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June 09, 2011

Loop de Loop

A Welcome to Spring















     Looking at the map I see there is a "mountain loop road" that starts about 8 miles from the camp ground and makes a loop through what looks to be some pretty rouged mountains and eventually comes out again near the RV Park.  Figuring the best I can it looks like it will be roughly 100 miles from start to finish.  Looks like the road is paved all the way around with a few small mountain towns thrown in so we can maybe find a stop for lunch.  Sun is supposed to be shining today so lets load the jeep and head out.  Three cameras, several Hershey bars, pop, water, banana, and a couple apples and we're off.  Estimate is at an average of 40 mph, stopping for pictures, and lunch we should be back in about 4 to 5 hours.

     The trip did not start out well as we missed a couple turns early on and had to back track several times.  Once we got further along there were no turns to screw up on and all we had to do was follow the road we were on.  In other words the Loop de Loop. 

     The map showed a lot of National Forrest Camp Grounds along our way and upon reaching the first one along a river we decided to drive in to it and check it out, plus nature was callin'.  We were stopped just short of the privy by some forest tree trimmers and their chain saws as they were felling tree's and told us the park was closed.  They paused long enough for Kathleen to use the privy and I had a chance to ask them some questions.  I wanted to know if they knew anything about the route we planned to continue on and they commented we had come about as far as we could go as just up ahead the pass was still closed from snow and there would be a gate across the road.  If we intended to ever come back there was a visitor center just up the road a bit and if they were open we should stop and get a better map.  The road was paved at this point but they indicated that very shortly it was going to turn to gravel/dirt and would stay that way for better than half way around the loop.  Dang, we were so looking forward to this drive.

     The visitor center was open and a very pleasant gal informed us that the gate had been opened, the forest service had plowed about a quarter mile of heavy snow just over the pass and the route was declared safe to travel as of yesterday.  She commented that even the locals didn't know it yet and seemed quite pleased that she could be the bearer of such good news.

     As noted above with the first picture of the flower, at the lower elevations with the snow having just melted a few flowers, proud of their ability to survive, are poking their heads from the ground.

     The higher we climbed the less flowers we saw but the cascading water flows coming down the sides of the mountains became ever more present.  The river we were following was running quite full.

     We were soon to leave the paved road and continue on with most of the road becoming one lane with pull offs should you meet someone (we never did).




nice road---huh?















Road Change















Wait for Me















     The drive was awesome.  The fact that we were making the trip and in approximately 50 miles of narrow gravel/dirt road we saw only one other vehicle and he probably was a forest service person, made for a fun day.  That four to five hour drive turned out to be more like seven.  One hundred miles, seven hours------not bad.

     We never did see the sun and it felt like we were in a rain forest most of the time but it also didn't rain.


One of hundreds of water falls















small stream---river was huge















how much further 














     A great way to spend the day.  The week-end is coming and we will reserve that for family time, but next week if we can find another adventure we will go for it.








June 05, 2011

Just a Drive in to Town

Skykomish River















     This evening we drove in to town (Sultan, WA), to mail a few items and to have a pizza at one of the local parlors there.  Just before reaching Sultan one goes over a bridge that crosses the Skykomish River and as you can see above the Sun was shining on the snow cap in the area of Stevens Pass.  It was a beautiful day with the temps in the low 70's and no rain

     It really doesn't matter if you turn left or right going out of the RV park the drive and scenery is always spectacular.  

Spada Lake Washington

Spada Lake Washington















     In 2008 Kathleen and I did one of those fun things that we do from time to time.  We look at the map, try to find a road that looks like it would make a fun drive, and then we just take off to see where it will go.  If it seems to dead end on the map and has a unique feature (like a lake), at the end of the road, even better.  Such was our 28 mile ride from the Thousand Trails RV Park in Washington.  At the end of this little blog I will repost a link to the pictures and our blog of 2008, but for now lets talk about our return trip to Spada Lake a couple days ago.

     Back in 2008 when we reached Spada Lake we were surprised to see the lake nearly empty with stumps showing everywhere (as you will see if you check out the link), but the drive to the lake and the area itself was very pretty.  (The lake had been drawn down to repair the dam.)

     Now here we are in 2011, with an opportunity to again make the drive to Spada Lake to hopefully see what the lake might look like when full.  There has been a tremendous amount of snow in this part of the Cascades over the winter and we knew that the lake would be near the snow line but figured with the jeep we could make it.

     Staying near us here in the RV Park are CoCo and Bob Giacolino also full-time RV'ers and close friends.  We asked them to join us on the trip and away we went.  Now, 28 miles is not a long ways but when it is virtually a steady climb up in to the mountains from the altitude we are camped at it makes for a fun and strikingly beautiful drive.  We followed the Olney River at times, crossing several bridges and witnessed numerous water falls as the melting snow above us flowed toward the lake.  Stopping for pictures was the plan and we did plenty of that.

     The following is a little slide show I have put together as all the pictures tell the story and I hated to tease you with only a few.  Click on the link and enjoy.

                                            Slide Show 2011

     I hope you have returned to the blog and will take a look at what Spada Lake looked like when just Kathleen and I visited it in 2008.  Click on the following link to check it out.  To get the pictures from 2008 you may have to click another link found there.

                                           Blog and Pictures 2008

     We had a great trip with CoCo and Bob.  On our return to the RV Park Kathleen and I were treated to a fabulous dinner at their motor home. 


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