Our drive out of Yakima took us through some of the county’s largest “hop” fields…why the Yakima valley???? I have no idea but they hung high above us as we drove the secondary roads to our next destination, Soap Lake. (Right now, I would love to have a picture of the hops but we didn’t take the time to stop and take…damn!) This is the first time that we have been in a campground that was owned by Western Horizons (the membership only campground club that we bought into a couple of years ago) and then sold to a private ownership and changed into an “open camping” campground. We still have full “membership” access for 2008, but beyond that we’re just another camper. Oh well, we’ve had a second opportunity to search out the must see locations within 80 miles of the lake so I would say we’ve “been there”. Taking a little time to hit one of the beaches here at Soap Lake, we found this couple taking advantage of the "special" mud from the bottom the lake.
We were in Ephrata the other day and found out that they were having their annual “Ephrata Valley Music Festival”.
The weather couldn’t have been better and our personal schedule (schedule, I don’t remember having a schedule…) would allow us to grab some “booth food” and settle down to watch and listen to some great jazz and rock for the next few hours. As always when such a festival like this is going on, we went looking for the Farmers Market. We couldn’t go home without having stopped. On the way back to the campground, we came upon another "celebration". It was the annual "Bikers of Soap Lake" event.
That evening at the campground, we went out for a walk and soon found ourselves in conversation with a camper from Bellevue. His family had taken the tour bus from the campground to the “Light Show at Grand Coulee Dam”. He and his wife had immigrated to the US from India a number of years ago and now are raising their kids in Bellevue. Louise and I found our brief conversation with Richard very interesting and asked him to join us for a glass of wine up at our coach while his family was away enjoying the light show. Later Lou and I found ourselves invited to his “cabin” for dinner the next night. The dinner was described to be a “typical Indian” dinner consisting of a spicy rice dish, chicken, beef ribs. We had a wonderful evening. The host and his extended family Richards wife, Minni, Margret (Richards mother), Joseph his father, cousin, and her daughter both visiting from India.
All in all, after enjoying a great meal and wonderful conversations with some new friends, it made for an evening we won’t forget.
_14 July ‘08 Monday
Up early this morning to take the coach over to Aubrey’s RV to get a little work handled. Fortunately the list of work to be preformed is short so let’s hope the bill reflects it. In filling another part of our day, we have the laundry to thank… With Leslee at work and Lena and Vinny doing their things, we took over their air-conditioned house.
This is the first time that we have ever traveled over Chinook Pass on our way to Yakima and we found it was well worth taking. The pass takes us around the eastern side of Mount Rainier and offered us some of the most spectacular views on a perfect traveling day. I don’t remember just how many stops we made to marvel at “The” mountain.
_and all the valleys surrounding it, but each stop was even better than the last. With the exception of last Wednesday, the weather here in Yakima has been fantastic…mid 80’s to low 90’s and cooler in the evenings. Now all that is wonderful, but just after checking in at the campground, receiving our parking site AND directions as to how to get there, I headed out. First of all, this campground is small and TIGHT…second, the streets to and from the sites are very tight…third, if you have to take a corner, you had better watch the swing of the tail of the coach AND any obstacle that might jump out and bite…yep, it did and I wasn’t a happy camper !!!
_The object that “jumped” out to get me was a small picnic table…right in the middle of the second bay door. Two 2” round dents and a couple of small scratches. It could have been worse, but at the time it was like a knife in the heart. Yesterday, Leslee and Lena joined Louise and me on a kayaking adventure. Close to the White Pass summit is Clear Lake, which is completely surrounded by beautiful mountains and tall trees. It is fed from and feeds too the Natchez River, which then feeds to another larger lake below which again, continues to the Natchez through an earthen dam. OK, all that said (written), we pulled out both kayaks and spent about 4 hours just having a great time
_in a neat little campsite that we found down a very rough dirt (dusty) road (track). It’s amazing how you work up a large appetite from all the fresh air, water, and a good paddle. Fortunately we had a ton of chicken waiting at Leslee’s place all ready to hit the barbecue.
_10 July ‘08
First off I want to wish Leslee a “Happy Birthday”. It’s not that we forgot it, but I neglected to mention it when I wrote my journal on June 27th. I also heard from Lena that I didn’t mention her on her birthday as well….SORRY LADIES!!! For some reason I’ve really fallen off the nightly habit of writing and I really feel guilty, strange isn’t it? I’ll try to do better, I promise.
The 4th of July was just as great as we could have ever imagined it to be. We started out the day with the Chouinard family coming over for a visit. We barbequed, started a fire in the pit, and indulged in one of our favorite desserts of “smores” before heading over to Carl and Mario’s condo. As I mentioned earlier, their condo sits on Capital Hill and overlooks the Seattle skyline,
_Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, and Lake Union. Directly behind the Space Needle, and on a barge in the Sound is where one of the fireworks displays were to be shot from, and then just to our right as we stood on the deck from their penthouse location, there floated another barge that was to be the site for the best of the two 4th of July displays. Our night of celebration was going to be spectacular !!!
_On top of all that, Mario had set out this spread of food that was prepared for a feast to be remembered…
On Saturday, Phil and Kathy flew in from Alberta.
_Phil and Kath are the couple that traveled with us when we came out of the Baja a couple of years ago. Unfortunately one of the topics that keeps coming back to haunt me during that trip was when I turned onto a one-way street going the wrong way when we were heading towards the border in Mexicali. I was fortunate to have been able to make a “U-turn” Ok, but with Phil and Kathy right behind us in their motor home, they got caught strung across all 4 lanes with their coach and toad and started to block a huge amount of cars approaching quickly. All worked out fine, but it could have been a lot worse if it hadn’t been for a Mexican motorcycle cop that came to our “rescue”. Anyway, we enjoyed their company even if it was just for a couple of days. We did get over to see the falls at Snoqualmie, which is always a beautiful sight even if we did find ourselves in a downpour…
_All was well after a great Tai dinner at one of the local establishments and a good night’s rest at the coach. Sunday afternoon they drove to Portland for a wedding and a chance to visit with Suzie and Ricardo for a few days.
On Tuesday the 8th, Louise and I drove the car down to Portland to join Phil and Kathy in visiting Suzie and Ricardo for a couple of days.
_It gave us a chance to “catch up” on what everyone had been up to over the last couple of years. Tuesday night Ricardo and Suzie barbecued a wonderful steak dinner for all of us and then we made plans for an outing on Wednesday. Unfortunately come Wednesday morning, Phil wasn’t feeling too well so they decided not to chance spreading “whatever it is” and stay at their hotel while Ricardo, Suzie, Louise, and myself went boating. Prior to hitting the water we had a small deviation… Drew (our youngest grandson) wanted us to check out this “famous” doughnut shop in downtown Portland. It has been featured on Goodmorning America, The Today Show, and etc, etc… Well the name of the place is “Voodoo Doughnuts”. I must say this place is “different” to say the least.
_First off, with address in hand and knowing the area pretty well, we had to phone them to get directions. As it turned out we were practically standing right in front of the door and still didn’t see it. The one item that Drew wanted was the “double chocolate, ginger man style design, with a dagger (small pretzel piece) stuck in its heart…on top of that, it was filled with a red berry jelly…. I’ve got to be honest here, it just wasn’t my “thing”, but for the grand kids???
Our boating with Ricardo and Suzie was a blast. They had this great little restaurant on the Columbia River they wanted us to have lunch at and let me tell you, it was “Great”. It kind of reminded us of one of our favorite haunts in Cabo that all of us spent many an hour at.
_Well the day went by quickly and Louise and I had to drive back to Seattle before midnight so we gave our thanks for a great time and headed north. Wednesday we have to check out of our campground in Fall City and head over to Yakima.