Motorcycle Rider Advisory

by Dennis Peterson

My Favorite Harley Road King

My Favorite Harley Road King


Motorcyclists are advised to be particularly cautious when riding the backroads of the Okanogan. The recent heavy rains have washed a great deal of gravel, pebbles, and sand onto the roads. These are often hidden by our twisty curves and tree shade. This is also true for many neighborhoods in the low hills. Road crews have been running street sweepers but they are imperfect at removing the danger.

Be further advised that some potholes that are many years old have had the loose filler pounded out of them by rain, hail, and traffic.

Nine Mile Fire Zone

Nine Mile Fire Zone

Nine Mile Fire Photos

by Dennis Peterson

We took some photos on the Nine Mile Road just north of Circle City (which was not affected by the fire). It is amazing to see how effective the fire retardant and dozer clearings are at stopping these fires. We spoke with one of the fire response team who showed us maps of the containment line. Smouldering stumps and roots are still hot but this area is now considered contained.

The outcropping shadowed this retardant drop and allowed the fire to squeeze through. This level of precision is amazing.

Fire Retardant

Fire Retardant

Dozer clearings and dirt roads make fine fire stops. This is the view towards Oroville from Nine Mile Road. West Corral Road can be seen on Mt. Hull. Pink tape is seen while driving along the Oroville-Chesaw Road indicating “areas undergoing closer scrutiny” by fire investigators.

Looking west at the north slope of Mt. Hull

Looking west at the north slope of Mt. Hull

This photo is looking north. Homes spared by the wildfire appears untouched. Point Drive can be seen in the distance. This section of fire was seen burning from our Oroville home as shown in an earlier post here.

Looking north from Nine Mile Road

Looking north at Point Road from Nine Mile Road

This photo shows the effectiveness of dozer clearings for stopping the fire in its tracks. Circle City is just out of view to the right in this upslope view of Nine Mile Road

Very effective dozer clearing

Very effective dozer clearing

Leaves In Three? Leave It Be!

by Dennis Peterson

Visitors to our North Okanogan outdoors should be aware that we have a bounty crop of poison oak growing along our trails, streams, and rivers. Some of us have it in our backyards as we learned the hard way. Some leaves and stems growing between the planks of our fence fell under the pruning shears but not after a health grab and pull to get most of it exposed to cut away. Unknown because so few leaves were exposed, it was poison oak. That revealed itself a few hours later when wife Nancy developed classic blisters and rash, but not until she had inadvertently spread it on her gloves and clothing to here arms, legs, and face. She’d knelt on a leaf that left a particularly serious rash and blistering.

While still unaware of the problem she’d rinsed her hands and legs with water and that spread the oil contained in the plant, and things really started getting worse, quickly. It is amazing how easy it is to spread this stuff when you don’t know you’ve been in contact with it. The best wash is apparently alcohol or liquid soap and water. Over the counter aids are baking soda, aloe vera, and Witch Hazel but these treat the itch, not the urushiol oil that causes the outbreak.

Be very careful around this plant as even the dead leaves are toxic. Here are some things to look for.  The tear-drop leaves come in clusters of three but damage to the plants may disguise this. The leaves are often shiny, 4 – 6 inches in length, some but not all have broad serrations, and the veins are pronounced. If in doubt assume the worst and stay clear of suspicious plants.

Here’s an interesting factoid – common plants that are related to poison oak or contain the urushiol oil are mangos (the sap and skin of the fruit), cashew trees, and ginko trees.

We hope you have a wonderful time while visiting the most beautiful place you’ve never heard of, the North Okanogan!

Poison Oak Leaves

Poison Oak Leaves

Here’s what the knee looks like after 10 days – very much improved but still a ways to go to get back to normal.

Knee 10 days later

Knee 10 days later

Mt Hull Puts On A Show

by Dennis Peterson

Sunday night’s spectacular electrical storm was preceded by an even more spectacular rainbow. One like you’ve never seen before, it was brilliant red like glowing embers, and arched over the entire expanse of the mountain. What an amazing view. The north end of the rainbow faded before we could get a camera going, but the south end hovered above for a quarter of an hour.

Red Rainbow Over Mt. Hull

Red Rainbow Over Mt. Hull

Another bit of eye candy happened earlier when a brilliant patch of sunlight penetrated the cloud cover to produce this dramatic image:

Sun Spot on Mt. Hull

Sun Spot on Mt. Hull

After a night of electrical storms, crashing thunder, and wind gusts rustling the trees the venerable old mountain is showing an angry side. A fire is burning this evening (07/20/2015) just out of view over the ridge. This isn’t a sight anybody wants to see in our Okanogan. Let’s all hope it doesn’t blow up and is quickly contained.

Mt Hull Fire

Mt Hull Fire

Update: 07/21/2015
No smoke this morning on Mt. Hull. We watched one of the big 4-engine jet water bombers make a pin-point drop last evening as the sun was going down and shortly after things started changing for the better up there. The people on the ground had to have been working their tails off too to knock this fire down so quickly. Thank you to everyone that puts their lives on hold and in harm’s way to fight these fires.

Update: 10:30am
Down but not out, the smoke plume is in evidence again but there are no billowing clouds. A flying crane just arrived on scene but all the activity is beyond the hilltop, out of view.

Photos by Dennis Peterson