grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

06-30APR13 - Sultan, WA (rain, rain, go away!)

Saturday, 06APR, we hit the road to our new house in Sultan, WA, driving thru rain & snow over Snoqualmie Pass. Unfortunately the rain continued all day; & even worse, for several weeks after our arrival! It took Dan a couple of tries to remember how to turn everything back on – like the gas, & the water treatment system in the pump house. But soon everything was up & running! As usual cousin Steve & Bonnie gave us some homemade treats as we departed. This time in addition to elk & deer snacks, they gave us some smoked Kokanee (landlocked sockeye salmon). So we immediately made some of Bonnie’s great dip for snackies & it disappeared. Once settled in, the rest of the month was spent:

---Unloading RV, big thing to Dan is getting tools set up & stored in garage (especially new miter saw & miter saw stand).

---Monday, 08AUG, was taking computer in for repair; & then taking the new Pioneer car stereo in for repair at another facility. Because of the computer problems, Dan visited the local library to get a library card so he could use their computers.

---Thursday Dan took the Toad in for an airbag alarm. There is ground somewhere, but the dealer says they can’t find it until the radio is back in. But we did get the computer back. Unfortunately the next day, Friday, the computer crashed big time. So it was back to the computer shop, where Dan now learned that part of our problem(s) is that we still run Windows XP & recent updates (ie for Explorer, Office 2002, etc) only work on later versions of MS operating systems (Vista, MS 7 or MS 8). Looks like we will be forced to buy a new computer in near future just to have the latest MS operating system, even though ours is all we really need (thanks Mr Gates)! Because of no computer Dan headed back to the library on Saturday to check e-mail & pay bills online.

---Sunday, 14APR, Dan went to Costco to buy a BluRay player for the house. Naively Dan thought it would be like the old days of stereo systems – buy any component, take out of box, plug wires in, & sit back & enjoy. Not so! Dan spent several hours setting up our existing 1997 5.1 surround sound with the new BluRay player & last year’s new TV. Turns out most of today’s technology is based on HDMI cables; but our “old” stereo is based on fiber optics, because HDMI hadn’t been invented in 1997. So the BluRay, which did not have fiber optic, was connected to TV w/HDMI cable; & the TV, which had fiber optic, was connected back to the surround sound. Then Dan had to program the stereo that it would be “receiving” 5.1 sound; & then navigate thru various menus on the BluRay & TV to tell them to “output” 5.1 sound (hint – the 5.1 option was NOT under the audio menus of either device where you would expect it?).

---Monday, 15APR, we picked up the computer w/fingers crossed. Most of the afternoon & evening was spent recovering the archived e-mails & address book. Turns out the easy part was getting rid of virus, the hard part is re-installing software.

---Wednesday, 24APR, we visited Spane Buildings in Mount Vernon, WA. But first we had a delicious Italian lunch at El Granaio in Mount Vernon. We (ie Dan) have chosen Spane to build a large metal garage & shop building on our property. We probably don’t really need it; but it will give us a place to park the RV out of the weather, a place for us to set up all our tools & gardening equipment thereby allowing us to park in our present garage, & just enough room to park the tractor when it is being used rather than walking back & forth to the barn.

---Thursday, 25AUG, we got the tractor & wood chipper out of barn to chip up some piles of tree debris. Then on Friday Dan got to remove the chipper & place it on a steel dolly our son Joe welded so we can easily roll the chipper around the barn when not in use. It works great, but 900 pounds doesn’t roll so easy (something to do with momentum?)!    

Sunday, 28APR, we decided to head into Seattle to catch the matinee of “Black Watch” at the Paramount Theatre. But the first stop was the Seattle Center for the Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival. This festival is part of the Seattle Center’s annual Festál celebrations –

“Festál, presented by Seattle Center in partnership with community organizations, is a year-long series of FREE events that honors the cultural richness and diversity of the Pacific Northwest. Festál plays a vital part in Seattle Center efforts to connect our dynamic and varied communities.”

Turns out the Japanese Festival was the first & the oldest in the Festál series. There are 22 festivals on the 2013 calendar including Turk, Arab, Croatia, Italian, Hawaiian, Tibet, Mexican Day of the Dead, Sundiata, Tet, Hmong, Irish (on St Patties Day), & more. It was a very nice festival with many interesting exhibits, & we shared four pieces of Takoyaki (think octopus dumplings w/shaved fish flakes on top) & a Matsuri hot dog (sausage, Japanese onion, teriyaki sauce & sea weed). We even braved the rain to watch Takio drumming outside.

Then it was off to find parking near the Paramount Theatre hoping for free street parking. There was no street parking left & we ended up moving the Toad twice before finding a “reasonable” price in a nearby lot. First about the Paramount, the Theatre is one of several built by Paramount Pictures between 1926 – 1928 when they endeavored to have a grand movie palace with their name in every major city in the USA. Just like most of the grand movie palaces from the 20s & 30s the Paramount started to decline following WWII, & fell into disrepair, eventually being closed on & off thru the 60s (complete history at below internet link).

Enter the 70s & rock & roll concerts, & Dan’s prior experience with the Paramount. From 1974 to 1979, Dan & his friends would attend many a concert/show at the Paramount; especially what was called “Catch a Rising Star” concerts produced in partnership w/KISW FM radio. For one dollar Dan saw numerous up & coming international/national acts - Clash, Talking Heads, Blondie, Rockpile, Devo, Robert Palmer, Elvis Costello, & many he can’t remember. As well as paying more to see the Kinks, Van Morrison, Lou Reed, & even Richard Pryor. It was in very poor shape then & seemed to get a little worse after each concert. Now it is been fully renovated & the bathrooms are clean to actually use, & w/o worrying about Reefer Madness!

The play “Black Watch” deals with a Scottish platoon of the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment (aka Black Watch) at Camp Dogwood, Iraq, in 2006 (when there were coalition forces with us in Iraq). The story moves back & forth between Camp Dogwood, & a pub in Fife after most to the lads have left the unit. Interwoven throughout the play is the history of the regiment as the UK’s oldest & last “autonomous” unit, & the Regiments soon to be incorporation into newly created regiment representing all of Scotland (ie no longer a distinct unit made up of lads from the same area of Scotland). -

“Hurtling from a pool room in Fife to an armoured wagon in Iraq, Black Watch is based on interview conducted by Gregory Burke with former soldiers who served in Iraq. Viewed through the eyes of those on the ground, Black Watch reveals what it means to be part of the legendary Scottish regiment, what it means to be part of the war on terror and what it means to make the journey home again. John Tiffany’s production makes powerful and inventive use of movement, music and song to create visceral, complex and urgent piece of theatre.” 

Be warned the f-bombs abound in the dialog, & these actors are from the National Theatre of Scotland & their brogues are often hard to understand. The staging is very unique in that the action is portrayed on a long “run way” type stage with the audience on both sides within inches of the actors. The show is an intense two hours & there is no intermission! Corrie thought it was good but thought it couldn’t be 100% “real”. After thirty years of military life (never in a combat situation however) Dan thought it was awesome & probably was spot-on in depicting the endless boredom of waiting, punctuated by the terror of brief, unexpected attacks from an enemy willing to commit suicide to kill you.


Half way thru the month of April the Seattle area had already experienced the third wettest April on record. This meant we had half the month left to break the record! Thankfully Wednesday, 17APR, we had a week of great weather & the record was not broken. During that time we mowed 2 acres of grass twice; Dan built a second compost bin w/more scrap lumber from our original porches; Corrie continued gardening & renewing mulch in the flower beds; installed hose racks on the pump house for hundreds of feet of hoses; changed the oil & filter on the Toad; & much more outdoor maintenance & gardening, which we won’t bore you with.   

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

30MAR-05APR13 - Kittitas, WA (via laughlin, nv; bakersfield, ca; orland, ca; bend, or; & toppenish, wa)

Saturday, 30MAR, drove from Phoenix to Riverside Casino, Laughlin, NV. We first stayed here in April 2010 & again in April 2011 (see below BLOG for why Laughlin is so special in the world of casinos). Dan did very, very well at the Casino playing a penny video poker machine:)!

Easter Sunday we headed westward toward California. This was the first time we have driven on I-40E from Needles, CA, to Barstow, CA; the high desert country was actually very scenic. We then continued driving on CA 58 to Bakersfield, CA, where we overnighted at the same RV park we used when were “convoying” with the RV & a Penske rental truck w/our furniture to our new house in Sultan, WA, last March.

Monday morning we got on I-5N. We stopped for lunch at Pea Soup Andersens in Santa Nella, CA. This Andersens is supposedly the same as the original located on the CA coast in Buellton, CA. The original Andersens was (& still is) a traditional stop for people traveling along the CA coast on highway 101 about 25 miles west of Santa Barbara, & is supposedly known for their pea soup? All we can say is their soup is pretty poor; especially if you have ever tried real Dutch pea soup (aka erwtensoep)! After a long drive we stopped at an RV park in Orland, CA, & discovered a good BBQ joint called the Berry Patch Restaurant – Dan went with the tri-tip & Corrie had the hamburger steak.

Tuesday, 02APR, we continued driving north, leaving I-5N at Weed, CA, & taking US 97N toward Bend, OR. Again this was another road we haven’t driven before. This portion of US 97 in CA was a nice drive with little traffic. Unfortunately the Passport America (a discount RV park club we belong to) map & listing of RV parks in OR was wrong & we end up 15 miles away from Bend, OR, for the night. The bad info in the book added 30 miles to our trip; but we were so tired we just checked-in & called it a day.

Wednesday we drove to Legends Casino on the Yakama Nation in Toppenish, WA. Dan no longer likes this casino because as we discovered on our last visit, 13SEP12, video poker costs $1 & he never plays machines over a nickel! Plus, this time they did not give us any comps.

Thursday, 04APR, we made the short drive to Dan’s cousin Steve & wife Bonnie Kiesel in the rain. Most years we visit with them on our return to WA & on our departure. See below BLOG about last visit, including great boating trip on the Columbia River & an encounter with a herd of big horn sheep. That evening we took them & their son Kenneth out to dinner at New York Teriyaki & Burgers for an early celebration of Bonnie’s birthday. The menu was interesting in that it offered Japanese food, Chinese food, Korean food, sushi, burgers & pizza. The food was actually very good. 

The next day Steve & Dan had to take elk bones from a recently butchered elk to be disposed of; & then headed into the surrounding hills for a little off-road “sightseeing”. Steve has a “new” used four wheel truck that Dan found much more comfortable (& safer) than the very old Jeep Commander they normally travel in. Meanwhile Corrie went with Bonnie to a facility that assists with people’s various rehabilitations with therapy horse sessions. Bonnie is a volunteer there & Corrie found it very interesting. That night was great dinner with everyone cooking a dish – artichokes, soup, salmon dip, & BBQ’d deer & elk steaks.

After another great but short visit it’s back to our house in Sultan, WA, tomorrow, 06APR.