Sunday, August 26, 2012

Well, as usual, I am sooo behind in updating this blog. We've had many nice days in which we didn't want to spend the day inside, but, if I don't update this now, it will be many more days until I do, so here goes... We have been many miles since I updated it in early June and I want to share with you where we have been. Writing what we've been doing is easy, but, it's the pictures that have to be posted that slows things down a bit. But, I will do my best, as we are very far away from where we were when I last posted an update.

We had a wonderful time with the kids,

Camping with the Boy Scouts
five weeks of living in their basement, with our bus
Hi Mr Goat, do you want to be brushed?
sitting alongside their house. But, it was
Domi and Andrew - a new way of looking at things
the only way, as it was extremely hot while we were
Admiring the new Pergola the guys put up, complete with roof
there, hotter than I ever remember it being in that part of the country. We
Neighborhood deer looking for the best yard delicacies
did lots of things with the kids, went to Domi's baseball games, camping with the boy
Domi trying to hit the ball
scouts, a day trip down to Shipshewana, the zoo, saw the aquarium in downtown Chicago, and numerous
Shedd Aquarium in Chicago
other things such as card games with the kids and
Aunt Julie telling Domi how she's going to feed the reef fish
playing with the little kids.

I told you we put our Jeep in the repair shop shortly after we got to the kids' house and got it back about 2 weeks before we left. I got some really good pictures of what it looked like with the top being taken off, but, they put the pics in a PDF file and I don't know how to post them, don't think I can. Anyway, it looks brand new, just like it did when we bought it, they did a terrific job. There was one incident before we left the area, which turned out to be a blessing, where it poured down rain and the windshield was leaking badly. Ron was able to bring it back to the repair shop and have it repaired. We've been in rain since and no leaks.

Lining up for the parade through downtown Loudonville

In mid July, we headed towards our bus rally in Loudonville, OH. It was a special one, Flxible was celebrating 100 years of being in business, their first product being the side car for the motorcycle. We got there a few days before it officially started so we could sightsee around the Amish areas. Boomers, Steve & Pam lived nearby, so we got together with them one day for lunch.We both appreciated the

Boomer fix.

We had told ourselves the last time we were there, (2 years ago), that if the

Now this is definitely an antique
turnout was less than stellar, we weren't come back. We had been told in past years that it was always a tremendous turnout, with 60-80 buses showing up, so we attended in 2010 and our western contingent made up most of the members, we were very disappointed. So, we decided if it turned out to be the same this year, it just wasn't worth it to come back. Well, we did notice a few more members show up for this special rally, but, not enough to come back in another two years. We did have a nice time, but, one rally a year is enough for us and we're happy with our rallies in Quartzsite or Wickenburg.

Ron took a tour of the Ohio State Reformatory, while at the rally. The front of it looks like an old fancy hotel, I would never have guessed it for what it
Multi tier cell block
was. It opened its doors in 1896 as a facility to rehabilitate young male offenders through hard work and education. It was self sufficient with its own power plant and working farm and the reformatory produced goods in its workshops for other state institutions and provided
The electric chair
opportunities for inmates to learn trades. In the mid 20th century it became a maximum security prison.

It also was used to make many movies, including "The Shawshank Redemption" and as a Russian prison in "Air Force One", among others.

Once the bus rally was over, we didn't know what to do next. We really hadn't planned beyond the rally. Ron had been thinking of getting an end of season job somewhere to finish out the summer or maybe even work until next summer, but, until the rally was over, I had no clue what he was thinking.

I had always told Ron I wanted to go back to the Florida Keys for a winter, since we had such a good time in the winter of 2001 down there, when we worked for a KOA in Fiesta Key. We did hear from a friend that they were looking for workampers at Sugarloaf Key down near Key West, so we sent our resumes in, but, never got a response back. Also, Ron saw a workamper job near the Everglades. We probably could have gotten the job, but, I said no, because, one, it was not IN the Keys and the other was, we would have been plagued with mosquitoes the entire time we were there.

We had seen some jobs on the hotlist for jobs in Yellowstone & Grand Tetons, so we sent online apps in and decided to drive in that direction, thinking if we got called for interviews we wouldn't be that far away. In fact, fellow Boomers, Frank & Gretchen Knapp lived in Billings, MT and we thought we'd visit them while waiting to hear.

We were hoping we could somehow escape the heat that was plaguing the midwest, so we drove three days straight right across the country, back through Indiana, Illinois and stopping near Davenport, IA for the night at an Elks lodge that thankfully had air conditioning. On the way across, we stopped to have breakfast in Altoona, IA and met with fellow Boomers Bruce & Kathy who were working at Adventureland. That night, we spent the night in a Cabela's parking lot and it was HOT!! We had looked and looked and looked for our Corps of Engineers camping book, but, couldn't figure out where it went, because we certainly would have stayed at one on our cross country trip.

On our third day after leaving Ohio, we pulled up to Frank & Gretchen's condo and found out it was hot there, too....because it was overly warm, we decided to stay in their nice cool basement while we visited with them. The bus stayed out at the curb and didn't bother anyone.

We had a wonderful 2 1/2 weeks with
them, they took us everywhere to show us their fine town and nearby historical areas. We even went to Red Lodge, such a cute little town, and then
Yellowstone River in the distance
drove the Beartooth Hwy with it's numerous switchbacks up into the backcountry. It was sooo beautiful that
Me and Frank climbing the stairs to see the view
day with stops here and there to take pictures and we ended up dropping down into
Red Lodge, MT
Yellowstone Valley stopping at Mammoth
Stopping for coffee, sweets and a stroll around town
Hot Springs and visiting the visitor center. We drove out the north
The switchbacks we just came up
entrance and stopped to walk around Gardiner a bit, before heading for home.

If you know Frank & Gretchen, you know they like to play cards...nonstop almost,
See how clear this pond water is?
so needless to say, we spent our days playing
Top of the World Store at Beartooth Pass, Elev. 10,947 ft
cards, stopping once in awhile to watch the Olympic events and watching
Meeting new friends at lunch
movies and going out and about. We also met Frank's son and
Use your imagination, see the train going through the mountains?
daughter-in-law, so it was nice to put names with faces.

Right before we left, we saw another job opportunity in Buffalo, WY at a KOA, so we thought, what the heck. It was on a Friday and we thought surely, if they were looking for someone asap, they'd see our resume and respond before we left on Monday headed west and said as much in our cover letter.

Well, come Monday at around noon, the owner of the KOA called and

Our campsite at Crescent Bar
wanted us to come to work, except we were already in Spokane, WA and we weren't about to drive back
View of Columbia River
across 700 miles, so Ron told him we'd be interested in maybe next
On the shore of the mighty Columbia River looking downriver

We're resigned to not working the rest of the

Looking upriver
summer or this winter, (but, we still are looking...), so we're just enjoying our stays at our Thousand Trails membership parks as we slowly
Leavenworth, WA
make our way southward towards Yuma. We stopped about two days at one, Crescent Bar, that is right on
Beautiful paintings on the buildings
the Columbia River, 35 miles southeast of Wenatchee. It was still hot, so we decided to head west towards Seattle, only to find out after we got there that
A beautiful glass ball tree
they were experiencing a mini heat wave of their own, with temps in the high 80's/low 90's. We spent 4 days at Mt. Vernon, which is about 50 miles north of Seattle and it was warm, but, not as warm as near the Seattle area.

While there, we visited Whidbey Island, because I'd never been there and had

Coupville Bay on Whidbey Island
heard so much about it, I wanted to see what was there. On the way over to the island, we stopped at Deception Pass to take pictures and ran into fellow Boomers, Gary & Nancy Asplund. It really was a surprise especially since they had just come back from a two week trip to Alaska. We ended up having lunch with them and making plans to take the ferry to the San Juan Islands with them on Sunday.
Getting ready to board the ferry out of Anacortes

Now, it had been beautiful weather on Friday when we went to Whidbey Island, but, Sunday morning dawned

Looking back towards where we parked
overcast and drizzly, so much so that Ron questioned whether we should even go on such a dreary day.
Heading out towards the San Juan Islands
But, as I pointed out to him, who knew when we'd be back up there to go and besides that, we were going
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
with friends, so we were bound to have a good time, which we did.

The ferry was packed
We had decided to get off in Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island and
Passengers and bicyclists were let off first
spend the extra hours until the ferry came to pick us up at almost 2,
This boat is headed towards Victoria, B.C.
to take us back to Anacortes. But, we got over there and everything is mostly up and down and with the exception of a few gift shop
One of many pretty little bays around the islands
and such, most of what we saw were restaurants. After kicking around for about an hour, we got the bright idea of taking
Orcas Island
the inner ferry to some of the other islands. Actually, we didn't get off at the other 2 smaller islands, we didn't have time for that, plus no vehicle, but, on Lopez Island, we did get off and as you will see
Pickup load of sheep coming home from fair
in the picture...what were we thinking???

Now, I'm sure that some of you out there who have been to all the islands are having a good laugh on our account, because we didn't ask anyone what was on the other islands near the ferry terminal. The first island we came to, Orcas Island, looked like it could have had a couple of places to have lunch, but, we didn't get off there. The next island was Shaw Island, the smallest island of all and it didn't have much, just a few houses. The last island, Lopez, looked very remote. There was a modular structure at the top of a hill,

Lopez Island
that looked like an office or something. We did find out that it did serve hamburgers, hot dogs or fish & chips, but, the area wasn't very attractive, so we asked if there was any place on the island where there were regular restaurants to have lunch.

Yep, there was, but, we would have had to arrange to have a taxi pick us up. We talked to said taxi, it was going to cost us $27 to go 4 miles into town and back, but, he couldn't even pick us up right away and we were on a time constraint, so we turned him down. What saved us though, from eating there, was the kind offer from the young woman who worked there. She offered to take us to the

Gary & Nancy Asplund, Ron & me having lunch at Buckley's
restaurant and pick us back up, so we paid her instead.

Looking out at the bay, the sun was finally out
Lopez Village is just a collection of houses, with a couple small restaurants there just for the visitors, I'll bet. We ate at Buckey's and Ron, I & Nancy all had fish tacos and Gary had a hamburger. We ordered and ate our meal in the short amount of time we had, outside on the patio, enjoying the sunshine that finally showed itself. You'll see in the picture that we were not by the water at all, the bay was quite a ways away.

I told Ron the next time we come over here, I want to take the car and go on every roadway on every island to see

One of many beautiful houses we saw on the islands
what there is to see, even if we have to stay overnight to do it and take our time.

On Monday, we headed up to the next

Our campsite in Birch Bay
park in Birch Bay to stay a week. This is a very nice park with lots of open space, but,
Beach side in Birch Bay, WA - high tide
also with trees here and there. We are a mile from the beach....we went down to said beach the other day and
An empty lot for sale with a million dollar view
it's mostly small rocks and mud, not sand. When the tide
Blackberries are in season and boy, are they plentiful and sweet!
is out, it goes out for a mile, so looks really weird with the all the small boats out of the water. I heard they do lots of

clamming up here, so it's good that the tide goes out so far, I guess.

We saw Bellingham and walked around the downtown in Fairhaven, with lots of one of a kind shops and neat things to

look at. The next day we drove around Birch Bay and went in the very few shops they had and then went on to Blaine. Now, like I said, we've never been up here before, so looking at the town from a distance, we thought it was fairly large, until we got into town. The town we thought was Blaine was in fact, White Rock, over in Canada. So, we walked around downtown Blaine, but, there wasn't much to see. I did have a nice conversation with the lady in the Visitor's Center.

We thought about going into Canada, but, haven't yet. I heard about what Nancy told us when they went over there, they got grilled for ten minutes on whether they had guns in their vehicle or not, just because they had Texas plates. Not sure if we want to deal with that, plus being the weekend, the wait to come back would probably be loooong. We've been in Canada twice before, but, not in this area, maybe we'll wait and take the rig in when we can stay longer.

It seems weird that it was only 2 weeks ago that we left some parting shots, as we leave here tomorrow, we went down this morning to take pictures of the low tide. The tides around here can go out as much as a

8-25-2012 6:30 - Even higher tide
mile, today wasn't that far, but, far enough. One of the pictures, if you click on it to enlarge it, you can see a dark line, that is the deep water and the tide goes out
8-26-2012 7:30 - Low Tide
that far, the water you see in front of it, is very shallow. The people you can see in the picture are clamming, but, they are also out where the water is. I wanted to walk out there, guess I should have worn my shorts, darn it! We were talking to a local and
Picture below is zoomed in, this is the regular view, the water is waaay out there.
he was saying he saw a guy catching crabs out of the shallow water where the grass grows, just picking them up out of
See the dark blue line? The water is shallow to that line
the grass, hmmm, my kind of crabbing!