"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Friday, July 25, 2014

Smoke, Fire & Ash

Placerville, CA

When you live in California where we do, it's not earthquakes that scare you, it's wildfires.  We live in the mountains with forests and wilderness all around us.  Being careless can be disastrous.  A whiff of smoke, especially when it's 100 outside and very dry, brings a little panic.  That's exactly what happened as we were just a day from leaving.  We had to return home to take care of some last minute details and were almost on our way back out.

Soon the smoke settled in and ash started falling.

Two days before we were to leave a vehicle had driven over some very dry vegetation which set off a fire.  It quickly spread to 4000 acres in a couple of days.  The sky was darkening and ash had been falling like snow. 

The fire branched off and spread rapidly.  This is the ridge below
 our property.  You could see the fire glowing.
Helicopters bringing water.

It was about 20 miles south of us but once it burned to less than 10 miles and was heading our way, it made us very nervous.  The winds changed directions and we could see it burning over the ridge. They were doing evacuations, but not in our area.  We have the house empty and the trailer packed as we've been fulltime for 2 weeks, but the ranch is not sold yet and we hate to leave with a wildfire growing and only 20% containment.  One of our sons is staying to keep an eye on the place and another was there for the weekend.  They know to listen to the fire reports and to head to the grandparents if they need to.  Plus my brother lives at the other end of the road so they have support if they need it.  We stayed until late that afternoon, but it was difficult to go.

 -- I had a really cool video from someone in the area of a DC10 dropping fire retardant flying right overhead, but no matter what I tried, I could not upload it, sorry. --

As of this writing, July 30th, it is expected to be fully contained soon and some of our friends that were evacuated have been allowed to return.  Thankfully only some homes and outbuildings were destroyed and no lives were lost as far as I know.  We are a large agricultural county and there are many small and large ranches that had to have livestock that have had to be evacuated too.  So touching to see how your community comes together to help each other out during times like this.  Now we can exhale and enjoy the coming days!

The view looking down towards Placerville as we head
towards Lake Tahoe, CA from Hwy 50.

It was nice to be out of the smoke and on our way.  During this 45 minute drive I received 2 calls saying, "Hey, I think we just passed you!"  How funny.  There is a short tunnel that goes around Lake Tahoe called Cave Rock.  We weren't sure of the height so we stopped at the Zephyr Lake campground to ask.  Not a problem, the truckers use it.  So we are on our way to Salt Lake City to do some genealogy.

Beautiful Lake Tahoe (from the web)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A day in Seattle

Sunday, July 5
Seattle, WA

We got up early and headed for a day in Seattle before dropping Kris off at the airport.  We started with the Underground Tour.  Always lots of fun, quirky knowledge about how Seattle became a city. 

This is what the sidewalk looks like from underneath.  These little purple colored glass actually put a lot of light underground.

 From above, the purple color shows much more.

         The weather was gorgeous and the flowers were everywhere. 
         It was a great day to walk around the city.  I love Seattle.
         It reminds me of a mini San Francisco.
We took the Underground transit to the mall and then hopped on the monorail to the Space Needle.  Unfortunately, it was a 2 hour wait so we walked around the area and then headed to Pikes Market. 

We walked past the always crowded, original Starbucks and into the market.  It was also very crowded.  No surprise as it was the holiday weekend.  Gorgeous flowers for $5, lots of interesting trinkets and tons of overpriced fresh seafood.  It was so hot and crowded inside we didn't stay long and I didn't get any other pictures except for the farris wheel.


On our walk back there were many very interesting architectural buildings and churches.  Wish I took more pictures than just this one.

What a beautiful day!  After a delicious lunch we took Kris back to the airport and drove back to the campground in Hoodsport.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

'Sista Time', Crabs, Clams & Oysters

July 3 - July 5, 2014
Rest-A-While RV Park
Hoodsport, WA

After picking my sister up from SeaTac yesterday we had plenty of time to catch up.  Since we closed our retail business 4 months ago we have hardly seen each other.  It was a good test to see how we'd handle overnight company in the trailer.  Kris stayed for 4 nights and she said the sofa bed was actually very comfortable.  I added a mattress pad and quilted cover to it.

My husband, Steve & my sister, Kris

We drove from Dash Point State Park in the Tacoma area west to Hoodsport where we will join a bunch of friends.  They really do up this event!  This is a beautiful little park nestled in the woods right across from the Hood Canal.  We couldn't have asked for better weather.  Low 70s and sunny.

We were off to a slow start.  Seems the "seafood" is winning the war.  When the crab pots were checked there was only one crab.  One single crab.  And two pots came up missing.  Clamming wasn't too successful either as the tide was up quite a bit once we were able to get out there.

Fishing hasn't been too successful either.  Tuesday we head out early for some guiducks (not sure of the spelling).  Maybe some Butters and some Manillas too.  After all how are we going to make clam chowder without clams!  The first night we had whole oysters right off the grill.  They were pretty good.  I'm not a seafood person, but I'll try new foods at least once.  I was surprised how fun all this harvesting is.  We really have a great time.  Of course, the friends we are with have the most to do with that.  We are with a couple Hawkins families and the Whites.  Great people we've known for about 15 years through 4-H (dairy goats mostly).  Hopefully we'll have a lot more luck as the next couple days there is negative tide.

Saturday July 4 2014

We did better at the oyster harvesting but now have a big blister on my palm since I forgot my gloves.  The first time I was shown how to shuck an oyster, I thought, wow, that's a lot of work.  Why not just use a cordless drill instead of that knife?  Voila!  A much quicker and painfree way to get those nasty shells open!


Finally, the clamming
honey hole! 

When we were heading back with our limits, we found a baby seal that decided not to wait for momma seal to come back at high tide, so it decided to swim and cry its way down to the deeper water.  Only problem was a bald eagle sat nearby looking at it like it was a nice snack.  I think if there weren't people watching, that baby probably wouldn't make it to the deeper water.

We had the best fireworks show put on by our group on the pier over the water.  It was fantastic!  It's about 25 seconds and REALLY COOL for amateurs.  Unfortunately the colors didn't really come through.

Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

3 - 2 - 1 - Blast Off !!

Saturday, June 28, 2014
Seven Feathers Indian Casino

We MADE it!  We escaped!  Finally, after 2 months of major purging, goodwill drops, dump drops and storage bin runs, we are on the road full time!  The house isn't sold yet, but we aren't letting that keep us from the road.  What an exhausting time!  In our last few days some very good friends of ours gave us a special gift.  Seems it's a very well known story in motorcycle circles.  Our friends thought it would be a fitting gift for us even if it were going in a 5th wheel instead of a Harley Davidson.  We love it!  The story goes...

Legend has it Evil Road Spirits have been latching themselves on to motorcycles for
 as long as there have been bikes on the road.
These Evil Road Spirits are responsible for mechanical problems and bad luck along a journey.
Legend goes on to say that by attaching a small bell onto your motorcycle, the Evil Road Spirits will become trapped inside the bell where the constant ringing drives them insane, making them lose their grip until they fall to the ground. (Ever wonder where pot-holes come from?)
It is also believed that the mystery of the bell carries twice as much power when it is purchased by a friend or loved one and given as a gift.
Thanks Mike & Rose!

There was no shortage of beautiful views along the drive.  Many rivers that I did not get the names of too.

  Lake Shasta, CA

Mt. Shasta, CA


We are not typically private RV park types.  We prefer state/county/COE parks and boondocking.  We love to hike, kayak, bike and fish as opposed to the private park type of amenities.  We'll wallydock when we need to.  We'll also stay at private parks too when that is more advantageous for whatever reason.

Our first outing will be in the Hoodsport area of Washington for a Friends & Family reunion.  On the way we decided to stay at Seven Feathers India Casino RV Park in Oregon to break up the drive.  What a gorgeous place!  So lush and clean.  Decently spaced, flat areas.  Very natural looking.  I know there are many amenities, but we were there only one night.  I believe it was $40 a night for full hook-ups, but with the first time casino member card, we received 20% off.  We took the free shuttle to the casino and had an ok dinner, gambled our free money and then went back "home" and collapsed.  It was a longer drive than we prefer to do, but that's how it goes sometimes.


Sunday, June 29, 2014
Dash Point State Park, Federal Way, WA

We didn't remember until we almost arrived that we had been here before with the kids about 7 years prior.  It's a nice park.   Lots of greenery and fairly decent spaced spots.  We even have full hookups.  They have a pretty complicated tiered system of pricing.  Like 6+ different levels.  We are here for 4 nights.  This allows us time to decompress and organize the things we just stuffed into the trailer.  We shopped and put things away.  Feeling really comfortable now.  Great weather for the area.  Sunny to partly sunny, 70s to low 80s. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2014

Today we had a wonderful surprise visit from Allen & Donna Ferguson (Fergizmo).  We have followed them from their launch a while back and enjoy reading their blog.  We knew they were in the area, but a bit northeast of us.  Well, they decided to drive the 45 minutes, one way, to pop in and see us even though I was not on the computer and could not acknowledge we'd even be here.  When we heard the knock on the door, I had a feeling it might be them. We only had about an hour to visit as I had to pick my sister up from the airport and they had to get going also.  It sure was nice to meet them face to face.  They are as lovely as they seem from their blog!  We will both be attending the RV Dreams Fall Rally in Indiana, so hopefully our paths will criss-cross from WA to IN.

I picked my sister up and we are having a great BBQ's steak dinner.  Filet Mignon, what a treat!  I sure love my steak even though I try to limit my red meat these days.  We leave the Tacoma area tomorrow for Hoodsport.  There will be lots of friends, clamming, oystering (is that a word?), crabbing and lots of fresh pasta rolling!  Good times for sure!