Sunday, April 25, 2010

Family has made me too busy to keep up with the Blog!

Sunday April 25, 2010

It has been a busy week and I have not published anything until today.

Tuesday last week I spent a few hours with sister Joy catching up on her news and listening to how her life is going.  She has had it with Telus (thirty years in Aug. 2010) and is now prepared to chuck the whole thing. Stress leave etc. etc….. and  feels she has to move on to another phase of her life.  Having watched Eric and Erika as well as many of our friends be tortured by the ongoing downsizing and moving of Telus jobs offshore I can understand that she is fed up with the whole thing.  A difficult situation but she seems good and I hope it will all go well for her.  She will at least retain her pension for the future. 

Eric spent Tuesday with Brian  and helped with his sailboat diesel engine maintenance.  Brother David is close enough by that he cycled over to the boat after work and the brothers had a visit and dinner together.  Nice!  Fran and I had a quiet afternoon and dinner together.  When Eric got home he had a cold.  Jason (Ian’s son) and wife Deb’s daughter Ella was a little germ fest last weekend and Eric now has a cold.  Muchos snot!

Wednesday April  21, 2010

Off to Mom’s to pick her up for lunch at Eric’s sister Kathryn’s.  I had a brief look at her new senior’s residence and was really impressed as it was kind of like going into a grand hotel with a beautiful dining room.  Very, very, very nice.  Her room is really tasteful with all her possessions and furniture fitted into the small studio apartment.  She seems really happy there and the meals are great. We are all so relieved  that  she is safe, happy and well fed in her new place. 

We had a good lunch with Kathryn and husband Gary at their house close by and even got to see Kaitlin (third in line of four) when she got home from University for the day.  A really nice afternoon. 

We had a dinner with Fran (Barney was getting the boat ready for the next day’s sailing so he stayed on the boat ) and then an early night as we were heading back to Kelowna the next day.

Thursday April 22, 2010

We picked Mom up from her place in New Westminster around 10am and headed out the freeway for Kelowna.  It was a sunny day but a slow trip out the valley to Hope.  Lane closures for little bits of construction slowed the traffic so that we lost about 45 minutes on the way out.  We had lunch in Hope and then an arrival in Kelowna by 4pm.  A slow but uneventful trip. 

Friday April 23, 2010

I spent a good day with sister Anne at Costco.  We went to look at plants and that kind of escalated into an out and out shopping trip.  A few good plants, clothes, food etc. etc. etc……  Fun!  Anne is always so generous with her time when I come to town and always does whatever I want to do.  What a great sister! 

Saturday April 24, 2010

Today was the day for the family dinner with Tycho relatives and a couple of Ian and Linda’s close friends (Basil and Brenda.)  Linda and I spent most of the day preparing the turkey dinner and then cleaning up after.  Just the usual for a big dinner!  Lots of good food, chat and family fun.  Everyone had a good time and it’s something we don’t often get an opportunity to do.  Eric spent most of the day lying down as his cold is still giving him grief but he rallied for the dinner and visited with the family. 

Sunday April 25, 2010

Today we packed up to go home.  We have been away for six months and it is time to get going and laundry was done and most things stowed away.

I had lunch with sisters Anne and Elisa along with niece Adrian (Anne’s daughter at Rose’s down on the lake and it was a good visit.  The weather yesterday was lousy but much better today so we got to sit outside in the sun. Bueno!

  Anne and I hit Art Knapp’s again on the way home and I picked up a few more plants and (Anne did too!)   After the winter of 2008/2009 I am hesitant about buying plants that I think won’t survive (even properly zoned ones) as I lost at least 40% of my perennials that winter and a lot of them that I can’t replace.  It was definitely a wakeup call as to what mother nature can really do if she sets her mind to it! 

I cooked an orange (Mexican shrimp) stir fry for dinner and had a good visit with Doris (Eric’s mom – soon to be 88) as well as Linda’s mom Ena soon to be 91!)  I have been distracted with family and also being unable to find the time to add pictures to the blog.   Oh well, I can add them later if I have time.  Right!

  Tomorrow morning we hit the road for home and hopefully we will make it to Prince George and if not, at least Quesnel.  If all goes well we’ll be home on Tuesday night and then Wednesday we can try to get the house up and going.  We shut off the water while we are away and there is always the possibility of leaks when you fill the lines and start up the appliances again.  Wish us luck! 

Monday, April 19, 2010

We are in Kelowna.

Saturday April 17, 2010

We arrived in Kelowna yesterday afternoon after a peaceful uneventful drive from Lake Chelan.  We were amazed once again by the amount of orchards along the way.  The day was sunny with a minimal amount of wind so that was perfect. 

We had an unusual border crossing with no problems.  The Canadian border guard didn’t ask to see our passports (in Eric’s hand), asked where we lived and how long we had been away(didn’t ask where we had wintered) wanted to know how much alcohol we had (I fudged a little!) asked how much the cost of goods coming back were worth (I said less than $500 – another fudge)  asked if I had any fruit or vegetables (I said no fruit but a little veggies) he said next time no veggies but we could have citrus ( I apologized) bye, bye and that was it!  Sweet!  Unusual that he didn’t want to see the passports or know where we had been. 

On our way to Kelowna from Osoyoos we passed by Penticton and as we made our left turn we heard a honk and a van pulled up beside us.  Guess who, Fraser Sutherland from Terrace with daughter Tanis etc. …. heading into Penticton.  Too funny, did I ever mention it is a small world!  When we were in the Beebe Bridge Park the night before we met a guy named Art (Dakota…spelling?) who now lives in Kelowna but who had lived in Kitimat till l968 moved to Mackenzie etc. etc. and had just been on a trip up north to Terrace, Smithers and Hazelton.  Still has relatives there and knew people that Eric and I did.  Again, small world. 

We spent a nice warm late afternoon in Ian and Linda’s backyard, had a yummy dinner and were in bed early. 

Today Linda and I made the garden centre rounds and had a look at plants.  It is still early spring in Kelowna so the garden center’s are just getting going.  A bought a few things to replace some things lost last winter. We took a nice walk and looked at all the mondo houses being built down by the lake.  Nice old houses are torn down and huge monstrosities are built in their place.  Too big,decadent and often don’t fit the neighborhood but there is a lot of money in Kelowna so I guess that’s what happens.  Sad because the development here is out of control. 

Tomorrow I will hook up with sister Anne and maybe Elisa before we head to the coast on Monday. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I had a chat with sister Elisa this morning (she was visiting Anne) and then headed up to Anne’s for a visit.  We had a nice lunch and then went to Bylands nursery for a look.  Lots of beautiful trees, shrubs etc. but all a bit pricey.  The trees are often ones you can’t get in Terrace but the rest of it is available at other nurseries cheaper.  I had been interested in a Katsura tree so I had a look at those and I may buy one, not sure yet.  Tomorrow we head for the coast to see Mom and visit with other relatives. 

We had a nice dinner with Jason (Ian’s son) and his wife Deb and their daughter Ella ( a real cutie who will be 2 in August.)  Fun.  Off to bed for the trip tomorrow.

Monday April 19, 2010

We left Kelowna in nice weather and had a relaxing drive to Hope where we got fuel and had a picnic lunch.  A pretty, quiet little spot with lots of old buildings nestled by the river and mountains and since it was a warm day, very pleasant.  The drive from Hope to Vancouver starts to busy up around Abbotsford and is very busy the rest of the way in.  As the traffic really needs three or four lanes and only has two it is always a bit stressful.  Too many people and too few roads.  We arrived at Brian and Fran’s around 3:30 and the weather was lovely.  Good chat, happy hour and then Eric and Brian when to get Mom from New Westminster for dinner.  Brian cooked, Fran did her part with salad and it was a really great dinner and we were all pleasantly stuffed.  A really nice evening.  Tomorrow Brian and Eric will head to the boat, I will see sister Joy and poor Fran will have to work as she has a deadline to meet.  Since she works from home I will leave her in peace!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pendleton to Lake Chelan

April 15, 2010

We left Pendleton around 9am yesterday as we didn’t have too far to go.  Our destination was Beebe Bridge Park at Lake Chelan on the Columbia River.  We have stayed here a couple of times and it always a good last stop before we head into Canada.  It is immaculate, cheap,beautiful and although the highway runs right next to it the traffic is quiet at night.  The park opens the first of April and the cost is $10 if you are over 62 (in the off season – Labor day to Memorial day)  for water/electric/hot showers and a dump on site.  A lovely stop and you can drive over the bridge and up into Lake Chelan for a meal or shopping.  This is a big tourist destination in the summer but right now it is very quiet. 

We took an alternate route to get to Lake Chelan (see previous post map) and passed through Benton City coming off highway 82 onto highway 225.  As we neared our left turn onto highway 240 we passed the Horn Rapids Park on the Yakima River, made a pit stop and had a look around.  Another quiet, pretty park with hook-ups and we will keep that on our list for another time.

Apr 14 2010_5435

Horn Rapids Park on the Yakima River.

It would have been a doable drive from Meridian if we left at 8am. and we could have arrived in the late afternoon.  We followed my preplanned blue line (in MapPoint on the laptop) with the GPS following it and I didn’t make any errors and although this was a new method it worked great.  Next year we will have another slightly smaller laptop with us to use in the truck.  Also, it is always good to have a back up in case one lap top dies.  This leads to the next part of the story!  Yesterday morning the laptop wouldn’t open and I just about had a heart attack!  Windows updates had fouled up it’s start mode and I thought I was done for.  I shut it down and started over and everything came up fine.  I have now cancelled auto updates and will check them periodically to see if we want them as they constantly muck things up restarting the computer when you don’t want them to. 

The days travelling was without wind and warm and sunny when we arrived. 

Apr 14 2010_5437

Lonesome highway.

Apr 14 2010_5440

Apr 14 2010_5445

Rock Island Dam south of Wenatchee.

Apr 14 2010_5446

Spring is just coming here in Washington and the trees are starting to bloom so we had a  nice warm happy hour at the edge of the water. 

Apr 14 2010_5452

The rig in the Beebe Park.

Apr 14 2010_5448

Beautiful Beebe Park.

Apr 14 2010_5454 

Beebe Bridge looking north up the Columbia River.

Apr 14 2010_5456

Apr 14 2010_5457

Apr 14 2010_5449

This would make a great painting!

Apr 14 2010_5458

Happy Eric having happy hour in the sun.

Tomorrow we head for Kelowna and Eric’s brother Ian’s driveway.  I also have two sisters there Anne and Elisa to visit.  From Kelowna we will make a trip in the truck to Vancouver where we will visit Mom and stay with Eric’s brother Brian and wife Fran.  We’ll also see any family that is available for our brief trip to Vancouver.  If Mom wishes we will bring her back to Kelowna with us for a visit before we head home for Terrace some time next weekend.  The party is over and the work at home waits!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Boise/Meridian RV Park to Lookout RV Park in Pendleton, Oregon

Tuesday April 13, 2010
It was a short day today and a good one.  No big weather and an interesting drive and as we get better at travelling we are starting to look around more .
Apr 13 2010_5419
Irrigation ditches close to Boise.
Apr 13 2010_5421
Apr 13 2010_5424

Apr 13 2010_5422
Good mileage, 10ish miles to the gallon and easy roads with no trouble over the Cabbage Hill north of La Grande, Oregon. 
Apr 13 2010_5425
The truck got a new air filter yesterday and now it is no longer making all sorts of fan noises from who knows where and this made it a quiet trip.  Cold engine and transmission both.  Sweet! 
Apr 13 2010_5429
Heading into Pendleton.
I had picked the Lookout RV park in Pendleton for a stop because it was easy to find and that is always our first choice.  Checked it on Map Point for directions, checked the net for reviews and here we are in a pull thru up on a high hill in a park that is all paved with no trees or posts of any kind.   For an overnight stop it is good.  The washrooms and showers are the nice design with the sink/toilet/and shower each in a separate room and at $30 per night with Good Sam it is okay.   Not cheap but okay since we have full services including Wi-Fi.
Apr 13 2010_5432
Looking out over the valley southwest of the park. 
Apr 13 2010_5433
A shot below the park to the freeway.
We arrived  early (only 200 miles today) and that gave us time to look around.  We went back through Pendleton (with MapPoint running) to find the the Mountain View RV park on the west side of the freeway and also to get beer and money.  Pendleton is old, small and under construction everywhere.  Lots of small one way streets so it was not a drive for the RV!  We passed the turn over the freeway and ended up down by the Pendleton Woolen Mill (didn’t know it was there!) and then went back over the freeway to find the other RV park for a look.
Apr 13 2010_5430
Pendleton Mill, next time we’ll have a look.
A KOA that was not where MapPoint said it was, but close.  A nice park but lots of metal posts at each site so you would have to be careful.  In the end the Lookout is fine for an overnight stop. 
We could stop here again another time  and have a look at the woolen mill and take the tour.   Also, there are underground tours of a city under a city from the second World War.  There were brothels and opium dens and there are tours of that as well.   As we are getting more used to this “Carefree RV lifestyle” we will stop in different places, take different routes and stay long enough to see things.  It takes time to get used to hauling the RV, parking, finding fuel, places to stay and parking it.  It is only year two for us and we have made huge progress in developing the skills necessary to do this.   Most of the people we met this year have been RVing  for a few years at least so we are still beginners.   We are working hard to keep track of the weather, getting lots of map information and talking to everyone to gather information.  A huge job but we really don’t want to wing it and have it all go bad!  We had a rough start last year but it is all getting better.
Tomorrow we will take an alternate route to Lake Chelan and see some new country. 
> Mainmap
This looks like an interesting route on smaller roads, so I’ll let you know how this all works out. 
Presently my free Wifi is local only, since last night and I may have to post somewhere else.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Rainy day in Meridian.

Monday April 12, 2010

Yesterday was a cloudy quiet day.  I updated the blog now that we are on the net while Eric rode around town on his bicycle.  I took a walk and ended up over at the Home Depot.  We have been looking for new floor furnace vents as the ones in the rig are plastic, have no shut off and the one in the kitchen broke.  We have been looking everywhere for the right size with no luck.  Today, luck!  One more thing off the list.  I also did a little shopping in the local WinCo big box grocery store.  I had forgotten what a great store this was from the last time we were here.  The freshest food, clean store, nice staff (cash or debit only) and the best prices I have seen in the U.S.  Beats the hell out of Mesa, Yuma and everywhere else.  Anywhere there are a lot of snowbirds they just hose you for everything.  Too cold to be a snowbird destination here even though there are people living year round in RV's.  I'm thinking they lost their houses and this is all they can afford.  At least the prices here are decent.  Also, there are about 10 -15 restaurants within easy walking distance of the park.  A good stop.

Eric was looking for an air filter for the truck on the net (ours needs replacing) and I located a nearby GMC dealer .   We also found a really large Harley dealer close by so today off we went to have a look.   It was pouring rain this morning but is supposed to clear up later this afternoon which will make for an okay drive tomorrow.  I checked the weather going through the pass at La Grande and it looks okay.  No snow and only light to moderate wind. 

A short trip on the freeway took us out to the GM dealer a few miles north of Meridian in Napa.  A trip back on the freeway to the Harley dealer just south and when we got there we were amazed by the size of the dealership.  A huge inventory of bikes, new and used as well as an enormous stock of jackets, clothes and boots.  I got lucky.  I found a pair of good lightweight riding boots that actually fit.  I also bought a lightweight Harley jacket(cotton) to ride in Mexico so I won't embarass Rita in my bumble bee striped sweatjacket!  Are you reading this Rita?  They had great two season jackets that the whole front and back zip off to leave a mesh lightweight liner and sleeves that are armoured for summer riding.  If I rode more at home I would have considered one.  But, at $325.00 you have to get a lot of use out of one.  Suitable for Eric but I doubt he'd ever pay that!  We'll see as his riding jacket is worn out.

Back to Home Depot for the rest of the furnace vents and a bit of food from my now favorite WinCo store.  Done and ready to move tomorrow.  We think we'll just go to Pendleton (I've researched parks) and then cut over to Quincy north of Moses Lake.  That way we can go up through Lake Chelan for our next nights stop.  One night or two there and then on to Kelowna.  It looks like the weather is smartening up there by the end of the week.

                    Here are a couple of quick shots of the park. 

Here we are in the Boise/Meridian Park.

                                 Looking forward, this is a big park.

Onward to Pendleton, to the Lookout Park just north of Pendleton which looks easy to find.  Hope so.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ely, Nevada to Meridian, Idaho.

Sunday April 11, 2010

We left Ely yesterday morning at 8am.  It was just around freezing when we hit the road but it was dry, so no ice.

Oh yeah, the guy who was leaving for Oregon pulling his 5th wheel with the old trucks and squealing fan belts was broken down at the edge of the road about 2 miles out of Ely.  Plan B I guess. 

It is a long flat drive on 93 to Twin Falls with not much traffic.  The road goes through the Great Basin which is all high desert.  Eric could use cruise control so that is not so tiring.

Apr 10 2010_5412 On highway 93 Ely to Twin Falls.

Apr 10 2010_5411

 Apr 10 2010_5414 More interesting rocks.

Spring has not arrived yet and the there is lots of snow on the mountains and even at the side of the road.  Very interesting rock formations along the way and it all warrants a more leisurely drive but …..wind …. is coming, so not this time.  As you pass through the north end of Twin Falls you go over the Snake River and the gorge that it runs through.  Spectacular and again we’ll stop another time.  Today was another long day but we had a tailwind from Twin Falls to Meridian and since it is downhill  all the way from Ely to Meridian so that was sweet.  Cruise control and 10 to 11 mph!  We made good time and arrived at the Boise Meridian RV park around 3:30pm and got in without any problems.  Last year we missed the turn (a confusing Y) and this year in November we found the road at the Y and they had changed it to a one way coming towards us which forced us down a dead end road.  We were only lucky to be able to turn around  because the guy at the end had a huge circular driveway with lots of room.  Whew!    Did he put in in so we could we turn around ?!!!  This time, no problem, finally!  It is a hard park to find (poor signage - but, great sites, paved, free Wi-Fi, pool, hot tub, showers etc. and all really clean.  $30 a night with tax and Good Sam discount.  The only problem they have is the really, really old women on the desk (way older than me!) who are always confused and can’t get the computer to run.  She gave us a site after asking our length and it turned out to be narrow and next to the trash bins even though there were lots of better sites available.  Then a site we couldn’t  get through because of a trailer parked in front.  Again, no good.  Eric says we are a magnet for crappy sites and I say we just have to complain.   We are paying  them and they are not doing us a favor by letting us stay in “their” park and we learn a little more every time we stay in a new park.   I don’t know who they were saving the primo sites for but….they didn’t show up!  Dopey. 

We ordered Pizza with a park coupon from a local independent shop called Pizzaroni’s and it is the best pizza we have ever eaten.  Two medium pizzas -a Mediterranean and a Veggie as I wasn’t sure of size and it was twice as much as we could eat.  Great fresh crust, fresh ingredients  (zucchini, spinach, artichokes, feta etc.)  Absolutely delicious!  Next time one family size will do. 

Today we’ll chill out and decide when to head out of here.  Supposed to be rainy with thunderstorms tomorrow so we may wait till Tuesday to leave. 

Eric has rearranged the garage so the bicycles can come off the front of the truck (getting rain now) and ride inside along with our extra chair and Blue.  Getting crowded in there. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Laughlin to Ely – A good day!

Friday April 9 2010
We pulled out of Laughlin at 8am this morning on our way to Ely, Nevada.  No wind!  We had been waiting for a lull and today we got it.  A really pleasant drive up to Las Vegas across the desert with ….no wind!  In case I haven’t mentioned it, wind is no fun in an RV and we do what we can to avoid it.  We were hammered crossing the Mohave last year heading for Bakersfield and learned they closed the highway shortly after we passed through.  Not a good thing.  So, a really good trip today, no stress and I didn’t make any navigational errors.  Things are getting better.  I took pictures out the window as we travelled to show the changes from Laughlin at 450 feet to Ely at 6500 feet after coming over the pass just south of Ely at 7400 feet.  The camera is a Fuji Finepix S5100 4megapix 10X Zoom set on auto.
Apr 09 2010_5388
Heading north on 93 between Las Vegas and Ash Springs.
Apr 09 2010_5392 Apr 09 2010_5391Apr 09 2010_5393 Apr 09 2010_5394   Shots of the sandstone canyon on 318 between Ash springs and Lund.Apr 09 2010_5396Starting to see Juniper close to Ely.
Apr 09 2010_5398
Snow on the mountains close to Ely.
Apr 09 2010_5400Just over the 7400 ft. summit.
Apr 09 2010_5401
Lots of snow at the edge of the road.
We arrived around 4pm to nice sunny, warm (for Ely ) weather with no wind. 
Apr 09 2010_5408
Valley view RV park.
Apr 09 2010_5406
Apr 09 2010_5407
The rig in Valleview.  Having happy hour in the sun.
We thought we’d stay an extra day until we checked the weather on the net.  We are in the Valley view RV park ($20 a night) and they have good free Wifi even though we are close to the highway it is fairly quiet over night. 
While we were having happy hour I had to look twice and blink!  I’d only had one beer so I realized it really was a peacock strolling around!  The guy across the way was giving him some scraps.  Pretty hardy to survive an Ely winter.  They got about 3 feet of snow and lots of subfreezing weather.  The guy said there was an old farmer who died who was raising peacocks so now they are on their own.  He looked great so I guess they manage. 
Apr 09 2010_5402
Apr 09 2010_5405 What’s a peacock doing in an RV park?
The guy I talked to had been living in Ely for two years  (from Oregon) and was  working in the Copper mine and living in an RV.  Two old pick-ups and heading back to Oregon tomorrow!  Doesn’t look like he saved any money.  Good luck!
Anyway there is a big storm coming from the Pacific and we are going to get big, big wind from the south.  So….we will head out of here early and make a run for Boise/Meridian.  A big day at 385 miles but if we don’t get out now we’ll be here for a few days.  Wind gusts to 50mph!  We like Ely and spent an extra day here on the way down and thought we’d have another look around.   The  Coppermine here had it’s own railroad with steam trains.  It has become a national heritage site with operating steam engines, shops and 50 miles of track. 
Nov 06 2009_3511 Nov 06 2009_3514
Nov 06 2009_3515 The Ely train yards where they still run the steam engines.  You can pay to ride on their tour days.
We had a tour for $2 from an old train enthusiast and were amazed at the size of the steam engines with their 6 foot drivers. 
Nov 06 2009_3501 Nov 06 2009_3503 Nov 06 2009_3504
The operating steam engines.
The mechanical shop has lathes that can true these drivers and all the machines are driven by a line shaft and flat belts which adds to the reason why this is a National Heritage site. 
Nov 06 2009_3477 The main mechanical shop with a car under repair on the right.
Nov 06 2009_3481Nov 06 2009_3483 Lathe truing railroad car wheels.
Nov 06 2009_3484
Nov 06 2009_3488
Nov 06 2009_3490 Milling machines and lathes.
The downtown of Ely is being restored and we’d like to get time to walk through it.  Up the road (heading north on 93) there is the small town of McGill which was the smelter site.  A pretty restored company town. 
The second thought was a stop in Jackpot 180 miles north but ….again wind!  50 mile per hour gusts are not what you want in an RV.  So, onward!
Apr 09 2010_5390