Coeur d’Alene, ID, Three days in Blackwell Island RV Park, #113
Eight years in our bus.
THURSDAY, MAY 28 WE DRIVE TO KENNEWICK, WA.
We didn’t sleep well and we woke early. We were anxious to get going and start our big trek. We had sunny skies and it looked like it would be a pretty day and a beautiful drive along the Columbia River. However we had a package mailed from the office due for delivery by UPS at 10:00 AM so we thought we would have to wait. It arrived early, however, and we were able to pull out at 10:00 AM.
The drive is easy and familiar to us. The Columbia River is always beautiful to see. The dogs gave us that pleading “I’m desperate” look so we stopped once at a nice Rest Stop above the highway near The Dalles and walked the dogs up the hill for a view of the river.
About five or ten miles west of Umatilla we pass miles of groves of tall, thin, poplar-like trees. It is a bizarre sight. Each time we’ve passed them we’ve wondered about them. We did glimpse a sign that said, “Greenwood” and we guessed they would be harvested for paper or lumber.
For those interested, I discovered that they are owned by the GreenWood Tree Farm Fund and operated by a tree farm management group, GreenWood Resources. Thousands of hybrid poplar trees (Pacific whitewood) are grown on 25,000 acres. The trees take 10 to 12 years to reach maturity after which they are felled and sent to the mill where they are shaped into boards and wood chips. Processed lumber is sold all over the world with China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico as the biggest off-shore buyers. http://www.amusingplanet.com/2013/09/boardman-tree-farm-of-greenwood.html
At 1:40 PM we turned off of I-84 E to I-82 N and crossed the Columbia River leaving Umatilla, OR and crossing into Plymouth, WA. The scenery became a dry grassland that is brown with burned out rye grasses. It is flat with rolling hills. In the distance are mottled green and brown cultivated fields or sage and sage-like grass meadows. The sky was a pale blue with puffy white clouds, flat on the bottom with dramatic gray shadows that defined the piled up forms. It reminded me of Wyoming where we were so charmed to see antelope in the meadows. “Oh give me a home…” The monotonous landscape made me sleepy. We pulled into Columbia RV Resort at 2:20 PM.
This park is very well designed and very modern. There are 145 sites on 25 acres. We have a long site that holds Bus and Honda plus extra room. There are long, wide green lawns with picnic tables and newly planted trees that aren’t RV roof high as of yet. It was hot at 91° so we turned on the A/C. The outlook here is pleasant and spacious — not junky and crowded. We decided to stay an extra day.
Dennis managed to squeeze his Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-Less Turkey Fryer into the basement. He pulled it out and put a turkey breast into the cooker. It is 5.5 lbs and and he cooked it for an hour and a quarter. At 5:00 PM the turkey came out and it was delicious. We boiled Idaho gold potatoes and cooked peas and made gravy that came with the turkey breast. The breast was tender and perfect.
After dinner we walked the dogs around the perimeter of the park. I put on my expensive jogging shoes. The roads here are paved and level with nothing to trip me up and plenty of light at night. (I broke my ankle in the dark in 2008 so now I’m much more careful.) We walked the dogs to the pet park at the end of our lane and then to the pet park at the other end making a long loop. We didn’t really walk that far — about a mile but it was enough for me.
It is light outside at 4:30 AM so I wake and get up early. This far north we have an extra hour of daylight. The forecast predicted a sunny and clear day in the low nineties. We are in the “Tri-Cities” area of Kennewick, Pasco and Richland. The Columbia River flowing south makes a bend around the west and south side of Kennewick so we are once again south of the river. Pasco is on the north side. Nearby, the Yakima River flows east to join the Columbia in the Yakima Delta and Wildlife Nature Area. I decided that might be a good place to walk the dogs.
Dennis made smoothies for breakfast and then we went out with the dogs at about 10:30 AM. I don’t think we found the delta but we did stop in a Corps of Engineers parking area and walked on a path down to the Yakima River where people go to fish. The trail along the river bank did not go far. It petered out with overgrown weeds and bay trees with low branches. We ended up ducking under or climbing over thick lateral branches until we quit and turned back.
Back home we made delicious turkey sandwiches. We were sleepy and Dennis took a nap. I made an RV Park Review list for LFAB. Then I got sleepy and also took a nap.
Our trip to Coeur d’Alene only took three and a quarter hours. We pulled into Blackwell Island RV Park at 12:45 PM. We lucked out with a beautiful site in #113. We are on an island and our Bus faces the Spokane River only a few yards away. We are parked next to a small Aspen tree that shades our picnic table. The first thing we did was to make turkey sandwiches and pull out our camp chairs. We settled in the shade with the dogs tied up next to us and our feet propped up on our camp chair ottoman. Ahhh. Luxury. It was a beautiful day with piles of cumulus clouds and breeze, sunshine and distant rumbles of thunder. It was amazing.
This was an off day. We did absolutely nothing but enjoy our wonderful park. We face a narrow gravel beach lined with Adirondack style beach chairs. The left side of the beach is where dogs are allowed to swim. (Yes! Can you believe it??) The right side is for children. A little ways out the river is blocked by a line of floating logs.
It was partly cloudy and chilly although it was predicted to warm up to the low eighties. Dennis made a wonderful breakfast with pancakes, eggs and bacon. This site has inspired him. After breakfast we walked Rudi and Margot to the beach where they immediately waded into the shallow water. They love water. It was too cold for them to swim but Rudi whined and fussed looking for a stick or something floating to retrieve. Rudi loves a problem. I looked for a stick but found nothing suitable and besides I don’t want him to stay in the water too long. He is 12 years old.
I worked on LFAB for most of the day and we were happy to just sit around our camp and relax. There are beautiful walks through trails of heavy vegetation only yards away from the river. We walked the dogs and discovered geese on a small gravel beach near yellow iris growing wild near the water. What a beautiful sight.
Blackwell Island RV has discount coupons to several local restaurants. We chose Cedar’s Floating Restaurant. They offered a complete early bird dinner with appetizer, entree choices and desert for an excellent price. They are floating in Coeur d’Alene Lake immediately next to the RV Park. You can walk on a dock to the restaurant or arrive by boat to tie up at the boat dock. We were given a choice of being seated indoors or outdoors on the back deck and we chose the latter. We bobbed gently up and down as we sat down at our table. It took some getting used to. Dinner was marvelous. I went for the salmon dinner as I often do and Dennis had prime rib. Two geese swam up to the dining deck and acted just like Rudi and Margot. They swam back and forth and stared pleadingly and honked once in awhile to get our attention. Our young waiter was delightful and I had a marvelous time. It’s a romantic restaurant.
MONDAY, JUNE 1. THE HILLS ARE ALIGHT WITH THE SOUND OF THUNDER.
We never did do a scenic drive. We are too attached to this campground. We did go out to do a few errands. We found the post office and bought stamps. We bought shampoo and AA batteries at Rite Aid and groceries at Albertson’s.
In the late afternoon the wind came up and I could hear the leaves rattling in the trees. It felt like rain was coming. By dark we began to see flashes of sheet lightening. The lightening was in the mountains to the north and sometimes west towards Spokane and sometimes south over the river. It was as far away as a count of 16 to 20 seconds and then we’d hear the rumbles and crashes of thunder. Electric storms always impress me and scare me. I’m not used to them. I stood by the window watching for the lightening. Eventually the electric storm passed by but we had heavy rain all night.