grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

14-31MAR15 - Sultan, WA

Saturday, 14MAR, was a late morning start back to Sultan, WA.  Although this was a record dry winter in the Pacific NW; it appears we have brought the rain with us, because we experienced heavy rain once we crossed over Snoqualmie Pass.  In fact, this winter was so mild, that the ski areas are already shut down & they lost about 50% of their season due to lack of snow.  After our arrival in Sultan we spent rest of day emptying the RV & re-occupying house.

We awoke Sunday morning to a record rainfall ever recorded for 15MAR & the 3rd wettest day in March ever – welcome home!!!  Even in the rain, Corrie starts gardening & clearing the yard/property.  Although it was an extremely mild/dry winter for Seattle area, there must have been some strong winds because many branches & small trees are down.  Dan continues emptying the RV & assembling one of his “toys” he purchased back in September 2014, while in Canada; & we have carried in the RV for six months!

On 20MAR, in the late afternoon we headed to Redmond’s Marymoor Park for the Cirque du Soleil show KURIOS.  This show was one of the best Cirque shows we have seen; much better than one we saw in November, in New Orleans!  The costumes & staging were unique even for a Cirque show, but several of the acts stood out:  1) a group of acrobats are sitting around a dinner table & start stacking chairs on the table higher & higher w/one acrobat always balanced on the top chair; BUT another group of acrobats are suspended high up on the ceiling mirroring the group below, & they starting stacking their chairs downward until the two acrobats meet in the middle & pass the salt & pepper!  2) three performers only use their fingers, hands & small props to recreate famous scenes; these scenes are projected up on to large screens & were mesmerizing!  3) a guy with nothing but Yo-Yo’s performed tricks that we still think were impossible.

Another unique aspect, was they had a large “swinging” bridge that stretched from backstage all the way to the front row of the audience.  We noticed that every few minutes before the show, audience members would get to backstage & then walk across the bridge to their seats?  We assumed these customers had paid extra for the VIP tickets?  But Corrie asked one of the ushers & found out anyone could do it by just asking!  So naturally we had to do itJ!

Sunday, 22MAR, we headed over to Dan brother Shawn & Cindie’s for a visit & late lunch.  Turns out not much has changed in their life other than they are now married & have bought their own house!

One thing we planned on doing different this year, is to start buying gardening materials (mulch, beauty bark, etc) in bulk; rather than the small bags sold at the big box stores.  To do this Dan started modifying the flatbed trailer we purchased back 2012 to move our furniture out of storage, by adding plywood walls that can hold five cubic yards.  It was a good thing he did this, because his cousin Bob called & asked if we wanted any rocks as we discussed in our last visit of August 2014.  So on Friday, 27MAR, we headed over to Bob & Patties to get some “free” rock.  Even though a small amount of rock, it was definitely easier to load with a tractor, than to unload by shovel!

The remainder of the March was spent:

>Corrie constantly gardening between mowing & thatching sessions
>Dan trouble shooting why photo electric eyes on three outside porch lights stopped working?
>preparing homemade jerky & smoked salmon
>cleaning out the annual mess made by mice & rats in the old barn
>semi-annual visit to dentist, where Dan is told he now needs a “mouth guard” at night because he supposedly grinds his teeth in his sleep?
>Corrie starts a raspberry “patch” with starters from the neighbor
>Doctor visits

Friday, March 27, 2015

06-13MAR15 - Kittitas, WA (via banning, ca; bakersfield, ca; woodland, ca; klamath falls, or; & toppenish, wa)

Friday morning, 06MAR, we made our preparations for departure from Freightliner of AZ.  Immediately we noticed that the ABS warning light was now on; our aftermarket engine monitoring computer software indicated the sensor was “inactive”.  Having experienced this issue back in 2009, we figured it was a “loose sensor”.  The technician came out with a hammer & fine-tuned the sensor on the right front wheel, problem solved.  At our first stop of the day after leaving Phoenix, the warning light came back on & Dan got out his tuning hammer & adjusted the sensor!

Saturday morning we departed Banning, CA, back on the road & we took CA Highway 210 around eastern side of Los Angeles, to avoid driving thru the heart of the LA metro area.  Eventually we ended up on CA 138 to connect with I-5N; 138 was a very beautiful/scenic road with the California Poppies in full bloom.  Unfortunately the ABS alarm on the recently repaired front right wheel came on again, forcing Dan to crawl under RV & adjust sensor.  He then noticed oil accumulating on the inside of the right front wheel & brake, making this a serious problem!

Checking the Freightliner book, we found we were forty miles from a service center in Bakersfield, CA.  So we drove straight there, & a quick check by the mechanic confirmed there is an oil leak from the recently replaced wheel seal!  Unfortunately we cannot be worked on until Monday morning, 09MAR:(!  So we found the closest RV park to the Freightliner facility, & got their last RV spot.

On the internet Dan discovered the largest group of Basque restaurants in the USA are in Bakersfield, CA?  We decided not to try for the oldest, & the James Beard Awarded, Noriega’s Hotel; & headed to Wool Growers.  We get there at 5:45PM & were told no more reservations until 8PM!  But we could wait for a cancellation (maybe)?  The first service started at 6PM & was fast & furious!!!
Turns out every entrée comes with the “set-up”.  The set-up consist of hot appetizers (cabbage soup, beans, spicy diced tomatoes); followed by cold appetizers (mixed salad, tomato salad, pickled beef tongue); & the entrees come with french fires, pasta, green beans, rice & more bread!  Dan went with the oxtail stew & Corrie went with fish.  The leftovers meant we didn’t have to cook for daysJ!  When we depart we saw that the restaurant was less than 100 feet from a Hell Angels of California “Club House”!

Sunday, not much done, just waiting for RV service tomorrow.  Monday, 09MAR, we arrived at the Bakersfield Freightliner facility when the service department opened at 7AM.  Unfortunately mechanics don’t show up until 8AM; work finally began on RV around noon.  We won’t bore you with details but because problem was caused by the Phoenix facility, this lengthened entire repair process; so we don’t get out of there until 7PM(:!

Tuesday morning it was back on I-5N to Woodland, CA, to stop & visit with friend & classmate Bill Albert.  Bill came by the RV after work & the reminiscing commenced.  Sadly Bill’s wife was out of town; but it was for a happy event, the birth of their second grandchild in DC!  Then Bill treated us to a tour of town & their house.  Followed by an excellent dinner at Mojo’s, where we reminisced for several hours.  An all too short but great visit, hopefully next time Liz will be home.  Not sure why, but Woodland was the richest town in USA back in 1888?

Wednesday we finished driving north thru California on I-5, & then US-97, to Klamath Falls, OR, for the night.  Thursday morning, 12MAR, got an early start & drove US-97N thru Oregon to Toppenish, WA, & the Summit Casino RV park.  Enroute we stopped at the St Johns Bakery for baked goods.  We have driven by this remote bakery many times on our travels on US-97, but never stopped.  Turns out the bakery is part of a Greek Monastery.  After sampling their bake goods & gyros, we will try to stop every time we drive this road in the future!  In the early evening we headed to the casino, which Dan doesn’t like because they only have three video poker machines at $1!  But they gave us some “freebie” coupons, so Dan made $20 playing blackjack with their money; & Corrie did very well on penny slots!!!

Friday got a late start for relaxing drive thru Yakima Canyon to Dan’s cousin Steve & wife Bonnie’s in Kittitas, WA (see below BLOG link for our last visit).  After setting up camp it was decided to have dinner at a new restaurant in Ellensburg, WA, called The Porch.  Then it was back their place with the intention of playing Mexican Train Dominoes.  Instead the rest of the evening was spent in conversation, just enjoying reconnecting family.  Tomorrow the rains come naturally as we make the last part of the drive to our place outside Sultan, WA.

Monday, March 23, 2015

26FEB-05MAR15 - Phoenix, AZ (via van horn, tx, & lordsburg, nm)

Thursday morning, 26FEB, we departed Livingston, TX, westward on I-10 to our annual RV maintenance in Phoenix, AZ.  But first Dan had to lay on the ground & whack the solenoid to get the RV started.  But magically the air gauge problem noted in our last BLOG entry had fixed itself?  Once again we are making our long, boring, drive on I-10W; this time just as another cold front comes from the west moving east thru TX.  The first night of the drive we set up camp at the KOA in Van Horn, TX, in very windy, cold weather.  Luckily the KOA had a café serving dinner, because we didn’t want to go out in the weather!  We had wanted to eat at the excellent restaurant in the renovated Hotel El Capitan like we did back in 2010 (see below BLOG link); maybe next time?

Friday morning we woke up to brutal cold (for us); now Dan needed a bigger hammer to start the RV!  During the day we stopped for diesel at Xpress Fuel in Clint, TX – apparently this is new station, because Dan witnessed some sort of religious ceremony he thinks was a “blessing”.  Due to the cold, the ceremony was very short & Dan may have been only witness?  Since we needed to recover from the last two days of cold & wind, we decided not to take a walkabout of the town of Lordsburg, NM, after parking the RV for the night.  Even though we have not been here before; we just tried to stay warm in the RV.

Saturday morning after starting the RV w/the “emergency” hammer, we finished our drive into Phoenix (Mesa actually) & set up camp at Good Life RV where we have stayed many times in the past (see below BLOG link for our last visit).  As usual our visit to Phoenix is to get our annual RV maintenance/service at Freightliner of Arizona in Tolleson, AZ.  Mesa is on the other side of Phoenix from Tolleson, but we like the RV park & Mesa has more amenities than Tolleson.

Sunday, 01MAR, Dan finally attacks the starter repair & is done successfully in less than an hour.  No more emergency hammer to start the RVJ!  That afternoon we sit outside reading & enjoying the sunny weather (supposedly another wet, cold, front will arrive late tonight?).  Monday morning the cold & rain (snow in the mountains) they have been talking about non-stop for two days finally arrives! We check-out the community craft show in the afternoon.  There are many talented craftsmen in the RV park!  However, there are too many wood workers making wooden pens.

Late Tuesday morning, 03MAR, we headed west to the Freightliner of Arizona facility for our annual preventative maintenance.  In addition, we had two items noted last year that the Service Manager recommended waiting until this year’s service – (1) leaky oil pan gasket & (2) all four suspension air bags showing “age”.  Wednesday morning the technician took the RV inside for two days of maintenance & service.  Corrie eventually left the customer lounge for errands, leaving Dan & Gumbo to patiently wait.  At the end of their work day we learned two new problems had been uncovered by the technician – 1) wheel bearing oil leak on right front wheel, 2) small fuel leak from unknown source on engine?

Thursday morning (late) the RV went back into the service bay.  Now we feared that with the additional work we would be here for more work on Friday; but at the end of the work day we learned they had used two technicians & the RV was ready.  We paid our bill & decided not to hit the road until tomorrow AM.  Dinner that night was at La Piazza Al Forno (certified Pizza Napolenta).  We eat here every time we are in Tolleson.  Their pizza is prepared in a true wood fired oven from Italy & is excellent; & they have many other excellent dishes on the menu!  This time we went with – Insalata Piazza (great salad, a meal in-itself), Mussels & Calamari Fra Diavalo, & a special pizza called Pizze Racchetta (the “pie” was shaped like a tennis racquet, w/the handle stuffed w/ricotta cheese).  Tomorrow back on the road to the Pacific NW!