July 24-25, 2015. Heading back to Redding

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We are on the road heading home.  I can’t believe I have spent the last few weeks doing whatever I want whenever I want.  I haven’t carried my phone for most of it.  Sometimes we would simply curl up and read.  I am just finishing Fall of the Giants, almost 850 pages of a page turning saga of 4 families leading up to and during WW1.  I certainly feel a whole lot more educated.  Doug and I also enjoyed Eye of the Needle by Ken Follette as a book on CD’s. We either both need hearing aids or a new radio in this RV.
We both agree that staying in one place for 5-6 days is ideal.  Traveling during the busy months of summer has made availability sometimes an issue….since we only like to plan our next move.  Traveling in an RV really suits us as couple.  Being able to pee anytime you need, taking a nap when you feel sleepy, making a cup of coffee and a snack on the road are just a few of the pluses.  The people you meet, Doug and I both agree, is the very best part.  The division of labor is very obvious…he does most of it.  I am starting to learn some of the outside stuff like hooking up the Jeep, putting the air brake on, and plugging in the electricity.  I make black and gray water, but I don’t “deal” with it yet.  I also don’t and never will drive this house on wheels – its 40 feet long and weighs 34,000 pounds!  However, today we met a couple that looked to be in their 80’s….. They travel around and make funnel cakes at various events.  He unhooked their coach and she took off driving it ( at least 40 feet long) and may have parked it as well.  That puts me to shame : (
Doug is taking a little nap at the rest stop and I think I will go for a walk in one of the beautiful rest stops here in Oregon (Washington also has beautiful park like rest stops).  Should I mention that Canada has essentially no rest stops?  They almost aren’t big enough for an RV, no bathrooms, only a trash and recycle container.  We have seen very little trash or graffiti this trip.  Just to mention, in Washington, every road seems to be lined with trees.  It is beautiful, but you cannot see a thing. You may be driving next to a beautiful lake, a mall, or a farm and never see it.  For those of us that enjoy the journey and the vantage of a high perch, the scenery was disappointing from the highways.  However, the two friends we visited……to get to the their homes required a drive down a canopied driveway…..Oh so beautiful.
Did I mention that our bikes were stolen last night?   Yep, the last night of our trip.  We were staying in a rather nice Elk’s Lodge in Salem, Oregon.  Doug woke up and saw our bike cover cut and just hanging sadly on the rack.  Who ever took them knew exactly what they were doing since they were locked with a heavy cable.  These were brand new Treck’s that Doug and I gave each other for Christmas in anticipation of this trip.  We realize that in the scheme of things, this really isn’t important, just disappointing.
We travelled a total of        2838 miles of this beautiful world in the RV and another 300 miles in side trips in the Jeep.  We thank God for this privilege to see His hand in this amazing place we call home, for now.
Now to plan the next trip this fall!

July 23, 2015 Sequim & Olympic National Park

Which should I choose?
Which should I choose?
Coors - always, Coors!
Coors – always, Coors!


Today we thought we were going to hike to the top of the world, Hurricane Ridge.  From that point you see a 360 degree vista of  Victoria, BC, Northern Seattle, Pacific Ocean, The Straight of Juan DeFuca, and Mount Olympus.  We did hike, but into a cloud or maybe it was heaven.  There were times I couldn’t even see Doug.  We saw deer and one very discriminating one that choose Doug’s Coors over Pepsi.

Buck in the fog
Buck in the fog

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July 22, 2015  Port Townsend, Washington

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An interesting little town.  In the late 1800’s this was the port the where the China Clippers docked.  It was THE northwest trading center for the U.S. This was a thriving Victorian town until steam power replaced the sailing ships. This allowed ships to navigate Puget Sound under power.  At about the same time (turn of the century) the railroads finally made their way to the west coast.  Now large amounts of agriculture products and manufactured goods from America’s midwest could be brought to the new Pacific port of Seattle.  Port Townsend essentially became a ghost town overnight.  It was so quickly abandoned that the town could not afford to modernize and, therefore, didn’t tear down any of the buildings.

Today it is a tourist town with a downtown full of REAL Victorian buildings.  It is caught in a time warp. I read somewhere it was called the “Paris” of the US…….I don’t think I would go that far.

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July 21, 2015   Today is Four Weeks

 

Doug and I are still speaking to each other.  No fighting either.  As you that know him know…you simply cannot fight with Doug.  He is a delightful traveling companion.  He makes sure that all systems are go and also make all the travel plans and is the navigator as well.  I am truly on vacation.   Do you know how hard it is to keep 400 sq. feet clean?  I can clean the whole coach almost without moving :  )

Gig Harbor with Mt. Rainer in the distance
Gig Harbor, WA

Although I would love to explore Gig Harbor more, we are moving up closer to Port Angeles today.

July 18 -19, 2015 On the Road to Gig Harbor

We spent most of one day driving through the North part of Washington close to the Grand Coolie Dam ( the largest dam in the US).  We are still amazed that this part of Washington is desert, dnot pretty or inviting in any way.

Our rig in the Washington desert
Our rig in the Washington desert

To continue on the “not so pretty note” we stayed at an Elk’s Lodge in Tacoma.  Our spot was next to the side of the building.  Inside there was a concert raging on with a band playing loudly.  They said it would be over bymidnight.  Did I mention that the front of the RV faces their container dump site?  The price was right and we were tired.  You won’t find nicer people than at an Elk’s Lodge though.

The next day was spent visiting with long time friends of Doug’s. First were friends from his Lamaze class when he and Benny were pregnant with Matt……Debbie and Robert Secombe.  They have kept in touch for over 30 years.  Debbie and Robert both have worked for American Airlines, he as a pilot and she as a flight attendant.  They currently live on Fox Island in a home built in 1908 that they have restored.  We get to see it tomorrow.  The evening was spent with a classmate from Stanford, Carl and Jude Mundt.

My Stanford fraternity brother Carl Mundt. Reunion at last!
My Stanford fraternity brother Carl Mundt. Reunion at last!

They live on Bainbridge Island in a home that is right on the waters edge with a spectacular view of Puget Sound.

View from Carl and Jude's front deck! Spectacular!
View from Carl and Jude’s front deck! Spectacular!

As the crow flies, there home was only 15 miles from us, but with all the islands and bridges to traverse, it took us over an hour to reach their home.   We really thought we were imposing as they had just arrived home from a weekend of sailing their 40 foot sail boat.  Carl delighted us with the most delicious halibut dinner and Jude with a wonderful strawberry crisp.
A couple of very interesting things we learned…….Bainbridge Island was the real setting for the book Snow Falling on Cedars.  I remember loving that book.  After seeing this area, I think it will be a reread.  They, as a family also did a very interesting trip while their two girls were in 4 th and 7 th grade.  They swapped homes with three families in Europe, home schooled their girls and traveled around the world for 15 months.  As you can see, one evening with them was not nearly enough.

Yesterday we spent with Debbie and Robert.  We originally were going to spend the day taking a ferry and exploring Seattle.  I was a little under the weather, so we stayed at their house.  It was so nice.  Their home is on Fox Island and was built in1908.  It was originally built on the water but was later moved to it’s present location.  It is a little funky with many obvious additions that made it absolutely charming.  I loved touring every single room.  Robert is about 6’4″ and I am sure he has to bend some to enter a few of the rooms.  We also walked a little and saw several deer.  Debbie is a real animal lover and is involved with animal rescues.  There was a sweet cat in almost every room.

Debbie and Robert in Fox Island
Debbie and Robert in Fox Island

 

July 16-17, 2015 Osoyoos, at the southern end of Okanogan Valley

This is the only desert in Canada with temperatures in the 3 digits range last week.

Slow Down! Kids Playing! and One Way. Is there a message here?
Slow Down! Kids Playing!
and One Way. Is there a message here?

We are in Lake View RV Park looking across the street to a private beach.  The surrounding area is desert like with lots of hills covered with vineyards. This morning I can see a group of women doing a boot camp on the beach.  Maybe I should go for a walk.  Actually, yesterday, Doug and I did a bike ride along this side of the lake after our short drive down here.  It is a very crowded area with a range of accommodations from resorts to seedy camping sites.  This park is tiered with 5th Wheels high above us.  Each of the sites are individually owned and most are here for the summer.  People get around in golf carts. We are considered “transients”.  This is a far cry from our camp site at Lake Louise and twice as expensive.  The girls would love it here.  If the wind dies down, we may rent a kayak this afternoon.

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This is truly a gem in Canada and a place we would like to spend a few more days.  There are fresh fruit stand everywhere on the roadside.  We  would love to load up, but are not sure what will be confiscated at the border.  Cherries, apples, and grapes are the predominant crops.

Lunch overlooking the vineyards
Lunch overlooking the vineyards

The wineries primarily do reds in this area.  Had lunch with a view at the  NK’MIP  Resort. This is an Indian resort.  We have been told that this chief is quite an entrepreneur and has a beautiful winery, restaurant, resort, RV Park, cultural center.

Tickleberry Ice Cream
Tickleberry Ice Cream

We also went to an iconic place called Tickleberry’s for ice cream. One of their flavors was “sweet & hot”. ….the sweet was mango with a vanilla base and the hot was jalapeño pepper.  It was actually good when I tasted a small amount.  I am so boring that I didn’t buy it.  This little ice cream store was sort of out in the middle of no where. Doug and I walked in and it was swarming with people.  Doug had no choice but to wait in line :  ). (Doug here – I WILL wait for ice cream – always!)

Our final stop was a general hardware store that we were told we couldn’t miss seeing.

Bonny in her new favorite hardware store
Bonny in her new favorite hardware store

I was thinking, what is wrong with these people that a hardware store was a highlight of this town.  It was like an Ace on super super steroids, 5 levels full of everything your little homey mind can imagine.  We dropped $180 there 😁 (Doug here… WE Bonny, WE? I bought a single filter for the motor home – cost $12. Where’s Dr. Phil when you need him???)

July 15, 2015 Rails to Trails

Coming through a tunnel
Coming through a tunnel
A bike ride is in order today.  We are definitely not “mountain bikers”.  I do not like steep hillsides, roots, heights, or hairpin curves.  I like it wide and flat and preferably paved. A restaurant at the end would also be nice. That is why the Rails to Trails seems to suit us.  These are paths, often in the mountains, that are abandoned rail ways that have been converted to bike or hiking trails.
The one we rode today was 24 Km (by the way, I am getting good at converting Km to miles) or about 14.5  miles. It had 36 trestles and 4 tunnels.  It was a nice ride, unfortunately the area had sustained a large wild fire about 10 years earlier and the devastation remained evident.  The good folks of Kelwona volunteered many many hours to replace burnt trestles and make the area rideable.
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To get here you had to take a fire road that was about 5 miles long and just gravel and dirt.  Even with our Jeep in 4 wheel drive and Doug at the wheel, we were fish tailing.  I was sure we would die before we got to the trailhead.  I was also sure that no one else would be there.  To my surprise, the parking lot was full.  My bad….we even found that a small RV had traversed that road…..it was still there when we left.  They were with either really slow or got back to town some other way or died of fright…I didn’t look to check.
Our shadows
Our shadows

Doug’s Update – We are back on the net!

Bonny and I have arrived into the land of WiFi and thus can now create the next chapter in our travel saga. This morning I will include some random photos from our adventures.

First the Grizzly Hunt:

Bonny and I rode a ski lift at Lake Louise into the mountains to walk a couple of trails. BUT things changed… when we met Olivia!

On the way to the top
On the way to the top

On the trail was Olivia – Bear 57! I took this photo at about 40 yards handheld and it turned out just fine! We were fine too. Olivia seemed more interested in digging in the dirt than following us.

Olivia's big day!
Olivia’s big day!

Our hiking was curtailed and we of course retreated to a wonderful restaurant for dinner. Bonny still was wearing her Bear Spray canister in the restaurant! What a trooper!

Post Hotel Restaurant - Roughing It Smoothly!
Post Hotel Restaurant