Friday, July 16, 2010


I've been in an internet-free zone for the last week; that is staying with family who are not technologically advanced. Anyway it's been an interesting time. Got to my wife's sister's place on Thursday afternoon. The truck was riding like the road was made of individual rocks so we figured we might have an out-of-balance problem. Took it to Les Schwab, a big local tire chain that has a pretty good reputation. On the way over, my BIL noticed a squirrely motion when we were stopping and suggested we might have a bulge in one of the tires. Anyway, the tire people didn't ask us anything, they just took it for a test drive then got us in and balanced the front tires. On the way home, it was better but still not great. We decided to check the rear tires and sure enough, there is a bulge in the sidewall of one of the tires. Put the spare on and that fixed the problem.

The reason for our trip is that my wife's step-dad is turning 80. Had the big birthday party on Friday: prime rib, oysters from their own beach, lots of sides. Very good party. Our daughter flew in from Vegas to attend as a surprise for the FIL. The champagne was really flowing but my wife and I managed to refrain so when evening came we were half-way sober but feeling good. It was really warm all day, I think Seattle hit a record in the mid 90's and it must have been close to that where we were.

A telephoto view from the sister's 2nd floor deck:

Saturday we spent recovering; well, we rested and our hosts recovered. They had put a lot of work into the party and needed nothing but some quiet time. I went into town to do a couple errands and proved that changing the tire was what we needed. My wife and daughter went to see the latest Twilight movie; thought it was pretty good, much better than the second. Had a lovely dinner on the patio with leftovers from the party. There's a good chance it was all better the second time around!

Sunday we headed north towards Sequim, WA up on the Straits of Juan de Fuca where the parents live; it's only about 75 miles. They are in a private rv resort having stopped traveling after about 15 years full-timing. A friend has an empty lot so we get to stay here at nominal cost. Makes it very convenient but we sure don't get much exercise. Sunday and Monday were devoted to eating and talking. I am typing this on Tuesday. Today we are off to see my wife's brother & SIL.

They are an interesting couple. Live near Port Angeles, WA which is a rather 'artsy' community about 40 miles from here. Nice people who are developing into rather artsy people after having retired from a rather constrained life in the military. The BIL is doing wood-working and we are to collect a table he made out of driftwood for my wife. We already have one and are looking forward to another. His wife is a poet and we brought along a copy of her first book for her to autograph.

A view of Canada (Vancouver Island) from their deck:

We'll be here for another day then leave on Thursday. We are headed to Mt. St. Helens to try to view the mountain. We were there back in the mid 80's when everyone was just amazed at how fast the mountain was recovering from it's eruption. Tried to visit it last year when we were here but it was socked in; maybe we'll make it this year. After that we are headed for Oregon. We'll be staying near McMinnville where there are wineries and also, Howard Hughes' airplane, the Spruce Goose. I'm looking forward to seeing that!

It's Wednesday, 14 July. It's our last family day and I'm sitting alone in the trailer while three young people are outside washing and waxing it! This is the life! We intended to get it washed and waxed before we left but it just didn't happen. This is much easier. LOL Of course I'm going to have to part with some money but what's it for if not to be spent? Besides, these seem to be nice young people and I'm sure they need the money. According to my FIL, their dad delivers propane to the park. They also have a relative who lives here. I hope they get lots of business; they are doing a fine job. They thought $150 quite generous; it took 3 people four hours, good enough pay but not incredible.

After the kids got done with the trailer, I joined my wife and her parents for a lovely meal. (They do three meals a day - breakfast and a lunch/dinner thing with a snack just before bed.) Lots of good food and mostly good talk. There were times when we were near talking about some unpleasant stuff that's in the past but we managed to skirt it. We got back to our nice clean trailer about 18:00. Now we'll say 'good bye' in the a.m. and head out.

The visit with the BIL & SIL yesterday was great. We sat on their deck and ate crab and smoked salmon that they had caught and smoked. Then went inside for steaks with all the trimmings. Yum! I had to skip the crab, of course, because of my allergy but smoked salmon is a treat that I can eat. The Coast Guard was doing some practice rescue stuff out in the Strait so we even had some entertainment; kind of noisy though! The local native tribes are doing a long distance paddle next week so I guess the Coastie's were getting in practice. Don't want to screw up during a big event!

The weather has been pretty amazing. It started off HOT and morphed into simply perfect. It's in the low 70's and sunny. If it were like this more often this place would be as crowded as Southern California. Happily, it gets gray and nasty quite often. Most people who live here and can afford it like to vacation elsewhere in the middle of winter.

Walking the dog this evening I was consumed by a feeling of "being home". It's funny because I truly feel that "home is where my hat is". It is true that I lived in the Northwest for 18 years. However, I lived in Iowa for my first 21 years; I also lived in Florida for 14 years. But when I lived in New Jersey; just a year and a half, that was home. When I lived in the Netherlands; only two years, that was home. My wife and I both commented; landing at Schipole was "coming home". Odd that this evening I should have that feeling.

Thursday morning: we have a foggy start to the morning. Walking the dog we didn't see any wildlife; only a kid with a back pack waiting for a bus. Funny, I don't expect bus service out here but there it was. Now we've made it down to Mt. St. Helens. Staying at the Mt St Helens RV Park - ok but a bit expensive. The sites are terraced so if you don't like backing into a spot, you're out of luck! Looking forward to seeing the mountain tomorrow morning.

Have a good one!


Croft said...

I really like that part of Washington as well and great weather makes it all the better. It is good you found out what was wrong with the truck. I really like Les Schwab as well and bought tires from them last year but missing a bulging tire when they did an inspection and balance is inexcusable. You probably did not need the balance and I would go back for a refund.

Smoked salmon and crab! Paradise!

JoeinVegas said...

Do you consider Nevada home yet?

Don said...

Croft - Schwab didn't charge for the balancing so getting a refund is kind of iffy. However just not checking out your work is pretty sad.

Joe - yes, Nevada is home. We have a great time traveling and enjoy missing a few of the 115F days but are looking forward to being home.