Sunday, August 10, 2014

23 Hours in Woodland

The great thing about having an RV, especially a small and simple one like ours, is that you can pack up fast and get away for a quick overnight.  That is what we did last night, back to our favorite park 20 miles away in Woodland on the Columbia River.

The only thing that detracted from the enjoyment was the wind. was non-stop windy.  Whooshing windy noises all night outside too.  I ended up taking cover yesterday afternoon to read my Kindle in an area near the office, instead of setting my chair up in the sunshine.  I also had to buy some eye drops because my poor eyes were so worn out from the wind.

But we had a fun time--we went to Casa Tapatia and had an incredible lunch, relaxed at the RV park reading and listening to the iPod, and watched a movie on Eric's laptop last night. (The Island...good story! Adventure for all.)

I will say that I felt a little off my game when it came to taking pictures, but I attribute that to the fact that it was our 4th time there. It's hard to make things to look different after 4 times!

Anyway, here goes.  Click on them to see full-sized version... was in heaven with my Xango dessert at lunch yesterday. See how we rough it? Out there camping in Nature?

View of our row from the river.  Can you see our little Chalet? (Right behind the play area.)

River view from Space #1

Bringing 2 cars may be cheating, but it sure is convenient!
Hi, Sweetie!

This trip's artistic shot

Big boat a-coming down the river

This Class A Prevost RV was enormous!

But the winner was this touring bus that was towing a trailor as long as the bus.
Lovely view this morning. Still very windy, but pretty.

 A change of scenery, even if for less than a day, is good for the soul.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Our 4 year Anniversary

4 years ago today, on a not-too-hot August afternoon at 4pm under the gazebo in my mom's backyard...Eric and I were married.

It is an amazing thing to be married to your best friend.  I look forward to many more years of love, bliss and adventure with mine.

I love you, Sweetie.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Vase

A few weeks ago I took on the daunting task of organizing my jewelry.  I wouldn't say I have a lot, but it was tossed hither and thither, making many pieces neglected over time.  For a few hours I convinced myself that I needed a new jewelry box, so I went on a hunt.

Unsuccessful after going to 5 stores, I made one last-ditch effort and went in a neighborhood estate sale. 

Did I find a jewelry box?  No.  But I did find something else. An odd connection to people I never knew.

This was a house I had never paid attention to before.  The sale was being run by an outside company.  There were no pictures of the deceased person or people who lived there.  Still, I found myself intrigued as I got to know these nameless people while walking from room to room.

I learned that someone who lived there loved to knit.  They loved Japan and Japanese art.  They liked cats.  They liked to garden.  They liked working with their hands out in the workshop.  They liked Corningware.  They liked owning several sets of dishes.  They liked vintage kitchenware...or maybe originals from their generation. They liked crystal.

Smaller items were laid out on tables, but the rooms still had some furniture, almost like the owners were simply away on vacation.

There is a certain sadness that a fully lived life is temporally reduced to the things a person leaves behind, but there is also the hope that buyers appreciate what they find at sales like these and bring them to life in a new way. Things are just things, of course, but in this particular house I sensed discretion and thought as I looked at each decorative piece.

As I prepared to leave I felt a kinship to these anonymous people. Their presence was strong and I felt I wanted something to remember them. 

On a table by the front door was this lovely lead crystal, handmade vase:

It is only 8 inches tall and not something I needed, but I bought it. It spent a few days in the kitchen and now greets you on the mahogany secretary in our dining room. Most items I bought for my CA house were from estate sales, so this vase is right at home.

Like the other pieces, I think about its story and history, where it came from and why.  And while it is one of hundreds of items from those people that is now in a different home, it beings me joy to know that the personal atmosphere they created in their house has found a little space in ours.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Pictures of the Party at Porter's Patches...

Say that 5 times fast!

Last Saturday we took the Chalet out again!  It was only 24 hours, but it was a milestone trip for us since it was the first time we did not use hookups.  Power and water were both dependent on our generator, propane tank and fresh water tank.  It was the perfect opportunity to see what the Chalet could do in a boondock situation and it passed with flying colors.  We also packed in record time,  forgetting only one thing--a hand towel for the bathroom.  Paper towels quickly solved that problem.

Little by little we are getting better at this!

It was also the first time we have camped on someone's expansive property (perfect for a first time boondock.)  Porter's Patches belongs to Eric's friend, Steve's, dad.  The land has been in the family for generations, and owned by others for just a few years.  A cute log cabin house is the main living space, but there are also 3 guest houses, several greenhouses, a chicken coop, a Christmas tree farm, and a log gazebo that make this property very charming and very personal.

We visited with Steve, his wife, Kristie, and their family.  Eric and Steve's friend, Roger, was visiting his family in the area and dropped by to introduce us to his new fiancee.  Eric, Steve, and Roger have all been friends since their early teens. Extended family and friends came and went throughout the day.  Some stayed overnight in campers, in tents, a guesthouse, and even under the stars.  We noshed on guilt-ridden, yummy foods and had a very fun and relaxing time late into the evening. 

Pictures!  Click on them to see them full-sized.

All set in our shady little spot!  The big ice chest we recently bought has come in very handy for carting water and perishables. The fridge works great, but it helps to have a backup plan.

Tossing the football

Everyone relaxing

A fire burned in the gazebo's fire pit and there were BBQed hot dogs and hamburgers for dinner. 

Eric, Jane (Steve's sister,) and Steve

A lot of people brought dogs, but Tigger II lives there.  A very nice, mellow dog who loves eating people's leftovers.

Eric and me.

Mr. Mike Porter, Roger, Eric, & Steve

Trina & Roger, newly engaged and moving to Singapore for 3 years

Roger, Steve, and Eric

Porter's Patches at twilight

Next morning!  (We slept like rocks!) Eric is showing Kristie P. and her little son how we make our breakfast shakes in the Nutribullet.

Both little boys, ages 5 & 3, were mesmerized by our "house on wheels."

Yikes!  What did you just make me drink?! It tastes weird and gave me a purple mustache!

We love our Chalet!  (Yes, we pronounce the "t")  "Sha-lett."

Across the field, looking at the main house and many outbuildings.

Steve, Otis Murphy (the doggie,) and Eric

The greenhouses and vegetable garden behind the main house. I tried to walk around the property and get steps in, but I wasn't very successful. Too many picture opportunities!

The Christmas tree farm.

The VERY loooong driveway.  Our Chalet off to the right. This is one of my favorite scenic pictures.

Passing the morning gathering on the way to the covered bridge.

"Porter's Patches, established 1894."

View of the Chalet from the bridge.

How many people have a pumpkin patch in their front yard?

Mommy and son, enjoying the morning country air.

Sometimes you just have to sit in a field in your shark-shaped helmet and ponder Life.

Two miniature horses live in the field next door.

Visiting by the main house before heading back home.

Unpacking was as easy as packing because it was only a one-nighter.  We arrived home refreshed from the change of scenery and grateful to have spent time in the countryside with friends.

And yes, we already have our next trip planned. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Photos of Our RV Trip to Gig Harbor! Lots and lots of photos...

If I don't post pictures pretty much immediately, I'll get behind, so here goes!

Nearly 2 weeks ago Eric and I took our Winnebago Chalet to Gig Harbor for 3 nights/4 days.  It is the farthest we've gone with it, and we had the added challenge of not having a get-around vehicle once the Chalet was hooked up.  We are working to remedy that in the future--Eric's Vespa is getting fixed up to take next time.

The RV park there is hilly, forest-y, and near a noisy gun range, but we still had a fun time!  The harbor itself is beautiful.  A lot of walking was involved, but it was probably a good thing because we ate like little piggly wigglies!

The highlight was being able to reconnect with old friends from California.  Jeni and Del, who owned the house for many years next door to where I grew up, and Nancy B., who is a former teaching colleague, live in the area.  Eric and I had plans with Jeni & Del ahead of time, but running into Nancy on my walk was a complete surprise!

It was one more adventure, one more learning experience, and more confirmation of how much we are enjoying our little rig.

To see the photos full-sized, click on them.

Beautiful view of the harbor on our first night. A 10 minute walk from the RV park.

There we are, all nestled in for 2 nights.  The 3rd night we had to move to a different space.  The park was very full, but pretty quiet, considering. Everyone we met was very nice.

You have to try pretty hard to get a bad picture of the harbor.  It's a beautiful, peaceful place.

A cute, older house in the middle of town.

View from the private dock at Tide's Tavern, where we ate lunch on Thursday.  Looks like part of a finger made it into this photo!

Me on the ramp leading to the dock.  Tide's Tavern's outdoor patio is behind me.  Once upon a time the building was the town's general store.  After years of falling into disrepair it was refurbished in 1973.  The food is extremely delicious, reasonably priced, and they have fast service. A win/win/win!

There are some impressive houses across the harbor. Very impressive!

A monument to those lost at sea stands in the middle of town. There are 9 names on it. One is fairly new.

Another pretty view.

Anthony's Restaurant, where Del & Jeni took us to dinner on Friday night.

Two more pretty harbor views, taken on Friday's morning walk.

A backwater area that was surprisingly attractive.

Up a hill in a residential area was this really cool barn. Picture!

A mama deer and 2 babies were spotted on my walk too. The other baby was hopping around someone's front yard.

She was so tame and beautiful.

No zoom lens necessary.

On my return, walking right towards me, was my former colleague, Nancy!  What are the odds?

Meanwhile, back at the RV park, these were some of our intimidating neighbors. This red one was sporty!

Dinner!  Eric's Salmon Tacos at Anthony's

My Shrimp Cobb Salad.  Very yummy!

Reunited after 15 years! Del, Jeni, me, and Eric. They were thrilled to meet him and I was happy he had such a fun evening. We wore the perfect outfits for this picture!

Lookout at the end of the harbor, where Jeni and Del took us after dinner.  Yes, that is a private yacht.

A new favorite photo of Eric and me. 

Next we went to a shady trail and Jeni took this picture of us.  Another new favorite!

Del, me and Eric

There was definitely some dramatic lighting there. 

Back at their house, this is one of Del's gorgeous creations.

Their pretty deck with views of the harbor.  Love the geraniums!

Jeni and Del had this painting outside their CA art studio too.

Eric and their dog, Spotz.

Inside, Eric worked on one of Del's homemade wooden puzzles.

Jeni and Spotz, with some of their eclectic artwork. I used to house-sit for them many years ago and always loved the artwork they had around their house.

Solved it! What a fun night!

The next morning--our last one--on my walk. I really like the way this photo turned out. I take all my pictures on the iPhone 5S and then edit them on iPhoto at home. I do not own a fancy camera.

Mama deer was relaxing in a different yard.  No babies in sight this time.

Home!  After being cooped up indoors for 4 days, Ramius (white, 5 yrs old) and Darcy (brown, 18 yrs old) were really happy to go outside. (I know, we have the most attractive backyard ever.) 

We are finding that the more we take the Chalet out, the more we want to take it out!  RVing is really a singular experience, no matter where you go.  It requires a lot of cooperation and a fair amount of preparation.  You definitely have to LIKE  the person you're traveling with.  And if you love them, that's even better. Fortunately, we do.

More pictures to follow on another post of our MOST recent adventure. 24 hours of fun.