Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Aplets and Cotlets

Today we visited the town of Cashmere, WA and the Liberty Orchards Aplets & Cotlets factory. These are candies that were developed in the 1920s by two Armenian immigrants to the town of Cashmere, near Wenatchee. They took a candy recipe they brought with them from their home country and added a couple of things, like apple fruit and walnuts. They called the product Aplets and started selling it. A couple of years later they added a similar candy based on apricots, calling it Cotlets. The company has continued to this day, still family owned. They employ 40 people year round and expand to about 200 during the peak season.

Cashmere is located on US-2 between Leavenworth and Wenatchee. We drove there today, about 15 miles from Leavenworth, to tour the factory.
Aplets 01
Here is a street scene in the downtown area of Cashmere and just a couple of blocks from the factory.

Aplets 02
This sign is on the side of the building beside the parking lot they maintain for visitors. It is an easy place to get to and plenty of parking.

Aplets 03
Everyone who enters the factory has to wear these net hats (not in the store.) This room is the cooking area and shows the four pots there. Each makes about 240 pounds of the candy at a time. The young lady in the red apron was our tour guide and also works in the store. There is a large mixer that operates continuously while the cooking is going on.

Aplets 04
This is a long time employee who is pouring the candy from the cooking pot into trays where it will be refrigerated for ten hours to cool and solidify. The trays are on a scale so the weight of each will be the same.

Aplets 05
When the candy comes out of the fridge, it is coated with corn starch and powdered sugar in this first machine, then it is cut into bite sized pieces. I don't remember exactly how many pieces are cut from each of the 22 pound trays but it is a lot.

Aplets 06
This view shows the rest of this main room where most of the finishing of the candy is done. Our tour guide is also shown. There were two working in the store counting our guide and I'd say we saw probably about another dozen at work but that didn't include any of those in the warehouse or shipping department.

Aplets 07
Each box is hand checked for actual weight and count of pieces. These ladies are finishing up that process, just before the machine in the foreground seals the package inside it's shrink wrap. When we were there they were being packed into a very large packing carton on a wood pallet, so it was to be part of a really big shipment.

Aplets 08
Here is our tour guide without her hair net and at the cash register in the store.

Aplets 09
Pat and our tour guide are ringing up our purchases. We went there not expecting to spend a lot and we really didn't buy a lot of candy, but we did buy other things for gifts for our kids, etc. About $80 worth.

Aplets 10
This shows a good part of the store. They have quite a few things other than their own candies. If you ever are in the area, I would suggest a visit to this place. It is fun and you do learn about a different product. And, they have free samples of the candy in the store.

Ask at your local store to see if they carry or can get Aplets & Cotlets. If not, they are probably available online direct from Liberty Orchards. The originals are based on apples and apricots but they also have similar candies based on many other fruits, including tropical ones. And there are sugar free candies, too.

Our plan is to leave here tomorrow and drive to the Wenatchee area and will probably stay in Lincoln Rock State Park, just 5 miles or so north of East Wenatchee. I don't know Wenatchee very well but am sure that we can find a lot of things to see and do there. And it is only about an hour or less away from where we are now.

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Monday, April 28, 2008


Icicle River RV Park & Leavenworth, WA

One year ago today at just after 13:00 in the afternoon, Pat and I were married. The next day we drove to the town of Leavenworth, WA to spend a couple of days on a short Honeymoon. We decided this year to come back to Leavenworth but to bring our motorhome this time so we setup a reservation for us at Icicle River RV Park just outside town. We arrived yesterday afternoon and checked into space 16 which is right on the river. In fact the spaces are setup so that motorhomes pull in forward and you can see the river from the windshield of the rig.

Icicle River 01
Here is the view of the river from the windshield of our rig.

Icicle River 02
Laast night I went for a walk in the park with my camera and found this "camper" in a space just a few down from ours. He didn't seem too upset with me walking by.

Today we went into town to the Enzian Inn, the place we stayed last year on our Honeymoon, for their buffet breakfast. It is great and a pretty reasonable price at $10 each. The dining area is on the 4th floor of the hotel and there is a guy who comes by every morning to play his Alp horn on the balcony of the hotel, there on the 4th floor. I took photos of him last year and again this year. Here is one from this morning:
Icicle River 03
Most of the scene was shaded due to clouds overhead but I like the way the mountain top in the background was highlighted by the sun.

After breakfast we again visited some of the many shops in town. Here we are heading to Starbucks for mochas before going to lunch at Crista's, followed by a chocolate mouse for desert that we split. Last year it was wedding cake.
Icicle River 04
Heading for Starbucks. You can see some of the buildings in town plus some more of the mountains that surround the area. We will be going to dinner at an Italian place and have tomorrow in this area before heading off on Wednesday for the Wenatchee area.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008


Hi from the road in Leavenworth, Washington

This is the body of a note I just sent my sons and I thought I'd just copy it and post it here. They got rain and cooler weather this afternoon over on the west side of the mountains where we all live & Pat and I just left this morning to drive over here to Leavenworth, WA. Here is the body of the note:

We are in space 16 at Icicle River RV Park in Leavenworth and do have WiFi, sort of. I can't connect at our RV but can if I bring the laptop to the office area, where I am now. I will probably check our email daily until we leave on Wed.

We got here about 13:30 after an easy drive over Stevens Pass. There was a lot of snow up there but the road was bare & dry. Down here it has been sunny & clear. We & others have been running around town without jackets. Right now I am wearing a long sleeve shirt but it is starting to cool off mainly due to a breeze. We hope this nice weather continues. We watched KING-5 news & saw you have rain over near home but it sounded like it may stay on that side of the mountains, except for the east side of the service area (L, I think they meant the Spokane area.)

Our space is beautiful. We pulled into it head first so we have a great view of the river out the windshield of the RV. This is a full hookup park so we have water, sewer, 30amp power (electric heat overnight) and cable TV with lots of channels. We get the main network channels from both the Seattle & Spokane areas. We are about 3 miles out of town, farther than I'd want to walk but it is an easy drive in the car. It is about time for me to head back as I don't want to run the risk of running my battery down & I think I will copy and make this note a post on my blog so still have that to do. I have already taken some photos of the river & the park and will get more, plus some in town.

We do seem to have a working cell phone connection here in the park although I thought we wouldn't since we are down in the canyon. It isn't strong but it works. More later.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008


And again. More than yesterday.

Okay this is really getting to be too much. We woke up this morning to snow just starting to fall about 6am. Pat heads off to meet one of her daughters for breakfast together about 8 nearly every Sunday and here she is driving off in the Bug about 07:45:
April snow 01
Can you believe this? It is 2/3 of the way through the month of April, about a full month into "official" Spring, and here is more snow! It didn't last too long but just the fact that it did come is very odd. I think I heard on the TV news earlier this week that if we got snowfall after the 17th it would set a new record for late snowfall in our area. It set a new record yesterday that only lasted until today when it was broken. I hope it stops here!

April snow 02
Mt. Vernon is well known as an agricultural area where most of the US (if not the world's) tulip bulbs are grown. We have an annual Tulip Festival that runs through the month of April. Mother Nature doesn't always cooperate with mans plans and with the cold weather we have had the tulips are very late blooming this year. You can see in this photo that most of ours that are not right up near the house for warmth have not yet opened. Smart little buggers- if they had opened they would be getting real cold today.

April snow 03
Even our purple yard bird seems to be trying to hide from this stuff! I thought that since this is a vertical format I could try going with a larger size and the little bird would show up better.

April snow 04
Here are some tulips that are closer to the house and you see what I mean about being covered in s*#t, err, I mean snow. The hellebores doesn't seem to mind the stuff but I don't think the tulips do well covered in snow. You can see the feet of another yard bird that seems to be trying to jump into flight and head back down south, where all smart birds should be now.

As I write this it is 10:15 and much of that snow has left. It really won't stick around but it is damned cold for this time of the year in order for it to be here in the first place. The weather forecast calls for more normal temps by the end of the week and I am sure more than ready for that! Fingers crossed.....

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Saturday, April 19, 2008


Snow. Again.

March snow 01
Yeah, this is the same photo that I posted three weeks ago but we got up this morning to a similar look outside. And it is 2/3 of the way through the month of April! We should be having daily high temps in the low 60s with over night lows in the low 40s. Yesterday I don't think it got out of the 40s for the high temp. Something has really gone crazy with out weather and I don't like it!!!!!

Today (from the National Weather Service):
Showers Likely. Chance for Measurable Precipitation 60%
Hi 45°F

Chance Showers. Chance for Measurable Precipitation 40%
Lo 33°F Sunday

It is going to warm up tomorrow so that the low temp is only 33 rather than the 32 of today. We are supposed to leave a week from tomorrow to cross Stevens Pass, at 4300' elevation, with our motorhome pulling the tow car. If we have snow here at sea level you can probably guess what is happening at 4300' in the mountain pass. But the stuff does stick on the road up there. At least that National Weather Service site has it looking a lot better by next week. Now I hope they are right.

Pat and one of the gals who we have gotten to know here in our park came up with an idea a few months ago to try setting up a monthly potluck dinner for residents to come together in the clubhouse. They picked the last Wed of each month for it to occur. The other gal and a friend hosted the first one in Feb, Pat and another friend hosted the one in Mar. Pat & J cooked up a lot of spaghetti and had the others bring things to go with it. The dinner was held Mar 26th and had 35 attend. I have a couple of photos from that event to post:

Spagetti feed 02
Our clubhouse has a large room that we call the mirror room that is usually used for this kind of an event. Here are a part of those who came, with full plates. Meow, see the Australian wine in the foreground at the right?

Spagetti feed 03
This view shows Pat at our table with the food line in the background. I think most of those people are back for seconds as we waited to fill our plates until most had a chance to go first.

A very good time was had by all and the intended result of getting to know some of the newer residents in the park worked like a charm. This months event is on-schedule for the 30th but we will miss it as we'll be in Eastern Washington with the motorhome then. This idea has been suggested before but some of the long time residents said they had already tried that and gotten burned out on it. Well, there are new people coming all the time so it was time to try it again. They may not go on forever but it is fun and a good way to meet new folks. I am glad that Pat & E decided to ignore those who said "We've tried that before." And quite a few of those who said WTTB came and enjoyed themselves, so it was good even for them.

I don't know if I'll have a chance to post while we are on the road next week as I have canceled my wireless data service. So unless we run into WiFi available in one of our parks I won't be able to do so until we return. But I should come back with some new travel photos. And I will try to do another from here before we go.

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Friday, April 11, 2008


Motorhome racing!

I found a link to this site on Chuck Woodbury's RV newsletter. This U-tube video runs about 7 minutes and is kind of fascinating. It takes place on a race track in England but it looks like only one rig out of the five in the video is right hand drive. I find this especially interesting as at one time I had a Midas brand class C motorhome much like the one the main character here is racing. We never tried this with ours. To see it, click on this link. I don't think I'll want to do this with our rig.

Time has been getting away from me. It has been quite awhile since my last post. I will try to do better. We are starting to think about our upcoming RV trip that we will start on Sunday, April 27th by driving east across the Cascade Mountains on Stevens Pass, highway US-2, to the town of Leavenworth where we will spend three nights at Icicle River RV Park. It will be our first outing with the rig since the first week in October when we took it to Oregon to have the solar system installed.

I recently bought and have been playing with a great software product called ProShow Gold by Photodex Corporation. It lets you make slide shows from photos, scans, video and other original material, add music and narration, then save it in many different media such as a DVD that will play on your home movie machine, an executable file that will self extract and run on someone's PC, online (be careful, they can get pretty large) and quite a few others. I have test made one on the building of our sunroom and looked at a first edition of it but am now fine tuning and adding menus, etc. It is fun to use. You can download a demo version from their web site that is a full operating program & will work for 15 days. Then you need to either buy it or delete it. I bought it right off the bat as a friend has been using it over a year so I had a good referral. The cost to just download is $70 or another $10 plus shipping of $7 will have them send you a CD and, more importantly, a User Guide that is very helpful. Much of what you need in directions is included in the download. To get the program, go to Photodex Corp, their web site and look it over. If you buy the CD as I did you still download the file, they send you the key to put into it and you can start using it while waiting for the mail to come.

More later. Have fun!

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