Hailey was ready to hit the road as we pulled up the hill and back onto the highway from our campsite at the John Day dam on the Columbia river.
The north shore highway on the Washington state side had light traffic as compared to the Interstate across the river on the Oregon shore. We re-joined 395 and headed northward through Kennewick and Pasco, and crossed the Columbia one more time as it curves back to the north west.
From there, it was a couple hours of easy driving up to join I-90 and roll non stop through Spokane and into Coeur d’Alene. No obvious and inviting camp spots were evident, and the border was in our sights.
It would have been wise to stop prior to the border because of all the deer and elk crossing the road and grazing in the narrow ditches, but we could smell home and carried on driving very carefully.
Donated some California firewood at the border, but otherwise the crossing was painless and quick. After a short visit with friends at the St. Mary’s River B&B, a coffee at Tim Hortons, and another quick stop to visit with friends at a hockey tournament in Invermere, it was on through Kootenay National Park, on the west side of the continental divide. B.C. is somewhat like California with higher than average fuel prices, so I stopped near the divide to dump in my spare fuel to get me to cheaper prices back in Alberta.
It had a bit of a winter look there, but at least the temps were above the freezing mark. Closer to home, I stopped to check my mail and was pleased to see that almost 6 months worth of mail still left plenty of room in my large box alongside the country road.
The last couple miles of gravel road had some wet sections, but at least the trailer did not get covered in ice and road grime like last year’s return.
Getting near my house however, was a different story. The entire driveway and yard had a between 2-3 feet of hard snow, and the stuff at the entrance was rock hard where it had been plowed off the main road. After dropping Hailey and the rig in a nearby cleared parking area, the big GM made a few attempts to back in. But the snow and ice was so hard that the truck stayed on top, before inevitably falling through and being hung up on the frame. A regular snow shovel was no match for this stuff, and it took an hour or two shovelling with a spade to free the truck for several more attempts with the same result!
I carried Hailey over the snow banks to get to the house, and I was pleased to find the house in perfect condition. In no time I had the heat turned up, the water on, and a hot shower pending. Hailey took a couple moments to realize where she was, then had a big grin on her face as she raced around getting re-acquainted with all her old haunts, hiding places and sunny windows.
After a couple days the snow plow guy felt sorry for me and brought in his tractor to cut a trail to the house. Even his 4WD tractor had a hard time to move the heavy banks of snow and ice.
Luckily, the temperatures were warm and the sun was hot, so all the snow in the area has been melting very quickly.
I had hauled my satellite internet and TV gear over the snow banks and set it up, so it was not long before I was back on the air, and enjoying TV on a rather large screen from a comfortable recliner. My home desktop computer was in need of many updates of course, including the upgrade to Windows 8.1 It took many hours of downloading overnight (when my data is free) to download the 3.62Gb needed for the upgrade. Windows was not very transparent about what it was doing, but overall the upgrade went well. At least for now, I think 8.1 is a big improvement with a much more familiar look. Prior to getting online, Win 8 was reluctant to connect to wi-fi and networks. All the trouble shooting suggestions it has – involve getting help ONLINE! Huh?
Various section of this blog’s setup are still not working and Google seems to have lost interest in fixing the problems with their blogger program …
Wheeling It has been enjoying their time on the lakeshore where I spent some time in November, and the Bayfield Bunch are enroute to their own snowy fate in Ontario.
Don & Donna, who shared my beach campsite on Lake Mohave have been all the way to the Texas coast, and the ocean beaches.
Just down the road at Dogpound north, John & Brenda have been doing their best to melt the snow after their earlier return from the Phoenix area. Not sure if their horses have forgiven them yet.
It looks like I will be mostly relaxing around home for 10 days or so, before I return to my summer job, helping defend Alberta’s forests from fire. Something tells me it won’t be much of a problem for a while yet!