Thursday, June 19, 2008

Third Week

Oh my goodness, according to the calendar we've been on the road for 3 full weeks, Cle Elem to Lake Chelan, to Alta Lake, to Winthrop, to Omak, to Wenatchee, to Ephrada and now we're in Moses Lake.
Central Washington is so different from home as it's worse than desert, deserts have interesting flora - cacti, etc. but here, the canvas is blank, nothing but shrubs grow no higher than your knees. Rock also grow here, well actually most of them were brought here from Montana.
The theory is, and stop me if you have heard this, during the ice age, a great ice damn formed in Montana and water backed up behind it. It had to be at least a ga-zillion gallons because when the dam broke, the water, in great torrents made it all the way to Washington and brought with it rocks, some the size of greyhound buses. (Wouldn't that have been a sight to see).
Okay so no one would bother to live in this desert and except for a few, they don't, but that same flood cut some great lakes and rivers into the landscape, the Columbia being the most well-known. Along those rives and lakes our apples and wine grapes, and fruit and veggies from asparagus to zucchini grow and well farms needed towns and towns turned to cities, etc. Moses Lake is the color of turquoise and Soap Lake is a popular mineral spa.
Birding is awesome especially for migratory birds that take advantage of the occasional wetlands, water and menu of bugs and grasses.
Ephrada, has a fun museum. Roy and I spent hours exploring. They built or restored about 2 dozen buildings and filled each with turn of the century furniture, etc. They have a bank, a Church, a blacksmith, a dentist, a doctor, a barber. There is a general store, a saloon, a school. The kids would love it, but Grandma might have to explain the dunce in the corner and the inkwell holes in the desk.
Our next stop is Potholes State Park, another flood leftover, I think

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Winthrop WA

Will an assay furnace heat a house?
What turns a Pelton wheel?
How many can sit in a Model T?
Does laughing dew make you laugh?
Is a hell box dangerous?
Can you make ciden with a Babcock press?

Some time ago, (and I am just guessing about this) some city fathers sat around looking at their dying town and decided one way to save it was to turn it into a tourist trap: Winthrop Washington, An Old West Town".
Downtown Wintrop is about 3 blocks long, buildings have been restored or rebuilt to look 'western'. Interesting enough, the bank is still operating and family owned. That building is restored and still operational , but the rest of the building sell tourist stuff or antiques or a mixture of both. The most favorite spot was the ice cream parlor...
But Winthrop has a fine museum, one you could really get into if museums are your bag. Buildings, old cabins and even the Winthrop Castle was moved to this block. Machinery, rusting stuff with motors, antique sleds, sleighs,wagons, etc.
Its a great place to visit and find the answers to the above questions.
My answers are: I don't know, I don't know, four I think, I don't know, I don't know and probably not.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Dutch Oven Cooking

Okay, so its not as easy as it sounded.

You know I purchased this cool 12" Dutch Oven. We'll got home, opened the box and read all about cooking in one. OMG, I had to go back to the store, you can't just have a dutch oven, you also need all the accouterments that goes along with it... a lid lifter ($12.) a chimney to start the coals in, ($13), 16 inch tongs to move the coals around with and the should haves, a table to cook on with a metal surface. These meals are going to cost a fortune.

Well, you know they say that when your cooking for other folks, you should never try out either a new recipe or a new way to cook, i.e. in a Dutch Oven.(that last part is my new rule) But I did it anyway because this is a 12" cooking pot and anything I make it in will be more than either Roy or I could eat. So my first attempt was a Baked Corn Casserole. (No 2big, it wasn't low carb, LOL) The recipe was easy, two cans of corn, drained - 2 cans of cream of corn. 2 packages of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, 2 sticks of butter and 16 oz of sour cream. Mix together - bake for 1 hour using 17 hot coals on top and 8 on the bottom.
Well the smell was delicious, but after an hour, it wasn't close to being done, and dinner was ready. I'm not sure to this date what I did wrong. Let me tell you, I tasted it and it was good but finished cooking it on the stove.
So my second try.. a cobbler.. Same problem, followed the directions, number of coals top, and bottom and after any hour it still wasn't done. This time I started early so kept cooking it.
I think that the coal number is my problem as the wind was blowing and it was cold out, so maybe the oven just didn't get hot enough. Believe it or not there is a Dutch Oven Forum and I am going to go to the experts and see what they say.
According to the directions, you can bake anything in the Dutch Oven as long as you know how to regulate the temp. I have some great low carb casseroles and they are going to be my next project.

Lake Chelan WA

Lake Chelan has the clearest, bluest water I’ve ever seen. No that’s not true, Ash Meadows near Death Valley had the bluest, but Lake Chelan comes in a close second. In Salish, the local Native American language, Chelan means lake and blue water so I guess nothing has changed much.
We arrived at the park after a leisurely trip from Cle Elem. After fitting the RV into a tight spot we walked around to explore our new home for the next few days. Lake Chelan State Park has close to 150 camping sites. The utility sites where we parked is pretty much like a back in parking lot, but tent sites are scattered about in the woods, on the beach and even some on the expansive lawns.
Saw my first marmot. It’s a member of the rabbit family but they don’t look like it. These little guys had very little fear of people, Roy about 3 feet from one of them before it moved off.
The park added to my bird list. Ducks, robins, black birds and a new symphony of chirps, songs and calls.
After a night of rolling off the bed, Roy and I came to the conclusion the rig wasn’t level so after breakfast we went out to re-level, we saw that we had a low tire. Dollar signs go off. The park doesn’t have air, but we can’t find the valve stem so we drove, slowly, to town and found a Les Schwab. We are all prepared to purchase 6 new tires but the manager checked them and told me not to worry about it, added some air and charged up the cost of new wipers which we also needed.
Since we were in town, and Wal-Mart was over the hill, we stopped and spent some money there. Roy bought another level and I bought some DVDs. (They were cheap ones and now that I have seen them I know why….. pretty terrible)
Wednesday woke to overcast skies and the news that Obama had gotten the votes. I guess that I was hoping for a miracle for Hillary, and I really resent Obama for having an ego big enough to think that he is “president worthy”. Oh well, again like all of my life, I will vote for the lesser of two evils, but I wish that just once I could vote for someone I really thought would make a good president. I believe that another miracle will be needed to put Obama in as President. Middle America is still prejudice and that’s just the way it is. Actually, I wanted Richardson for President and still feel that he would have been the best choice. Obama talks a good talk, but being able to make pretty speeches doesn’t make him a good choice for President.
So now were heading to Alta Lake State Park, north of here. Looking forward to a new vista.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Critters and things

So far, our trip has had some great wildlife adventure. Alta Lake State Park had a sign posted that there had been some cougar siting and what to do if you saw on. My answer "run like hell" was wrong of course, but it didn't matter, the largest mammal that I saw was a gray squirrel.

But we did have some encounters...

I was sitting in the bedroom of the RV on the bed and suddenly movement caught my eye. A tiny chipmunk was in the hallway checking me out. I squealed, he (she) squeaked, I ran, he ran and I could only hope that he ran out the way he got in cause I wasn't particularly interested in having a chipmunk for a travel companion. That happened at Teanaway

Roy and I were hiking around Lake Chelan and I saw this animal on the rocks near the beach. It was about the size of a house cat, but looked like a gopher except he (she) had a bottle brush looking tail. Didn't have a clue what this was, and neither did Roy. We walked right up to him (her) and he scampered away when we got about 3 foot from him. Obviously, not afraid of humans. Turned out they are marmots and after I saw the one, we kept seeing them all over the rocks. Even got some pictures.

Alta Lake wildlife gave us a chuckle. We parked and went out exploring the park and returned in about 2 hours. Darn if two little birds hadn't decided to use our refrigerator vent for their home. Roy had to chase them off, clean out the mess of twigs and then cover the vent with paper so they wouldn't return. They were not happy at all as they kept trying to return to the vent...

Roy saw some whitetail deer in Winthrop, WA but so far we haven't had any further encounters.

Teanaway campground

Teanaway always makes me smile as its so far removed from most camps, the adjective primitive might come close to describing it, but even that sounds luxurious. The road in and through the camp hasn't been graded since..well ever. Your vehicle, even at a slow crawl feels like your on the ocean in a wild storm and anything that wasn't battened down is now on the floor.
Campsites are where folks made them. Fire pits are a collection of local rock, added to every year at the good sites, neglected at the not so good. You pull in to take advantage of 'flat" or 'scenic' or 'sunny' or 'shady' depending on ones needs and rig. There are pit toilets but they are usually avoided by RVers and tenters alike..
Tall towering long needle pines (ponderosa?) fill the landscape with not only their majestic size but also with a fresh clean smell in the air. Pine cones litter the dirt and scrubby brush gives each site some privacy.
Wildlife, mostly in the form of birds is abundant. The morning sound like a symphony of chirps, and calls, tweets and peeps. And in the background, the river adds its sounds as it rushes down to join its mates.
We parked, levelled and first rule of thumb is to gather firewood. As the others arrive, meet and greet.
Roy and I hiked along the river and first Roy found a jack knife and then I saw a machete in the water. We retrieved it and while not rusty, it was pretty dull. I wish that I had remembered to buy Roy a gold pan as the river sands looked promising.

Made my first meal in a dutch oven, and that is a whole new chapter.