Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Taking a break at the Coast

20150810-144649(Jan) After The kids left us at Manchester State Park we decided to spend one extra night before going west. We toured around the area and stopped for ice cream at a nice spot in Port Orchard. On Tuesday we drove across the peninsula and north to South Beach CG which is the overflow area for Klaloch NPCG. We were very disappointed to find out that it was completely jam packed! We had such fond memories of boondocking there years ago with our friends Dean and Judy in a very sparsely populated, gorgeous place! (But, that was in September and during the week when families with children were not there.) So we drug ourselves out of the doldrums and drove south about 50 miles to Ocean Shores. It’s also a very beautiful beach area; just not quite as nice and isolated as South Beach. On our way over we found a fruit stand selling fresh Yakima peaches.  They were incredible!


IMG_20150814_195054263The wide, flat beach at Ocean Shores goes on for miles and miles. We did a lot of walking and people watching there. The day before we arrived a 42 foot fishing vessel had grounded after losing it’s hydraulic power thus it’s steering ability. It sat marooned on the beach for several days before being removed by an excavator. There was a 12’s Fan Fest & Beach Party that week-end also. Lots of Blue and Green garbed Seahawks fans in town to buy from the vendors, parade their Seahawk vehicles and watch the pre-season game on Huge Screens at the Convention Center. We were not prepared with Seahawk colors so dressed in normal fashion. Some one on the street observed, ‘They must be from out of town!’IMG_20150815_131051025

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Manchester State Park with the Moores


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(Jan) August 8-10 Take four awesome grandkids, two parents, two grandparents, two tents & one motorhome and mix well with a forested camp spot, a beach and a birthday celebration and you have our wonderful week-end at Manchester State Park!
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Friday, August 14, 2015

Seattle family time

IMG_20150727_143308223(Chuck)  July 24-Aug 7 We arrived at Josh and Sarah’s place on the 26th of the month. We are so fortunate that they have a nice asphalt drive which extends IMG_20150726_093319028beside their house. It is a perfect place for us to park. We quickly settled into the routine that was established a year ago. That is that 8:30 a.m. is the time which we hear a knock on the door. They come to our house ready for breakfast and a good time. We enjoy cereal, fruit, yogurt, and of course we add liberal applications of sourdough toast. Soon there is aIMG_20150727_154412555 puzzle on the table and the day is off to a great start.

Alison who will be 10 this fall has been busy with a week-long summer camp which was her first big event away from the family. Last week she added a drama school in which she starred as Cinderella. IMG_20150726_093622573It was a fabulous success and she received rave reviews. Isaac has been busy with football practice for the past several weeks. He is in a “feeder league” in which he is showing great talent. He turned eight last week and this is a contact league with full pads. Many reports indicate that he will be very busy in the fall season for yeas to come. JJ at five years of age has the world at her feet and there are many indications that she will be able to handle it at ease. IMG_20150729_165840979_HDRLexi who is the oldest and lives with girlfriends in an apartment, works at a hospital in Seattle and seems to enjoy her challenges at work as well as the classes she is taking.IMG_20150730_200803907

IMG_20150804_114259740IMG_20150804_105849691After a week at Josh and Sarah’s place we moved on down to my sister’s place near Renton. They have brought in some fill to allow us to park on their place without blocking the lane. It has been a good solution for us and allows ample parking for other guests which they enjoy. Many of you know my Mom Joanne who now lives with Jackie and Butch. They have graciously opened their house for our Mom and it is a great opportunity for her at thisIMG_20150804_152300922_HDR time of her life. We lived at Jackie and Butch’s place for a week and got to take Mom for a hair cut among other things. Jackie & Jan canned 20 pints of peach jam and had a fun time doing it. Butch & I went to Garage Sales on the week-end.

We were fortunate to be there when Jackie & Butch celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with their entire family. It was a great time to be there to visit and to see everyone. We also got to celebrate Butch’s 70th Birthday with a family Mass and dinner.DSC_5034

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More photo from the Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary
Family week-end!

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Thursday, August 13, 2015


(Jan) Exciting news for this girl!  Chuck has gotten Live Writer to once again communicate with Blogger.  He has worked through the multi-factor security password issues. He's a genius! After several frustrating posts of placing photos with Blogger, we are back to writing on Live Writer and being able to manipulate, size, frame & place photos where we want them. Happy Days are here again!

Red Lodge, MT to Yakima, WA

(Jan) July 20-2, 2015

Our route from Red Lodge, Mt to Yakima, WA took us acrosss I90, Hwy 12 in Idaho & Washington and then Hwy 124 and I82 to Yakima.We stayed overnight in Butte, MT after leaving Red Lodge and caught up on correspondence and photos. From there we headed west to Idaho with one fun stop in Three Forks at the Wheat Montana headquarters. Wheat Montana Flour is one of Chuck's favorite brands for baking Sour Dough Bread. We were surprised to find a wonderful & busy bakery and deli there along with all kinds of flour and other Wheat Montana products.

Our very beautiful drive through Idaho took us along the Lochsa and Clearwater rivers. We stayed in Kamiah at their city park. Kamiah (ponounce Ka Me Eye) was the winter home of the Nez Perce Nation. The photos at left & right are looking upstream and then downstream on the Lochsa.

The Palouse Region of Washington, with it's vast rolling wheat fields, was busy with harvesting equipment. It was fasciating to see. The wheat harvest was a little early this year because it has been so dry through the past winter, spring and summer here.

We stayed at the Elks Club in Yakima, Wa for a couple of nights.It was great to catch up on shopping, bookwork and cleaning and look forward to our upcoming visits with family! We stopped at a large fruit market on I82 as we left Yakima.  We are just in time for the fresh cherry season and we enjoyed them emensely. We also bought our first fresh peaches! Yum!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Red Lodge Montana

(Chuck) We are currently struggling with Blogger and Live Writer. A few months ago Microsoft quit supporting Live Writer, then again updated it for use. Things were good until recently. A week ago I updated our Google Mail system with Multifactor Authentication for enhanced security. It seems that Live Writer does not like the enhanced security. This means that Jan needs to copy from Live Writer and paste into Blogger. That means that all of the photos need to be re-arranged and that does not sit well with the photo arranger. There seems to be another work around that involves app passwords. I will work on that tomorrow. Blogging may be difficult for a while.

July 14-19, 2015. When we left the Black Hills one of the places we wanted to visit again was Red Lodge, MT. Years ago we had been fascinated with Bear Tooth Pass and the surrounding area. There was a boondock spot south of Red Lodge that was a great memory for me.  It was called Lions Camp and was nestled in the mountains with a very noisy mountain stream. We found it and it was not quite as nice as my memory. It was very un-level had large rocks and several motorcycles that played very loud music until 4:00 am. One night of this fun was all that we could take. 

We looked around and there was a National Forest CG three miles up the road. We were surprised to find that there were quite a few sites that would accommodate our large rig. We parked in one and it was a perfect spot.

Red Lodge was having the annual motorcycle rally. We stayed a few days longer to watch the fun of having the bikes in town. It is not on the scale of Sturgis, but it was a great time. There was a gathering of a motorcycle “club” in the campground. They were well behaved and some had wives and and children with them.

Headed up Bear Tooth Pass
Nearly at the top! The views and lakes up there were beautiful!

Bear Tooth Pass Summit

We drove on several gravel/rock roads.
The wild flowers were amazing!

Heading back down
On another day we took the Jeep on a gravel road which became a 4X4 road up the mountain to a trailhead. 
It was a great 8 mile trip up the mountain. 

(Jan) The town of Red Lodge is very nice town with many interesting stores. Since we had no internet at our campground, we drove into town most days. The Main Street is lively and decorated with many hanging baskets of flowers. We ate lunch one day at the Red Lodge Pizza Company. Very good!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Gillette Coal Mining Tour

(Chuck)  July 15, 2015.

 For many years we have wanted to do the coal mine tour that is given by the Gillette Visitors Center in Gillette, Wyoming. This was our year as weather and travel timing worked in our favor. The tour costs five dollars and leaves from the Visitors Center at 9:00 and 11:00 each day. You can get the information by calling the Visitors Center which is located by the Flying J Travel Center. 

The tour from Gillette concerns the Belle Ayr and Eagle Butte Mines. These two mines which are owned by the Alpha Coal West, Inc. are situated in the Powder River area of central and South West Wyoming. There are vast resources of coal available here and several mines are very active.
Many who have lived and traveled the Mid-West have noticed the mile long trains of coal cars which have transported coal since the early 1970’s. Each rail car holds approximately 120 tons of coal.  Each train consists of 100 to 140 cars which may contain 15,000 to 20,000 tons of coal.

The seam of coal in this area is about 12 to 20 feet thick. It lies under about 250 feet of soil which is called overburden. This overburden needs to be continuously removed and placed back where the coal has been removed. This process produces fields of reclaimed lands which are used for hay production and grazing fields for herds of cattle.
The Eagle Butte Mine operates round the clock with four separate crews that work 12 hour shifts. Pay scale is from $24 to $31 per hour. The haul trucks cost about $4.3 million. They hold 1,200 gallons of diesel fuel, 315 gallons of coolant and 155 gallons of engine oil. They can transport up to 250 tons of product. They are powered by 16 cylinder engines with 2350 horsepower. Tires cost $30,000 each. The electric powered shovels cost about 24 million each.

The whole operation is huge and it was a good tour of one of the large coal producing areas in the interior of the country.
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