grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Thursday, September 30, 2010

06-30SEP10 - Monroe, WA (thumb twiddling)

Monday morning, 06SEP, it was back to “our” all most permanent RV spot at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, resigned to the fact that nothing will happen on the building of our house this summer or fall. Our only accomplishment after four months, other than a lot of thumb twiddling, was to get a 450 foot ditch dug from the road to where we want to install the “temporary” power needed for the building of a house.

Now-a-days the power company wants all power lines buried on your property, while being run through a 2 inch PVC conduit. So it was off to the nearest home center to buy 45 10-foot sections of 2-inch gray PVC pipe. While transporting the 45 sections of PVC, Dan lost the load on the busiest road in Monroe (US 2); even though he had it tied down with four different ratcheting cargo straps. Turns out there is a reason contractors transport pipe in pyramid shapes, or place boards between each row of pipe! Luckily no one was injured, & no cars were damaged. Many drivers immediately jumped out of their cars & began throwing the pipe onto the sidewalk. Dan thought they were being helpful, but they didn’t want their commute made any longer than necessary. Soon he was all by himself with the Toad parked on the sidewalk, reloading the pipe.

The next day we spent all day laying & joining pipe in a four foot by two foot trench, & then running a 1/4 inch polypropylene line through it. Fortunately our worked passed the PUD inspection. Now we wait for the power company to connect us to the grid, run 550 feet of primary power line, & bury a transformer on our property.

Sunday, 12SEP, we traveled into Lynnwood where we had a nice brunch with Dan’s brother, Shawn, & Cindi. They are both doing very well, & Cindi now has her own Harley so they can go biking together. In fact they had just completed a several day trip to Montana. (See the below BLOG for our last visit with them.)

A week later we visited & had dinner with Dan’s cousin Bob Harris, son of Aunt Madeline who we had recently visited on 20AUG, & wife Patty. They had just recently finished a large garage & shop building on their property. So we spent hours trading Snohomish County permitting & inspection horror stories; as well as being treated to a delicious home cooked meal!

This has not been the best summer for Seattle & the forecast for 22SEP was for warm & sunny day; so we decided to head into Seattle. First stop was Pike Place Market for some chowder at (are you ready for this original name?) Pike Place Chowder. Turns out their New England chowder has won several awards including contests in New England! We had a sampler of four chowders, all very excellent; & a crab roll (over priced, mostly roll & lettuce). Then we spent several hours walking about the Market; as always a very enjoyable time as long as the crowds aren’t overwhelming like during the tourist season.

Dan noticed many “Asian” tourists heading down a street called Lower Post Alley w/their cameras. Dan followed them & discovered the world famous “wall of gum” where people stick their used gum on a brick wall. There is even a gumball dispensing machine if you don’t have a wad of gum in your mouth to contribute. Supposedly one of the “germiest” tourist attractions in the world!
From the Market we headed to the Olympic Sculpture Park. The park is a free outdoor art display sponsored by the Seattle Art Museum. The land is a brownfield project where an old oil terminal was situated between Puget Sound, railroad tracks & several major roads. The park is in an unique “Z” arrangement & partially elevated, so that it does not interfere with the railroads or traffic & still connects to the waterfront.

The last day of September was a glorious sunny day so we once again headed into Seattle for lunch at “The Attic”, an alehouse & eatery. Why The Attic for lunch? Because as their motto says – 50+ years; your grandparents drank here, why not you? Dan’s grandparents didn’t drink there, but his dad & most of his dad’s sisters & brothers drank there! So you could say it is part of Dan's heritage!

After a nice lunch & walkabout around the neighborhood, we drove along Lake Washington Blvd, south toward Seward Park. Lake Washington Boulevard is a scenic, approximately 8-mile road, that hugs Lake Washington for much of the drive. There are views of the lake, small sections of rainforest, meadows, and views of the Cascade mountains. This is an extremely beautiful drive along the western shore of Lake Washington that can be extremely frustrating on nice days during the summer or weekends; but since school was in session & it was a weekday, it was very enjoyable.

We finished the day by visiting the newest Seattle area Uwajimaya store located in Renton. As we stated in our BLOG of 11-26AUG08 - Uwajimaya started in the International District of Seattle selling Japanese and Chinese products and groceries to the large Japanese and Chinese population. They have since expanded to include items from Korea, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, etc. We find shopping at Uwajimaya is like being in Asia without taking a twelve hour flight.

Monday, September 6, 2010

01-05SEP10 - Various, WA (olympic peninsula)

Wednesday, 01SEP, we tried once again to get onboard NAS Whidbey Island to stay at their military RV park, again with no luck. So as we did on 13JUL we headed to the city owned Staysail RV Park in Oak Harbor, WA. Thursday morning, kind of on a “spur of the moment” we decided to catch a Washington State ferry over to the Olympic Peninsula of Washington to see Dan’s cousin Kathie Grasser. Unfortunately the closest ferry (which is on Whidbey Island) is reservation only & was fully booked. So we were forced to drive off the island & back track for two hours to catch a ferry out of Edmonds over to the town of Kingston. Thankfully there was no line for the ferry, & we were treated to a glorious ride.

As we proceeded toward Sequim, WA, we stopped for a burger at Fat Smitty’s. We knew Smitty’s must be good because there were four State Patrol cars parked outside (or maybe a serious crime was occurring?). Smitty is a retired Marine & runs his establishment as he sees fit; for example he may or may not be open at any particular time or day. In addition to the unique objects outside, there are countless dollar bills covering the ceiling & walls. We have seen other establishments with money on the ceiling, but never as many as here. Luckily we only ordered one Fat Smitty burger to share, because it was three inches of bacon, paddies & cheese! Upon arrival at Kathie’s & setting up camp we sat outside in the sunshine with Kathie & mother-in-law, Marge, before being treated to an excellent chili dinner. For more on our last visit with these two fine ladies check out the below BLOG entry.

Friday morning we took off in the Toad to explore the Olympic National Park. First stop was the main visitor center to gather info on the park & view the always informative park video. Next was a drive up to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, a climb of almost 5000 feet. We spent a couple of hours enjoying the view & walking some of the shorter nature trails. While there we noted a display & buttons saying “Last Dam Summer”. Turns out that the dams on the Elwha River (2 total) are to be removed starting next summer. So this summer is the last summer of the dams (aka Last Dam Summer).

Dan decided that we needed to go view the dams before they are removed. He also decided that we would take the Forest Service dirt roads to get there. After a bouncy but scenic twenty minute ride we made it. Efforts to remove the dams have been underway since the 70s, in 1992 Congress authorized the removal of the dams; but it still took 15 years of legal proceedings & environmental studies before contracts could be signed. After a full day of just exploring a small portion of the National Park we headed back to Kathie’s for another great meal & more family reminiscing. There is so much to do on the Olympic Peninsula that next time we need to visit for much longer!

Late start Saturday morning we awoke to the “threat” of rain & decided to head south on 101 along the westside of Hood Canal. It was a beautiful drive & we stumbled onto a beach front RV park at Hoodsport. Although it was next to noisy highway 101, the view of the shoreline & Hood Canal were worth it! After enjoying the afternoon sun it was into the Toad for a quick tour of Shelton & the surrounding area. For dinner we headed to the Goeduck Tavern for an oyster sandwich & goeduck (aka gooey duck) clam strips.

Sunday morning, 05SEP, we continued exploring in the Toad. First stop (after ten miles of National Forest Road) was the “High Steel Bridge”, a logging RR bridge built in 1929. It is 685 foot long & 420 feet above the Skokomish River. Corrie was not pleased when Dan upon finding the bridge, drove straight across it without checking to see how safe it was. To insure her safety she walked back across the bridge, leaving Dan to drive back solo. Turns out the bridge was the scene of a dramatic Naval helo rescue on 17AUG, that we saw several times on the Seattle TV news. Check out the below internet link to see a helo hovering under the bridge with no clearance between the canyon walls.

Then it was off to Union, WA, to visit the Dalby Waterwheel. The waterwheel although not spectacular is a slice of local & Seattle history. In 1924 it provided the first electricity on Hood Canal. The wheel was recycled from the trolley counter balance system on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle & the water buckets were from a dredge used on the Denny re-grade in Seattle. We finished the day by driving along the south end of Hood Canal, to the south end of Puget Sound, & back to the RV park to enjoy the late afternoon sun.