And our tourism continues. For you grammarians out there, yes, I know I shouldn't start a sentence with “and” but hey, this is a blog which is somewhat like a blob only it has pictures and in my case on a very rare basis, a semblance of intelligent discourse.
Our last entry left us on the road to Regent North Dakota, the southern starting point of the 32 mile long, self proclaimed Enchanted Highway. According to Wikipedia this backroad is the home for a collection of the worlds largest scrap metal sculptures. No, not because there are a lot of sculptures, but because each one is huge! Scattered along the highway about every 4 to 6 miles these creations are quirky Americana at its best done by a guy who had never welded before nor was considered an artist when he began.
There is no theme other than the underlying one of American Gothic and 60 years ago these would have been right at home on Route 66 except for one glaring fact – no commercialization. Other than an advertisement printed on an 8 1/2 by 11 inch piece of paper posted on the information kiosk and a donations box, there is nothing but the sculptures, information about how they came about and an acknowledgement of the folks that helped make each site happen.
Another feature of each site was the size of the turn-out/parking lot. When in traveling mode we are about 56 feet in total length with a turning radius of a small country and the inability of backing up. No problem here. Each attraction was graded pretty smooth and there was tons of room to get in and turn around when we were ready to leave. It is so frustrating to see an attraction, gas station or other pleasant stop only to have to pass it by because we didn't fit.
From Regent we headed for the beach. Beach North Dakota that is. Instead of a nice visit to this border town, we ran smack dab into a Montana grassland wind storm that smacked us around like an MMA fight. At one point a side gust grabbed our slide awnings, billowing them out like a parasail. Note to self: motorhomes are really not made for parachute braking.
After pulling over to check for actual damage and a change of pants we very cautiously continued south and ran face first into Wyoming's version of a grassland wind storm that, combined with some rough roads guaranteed we’ll be visiting the dentist for loose fillings.
You know how a rainbow always makes you feel refreshed after a storm? Well, after the windstorm there wasn't a rainbow in the sky but there was an RV park on the ground. Fort Bridger RV Park in Fort Bridger was our “rainbow”. An all grass park/campground far enough from the interstate you didn't hear traffic and in the country enough to hear the cows and horses. We met a really neat couple of ladies from Virginia who were touring the western states – just friends we've had all along but hadn't met yet. We talked for hours and when we retired for the night, did so to a concert crickets. (There Annette, I said you would make it into the blog.)
I had promised Chris' sister that we would return before summer ended so they could spend some more time together than just the reunion so we headed back Riverside RV just south of Preston Idaho. While the park is tiny in comparison to most we visit; a spacious grass site with a 50 amp hookup and a view to die for is well worth the $20 a night. Look up serene in the dictionary, their picture should be there. Only downside is their spring water is at very low pressure so you have to fill up your tank and rely on the onboard pump for use.
Next stop – Joseph, Oregon. Why? Absolutely no reason whatsoever. We were on the road, had no destination, and pretty much had all month to get there. We wouldn't have known about this little gem if it were not for another camp host who mentioned it. Located east of La Grande Oregon on the shores of Wallowa Lake and named after Chief Joseph, this small town of around 1,000 people was founded on timber but when the market crashed, the only thing holding it together was agriculture and even that wasn't doing too good a job. Then, a little over 30 years ago, three bronze foundries opened up in the area giving the town a real boost. Along came some artists as and you can see their work on nearly every street corner.
Yep, tourist candy.
Wallowa Lake is the other attraction and with it comes a very popular state park. Chris and I took a drive through and were really impressed. Pretty easy to do when we had to stop every 100 feet or so for meandering deer, bunny rabbits and squirrels. We've applied for a hosting position for next year and we'll keep you updated.
Reluctantly we left Joseph and continued our way back to the Wenatchee area to pick up mail, do some light maintenance on the motorhome and get prepped for our 2 months of hosting in Coos Bay before heading south. I wish I could say it was a wonderful drive with amazing scenery and wildlife but it was not the case with the number and size of the wildfires cloaking the country in smoke. The news has been covering hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Jose and in doing seem to have overlooked the fact Montana, Washington, and Oregon have been the victims of some huge fires this year. Yes, I should also mention the Los Angeles area but they at least got some news coverage. Anyway, enough venting.
What we did was to detour ever so slightly and stayed low, along the Columbia River at a place called Crescent Bar, outside of Quincy. We were still within 40 minutes of Wenatchee but since we were out of the valley we avoided a good portion of the smoke. Besides, not much could beat the view even with a bit of haze in the air.
I've used the past week's downtime to finally wire the Jeep's lights so we can do away with the magnetic ones we’ve had for the past 3 years. Took me a couple of trips to the city for parts, some scraped up knuckles, and a stiff back but I got 'er done. Mr. Keppner, would you like to visit the hot tub? Oh yes!