Monthly Archives: August 2014

Cave B and Terrace Camping at The Gorge

Thursday we drove from Blackwell Island in Coeur d’Alene to George/Quincy Washington to The Gorge Amphitheater. Nine months earlier we had purchased tickets to see Arcade Fire at The Gorge. We’d never been to the Gorge before but heard they had a new camping area where we could bring our R-Pod so we booked the Terrace Campground.

We were among the first to arrive in the late afternoon. We set up our camp and relaxed to vistas and sunset across Columbia River.




The next morning we were treated to hot coffee, fresh doughnuts, super clean toilets and hot showers with no lines. Terrace Camping is great!

We headed over to Cave B Winery for a wine tasting and ended up joining their wine club. I definitely look forward to receiving some shipments from them in the Fall. We enjoyed all their wines but bought a few bottles of Rosé, Caveman Red, and a nice bottle of Syrah we’ll save for a special occasion or an adequate excuse to open.







After tasting we walked over to Cave B Inn at Sagecliffe to have lunch at Tendrils. The views from the outdoor terrace were stunning, matched by the food and wine.





We returned to our campsite in the early afternoon and listened to Arcade Fire sound check as we awaited the start of the show. “Here Comes the Night Time“…

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Golf Cart Adventure

The girls had been in a funk all day. The swimming was fine. The brewery was fun. But ultimately, all the girls really wanted to do was…”When can we take out Karl’s golf cart?” “Is it charging?” “Are we going to be able to take out the cart tonight?” “When are we going back to Karl’s so we can take out the cart?”.

After all the fun and anticipation of the day we headed back to Karl’s for a the late evening sunset. While I made dinner, Karl instructed the girls in how to drive the cart.




Karl turned them loose on 400+ acres of adventure…





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H.A. Brewing Company

One of the reasons we went to visit Karl in Eureka is to see the brewery he started with his friends and partners Chris, Andy, and a few other investors. Chris had developed several personal recipes so good his friends encouraged him to ramp up production and start a brewery. There is no other independent brewery in area so it seemed like a good investment. Thus, Homestead Ales – known as H.A.) – was born.


We left Dickey Lake and headed to Grave Creek Road and traveled a beautiful pastoral road back in time to the homestead where the brewery was located.








When we arrived the brewery was closed. It was Tuesday and they are only open Wednesday – Sunday. Chris had just finished brewing a batch and joined us for some test tasting. The beer didn’t disappoint and bested all my expectations. Each one consistently more delicious than the previous. The girls (excited to sit at the bar) got to taste Eli’s Homemade Ginger Ale (Chris’s Son’s recipe (I think he’s 10)) as well.







Karl ensured we were outfitted with ample swag (growlers, carriers, shirts, hats, and stickers!). I certainly felt a calling to evangelize HA to the civilized world.



After tasting we headed out to the beer garden with full pints of our favorite picks to enjoy the evening sun. The girls played with the dogs. Andy showed up and joined us. It couldn’t have been a better time with old friends, and new, accompanied by a very fine brew.






Clara may have a new role as the promo girl for H.A. Brewing.


The girls tuckered Edgar (the dog) out

Things started to get a little silly…





We love H.A. Brewing…


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A Dip in Dickey Lake

Karl had some errands to run in the morning so we made a leisurely morning of it. Breakfast. Showers. Walks on the property. Watching wild turkeys and deer cut across his fields.










When Karl returned we loaded up and headed to Dickey Lake 17 miles from Eureka. It was a hot day and we settled ourselves onto a small patch of downtrodden grass nestled between the larch and fir trees. The lake features a spectacular turquoise color from spring fed glacial till of nearby Glacier National Park. We swam and floated in the cool water. I relaxed by casting for trout, unsuccessfully but satisfyingly all the same.





After our swim we packed up to head for afternoon beers at Karl’s new brewry: H.A. Brewing Company.

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A Midsummer’s Montana Eve

Before Karl arrived we sent the girls out to pick wildflower on his property and put together a bouquet for him.


When Karl finally arrived we greeted him with flowers, food and drink. Then we flopped ourselves in his outdoor living room enjoying the evening sun. The girls threw an endlessly repeating stick for Raven, much to her delight, and wandered the fields under the setting sun of Montana’s Big Sky. As night fell we lit a fire in the belly of an old washing machine’s inner tub, roasting mashmellows, making s’mores, and trading stories into the night.










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Karl’s Cabin

We wandered Karl’s property as we waited for him to arrive from Colorado. We instantly made ourselves at home because the house is so familiar yet we’d never been there. Karl is such an archetypical friend…ancient…pure…perennial pal…

Its hard to describe Karl’s shabby chic eclecticism. Its one part man-of-the-world Nepalese-Soul-Searcher and equal parts Montana Mountain Man. I just wandered his house with my camera…



























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Kootenai Falls, Drive to Eureka

Monday we took our time leaving Athol (Silverwood) and driving to Eureka. Karl was driving from Colorado and wouldn’t be there until late in the evening. He suggested to us a scenic route to follow. It didn’t disappoint.

Karl had talked up how bad the water at his house was and that he “doesn’t drink the water at his house”. We assumed he was on well water so we filled our tanks in Athol (apparently somebody with a bad lisp had named the town) and then quickly realized our tank was already full. When we had the Orca Pod serviced recently they must have filled the water tanks. So we had unwittingly hauled hundreds of extra pounds over the mountain passes. It certainly explained our poor gas milege.

We provisioned in Sandpoint Idaho where the same bad storm we had seen in Coeur d’Alene had knocked out power for several hours so perishables were in limited supply.

We took highway 200 from Sandpoint around Lake Pend Oreille to Highway 56 heading North towards the Kootenai river. It was a spectacular and beautiful drive. Highly recommended for anybody in the area.

We hooked up with Highway 2 from 56 and quickly came upon the Kootenai Falls, which Karl suggested as a good hike and scenic sidetrip to break up the drive. Karl, great suggestion.

We made some sandwiches and then went on a hike to the falls and to the swinging bridge. 20140806-213450-77690955.jpg

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From Kootenai Falls we drove in Libby, MT (asbestos capital of the world, complete with asbestos public service announcements on the local radio: “If you lived in Lincoln County for more than 6 months over ten years ago then you may qualify for special compensation…”.

From Libby we encountered a huge construction delay that may have added an extra hour to our trip. A road resurfacing project required a pilot car to drive a 25 MPH pace across a 10 mile stretch of gravel road on Highway 37 from Libby to Eureka.


Our car and trailer was chipped from the gravel and splattered in tar from the roadwork when we finally arrived in Eureka, MT. Karl wasn’t there yet, but his friend and business partner Andy showed up a few minutes after our arrival to open the house for us and introduced us to his dog Raven.
It had been 20 years since I had been to Eureka and to my delight it hadn’t changed much. We wandered around Karl’s home and made ourselves in it. We were also introduced to his two pigs, Tasty and Delicious and a biblical plague of crickets.






Karl showed around sunset, just as dinner was being served. We ate, drank, and made smore’s around the campfire into the wee hours of the morning. We asked about his water, assuming it was well water. “You said you don’t drink it. is it safe?” I asked. “What? I’m on city water. You can totally drink it. Its totally safe. I just don’t drink it because I get jugs of artisan well water from my brewery and after you’ve had my artisan well water you won’t want to drink tap water anymore.”.

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Silverwood Theme Park

Silverwood is the largest theme and water park in the Northwest. It has 65 rides including 4 giant rollercoasters. It also has Boulder Beach, a water park with several water slides, wave pool, and a lazy river.

We started our day in the theme park on the Log Ride which was a little disappointing. But afterwards the girls quickly found the Panic Plunge and Sky Diver which quickly made up for it.





We grabbed some possibly the greasiest fried pickles imaginable and headed for the big coasters. First hitting Timber Terror, a big wooden coaster. You climb 85 feet into the air and drop into twists and turns and then enter a crushing hairpin turn at 55 MPH!



That was just a warm up. We headed for the next big wooden coaster – Tremors! This is one of the top rated wood coasters in the country. You climb 100 feet and then drop 103 feet into a tunnel that goes through the Tremors Gift Shop. You go through a total of four underground tunnels at a top speed of 63 MPH. Super Fun!



We tried to get on Thunder Canyon but the line was too long. It was in the upper 90s so we decided to head to the water park and cool off. But not until we stopped and took the short but fast roller coaster called Corkskrew.

Boulder Beach was a great relief from the heat of the day. The wave pool had good sized waves and was a quick way to cool off.


Only a few minutes into the Elkhorn Creek lazy river we were pleased to discover you could get a drink at the swim up bar and drink it in the cool waters while you floated down the lazy river. Better yet, they had Manny’s! A Darn Fine Beer.



Then we hit some slides to finish up our day; Rumble Falls, Velocity Peak, and Ricohet Rapids were a few of the highlights.



We returned to our camp site for quick showers, laundry, and dinner. But I wasn’t done. With the family exhausted I headed back into the park to hit a few of the extreme rides the ladies didn’t want to do earlier in the day.

First up: Aftershock! This coaster was voted best hanging coaster by the Travel Channel in 2012. A big metal monster that dominates the skyline at 191 feet! The “aftershock” is you get to do this ride twice. The first time forward and then the whole ride repeats in reverse! Upon getting off the ride I thought to myself, “What kind of diabolical mind would conjure up such a torture device?” It was truly a thrill ride.


But that was before I went on the SpinCycle. Truly a sick mind created this 104 foot tall cylindrical-shaped torture device. It seats 24 people at a time facing outward in a circle that spins. Then it starts to sway back and forth like a pendulum, gaining velocity until it begins to flip all the way over, suspending you upside-down for what seems like an eternity. Although I nearly lost my dinner it was perhaps the most thrilling ride I’ve ever been on. I’d have done it again if the park hadn’t closed. Good enough that I may be back.


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Summer Roadtrip Day 2

We awoke early in Moses Lake as the hot summer sun hit the R-Pod and started heating us like buns in an oven.

We headed towards Spokane to find a Triple D (Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives) we had read about: Picabu Bistro. It was located in a residential neighborhood of South Spokane, but in a large parking lot for a local grocery store, so parking the trailer wasn’t a problem.



I had the VERY spicy Cactus Burger with a side of their chili. Tawny had the Chicken Gyro, Morgayne the Chicken Curry, and Clara the BLAT. All was good and this was a gem of an off-beat find. Recommended if you are heading through Spokane and in need of sustanance.

We continued on to Cabelas in Post Falls Idaho to pick up a generator we had put on layaway.





None of us, save myself, had ever been in a Cabelas before. I warned Tawny and the girls. “There’ll be dead animals. Prepare yourself”. While Tawny stuck out like a bleeding heart it didn’t seem to phase the girls who asked for quarters so they could go to the shooting gallery.

Tawny and I walked around display of the dead to find a bobcat. Earlier in the day, at Moses Lake, Tawny and Morgayne swore they saw a bobcat. While Clara and I saw it too it didn’t look as big to us as it appeared to them. Upon seeing the display of a bobcat at Cabelas there was no doubt that was a bobcat in our campground earlier in the day. Tawny was vindicated and the fact that this stuffed cat proved me wrong seemed to make her forget the carnage around her.



After a guilt ridden shopping trip to Walmart to gather a few necessities we needed for the trip. And then on to Blackwell Island RV Resort on the Spokane River in Coeur D’Alene. A very nice RV park right on the river and really right on Lake Coeur D’Alane.

In 97 degrees we pitched our newly purchased pop-up canopy to shade us.


Then we headed to the beach too cool ourselves in the headwaters of the Spokane River.






After the beach we were relaxing back at our camping site when a freak storm came out of nowhere, blowing our new canopy, our lawn chairs, and floatation devices across the RV park. Rain. Hail. Thunder. Lightning. High Wind. A storm intensified for a hour or so as we heard sirens in the distance and stories of less fortunate on the news.

As the evening calmed we ate gorgonzola polenta and grilled chicken under a warm but cloudy sky.

I retired to sleep feeling satisfied in thinking of the lady bug I saved from drowning in the Spokane River earlier in the day.


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Suncrest Resort – Moses Lake, WA

Left today on a weeklong trip to Montana to visit my childhood friend Karl on his survivalist compound in northwestern Montana. Curious thing…Karl actually called me today, something that rarely happens except when popping in unannounced from some free-spirited transcontinental excursion. What was curious was he called to give us direction and announce his schedule! Karl:Schedule? It doesn’t compute. I took it as a gesture of love and pining to walk memory lane with his childhood friend. Its been awhile since we’ve seen eachother. Regardless, Tawny and I were amazed. “Your ears must have been burning Karl, we were just talking about you.” And we were. “When was the last time we visited you in Montana? We were just thinking about it.” We asked. “1996” said Karl. Its been too long and the distance of time punctuated the distance of miles we must cover to see him in the flesh.

We lit out of Seattle with our r-pod in tow. Me on a conference call trying to close a contract and Tawny hushing Clara and her friend Morgayne for an hour over the pass as we headed to Eastern Washington. We watched the thermometer climb as we descended the east side – 88, 90, 93, 97 as we approached the Gorge and took a slight detour at Wild Horse Monument as we crossed the mighty Columbia.




We were just passing The Gorge Amphitheater which was the impetus for our trip. Eight months prior we had purchased tickets to see Arcade Fire at the The Gorge and decided to take our r-pod and camp at the show. Having never been at a show at the Gorge before we decided to make a summer vacation around it, heading for to Montana with stops at Silverwood Amusement Park on the way to Montana and returning to the Gorge for Arcade Fire before returning to Seattle.

We decided to take shorter trips to get us to Montana and spend more time enjoying the subculture of the American RV Park. Our first stop? Suncrest Resort in Moses Lake, WA. We selected them because for their pool, which didn’t disappoint.



We are always the smallest trailer in the park. Today was no exception. And we don’t have a stuffed animal representing our vehicle. We clearly aren’t in the know and continue to be virginal liberal roadsters.





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