Monday, September 3, 2012

On Monday, Aug 27th, we left Birch Bay and had an easy 100 mile trip down south. As we drove towards Monroe on Rte 2, we passed the Evergreen State Fair that was running through Labor Day. I told Ron I wouldn't mind going to the fair while we were in the area.

The Thousand Trails park, which is almost 5 miles back off the main road of Hwy 203, is situated along the Skykomish River. The main part of the campground is on the side away from the river and then, there are two camping areas on the same side of the river, which is were we parked.

Campsite looking over the Skykomish River
We had a nice back in site with a great view of the river outside the windshield.

Right after we got settled in, we decided to drive down to the Everett Naval base to get gas for the Jeep,
hoping it would be cheaper than in town. We were pleased to find that gas was a few cents cheaper than out in town and then, I took some pictures of an aircraft carrier, (Nimitz) and a destroyer tied up to the piers.
Everett Naval Base
The day was beautiful and clear and the water just sparkled in the distance.

After we got done eating lunch and filling up with gas, we decided to go to the fair, so off we went. We were surprised to find out we had to pay $8 for parking in a vacant lot, which we thought was high, but, the fee to get in was free, it being "senior day". We saw all the exhibits of animals, veggies, home canning, desserts, quilting, home crafts, photos, etc. There was even a small museum all about logging in the area from the old days, lots of antiques from stoves and washing machines to logging implements.

The next morning, we drove to my cousin, Darlene's, house for a nice visit. The last time we had seen her was in the summer of 2003. We were working at Pelton Park, near Madras, OR, for Portland General Electric as camphosts in one of their campgrounds. We had gotten a yurt for her when she came to camp with us and she really enjoyed herself a lot. We told each other not to wait so long between visits and we will try to keep that promise. She is self employed as a chiropractor, so if you are ever up in the area of Everett and need to see a chiropractor, she's the one to go see. I even got adjusted while we were there, which was a good thing since I had fallen a couple of times this summer....I feel much better now.

On our last full day there, Wed, we decided to drive up to the little town of

On Hwy 2 westbound
Skykomish and visit Money Creek campground where we were camphosts during the summer of 1998.
Inside Money Creek Campground
Right off the bat, we noticed they put in some nice looking restrooms throughout the campground, plus cleaned up the
Notice the strange limb growing
campsites and where one of the campsites had been quite large, they split it into two. But, other than that, it still looked the
A closer look
same and I was pleased to see most of the old growth forest was
Skykomish River
still there. We stopped by the campground host site, but, they must
Lots of horn honking in this tunnel
have had the day off and were gone. We worked for RRM, back then and now Hoodoo is running it.

We decided to go to the ranger station

Passing a waterfall
to see if the park ranger we worked with was still around and quite surprising to us,
Stopped at a salmon fish hatchery
she still did and not only that, but, was there that day. She works offsite these days, but, she just happened to
Lots of salmon in the holding pen
be working up there that day, so we counted ourselves fortunate to have run into her when we did.

Then, we dropped by the teeny town of Skykomish. When we were there, there was one store that sold wood stoves and had antique furniture for sale. Now, even that store is closed, the only thing that the town has going for it is the hotel and cafe to house the occasional rafter/canoer/kayaker coming through that wants to go down the Skykomish River. Usually, the river is pretty full in the spring and early summer, but, by August, it is so low, it's hard to navigate all the way down to our campground. We know, we waited too late to go down it when we worked there...

That town would be so cute if they would put some one of a kind stores with local artisans work in there, and the lady who works at the hotel cafe has been praying for such a thing to happen. We were saddened to hear they don't have the annual "Tunnel Days" in town in late summer, to celebrate the Cascade Railway Tunnel built in 1929 and is the longest railroad tunnel in the United States. There is a very interesting article on the tunnel which you can find at:

A beautiful mural in Sultan, right off Rte 2
There were actually two tunnels built and it's interesting reading, especially when you read about the problem with the old steam trains. I had read a book about the area and with the old coal trains, when it snowed, the coal would sometimes ignite the trees near the tracks and cause avalanches with all the snow, so they had to build snow sheds next to the tracks.
This one is on the U.S. Post Office

On Thursday morning we left Monroe and drove down to the ChehalisThousand Trails for the Labor Day weekend. On this leg of the trip, we would be visiting with fellow Boomers, Roger & Lila Thode, who live nearby, my brother, Jerry & his wife, Bobbie, who live in Tumwater and our good friends and fellow Boondockers, Frank & Charlou Shaefer, who are staying at her daughter's house in Olympia.

Our campsite in the trees

After we got set up, we called Roger, found out where they lived and went on over there to visit with them. They usually come down to the desert in the winter, but, missed last winter. Roger's dad is sick and he is helping his mom with farm chores and his dad, so his parents can stay at home instead of going into a rest home. They will stay there as long as they are needed, so have come off the road temporarily to do this. His parents have a lovely property with wonderful views of the mountains to the east, including Mt. Ranier. On clear days it really stands out in all its majesty, but, on the day we were there, all we saw were clouds.

We had a good visit and walked around the property admiring the large vegetable gardens, flowers, fruit trees and view. All too soon it was time to go back home. I told them I would be glad to go with them to church on Sunday.

On Friday, we drove up to Tumwater to meet with Frank & Charlou at Costco. They love going there for lunch, because the hot dogs are so inexpensive. We had pizza instead and had a good visit. Not as long as we'd have liked, but, we were also visiting with my brother that day. We hope to see them at one of the many Boondocker rallies somewhere in the desert this winter.

It turns out, my brother only lived about a couple miles or less from Costco.

Sharon's brother, Jerry and his lovely wife, Bobbie
They live in a very nice modular home in a mobilehome park. I wished we had seen their previous place they lived at, it was an RV resort on a lake and they lived in their fifth wheel. My brother was always raving about how beautiful it was there, as well as the fishing, but, apparently, it wasn't all paradise, because now they live in a different spot. Of course, part of the problem was no yard to speak of so they could let their little dogs run around, and more storage. We had a wonderful visit and they also treated us to a delicious dinner of ribs and veggies.

On Saturday, Ron wanted to drive up to Mt. Ranier. The day started out

On the way up to Mt. Ranier
Loved driving through these shady mountain roads
Entering the park, notice all the cars
very gray and I didn't know if it was going to rain or not. We almost didn't go, but, decided, what the heck. The weather around here is astounding, one minute its gray and gloomy and the next, the sun is out. The closer we got to the park the nicer the day was. One thing, though, remind us NEVER to go visit a national park on a holiday weekend!!!! It was BUSY! Of course, we really didn't think about that when we decided to go.

Our first partial view of Mt. Ranier

We got a couple nice shots of the big mountain itself, Mt. Ranier, on the way up. At one point, we stopped to look at a museum and Ron was
A boardwalk leading off to several trails
talking to the ranger. He suggested we take the shuttle up to the visitor center and hotel, because the
An antique touring car
parking lot was probably full. So, that's what we did. The only problem with the shuttle was, we couldn't see much out the windows because we were standing up.
This douglas fir started from a seed in 1293, cut in 1963
So, the many scenic areas on the way up the mountain will have to wait for another time. We'll drive up there ourselves and see what the rest of the park has to offer and we'll do it on a nice slow weekday.
Mt. Ranier, where are you???

After getting dropped off, we went into the museum/gift shop, which also had a place to eat and

Couldn't see the great mountain, so took this picture instead
judging from all the people in there, was a popular place to eat. I wanted to eat in the hotel and see what it looked like.
Mt Ranier Lodge dining room
We've been to the lodge up near Mt. Hood and really liked the inside with the big fireplaces. We've also been to the one at Old Faithful in Yellowstone and the
The lobby of the Mt. Ranier Lodge
Notice the pretty lamps
I feel like Queen for a day sitting in this chair...
one at the North Rim. This one was okay, just didn't look as rustic as the other ones we have visited.

Food prices were inflated as usual, so we split a fish and chips and it was very good.
Nicely painted columns/looking across at gift shop
The lunch crowd was dwindling, as they closed at 2 and didn't open up again until around 5 for dinner.
Coming down the mountain, we saw water falls

After eating lunch and hanging out in the lobby people watching, we decided it was time to head back down the mountain. We went outside and it was getting cold. Fortunately,we were able to get on the next shuttle bus and we got to sit down, which was real nice. Actually got to take a few

Notice the bridge in the distance?
pictures out of the wide windows, only because the bus driver alerted us to
I think this is called a mudflow, pretty massive if you ask me
interesting sites and slowed down a bit to let us take pictures.
If figures, we get back down the mountain and have a great view of Mt. Ranier

Sunday morning, I got up early to go to church with the Thodes. After church, we went to another church that was having a car show, kids games, free hamburgers and hot dogs and a free wild animal show. It was quite entertaining and something to do, since my brother never called to say he was coming over.

I finally got home later than I thought and my brother finally called to tell me they had gotten waylaid by some friends who came by unexpectedly. But, that they still wanted to come and when they found out we weren't leaving until Tues, made plans to come up tomorrow.

This morning my brother and his wife came up to see us and the bus. They were very impressed with what we had done. We had a good visit, and I told them to come visit us at the beach later in the week. I hope they come, it would be a nice place to spend the day.

Since the beginning of June, we put our DirecTV on vacation since all the shows we watch were on summer hiatus. So, that means listening to a lot of radio and watching movies at night. Last night, we watched the original "The Day the Earth Stood Still", it's still better than the remake, I think. The second movie we saw was "Happy Feet", which we'd never seen before. Everything was going along fine until they all started dancing after the helicopter stopped and although we tried to coax it along, we never got to see the ending...GRRR!!! So, now we'll have to get another copy just to see how it all ends.

Tomorrow, we leave this place and head to Long Beach, WA for a week. We will stay on the coast for the next month, going down along the coast of Oregon, stopping in each of the Thousand Trails parks to see what they look like and sight see around the different areas.

We are going to work a pumpkin lot in Walnut Creek, CA for the month of October. We are working for our former boss, who we worked for in 2008 and 2009. We thought, what the heck, might as well make a few bucks before heading back to Yuma, it would help pay for all this high priced fuel on our way back home. Not only that, but, I love the petting zoo with the baby animals and I don't mind feeding or cleaning up after them. I hope we have great weather and sell lots of pumpkins. We'll be starting on Oct 3rd.