grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Sunday, October 16, 2011

06-15OCT11 - Various WA, OR, UT, NM, TX & LA

We departed Monroe on Thursday, 06OCT, & stopped in Leavenworth, WA, for lunch with Dan’s cousin Sheila. Since we hadn’t been able to get together during the summer, we made a lunch date on our drive east & south. Although it wasn’t the same as spending a couple of days together like we have in the past, it was an excellent time together. Next year we need to try harder to spend a couple of days in Leavenworth.

We then departed Leavenworth for cousin Steve & Bonnie’s in Kittitas, WA. Friday was spent on last minute errands, RV maintenance, & an oil change on the TOAD. Later that afternoon a “successful” hunter brought by an elk he had shot to be butchered. We know elk are large animals; but only when we saw the carcass being moved around on the end of a tractor, did we realize how really big they are! Meanwhile Dan & Steve were “co-cooking” BBQ ribs for dinner. They were working as a team because Dan had supplied & marinated the ribs, & the actual cooking was being done on Steve’s fairly new smoker. It was a constant battle between Steve turning the heat down & Dan turning it up. But in the end peace prevailed & the ribs were excellent.
Saturday morning, 08OCT, we commenced our dash to Houma, LA. Why the hurry? Because our daughter, Rebecca, is having her (& Raymond’s) first child (aka first grandchild) in DEC, & for some reason Corrie thinks we need to be there NOW! Anyway, it was a beautiful drive to Huntington, OR, thru the Blue Mountains. Sunday we drove all the way to Provo,UT, only to find the off ramp to our chosen RV park closed due to construction. Luckily Dan spotted a small & partially hidden RV sign. It turned out to be the very same RV park we stayed at 17SEP04 while Dan got our computer fixed.
We then departed Provo early Monday morning on US 6 through the scenic canyons of Unita National Forest; driving the length of Utah through red rock country of Moab & the four corner area. We have driven through the four corner area a couple of times, but we need to come back & spend time in amazing National Parks & Monuments. Monday night was spent in Gallup, NM. Tuesday was a 500 mile drive through Albuquerque, Roswell, & Carlsbad, NM, to spend the night at an Escapee Park in Pecos, TX, that we had stayed at once before.

Wednesday afternoon, 12OCT, we arrived at Dan’s sister Sharon & Tim’s in Kerrville, TX, to spend the next two days relaxing & decompressing from the drive. While there we checked on our household goods that have been in storage since 2007. we are not sure how, but we need to figure out how we are going get all this “stuff” moved to our just completed house in Sultan, WA?

Early Saturday morning it was back on the road to finish trip to Houma, LA, with an overnight stop at the Coushatta Casino, in Kinder, LA. There were no winners this visit, but Dan noticed Willie Nelson was playing a concert on 18NOV, at the casino. Since it is only a three hour drive from Houma to the casino, we bought tickets to see Willie & Family.

After a short drive Sunday, 16OCT, finally arrive at Rebecca & Raymond’s in Houma, LA, & are now parked in their driveway waiting for the stork.

Friday, October 7, 2011

01-05OCT11 - Sultan, WA (final construction thoughts)

As we said in our last BLOG entry the house was finally 100% done at the end of SEP & we received our final county inspection on 28SEP. Are we glad we did it? Yes! Would we do it again? No (with caveats)! First, we are a little to old to be doing this; 10 or 20 years ago this would have been an easy thing to do. Even though the contractor did 95% of the work, we still did the remaining 5%; plus anything that had to do with getting utilities hooked up, & grading the property for future yard/landscaping.

If we were ever to do this again, we do it on property that had all utilities on site & ready to go. Looking back it took three summer visits to clean-up property, improve driveway for heavy trucks (& RVs), drill a well, run power over 450 ft, etc, etc. In addition to being time consuming, these items added substantially to the overall cost!

But the end result is a house that we are extremely happy with! Also, we feel this house is a fantastic value for the monies actually spent on its construction. Although it is a “basic” plan from Lexar Homes, it is a design we are both pleased with; & with the few upgrades we selected, feels a little “custom” (especially on the interior).

A pleasant surprise was the quality & strength of the overall construction, while remaining affordable. Way back when, Dan was on site when his paternal Grandmother had a “custom” rambler built on ten acres in Redmond, WA; & then when his parents had a bare bones spec house built on one acre next door. Neither house was as solid or skillfully constructed as this one. Why? Dan’s theory is because “back then” a group of carpenters showed up every day & did everything except the ventilation, plumbing & wiring; plus these carpenters had very few “power” tools. Today ever aspect of construction is a “specialty” contractor. The foundation forms are done by one team, framing by another, insulation by another, drywall by another, & so on, & so on. In addition, these specialists have the latest power tools, along with special materials that make assembly literally a snap. End result is that the back in the day a house took all summer with daily activity by multiple people to construct; while ours took all summer but with only about fifty actual days of construction & very few individuals to get it done, with better quality & far less waste!

Anyway, we reluctantly spent the first week of OCT11 cleaning up the property; parking the tractor & other equipment in the barn; & securing the house for our absence. Then it was back to our almost permanent spot at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds for one night to dump holding tanks & prepare for a hard drive back to Houma, LA.