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 www.cityofchehalis.com . 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 www.centraliadowntown.org ....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 club....so 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 TV.....my kind of people....they watch baseball every night....it 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 lousy.....it'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. www.WhitePassByway.com 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 there....me 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 legs....it'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 1.....it 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 campground...so 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 www.fs.fed.us/r6/columbia 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 www.mulnomahfallsfriends.org 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 www.nwp.usace.army.mil 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 today....one 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.