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October, November and December 2017

Coast to Coast

We left Forks, Washington on Monday, September 25th and after a long stop in the Midwest we made it to our current site in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on Wednesday, December 13th.  We traveled through Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin before finally reaching Illinois on Monday, October 9th.  We left Illinois on Sunday, November 27th and made our way to South Carolina.  It's been a very busy three months!
Pacific Ocean - LaPush, Washington 

Atlantic Ocean - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (December)

We spent our first night on the road in Ellensburg, WA at the same park we stayed at last year - Yakima River Park.  We got one night at 1/2 price with our Passport America membership so we only spent 17.50 for the night.  We had dinner at Fire and Smoke  Barbeque which was as good as any we had in Texas and then went for some ice cream at Winegar's which was recommended to us by friends we met last winter in Mesa - thanks Rick and Beth!  If you are ever in Ellensburg, Washington you have to stop for ice cream here, it was delicious!


 From Ellensburg we drove to Couer d'Alene, Idaho (9/26 & 9/27).   We've driven through this area the past two years but have never had a chance to stop.  The city is on Lake Couer d'Alene which is a 30 mile long beautiful lake.  We were there when the weather was sunny and in the 70's, you can't beat that.  Our campground, Tamarack RV Park, was in the middle of a neighborhood and the sites were tight but the location was very convenient.  Once we were set up we drove downtown to the Visitor's Center, picked up some information and then walked next door to the Museum of North Idaho.  It was a nice museum, with interesting information on the history of the area and they had a very large gift shop with some fun souvenirs.

On Wednesday (9/27) we took a day trip to Lake Pend Oreille.  During World War II, the south end of this lake was the second largest naval ground in the world.  The lake is still used by the Navy's Acoustic Research Department to test large-scale submarine prototypes.  The training station is now Farragut State Park and includes a museum detailing the history of the submarine training.  Unfortunately for us it's only open from Memorial day through Labor Day.  We thought it was pretty interesting that there was submarine training in Idaho during World War II and really were looking forward to learning more.  This part of Idaho is beautiful and well worth another visit. 
From Idaho we continued traveling east and made it to Essex, Montana which is at the southern end of Glacier National Park.  We arrived on Thursday (9/28) and could only stay 2 nights because they were closing for the season on Saturday.  We knew taking the northern route back to the midwest was going to be iffy; the weather was fine (so far) but finding parks in October is proving to be a little challenging.  We spent Friday exploring Glacier NP, mostly in the car but we did take a hike to a waterfall.  The "Going to the Sun" road was only open to Logan's Pass so that's as far as we went.

Jackson Glacier

In 1850 there were approximately 150 glaciers in the park.  Scientists have predicted that by 2030 many(if not all) of the glaciers will be gone. 

St. Mary's Waterfall
St. Mary's Waterfall

As far as we could go, the road was closed past this point
Burnt trees in Glacier N.P.
East Glacier Park

On Saturday morning we traveled Highway 2 east to the tiny town of Glasgow, Montana.  We stayed one night at the Shady Rest Campground; the temperatures were dropping and snow was in the forecast so it was time to get out of Montana.

We stayed at our first State Park in a long time on Sunday (10/1) - The Little Missouri State Park near Kildeer, Norh Dakota.  Once we turned off the highway, it was quite a drive, the 3 mile road into the park was dirt and it was raining - not a good combination!  Our rig was covered in mud - YUK.  Once we were set-up, Marty hosed it off (in the cold rain).  We were the only ones staying at the park and our big window looked out over the ND Badlands, pretty nice.


The reason we chose to stay at this park was because it's near Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  We visited TR National Park back in 2008 and really liked it so we decided to spend a full day sightseeing here.  On Monday we visited both the North Unit and the South Unit - lots of driving but it was a beautiful day and we saw lots of bison and prairie dogs and the colors were pretty nice too.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Badlands Overlook

Theodore Roosevelt NP Wind Canyon Trail
We were back on the road Tuesday morning (10/3) and got on I-94 to make some time.  We needed to be in Chicago by October 9th because I had tickets for the Cubs on October 10th.  We drove about 325 miles and stayed at a Wal-Mart in Fargo, North Dakota on Tuesday night and then drove all the way across Minnesota and into Wisconsin on Wednesday (10/4) where we found a US Army of Corps of Engineers Park (Eau Galle Dam and Reservoir) in Spring Valley.  We really like COE parks, they're always near water and usually very scenic and this was no exception.  Next year, when we're 62, we'll even get to stay in them for 1/2 price!


Kinsley with Great Aunt Mary
Our next stop was only 200 miles away in LaCrosse, Wisconsin  Our niece, Elizabeth, is a sophomore at University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and we like visiting her.  We found a nice county park (Veterans Memorial) last year and decided to stay there again - four nights this time (10/5 - 10/8).  We had a nice dinner with Liz on Friday and then went back to see her on Sunday where we got to meet her boyfriend, Alec, and also see our great-niece Kinsley.

Kinsley and Aunt Elizabeth



We arrived in Illinois on Monday, October 9th.  We pulled into General RV to have solar panels installed on our rig.  We need them because we are going to spend the summer of 2018 in Maine volunteering at a Logging Museum and there is no electricity there.  They do have generators available but we want to supplement with solar.  We stayed in the rig the first night and then packed up our stuff and headed over to Judy and Don's for the week. We sure are lucky to have family that lets us stay at their home when we need.  Best of all, there is now a queen size bed (rather than the double we used to sleep on).  They sure make it nice for us!

We always enjoy being back in Chicago in October.  I usually get to at least one Cubs Game and Marty likes to visit his musician friends at Beatles Camp which is held the second weekend of October.  We catch up with lots of family and friends and it's so nice to see everyone. 

All five sisters, one sister-in-law and brother Joe 

All five sisters and brother Tom
Holding my newest great-niece, Grace Catherine with her very proud big sister, Sarah, standing guard

Leaving Palatine, IL on 11/10 and heading NORTH to Illinois Beach SP
We stayed at three different campgrounds in Illinois.  The first one, Paul Woolf, closed on 10/31.  The second one, Camp Reinberg in Palatine only allows stays of 10 days.  Our third one, Illinois Beach State Park stays open until 12/31 and that's where we were until 11/27.  If you are wondering why we stayed in Illinois so long (and it did get pretty cold), it was because I took a week-long side trip to Paris with my sister Sue and niece Sarah!  I got back on 11/25 and we were on the road again on Sunday 11/27.  I had a wonderful time in Paris and Marty got to spend Thanksgiving with his sister and some of her grandchildren so everyone was happy.
Thanksgiving - Marty, Hope, Emily, Chris, and Amie

Here are a few pictures of my European Vacation (if you want to see more they're on Facebook):

Along one of the many canals in Amsterdam
Eiffel Tower

Dutch Door in Amsterdam

Belgian Waffles in Brussels

When we got back to Chicago I got to meet my newest great-nephew (not so new anymore, he's 9 months old in this picture)
Katie and Ethan
Oh, No!
We had a slight incident with our rig going into Illinois Beach SP.  There are two units at this park, the south unit is where the campground is located.  Unfortunately, the GPS had us go into the north unit and we hit some very low branches which destroyed the A/C cover on our roof.  It's never a good feeling to see pieces from your rig on the road.  Luckily there was no damage to our air conditioner and our brand new (and very expensive) solar panels.  We found a RV dealer nearby, ordered a new cover and Marty installed it. 

We left Zion (Illinois Beach SP) on Sunday, 11/26.  It was the end of the Thanksgiving weekend so traffic was pretty heavy and we only made it as far as the north side of Indianapolis.  We stayed overnight at Wal-Mart and got an early start on Monday.  I was not feeling well and was very happy to arrive at our next destination of Heiskell, TN (near Knoxville).  Marty ended up with the same bug that I had so we planned on a week here before continuing east to South Carolina. 

Sad times, but comforting to be with family and friends
On Saturday (12/3), we received the sad news that Marty's nephew had passed away.  He was 44 years old so it was quite a shock to everyone.  We made arrangements to leave our rig at the park we were in and headed back to Chicago.  It was a nine hour drive and much easier without the rig.  We stayed up there for a week (thanks again Judy and Don) before making our way back to Tennessee on Sunday, 12/10. 

 We decided to have a do-nothing Monday so we left Tennessee on Tuesday and arrived in our current location of North Myrtle Beach on Wednesday (12/13).  We will be here until January 13th and then it's further south for us. 

We have no definite plans (or reservations) but I just learned that the Cubs are opening their season in Miami this year so guess where we'll be on March 29th?

Summer of 2017 - Forks, Washington

Our home for the next 4 months
We had a very busy start to our summer at the Forks Timber Museum.  We arrived on April 26th and had to park in the parking lot because the path to our usual spot was a muddy mess.  A few days and lots of gravel later we were all set up behind the Museum.  We started work on May 1st and immediately began helping with preparations for an open house on May 31st.  A new exhibit (Tavern) was built by Joe and Tom.   Marty and I helped with updating photos and adding descriptions to exhibits in other areas.  Marty even made "fake" bacon for the the cookhouse, pioneer area and look-out tower. May was a drizzly month and we couldn't do much outside so working in the museum kept us busy.
Joe, hard at work building our new tavern exhibit

This tavern is a representation of Art's Place from back in the "hey-day" of Forks' logging industry

Breakfast, anyone?
Marty did an amazing job updating and restoring old photos to add to exhibits.  The previous "wall-page" exhibit had photocopies of photos with very little description. We spent lots of time going through the museum photos along with a few trips to the Port Angeles Library photo archives.

This page depicts the openings of Hwy 101 near Forks in 1931
The pages are now updated with photo prints and descriptions along with some pertinent, interesting artifacts.

While Marty spent most of his time working on photo restoration, I was busy entering more information into our database.  All cards for all objects, photos, and documents are now entered - all 10,000+/- of them!!  It was a very busy summer.

 We used one of our days off to hike on the Elk Creek Trail in Forks.  This is our third summer here and it's the first time we heard of this trail - thanks Merry Parker for the info.  It's about two miles total, just right for a quick hike.

Look Ma, no hands (or railing)

Some of us are not so brave

are they nuts?

Linda and I spent a morning at her "happy place", Clallam Bay.  She looked for agates and beach glass and I looked for a good place to relax and enjoy the sun.



Hiking the Hoh
Our work days were Saturday, Sunday, Monday and sometimes Tuesday.  We took advantage of our days off to do some exploring.  One day we took a drive out to the Hoh Rain Forest and hiked the Hoh River Trail.  It's a 26 mile trail, we did part of it, a 6 mile round trip hike out to Mineral Creek Falls. 

On our way back to Forks we stopped at Peak 6 which is a store owned by the Peterson family.  Minnie Peterson was an early pioneer of the area, she had her own business guiding folks thru the wilds of the Olympic Rain Forest.  She was a remarkable woman, we have a small exhibit on her in the museum. 

Mineral Creek Waterfall

Later during June we gave Linda a ride into Seattle so she could catch a plane.  Her flight was early in the morning so we left the day before and and stayed overnight to do a little sightseeing.  We had a confirmed reservation at Motel 6 but that didn't work out - no "clean" rooms?!?   The very indifferent customer service clerk was unbelievable.  We offered to clean a room but "that's not allowed".  I asked to speak to her manager "they're not available".  I asked what she would do if there was no manager available and she had an emergency "I'd call 911".  Motel 6 is the only hotel in the area that accepts pets so things didn't look good.  Luckily there was another Motel 6 close by and for "only $20.00 more" we had a room - phewww!   I wrote a review on yelp and trip advisor and received a reply to call their customer service department to resolve this issue.  I did that and they promised to get back to me - I'm still waiting.  You can turn the lights off, we won't stay at Motel 6 again.
A deck of cards w/survival tips

We spent the next day driving around Seattle (so much traffic!).  We visited the Klondike Gold Rush Museum which is part of the NPS so I was able to get another passport stamp - YAY!  The museum was very informative and had an awesome gift shop.  I even bought my brother and niece a present for their July backpacking trip to Glacier N.P.

Traffic in Seattle was crazy so we headed back to Forks in the early afternoon.   We're sticking to the Forks area for the rest of the summer, too much traffic in the "big city". 

Back on the Olympic Peninsula we took another day trip, this time to Lake Quinault which is about 1 1/2 hours south of Forks.  This is probably my favorite part of the Olympic National Park, it's just a little too far to go regularly.  We drove the road around the lake, some of it paved and some not so paved.  We did a little hiking out to a homestead on the north side and also saw a few waterfalls on the south side.  We also took a short trail to see the world's oldest Sitka Spruce - a measly 1000 years old!

Another "infrared" photo

Hiking the Maple Glade Trail
1000 year old Sitka Spruce tree

Another "happy place"
As we headed back north to Forks we made a quick stop at Kalaloch Beach. 

Time to head back to the car



We were in the Forks Fourth of July Parade!  The Forks Visitor Center Director, Lissy, didn't want to drive their van in the parade so she asked Marty to do it.  I asked if I could wave my 2016 Cubs World Series Flag out the window - she said sure!  It was fun and I did get some cheers (and a lot of puzzled looks).  The Forks Timber Museum was well represented in the parade; Linda and her "Red Hat" ladies rode in their very decorated truck, Joe and his son-in-law walked next to the "lumber carrier' which our board president, Tom, drove.  The lumber carrier even won a first place ribbon!

Go Cubs!!!

Red Hat Ladies

Tom and the award winning Lumber Carrier
Craig and Joe walked behind the Lumber Carrier

After the parade we had a picnic with Joe and Linda and their family back on the museum grounds.  Fried chicken, potato salad, and lemon cake - yum!
Not Portillo's but it will do until we get back to Chicago
Here are some sights from our day trip to the Elwha River on July 11th

Madison Falls
Elwha River
Infrared Photo of Elwha River

During July, we also visited LaPush (about 20 minutes west of Forks) for "Quilleute Days" celebrating the local Native American tribe.
Canoe races

1st Beach
Are you my llama?

I love the Pacific Ocean!


This is a mural painted on a building near the dock in Port Angeles - doesn't it look real?

We had many visitors in the museum this summer who told us they had seen whales at Kalaloch Beach or along Hwy. 101.  It was driving me crazy because I've never seen one in our three summers here.  Marty and I drove to Kalaloch to look (actually he just wanted to take a picture of the "Tree of Life").  No whales that night but after another visitor said they saw them we tried again and found them!! 
Whale watching along the coast

Hard to get a good photo - but it's a whale!!

The "Tree of Life", this tree is amazing, hanging on by its roots.

We have a new trail up the hill behind the museum.  It's about a 5 mile loop although we walked 2.6 miles without finding the "loop",  we just ended up turning back.  It starts in a clear-cut area and then climbs up to second growth and then into an old growth forest - very primordial. 

The most exciting event in August was the Eclipse.  We had 94% totality which was cool but next time (2024) we will be somewhere with 100%!  We waited until the last minute to get eclipse glasses and, of course, they were all gone.  Luckily, we have very nice people visiting the museum and a couple from Seattle gave us a pair. 

Amazing Photo

Amazing Photographer!

Marty made a pin-point hole in the roof of the log house

When the moon hit your eye like a big pizza pie........

Crescents through the trees
This very nice Badger fan gave Marty some welders glasses
Cool glasses and shirt


Sunset at the Northwest most point in the United States

Hiking to Cape Flattery

We stayed busy in September finishing up projects, doing a little more sightseeing and getting ready to head back to the Midwest.  We were originally only going to spend three months in Forks but the workcampers who were scheduled to relieve us had some health issues so we agreed to stay until 9/25.  This is the latest we've stayed but the weather looks good going east and we're planning to take Highway 2 and stop in Glacier National Park on our way home.  Our fingers are crossed that the forecast stays fair. 

Goodbye Joe and Linda - We Miss You Already!!

We left Forks on Monday, September 25th and expect to be back in the Chicago area for some October baseball on October 10th.  It was especially hard to leave Forks this year because we're not coming back until spring of 2019!  Next summer will be a new adventure for us - a logging museum in Maine.