks,

many trash recepticles,

benches (not all painted, however),

public clocks,

clever and political signs,

flowers everywhere,

old-fashion mail boxes,

and even sculptures … one of whom made a pass at Debbie.

We then stumbled upon Dick and Jane's Spotan art site and a home.  Dick and Jane made most of the art you see but they have also collected art.  The works of over 40 Northwest artists are on display in the yard. Generally, what you see from outside the fence is what you see. The rest is a private yard so visitors are requested to remain outside the fences.  The Spot has been a work in progress for 40 years.  There are over 10,000 bottle caps and thousands of reflectors. The pieces in the yard are always changing.  Old pieces decay and new ones are added.

After lunch at the Yellow Church Cafe,

The Yellow Church Cafe was built in 1923 as a church for the German Lutherans. Since then, the building has served many purposes and is now a restaurant. We believe that food, friends and fellowship go hand in hand. We strive for excellence.

We had a great lunch on the porch

we headed back to our campground, passing more curiousities along the way.

The more we travel across the United States and Canada, the more we discover there are some many interesting places to see.

 

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June 19 – Cheney to Ellensburg, WA – A Beautiful Drive

Today's drive to Ellensburg in central Washington was unquestionalbly the prettiest day we've enjoyed on this trip. Leaving Cheney, the land was rolling and appareantly used for grazing.

Occaasionally bordered by small lakes,

Subtle red and orange hues became noticable.

Teardrop Travel Trailer

An isolated house on a hilltop miles from any neighbors

Church steeple in a town which seemed little more than an exit ramp off I-90

Gradually, the landscape began to include rock outcroppings which we'd not seen and soon disappeared.

We stopped at a rest area not to long after getting on the road as they were offering "free coffee.  As it turned out, a delightful mother and daughter not only serving fee coffee but also homemade cookies … asking for donations … as a fundraiser for the Daughters of the American Revolution (which I discovered from talking with them uses the moneis to support veterans and veteran organizations, inlcuding ROTC programs).  I can personally attest that each of the types of cookies they had were EXCELLENT!

Then we began to see evidence of widely separated farms and fields of varying colors and patterns.

Occasionally iinterrupted by mile-long freight trains crossing the landscape

Over the course of our trip, it appeared that hay, corn, canola and potatoes were the  main crops … although there were likely others we couldn't identify.

We skirted another larger lake,

Sprague Lake

a crane of some sort beside a cell tower

and several eighteen-wheelers hauling hay.

A stop at another rest area gave us a chance to watch a pair of birds nesting just above our coach.

Then, back on the road again.

We have no idea what the "boxes" in the fields were used for

White cattle

Horses, of course

Corn

Not certain about this crop

Moses Lake

Lake Moses

Potatoes

More potatoes

Canola

Hay storage shelters

Hay

A horse of a different color

The town of "George", Washington … really

Winery vines

Then, we rounded a bend and the green scenery we'd seen since leaving Cheney was replaced by a near barrren landscape.

Gazing down into the canyon we got our first glimpse of the Columbia River since our trip out west two years ago.

Below, near the river are the remnanats of the of the originl road which ran through the area

Genista Tinotonia … a noxious weed is the only color above the river

Directly across the Columbia River is Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, covering 6,000 acres.  Although the petrified wood had been reported as early as 1898, the first indication of its presence in quantity in this vicinity was realized in 1927 during the construction of the highway between Ellensburg and Vantage.  The park represents one of the most unusual petrified wood area in the world.  Few localities yield a flora so diverse and only rarely are they preserved in lava flows.  Well over 2,000 varieties of wood have been identified including Ginkgo, the “sacred” tree of China; although Ginkgo no longer exists in the wild.

From the outlook, the road descended

to the I-90 bridge over the

at just over 600 feet above sea level

Vantage Ferry across teh Columbia River (circa 1920)

Vantage Bridge over the Columbia River near Completion (circa 1927)

we entered the

and began a nearly 2,000 foot climb

Each of the 149 wind turbines stands 351 feet tall from their base to the tip of a vertical blade.  Each turbine weighs approximately 270 tons.  The turbine blades are 129 feet long, 11.6 feet wide near the rotor’s center and 1.6 feet wide at the blade tip.  Each blade weighs more than 7 tons.  The diameter of the theee-blade rotors is 264 feet – wider than a Boeing 747’s wing span.

over just seven miles to top out at

As always what goes up … must come ultimately down.  Thus, we began a long, slow descent to Ellensburg …

back through farm country.

Off to the north, some of the high snow laced peaks of the Wenatchee mountain are clearly visible.

We're staying at the Ellensburg

for the next two nights.

Late this afternoon, we had to go to the local post office and then made two emergency stops for Debbie.

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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June 18 – Missoula, MT to Cheney, WA

We woke to another cool and rainy morning.  After a stop for gas, we continued our trek westward along I-90, surrounded by valleys and mountains partially shrouded by low-hanging clouds.

We also encountered close to a dozen sections of road work,

hillsides which had been scarred by forest fires in tth past,

occasional farms and abandoned homesteads,

and crossed Clark Fork no less than nine times while still in Montana.

Coming around a bend, I spokked two large elk grazing just of the highway.  Unfortunately, we were by them before Debbie could grab the camera and take a shot.

Five miles short of the Idaho state line, we pulled off at a rest area.  Aside from some ground squirrels which taken up residence,

there was a group of four disheveled-looking young people and a dog traveling in an old beat up car whose passenger side windows had been replaced with polyethylene.

Then the climb … almost 1,000 feet over just 4 miles …

cresting out at Lookout Pass

before entering Idaho,

entering the Pacific Time Zone,

greeted by  …

and starting the beginning of a long descent

often through narrow gaps which were created by road crews with dynamte.

Once out of the moutains, we dropped down to just over 2,000' above sea level (the lowest we'd been since before we left Pennsulvania) as we crossed the central part of Idaho's northern panhandle. Eventually, we reached scenic Lake Coeur d'Alene.

 About this time the odometer on or motorhome crossed the 60,000 mile mark!

Soon threafter we crossed the Spokane river and into

and the city of Spokane … back to a big city of 220,000 … almost more people than in all of the towns and cities we've passed through since entering Montana. 

A large cathedral.

Freshly painted water towers.

An old bridge.

Wondering if it is a dairy.

The first sheriff on a motorcycle we've seen.

A man from Texas having a bad day.

Another car with polyethlyene windows.

Just four miles after topping off our gas tank we arrived at our campground for the evening.

This evening while watching some television, we glanced out the window …

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June 17 (PM) – Missoula Smokejumpers Training Facility – Garden or One Thousand Buddhas

After our morning walk around our campground, we headed out to visit the U.S. Forest Service's Missoula Smokejumpers Training Center.

We joined a tour which had just started.

Parachute Loft

Supply Pack – dropped separately for the smokejumpers

Typical food supplied for up to a 7-day period in the forest

Firefighter Supply Packs – Ready for Deployment

Smokejumper Mannequin – 8- lbs of equipment

A secondary parachute pack on the jumper's chest can be opened manually or will open automatically if the smokejumper is unable to activate it as he gets too close to the ground.

Operations Center where the smokejumpers are rotated … when the first one assigned out returns he goes to te bottom of the list.

When smokejumpers are called for duty, they have just 2 minutes to get dresed and ready for a jump and 10 minutes to be on the tarmac and ready to board their aircraft.

Final decisions have not yet been made, but initial indications are that ten of the C-23B+/SD3-60s Short Sherpa aircraft

will be used to replace all of the Forest Service owned and contracted aircraft used for smokejumping except two agency-owned DeHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otters that will be retained for backcountry operations. Consequently, the future Forest Service smokejumper fleet will consist of two aircraft models – the C-23B+/SD3-60s and the De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otters.

While I can't imagine jumping out of any plane, there is tremendous competition for smokejumper training slots. 

You may wonder what it takes to become a smokejumper:

Age: Min. 18 years of age  –  Max. 57 years of age
Height: Min. 5’  –  Max. 6’5”
Weight: Min. 120 lbs. Max. 200 lbs.
Min. Fitness: 7 pull-ups, 45 sit-ups, 1.5 mile run in 11 minutes

Experience:  At least 2 years of wilderness fire fighting experience

Those are the minimum requirements. Most successful applicants exceed these minimums in both work experience and physical fitness. Rookie smokejumpers must also pass a 110 lb. pack test on flat terrain in 90 minutes, and many other physical and mental challenges. Both men and women must meet the same physical requirements,  Each candidate must also make 25 successful jumps.  The five week rookie training program is demanding and poorly prepared candidates will not complete it.

Of the 25 trainees who entered to the most recent class in Missoula, only 14 (just 56%) actually made it through the progam and graduated last Friday.

Of the 400 smokejumpers in the United States, only 5%, or 20, are women.  This is due, in part, to the experience requirement.

These certified smokejumpers become well aware of the dangers they face everytime they are deployed to a fire scene.  Most will remember the 19 "Hotshots" killed … despite using their Fire Shelters, although they have been proven to save firefighter's lives … two memorials on the training center grounds memorialize the loss of 13 Missoula-based firefighters fighting the Mann Gulch fire in central Montana in 1949.

We found it interesting that the chemicals dropped by aricraft fighting forest fire are not dropped directly on the fire but ahead of where it is anticipated to travel.  Moreover, the chemical composition of those retardants have also changed over time.

There were three large tanks on the tarmac which are used for storing fire retardants.

There were also other exhibits including a "water bomb". 

Imagine putting out a forest fire from the are by dropping wooden, water-filled beer barrels out of planes.  In 1935 this was tried but the results wre disappointing.   However, after World War II, surplus bombs, like the 4,000 pound M-56 on display, became available for testing as a replacement for the wooden “bombs”.  Equipped with a proximity fuse and plywood tail fins, these bombs were tested in 1946. 

However, they were dofficult to direct, left large crates and endangered firefighters on the ground.  These experiments were discontinued by 1947.  Yet, the feasibility of areial fire suppression became well established, and these experiements led to the fretilizating retardants and delivery systems used throughout the world today.

The D-1, one of the first standard Forest Service lookouts replaced the primitive “crows nest” lookouts built at the top of tall trees.

Original D-1 (above) was built on Hornet Peak in 1922

With a 14’ x 14’ log cabin for living quartrs and a framed, glass cupola to serve as an observattory, the D-1 provided truly “deluxe" accommodations for the time.  It was often constructed from local resources at the site.

The D-1 was replaced by the L-4 in 1929.  Its 14’ x 14’ structure was transported in kits by mule trains and assembled on-site.

Black Pine Lookout

The development of aerial fire surveillance quickly reduced the need for lookouts.  Today, the handful of remaining lookouts is a testament to the early Forest Service’s ingenuity and resourcefulness.

Two gorgeous flowers at the Center:

Pink Rose

Fireweed

Leaving the Smokejumpers Center we passed an innovative two-wheel biker taking a large package home.

Leaaving the Smokejumper Center, we drove through the heart of Missoula …

Missoula County Court House

World War I Doughboy Statue

"Lightening" – steel and cedar

Building Mural

Church Steeple

Bridge Mural

as we headed north toward the town of Arlee.

Bridge to permit wildlife to cross U.S. 93

Our destination the :Garden of One Thousand Buddhas", a spiritual site near Arlee, Montana within the Flathead Indian Reservation.

This poto was taken from the Internet

The Dharma Wheel is an ancient symbol for the India associated with Buddha's teaching … and literally represents spiritual change, the turning toward awakening.

Upon the spokes reside 1,000 Buddha stateus and on the outer rim of the wheel are 1,000 stupas. These forms serve as the inspirational support for meditation and as a reminder of the awakened capacity of every human being

The garden was founded by Gochen Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, a Tibetan master of the Nyingma school of Buddhism.  Following a traditional Buddhist method, Sang-Ngag claimed to have chosen the location immediately upon seeing it, recalling a prophetic dream from his youth which corresponded to the garden's landscape. Subsequently, Sang-ngag's non-profit organization, Ewam, received the land in an anonymous donation by one of the Rinpoche's disciples, and construction began in 2000.

The 1,000 concrete statues of Buddha and 1,000 concrete stupas were cast on-site by volunteers.  The largest statue, a representation of the goddess Tara, stands completed at the garden's center.  

Entering through a gate dedicated only yesterday

we then passed eight stupas.

Coninuing toward the wheel we passed

Walking around the "wheel" in a clockwise direction;

Prayer Flag Mound

 

Many of the 1,000 Buddhas have plaques beneath – donors to the Center

      

Snow-laced Rocky Moutain peaks

The Gardens are also adorned with a rainbow of flowers.

Throughout the Garden are rocks engraved with sayings of the Buddha (a few):

As for wildlife, we were limited to a solo wasp.

This evenin we decided to go out for dinner and had a great meal at

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June 17 (AM) – Jim & Marys RV Park

We've never taken the time to highlight any of the more than 325 campgrounds across the U.S. and Canada where weve stayed.  However, we are overwhelemed by the displays of flowers, water features, garden statues and eclectic collection "old things" which have been placed throughout this heavily-treed RV park.  It is like walking through a botanical garden!

   

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June 16 – Dillon to Missoula, Montana

Waking to rain and 47o temperatures, we opted to delay our departure for Missoula for an hour or so in hopes the preciptation would ease … and it did, partially.  From the time we left Dillon until we arrived in Missoula the rain never stopped.  At times it was heavy

and at otherrs little more than a heavy mist.

About 30 minutes after we got underway, the temperature had dropped to 39o and glancing to the west, it was obvious that the mist-shouded hill tops were coated in a blanket of WHITE!

One group of motorists we really felt sorry for were the motorcyclists

and their non-motorized cousins

all of whom had to be wet, cold and misearble!

Passing through the town of Divide (population 221), we encounterred another Continental Divide sign.

Merging onto I-90, we passed our first vehicle in two days

only to have the tandem truck roar past us shortly there after and untimately disappear into the rainy distance.

Although the speed limit was

we maintained speeds between 55 and 65 MPH, ensuing that almost evey vehicle on the road ultimately soared past us.

We saw very little evidence of crop farming and suspect that most of the land is dedicaed to growing, cutting and baling hay and grazing for cattle and horses.

 

Nearing Missoula, the weather took another turn for the worse.

perhaps causing one unfortunate motorist to end up in a rollover in the ditch.

\

Our campground for the weekend is one of the prettiest we've stayed at on this trip.

 

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June 15 – Boulder, WY to DIllon, MT

With our longest mileage day to date ahead of us, we woke to sunny skies with a chilly temperature of 49o, although the wind which had been with us for days had pretty much died out.  As we were getting ready to leave, we enounteed a problem wthjt our water pump … which, fortunately corrected itself (wish I could have taken credit for the fix).

As we drove through the center of Boulder, we discovered just how small a community we'd stayed in last night.

An eagle or osprey nest, alpaca and duo of horses provided the highlights of the town.

Twelve miles further north on U.S. 191 we reached the charming town of Pinedale

the most populous town between Rock Spring and the Idaho border.  Like other places we visit, building murals are evident.

From Boulder to Pinedale and on through Bondurant and Alpine, there were spectacular views of the Wind River, Wyoming and Gros Ventire ranges.

Unique from many of the past several days, many small ponds and streams were clearly visible

as were a number of crumbling building

and any number of pronghorn antelopes.

The road then wound through numerous moutain passes,

topping out at just shy of 8.000'

The sides of some of the passes were quite steep requiring warning signs

although, fortuantely, there was no snow present today.

We passed through one section where it was obvious that a wildfire had taken its toll several years ago.

Meantime, we began to follow and occasionally cross the Snake River.

Debbie managed to spot a remote geodesic dome house, which I never saw.

And, despite the signs

we never saw any wildlife today.

After finally exiting U.S. 191, we ran into … what else … ROAD WORK

Fortunately, it was s short delay.

We continued to follow the now, aquamarine-colored, Snake River

and spotted several groups of rafters drifting with the current.

The road bed had been cut into the sides of the often steep rocky hills bordering the river. 

This led the state to post numerous signs, "Watch Out for Falling Rocks".  While we never did locate anyone going by the name or "Falling Rocks" we did see ample evidence of large boulders which had tumbled from the slopes and could have caused serious accidents to the traffic below were it not for the protective barriers.

Meanwhile, on the more gentle slopes, yellow and blue flowers

While some folks build homes across streams leading to the Snake, requring bridge access,

others look for views and build high up on the seemingly inaccessible hills.

After descending more than a half-mile, farms replaced the rugged landscape.

Then, the rains came; fortunately not too heavy, and lasted for about half-hour.

After refueling in Idaho Falls, we headed north along I-15.

The Interstate passed through several "towns" with their own exit ramps.  However, some of the towns were little more than those exit ramps while others, Humphrey, appeaerd to be a community of two buildings, both boarded up!

In the distance, new mountain chains began to appear on the horiizon.

Disappointingly, we also saw areas where vehicles people were through with were simply left to disintergrate over time.

At a rest area, there was a colelction of stones, apparently "autographed" by visitors taking a break from driving.

and Debbie spotted a very old travel trailer, one which would probably qualify for the RV Museum we visited last week.

Then, we were in

with its own its own "Continental Divide". 

Grazing and farm land was mixed with the cultivated acreage abutting the mountains.

Tonight we are in a campground in Dillon, Montana (population around 4,200).

Driving to our site, we passed an antique "tear drop" travel trailer.

We were also visited by both a yellow-headed blackbird

and another bird we've yet to idenitfy.

As with our last campground in Boulder, we are situated not too many miles from snow-capped mountains.

Note the rain showers beneath the clouds

This evening, some of that rain blew through the campground, and more is due, beginning over night … when temperatures are predicted to drop into th emid-40os.

 

 

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