Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tacoma, WA - Museum of Glass

Wednesday, 7/29/09 The day is finally here, I have waited a long time to see Dale Chihuly, Museum of Glass located in Tacoma, WA. We take "the girlfriend" along for directions & head out for about a one hour drive from Fall City, where we are currently staying. We have the directions, we know there is a parking garage located right under the museum so boy are we set. We are not even taking a picnic lunch, no sir we will eat out today.

We arrive at the museum & head into the garage at $2.50 per hour and then up the glass elevator (what else?) to the museum entrance. First off it has a very modern look to it consisting of a huge, stainless steel cone, round & sharp edges with a beautiful water features with lots of Chihuly clear glass sculptures in the water, several bridges; a most unusual but very beautiful place, not exactly to Wills liking but we forge on and go on in on a senior ticket.

We find that the stainless steel cone we saw from the outside is called the Hot Shop where visitors can watch artist work with glass. It has theater seating where we, the audience are looking down at the floor where there are hot ovens, equipment and they are working with glass. There is a commentator which keeps us informed as to what they are doing in the process, she also takes any questions from the audience. We watch while the artists were working on blowing a piece of glass, from the oven to cooling it down, to turning the long pipe it was on. The entire process is very interesting & this "show" is going on all day long that the museum is open - you can just come & go. But boy was it hot in there, that's why the cone, the heat goes up and out through the top of the cone.

So off to the gallery next where I can tell you it was the most disappointing part of the trip. For some reason I thought the entire gallery displayed Dale Chihuly glass art but come to find out in the museum they had only 3 of his pieces. They have on display many different glass artists and one featured artist, that changes on a regular basis. I'm sure at various time the featured artist are very good but the one this day was not interesting to us. He was part Native American and most of his work had an Indian flavor....just not to my liking. Will of course was through with the entire museum tour in less than 15 minutes, I believe his exact words were, "this is a joke." I had to admit I was very disappointed but was enjoying this beautiful part of Tacoma. I asked one of the guides if there were any more Chihuly works in the area and she said outside on the bridge & across the bridge in Union Station.

So we left the museum & headed up a fabulous staircase to the bridge that actually crosses over I-5 which on the other side is the old Union Station which is now a Federal Court House. On the bridge are two very large free standing Chihuly green glass structures. There is also a cover on the bridge that has Chihuly glass work displayed along the entire ceiling. I wanted to get a chaise lounge & just lay down & stare up at all the pieces - this was absolutely beautiful. They also had display cases on the bridge of his individual pieces that with the light from outside coming through was amazing to see. Of course are you getting the picture now...all this was FREE we never even had to go inside the museum to see most the Chihuly displays.

As you enter the old Union Station you see they have retained the train lobby, with a mezzanine floor surrounding the lobby, your first glass wall when you come in & look up is a Chihuly stain glass window with an orange poppy flowers through out. On each of three remaining side they have Chihuly glass sculpture and hanging from the ceiling in the lobby is another beautiful sculpture....all this for free and just showing I.D. to get in. We walked around on the mezzanine floor & then just sat in the lobby looking at all the pieces. I even had Will take some pictures of me & the glass work with my phone but will have to wait till I get home so Kim can show them to me. Now this was worth the whole trip to Tacoma. Now we are starved & looking for lunch & decide to eat at Subway, across the street and my first time at Subway. Will has a turkey on wheat & I have their salad, a cheap, healthy lunch.

We discover that Subway is next door to the Washington State, Tacoma campus...home of the Washington Huskies. Most of this area consists of old historic, brick buildings. The campus is a many brick buildings & at one time was an old Sears warehouse. We wander around for a short time then head back across the street to the Washington State History Museum This is the bingo for the day, a fabulous museum, so incredibly well done and interesting we should have & could have spent the entire day there. The museum is run by the Washington State Historical Society and they have three floors of displays. The first floor is a complete history of Washington, lumber, shipping, railroad, the pioneers, a theater with a 1/2 hour movie on the Columbia River, Native American and so much with wonderful large, narrated displays. The second floor was a children's floor and was very interesting also and I guess we really enjoyed it because there were NO children on the floor. However, the most amazing part of this display was a model train city unlike anything we had ever seen. We were the only ones there & kept pushing the buttons & operating the trains. I could hardly drag Will away. It was getting late & we still had one floor to go.

This floor has the rotating display which at this time was Women's Votes / Women's Voices, it has been running since Feb 09 and goes through Sept 09. It showed the struggles of women getting the right to vote, displays of women that helped in this effort and how women contributed in World War II and so much more. My favorite sign they had on why women shouldn't vote was.....Women's votes will undermine the government, destroy the constitution and wreck the nation. Can you imagine!!!! The entire display was wonderful, informative and really enjoyable. But oh boy it's getting late & we have miles & lots of work traffic to contend with to get home.

We head out about 4:00 pm which we know is really late & we will be hitting lots of work traffic going home but what the heck....were retired! We head back on I-5, hit hwy 405 then 90 plus one stretch of an accident which adds at least 45 extra minutes, but finally we can see the drive way to Tall Chief RV Resort...we are home. We both agreed we couldn't handle driving in that traffic every day, twice a day - it must make for a very long day for commuters. Well the Museum of Glass was a bust but they day turned out wonderful with lots of great things to see, all just part of the adventure.

Thursday, 7/30/09 A day of rest, with no where to go or nothing to do, sounds good to both of us. I talk with daughter Nancy & sister Alice on the phone today & get all caught up on the latest which is always so much fun for me. This is also another day at the pool for me, a day to work on my tan again. Yesterdays temperature was a record 103 in Seattle yesterday and they are expecting a little cooler today...not over 100. There normal temp here should be about 75 degrees and very few people in Seattle have air this is very, very warm for them. On the other hand, Will & I are lovin this warm weather and sitting at the pool working on my tan is just a bonus for me. It has been such a lazy day we didn't even go to bingo at the clubhouse tonight...Will is reading & I am typing another great day in retirement. Signing off with much love to family and friends and may the adventure continue for a long while.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fall City, WA

Sunday 7/26/09 Ok, I can't wait to get out of this Indian Casino parking lot we have slept in. First off, Will was unable to level the RV & we were constantly walking on a slant and I mean a big slant. Throw in the fact we had no electricity & no shower I passed on the morning walk just to get out of here right after breakfast.

Well the plan is to head to Puyallup, WA which is very close to Tacoma, WA & I want to see the Dale Chihuly, Museum of Glass. I saw an exhibit of his last winter in Arizona at the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix and was completely awed. In reading up on "things to do" in Washington, I discovered the Mr. Chihuly is from Tacoma, WA & has a glass museum and I told Will, that was definitely on my MUST DO list.

The only RV park we could find in the area, about 15 miles from Tacoma, was the Puyallup County Fairgrounds, (oh no not another fairground stay...yikes) but with little choice we plugged in the address to Wills' other girlfriend, the GPS, and off we go. When we arrive at the fairgrounds it was very obvious that something was going on - lots of cars and people. Well it turns out it is the annual Goodguys Hot Rod & Car Show at the fairgrounds - with approx. 4,300 old cars of every description being shown. Well I paniced, fearful we won't be able to get into the RV park of the fairgrounds and Will just wants to park & go see the old cars. We find the RV park across the street and the only reason we were able to get in there - it was the last day of the car show & RV rigs were leaving...that would be the looser people/car leaving. We set up the RV in record time, put on some shorts and headed for car show. It was about 11 am when we arrived & the show would be over at 3:00 pm that day. As they are having a record breaking heat spell in this area, 4 hours of walking around the fairgrounds was definitely enough time, at least for me.

When we got back I called the Museum of Glass to get the needed information for our trip in Tacoma on Monday only to discover to my horror they are closed on Monday and Tuesday and open Wednesday thru Sunday. Of course I have now spent my valuable Sunday at the fairgrounds walking the car show & am now faced with 2 days sitting in a "parking lot" waiting for Wednesday. I am not a happy camper at this moment but hey, it's all part of the adventure, I try & tell myself. I decide to call our next RV park, Tall Chief located in Fall City, WA & see if we can come in early and Will has consented to drive back on Wednesday from Fall City, which is about an hour problem solved. We spend Sunday in Puyallup (pronouced poo-all-up) and head out on Monday. The best thing of course was being in hot weather again, taking a shower & having electricity....the simple things in life.

Monday, 7/27/09 We are back out in big city traffic, I-5 and 405 heading for Fall City, WA. We do discover that Fall City is right off I-90 which is just east of Seattle but back in"big trees" area. Tall Chief has nice, large RV spaces with really big trees surrounding each campsite. What we do discover it doesn't have is full hook ups....NO sewers, just electricity & water. Now when you are going to be in an RV park for 7 days, with NO sewer, you better make plans. Of course, the "honey bucket" truck, as they call it, comes around twice a week but because we are so close to the restrooms/laundry room we decide we will use THEIR facilities. ('s the adventure!) Well do we have laundry, after several days before Victoria, then Victoria we have a big stack of dirty clothes, so we gather everything up and head on down to the laundry room where I use all 4 of the washing machines. It always feels so good to get that job done.

It is now over 100 degrees in this park with some humitity and it is hot, it is over 100 degrees in the RV so we start the a.c. and within an hour we blew a circuit breaker. The maintainace guy came & replaced it but when it happened again latter on at a different circuit breaker....Will just turned it back on. Will was puzzled but figured out our water heater is electric and with the a.c. on we were pulling to many amps. This park only has 30 amps not 50 amps as most parks do so we switch over the water heater to butane. Now you ask, who cares....I'm just trying to give you an idea of how our day went. Of course after that, problem solved - no more outages..... and the a.c. in this rigg does a very nice job. Well with clean clothes, a shower it is time to call it a day. Oh yes, we have no tv at this many trees and the satellite cannot find the signal, however, I love the peace & quiet of that.

Tuesday, 7/28/09 Another warm day, I have taken care of "my book work" answered emails (I just love that my computer/phone works here) so decide to beat the heat & head for the pool and work on my tan that has been very neglected on this trip. It's a very lovely pool and filling up quickly with lots of children with their parents/grandparents. The water is disgustingly HOT and not a bit refreshing but what the can I complain, I'm NOT working & sitting out at the pool in the state of Washington, so shut up...caw! I can only manage 2 hours sitting out there, I don't know what drove me off...the heat or the kids playing Marco Polo. What the hell kind of a game is that anyway??? I walk back home and then head down to the public showers to finally feel some cold water while I take a shower. Life is good again. Then I head into our very comfortable RV for a 2 hour nap (gosh, I hate telling how bad I have it) Dinner and then a drive into Fall City, a small town consisting of about 4 blocks but a least they have a grocery store. Well that brings me up to right now, going to bed shortly and tomorrow we head for Tacoma and the Glass Museum...finally. Signing off for now with love to family and friends while the adventure continues.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Victoria, B.C. Canada

Tuesday, 7/21/09 We arrived at Diamond Point RV in Sequim, WA and OUR plan was to leave the RV there for 3 of the 7 days we had reservations for....4 of the days would be spent over in Victoria, B.C. However (the management) had different cannot leave the RV unattended for more than 24 hours so "they kicked us out." Actually, we spent only the first night there then drove the RV down to the ferry dock & parked the RV & car in one of the lots located around the area the next morning. I think Will worried the whole time the RV would still be there when we got back (it was!)

Wednesday 7/22/09 Day 1 -This was too early of a morning for Will, as we had to be up at 4 am to be at the ferry by 7:30 am - breakfast, unhook & get ready to travel, then travel about 15 miles to the dock, of course we made it with time to spare. I had purchased a Victoria travel package thru the ferry outfit which included ferry passage over & back, hotel for 3 days, Butchart Garden transportation & tour plus the Gray Line city tour of Victoria. I'm so glad I did all this as it worked out great, everything went according to schedule. When we arrived in Victoria, that morning, after the one hour ferry ride, a bus was waiting to take us right to Butchart Gardens & they took our luggage directly to our hotel, Queen Victoria so we could check in later - not one minute of wasted time for us!!

Butchart Gardens are world famous at it was one of the main reasons we came to Victoria but I must say all the words & pictures can't really do it justice -you must see it. We lucked out on the weather front as we had WARM weather about 80 degrees. The natives are dying but we loved it. The gardens are 55 acres of year round gardens. It is over 100 years old & was started by Robert & Jennie Butchart. He was a limestone king & as the limestone hole was mined out Jennie started dumping soil in the hole & planting flowers. They told us she used to go to farms in the area & bring back top soil & throw it down into the hole. I'm sure there is lots more to the story & I bought a book which I plan to read latter on it. However, very fascinating and it is still owned & maintained by the Butchart family.

They have many different areas of the gardens, the sunken garden, which was the original and the most beautiful to see, the rose garden, Japanese garden, Italian garden and many more areas. Upon entering they give you a flower brochure that is arranged by colors so you can look up "the red flower" to identify it which was really helpful. We walked & walked and thank God I didn't have a camera or I would have taken a picture of everything there. After seeing everything in about 4 plus hours we boarded the bus back to our hotel.

When I booked the hotel I told them we were "elderly" (my usual description) and needed a hotel close to town & the inner harbor (where everything happens) and we hit the jackpot on that one. The Queen Victoria was right next to the Royal BC Museum, around the corner from the Empress Hotel (of high tea fame) & 2 blocks to the inner was perfect. When we arrived they had our bags in our room so we were ready for a nap. After our nap, we went out to explore a little & have dinner, which we did at a small outdoor, very popular fish place. It was delicious but everything here is VERY expensive. I can't imagine what the fancy restaurants get for a fish dinner but this was good enuf for us!

In walking that evening we discovered the Harbor Ferry Co which are small "little tug boat looking" boats that offer tours of the inner harbor, plus is a water taxi so we jump on & take the harbor tour of 45 minutes which is fun & very interesting. Along the way we discover Fisherman's Wharf where we decide we will come back & have dinner tomorrow night. By this time we are exhausted & go back to the room & crash. Thankfully, the room was very quiet so Will was able to get a very needed night of rest. I of course can sleep through anything but quiet is good.

Thursday, 7/23/09 Day 2 - Today will be our Gray Line city tour which will take a couple of hours, but you have hop off, hop on privileges. This guided tour is through the city seeing Chinatown, Craigdarroch Castle, Beacon Hill Park & many other sights around the city. It is all narrated & a wonderful way to learn about any city. We always try & take a Gray Line tour when it is available. Of course we are at stop #1 early soooooo we can be first on the bus & sit upstairs in the first seats, which has a great view, but more important, protected from the wind. (Guess who planned THAT???) Well we make it, & off we go at 9:30 am. We decide to take the entire 1 1/2 hour bus tour & then go back around & get off at Craigdarrock Castle, the only stop we want to see that we think is to far to walk to.

The tour is so informative & enjoyable and we have GREAT seats. We enjoy all the commentary about the places we are seeing & the weather is still good, but not as warm as yesterday. We even get to see the big draw bridge go up as a "tall sailing ship" comes out from the harbour. They have given each of us a blanket, which we use & of course we are some what protected from the wind. After we complete the 1 1/2 hour tour we stay on so we can get off at the castle.

Craigdarrock Castle was completed in 1890 by a coal baron, Robert Dunsmuir who died before the castle was completed. His wife, and some of their 10 children & grandchildren lived there until 1908. It has been used as a military hospital, a college, a school board but since 1969 used as a historic house museum. There are 4 floors all of them decorated in the period of the time with lots of information on the family. There are over 25,000 sq ft including the basement, the walls are filled with oak panels, there are 17 fireplaces and so much more to see & learn about this place. I have only been inside of Hearst Castle but this one looks like the castles of Europe might look like, absolutely beautiful. We spend a couple hours there & discover the downtown area, where we want to be, is not that far of a walk but most important it is all downhill, so we walk back to town instead of waiting for the tour bus. We arrive back in town in Chinatown & walk thru & see the sights. One great ally we walk thru is about 3 feet wide & was used in the filming of a Goldie Hawn movie, but of course we can't remember the name of the movie they told us. Instead of lunch we buy some cherries to eat as we walk around.

Our next stop, on our way back to the hotel, is the famous Empress Hotel. Now we have already decided we will NOT have high tea at $68.00 each. I must say to Wills credit he brought clothes over (no jeans or tennis shoes allowed) & was willing to do it but I just couldn't do it ..... cucumber sandwiches & lots of desserts. I much rather have another good fish dinner for a lot less money. The hotel is beautiful & very impressive & majestic. We walk all around looking at all the old pictures hanging on the walls and reading about the history of the hotel. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a web site for this place. It's so famous they don't have to advertise. After heading back for a quick nap we head out to Fisherman's Wharf for another fish dinner.

We walk to Fisherman's Wharf (definitely NOT like San Francisco's wharf) which is a beautiful path along the water front about 1 1/2 miles. Now this Fisherman's wharf consists of several eating places but the most famous is Barb's Fish & Chips. A fish stand that you order from & find a table somewhere around the wharf. The best thing about this wharf is it is home to "floating houses" think, Sleepless in Seattle movie. You are able to walk up & down the docks & just peer into these houses. We saw a "two story" floating house for sale at $174,000 - no property taxes, just docking fees! Our fish dinner was good but not as good (I thought, as the night before) but still good. We are stuffed, I mean I'm stuffed so we decide it would be a good thing to walk back instead of taking the water taxi...which we do. We want to stay up late one night just to see the lights of Victoria but it doesn't get dark here until 10 pm which is really late for us. However, we head uptown, to a pub Will wants to go to but find few tourist out & mostly panhandlers or bums as Will calls them. We decide before we get to far maybe we better turn around & head back to the hotel as we seem to be the only tourists out on Douglas Street. Another fun but exhausting day & we can't wait to shower & hit the bed.

Friday, 7/24/09 Day 3 Is reserved for the Royal BC Museum and touring the Parliament Buildings as Victoria is British Columbia's capital and both are right across the street from our hotel. We head out early, of course, and are the first ones there for the first free (finally something FREE) tour which we are the only ones on. Our tour guide, Amanda is delightful & takes us through the hallways explaining about parliament procedures & tells us about Queen Elizabeth & her visits to Parliament. The tour is about 45 minutes & really wonderful. One thing we discover there are small white lights outlining the Parliament building & come on about 9:45 pm, we are determined tonight to stay up so we can see them. Yikes, does this sound old or what!

After the tour we head next door to the Royal Museum & get our senior package which includes an IMax theater. Now they offer many whale watching tours here at Victoria but they all seem to be the "pods" of Orca whales that live off the San Juan Island so we opt instead to see the IMax Whale movie....which was an excellent choice.

The museum is 3 floors, the first floor being the featured tour called Treasures - The World's Culture from the British Museum. It was about Africa, Middle East, Europe, Asia, Oceania, The Americas & The Modern World. Interesting but our least favorite of the 3 floors. The second floor was all about the ocean, animals, the weather, the environment and the third floor was our absolute favorite - lots of history of British Columbia that included rooms & rooms of setting of olden days. This would be a must to see on their web site. We spent more than half the day there looking at all the exhibits. At 1:00 pm we took a break to go in & see the IMax whale movie which was amazing. We felt we made the right decision in seeing the movie instead of the $100 EACH whale watching

When we got out of there we walked back down to Fisherman's Wharf but the line was so long & probably more than an hour wait we decided to have eat at the "noodle box" which was very brave for Will. True to form, he didn't care for it but what I tasted it was delicious. I on the other hand splurged & had an cup of ice your talking a real dinner. Another full day, we walked back to the inner harbor determined to stay up late enough to see the lights of Victoria. Well we made it & it was just beautiful, the Parliament Building is spectacular to see at night with white "Christmas bulbs" outline this beautiful building. We head back for another deserved night of sleep, thoroughly exhausted but have really enjoyed out stay in Victoria. Tomorrow we go back to the good old USA.

Saturday, 7/25/09 Day 4 - Our day to go home to our RV and we are both ready. After breakfast we check out of the hotel, they hold our bags & we go back into town to walk around. Our ferry leaves Victoria at 2:00 pm so we head down there after 12 noon to wait to go thru customs. With nothing to declare but a tee shirt & post cards we move through very quickly. We board the ferry for our 1 hour ride home. When we get back we can't wait to get to the parking lot just to be sure our RV & car are ok.....which they are. Of course we have no place to go...I mean like an RV park so we head for the local Indian casino for a free nights stay in their parking lot. Exhausted and with NO electricity or hot water for a shower we just fall into bed & go to sleep.

Sunday, 7/26/09 We are headed for Tacoma, WA but I have been on this computer toooooo long so will give more details about our fun Sunday!!! Much love to all our family & friends and the adventure is still continuing.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Entering the Twilight Zone in Forks, WA

Tuesday 7/14/09 We arrived in Clallam Bay, WA located on the Olympic Peninsula at our Passport America site, Sam's RV Park which is strictly a large grassy area, on a downward slop, with a gravel road running through but it has electric/sewer, bathrooms & a laundry. There is only one other RV in this place so we figure this is not an "upscale place." We find the town is on one long street - hwy 112 - and has no grocery store, bank or ATT phone/computer service . There is only a Shell gas station, that sells groceries, including fruit, a library (with wi fi, where I am now) a garage for boats & cars, a thrift store, school, church and a drive in. Actually, most of the businesses are up for sale. The real industry here is a prison, which is located about 1 mile away from where we are with everybody here working for the prison. But the RV space is cheap, and the waters of San Juan de Fuca is just 2 blocks away. It's house cleaning day so we tear the place apart and put it back together which is really quite easy to do with the both of us at it. It always feels & looks so good after your done. Now the rest of the day to rest.

Wednesday 7/15/09 Because we need groceries we head into Forks, WA a town about 12 miles away that has a large grocery store, we are told. Now I know nothing about Forks upon arriving there but what we discover it is the town site used for the book series - Twilight. Now this seems to be a very big deal, Forks is definitely having their 15 minutes of fame with this. Every motel has a No Vacancy sign, there are families with kids roaming up & down the streets. It has become a real tourist destination. We head over to the visitors center to find out more of what is going on.....I know about the book (teenage romance & vampires) but have not read it. Will of course stays outside while I get all the information on Twilight, it really is fun seeing & hearing about it. I asked how the author. Stephenie Meyer, picked Forks for her location & was told, she googled "the dampest, darkest city in the continental USA & up came Forks, WA." Don't know how true that is but boy is Forks happy. The first year the book came out in 2005, tourism was approx. 5,000 so far for 2009 it's 27,000. Pretty amazing.

Well after our trip to the grocery store, The Outfitters which has a huge Twilight souvenir section with lots of tourists shopping & I find out from one young lady with her grandmother that Bella, the main heroine in the book, shops at The Outfitters. The young lady then tells me about the main characters, Bella & Edward (he's a vampire) & tells me I must go into the shop Dazzled by Twilight that sells NOTHING but Twilight stuff. They even offer tours on their bus to all the different locations in the book. Fascinating!!!! So we stop there on our way back home as now I'm so taken with this whole thing. A truly amazing cottage industry has sprung up because of these books. The shop is jammed with Twilight stuff but are out of everything to do with Edward.....he is the big heartthrob & vampire. I get a few magnets & postcards and we head home completely amazed at what we have seen. Actually me more amazed than Will.

Thursday 7/16/09 We are going to see the Olympic National Park -Hoh Rain Forest, located off hwy 101 on the far western side of Washington. It's approx 25 miles from Clallam Bay so we pack a lunch & head off to the visitors center where the park rangers are leading a hiking tour at 11 am. When we arrive we find a large group for the tour but join in and take the 1.2 mile Spruce Nature Trail led by the ranger, Betsy. We find out this is a temperate rain forest as opposed to a tropical rain forest like Puerto Rico. They have an average of 12 feet of rain a year but July is the driest month with only 2.5 inches. (Thank you Jesus) Actually, it was hot for most of the people on the tour - 80 degrees, but we were lovin it. It was beautiful and very informative but I think I would rather see a tropical rain forest next time. We have lunch out on a grassy area and meet an talk with a retired high school gym & golf teacher from Porterville, CA - travelling by herself in her RV van. It's a small world! We head home exhausted and in need of a nap and relax the rest of the day. I tell you this tourist stuff is tough!

Friday 7/17/09 Well old Sam's RV park is filling up, we now have 6 RV staying here. Will also discovers that our neighbor, Susan is a Doctor at the prison & works 3 days a week & lives in her RV with her 11 week old Great Dane puppy, Barrett. She goes to her home in West Seattle for the other 4 days. It sounds like she has been doing this for several years.

Today is a "dry run" to Port Angeles to pick up our Victoria ferry & hotel tickets plus find out about the long term parking. We decided the trip will be worth it from our last experience in Bremerton. It's about 50 miles from Clallam Bay, and it is slow going as all these road are very curvey and lots of speed traps. On our way in we spot a Wal Mart so of course we have to stop, never pass up an opportunity to shop at Wal Mart. Beside, we discovered at the last Wal Mart we missed a bag with 2 items that totaled about $25.00 and I wanted to complain. That's what I love about this place....I had my receipt & showed them what 2 items had been left behind & they gave me the money back right on the spot!! No hassle, that's customer service.

We head over to the ferry terminal, passing by another Dazzled by Twilight store in Port Angeles and check out the parking situation...which is across the street from the terminal, $6 per day. The we head over to the ferry terminal & because we have booked a package we pick up our ferry tickets, coupons for our hotel, Queen Victoria, tickets for Butchart Gardens & Victoria City tour. I also want to sign up for "high tea" but discover that experience will cost $68 per person. Will's knees buckled at....$68 for cucumber sandwiches, I'm going to have to think about that one, I did tell him that I would be glad to go alone and he could do something else. I'll just wait & see. We are excited about seeing Victoria & are praying for good weather. We leave next Wednesday, 7/22 and return Saturday, 7/25. Today I had wanted to go into Sequim (pronounced swim with a q) as they are having a 3 day lavender festival. Vendors and a street fair & visit the lavender farms, but I found out they are expecting 25 to 30,000 people & we decide to pass on that experience. Sequim is actually our next RV stop after Clallam Bay so we will explore it then.

Saturday 7/18/09 We are heading off for Cape Flattery which is on the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, near the town of Neah Bay in the center of the Makah Indian Nation We are hoping for good clear weather as our neighbors at Sam's RV, Kathy & Jack from Ventura, CA have told us it is the most beautiful sight they have seen so far on their trip. We find the Cape Flattery trail which is a three quarters mile hike via boardwalk & gravel steps to the northwesterly point of the lower 48 states. The sights are magnificent, describing them doesn't do it justice. There are viewing stops along the way, one which is the Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary, which we saw a nest with 3 baby birds plus mom & pop. Many different kinds of birds along along the cliffs with many caves along the shore of the ocean. We could hear the seals but never saw them. Peering over the sides down into the ocean we spotted bright orange starfish attached to the rocks. At the very end of the trail, where the Pacific Ocean meets the San Juan de Fuca is located Tatoosh Island with a lighthouse just sitting in the middle of it. It is just a breath taking sight and Will & I agreed it is truly the best we have seen on this trip...spectacular. I just sat on the ground, right above the cliffs edge & just stared out into this beautiful scenery. We also met & walked along the trail a very nice gentleman, Demetri visiting the USA from Bulgaria. He has so enjoyed all the places he has seen & plans to come back for a longer stay. It was nice hearing about his travels both here & abroad. Safe travels, Demetri!

After we reluctantly left Cape Flattery we headed down to visit the Makah Museum which was a wonderful and simple museum of the Makah tribe & the artifacts from archaeological digs from Ozette Village site at Cape Alava. It was incredibly interesting & presented so well. My favorite was the "long house" they had built inside the museum, I sat on every bench, swept the floor with the small brooms they used & just so enjoyed this place. Will doesn't enjoy Indian museums to much & was more than ready to head home...which we did.

Sunday 7/19/09 We bid our new friends, Kathy & Jack good by & promise to meet up with them in Sequim when we get back from Victoria. Well we decide to take a run back into Forks, have lunch (a hamburger for Will in a restaurant) & make some phone calls...remember our phone doesn't work in Clallham Bay. I call daughter Nancy & she decides she wants a Twilight shirt for her & one for Howard's daughter, Olivia who is just started reading the book. Get this picture, I'm going back & forth between stores, reading to Nancy & Howard what the shirts say...and we decide on for Nancy - I kissed a vampire & I liked it and for Olivia - twilight girl both black (of course) with sparkly lettering. Plus of course assorted magnets, bumper stickers & pins....the usual crap. This is all happening while Will waits patiently outside for me as he has already walked to the Forks post office to mail postcards. Well the deed is done, we have our lunch & say good by to Forks forever and for Will - not a moment to soon.

Monday 7/20/09 I have taken my 3 mile walk, washed clothes & am now at the library writing on the blog. The most disconcerting thing is I am UNABLE to get on either of my email sites (don't know why) so that is why I am not answering emails in case you have sent something & yes Mary Ann I did get the Pinedale Mail....thank you!!! We head for Sequim tomorrow so hopefully this stop we will have phone/computer service in the RV. Signing off with much love to family & friends.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Space Needle in Seattle

Sunday, 7/12/09 Well the day is here, our big excursion into Seattle for two days. We have done our "practice dry run" so we are hoping with our new found knowledge the trip will go smoothly. We set our clock for 6:00 am (much to Will's chagrin) and head out about 7:30 as our ferry leaves Bremerton at 9:00 am & we have to park the car in the covered garage at Hampton's Inn. Because it's Sunday we have no work traffic so the trip is a breeze. We get into Bremerton, park in the garage & poke our money in the correct space and off we go to "walk on" the ferry. So far so good, the practice run is paying off.

We arrive in Seattle at 10:00 am, unfortunately the weather is pure Seattle, cold & cloudy but we are dressed for it. We grab a taxi cab and head off to our beautiful hotel, The Westin. Now I want to give a great big THANK YOU to daughter Nancy for gifting us this room for the night..thank you daughter. We check in but it's to early to get in our room so we leave our bags (that would be 2 SMALL bags) with the desk & away we go. Because of our "dry run" we head to Gray Line stop#2 which is 2 blocks away to buy our hop on hop off tour bus tickets and head for Safeco Field. Compliments of Garrett Olson we will see the afternoon baseball game between the Mariners and the Texas Rangers. Safeco Field is a beautiful, celebrating 10 years in this new park, that has an unbelievable cover that folds up like an accordion when they take the top off. When we got there, the top was up & just before the game we got to see it "fold up" - a pretty amazing sight. In the 8th inning it started to rain so they unfolded it to cover the field. I really think this was Wills highlight of the game.

Our seats were fabulous, in the baseball players section, right behind home plate. Will had his baseball hot dog for lunch and I forgot to ask him to rate it and I had a fabulous grilled salmon sandwich, hold the bread, with cole slaw & clam chowder. Now I know that is a BIG lunch but I did share my chowder with Will. About the 3rd inning we met up with Ken Olson, Garrett's dad & my former boss. He took us down to the bullpen where we got to say hello & thank you to Garrett. Now, what was really amazing about this park, the pitchers bullpen is accessible to the public. You are right there watching the pitchers warm up, you hear the phone ring when the manager wants a new pitcher to be sent in. It was pretty neat, I have never seen this at any other baseball park. Unfortunately, Garrett didn't pitch while we were there, but actually it's a good thing because I get to nervous & can't watch the game. This way I got to enjoy the game and watch the Mariners win. They have a great club this year, especially compared to last year so it has been real exciting following them. We bid our farewells to Donna & Ken & left the park to find our tour bus back to the hotel.

We walked through the parking lot of the Seattle Seahawks stadium (these two stadiums are side by side) on down to Pioneer Square, this is the historic district of Seattle where our stop was to catch the bus. Will wasn't to interested in looking around as this part of Seattle reminded him of the Tower District in Fresno so he was done. Anyway, it was getting late and we were pretty tired so a ride back to the hotel was in order. The neat thing about this bus, is every ride is a tour they are telling you what you are seeing and giving some Seattle history.

Of course our room is ready so we head up to the 46th floor (please note: there are only 47 floors in this hotel.) The view was breath taking as was the room. I immediately plopped down on the "heavenly mattress" & once more decided I could live right there. Of course it's Wills dinner time so we head for a McDonald's around the corner for a #1....."yes Eric your favorite." I passed on dinner as I was still full from lunch. Back to the room for a night on the "heavenly mattress" which it was for me....not so much for Will as he has trouble sleeping in NEW places, which sounds weird for someone who lives in an RV in lots of different cities but that's how it is.

Monday, 7/13/09 After breakfast in the hotel we are off to see the Space Needle the only real reason Will is in Seattle is to see the Space Needle. We decide to ride the monorail that was built in 1962 just for the Space Needle and the Worlds Fair. We walk the couple blocks, buy our one way senior ticket for $1.00 & off we go for a ride that takes approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Finally here, we buy our tickets to go up to the observation deck that has an outside deck all around or you can go inside where they have lots of info to read, a coffee shop & table & chairs to just sit & look out. It is a beautiful view, unfortunately not clear enough to see Mt. Rainer or the Cascade Mountains but still amazing anyway. After about an hour or so we head on down. We were glad we got there early when they opened as it wasn't to crowded.

When we got down I wanted to see the Experience Music Project /MAP that is located right next to the Space Needle MAP was the idea of co founder of Apple (not Bill Gates) which is dedicated to music of rock n roll, the roots of jazz, soul, gospel, country, blues, hip-hop, punk. Fortunately, they have 3 buildings all under one roof, one dedicated to Science Fiction, The Muppet's & MAP. Will agreed to go in & see the Science Fiction & I would see MAP we would meet & go see the Muppet's together. Well MAP is absolutely amazing, I liked it better than the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. I sure hope you can access the website to get a glimpse of what this is. I wandered around listening to lots of old 50's music, hearing stories by the singers, a room devoted to just guitars with a video playing of different kinds of guitar music. A room devoted to just Jimmy Hendrix, now I was never a fan of his but this room & music was amazing. One thing I need to check out is Jimmy's mothers maiden name was Jeter.....I must find out if she is related to MY Derik Jeter. At the appointed time I met up with Will & he said the Sci Fi was just "so so" - I did my best selling job to convince him to come into the MAP & skip the Muppet's. He agreed & actually enjoyed what he saw, of course I never took him into the Jimmy Hendrix room but we had a great time. I actually could have spent the entire day at MAP & skipped the rest of Seattle.

But we were off on our Gray Line bus down to the wharf for a fish lunch. Actually, the place we ate on our "dry run" day was so good we went back again for more grilled salmon. After lunch we headed back to the bus & continue our tour of the city. Seattle is a beautiful place, with wonderful seafood and lots to see but just to darn cold for us. We both miss the Fresno summer and heat. Some of the places we saw were Pike Place Fish at Pikes Market, the Seattle Art Museum but we are running out of time. There is too much to see in just two days. Later in the afternoon we headed back to our hotel as we had a late 4:00 pm check out, got our bags & take a cab back to the ferry as the time was growing short and our ferry leaves for Bremerton at 4:20 pm. We are both dead tired but had a really wonderful two days here in Seattle. Every things has gone just great because of the "dry run" now if we can just make it back to Bremerton & find our car ...the trip will be perfect. Well we do & the car is there so we head back to Hoodsport which is a 60 minute drive. This has been a very long day & we are really tired but a great time was had by all. No dinner for us, we just put on our "jammies" and fall into bed because tomorrow is moving day......

Tuesday, 7/14/09 We discover that while we were gone they had a terrible storm, thunder, lightning & lots of rain in Hoodsport while we were in Seattle. The really bad news we discover they did NOT fix the leak in the living room in the RV. We had more water than before it was "fixed." Not much we can do about it now but dry the place out & find another Fleetwood dealer. I'm thinking I will call Fleetwood Company about this, that's of course when I get somewhere that we have phone service. But today the sun is out, life is good and we are moving to Clallam Bay, WA this will finally be a pretty good drive for Will about 3 hours. So we will see what Clallan Bay has in store for us. Signing off with much love to family and friends while the adventure continues.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hoodsport, WA

Wednesday, 7/8/09 Well we we arrived back in Elma, WA with our newly repaired RV and hopefully everything is fixed....of course you never know. But we got lucky, it was a Fleetwood dealer (that's our RV) and everything was covered under warranty so we had no cash out lay, which is always a good thing. We had ever intention of going back into Olympia and Tumwater today but it rained, I mean poured most of the day so we stayed home, watch TV & read. We never saw any tourist spots in this area because of the weather. Of course, the big highlight was spending time with our friends Ann & Al, which we enjoy so much. We will catch them again on our way home in September.

Thursday, 7/9/09 Another big driving day for Will, maybe 75 miles. We arrived in Hoodsport, WA which is located in the Olympic Peninsula. The town is approx. 3 blocks long and we are staying in a campground similar to Edison at Shaver Lake about 4 miles out of town. Lots of trees, large camp sites and mostly Washington people "going camping." As usual, no phone & no Internet.... can't have AT&T here, just Verizon, so I am at the visitors center in town (on one of those 3 blocks) using my computer. The area is beautiful, Hoodsport is located on the Hood Canal, which is not like a canal you or I's a lake, a big lake, with houses on both sides. The town is located on hwy 101 and when we leave here we continue North on 101 so will see lots more of this Peninsula.

Friday, 7/10/09 Finally, I get to see Seattle!! We are parking our car in Bremerton, boarding the ferry & then going over to Seattle for the day. We dial our GPS ferry address in & take off & arrive with only 15 minutes before the ferry leaves, so we get in line, pay our $14.00 & then ask where do we park. We are then informed we are in line to take our car ON THE FERRY to Seattle. Yikes, but we don't want to do that, too late, so we sit in line a little while & decide this is crazy, we want our money back & out of line..and now. So I walk back to the ferry window & say I want a refund. The guy has me tell Will to pull out of line & wait "over there" & then can't get his scanner to work so I can get my $14 refund. With that he gives me a form so I can mail in a request for my money back. Real customer service they had going on at this place.

Well we finally figure out how to get back on the street & now try to find a parking lot where we can leave the car and take the next ferry over to Seattle. We find a lot several blocks away, figure out how you shove money in a little slot that corresponds with your stall number....all this is NOT simple folks. We then walk back to the ferry building & find out you ride over free & pay when you come back. Seniors cost $3.50 round trip...what a deal. The ferry ride is wonderful, of course, the sun was out & the weather was beautiful & we sat outside taking in the beautiful sights. Fortunately, we met a nice young navy man, Kelly who was able to point out Mt. Rainer & tell us so much about the area. Hey Kelly, thanks for everything & good luck to you next Dec, 2010 when you retire.

The ferry trip takes about 60 minutes from Bremerton to Seattle & it was a wonderful, scenic ride. We arrive at the ferry pier & immediately had a seafood lunch down on the wharf. Baked cod for Will & baked salmon for me...deeee licious. Ok, now our focus, once we were fed was to figure out Seattle as we are coming back on Sunday, 7/12 to see a Mariners baseball game with tickets compliments of Garrett Olson. As luck would have it Ken & Donna Olson are here in Seattle this week so we will get to sit with them at the game. And daughter Nancy has so graciously gifted us a room at the Westin Hotel (a night on a "heavenly mattress"..Will's first) that Sunday evening so we will return on the ferry Monday, 7/13/09.

We spent the day finding out about the Gray Line, hop on, hop off bus, where the hotel was, where the baseball park was. We also took a side trip to Pikes Market, because I have always wanted to see them "throw the fish" which they did. We walk around thru the farmers market, the gift shops and enjoyed the 84 degree weather. We caught the 4:20 pm ferry back to Bremerton and then checked out long term parking at the ferry building. I think we are all set for Sundays trip, thank God we did a dry run yesterday and hopefully all our new information will serve us well. Stay tuned, will keep you posted. I think I best sign off as I'm sure the visitors center is getting ready to start charging me space rent, people have come & gone but I'm still here typing. Hope all is well with everyone, signing off with much love to family and friends and THANK YOU Nancy for the room & the Olson's for the tickets.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sleepless in Chehalis, WA

Tuesday, 7/7/09 and it's 7:30 am in the morning & we are waiting for the RV place to open so we can get the light fixed and head back to Elma, WA, but had to make note of the excitement we had last night while I could still get on the Internet.

We had just stuffed cotton in our ears and had gotten in to bed and was listening to all the trucks whizzing by on I-5 and decided it was going to be a very long night. When we heard sirens, lots of them, real loud and all of a sudden we saw red lights shinning thru the window shades on the I-5 side. All I could think of is it was the cops checking why we were parked/sleeping on the frontage road. We got up & put the window shades up and there was a fire burning directly across the frontage road from us with fire trucks & cops everywhere. The cops were stopping the traffic on the frontage road & the fireman were standing back a pretty good distance from the fire shooting water on it and this is all going on while we are sitting there in our "jammies" watching. After they got the flames out they had big flashlights checking out the area, maybe looking for what started the fire? After sometime they sprayed foam stuff all along the grass area & up a phone pole. What excitement while we were "sleepless in Chehalis."

We figured it must have been fireworks as people were shooting fireworks/firecrackers off early in the evening in a field on the opposite side of I-5....this could have been a stray. Thank God it didn't land on OUR side of the street.

Only 30 more minutes till this outfit opens, and they hopefully they put the RV back together then it's off to Wal Mart (2 exits away and we can't pass up a Wal Mart, as there aren't that many in the Northwest.) I guess this is just all part of the RV experience and adventure. Signing off with much love to family & friends.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sleeping on I-5 in Chehalis, WA

I have been pretty quiet these last few days and that has been due to the fabulous RV park we are in at Elma, WA. It's a cute little town with very nice people in the park but lousy ATT or Wi Fi connection, very frustrating, so I took some time off from blogging. More about the blog title latter.

Friday, 7/3/09 Because neither of us can remember what we did two days ago the update blogs will be real short! Today we decided to drive into Tumwater & Olympia and see some of the sights. I had all my Washington tour books marked with yellow stickies, our picnic lunch was packed, it was a beautiful day (I mean the sun was out) so off we went. Unfortunately, what we forgot we discovered when we got to Olympia was the GPS. We couldn't find a thing. It's hard to believe how incredibly valuable those things are in a completely strange city. Just put the address in & "our girlfriend" takes us there. After much frustration and a lot of "bickering between us" we decided to go home...and by this time it was very quiet in the car (you get my drift.) On the way home or shortly after lunchtime (12 noon) Will spotted a sign for a lake so we decided to salvage the day & have our picnic by the lake. We turned off the highway, even asked directions of a local and NEVER found the lake....the road took us back to highway 8 which is headed home to Elam. So it was a sign to us, go home & have lunch in the RV, which Will did, I had lost my appetite.

Saturday, 7/4/04 Will is busy washing the RV & car and visiting with his new friend, John the maintenance guy at the park. This afternoon the RV park is having a free 4th of July picnic for all the residents. With a pie eating contest, bingo & fixing "smores" around a campfire. Will went down at 3:00 pm to watch the pie eating contest & I was sitting frustrated in the RV screwing with the stupid computer. Will was back at one signed up for the pie eating contest so it was cancelled. At 4:30 we headed down for the picnic & there were lots of people there for the free food. They did a fabulous job with lots of salads, devil eggs, desserts & of course hamburgers & polish hot dogs. Plenty of food for everyone. We sat with 2 couples we didn't know at all and enjoyed ourselves and dinner. One couple was from Texas and have been full timing for 21 years...that's living in an RV, together for 21 years. YIKES They asked us if we knew what geocaching was? Of course we didn't and had never heard of it. So they said to come back to their RV & they would show us. There is a website that has items & logs buried all over the world & people, I guess like you & me, try to find it. You put in the zip code of where you are, then the GPS numbers...they called it another name, oh yes, you MUST own a GPS to play this game. Then go out & find the item. Well what transpired after that was really hysterical (to us) but we went along with it. As luck would have it, something showed buried on the RV park we were in. Tete, (the lady) could hardly work her beautiful Mac computer, I mean like not even being able to sign in correctly (however, she DID HAVE A SIGNAL) and Gordon, the husband put the numbers in the GPS & off we went. We walked & walked in this field, this way, then that way, the GPS kept changing its mind. So whether Tete, got the numbers wrong or Gordon put the numbers in wrong we never found the item. I doubt if Will & I would ever do this but maybe someday we can try. Anyway, it was a fun evening, we had planned on going to the car races at the fairgrounds across the street (our next door neighbors son was racing) but were having so much fun geocaching, we didn't go. Maybe next time!

Sunday, 7/5/09 We did absolutely nothing, on my morning walk into town I bought the Seattle Sunday paper & laid my butt on the couch most of the day reading. In the afternoon, with directions in hand, we headed back to Olympia to go into Costco & Fred Meyer. That was our really big outing for the day. We missed you Kim & Bill for lunch at Costco. Oh yes, we did make our reservations for our trip to Victoria; we booked our ferry passage over and a hotel on the island for July 22, 23, 24 returning on Saturday, July 25th...we are both excited about this trip.

Monday, 7/6/09 Will had noticed several days before that the front headlight fixture was coming loose, I mean loose that it could fall out. We had also had a leak in the living room slide several weeks back and knew we had to get that fixed immediately. This was our day to find a Fleetwood dealer so we could get it fixed under the one year warranty. As luck would have it, we found such a place in Chelalis, WA where our friends, Ann & Al that we met in Yuma, AZ live. So I called the dealer & they said we could come right in & we called our friends & they said after we had delivered the RV to the dealer we could all go to the Indian Casino for Senior Day Lunch. What more could you ask for. We found the dealer, Poulsbo RV in Chehalis, very nice people, game them the information & called our friends.

It was wonderful seeing Ann & Al again, Will & I like them so much when we met them at the lettuce festival in Yuma & they took us into Mexico. We drove over to the casino & had our $5.00 lunch, Mr. Big Spender (Will) bought our lunch and I lost at Keno again..... After lunch they took us to their home which is a beautiful home on 2 acres. Ann has the home furnished with many antiques, a spinning wheel her great grandmother actually used and lots of glassware. Al has refinished old trunks and they have them in every room. He has a wonderful shop, garage area & has built a covering for his 5th wheel. We sat out on the deck in the back that is thick with big Douglas Fir trees - almost like redwoods. He has many squirrel & bird feeders in the backyard & lot of guests that use them. It was a wonderful afternoon. At 4:oo pm we headed back to the RV dealer to pick up our Bounder & found that the epoxy that holds the light in was still not set up so they could put the light fixture back in. So we are now parked on the frontage road of I-5 in front of the dealers store overnight while it drys. Now Will doesn't sleep all that soundly in a quiet park I know he's dreading this but with his ear plugs in...he will give it a real try. I of course will sleep through anything and best of all we have a fabulous Internet connection sitting here on I-5....find the positive in everything!!! Most important and hopefully, they got the leak fixed & tomorrow the light will be fixed. Our mechanic said he would come into work at 7 am so he could finish the job & get us on our way. We will return to Elma and leave out of there Thursday morning heading for Hoodsport, WA. Signing off with love to family and friends.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Our last day at Long Beach Pennisula

Wednesday, 7/1/09 Well after yesterdays "really long walk on the beach" I decided to not walk today and give my feet a well earned rest. So we headed off in the car to see the rest of the peninsula, that means instead of turning right to go into Long Beach we turned left & headed for Ocean Park, Oysterville and a wild life refuge at the very end of the peninsula, you must remember our luck in viewing w.l.r....practically zero. A very pretty drive, Ocean Park had an incredible hardware store (yeah Will wanted to stop there) Oysterville, a very short historic district and the Wild Life Refuge....well no animals that we were able to see but maybe 2 million mosquitoes. I have never been attacked like that before, just after we opened the door they started swarming all over us. Will was trying to "beat them off me" while I was getting back in the car, but some managed to make it inside, of course I took delight in killing everyone of them. Needless to say we got out of there quickly and laughed all the way back. A wild life refuge devoted to mosquitoes, that's unique.

We then headed for Ilwaco, WA, a small town on the other side of Long Beach & went through their museum, that had a restored railroad passenger car & also small model trains that ran on tracks thru villages they had built. It was a nice day, sun shinning, wind blowing & cotton in our ears. Back home for dinner, a night of TV and early to bed because tomorrow is moving day.

Thursday, 7/2/09 Up early to get my 3 mile walk in today, of course, there will be no beach for me, just around the RV park for 45 minutes...can't take any chances this morning as we have to get going to our next stop....Elam, WA. It was a much longer drive for Will today, approx. 75 miles and we are finally leaving the coast highway 101 and coming inland a little bit. I'm excited as this is close to where our Yuma, AZ friends, Ann & Al live....Chehalis, WA. They told us we were only about 30 miles from them.

We arrive at Elam RV Park only to discover that they didn't have our reservation but not to worry they will find a place for us. Now when you pull in this park it's very lovely, nicely groomed spaces, near the club house & laundry facilities. They apologize & tell us they will have to put us in "the back" but we have full I say, not a problem. Actually, you can't find a vacancy in an RV park around here with the July 4th holiday. So we proceed to "the back" and our neighbor has to move her tomato plants & truck for us to park in our space. But it's ok, our other neighbors Cindy & Tony have been so nice and helpful and we are just grateful to be settled.

The afternoon was spent checking out the town of Elma, going to the grocery store, and haircuts for Will and I. A typical moving day and we are so grateful to be warm again and will start sightseeing (our jobs) tomorrow. Signing off with much love to family and friends.