Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fourth of July Fireworks

Is this?
Worth this?
Please consider not having fireworks this year.  Conditions are extremely dry across the Pacific Northwest with no real moisture in sight.  As we witnessed in Wenatchee, it only takes a burning ember to fly across the street and start a new, devastating fire.

Have a safe 4th.  Raise the flag and celebrate without lighting up the neighborhood.

Monday, June 29, 2015


It has come to my attention that some in my circle of friends and family think we were to quick to return home from our trip, that we should have taken more time to enjoy it.

We enjoyed the trip immensely even though we chose to shorten it by a couple of months.  We squeezed a lot into a short period of time and were surprised at just how many places we visited and things we saw over the course of the 109 days that we were gone.
Cousin Vi's Birthday

In Arizona we decided to make a whirlwind trip up to Watertown, South Dakota to attend my cousins 93rd birthday.  We are so happy that we stayed there for a couple of weeks and had a good time with our relatives.  Because we went there in such a hurry we missed a portion of the trip that we had planned so we parked our trailer and went and enjoyed some of the sites, spending time in a motel for our base camp.

National Quilt Museum

When we left South Dakota the plan was to visit more mid-western states and Mia was especially interested in going to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky.  While we were there we visited several other locales and certainly enjoyed ourselves.  During this time, weather conditions became very bad in Texas and Oklahoma.  Monitoring weather conditions became a daily chore as we began to experience some activity in our area as well.
Major Rainfall In Indiana

We left Kentucky and headed further east to Virginia and Maryland.  Weather conditions continued to get worse in the mid-west but we experience very little in the way of bad weather, it was just terribly hot and muggy every day.  Again, we monitored the weather conditions carefully knowing that being in a trailer isn't the best place when storms decide to hit.
Weather Turned In Yorktown

Conditions were getting worse as we were about to leave Maryland and head up towards Maine and the eastern seaboard and we made the decision to return home.  Once that decision was made it and the truck was pointed in a western direction, we started to drive and didn't stop until we made it home seven days later.  Weather conditions on the east coast became violent after our return home.  Our son, who was in Mt. Vernon, Virginia for another week after we left ended up having flight delays on his return trip home as weather systems moved through the area and up the seaboard.  Washington D.C. and Portland, Maine were hit hard with major storms causing lots of damage.

Are we sorry we left the east coast so soon?  Absolutely not.  While traveling you need to be aware of what the weather is doing and make certain you are not in the areas where storms can do major damage.  We did that and make no excuses for doing so.  It was our trip and we mutually made the decision to return home and spend the rest of our summer in Gold Bar.

We will take some small trips around the state and perhaps up to Canada.  We will see what the summer brings.

Hope all is well and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Going Home For A Couple Of Days And Other BS

We are leaving our wonderful lot in Gold Bar to go home to our hot, humid condo.  We have some appointments that we must attend so we need to be home for a couple of days.  I will miss the trailers working air conditioning and the parks swimming pool.  We will return for the Fourth of July weekend as I have volunteered for a couple of stints at the gatehouse.  I am looking forward to returning and we haven't even left yet.  Having breakfast this morning at the clubhouse, then packing up and taking a quick swim before leaving to visit our son on the way home.

I am watching with great amusement the large pool of presidential candidates.  You just can't make up some of this stuff that keeps popping up in the news.  I am looking for someone with ideals and vision.  Someone who will listen and not sit in the Oval Office and cut himself off from the people.  A leader who wants people around him that are not just a bunch of yes men.  I'm not seeing much, yet.

As we traveled the country we noticed the presence of the Confederate Flag in nearly every southern state that we visited.  The flag supposedly represents the Confederate States of America and yet it was never ratified by the Confederate Congress, never flew over any Confederate Capitol and was never officially used by any Confederate groups during the Civil War.  A square version of the flag was adopted by General Robert E. Lee for his Army of North Virginia and was called a battle flag.  It became a symbol of the ancestry of the southern states of America and then the KKK resurrected it as their symbol of white supremacy along with the Nazi Swastika.  Both of these are now viewed by many as symbols of the pain and anguish suffered before and during the Civil Rights era.

While the flag probably shouldn't fly on city, county or state property there can be no doubt that it should be protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution no matter how offensive it may be.  It looks like we might be adding this flag and its derivatives to George Carlins "seven dirty words".  I understand the need for restraint but I really wonder where this will lead.  Then, again, maybe I am totally wrong.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Quiet With No Driving Involved

Sitting here in the outer limits and away from nearly any kind of mechanical sound I hear the sounds of birds calling to each other as the sun is about to rise above the hills to the east of our campsite.  Gold Bar can be a place of relaxation especially during the middle of the week when the vast majority of folks here are what we call "live-ins" and they enjoy their peace and quiet as much as we do.  Bring on the weekend and the whole tempo of the place changes as many of the 1200 hundred members and their guests pack into the facility to enjoy camping and using the facilities.  The weekend, especially holiday weekends, are the best times to be gone from here.

When we got back on Sunday I spent the majority of the afternoon setting up the trailer and making sure we were ready for our two and a half month stay.  We went to the local Mexican restaurant, La Hacienda, for dinner.  We have never been disappointed with the meals we have gotten.  Then it was off to a night of sleep.

Monday we went shopping to replenish our stock.  Since we are sitting still and not traveling long distances everyday we will forego restaurants and fix our own meals.  I got the outside food preparation station out and set it up alongside the trailer.  No heat allowed in my trailer during the summer months with a small oven and Weber Q we do nearly everything outside.  We had steaks with potatoes and creamed corn for dinner followed by a fire and smores.

Honey is really relaxed now that she is back home.  It is amazing to see the difference in her personality since we have gotten back.  We had so much fun with her.  She is like a little kid when it comes to horses.  Sure she likes other livestock as well but when there are horses she is up in the back seat, two paws on the window frame or armrest and she watches them until she can't see them anymore.  Often she will get up and search area whenever she observes scenery that resembles that which looks like other places when she has seen horses.  I don't know what her fascination is with them but she loves to watch them and sometimes bark with tail wagging like she wants to play.  During our time in Amish country she went nuts over the horses pulling carriages along the highways.  Tuesday afternoon she decided the rest of the day was for relaxation.

Yesterday I cleaned the truck and worked on cleaning up most of the supplies that we took with us and got them stored away for the next adventure.  I still have to clean the truck grille and front bumper some more as the bugs are really stuck to the front but at least I got rid of the bird feathers.  While driving on highway 212 in South Dakota a family of quail were on the road just over one of the many rises in the roadbed.  As I approached they were moving to get out of the way as another truck was coming the other direction giving me no place to avoid them.  Unfortunately, two of the younger members of the family were unable to take flight quick enough and one flew up into the grill of the truck while the other hit the windshield and bounced of the trailer as it flew out of control over the truck.  Sadly, I saw both of them land hard on the roadbed behind the truck.

The trailer will need a bath and I expect to take at least a couple of days cleaning the outside.  There are bugs everywhere there is a flat surface facing towards the front of the unit.  The AC housing, covers for the vents, the front of the trailer and the arms of the awning.  There is a lot of maintenance to be done after a long trip such as ours and before we take it out again we will need to have the bearings and brakes inspected and repacked.  I plan to check out all of the lap joints for cracks to make sure we catch any issues caused by moving down the highway.  Looks like we will have perfect ninety degree weather for me to accomplish this over the next week or so.

We had one minor issue when we returned to our site.  It would appear that someone wanted into our new barn that we had built last summer.  They tried to remove the door hinge screws in and effort to get the door open.  Apparently they failed to be able to remove some of the screws but the did damage several of them by breaking the heads off.  Some are missing but I can see remnants of the threaded portion still in several of the holes.  I am going to find some security type screws today and make the necessary repairs.

Hope all is well and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Home At Last, Well Almost

Arriving home just after noon today, we brought to an end a trip that took us 17,859.8 miles and 109 days to travel around the countryside towing our 26’ foot Nash travel trailer with our 2010 Silverado Crew Cab Pickup.  We averaged 14.478 miles per gallon overall for the entire trip.  Only two incidents of a consequence included one flat tire on the truck in Arizona and that loss of our main house breaker in Williamsburg, Virginia.  Both were promptly repaired and we were able to survive some pretty difficult circumstances after discovering that we were have issues using the air conditioning early in the trip.  That issue was resolved with the replacement house breaker and we have experienced no further difficulties.

We both enjoyed the trip and feel a little strange being home after almost four months out enjoying the countryside.  While the driving was tedious at times the end result was usually worth the effort.  Many times over the course of the trip I thought to myself, “what are you doing.”?  After many miles of travel I can honestly say I enjoyed it and would consider another road trip in the future.

We have learned a bunch about the history of the nation in every state that we stopped in.  Everything from those who lived here before the original immigrants arrived to the founding fathers and the struggles they faced in forming a new nation.  Each signer of the Declaration of Independence committed treason in the belief that there was a better way.  On to the many decisions that moved the original Americans from the ancestral homes to places unfamiliar to them.  To our internal strive over slavery and the war that nearly tore the country apart.  An we have brought home with us more reading material.

Over the course of the trip we discovered how hard it was for the folks in the early years to travel, communicate and just plain carry on the business of the new country.  Some of the struggles they faced are the same ones we still face today.  It seems that history just continues to repeat itself.  But one thing stuck out that I don’t recall ever hearing in my school years.  The founding fathers seem to agree that this nation was to be a nation “of the people.”  What we see not certainly can’t be considered and nation “of the people.”  Billionaires will elect the next President.  It has been said that 5 billion dollars will be spent to elect the next President.  Doesn’t sound like the people have too much say about anything any more.

We are both glad to be home, well close to home.  We will be staying in Gold Bar for most of the summer because we weren’t sure when we would be back and we promised out grandson the use of our condo through September and besides it is nice staying in the woods during the summer time where we have a pool, hiking and all kinds of activities.  We both have appointments so we will go home for a couple of days to get them taken care of.  The truck and trailer are a mess and both need to be cleaned inside and out and the lot at Gold Bar has kind of grown over and is in need of some loving care as well.  So we have lots to keep us busy for the foreseeable future.

I want to thank those of you who followed our trip on the blog.  I suspect many of you came from the post’s I placed on Facebook but it doesn’t really matter.  The blog will probably slow down now.  Likely I won’t post too many times because, frankly, once the trip is done, who wants to hear about what we are doing daily.  I don’t!

I hope all is well and thanks again for dropping by.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Spearfish, SD

We are in Spearfish, SD hoping to make Bozeman, Mt tomorrow.  I have been driving a lot since Monday and look forward to getting home either Sunday or Monday.

Monday, June 15, 2015

First Leg Home

Today we got up early and hit the road.  Driving out of the Washington D C area at six-thirty in the morning we were really happy that we weren’t in the ten mile back up heading south into the city as we ran north into Pennsylvania.  We crossed the Appalachian Mountains (hills) again as we drove into Ohio.  On the turnpike in Ohio we encountered many miles of I 80 being replaced and a couple of really nasty down falls of rain.  Covering 460 miles as we traveled the first leg of our journey home.

So hard to drive when it’s like someone has a fire hose and they are dousing your windshield.  You can’t see five hundred feet in front of you and the folks here don’t slow down for the bad conditions.  No wonder there is so many multiple car accidents here in the east.

The turnpike is a toll road with service plaza located along the way somewhat like a rest stop but with more services.  This allows those driving through the state to stay on the toll road and pay one big hefty fee when they leave the state.  Each service plaza has restrooms, cold drinks, snacks, gas, a Starbucks and some fast food restaurants.   There are four plaza locations that have parking for RV’s.  If you hook up to power it costs $20.00 for the night or it is free if you don’t hook up.  Since the air is muggy here just like the rest of the east cost we hooked up.  Currently we are waiting for the downpour outside to stop so we can walk a couple of hundred feet to the service plaza for dinner.

This is not the first time we have seen the service plaza along the toll roads but these are the first that we have seen with RV parking with electrical hookups.  It is thoughtful of Ohio to think of those of use who don’t carry a big generator.  One other RV’er has joined us so far but he has an onboard generator and it looks like he is waiting for the rain to stop as well.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Today is our last day on the east coast with stops other than those sleep overs needed to continue traveling during the day.  We have had a great time on this trip and have seen and discovered a lot about the history of the nation.  I have always been interested in history and I am generally reading a history or biographical book of one kind or another.

Currently, I am reading "American Lion" by Jon Meacham which is a comprehensive look at Andrew Jackson during his two terms in the White House.  Jackson was struggling against Southerners and the Nullifiers out of South Carolina regarding the preservation of the Union.  The Southerners rebelled against what Jackson called an equal distribution of the benefits and burden of the Union between all the states.  The Federal Union, as Jackson called it, was not seen as something the Southern Delegation wanted.  Concerned over South Carolina's sovereignty some Southerners predicted civil war "if something is not done to conciliate the discontents which prevail at this time".

Enter Edward Livingston from Louisiana who rose to speak to the to the Senate in 1830.  His speech went on for hours and hours.  While speaking on tariff, internal improvement, disposition of public lands and the powers of the Senate in relation to the appointments process.  He believed in debate and the interchange of opinion without personality or partisanship.  During his speech he stated, "The cost of partisanship for partisanship's sake-of seeing politics as blood sport, where the kill is the only object of the exercise-was, Livingston said, too high for a free society to pay.  Differences of opinion and doctrine and personality were one thing, and such distinctions formed the natural bases of what Livingston called "the necessary and ...the legitimate parties existing in all free Governments."

It seems that it is true.  If you want to see where you are going, look at where you have been.  The more I read and learn about the inner workings of the early government it becomes apparent that nothing has really changed through the decades.

We are relaxing today and with the possible exception of meeting up with our son and his family later this afternoon, we will be doing little or nothing.  The weather is extremely hot with 90+ degrees and 100% humidity.  Last night the skies opened up, lit up with lightning followed by loud, booming thunder and hard rain fall.  It was very interesting between midnight and four in the morning.

We have had a nice stay here at the Cherry Hill RV Park.  There are lots of amenities.  There is a lady who lives close to the park and comes in and will walk your dog while you are off for the day seeing the sites.  This is a nice option to have when you leave on the bus and don't return for eleven hours.  Two pools, a ballroom, large office and store, waterfall pond area, miniature golf, the Star Cafe and a staff that seems to be interested in making your stay as monumental as possible.  I highly recommend the park and it is pretty close to everything you might want to see around the D.C. area.

Hope all is well and thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Old Town Annapolis and The Academy

Today we went to old town Annapolis to see the sites.  Maryland's capitol city was founded by Puritans in 1650 seeking religious freedom.  Originally along the western shore of Chesapeake Bay they soon spread across the Severn River to create the land that the capitol city occupies.  Originally named after Lord Baltimore's wife in 1694 it was known as Anne Arundell until it was renamed Annapolis to honor Princess Anne who became Queen of England in 1702.  There is much history here and it all starts with a visit to one of the most beautiful churches I have had the opportunity to see.  The city is built around two circles the largest for the capitol building and the second largest for the Anglican church.  St. Anne's Church has been destroyed twice and the third representation stands today.  We spent time on the restaurant and shop laden streets that stretch out towards the bay from these two circles.

Moving down the streets towards the docks.  We stopped at O'Brien's Steak House for lunch and met a very nice young lady who was our waitress.  Not surprising, her father is a retired Naval officer and she moved down here from the Bremerton area.  I just knew she wasn't from around here....she was too nice.

We get to the docks and there is a Corvette show.

A few hundred feet away is the Commodore John Barry monument and entrance to the U.S. Naval Academy.  Picture I.D. is required and just like the airport everything goes through a scanner to ensure no weapons of any kind are going on the base.  They have a maritime museum and you can self tour or take a guided tour.  Mia and I opted to do a self tour.  The place is amazing and very beautiful.  The grounds are amazing and the quarters for the officers and the superintendent
are amazing.

We had an absolutely wonderful time returning to the nice cool trailer after Mia went to a Quilt Guild show at a local High School.  I went down to the pool for a dip after taking Honey for a nice long stroll since we left her home today. 

Hope all is well and thanks for stopping by.