Tuesday, July 31, 2012

18 holes on our last day

Don't ask.....

18 holes played on a tough course with lots of elevation changes. Up hill, down hill, around the corner, huge pines, lots of water, lots of fun!!!  Dave played really well and I enjoyed the beautiful course.  I let him drive the cart today because the paths were so, so steep and curvy.

this patch of shade looked like a giant leaf lying on the ground...

I'm loving these huge pines, I wish you could smell them and hear their sound as  the wind blows through.  It almost sounds as if there is a stream rushing by.  

it was so windy at the top of this hill, Dave had to take his hat off or risk having it make it to the pin before his ball!

YES!  a great long par putt

can you see the blue flag on the green far below?    the tee box and the pin on the green are separated by 100's of feet of elevation!  see the golf cart down there?  this was an unbelievable hole!

lovely gardens on many holes

quirky pine trees

colorful huckleberries - the kind bears love

 ducks splashing in the ponds

We finished the round about 4 p.m. and after getting the dogs fed and settled, we sat outside enjoying the cool, clear afternoon.   Pat, from next door, stopped in to ask about Dave's golf experience and we invited him to share our cocktails and conversation.  Such a nice man.  He played earlier with 3 other single's and had the same comments about the course.   He's enjoying his first trip and finding people to be very kind and helpful to him.  We sat outside talking until it got too cool to continue and then retired to our motorhomes to make some dinner.    We leave in the morning and he'll stay on for another few days, I know he'll be glad he got away.

We've had a really good, low key time here.  We'll be sorry to leave, but are really looking forward to seeing Jesse.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Marathon Monday? no....

Marathon Monday at the golf course, but we didn't play.  It looked very busy judging by the golf carts softly whirring by us this morning so we decided to take a little hike along the John Wayne trail.  We drove through this golf development and parked alongside the road.  The river was tantalizingly close so we took a little path through some low brush and over some rocks right to the water's edge.  I say "over" some rocks, but what really happened is we walked "on" some rocks (submerged....) to the water's edge.  Wet shoes, but well worth it.  The water is so clear as it tumbles along over large boulders and past the homes that line our golf course.

wet shoes?  who cares

We walked through the water again, and up some "stairs" to the trail.  Luckily the stairs had a rope pull next to them, so I had no trouble scrambling up to the upper level.  We crossed the river again on this old trestle and strolled along for quite a way.  I had hoped to walk between the Yakima River and the Cle Elum River, but as we hiked along, I noticed all the beautiful berries on either side of the trail.  They made me think about the creatures that would love to feast on these berries, then I thought about bears....  I scared myself thinking about encountering a bear on this empty trail, so we turned around before we found the Cle Elum.  What a wimp I am....
trestle over the river on our trail

Dave is enjoying the Yakima River view from the trestle

We got in the car and drove a few miles to the old mining town of Roslyn.  Its the town where the tv show Northern Exposure was filmed.

Roslyn, Washington

have you ever seen so many flowers?

Later, as we sat outside enjoying our cocktails and waiting for our chicken to finish grilling, Dave exchanged a few pleasantries with the man who took the spot next to us earlier today.    We had already decided he was alone and when he told us he had forgotten to take his steak out of the freezer so he was going to grill a hamburger, we knew he was by himself - yet there were two matching chairs set up next to his old motorhome.    He seemed to want to talk, and we found out that his wife just died and this was his first trip solo.  Our hearts twisted in our chests.  His wife had developed Alzheimer's and died a slow, frustrating death.  Dave suggested they play golf together tomorrow, we'll see if that works out.

 Dave and I had just been talking about what we would do if something happened to either one of us.
That conversation, no doubt was prompted by this lone man next to us.

We ate our dinner quietly, each reflecting on our conversation with Pat and thinking about how short life is.  Every second is important, don't take life for granted.        Remember that.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

a quick 9 holes

This is a very nice place to stay.  A sweet, but hard, little golf course in front of us, mountains all around, two rivers racing by and temperatures in the high seventies.

We drove around the golf course community that surrounds us.  Its lovely.  The Yakima river rushes by behind the houses and the quiet golf course is at their front.  Nice.

The salmon here are legendary and this guy had a cool way of fishing.  Uncle Norm probably already knows about this little boat, but we were fascinated watching it.  The river is very swift here and the green boat was floating along with the current.  Then the man just  put his feet down and the boat stopped.  He started fishing  and the boat stayed right with him.  When he wanted to move downstream, he simply lifted his feet and settled his butt in the seat and off he went again.  Looked like fun to us.

We checked out downtown Cle Elum and were struck by how much this little town reminded us of Truckee, California, where Jesse used to live.  Truckee before the rich folks moved in that is.  The Cle Elum Bakery provided us with some delicious coconut/lemon bars (and coconut/rasberry bars for the road) and a few good looking cookies.  After finishing some grocery shopping we went back to Sun Country Golf and RV Resort so Dave could get in 9 holes before dinner.  I stayed home and did some prep work for our dinner of grilled shrimp and rice with spinach, tomatoes and feta.  Tomorrow I'll join him for "Marathon Monday".  $38 buys us as much golf as we want to play and a "trolley" for the entire day!  An early night for us Monday, to be sure.

I can see Dave at the first tee right out Beluga's windshield

Have a good time sweetie!

A beautiful full moon is shining in Beluga's windows and I think its time for bed.  Nightie Night.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Drive from Plymouth to Cle Elum

We were sorry to leave our lovely Corps of Engineers Campground this morning, but there is more to see ahead.  We followed I-82 north toward Yakima, Washington.  Between Richland and Yakima we passed hillsides filled with vineyards, orchards and acres of hops.

my close up pictures of the vineyards were out of focus - Dave is driving way too fast

As we approached Yakima we started seeing huge, snow covered peaks in the distance, to the left and right of our highway.  I had to call Jesse to see what they might be.  He told me that they were Mt. Adams and Mt. Ranier.  I can't believe we could see to far, but I know he was right.  It was really exciting to see them peeking above the ridge.

Yakima River

this is a picture of Mt. Andrews (a sign told me that)
What a beautiful part of the country. We've turned off I-82 and are now following I-90 toward Seattle.    We can hardly wait to get off the interstate and see where we'll set up home for the next few days.

 windshield view (from our site #2 ) of the 1st tee at Sun Country Golf Course and RV resort,   
What a nice small park this is (only 14 back in sites).   Neat, small homes line the golf course set amid tall pines and mountain views.  A golf tournament was just finishing up as we arrived and the whoops of happy golfers rung in the air.  Dave is looking forward to playing tomorrow or the next day.  I understand the town that the tv show "Northern Exposure" was filmed in is just a few miles from here.  We'll check it out.

I had a great phone conversation with Robin today.  It was so nice to hear her voice and catch up on her life.
I'm waiting for pictures of WD, Robin.....

I'm off to find Dave.  I think he headed toward the putting green.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hair Salon

Well, today was the day.  It only took us 3 hours to shampoo, blow dry, and clip Lewis.  We're getting the time down each time we do it.  He is such a good boy, he stands calmly while we manhandle and tickle him trying to clip but not cut him.  We couldn't bear it if we drew blood, he's so trusting and patient with us.

We had a visitor to our "Hair Salon" that I'll bet none of you have ever seen at yours....a baby diamond back rattle snake was inside our ex pen fenced area.  

Luckily we hadn't let the dogs out ahead of us as we usually do.  Dave escorted the little darling away  from Beluga and we set up shop.

As is his habit, Dave trimmed his own hair after doing Lewis.  Lisa, if you're reading this you'd better cover your eyes -  you don't want to hear what I'm about to say.
Dave came in and asked me how his hair looked.  I almost choked - it looked like he had some terrible skin disease.  Chunks were shaved short among other long sections.  It almost looked like the hair loss associated with cancer treatments.  I tried to even it out, to no avail.  His nice new human hair trimmer has given up the ghost.  Here's the part that Lisa will hate.....we took Lewis's clipper and buzzed Dave's head.  Perfect !
Out with the man clipper, Lewis's will do double duty from now on.  We figure if you find something that works, go with it, right?

This quiet campground has filled up with fishermen.  There are more boats here than campers!

We ended the day with a delicious baby back rib dinner from the local bar (the only restaurant in Plymouth).
It was wonderful, my first rib dinner ever.  Dave is finishing the dishes so we can sit down and watch the Olympic opening ceremonies.  We're off in the morning.  Our destination is about 2 1/2 hours north at Cle Elum, Washington.  We have reservations at a small golf course/rv park there for the next 3 nights and then we'll be in Seattle.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Washington, Oregon, Washington

A wasted morning, we watched a video about clipping the poodle and procrastinated about washing and clipping Lewis.   We really just enjoyed our lazy time and then decided to get in the jeep and explore our surrounding areas.  We'll trim Lewis when we get back this afternoon....

Beluga from the river's swimming area
This park has a lovely, leafy green swimming area right across from our site.  We walked around a bit and I went into the water up to my knees, it was quite cold but it felt good.

beaver damage everywhere

female Merganser enjoying the sun

the Corps of Engineer's McNary Dam, from the Washington side
I can't help thinking about Aunt Erna.   Right before I was born, she was working in Walla Walla, Washington, just a stone's throw from where we are right now.  I have to ask Amy because I think I remember she worked here for the Corps. of Engineers.....could that be?

the dam has a huge lock on the Washington side,  here a barge pushing wood chips and scrap emerges from the lock

We tried to access the dam from our side of the River, but found a dead end road leading to it, sign saying "Visitor's Welcome"....We poked around over there, saw the boat launch, followed a rutted dirt road named Portage Road down to the shore of the swirling river and watched a barge move through the lock.

Then we drove over the bridge onto the Oregon side and discovered a visitor's center, a Pacific Salmon Visitor's Information Center and a fish viewing area.  Oregon's got it!  We toured the Salmon info. center (wrong season for seeing any fish sorting, etc.), and went into the fish viewing area.  It has windows under the surface of the salmon ladders that allow spawning salmon to avoid the  power turbines of the dam.   Just as we were leaving, a salmon literally shot by the windows...hardly time to identify it!  It must be a really interesting area in spawning season.  Not much else happening here, so we drove back to Beluga to get some steaks on the grill.

Lew says "Please don't let mom have the clippers anymore..."
I sure hope Dave can blend in that strip I cut between Lewis's eyes.  I was inspired by the video, but I need to leave the clipping to Dave I guess...He says its a good thing it grows back.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


We're finally in the same state as Jesse!

Not much to talk about  today, it was just a driving day.  We left Baker City around 11 a.m., a little later than usual because we only had 180 miles to reach our next stop, Plymouth Park (a Corps of Engineers park along side the Columbia River in Washington).  We ascended into the beautiful pine forested peaks of the Blue Mountains and descended onto a broad, flat plain covered with a patchwork of enormous golden grain fields.  A sign told us that we had just crossed the 45th parallel, exacly halfway between the equator and the north pole!

We crossed the Columbia River on I-82 at the McNary Lock and Dam and followed the river just a short way to our home for the next 3 nights.  We have this beautiful site for only $12 a night!  That National Parks Senior Pass is the greatest thing we've ever purchased!  It even gives us 1/2 off these Corps. parks.

our new back yard.  the Columbia river is just behind the trees

our front yard

our back yard, pretty nice eh?
I had a couple of nice phone conversations this afternoon.  One with Barb Sullivan.  She is driving herself across the country (from Sacramento) to start her new life back in Rochester!  It will be wonderful to have her nearby again.  She moved to California years ago and has decided she wants to be near her grandchildren, so she'll be there waiting for us when we get home.

The other call was from a dear friend in Canada.  Diana had our first guide dog, Pilgrim until his death a few years ago.  They were best buds, even after he could no longer safely guide her.  She hasn't had another guide dog since Pilly, but now has applied, and been accepted for a new dog from a Canadian guide dog school nearby.  She is waiting for a .......Standard Poodle!!!!  I don't know who is more excited, Diana or me.  She'll stay in touch with us throughout the process - we wish her the best of luck.

Dave has absolutely crashed on the couch, so I'm going to tiptoe around and put together some burgers and macaroni salad for dinner.  Thats all for now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Oregon Trail

Another lazy morning, coffee/tea outside, then we headed out to a local cafe for breakfast at lunchtime.  Yumm, it was really outstanding and way too much to eat at one sitting, so we brought things home to incorporate into a steak dinner tomorrow night at our next stop, a Corps of Engineer park in Plymouth, Washington.    After lunch we drove around the area a bit and continue to be  impressed with the obvious  pride these people take in their city.

As we were driving, I had a great call from niece Lisa.  She gave me the good news that their mortgage commitment came in and they will be moving into a beautiful new home in August.  Congratulations Lisa and Chris.

We couldn't leave this place without a visit to the Oregon Trail Interpretative Center in the Falstaff Hills.  We've been following the path of the trail since we entered Idaho and talk often of how difficult this trek must have been for the 300,000 or so souls who made the trip on foot or prairie schooner.

The building that houses the Interpretative Center is set high atop one of the golden hills,huge windows looking out over the vast plains and the rutted tracks of the Oregon Trail.   The Center is the only structure for as far as you can see in all directions.   Nothing but the rolling, yellow grassy hills.   No trees, no houses, nothing but the silence surrounding you.  It is quite a powerful site.

The first part of the center consisted of a life-sized diorama depicting what life on the trail may have looked like.  As you approached each group, a voice of one of the people in the scene would begin talking about what was happening in front of you.  The people sounded like they were reading from letters written by real people on the Trail.  It drew you in as you walked along toward the huge windows on the end of the room.

The rest of the center had videos, paintings, displays, and question boxes that really showed, in a number of ways, what the experience was like and why people felt they wanted to endure the hardships inherent in such a trek.   I was so enthralled as I moved through the different areas, I totally forgot I had a camera in my hand, so no pictures for you!

And then, there was the Trail...It really moved us to stand in those ruts in the hot sun, in utter silence, to look ahead to what those people saw.  Especially since we're driving on a part of their original path with our luxury liner instead of a prairie schooner.  Incredible.

As I sit in my outside chair, tea in hand, this is what I see reflected in Beluga's shiny  (Alcoa) aluminum wheel....pretty nice life I've got.