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9/14 thru 9/30 - Driveway Sweet Driveway

Our route from Forks, Washington, mostly on I-90 with a slight detour south to visit Yellowstone and then back north to I-90
We left forks by 10:00 on Monday, 9/14 with the intention of spending the night in Yakima, Washington so that we could stop in the morning in Walla-Walla and take a picture ("from Walla Walla, Washington to Kalamazoo" - you'd have to be a Cub fan to understand).   Anyway, once we got on I-90, it seemed silly to go that far out of our way so we just continued on east.  We ended up spending the night at Walmart in Moses lake, Washington (291 miles).

Tuesday morning we woke up to temps in the low 40's (did I mention we stayed in a parking lot and had no hookups, brrrrrr!). In the middle of the night Marty woke up to the refrigerator beeping because the propane tank was empty, then in the morning when he went outside there was a beeping sound - oh no!  He came in to tell me and we also discovered that we had water on the floor in the bathroom - wow, what a morning.  We cleaned up the water and did what every smart couple does when they have problems to deal with, we went to Starbucks for breakfast.  While there we looked up RV dealers on our route so we could have them look at the rig.  On our walk back to the rig we had the brilliant idea of calling the place we bought the rig and asking them if they had any ideas what the beeping could be.  They did - it was the alarm telling us we weren't level (duh, another lesson learned).  Fun morning :)

We continued our drive on I-90 and made it as far as Clinton, Montana which is just east of Missoula for a total of 315 miles. We ended up spending two nights at Ekstrom's Stage Station RV Park which is a quiet campground with a nice restaurant.  There are lots of things to do in and near Missoula and we spent all of Wednesday exploring the area.  First stop was a used book store I had heard about and have wanted to visit.  It was in Alberton and probably had about 150,000 used books.  I love books and book stores but lately have had a hard time buying any because I download anything I want to read from the library - cheaper and we don't have the weight of the books in our rig. I never thought I would prefer an E-Reader but I do. We browsed for a bit and then headed to our next stop, the Missoula History Museum.

Alberton Bookstore in what was originally a grocery store
So many books, so little time

After spending the summer at the Forks Timber Museum we have a new perspective when we visit museums. We spent a few hours here; they have a main museum building and about 8 buildings outside to explore (school, church, train depot, etc...).  We actually spent more time there than we should have because we had one more stop on our agenda - "The Sweet Palace" in Philipsburg.  This is an old-fashioned candy store and was recommended to us by Linda and Joe.  The store closes at 5:00 and it was already 3:40 and we had about 80 miles to go.  It's a good thing the speed limit in Montana is 75mph - I've never seen Marty drive so fast!  We made it there with 10 minutes to spare.  It was well worth the drive, we stocked up on fudge and candy and headed back to our campsite. No pictures, we were too busy picking out candy!

Hmmmm, museum ideas - get ready Linda :)

We headed out on Thursday morning to spend a few days at Yellowstone and Grand Teton.  We drove about 230 miles to our next destination, Yellowstone Holiday RV Campground & Marina.  This campground is 13 miles from the west entrance to Yellowstone and was one of the less expensive campgrounds in the area ($37.50 per night).  That's more than we like to spend but a few nights in Walmart parking lots helps average us out to about $20.00 per night.  We stayed here for four nights to have time to explore Yellowstone.

We spent Friday and Sunday exclusively in Yellowstone and on Saturday we drove thru Yellowstone down to Grand Teton National Park.  It was cloudy on Friday but the weather on Saturday and Sunday was perfect - 70's and sunny.  Driving in the park is an adventure, you have to watch out for buffalo and they definitely have the right of way!  The parks were crowded considering that it was almost the end of September, I don't think it would be much fun in the summer when it's about 5-6 times more crowded (according to a park ranger).  It is a beautiful area and well worth seeing!
Rush hour in Yellowstone

Why did the bison cross the road?

This is our truck (with us in it) that he's eye-balling!

Majestic creatures

You must stay at least 25 yards away from all bison

Rocky Mountain Elk

"Little" Bighorn Sheep

Moose in Grand Teton National Park
Besides all the wildlife there is some amazing scenery,

Jackson Lake in Grand Tetons National Park
Kepler Cascades in Yellowstone National Park

Grand Teton National Park - Infrared

Jenny Lake in Grand Teton

The most famous geyser in Yellowstone - Old Faithful

Steam vents were everywhere

Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone
The "Grand Canyon" of Yellowstone
After our three full days at Yellowstone it was time to hit the road.  We left our campground on
Monday morning (9/21) and headed north to I-90.  We spent the next two nights in Walmart parking lots (Gillette, Wyoming - 331 miles and Mitchell, South Dakota - 446 miles). Wednesday night was spent in a small campground off I-90 near Rochester, Minnesota (320 miles).  Thursday night was spent in the RV General parking lot in Huntley (299 miles) where we are having some work done on the rig. They looked at it Friday and have ordered parts which will be installed before we head out to our next destination.
A good diet is important while travelling
We met Sue and Earl at the Elgin house on Friday night and got settled into our favorite driveway. Two years ago it took Marty about 45 minutes to back into the driveway, this year it only took 5-7 minutes.  We only had to stop traffic once.  With our slides open we have about 1/2" between the house and our rig!  He did an amazing parking job.

The closer we got to Chicago the more excited I was; I had tickets for Saturday and Sunday to see the Cubs. I've been a Cub fan for over 40 years (wow, I'm old!) and it's been hard just following them second hand. They have had an incredible season and I can't wait to watch them in the playoffs! Oh, and did I mention they are the THIRD best team in baseball!  Unfortunately the two better teams are in their division so one of the teams will not make the playoffs (sorry Pirate fans).

Wearing our favorite player's jerseys

Go Cubs!!!
They ended up losing on Saturday and winning on Sunday (Jake Arrieta was pitching, of course they won).  There was no better place to spend the weekend - thanks Sue!

Now that we are all settled into our driveway we can catch up with doctors and dentists appointments. We also need to go thru our rig and storage locker to see what we can get rid of. There are also a few new babies in the family to meet and friends to catch up with.  It should be a busy month.

August - September 14, 2015 - Our time in Forks has come to an end (for this year)

Ok, so I haven't done a post in a long time and I don't keep notes. Luckily we can usually remember what we've done by going through Marty's photos.  This may not be in exact chronological order but it's a pretty good synopsis of our last six weeks.

We arrived in forks on April 29th and are leaving tomorrow  (September 14th).  It's crazy how fast the time has gone!  When we accepted this position for the summer we did wonder if there would be enough to do to keep us from being bored, that has definitely not been a problem.  We have had three sets of visitors while we've been here which has been amazing.  We've also made new "Forks" friends and are happy to be coming back here next summer.

Paul, Katie and Emily at the Museum
The last of our summer visitors were our niece, Katie with her husband Paul and their baby, Emily Rose. Emily was born on February 23rd so this was our first time meeting her - what a cutie!!  They came in early August and stayed at a local B&B. The night they came in we gave them a quick tour of the museum and the next morning we drove them to the Hoh Rain Forest for a hike and to the ocean for low tide to view some tide pools.  I got my baby fix, it was wonderful!  No sharing this baby, I got to hold her as much as I wanted.
It's just as much fun walking behind her and making faces
Emily's first walk in the Ocean

Look, Emily, we're hiking to "Hole In The Wall"!
No more personal visitors so it's time to talk about all the visitors we have had at the Forks Timber Museum.  The best part about working at the museum (besides our awesome boss, Linda and her husband, Joe) has been meeting people from all over the world.  We've met people from every
continent except Antarctica.  Europe has been well represented -  Ukraine, Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, England, Scotland (and that's just on the days we've worked, I'm sure there have been countries that I've missed).  We've had visitors from Paraguay and Brazil in South America and many people from various Asian countries. Australians and New Zealanders have also visited along with a couple different groups from South Africa.  We've also had visitors from most of the fifty states; Florida to Maine to Texas and so many others.  It's amazing how many people come specifically to the Olympic Peninsula to visit the Forks Timber Museum.  It is so much fun talking to all of them and learning a little about them.

We have been working very hard at the museum, helping clean out the "annex" and entering items into the new museum software.  Marty has painted "Bella's" truck (he made the newspaper twice -once while painting it and then was mentioned again when they took a picture of the finished job, you gotta love what makes the news in small town).
Here's the article in the paper and me standing next to the finished truck
A small sampling of items on display and entered into the database
I am really enjoying working with the software, it's so interesting to see some of the items that have been donated over the years (I know -what a geek).  One collection is from a local doctor who spent time traveling in Sierra Leone.  He brought back a pith helmet and many "witch doctor" items; not quite sure what they have to do with a logging museum but it was pretty cool to look at them.  There are probably close to 8000 items to be documented into the software, I worked on "objects" and only did about 1000 (out of approximately 2500).  There are also many photos and documents to be scanned and entered; it is a huge job! 

Herd of Elk across the street on the runway
We haven't done much new as far as exploring the area. We have continued hiking the small trail behind our rig and we also walk the airport across the street (gotta get my steps in). We do see a herd of elk quite often on the runway (not while we're walking, they usually come around dusk). It's fun to watch them, especially the little ones. We have also seen their hoof prints within 50' of our rig, it seems they like the apples that have fallen to the ground from the tree behind us. They come after dark to the apple tree so we haven't had a "close and personal" encounter (yet).

There was a very bad storm here on Saturday, August 29th.  According to the newspaper, it was the worst Summer storm they've ever had. Trees and power lines were down and Rt. 101, which is the only road in and out of town, was closed in some areas.  In the Midwest people travel with shovels and kitty litter in their trunks for the snow; here in the Pacific Northwest they travel with chain saws!  They don't let a little thing like a tree in the middle of the road stop them from their travels.

Bottom of tree that fell during the storm on the trail behind the Museum
We did take one more trip up in the mountains to Hurricane Ridge.  This is one of the prettiest places we've seen, it really does remind me of "The Sound of Music" and this time, as we were hiking, we heard someone playing on their trumpet, "The Hills are Alive......"  It was the strangest thing and we never did see the trumpet player. 
with songs they have sung for a thousand years.....

You would think that the night sky in Forks would be really dark and you'd be able to see meteor showers pretty easily - you'd be wrong (at least by the museum). The parking lot and buildings all have lights so we drove up the hill behind us to watch the "shower", this is a photo of the only meteor we saw.

The only park we hadn't visited was Queets so we took a drive south down 101 and did a little hiking there.  The road was washed out so we only hiked about a mile in and then had to turn back.  At least we can say we were there.

 I have to climb over all these logs?  Seriously??
Queets River - Still very low water
When we originally signed up to work here we were only going to stay thru Labor Day.  However, this is the 10 year anniversary of the first "Twilight" book by Stephenie Meyer and there was quite a celebration planned - so we stayed.  Forks is a town of 3100 people but this past weekend there were over 1000 visitors!  Stephenie Meyer was here on Saturday afternoon signing books and posing for pictures.  There were activities and tours scheduled from Friday thru Sunday.  It was crazy busy but everybody had a good time.  People came from all over the world including Australia and South Africa!  We worked at the Museum all weekend and weren't affected too much although on Sunday there was a scavenger hunt and we were part of that.  On Saturday morning there were about 300 people in our parking lot for a group shot in front of the "Welcome to Forks" sign.  Marty and Joe were up early to direct traffic and park cars. 
Lissy (Visitor Center Director & Twilight Coordinator) and Joe (our favorite "voluntold")
Well, that's it from Forks, Washington.  We are leaving tomorrow morning and heading back to the Midwest (for some October baseball??).  This has been an incredible summer and, as someone famous once said, "I shall return". We were so lucky to find this workkamping job and can't wait to come back next year.