All Systems Go

We’ve completely changed things up at Fry Lodge this summer – particularly with respect to Fry Lodge on the go. Motorhome: gone. Minivan: gone. In their place: an Airstream trailer and a big red truck for hauling it.

In advance of our first long trip with the new set up, Ruby, Kristine and I did a quick overnight shakedown cruise to Fidalgo Bay RV Resort, while Henry attended a friend’s birthday party sleepover.

Pulling the trailer was no problem, with the help of our Race Red F150 3.6 liter V6 Ecoboost. I’m glad I got lots of practice maneuvering our little boat trailer last summer. I still need practice.

Even though it was a quick trip, Kristine, Ruby and I got in a bike ride this morning. We rode into Anacortes for a delicious breakfast at Dad’s Diner. On the ride along the water, Ruby remarked on the beautiful scenery, saying the only improvement would be the removal of the big refinery that kind of marred the landscape.

All systems go on the Airstream, though. New batteries – check. Tire pressure – check. Propane for hot water – check. Graywater protocol – check check. Can’t wait for our trip to Kelowna with the full Fry Family Quartet.

Advertisements

Happy New Year from Fry Lodge

The Fry Lodge Year-in-Review video is a good opportunity to reflect on an entire year of adventure, change and growth for the Fry Family. 2017 was quite a year. We made some nice friends in Bellingham, traveled all around North America… again, and [re]learned several skills, including snow skiing at the end of the year. We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.

Happy New Year to the Fry Lodge Faithful!

2017 Fry Lodge Year-in-Review | soundtrack by B.E.R. (The Night Begins to Shine)

Almost Home 

After 4000 miles, 12 campsites, 7 states, 3 provinces, 2 rodeos, 100s of bison and probably 3 gallons of ice cream, our 2017 summer RV trip is almost complete. Currently in Winthrop, our last stop, only one mountain pass and a 3-hour drive stands between us and our own beds. 

We sped through the Big Sky state so we could have a nice 2-day visit in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where Grandma and Grandpa Fry hosted us for a much needed pit stop. We had Grandpa’s famous ribs, Grandma’s delicious scones, and, of course, more ice cream. 

Having spent the past three weeks driving through forests, grasslands and corn fields, it was nice to spend some time on the water. This weekend we took two boat rides on beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene. Grandpa gave the kids driving lessons, which made the excursions pretty interesting. 

We packed a lot into three weeks. Though we’re happy to get back to Fry Lodge, some of us are already planning the next road trip. And ice cream cone. 

Top Five 

We’ve been traveling for 16 days, and I keep wondering to myself: How did we survive TWO months on the road last summer? We’re enjoying every stop, but I think we’d benefit from a few nights in one spot. Our daily routine goes like this: wake up, eat breakfast, pack up the RV, drive for 5-6 hours, stop, quickly make dinner, enjoy the main attraction offerred by our host location, collapse from exhaustion, repeat. Last night we roasted marshmallows in Yellowstone. The night before that we attended the Nite Rodeo in Cody. Three nights ago we watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind while camping in the shadow of Devils Tower. The night before that we found ourselves on the shores of Merritt Reservoir in the sand hills of Nebraska. It’s hard to keep it all straight. 

Last night by the fire, I asked the kids to name their top five stops on the road trip so far. Everybody’s list was different. As soon as one person would announce their top five, somebody else would revise theirs and berate others for their rankings: How could you leave out Grasslands? Does the Miles City KOA even count? How could you not include Mahoney? We all agreed, though, that we’re looking forward to sleeping in our own beds soon. A dip in Yellowstone’s Boiling River today might revitalize us. 

About to board the bus to the Cody Nite Rodeo (our 2nd rodeo of this trip) 

At Devils Tower ready to watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind (released in 1977!)

Standing in the warm water at Merritt Reservoir (not pictured: the questionable algae at our feet) 


Nebraska 

On Sunday, we wrapped up another four-day Eiting/Watson reunion at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park outside of Omaha, Nebraska. The last day of the reunion is always the hardest. Not only do you have to say goodbye to loved ones you won’t see for a while, you have to pack up the compound – usually in sweltering heat, working on too little sleep. As the morning goes on and the mercury rises, hugs are given and families peel off to catch planes. 

The reunion, as always, was a big success. This year we celebrated Jim’s 70th birthday and retirement. Meat was prepared.  

The cousins, after a several year hiatus, picked up where they left off. It was great to see the kids together again. Upon arriving in Omaha, I put them to work scraping dead bugs off the RV. 

The 100+ degree heat made daily trips to the swimming pool mandatory. The kids are now big enough to go down the water slides themselves. I still needed somebody to hold my hand in the wave pool, but I managed to few dives off the diving board.

I got some quality time with my good friend and brother-in-law, B.E., as we took a few long bike rides through the corn fields. That, besides trying not to drown in the wave pool, was the extent of my physical activity at Mahoney, unless you count the constant 12-ounce curls of La Croix.  

Jim and Mary Kay with all eight grandkids 

The Eiting and Watson clan’s dedication to family is inspiring.  These days it’s rare to see such large families, spread all over the U.S., commit to an annual reunion, not to mention travel to every cousin’s wedding. In other words, this family loves to party. 

The Fry Family Quartet was sad to say goodbye, yet excited for the week-long journey home that is in front of us. Sunday, after leaving Mahoney, we camped on the shores of the Merritt Reservoir in the sand hills of Nebraska. Tonight: Devils Tower in Wyoming. 

Badlands 


We pulled the burgers off the grill just as it started raining. By the time everybody grabbed their plates and scrambled into the RV, it was pouring. The wind started rocking our little motorhome, and lightning was flashing in every direction. The dustbowl we had entered just 30 minutes earlier was now a mud pit. Welcome to the Badlands. 

We ate our burgers and watched the lightning show as we waited for the weather to improve. Then, as quickly as it started, the rain stopped. Henry and I decided to take a hike to scope out the perimeter. As soon as we stepped outside, we saw a bison just a few dozen yards away, who had entered the camping area while everybody had retreated to their vehicles during the storm. 

We waited for the massive beast to wander off before Henry and I climbed to the top of a nearby hill. From there we got a nice view of the Badlands National Park. It’s pretty similar to the Grasslands of Saskatchewan – with a few more trees. Henry and I just stood up there and listened to the sound of nothing for a while. And then we heard the coyotes. 

In an earlier post, I mentioned our streamlined approach to packing for this trip. The exception to that is the bag of random stuff I brought along, including several rolls of duck tape, clamps and a Mexican blanket. All three items proved invaluable for making a wind break for our picnic shelter, pictured at top. AKA Fryman’s Hobo Hangout. 

Grasslands 

Nothing but rolling hills of grass, meandering bison and scurrying prairie dogs for as far as the eye can see. That’s what you can expect from a visit to Grasslands National Park in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan, which was our last stop in Canada before crossing back into the United States today on our road trip to Nebraska. 

We pulled in last night in the middle of high winds that made driving the RV like steering a sailboat. After a fitting steak dinner, we turned in – just in time for the amazing lighting show on the horizon. 

This morning we took a walk along the nearest ridge to watch the bison herds and avoid rattlesnakes. The woman at the visitor centre told us about the rule of thumb, which is that if you can’t  cover a bison with your thumb nail, you should get back in your vehicle. Fry Lodge, moving on. 

Fry Family Truckster 

oTENTiks: Part tent part cabin. For glampers