Thursday, September 23, 2010

On The Wet Side of Washington

Has it really been a week since I’ve updated??  Yep.  We arrived in western Washington last Thursday after an uneventful trip over the mountains to the “wet side”.  The Cascade Mountain range separates the east from the west and once you reach the summit the weather changes drastically.  Eastern Washington was so nice and dry and warm.

We’ve been busy, busy, busy since we got here.  Friday we went and visited my brother, George and sister-in-law, Jolene at their house in Graham but first we had to stop at our favorite Teriyaki place for dinner.  I know you’re SO jealous, John (my son).


Saturday we stopped in at a tavern in Tacoma for the Washington/Nebraska game because a bunch of Rod’s friends from the Post Office were going to be there.  He hasn’t seen most of these people since he retired so that was fun.  I even saw some people that I knew.

After that we headed for Lincoln High School to watch our niece and nephew’s 10 year old son play football.  Kody and his team did a fantastic job of beating the other team.  In fact, the “mercy rule” was instituted.

Kody is number 96


He saw me taking his picture so he posed.  Like the haircut??


Joe, Kody, Shari, Allison and Joey


Sunday we headed over to Dan and Kebra’s house to watch the Seahawks play the Broncos.  Well, they did.  I took my netbook and watched the Chargers.  LOL.  Dan grilled us some delicious burgers during a break in the rain.

Kebra and Dan


Monday we headed up to Sammamish to finally meet up with Steven and Linda.  Linda and I have be “cyber friends” for a few years now.  We were supposed to meet last summer at Salt Creek in Port Angeles but with all that was going on in our lives we bailed early.  I’m SO glad we got to meet up this time.  We had a fantastic time at their house on Pine Lake.  Steven grilled up some beef tenderloin and we had asparagus, broccoli slaw and iceberg lettuce wedge with homemade bleu cheese dressing to go along with it.  OMG, if that wasn’t enough we then had berries and cream for dessert.  What a meal!!  Thanks, guys, it was a blast!

I brought my smoked salmon spread for the appetizer


Linda’s AMAZING kitchen!!


Here we all are


Tuesday was supposed to be a “non rainy” day.  Notice I didn’t say sunny?  LOL, it actually was sunny.  We had planned to go to the fair because it was nice weather.  It was a beautiful day!!  The Puyallup Fair is supposed to be the 5th largest fair in the U.S.  We hadn’t been in quite a few years.  Joe’s mom gave us free tickets so that was an added bonus.  Jolene and two of her daughters, Tiffany and Stephanie met us at the parking lot of the mall where we had decided to take the shuttle bus to avoid having to pay for parking.  We visited all the exhibits and didn’t buy any “junk”.

Puyallup Fair

The bus was REALLY crowded and we had to stand


We had a GREAT time eating all the typical fair food.  Rod loves those turkey legs


Jolene loves the caramel apples


Tiffany had a burger while Stephanie had a corn dog


It was a really fun day and I’m glad we went.

Wednesday was yet another “non rainy” day and we planned on taking a drive up to Mt Rainier.  At over 14,000 feet and standing all alone it’s quite beautiful and the drive up through the forests is amazing.  Most people here just call it “the mountain” and the talk around town is always if “the mountain” is out or not.  It’s usually hidden by clouds.  We drove up to Paradise to the Visitor Center so I could get a stamp for my National Parks Passport.  At 5,400 feet, it is the primary destination for most people.  When we left Tacoma it was 66 degrees and when we arrived at Paradise it was 49 degrees.  Brrrrrr

We headed back down the mountain to meet Kebra and Dan for dinner at Famous Dave’s.

I could never take a picture that does the mountain justice so I stole one.  This is a view from Tacoma

Mt Rainier

Park entrance


Visitor Center


And just in case the mountain erupts…


That was a pretty busy week for us and we’re not done yet.  Today we’re meeting our friends Phyllis and Bob for lunch.  I’m sure we can find even more things to do before we leave on Monday.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Leavenworth and Cashmere, Washington

Saturday afternoon we took a drive to Plain to visit Rod’s sister, Sue and her husband, Rich.  They live only 15 miles north of Leavenworth but it’s a really winding road up the mountain.  They recently remodeled their “cabin” in the woods.  I don’t know what it is with people calling these gorgeous homes they have cabins.  LOL.  We had a nice visit and Rich barbecued up some delicious steaks.

The “cabin”



Sue and Rich


We headed back to our RV park to get packed up so we could move on Sunday a whole 15 miles down the road to Cashmere. The weather here has been gorgeous.


All set up at Wenatchee River County Park and YES, it’s full!!


Today we set out to visit some wineries and farmer’s markets.  There are LOTS of fruit stands here but we can’t find much in the way of vegetables.  I don’t know if their growing season is over or what.  Apples and pears are everywhere and they are just getting ready to pick as you can tell by all the boxes sitting in the orchards.

The trees are LOADED with apples


Waiting to start picking


These have pears


These have grapes


The first winery we went to was closed so we continued on down this country road to the next one.  There were signs leading us to it but when we got there it was also closed.  Hmmmm, not looking good.

We had to stop for these turkeys to cross the road


We finally found a winery that was open.  This one was really nice and when you walked in the door it was like walking into somebody’s home.  The tasting was actually in the kitchen at a big table.


First Rod had to check out the wares


Then he got to taste


The next winery we came upon was called Silvara Vineyards and was really interesting.  There was nobody there but the winemaker/owner, Gary.  He gave us some wine to taste and then brought a bottle out from under the counter.  He had just finished making it and it was supposed to sit in the bottle for a month to age but he wanted us to try it.  It was a Pinot Grigio (which I love).  He said he wasn’t able to sell it to us.  Bummer cuz it was quite tasty.  He then brought out another one for Rod which was a Merlot.  Rod really loved that one but it was another one he couldn’t sell but wanted him to try it.  Well, to make a long story short, we talked him into selling it to us.  He had to find the labels for it because they weren’t even marked.  They were also cheaper than the ones he had us try earlier.  Score!!


From there we had to go get something to eat.  We had wanted to try this Italian restaurant in Leavenworth called Visconti’s.  It was REALLY good.  Rod and I both had the linguine and clams.



Seems like everybody has quite the wine collection


We did find a few vegetables but mostly fruit


Right by the campground we’re staying at there is a Migrant Camp.  Seriously??  This is legal???  It’s a nice little area with some tiny cottages that I guess the fruit pickers live in.  What surprised me were the large tents they were using also.


The tents


Tomorrow we’re just going to take it easy and hang around the campground and get ready to move again on Thursday.  We’ll be heading to my brother’s house in Graham to visit for a few days.  We also have halibut to pick up from Rod’s daughter that we had shipped.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Moving On In The Wenatchee Valley

Yesterday we went into town to use the phone because we had no cell service at our campground.  We called Rod’s sister to set up our visit with them since they live in the area.

On our way back we decided to drive to the end of Banks Lake to visit Dry Falls.  This is an amazing area geologically speaking.  We’ve been there before but to us it’s quite an interesting place to visit.  To think that this whole area was once covered in water and is now completely dry is, well, amazing.  This was once ten times the size of Niagara Falls!!  Several times the ice dam resulted in Lake Missoula (which existed about 15,000 years ago) and then broke free and flooded this area.



This is what they think it would have looked like then


And this is what it looks like today.  Can you imagine all that water coming down over those cliffs???


The Visitor Center gives you a perspective of the size


So, today we left our AWESOME campsite and headed for Leavenworth.  The purpose of our visit is to see Rod’s sister, Sue and her husband , Rich.  They recently completely remodeled their house in the mountains and we were excited to see it (and, of course, to see them too).  Their house is 15 miles north of Leavenworth but we found most of the campgrounds full.  We ended up at a KOA which is pretty nice but very much LOTS of trees.  Luckily, they have cable TV (about 100 channels) and free wifi.

Leavenworth is a really cute little German town up in the mountains.  We’ve been here before but it was in the middle of winter when they light the huge Christmas tree in the middle of town.  No tree lighting this time, just dinner.




I had the Jaeger schnitzel (a pork cutlet smothered in mushroom gravy) and Rod had the Wiener schnitzel (a veal cutlet, breaded and fried).  That stuff that looks like corn is actually spaetzel, which is a German noodle and we also had red cabbage.  And of course we had to have German beer.


This is definitely apple country.  There is LOTS of fruit everywhere.


We decided to stay for a few more days but this campground is full so we’re moving to a county campground on Sunday about 10 miles down the road.  Big move!!  There are lots of wineries in this area and we thought it would be fun to visit them.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Back in the U.S.A.!!!

Well, I’ve been putting this off long enough so I guess I’ve just got to get it done.

The last time I wrote we were headed for Terrace, B.C.  Along the way we made a stop to see the totem poles that were on display in Hazelton.  This was only going to be a fuel stop but it was cool to walk among the totem poles.




We made it just fine and found a nice RV Park to stay at so we decided to stay for a few days to see what was in the area.  We hadn’t counted on it raining every day though.

We made a day trip to Prince Rupert but since it was raining and the only thing to do there was walk along the waterfront and do some shopping.  I don’t shop.


So then we headed on to Port Edward to see what was there.  There was even less than at Prince Rupert.  So we decided to head home where I did three loads of laundry.  LOL


The next day we got some sunshine so we decided to take the drive out to the Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park.  It’s  located about 60 miles north of Terrace in northwest BC. Two centuries ago the volcano erupted, killing approximately 2,000 people and created the pocked lava plain, a moonlike landscape 6 miles long and 2 miles wide.



The water was crystal clear


There were several waterfalls



As the lava spilled from the crater an estimated 250 years ago, it followed a creek bed downslope to Lava Lake and down the Tseax Valley to the Nass River. The lava travelled at different speeds depending on the steepness of the slope.  It also created some tubes where there were trees that burned.


It was pretty interesting and at least we got to get out.  The next day we left our 28 cable TV channels and smokin’ hot wifi and headed for Vanderhoof.


We only stayed one night because there was no TV and the wifi was terrible.

The next day we woke up to, what else??  More rain.  Poor Rod has the worst part when it’s raining the day we want to leave.  Makes for a pretty rainbow when it stops though.


We drove on down further south to Williams Lake.  Again, terrible wifi and no TV.  Seems to be a pattern.  Oh yeah, and we didn’t have cell phone service either.  We didn’t know these places were going to be so remote.  They look like good sized towns on the map.


We headed out the next day to Princeton, BC but the campground that was listed was just a gravel parking lot on the side of a golf course.  No thanks.  We continued on.  We were looking for a nice place to stay for a few days instead of driving, driving, driving every single day.  The camphost told us there were several parks down the road a bit more so off we went.

The first place we saw said “No Vacancy” but there was one right next door that said “Free wifi and cable TV”.  YAHOO.  Yeah, right.  They had 4 channels on their TV and they picked the channels.  In their defense though, the lady said she would change them to whatever we wanted.  Well, it was Canadian channels and I’m not familiar with those so we left them as they were.  The wifi worked great the first day but on the second day I couldn’t get on regularly and when I did get on it kicked me off a few minutes later.  That’s another reason I haven’t written a blog.

We ended up staying for 2 days over the Labor Day weekend and headed out Monday for the border.  We only had an hour to go to get there.  From there we had no idea where we were going.  It was kinda weird crossing the border.  We felt like we were “home” even though we don’t have a “home”.  LOL

They were doing an Agriculture Inspection at the border and when I was asked if I had any produce I had to answer “yes” because I saw every single rig being pulled over and the Inspector was going inside.  Oh well, no big deal.  I surrendered one and a half tomatoes.  I’m so glad we didn’t stop at one of the hundreds of produce stands along the way!



Chief Joseph Dam


We checked out a RV Park close to the border at Riverside but didn’t like the looks of it.  Too bad too because it was on Kendall Road.  LOL.  We drove further down the highway, looked at another park that we didn’t like and ended up at Steamboat Rock State Park.  We’ve been here before but I’ve never stayed here.  Rod used to spend part of his summers here a long time ago.  I love, love, LOVE our site in this park.  We have our satellite service back so we have our own internet and Directv again!!  I’m SOOOOOO happy here!


Our site


Rod and I climbed up to the top of that rock the last time we were here!  That tiny little bump is a rock on top.


Yesterday we ventured out to the Grand Coulee Dam.  When they built the dam back in 1943 it formed Roosevelt Lake and Banks Lake (where we are).  AND it’s part of the National Parks system so I got another stamp!!  We’ve been there before during the summer and they let the water come out of the spillway and do a laser light show right on the dam.  It’s pretty cool.


On June 14, 1951 all the girls from the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival poured a gallon of water from each of the 48 states, the territories of Hawaii and Alaska and the District of Columbia down the channel to symbolize the entire country’s participation in the project.


This is a windmill farm on the highway.  It was put there to honor the man who used to build them out of junk he found laying around.  Everything was useful to him and he tried to teach everybody that.  He used to build these in his yard but after he died they were moved to the middle of town so everybody could enjoy them.  They even have a guest book to sign.



So today we went on another little adventure but this blog is already getting way too long so I’ll write about it tomorrow.