Saturday, September 29, 2007


Camping at Fort Casey State Park

Our neighbors D & B suggested last week that we plan a getaway for a couple of days with our RVs to Fort Casey State Park at Coupville on Whidbey Island. The park has a campground for RVs and is right next to the Keystone ferry, operated by the Washington State Ferry System, that makes daily runs to the Olympic Peninsula town of Port Townsend. That sounded like fun to us so we laid plans to head there after Pat's volunteer job at the hospital this past Tuesday. D & B left ahead of us but we got there about 14:30 and settled into our camp site which was right on the shore looking out at the ferry dock.

Ft Casey 01
This first photo shows our rig setup with Pat walking nearby. There are no hookups at this park so you are totally boondocking, although there is a dump site and water available to drive to. Generators are permitted to be run between 08:00 and 21:00 hours. State parks are known for wide open spaces and uncrowded camp sites. We were right next to D & B but there is enough space that they barely heard our genset when it was operating.

Ft Casey 02
Here is a good example of the distance between the sites & shows both of our rigs as well as the ferry slip in the background. We will be a lot better off after our visit next week to AM Solar in Eugene, OR to have our solar battery charging system and much larger batteries installed in the rig. Right now I worry about running the small 12volt battery that is supplied with most rigs down with just daily living.

Ft Casey 03
For this photo I have basically turned around from where I was when taking the first one. This is the ferry slip, without a boat. We were catching the next one to go to Pt. Townsend so I was taking photos before we walked over there to catch the boat. They were running late all day because of a lot of fog in the morning so our trip scheduled for noon didn't leave until almost 13:00.

Ft Casey 04
Washington is known as the Evergreen State so it isn't surprising that there are a lot of evergreen plants around here. This is a closeup view of some of the needles and cones on one that was right beside our RV.

Ft Casey 05
A view showing most of the campground, taken from on board the ferry. The first RV that is partially visible near the right side of the photo is ours, with D & B's to the left of it in the photo. This probably gives a better idea of how much space is available here although all of the campsites are not occupied.

Ft Casey 06
There are large bumpers made up of many pilings driven into the bottom that help guide and hold the ferry in place in it's slip. The top of these are popular sites for sea birds to perch on and even build their nests. One of these on the other side of the boat had a nest that was used to hatch babies earlier in the year and I guess they were a very popular thing for the passengers to see.

Ft Casey 07
The name of our boat was the "Klickitat" as you can tell from this photo taken from the passenger deck and looking up toward the superstructure on the top of the boat. These are diesel powered and really don't need those large smokestacks but they all seem to still have them.

Ft Casey 08
Our two RVs in their campsites as seen from the ferry while we were leaving the slip.

Ft Casey 09
This photo is a bit out of order as it was taken when we returned home that night. It was a very eventful return but I'll go more into that later in another post. Suffice it to say that you really can't see the fog in this view! It does show the size of the ferry and this is one of the older & smaller ones in the fleet. I have heard that Washington State operates the largest fleet of ferry boats in the country. They are considered as a part of the highway system as they extend the roads.

I have other photos taken in Pt. Townsend but will save them for another post soon. This pretty much shows the campground and that was my first intent. Check back for the next installment that will cover over there. There are also some photos that I took on this same trip last October when I met RV friends G & J in Pt. Townsend to spend a day with them.

Wow, I discovered that I mislabeled one of the photos I had wanted to put into this set so will now edit the post and add it, a few hours after writing most of the post. It is a photo of my favorite lady about to enter our motorhome.

Ft Casey 10
This does give a bit closer view of the rig and shows the front jacks down to level the rig. Because of that we are using the portable folding extra step on the ground outside. It also shows the leatherette cover over the cab windows. There is an inside curtain that hangs on Velcro that came with it but with that one the heat from the sun comes inside, heating up the curtain thus adding more heat to the rig. We don't need that in hot weather. Plus this one being white reflects a lot of the heat. The door of this rig has that opener at the top which also limits where the door can go. Our Sea Breeze door folded 180 degrees, then hooked in place. I kind of like that better as it is more out of the way but will probably get used to this one.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007


A 7th birthday party!

My youngest grand daughter, K, celebrated her 7th birthday just three days after my XXth birthday this month. Since all the kids are now back in school, her party was held on a Saturday at their house. Pat and I attended along with her other grand parents, many aunts and uncles (her mom is child number 14 in a family of 16 children) and many of her friends and neighbors. Since the party started at 1:30 in the afternoon, they started with pizza for anyone who wanted a little more lunch. Then it was time to move on to the cake for desert.

7th birthday 01
Here is the table with the cake and many of the kids plus a few of the adults gathered around, including Mom & Dad. The birthday girl is on the right side of the photo, wearing the hat.

7th birthday 02
This one looks like she is saying blowing out seven candles is no problem. She did it fine.

7th birthday 03
Now it is time to start opening the gifts. This bag was from Pat & I and contained about half a dozen gifts. No, I wouldn't spoil my Grand Daughter!

7th birthday 04
This gift is one of those from us that was inside the big bag that she was holding in the previous photo. It is a notebook with a photo of K on the cover. The photo was taken in 2004, of K wearing one of Grandma Ann's Red Hatter hats.

7th birthday 05
I think all kids like money. Someone gave her a stack of seven dollar bills and they were a big hit with K, as you can tell from her expression.

7th birthday 06
Grandma Annie was real good at picking gifts for the grandkids. She would buy them when she found them, sometimes saving them for months before the event they were needed for occurred. Sometimes they were forgotten at the time they should have been given. These sticker books were a couple of things that Annie had picked out for one of our two grand daughters, before her death in 2005 and they were safely put away. I found them this spring while cleaning out the house to get it ready to sell. So, these sticker books and a couple of small books about Kochina dolls that were with them are some of the last gifts for K from her Grandma Ann.

The birthday party was fun. It doesn't seem possible to me this little girl is already seven years old. She was born just four months after the death of my Mother and K's Grandma Ann died while K was four years old, a month & a half before her fifth birthday. In many ways it doesn't seem possible that it has been over two years since we lost Annie, either. I know I sure am a lot happier this year than I was last year. I have Pat to thank for that.

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Friday, September 14, 2007


An old fashioned county fair visit

Pat and I attended the Skagit County (Washington) Fair this summer and I took a few photos. One advantage of us being retired is that we can go anytime. The first day of the fair they offered free admission from it's opening at noon until 15:00 and we of course managed to get there within that time. Neither of us really enjoys riding on roller coasters and other similar rides in the Midway, so I have no photos from there, but there is one for those who want to ride them. They pretty much take over the RV parking area to place the things so if you want to go and take your RV, you'd probably better make your reservation for next year about now!

Fair 01
This first photo is just a general scene taken on a part of the grassy area where many of the commercial exhibits are located. There are also a couple of inflated ride type things aimed at smaller children. As you can see there are a couple of sports fields in this area, too. The clouds were there early on but soon cleared to mostly sunny. It gave us a pretty nice temperature to spend the day outdoors in.

Fair 02
There were some trained pigs there that put on a show. I wasn't highly impressed but here are a couple of photos of them. We thought there were going to be pig races and that sounded like fun but these really didn't do very much. Here is one riding something like a skate board and honking a horn.

Fair 03
And here is the same pig "jumping" through a hoop. Oh well, it was different.

Fair 07
This was interesting. There are a lot of raptor type birds in our area, especially eagles. There are also a couple of places that help these birds when they are in distress to nurse them back to health enough so that they hopefully can return to the wild. This is one of those groups and they brought quite a few birds along to view and talked about many of them.

Fair 06
I am not sure just what kind of a bird this one is and it is actually one of the smaller ones that was there. But it is still pretty good sized.

Fair 05
This one is an eagle and it is a little hard to tell how big it is in this photo, so here is one with a lady holding the bird:
Fair 04
They look a whole lot bigger up close like this than when you see them flying or sitting on the top of a tree off in the distance. It is easy to see how they can carry off a small dog or a cat.

Fair 08
There were many examples of plants as well as animals there. This exhibit had more of these kind of flowers than I realized existed. You can probably tell by the name of this one why I liked it, as well as it's dramatic look.

Fair 09
This is just a photo showing a variety of colors and flowers. I kind of like the look of it and find those blue flowers unusual.

This fair only happens once a year although most communities, especially those farm oriented, have their own. There are other bigger ones not too far away but I think that you loose a lot of the intent of a fair when they get too big. The big Puyallup Fair, also called the Western Washington Fair, holds two a year. The spring one is a lot smaller and in many ways more fun. Of course you won't see the big name entertainers at the smaller events! So I guess I should be happy with the pigs.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007


Coffee hour to celebrate family birthdays

The birthdays of my older son, myself and my youngest grand daughter all fall within a week of each other in September. For quite a few years I've celebrated them by doing coffee hour at church on the nearest weekend to my birthday. This year was no exception except that this year I had Pat to help grand daughter K and I. Son B is out at sea on his ship so wasn't able to be there. K's Dad is working today but her Mom brought her up and that gave Mom a chance to go do some birthday shopping without K being along.

When you need a cake for 50 to 60 or more, I think the best place to look around here is at Costco. Plus their cakes are very good and at a good price. My favorite is carrot cake and since it was my birthday and I placed the order, that was what I got.
Coffee hour 01
Here is the cake before we started to cut it. It is one half of a full sheet cake and at our store sold for $18 which seems like a pretty fair price to me. And it sure was good, although I only was allowed one small piece as I am still trying to loose more weight.

Coffee hour 02
Pat is starting to cut the cake while K is asking what do we need to do next. We are almost ready and people will be coming in soon as the church service is nearly over. Annie taught me that we always bring fruit as some people can't or don't eat cake. And there are cookies and punch for the kids but I've been amazed at how many big kids also eat them. I know- I used to.

Coffee hour 03
Pat is finishing up cutting the cake. We managed to have it all eaten so that I didn't have to bring any home to tempt me. I LOVE carrot cake! We finally did get the chance to eat a (small) piece along with some fruit and a cup of coffee. Then it was time to start loading the dish washer and clean things up. We got away just after noon and brought our extra car home as we had driven there from different locations.

Pat then took me out to Cascade Pizza for one of my favorite lunches. We even have enough left for lunch tomorrow! There is a nice steak house here in town called Max Dale's Steak and Chop House. They sent me a coupon for my birthday to get a dinner free so we are going there tonight. It will be steak time. Then tomorrow son M has the day off and we are invited to dinner with he, his wife J and the other birthday person, K. It sounds like a couple of nice eating days to me and a good way to celebrate the 29th anniversary of my 35th birthday.

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