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June 20-30


Well, the last 10 days of the RV trip was GREAT. We did come home about a week early due to Werner's shoulder being in pain, but besides that we had loads of fun.

After leaving Sheri's girlfriend's ranch in Stevensville, Montana (see last blog entry) we headed south toward Yellowstone Park. It has been about 19 years since we had been there, but it was special this time: Just Sheri, Crystal, Werner & the RV. It was awesome. 

WV & SV & C at Yellowstone sign smaller

The park has changed quite a bit from what we remembered from our last visit. First of all, all of the wild animals in the tourist areas (lodge area, ranger stations, shopping areas) are no longer visible. They have transplanted the bears, mainly to preserve safety for the humans!

There are still many wild bisons in the wilderness areas of the park, as the photo below shows. You can get to within about 100 yards of these big beasts and they are not in the least bit concerned about people being around.

We also saw several Elk along the roadside areas. The photo of the one here was basking in the sun for many hours causing a huge traffic jam for the roadside viewers. One nature photographer tried to get within about 50 yards of this Elk and was warned by the  park ranger to move farther away.  We saw several more Elk in the park, but this one was the closest to us for a photo. She was a beauty! Eh???

As with most tourists, we had to visit Old Faithful, the park most famous guiser. She still erupts about every 90 minutes, but does not shoot up as high in the air as before, maybe about 150 feet. I remembered that she went up several hundred feet in the past.  Not now….maybe about 100 ft now. Below is an image of Old Faithful right before the eruption, as the crowd was waiting.


A new highlight for us on this trip to Yellowstone was seeing what they referred to as the miniature grand-canyon of Yellowston. Neither of us remember that from our previous visits to the park. Below are a few shots of that.

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As you can see, this miniature grand-canyon of Yellowstone is spectacular. A huge rain storm was just starting was we took these last few photos. We had to RUN to the RV to avoid getting drenched!!

As usual, Crytsal also enjoyed the Yellowstone part of the trip. She went nearly everywhere we went! Occasionally she had to wait in the RV, but was always glad to see us!

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Here is a shot of her waiting for us in the RV. What a trooper she was.


Occasionally she would wait for us on the couch!

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From Yellowstone Park we headed south to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There we had a great RV park stay and had fun wandering thru the town of Jackson doing the usual tourist stuff like eating, taking pictures and shopping.

We ended the trip with a visit to Sheri's sister's house in Quincy, CA, where we stayed for a few days. We had a great time there and then headed home to have a week to rest-up after the long 30 day trip.

Summary and Reflections:

  • RV'ing is fun, but much less driving and more stops is better. Driving 250 miles a day is the limit for us.
  • The view from "up high" in the driver's seat and the big window is awesome.
  • RV spots in "the woods" are more restful. RV spots not in the woods is not as relaxing.
  • Thanks to Bill Melody for suggesting our purchase of this used 2004 Dolfin RV last summer, it ran perfect as was a reliable, comfortable coach. It was just the right size for us (32ft inside).
  • If you want a restful trip, take a cruise!!!! No driving, no cooking, no hook-ups, no parking, and no HUGE gasoline bills ---but, of course you cannot take your dog!!!
  • We'll probably take more "shorter" RV trips and enjoy the stays. 
  • We love our RV.




June 14 -19

Lots happened since the last posting. We stopped by Gig Harbor, Washington where Don Wllliams (co-worker at DMC) had a summer home and we spent a few days there. That is a charming little town. Visited a local marine history museum there and had a great time. Notice the beautiful view of Mt. Ranier.

From there we did a one day trip to the Sparks Electric Museum in Bellingham Washington. That was a GREAT stop, too. They had artifacts from the days of Benjamin Franklin, thru the age of early light bulbs & motors, to mimeograph machines -designed by Thomas Edison, to phonographs, to early desktop and tabletop radios and much, much more, We really enjoyed that stop. Thanks to our friend Tapio for suggeting that we visit this wonderful museum to us.


From there we visited Tapio and his dear wife Alice in Ellensburg, Washington. Tapio is also a ham operators and is on the Collin's Collector Net with Werner. Tapio works for a windfarm company at Wildhorse Wild Horse Wind Farm. He gave us an awesome tour of where he does installation and service on these HUGE wind machines --many megawatts!! The propellors are up to 60 meters long and about 6ft in diameter where they attached to the hub at the tower. The rectangular box at the top, housing the generator and gear box  behind these huge propellors is about the size of a school bus! We had a great time there. We learned a lot. Thanks Tapio and Alice for a great visit and a super dinner at your nearby restaurant!


Our next stop was the Ginkgo Petrified Museum just a short drive east in the city of Vantage, Washington. There we saw petrified woods of all types and even bought some small samples of petrified redwood, oak, pine and other woods.



We next did a short overnight near Lake Cor d'Alene, Idaho. There we roasted marshmallows over the campfire and did some needed resting.



Next, we stopped at the small historic town of Wallace, Idaho. That's an old silver mining town which still has 3 silver mines running. We had a great lunch and visited several museums there.












Our next stop was to visit Sheri's high school friend Karen, and her husband Scott  in Stevensville, Montana. Scott is a very seasoned big game hunter and has a house full of stuffed trophies. They took us to a great local waterfall site and a great dinner.



June 10-13

Our last day at McMinnville we just rested. Werner installed a flag on the back of the RV to be displayed when we are parked. He also installed a Satellite Ham Antenna call an "eggbeater". 

From McMinnville we headed to Mt. St. Helens in Washington State. Although the mountain was clouded over, we saw a great historic video at the vistor's center and snapped some nice photos on the route. It was amazing to see how the trees and shrubs are growing back into existence after its violent erthquake and and land slide.

On June 12 we arrived at our next destination, Gig Harbor , Washington. This is a beautiful area and here we are enjoying the local sites. Mom and I put together a jigsaw puzzle that we bought at Mt. St. Helens. 

Crystal continues to enjoy the trip as she poses for pictures everywhere. The one shown below was taken on the trip down the mountain from Mt. St. Helens.


June 9

747 on roof

Today we spent the day at the Evergreen Wings & Waves Water Park. As you can see from the photo, you'll see that they put a 747 jet on the roof. The four water slide shutes start at the roof and make their way down into the building. It's an awesome place. The next project for Mr. Smith is to convert another 747-400 into hotel on the ground. That new 747-400 was positioned on the property while we were there.

A new chapel is now under construction as well as an executive lodge.

Here's a good website about the whole Evergreen Campus:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evergreen_Aviation_%26_Space_Museum

Deatons and Sheri in front of WaterPark



June 8

Today we spent the day at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. The photo at the left shows that we were joined by our long-time friends Bev and Dean Deaton, our neighbors in Los Gatos. At the far right is Mr. Larry Wood, the Executive Director of the Museum and next to him is Mrs. Hilda Pereyo, the Education Director.

This museum is AMAZING. In many ways it is more impressive than the Smithsonian Aviation and Space Museum! For one thing, they have Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose. Below is a wide shot showing the "Goose".

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One of the treats was that we got to go up into the cockpit. Below is a shot of the radio operator station:

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The plane below was made in Springfield, Mass --where Sheri's dad grew up!

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June 7

We are already on the 5th day of our trip! Having a great time. Not much web or cell coverage so I am very late starting this blog.  Below are some photos:


The  photo at left was taken along the Smith River as we were heading to see our Ham Radio friend Shorty, K6JSI, in Smith River, CA (just 7 miles from the Oregon-CA border).


Of course, Crystal, is also having a great time, too. When we stop  to refuel the RV, Crystal jumps into the driver's seat and takes charge! The RV is running like a champ, with essentially no problems, except for the B&W back-up camera has an intermittent connection internally. Oh well! Sheri get's out to give me directions when I need to back-up so we remain safe as I back-up.

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The guy at the left lives at the Smith River RV park. He made that small light house and it sits proudly in his front yard. It actually works!

The photo below was taken yesterday at Crater Lake, Oregon. We stayed at an awesome RV Park for several days. It is about 30minutes from the lake. 

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While at Crater Lake I surprised Sheri with a day-early birthday present: a telescope! She really wanted this telescope as she dropped lots of hints about this to me before the trip. So, I bought it in Cupertino before the trip and packed-up the telescope and put it into the "basement area" of the RV. She had no Idea I had got it for her. It was presented to her right at the rim of Crater Lake. Thanks to my assistant, Lanette, who secretly wrapped all of the packages for Sheri to open. About 20 people (complete strangers) helped me sing happy birtday to Sheri! 

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Below is a wide-angle shot of both of us at the rim of Crater Lake. Sheri and I last visited Crater Lake about 40 years ago!!! 

 Crystal loved the snow!!!


Today, June 7, we arrived in McMinnville, Oregon. We will be here for several days. Be sure to see the next blog entry about McMinnville.


© WERNER G VAVKEN 2013