On the Water in Washington


We were in Kennewick, Washington to help/watch our kids and grandkids move to the Spokane area.  In a week full of packing and working, I didn’t take many blog worthy photos…  But we did manage to sneak in a little fun!

Charbonneau Park

A hot afternoon in the water with family and friends – what could be more fun?


Flight to Spokane

While up at the “new” house in Spokane, we prepped the garage floor for a shiny protective coating.  It had to sit at least a day before we could paint the coating on… and we were driving back to Kennewick – about a 2.5 hour drive.  So Loren figured that was a good excuse to fly!  A couple days later we made a quick trip up, used the courtesy car Signature Aviation kindly lent us, put the magic coating on the garage floor, and scooted back down.  So if you like flying, here is a short clip of the flights.



Ashlyn’s Harp Recital

Ashlyn has accomplished something awesome – finished Suzuki Book One for harp!  This obviously demands a recital, and she should play all the songs of this repertoire.  She kindly let some friends and family members play with her on a few songs.  This recital took place in Washington State, under quite strict Covid rules, so it was held outside, in the back yard, with attending family groups properly social distancing.  It was a perfect day for it… please ignore the occasional car sounds in the background.



Click here for Ashlyn’s Harp Recital Highlights


The crowning event of the weekend was Ashlyn’s baptism!  She is publicly declaring her love of Jesus and commitment to serving Him.  The baptism took place in the Columbia River, adjacent to a nice park.  A great number of church members were there to celebrate with lots of heaven’s angels!




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An Interesting Sail

I was told we could go to a park and see the top half of a submarine!  I figured it would be buried halfway up the hull… but no, it’s just the “sail” of a submarine.  And not just any submarine – This is the USS Triton, the first sub to circle the earth submerged.  In April of 1960 she set off following the route Ferdinand Magellan used circumnavigating the globe 440 years earlier.  Converted to an attack sub in 1964, she was decommissioned in 1969, and eventually “beheaded” with her sail planted in this park in Richland, WA.  I wonder where her other parts ended up?

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Bryan and Ashlyn at the BMX track

The most exciting part of riding this bumpy track is “Catching Some Air!”  Here is conclusive proof both kids were very successful!  There is even evidence that Karen did a  lap or two!

We Ride The Hiawatha!

Tiny Campsite in  Bozeman, Montana

We spent a few days crossing Montana… and did fun things like get new tires on the Suburban, and a wiper arm adjusted which was a bit off after the motorhome’s new windshield installation.  We had forgotten how breathtakingly beautiful much of Montana is!

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On a morning run, I saw this beautiful blonde and had to take a shot!

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50,000 Silver dollars

This place was listed as having a free campground, ten sites with electric hookups.  We were a bit skeptical, but we got there about 5pm and got a nice site with power!

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The bar really seems to have 50,000 silver dollars on display!  Every wall covered with mounted coins.  We spent very little time with these two dummies.

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The best thing about the campground is the location was a perfect staging for our ride of the Hiawatha.  They even have water available – here we are filling up after a two day stay.

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Ride the Hiawatha

This trail follows an old rail line.  Fantastic scenery, lots of tunnels, even more super high trestles, and it’s all downhill!  At the bottom of the 15 mile ride, you can catch a bus back to the top.  My kind of ride!




Here is a little collage of most of the tunnels.  The ride starts with a 1.8 mile long tunnel… water drips from above, and therefore the trail is very muddy.  It is 44 degrees inside, so you emerge with numb fingers and if you don’t have fenders, you have a wide mud stripe up your back instead.  I mentioned the bus ride back to the top… It’s really not all the way to the top.  You have the privilege of riding back through the long tunnel to get back to your vehicle.




The first view exiting the tunnel is a small but beautiful waterfall.



I wondered if our funny little folding bikes would do well on this route, with so much of it gravel, but they did fine.

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Some of the trestles are extremely high!







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We packed a lunch, and we were very popular with the wildlife where we stopped.  This beautiful little deer wandered all around us, and didn’t seem at all afraid.



Here she seemed to stick out her tongue, then have a good laugh!


We were surrounded with the cutest little chipmunks… and maybe they got a bit of our lunch…





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I didn’t realize how muddy we’d gotten the bikes till we folded them up… A great time!!

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Savenac Nursery Historic District

We just happened to see the sign for this place near the 50,000 Silver $ camp.  We decided it looked like a good place for a morning run.  It was BEAUTIFUL!  There was a nursery here, founded in 1907.   It was severely damaged in the Great Fire of 1910,  and then rebuilt by the CCC in the 1930’s.  If you are not familiar with the CCC, look it up!  The Civilian Conservation Corps was a federal program to give work to young men in the 30’s and a bit into the 40’s.  It not only supported a lot of families, but it taught many men valuable trades, and created lots of beautiful buildings and bridges.  Many of these are in our National Parks, and the quality and style of the CCC structures is still a pleasure to see.

Here is all you see from the road…

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But on the grounds the view gets better…

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Here’s a monument to the men of the CCC, who designed this whole tree seedling nursery.

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This is the “Yellowstone Bridge”, a remnant of the Yellowstone Trail.  Built before the Lincoln Highway, the trail was to be a way for people from the east could get to Yellowstone by car instead of the train.  It was then extended west to lure tourists to the Pacific.  I think this bridge was built in 1913… not car worthy now, but still cool!



So the CCC laid out the plans for the buildings, roads and other infrastructure for this tree nursery.  At its peak production, it was sending millions of tree seedlings around the country annually.

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This foundation was for a three story tall “Extract the seeds from the pine cones” building.  There were apparently many levels like shelves, where pine cones were dried, then crushed, and seeds sorted out.

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Many of the seeds were then stored in this concrete vault.  Others went to be planted and nurtured into shippable seedlings.

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Kennewick, Washington

We finally tore ourselves from the tree nursery, and moved on to Kennewick.  We are in a pretty fancy RV “Resort”, here for some very special times with family!  That’s next weeks’ story!  Come on back!

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Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

“Spoonbridge and Cherry” is the centerpiece of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.  Over 50 feet long, it is an arresting sight!  The day we took our grandkids to see the Garden, it was very hot… water sprays out of the cherry stem and feels very good downwind!

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Absolutely impossible to get four people looking good simultaneously in heat and bright sunlight!


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Most of the sculptures had signs requesting not to touch or climb on.  This one invited climbing onto the swinging platform suspended in the center.

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Is this a “Bell-hop?”

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This looks like it’s made of driftwood.  The artist made it of wood, then took each piece and recreated it in bronze, added a patina to make it look like the original piece, then reassembled it into this airy equestrian.

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A Day in the Park

We got to spend some time with our grandkids while movers were packing up their house.  In addition to the Sculpture Garden, we spent some time on bikes and at the park.


Unusual Savory Cones

Once the house was partially packed and not very livable, we had dinner with the whole family in our motorhome.

I saw these cones somewhere, and had to try them.  So we took ice cream cones, and instead of ice cream, filled them with mashed potatoes!  Add a layer of peas on top and you have a novel dinner treat!

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After three days of packing, the movers had finished.  We moved our “home” from the campground to right in front of the house, where the moving van had been.  After a morning of final cleaning, we all left… the Nelsons headed to Lincoln, and we steered west.

This is our last visit to their home in Minnesota.


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McDowell Dam Recreation Area

This cute little lake near Bismarck, North Dakota, was in need of exploration, so we again got the kayak wet and offered our services.  Lots of beautiful birds in the reeds and trees around this peaceful lake.

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4th of July

We spent the evening of the 4th in our campground outside of Bismarck.  We could see lots of fireworks displays in the distance, but one trumped them all…





Notre Dame to Nappanee

Notre Dame University

Founded in 1842 by a Catholic Priest, Notre Dame is now rated one of the 25 top universities in the country.  We were camping in Niles, Michigan, with our friends, Jeff and Marilyn, who took us for a bike tour through the very impressive campus!  The architecture is awesome, and the grounds gorgeous! I know pretty much nothing about the individual buildings, so you just get to look at pretty pictures…






When we  were told we would see “Touchdown Jesus”, I really didn’t know what to expect.  This huge mural, on a building facing the football stadium across a grassy mall, says it all!




This garden is dedicated to the “Fighting Irish”.  Kathy, this shot’s for you! (Even tho’ it’s not Wyoming!)


South Bend, Indiana

We also rode a bit through South Bend.  A great bike path winds along the St Joseph river, and through some quaint neighborhoods.



As I’m sure all you car buffs recall, South Bend is the home of the Studebaker automobile.  Studebaker build wagons before cars were a thing.  If you want to see more Studie history, go back to a previous blog here.

Anyway, in 1876, two men met at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. J.M. Studebaker was showing off his wagons, and J.L. Mott was displaying a unique Renaissances-style cast iron fountain. Studebaker loved that fountain, and when he had built up sufficient capital, he ordered one – even more elaborate, and had it electrified.  In July of 1906 it was unveiled: changing colored lights, cherubs riding dolphins, and lots of turtles, topped with a majestic lady.  The fountain stood for decades, but was dismantled in 1941 and thought to have been sold for scrap.  However, John and Mary Seiler rescued the top third of the fountain, and many of the other pieces, and used them to decorate their golf course, and later their home.  In 2009 their descendants donated the pieces to the History Museum in South Bend, and later the original molds were found and used to recreate missing pieces.  2016 saw the second unveiling of this fascinating fountain, with all the original functions restored.  

We didn’t get to see any light show…



I’ve been interested in the Lincoln Highway, which was the first true east-west route across the country.  In South Bend, Indiana, the Lincoln Highway crossed the Dixie Highway, which was a north-south route, from Florida to Canada, inspired by the success of the the Lincoln.



South Bend is also a very nice modern city, with many beautiful buildings you won’t see any pictures of here.



Kayaking with Friends

Jeff and Marilyn then took us to New Buffalo, on Lake Michigan, where we both got out our tandem kayaks and had a great time exploring a bit of the lake, and then a ways up the Galien River.  It twists and turns through beautiful greenery and some nice homes.  We got out at the Galien River County Park, where they have a small dock and a boardwalk across the marsh and into the forest.  There you climb about six flights of stairs, and then out onto a long “Canopy Walkway” out to an overlook for a beautiful view of the river and the marsh.  Only a couple of my pictures survived! (More on that later…)




I’ll let you read about the famous Dewey Cannon.  It’s mainly famous because we ate in this park.





Newmar corporation built our motorhome, three years ago. It is a wonderful company, in a largely Amish area in Nappanee, Indiana.  The fabled Amish craftsmanship is evident in the way the motorhomes are built.  We had some problems with the fake leather upholstery starting to look like it had leprosy, and Newmar graciously replaced all the furniture!  The driver’s and passenger’s seats up front, two recliners and the couch.  Very nice!  And we are not the original owners, or under warranty.  A great company.  They also replaced my cracked windshield and repaired a ding I’d put on one side.



Here is our home getting ready for her new windshield.


While the motorhome was in the shop, we got to tour the area.  The Heritage Trail is an audio presentation we downloaded, and then followed its instructions through many of the little towns in the area.

Edward Bonney moved to this area in the early 1830’s.  He had plans to make a big city, and name it Bonneyville.  He built a large mill, using an unusual horizontal turbine to power the huge grinding stones.  He also tried to build a tavern/hotel.  Canals and railroads were the main methods of transportation then, and both ended up by-passing his great location.  His dream of Bonneyville evaporated.

The story is that he was charged with counterfeiting, arrested, and sent under armed guard to Indianapolis for trial. He managed to escape, and headed to Iowa, where he used his talents tracking down other criminals as a quite successful bounty hunter.

He later returned to Illinois, was indicted for murder, and then acquitted.  He became a postmaster, and authored a book titled “The Banditti of the Prairies, or the Murderer’s Doom!!”.   (I haven’t read it)  He then enlisted in the Civil War, and received a wound in the Siege of Vicksburg, which eventually killed him.  He was buried in the same area he had originally owned.

All this is to introduce the mill that he built, with the interesting horizontal turbine.  Some argue whether it was built in 1832 or 1837, but at any rate, it was quite a while ago.  The coolest part is that it is still in operation!  We had to purchase a couple bags of flour, stone ground in a water powered mill working over 180 years!!


In 1896, J.J. Burns built the Cosmo Buttermilk Soap Company in Goshen, Indiana.  With almost 80,000 square feet, they produced laundry soap, bath soap and toilet paper.  In 1910 the building was taken over by the Chase Bag factory, where they made sacks for flour (Like above), and many other paper products, including the little tags wrapped up in Hershey’s Kisses!  The term “Bagology” was utilized here, meaning “To elevate the production of bags to the level of science.”  However scientifically elevated, the bag business folded about 1982.  The buildings are now being converted to shops, restaurants, and museums.




Albert and Elizabeth Beardsley built a magnificent palace of a home in Elkhart, Indiana in 1908. They named it for a daughter they had lost as an infant. When they died, other family members lived in the home, till 1944.  Then the Deputy family moved in, and raised 5 boys there.  In 1969 the Deputys sold Ruthmere to the Beardsley foundation, which has preserved it and now offers tours.  No photography is allowed inside, and since most of my outside pictures apparently got wet (More on that later), all you get to see is the greenhouse and garage.  Trust me, the rest is opulent and amazing.



This is the garage, and I wondered why you would build such a large building as a garage and have only one relatively narrow door…



When inside, I found the reason… a large turntable, like you’d see in a railroad roundhouse.  You could drive a car in, turn a large crank, and the car would rotate, then back into position.  You could have several cars in the garage, and drive them in, rotate and drive out again forward.  Very cool.

In the garage today is a 1917 Cadillac, a 1916 Milburn Electric car, and a 1912 Pratt-Forty, which I believe was made in Elkhart.



Back in the Wisconsin Dells

We so enjoyed our brief time in the Wisconsin Dells, that we stayed in the same campground again on our way back to Minneapolis.  We also allowed more time for a kayak trip, exploring from downtown Wis Dells up the river to the Holiday Shores Resort and back, about 15 miles.






It was at the very end of this breathtakingly beautiful kayak trip that my phone slipped into the water as I stepped onto the dock.  I traipsed for a LONG time in feet of water and 9 inches of mud, looking for my prodigal phone, and finally giving up.  Some of the pictures apparently uploaded to the cloud, but many others didn’t, seemingly random.  If you find a soggy iPhone floating around your neighborhood, give me a call.  Sigh.