Monday, August 14, 2017


We'd noticed several shepherd's camps on our way to Lake Canyon Recreation Area, but didn't see any sheep. On our way back down the mountain, we spotted several flocks including this one that apparently had traffic duty.

While we waited for the road to clear, Turk checked to see if there were any openings for apprentice sheep dogs but the boss wasn't interested.

We stopped in a few towns along the way, visiting some virtual caches that we'd passed on the way north in May. This one, in the little town (pop. 406) of Marysvale, was very interesting. It highlighted a beautiful little pocket park that was a memorial to local servicemen.

We were going to overnight in Kanab, Utah but it was too hot so we kept going, gaining a couple thousand feet in elevation before camping at the Forest Service campground in Jacob Lake, AZ.

The next morning we stopped at a very popular cache located near where the Arizona Trail crosses the highway, before continuing on down the hill.

Since we were in the neighborhood, we had to stop by the launch ramp at Lees Ferry, just to see what was there. There were at least two commercial motor rig trips as well as a commercial oar rig trip waiting for their passengers. Just down stream, the rangers were doing their mandatory briefing before releasing the two private trips that were lucky enough to get launch slots.

Turk wasted no time heading down to wade in the river while I chatted with a couple of the boatmen.

Our last night on the road for this trip was at Bonito Campground. It's a Forest Service campground just outside of the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument borders. Normally, we would boondock on the other side of the highway, but this campground didn't have any reviews in Campendium so we gave it a try simply so we could write a review.

The campground was neat and clean, but many of the parallel parking style sites were on the wrong side of the one way road, and nearly every site required leveling, sometime significant leveling. The campground was only about 20% full when we pulled in, but by sundown, about 75% of the sites were full.

All in all, it's been a good trip. It's going to be HOT when we get home!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Potters Pond (GC3B)

We'd tried to get here when we came through Utah in late May but the area was still gated because of snow. Now, approaching mid July, the wild flowers were blooming everywhere.

We found a camp spot within 1/2 mile of where the Miller Flat Road (FS0014) leaves Utah Highway 31 between Huntington and Cleveland Reservoirs. The gravel road south is very good, and we saw lots of large trailers and toy haulers along the way.

In spite of the country being well about 9,000 feet elevation, there are extensive wetlands, ponds, and reservoirs throughout the area.

Depending on the angle of the photo, Potters Pond was quite picturesque. Other angles showed how close last fall's forest fire came to the campground, burning right up to the edge of the pond.

The Potters Pond cache is only one of the caches in the area, but it's the one most sought because it is one of only three remaining caches that were placed in August, 2000.

We parked out of the way near campsites 18 and 19. These equestrian campsites are at the end of the road and there is no turn-around, so staying as far to one side as possible will help campers who need to turn around. This turn around is within a couple hundred feet of the Potters Pond 10 & 59 Year Birthday Bash cache which we used as a waypoint.

The first section of trail was very evident, passing through a meadow of wild flowers while paralleling the north side of a creek.

There's a large log across the creek downstream from where we crossed, but the creek was low enough that we decided to rock hop across the creek. Just across the creek is a letterbox hybrid cache, Potters 2 Present: Int'l Geocaching Day 2014! which became our second waypoint.

From the letterbox cache we headed south through a clearing where we saw some of the early signs of aspen windfalls that would become an integral part of the hike. The route through here was just a geotrail of bent grass but no bare tread. There were a couple barrels along the way that had clearly served as targets at some point.

There was a route that appeared to be an old overgrown logging road part of the way up the hill, with the route being very obvious until after we passed this larger windfall that was easier to go under instead of over.
From that point on, there seemed to be multiple routes, sometime with some bare tread, sometime with shorter vegetation. There were lots of windfall and sometimes it was easier to go around instead of over, but it was very clear that folks were finding lots of different ways to get there!

We'd been warned about the mosquitoes and had prepared accordingly so they weren't an issue as long as you kept moving. Once we got the cache open and started looking at the logbooks, the bugs started to descend so we didn't spent much time at the cache. We signed the log and

paused long enough to get a picture of me. I got a picture of BJ as well, but that picture gives away the location of the cache.

I started working on completing the Jasmer grid last summer as we traveled to the Northwest and then picked up three of the last four I needed when I volunteered in Jim & Sallee's office for a couple weeks last August. For nearly a year, I've had one last hole to fill and with this cache it's finally done.

A huge thanks to BJ for putting up with the significant detour on the way home and for joining me for this cache.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Oregon to Utah

Back to our regular programming...

We left Sutherlin early, heading up the North Umpqua River. It's one of those roads that doesn't show on most highway maps, and it's not fast, but it is beautiful. We've seen lots of columnar basalt in our Northwest travels, but this was the first time we've seen the 'ends' exposed. Very different!

We cut across the north side of Crater Lake National Park, looking for a spot to slip our drive from Oregon to the mountains east of Salt Lake into four more or less equal days. We wanted as much elevation as we could get for our first night since the temps were unseasonably warm. We ended up in a great spot less than an mile up FR3715 at the Quartz Mountain SnoPark on Highway 140.

The next morning we visited a cache less than 1/2 mile from our camp and then continued our our way south and east. We passed some folks along the way that I thought were geocaching. We stopped at the Oregon/Nevada border for a cache and they caught up to us. Not every day you run across other geocachers in the wild.

Thanks to geocaching, we tripped into a very interesting memorial park in Winnemucca. They had armament on display representing several major wars, but nothing newer than Viet Nam. Home for the night was the New Frontier RV Park in Winnemucca. Power for the A/C was a priority, and an adjacent restaurant eliminated the need to do dishes.

I'd really  wanted to boondock on the Salt Flats but the temps were too high so we ended up staying at the KOA in West Wendover. They know they're the only option and price it accordingly.

I didn't anticipate the WWII history in Wendover, Utah and West Wendover, Nevada. Apparently, the air base here played a key role in the preparation of the Enola Gay crew.

On the last day of our transit, we spent more than a couple hours crossing the Salt Flats. They say it's interesting at night as you can see the curvature of the earth made notable by watching the oncoming headlights rise out of the horizon.

While most of the flats were dry by early July, some areas were still flooded, making for some interesting reflections but nowhere to pull off to take pictures.

We finally got to where we were headed and found a site at the Lake Canyon Rec Area. With about 9500' elevation we were finally high enough that windows and fans were enough to keep the temps reasonable. It's boondocking but with designated sites and no services.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Best Sister Possible

My sister Sallee was the first born in our family - a family that eventually grew to include her and three brothers.

I was the second child, but by the time I came along about 18 months after Sallee, her tendency to question everything was already obvious. She was a young explorer and didn't expect to be stopped.

Sallee was a leader and a teacher. She taught me all sorts of stuff, including how to climb furniture, skate, and read. I was very slow learning to speak because there wasn't any need. Sallee would speak for me.

Pretty cute kids if I do say so myself. Easter Sundays were carefully documented in Mom's collection of pictures.

As the family grew, the picture count decreased. About the only pictures were either from camping trips or the pictures for Christmas cards.

Sallee developed an aversion to having her picture taken, especially if she was surrounded by brothers.

Sallee went away to college and came home with Jim. Turns out, Jim wasn't just a flash in the pan. They married, and spent their entire married life in ministry of one form or another.

Sallee was the smartest one in the family, maybe because she would actually study. She eventually went on to get her PhD.

I loved having a slightly older sister but hated being challenged to be 'as good' as my sister. I especially enjoyed the one class we took together in college. She got an 'A.' I got a grade that wasn't good enough to transfer! I figured if authors wanted you to read something into their writing they would have said so.

Sallee and Jim enjoyed their life of ministry together.

Last September she was diagnosed with brain cancer which was first noticed when it took her ability to form a sentence - tough for someone who has served as a counselor to ministers and missionaries for the past 20+ years.

Today, Sallee took her last breath on this earth and has gone home to her Heavenly Father. I'll miss her smile.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Small Town, Oregon

We spent a night boondocking in Brownsville's Pioneer Park so we could wander around town. A very casual operation with a field set aside for tent and RV camping. Totally unmarked - just pick whatever spot catches your fancy. If the host isn't around, you just stop by City Hall to pay the $15 fee.

A lot of the little towns work hard to create a connection to the historic Oregon Trail.

Historic houses vary from the well-kept or recently restored, to those that look like there's no possibility for revival.

Lots of brick buildings with masonry effects to highlight their imposing presence. (The quilt shop was just down the street to the left.)

All of the towns highlight their connection to the rivers. The Umpqua was dammed in 1903 - this dam dates to 1916.

It seemed like lots of the little towns were in a contest to see who could get the most color on their main street. I'm not sure if the flowers were picked because of the building color or if it was just luck. The baskets of flowers were impressive!

Roseburg has to get the nod for the most unique 'traffic calming' devices - concrete stumps! Elkton, however, one upped them by using concrete trees at the bridge coming in to town.

Farmer's Markets, both public like this one, and individual farm stores, were ubiquitous. The peaches were wonderful as were the tomatoes and zucchini.

Turk didn't seem to be concerned at all about the eagle attacking the fish. I was really surprised that there wasn't any info to be found about the art or the artist.

We took a day trip out to the ocean in search of fish and chips. We found the town of Elkton on the way, and almost stopped at the Pastry Mill but we'd already had breakfast and had other ideas about lunch.

Monkey Business in Charleston had 5 stars from Yelp for their fish and chips. Unfortunately, the camera wasn't fast enough to get a picture of the product. Suffice it to say, we'd come back!

We spent a week at Timber Valley, an Escapees affiliated park. They had a parade of decorated golf carts to start off the 4th of July.

It appears that they also had golf cart drag races, but that wasn't on the schedule. This is the second Escapees park we've stayed at. They're different from one another but both are highlighted by friendly people.

With the holiday in the rear view mirror, it's time to move on.