Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wildlife Safari - Roseburg, OR

Friday 8/28/09 I don't want to be a "snob" about this, but after you've been to Africa on Safari with Nancy Willis, it's a good idea to just leave these "drive-thru" things alone, but not more time I wanted to see what it was like. Of course, good natured Will, who goes along with just about everything was "game" for the trip, as it was only about 20 miles away. Also the weather is very overcast & looks like it could rain and that means the animals would probably be out. Strange weather in this part of the country...yesterday was 96 & today is overcast w/rain expected. They say, there is NO typical weather day around here, you never know what to expect and I believe them.

Off we head for Wildlife Safari which is actually in the small town of Winston just outside of Roseburg. There are several cars ahead of us & we wait in line to pay with our fabulous senior discount. The rules are, you drive thru at 10 mph, stay in your car (duh), do not feed the animals, stay at least 3 car lengths from the animals (no problem there), windows can be kept open but keep hands in.....and watch out for the Rino's..they are mean. Ok we have the rules & start to drive just as it starts to lightly sprinkle. Actually, that's a good things, yesterday was 96 degrees & they would have been hiding in shade, at least today they were up and walking around. The park is divided into countries, Africa, Asia, etc. Of course most of the animals keep a good distance from the road but they have many feeding stations located around the park & always near the road to draw the animals.

The favorite animals that we saw were the giraffe's as we actually got to see them running, which was very exciting. The dangerous rino's were asleep and NEVER even picked their head up the whole time we were in their section. The best display were the bears....OMG.. some were playing in the water together, another one kept charging the fence, which the bison were on the other side & moved each time he charged. They were wandering all around & I made Will just pull over & park so I could watch them....they were so fun and terrific.

Their were many different herds of animals through out the park, bison, elk (finally I saw Roosevelt Elk) elephants, zebra and impala's doing their running & prancing around (remember Nancy...the M on their butt for McDonald's) and a terrific cat display, but of course the cats are in fenced area's so it is like seeing them in the zoo...from your car. After we stop at the Safari Village for lunch (we forgot to take one today or maybe we are just getting sick of it) & buy some postcards. By now the rain is really coming down & all we want to do is go home, which we do. The drive thru safari has really been fun but we both agree, we don't ever have to do that again. By 4 pm the sun is out and it's actually starting to get pretty warm....very weird weather here.

Saturday 8/29/09 Today is "house cleaning day" that means take all the rugs out, wash the floors, clean both bathrooms (I love having 2 bathrooms!) the whole works. We actually have a pretty good system worked out & with the two of us going at doesn't take long before it shines & has that clean smell, but of course the best part - it is done.

After lunch, the sun is out & we head into Roseburg to visit their Farmers Market they have on Saturday & then tour the historic downtown area. Unfortunately, the market is just about to close when we arrive at 1 pm but I have long enuf to grab some really good tomatoes and fruit. We then head down to the historic district to see the Floed-Lane House circa 1866 which is open and staffed on the weekends for tours by the Roseburg Historical Society. When we arrive their is an elderly gentleman, who is the guide for today & us. He asked us to sit down in the front parlor while he gave us the background on Joseph Lane and his daughter & son-in-law, John & Emily Floed. Boy did we get a history lesson more than we could possibly remember or really care about but you could tell he was thoroughly enjoying his role....of historian. He then escorted us thru the house telling us about each piece of furniture, pictures on the walls, other members of the community and the entire life of Joseph Lane. Actually, it was a very enjoyable day but we spent 2 hours there, that would be just about 1 1/2 more than we needed.

After we left we drove by two other historical houses he recommended we see...Judge W. Willis a prominent attorney, judge & 3 term mayor of Roseburg in the late 1800's.....I couldn't miss the Willis house. The other was the Parrott House a beautiful Queen Anne style home of 1891 that sits empty. It seems some architect bought it to restore it, went bankrupt & now it is owned by a bank and just sits empty. The odds of someone else buying it seems pretty slim as it needs much work for restoration. However, the outside is beautiful.

With that we headed home, fix a nice dinner then get ready for the big Saturday night at the RV park where they will show a movie on the drive in screen. We are both looking forward to this & it will be the last showing of the season. The move they are playing tonight is Fools Rush In, a real chick flick. About 8:30 pm they start the movie & we turn our FM radio on to 92.3 where we get the sound from the movie. We then watch from INSIDE our RV, me on the couch & Will in his chair, eating popcorn and enjoyed this unique experience immensely. The movie isn't over until 10:30 pm but fortunately we don't have to far to fall into bed. A very fun day in this fabulous adventure. Signing off with much love to family and friends.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beautiful Crater Lake, OR & More Waterfalls

Wednesday 8/26/09 Our suitcase is packed for our overnight stay at Crater Lake, two lunches & a breakfast are made & in the ice chest...we are treating ourselves to dinner out tonight. After a lengthy phone call with "missing daughter" Nancy ...too much social life and we must get caught up, it's time to head out. Our plan is to drive to Crater Lake which is a good 2 hours away, spend the day there, head back to Diamond Lake, OR to stay in their lodge (think Bass Lake!) then look for waterfalls on our way back to Sutherlin....that's our plan.

We head out on old highway 99 (yes, the same one in Fresno) actually we have been on 99 a lot during this trip. Will said when he was stationed in the Navy in Washington, he once drove & once hitchhiked 99 from Beaverton, WA to Reedley, CA of course he remembers nothing. I know nothing of Crater Lake and neither does he, except it was on "his to do" list from the beginning. Because it's a long drive & we want to see everything we plan to take our time sightseeing today.

The drive up is so interesting & different...the Tollhouse look and then the Shaver/Huntington Lake look then finally we are's about 6,100 ft up and as we are driving the very, narrow roads we are so grateful we didn't bring the RV. As we are anxious for our first look at the lake we stop at the first view point from the North rim entrance, Watchman's Tower. I can't really describe how blue the water is and how incredibly quiet & serene the whole place is. All you can say is WOW! We just stood there looking at it, not even seems to effect lots of people that way. It is the deepest lake (1,943 ft) in the USA, the cleanest lake, fed only by rain & snow, there are no rivers or streams. A volcano collapsed and formed this caldera (I would call it a bowl) that thru the years has filled with water. In the winter they have over 500 inches of snow. In the middle of another volcanic eruption caused "Wizard Island" and island with trees on it. I was so taken that there were no boats, jet skiers, people swimming in this looks like a blue, blue sheet of glass. Actually, there is a 700 ft trail that is rated difficult that people can hike down on. From this point they have 1 tour boat that goes out 5 times a day, but you must hike down & hike up to take the boat tour...we passed on that one. You can actually fish from the shore at this point...they had NO fish but introduced 2 species, rainbow trout & kokoanee salmon and you don't need a fishing license to fish here.

We elected to take the 33 mile rim drive and stop at the Visitors Centers and all the recommended stops, which we did. I can't begin to do this tour justice in this blog so I would encourage you to check out a Crater Lake website and by all means put this on your list of things to is a National Park worth seeing. It was a beautiful day & we just couldn't get enough of stopping & looking down at this incredibly blue lake, but it was getting late & we were tired and 5 pm dinner hour was lurking soon so we headed off to Diamond Lake Lodge, not knowing what we would find but is was cheap (by today's standards - $89 a night) so off we went.

Fortunately, it was only about 15 miles from Crater Lake & when we entered the Diamond Lake Resort area it seemed like it would be ok. They have a lodge with 2 dining rooms, fine dining & other (guess which one we ate in.) Two motel buildings, individual cabins with lake front views. A store, a big fishing operation, lots of different kind of boats to rent, a boat dock, and my favorite, an 11 mile paved walking/bike trail that goes completely around the lake. The place overall looked great but according to Will needs lots & lots of repairs. (That's an old plant supervisor for you!) Now our motel room was a different story.....think Motel 6 motif, those floral bed spreads that you don't want to touch. But for one night & we were very tired, it would have to do.

We headed down for dinner, that would NOT be the fine dining room, Will had chicken fried steak & I had a veggie omelet...mine delicious, his ok (why does that always happen?) We then took a walk on the bike trail, sat out & watch kids & adults in "bumper boats." Talked to a fisherman and then proceeded to the bar where Will treated himself to a "7 - 7" and I had water & watched Baseball Tonight. Really, it was a perfect ending to a wonderful day. We then headed back to the room, which we had put off as long as we could to try & sleep. Unfortunately, this is a resort & there is "partying" going on so as usual, I went right to sleep & Will - he struggled. I can tell you this, without the RV we wouldn't last a week traveling this way.

Thursday 8/27/09 It's morning and we survived the night. I took my 3 mile walk on that wonderful trail, we had our cold cereal we brought & headed out in search of waterfalls. We have this brochure, Thundering Waters of Umpqua National Forest (brochure down loadable here) that shows many waterfalls along highway 138, the route to & from Crater Lake so that was our plan, see how many we can find on our way back to the RV in Sutherlin. Actually out of all the waterfalls listed we managed to see 4...our total is now 11 waterfalls. Several were rated difficult so we didn't bother with those trails. Two of them were closed because of snow damage to the trails from last winter. However, the waterfalls we saw were wonderful....Our favorite Clearwater Falls & Whitehorse Falls were great & had a beautiful hike. A very fun day but we were both exhausted when we got home. It is hot this afternoon, low 90's and the RV is warm after being closed up. I decide to wash clothes & see if my computer will work in the clubhouse as it wasn't working in the I can get caught up on the blog. I have been here for 4 hours & the laundry is done & so is the blog so I will sign off with much love to family & friends & very grateful for this wonderful adventure & opportunity.

Becker Vineyard, Umpqua Valley, Oregon

Tuesday 8/25/09 This beautiful country is Umpqua Valley...the land of Umpqua in Douglas County of Oregon. It looks very much like the Tollhouse area with rolling hills & lots of oak trees. They have four seasons but none of them seem to be extreme. Lots of very small communities around here with a very country feeling. Today we are going to explore a few places near here. One of the visitors guide books that I am using has a web site with I'm sure lots of info of this area if you care to take a look

Our first stop is the covered bridge, Rochester that was built in 1933 and is only about 3 miles from our campground. Of course the first time looking for it we missed ask, how do you miss a covered bridge, we didn't turn on the right road. Finally we find it, park & walk through it. There are lots of covered bridges in this area however this one is the closest. It's in a quiet and oh so peaceful valley with farms, horses & sheep everywhere....just like the Meryl Streep/Clint Eastwood movie.

This valley, because it is so like our area is big wine country, lots of local wineries that have brochures out for tasting tours. It seems to be big business up here. Will & I are not interested in wineries but in looking through the brochure I find a Becker Vineyard owned by Charlie Becker. Now for those who don't know, my maiden name is Becker & my father was Charlie Becker so of course I said to Will, we have to go there, I want to buy a bottle of Becker Wine. So off we go following our wine tour map on back roads that don't even seem like they have been discovered yet, but there it is, Becker Vineyard slogan...Small Winery: Big Wines! Fortunately, the tasting room is open everyday and Charlie is in the tasting room with two other ladies sampling the wine. He wants to pour Will & I a glass of wine, but I say no and introduce myself & tell him why I came there. His father was also named Charlie & was from the Rochester, New York & Cleveland, Ohio area, we talked for a few minutes then I spot a great yellow Becker Baseball cap which of course I had to have and then purchased a bottle of wine. Not being a drinker I didn't know what to pick until I came to the bottle... Rose....which was my mom's name, Rose Becker....sold, I'll take it. So that's my unusual souvenir from this area.

It's lunch time so we are treating ourselves to lunch in historic, downtown Oakland and then a walk thru the town and Oakland Museum. Unfortunately, Oakland is a very small town with a population of 945, many old buildings dating back to the late 1800's but struggling to survive. We head over to Trolly's, and old soda fountain with a restaurant and new bar. It's restored beautifully and Will has a wonderful hamburger with homemade french fries and I have veggie quiche. It's all good but very expensive, it always reminds us why we don't eat out much....very costly. We walk around the town, several antique stores or junk stores as Will calls them, a great old hardware store with a fourth generation running it today. We then visit the Oakland museum that is set up with individual rooms and most everything has been donated by members of the community. Well done & very interesting.

We then head over to "our" town, Sutherlin, OR and look around, visit the tourist center then home as we have to pack for tomorrow. We are heading for Crater Lake on Wednesday & will spend the night, returning home on Thursday. It has been a really great day and we are so glad we extended our stay here. Signing off for now with much love to family and friends.

Monday, August 24, 2009

RV Park in Drive-In Movie - Sutherlin, OR

Monday 8/24/09 Well it's movin' day again, another big day for Will, the girlfriend/GPS says it's 66 miles and a little over an hour away. The park Hi-Way Haven RV is in our Passport America book and this one is RV park in an old drive-in movie theater. We understand they only show movies on Saturday night & you can either watch from your RV & listen on your FM radio or take chairs & blankets & go down & listen by the old speakers. This Saturday's hot feature is Fools Rush In (1997) but we plan to be here to see it. Actually, we are staying here for a week as it is a really nice park and exceptionally clean & well run for these places and there seems to be a lot to do in the area. We visited the local Visitors Center for brochures and then spent time this afternoon deciding what we would go see. However, that will be for future blogs...but more waterfalls our in our future!!!!

The trip from Eugene to Sutherlin was smooth on I-5 and thankfully, uneventful. The weather here is a gorgeous, 84 degrees with a very nice breeze and they expect the overnight temp to maybe get into the high forty's so we are putting the comforter back on the bed tonight.

Will is very happy today as he was able to rent an RV space, starting Sept 1st, in his old park in Clovis, Arabian Villa on Villa and Shaw.....right behind Wal Mart. And they have just finished building a new Burger King in that center so the location is now absolutely PERFECT! It is very nice to know that he has a location all set for when we arrive back in Fresno/Clovis. And the best part is....the rent is cheaper in this space than the last one he had.....a win-win all away around.

It's getting close to "closing up shop" for the day, so much love to all our family and friends.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Chuck & Madeline, Eugene, OR

Friday 8/21/09 It's time to leave one of my most favorite spots on this trip, Silverton, OR, I sure hope someday to get to come back for a longer visit. Oh well you never know what tomorrow will bring. So we head off south on I-5 destination Eugene, OR. Wills ex brother-in-law & sister-in-law, Chuck & Madeline live in Eugene, OR & it has been years since he has seen them. We called to tell them we were visiting Oregon this summer & they were most welcoming & wanted us to stop we will do that this Saturday, 8/22/09.

The trip to Eugene from Silverton is only about 1 1/2 hours so we take our time heading down the road. Unfortunately, there is no Coast to Coast or Passport America campgrounds so we have had to consult the expensive book Trailer Life. Very little to choose from so we pick the cheapest park (of course) which is located on the Willamette River. We have no idea where it is, if it's located near our friends but cheap is cheap. We have the address in the girlfriend/GPS but unfortunately she takes us to the wrong place. We latter find out, after phone calls to the RV park, they are around the corner about 1/2 mile. Now I must say this neighborhood has certainly seen better days and when we arrive in the park it is mostly mobile homes & RVs that live there, actually this park would definitely qualify for a description of "trailer trash." A small section has been set aside for "travelling RV folks, next to the railroad tracks & on Franklin Ave, a very busy street. However, they have wi fi & no trees so we will get satellite TV....and that would be the Yankees & Red Sox this weekend. Once we are settled we need to find the Super Wal Mart in town but unfortunately I put the wrong address into the girlfriend/GPS and we go to the regular WalMart - clear across town. Will of course is calm and I'm pissed at ME but now put the correct address in & find the store was very close to our RV park. The upside of it was.....we got a nice overview of Eugene, OR. The sun is out and the temp is in the 80's, a beautiful day to shop and then do nothing, which is exactly what we did.

Saturday 8/21/09 We have called Chuck & Madeline & tell them we will be over at 10 am this morning to visit. I'm not sure how they will accept me as Chuck is Wills ex-wife's brother, so who knows. Chuck has been very sick for sometime but is feeling better and getting around and they really want us to come by. We find their condominium in the old historic downtown area of Eugene located directly across the street from a retirement home and beautiful park that has a trail that starts in this park & continues for 125 miles with OUT crossing a that's a hike!! After the introductions to these very nice people, Will visits with Chuck while Madeline & I go upstairs to see the house and talk. It is approaching lunch so they want to take us to a favorite restaurant of theirs....a pub, actually it is a chain of restaurants & we have one in Fresno across from FSC - The Bulldogs. It seems this place always locates in college towns and this is the home of the Ducks - University of Oregon. We have a great lunch/breakfast and the food is delicious, we must try the Fresno one when we get home.

After lunch they want to take us by the very famous Saturday Market, which is an arts & crafts show and ONLY artist made items may be store stuff at all. Also along with this part is a Farmers Market with every imaginable piece of produce or baked goods. This whole area took up at least 5 city blocks. Now being that Eugene is a big college town, this is a VERY liberal area. I can't stress the amount of tie dye shirts being worn, the piercings, tattoos and even a smell of "Mary Jane" in the air. Across the street on one corner was the protest signs, the music with dancers, I'm sure all this was very similar to Berkley in its hey day or maybe still today. Now all of you who know Will can just imagine how he took to all of this, but being the good sport that he is, he got our trusty green chairs out of the trunk & set up a place for him & Chuck under a tree while Madeline & I dashed around the entire place - looking & buying. After about an hour or so we found them and Chuck was very tired but happy so we took them home so he could rest with the promise we would be back at 6:30 pm to take them out to dinner.

We were also exhausted & went home to take a nap and then headed back out to pick them up. Also the best part of this RV park it is one long ride down Franklin Avenue to their street....a right turn & 3 blocks and we are there. We couldn't have planned it more perfect if we knew where we were going! We get back into our car & they direct us to a Chinese Buffet that they say is good and that's all I need to hear....Chinese...not even if it's good! As it turns out it was great with a fabulous sushi bar which I have just come to love! Will couldn't believe they had frog legs which he hasn't had in years and years....he enjoyed it thoroughly. Most of all we enjoyed the company of Chuck & Madeline and had a great day and promised to come back and visit them again. We head home, filled to the gills & call it another "great adventure" day.

Sunday 8/22/09 This is going to be a nice easy day so after lunch we head on over to the campus of the University of Oregon for a little exploration. This is a beautiful campus composed of many old brick buildings, statues around campus, an actual old cemetery, Pioneer Cemetery from the early 1900s and much more. Our first stop is the bookstore to get a map of the campus and then we head off. It is a tree filled campus and we just wander around looking at the buildings and the many artifacts on campus. We learn that the law school starts tomorrow but all other classes start Sept 28th so the campus is quiet. We do see some kids moving into apartments, we see frat & sorority row and then wander into the Museum of Natural Cultural History for a look around. Latter we see the new sports arena that is being built at a cost of $250 million. It seems that Phil Knight, founder of Nike went to this school & is a BIG DONNER... the sports area is being named after Phil's son Matt Knight. The current sports area is called Mac all the signs say around the building sight...from Mac to Matt - pretty clever for $250 mill. With that we have seen enough of Eugene and Will can't wait to get on the road tomorrow and out of here. Signing off with much love to family and friends.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mount Angel Abbey, St Benedict, OR

Thursday 8/20/09 Will is filled with excitement, today he gets the RV waxed for the second time since he bought it. He made an appointment with the guy on our first day here in Silverton, OR & he is ready. He will not be going anywhere today as he wants to be here & watch the entire process and of course make sure they do a good job.

After my walk & breakfast and the waxer guy arrives, a BIG New York Yankee fan from the Bronx, I decide to make a day of sightseeing all alone so I take the car & head out for Mt. Angel, OR. This is a little town only 4 miles down the road and is famous for a German restaurant and Benedictine Abbey located high above the city, so off I go to explore.

I arrived in short order, remember it was only 4 miles, and decide to head to the beautiful St Marys Catholic Church, which is designed and looks like the old churches of Europe (that would be pictures I have seen only.) The very tall steeple was visible before I even approach the town so I "followed the steeple" and found the church. When I entered I was in awe of the massive size of this church & the incredibly beautiful stain glass windows & the massive alter. Unfortunately, the entry hall & entrance was glassed off & the doors were lock so I was unable to enter & sit in the church. But at least I was able to see the beauty of the interior.

After I followed the signs to the Mount Angel Abbey, St. Benedict, OR which is a community of Benedictine monks founded in 1882 in central Switzerland. This is a community of 75 monks that live in the Abbey and serve the community through daily prayer, the education of priests, a Retreat House and much more. For over 125 years the monks have prayed and worked on this hilltop. When I started up the hill to the monastery on my right side for about 1/2 were the Stations of the Cross, that were build in little "houses" with the front exposed, so you could see in, and a path winding down the entire way in front of them. This area was beautifully green with lots of trees and a wire fence behind it and low and behold deer just walking along. What a scene!

I continued on my drive up to the Abbey, which sits on a hilltop with an amazing view. At one point, as I was reading my self-guided walking tour brochure I was able to see Mt Hood highest point in OR (11,234 ft) Mt Adams, Mt St Helens and Mt Rainier....all from this one point. I of course started my tour in the gift store and why not??? Incredible beautiful things, many of them actually made by the monks. But I got my brochures & headed off for the Abbey Museum which had many interesting items but one of the most incredible "stuffed animal" collection I have ever seen. Why they have it, it didn't say but it must have been a donation of some kind because ever imaginable animal was there and STUFFED!

Next I headed for the Abbey Church which seemed so very plain after just seeing St Mary Church back down the road. As I was leaving the church the bells in the Abbey Bell Tower started to chime & were beautiful. I have no idea what all the bells were for but I soon found out they were having 12 o'clock mass. I then headed over to the Abbey Library, a library designed by the world famous Alvar Aalto (???) which is very, very modern it actually seemed so out of place with the other traditional brick buildings. They have a collection of over 250,000 books (a serious library) with a very large collection of Civil War memorabilia (go figure!) They have many more buildings to look at, which I did, but I also wanted to just sit outside on a bench and enjoy the peaceful & beautiful surroundings. It truly was a wonderful morning and boy would I love to come back here and go to a retreat. I finally decided I better get going if I want to see the actual town of Mt. Angel so I head back down, stopping briefly at each of the stations of the cross while while never leaving my car. Gosh, I even noted at the bottom of the road leaving the Abbey they have a Senior Retirement Home located they have a few Catholics living there!

When I get into town, which is very small - population 4,500 I decide I will have lunch in their famous German restaurant/pub - The Glockenspiel It is locally owned & operated and in the heart of the Willamette Valley, a small farming town that celebrates its German heritage. The Glockenspiel has music bells and hand carved characters that represent the town's history. I missed the "show" as it happens 4 times a day and not while I was there. I was seated at a table located right at the window on the main street (not that there was much to see) but white table clothes & napkins it felt very fancy. I ordered the fish special, with a butternut/apple soup that was to die for and a speciality German pasta....I know it started with an S...but didn't write down the name, bet Elraine knows what it is! Anyway, the lunch was delicious & having this morning to myself was delightful. After a short walk around the town & decided I better get back home, Will would probably start to worry about his car.........

Perfect timing, just as I arrived home the waxing crew was leaving and Will was very happy with the job they did. They washed & waxed the entire RV for $155 which he thought was a very good deal, plus the fact they did a good job. A win-win situation. Well the rest of the day was one of relaxing...and no dinner for me. A little computer for me, a movie for Will & then reading for both of us.....then fall into bed....another tough day in retirement. Signing off with much love to family & friends.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Silver Falls State Park, OR & 4 more waterfalls!

Wednesday 8/19/09 We find that Silver Falls State Park, home of "The Trail of Ten Falls" which is on an 8.7 mile National Recreation Trail is only 14 miles from our camp grounds. Now we have NO intention of walking that 8.7 miles (not that we couldn't) we are just hoping you can see a couple of them from the road. So about 10 am, with our trusty picnic lunch, we head off to "chase" more waterfalls, I think we are becoming obsessed with them.

It's a beautiful drive, with rolling hills covered & I mean covered with Christmas Tree Farms. Next Christmas when you buy your live tree, you must check to see if it comes from Silverton, Oregon, it seems to be a main industry, that would be Christmas trees, hops for beer & flowers. We arrive and buy our day permit for $3.00 that allows us to park in any of the parking lots. We find that several of the falls can be viewed by very short hikes.... .02 to .05 miles, just so they are not to steep for Wills back, but we are optimistic we will see some.

Our first waterfall that we arrive at is Winter Falls, which you can see from the viewpoint just off the road- is dry (only a trickle) I guess it only runs in the winter time, so off we go to the next one. We wind our way off the main road into a parking lot that shows - South Falls loop less than a 1/2 mile loop hike, so off we go. I really can't describe how beautiful this was, it was a very large "bowl like" surrounded with lava rock with ferns growing everywhere & this 100 ft single waterfall coming over the top into a pool below, which then ran off into a creek downstream. You walked down a good path that surrounds this "bowl" and at one point you are walking behind the waterfall. These rocks have "chimney" formations caused by years of water dripping so there are cave like spots on this path, with sun shinning through and a bench that you can just sit there in awe. Really, it was a most beautiful sight, we are sure this waterfall is THE BEST!

We meet some people on the this moment it was only us & them at the waterfall, they tell us not to far off, on the actual main trail there is the Lower South Falls, this is the water heading down the creek. They are about our age & heavier & they say the walk is not to bad, so we decide we can do it and head out. It really wasn't that bad we just stopped often for rest breaks, the trail was following the creek that had it's own beauty and sound. The trees & surrounding vegetation was beautiful. Finally, we arrive at Lower South Falls, only to discover that they hadn't mentioned approximately 100 steps on a switch back trail. Now we could see part of the falls before the steps & decided that was going to be good enough. At that moment some people coming the other way said you could go down half of the steps for an "awesome" view of the whole falls. Will decided not to risk it, as we still had to walk out but I went down half way. It was also impressive, a smaller waterfall, but hitting rocks on the way down for great sound. But believe me I didn't have to stand behind it & put my hand in the waterfall, it was hard enough climbing those stairs out....Will made the right decision. We headed back, with more rest stops along the way & finally reach the top & we are back out on solid land. It's shortly after 12 noon & of course time for lunch so we head down the path to find our car when I spot a gift shop & want to buy postcards. As we head out of the shop I say to Will,"I sure don't remember passing this place on our way in or any of these other buildings." Well I was right, we can't find our car....anywhere! Will is pressing the panic button on the key, hoping the car will start honking....but no such luck. YIKES, now what! We go back into the store & tell the nice ladies, we lost our car. Well after the laughter dies down they start to ask us questions trying to narrow the location down. Of course, our only answer seems to be - I don't know...we didn't see these buildings when we pulled in the parking lot & just headed straight for the trail. So the manager lady of the shop, who is on her lunch hours, goes outside with us & says, "it sounds like parking lot F, who knew they had letters, duh!! As we are walking toward parking lot F, Will hits the panic button and like music to our ears....the car starts to honk. I give the lady a hug with our thanks & we go find the car. Now can we have lunch? Yes sir, right there in parking lot F, we pull out our green folding chairs, our TV tray & lunch....very happy to have found the car & the beautiful waterfalls.

After lunch we decide to head on home, grateful for spotting two falls when we see a parking lot full & decide to investigate. As luck would have it, another retired couple, just leaving tell us there are 2 waterfalls here we can see and not much walking, so we say....YES and head off. First, we head for the biggest one North Falls. It's not to bad of a walk & not to far until we can see the full waterfall. Now you could have continued down stairs to get closer but we were content to see what we could see....#3 waterfall. We head back going under the bridge where we first started on this hike & head towards seeing Lower North Falls. This is a relatively short and flat, easy walk in to a wonderful place. The falls were short but mighty & hit rocks into a very large pool where there were lots of people in the water. Many families, kids & lunches because it was so easy to get to & fun for the kids. Will loved this one and said this was THE BEST! I don't know, I loved them all. Well that's 4 waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park & 3 waterfalls at Columbia River Gorge all in Oregon...truly a wonderful excursion.

Now we are dead tired & head back to the RV & campgrounds for some dinner, a shower & hopefully an early bedtime. When we arrive back at the RV we find it has been record heat & the RV is over 100 degrees inside so of course the a/c comes on & we both just settle in. However, it has been a really fun and a successful waterfall day. Signing off with love to family and friends.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Beautiful Oregon Garden, Silverton,OR

Tuesday 8/18/09 It's always fun the first day in a new town to see where my 3 mile power walk will take me & what I will see. I find that we are just a short distance out of Silverton, OR so I walk that way going up & down residential streets, it's a cute little town filled with nurseries with acres of flowers growing & agriculture....they have tons of fresh fruit & veggies available here, a beautiful, very scenic place. I'm excited about this place and we could live right here in this RV park for VERY CHEAP...when I told Will that, he just smiles & goes about his business. Anyway, I know, Fresno/Clovis is OUR home.

It's time to head out to work...that would be "sightseeing" for us, so I plug the address in the GPS girlfriend & she says we are 2 miles & 5 minutes's that for an excursion, so off we go. The Oregon Garden was opened in 2001 and is on 80 acres of land. It's a most interesting garden as there are 20 specialty gardens and many of the "big" nurseries have designed, planted & even supply the up keep of their portion so there will be small signs such as, Monrovia Gardens or Al's Garden Shop and the place seems to be run by volunteers and some paid employees. I'm sure if you check out their website you too will be amazed by this place. When we first got there we took the tram ride around the entire garden while the volunteer gave an over view of the place, then after that we walked through just about every display. Had our fabulous picnic lunch in the parking lot overlooking The Gordon House by Frank Lloyd Wright that was moved to this location when the present owner was going to tear it down You can tour the house, by appointment only for a charge of $5.00 but for now this was good enough. Also on this property they have a place for outdoor concerts, which Sawyer Brown was just here last weekend, we or should I say "I" would have loved that. They have a beautiful hotel called Moonstone Hotel that sits high above the gardens & overlooks it all.

This has been a wonderful day, they are having a heat wave today & tomorrow....expecting 96 degrees, we are the only people in the park that don't have the a/c running....we are loving it after being so bundled up for so long. We finally bid farewell to the gardens & head on down & I tell Will to stop at the Frank Lloyd Wright house as I just want to walk around & look at it. I'm sure I will never be this close to one again & I just can't pass it up. I head down towards the door & see an "open" sign on it, so of course I walk on in. There are workman there working on the restoration or "putting it back together" since the move. There doesn't seem to be anyone there but I hear voices coming from upstairs, it turns out it is the guide leading a tour of 3 people. He looks at me with a "drop dead" look & I tell him I saw the open sign & wondered if a tour might be available, he "sniffs out" at 3:00 pm & continues on his way. Will comes in, after parking the car & we look around at the living room, the kitchen, the outside grounds & decide we don't need to spend $5.00 - we've seen enough and may I add....Will was NOT IMPRESSED, I know you will be shocked at that one!

We return home, tired but happy, we had a great time today, now I go wash the sheets we changed this morning (it's a cheap laundry room, which is hard to find on the road - $1.00 to wash & $1.00 to dry) so everything is getting washed here! A quick dinner & a quick blog update and that's another great day on our fabulous adventure. Signing off with much love to family and friends.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Good bye WA - Hello Silverton, OR

Sunday 8/16/09 Can you believe it....our last day in Washington and the sun comes out!!! Some how "it" must know we have had enough rain & gray skies. We have decided instead of going back to the Columbia River Gorge we will just hang out around the Big Fir campground. Beside, the RV is dirty and Will can't wait to wash it - another fun day for Will.

I have been taking my walk in a gated community across the street from the RV park. There are only about 8 homes in this entire development which is on about 20 acres with roadways running through the development . Several have stables with horses but one place has a main house, and two "guest" houses with a total...count them....7 regular garages & 2 RV garages. The grounds are amazing, every plant is perfectly trimmed, some even in shapes of animals, a waterfall w/2 levels and on the back of his property he has over 250 red Japanese maple trees in nursery buckets, row after row. I'm telling you, I have to come next year just to see what he does with this place. Also surrounding the whole area is a huge Christmas Tree farm. This place is gorgeous.

We head into the town, Battle Ground, WA to mail some postcards and find a Chinese restaurant to do our last night in Washington up big! We find the main post office on Main St (where else?) and a Chinese restaurant right across the street (you gotta love little towns!) We venture in and it's a Will kind of place - dinners with numbers in front of them...makes it easy for him to order. I have meatless Lo Mein and mine is delicious & his is just so so. But at least dinner is over & we head home for showers & an evening of reading. (No TV here)

We had a real treat this evening, our neighbor Kevin & his mom Shirley invited Will & I to drive up to one of the hilly areas to watch the sun set over the Columbia River. However, first they took us by this home of one of the local contractors that has amazing collection of wood carvings on his property, right near the road for the public to drive by and enjoy. There were bears, horses, eagles, Dalmatian dog, pig, large logs & so much more, all just beautifully displayed. Unfortunately, he has NO website I can direct you to and you know...I don't take pictures. Boy, I sure wish I would have had a camera for this one. He even had an old, brick school house, with desks & blackboards brought over to his property, which he is restoring & will open for the public to see. I guess another reason to come back.

When we arrived for the sunset we discovered this was another beautiful neighborhood (there sure seems to be a lot of money in this area) we found an empty lot that we were able to park with a perfect view of the Columbia River and the sun setting. Actually, Kevin & Shirley come up here at least once a week to watch the sunset...I see where it could become very addictive. I can't imagine how far we could see but it was a very long way. There were barges & a freighter on the river and we were watching that sun drop like a big beautiful ball. It was absolutely gorgeous and the show continued after the sun had set, with the sky & clouds turning, pink to orange & lighting up the entire sky. It was almost as good as the sunset on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. After, we stopped by a favorite restaurant of theirs for dessert.....Will said the coconut cream pie was deeee - licious....A wonderful, unexpected treat for Sunday night with two very nice people....thank you Kevin & Shirley....& you promised to stay in touch.

Monday 8/17/09 Gosh, we have been in Washington for 6 weeks, it's hard to believe we are finally leaving and going back into Oregon. It sure sounds like we are heading home but I am refusing to believe it. Anyway, we bid our farewells to Kevin & Shirley & have enjoyed our time we have spent in Big Fir RV campground but it's time to leave again!

We are heading for located in Silverton, OR another cheap campsite out of Passport America and you can be sure it will be way off of I-5, they always are. We discover Silverton is only a little over an hours drive, thanks to girlfriend GPS so we are off. On our way we pass through Portland, OR the only city I really wanted to see but never got to (Sorry Linda D.) I guess just another reason to go back. Well the drive down is gorgeous, the temp is about 80 degrees with lots of sun much more to our liking. We find Silver Spur RV park & are delighted how nice it looks and it has NO trees which means the satellite will work & we will have TV...movies for Will & ESPN for me! We also learn that just 2 miles down the road is something called Oregon Gardens, so that will be our outing for tomorrow. And just a little further is a State Park with seven...count them - 7 waterfalls, so of course you know that is on "our to do list" also.

The remainder of the day is taken up with chores, wash clothes, heavy duty cleaning in the RV, meet the neighbors, and Will has booked with a local outfit here to have the RV washed & waxed on Thursday right here in the park, he says it needs it but the thing looks immaculate. So now it's time to take a nap in this fabulous 85 degree weather with a wonderful breeze blowing....while I have on the "trusty black shorts" and sports feels just like home. Sending out much love to all our family and friends & the adventure is continuing - most definitely.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thanks Ann & Al - Chehalis, WA

Gosh, it's been such a long time that I have been able to get on the computer I am really behind on the blog. First, I must say, we have just spent a wonderful week with our friends, Ann & Al of Chehalis, WA. We met Ann & Al at the Salad Festival in Yuma, AZ last winter & had the good fortunate to park in the side yard of their home this last week. Unfortunately, with my failing memory the update will be ever so brief. However, I just want to give a big shout out of THANK YOU to Ann & Al for their wonderful hospitality and incredible guided tours this pass week, the "Big Cheese" Al - really out did himself.

Monday 8/10/09 First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sister Alice, I sure won't mention any age on this blog but who cares, she is having the time of her life...much love Alice & Ed!!! Well it's moving day today, from Diamond Point, WA heading south on I-5 to Chehalis, WA . We have an appointment on Tuesday 8/11 for the RV for a second try on the leak in the slide in the front room. They fixed several things for us on our way "going up" in WA but the "leak fix" was not successful, so we will try again. Besides our friends Ann & Al live there & we will spend several days with them, it's a win-win situation. We arrive in Chehalis late afternoon & need "stuff" from Wal Mart & this one is a super with groceries so we decide to spend the night in the parking lot & be only 3 exits from the RV dealer....slick plan & what's an adventure without at least one night in a Wal Mart parking lot. We pull in, find our spot and immediately meet another RV neighbor spending several days in this lot. I would estimate there were about 8 other rigs spending the night there, it is a very common occurrence on the road. We purchased all our "stuff" & actually went back numerous times for bathroom runs, a newspaper, & just a stroll around. Really a very nice day & evening.

Tuesday 8/11/09 Up early to get the RV in for service at 8:30 am that morning. Fortunately, the service manager waited on us & Will took him out & explained where it was leaking & he knew exactly what they had to do, which would take most of the day....but he assured us he could fix it. That's all we wanted to hear. We then headed over to Ann & Al's which was only about 3 miles away. They live in a wonderful area of Chehalis, on a dead end street with only about 10 houses on it & each place is about a 1/2 acre or so with lots of trees all around. The kind of yards where everyone has a "rideum lawn mower."

Ann & I took off for some "girlfriend shopping" - the Goodwill store & several more thrift shops, hit Wal Mart again, walked through the farmers market in historic downtown Chelalis & Centralia ....while Al & Will went on their own sightseeing adventure. Later, Ann had all the fixings for a halibut & salmon dinner (my mouth was watering) when the guys decided they wanted to go to Taco Tuesday at Al's golf course we did that. However, that was NOT before we learned the RV would not be ready today....the glue was still drying & we could pick the RV up Wednesday. So it was decided Will & I would spend the night in their 5th wheel that is also parked on their side strip so with that - we had a place to sleep. We headed down for tacos, with the promise we would eat the fish dinner tomorrow. I had a taco salad, which was delicious & the taco looked fabulous....I should had one. Returned home to watch the Mariners play the Chicago White Sox on kind of people....they watch baseball every was great! We then headed out to the 5th wheel & it was fun staying in a different rig & promptly fell asleep - we were exhausted.

Wednesday 8/12/09 I went with Ann to her gym this morning to take a class - a kickboxing class. Now it's been a long time since I have done anything like that but it was great fun. I did manage to last 1/2 hour / half the class then headed out for to the indoor track & finished up with some power walking. A really nice gym & a treat for me to be back in a gym. We headed home for a shower, breakfast & all of us were going to take a ride up to Mount St Helens with Al as our very qualified tour guide. Before we left we decided to check on the RV & were told it was ready so we the guys immediately went down to get it so we could get it set up and ready for when we returned from Mt St Helens. Gosh, it was so good to see the RV, it truly is our home & feels like it when you get back in it.....all your stuff is there! The guys at the RV repair shop felt sure they have fixed the leak & we are praying they are right. Just in case, we have talked with Fleetwood & told them the problem in case we have more trouble when the rain starts in Fresno.

Now the weather in Washington today is really's now raining (hello people it's August) it's cloudy, cold, a dreary day in WA but we are headed for Mt St Helens hoping that maybe at a higher elevation it might be better weather....Dream On. It is Ann's Honda SUV, Al is driving and is the tour guide - they are both born & have lived in this area all their lives - so know this place like the back of their hand. So off we go however as we get to a higher elevation the weather is worse...not it's getting foggy and raining harder, you can't see anything except the signs that say Elk Reserve....everywhere but of course, we see NO Elk and I must tell you we NEVER saw Mt St Helens. Oh they pointed to where it should be, we stopped at the visitors centers & saw pictures of it, read the stories even bought some postcards.....but NEVER saw the mountain or what's left of it. I guess that means we will just have to come back another time. We give up and head home, Ann & I promptly fall asleep in the back seat & before you know it...we are home.

We head inside to prepare that fish dinner, actually Al barbecues the fish outside while Ann fixed all the rest of dinner inside. It was a wonderful meal, the halibut & salmon - outstanding but so was the salad, potato's, fresh string beans & Ann's homemade pie...Will can't remember what kind just that it was good. Bellies full & the dishes done it's now time for the Mariners & Chicago White Sox baseball game. We left long before it ended as Will was falling asleep in the chair but it's a good thing..the game went 14 innings & the Mariners won 1-0. They used every pitcher but Garrett.

Thursday 8/13/09 Ann & Al have some business in Olympia, WA to take care of so we tag along for the ride & of course Al's expert commentary. Where they are going is a strip mall that just happens to have a Costco in it so Will & I head over to amuse ourselves of course tasting the freebies & then just looking & touching everything and buying one bottle of vitamins. When they are done they "rescue" us from Costco & then head downtown to where the state capitol building is located. We get the Olympia highlights, a drive by of their son Darrin's house then a trip out to one of the wharfs where we walk around & stare at the yachts.

Dinner tonight is our treat so we head out to the Indian casino for the buffet dinner. A wonderful buffet that includes fresh shrimp & crab's amazing how many of those crab legs people can eat. A giant empty salad bowl is on every table just to hold the crab shells after people have picked on them....actually I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Fortunately, our table was able to show some control but we did get our moneys worth. We played Keno at the dinner table & only Ann won but it was a fun day & good dinner & now it was time to head home to see the Mariners & MY New York Yankees. Now I have been a good Mariners fan while here in WA but as of tonight - it stops. Well it didn't take the NYY long before you knew it the score was 5-0, the Yanks have their "swagger" back this year and boy has it been fun. Somewhere about the 8th inning with the score Yanks 9 & Mariners 1 they brought in Garrett Olson to pitch. Of course now I just want Garrett to do good & get this game over. Actually, he looked good & the final score was NYY 11 Mariners was a win-win for me...the Yanks won & I got to see Garrett pitch. Another good day with Ann & Al in Chehalis, WA

Friday 8/14/09 It's moving day, and we are sad to leave our friends but know they need to get their home & life back. It has been a wonderful visit & we look forward to seeing them again hopefully in Yuma, AZ next winter. Thank you again dear friends for your hospitality we really appreciate everything you did for us.....and may the "Big Cheese" Al get to lead the parade in his birth town was that Toledo, WA??

We are headed for Ridgefield, WA which is located very near the boarder of Oregon as we plan to see some of the Columbia River Gorge and about 75 miles from Chehalis. Our destination is Big Fir Campground & RV Park, a Passport America park. We plug the address into the girlfriend/GPS in & away we go, unfortunately, she was unable to find it and we were lost on these back road unable to turn around & head back. Finally, I got out & guided Will right back on to these people front yard, actually almost to their front door, before we could turn around, fortunately no damage was done to the bermuda grass lawn & I'm sure they never knew what we did. The closer we got to I-5 the phone worked & we were able to call the campground & get directions. Finally, we made it & it's a very nice wooded park with large RV spaces & best of all - a garbage can right across the road for Will....he always needs to know where they are. We settle in & find the phone & the computer works here but no TV oh well, what does Meatloaf say in his song, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, so it will be a nice 3 day stay. Of course I will miss watching the Yankees & the Mariners, but I guess I'll just have to think good thoughts for them.

It's getting dark outside, every RV space is filled, the tent area is load with tents, a big church group we think but the place is quiet. Then it starts, a rock & roll band playing and can I tell you how that music travels out here. Will heads out with his flash light to investigate where it's coming from but most of all...when will it stop. When he returns he says it is not coming from the campground but a private residence behind the God only knows when it will be over. The Gods are with us, they play their last song at 9:30 pm so we head to bed knowing that it could have gone on for a much longer time but very grateful that is quiet.

Saturday 8/15/09 We head out for Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area we have our map, head down highway 205, cross the Columbia River & into Oregon & travel along highway 84. We are on a waterfall hunt so we take the Historic Columbia River Highway that has most of the waterfalls located on it. Of course we want only the waterfall near the road not the ones that take a several mile hike in to see. Well it's our lucky day, there are three waterfall all near the road & we see each one of them. The first one is Wahkeena Falls was a double - a long one on top & shorter one on the bottom. You could see it from the road & we hiked the .02 miles for a closer look at the first pool. Absolutely beautiful.

Our second was one of the most famous, Multnomah Falls a 620 feet falls, the second highest year-round waterfall in the USA. Nearly two million visitors come to see this ancient waterfall each year & it is Oregon's most visited outdoor destination. There is a lodge, a visitors center, gift shop, lots of places to eat outdoors really a spectacular sight. It is also a double falls with a bridge located in the middle of the falls that you can hike the .02 miles & stand on the bridge. Will passed on this walk so I went up alone & was able to wave at him sitting on a bench below. When I returned back down we get our ice chest w/lunch & hauled it right up to one of their tables & eat our picnic while watching these beautiful falls.

We continued on our ride to the third falls, Horsetail Falls, that was a singular waterfall with a large water pool at the bottom. Again, we just parked the car, crossed the street & there it was, truly a wonderful waterfall day. We get back on the road heading for highway 84 and the Bonneville Lock & Dam and Fish Hatchery We head to the Fish Hatchery which is a first for both of us. An incredibly beautiful facility that raises white sturgeon & rainbow trout. A self guided tour that included their ponds, we were even able to buy fish food & feed them, spawning room, visitors center with movies & lots of information. We actually saw a sturgeon called Herman that was captured in 1998 & they guessed his age at that time as 60 years old which makes Herman 71 years old year younger than Will, he was one big dude & ruled the pond. When we finished there we headed up to the Bonneville Dam & took a guided tour thru the power plant at the Dam. We saw fish actually moving up the fish ladders which was an incredible sight. Watched the movies, read the posted info & then headed outside to watch while fisherman who were catching sturgeon right below the dam but they must release them when caught. While there we saw one fish caught & released. What a great day we had, dead tired by now we headed home & arrived about 5:15 pm....after this blog its time to hit the bed for a well deserved nights sleep. Hope all is well with all our family & friends, sending our love to all & signing off after another day of the great adventure.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Museum of Flight - Renton, WA

Wednesday 8/5/09 Another kind of work day today - WalMart for groceries & stuff, Fred Meyers for real groceries, check out where Costco is for a later Costco run and polish dog for Will, wash clothes and clean the RV - that's a full days work. And of course with no full hook ups we are on water rationing, meaning how little water "black or gray water" we can get by with. The weather seems to be getting grayer and colder here in Washington and we are so glad we have already seen Mt. Rainier in beautiful weather.

Thursday 8/6/09 Another dreary day in Washington, honestly I don't know how these people live here, of course when you talk with them, they are just grateful it isn't HOT. All I know is when I read the Fresno temp in the paper at night & it is in the 90's....I get real homesick!! But it is beautiful here and I know I don't have to live here forever.

We have met some real nice neighbors, Kay and Jim from Temecula, CA who are parked right across the way from us. Fortunately, being from CA also they find this weather too cold least Kay does - it's not just us. After visiting for sometime we decide to all go & tour the Lakewold Gardens, Lakewood, WA billed as a World-Class Garden Estate. As for me, after visiting Butchard Gardens I can't imagine anything coming close to that (and I was right!) We take their Vue Saturn & head out. It is a 10 acre estate that was established in 1904 and the old home and gardens have been preserved. It has a wonderful history and is laid out beautifully but I was disappointed, as there were very few flowers blooming (almost none) and they are having trouble with the Knot gardens ??? (plants not growing) but the lake and surrounding homes were gorgeous to look at. We walked through the house, along the paths of the gardens which are comprised mostly of many different kind of trees, a water feature, a tea house, a formal pool and then out to the garden & gift shop. It was a nice afternoon, with fun people and it had a cheap entry price and now it's time to hurry home because it pot luck night at the clubhouse.

The bulletin says to bring "your Mama's favorite" so I do just that....just what Mama/Mimi would have done, go to the store & buy a container of potato salad, put it in MY bowl and "doctor" it's certainly better than anything I could make. The four of us head over, Kay with a casserole she has cooked and me with Mama's potato salad. It was a small group but a nice selection of food. Kay commented that in California the table would be loaded with salads, but here there was not one green salad.....mostly carb foods. But it was tastee and the people were nice and we learned more about Boeing as several of the people worked there.

Friday 8/7/09 On the advice of one of the Boeing people last night, at the potluck dinner, we decide to go and see The Museum of Flight located in Renton, WA across the street from another Boeing plant here in Washington. Oh my gosh, what a treat, the place opened at 10 am and we got there at 11 am and they had to kick us out at 5 pm as they were closing. Even with that amount of time we still don't feel like we got to see everything we wanted to....or at least take as much time at exhibits as we could have.

The museum is a beautiful large glass building that is divided up in sections with different exhibits. The Great Gallery - has planes suspended from the ceiling & planes & exhibits all around the floor area, they also have an area displaying "space stuff" such as Apollo Lunar Module, a space capsule, moon rocks & so much more. The Personal Courage Wing - on the ground floor is all about World War II and the upstairs is about World War I. The Red Barn/William E Boeing wing is a very early Boeing shop when airplanes were made out of wood. Lots of pictures, machinery and displays that are not to be believed. Outside located in the Airpark is a Concorde and Air Force One airplane that JFK rode on. These airplanes you can actually tour through...all tho the lines were to long for the Air Force One so we only went through the Concorde. They have docents (all volunteers) that gave guided tours every hour on the hour and we joined in on several of these and loved all the fascinating stories. Outside located around the building they had many Navy, Air Force & Army fighter planes displayed.

The actual museum is located right on a runway so we bought our lunch today, sat in the restaurant & watched many different types of planes taking off & landing. They also offered airplane rides in a old red & yellow open seat airplane. I wanted desperately for us to take a ride in one of these planes but Will, after seeing the cost, wanted no part of it. Flight time - 15 minutes is a ride to the Space Needle-Elliott Bay and back - $135 they had 7 different routes with the most expensive being $549 for 1 1/2 was called the Big Tamale for all 6 routes. That really was a lot of money and I'm sure he was right....but would have been fun. Anyway, as Tony the Tiger would say, it was a grrrrrrrrrrrrrreat day!!! But boy were we exhausted, all those hours on our feet and poor Wills back was sure feeling it. We headed home and could hardly wait to fall into bed that evening. I sure hope you get a chance to look thru their web site and get a glimpse of what this place is like.....Rog & Joe you would have LOVED IT!! Speaking of Rog...congratulations to Rog and Patty as they have a brand new grand baby boy, Benjamin....a new Chicago Cubbies fan has arrived.

Saturday 8/8/09 This is an eating RV park...this morning is scrambled eggs, sausage (yum-yum) oj, all the pancakes you can eat (watch out) and coffee...all for $4 and served on the outside deck overlooking beautiful Lake Sawyer....this picture would be perfect if it wasn't so darn cold but we head on down at the appointed hour - 8:30 am. They even offer a spinning wheel that you can spin with 2 chances for a free breakfast...we didn't get it but the breakfast & company was good so who can complain. A lazy afternoon as I go into the town of Covington, WA and treat myself to a pedicure and boy is that a treat. Wash a few clothes, eat dinner, work on the blog and that's another day of our adventure. For all those who have sent emails and I have not answered, I'm sorry...the computer is just not working very well and I have a very small window of time I can be on it so have tried to keep the blog up to date. Hopefully, real soon I can get it looked at. Signing off with much love to all our family and friends.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mt Rainier - Black Diamond, WA

Monday, 8/3/09 Another big travel day for us....25 miles, we are leaving Tall Chief RV Park, Fall City, WA and moving to Black Diamond, WA. We have just had one week of NO sewer hook ups so we are hopping that Lake Sawyer RV Park will be full hook ups....please oh please. We arrive early that morning and get checked in only to find that Coast to Coast rigs do NOT have full hook up.....NO sewer again for 7 days. I'm trying to tell myself this is all part of the adventure but using their public facilities is not exactly to OUR liking. What the hell - we have 2 bathrooms in this thing & can't use them......but the heck with it...what is it I say, I'm not working & tied to a desk & I'm out seeing the country, so this is really a small price to pay.

We find our site, which I might add are VERY close together, so close we can't put our awning out over the front door...that's tight. However, the neighbors are very friendly and this park is located on a beautiful lake....Lake Sawyer, duh!! Of course we don't have lake front view but even the people with full hook ups, don't have that. But you can go down to the club house located on the lake & sit & watch the boats, water skiers and jet skis. I have checked out the area & it has great walking roads for me, lots of beautiful homes to look at. So this day is just one of resting (after that long drive) and settling more time and tomorrow we head for Mt. Rainier, the reason we have picked this park.

Tuesday, 8/4/09 Gosh, today it seems to be getting back to real Washington weather, no sun & cool but we are heading for Mt. Rainier which is approximately 1 1/2 hours from our RV park. Unfortunately, we don't have very good maps about Mt Rainier visitors sites or where to go so we will just head out & see what we find. Will is of course dressed for winter and I only take warm clothes, I'm going in shorts as I can't bear the thought of putting on Levis...what if it's hot, can't take the chance. We fix our picnic lunch, get the "other girlfriend/GPS" and head out for this beautiful mountain that is visible from every where on a clear day.

Our first mistake of the day (there were many) was not putting gas in the car of course we didn't realize this until we were already up there. Our second mistake was driving by the first visitors center as they did NOT have it marked, at least that's our story...I guess (you think??) we could have missed it. However, we finally arrive at Ohanapecos Visitors Center and the very nice lady gives us a national park map that has all of the areas listed. First, she says we have to go PASS the park into Packwood, WA to get gas, this is the only place, and because it's getting late the main part of the park, Paradise has probably filled up the parking lots & you won't be able to stop with no parking. She recommends we head back to Sunrise Visitors Center which is 6,400 ft elevation and has a spectacular view of Mt Rainier and is blanketed with wildflowers. We are so grateful for the information and at last now we have a plan.

So off we go to Packwood, which is about 15 miles from where we are now, to get gas. It's a very small town with 2 gas stations, restaurant & a few gift stores. What we spot is however most amazing....they are having an old car show, but not the hot rods or cars of the 50's. These cars are Rolls Royce's, Packard's, Lincolns, Duestenberg and old European roadsters. Each car there was displaying the emblem on their door that they had been shown in Pebble Beach, CA car show....the very fancy one. We just couldn't believe it, this little town in the middle of no where with millions of dollars of cars. Of course we stopped, after getting gas so we could look at the cars. They were absolutely amazing not like anything we had ever seen. At one point, a gentlemen came over to HIS car and I immediately started asking question (shocking, I know) He told us that several of the cars were worth 10 million (that's dollars folks) his was only 3 million. His car is registered in Hawaii, that's where he & the little woman live, but is stored in Modesto, CA. However, for the next Pebble Beach car show he is having a Rolls Royce Phantom restored by someone in you think this guy has any money???? However, he was so nice and loved talking (I would to if that was MY story) but then his wife came out of the building looking for him so he had to leave. I guess, one more time, I learn - there are no wrong turns in life, if we hadn't needed gas we would never have been in Packwood, WA to see this.

Ok, now we are ready to see Mt Rainier so we head up to White River entrance, where we get to show our best value card ever - Golden Age Passport - for $10 we get in "free" for the rest of our lives to any national park...the best senior deal yet. She tells us straight ahead on this road for 14 miles & we will be at Sunrise Visitors Center...finally! Well folks I can't describe what a beautiful sight this mountain is as you draw closer and wildflowers on both sides of the road & in the meadows. Because this road is so high up this visitors center is only open from July to late September. Also because of the height there are not as many trees and lots of open space for meadows and trails. You can't believe the amount of people on all the different trail loops around the visitors center and actually 9,000 people a year climb Mt Rainier....the actual mountain. The sun is out, it's warm and beautiful. We buy our postcards, walk thru the visitors center, eat our picnic lunch in the parking lot while looking straight at the mountain. The mountain is covered with snow, all except the top crown/rim and that is because it's still a live volcano and warm or I guess I should say hot! It has been a great day even if we have driven an extra 100 miles or so....but who's counting. Now it's time to head home to Lake Sawyer as Tuesday at the RV park is Taco Tuesday and we don't want to miss that and Will's says, "he's buying."

We arrive back just around 5:00 pm after another full "work day for us." Unload the car and head down for 2 tacos & soda - $3.00 for Will and a taco salad (hold the meat) and diet coke - $4.00 for me. We sit in the club house facing Lake Sawyer & visiting with our neighbors. After dinner we visited with our next door neighbors in their Winnebago RV, Mary Ann & Lester from Whidbey Island, WA. Very friendly folks and big square dancing people, they even call their Lemoore, CA connection to get Fresno square dancing information for us. Go figure, it's at the Clovis Senior Center with new lessons starting in January 2010. We are dead tired & head for home & time to go to bed, it's been a long day, very frustrating at times, but a great day and just one more piece of the adventure. Signing off with much love to family and friends.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fall City, WA - Movin' On Monday

Sunday, 8/2/09 Today has been a very quiet day for us but tomorrow we move to Lake Sawyer RV Resort, Black Diamond, WA for the next seven days & you never know if you will be able to get AT&T phone/Internet connection.

The weather is cooling off a little, I would guess it be in the low 90's which is just perfect for us but the natives are still dying. Will did his usual day before we travel routine and that is check the tires, the engine stuff & what ever else he does....always keeping busy with the RV.

I however on the other hand decided to strike out on my own & took the car & went into No. Bend, WA, about 20 miles away, where they have Factory Outlet Stores . Now mind you, I invited Will to go along with me but he turned me down flat, so off I went. On my way I passed through the town of Snoqualmie, where the waterfalls & vintage railroad are at I ran into a detour. It seems they were having a street fair & vintage car show so I immediately parked & wandered up & down Main Street. It was a nice but very small show and I was sure Will would now regret not going. Back in the car I headed for the Factory Outlet Stores which seem much more interesting to me.

When I arrived the place was jammed, it doesn't seem like that many people are in this area but get to a shopping mall and that's where they all are. I wandered in and out of places with my most favorite being the Nike store where I made several "small" purchases, which of course I hid in the trunk of the car. I did buy a 99 cent plastic cup for Will from the Kitchen Store but I'm saving that as a surprise at a latter time. After sometime I headed for Burger King for a salad, diet coke, air conditioning & a bathroom. Mission accomplished now it was time to head home. I'm always sure Will is worried about me being gone....first his car & then how will he find Fresno (I have the GPS!) Not to worry, I get home but really enjoyed a "little alone time" as I'm sure Will did.

For those of you who have been asking about Will's back it seems to be getting some what worse...the pain that is. He is definitely not one to complain but I know it has been bothering him more & more. I have made an appointment with Dr. Levy in Fresno for a second opinion on Oct 8th..(write that date on the calendar, Kim) I have suggested we head home early but he wants no part of that & says we are sticking to our plan....heading back Sept 1st. Of course if any thing changes, so will our plans.

I still have the Sunday Seattle Times to finish so am heading for the couch. Hopefully, we will have a good connection in our next park & I will continue to write on the blog. Signing off with much love to family and friends.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Boeing Tour & Aviation Center, Everett, WA

Friday 7/31/09 I had to make it up to Will for the Museum of Glass so today we are going to the Boeing plant in Mukilteo, WA just outside Everett for the tour they offer to the public. We never dreamed what a spectacular tour/day it would be....Will said it was definitely the highlight of the trip so far for him.

As you approach Boeing you can't believe how big this entire place is and how large and beautiful the buildings are. We find a place to park, leave everything in the car, no purses, cameras, cell phones...nothing can be taken in. Our luck is still with us, as we arrive at 11:45 am we find there is still room on the 12 noon tour which will last 90 minutes....fabulous, 2 senior tickets please!

First we are ushered into a movie theater & view a short movie on the history of how Boeing started, Mr. Boeing, and the airplanes and then we were escorted onto a Gray Line bus to start our tour. This is an actual working factory where they build the 777 and are working on the newest & latest Boeing the 787. The plant works 24 hours a day, 5 days a week with weekend off and has 3 shifts. I don't remember, of course, all the details our guide Christopher told us but the place is absolutely gigantic. We get off the bus & head down a stairway into a tunnel. This tunnel holds all the cables, fiber optics, electric, everything so when a problem arises it doesn't interfere with the workers on the plant floor to get it fixed. We get into an elevator that takes us up several floors where when we exit and are looking down at the workers and the airplanes they are building. Really, words cannot describe what you are seeing, the assembly line, people everywhere, desks, computers, an unbelievable sight. Will was in 7th heaven and I really was enjoying it also.

We exit and they take us to a second building where we do the same routine but in this building they are finishing the planes, installing the interiors, engines, they are actually completing the plane right there. After completion, it is rolled out, a Boeing test pilots flies it, the customers pilot flies it (I'm sure more than once) When the buyer is completely satisfied, they make their final installment of payment (there are 3 payments - start, painting, delivery.) He said the cost for a 777 is approx. 800 million, which at that time Will & I decided not to order one. We then start the bus ride back to the Boeing center which has a gift store (of course), cafeteria, Gallery, which explains how the planes are built...the engine, the body, movies, you can even ride in a simulator, the down side of that, beside getting sick, is they have a camera on your face the whole time & the public outside is watching.

After our tour we head back out to our car to have our picnic lunch that overlooks the airstrip they have there. We set up our lawn chairs, get out the cooler & presto...lunch. Now parked near the airstrip is a gigantic airplane that is called Dream Catcher. It is a huge 787 that carries only cargo/parts for the 787 passenger plane they are working on, our guide had pointed it out earlier on the tour. While we are eating we see them pulling this plane out on to the air strip as if it is going to take off. We get so excited at the prospect of seeing this up so close. We had seen one couple set up a camera on a tripod a good while earlier as if they knew something was going to happen. As the plane is being towed they are waving at the pilot & then all of a sudden, the engines fire up and after what seemed like forever, it takes off slowly down the runway. Now this plane is soooo big it didn't seem possible it was going to get off the ground but just when it seemed he was running out of runway...he was up off the ground & climbing. Truly a magnificent sight. After lunch we returned to the Gallery to view all the exhibits & didn't leave there until 4:00 pm....another days work for us & now we are going home in WA work traffic which is probably almost as bad as Los Angeles. But believe, Will didn't care it was his best outing of the trip....he was in seventh heaven. We arrive home, dead tired, eat some dinner, read a little, then fall into bed. The Museum of Glass is now only a memory.

Saturday, 8/1/09 Today we have been gone from Fresno 2 months...we left 6/1/09 and gosh the time has flown by, we still have so much more to see before we arrive back in Fresno on 10/1. Today is a rest day, but first we have to go grocery shopping & we remember passing a Fred Meyers store yesterday on our way to Boeing. We head off & find it was about 10 miles away in Redmond, WA. When we return I gather up the clothes to wash & Will decides to wash the motor home (his way of relaxing.) With both jobs complete & lunch over we still have lots of afternoon left so we decide to go & see Snoqualmie Falls which is only about 6 miles from where we are.

"The girlfriend" guides us down the road to the town of Snoqualmie, WA or where we discover the falls are located right off the main road way, no hiking involved to see them. We also find a huge parking jam but find a spot & walk toward the crowd. As we come up to the railing we can't believe what we are seeing....this is a real waterfall, 287-foot waterfall, the highest in the USA & the second most visited tourist attraction in the state of WA...first is Mt Rainier. An absolutely awesome sight, I really wished today I had a camera. In a cave 270 feet underground the first powerhouse at Snoqualmie Falls was built in 1898. This power plant supplies power to the surrounding area. Located overlooking the falls is Salish Lodge a beautiful, old lodge that has rooms with balconies overlooking the falls. We wandered through the place, just like we belong, stopping at every opportunity to see the waterfall. I sure hope you can view it on one of the web sites.

We then discover that in the actual town of Snoqualmie the Northwest Railway Museum is located As we come into town we spot the Railway Museum and see the vintage train sitting out front getting ready for it's last train ride of the day - 3:00 pm. We quickly park to see if it's to late to buy a ticket for this 1 1/2 hour train ride that goes between No Bend, WA & the top of the falls, we had just been at. Luck was with us again, the train was running late and yes we could buy tickets as a matter of fact, a very nice lady had a one ticket, get one I shared her deal, $5.00 for me and Will bought the senior for $9.00.

We boarded the old train which the conductor (all volunteers run the train & museum) told us all of the railroad cars were from 1911, 12 & 13. Each car was different & were used for different things. One car was flat (no seats) & hauled fish stored in ice. Now they had chairs set up to look out the rail doors that were open. Other cars had wood, clothe & leather seats, with wood sticks holding the windows open. During the summer they offer train rides on Saturday & Sunday four times each day. It was a great and very relaxing ride, first we headed toward North Bend, WA which is at the base of Mount Si after that stop we head back up the tracks toward Snoqualmie, passing through the town on our way to the falls. Now the tracks have crossed over & we are viewing the falls from the other side. Looking down on top of the falls and seeing the river headed towards the falls, the Lodge & then just a short distance later we park & are looking down & straight ahead at the water/river that has just come over the falls. The windows in the train were open for a great breeze & a beautiful view, we were parked there about 10 minutes then headed back to the railroad station to get off. Gosh, this was a completely, unexpected great afternoon we couldn't have planned it any better than how it turned out. The weather is still really warm for Washington and terrific for us. It's late now so I am signing off with much love to family and friends and the adventure continues.