Thursday, July 28, 2011

7/28/11 Finally, I have a little time to do this blog update! It has been difficult since we have been on the move, visiting friends, and having Michaela with us. Now we are on our own again and staying for a few days at the SKP park in Chimacum, WA, near Port Townsend. We have been surprised by how many people we know who have lots here, and it has been a social whirl ever since we arrived 2 days ago. Many of those friends are from the RoVing Rods, the group we will be with for salmon fishing at Sekiu, out near the northwest tip of Washington and right on the Straits of Juan de Fuca. That will take place between Aug. 7 and 28. So, since we have arrived, we have seen Chuck and Peggy Palumbo, his twin Flo and her partner Co, Ed Bonham, Jack Vincent, Henrietta, Gerry & Carol Hanson, and Don and Nikki Boston. Today we will be having Happy Hour with Ann Howells and David Brown; this is the couple we stayed with for a week in South Africa, near Capetown, when we were there a few years ago. They have a lot overlooking the water just a few miles from this SKP park. And Saturday we will be taking the ferry to Whidbey Island to have a happy reunion with Laurie & Odel, and Mick & Ann Meilieke.
Our 2 1/2 weeks with my granddaughter, Michaela, ended on Monday. We stayed at Cabelas in Lacey, near Olympia, and her sister Paige came down Sunday to join us for dinner and stay overnight. Monday we packed up Paige's car with all Michaela's stuff, then we all drove to Tacoma and spent several enjoyable hours at the Museum of Glass. They have many wonderful exhibits, as well as a hot room, where experienced glass blowers and artists are actively making glass art. The renown glass designer and artist Dale Chihuly is from Tacoma, and has entirely decorated the bridge which goes over the freeway and which connects the museum and waterfront to the downtown. Here is a picture of Michaela and Paige in front of several of his glass creations on the bridge:

There are also several wonderful glass sculptures in fountains at the front of the museum and in a big fountain. Here is a picture of the girls and Elaine in front of the museum:

After we finished at the museum and treated them to lunch, off they went to Paige's apartment in Seattle where Michaela will stay until Friday when my daughter Laura comes up on her vacation. Hooray - we got our space back in the RV!
In my last post I described our stay at Farewell Bend camping with our friends Mike & Marilyn Harrison and Linda and Pat Jenkins. I couldn't add any pictures so I will do so now. This picture shows Michaela and me in front of some of the rapids in the gorge of the Rogue, which was very near the campground:

We took her to Crater Lake, and here she is with that beautiful blue water behind her:

We enjoyed the day just being with Linda & Marilyn:

Every morning and evening we had a nice campfire. Here at the two happy couples (Mike & Marilyn & LInda & Pat) enjoying it:

Marilyn & Elaine on one of our walks along the river leading to the gorge:

After the camping trip we drove over to Mike & Marilyn's house on Agency Lake. Unfortunately, as we left the campground, we didn't notice that our steps had not retracted and we bent them on a tree. So when we got to Chilicum, Mike & Pat took them off for us, and we had to drive them in to Klamath Falls to a welder to have them straightened. Then, Pat & Mike put them back on. Fabulous friends, aren't they!!!!
Our stay at their house was greatly enjoyed by Michaela because she had her own bedroom in the basement. Unfortunately, she fell out of a tree down by the water and hurt her wrist, so I was unable to take her out in the canoe, and we also couldn't give her driving lessons using our stick shift car, two activities we had promised her we would do.
When we left Mike & Marilyn's, we drove up to Estacada, just southeast of Portland, to visit Gary & Cecile Thompson. They are working at a day use park there for the summer and their 14 year old niece, Justine was visiting them. The girls hit it off, and Cecile and Justine had been making yarn hats on looms, so they taught Michaela how to do it. Elaine took her to a thrift store where she got her own loom and some yarn and she started to make some very nice creations. We also went to a local organic farm and bought some strawberries and blueberries, which we used to make chutney. Usually we make jam, but we haven't been eating much of that, and chutney is good on meats and in side dishes. We had also made rhubarb chutney at Mike & Marilyn's. Cecile and Justine used some of their berries to make a delicious trifle:

We also had some delicious joint meals with them, and a few campfires too:

From Estacada we drove about 40 miles and just across the border into Vancouver, WA to meet up with our old friends Lee & Susie Blattner. We all stayed at the Elks Club and finally had some very warm weather there. It was perfect for the farmer's market that we went to in the downtown park. Here is a picture of Lee, Susie and Elaine at the market:

There were lots of beautiful displays of produce, baked goods, arts and crafts, and people playing various instruments. There was a firefighter's event going on too and there was a bagpipe band that played for that. Their outfits were wonderful:

After that we went to a park along the river to do a long walk. Here are Lee, Susie and Elaine in front of the swimming beach at the lake near the river walk:

It was a wonderful day for a family picnic and reminded me of when my parents used to take us to the lake for playing and swimming when we were kids in Minnesota.
That evening, Lee & Susie took us to the tavern that one of their sons owns in Vancouver. We have gained a new appreciation for the downtown part of this town because it is developing into a place where there are little restaurants, bars, upscale stores and condos, and would be a delightful place to live and just walk to these places in the evenings. Here is a picture of Susie with Jerry, one of their sons who works at the tavern.

The next day we had to leave and drive to Lacey because we were meeting Paige for the glass museum trip on Monday.
Now that our trip with Michaela is finished, I will leave you with this last picture of the three of us in front of our RV. Perhaps she will never travel with us again, and this will be her only RV experience. I hope she enjoyed it because we love this RV lifestyle and after 17 years, are still enthusiastic about it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blog Update July 12, 2011
Hello from Farewell Bend campground on the upper part of the Rogue River. Since the Rogue starts at Mt. Mazama, near Crater Lake, only 27 miles from here, it is a fairly small river at this spot. We arrived here Sunday, and Mike & Marilyn Harrison and Pat & Linda Jenkins arrived yesterday, so we have a jolly camping group. Additionally, my youngest granddaughter, Michaela, age 15 is with us for a few weeks. On Saturday we drove to Colfax and met my daughter Laura at the Pizza Factory, so she could hand off Michaela to us. They live in Sparks, NV and we had left our rig in Sacramento. As soon as we got Michaela we hightailed it north on Interstate 5, with the goal of getting out of the heat. Our plan worked. Saturday night we stayed at the Klamath River rest area and it was slightly cooler. And since arriving here the weather has been definitely cooler – in fact it is overcast today and even rained for a few minutes. Last evening we had a very nice joint dinner with all the friends, and sat around the campfire talking until dark. Michaela has been enjoying camping, except that the mosquitoes seem to like her quite a lot and when she gets bites, they really swell up and bother her a lot. She will be traveling with us for a couple of weeks, as we work our way north to Washington. Her older sister, Paige, is in college and working in Seattle, so once we arrive there, we can have a visit with her also, then leave Michaela there with her until Laura arrives at the end of the month to pick her up.
One reason we got away from Park Sierra earlier than expected is because Elaine told the doctor at her post-op appointment that she would remove her own stitches. Her hand has been healing very well and any day now she will start removing the sutures.
July 13 Opps, got interrupted yesterday so I will finish this today. Elaine has removed her sutures and her hand looks fairly good and she should soon be able to go without a bandage. Today we drove to Crater Lake with Marilyn and Linda. There was a LOT of snow up there this past winter – 56 feet, so even now there is still a lot of snow on the ground and the rim road is not open all the way around the lake. We saw the video about snow removal, and one about the history of the mountain and the park, then we went to the rim lodge. It was a partly cloudy day, so we had periods of sun which always makes the lake look extra blue. This is the deepest lake in North America at 1932 feet. With the volcanic island in it called Wizard Island, and the steep sides of the caldera leading down to the crystal clear blue water, it is quite an impressive place. I think even Michaela was impressed with it.
Once we got back to camp, she started immediately to work on another wire wrap project. Yesterday it was rainy and overcast in the late afternoon, so Marilyn and Linda were doing craft projects while Elaine, Michaela and I went for a 4 mile hike along the Rogue Gorge and river. When we got back the rain started, so Michaela went to Marilyn’s rig and she taught her how to make jewelry using wire bending. She is very artistic and immediately picked it up and made herself a very nice necklace using Marilyn’s tools and wire. When we got home, Elaine got her tools and wire out for Michaela and now she is starting another project. That should keep her busy when she gets tired of being with all of us adults. The other thing that is bothering her is that there is no TV, phone or internet service here. The woods are too thick and there are no towers around. On Friday we will be moving over to Mike and Marilyn’s house, and then she can catch up with all her friends.