Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Leaving Seattle area

016Our Memorial Day week-end was spent in the Seattle area going to garage sales, a trip back to the Emerald Queen Casino for Brunch, Church services, some card playing and a little chocolate wine with Jackie and Butch. On Monday we headed north for a final visit with Josh & Sarah and family. We had a fun time playing Mr Bacon’s Big Adventure with them! It’s hard saying ‘Good-bye for now’ but it has been a wonderful family time and we are so grateful for all of their hospitality and love!

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103 Beautiful Rhododendrons

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111Spring time in Seattle

Mayne Island, BC

Mainmap003(Jan) We met our friends Bruce and Dee in Boomerville at Quartzsite, Arizona in 2009. It was the beginning of a fun friendship and since then we have enjoyed different travels and places together. This past week we went to visit them on Mayne Island, British Columbia. Our Motorhome stayed in Renton, WA as we drove north into Canada to the Tsawwassen Ferry. On Mayne Island Bruce and Dee were waiting for us with smiles and hugs at the Village Bay Dock. We spend four fun filled days with them. We all enjoy hiking so we ventured out in 4 different direction to explore the island from hill top to seashore, Lighthouse to Japanese Gardens.

(Chuck) Mayne Island’s abundant hiking trails revealed a variety of animals and birds for our pleasure. The island hosts many Bald Eagles as well as Red Tailed Hawks. We were very fortunate to catch a glimpse of a Pileated Woodpecker on the trail one afternoon. Black Tailed Deer and Fallow Deer greeted us on the hillsides and Sea Otter, Seals, Mink, Oysters, Sea Stars, Sun Star, Crabs and Jelly Fish were by the sea.

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The trails we took were easy to moderate and the weather cooperated beautifully. It was good to be hiking again, we have missed that in our lives for more than a month. Our hosts Bruce and Dee were very familiar with their island and it was a lot of fun to be out on the trail with them again.

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055(Jan) Back at their beautiful house, we had a great time sunning ourselves on the deck and watching the ferries in Active Pass below and the eagles and hawks gliding in the sky above. We started the mornings with Zumba and passed an hour or two working a jigsaw puzzle. Evenings were spent having delicious dinners cooked by Chef Dee followed by several games of The Whole Enchilada. Is was also magical sitting in the darkened Living Room, watching the night skies, the lights winking on in the harbor and city lights across Georgia Strait in 020Vancouver.

Our two hour ferry ride on Friday evening made a stop on Pender Island before heading back through Active pass and across the Georgia Strait. Island Life and Ferry Transportation was a new and very enjoyable experience for us. Thank you Bruce and Dee for a wonderful adventure!102

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lynnwood and Renton, Washington

179(Jan) Some of the sweetest moments of traveling are the family visits along life’s paths. These past couple of weeks we’ve been with our son & daughter-in-law and family and Chuck’s sister and brother-in-law. The Seattle area weather has co-operated with sunny skies and warm days. Bike riding, a children’s salmon stocking event, a Mother’s day of church services, lunch and presents, picnicking, walking, geo-caching, a children’s music program, and playing dominoes were extra special with the kids and grandkids. Josh & Sarah and Chuck & I also went out to eat last Saturday night in Ballard and then Ali & Isaac had a sleep over in Gramma and Grampa’s Motorhome. We feel extremely blessed to have had this time with them.

073Clockwise: Going for a picnic & bike ride in Bothell, Ali on Piano, Isaac & Ali at their children’s program, Chuck & Josh, Gramma with JJ, the family geo-caching, all of us out for a bike ride in the neighborhood, Grandpa & Isaac and Lexi, Jan & Sarah.006   111129
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053During the week we headed down to Renton to Jackie and Butch’s place. Luckily they have a place for us and our MH in their beautiful Shangri-la. We’ve been going to Garage Sales, visiting, playing cards and getting some chores done. One day they invited Sarah and the kids down for the day535070_10151091124738852_654263037_n[1] so they could run around and explore on ‘the farm.’  Jackie and Butch have several gardens, orchards, lots of trees and flowers plus a barn, tractor and riding lawnmower. Josh & Lexi, and Jackie & Butch’s son Mark and grandkids Josh and Emily joined us for dinner. What a fun day! Thursday evening found us over at the Emerald Queen Casino playing (successfully!!) on the machines and then having dinner together.  It been wonderful having family time!

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Hwy 395

MainmapMainmap(Chuck) We left Yuma and had decided to take Betty Prange’s advice on a route North. She wrote a piece on the beauty of the Eastern Sierra route several years ago and it lured us to Highway 395. We picked it up at Kramer Junction, CA which is also known as The Four Corners. Not the Four Corners of the states, this one is a dusty desert crossing of 395 and 58 which lies 34 miles West of Barstow, CA. Lone Pine, Mt. Whitney, Alabama Hills, Manzanar, Mammoth, CA, Mono Lake, Bodie and Lake Tahoe are all necessary stops. The Northern California and Oregon route to Pendleton is a very scenic and beautiful drive through ranch country. We followed 395 for 927 miles to Pendleton, OR where we left it for the Columbia River. Our stop in Pendleton included overnight at the Wild Horse Casino which is a mandatory overnight for any RV’er in the area. Since our last visit they have improved their parking with a very nice asphalt surface. There were ten to fifteen rigs while we were there. They also offer a full hook-up RV park for those who desire to spend their money. After a two day rest in Pendleton, we drove along the Columbia River and up north into Washington; the last 400 miles in three days.

004Colorful woolen blankets at the Pendleton Woolen Mills factory outlet store 041Stopped for a sandwich with the MH slides in, Chuck is choosing our route to Seattle 002
Saddles and Hats for sale at the historic Hamley & Co. Western Store in Pendleton
034 The waterfalls, such as the Multnomah Falls, along the Columbia River gorge are spectacular.

As we got towards Portland, in through Washington and particularly in Seattle, we began to see the most amazingly colorful flowering bushes. Many were rhododendrons.
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We came to the Seattle area to visit our son Josh & Sarah and their family, and Jackie and Butch, my sister and brother in law. We have had a great time and will be in the area for about another week. Our plan is to venture North to Mayne Island to see our Buds, Bruce and Dee for a couple of days before we leave the North West to drive Highway 2 across the Northern states to the Mid West for the summer.

At right are Sarah w/Julianna, Lexi, Isaac & Josh, Alison and Gramma Jan having a picnic before a bike ride in Bothell.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Eastern Sierras 2012

(Jan) For years we have heard people talk about how great it is traveling north on Highway 395 on the eastern side of the Sierras. This spring we are headed to Seattle for a family visit, so it fits our plans just perfectly! We left Yuma’s 90 and 100 degree days for weather in the 50’s and 60’s and nights with temps down to 32. Perfect sleeping weather!005

Lone Pine, California sits in the shadow of Mt Whitney, the highest point in the continental US. Driving the Portal Road takes you to the 8,000 ft. level where hikers/climbers begin their 6,000+ ft. ascent of Mt. Whitney. 010With it’s dramatic twists and turns and panoramic views, it’s well worth the drive. Lower down on the mountain lie the Alabama Hills.  These rugged and picturesque rock formations, were the back drop for hundreds of western TV episodes and movies in early film history and movies such as ‘Tremors’ more recently. One can almost imagine the bad guys lurking behind the rocks or the monster plunging up from under the sand! Also, at Lone Pine we enjoyed the Visitor’s Center and Museum and strolling and shopping on Main Street.

Manzanar National Monument is north of Lone Pine. In 1942 10,000 people of Japanese ancestry, 022nearly two thirds of them American citizens, lived here in an internment camp during World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Housed in 20 by 100 foot barracks that were divided into 4 living areas, eight people lived in a 20 x 25 foot space. Manzanar was a fully functioning community with schools, a newspaper, a church, temples, orchards and a net factory; everything but freedom.020 When the war ended, the residents were released with $25 each to start a new life.  The auditorium is now a museum that tells the story of their lives behind barbed wire.

Our friends Larry and Connie are working out of Mammoth Lakes, California this year managing several dozen National Forest Campgrounds.  We joined them at New Shady Rest CG for some top notch chili one evening and several lively games of Pegs and Jokers. It’s wonderful to have great friends!  While in their area we did several scenic drives; Twin Lakes with it’s beautiful water fall, the June Lake Loop with three gorgeous lakes surrounded by mountains and Hwy 120 going towards Yosemite NP. The drive to the east entrance of Yosemite has breathtaking vistas, lakes, streams and waterfalls. Snow still covered much of the ground at 10,000 feet elevation and Tioga Pass into the NP was still closed for the season for snow removal.

1030Ellery Lake, elevation 9538 was still snow covered.

1032Near the top.

1042The gate going into Yosemite NP at Tioga Pass was closed.

1026(Chuck) Mono Lake is an interesting lake in a broad basin in Mono County, CA that has no outlet. Dissolved salts make the lake very alkaline and has salt content that varies from two to three times the salt content of the ocean. It is a unique area in which many migratory bird species flourish. A large, interesting visitor’s center documents the lake, ecosystem and the surrounding area.

1192The town of Bodie is now a California State Historic Park. It is located about 75 miles south of Lake Tahoe at an elevation of 7379 feet. In the mining glory days of 1879, Bodie boasted a population of about 10,000. Murders, robberies, stage holdups and street fights were nearly daily events in this town of 30 mines and 65 saloons. Very harsh winters added to the 1181difficulties of living in this mining community. Twenty feet of snow, 100 mph winds and 30 below zero temps were the demise of many who were unprepared for this environment. There were at least two major mining advancements used in Body. First in 1890 was the newly perfected cyanide method of reclaiming gold from previously discarded mill tailings. The second was in 1893; a hydroelectric plant was built about 12 miles away that utilized the first long distance transmission lines to1112 power a 20 stamp mill. It developed a maximum 130 horsepower and 6,600 volts of alternating current. This technology was so new that the long distance power lines were built in a straight line as it was thought that the electricity might not be able to turn corners.

Today the town is in the state of “arrested decay” as nearly all of the buildings were simply abandoned as fortunes dwindled and inhabitants moved on. It was a very interesting experience to walk up to the locked buildings and peer in the windows to view books, beds, furniture and many other daily used items which were simply left in place decades ago. Most of these photos were made through the windows which were stained with dust on the inside.

1079Looking through the windows of the Boone Store and Warehouse. 1085Inside the Miners Union Hall which is now a Museum. 1152This store’s walls were sided with 5 gallon medal gasoline cans.
1156 1154The switchboard station to the left and the dining room/pool room at the Wheaton & Hollis Hotel. 1106Inside the School House. Built in 1879, it was originally the Bon Ton Lodging House.
Today Bodie receives 200,000 visitors per year. It was well worth the stop and we recommend it to our friends.018

(Jan) We stayed in Carson City, Nevada on our way north so we could drive up to Lake Tahoe. We drove the 70 miles around the Lake. Although highly developed in areas, there were many state parks with access to the lake. Unfortunately we were met with ‘closed for the season’ signs on most. We did manage to find three different areas to see magnificent Lake Tahoe; a lake which straddles the states of California and Nevada and is the largest alpine lake in the US and the second deepest at 1,645 feet. It’s intense blue color surrounded by snow caps peaks is worth the drive.

North on Hwy 385 through northern California and Oregon is our direction now.

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