We just finished a "Family Appreciation Love In" for Louise's side of the family... We had "A Ball" !!! Thanks to all for the great family, food, and political talk... (along with some stiff drinks).
We are out for a baseball game tonight, can you believe it ??? It is a first for us after getting our place in CDA but probably not our last...
What started out to be a long drive to the Farmers Market in Moscow, Idaho turned out to be a FULL day of very interesting tastes and beautiful sites of Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington. I saw this photo in the market of one of 3 wooden bridges in Washington state so being close by we went out to find it...the drive to find it even took us over miles of dirt road. The dust and ruts made the drive worth it with the bonus of, amazing farm lands, green valleys, rivers running wild, and a HUGE MOOSE foraging deep in the ponds and grassy areas around it!!!
BLOOMSDAY 2015 is now in the book... I must say it went well. We are back home, sitting with our feet elevated and arguing over who is going to get up and pour some much needed "medicine"...
(May 1) Went into Spokane this morning to get our numbers for Bloomsday. We arrived early but obviously not early enough... No matter, we picked up everything we were going to need and enjoyed every moment while shopping the vendors. Now we wait for early Sunday morning to start our 7.5 mile walk while all the runners rush past in a full running stride...
_OK, OK, I’ve fallen and I had a heck of a time getting back up…(to write the blog of course). Our drive out of Mexico was un-eventful with but one exception… a few miles north of Santa Anna, I got a little sleepy so I decided to find a spot just outside of a small village to pull over and grab a quick nap. Our location was directly in front of a gated hotel and with the large pull off they had, I felt it was just perfect. I had been back on the bed about 15-20 minutes and I heard Louise talking with someone and telling them that I was just back taking a short nap…well hearing that, and already having had my shut-eye, I got up. What I found as I walked to the front of the couch was one of the most unbelievable sights I could have imagined…we were being “guarded” by a large group of “Federal Police”. I’m not sure why, but I sure didn’t mind one bit. As we pulled away and continued heading towards the border, we both waved at our regiment but they just kept their eyes and emotions to themselves. After we had our “vehicle import” stickers taken off and crossed the border, we stopped for the night at the Oregon Pipe Cactus National Monument. That is one great and beautiful spot to enjoy a night or a couple of weeks stay. Yuma was our next stop for a couple of weeks and then another week in Pahrump.
_While in Pahrump we decided to head toward Death Valley and another visit to the China Ranch Date Farm. I had a need for a date shake...
_Unfortunately we had to make an appointment with Cummins motors in Las Vegas. I say “unfortunately”, but we had a problem and they fixed it, so all was good. It was so good that we decided to stay in Las Vegas 3 more nights to enjoy the “Fremont St” area AND take a drive out to the Valley of Fire.
_From that point we finally decided as to which way we were going to travel to Spokane…I-15 to Butte and then I-90 to Spokane. Bbbuuuttt…., not so fast !!! This route also took us into some areas of Utah that we haven’t been in before. Provo, Salt Lake City, and I must say so much more. Our drive north was great. We celebrated Louise’s mother’s memorial in Spokane, drove to Seattle in our car to see our doctors (for our “annual check-ups), visited great friends in Mt. Vernon,
_family in Manson, and then back a month and 2 days later to pick up the coach and move to Coeur d’Alene. If we plan our trips to Coeur d'Alene right, we find ourselves there in time to enjoy the annual "CAR d'Alene. They always have a great weekend for this and this year was no different. Outstanding cars from all over the Northwest come into town to drive the circuit and show while sitting in the "show and shine" area.
_In the meantime, I ordered a new bicycle that was delivered to me when we arrived in CDA and now we’re ready to finally head east.
_Lake Chelan has always given us a warm welcome (or is it the family that lives there is doing that???) and this visit wasn’t any different. We joined a full lot of RV’s that arrived at the Mill Bay Casino in Manson about the same time as we did. Fortunately we were able to get one of their 50amp hook-ups and the opportunity to stay free for the week. Louise did spend some time across the parking lot, but fortunes were with her. She didn’t get rich but she did better than break even. Sue and Dean made us feel right at home at their beautiful home high above the lake and fed us extremely well. Dean and I made several trips down to Chelan each morning for coffee and then on one morning a drive to the top of Chelan Butte. Sitting high above the lake with all the cell towers and looking down, way down, the lake was amazing. It’s too bad that all who visit Lake Chelan don’t have the opportunity to make this drive. Just after driving off the main roadway out of town we made a left up the hill and immediately found our roadway turning to dirt and mud…not bad, but not a super highway either. Steep, oh ya… Looking down over the lake also shows just how many orchards there are
_AND how many vineyards have grown over the last 10 or so years.
_With this in mind we thoroughly enjoyed a little “wine tasting”.
_Every once in awhile I get mad as hell because I either left my camera behind or I just didn’t take the time to use it. In taking a drive up to Fort Flagler to see Pug and Nancy Nickels (whom we first met at our 419 jamboree in Goshen, Indiana), I had so many opportunities to take a ton of great pictures, especially during the tour that Pug gave us of the fort but I didn’t put the camera up to my eye once, not even to get a picture of them... Pug has been giving a guided tour through the grounds of the fort almost from the first day they arrived for their host position this last August. He really made it a very interesting tour, not only to Louise and me, but to a group of young adults that we happened upon. You should also know that Nancy just isn’t sitting back and doing nothing…being a teacher, she has put together some amazing programs for the kids that are camping at the fort with their family. You’ve got to know that she’s quite an artist as well as a teacher. Fort Flagler is lucky to have them… I want to say at this point that visiting Fort Flagler State Park should be one of those “Must See” locations while visiting the state of Washington. A real surprise to us was to watch one of our “mighty stalwarts of the sea” pass by as it headed out to sea. While sitting in their coach and enjoying some great conversation and wonderful glass of wine, Pug noticed the sub being escorted out between two large Coast Guard tugs…what a sight !!!
Pug, Nancy, thank you for all your hospitality…we had a great time, too short but great.
_We continued our drive east by going into Twisp for lunch and a walk along the wooden sidewalks. Even for a weekday in eastern Washington, the town was busy as heck so we continued our drive east with our guest (Louise's mother) riding shotgun on WA-20 looking for a nights stay at the Elks in Omak. As we pulled up to the Elks we saw that their camping area was full of vehicles, but we still continued inside to find out if they still had any camping available for us. Well like so many of the Elks Lodges, they are feeling the down economy as much or more than any other business or club so they have opted to lease their parking lot out to the local DSHS. It was a good idea for them but it left us out. Fortunately the lady behind the counter at the Elks directed us to the City Park and Fairgrounds. The Fairgrounds park was the best city owned park we’ve ever been into so we do thank the Elks for their direction. First thing the next morning we continued on WA-20 and our next destination…Chewelah and a nights stay with Dave and Carol. Dave and Carol are such great hosts and it’s always difficult to leave after only a night or two. We’ve got to find time to stay longer. A very good friend of ours just received some bad news, so we continued on to Coeur d’Alene to spend a little time with him before heading back to Seattle to receive our rental house back from our long term renters.
_We really had a great time in Darrington and a whole new appreciation for Bluegrass music, but we had to move on or they would have locked the gate on us as the last performer left… Bonnie and Doug continued back to their home to “MOW THE LAWN” and Louise and I decided to take a journey over a pass that we hadn’t been over for quite a few years…The North Cascades Highway. This is one of those passes that will be closed most of the winter because of heavy snow fall and a very difficult roadway to keep clear, but when it’s open...amazing beauty at every turn. It was time for us to see that beauty again and maybe get in a little kayaking as well. We lucked out and found a campsite at one of the two National Park campgrounds and had double luck by getting a site right on the banks of Lake Diablo. Within the first hour we were there we had the kayak in the water
_and headed out into a breezy lake. It didn’t slow us down too much, but we did stay close to the shoreline. We got an early start in the morning and headed out for a hike
_along one of the rivers and then up to a lookout above the lake.
_Wanting to get another paddle in, we headed back and were in the water paddling into the middle of the lake to see the views that were unavailable to us the night before.
While Louise and I were in Mexico, at the La Penita campground this last winter, we became friends of George and Liz. Well Liz plays a mean mandolin and played some wonderful bluegrass music for us every Tuesday night in one of La Penita’s establishments. As it became time for George and Liz to head back to British Columbia, Liz told us about some of the “Music Festivals” she would be playing in during the summer. One of these was going to be in Darrington, Washington. It just so happened that we were visiting with Bonnie and Doug up in Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon is within an hour’s drive from Darrington and when you are foot-loose and looking for something different to do, it’s easy to get Doug and Bonnie excited and ready to head out for a weekend of camping and enjoying a Bluegrass concert. We pulled into the festival grounds early afternoon on Friday and were just blown away by how many campers that were already there. From the roadway in front, you could only see a couple of dozen rv’s, but once you got in, you found someone camping under and around every tree and open space in the 100 acre park. Not only were they camped there, but just about everyone was either passing a bow over a fiddle or bass,
strumming a mandolin or guitar, or singing out some incredible bluegrass music. With the setting for this festival
sitting at the base of “White Horse Mountain” and a full weekend of amazing music, we were bummed that Liz wasn’t able to make it…