grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Sunday, April 30, 2017

01-30APR17 - Sultan, WA (corrie "visits" houma, la)

We started the month of April on Saturday, 01APR, by heading to Aunt Madeline’s to help cousin Bob, cousin Ron, & cousin Sheila (plus beau Alan) try & repair Madeline’s main waterline leak.  Unfortunately we only knew where the end points were (the water meter, & house shut-off).  This left two hundred feet of line possibly under a very steep, narrow, concrete drivewayL?  After six hours of digging; trying to figure out Uncle Bob’s “thoughts” on how waterline was run; fighting tree roots & hardpan clay; & playing in the mud; we determined that the leak is most likely under the concrete driveway.  More fun to follow?

A couple of days later everyone (but Dan) got back together & luckily discovered that the waterline was in “conduit” under the drivewayJ  They were then able to pull the old plastic pipe out, & install new pipe without digging up half the driveway.  (NOTE – everyone was so impressed w/Dan’s work ethic, that he was not invited back for the follow-up work party?)

Still lots of snow in the mountains, with reasonable weather.  So Dan went skiing on 09APR & 16APR (easter).  In fact, Dan decided to cut down his skiing costs for next year by purchasing a discount season pass for next year.  If he had purchased his pass a few weeks earlier, he could have skied most of March & all of April for free!

Tuesday, 18APR, Corrie flew back to help Rebecca w/the kids (Jaxson & Mason) back in Houma, LA.  As we have mentioned husband Raymond is now working overseas; & they have decided to sell their house & move out of Louisiana.  The plan is for Rebecca & kids to join us in Washington until the family can re-unite.  So Corrie is flying back for about a week to help prepare the house for the move, & lend a hand when the two boys are on spring break from pre-school/daycare.  (It also turns out that Mason will now have his tonsils/adenoids removed during this time!)  They even find time to see the Blue Angel air show. On the 25th she returned back to the wet/cold Pacific NW.

Friday, March 31, 2017

19-31MAR17 - Sultan, WA

Sunday, 19MAR, we finished our journey to the house in Sultan, WA.  Turns out the day was a glorious sunny spring day, w/fantastic views of Mt Saint Helens & Mt Rainer.  In fact this was one of the best days western Washington has had in months.  The Seattle area has had more rain (& some snow) in three months then they usually get in half a year.  We heard on the local news that this was worst winter in thirty years?  After opening the house & turning utilities back on, we collapsed from our strenuous RV drive & unexpected major repair in El Paso, TX.

Monday Corrie ran errands & emptied out the RV.  Dan worked on getting all the items stored in the RV garage out & back in their “normal” place.  Then he spent hours washing the RV, before parking it in the now empty RV garage.

The rest of March was spent in a routine of YMCA exercise classes & gardening for Corrie; & house projects & vehicle maintenance for Dan.  But on Monday, 27MAR, Dan found time to head into Seattle for a “class” luncheon at Pike Brewing Co.  This was a gathering of some of Dan’s Coast Guard Academy classmates who live within driving distance of Seattle (two guys even drove up from Oregon).  It was an excellent time; & even though it was at a brewery, they were well behaved!

One benefit of the record wet winter is that the local ski areas have record snow remaining.  So on 31MAR Dan went skiing at Stevens Pass.

Friday, March 24, 2017

09-18MAR17 - Various (unplanned repairs in el paso, tx)

Early Thursday morning, 09MAR, we hit the road back to the Pacific NW.  Upon arrival in Livingston, TX, we headed straight to the local vehicle inspection station; instead of going to the Escapees Rainbows End RV like we normally do.  After the vehicle inspections we then checked into the RV park.  Dan then jumped into Toad with all the paperwork to head to local DMV to get all our vehicles registered.  In half an hour he had re-registered the RV, old Toad, & trailer; as well as registering the new Toad sitting in the garage in WA state.  Dinner that night was at the Blue Duck like last year.

Friday was another early start for a long drive to Kerrville, TX.  After setting up camp, Dan headed to the local Bank of America to clear-up car loan details for the new Toad sitting in Washington.  Then it was off to Dan’s sister Sharon & husband Tim’s for a visit, excellent dinner, & reminiscing (see below BLOG link for our last visit).

Saturday morning it was back on one of our least favorite roads, I-10, west bound to the Pacific NW.  Immediately we noticed an engine problem while going uphillL  The RV runs good on level road, but “misfires” going uphill? Dan called the Cummins engine facility in El Paso (closest one) – no answer.  Dan then called Freightliner in El Paso (again closest one) & talked to Service Dept about issue.  They think they can fix it, but are closed tomorrow (Sunday).

If the entire drive was flat w/no passes we would have kept going to Washington.  But with the Grapevine in SoCal, the mountains of NoCal, & Grants Pass, OR, we can’t chance a major breakdown!  Since Freightliner El Paso can’t see us until Monday AM, we stopped in Van Horn, TX, for the night (95 miles left to El Paso).  Dinner was at Van Horn Cattle Co where we were ate in DEC15.

Sunday morning it was a short drive to a RV park in El Paso, TX (we last visited El Paso in APR 2010, see below link).  After setting up camp we drove the Toad to the Freightliner dealer to check out the route & location.  Having most of the day before us, we went sightseeing.  First stop was El Paso Connection Gifts & Pottery.  If you have ever driven thru El Paso on I-10, you probably have seen this business sitting in a hill, north of the freeway.  It is a very large facility devoted to Mexican items, furniture, & antiques sold in any Mexican border town.

We then went to the Chamizal National Memorial (also part of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail). 
Unfortunately we missed the start of Festival Internacional Folklorico (live music, dance, colorful costumes).  But we still toured the historical displays & viewed the Park Service video.  We also were allowed to view “Photowalk El Paso 2016” in the art gallery.  Dinner was at Sunnys Sushi, highly rated on Yelp!  Excellent – just ask the one that had the Mexican Orgasm Roll.

"In 1966, Congress established Chamizal National Memorial to commemorate the Chamizal Convention (treaty) of 1963. The Chamizal treaty finally ended a long-standing border dispute between the U.S. and Mexico. The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo established the Rio Grande/Río Bravo as the international boundary between the U.S. and Mexico. However, rivers naturally move over time. In this case, the river gradually, and at times abruptly, moved south, which left Mexico with less land than the 1848 treaty established. The land disputes that arose because of the river movement caused tension between the U.S. and Mexico for more than 100-years. Finally, in 1963 U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Mexican President Adolfo Lopez Mateos met to discuss the "Chamizal Issue" and through diplomatic negotiations, they solved the Chamizal Issue with the signing of the Chamizal Treaty.
Today, the memorial commemorates the diplomatic resolution of the long-standing Chamizal boundary dispute between the U.S. and Mexico. The memorial fosters goodwill and understanding between the people of the United States and Mexico and provides a center to present activities that celebrate cultural exchange."

Early Monday morning we head to Freightliner to be first in line; unfortunately they say we will be lucky to get to us that afternoon – tomorrow more likely.  So later that morning we headed to Cummins.  Where they spend four hours trouble shooting with no luck – we’ll be spending the night in their parking lot w/electricity onlyL

Tuesday morning, 14MAR, the RV goes back into the Cummins service bay – hopefully the problem is solved today?  More troubleshooting reveals the fuel “lift” pump is outputting very low pressure.  They have one on hand & hopefully we will be on the road this afternoon? 

Unfortunately the low pressure from the lift pump has damaged the fuel injector pump (can you say big bucks?)L  The injector pump is not on hand, so we decide to head back to Mission RV Park where we stayed Sunday.  We will return to Cummins at 7AM to start dis-assembly & hope the part shows up tomorrow.  Hopefully we won’t have to do battle w/our aftermarket insurance?

Wednesday morning back at Cummins hopefully for last time.  Reconditioned fuel injector pump costs 50% more than a new pump.  Why don’t we get a new pump?  Because although new pump is still shown in their computer; new pumps are no longer manufactured!  You can only find reconditioned pumps.  It takes 12 hours but the repair is completed.  It’s been a long day, so back to Mission RV Park for the night.

Thursday morning finally back on the road to the Pacific NW w/fingers crossed.  We decide to take the Tran-mountain road around El Paso because it a very challenging climb for RVs.  Better to test the fuel system repairs now, then the climbs in the Los Angeles basin.  Everything appears ok & we drive hard & farther than usual to Quartzsite, AZ (589 miles driven averaging 55mph).

Friday (St Patties Day) is a long hard drive to Kit Fox RV in Patterson, CA, where we have stayed before in Nov 2010.  I-5N from Tejon Pass north is rough!  The “grapevine” descent from Tejon Pass now has all semis restricted to right lane.  Although this supposedly a safety measure, it only appears to cause problems & we saw several near misses that could have been avoided if the semis could use the right two lanes.

Back on I-5 Saturday morning thru on & off light rain thru the mountain/passes of northern CA & southern OR.  Spent the night in Myrtle Creek, OR – tomorrow, 19MAR, the final push?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

07FEB-08MAR17 - Houma, LA (prep'ing for departure, & mardi gras)

The next four weeks of our time in Houma were spent preparing Rebecca & Raymond’s house for sale; downsizing & packing up household goods; babysitting grandkids; wrapping up medical; & prepping the RV for departure.

The biggest thing during this time was Raymond’s unplanned return to the USA & being home for less than two weeks on Tuesday, 07FEB.  We won’t go into all the reasons for his short visit; but it was necessary for him to comply with the “guest” worker requirements of the country he is working in, & USA laws.  Although somewhat unplanned, it was very nice to have him back!  Luckily his visit coincided with Rebecca’s birthday on 13FEB.

Also during this time we attended several of Houma’s Mardi Gras parades w/Rebecca & kids.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

23JAN-06FEB17 - Sultan, WA (family ski trip, & a new toad)

Monday, 23JAN, in the early evening Corrie took Dan to the New Orleans airport to fly to Seattle, WA.  For the last couple of winters Dan & son Joe have tried to find time to stay at house in Sultan for skiing (see below BLOG link).  This year things were a little more complicated.  For the first time daughter Rebecca, w/Jaxson & Mason, decided to join the trip.  Corrie then decided she would not stay alone in Houma, LA.  Finally at the last minute Joe asked if one of his buds (Ben who could not ski) could join-in?  So what was to be two adults & one rental car; turned into five adults, two kids & two rental cars!  Oh, & two different arrival dates & four different departure dates!!!  Because of all this Dan decided to arrive first & depart last.  Arriving in Seattle, Dan got the first rental car & headed to house outside Sultan, WA.

Tuesday Dan spent most of the day preparing for everyone’s arrival on 26JAN.  First up was picking up four packages of clothes & snow gear shipped to the neighbors.  After completing other preparations, Dan started drive to Stevens Pass ski area for some night skiing.  But then he decided he better stop in Sultan & check his cell phone to see if they were open for night skiing – not on Mondays or Tuesday.  Good thing he checked?  Wednesday morning Dan made it to Stevens Pass for a good day of skiing.

Thursday was more prep’ing for everyone’s arrival at SeaTac airport, including picking up second rental car.  Finally getting everyone back to house around midnight.

Friday, 27JAN, Oma, Opa, Rebecca, Jaxson & Mason headed to a state sno-park at Snoqualmie Pass for tubing, & making snow men (aka Olafs).  Followed by lunch at Twedes Café in North Bend, WA (some of you may know this café from the TV show Twin Peaks – Damn fine cup o’ coffee!).

Meanwhile Joe & Ben got rental boarding equipment & shopped for snow clothes.  Dan & Rebecca then headed to Stevens Pass for night skiing; where they eventually met Joe & Ben before heading back to house.

Early Saturday morning, 28JAN, we head to Stevens Pass for one hour ski lesson for Jaxson & Mason.  Jaxson loves it & stays on bunny slope for hours; Mason definitely not enthused.  After lunch Oma takes grandkids home; Dan & Rebecca ski far into the night.  Again meeting-up w/Joe & Ben, before heading home.

Sunday was breakfast for everyone at Sultan Bakery.  Then Joe & Ben head to hiking at Wallace Falls, & visiting Leavenworth, WA.  Opa Dan baby sits grandkids while Oma Corrie & Rebecca go shopping/sightseeing.  That evening was smores around the fire ring.

Monday morning, 30JAN, Dan loses a crown during breakfast.  After making emergency dental appointment, Dan takes Corrie, Rebecca & grandkids to airport.  Joe & Ben head back to Stevens Pass for more boarding.  That afternoon Dan has his crown repaired & returns one of the rental cars.

Tuesday an early start by Dan, Joe & Ben to Stevens Pass ski area; they get excellent parking & are one of the first on hill to enjoy six inches of fresh powder.  Excellent day of skiingJ!!!  Dinner was at Bubba’s where Joe makes the mistake of ordering the WTF burger (four pounds of meat he barely dented).

Wednesday, 01FEB, Dan drives Joe & Ben to Stevens Pass where they plan on boarding all day into the night.  Dan heads back to house to do some errands/maintenance.  Mid-afternoon Joe calls & asks to be picked up as soon as possible – they are done.  Dinner at Bubba’s again, but no WTF burgers.

Thursday morning’s plan was to only take Ben to airport, but Joe decides to head back to Louisiana early.  So Dan takes both to SeaTac airport.  Now things really get hectic.  We won’t bore with all the details but we have been looking for a new Toad for almost a year.  Specifically, a Chevy Colorado pick-up w/crew cab, 4-wheel, & diesel.  The diesel models sell quickly & are hard to find.  After two failed attempts (one in Seattle & one in New Orleans), cousin Bob recommended Dave Smith (largest Dodge dealer in USA, & largest Chevy/GMC dealer in PNW) in Idaho.

Literally as Dan is pulling out of SeaTac parking garage he gets a call from salesman at Dave Smith.  Not only do they have eight 2017 diesels, they have one that matches what we want down to the color!  The salesman then quotes a price that is over $1K less than we have been offered elsewhere (even by Costco’s or USAA’s buying service)!  So Dan spends the rest of day/night on purchasing a new Toad in Kellogg, ID, making arrangements to get there, & rescheduling his non-refundable flight to New Orleans.

Friday morning, 03FEB, Dan missed the bus from Monroe, WA, to Spokane, WA.  Now he really scrambles to make arrangements to fly out of SeaTac to Spokane.  He arrives in Spokane to discover a level 2 snow storm stretching from Spokane eastward past Idaho.  Thankfully the dealership provided transportation for the long, snowy drive to Kellogg.

Saturday morning Dan discovers a foot of new snow on ground.  Three hours later Dan is on road to Sultan, WA, with a 2017 Chevy Colorado truckJ!  The drive starts w/constant snow from Kellogg, ID, to west of Spokane, WA, on I-10.  From Spokane on I-10 it is clear & dry.  Approaching the east side of Snoqualmie Pass it starts snowing & chains are required (except for 4-wheel drive vehiclesJ).  Once over the pass it is heavy rain to the house - 30mpgJ.  What a 24hr period!

Sunday Dan closes-up the house; & neighbor, Sara Johnson, takes him to an airport hotel to spend the night.  Dan decided that spending night next to airport would be easier than asking someone to drive to/& from SeaTac during rush hour on Monday morning.  After arriving at hotel it starts snowing – bad sign for tomorrow?  Monday morning, 06FEB, Dan wakes up to six inches of snow in Seattle & chaos at airport.  His plane is at the gate, but the inbound flight crew is delayed by 2-1/2 hours.  Turns out he is one of the lucky ones, compared to those that are delayed until the next day or longer.  Four hours late, at 10PM, he finally made it to New Orleans & Corrie.