Our first blow out

We left NW Idaho heading for Montana. We had a relaxing ride for 4 hours drive by beautiful Coeur D’alene , stopped at some rest stops. Soaked in Montana.

Then when we were an hour from our destination we heard a tire go. The Captain gently guided us into the shoulder to investigate

We called Good Sam. It was hard because cell service was spotty, but with our hot spot we picked up enough Data to run the phones.

It was 3 hours before the road side assistance showed up. We were parked right by and Air Strip and a Train track off the I-90

Once the guy showed up, he changed our tire and left. We were at the four hour point by now. The Captain got to checking the pressure in all our tires and after a bunch of testing we realized another tire was no good. It wasn’t holding air. It had been another 40ish min so we decided to move the RV to the parking area .9 miles down the road so the kids and me could at least get out of the vehicle.

When I called the wrecking company she let me know it was going to be another couple hours before they could send someone out. We decided to try to change it ourselves. After not getting the lug nut to loosen it was 9:45 and we decided to call for back up and put the kids to bed. No use trying to go anywhere at night. Good Sam told us it wasn’t an “emergency” since we had gotten ourselves to safety and wanted us to call back in the morning. We called our Progressive road side assistance and they sent someone out.

We went to sleep to the sounds of Semi generators, the interstate, and the in and outgoing travelers taking a rest. I didn’t sleep at all. Around midnight a man showed up from road side assistance. Got everything done and looked good and we settled in for the night.

In the morning we woke up, and headed to Philipsburg.

We made it! Leveled out no problem and pulled out our slides. Made some bacon, eggs, toast. Took a shower and although I said I would just drink coffee and power thru, I fell asleep the min I laid down. I needed that. Woke up at 2pm and started running laundry.

Northern Idaho Silverwood Theme Park

Originally in our route from Washington to Philipsburg, Montana we had a reservation at Little Diamond the Thousand Trails in Newport, WA. As I contemplated our route I wasn’t looking forward to the extra 2 hours off route to get to the campground so I checked out Boondockers Welcome and found a spot that we could fit, right next to Silverwood Theme Park so we joined the site, $30 for a year, and requested the stay. Bill and Kathy immediately got back to us and accepted our request!

Due to work obligations we set out a little late in the day from Quincy, and rolled into Athol around 7pm. I’m sure we seemed a bit nuts when I told our hosts we needed to quickly head back to Spokane to hit the last Trader Joe’s we would see til Utah. We booked it back, grabbed 4 carts(two kids size haha) and split up with lists. Got my bestie Brenna her families favorites and got ours too. By the time we got back to the Boondock it was after 10pm! We let the kids sleep in our bed and I hit the couch. There was no time or energy to pull out our slides. They had cows on their back pasture and the friendliest dog!

After we woke up, we got our slides out, had some food and prepared for the theme park. It was only minutes down the street, which was awesome.

First thing we had to do was the Carousel! Little Sunshine’s favorite ride.

They had a fun 30 min train ride with lots of fun surprises and actors.

I think one of Rockets favorites was the cars the kids could drive

The only line we had to wait in was for the rapids, but we were bumped up a good 30 min when they were condensing the riders into groups of 8. We got soaked, in our regular clothes, right before heading to the water park

The water park was fantastic. The lazy river allowed for swimming in and out floaters, the supplied life jackets helped the kids in the rougher parts. There was a ginormous kids okay area with multiple slides built in and surrounded by a foot of water all around for parents to lay in, or small kids. Rocket and I did go on a tube ride together, but the weather was just a little too cold for dad and Sunshine so we headed back to the boondock to rest for a bit. Rested for good 90 min, had warm soup and headed back to shut the park down! I definitely recommend doing this, as when we got back the lines were non existent and we could practically walk into anything we wanted to ride. There is a full section of rides for little kids. Rocket road a real wooden rollercoaster with me, but exclaimed at the end “I better wait til I am older til I do that again”

We let the kids play one boardwalk game each, and they both won a prize! We also all got to pick one thing in the gift shop as a souvineer and the prices were very good, in fact all the parks prices were the most reasonable amusement park prices we have ever seen. We stayed all the way til close, in fact at 9:58 I asked the lady at the log ride if we could take a ride and she(like all the staff) was so incredibly nice and said “I am not closed yet, let’s do this!” So me and Rocket Road the log flume in almost total darkness! It was great.

After that we left, and all of us fell asleep very easily!

Now we are on our way to Montana!!!!

Hansen Creek Amethyst Hunting

Wooohooo here we go, the trip I was looking most forward to while in Washington. Hansen’s Creek for Amethyst Hunting! It was over a 2 hour drive, but I knew it would be worth it. We drove from the desert to Snoqualamie Pass

Exit 47 off Interstate 90 is Denny Creek Exit. Take that. Take a right on Tinkham rd of the interstate and you will come to this sign where you turn left. Follow it a while.

Once you take the hairpin left turn you are almost to the parking spot. We arrived on a very busy day, so there was no mistaking where to park, but during the week there isn’t as much company. Once there you walk about 15 min with a pretty good incline til you get to this cool rock climbing spot

Then you keep walking, walking, walking. The good news is, there is less of an incline after the rock spot. Walk until you see ribbons in the trees. If you don’t see the ribbons, you aren’t there. It’s maybe another 15 of walking.

Once you arrive at the dig site, you want to head up the hill. I see plenty of people dig along the bottom, but from my years of reading about Hansen you want to go up as far as you can handle without crossing into a claim (it’s a long way up to a claim and they should be marked)

Once there you want to prepare for digging. Bring a screen, 1/4 inch is good. I saw people using old kitchen colanders. Knee pads, gloves, and a bucket will help but not necessary. Would have been smart to bring a hard hat. If you want to get into a cave, you need to bring flashlights/headlamps/laterns. I can’t help myself but go in the caves. The caves are holes dug under trees. You can also find crystals just lying on the ground or barely scratching the surface. I found my garden hand rake to be the best tool!

It’s quite a steep hill

Once Sunshine decided she’d had enough, we left. She was battling a summer cold so proud of her for making the trip at all. Dad had to carry her a lot. We spent a couple hours and both felt we had just hit a good patch of raw dirt when she decided she was done.

Washed up our finds this morning and this is what the crystals can look like, we will need to soak and scrub these to find out if we got anything purple. It’s unlikely we did, but there is a chance! You can also see a bit of Pyrite the Captain found.

Next to Hansen’s Creek is Denny Creek and they have some natural rock water slides. I want to check it out next time we are here!

Quincy, WA

Quincy, WA is a farming town. As you drive down the local roads they have signs that say what is growing in the fields, apples, cherries, grapes, peaches, alfalfa and more. It’s beautiful landscape of agriculture. I wanted to find some local produce and this farm stand outside Quincy is a must stop.

The local museum also has a playground behind it so we decided to get some work done while the kids had somewhere to let out some energy

Friday afternoon they play a movie at the library. The library also has a nice kids area.

Finished the day at the river of course

White Pass Scenic Byway

We left Paradise, Silver Creek via White Pass Scenic Byway. There wasn’t many view points so I apologize for lack of quality pictures, and Rainier and other mountains had clouds obstructing their view. This drive was absolutely breathtaking.

When we finished through the Pass we entered, what I believe is called “high desert”

We settled in at Crescent Bar in the Columbia Gorge

I am not going to sugar coat this, I am not a fan of this Crescent Bar Thousand Trails by first impression. It may be because the desert surroundings reminds me of my hometown, or it may be the very strict and spelled out rules by management, or that the spots are tight and small which directly conflicted with my research, but my first impression was “get me the hell out of here”

We leveled and pulled the slides out and took a walk. The views started to win me over. There was some beautiful beaches along a walking path that starts at the RV park. We found some quartz crystals amongst the small gravel bars on the Columbia.

The clubhouse was decent though, we can do some extra road schooling this week. Kids aren’t allowed on the pool table.

I am going to focus on the interior design of our bedroom for the week we are here. I’m a little disenchanted with the desert, having escaped it 20 years ago, but I am breaking down those walls and I think Quincy. WA is a place to give me some better perspective.

Ike Kinswa State Park

On Father’s Day weekend we set out to explore the lake we can see from the Paradise overlook. We knew it was Ike Kinswa State Park, and we got a pleasant surprise that it was 16 min away.

I wish I had taken some photos of the campground there, it is one of the nicest we have seen. The sites have cement pads and everything is clean and manicured. They have cabins right on the lake. It’s so beautiful I considered us staying there, when we already stay for free 16 min up the road. Next time we hit Washington we will most def need to invite a lot of friends to join us there for camping.

As we drove around we realized the swimming hole was shallow enough for us to trust our kids in it! so we decided to head to Morton for the grocery store and get some things for grilling.

While driving up to Morton on Highway 12, White Pass Scenic Byway, we came upon this overlook. This is a must see, and so beautiful with the wildflowers. You have to walk through the grass a few feet to see the epic amounts of flowers that are hiding.

We invited Grandma Ruth, Aunt Shell, and Amyiah out to come swimming, and they said yes! We grilled and had a blast. There is large bathroom/changing facilities and a large play structure next to the swimming hole, kept the kids entertained for hours.

Rocket and I went for a little walk and I let him use my phone to take some pictures

On our way back home we noticed an almost full moon with a clear view of Mount Saint Helens at the overlook.

Our Week In Paradise

Each day I procrastinate blogging it gets harder to do it. This will mostly be a photo dump to get everything current ๐Ÿ™‚

Paradise has a Camp Cat named CC. The kids go to find her every morning for cat snuggles.

The activity center opened for Father’s Day crafts, made my life easier.

On the weekend they had a magician/balloon twister come and entertain after the ice cream social. The kids had a blast and we got some balloon tips from an expert.

After that we took a “hay ride”(There was no hay, but that’s good because the pollen count is high enough for our allergies)

We have been enjoying the tennis courts, pools, and walking trails. Wild flowers everywhere!

We leave in a couple days for Crescent Bar which I believe is on the Columbia Gorge. We take the White Pass Scenic Byway.

Going with the flow

Here I am still at the Brazel’s RV Performance Center center. It’s a good thing we didn’t attempt to move on Friday, our grey tank valve is still leaking. Wyatt said we won’t be leaving til we are all good, so no worries there. He wanted us to wait to see if it happened, and it did. So hopefully Monday we will head out, I’ve given up on believing there is an end date to this madness. Fortunately I love it in this quiet park, even if the trains at night are incredibly loud! It doesn’t matter so much when you are a train lover in the first place.

So on Friday night it came crashing down on me. All the emotions of a complete life adjustment. In my former life I cleaned my house for hours everyday, tended my garden from March to late October, visited friends, had a steady date at the gyms child care center to get 2 full hours of me time, ran my resale business in the basement. Now it takes me no time at all to get this place completely sparkling clean. There is no appointments to go to, no classes to drive my kids too, no gym time. I have found myself with a LOT of time that otherwise was occupied than I am not accustomed too. I find myself too often reading the news, which is devastating these days. So on Friday night I cried and I cried. I woke the Captain and he woke up to console me, comfort me. He is good at that.

On Saturday we headed to Michaels craft store to find some things to occupy my time in a positive way.

Captain picked balloon animals, but we quickly found out it was a fun activity for the whole family. Check out my swan and rabbit/dog

We also got tools for cross stitching, super excited! We already had the tissue flowers and paper airplane book but we got some felt for flowers, and we and Sunshine started with the basic flower

Once we work our way through these supplies we are going to learn face painting. I feel these are useful skills for a nomad. If we get strapped for cash we set up shop at a farmers market and bust out some balloons and face paint ๐Ÿ˜‰

During my emotional break through I also realized a big problem I’m having is that the interior design of this rig is bland, dull, and boring. Which doesn’t fit my aesthetic at all! So I ordered up some peel and stick wall paper from Target, got this amazing furry rug to match, and have selected some other things coming from China.

Rocket has come down with the sniffles so we couldn’t go to any of the awesome free festivals taking place today, bummer. We did decide to go purchase a Barker 4 wheel Waste Tote. We headed to Fife, WA where they have a Camping World. Camping World did not have a large enough tote, but I did get my hands on a Blackstone griddle on sale! And we picked up an outdoor rug, and a collapsible table.

After we left Camping world we grabbed food at a road side stand.

It was pretty good, milk shakes, burgers, coney dog type stuff. I don’t think I would stop here again for the food, but their eating area was a bunch of picnic tables in a grassy area with lots of potted flowers. The kids ran around with other kids waiting for their food and it was quite nice! Considering it’s close to Camping World south of Seattle, we may end up back here again someday.

While eating we located a Barker tote through Facebook marketplace. The seller informed me they still had it, but then didn’t respond to me inquiring if we could pick up. Seattle was another hour north, so we decided to wait a bit for the dude to message. We went to a park. I sat in the truck…

After waiting nearly an hour for the seller to message me back. I sent this message “text me in the next ten min if this is available today. I am headed south after that” Well wouldn’t you know it, he calls me in 8! We were just about to hit the interstate so he called just in time! Headed north to Seattle and picked up this beauty

So now we won’t have to worry about being on a sewer site anymore(well besides for using our washer) We can dump our tanks into here, roll it to a dump site, and dump it in.

We’ll cross your fingers for us that we get out of here tomorrow.

RV lesson number one. It will break.

The days are blurring together. We had every intention to be set down in Paradise today to enjoy a couple weeks of being stationary. Koko decided she wanted another new valve, at least she let us know before we rambled down the road.

So let’s begin where this started. As we arrived in Chehalis we were over anxious to get into the last sewer site in the park on our first day in. As the Captain maneuvered Koko in the park the one way roads led him back to the main highway. With not many options to turn a 42 long trailer around he chose a gravel parking strip, the turn around was done and he hit a patch of uneven ground, which completely wrecked one of our stabilizer jacks.

From this we learned to not ever drive the Camper in frustration, panic, or otherwise distracted mode. This is hard to accomplish sometimes with loud young children as back seat drivers. Our “moving day” skills are a constant process of learning.

So we stayed at the Chehalis Thousand Trails as we hunted for a good RV shop. We found one at Bravels in Centralia, 3 weeks after we touched down. The people here are super nice and very accommodating to their clients. Right off the bat they let us know they have a RV park with water/electric hook ups located on the property we could stay on. They ordered our parts and told us they should be in on Friday. We moved into the RV Repair shop park on the Tuesday prior, as this was our original moving day to Paradise. Thursday comes and we learn the parts won’t be in til Monday. I have an Orthodontist appt in PDX on Monday so we decide that’s perfect to leave the RV and head into the city for a couple nights. Get some errands done and see friends.

On Monday we find out the parts aren’t in. I think, it’s a blur now. So we extended our stay in PDX til Wednesday. We drove back to Centralia crossing our fingers Koko would have her stabilizer jack on. As we approached Brazel’s we could see she was still in the garage.

It felt like defeat. At this point I am feeling homeless and living out of bags. We decided to check with Paradise if we can get into a cabin on site for the night. We figure this is the perfect opportunity to also scope out what RV site we want to settle into. Paradise allows us a one night reservation(typically 2 day minimum for cabins) and we settle into what felt like a very spacious cabin. In reality I believe our RV is the same square footage.

We checked out of the Cabin at 11am and stopped at The Ribeye Ramblin Jacks in Chehalis to have lunch. Highly recommend, but warn the portions are enormous.

After lunch we headed to Brazel’s and found that our RV wasn’t out of the garage yet so we stopped at Borst park hoping the Captain could work while the kids played, the park was too cold so we retreated and went to Centralia Timberland Library. This was a great decision. The childrens area of the library has lots of activities and the library also has a Pokรฉmon scavenger hunt. After Rocket completed it, he was so happy to take Sunshine around and help her find them.

The library was enjoyable enough to stay until Captain was finished with his work day. We headed back to Brazel’s and Koko was back in the park! They weren’t quite finished but we could get back into our home while the remainder of the work would be completed on site. Wyatt went over everything with the Captain once it was complete and we went to sleep in our own beds(okay the kids slept on the dinette because we still had their room set up for mobility)

We woke up this morning and the Captain noticed we had a leak in a valve! The valve we had changed. Wyatt came right over and we discovered it was not the grey that had previously had the leak, it was the black tank. You cannot move with a black tank leak. It’s very, very dangerous for the environment.

Status update it is now 3:30pm and we won’t be moving today. Moving to a “first come first serve” RV Park on the weekend is not enjoyable. Also….Wyatt is still working on that black tank valve.

This saga to be continued…….

I’m making the Russian Soup tonight my friend Kadri taught me and the Captain just set up the breadmaker for a loaf of bread. Going to settle in, count our blessings, thank Wyatt for his hard work, and watch some Game of Thrones.