Oct 31, 2010


The last 3 months have passed very quickly, and we have thoroughly enjoyed our stay here visiting with family and friends. We are feeling the need for sun and warmer temps and so it's time to head south.

This morning we pulled out of the Lake Pleasant RV park just north of Seattle around 8:45.  Leaving on Sunday morning allowed us to have very light traffic as we headed south on I 405 to pick up I 90 going east. 

With sunny skies and beautiful scenery we made good time today and are spending the evening at the Oregon Trails RV Park in Baker City, Oregon. It's a nice park, not very full, and with our Camp Club membership it only cost us $12.50 for the night.

In the morning we want to visit the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center before hitting the road again.  We are planning a short rendezvous with our friends Bob and Linda who are waiting for us in Nephi, Utah.  If  all goes well we should see them Tuesday afternoon.

Until later.

Oct 29, 2010


Our stay in the Pacific NW is winding down. We are moving down to the Seattle area tomorrow and then heading towards Arizona on Sunday. We have enjoyed our stay in Anacortes visiting several local shops,  galleries and a return to Adrift, our favorite local restaurant.

Judy has even mastered the art of knitting socks during our stay here.  There is a wonderful knitting and cross-stitch store here in Anacortes and she has taken advantage of their generous help.  This is how a local business can beat out any online store.  By providing exceptional hands on support, they won a loyal customer and we helped the local economy.  We also discovered a local store that smokes salmon.  They also sell online, but I doubt I would have ordered from them without first being able to taste their product.

We also enjoy staying connected on the Internet.  Whether it's keeping family and friends informed, or making new friends with common interests.  We enjoy keeping up with fellow RVers through their blogs.  Occasionally we even get to meet in person.  Last summer we got to spend a day with  Randy and Pam and showed them around our hometown of Grand Rapids.  Next month we are looking forward to seeing our friends Bob and Linda somewhere in Texas.

Today we had lunch with Ron and Alice.  Alice commented on our blog a month ago that they were from the NW and had just been to Port Townsend.  One email led to another and it worked out to meet today for lunch in Bellingham.

 Ron and Alice had a scare this week when the engine in their RV caught fire. Thankfully they are okay and it looks like the damage can be fixed without too much trouble.

We had a great time over our leisurely 2 hour lunch.  It was fun to hear about their workcamping experiences.  When work for Ron, a licensed plumber, dried up they knew they needed to find something else to do. So they spent the last several months working the carnival circuit.  They did everything from taking tickets, to helping setup and tear down, to running the rides.  It was hard work but they both seemed to enjoy it.  With carnival season over until spring their next project will find them selling Christmas Trees.

In this difficult economy it's always inspiring to see how fellow RVers are making ends meet. While some RVers seem to think the answer is to put a donation button on their blog, others like Ron and Alice aren't afraid of hard work.  Wow, what a concept.

Until later.

Oct 22, 2010

Our RV Floats

Yesterday it time to say goodbye to Port Townsend and the Olympic Pennisula.  After enjoying a couple of beautiful sunny days on the water, we awoke to thick fog.  After morning coffee and a quick walk for Mollie, it was time to hook up the explorer and head to the ferry dock to get in line for the 12:45 ferry to Coupeville.
 We realized it had been almost 6 weeks since we actually towed the explorer.  The explorer has 4 wheel drive and an automatic transmission, and has a couple of steps to go through before towing.  First push the 4 wheel auto button, then put in in neutral, then turn the key to off, then press the brake pedal while pushing the 4 wheel drive button and wait for the indicator light to quit blinking and stay on.  Then check to make sure the brakes are activated by the SMI AirForce One system, then check the turn signals, and brake lights.  Then we were ready to tow.  Good thing I have a checklist

We had decided to take the ferry rather than drive all the way back down the Olympic Pennisula and back up thru busy Seattle.  The ferry cost 53 dollars for our 30 minute ride.  Considering we probably saved at least 3 hours and fuel which is 3.50 a gallon here, we thought it was worth it.

The ferry crew are experts at loading and we were soon on our way.  The crossing was smooth and it didn't take long to be back on dry land on Whidby island.

We then headed north through Oak Harbor and across the beautiful bridge at Deception Pass.  20 minutes later we were at our destination. We are at the Fidalgo Bay Resort which is owned by the Samish Indian Nation.  In  prime season this is an expensive park and we would probably not stay here.  But they lower the prices in the fall and also honor Passport America so it becomes a bargain. So we once again have a nice water view at a reasonable price.  Not as nice as Port Townsend but still a very pretty place. We are looking forward to getting out and exploring this end of the island.

Until later.

Oct 19, 2010

Staying at Port Hudson Marina and Rv Park

Our first day here has exceded expectations.  First, you should know that this is not a deluxe paved site resort with pool, clubhouse and tennis courts.  It does have water, sewer, and 30 amp hook-ups but it's a little scruffy and the sites are close together.  The place has a worn look to it, but we don't mind because we are here for the view and we love it.  This is certainly on the top of our list of places we'd come back to.

When we arrived yesterday we checked in at the marina office, and got asked the usual question.  Where are you from?  We are still struggling how to answer.  Even though we now have the same street address as several thousand other full-timers it just doesn't feel right to say Sioux Falls.  So I usually say we are from Michigan, but now have a SD address.  Maybe we'll figure out a better answer as we go along.

This morning we awoke to fog, but it has burned off and we have been on our first walk of the day.  Mollie  joined us as we took a leisurely walk around the marina and harbor.  Like I said before, "nuthin better than messing around with boats".

On another note.  I'm a sucker for the Geico ads.  Do you remember the tongue twister about Woodchucks?

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
He would chuck, he would, as much as he could,
and chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would
if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

Yes I'll admit it, I'm easily amused.

Until later

Oct 18, 2010


Yesterday we took Mollie on a walk around Evergreen Coho SKP Park.  Lots of owners have already headed south for the winter.

This morning it was time for us to move on as well.

We traded this view

 for this view.

We have been staying at the Escapees Park in Chimicum for the past 6 weeks and it has been a great base for us to use while we explored the area.

We only have a few more days here on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula and decided to move to the Port Hudson Marina and RV Park in downtown Port Townsend for our last 3 nights here.  We are right on the water and enjoy watching the boat traffic and being next to the marina.  This is the view out the front of our coach.

It's nice to be able to walk around the boats and also walk downtown which is only a few blocks away.Later this week we will load the motor home on to the ferry and spend a week in Anacortes, before we start heading south.

I've been pondering a question for the last couple of days.  The question is one word, and the word is: WHY?   A simple word, but loaded with implications.  I remember when our kids were young they always wanted to know why... and it was our job to come up with an explanation.  I'm sure if you have kids you know what I am talking about.  As we get older I think we sometimes stop asking those questions.

This last weekend two rv fulltimers lost their lives.  We didn't know Marjorie and Bruce personally but we faithfully followed their blog.  After awhile we started to feel a part of their family.  Bruce and Marjorie, vacationing in Pismo Beach, left their motor home on Saturday morning to go for a walk.  They never returned. According to police reports a distraught 19 year old man who had a failed love affair, tried to take his own life, he didn't, but he killed Bruce and Marjorie in the process.  Why?.....  Having been raised in a conservative Christian home, my dad was a country preacher among other things, we were taught that everything is in God's hands and everything happens for a reason.  But here's the thing.  Knowing that, believing that, still doesn't answer my question.


Our condolences go out to the families of Marjorie and Bruce, and all those who knew them well.

Until later.

Oct 13, 2010


No I'm not talking about happy hour and that Jimmy Buffett tune.  That's what time we got up yesterday.  While I realize that many of you get up every morning at that time or earlier, I am not what you would call a morning person unless there is a very good reason.

We had planned a day trip to the San Juan Islands and with the need to catch 2 different ferries, and the need to have reservations on one of the ferries, we had to be in Port Townsend at 6:00am to catch the 6:30am ferry to Coupeville on Whidbey Island.  Our ferry left on time and we were in Coupeville, off the ferry at 7am, and were treated to a beautiful sunrise as we headed north.  We crossed over the beautiful bridge at Deception Pass and arrived at the Anacortes ferry docks in time to catch the 8:30 ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

After leaving the ferry we headed out to visit the San Juan National Historic Pa which commemorates the "12 year pig war" between the Americans and the British.  If you are a history buff you would enjoy visiting this area and learning about the disputed territory.  Our first stop was the American camp on the south end of the island.  The visitor center was open and we met a delightful couple who were there volunteering for a couple of months.  They had also volunteered at Petrified Forest where our friends, Bob and Linda, have volunteered.

Since this may be in our future plans, we love meeting volunteers and hearing about their adventures.  After our visit at the American camp we headed north along the coast to visit the British camp. 

There are still formal gardens there and a few remaining buildings.  It's fun to stand and imagine what it must have been like for the soldiers on both sides.

We then turned southeast and headed back towards Friday Harbor stopping at San Juan Vineyards

We of course did a wine tasting and left with a couple of bottles.  We had lunch in Friday Harbor at the Market Chef  and then had time to visit a few shops including Concepia, a photographic gallery.  I had a nice visit and 'talked shop'  with the gallery owner for a few minutes.   We then got our car back in line for the return trip to Anacortes.  Of course there was still time to check out a few boats in the harbor.  Guess which one I like best?  If you guessed the old converted tug, you guessed right. She looks like something you could take to Alaska.

We retraced our route, leaving the ferry in Anacortes, driving south to Coupeville, and boarded the 7:30pm ferry back to Port Townsend.  It was a very long day but well worth it.

Until later.

Oct 5, 2010


We took a quick trip to Portland for the weekend.  We were planning to go down late Sunday morning and visit with our 2 daughters and their families.  As I was reading some photo blogs on Saturday I noticed that Art Wolfe a famous nature photographer and host of the television show Travels to the Edge was giving a one day seminar in Portland on Sunday from 10:00 to 4:00.  Judy encouraged me to attend so I signed up online. We got up early Sunday morning and drove the three and half hours to Portland so I could be there by 9:30, in time to get a seat for the seminar.   Judy dropped me off in downtown Portland and found her way over to our daughter Julie's place. 

The seminar was really great and the time went fast.  Judy picked me up promptly at 4:00 pm and along with Julie and Jeremy we joined Michelle and her family for evening church at Mosaic.  After church we headed over to Michelle's for homemade soup and a great time wrestling with Nemo and Mia.  After getting them properly wound up, it was time to go back to Julie and Jeremy's for bed.  It was a long day but we had a great time.

We packed a lot into our Monday.  Julie fixed breakfast for us and Michelle arrived in time for breakfast as well.  Then it was time for me to head to the barber while the girls did a little shopping and then picked Mia from Preschool.  We then met up at Fire on the Mountain for lunch and then we again went off in different directions.  Julie and I headed to a camera store and computer store while Michelle and Judy headed to an antique mall.  We all joined up again for dinner last night, this time at a Hawaiian restaurant called Ohana.  We had a leisurely dinner and then it was time to say our goodbyes to Michelle's family and give them a last round of hugs.  This morning after breakfast with Julie and Jeremy  we packed up and headed back home to Chimacum.  It was a beautiful sunny day and after stopping in Olympia for lunch and a stop at Trader Joes, we headed north on 101.  After  a leisurely drive along the Hood Canal, and a quick stop at the Post Office to pick up our mail, we were back at the motor home and unpacked in plenty of time for happy hour.

We had a great weekend and enjoyed being together for an all too brief time with family.  Being with our grand kids Nemo and Mia made us miss our other grand kids, Emma, Ella, and Harrison back in Michigan. On that note I am posting a brief video that our son Jonathan made of our 4 month old grandson Harrison.  It made us smile and I hope it does the same for you.

Until later.

P.S.  Tomorrow we'll share some info about our 30 day challenge.  Stay tuned.

Oct 2, 2010


We have enjoyed following the blogs of our friends Bob and Linda about their trip to Alaska this summer.  If you haven't been following you can go here for Bob's and here for Linda's.  They just arrived back in the states after a trip of over 6000 miles.  Whenever we read about intrepid travelers like them it gets us in the mood.  So we decided to head Northwest ourselves.  We chose as our destination the northwestern most point of the contiguous United States, Cape Flattery.

View Larger Map
Had we wished to travel to the western most point we would have gone to Cape Alava, south of Cape Flattery.  It is 360 feet more west than Cape Flattery.  But since we were in the mood for the North West it was off to Cape Flattery.

Judy packed our provisions, and since this was a day trip, she packed a lunch.  We loaded up our trusty vehicle aptly named Explorer and headed out.  We even brought Mollie along, since she was anxious to share in our adventure and perhaps leave her mark as an intrepid explorer.  We headed west on 101 to Port Angeles.  It was there the adventure really started.  There was lots to see in the harbor town of Port Angeles, large ocean freighters, the ferry to Victoria and lots of fishing boats.  But our real destination lay to the NW.

So we left 101 to head NW on 112.  This was a curvy up and down road that lead us through the small villages of Joyce, Clallam Bay, and Sekiu.  The road wandered up and down through the mountains and would occasionally dip down to hug the waterline of the Straits of Juan de Fuca.  At one point we considered turning back when our GPS quit working after dropping on the floor during a particularly treturous turn.  But Judy, prepared for such an emergency, pulled out a map and so we continued on. We arrived safely in the town of Neah Bay, also the headquarters of the Makah Indian Reservation.   Since our destination was on the reservation we needed to pick up a recreation permit.

Permit in hand we motored through  the town of Neah Bay, past the Presbyterian church and senior center, and on to Cape Flattery.   After another 4 miles the road came to an end short of our final destination.  Mollie led the way down a steep 3/4 mile trail to our final lookout point.

The scenery was breathtaking.  Just off the cliffs was the The Cape Flattery lighthouse on Tatoosh Island.  The lighthouse is closed to the public so we settled for a long distance view.

 After taking a few pictures it was time to head back.

 Why is it that every time you go down a steep trail, you have to come back up?

 And yes, true to her word, Mollie did what few dogs can claim to have done.  She left her mark not once but twice at the most northwestern point in the continental United States.

We retraced our steps and motored back down highway 112.  South of Neah Bay we found a little spot to pull over and enjoy the lunch Judy had prepared.  With the engine off we sat listening to the surf as we ate our sardine salad and carrot sticks.  After a reset, our GPS returned to life and we retraced our path home.  We arrived home just in time for happy hour.  We toasted our good fortune, me with a glass of Bourbon on the rocks, Judy with red wine, and we shared some pistachios.   Just another day exploring our little corner of the great northwest.

If you would like to see more of my photography you might enjoy my new blog Camera Vagabond.  I put one new image up each day.  These may be classic black and white, color landscapes, or abstract impressions.  Eventually I might even write about them, but for now just one new image each day.

Until later.