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  • Welcome to the RunnerDuck Blog

    We use to publish a monthly newsletter but decided to step up and do a blog instead. Just like our newsletter we will update this "newsletter" about once a month.
    Each month we bring you news from our little town of Coupeville, WA and happenings around the island we live on.
    We hope you enjoy our blog and we'd encourage you to sign up for email notification since it doesn't update all that frequently.
    Ken and Marilyn

Day 7 – Road Closed

First off, if you enjoy our little adventure why not click the Facebook Share link at the bottom of this post. It will tell your friends on Facebook that you are following us and they can travel along too!

We woke up with high hopes of seeing the Going to the Sun Road on a Red Bus Tour yesterday but it was not to be. The road was still closed with workers cleaning up the slides from the days before. They offered a truncated tour but unfortunately they didn’t offer any discount. They were kind enough to refund our $90. They showed us where the revised route was going and we decided to make our own tour.

In 2003 they had a huge forest fire in Glacier Park and they had some interesting signs that showed the devastation. Here are two pictures of the fire.

Here’s sort of the same view today.

You can see some recovery but it’s got a long ways to go.

Further out on Camas Road we drove through some of the devastation and here’s a close up of a sign and the recovery.

The Pole Pines are the first ones to recover because they like the sunshine and dry soil. Years later they are followed by Cedar and Fir trees that like the shade provided by the Pole Pines and a moister soil.

We had lunch in the park again but this time at Jammer Joe’s Grill and Pizzeria. The food was good and we were entertained by the “Whistle Pig’s”, a.k.a. Colombian Ground Squirrels. They burrow into the ground and stand tall like Prairie Dogs.

On our way back to camp we drove through a number of other camping places to see what was available and possibly better than where we are. The only other campground that we’d consider is the KOA as it’s a little further off the main road and further away from train tracks so therefore it should be a little quieter.

It was a good day and like every other day, despite changed plans we had a ball.

Today we’re thinking about trying to drive up to the pass again but they are forecasting some big thunderstorms from noon on and we’d hate to be caught in another landslide while driving through the area. I guess we’ll wait and see what the day brings.

Day 6 – Old McDonald Had A Lake…

Yesterday we finally got into the park. Unfortunately so did everybody else from around the world, it was busy. We drove up both sides of Lake McDonald a little bit to check out some of the other campgrounds. While at one of the stops we got the following picture of the lake and the mountains.

We arrived at Lake McDonald Lodge early enough to have lunch before our boat tour. Here’s the front of the grand old lodge.


The great room in old lodges in the National Parks are always spectacular, this one is as well.


We had a very nice relaxing lunch in their restaurant and then it was off to the tour. The tour boat arrives at the dock behind Lake McDonald Lodge. Here’s the back of the lodge.


The tour boat is the De Smet and has been running on the lake since the 1920’s.


The tour lasted about an hour and we had a nice park ranger tell us many things about the park. One interesting fact was that there are only 25 glaciers left and none of them can be seen from Lake McDonald. The snow that you do see is just remaining winter snow. He also said that all the glaciers will probably be gone by 2020. A definite sign of climate change. Here’s a picture of the mountains and some of that snow.


It was a really fun day and a good thing to do while visiting the park.

Today we are supposed to take the Red Bus tour up the Going to the Sun Road but they had some very heavy rains Tuesday that created five land slides that closed the road. They were working frantically yesterday to get it cleared but our tour bus ride might be truncated.

We’re glad we weren’t on the tour bus Tuesday as one of them was hit with a big bolder from one of the land slides. No one was injured but the bus now has a big dent. A number of people were trapped between slides but no one else was hit and everyone was evacuated without incident.

No matter what we’re having a great time and enjoying some wonderful weather.


Day 5 – Dam!

Before we get started today we’d like to wish our Grandson Hudson a happy ninth birthday! Happy Birthday Huds!

Yesterday we hung around Hungry Horse checking out some of the local stores and we made a run out to Hungry Horse Dam. The weather was threatening but never got any measurable rain.

The dam was completed in 1953 and is starting to show its age a little but it still functions well. We drove across the bridge and then stopped at the visitors center to read all about it. We both have been on numerous tours of the inner workings of other dams and decided to pass on the tour.

An interesting side story about Hungry Horse. The name came from two draft horses that wandered away in the winter and were found a month later a little skinnier and a lot hungry. So there ya go your history lesson for today.

In the town of Hungry Horse, population 900, we stopped by Huck’s to look at antlers and other stuff. Marilyn has wanted to carve some antler to see what it’s like so this looked like the place.

Sure enough she found a few small pieces that will do nicely. She’ll crank up the Dremel tool when she gets home.

We had lunch at the Huckleberry Patch Restaurant where everything seems to have a little huckleberry in it. Ken had a pulled pork sandwich and the BBQ sauce had huckleberry’s in it. The food was OK for lunch.

We’ve complained on our trip about the gift stores mostly carrying stuff from China. Well yesterday we stopped at the Montana Fur Trading Company and it was all hand made Native American crafts. Beautiful stuff all be it a little pricey. It was refreshing to see. If you’re ever in the area it’s well worth checking out.

We stopped at the local grocery store and discovered the same thing that we saw in the last Montana grocery store, the coffee isle and beer isle. I (Ken) don’t consider myself a Seattle “coffee snob” but I do like my coffee. In fact I buy green coffee beans from Costa Rica, roast them in my coffee roaster and grind them fresh every day, but I digress. In our stores you’ll have almost a whole isle of different coffee’s ranging from many local roasters to specialty blends. Here in Montana the coffee isle is about one quarter of an isle and only two rows of, yep you guessed it, Folgers!

Another thing we Washingtonian’s are big on is micro brewery’s and crafted beers. Here in Montana the selection is pretty simple Budweiser or Coors. Hopefully my Red Hook ESB will hold out until we get home.

Today looks to be a better day and we are off to the park.

Day 4 – Glacier Park Here We Come

Yesterday we woke to fog and which brought back memories of a previous trip to Glacier Park where we saw nothing above about fifty feet due to fog.

Fortunately it cleared up as we headed west. We’re always amazed with the vastness of Montana and it’s easy to see why they call it “Big Sky Country”.

We drove past Flathead Lake which is always impressive as it’s the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River, 191.5 square miles, wow!

We arrived in Hungry Horse a little early to check into the campground so decided to have lunch at the Elkhorn Grill. We had their Huckleberry Glazed Chicken Burger and fries which were very good.

After lunch we headed to Canyon RV Campground just outside of Hungry Horse. This is the entrance to the camp.

We have a nice little spot that has lots of trees to shade the sun and keep us cooler. It’s an older campground and a little run down but the people here are nice and it will work just fine for a base camp while visiting the surrounding area.

Today we are going to see Hungry Horse Dam and any other sites that we stumble upon. Wednesday and Thursday we plan to see Glacier Park as the weather is supposed to be nicer than today.

Day 3 – Hangin’ Out In St. Regis

Yesterday we decided to “tour the town” of St. Regis, Montana and as we mentioned the day before there ain’t a whole hell of a lot there. They do have flags up that say “Fly Fishing Capital of the World” so I guess if you’re a fisherman there’s lots to do. The surprising thing is we didn’t see any sporting goods stores, hum?

The hot spot in town seems to be the Travel Center where they have food, gas and lots of trinkets.

An interesting thing about the travel center is all the “Montana” and “Native American” items for sale are “Made in China”. Another interesting thing is that tour buses full of Asian’s stop here and have buying frenzies purchasing all these “Made in China” trinkets.

While we were in the center the skies darkened again followed by lightning, thunder and then another down pour.

After filling up our truck we went to a couple of antique stores that had lots of good ol’ ‘merican stuff! We didn’t find anything we couldn’t live without but it’s always fun reminiscing about the stuff previously owned by you, your folks or grandparents.

A quick stop at the town grocery store and it was back to camp for lunch and a quiet afternoon.

We went for a walk in the woods and came across this newly dug grave.

If you look closely at the headboard it reads “Digger, A Damn Good Dog”.

As for wildlife we think they were all napping. We did see a couple of interesting  butterflies that were hard to photograph.

We also saw Turkey Vultures flying around high up in the thermals.

Ken’s sister and brother-in-law recently purchased a “Monster Motorhome”. While we were having dinner a fifth wheel camper rolled in which gave a little different meaning to “Monster”.

Sorry Del but I think you’ve been trumped by a “Trailer” 🙂

So today we are off to Glacier Park. It’s been five or six years since we were last there and are anxious to see the area. Last time we were there it was fogged in the entire time and never saw anything above about fifty feet. And wouldn’t you know that this morning it’s fogged in 😦




Day 2 – Moses Lake to St. Regis, MT

We awoke to a better day without rain and hit the road for Montana. The good news is that it was a rather uneventful trip which is always good when you  are driving down the road.

We stopped at the rest stop near Sprague lake in Eastern Washington for coffee and a snack bar. Here’s what the lake looks like and it gives you an idea about the surrounding area.

We’re always surprised to see Seagull’s so far inland from salt water but this one looked different than what we have in Coupeville. The star like markings on its tail were different as were its red eye make-up.

We crossed into Idaho with little fanfare.

While going through Idaho we stopped to make lunch in Wallace, an old mining town.

We parked our trailer at the visitors center and while there Marilyn checked out the model mining tunnel.

Just another hour or so down the road we were in St. Regis, Montana at the Nugget RV Campground. We’ve stayed here before and it’s a very nice place with great managers.

Ken set up the outside of the trailer while Marilyn did the inside.

We now have a nice little spot for two days.

We did a lot of sitting and watching campers and nature go by, what a great way to spend an evening after a long days drive. We also watched a pretty good thunderstorm rumble through which dropped some sorely needed rain.

One of the critters we saw was a Western Chipmunk feeding on a blueberry bush. That kept us entertained for quite a while.

Today we’ll check out the big metropolis of St. Regis, all 319 people. Tomorrow it’s off to Glacier Park!

On The Road Again

Hi everyone, it’s been a while. We’ve been really busy relandscaping our yard and it’s finally all done. unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of it to show you right now as we are on vacation once again.

This time we are off to Glacier park for a week. We left at 9:30 Friday the 13th and not being too superstitious we had a good trip. Unfortunately a big thunder storm rolled through just as I was hooking up the trailer and slowed things down a wee bit.

Once we got through the ugly mainland traffic and up into the Cascade Mountains things got better. Eastern Washington was sunny and warm with temperatures in the low 90’s.

If you’ve ever driven through Eastern Washington there’s a lot of this:

That’s Jeannine our GPS showing the way, not too much work involved there 🙂

We arrived at Suncrest Resort in Moses Lake, WA around 3:30 and set up camp in 92 degree heat, ouch!

Once we got everything the way we wanted it we relaxed for a bit in the air conditioned comfort of our fifth wheel and then headed out for dinner.

We were going to stop by this nice little local fruit stand that we’ve been to before but they were closed. On to dinner at Bob’s Cafe. We’d never eaten there before and we always find it fun to explore new restaurants. Friday night is Prime Rib night and so that’s what we went with. It was OK but not as great as we’d expected for being in Eastern Washington. It was eatable and served the purpose of replenishing our bodies.

After that it was back to camp and a quiet evening.

Today we have thunder storms and rain again to start the day. The good news is that it’s a warm 72 degree rain.

We are off to St. Regis, MT where we’ll be spending two nights. Hopefully they will have a good internet connection and we can update you tomorrow.

You can also follow us on Facebook as we are posting some pictures of our trip as we head down the road.

Let The Snow Go!

Just a quick note to let you all know that we have survived the winter storm. Here on the island we usually are protected by the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains which limits the amount of rain or snow we usually get. This time it snuck around and dumped about four inches on us. That made for snow drifts over a foot deep. Here’s a picture from our house down the street to Penn Cove.

Being retired it was no big deal to just hole up for a few days and enjoy the beauty of it all. Having said that it’s been around long enough and time to go. The temperature never got about 28 degrees F yesterday and today it’s almost 45. Oh my what a difference a day makes.

Of course with the warmer weather comes the rain and wind. With all the snow melting and the rain coming there are lots of concerns for flooding in the lowlands on the mainland, here on the island not so much.

This winter we’ve had a heck of a time with our fish in the pond in our back yard. First the Raccoon’s got into it and reduced our fish count from around 43 down to about 10. Next came the Heron’s and they’ve been showing up with some regularity. We have an aviary net over the pond but that doesn’t stop them from checking it out. Today we saw a first, a Heron standing on the frozen pond trying to figure out how to get to what appears to be a dead fish floating just under the ice. The snow has weighted down the net and it’s frozen in the water. This picture was taken through the window and the red arrow points to the fish.

We’ll pull the fish out tomorrow when we can break through the ice and discourage the Heron from coming back!

Other than that things have been pretty quiet around here. The year is off to a slow start although the days seem to be zipping by. We’re not complaining as winter on the island is really that way, perfect!

We hope your year is off to a good start and continues that way for the duration. Be sure to check out our Weather Page to see what’s going on weather wise in our neck of the woods.

Loose Ends

Well we’re into the new year and off to a good start. For us the weather has been mild and life here on the island is pretty laid back. We though we try and get caught up with some loose ends from last year.

First of all we attended our grandson’s marimba concert on December 1st. I just got the video together and posted on YouTube. Here’s grandson Camden focusing on his next note.

Here’s the link to the YouTube video, 

As we had mentioned in and earlier blog we’ve been working hard on our landscaping and decks. We now have the decks done and most of the landscaping. Here are a couple pictures of the new decks.

This is the back yard as we were finishing up the siding around the fish pond.

This is the front porch.

There will be a planter around the porch when we are done and some sort of picket fence. Once we are done with putting down the sod we’re going to redo all the concrete as the almost sixty year old concrete we currently have is cracked and falling apart.

For Christmas we got a new weather station for our house. We get some pretty wild weather around here and thought it would be fun to keep an eye on it. One side benefit for all our readers is that the software allows us to post the Coupeville weather in near real time. This is what our new weather page looks like.


There are more screens than that on our RunnerDuck weather page as you scroll down. To see what our weather is doing right now go to, RunnerDuck Weather.

So that’s about it for 2012 so far. We hope you are having a good year and all your New Year’s wishes come true!

2011 in review

Happy New Year to all our loyal RunnerDuck Readers!

Thanks to all of you for making it fun for us to publish this blog. While we’ve been a little slow at updating since we got home from our long trip we hope to post a lot more in 2012. Stay tuned to see what’s happening on our little island.

Click on the link at the bottom of this blog to see all our “stat’s”.

Ken and Marilyn

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,700 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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