Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Washington State Visits & Paige's Graduation

June 11, 2013 It is raining here in Chimacum, WA at the SKP park as I am writing this. We have driven here so that we can get ready for our upcoming Alaska cruises. On Thursday, we will park our rig at the Port Townsend Elks and drive our car to the ferry so we can cross over to Whidbey Island and ultimately catch the highway to Vancouver, BC, Canada. Friday we board the Radiance of the Seas for a 7 day cruise up to Seward, Alaska. Then we will stay on board for the 7 day return cruise. We have come here from Centralia, WA where we were parked at Brazel’s RV Performance repair shop for 3 days. Last weekend we had stopped at Castle Rock, WA to visit with Mike & Marilyn Harrison who were there for their grandson’s high school graduation. This is us with Mike & Marilyn We all stayed on the property of Darrell & Barb Harrison, whose son Ben, was graduating and their college daughter, Brittany, was home for the event: Their daughter, Darcy, had also flown up from Phoenix for this event. Because their place was just off the road leading up to Mt. St. Helens, Elaine and I drove up there to see it, since we hadn’t been there for about 20+ years. The last time we saw it was just a few years after the May 18, 1980 eruption, and the entire area around it was really devastated. This is a picture of what it looked like during the eruption: Today the area around it has recovered quite a bit, and looks very beautiful, largely due to all the trees that were planted shortly after the eruption. Spirit Lake, which was a very deep, beautiful lake located near the mountain, was lifted over 200 feet because of all the debris dumped in it, and looks like this today: Elaine and I went for a hike on the Hummocks Trail and took this picture of the mountain from the trail: This is a picture of one of the hummocks on the trail, which were created during the eruption: After a very nice visit, we left on Wednesday and because the hill coming down from Darrell’s place was steep, we stopped in Castle Rock to hook up our car. That was when Elaine saw that our right rear wheels were smoking very badly, and we drove to Brazel’s in Centralia. Turns out that we needed all new brake pads, rotors, seals, wheel bearings, calipers, shocks, and we had several other items done while we were there. All of this cost nearly $5K!! Ouch! We had to sleep in our rig inside their shop Wednesday night, and out in their RV spaces Thursday night. Friday by noon we were finished, and we drove to Seattle to spend the weekend visiting friends and family and attending my granddaughter Paige’s college graduation. We stayed with RV friends Terry & Vicky Webb They have a large and comfy home, which is heavily decorated with artistic and lovely quilts made by Vicky. Here is one hanging in their living room: They also have a wonderful sense of humor, so funny signs like the following were on the walls as well: My daughter, Laura, and her fiancée Dennis, stayed with her daughter, Paige, who was graduating from Seattle Pacific College. This is Laura & Dennis: And here is a picture of me (the Gramma),Laura (The Mom), and Paige (the graduate): Paige is living with Allison, who is a teacher in the area, and they have a cat named Porkchop: Of course, the other Gramma, Elaine, was very proud of Paige too, and here we are with her just before the ceremony: The graduation was held at Key Arena in downtown Seattle, and it is a huge pavilion where big sports events are usually held. This is what it looked like when all the graduates were in place: The actual stage where degrees were awarded was so far away from where we were sitting, that the only good picture I could get was this one, taken on the huge screen hanging in the middle of the arena: After the ceremony, we all went to the Kickin’ Boot Whisky Kitchen in Ballard, not far from Paige & Allison’s apartment, where we had a very good meal, and some family schmoozing. Dino, Paige’s Dad, had flown up from San Jose for the event. Here he is with Allison, Paige, and Laura at the restaurant. We left before the party actually broke up because we had a 2 hour drive back to our rig in Centralia. The next day we drove up here to Chimacum. Happily, our rig is now driving quite well because of the new shocks, and stopping quite efficiently because of the new brakes. Since we arrived, we have had an enjoyable Happy Hour with about 8 of the RoVing Rods who have lots in this SKP park. Yes, I know, I still need to write the blog about our trip to Myanmar. That will have to happen when we get back from Alaska, after June 28.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Traveling North in The RV

Hello from Vancouver, WA. We have been here for 3 days, visiting Lee & Susie Blattner, and doing some RV fixes and chores. Lee & Susie fixed a nice dinner for us the first day and have been over here a couple of times too. It has been fun catching up on the events and playing cards with them. They arranged for us to stay at their neighbor’s lot across the street from them, and there are so many trees here, it is like camping in a forest. Of course, this being part of the Northwest, it rained the first 2 days we were here. Happily, today there is some sun, and we will be going out for our second walk very soon. Today some Boomer friends, Diane & Frank Gruelle, will be coming over for Happy Hour. On our way here, we spent the Memorial Day weekend in Sacramento, staying on Ron & Carol Leonard’s property. Had some nice social interactions with them, including a birthday party for their cute little 6 year old granddaughter, Jessie. Here is a picture of them with their son, Scott, and his daughter, Jessie at her birthday party: Memorial day we had a rib dinner at Carol & Ron’s and were glad that Boomer friends Laurie and Odel could drive down from their place in the foothills near Placerville. They sold their RV, now that they have their new mobile home, and they have to stay put to take care of elderly relatives. On the way to Oregon, we stopped to take this picture of Mt. Shasta: The entire drive was just lovely, and a beautiful temperature. Tomorrow we are going to drive up to Castle Rock where Mike & Marilyn Harrison are visiting their son & his family. We will stay there a couple of days before heading for the SKP Park at Chimicum. Next weekend we are driving our car over to Seattle, staying with Terry & Vicki Webb, and attending the college graduation of my granddaughter, Paige. My daughter, Laura, her fiancée, Dennis, and Paige’s father, Dino, will all be staying with Paige & Allison. So Friday and Saturday there will be get-together dinners and family fun. Paige had to have an emergency appendectomy last week, so hopefully she will be feeling OK for all these events. I have started going through all the pictures from our February trip to Myanmar. In a few days I hope to be able to post a blog about it, because it was such an interesting place to visit.