While we were humbled to have several options during the two-month period between homes, we looked forward to settling into a home again. This post shares details of the “in-between time”. (While it is lengthy, our posts will hopefully be part of a book for us and our family one day. Thus, it’s a journal to enjoy.)
As we traveled the two months between May and July, we pinched ourselves because it wasn’t really full-time RVing as such. Our typical cache for keeping on the go around the country was pared down so we could accommodate photo albums and boxes of photos that were more heat sensitive. Some of what we took with us while full-time RVing was actually in the storage unit this time. At one point, we realized that parts of our household and possessions were in six different places: storage unit, son and daughter-in-love’s basement, guest room at Steve’s Mom’s, living room of our friends’ home, bed of the pick-up, and the trailer.
Beginning May 3, we stayed 30 days at the City of Pullman’s RV Park at five different sites and on five different occasions. Having full hookups, free Wi-Fi, and being close to downtown made for nice stays. Because we are not permitted to have stays beyond 10 days, we camped elsewhere or traveled in between those five stays. Knowing that the camping trips we originally had in mind for the summer were not going to happen, we were thankful to have three stays other than the City RV Park.
From May 20-28, Dworshak State Park in Idaho provided a relaxing eight-days to really catch our breath. It’s situated along western Idaho’s Dworshak Reservoir. Although it was quite the welcome to have 36 curves including several hairpin turns that became somewhat challenging with one-lane capacity for lengthy RVs. Our campsite at the Freeman Creek Campground was one of the larger sites with ample shade, green grass, a small creek running behind us, and a vault toilet just a minute’s jaunt over the creek. During mid-week it was extremely quiet. Friday through Monday was a busy time with families and boat activity on the reservoir. At Freeman, we had electric and water hookups. Mid-stay we towed the trailer to the park’s dump station to empty the black water and gray water tanks.
While at Dworshak, we hiked several trails. Tall trees and a dense understory made for comfortable hikes. Most evenings we ventured down to the reservoir to soak up approaching dusk after sunset. Each time a gaggle of Canadian geese left land and glided smoothly downshore honking along the way. From morning to night, we were treated to a mixed chorus of bird songs.
We also took a day-trip to scout other campgrounds on the east side of Dworshak Reservoir. These scouting trips are helpful since websites with campground information don’t necessarily indicate low branches, narrow roads, etc. From scouting, we have a couple of possibilities for future camping though. It’s nice because Dworshak State Park is only 90 minutes from Pullman.
From June 2-17, we took a roadtrip to Denver with just the truck involving hotel stays. Thankfully because freezing temperatures were no longer a potential concern, the trailer returned to RV storage without being winterized. However, because of our first summer heat wave in the forecast, we moved some heat sensitive items to Jeremy and Michelle’s and some food from our fridge and freezer to their home.
On June 2, leaving ourselves somewhat flexible since we needed to break camp, empty the three tanks, shift fridge contents to a cooler, and get Tranquility the Trailer back to RV storage, we went as far as Butte, Montana. Since we didn’t have the trailer, we decided to take U.S. 12 across Idaho in order to experience the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway. This stretches 174 miles from Lewiston, Idaho to Lolo, Montana. We scouted the National Forest campgrounds along the Byway for future camping trips. On the 3rd, we drove to Sheridan, Wyoming. Our final day, June 4, we arrived at Steve’s Mom’s home in the Denver area.
What a relief it was to finally HUG our daughter Stephanie and Mom! Our hearts were full with gratitude and tears of joy flowed! It felt SO good to have time with them. We and our family had all committed to safe practices during the pandemic and then received our vaccines. We hadn’t seen one another since July 2020 when we returned to Colorado from Pullman to move our household from storage located in Denver metro.
For a week of our time in Colorado, we also house sat for our friends, Linda and Steve. They were gracious in providing this opportunity to stay in their lovely home with its beautiful deck for morning coffee. We enjoyed a coffee and lunch outing with them as well. During our Colorado stay, Steve’s cousins, Paul and Luci, invited us over for a barbecue dinner one evening. Our friend, Judy, joined us for dinner one night.
Our time included various technical projects that Steve enjoyed doing with his Mom. Because we live 75 miles from Spokane and major shopping, Diane shopped for household goods for our next home. There were items that we didn’t have in our first Pullman home either. Plus we needed some clothing and shoes or boots. Between IKEA, Kohl’s, Target, Cabela’s, Lowe’s, Joann Fabrics, World Market, and Trader Joe’s, good deals or sales abounded.
While we were in Colorado, Diane’s sister, Laurie, brother-in-law, Tom, and doggie Cody, were on a road trip between Montana and New Mexico. Timing it just right, we met them at a Starbucks just off of I-25 for morning coffee as they traveled home to New Mexico.
On June 11, we set aside the day to “head to the hills”. We hiked on the Colorado Trail from Kenosha Pass. It was our favorite place to hike when we lived in Colorado. From there we had personal fruit pies at the Shaggy Sheep in Grant. A beautiful drive that we’ve experienced many times is over Guanella Pass. In fact, we camped in our 1999 Toyota Sienna on the pass in 2012. We stopped in Idaho Springs for Beaujo’s Pizza to go. What a gorgeous day and soaking up time in nature together.
We left the Denver area on June 16 with 100 degree Fahrenheit temps forecasted. It seemed that the furnace blasting heat wave just would’t relent! We adjusted to just two travel days. Leaving at 5:30a.m. before rush hour helped. Our overnight was at a Best Western in Laurel, Montana.
Up on June 17 at 5:30am, we had breakfast sandwiches and coffee from City Brew. The worst of the heat wave was past with a return to normal temperatures. We loved watching Montana’s landscape evolve with the various mountain ranges, the Yellowstone and Clark Fork Rivers, ranches, and Big Sky. In order to make better time, we stayed on I-90 rather than U.S. 12. As we reached St. Regis, Montana, we couldn’t help but suppport the Montana huckleberries.
Reaching Lookout Pass on I-90 at the Montana/Idaho border, we sensed home with only 150 miles to go. We arrived by 4pm, moved the trailer from storage, and nabbed an extra night at the City of Pullman’s RV Park.
After our June 17-20 stay at the City RV Park, we awoke early on the 20th bound for Kachess Campground in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Our friend, Ellen, said that many national forest campgrounds were now taking reservations. It seemed that roughly 40% of the campsites were first-come, first-served and 60% reservable. We heeded her advice by reserving the first week of May. Before leaving, we made sure that our fresh water tank was filled. When dry camping, we fill the fresh water tank prior to camping in a national forest campground. Sometimes a campground may have fresh water, but it may not be potable or hasn’t met the water testing standards. Typically national forest campgrounds are miles from a water fill location at a truck stop, rest area, or municipal facility.
Taking Washington state highway 26 to I-90, it was 230 miles to Easton, Washington. Much of route 26 was arrow straight as the highway seemingly stretched for miles with ups and downs over rolling sections of the terrain. Once on I-90 after crossing the Columbia River and summiting Ryegrass Pass summit, we were captivated by snow capped Mount Rainier in the distance. Crossing the plains and the Columbia River and Yakima River basins, we were treated to an agricultural bounty from fruit trees to asparagus and grain crops. Irrigation made this type of agriculture possible. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest stretches on the eastern slope and north and south from the crest of the Cascade Mountain range.
From June 20-25 we camped at Kachess Campground. It’s situated along Kachess Lake and surrounded by the mountains, streams, and beautiful trees. In the campground, we hiked along the lake shore and biked around the campground. An easy drive from the campground, we parked at the trailhead where we could bicycle through the Snoqualmie Tunnel. Another day we drove to the trailhead of the Pacific Crest Trail and hiked among the cedars, across several streams and snow fields. Because the daytime temperatures were creeping into the 90s and near 100 degrees, we tried to get out earlier than later for activities.
On the second day at Kachess Campground, we reviewed our strategy for the upcoming gap in our itinerary. Talking with the campground rangers and volunteer hosts, we quickly learned that we’d be out of luck to nab a first-come, first-served site. Even more significant was checking the weather forecast for the region with an excessive heat advisory beginning the day we needed to vacate our campsite. It wouldn’t be wise to consider boondocking on public lands. In order to access a strong cell phone signal, we drove out of the national forest. We needed to find a campground with water and electric hookups. Thankfully our first call was to Whispering Pines RV Park in Cle Elum, just 20 minutes down the road. They had one space left for the days that we needed.
On June 25, after our five-night stay at Kachess, we packed up and moved to Cle Elum. The temperatures climbed to 100-106 degrees. The Nash is built for four-season weather, so thankfully we have wonderful insulation. The Coleman air conditioning did pretty well, though adding fans and covering windows with blankets, pillowcases, and dish towels helped to insulate the double-pane windows. We didn’t go over 86 degrees inside the trailer. While in this location, we got up early and walked the Palouse to Cascade State Rails-to-Trails Trail. We rented numerous RedBox movies and watched the Olympic trials. One day we washed laundry in the clubhouse. Because of the heat, we decided to create a make-shift clothesline across our awning to dry our clothes. They were dry in record time, saving on electricity and $4.00 in coins.
The night before leaving Cle Elum, we hitched the trailer so we could be ready to hit the road early. On June 29, we awoke at 4:30am and were on the road just before 5am. The temperature for Pullman was forecasted for over 100. With no services on the two-lane road once we were off of I-90, we didn’t want to take any chances of the engine overheating. We arrived in Pullman at 9:15am and 91 degrees. The next day we learned that buckles formed from the heat on the road that we drove, so we made a good call.
Back at the City RV Park in Pullman, we ended up having 10 nights, June 29-July 8. The first three nights we were at the best campsite with its full shade. Our last seven nights were in the tightest site with full sun. Thus we ended our two month hybrid lifestyle in triple digit heat, windows covered inside, air conditioning running, and looking on the bright side. The bright side included walk-about-towns, patronizing local coffee shops, and a surprise cookie delivery arranged by daughter Stephanie for Steve’s birthday. We took in a couple of softball games at the City Play Fields across from the RV Park. Along with son Jeremy and daughter-in-love Michelle, we watched the 4th of July fireworks. Diane went to the Sunshine laundromat on a 103 degree day. Their air conditioning was laboring, yet Diane stayed comfortable. Thankfully, four loads took only 90 minutes to wash and dry. It’s the beauty of having four appliances running at once.
Finally, July 9 arrived. It was time to finish clearing out the last of our belongings from Tranquility the Trailer. Diane defrosted the freezer, cleared the refrigerator and pantry, and cleaned the sinks and bathroom. Steve emptied the fresh water tank and hot water heater. We contemplated when we might be camping again. Because of the move into the townhouse and the persistent heat and air quality advisories, we suspected that it may not happen until winter when we’ve contemplated camping along the Pacific Coast. At the very least, we’ll be ready to go when the timing is right.
Thus ended our two month hybrid lifestyle at ten different campsites, a roadtrip to Denver, and during a record heat wave. Our 2018 Nash 26N by Northwood Manufacturing was the perfect four-season trailer to have as our home on wheels during this hot summer. We are indeed grateful for remaining safe and having options. Now we turn our sights on getting settled into our new-to-us home.
Shifting gears even at “Life at the Speed of Sanity”!
– Diane & Steve