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Thursday, May 31, 2018

In Search of a Mobile RV Repairman

Aloha Everyone,

Reliable, reasonable and available mobile RV repairman is an oxymoron. It seems that if the person is reliable and his charges are reasonable then everyone wants to have him service their RV. Their availability is limited.

This morning J.J. made a list of possible candidates. We then drove to a shop nearby where they advertise working on your RV while you relax in their waiting room. We were given an appointment for two weeks from today.

Option 2 was to look for one in another city. Getting a positive response that he could work on Honu the following day, the two of us headed to Bend.

Main diversions for the day was a tasty gourmet burger at the Crossroads BBQ Pit & Pub in Prineville and beautiful snow capped mountain seen from the Ochoco Highway in Redmond, OR.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Scenic Byway US 26 West

Aloha Everyone,

The Snake River forms the boundary between Idaho and Oregon. At 1,078 miles long, it is the largest tributary of the Columbia River. At the Ontario Oregon Visitor Center, I collected magazines and map. Mary suggested that I take a copy of the coastal drive and the “Oregon Scenic Byways & Tour Routes Driving Guide" that highlights unique viewpoints and attractions on US 26 West. For J.J., he enjoyed a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Truly an Oregonian welcome.

Baker City is a charming small, friendly town. Its location is a valley between the Wallowa & Elkhorn Mountains. We had our lunch at Oregon Trail Restaurant.

From Baker City to Prineville took us through the Whitman, Malheur and Ochoco National Forest. The distance of 195.2 miles was mostly winding mountainous road and with my driving a part of the way, it took us 6 1/2 hours.

What a pleasure in finding the Crook County RV Park in Prineville. The facilities and amenities are comparable to any commercial RV resorts. The two of us did not mind that it started to rain at dusk and the low temperature dropped to 36 degrees Fahrenheit.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Killdeer & Bluegrass Music

Aloha Everyone,

The Killdeer is classified as shorebird but these plovers are commonly seen on people’s yards, golf courses, RV parks and even parking lots. They are light brown to brownish-orange colored. They often run across the ground in spurts. The Killdeer are entertaining to watch as they frequently stop with a jolt and look around as if to check if anything is behind their tail.

I encountered a pair this morning on my walk. They have a high screeching call and it becomes louder if they feel you are getting too close to their nest.

J.J. and I had watched an episode on Nature about the Killdeer’s broken-wing act. To lead predators away from a nest, the Killdeer pretends to be injured, thus an easy prey. Once potential predators are led to a comfortable distance away from their nest, then the Killdeer flies off.

I must have appeared as a large predator, the Killdeer fluffed itself up, displaying its tail over its head, and started to charge at me. Though I did not get frightened, I did move away.

The pair’s nest is a depression on the gravel. The eggs are speckled and look very much like stones. But I could not get close enough to count if there were the usual 4 eggs in the nest.

Bluegrass is a form of American roots music originated in Kentucky that is influenced by the music of Appalachia with European influence of Irish and Scottish. Typical instruments played by Blueglass musicians are banjo, guitar, acoustic guitar, fiddle, mandolin and harmonica. Every Tuesday night, a group of friends get together for a jam session at the KOA Meridian-Boise and everyone is invited. Each participants took turn playing and singing their favorite song while others accompanied. The only song the two of us recognized was City of New Orleans by Willie Nelson.

“Good morning America 
How are you?
Say don’t you know me 
I’m your native son 
I am the train they call 
the city of New Orleans
I will be gone five hundred miles 
when the day is done”

It was different but definitely an enjoyable evening.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, May 28, 2018

Arco, Idaho

Aloha Everyone,

When we checked in at KOA Craters of the Moon/Arco, Angela, the owner gave us a quick rundown on Arco’s history.

1).  This tiny city, with a current population of 700, gained its brief fame in 1955.  This was the world’s first nuclear-powered city.

2).  The USA’s only fatal nuclear accident occurred in Arco in 1961. There was a core meltdown at the National Reactor Testing Station killing three servicemen. These victims were placed in lead coffin buried under about 4 feet of concrete at Arlington National Cemetery. Arco was chosen by the government because of its remote location and sparse population.

Arco has a range of mountains to the north including Mt Borah, Idaho’s highest peak at 12,667 ft and oddly named Appendicitis Hill Wilderness Study Area in the Butte County just 5 miles north of the city.

Local high school senior class paint the last two digits of their graduation year on the “Hill of Numbers”. Such graffitis, it seem, are condone by the school administrators and Butte County School District Office.

Located less than 300 ft from where we are staying, Pickles Place parking lot is always packed. J.J. and I enjoyed a delicious Crater Burger served with grilled onion, mushrooms, pickles, tomato and lettuce. It took 45 minutes for the kitchen to prepare because the place was filled. Going back and ordering same items two days in a row is our endorsement for this tiny eatery where atmosphere is casual, but the food is comparable to any gourmet hamburger joint.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Aloha Everyone,

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is located in the Snake River Plain in Central Idaho. With an elevation of 5,900 ft above sea level, it encompasses 3 major lava fields.

Native Americans visited the area about 12,000 years ago. Volcanic eruptions were described in the Shoshone legend “as a serpent on a mountain angered by lightening who coiled and squeezed the mountain until liquid rock flowed.” The legend goes on to say that fire shot from cracks, and the mountain exploded. Very poetic.

According to US National Park Service information site, the oldest flows of the Craters of the Moon lava fields are 15,000 years old and the youngest formed about 2,000 years ago.

There are many landmarks accessible by taking the 7 miles Loop Drive from the Visitor Center. J.J. made several stops for me at interesting places: Devil’s Orchard, Big Craters, Splatter Cones, and Tree Mold.

My favorite stops were a large cinder cone named Inferno Cone. The undefined trail is short but steep. I stopped long enough to photograph a family of hikers at a distance.

Cave Area with 4 caves was where I spent the most time. There are so many warning signs posted requiring some form of head protection and flashlight.

By the Visitor Center, there is a basic campground with 51 sites. With no light pollution, this Monument is also designated as an International Dark Sky Park. Camping overnight among ancient lava field must be an amazing experience. Skiing is allowed in the Loop Drive starting late November after it is closed to vehicular traffic. 25” of snow on average is expected by February.

Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho was worth a visit. Though it does pale in comparison to an active volcano like Kilauea!

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Idaho Potato Museum

Aloha Everyone,

Idaho Potato Museum is located in the city of Blackfoot. Known as the “Potato Capital of the World,” the region has the highest concentration of the potato industry in any one area.

As I entered the café, I was asked if I wanted to buy potato or see the museum. $4 entrance fee let me access the self-guided museum where one can learn everything there is to know about potatoes. For example, the Incas in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes around 8,000 BC to 5,000 B.C.

Dioramas, video, audio with displays of machinery also explain the history of Idaho's potato industry.  

I actually hurried through the cozy but informative museum thinking that J.J. might be getting bored waiting for me. When I went back to the café, J.J. was happily digging into the famous “world's largest baked potato.” The Idaho potato is not attractive compared to fancy designer varieties in a multitude of colors and shapes. But the ordinary brown skinned appearance is deceiving. I joined J.J. to finish what we both agreed was the best baked potato we had. At the cost of $1.99 plus tax, the lunch was a steal :-)

Here are Carlene and Ryan who have expertise in Idaho potatoes.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, May 25, 2018

My Morning Walk

Aloha Everyone,

It’s always a good idea to get my daily walk first thing in the morning. I love the coolness and freshness of the air. Watching the sunrise and listening to birds singing is the ultimate daily joy.  

Brigham City has a population of 17,899 and ranks 38th in the state. It is a relatively small community and I feel safe walking alone.

For the last 3 days, I have ventured out of the RV park complex and getting to know the neighborhood.  

Old Grist Mill Bread Company is located just 3 minutes walk from where we are staying. The restaurant offers mainly soup and sandwiches made at their complex.  At 6:45 am when I walked passed the parking lot, the wonderful aroma of freshly baked breads was enticing.

J.J. and I stopped for our lunch. Efficient and cheerful staff behind the long counter processed a steady flow of customers’ orders. We both had roast beef sandwich — his with no frill full size and mine 1/2 size loaded with veggies. Clam chowder served piping hot was also excellent.  $12.65 is a very reasonable price for this wonderful freshly prepared meal.

Aloha -- Cathi