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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Layover.....

This is what we are talking about......this is what we love about the nomadic life......wandering down two lane country roads far from the Interstate where the real America resides.  We love the small towns and the friendly, outgoing people who inhabit them.  We love wandering through their local museums to learn about local history.....we love the ubiquitous 19th century churches that dot their Main Streets......we love just walking around town on a blustery fall day.


Upon our arrival at the fairgrounds in John Day, OR Thursday we decided to stay two nights so we could enjoy this interesting Oregon town.  Just a couple of blocks from the fairgrounds is the Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum (interpretive center, if you will) so we decided around 1000 hours to first take a loop around downtown, then make our way to the museum.  In Chinese the phrase 'Kam Wah Chung' means 'The Golden Flower of Prosperity'.  Lung On and Ing Hay were part of the wave of Chinese immigration during the late 19th century from the Guandong Province in China seeking work in the gold fields, and on the railroads.  Lung On decided early on that he would open a store to support the local miners.....he felt there was more money to made by selling to the miners than in the gold fields, and he was right.  Ing Hay was an herbalist.  Together they ran a successful dry goods store, herbalist shop and import business that lasted for 60 years until Lung On passed.

John Day, at one time, had the 2nd largest Chinese population at over 1,000, in Eastern Oregon.  Kam Wah Chung and Company was at the center of John Day's 'Chinatown'.



Lung On pre-deceased Ing Hay by a few years, and after Ing Hay died the store was locked up for over 30 years.  At some point the property was donated to the State of Oregon and when they opened up the doors for the first time in over 30 years they found a 'time capsule'.....everything was just as it was left, and everything remains just as it was that day.  You can take a guided tour of the store, which is just a block from the museum, by appointment only.....it is open from April 1st to October 31st each year.....we just made it in under the wire......

Just as it looked the days the doors closed in 1940

We were done with our tour just before noon time so we decided to make our way back to the downtown area for lunch and a few brews at a local micro brewery called 1188 Brewing Company.  Yelp gives them 4.5 stars on 21 reviews.....we would be closer to 4 stars.  The ambiance, food, brews were great.....the service was a little slow......for us that is not a big issue.....as my friend Karen recommends, we just "put our patience in our pockets" and enjoy ourselves.


We seated ourselves, and when our server came a few minutes later we ordered a 'flight' of their draught (draft) offerings seen below........rightt to left, front row: Worthy Lights Out Vanilla Stout, Ordinance Kolsch, Pallet Jack IPA and Lost Coast Tan.  Right to left, back row: Ace Perry Cider, Wilde Rick 3 Sisters Red and 1188 Hazelnut.  My favorites were the Kolsch and Hazelnut.

Our 'flight' of brews


Both TLE and I ordered a cup of their Smoked Salmon Chowder for our app, the Street Tacos for my entree, and for TLE the 1/2 Rueben.  Everything was delicious.  Even though I loved the Street Tacos, I would have been content to just have an entire bowl of that amazing Chowder!

We were back home a little after 1300.......I took a nap and TLE read.......just after I woke up TLE suggested the lighting outside should be digitally captured so I went outside and did just that......


.....within minutes after I snapped this picture the lighting changed....good call TLE!

We spent the early evening watching the 3rd game of the World Series....it was close for 3 innings, but the Mets utilized power and timely hitting to pull away winning 9-3.  We watched  the latest Jesse Stone (Lost in Paradise) movie starring Tom Selleck, which we recorded a couple of weeks ago, then Amazing Race, which recorded while we were watching Jesse Stone.  We were in bed a little after 2200 wondering what magic/serendipity might be in store for us Saturday as we roll our wheels once again southward on US 395.....

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Amazing!

I've been thinking about driving this stretch of US 395 (Hermiston, OR to Susanville, CA) for a long time......a very long time, and Thursday was the day we would take a bite out of the first 156 miles.  We were on the road by 1030 headed first south and east on I-84 to Pendelton, OR where we and US 395 parted ways with the Interstate system.  

Immediately upon exiting the Interstate we began to gain elevation all the way up to 4200' at the first of multiple summits this day, then, ultimately over 5,000' as we crested the second to last summit of the day.  The Newell's big Detroit Diesel 6V92 TA performed flawlessly, and the operating temps stayed under 200 degrees.

Once we had to come to a complete stop at one point for a bunch of cattle that were being herded along the shoulder as a few strays wandered back on to the highway......

Courtesy TLE

.....twice we just missed colliding with deer scampering across the highway, an once actually hit some sort of large bird running across the highway......there was nothing I could do to avoid the bird as it happened so unexpectedly.

The views were spectacular, big and long........

Courtesy TLE

Courtesy TLE

......we took a rest stop along the North Fork of the John Day River......

Courtesy TLE



......and the 45th parallel placing us exactly half way between the north pole and the equator....


......the highway was often wet from earlier rains, but we never had rainfall directly upon us all day.  In fact, the skies were often full of puffy white clouds with cobalt blue skies peeking through.......

Courtesy TLE

.....we had a little bit of a side wind as we began our trek southward from Pendleton, but it quickly disappeared, and we were able once again to avoid driving in rain, or wind.  As we followed US 395 along the banks of first Camas Creek, then the North Fork of the John Day River the going was slow, but there was little traffic making the drive most enjoyable.  For about 30 miles we averaged under 40 mph, but it didn't matter......it was the perfect driving day, and the low speeds enabled me to enjoy more than usual the amazing scenery all around us.

We arrived at the Grant County Fairgrounds RV Park in John Day, OR around 1415, self registered and chose a pull through site (#11) with a good view of the southern sky, as well as a great view of the local mountains......


.......there can be no doubt that Fall has arrived in northern Oregon, and specifically John Day....

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

"Tiny House, Big Living....."

Our intention was to depart my sister's property between 1000 and 1100, and as we pulled away I glanced down at the clock and saw that it was 1033......I guess that pretty much qualifies as 'between', right?

This is the third time we have parked the Newell on my sister's property in Spokane, and the second time with the trailer.  With the trailer it is a four step process to leave.....the first step occurs when we arrive......we must turn the trailer around so when we leave we can just hook up the Newell facing the correct direction on her 'DEAD END' street (with no adequate turnaround for our 62').  I guess we could wait until the day we leave, but then that would increase our departure time by at least 30-40 minutes, so we just do it when we arrive.  On departure day we must (first) back the coach up an incline to street level, then pull in front of the trailer, and (secondly) back up to drop the trailer on the hitch.  Once the trailer is hooked up then I must pull forward about 50 feet in order to drop the rear door on the trailer to (thirdly) insert the VW.  The entire process takes about an hour, give or take a few minutes, providing nothing goes wrong.....

......I had noticed the day before when I was cleaning the windshield so I could apply the 'Rain-X' (the forecast shows a lot of rain along our proposed route and this helps shed water off the windshield quickly) that the left lower corner of the the driver's side windshield had kind of popped out of the rubber gasket.  This can happen with almost any Class A motorhome......the forces exerted on the frame when attempting to level a Class A motorhome will sometimes cause this to happen, and it has now happened to me.  I can only assume this happened when I was leveling after arriving at my sister's home.  I had to level side to side and front to back, and I'm pretty sure I did it in the wrong order.....normally I level side to side first, then front to back if necessary, but I think I leveled front to back first.  At any rate I could not do anything about it until I started the Newell Wednesday and brought the coach back to ride height.  When I did that around 0900 the window moved back a little, but not all the way, so I had to get two putty knives to 'massage' the rubber molding up, and over the lower lip of the glass while gently pushing the windshield back into position.  It took about 30 minutes to get the desired result.  If you go too quickly you will end up with a cracked windshield.  My patient efforts were rewarded, and then it was time to back the Newell up to street level to hook up the trailer.....so from beginning to end, including the impromtu windshield repair, it took about 90 minutes. before we were rolling our wheels.

Our initial route plan had us heading directly south on HWY 195 from my sister's home traveling through Colfax, and Walla Walla on our way to Hermiston, OR and a Passport America RV park (Pioneer RV Park) for our first night (we needed to dump our gray and black tanks, which hadn't been emptied since Vancouver, WA on October 4th, and now it was October 28th).  We wanted to take this route as it would be totally new territory to us, but as we watched the weather forecasts portending copious amounts of rain along that route we opted to take the more familiar, shorter route out I-90 to US 395 and south to Hermiston.  Our initial route was about 45 miles longer than than the second option, but we figured it was worth it to see some new scenery.  Ultimately, the forecast changed or plans, and we opted for the more familiar, shorter route.

As we cruised first southwest on I-90, then southeast on US 395 we talked about how little we had actually lived in our home on wheels in the last 24 days......in all we had only lived in the Newell 4 of the past 24 days......that is extremely unusual for us, and now as we take a month to return to our home base in SoCal we will rectify that inequity in a big way.

We timed our departure from Hilary's home to travel during the forecast 'rain free window' hoping to arrive in Hermiston before the rain began, and we were completely successful.  Normally we stop every 70-100 miles as we travel to take mini breaks, but I was feeling so good, and the driving conditions were so optimal that I drove the 176 miles non-stop arriving in Hermiston about 1350 hours......3 hours and 17 minutes after leaving Spokane....and just 60 minutes before the rains came.  Over the next few days we hope to travel during the non rainy portions of each day....we'll see if that works.   

As we settled into the afternoon, and early evening I realized that for the first time in weeks our Newell was our home once again.....it feels good to be back in our 'tiny house'........our home.  We watched several previously recorded programs on our DVR, as well as game two of this year's World Series between the Mets and Royals......the Royals, unexpectedly, won 7-1 over Jacob deGrom, the Mets' pitching ace.

The skies are clearning!

Life is good......thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"To infinity and beyond...."

After spending most of the last 6 months stationary 95% of the time it is time to roam.....granted it will be just four short weeks until we reach our home base in SoCal, but it will be roaming nonetheless.

TLE and I started out our day with a trip down the hill to one of our favorite Goodwill stores.....I bought a pair of finger gloves, a small trowel, and TLE a couple of very nice pull over sweaters.....one with the tags still on it ($65 new), which cost her $5.....well, actually, it cost me.

Then it was off to make our annual visit to REI, my favorite outdoor outfitter, and my favorite REI store, but on our way we decided to stop off at Stella's Cafe for an early lunch.....we had not eaten breakfast...........Yelp gives them 4.5 stars on 73 reviews, and we have no problem with that rating.  I have to admit our criteria for choosing Stella's was that it was along our route up to REI, but what a great choice it ended up being.  I had their classic BLT, and TLE had their Portobello sandwich.....both were superb.

We wandered around REI for about 40 minutes, but managed to exit with no purchases, although I was tempted on a couple of items.

Spokane REI store

The big event of the day was my mother's 86th birthday celebration......she is just a few weeks shy of being exactly 20 years old than I.  My brother-in-law, Bob, suggested we take her to Latah Bistro for dinner, so we all congregated there at 1800 hours, spending the next 2+ hours in wide ranging conversations.  The ambiance, the service and the food were superb, and I can understand why my brother-in-law and sister love this place.



 Left to right: Moi, niece Caroline and Virginia (my mother)

Blowing out the birthday candle

I have to admit I did not check Yelp before going to Latah Bistro, but after such a wonderful experience (I had a bowl of their French Onion soup, and their Roasted Chicken for my entree, both which were a 4.5 in my mind, and everyone at our table raved about their menu choices) I was kind of surprised to read some of the Yelp reviews this morning....Yelp only gives them 3.5 stars on 43 reviews......I think there is some competition with another local nearby restaurant and that someone is purposely planting poor reviews to drive their rating down.....that's just based on the tone of what I read, and the fact that the negative reviewers all mentioned the other restaurant in their review.  At any rate we had a wonderful evening and I would recommend them in a heartbeat.

We arrived back home shortly before 2100 hours to find the first game of the World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals tied 4-4 in the 10th inning.....I had thought it would be long over.  Naturally I sat down to watch the end of the game, but the end of the game did not come until the bottom of the 14th inning when the Royals won 5-4 on a 'sacrifice fly ball' with bases loaded and no outs.  The game also featured an 'inside the park homerun' by the lead off hitter for the Royals who hit the first pitch in the 1st inning of the game.

Tomorrow......"To infinity and beyond!"  Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Shifting focus....


Internet file picture....click here

As our time in Spokane with family draws to an end my thoughts turn more and more to our journey south.  I've been searching through the blogs of people I know who have found some interesting places to boondock along the route we will be following for the next few weeks, and I am getting very excited about the possibilities that await us.  However, for just a little while Monday we began to have second thoughts about our plan to follow US 395 southward as the weather forecasts do not look, at first blush, conducive to off the grid living.  Then it occurred to both of us, almost at the same time, that this is precisely why we added two more solar panels....so we could boondock in less than ideal circumstances.......so that is what we shall attempt to do as we work our way southward to warmer temperatures.

It's interesting that the longer we stay away from boondocking the more apprehensive we sometimes become about getting back into it.  Intellectually we know we can boondock under less than ideal conditions, because we did a lot of that this past winter/early spring when we spent 38 days off the grid in northern Arizona and southern Utah where the overnight temps often got into the 20's, then there was day upon day with wind, and sometimes cloudy conditions.  We dealt with all of that and managed to successfully live off the grid in rather remote areas for extended periods of time.  We have been 'plugged' in for most of the last 6 months, and it becomes easy to become complacent when you don't have to manage your on board resources and capacities (fresh water, battery power, waste water, black water, etc.).  Boondocking requires an entirely different mind set, and it is really just a matter of turning on the 'boondock switch' in our brains.  Once we are in that frame of mind we begin to remember what joy we derive from being self sufficient, and what amazing places we can stay for little, or no monetary expense.  Sure, it is a little more effort, but the rewards far outweigh the extra effort and thought that goes into boondocking.

What did our Monday look like?  I spent the morning putting things away in the trailer in preparation for the next insertion of the VW Beetle, and TLE spent time inside the Newell vacuuming, remaking the bed, and putting freshly laundered clothes away.  She had already.......and I forgot to write about this......defrosted the freezer portion of our Dometic fridge on Sunday.  All that time spent in humidity along the Oregon, and Washington coasts really caused the ice to build up in the freezer.  What better time to defrost than when we have moved out for a few days?



Around 1230 I drove down to my mother's apartment to pick her up for lunch at the Rockwood Bakery once again.  We spent a couple of hours talking, eating, and enjoying the laid back ambiance of the bakery, as well as a few cups of their great coffee.  I dropped her back at her apartment about 1430, and then headed down the hill towards I-90 to find a fuel station that sold diesel.....none of the stations on South Hill, where we are staying, seem to have a diesel pump.  I wanted to fill up both my diesel container and my gasoline container in anticipation of our trip south.  The gasoline will be used, if needed, to power our small Honda 1000 watt generator should we need it to assist in the recharging of our batteries on cloudy days, and the 5 gallons of diesel would be used in an emergency situation where we inadvertently ran out of diesel and/or needed to re-prime our fuel filters.  Once that task was done I was back 'home' by 1530.....in time for late afternoon nap leading up to MNF (Monday Night Football).

Tuesday will see us become more earnest in our efforts to prepare for liftoff late morning on Wednesday.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Let's play 9

The last time I played a round of golf (9, or 18 holes) was with my brother-in-law (Bob) probably at least 2 years ago.....then I used an extra set of clubs he keeps on hand for just such a situation.  I used to play a lot of golf when I was younger, and was pretty consistent. Then youth soccer, and mountain biking came into my life and for the next 25 years that is what dominated my weekends.  Eventually I sold my set of clubs and just figured when I retired I might take it up again. Fast forward to the spring of 2014......I bought some used golf clubs at Goodwill in Carson City with the intent of beginning to play again.  However the most I managed that summer was to hit a bucket of balls at a local golf course, and do a little putting.  This past summer I intended to play some golf, but then nearly cut off the end of my left middle finger, and spent the rest of the summer recovering from that injury (read about the finger episode and subsequent recovery here).  So, my golf clubs have been occupying space in my trailer, but have not even seen the light of day since August of 2014.

Bob was out of town when we first arrived at their home, but the day after he returned he asked, as he always does, if I wanted to play a round of golf, to which I replied, without hesitation, "YES!".  We set the date for Sunday afternoon as it was forecast to rain on Monday, and since I haven't played in a long, long time I suggested we just play 9 holes, and Bob agreed.



I spent the morning watching football, and then around 1130 I drove down to the Supercuts on 29th Street and got my ears lowered.  Around 1345 Bob and I headed over to Manito Golf Club.  According to Bob they have usually had a couple of snow falls by this point in October, so every day without snow is one more opportunity to hit the links.  I always play the first 2, or 3 holes pretty well, but then the bad habits begin to return and I find myself scrambling all over the course.  However, there were some bright spots......my putting was great....I had mostly 1 and 2 putt greens, and my short game, including sand shots, was great.  I just need to work on swinging those 'woods' consistently, and work on my long irons.

Sunday is the last day for a while that temps will get into the 60's, and it is good we will begin to migrate south as the 10 day forecast looks foreboding along our entire route down US 395.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

US 395......my 'Mother Road'


I spent the better portion of Saturday afternoon online checking out possible boondock sites along our route south which will mostly find us somewhere along US 395 over the next month.  Route 66 is commonly referred to as the 'Mother Road', and for good reason, but in my heart US 395 will always be my 'Mother Road'.  This is a grand north/south highway that ends at the Canadian border in northern Washington, and in the south where it peters away into a tangle of Southern California Interstates....Interstate 15 south of Victorville now follows much of what used to be US 395.  It traverses three of my favorite western states.....Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California.


(Borrowed from this Wikepedia link)

I love knowing that over the next four weeks and 1600+ miles we will never be far from US 395, and will not exit it for good until we hit Interstate 15 in Hesperia, CA.  It runs along the dry side of the Cascades and Sierra Nevadas and provides access to some of the most amazing topography, long views and endless boondocking possibilities.  Although we have been up and down this highway from my home which is just 45 miles south of it's southern terminus as far north as Susanville, CA (just north of Reno, NV) I have never driven the section from the Kennewick, WA area south to Susanville, CA in the Newell.   Added to that is considering how many thousands of miles we have driven on US 395 over the 6+ decades of my life, we have rarely boondocked for more than an overnighter here, and there in all these years.  This time, however, with the help of others who have gone before us we will spend a few weeks doing just that.

Taken from Conway Summit the highest point along the entire length of US 395




......all this and more awaits us when we pull anchor in a few days and begin our homeward trek south for the holidays.......and warmer weather!

But for today, Sunday, NFL football is calling me away from my computer......Saturday was a good day for dinning out with family (Picabu Bistro and their famous Fire Pasta and Angry Prawns), and college football, too.....there was another amazing game ending play between Florida and Georgia, and my USC Trojans put a little 'whoopass' on the Utah State Utes......life is good!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A day in the life

We see my mother, my sister and her family usually once a year when we pass through Spokane in the Newell.....last year we did not bring the Newell this far north, so we drove the VW up from Cape Blanco for our annual visit.  Usually when we are in town we spend most of our waking hours talking and catching up with everyone, and that is a good thing.  Sure, we do keep up through the various social media outlets, through phone calls, and even via Skype when we are far away, but there is nothing like sitting down, in person, and talking to someone face to face.  That is what I enjoy about our times with family......talking face to face.....giving and getting hugs.....looking into each other's eyes.  Because we spend most of the year far removed every minute is precious, and by the end of our time TLE and I are feeling a little drained emotionally, but in a good way.  That feeling is just a bi-product of our nomadic life style.  Our wanderings keep us geographically far away from our loved ones for extended periods of time, so when we are with them we expend a lot of time being emotionally, and physically available.  When that time is done, and we continue our wanderings we go through a period of recharging......of necessity. 

I love the ambiance of Rockwood Bakery

I say that to say this......I have so enjoyed my time this year talking with my my sister Hilary, and my mother Virginia.  Friday I picked my mother up at her apartment and drove over to Rockwood Bakery on 18th Street near Manito Park.  It is one of my favorite places in Spokane to have a cup of coffee and a sandwich.  We sat there for close to 3 hours slowly eating our sandwiches, sipping our coffee, talking non-stop, and just enjoying being with each other.

I came across this picture this morning from Xmas, 2003 showing 5 generations of Hockwald's......left to right: Elijah (my grandson), Katie (my daughter), moi, Grandma Cornelia (my mother's mother) and my mother, Virginia

The bottom line for me is I am resolved from this point forward to cherish these times together, and to be better about keeping in contact with not just my mother, but my entire family.  None of us knows when our proverbial number is "up"......the time we have today is precious....use it wisely....it is not an infinite resource.  With each passing day it becomes more finite, and I am becoming more acutely aware of how fleeting it really is.

I was back to my sister Hilary's home by 1500 hours......just in time to take my weekly phone call with my sister Jill who lives near Ann Arbor, Michigan.  It has only been a few months since I saw her in Pasadena at our college reunion, but it seems too long.  She usually calls me when she is out taking a walk......I so admire the fact that she can walk and talk at the same time with no adverse results.....I can't do that.....I'm sure I would trip over something in the trail, or walk into a tree.  

My sister Jill

I finished off my day talking with my 'little' sister Hilary......I am so impressed with her wisdom.....when did she stop being 19?

With my sister Hilary and Jill at Sharon's wedding in January

Well, that my friends was another day in the life of a happy guy whose cup is running over with family, contentment, and happiness......

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Small projects, and other stuff

By the time we went to bed Wednesday evening I was very, very tired......we are both still getting over the 5 day whirlwind tour of SoCal for our daughter's wedding.  We've been kind of forced to re-acknowledge that we are, indeed, 66 years old.  I slept like the dead for 8 hours, went to the bathroom, and then went back to sleep for another 2 hours, before being awakened by the light of the morning sun penetrating the blackout curtains in our room....yep, that's right, when we are my sister's home we actually move out of the Newell into a suite in her basement.....basement may be misleading.......while we are in the technically in the basement portion of the home it is not your typical basement......we have a wonderful patio, and a wall lined with windows giving us a nice view outside.....




....normally we just continue living inside the Newell no matter where we are, but the logistical difficulties of dumping our tanks here make it an easy choice to just move inside for the duration of our stay.  We dumped our tanks the day we arrived at the RV park in Cheney, but even though we were only there parts of 3 days we made no effort to conserve, and as a result the gray tank is already half full, and we are here at my sister's home for almost a week.  
I had two minor projects I needed to attend to Thursday.......affix the renewal license tag to the rear license plate of the Newell, and install the newly acquired replacement Sirrius/XM radio in the VW.  The unit I had in the VW is over 10 years old and the 6 volt jack had begun to fail causing the radio to turn off frequently due to a less than adequate connection.  The tag installation went pretty smoothly, but the installation of the new receiver took way longer than I expected involving two phone calls to the very helpful folks at Sirrius/XM radio for assistance.  I kept glancing at my watch as I had arranged to go over and visit my mother at Noon time....I finally finished the installation at 1145......that's cutting it close!

I had a wonderful visit with my mother, and we talked and talked for over 2 hours.....she, at 86, still does not look her age, although it is obvious that she is becoming a little more limited in what she can do physically.......she is still as 'sharp as a tack', as my father used to say, meaning her mental acuity is as sharp as ever.  If I happen to make it to my 86th birthday I can only hope I am in as good a shape as she is.

After returning 'home' around 1500 hours I was feeling tired and lay down to take a short nap.....TLE had to wake me up two hours later as I was in a deep sleep, and she was concerned I would 'nap' too long making it difficult for me to go to bed that night......just for a few seconds I thought it was the next morning, and was a little disoriented.  As I said, we are still recovering from our trip south.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Courtesy parking.....

Wednesday was moving day for us.....just a shortish move from Cheney over to my sister's home in Spokane.  We have been to my sister's home two times previously, once with the trailer, but every time I drive down that narrow, one lane street to her home I get this slightly claustrophobic feeling.  There is no way to turn around on her street with the trailer as it is a 'DEAD END' street.  Our coach barely fits in their driveway just out of the way of the three car garage.  We have to use her late model Range Rover to turn the trailer around after we drop it so when we leave we can hook up and go.  And, one would think, based on the proximity of the house to our satellite dish that getting satellite TV would be impossible, but it is not......we are able to get a 95% signal.

The trailer is turned around, and ready for our departure in a week

We left Cheney around Noon time and drove the 18 miles over to my sister's home and by 1330 we were set up and relaxing......this is one of the many locations around the country that we have a 30 amp receptacle installed.  We'll be here at my sister's home until the 27th, or 28th when we begin our southward trek to SoCal.  The overnight lows are getting into the mid 30's here, the trees are in full Fall color, and are shedding their leaves at a remarkable rate, so, no doubt, it is time to begin our migration to warmer climes. 

And speaking of our southward trek, we will be mostly following US HWY 395 south from Walla Walla, WA, and would love any boondocking/dry camping suggestions southward along that route. By boondocking/dry camping I mean places other than big box store type parking......those are plentiful, and easy to find.  We are looking for more remote/rural places maybe a few miles, or less off the main highway where we can spend 1-7 days at a time.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A very, very long day

Our return flight to Spokane was scheduled to depart at 1100 hours.....of course, as you know, on any travel day I am awake early thinking about what has to be done in order for us to stay on schedule.......have I said I hate schedules?  I'm sure I have....at any rate I was awake at 0500....I tried to go back to sleep, but by 0520 I decided to get up....there are always naps.

Originally we had planned to leave for the airport at 0900, but were ready to go by 0830, so we just decided to go and wait at the airport.....there's no penalty for being early, is there?  We had to gas up the rental car (Budget - Toyota Prius hybrid) before we dropped it off, so that would eat up some time....I thought.  We had used half a tank driving close to 250 miles during our stay, but it only took 4.9 gallons.....that's like over 50 miles a gallon!  The Newell wouldn't even go 50 miles on that amount of fuel.   So, we drop the car off by 0900, and take the shuttle ride over to the Southwest terminal to check our one piece of luggage (way too big to put in the overhead bins), get our boarding passes, and go through security (once again we were both TSA pre-checked) where TLE, not I for a change, was flagged for more frisking.  The scanner thought she was concealing some metal object(s) around her knees and hips.....of course she wasn't.......if you will recall the scanner flagged me for GSR (gun shot residue) on our way out of Spokane 5 days earlier.........of course, there was none.  I haven't fired a gun in over 2 years....I'm pretty sure that GSR was no longer present on my person.

"Serenity now...."

We had barely gotten to gate 407 at 0930 when we saw that our 1100 departure time was delayed until 1130 due to weather.....somewhere else.....so now we we're really early.  We don't panic as our connecting flight in Phoenix is scheduled for 1355 hours, and we will still arrive with over 90 minutes before the flight to Spokane is scheduled to leave.  We planned to get lunch in between flights as our arrival time in Spokane was to be 1600.

We end up not taking off until 1145 so the window is shrinking......then we are advised after we are airborne that we are being re-routed around some weather between Ontario and Phoenix, meaning we will overfly Las Vegas adding miles and time.  We finally arrive in Phoenix around 1315 thinking we've only got 10 minutes before they start boarding......still no big problem.  We arrive at gate C6 to find that the connecting flight has also been delayed, and departure time has been pushed back to 1500, which means we will now arrive in Spokane after 1730 (5:30 pm).  We decide we now have plenty of time, once again, for lunch, so we find a small sports bar right next to our gate and settle in for a leisurely lunch watching the MLB playoff game between the Royals and Blue Jays (won by the Royals 14-2). 

Ultimately the departure time for the Spokane leg was corrected to 1440, and we arrived in Spokane at 1700 hours, picked up our one piece of luggage quickly arriving at the ground transportation lot just as our 'Diamond Park and Jet' bus arrives......perfect!  This is the second time we have parked there.....we love it because they only charge $5.99/day, and have a free carwash right there on premises, which we once again took advantage of before heading back to Cheney and our Newell.....we were home by 1830 (after a quick stop at the supermarket) and unpacked and relaxing by 1900.......yup, that was a very, very long day!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Until Next Time"

A great picture of the Hockwald clan from the wedding

First thing Monday morning we said 'until next time' to Katie and Nick as they set out on their driving honeymoon to South Lake Tahoe, then met our oldest daughter, Meredith, for a late breakfast around 1000 hours at a cool breakfast place called Corkey's Homestyle Kitchen in Eastvale (near Corona), and then headed up to our son's office in Rancho Cucamonga to pick up a piece of luggage we had been storing in his office warehouse for the past few years.....the wheels on our current luggage broke on the trip down from Spokane.  


Katie and Nick stopped to take a picture at the top of Conway Summit looking back at Mono Lake, a family tradition.

On our way home from Chris' office we decided on the spur of the moment to head for the local Edward's Theater to see 'The Martian' (Matt Damon)......what a great movie!  IMDB gives the movie 4 stars, and both TLE and I would heartily agree.  We don't go to see too many movies on the big screen, and this was only the first time this year we have done so.....our last movie was on Christmas day last year.  The premise of the movie has Matt Damon left behind on Mars when his fellow astronauts depart thinking he has died.  It runs 2 hours 20 minutes, but the time will fly by for you.

Around 1700 we met our other two children (Sharon and Tim) along with their significant others for dinner at Don Jose's in Montclair to complete Monday's 'until next time' tour.

Left to right: Sharon, Rod, Tim and Laila

Each year we, as a family, attend a movie on Christmas Day, or the very next day, depending on everyone's schedule.....we have decided to go and see the next installment of the Star Wars franchise (The Force Awakens). My daughter, Meredith, went on line (Fandango) Monday night to buy all the tickets when they went on sale, and just barely completed the transaction when the site crashed due to so many people buying tickets.  At least we got ours.....December 26th will be here before you know it!

It was a great day to say 'until next time', especially knowing that we will be back in just a month for the holidays, and more hugs......life is very good for us and for our children.

Tuesday we will jet back to Spokane to visit with my mother and my sister's family before beginning our multi week trek southward back to SoCal.  We are hoping to do some dry camping, and boondocking along the way to get a better feeling for how our investment in our expanded solar array will work at recharging our battery bank in a shorter period of time.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Afterglow....

TLE and I spent the night after the wedding at the local Marriott, which is just 2 blocks from the venue, so a few of Nick and Katie's out of town friends could spend the night at their home before heading home Sunday.  Around 1030 we convened at their suite in the Mission Inn for bagels and Bloody Mary's while they opened their wedding gifts. 

A proud mama......

We were back at Nick and Katie's home by noon time decompressing and relaxing for the first time in 3 days.  When you are used to living your life pretty much free of schedules and large groups of people three straight days of both can wear one down a little.

I spent the rest of the day watching NFL football, and specifically watching the Denver Broncos eek out an overtime victory 26-23 over the Cleveland Browns.  Once again their defense played a major part in the victory forcing several turnovers, including a 'pick six' interception, but ultimately it was Peyton Manning who drove the team down the field in overtime for the winning field goal.

We will be in SoCal one more day before boarding our return flight to Spokane on Tuesday.  We still have a few more times to break bread with our kids, but pretty soon we will be back to a schedule free existence.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

I've been here before....and I mean that in a good way

I'll forego my usual pontification and just tell the story with pictures.........

 Bride's maids ready to get dressed

 Before her last name changed - left to right: Heidi, Ali, Sharon, Kate (the bride), Charlise, Shonda (maid of honor), Laila and Mere

In the elevator

 TLE and our grandson, Elijah, before the wedding

 Groom's attendants - taken at the Mission Inn Rotunda

 The groomsmen with the groom

 A few after wedding pictures in front of the Riverside Art Museum 

 Have to stick in at least one 'selfie', right?

 First dance as 'man and wife'

Mrs. Timmerman and I on the roof of the art museum for the reception

It was a wonderful, albeit humid day.....not your typical SoCal late October day.......everything went off on schedule, and the bride was as cool as a cucumber.    The father/daughter dance was done to the accompaniment of Van Morrison's 'Tupelo Honey'....


It was a day that would make any father happy, perhaps even shed a few tears of joy.....my daughter has married a good man.....she is in good hands........my heart is full......life is good.

Thanks for stopping by!