6/1/77 to 6/19/77
Once again we're off to see the boys. This time we headed out on the turnpike to see the Schoutens who live in the coal mining area where I worked when I graduated from Penn. We had a nice visit to start our trek to the West. We made excellent time driving to Chicago where we spent two days. We made a short stop at the Holiday Trailer Plant where I got a piece of the aluminum skin to repair the damage from the gas pump episode.
We enjoyed dinner and Eddy Duchin's music at the Palmer House. The usual attractions were given the "once over" but the unusual attraction was the Thorne Rooms exhibit. This was an exhibit of many miniature rooms, 1/12 scale, that were made by a very skilled craftsman. This was the period when I was making doll house furniture and I found the exhibit to be outstanding.
While we were in the area we took the opportunity to visit old friends, the McKee's, who had moved from our area. We continued on Rt.80 to Grinnel, Iowa and visited the Amana colony. They reminded me of the Amish in our area.
We struck out over Rt.80 to Grinnell, Iowa and it was fast driving across the prairies to Gothenburg, Nebraska. Nebraska had nice recreation areas. We stayed at one in Grand Island. At the camp site at Grand Island there was an outdoor pavilion and some group was having a great time square dancing. They invited me to join. I went to the trailer and woke Mary Liz and we joined in with a vengeance. We had a ball.
Route 80 followed along the Platte River which is reputed to be a mile wide and an inch deep. It was an interesting area and we continued to follow the Platte on Rt. 26 to Scotts Bluff. On the way we visited the interesting town, Ogallala, and Lake McConaughy. This route and area is turning out to have much Pioneer history. We saw the Bluffs and the Registry Cliffs. Pioneers had carved their names in the rocks. So many wagons had driven over the same route that the wagons had worn ruts in the rocky terrain.
Shortly after leaving Scotts Bluff we entered Wyoming with it's Indian history and many National Parks. We spent June 8th. at Fort Laramie where we visited the historical sites and the Warm Springs. Our campsite was in Riverton were we rested up for a key event of this trip; our visit to Yellowstone National Park.
We spent five days in the area and were able to see a lot of the spectacular scenery, springs, geysers, animals etc. Our route took us pass Coulter Bay and Jackson Lake and we entered the park from the South. Old Faithful was one of the first things we visited. We drove around the lower loop and saw the Paint Pots, Inspiration Point, Artist's Point, there were too many unusual sights to list.
When we left we returned to Coulter Bay and enjoyed the Tetons. We relaxed at the Jackson Lodge, had a good dinner, and arranged to take a float down the rapids of the Snake River.
As we worked westward we reached Idaho and drove through the Teton Pass; it was a hard pull. Also the Teton Dam at the Ririe reservoir and the associated Teton Flood Museum were interesting because the dam had burst and flooded the area around Rexburg. Another interesting experience was our visit to the first atomic energy plant.
We landed on the moon. At least the desolate landscape gave reason to the name, Craters of the Moon. It was another of the unusual places we have seen on this trip. As we left the Craters of the Moon we took a side trip to look over the Sun Valley ski area. It was off season so there was little activity. We spent the night in Caldwell and headed into Washington. The country side of East Washington was very dry and poor.
We headed westward, and as we approached Yakima, irrigation made a tremendous improvement and we enjoyed looking at the beautiful orchards bordering Rt. 410 and the Yakima Canal. We planned to go through the Chinook Pass and camp near Mt Rainier but it was getting late and we decided that we had better not go over the pass until morning.
It was too late to drive back to Yakima so we pulled into a parking area in one of the National Forests. It was deserted and we became concerned about being alone. Fortunately
another trailer pulled in and, after driving around a bit, it cozied up to us for the night.
In the morning we drove over the pass without trouble and enjoyed the beautiful crystal clear views of Mt. Rainier and the mountains. We drove to at a KOA camp in Bothel for two days and explore Seattle. Pike's Market and the Boeing 747 plant were interesting side trips.
At last the next stop would be Orcas Island. The ferry trip ($7.25) from Anacortes was becoming routine and we tended to ignore the scenery like the natives.
On the 19th. of June we pulled into Ed's yard and moved to West Beach the next day where we joined the many campers that visited West Beach every year.
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