Tuesday, August 30, 2011

8/30/11 This will be my last post before we go on the Alaska cruises. Currently we are set up at the Elks Lodge in Port Townsend. Tomorrow we will move our rig to the dry storage area for the 16 days we will be away. Then we will drive our car to the Kingston ferry which will take us across Puget Sound and over to Edmonds. My wonderful granddaughter, Paige, works at Nordstrom only 9 miles from there and we will be taking her out for lunch and having a visit. She will also help Elaine find a suitable outfit for the Oct. 8 wedding of her son, Darran, and Marielle, the best daughter-in-law ever. In the late afternoon we will return to Edmonds to stay with Linda Lightfoot and Greta McKay. Linda and Elaine have been friends since kindergarten, back in Illinois! The next day we will drive to Richmond, BC where we have a hotel booked, and where we can also leave our car for 2 weeks while we are cruising. Lynda & Jo, 2 other friends live near there and will be visiting us at our hotel that evening. Friday we take the hotel shuttle to the ship and the next adventure begins!
Since I last posted, we have been very busy because the Sekiu fishing and the processing continued until a few days ago. I showed you a few pictures of Elaine and Peggy and their big fish, but I neglected to show what happens next: cleaning the fish! Here is a picture of Chuck, Elaine, George and Ron at the cleaning station, which is right on the dock where they moored their boats.

Then the brining, smoking and canning commenced. I took lots of pictures at the many social functions we had with the group but none of them turned out very well so I won't include one here. But here is a very unusual picture, because everyone knows how Elaine is not very fond of animals and is also allergic to cats.

This dog in her lap is Sassy, George and Judy Hilke's dog, who was so cute and friendly and who decided she just loved Elaine and jumped in her lap at every opportunity. After a few times like this, I think she had won Elaine over!
A few of the days at Sekiu were sunny and gorgeous from the very beginning of the day, and on one of those days we drove out through Neah Bay to the very northwest tip of Washington called Cape Flattery. There is a nice hike from the parking lot on a fairly easy trail, through a nice forest, which they say is 1/2 mile, but really is a bit longer. Towards the end, there are a few places where a side trail took us to nice overlooks, such as me at this one:

In the forest we saw this interesting sight, a tree artistically hosting some fungus:

Then we reached the end of the trail where there was a viewing platform and we could see the island about 200 yards away with the lighthouse on it. Here are some pictures from there:

And some lovely views of the coastline:

Sunday we left Sekiu and drove back to the SKP park at Chimicum. Ron & George had been out crabbing in Port Townsend and everyone got together again for a crab feed and potluck at Chuck & Peggy's lot. Everything was delicious and we met some very nice people who are park members.
Yesterday was my 67th birthday, so we went into Port Townsend for a scenic walk. Port Townsend has a lot of historic buildings and many of them have been nicely restored. Here is a picture of me on one of the wharfs with Port Townsend in the background:

Most of the buildings are from 1889 such as this one:

Then we walked down to the marina, where there are some interesting boats, especially during the Wooden Boat Festival which will start on Sept. 9 this year. Here is Elaine at the marina:

On our walk back through town, we passed a row of women with a sign in front of them which said: "Women In Black". They do not speak because words cannot express the tragedy that war and hatred bring, and they dress in black because they are mourning the lives broken or lost through violent acts such as war. They meet every week on Mondays and stand there making this silent statement for an hour.

This was very sobering, so we went to drown our sorrows and also celebrate my birthday by having a microbrew on the outside deck of Sirens, a local restaurant and bar. Here we are enjoying the amber ale on tap there:

Of course, one beer isn't enough to celebrate 67 years of a great life, so we returned to David & Ann's at their lot in Port Hadlock for another tasty Happy Hour with more delicious treats and chilled champagne and wine. Here Elaine & Ann are setting up the feast:

Then Joss, Gail and David joined us for the goodies:

Of course, we brought them some recently caught salmon, and we will be bringing some on our visits tomorrow too with Paige and Linda & Greta. Does knowing this induce any of you to encourage us to visit when we are in your area? We hope so!!!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

8/20/11 Just had to post a few pictures to show that Elaine, Peggy and Chuck are finally catching some nice salmon. Yesterday Elaine caught a nice sized silver:

And Peggy did too:

They caught several others too, which Chuck and Elaine rapidly cleaned and filleted.

The past few days I have been busy smoking and canning their catch so we can enjoy these beauties all year!
Of course, since the season for catching Chinooks (Kings) ended Monday, Wednesday Elaine caught a really nice big King that would have been a keeper just a few days before. And yesterday Peggy caught a huge silver that was too big for the net, and when they were trying to get it into the boat, broke the line and escaped with the best lure still in its mouth.
Hopefully, today the catching will still go on because then we have happy campers here!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

8/17/11 Another sunny day at Sekiu where we are still fishing with the RoVing Rods. Unfortunately, for Elaine, the fishing hasn't been as productive as she had hoped and she is starting to become rather frustrated. So far she has only caught 6 fish, and the limit is 4 per day. She has been going out on Chuck and Peggy's boat and they have been giving her some of the ones they caught too, but they haven't got many either. Part of the problem has been that one of the couples here brought their 2 young grandsons, and when this many people are depending on going out on one boat, everyone has to take turns. Ron & George have been going out in their own boat and have been getting their limit nearly every day, but they stay out longer too. And one day, Ron caught an 18 pound king fish - the best fish caught by the group so far. King season ended Monday, and now they have to hope they catch silvers, although pinks (or humpys, as they are also called) are just fine with us because they taste good when they are brined, smoked and canned.
We have been having many sunny days, but that does not mean that they are warm days. The wind comes off the water and often it is cold. Yesterday was pretty foggy too. The good thing is that we haven't had much rain.
We have managed to get 2 smokers full of fish to can and here is a picture of what the pieces look like when I get them out of the smoker:

We have been having Happy Hours with the group and also some potlucks. Besides the 5 rigs that are here, Carol Noyes and Maggie Speight drove up for a few days and stayed in the motel. Carol fished one day with Chuck and Peggy and Elaine.
Here are two pictures of one of the potlucks at our picnic table. This is the Underwoods with their two grandsons:

Here are the Palumbos, Bonhams, Hilkes and Elaine:

One day Elaine and I drove into Forks for some supplies, and then drove out to La Push, which is on the ocean and in an Indian reservation. The beach there has a lot of driftwood:

And there are lots of islands offshore:

Today is Barb Underwood's birthday so Elaine and I are fixing spaghetti and homemade sourdough bread for everyone and Barb is making her own cake. Tomorrow is Ron Bonham's birthday but we haven't made any plans for that yet. Perhaps there will be Polar Bears (an alcoholic drink with uses vodka, kahlua, ice and vanilla ice cream in a blender). Quite decadent and they really sneak up on you, not to mention the calories....
We are planning to stay here for about 10 more days and hope that the catching of fish starts to pick up!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Blog Update August 4, 2011
Hello from Sekiu, WA which is a small town mostly inhabited by visiting sport fishermen and located on the Straits of Juan de Fuca near the farthest Northwest point of the USA. On our arrival, Monday, it was warm and sunny, which is a fairly unusual occurrence here.

Although we have had 2 more sunny days since then. We established ourselves in the campground on the bluff overlooking Olson’s Marina, and are waiting for the rest of the RoVing Rods to arrive, probably next Monday. There are always plenty of chores we can do of a housekeeping nature while we are “alone”. On one of our first walks around here, we went down by the boat ramp where there are three rock formations called the “Three Sisters”. Here is a picture of Elaine with the carved eagle near there, and the Sisters are behind her.

We will be here for the month of August because of the fishing, and also the only reasonably priced option when you stay here is to pay the monthly rate. Also, we are planning to stay in the area until early Sept. when we will be leaving our RV at the Elks Lodge in Port Townsend, while we drive the car to Vancouver, BC and take a 2 week Alaska cruise on the Radiance of the Seas. That will be between Sept. 2 and the 16th. Some of our cruise friends from other voyages will be along and it should be great because we haven’t been to Alaska since 1995.
When we last posted to this blog, we had contacted Laurie & Odel, from our Boomer group, and were planning to meet them over on Whidbey Island where they were staying in an RV place in Oak Harbor. Saturday we walked on the ferry between Port Townsend and Coupeville. It runs fairly often and is probably the biggest bargain in WA because the Senior rate meant we paid $5.50 for both of us to go over and back! Here is a picture of Elaine with Laurie and Odel when they met us at Coupville and the ferry is in the background.

From there we went to the Farmer’s Market in Coupeville. It wasn’t a big market but there were some interesting produce stands, in that they had unusual stuff. Here is a picture of some of the big cabbages they were selling, one of which isa Dutch cabbage, kind of flattened and has thinner leaves than a regular cabbage.

Right next to it were these cauliflowers of varying colors:

We hadn’t seen Mick & Ann Meilike since January in Quartzsite, so we were delighted when they drove over to join all of us for lunch. Laurie & Odel had previously eaten at a restaurant called Kim’s which is scenically out on a dock and located right over the water, and which had delicious mussels.

The cove here, called Penn Cove, is famous for mussels and you can even buy them in 5 pound bags in Costco. They had a very nice menu and we all ate lots of good seafood. Then we got another patron to take a picture of our whole group:

Coupeville is an old town with lots of history and the small shops along main street are cute.

We walked around a bit and also stopped for an ice cream cone. Thank goodness Elaine and I shared one because they were huge, but Ann, who loves ice cream enjoyed every bite of her own, as you can see in this picture.

It is a mystery how she stays so trim! After more walking along the cliffs, enjoying the gorgeous sunny day we were having, Mick & Ann left and we four went over to Fort Casey, an old military installation on the bluffs near the ferry terminal. There were lots of cement bunkers sunk into the ground so that they could not be seen from approaching ships until the huge guns were raised. Here is a picture of Elaine and Odel on the bunker with one of the guns behind them.

Later, when we were on the ferry, we marveled over how well hidden this entire installation was. Overall it was a great day with good friends, made even better by sunny weather and delicious food.
One other day we drove to Port Hadlock and had a delightful happy hour with David Brown and Ann Howells.

We met them years ago at Boomerville in Quartzsite, and stayed with them for a week when we were in South Africa in early 2008, because they always go there during our winter and rent a house there in the winelands near Capetown. When you are with David and Ann, you always have delicious appetizers served with interesting and good wines. They park their RV on a lot overlooking the water in Port Hadlock and we were lucky enough to be invited to have our Happy Hour in the yard of their “landlords” Gail & Joss, and on another brilliantly sunny day.

Gail & Joss built their own house and it is perfect for this site and full of many unique features in wood and glass because Joss does woodworking and Gail does stained glass. After we adjourned to the RV, we had good travel talk with David & Ann. These are four delightful and talented people!
While we were still staying at the SKP park in Chimicum, we enjoyed social situations with members of the RoVing Rods, and also Flo Palumbo and Colette Eisele. Flo is Chuck’s twin sister, but we had previously met Flo & Co at a women’s community and they are also friends with many of the women couples in the community near Port Townsend. They invited us to go with them to a public concert of the Port Townsend Summer Band at a local park. Here is Elaine sitting with Co & Flo at the concert.

Some of their friends were members of the band. Here is the band crammed into a very small bandstand:

Then they took us to the party put on by some of their friends, Gail & Jan, out in the Cape George Colony, which is a very beautiful and pricey residential community overlooking Discovery Bay.

We met lots of very nice women who all live in the Port Townsend area, at least in the summer. They made us feel very welcome and also sorry that we probably won’t be back here for a while to enjoy their company again.
The next day we drove out here to Sekiu. It is only about 90 miles from Port Townsend but it took us all day to get here because we made so many stops. Sequim was our longest stop because there is a Costco and WalMart there and we wanted to stock up on things before coming out to this fairly remote area. We used to stay in Sequim on the property of Elaine’s cousin, Sheila, who owned the Juan de Fuca Cottages. This was the most upscale lodging choice on Marine Drive, overlooking the Dungeness Spit, and on a clear day you can see Victoria, over on Vancouver Island. Sheila sold it a few years ago and we hadn’t been back, so we drove out to look at it again. The new owners have developed the 5 acres behind the cottages which Sheila was using as a pasture, and the place still looks great. It gave us feelings of nostalgia to see it.
The main reason the RoVing Rods come here is to catch salmon, and they are currently running. Today our neighbor caught a very nice sized King salmon, and nearly everyone is catching a few silvers and limiting out with humpies (pinks). Some people look their noses down on pinks but we find that if you brine them, smoke them and can them, they are very good. And since they seem to be plentiful, we are hoping to catch quite a few once the guys get here with the fishing boats. So hopefully, the next post you see will have lots of pictures of us catching and preparing salmon!!!