Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Monday, June 4, through Thursday, June 14, 2012: Drowning in Washington:

Monday called for a 183-mile trip to Easton, Washington.  We finally left US 395 and headed for the Interstate (I-90).

It drizzled all the way, and was a bit of a nailbiter because of all the steep downhill grades on wet pavement.  But we arrived without incident at the Lake Easton RV Resort, a tree-filled, old-time RV park located between the highway and the lake.  The people are very nice, and we will be just fine.

Late Monday afternoon, we were joined by Tom and Terry Walsh, former Xanterra folks from the South Rim. 

Tom now teaches at the local high school and Terry works at the post office just a few blocks from our RV park.  We went from cocktails at our trailer to dinner across the highway at the Parkside Cafe, a local-favorite diner.  It was fun catching up with the Walshes.  By chance, it turns out they are leaving in two weeks for Glenns Ferry, Idaho, and a new school for Tom.

Tuesday we went to the Suncadia Resort in nearby Cle Elum (an Indian term meaning "swift water").  It's a 6,400-acre real estate development, very reminiscent of Sunriver, Oregon, which, it turns out, was developed by the same company.  The main Lodge is magnificent. 

There is a winery (named, appropriately, Swiftwater Cellars) located on the site of an old coal mine on the resort property, and we had lunch (delicious mussels), and, afterwards, a wine-tasting there.  (Becky told me to mention that the girl pouring the wine was very knowledgeable and, incidentally, very cute.)

It has been drizzling ever since we arrived in Easton, and promises to continue throughout the week.  Yippee!

Wednesday involved a trip of only 83 miles to our new park---the Thunderbird Resort (a Thousand Trails preserve) in Monroe, Washington.  The bad weather broke for a while, but returned a little later.  The exciting part of the trip was going through the Snoqualmie Pass.  It’s a dramatic pass filled with granite cliffs, waterfalls, and steep descents.  Just beautiful.  The RV park is divided into two parts---one with sewers and one without sewers.  We opted for the section without sewers because that’s where the trees aren’t. (We settled there to solve the satellite dish problem, of course.)  It’s also less congested where we are.  We are sited between the road and the Skykomish River. It‘s actually quite picturesque.

Wednesday afternoon, while Becky got her hair cut, I had our truck checked for unusual tire wear.  No surprise---we scheduled a bunch of front-end work for next Tuesday (subsequently changed to Monday).

Thursday was devoted to avoiding the rain.  I got in a lot of reading.  Thursday evening, Becky went to nearby Woodinville, to see Shirley Schumacher,

an old friend from her days with the Organization of Women Executives, who lives in Bellevue.

Friday was a mixed day:  Late morning at the dentist for a regular cleaning (I need to return on Monday for a little more work), lunch in the early afternoon at the Benjarong Thai Restaurant (delicious cashew chicken), a stop at Albertson's to reload our wine supply, and the rest of the day dodging the pretty consistent rain.

Saturday, we headed to Kirkland to visit Dave and Linda Mangone, who moved to the Seattle area seven years ago.  (Dave was an LA Junior Chamber of Commerce friend of Becky's from many years ago.  Becky and Dave actually dated a little.  He and Linda have been married for 19 years.) 

We first took a (very cold) sightseeing cruise of Lake Washington, then had a magnificent dinner at Wild Ginger, an Asian Fusion restaurant in Bellevue.  We had a great time with the Mangones.

We returned home to "rescue" Ramsey, who had spent the past eight hours in his crate.  It was the longest we had ever left him in it.  It turned out that he was just fine, and plainly happy to see us.

Sunday morning we woke to sunshine for the first time in Washington. 

We'll see how long it lasts.  (As it turned out, it lasted just long enough for me to repaint the wooden block that holds our kitchen knives; over the years it has become unsightly.)  The rest of Sunday was calm, and wet.

Monday morning, we dropped off the truck at Dick's Tire Haus

and picked up a rental car at the local Enterprise outlet.  The plan was to drop off the rental car and pick up the truck at 8:00 Tuesday morning.  In the early afternoon, we again crated Ramsey and headed for Seattle to meet our niece, Katelyn Kuwata.  The weather was glorious,

so we did a bit of sightseeing after joining her at her apartment on Queen Anne Hill, and then repaired to Ray's Boathouse (on the edge of Puget Sound) for an early dinner.  Quite nice.  Our niece looks like she's enjoying living in Seattle. 

We then headed out of Seattle during rush hour.  Big mistake.  We went 'round and 'round to avoid traffic jams, and finally got out.  It was harrowing, especially since our GPS kept sending us to streets that had been closed to accommodate new highway construction.

Tuesday morning we dropped off the rental car early, only to discover that the work on the truck had not been finished as promised.  We returned to Enterprise to pick up another car

(after authorizing more work on the truck---finally, new brakes after driving 200,000 miles on the original ones).

We visited the Chateau St. Michelle Winery in Woodinville.  It's a magnificent setting.

Then we stopped at Trader Joe's and Costco for more supplies (OK, more wine), and, when the truck was finally finished at 5:00 PM, returned the rental car and returned home.  Whew!  Even though it drizzled all day, it was a pleasant, productive day.

Wednesday, we headed farther North, 102 miles to Blaine, Washington.  Again, it rained all the way, but it was a no-brainer, mostly on I-5.  We are staying in the Birch Bay Thousand Trails Preserve.  It's a nice place, though surprisingly empty, considering that it is June.  We had our choice of nice, wide sites with plenty of satellite access.

On the way there, I received a surprise phone call from Dennis Dexter, a long-time friend from my UCLA days, who lives in Denver with his delightful wife, Jackie.  We last saw them last year when we passed through Denver.  It was fun catching up with him.

One of the things we had done to correct the front end problems with the truck was to add airbags to the rear axle to level the truck when the trailer is connected. We should have done it in March, 2011, when we bought the new, heavier trailer. On the trip to Blaine, I realized that the difference is very noticeable. I’m glad we finally did it.

The last day in Washington (Thursday) was spent running errands. I got a haircut. We stopped at Union Bank to pick up some Canadian dollars. We had new truck and trailer keys made to replace the complete set I had lost sometime between Saturday and Sunday. We got a new truck-key fob.

I stopped at the local True Value hardware store (twice) to buy parts to speed up the water delivery to our toilet; and installed the new parts. We bought a new gizmo to support our sewer drain line when we‘re in an RV park. We had lunch at Burger King. We had the oil changed on the truck. (Later, the lube place called to say they had forgotten to reinstall the plug on our differential after checking its oil level. The owner had to drive 20 miles to our RV park to replace the plug.) Finally, I realized I had left my new prescription sunglasses somewhere. We had a Little Caesar’s pizza for dinner. After the day we had, it was delicious.

Our stay in Washington had come to an end.

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