Our Amazon Affiliate Link

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Monday I have Friday on my mind......

Back in my workaday life these words from a 1967 song by the Easy Beats were often on my mind on Monday.  Next to Saturdays, Friday has always been one of my favorite days......how about you?  Can I have a show of hands?  On Fridays the phone at the office didn't ring quite as much, and often when I was self employed the last 9 years before retirement I would leave the office early to get a jump on the weekend.  Of course, a Friday preceding a long holiday weekend was even better, no?  Instead of getting a normal long weekend (3 days) we would often leave Friday morning to go out of town, or even Thursday night.....now I know a lot of you have done that.  Of course this Friday precedes the last long weekend of the summer.....Labor Day weekend, and even though we no longer have an 8-5 workaday job, we still enjoy the long weekends.....there's always a little more going on around town on these long weekends....this weekend Lake Coeur d'Alene is hosting hydroplane boat races.

This time last year we were in Twin Falls, ID over the Labor Day weekend, and this year, ironically, we are in the same state, only 583 miles north.  I tell my friends often that Idaho is one of the best kept secrets.  It is a beautiful state with amazing outdoor resources and scenery.

Sometime around 3 am Friday morning I was awakened by rain on the roof....it rained pretty steadily for a couple of hours.....I love rain on the roof......by the time I got up this was what the sky looked like.



When we first arrived in Coeur d'Alene 10 days ago my brother-in-law, Bob, gave TLE and I a gift certificate for $50 he had been given a couple of years ago to a local eatery called The Garnet Cafe over on Walnut Ave......just about a mile walk from our park.


Yelp, and Urbanspon give this little cafe 4.5 stars......I will have to disagree.....it is another solid 5 stars for us.  Wow, now that's two eateries in the past week I have given a solid 5 stars to.  The coffee is wonderful and the breakfast entrees are scrumptious.   We started walking over for breakfast about 8:30 and arrived just after 9....the line was out the door, but we were seated within 5 minutes.  There is a little clipboard on the wall in the entry way that you put your name on with the number of people in your party.  Within minutes a server will check the list, call your name and seat you....I like the system, and besides, this is a tiny place with really no room for a hostess.  They call themselves a "breakfast and brunch restaurant" since they close at 2 pm.   The entrees are a little pricey, but as I have said previously, if the food is good I'll pay the price, and this food was way beyond good.

On our walk over to the cafe TLE and I noticed several thrift stores in a small geographical area, so we decided when we got back home we would drive the 'Bird over and see what was what.  First we had to stop by the USPS to drop off a couple of packages for items we had sold on Ebay, and then the thrift store marathon began.  We visited 6 thrift stores, including the local Goodwill store, which was one of the nicest Goodwill stores we have been in....in fact, all of them were very nice.  After dropping off a large bag of clothes we were no longer wearing it was time to find a few treasures.  At the first store TLE found a very nice "Ex Officio" hiking shirt for me......99 cents, and I found a nice pair of black jeans ($1.70) for the Sugar Beet Harvest.  At the next store TLE found a nice skirt, and I found a nice plug in power drill....the drill cost $7.  All in all we shopped until almost 2 pm before returning home with our new finds.

Upon returning to the coach we found a note attached to the door from a blog reader who would like to meet us, and ask some questions about our fulltime lifestyle (Ron Brown).  I called him and talked for a while.  We'll try to get together this weekend, but are still trying to work out the details.  I guess if I publish where I am staying I shouldn't be surprised if someone looks me up from time to time.....but I am always surprised anyone wants to meet us.....:-)  We are looking forward to meeting Ron and his bride.

I walked over to the trailer to deposit my new power drill while TLE made some lunch....on the way back I saw a good friend, Dean Greer, walking toward me.  Dean and his wife Carole, live in Spokane, and we had lunch with them last year when we were here.  Apparently Dean had dropped off Carole for some physical therapy in Coeur d'Alene and took the opportuntiy to stop by and say "HI!"......a very nice surprise.  Dean is a regular reader of my blog, so, again, it's no surprise he knew where to find us.....lol.  We talked for about an hour, and made plans to get together for a late lunch/early dinner Tuesday.

Next up it was time for me to finish up my 2012 taxes.....I worked on them back in early April, but the Kentucky form was very confusing, and I was also missing one 1099, so I filed for an extension....well, that extension is up October 15th, and by that time I will be up to my armpits in sugar beets, so better get them done now while I have time.  I finished up my Federal and Kentucky forms, just leaving California to do.  Of course some of our Amazon pay came to us in 2o13, and along with our gig coming up (sugar beet harvest) I'll have to file taxes in three states for this tax year....sigh!

When I had finally finished the confusing Kentucky form TLE suggested we walk over the "The Mill" (in the food court by the Regal Theater) for a couple of brews, so we got dressed.....dressed is kind of an over statement...I changed into a nicer pair of shorts, and slipped into my flip flops for the walk over.  I was not really hungry, and neither was TLE so we just sipped some drafts and enjoyed the onset of evening....a very nice way to end a very nice day.

Do you like the haircut?


There was nothing on TV Friday night so I watched the Dodger game, which ended up being a 9-1 rout in favor of my Dodgers over the lowly San Diego Padres.....they have cooled off a little, but just set a Dodger record with 22 wins in August....if they win today that will be 23 wins in August....pretty impressive.

When I started to write Friday's entry I didn't realize how much we did on Friday....it just kind of flew by!

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your Labor Day holiday weekend!

Friday, August 30, 2013

It's really getting gray.....

I was up Thursday at just 6 am....I had been lying awake for a while before that thinking about the significance of August 29th, and decided to get up and write about it while the thoughts were fresh in my mind.  Of course, initially, I was having trouble with my computer running a little slow, so ran my AVG "1 click" maintenance program and found that my hard drive was very fragmented and needed to be, of course, de-fragmented.  Knowing that would take 30, or 40 minutes I decided wipe off the dew from the 'Bird, and then walk over to the trailer and start bringing some of the stuff I needed to get rid of (stuff that had been in my sister's basement for the last 15 months) over to the coach so I could sort through it and make decisions.  While I was bringing my second load back I met Matthew, an older gentleman, well probably just about my age.  I saw that he drove a Chevy diesel pickup and asked him if he was interested in 4 gallons of Shell Rotella 15w-40 heavy duty motor oil....of course he said "Yes!", so I carried that box over to his 5th wheel in site #32.  While I was there I asked him if he was interested in the other stuff I had hauled over to the coach, so we walked back to look at it, and what do you know?  He took it all!  Wow, that was easy....I really didn't want to throw the stuff away (not the oil of course), and was glad someone else could get some use out of that stuff (a couple of bike trunk bags, a small gas can, the old screw organizer I had to replace in Kalispell, etc.).  So, in one fell swoop all that stuff was gone....that was way, way too easy!  By that time the de-fragmenting program had run its course, and my computer was running fast again, so I settled in to write yesterday's blog entry.....and all of that before 7 in the morning!

Okay, I'm sure some of you are wondering why I had a 4 gallon box of oil that I wanted to give away.  Well, last summer, just before we arrived in Spokane, I ordered.....at least I thought I ordered.......a box of Shell Rotella 40 weight oil....the Detroit Diesel requires a single grade heavy duty motor oil......it cannot use multi grade.  When we arrived in Spokane I found the shipment waiting for me, but it was the aforementioned multi grade.  I went back to my online order and discovered I had checked the wrong box.....it was my mistake.  As a result I could not get the distributor to pay for the shipping back to the east coast, and so that box sat in my sister's basement for the last 15-16 months.  The Shell Rotella 40 weight oil is hard to find, and since we are on the road moving all the time it is even harder to get.  So, when we had the coach serviced last December I switched to Chevron Delo 100, which is much easier to find....so, that's the back story, or the "rest of the story", if you will.

My last haircut, if you remember, was back in Cochrane, AB, Canada in early July (July 5th I believe) at a place in town called "A Little Off the Top".  It was pretty much the best haircut I have had since I have been on the road.  Well, that haircut lasted about 7 weeks, and I think that is the all time record for me.  By "lasted" I mean it still looked good....usually after 4-5 weeks I start looking a little shaggy.  Nevertheless, Thursday it was time to get my ears lowered again.  Fortunately there is a Supercuts, my hair cutter of choice, less than a mile from where we are currently parked so TLE and I decided to walk.  As I was getting my hair cut I was looking at the clipped hair and realized, for the first time, how GRAY my hair is getting.  It's funny........I look in the mirror everyday, but it's interesting how little I really, apparently, see.

The weather guessers guessed that our high for the day would be 86 with about 10% chance of rain.......once again the guessers were wrong......as we were walking home from Supercuts we could see a line of rain over the not too distant mountains, but it looked like it was moving northeast away from our position.  You could feel a little chill in the air, and that same air had that wonderful smell of rain in it.  We just took our time walking, because, after all, if we got caught in the rain it's not a big deal.....we continued our walk over to the Regal Theater complex to see what movies are being shown this week, and discovered there was a "food court" surrounding the theater with several interesting places we'll have to check out eventually.

We had barely returned "home" when it began to rain quite hard.....talk about good timing.  It probably only rained for about 30 minutes, but the sky stayed cloudy the rest of the day and the temperature only got to 82.  Of course, since I completely wiped off, and cleaned the 'Bird first thing in the morning it had to rain.....I guess taunting Mother Nature in that manner isn't a good idea, huh?

TLE had a few loads of wash to process in the Splendide, so we just hung out at home the rest of the day reading and enjoying the fact that we didn't have to drive anywhere, sleep in anyone else's bed, or have any dinner dates.  Don't get me wrong, we really enjoyed all the traveling, but we are always glad to have down time after a hectic schedule like we had the past 2 weeks.

There were a few last NFL pre-season games left to play Thursday, and I watched parts of three games before heading to bed around 11 pm.  It was a nice, relaxing day.

Once note of interest, to me anyway, is on Thursday my earnings from my blog, although quite meager, passed $100 for the first time....yay!




Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Reflection......

As we come to the end of 19 months on the road, and begin our 20th month of being nomads it is also another very important marker in our journey together (TLE and I).  August 29th marks the beginning of our 43rd year of marriage, and also the 90th birthday of my father, Arthur Ray.  "Art" as he was known to his friends, died in his 54th year, on January 10, 1978.  He was a large part of our lives, and he loved "The Lovely Elaine", so it was fitting that TLE and I were married on his birthday 42 years ago.  In addition, August 30th, Thursday, completes 19 months on the road living our nomadic life.  I think both of us would agree 100% that we are different people today, because of our decision to cut our ties with most of our "stuff" several years ago.  We like the "difference".  So "Happy Anniversary" to my wonderful, lovely Elaine.

Now back to regularly scheduled programming......what did we do on Wednesday?  Well, at 4:30 am our smoke detector went off resulting in massive amounts of adrenaline being injected into our systems......it was only two loud beeps.....beeps to warn us that our 9 volt battery needed replacing....hmmmm.  Needless to say....why do I say that when I'm about so say the "needless" thing......needless to say, we could not go back to sleep, and eventually crawled out of bed around 5:15 am.  Don't get me wrong....I'm glad we were warned to replace the battery (which we have now done), but why at 4:30 am?

After writing yesterday's blog entry, and wiping the dew off the Thunderbird we went out for a long walk down to the Lake Resort.  As it happens, Northwest, which is just a half block from River Walk runs directly down to the resort.  

 The Lake Resort Hotel

The Lake Resort was built, and still owned and operated by the Hagedone Corporation, whose corporate offices are right next to the resort hotel as portrayed by the internet photo below.  The setting is spectacular as you can see.

Hagedone Corporate office (above/below)

It is about 1.4 miles down to the waterfront, and when we got there we decided to walk on the floating boardwalk that takes you out around the marina....it is reputed to be the longest floating boardwalk.....not sure if that is in America, or the world, but it is long, and scenic.


I'll never get tired of that smile!

We walked around the marina, then down along Sherman a ways finding several restaurants we would like to try out while we are in town.  By the time we returned to River Walk we had logged around 4.5 miles.  Since it was getting a little warm and humid, we turned on the A/C.  TLE decided she would go and do her shopping while I took a nap.....all those days of sleeping in other people's beds, and the rude awakening this morning have taken their toll.  She was gone about two hours and woke me up upon her return....:-)

We had date with my sister and her husband for dinner to celebrate our impending 42nd wedding anniversary at Picabu Bistro at 6 pm.  We have eaten here 5, or 6 times over the years when visiting, and it is one of our favorites.  If you ever eat here have the "Fire Pasta".....WOWEE ZOWEE!  It doesn't hurt that they have several fine beers on tap.....no, certainly not!  Yelp give it a sold 4 stars, but in our books it is a SOLID 5.


We bid adieu to Bob and Hilary around 8:15 and headed for our "home" in Coeur d'Alene.....we watched Master Chef, and then turned in around 11.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I really like my bed......:-)

All things being equal.....and let's face it, they rarely are......but let's assume they are for the sake of my argument......all things being equal, I'd rather sleep in my bed.  I just sleep better in my bed....don't you?  Of course, I'm not talking about you sleeping in my bed....you know that right? The bed at the Residence Inn by Marriott in Sandy, UT was a very, very nice bed, but it wasn't my bed.  The bed in Bob and Karen's guest room is a very comfortable bed, but it's not my bed.  As a result I just don't sleep as soundly as I do in "my bed" in "my home".  Over the past 2 weeks I have spent 6 nights slumbering in other people's beds, and I'm ready for a long, long nap.  In about 9 days we will be flying down to Dallas/Ft. Worth for a college reunion, and sleeping in another Marriott bed, which no doubt will be wonderfully adequate, but I am just about done with all this sleeping in other people's beds.  If it weren't for the honor of being with so many wonderful friends and family, which is the point of all this sleeping in other people's beds, I would just prefer to stay home and sleep in my bed every night.  Of course, I would prefer that rainwater were beer, but it's not.....I guess I can "prefer" all I want, but it is what it is.

Tuesday was another beautiful day in Coupeville....a little cloudy, but balmy.  Karen left for Seattle about 6 am, and we followed about 9:20 am....that is we headed south, like Karen, to the Mukilteo Ferry to get back to the mainland and head back to Coeur d'Alene.


Waiting in line for the Mukilteo Ferry

We said our "until next times" to Bob, then got in the 'Bird for the 55 minute drive to the southern tip of Whidbey Island to the ferry.  Traffic was very light, and the line at 10:10 am was not that bad.....we, of course, did not make the 10:30 ferry, but we did make the 11 am ferry, and were back on the mainland by 11:30ish.  

Needless to say, or perhaps it is needful to say, traffic at 11:30 was light years better than Friday afternoon's traffic.  Once we got on the Interestate (405) we flew along, and before we knew it had passed back through the Cascades and were heading east on I-90.


The environment is so much drier east of the Cascades....almost like high desert in some places.  Below you see a picture of "the gorge" that we must cross...."the gorge" being the Columbia River Gorge.....it is about 150 miles west of Spokane, so we know when we cross it that we are about 2.5 hours from Coeur d'Alene.  


In all it only took us 7.5 hours to get home, which included an almost hour wait to get on the ferry.....much better than the 9 hours it took to get to Coupeville.  The drive was totally uneventful as TLE and I changed positions every couple of hours.  We stopped somewhere west of Moses Lake to get a Subway sandwhich, which, by the way, really hit the spot....we split a "foot long" sub.

We arrived in Spokane at my sister's home around 4:30.  I was going to meet a couple of guys interested in buying my remaining Terra Trike Tadpole Trike.  They were both pretty punctual, and we ended up selling it to the second guy to arrive.  I am sad to see it go, but am happy to see it go to a good home, and be used again on a regular basis.  We got exactly our asking price for both trikes, and if I had been here over the weekend we would have had them both out the door within 48 hours of listing them on Craigslist.

By the time we finished selling the second trike it was 7:45, and we were tired, and ready to get to our "home".  We arrived back at River Walk RV Park just at 8:15.   We had a wonderful weekend spent with long time friends....made some new friends, and saw some amazing scenery.  Now we'll be able to sit still for about 9 days before boarding a jet for Dallas, and someone else's bed......

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mukilteo...

And the meaning of Mukilteo is..........."good camping ground".....at least that is the popular translation, however, the Snohomish dialect of Lushootseed supplies the closest approximation: Muk-wil-teo or Buk-wil-tee-whu, “to swallow” or “narrow passage” (Bates, Hess and Hilbert).  Chief William Shelton of the Tulalip Tribes described its meaning as “a throat, a neck or a narrowing in a body of water.” Mukilteo was a favorite meeting and camping ground well into the historic period (source: www.HistoryLink.org).  This refers to the narrow body of water between Clinton (on Whidbey Island) and Mukilteo (the mainland side of the passage).  A ferry runs every day across this passage.....a ferry we have used often, and will use again Tuesday.

Monday dawned pretty clear, but then clouded up around mid morning....I don't think the temperature got much past 68, which is just fine by me.....I wore a long sleeve t-shirt all day against the chill in the air.

Bob needed to go to the chiropractor for his arm injury, so TLE and I drove him down to Langley, on the south side of the island, to his appointment around 10:45 am....even though we are on an island, it takes a good 45 minutes to drive down to Langley.  While Bob kept his appointment TLE and I wandered around the downtown area of this quaint little town, and even found a thrift store we could browse. Unfortunately, we only just had time to browse.

We picked Bob up around 12:15 and headed directly for the Muk Cafe at Mukilteo Coffee Roasters for lunch.  This a little funky place....our kind of place....way off the beaten path near Langley, WA at the south end of Whidbey Island.  Yelp gives them a 4.5 star rating (out of 5), and I would rate it at least at 4.5, if not an outright 5.  Of course, they also serve coffee....that is their primary business, and if all you want is a good cup of coffee, this is the place.




Bob and I.....this picture is a good example of a "pano" shot gone wrong....notice the back of my head has been flattened....

We chose to eat outside, and really enjoyed the ambiance of this cool little place.  We sat eating and talking for at least an hour, but then it was time to head back home, but not before a stop at the local market for some groceries.

We arrived back home around 3 knowing this was our last full day with Bob and Karen.  We talked, and then read a little.  Around 5 it was time to start working on dinner.  Bob got out some steaks to BBQ, and TLE prepared the sides of salad and potatoes.....we had a lot of potatoes the last few days!

Around 8 we sat down to watch a recording of the last episode of  the"So You Think You Can Dance" show of which all four of us are fans....okay, I know.....I finally said that out loud. I have really come to appreciate dance from watching several seasons of this show, so get over it.....:-)

Karen had to get up very early to head back into Seattle to work....she works in town 3 days, and telecommutes from home the other two  days (Monday and Friday), so she must be on the road by 6 to make the 7 am ferry at Clinton.  Anyway, we said our goodbyes to Karen, and will do the same with Bob Tuesday morning when we must head back to Coeur d'Alene....it seems like we have been gone more than 4 days.

Life is good.....thank you for stopping by!

Karen and Bob....you are always in our hearts....love you guys!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Plans......what plans?


I never get tired of this view each morning here on Whidbey Island......that is probably why I think of this place as my second home.  There is something about a long view with water and mountains in the background that just soothes my soul.

We had plans for Sunday, but Bob injured his arm Saturday evening while we were visiting his friends, Joe and Debby, on the west side of the island.  He leaned against something he was expecting to support him, and it didn't.......he didn't quite fall, but when he grabbed for something to stop his fall he wrenched his right arm.  Since he would not be able to hold a fishing pole, the planned salmon fishing outing had to be scrapped.  Instead we spent the day relaxing outside on their deck, and watching NFL pre-season football.

As you know we roll with the Jello (as in "our plans are written in Jello") so we just went with the flow....TLE spent a lot of time reading, and later in the day I got out my Kindle and read one of the two books I had downloaded for this weekend....a Ben Bridges Western, while I watched the Vikings and 49ers game with Bob.

There really is not much else to write about, because that is exactly what we did.......of course I have to mention that Karen made a great lunch that we ate out on the deck, followed up by another amazing dinner of baked, and BBQ'd chicken, salad and potatoes also eaten out on the deck.  Other than that we just relaxed, and talked.

I wish I had more for you, but sometimes it is really hard to make nothing sound like something.....this will have to go down as one of the shortest blog entries I have written in some time.  We'll see what the Jello has in mind for Monday......oh, by the way, we will not be heading home on Monday as planned.  After some discussion Sunday about how bad summer vacation traffic is on Monday's and Friday's, and having already experienced Friday's traffic jam on I-5, we have decided to depart for Coeur d'Alene on Tuesday morning instead.  So, while the Jello sometimes takes away, it also gives back sometimes.    We will be heading south on Tuesday to take the Clinton Ferry back to the mainland.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hijacked!

I sat up in bed Saturday morning and grabbed my phone as I headed down stairs to get my HP Netbook out of the car to set up and write my daily blog. Seems innocent enough, no?  As I hit the button to unlock my HTC phone I see a "Google Talk" notification from my good friend Tom McCloud.  I tap the icon and see a message from him that takes the momentary smile off my face....."Clarke, I think someone has hijacked your e-mail account."  I stop dead in my tracks......we exchange a few messages back and forth, all the while my head is spinning with thoughts of "....how do I fix this?  How many of my friends have received this?"  Tom's next message is that he has done a "full screen capture" of the e-mail and is sending it to me......here is what I got:


My first thought was to send an e-mail to everyone for whom I have an e-mail address to warn them....I send a few out using my phone, but it is too hard looking up addresses, so I set up my HP Netbook to do the rest.......only I am unable to access my e-mail account.....I have only used the HP Netbook in the past two weeks to run my GPS navigation program, and haven't connected to the internet with it for even longer.  Well, it turns out, completely separate from my e-mail issue, that some how a couple of bogus programs have been sent to my computer at some point in the past that slow it down so much I cannot access any of my programs.  So then begins the 6 hour odyssey of cleaning those programs off the computer so I can use it to warn my friends not to open this bogus e-mail.  I had to download my anti-virus program, which somehow had been removed from my computer, and then purge the scourge from my computer.  It took a while but I worked around the problems, and finally got it installed and scanning my hard drive for the programs, and cleaning them off the hard drive.

If you read my blog yesterday you saw in red italics what had happened, and why it took soooo long to get the blog entry up.  As the cliche goes...."all is well that ends well" and that was certainly true at 2 pm Saturday when "it ended well".

About the time I got the blog up for Friday Bob returned from his salmon fishing expedition sans salmon, but with two stone crab, so it wasn't a total bust.  I stayed home to fix my computer, and so Bob took another friend.  My turn, hopefully, will come Sunday when I hope to be un-encumbered with computer problems.

Bob showed us how to clean stone crab, which was not as gross as I thought it would be, but it did involve the use of a hatchet and hammer.

Shot of the "Sound" late afternoon

Bob was going to cook Prime Rib for dinner, which was to be held at a home of their friends, Joe and Debby, who live on the west side of Whidbey with a long view to the Port Townsend Ferry terminal, which you can see in the distance in the photo below....right below that "notch", center left in the picture.  We headed over to Joe and Debby's around 6 pm, and unloaded our cargo of Prime Rib and Stone Crab.


As has happened often on our journey we immediately felt a connection with Joe and Debby and had a wonderful time talking the evening away with them, and, of course, Bob and Karen.  I actually cracked open a few crab legs, and claws, and dipped the white meat in drawn butter......very, very tasty.  All the while bottles of wine are being uncorked and consumed.....a Pinto Noir we had donated, a Syrah from Bob and Karen, a bottle of Pink Chablis Champagne provided by Joe and Debby......and on it went.  The Prime Rib was perfect, and with a little horse radish just melted in our mouths.  

At some point we noticed the sun was setting and rushed out on the deck to capture these shots.........




We stood outside for about 20 minutes, while our dinners sat uneaten, ooohing and awwwing at the beautiful sunset we had been blessed with.  One of the nicest since Cedar Key.

When we sat back down to eating and talking I heard Debby make a reference to a book she had recently read called "Wild" (written by Cheryl Strayed about partial, solo hike of the PCT back in 1995)....the link to the left is to my blog entry about the book).....wow, I thought, I just read that book a few months ago, and loved it.  So we commenced a long conversation about hiking the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) and the Appalachian Trail, etc.  As it turns out we have a lot in common with Joe and Debby, and got along famously with them.  You just never know what is around the next corner.....

We headed back to Bob and Karen's a little after 9 with smiles of contentment on our faces....a day that had started out poorly for me ended up with a nice surprise at the end.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Jello had other ideas......again

**My blog entry was delayed today due to someone hacking my e-mail account, and somehow inserting a virus on my computer......it is all fixed now, but has taken half the day to do so, however, I am back up and running again!**

While we were getting ready to make our drive over to Whidbey Island I got a call from someone who had seen one of my adds on Craigslist inquiring about TLE"s Terra Trike Tadpole Trike.  As it turned out she worked just a block from the RV park, and was there in 5 minutes.  She and her husband have been looking for a trike for their daughter for  while now, and TLE's was just what they were looking for.  Their daughter has a health issue that causes a balance problem, so riding a regular bike is not an option.  Within minutes her husband was there with cash and I helped him load the trike.  They are a very nice couple, and we are both so happy TLE's trike will be put to good use again.  

We last visited our friends, Bob and Karen, last July for two weeks.  Ever since they moved to Whidbey Island back in 1998, or 1999 we have visited them on a pretty regular basis, sometimes twice a year.  We love their home, and of course, their company.  I have known Bob since 1963 when I met him at summer camp, and ironically, TLE has known him even longer.  We have known Karen since Bob first dated her back in the early 70's.

The view

We left our coach around 9:30 am figuring our 380 mile drive would take 6-7 hours......and the first 5 hours went exactly as planned.  We chose to drive I-90 westbound to the Seattle area and then take I-405 north around Seattle connecting with I-5 just north of Seattle.  We stopped off in Moses Lake around 11:45 for lunch.....I found a cool little place called Woody's Drive In about 2 miles off the Interstate.  Yelp give them 4.5 stars just as Urban Spoon does.  I think that rating is just about right.  I had the bacon/swiss 1/4 pound burger, which was perfection.

Running quickly through the Cascades.....just before the bad traffic

From there we continued our jaunt westward hitting the I-90/I-405 junction around 2:30 pm.  From there it was less than 100 miles to our destination, and we thought we would be there by 4 pm "easily" running at 70 mph.....an unfortunate choice of words in hindsight.  We immediately hit heavy traffic, and saw that the Jello had other ideas......as we inched northward toward Everett it was clear we would not be able to keep our dinner date with Bob and Karen in Anacortes at 4:30.....if we made it by 5:30 it would be amazing.  So, I called Bob with the bad news and we agreed just head for their home in Coupeville.    What we had not thought about, or even considered was Friday afternoon traffic near the end of the summer in the Seattle area.  As we heard over dinner Friday's and Monday's on I-5 and I-405 is horrible....NO KIDDING! Okay, lesson learned.  Ultimately we made it to their home by 6:30.....9 hours of driving.....ugh!  They had just barely made it home from Anacortes, and food shopping before we arrived, so it all worked out in the end.

All that being said, it was so great to see Bob and Karen as we exited the 'Bird to exchange hugs.  We talked non stop as our hosts prepared dinner.  Bob had some salmon that he was preparing to BBQ, and Karen was making a couple of sides (green beans and rice).  We finally sat down to eat outside around 8....the night air was balmy, the view, as always, was incredible, and combined with great conversation it could not have been a better evening!

 Around 8 pm - from the front door

Our day didn't turn out exactly like we had planned it, but it turned out the way it should have......eating dinner with good friends, and enjoying the evening air and view.  

The view first thing this morning

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Craigslist, or Ebay?

Thursday started with me on the computer listing all the "stuff" I had cleaned up Wednesday so it could be sold.  It took a while to get the two trikes and the Burley trailer listed on Ebay and Craigslist, but by 10 they were up and within a couple of hours I was getting phone and e-mail inquiries asking questions, etc.  It looks like I will have those three big ticket items sold by early next week.  It will be interesting to see which selling source is the most effective in selling things that are for "LOCAL PICKUP ONLY".  Normally I would just use Ebay, but I have found that when local pickup is involved Craigslist sometimes give me a bigger audience from the local area......we'll see.

We decided to take a ride eastward on the North Idaho portion of the Centennial Trail, which passes within a 100 yards of River Walk RV Park, where we are staying.  The trail meanders along the shore line of the Spokane River for a mile, or so, then along the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene through town, and then out of town.

Our ride - about 11 miles round trip

We got about 6 miles out when we realized it was starting to get pretty hot....at least hot for us, so decided to start heading back.  As we were riding back along the Lake Resort area we saw off to the side an interesting coffee house called Calypso's Coffee and Creamery, so we decided to stop in for a cool drink.....Iced Coffee for TLE, and, of course, a Mocha Frappuccino for me.  We sat out on the deck enjoying the view of the lake, and the still coolish breezes coming off same.

This is an internet photo of the view from their deck....I was brain dead and didn't take any pictures of anything, apparently, Thursday....:-(

Before we left "home", anticipating the coming heat, we turned on the front A/C in the coach, and when we returned we were so glad, because it was really heating up fast outside.  TLE got her car keys and headed off to Costco to pick up some salmon for dinner, and get gasoline, while I stayed home in the cool A/C taking a shower, and then a nap.

My sister and her family were coming out from Spokane to have dinner with us here at the park, and it was my job to grill the salmon.  Fortunately our site has, as far as I can tell, the only picnic table, so we pulled that up on to the pad and ate dinner outside (consisting of the grilled salmon, asparagus, and salad) as the sun set, and then got out the portable fireplace and enjoyed a nice fire while we talked until after 9:30.

Friday we will drive our car over to Whidbey Island to visit with friends, Bob and Karen, from my high school days.  We make a point of visiting them at least once a year since they moved here from SoCal back in 1999.  They have a wonderful view of Puget Sound, which I can sit and look at for hours.  The temperatures on Whidbey will be in the 60's for the next week, and there is a possibility of some salmon fishing....stay tuned!

The view from Bob and Karen's property

We have enjoyed our first three days here in Coeur d'Alen, and are looking forward to the rest of the month!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Memories

About 14 months ago we unloaded a bunch of stuff from our coach and trailer that we had not been using and put into my sister's basement (in Spokane) for storage......I would conservatively estimate the total weight at around 300 lbs, and very bulky: 2 Tadpole Trikes, one Burley Nomad bike trailer, one CampChef Stove with all the accessories, 2 Columbia Bugaboo sleeping bags, a large bag of clothes, and a Starbucks 12 cup coffee carafe.

 One of the Terra Trike Tadpole Trikes

 The Burley Nomad

The CampChef

When we started on our journey these things had to come along with us. I couldn't imagine my life without them.  By the time we reached Spokane, after only 4 months of travel it became apparent we were not using them enough to warrant all the space they were taking up, not to  mention the extra weight.  We never, one time, assembled the CampChef, nor used either of the sleeping bags, and the trikes only rarely.  In 14 months we did not miss any of the clothing, the trikes, the stove, etc.......they were just part of our memories now, and not really relevant to our current lifestyle.

Nevertheless, when I walked into that basement storage yesterday to clean the "stuff" up so I can sell most of it on Ebay, or Craigslist, the memories came flooding back.....the 500 mile trips I had taken with my brother-in-law on our trikes through the Mojave Desert, and Death Valley, the many, many camping trips with friends and family where the CampChef was the center of those trips......where all our meals were prepared.  Pretty soon, everyone we camped with (my oldest son, his best friend, his father-in-law, my brother) all had CampChefs.

Even though I had rarely, if ever, thought of these items in the last 14 months it is still hard to think they will belong to someone else soon.  Sure, I could hang on to this stuff, but it would not be used, and fall into disrepair.  It is time someone else got some pleasure out of them.....to create their own memories....and that is the great thing about memories.....they can't be sold, and they will not fall into disrepair.....they are always there to warm your heart, to bring a smile to your face.

But, of course, I have gotten the cart before the horse once again........We woke to clear skies, and cool temps.  When we were up in Kalispell, MT I ordered a new front hydraulic disc brake for Elaine's bike......the front one was no longer adjustable.  I had the new brake shipped to my sister's home in Spokane, and we had picked it up while at their home for dinner Tuesday night.  I took it over to the trailer, set up the bike stand, and began the installation process.  Within about 30 minutes I had the old brake off, and the new one installed and adjusted.  I forget from time to time how much I enjoy working on bicycles.

Around 11:15 I headed into Spokane by myself to have lunch with my mother, Virginia, who lives a few blocks from my sister in a very nice retirement facility......this place has a full workout gym, library, movie theater, computer room, game room, and bar.....yes, a bar where alcohol is served......I'm talking beer on tap, etc.  Of course, she loves her new home, and I was glad to take a tour, and to know she is in a very good place.

We then headed up Regal to McKenzie River Pizza, one of my favorite places, for lunch.  We had such a nice, long lunch talking, and reminiscing.  Back when my mother still lived in Southern California I used to take her to lunch 2, or 3 times a month, and I have missed that a lot.  It has been 14 months since we have sat across from each other over lunch.

Around 2:15 I took Mom back to her home, and then headed over to my sister's home to start sorting through the "stuff" I mentioned above.  I didn't finish until around 5:30, and still have some more work to do.  Everything is cleaned up, and all the pictures are taken, so now I have to start listing it all on Ebay, and/or Craisglist.

I got home around 6:15, got out the BBQ to cook the rest of our Canadian Filet's.   Just as we were finishing I looked out the window and saw this amazing sunset occurring, so rushed out and snapped a few pictures.


It was a good day of reminiscing, and walking down memory lane......I have a big smile on my face knowing we will be here for a month, and there will be more opportunities to spend time with my mother, and my sister's family......life is good.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Randomness of Life and PZT

We woke up in Missoula to smokey skies......the remnant of a forest fire whose life had been extinguished the evening before.  All of the smoke appeared to be sitting between us and Coeur d'Alene, ID, our destination for the day.  Our Jello plan was to get an early start to get our 170 miles done before the heat of the day....there would be several passes to climb up and then slide down, and heat is always a concern for an older Detroit Diesel 2 stroke......let's be clear....it is a concern, but if you manage it properly that is all that remains at the end of the day.....an unfulfilled concern.  We strive for uneventful as we roll the wheels of our home along the highways and bi-ways of our country, and 99.9% of the time it is just that.  Tuesday was no different.......just in case you thought I was building to something to be concerned about.

We departed the Fairgrounds around 9 am, and within 8-10 minutes were merging on to I-90 westbound listening to the sweet rumble of our 6V92 Detroit Diesel bouncing off the center divider wall.  As I do most days when we have been on the road for a few minutes, I turned to TLE and said "it is good to be moving down the road again", to which she sweetly replies "Yeah!".

Between Missoula and Lookout Pass I-90 crosses one of my favorite North American rivers numerous times.....The Clark Fork River!  TLE snapped this picture as we crossed it for the umpteenth time.



Soon we were chugging over Lookout Pass at 4,700+ feet after climbing some 1,600 feet in a pretty short distance......all the while the engine, oil and tranny temps stayed just under 199, which is very good.   I spent a lot of time in 3rd gear on the multiple climbs running very close to redline.......redline on the 6V92 is 2100 rpm's and we were right around 2,000.  High rpm's keeps the radiator fan spinning very fast, and, therefore, moving more air across the radiator fins, thus keeping the temperature under control.


The rest area just before the top of Fourth of July Pass

We took advantage of a few rest areas as is our habit giving the 6v92 a chance to cool down, and us a chance to walk around.  We get kidded a lot about how often we stop, but I am convinced that sitting for long periods of time is not good for anyone, let alone us older folk.  A friend who is just 50 years old recently was diagnosed with blood clots on his lungs, and part of the theory is that sitting for long stretches of time was one of the contributing factors. It's nice know we are doing the right thing, if not totally by accident.

Originally our plan was to arrive at my sister's home in Spokane,  and park the coach in her driveway as we have done twice before, for the 4 weeks we would be in town.  Unfortunately their house is up for sale, and needless to say, having a large RV and trailer parked in front of it subtracts a little from the curb appeal.  As a result I had been checking RV parks in the area, as well as dry camping opportunities, the latter would involve us moving every few days, and that is not desirable.  The RV parks we had looked at were very pricey, or too small for our length.  I finally found a small park right on the Spokane River that had availability, seemed to have a reasonable daily and weekly price, and a place for us to drop our trailer.  We were thinking about staying at least a week there and then trying to figure out where else to go.  I had called the park about 5 days ago to confirm they had space, and said we would probably give them a try.

We arrived at River Walk RV Park around 12:30, found a place to park temporarily, and walked over to the office, which was closed.  There was a sign on the door saying the daily price had gone from $35 to $40, and the weekly up to $240.....hmmmm.  There was a number to call, so I did and got a hold of the manager, who said he would be right down.  Well, with the increase in rates I was definitely thinking we would be here no more than a week.  Randy arrived in short order and showed me where I could drop the trailer, so while I did that TLE went into the office to fill out the paperwork, and pay for the week.  As she walked away I told her to find out, just out of curiosity, what the monthly rate was....sometimes you can get a great monthly deal, but you have to ask.

Just as I was finishing up dropping the trailer she came walking back and said that even though it is still the summer season (12 days left) Randy had agreed to charge us the monthly "winter" rate of $470......say what?!  That's like $117.50 a week!  How could we turn that down?  Well, TLE had already anticipated my response, and had paid for the month.  It just proves what I always say....if you have a difficult negotiation send in the smart, good looking blonde.......and it doesn't hurt to have Miss Serendipity standing somewhere off in the shadows influencing the outcome.  



So, we arrived totally unsure of our Jello plan, only knowing we wanted to be in the area for 4 weeks, and the Jello firmed up and presented us with a plan we could not refuse.  How perfect is this?  We will not have to move at all, and can just commute the 25-30 miles over to Spokane to see my sister and Mom, while we sit here on the Spokane River within a mile of the Lake Resort, and about 100 yards from the Centennial Bike Path.

Just beyond those trees is the bike path into the Lake Resort


Just beyond that bridge is Lake Coeur d'Alene!

On top of all this we remembered we are now in the Pacific Time Zone where we have not been since September of last year....almost one year to the day.....and that means Prime Time television now starts at 8 pm again.....yay!!  Of course being in the PZT means we are now several time zones away from many good friends (Krash and Karen, are your ears burning?), and from the wonderful community of Cedar Key and all of our friends there....we will return to the eastern regions of our great country, but not for a couple of years.....until then we will miss you all so much!

We drove into Spokane to have dinner with my sister and family around 5:15 pm.  We had a lovely time eating steaks and salad out on the deck as the sun set, and the full moon rose.  Tomorrow I'll head back in to visit my Mother....if she is available (Mom, if you're reading this, let's have lunch....okay?), and get some of the stuff we left in storage at my sister's home ready to sell on Craigslist, and Ebay.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What a weekend!

I did something Monday morning I rarely do....I got up before 6 am.  Our son, Tim, spent the night with us so I could take him to SLC International at 6:30 to catch his flight back to Ontario.  TLE thought she would take a picture of me at 5:30 just to prove I am not always smiling.  I will cherish this picture for a while.  I can't tell you how great it was to see and talk with Tim over 24 hours.  I always forget how smart he is, and how much he knows.  He is like a human sponge for information.  Yes he is slightly taller than me......he and my nephew, Arthur (Dwyer's son) are the first Hockwald males to hit, or exceed 6 feet in height.



I got back from SLC International around 7:30 and TLE and I headed down for breakfast.  We had barely sat down when the rest of the remaining family members came down (Hilary and her family, and my Mother).  Philip and his family left for home shortly after the end of the wedding reception.....they still live in the workaday world, and are subject to unyielding schedules.......I am so glad I do not belong to that club anymore.....okay, on rare occasions I am still an honorary member, but those times are few and far in between.

We said our "until next times" to my sister, her family, and my Mother around 8:30 am (we will see them again Tuesday, or Wednesday), and were in the car before 9, and on the road back north to Missoula.  Based on our drive south on Saturday, which took 9 hours, I figured the same going home, but we made it in 8 hours flat, arriving at the Fairgrounds just about 5 pm.  I think we averaged close to 75 mph all the way home.  We did take one long stop in Lima, MT for fuel, and lunch.

 "Flying" north on I-15

Cute little cafe in Lima, MT

We arrived "home" to smoke in the southwestern sky from a big fire that has been burning since sometime Monday morning.


We also got a full moon Monday night which came up in the eastern sky, so was not affected by the smoke from the fire......I finally had time Monday night to set up my new HTC Rezound phone.....you know, the one I broke the display screen on a few days ago.  I always dread this part......I always have to call tech support to get the phone activated.  Why am I never the one who can turn the phone on and let it activate itself?  Fortunately I got a very sharp guy, and within 5 minutes it was working.  Then began the process of downloading all my special programs again, and getting the various menu screens set up to match my old phone.  By 10 pm I was done, and ready to be doing something else.


We covered just over 1200 miles going and coming in just 3 days....that is most mileage we have done in such a short period of time since we headed from Benzon, AZ to Abilene, TX back in February of 2012.  It was nice to set the 'Bird on cruise control at 80 mph....the miles really melt away quickly at 80.  We had a great time visiting with family and friends, but are so thankful to be back in our home, and our bed.  Tuesday we'll head to Coeur d'Alene, ID for a week, or so...that will be a much shorter day at 160+ miles.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wedding Bells....

The reason we came to South Jordan, UT was the wedding on Sunday of our niece, Ingrid.  Since we were staying at The Residence Inn By Marriott we didn't have to worry about breakfast....they provide a FREE full breakfast.....self serve, of course, but very, very nice.

We went downstairs for the breakfast around 7:30 and found my mother, my sister and her family, and my brother and his family serving themselves.   We sat around talking for a couple of hours, and then I went back upstairs to rest before the wedding at 2 pm.  While I was on my computer there was a knock at the door.  I opened the door expecting one of my relatives to be standing there, but saw a "stranger".....at least at first.....then I realized it was my son, Tim, standing there with a big grin on his face.  He had flown up to see his Mom and Dad.  Talk about a wonderful surprise.....I haven't seen him in the flesh since January 28th of 2012.  As if spending time with my brothers and sister, and their families, and my mother wasn't great enough, now I got to spend a day with my youngest son.

Our son Tim

We headed over to the wedding site around 1:30.....it was only about 9 miles from the hotel, and we arrived in about 20 minutes grateful the facility is air conditioned as it was around 95 outside.  The ceremony started around 2:15......do any weddings ever start on time?  It was a lovely ceremony, and within 30 minutes Ingrid had a new last name.  I hope she and Randy have a long, happy marriage.....they should, because they have a great example in both sets of parents.


Mr. and Mrs. Shoemaker

TLE and I attended my brother Dwyer's wedding a little over 25 years ago.  The dress Ingrid is wearing was worn by Dwyer's bride, Lori, 25 years ago.....very cool, huh?

The reception immediately followed the wedding ceremony, and then there was the usual dancing.  Around 7:30 we headed over to Dwyer's home to hang out for a few hours and sip a little single malt Scotch continuing our conversation.  It was a great day whose memory will stay with me for a long time.  In less than 90 days we will be home to see our kids and grandchildren, but for now our adventure continues.  On Monday we will head back north to Missoula to our home, and continue our journey.

Thanks for stopping by!