grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Friday, August 31, 2012

16-31AUG12 - Sultan, WA (where's the rain???)

After flying back to Seattle the first thing Dan had to do the next day, 16AUG, was spend over three hours in a dentist chair getting old fillings replaced. Visits to the dentist are always so much fun (NOT)! The rest of the month was spent doing “small jobs” around house while preparing to button-up & depart the Pacific NW. Some of these small jobs included:

-restaining our new decks (it seems that the product we first used doesn’t prevent mold)
-caulk & repaint the pump house
-run drain for our water treatment system to a drainage field to prevent standing water every time the system back flushes
-continue to repair the mower deck of the freebie Sears mower we got over two years ago -built a compost bin
-finish mulching & weeding numerous flowers beds planted by Corrie
Even with all this work we found time for two breaks. On Saturday, 25AUG, we attended the matinee show at Teatro ZinZanni sort of a cabaret dinner show in a circus tent (really a spiegelten or “mirror tent” from Europe). To plagiarize their website - Teatro ZinZanni's main event is part circus, part dinner theatre, and always magical. Described as "the Kit Kat Klub on acid" and "the hottest ticket in town" Teatro ZinZanni is a night out unlike any other. It is a three hour whirlwind of international cirque, comedy and cabaret artists all served up with a scrumptious five course feast (four courses for the matinee) and elegant libations (at an extra charge). Each ever evolving and constantly changing production at least three new shows per year. Teatro ZinZanni combines improv comedy, vaudeville revue, music, dance, cirque and sensuality into a dizzying and colorful new form that is never quite the same from evening to evening.

We can’t recount everything we saw because it was a little overwhelming but some of the hilites were – a great blues singer; excellent tap & soft shoe homage to Fred, Ginger, Gene & Mr Bojangles; a hilarious recreation of the film King Kong with objects found in a garbage can; aerial artistry; really scary clowns; Tarzan & Jane; & many other unique acts. We enjoyed it immensely & highly recommend it; BUT be warned there is a large amount of audience participation (often of the embarrassing kind) & they don’t take no for an answer!

The second break we took was on Friday, 31AUG, when we drove what is called the Mountain Loop Highway; starting in Granite Falls & ending in Arlington. The Loop consists of SR92 (paved), Forest Road 20 (gravel & dirt), & SR530 (paved). Halfway thru the drive we stopped to hike to the Big Four Ice Caves; a very pleasant one mile hike thru old growth forest. The breeze coming out of the ice caves feels like you are standing in front of a very large freezer with a big fan in it. During the hike we visited the ruins of the Big Four Lodge. Turns out the Lodge was used by the Coast Guard as a R&R station during WWII. Who knew?

Trivia - Why is Big Four Mountain called Big Four when it has got five peaks?

Lastly, the Seattle area set a weather record for the entire month of August - No measurable rain!!! We have been blessed with 31 days of 70 or 80 degree days, sunny afternoons, & 50 degrees at night.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

09-15AUG12 - Houma, LA (father & son road trip)

Thursday morning, 09AUG, Dan & son, Joe, departed Sultan, WA, to drive back to Houma, LA. Turns out this year for his yearly “free trip” to the Pacific NW, Joe decided to drive his truck by himself all the way to our house in Sultan, WA, rather than using our airline miles for a plane trip! After driving more than forty hours by himself he pulled into our driveway much to our surprise. We decided that he would not repeat the marathon drive on his return to Houma; & Dan would drive with him & then fly back to SeaTac airport.

So Thursday they hit the road. They drove until 5AM Friday before stopping in Cheyenne, WY, to find a motel. Turns out that the oil industry is also doing pretty good in the local area & most of the motels are booked in advance by the oil companies. They ended up staying at an older motel called the Hitching Post (not recommended!).

Getting back on the road Friday at noon was another hard day of driving with a nice hamburger dinner at Spangles (a family owned chain in Kansas - highly recommended!). Since Joe & Dan wanted to make the fastest time possible, they stuck mostly to the interstates. In fact the GPS & MapQuest both recommended the same route, all of it on interstates. The route eventually placed them on I-35 South to Dallas, & then would have taken them on I-20 East to Louisiana. But late Friday night somewhere in Kansas, the GPS “changed its mind” & had them get off I-35 and take Oklahoma toll roads to Tulsa? (Must have had something to do with being in the land of Oz?)

This not only ended up costing them time & money, but eventually dumped them into the heart of downtown Tulsa, OK. Because the toll road was being rebuilt & they missed the detour signs; costing them over a half hour wandering the deserted streets of Tulsa. After escaping Tulsa the GPS put us back on the toll roads of Oklahoma where they eventually found a Days Inn in Paris, TX, at 3AM Saturday morning. Back on the road at noon Saturday, they completed the drive into Houma at 6:30PM. The drive took a little over 41 hours on the road, & covered 2630 miles!

Sunday, 12AUG, Dan helped Joe finish & install a new gate to his backyard. Oh yeah, we forgot to mention in our previous BLOG entries, Joe is now a home owner (or rather a mortgage owner)! That evening they visited Rebecca & our grandson Jaxson J Pitre for a delicious lasagna dinner. The next couple of days were spent doing not much of anything other than a great steak BBQ prepared by Joe on Tuesday evening. Wednesday morning, 15AUG, Joe took Dan to New Orleans airport for his flight back to Seattle to rejoin Corrie.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

03-08AUG12 - Sultan, WA

On 03 AUG, Friday, the day after Rebecca, Raymond, & Jaxson Pitre had flown out, Dan & Joe started on the next “major” project on our property. This was building a “loft” in our existing barn (that you have see & heard about many times in our BLOG) for the storage of all the stuff we can’ fit in the house!

The first step was removing the temporary tarp covering we had placed almost five years ago to keep the wind & weather out & replacing the tarp with a solid OSB wall. Then they erected post & beams to carry the load down to the concrete. This was followed by joists & 3/4 inch plywood to finish. Sounds simple but it took five days in some very hot & humid weather. End result is a project that would taken us two weeks at best, was done in five days!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

28JUL-02AUG12 - Sultan, WA (if its tuesday it must be ziplining)

28JUL, Saturday, was the 120th year birthday party for Steve & Dan described in the previous BLOG entry. We were blessed with great weather, great food (elk burgers, brats, dogs, sesame teriyaki chicken, escargot filled mushrooms, & side dish after side dish), & most important - great company! Everyone was very impressed with the two decks built by us, even if they were missing some stairs. The day included the unveiling of the first US Coast Guard submarine, many spirited ladder ball games, & a bigger fire in the fire pit. As always there was way too much food left for us to eat; but thankfully the “kids” are here & it should all go fast!
The next day, Sunday morning, Ed jumped on his Harley to head back to Sprucewoods, Manitoba, Canada. After cleaning up from the party everyone headed to the Iron Goat Trail to go hiking. See below BLOG for when we hiked the first half of it two years ago. Corrie decided to wait for us at the Interpretive Center. Raymond had his son Jaxson on his back; of course Jaxson conked out within the first mile. It was a great two hour hike, even if we did see several signs of bears in the area.

Monday everyone except Corrie headed into Seattle for sightseeing. In less than six hours they managed to see – Dan’s paternal grandparents house on Capitol Hill & the great free view from Volunteer Park; the center of the universe in the Fremont neighborhood; Dan’s maternal grandparents house on Queen Anne; Seattle Center site of the 1962 World’s Fair; ride the Alweg Monorail to downtown; Pike Place Market; walk the Waterfront; lunch at Ivars; Curiosity Shoppe; Pioneer Square; & finally back to the car to Dan’s parents house in Redmond. Of course we had to get those “classic” family photos with the troll under the Aurora Bridge, Ivar & the seagulls, & the Pike Place Market pig.

Tuesday, 31JUL, Dan, Raymond & Joe headed to the Future of Flight for the Boeing “Factory” tour. While Corrie, Rebecca & Jaxson took it easy & did some shopping. The Boeing tour is of their Everett, WA, plant where they assemble 747s, 767s & their newest product 787s (aka The Dreamliner). The building is the largest building in the world by volume & was built in the early 70s specifically for the 747. A very interesting tour. Upon the boys return to the house they were shown a vintage Radio Flyer Retro Rocket that Corrie had purchased for Jaxson’s first Xmas. Of course she couldn’t wait, & had Jaxson riding it immediately. Dinner was at Red Robin followed by walk on the banks of the Skykomish River.

Wednesday is off to zipline at Canopy Tours NW on Camano Island; leaving Grandma with Jaxson for most of the day. Dan, Rebecca, Raymond & Joe conquered their fears & had a great time; including a ride on a Unamog(sp?). In fact they “wished” the ziplines were longer & faster! That evening we were joined by all of Dan’s sister Sharon’s kids – Aimee, Marisa & Julia, along with five of the six of their kids & Aimee’s husband Ben. The only three people who didn’t make it were Marisa’s husband Dave, Julia’s husband Casey & Aimee’s oldest Savannah. It was the first time in decades that our kids had seen some of their cousins (certainly all at one time).

Thursday morning, 02AUG, we slept in before finishing packing & taking Rebecca, Raymond & Jaxson to the airport. Since we were early to the airport we stopped at the Pancake Chef for a late breakfast as we have done in the past (see Ryan RV Express BLOG link above for more about the Pancake Chef).

It was a great six days, but we told them next time come for two weeks so we can spread activities out!!!