<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Postcard Library 6
Little Log


Stephanie is one of those persons who is always mailing postcards back to family and friends. Somehow, by writing in very small scribble, and filling not only the intended message area, but with sideways writing, arrows, and otherwise using virtually every available area on the postcard, she can get an awful lot of information onto a very small space. She'll be reporting in here from time to time on our travels, experiences, impressions and general state of mind.

Postcard: The Commercials are In!

August 8, 1997

Tonight the first influx of boats of commercial fishing season arrived in Griffin Bay. For the next several weeks, this usually quiet bay in front of our home will also be home to these vessels. We will see large fishing boats, purse seiners, spending each night in "our" Bay. We'll also see the smaller boats, called gill netters, spending days here. The bay at night will be bright with the boats' spotlights. We will be able to hear, (sound carries amazingly well over water), the fisherfolk talking about their day's catch. It is a time when the work-a-day world catches up with our portion of San Juan Island. There's a special excitement in the setting sun's reflections over the water.

When the commercials are in, it is not the best time for us to go fishing. Each of these large vessels carries a smaller boat. When the larger boats find their chosen fishing spot, they sit quietly in the water. Now, the small boat slides off the stern of the larger and begins to describe a wide circle around it -- a circle of net. Slowly, this net is pulled in, shrinking to become a "purse" to catch the salmon. Since the bottom of the ring is also closed, the fish cannot escape by swimming down. Imagine many of these rings all over the water surface, and you can see that the sport fisherman will have to steer carefully to avoid being trapped among them. Also, the fish become quite spooky, and much less likely to bite.

But while it is not a good time to compete with the "big boys" out on the fishing grounds, it is an amazing time to barter. Each evening, when the boats come in for the night, our neighbor jumps into his small outboard boat and goes out to meet them. He takes with him his dog and something home baked (his wife is a wonderful cook). Sometimes he has bread, sometimes muffins. Tonight he has a blackberry pie. I have never seen him return without at least one salmon. He claims that his way of "fishing" is much more successful than ours. He may very well be right. As I write, he is returning with a five pound salmon. Our larder is fishless!

Postcard: Mosquito Junction

July 26, 1997

How many times have we traveled through small towns to find that we had missed that "special day", -- a special occasion, a rodeo or fair, had occurred last week, or was coming up next week. Today our luck changed. We found the 14th Annual Paisley Mosquito Festival !

Paisley, Oregon is a small town about 50 miles north of Lakeview on Highway 31. We pulled off on a conveniently wide shoulder and were immediately greeted by a friendly soul sporting a yellow t-shirt with a picture of a mosquito "thumbing" a ride to Paisley. His (the man's, not the mosquito's) words of welcome spurred us on to explore the various events taking place.

We had missed the morning parade; however, there were mint-condition old cars and "polished till it shines" pickup trucks, some with placards stating which festival princess it had carried. ne stretch white limousine had two signs. One said that this was "Buzzard Bob's" taxi, which "had to keep circling (like buzzards) because it couldn't back up. The other said that this was the car carrying Ms. Mosquito!

The first thing we heard was someone on a megaphone urging people to come to the horse apple toss. Two young boys from Klamath Falls had just discovered what this sort of apple is. "Don't do it," they urged, "you have to throw poop!" There was also a rolling pin throw, and a mosquito calling contest.

Although it was still an hour away, people already were lining up for the open pit bar-be-que. Beef had been cooking for 24 hours in a deep pit, and judging from the number of folks, it is wonderful stuff. If we hadn't had a large breakfast not two hours earlier, we would have joined the line.

Walking down one of the two main streets, we passed the skeeter market. Knives of all sorts and sizes, rugs, bird houses, jewelry, old books, all were for sale. There were several stalls selling items mechanical, all in different stages of repair. At the elementary school, they were having a quilt show. Nearby was a craft show and sale. Here I saw a doll's house. Not the usual two story with attached garage kind, with frilly curtains in the windows and fake food in the refrigerator, but a one room log cabin, with a loft for the children's sleeping quarters, a fireplace for cooking, table and chairs. Just out of town, a rodeo was taking place. Tonight there will be a dance, starring Bob Doolittle and his Lonestar Revue!

Before leaving, we stopped by the General Store. Here, you can buy everything from biscuits to bicycle tires, from seed to snowshoes. There was even a styrofoam cooler with "serve yourself" fishing worms.

What a fun way to spend an hour on this morning. Next time, we must take in the rodeo. I did get a t-shirt and will remember our morning in Paisley each time I wear it!

Postcard: A Short Turnaround

July 22, 1997

We got home from our Moscow trip on Sunday night, and, clean clothes in the duffel, were back on the road on Wednesday morning. We spent Wednesday night in Sedro Woolley, Wa.

This is a small logging town at the western end of Highway 20, the North Cascades Highway. We have driven through this town every time we take the road, which is quite often in the summertime, but never found the city park. Full hookups, very small (about 30 sites), but suitable for large rigs, this little park will be on our "we'll stay here again" list. A short walk brings you to the Skagit River, where you can fish or boat or river raft. There is a large grassy area for picnics, and two cabanas for large group gatherings. It is off the highway and very quiet.

Next to Kelso, Wa. The Brookhollow RV Park is a lovely place to stay when exploring the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, or taking a day's trip out to the ocean and the fishing spots there. It, too, is on a river, the Coweeman, and you can walk the levee separating the park from the water's edge. Here the sites are well spaced, all level pavement with grass between the rigs.

And so to Oregon. About 20 miles south of Bend is the LaPine State Recreation area. Here there is a nice state park, with so many chipmunks and ground squirrels that our Brittany forgot about dinner or water. In fact she forgot about *everything* except watching them. The chipmunks were not at all afraid of her. We tossed out a few morsels of doggie dinner, and in they came -- just out of her reach. Then they added to their "tease the dog" game, sneaking up behind her to steal the food right out of her dish, and help themselves to a little water while they were at it! One even got so bold he (she?) came right up and sniffed at her toes. The dog seemed frozen; trembling in every limb, she didn't move a muscle.

After a couple of nights at Juniper's Reservoir, one of our favorite RV campgrounds, in Lakeview, the southeast corner of Oregon, we will be off to California. Tom has meetings in San Francisco; I intend to be a tourist for a few days. I plan to visit the DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park, walk through Chinatown, take a cable car to Fisherman's Wharf. Then home. We will see how long we stay this time.

Postcard: After School

July 16, 1997

Since we have a slightly different schedule this year, we have been able to take in some of the "after school" activities offered here in Moscow. What fun! Each morning, we stroll up to the yellow and white striped tents to get our morning coffee and sweet treats. Various Moscow businesses donate donuts, sweet rolls and various breakfast breads, along with our wakeup brew.

There is an activity almost every night. Sunday evening, we spent a most entertaining hour with Arthur Hart, Idaho's Historian Emeritus. With slides both historical and scenic, of old times and modern, we were introduced to this lovely state. On the scenic side, there was a picture of the mighty Snake River, pouring through a gap so narrow you might think you could jump across it. There were shots of Silver City, a town of some 20-30 inhabitants. However, most of the town could accurately be described as "ghost". Pictures of the desert, the mountains and the Palouse made a trip around this state practically mandatory. On the historical side, the (in) famous Nez Perce Wars, with pictures of Chief Joseph and his tribe made me angry all over again at the treatment afforded these people by the encroaching settlers. There were pictures of the old Boise Penitentiary, and some of its picturesque denizens from an unruly earlier era. When visiting Boise, one can visit the "Pen", and see the initials of some of these folks.

Monday, a group of the "old time fiddlers" entertained. Not only were some of these folks truly old timers, but there is also a set of junior "old timers" now, learning to fiddle. The only problem is, they don't seem to be learning in any sense of the word, they are already musicians.

We are camped right across the street from the Idaho Repertory Theater. With plays ranging from classic to contemporary, serious to silly, creepy to comic, this group selects its actors from across the country. Performers and production crew audition for their roles. Directors and designers are invited to join. Currently, this group is performing four separate plays. One is set in the third smallest town in Texas, Greater Tuna. Another takes place in the summer of 1860 near the Oregon Trail. Classic is represented with an accomplished production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The 50's are celebrated in the fourth production, Forever Plaid.

As if this weren't enough, there is "Rendezvous in the Park". Western, blues and Jazz- singers and bands perform weekends in the East City Park. The day is far from over when the sun goes down in Moscow. What fun we are having - After School!

Postcard: The Road to Moscow - Mountains, Lakes and Rivers

July 11, 1997

A sudden and severe thunderstorm over the Sawtooth Mountains made up our minds for us - our next leg of the trip to Moscow would be up the west side of Idaho. So we headed toward McCall, a lovely resort town on Payette Lake.

Ponderosa State Park is located about 3 miles NE of town. As its name would suggest, the sites, about t 140 total, are in lovely old Ponderosa Pine trees. There is a beach with a couple of docks; many people bring their boats either for fishing, water skiing or just exploring.

This town can be a jumping off point for many backwoods adventures. The small, (population fewer than 30), town of Yellow Pine is about 25 miles away via a dirt road. The traveler arriving there finds himself in the River of No Return (Salmon) Wilderness area, and will find lakes and hiking galore. Other towns of similar size include Burgdorf, Warren, and Big Creek; the McCall ranger station can give all the information this intrepid explorer could possibly want.

On the other side of the coin, McCall has a theater, several very nice restaurants, a most challenging 18 hole golf course, and many intriguing shops selling everything from t-shirts to furniture. In the winter, Brundage Mountain offers skiing, and in the month of February there is an ice carving competition. McCall has been one of our favorite "haunts" since we lived in Boise, an embarrassingly long time ago (are we really that old?).

Traveling north from McCall, we passed the entrance to the Seven Devils, the group of mountains on the Idaho side of Hells Canyon. This is another wonderful area to explore, although not one for an RV. A day trip, preferably with 4WD, will offer many wonderful vistas.

Having traveled through Lewiston, Id. and west into Clarkston Wa., we are tonight at Chief Timothy State Park on the Snake River. Here we have hookups, and are camped right on the river's edge. As I finish my postcard, Tom is sprucing up the outside of the 5th wheel. It is now my turn to make the interior shine. Tomorrow we arrive in Moscow, and we want to look our best. More later!

Postcard: The Road to Moscow - Traveling the Stanley Basin

July 8, 1997

We have traded the unseasonable summer rain of Western Washington for the seasonable warm Idaho weather and are loving every minute of it! While 104 was a bit warm for Boise, at higher elevations, the weather is just perfect.

Highway 21 leaves Boise, travels to Idaho City (where we recommend the breakfast"sobbin' potatoes" at Calamity Jane's), then continues 33 miles to Lowman. Here we spent two nights at Mountain View Campground. This is a USFS campground, situated right on the South Fork of the Payette River. During the day you can watch the kyakers and river rafters float right past your camp. At night, the river's murmurs whisper bedtime secrets. While there are no hookups here, for a couple of nights we are most self-sufficient.

Last winter was very hard on this area. Just after Christmas there was a big snowstorm. This was followed by warm Chinook rain, on the heels of which came a hard freeze. The river was backed up and transformed into Payette Lake, stranding eight persons for several days in the process. When the spring thaw finally came, so did mud slides, and in places the road damage is still being repaired.

It is 60 scenic miles to Stanley, Idaho. You cross the 7200 foot Banner Summit on a well maintained road, and enter the Stanley basin. Here it is not unusual to see coyotes, deer, fox, elk, and, in the summer, Sandhill Cranes. These large birds are being successfully reintroduced here, and seeing a pair of them is a real, but not too rare, treat.

Stanley is a small town on the upper reaches of the Salmon River. There is a school, grocery store, gas station, winter snowmobilers and summer river rafters. At the ranger station, just south of town, you can get maps of the area and find the various lakes accessible for either driving, hiking or biking. Here also you will find my personal candidate for the most scenic RV dump station in the continental US. This generally less than favorite task can be accomplished in the midst of the most spectacular mountain scenery. Look in any direction, and see the peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains. It almost makes the task enjoyable.

After following the Salmon River for five miles you come to Redfish Lake. Here is a lodge, beaches, riding stables and eight campgrounds. Our personal favorite is Glacier View campground, but all have marvelous views, and water- either Redfish, Little Redfish, or the Salmon River. While this area can be very crowded on summer weekends, during the week you can usually find a spot.

Good news! The last time we were here, this lovely lake was marred (for me), by the presence, and noise, of jet skis. Now they have been relegated to a certain portion of the lake and the noise has largely been eliminated. At a smaller lake in the area, jet skis have been banned entirely.

Tonight we are checking the weather forecasts and checking our maps to determine which way we shall travel to Moscow. Shall we go east into Montana, then due west back into Idaho over the Lolo Pass, or should we travel north up the western side of Idaho, through the resort town of McCall and follow more of the Salmon en route to Moscow? At this hour, I haven't the slightest idea.