An Encounter in Kentucky…

The Ark Encounter is located in Williamstown, Kentucky.  This magnificent structure is a full-size Noah’s Ark!  The dimensions for the Ark were taken from the Book of Genesis in the Bible.  The measurements were converted into today’s measurements which make the Ark 510 feet long, 51 feet high, and 85 feet wide.  Inside there is a ground level and three decks.  You are transported back in time to see how Noah and his family lived on the Ark and cared for all the animals during the Flood.  Each deck provides a glimpse of how the animals may have been caged, water and food storage, living and work quarters.  There are many exhibits that answer many questions on such topics like the Ice Age, Flood Geology and Ancient Man.  The grounds also have some exciting things for kids of all ages from camel rides to animal encounters!  Unfortunately, we had to shorten our stay here due to our RV repairs and would have liked to go to the Creation Museum about 45 minutes away, but that gives another reason to visit Kentucky again!

This has been a great place to end our final eastward stopping point for our blog.  We hope you have enjoyed following our adventures on our blog.  May it serve as guidance for your trip planning, as eyes of places you have never seen, memories of your own trips or simply to bring a smile.  God has richly blessed us with people we have met along the way, the country we live in, and the beauty that his hand created for our enjoyment and responsibility.  The next few months we will be enjoying visits with family, friends, and then returning to Florida for the winter.  Thank you for following along with us as we revealed the adventures of RV living!

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105

Continuing Eastward, well maybe…

The next couple of weeks will be filled with one, two or three night stays as we make our way eastward.  Stops in a few states we have never stayed in before so we can add them to our checklist.  We decided not to venture to the Rocky Mountain National Park area for several reasons.  One was we have grown a little weary traveling the higher elevations and at this point prefer a less stressful ride eastward while enjoying the changes in scenery.

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Nothing but snow fences and fields!

In order to get around the Rockies we veered a little northward to Laramie, Wyoming for a three night stay.  Our stops recently have consisted of doing maintenance on the RV and truck, stocking up on groceries, cooking and just getting a little better organized, kind of out of vacation mode!  One afternoon we stopped by Curt Gowdy State Park at the foothills of the Laramie Mountains.  A pretty park with a great visitor center. There are three reservoirs located within the park, Granite, Crystal, and North Crow.  The park has camping with views of the reservoirs, really nice amenities, and tons of hiking and biking trails.  Curt Gowdy was born in Green River, Wyoming and grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  He was a sportscaster and well known as the “voice” of the Boston Red Sox.  He covered many national sporting events primarily for NBC and ABC Sports in the 1960’s and 1970’s, from the World Series, Olympics, Super Bowls to the long running outdoor show “The American Sportsmen.”

Next stop Omaha, Nebraska, with a visit to Boys Town.  Father Edward Flanagan was discouraged doing his work with homeless men in Omaha NE.  He decided that he could do more to prevent the cycle if he started helping the boys he saw living on the street.  In 1917 he opened his first Home for Boys in a rented boardinghouse in downtown Omaha.

In 1921 he purchased Overlook Farm and moved his Boy’s Home, later renamed Boys Town.  It is home to the National Headquarters, family-style residential homes, High School, Vocational Center/Print Shop and much more.

Many of the buildings are open to the public including the Visitor Center, Hall of History and Fr. Flanagan Historic House.

It’s one of the largest not for profit child and family organizations in the country.  It provides services such as Boys Town In-Home Family Services where consultants work with the parents and their children in their home in order to keep the family together.  It’s a beautiful campus, well worth the visit and support!

Well our next stop was suppose to be Kentucky!  But we got a curve ball that sent us northward to MORryde in Elkhart, Indiana.  Fortunately not too far into our travel day (which was unusual to stop that early) a quick check on the wheel bearings with an infrared temperature gun revealed the same wheel bearing that gave us problems in California was reading hotter than all the others.  Then after jacking that side up we discovered the wheel hub was a little bit wobbly, not a good sign!  Bruce tightened the nut on the spindle to the 50 ft.lb. spec and that eliminated the wobble, but by spinning the tire it still was better to have the bearings checked and replaced. The day was spent sitting at the Lizton Rest Area in Indiana waiting the arrival of a mobile tech company to arrive after getting the parts we needed to replace the wheel bearing and by the way they did a great job at getting us back on the road! Brian at MORryde was great at fitting us into their schedule and making sure we had a place to hookup electric and park after arriving at midnight.  Our suspicions were confirmed that the spindle on the wheel hub needed to be replaced.  We also had Sergio (our favorite mechanic) check out why the tire on the other side had a terrible wear pattern (tires were new last year).  Our guess was it was out of alignment due to the crappy roads we have traveled, but not so, the rubber spring was tore that is attached to the wheel hub, causing the wheel hub to be slightly tilted.  Needless to say it was another good decision to divert northward to MORryde for repairs.

Our two days were still very enjoyable with visits to some our favorite places and a great car show in Middlebury, Indiana.

Again, we are thankful and blessed that the wheel bearing issue was discovered early with no damage to the RV and everyone on the road was kept safe.  Safe travels everyone and now onto Kentucky!

 

Dinosaur National Monument…

Vernal Dinosaur KOA was home base for a little dinosaur expedition.  Nice place to spend a few days exploring.

Dinosaur National Monument is known for its dinosaur fossil beds.  These fossils are from the Jurassic period 150 million years ago.  In 1909 Earl Douglass, of Pittsburgh Carnegie Museum said “the best-looking dinosaur prospect I have ever seen” was in this area.  The jumbled bones of over 500 dinosaurs representing 10 species have been discovered here.  The park straddles the Colorado-Utah border on the edge of the Unita Basin.

There are several Visitor Centers, as in other National Parks.  Quarry Visitor Center is a wealth of information, great exhibits, and an interesting video about the area.  It’s the only Visitor Center in this area where you can take a shuttle to the Quarry Exhibit Hall.  This amazing building is around this great outside wall of bones with over 1,500 fossils embedded in the rock!  There is a small part of the wall that allows you to touch the 149 million-year-old fossils!

The Visitor Center has a 24 mile round-trip Auto Guidebook for the Cub Creek Road “Tour of the Tilted Rocks.”  The first stop is “Swelter Shelter” rightly named!  It is one of oldest known sites of human occupation.  Stone tools found here are up to 7,000 years old.  Little is known about these people but are referred to as the Desert Archaic culture.  The pictographs and petroglyphs on the walls date back 1,000 years to the people of the Fremont Culture.

The landscape is unique with eroded sandstone features and plenty of petroglyphs.

Josephine Bassett Morris is somewhat of a local legend.  She settled in the area in 1914 built several cabins the last one being constructed in 1935 as seen in the picture.  On the property she raised and butchered cattle, pigs and chickens.  Canned the harvest from her vegetable garden and fruit orchards.  The only source of heat was from wood burning in the fireplace, no electric, and her water came from a spring.  It was said she did some cattle rustling twice but was never convicted and was an alleged associate of outlaw Butch Cassidy.  In 1964, while feeding her horse she slipped and fell on some ice and suffered a broken hip.  She was able to drag herself into her house where friends found her days later.  On the way to the hospital she realized she probably would never see her homestead again.  That spring she passed away at age 90.

While traveling this country, we have often thought of those pioneer families that crossed rugged terrain, endured hardships, endless work, little conveniences, and challenges few of us encounter today.  Strong, relentless, resilient people.  Again, we are humbled!

Eastward…

We have begun our trek eastward and the landscape changes every day!  First time seeing and smelling the mint fields in Caldwell, Idaho.  They were in the midst of harvesting and we wish we had smell-a-vision for these pictures!

On our travels the mountains have given way to arid plains, vistas, and plateaus along the Snake River ID and a view of the Great Salt Lake.

Heber City, UT, Mountain Valley RV Resort was our home for a few days and of course we had to stop at Heber Valley Milk and Artisan Cheese again! We stayed at this resort last year on our way to Yellowstone and just loved it! A quick trip to Watsatch Mountain State Park for birding and wildlife.  A drive through Midway a cute Swiss themed town getting ready for their Swiss Day festival.

Continuing Eastward…

Salish Sea to North Cascades…

Raser State Park was our destination for one night after leaving the Olympic Peninsula.  A very nice state park in the little town of Concrete, WA with the beautiful Skagit River with in walking distance.  The historic town was named when it served as a center for cement production especially for the construction of Ross and Diablo Lake Dams.  The cement silos are one of a few structures still standing from that era.

The next morning, we traveled to Fidalgo Bay RV Resort, in Anacortes, WA which would be our anchor point for several day trips.  First was a drive on Highway 20, also known as the North Cascades Scenic Highway which is part of the Cascade Loop.  The Visitor Center at North Cascades National Park was very informative.  A Park Ranger gave a great overview on the climate, animals and glaciers of the large North Cascades National Park.  Part of her talk was along a board walk to a spectacular view of a glacier on Mount Terror in the Picket mountain range.

Over 300 glaciers feed the Skagit River.  The glacial melt fills the Gorge, Diablo and Ross lakes which are damned to provide hydroelectricity for the city of Seattle.  The opaque blue water of the lakes come from glacial “flour” or pulverized rock that travel by the Skagit River to the Salish Sea.  North Cascades mountains are also known as the “American Alps”.

Fort Casey Historical State Park and the other two Forts we visited were known as the “Triangle of Fire” defending the entrance to the Puget Sound.  Another great place to explore the bunkers and gun batteries.  It’s also home to the Admiralty Head Lighthouse.

Saturday we were up early to walk on the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island.  On the island the first thing we noticed was there were no traffic lights!  We grabbed a bite to eat and took a taxi to Snug Harbor.  We had reservations with Maya’s Legacy Whale Watching for a 3-hour tour.  The decision was made to go with a boat seating only 12 people for a better opportunity at photographing these amazing whales.  The crew consisted of Captain Daven, and naturalists Sara and Taylor.

There are two groups of orca killer whales, salmon eating orcas and mammal eating orcas.  The salmon eating orcas are endangered and their numbers are declining.  They are the southern San Juan Island resident orcas.  Boats with their motors running must stay 300 meters away from the salmon eating orcas.  Today we got an experience of a lifetime, the captain came to an area, turned off the motor, put a device in the water to listen and sure enough they surfaced 10 feet from the boat.  The male was enormous, his dorsal fin was huge!  Their dorsal fin can be 6 feet high! We didn’t stay long as to give them their space.

The captain made his way to where there were reports of a humpback whale.  And sure enough, about 20 feet away surfaced the humpback whale.  There was actually two humpback whales and it was amazing to hear them groan and vocalize!

The last stop was a small island off the coast of Canada where we could photograph some birds and harbor seals.

The crew and this day were a true blessing!

Our final two nights in the state of Washington were spent at Wenatchee River County Park, a beautiful park right on the Wenatchee River.  Wenatchee is located on the eastern part of the Cascades and is the “Apple Capital of the World.”  The valley is loaded with peaches, pears and apple trees galore!  It is a visible change to a more arid terrain from the lush forested mountains.

The small town of Leavenworth was founded in 1906 by Captain Charles Leavenworth.  The relocation of the rail line and then the Great Depression delivered a blow to the economy of this small town.  In the 1960’s the leaders of this town came up with the Bavarian-themed village and Leavenworth came to life again.  Quaint shops, pastries, gingerbread, nutcrackers and fantastic Bavarian fare can’t be missed in this lovely town!

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Leavenworth WA
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Leavenworth WA

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Andreas Keller Restaurant

Tomorrow we begin our trek eastward.  We will miss the West Coast but have many memories of awesome times and enjoyment of God’s marvelous Creation.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.”    …John Muir

 

 

The Olympic Peninsula Part 2

The final two weeks on the Olympic Peninsula were spent at Evergreen Coho SKP Resort in Port Townsend.  This is a historic little town known for its many 19th century Victorian buildings.

One thing Washington State has in abundance is State Parks.  Therefore, we opted to buy the Discover Pass for $30.00 a year as state park daily fee is $10.00.

Fort Worden State Park was a military base to protect the Puget Sound.  There are many historic structures along the two miles of shoreline.  Some of the movie scenes from An Officer and a Gentleman were filmed at Fort Worden and areas in Port Townsend.  The Point Wilson Lighthouse was built before Fort Worden and continues to aid marine traffic today.

Fort Flagler Historical State Park also steps back into military history on the northern tip of Marrowstone Island.  It was manned during World War I, World War II and the Korean War to guard the entrance to Puget Sound.  Gun emplacements and batteries can still be seen on the property.

North Beach Park is a great if you like to beach comb for sea glass, pebbles and driftwood!

 

On our travels one day we came across the cute little seaside town of Port Gamble.  It had an old-fashioned general store with a great collection of sea life upstairs.

Next stop was Point No Point Lighthouse in Hansville.  The lighthouse was built in 1879 and is considered to be the oldest lighthouse on Puget Sound.  One of the most exciting happenings was when someone yelled “Whale” and sure enough not far off the beach was a pod of Orca Killer Whales.  Unfortunately we did not have our good cameras so these pictures were with our cell phones!  It was awesome to see them rolling in the water and blowing water out of their spouts!

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Point No Point Lighthouse

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First Orca sighting

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We decided to spend a day in Seattle. We drove to Bainbridge to walk on the ferry for a thirty-minute ride.  First stop was Pikes Place Market located overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront.  The largest public market we have ever seen!  It’s a place of business for small farmers, craft people and merchants.  It’s also the site of the original, first ever Starbucks coffee. The flower stands are gorgeous, delicious looking seafood and food galore!  Which led us to our lunch destination Pikes Place Chowder, the line was crazy but well worth the wait!  Then a short walk to Westlake Center Mall to board the monorail to the Seattle Center, adjacent to the Space Needle. The monorail is the nations first full-scale commercial monorail system and opened in 1962 for the Century 21 Exposition World’s Fair.  The Seattle Center has so much to see and we were interested in the iconic Space Needle, and Chihuly Garden & Glass, that features the work of artist Dale Chihuly.  His glass work and art are simply amazing.  Again, more time is needed to explore this fun city!

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Pikes Place Market
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Pikes Place Market

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First Starbucks
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Chihuly Garden and Glass
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Chihuly Garden and Glass
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Chihuly Garden and Glass
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Seattle Space Needle
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Seattle WA

On our drive back from the ferry in Bainbridge our truck had what appeared to be an electrical issue.  We were blessed to make it home that night and the next morning scheduled an appointment at Haselwood Chevrolet GMC dealer in Bremerton.  Thankful for Blake who went above and beyond to make several repairs and replace the transmission control module.

Our final day we hiked a beautiful short trail to Port Ludlow Falls just west of the Hood Canal Floating Bridge.  It is the longest floating bridge in the world.  State Route 104 crosses Hood Canal of Puget Sound connecting the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas.

We enjoyed our month long adventure of the Olympic Peninsula. It was amazing in so many ways!

The Olympic Peninsula Part 1…

Our plan has been to spend about 6 weeks exploring the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington.  Two weeks were spent at the Elwha Dam RV Park located near Port Angeles.

Lavender, flowers and gardens certainly do excellent in the climate of the banana belt (a region that has warmer and drier weather conditions, especially in the winter)!  The town of Sequim has a popular lavender festival every year.  Lavender farms open for tours, entertainment, u-pick lavender and gift items.

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The Dungeness Spit National Wildlife Refuge is a 6.8 mile long sand spit jutting out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  The lighthouse is located at the end of the spit and hiking to it should be planned before the tide comes in making it more difficult on the cobble stones.

At Ediz Hook we encountered a playful river otter mama and her pups!  Salt creek marsh was recommended when the tide is out for a great place to look for creatures in the tidal pools.

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River Otter Mama and Pups at Ediz Hook

One full day was spent at the Hoh Rainforest and along the Pacific coastline.  Then another day hiking to Sol Duc Falls and exploring Lake Crescent.

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Rialto Beach
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Lake Crescent

A wonderful day was spent taking the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, British Columbia CAN.  We booked a combination ticket with the ferry that shuttled us to the Butchart Gardens.  The gardens were absolutely stunning.  Afterwards we took a tour of Victoria on the Hop On Hop Off bus and had a fabulous Halibut dinner at Nautical Nellies.

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This city is absolutely beautiful and we recommend a visit!