grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Thursday, March 31, 2016

14-31MAR16 - Sultan, WA (irish wake for a departed friend)

Monday, 14MAR, after battling heavy rain, we finally made it back to our place outside Sultan, WA.  Tuesday thru Thursday were spent re-opening house, emptying RV, cleaning up more downed trees & limbs from latest wind storm that hit Seattle area Sunday.  Along w/the first of many routine medical/dental appointments, washing RV & Toad, mowing, etc.

Friday morning we re-secured the house & drove the RV to Oak Harbor, WA, & the city RV park at Oak Harbor City Beach, where we stayed back in 2010.  Then it was off to Coupeville, WA, for a walkabout (we last visited this picturesque town in June 2014 w/kids & grandkids).  While there we discovered it was free admission at the Island County Museum, so we took advantage of that.

Back in Oak Harbor we had dinner at Seabolts Smokehouse where we ate back in 2010 – this is a small, family run restaurant specializing in fried fish/clams/oysters/etc & chips.  We went with steamed clams & mussels, crab cake, chowder, lemon cake – all excellent!

Saturday morning we went into the old town section of Oak Harbor, WA, for a walkabout.  While walking along the beach front of the city park we are camped at, we how destructive last Sunday’s high winds were that hit the Seattle area!  The entire beach was covered in a sea of drift wood & downed trees; sections of the asphalt walking path were washed away; & all the picnic shelters were damaged beyond repair!  Made us realize how lucky we were deciding to stop short of Seattle & not stay on the road.

After lunch it was off in the Toad to an Irish Wake for our friend Karen Bishop (wife of our old boss & friend Ken Bishop), at their former house (now owned by their daughter Kelli & husband Bob Post) in Greenbank, WA.  As we mentioned in our 14 November 2015 BLOG Karen passed away on November Second.  Although the passing of a long time & good friend is sad, we were thankful that a remembrance for her & her life occurred at a time we would be back in Washington & could attend.  (See below BLOG link for our last visit with her & husband Ken.)

It was sad, but life affirming gathering, that we were very glad we made the effort to be a part of!  It was attended by many family members from across the USA, old shipmates (like us), old friends, & current neighbors & friends.  Displayed throughout the house were many mementos & awards from her life as a world traveler, supporter of Coast Guard families wherever Ken & she were stationed, & most significantly as a major & longtime volunteer for the Red Cross.  As we learned while visiting Karen & Ken, Ken joined a local “sea shanty” group on Whidbey Island called the Shifty Sailors.  The Sailors are very good & have even toured the Poland & the Baltic countries.  Naturally they performed for the wake.  The wake was a fitting tribute to a very special person.

Sunday, 20MAR, it was on the road back to our place in Sultan, WA.  First a stop to see Ken Bishop away from the crowd of yesterday’s wake.  While visiting some of the Harrington’s (Karen’s side of the family) also stopped by; along with Ken’s daughter Kelli & husband Bob Post.

Continuing our drive back to Sultan, we then stopped to see cousin Bob & wife Patti Harris for a short visit.  Not much done but chores Monday thru Saturday.  Sunday, 27MAR (easter), Dan’s brother Shawn & wife Cindie come over for a visit & easter dinner.  As always with their visits, a good time.

Not much done the rest of the month.  Tuesday, 29MAR, we took the RV into Valley Freightliner in Mt Vernon, WA, for some minor repairs & maintenance – hope they do a better job than in AUG 2009.

March finished w/some beautiful weather. So on Thursday, 31MAR, Dan headed to Stevens Pass Ski Area.

Friday, March 18, 2016

27FEB-13MAR16 - Houma, LA & Various (leaving la & heading to pacific nw)

Saturday & Sunday, 27/28FEB, we take it easy & begin prepping for our departure from Louisiana & the long drive back to the Pacific NW.  On Saturday night Corrie made steamed mussels w/various dipping sauces (a traditional & very common meal in the Netherlands) for the family.  And on Sunday, Joe made pulled pork BBQ for everyone.

Monday morning, 29FEB (happy leap year), we had to say our sad goodbyes to kids & grandkids, & hit the road to Escapees RV Park in Livingston, TX.  Where we stop every spring to renew our TX vehicle registrations (& licenses if necessary).  Upon setting up camp Dan took the Toad in for inspection & license tags.  Dinner that night was at the Blue Duck – a new restaurant, which has a very different menu & is pretty upscale for Livingston (& highly rated on YELP)?  Late Tuesday morning we successfully got the RV inspected & tagged.  The rest of day was spent doing minor choirs, & relaxing in preparation for tomorrow’s drive thru HoustonL

Early Wednesday morning, 01MAR, on the road to visit Dan’s sister Sharon & husband Tim in Kerrville, TX.  As always the traffic in Houston is no fun as usual.  After our arrival at the RV park in Kerrville, we visited with Tim & Sharon, before all of us headed out for Thai food.  Thursday was a day of relaxation enjoying the good weather; before joining Sharon & Tim for more reminiscing & BBQ.

Friday, 04MAR, early morning we started the long drive to our next stop – Van Horn, TX.  Last year we had planned on eating at the Hotel El Capitan Restaurant; as we did in 2010 when they first opened.  But we ate at a steak house recommended by the RV park.  This time we did eat dinner at the Hotel El Capitan Restaurant.  The food was very good, but it appears the menu has not changed since our last visit?

Saturday morning back on I-10 West for more boring driving to Lordsburg, NM.  Once again, like last year 27FEB15, the KOA person that took our reservation when we asked for a pull thru, had assigned to a back in.  So even though park was empty, they reassigned us to a pull thru barely long enough for the RV alone; & the Toad would still have to be disconnected to get it out of the road?  On our own we pulled into another pull thru, & Corrie went to the office to tell them.  After all this, they still couldn’t understand why we wanted a longer spot then assigned & did not want to disconnect the Toad.

Sunday morning we finished the drive to the Freightliner dealer outside of Phoenix, AZ, for our annual RV maintenance service.  During the drive we decided not to stop for a break/lunch like we normally do & drive straight thru to Phoenix.  Good thing – we got the last RV parking spot with hook-ups at the Freightliner facilityJ!  It must be spring break because AZ has their programmable highway signs w/messages targeted at spring breakers, like – Spring Breakers would your mom approve of how you are driving?  Dinner was at Haus Murphys (German restaurant w/Irish name?) where we last ate in April 2010.  Still excellent schnitzels!

Early Monday morning, 07MAR, it is straight into the service bay.  Assuming that the annual maintenance will take all day, we made a Costco run.  Upon our return at noon, we find the service had been completed.  Also, they have no empty RV spots for us to stay overnight & we must leave.  We were unable to find a RV park vacancy near us; & needed to head to Goodyear, AZ, to find a RV spot because of MLB spring training & NASCAR this weekend in the surrounding area.  That night we headed to one of our favorite Phoenix restaurants (La Piazza al Forno) only to discover it is closed on Mondays.

Tuesday,08MAR, we continue westward on I-10 for Desert Hot Springs, CA, where we plan to take a two day break for R&R (& laundryJ).  We stay at Catalina Spa & RV.  One of the many (& we mean many!) RV parks surrounding Palm Springs, CA, frequented by snowbirds from across the northern USA & Canada.  It was a very nice facility, but it is obvious from the empty spots that the snowbirds are migrating northward.

The next morning we headed into Palm Springs for a walkabout before the temperatures hit the mid-80s (we were last here in April 2009).  Lunch was at Pinocchio in the Desert.  Pinocchio is a very popular (& different) local establishment.  It appears one of the owners is Dutch, because the menu states “wij spreken nederlands” & they proudly serve Douwe Exbert coffee.  Dan went w/the Bavarian Meatloaf Dip.  We are not sure, but part of the popularity w/the locals might be bottomless champagne for $3.95 or martinis for $2.95?  Then it was back to the RV to shelter from the sun (except for pleasant few hours at the pool).

Thursday morning we continued our drive & had to decide if we want to take the recommended route on I-10W thru Los Angeles, or go around LA?  We decide to drive around LA at San Bernardino.  But our planned route on CA 138 is completely stopped do to some unseen problem at Cajon Junction.  So we are forced to detour north thru Boron, CA; finally getting on I-5N & needing to find a RV park soon.

During Friday’s, 11MAR, drive we had to deal with on & off rain w/gusting wind to Woodland, CA, where we stopped to visit w/Bill & wife Liz Albert who we last saw 10MAR2015.  As happened last year, Liz was not able to join usL.  But Bill bought us dinner.  We threatened not to stop next time unless Liz was there.

For Saturday & Sunday the National Weather Service forecasted a major winter storm in northern CA along I-5.  Supposedly Saturday is heavy rain along I-5 followed by snow on Sunday.  So we decided to get an early start Saturday & try to drive to southern Oregon; & hopefully miss the snow.  Unfortunately just south of Weed, CA, we ran into heavy wet snow, that quickly began accumulating on the road (& the RV’s front window)!  So around noon we decided to call it a day & found a RV park.  Of course the snow stopped & the sun came out around 1:30PM.

Sunday which was forecasted to be the “bad” weather day, was better than Saturday.  But the entire drive was on again, off again, rain squalls & gusting, high winds.  We forced ourselves to drive further than normal & finally called it a day at a RV park in Kelso, WA.  Looks like a good decision because major story on local news was the Seattle area being slammed by high winds, w/lots of power outages & downed trees.  170 miles left to go tomorrow.