Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Hi from Ponderosa Falls RV Resort!

We left home yesterday at about 9:15 with the motor home towing our Saturn "toad" car, stopped for my important "on the road" mocha, then hit the freeway southbound from Mount Vernon. There were no traffic problems anywhere along our route, even through Everett. They recently opened two extra lanes through town there so through the central part of town there are now four regular lanes plus one high occupancy vehicle lane and those really have made a difference. Of course, we were there just after 10, not at 8am in rush hour traffic.

Since we were heading east, we took the I-405 cutoff that goes east, then south through Bothel, Woodenville, Kirkland and Bellevue to the I-90 interchange where we picked up I-90 east bound. By Northbend it was time to stop for a potty break and to stretch our legs, then we were back on the road to cross Snoqualmie Pass over the Cascade Mountains.

Coming into Eastern Washington we started spotting signs for fresh peaches, so we stopped at Thorp Produce, a large place that is right beside the freeway. It is one of those places that I've always said that I wanted to stop visit but never did. This time we did. They were cutting samples of the peaches and they were wonderful! We only bought three but probably will buy a box next week when we are on our way home.

This place has a lot more than just fresh produce. We had forgotten to bring salad dressing but we found many there to purchase. Many sounded good but we managed to settle on two, one of which (Blackberry Walnut Dressing) we opened- it is very good. We also found some interesting things to buy to get a better start on our Christmas shopping. They are building what looks like a large gas station next door to the produce building. It would be nice if it also offered lunch.

But since it didn't, we drove on into Ellensburg and stopped at the large truck place there for lunch in their dining room. You know there will be plenty of space to park a 31 foot long motorhome with a Saturn tow car behind in a truck stop! As we were leaving, after a good lunch, there was a convoy of Army vehicles pulling in. Fort Lewis is on our side of the mountains, south of Tacoma, but these folks were heading for the Army's Yakima Firing Range which is larger than even Ft. Lewis for training exercises.

Back on the freeway, we continued east. I started thinking that the office at the campground might close at 17:00 and wasn't sure if we would get there on time if we made another stop, but we wanted to stretch our legs so pulled into one of the state rest stops. On this side of the mountains there is one about every 30 miles or so along I-90. I called and was right, they close at 17:00, so we limited our stop to a short one, hit the road and I jacked up our cruise control speed to 64 from the previous 56. We arrived here at 16:40 and were assigned space Y-8. After hooking up, Pat fixed dinner, we watched the news on TV (how about the stock market crash?), read & watched TV. To bed early, about 21:00, as we were both tired.

This morning we have sunshine but it is cool outside, probably about 50 degrees. The TV said to expect 73 by lunch time and a high today of 83. But by Saturday it said to expect cooler weather and showers. I don't know for sure where we are going today nor what we are doing, but will find out. Now for breakfast.

Labels: ,

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Going on an RV trip!

We will be leaving tomorrow morning on a week long RV trip to Spokane, WA! I usually go to my home town for one to two weeks in the summer but as Pat isn't fond (that is an understatement) of hot weather, and Spokane is usually in the 90s in July, we postponed the trip to fall. It looks like it will be a very good time to go as the forecasts sound like at least most of our week there has less than a 10% chance of rain and daily high temps in the 70s. It will be fairly cool over night but we will be in a full hookup RV park so can easily stay warm. Yipee!

I will take the laptop computer (what I am writing this now on) and we should be able to connect to the park WiFi system in our membership RV park that is just west of town. If that doesn't work out, I can take the PC to my brother's house a few times and hook it up on his broadband cable based system.

Now I must go mow the lawn then get back to work loading the RV.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, September 21, 2008


A northwest surfer dude

While we were on our RV trip back in August I discovered this statue near the beach in Ocean City, Washington State. The northwest isn't as well known for surfing as Southern California or Hawaii, mainly because our water is very cold in comparison, but these guys don't exist all over the place either and are best known as living here in the NW. I couldn't resist taking a few photos of this Surfer Dude as we were leaving town.

NW Surfer Dude 1
He is cut out of a tree trunk with the surf board added, and stands beside the reader board sign of a beach side motel. Chain saw carving of trees into decorative sculptures is pretty popular up here and Grays Harbor County, where this motel is located, is well known for lumbering and chain saw carvers. Does anyone want a three foot tall bear that holds your Charmin (or whatever brand you like) toilet paper roll? They sell them around here.

NW Surfer Dude 2
Here is a little different angle view of the Dude. That is a pretty good nightly rate listed on the motel's reader board behind him. I can't speak to how good the place is as we have not stayed there, but from what I saw it isn't one of the newest nor fanciest places on the beach, but for $45 a night, I think I would be willing to stay there. It does appear to be clean.

NW Surfer Dude 3
A closer view of the Dude. Notice he is showing the traditional Hawaiian hand sign. Also notice the fog in the trees behind him and the motel. The ocean is out there and the morning fog hadn't yet burned off as we were leaving to drive home. And some people doubt that there really are Sasquatches living in the wild!

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, September 12, 2008


Some of this year's yard flowers

Pat was called in to work today at her on-call receptionist job at the school district, so I said I would water the plants in the back yard. When I finished I thought it would be good to take some photos, so I got my camera, tripod and a reflector and got to work (play?) out there. I took close to 50 photos and have selected these five to prepare to post here. My process is to work a bit on them in Photoshop Elements version 6, then re size them to about 800x600 pixels before uploading those smaller ones to my site on Flickr. When they are there, I can write a post and add some HTML code that brings the photos into the blog. I read on others blogs about having some problems with photos posting correctly on Blogger but I've never had any problems with this method. Anyway, here they are:

Yard flowers 01
I think this first one is a mum. It isn't one of the gigantic ones you sometimes see but I do like these. These are planted on our patio outside the sunroom in a giant pot. We like to eat lunch at the Garden Cafe at Skagit Gardens, where the Skagit Valley Mum Society has their gardens, which are beautiful and includes many of those very large ones.

Yard flowers 02
Yes, I know this is a zucchini squash and probably not technically a flower, but isn't a flower really up to one's definition? I like the flowers these have and this view also includes one of the fruits (are they fruit?) We were wondering if we would ever have any squash from any of the three plants Pat set out. The little hill they are on is made up mostly of cedar bark that was put on as a ground cover over the years. She started feeding them with Miracle Grow and watering them regularly and there are now nearly half a dozen of a decent size. So, I have included it here, flower or not.

Yard flowers 03
I don't know what this one is, although Pat does. It is also on the patio in another of those giant pots. I think it is getting close to the end of it's blooming season. I had to pull off quite a few of the dead petals or whatever they are before I took these photos. But it is bright and colorful and pretty large.

Yard flowers 04
Last year Pat was asked by the manager of our park if she would plant four hanging baskets with fuchsias and other flowers to hang on the gazebo in the common area behind our house. This is the gazebo where our wedding ceremony was held April 28, 2007 and those hanging baskets in the photos were these that Pat planted. In the fall they were brought to our house and just left outside along the south side of the house. This spring she thought they were done for so replanted four others and just left the others there. We later noticed they were flowering so she moved them to a table on the patio and started taking care of them. As you can see from this and the next photo, they have done very well for flowers that we had not expected to grow.

Yard flowers 05
Here are some of the other fuchsias that are of a different color (variety?) These have really surprised us. I wonder what they will do next year?

I have fun taking photos of flowers even though I have a black thumb when it comes to growing them. I also don't know what many of them are. I had to send Pat a text message on her cell phone to ask what the fuchsias were called as I couldn't remember. These photos were just taken with my 18 - 200mm zoom lens which will focus pretty close. I used a reflector on most to add fill light but think flash fill was used on one of the fuchsia shots. I also used a tripod and set the camera on aperture priority so that I could stay with f/11 for better depth of field. My macro lens is being used by Pat's daughter but maybe I'll retry these with it later. Our great "Indian Summer" weather seems likely to continue for a few more weeks, so the flowers should also be good for awhile longer. Of course the lawn also grows and has to be mowed, but we can't have everything perfect, can we?

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Beach scenes

Here are a few photos from various places along the beaches from our recent RV trip. These are all north of where we were "camping" at Ocean City.

Ocean beaches 01
This is pretty representative of beach scenes along the northern part of the Olympic Peninsula. We are at the edge of the Olympic Rain Forest and the sky is overcast much of the time. There are also a lot of streams and rivers that flow down from the Olympic Mountains into the Pacific Ocean along here. This area shown here in the photo is on Quinault Indian Tribal lands and the beach is posted no trespassing. I was on the shoulder of the road that runs north along the coast to the Indian town of Taholah on State Route 109.

Ocean beaches 02
This sign was just a few feet from where I took this photo.

Ocean beaches 03
Here is a different view with a different focal length lens of a part of the area in the previous photo. This beach is pretty flat although there are some large rocks as you can see in the distance. The foliage is lush and dense due to the temperate climate and a lot of rainfall.

Ocean beaches 04
On Tuesday the 12th, after our trip north to Taholah, we stopped for lunch in the Green Lantern Pub in Copalis Beach. This is the view we enjoyed from there, looking north across the grass and down the meandering stream toward the open ocean. The mist hanging on the upper part of the hill in the background tells you a lot about the weather conditions down here.

Ocean beaches 05
A little different view of the same area as the last photo. This was taken with a longer focal length lens (more of a telephoto) and shows the stream a lot better. The hill here is the lower one that just shows at the far right side of the last photo.

Ocean beaches 06
And this is a closer view yet. There could easily be wildlife in the view as they are all around.

These beaches are sure different from those in Hawaii, like that one in the last post, that I took on Maui while we were there last October. It is hard to remember that this cold water is the same as that warm, comfortable water over there. We didn't really have much sunshine during this trip but it was still nice weather, for the Washington Coast. Any day down there that it doesn't rain is a pretty good weather day.

Labels: , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?