When we were in Lincoln, Nebraska for Melanie's GCLC conference, several people asked us where we were traveling to next.
We told them Des Moines, Iowa where one of our favorite restaurants is located.
We also like to camp along Lake Saylorville at one of the nice Corp of Engineers parks there.
Several people mentioned the Iowa State Fair and all recommended that we go. We decided to go midweek. It was a really good decision. Recommended.
We're in Lincoln, Nebraska for a Global Collaborative Law Council conference. I rode a portion of both MoPac Trail East and MoPac Trail West yesterday.
It's been hot and dry in and around Lincoln lately and the East trail which is crushed gravel was dusty. The West Trail is concrete.
We were in Valentine, Nebraska for a few days mainly so I could ride the Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail. I lucked out and had a great day for riding.
We'd reached 109 degrees F. while traveling through South Dakota the day before and highs were in the mid 70's the next day when I rode.
I rode from the outskirts of Valentine out 20 miles, turned around and came back. I saw only walkers (about 5 people) who were out to see the above views from the trestle near Valentine. The Sandhills of this part of Nebraska are beautiful and this time of year hay has been baled and is out in the pastures.
In August of 2020 we made our way into Glacier National Park for a very brief visit. We entered from the west mainly because the eastern entrance which borders the Blackfeet Indian Reservation was closed to the public.
Because we travel in a 25 foot van and have no tow vehicle, we could travel only so far into the park on the Going to the Sun Road before having to turn around. We decided to go in early, have breakfast along McDonald Creek and see what we could see.
The Visitor Center was closed and we drove around spending most go the morning checking out the park.
Two years later we made the decision to include the east side of the park as we begin our travels back east. I booked a campsite just outside the St. Mary entrance to the park so we could ride our bikes into the park. This time of year, if you drive in after 6:00 a.m., a reservation is required. No reservation is required to ride a bike into the park.
I'd initially thought we'd ride the 18 miles to Logan Pass, but after numerous stops along the Going to the Sun Road, we decided to turn around just after the Jackson Glacier Overlook. With a few detours off the road, our round trip from our campground was just over 30 miles.
The photos below are from our drive in from the south on Highway 2, past East Glacier Park Village on Highway 49 and our bike ride into the park the next day. We both agree the bike ride was one of our best.
Please Note: There's major construction happening on Highway 89 between Kiowa and St. Mary. If coming in from the south, take Highway 464 north to Highway 89, then travel the short distance south into St. Mary.
Located on Admirality Inlet near Coupeville, Washington, Fort Ebey State Park is a beautiful state park with a very nice campground. Sites are nicely spaced and generally private with a nice second-growth forest overhead.
There are numerous trails located in the park for hiking and biking and on a clear day you can see the Olympic Range on the Olympic Peninsula.
There are a few water electric sites available, dry camping sites predominate, token operated showers, but no dump station.
A dump station ($5.00 fee) and potable water is located about 19 miles south at South Whidbey State Park.
We'd been camped in Port Angeles for two days having just spent the better part of the past week in and around Olympic National Park. Melanie was working again after taking her first vacation in over three and a half years. I got laundry done and a few other maintenance type things done.
As an aside, I had chided Melanie when she first suggested taking vacation kidding her about what a vacation might look like. Reminding her that all our vacations over the past years somehow involved work. Ski trips or beach trips often involved CLE (Continuing Legal Education). She'd be on the phone during lunch and at other times of the day responding to work-related matters. She answered emails, etc. Sometimes I'd accompanying her to destinations for depositions and we'd slip in some R&R.
She insisted this time would be different. And, to her credit, it was and I'm happy to say she's rested and ready to begin work again. I'm sitting across from her in the front of the van as she composes a sermon she'll deliver this coming weekend.
Digressions aside, I woke up on Wednesday morning and found the Olympic Range had made an appearance out the van window. For much of the week cloud cover had been low and we couldn't with a few exceptions, see any of the surrounding peaks.
By the time we were ready to leave, however, a marine layer of clouds had moved in obscuring the range again. I suggested that despite this we should make the drive up to Hurricane Ridge in the park. She was game as it was one of her regularly scheduled days off.
I'd overheard a conversation while we were camped in Hoh Campground and knew the road was open despite big snowfall this year.
As we ascended the road to the Visitor Center, we drove through low clouds pushing up against the mountains from the northeast. But as we got to within about 5 miles of the Center, we moved out of the clouds and into a brilliant beautiful spring day and had great views of the Olympic Range.
We parked in an RV spot in the parking lot and made our way to the Visitor Center which was closed. So we made our way to where the road past the Center was blocked off by cones and began walking to the end of the road and a trail leading up to a viewpoint.
The road walk is about a mile and a half and easy. The trail up to the view points was partially covered in snow and a bit strenuous, but was made more difficult by the fact I'd worn my tennis shoes which was like wearing short skis.
The photos below are of our walk out and back. Highly recommended.
We left Kalahoch Campground kinda early on Monday morning headed north on the peninsula to Port Angeles. Melanie was finishing up a week's worth of vacation time, her first since taking the job she currently holds as executive director of EPF.
Our friend, Nancy Crowell, who resides in La Conner, Washington had mentioned to us both we might consider making the trip out to Cape Flattery, the northwestern most point in the continental United States before moving east on the peninsula. So, we did. A short hike gets you some really splendid views of the Washington coast. Recommended.
We decided to take a week and make our way out to the Olympic Peninsula before the crowds of summer arrived and before the reservations season (beginning June 6 this year) was upon us.
Leaving our commercial campsite of two nights in Amanda Park, Washington, we made our way to Hoh Campground arriving late morning on Wednesday. It was raining and would continue to rain off and on until after noon the next day. You should expect it will be rainy and the trails will be muddy.
The great shock and surprise was that we had internet service through Verizon. We were able to stream in the evenings and the really cool part was the self-service check in. Don't expect there to be a camp host this time of year, don't expect the visitor center to be open with the exception of Friday-Sunday. Instead the self-service kiosk has a QR code that allows you to pay online with part of the check-in materials inserted into a slot for the site one has chosen and displayed on a board for all to see. You can also simply fill out credit card information and put that in a receptacle nearby.
Expect the campground to be basically empty during the week. We pretty much had our pick of sites and chose site #25 which is a pull through. It is, in my humble opinion, one of the best as it's right next to the Hoh River with good views of the river and surrounding area. It has grassy areas near the river for sitting and enjoying the cool evenings, if it's not raining. Site #29, also on the river, would work well too. There's a 7 day limit for a stay at Hoh.
A couple of sites down river from Site #25 were blocked off and we couldn't figure out why until a small herd of Roosevelt Elk began crossing late on Thursday afternoon. They walked through the campground foraging as they went. It was a treat
We hiked the Hall of Mosses and Spruce Nature trails and about 3 miles of the Hoh River Trail while we were there.
The rainforest, part of the largest old-growth forest in the Pacific Northwest is an amazing experience. Trees a 1,000 years old covered in moss give it the feel of prehistoric times.
We're in residence at an Army Corp of Engineers' campground in Plymouth, Washington located on the Columbia River and just across the way from Umatilla, Oregon.
We took a drive north and east to ride the Sacagawea Heritage Trail. We parked Miranda in Sacagawea Historical State Park where the trail begins on the southern end.
I rode counter-clock wise and made a detour off the trail in Kennewick searching (futilely) for coffee beans. My total ride was nearly 35 miles, but the trail length is 23 miles.
Melanie and I recently spent a great few days in Wenatchee, Washington. Why Wenatchee, asked a friend? It's so very different from the coast of Washington, it's a desert, said another.
Wenatchee touts itself as the Apple Capitol of the World. There are many orchards to be seen and many cold storage warehouses along the Columbia River that runs through Wenatchee and East Wenatchee.
Forbes, in 2021, touted it as a great place to retire and Melanie and I agree (not necessarily about retiring there), it's a really nice mid-sized town about 2 hours east of Seattle through Stevens Pass. Wenatchee has a great feel to it with good food to be had and friendly people. We missed the annual Apple Blossom Festival, but there's always next year.
Forbes also mentioned it's bike friendly and indeed it is. The Apple Capitol Loop Trail and extensions are a wonderful resource and make getting around Wenatchee a breeze. Melanie and I were able to ride the trail and around town every day we were there. It's not exactly flat in spots, but the hills are not too formidable.
Photos are from my rides on the trail and around town.
Steven and Melanie