Sunday, June 7, 2015

Before Heading to Canada

We made our way from Utah to Sandpoint, Idaho, via Draper, Utah, Arco, Idaho, and Anaconda and Kalispell Montana.

We went to Draper, Utah, so Rob could paraglide Point of the Mountain, which he did. I'd hoped to get him to Salt Lake City so we could do a little sightseeing, but that didn't happen. Still, the true purpose of being there happened and that's all that matters.

Arco, Idaho, was interesting, which is to say that there isn't much there and the wind was relentless. The RV park owner was originally from Massachusetts, spent his life driving trucks and working in the transportation business. We asked him why he settled in Arco. He said he'd done a lot of research and this RV park consistently showed a profit. It has a cafe as well, which is one of the few places to dine out in the area, but it was in a current state of disaster—a total remodel in progress—and didn't leave a great impression mostly because of the appearance of utter disorganization. The park was actually very pretty and backed up to a ranch where we could view their horses… and their junk (sigh). We were treated to a short snow flurry while there, too.

The owner, Ron, gave us a break on our fees because he had no water hook-up. Someone he'd hired, who was supposed to shut off the water at some point, didn't, and a pipe broke in a freeze. There was extensive tree branch clean up going on and we assumed they'd had a storm. No, it was that relentless wind I mentioned. It blows all the time. I wonder if Ron wishes he'd found a different RV park to buy.

The reason we chose to detour to Arco to spend a few nights was so we could visit Craters of the Moon National Monument. It was very interesting, and very barren, in a very cool way. We learned how the location of the volcanic hotspot system moved through the northern US over the past 15 million years and Craters of the Moon is the best preserved evidence of it. The current hotspot is believed to be under Yellowstone.

After Arco, we traveled to Fairmont, near Anaconda, Montana. The RV park was right next door to the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort where Rob and I spent an afternoon swimming and soaking in their gigantic indoor and outdoor hot springs pools. It was nice and its a great place to go for a few days rest. But, although the pools are replenished with hot spring water, they are so large that they aren't regularly emptied and refilled, so chlorination is required. I find that tends to negate the intended, healthful use of a hot springs.

While in the Anaconda area, we took a drive to historic Phillipsburg and perused shops filled with locally made art and jewelry. We also stopped in at the Phillipsburg Brewery so Rob could enjoy a taste of their beer made on the premises. We had a pleasant chat with the owner who originally hails from New York.

We spent a week in Kalispell and visited our old friend Tom Beaubien and his wife Janine, had my hair cut by Jena, Tom's daughter, and did some (lots) of shopping at a local hobby store. We were in there almost everyday—at least several days in a row. The people working there got where they would see us and say 'forget something?' or 'you're back.' If it wasn't Rob needing something for his hexacopter project, it was for me because I want to try acrylic painting along with my woodburning. It does make it difficult to do any of that when one is constantly on the move, though. But the tools are now there for when the moment arises.

After Kalispell, we arrived in Sandpoint for a three week stay leading up to our trek north to Alaska. My dear, old friend from high school, Linda Davis, and her husband Alex were already there with their travel trailer. They'd made the trek from North Carolina to Washington to meet their newest granddaughter and detoured to visit with us for a few days. We introduced them to our friends Mike and Denise. Where we girls did a little wandering around the cute town of Sandpoint, the guys were like three peas in a pod with their glee in seeking out and drinking the local craft beers.

Rob and I made a few last minute preparations for our trip north. We got our cats their health certificates and we met with our critter sitter, who is taking care of Ollie, our bird, while we travel Canada and Alaska. Everyone kept saying that there shouldn't be any problem with getting our bird into Canada, but that wasn't the problem. The problem is with the U.S. Even with paying fees and getting permits, etc, etc, etc, we might not have been able to get our bird back home! Thank goodness for a heads-up from one of our Quartzsite friends. It allowed me the time to network with Denise in Sandpoint to find someone who would board a bird. One of her acquaintances knew of a gal who might be able to do it and thus my introduction to Haley the Critter Sitter. And what a wonderful family Ollie is with for the summer. We miss him, but we are so glad he's somewhere safe.

We experienced our first Lost in the 50s in Sandpoint before leaving for Canada. It is an annual, multi-day 50s celebration and this year was the 30th. People all over town dress in 50s styled garb, or the best they can do—sort of like Halloween. There's a parade and folks from all over come with their 1950s vintage cars and trucks to drive in it. Then they park their cars throughout town for people to walk around and view them over a couple of days. We heard there were a few hundred of them this year. Unfortunately, because of an issue with our water heater, we were unable to check them out. Saturday night they had a concert at the fair grounds and the special guest this year was Frankie Avalon. The Dixie Cups also performed even though their hits were in the early 60s. The Dixie Cups were great but, sadly, they only performed a few songs. The main band was Rocky and the Rollers, who do a lot of 50s cruise ship gigs, and they were awesome. Their music was amazing, the vocals were amazing, the energy was amazing. Frankie Avalon was simply meh. He looked great, but his jokes sounded worn out and uninteresting. Overall, it was a fun night. Good enough to make us buy t-shirts.

This is enough for this blog. The next will begin our trek through Canada. Stay tuned! And enjoy the photos. The captions tell more of the story.

Rob awaiting his turn to launch at Point of the Mountain.

Rob flying by.

Just after landing, Rob is pulling his wing down in the late afternoon sun. 

At Craters of the Moon National Monument.

The lava fields were as far as the eye could see.

Rob viewing the lava fields.

A Craters resident.

Starkly beautiful.

One live tree in a field of lava.

April snowfall in Arco.

Snow on the windshield.

The Grand Tetons as seen on our way to Anaconda, Montana.

I love the colors on this snowy hill off I-15 in Montana.

A street scene of Phillipsburg, Montana.

Rob chatting with one of the other beer enthusiasts. We learned he had his dog in his truck so we talked him into letting him come in and visit. That's the owner standing at the back of the bar. Nice guy.

Rob trying to get the attention of one of the dogs frequenting the place.

The brewery is housed in this building.

We didn't notice this heart on the way to Phillipsburg but we sure noticed it on the way back.

Our RV site in Kalispell with the Rockies in the background. Nice.

Listening to Red, a Sandpoint music store owner and teacher, with his student, Judy, at a coffee and tea house by Garfield Bay.

Red playing the fiddle.

Garfield Bay off Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced Pon-de-ray).

Love the old trucks.

Waiting for the concert to begin.

Mike and Rob. I'm shocked if they're not talking.

Denise was up dancing every chance she got.

The great voice of Al Morse singing with Rocky and the Rollers. That's Rocky on the drums.

Awesome horn section, too.

A Sandpoint local lip-syncing Leslie Gore's It's My Party.

More locals lip-syncing. Wish I could remember what song it was, but I do remember that it was cute.

The Dixie Cups.

Frankie Avalon still looking good after all these years.

Frankie Avalon with his guitarist Edan Everly, the son of Don Everly of the Everly Brothers. Frankie was paying tribute to Edan's late uncle, Phil Everly.

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