It’s That Time Of Year…



We are heading south.

We leave Brian and Sharon and Lake Pleasant RV Park in Bothell, Washington on Monday, September 19.  The route should be simple…405 south to I-90, and the first night will be at the KOA in Ellensburg ($36 with KOA membership).

I avoid Seattle, but the 405/90 traffic isn’t fun. Heading east on I-90 I think we are past the hard part, but now I’m in the Cascade mountains and the weather is deteriorating.  Fog, light rain, then heavy rain, big trucks rushing past leaving us in their wake, dropping temperatures….down to 41 degrees.  I’m concerned about sleet and the like, but it doesn’t happen.


Some of my pictures today have nothing to do with the text.  I have some nice pictures from walks around Lake Pleasant RV Park I’d like to share.  Lots of nice trails there.


And eek! lots of slugs on and around the trails.  They are big!  Joy and Shiloh want nothing to do with them! (Neither do I). Did I say ‘nice’ pictures?  :-))

Back to the story….

We make it safe and sound to Ellensburg and the KOA.  It’s cold and windy but, hey, I have a cable hook up and they have the USA channel, and YAY! NCIS is on, over and over, Monday afternoon and again Tuesday morning.  I’ve missed my NCIS marathons, and this is great!  Other than 2 dog walks beside the Yakima River, all I do is watch TV.  Don’t know when I’ll see NCIS again, so have to take advantage of the opportunity!


Oh yeah.  :-)

The new season starts tonight, September 20, on CBS but alas…I no longer have cable.  I guess I will survive though.  I have been so far.


Our campsite at the KOA in Ellensburg, Washington.

I drag myself away from the TV at 10:30am on Tuesday morning, and we leave at 10:45.  Check out is 11am.  I never even unhooked yesterday.


Rather unusual dog run at Lake Pleasant RV Park.  About 5 feet wide and 150 or so feet long.


Duck action on Lake Pleasant.

We continue south through Yakima, to Plymouth, Washington where we stay at the Plymouth Park Campground, a COE park on the Columbia River and the boarder with Oregon.  COE parks accept the senior pass which gives half off the regular camping fee.  I pay $13.50 for full hookups for one night.  (I also stayed here in early June when I left Sisters, OR.)



Our campsite at Plymouth Park.  Shiloh is out front, Joy is in the lower left corner.  Again I don’t unhook.

I wanted to mention my GPS, and let you know….I love it!!  I would not want to be without it on a day to day basis, traveling, but also when I’m staying somewhere (like Bothell) for awhile, and need to find my way around.  I happen to have a mid price Garmin, and yes, it’s made a few mistakes over the more than 2 years that I’ve been using it, but not NEAR as many as I would have made without it.  I’m not particularly bad about directions, and I love studying maps, but the GPS makes life SO much simpler.  Highly recommended!

Tomorrow I set my GPS for the campground at Sisters, Oregon, where I’ll get to hang out with my friend Kerry, and Joy and Shiloh will be reunited with their friend Annabelle….and this particular pack will be intact again!


Annabelle and a stump!




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Hangin’ Out…

That’s what we’ve been doing of late.  Hanging out with my son Brian and daughter-in-law, Sharon.

We do a rerun of the “Twin Peaks” area, (I was there last year) which is actually Snoqualmie and North Bend, Washington, little towns about 5 miles apart.  (The area where the tv show “Twin Peaks” was filmed about 25 years ago).  That series will be back this coming April for a one season run.  Filming for the new version was completed this past April.

We visit Snoqualmie Falls, and the Salish Lodge for lunch.


This time of year the falls is smaller.  See the hotel in the upper left corner?  In the Twin Peaks tv series this is the Great Northern Hotel.


But it’s really the Salish Lodge and Spa.


Rustic, with lots of plants.  I like it.  I probably wouldn’t like the room prices though!


Brian and Sharon at lunch.


I was able to order a squash sandwich!



Brian and I at the falls.


Snoqualmie Falls, closer.

We move on to North Bend where the R&R Diner from the series is located.  Between the 3 of us we order one piece of cherry pie, because that’s what the diner….and the series was known for.


We don’t order the “damn fine coffee” (which it’s also known for) though, because when I was here last year the coffee was pretty damn awful….by my rather picky coffee standards.  :-)


In real life the diner/cafe is called Tweeds, (on the right) and that’s the twin peaks in the background.

There are 4 birthdays while I’m here!  First, on the 13th, Joy turned 13 years young!  That would be 91 in dog years using the 7:1 year ratio.

My sweet Joy Belle over the years.

Then Brian, Sharon, and her twin sister Debbie have birthdays, and we will be having a party later today.

There are some awesome grocery stores around here….3 that I know of within about 20 minutes of each other.  PPC, Whole Foods, and Central Market.  I went mostly to explore and be amazed, but of course I bought a few things…can’t resist when I locate hard to find vegan choices.


Monday it will be time to move on, and we are heading for Sisters, OR to visit “Kerry” and her pupster “Annabelle”.  In June, about the time my back started giving me major grief, Kerry broke her leg.  Managing doable dog walks will probably be our main occupation while we visit, is my thought.

I’ll be breaking the trip to Sisters up into two stops, the first in Ellensburg, WA, and the second in Plymouth, WA, which is at the Columbia River.  Long drives are not my thing, and even less Joy and Shiloh’s thing.


Gotta keep these sweet fur babies happy!


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Last time I wrote we were staying in Marblemount  enjoying the beauty of the North Cascade Mountains.  Alpine RV Park is low key while we are there, with the busiest night being September 4, Sunday of the Labor Day week end.  That night there are 10 RV’s there and 5 tent campers.  Two of the RV’s belong to the camp hosts, and 3 are permanent residents, or at least semi permanent.

Labor Day, September 5, we pack up, hook up and travel on.  Our drive today is only 80+ miles to Bothell, about 20 miles northeast of Seattle, where I plan to stay a couple weeks and visit with my son Brian and daughter-in-law Sharon.   We stop at the Walmart at Arlington where Joy and Shiloh have a potty break and stretch their legs.  After they are comfy back in JR, I do some shopping.

We roll into Lake Pleasant RV Park in the very early afternoon.  This is a large and busy RV Park, and when I reserved my spot a month or so ago, this was the first day they had an availability for me.  I am assigned a sweet little pull through site with a nice lake view.


Our site.


Our view.

Lake pleasant comes complete with ducks, geese and frogs.  (Or are they toads?  I don’t know but I know when I approach the lakeside they squeak and hop into the water.)


See the frog/toad in the middle of the picture?


Geese on the grass.


Ducks under the willows.

Even though the RV park if full with over 200 sites, at our little spot at least, the feeling is peaceful and it’s quiet.  Because they are one of the few nice RV parks close to Seattle, at least to the north, they are in a position to charge mucho.  It’s $44 a night, and no discounts that I can come up with.  but it feels good here and I would stay here again.

Another thing nice about this park is that there are trails all around it.  Just steps from my door, it feels like we are deep in the woods.


On the trail.


A view of the campground from a hill.


Still on the trail…

There is a Safeway across the street, along with a place to get a haircut.  I make a hair appointment because the cut I got just a week ago is….not so good.  Actually the lady did a really good job and shaped it really well but the style looked terrible on me and I began hacking on it….similar to what I did when I was 2 years old and got a hold of a pair of scissors. I got the overall shape I wanted but I can’t even tell you how badly I hacked it up!  I have pictures but I won’t subject you to them.  :-)  After this second appointment I’m much happier with the cut.  It’s quite short by necessity….oh well, it will grow.

Brian, Sharon and I do a lot of low key visiting, and Friday Sharon and I go to a group of shops called Country Village.  It’s a group of small stores and boutiques, and it happens that on Fridays there is also a small Farmers Market there.



All I buy at the market are 2 tomatoes, but we enjoy walking around the area.

One of the little shops sells quilt fabric, and despite having worked in a large fabric store years ago,  (BN…Before Nursing) I have never seen so much quilt fabric together in one place.

This is just some of it:

How does one go about making a choice here???

One week of my time here is almost over and I don’t know where I’m going next, but that’s part of the beauty of this lifestyle, isn’t it?




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Poetry In Pictures

It’s been raining, but I find it not the least bit disappointing, and certainly not less beautiful….in fact….oh dear….I begin to wax poetic.  :-)




A rainy day.

A thing of beauty.

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Wrapped in mist.

Mountains… kist.


Rivers swell.




And waters fall…..









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Leaves and flowers glisten….



And if you listen….

You can hear the drips falling on the ground.

Water sounds….

All around.


Life giving water,

From the sky….

And more water trickles

From my eyes.

Then a patch of blue….


Breaks through.

Rain and clouds and wind and sky….

I so love you.


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I Can’t EVEN Tell You…

How beautiful it is here.


“Here” meaning Washington Hwy 20 through the Northern Cascade Mountains.

(See the little head sticking out the window above?  That’s Shiloh)

The pictures are nice and can be worth a 1000 words they say, but even that doesn’t express what the heart feels when these magical views are revealed around each curve in the road. (And there are a lot of curves!)


Folks often ask about my favorite places in my travels, so I can say now that the North Cascades are right up there near the top somewhere. (Other than Big Sur being first, I just can’t seem to make an orderly list).


The water really is this color.  My camera (IPhone) didn’t play tricks.

To be immersed in this beauty is really what my Wandering Spirit needed right now.  I feel it reviving after the period of low energy, even still.


This is a zoom of the 2nd picture, and it’s the view from the North Cascades National Park Visitor Center.



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We’re up here by the Pacific Crest Trail!




Of course!  A soak in the Skagit River.



Where  we just came from.  Yikes…


You’ve probably heard of the brand Cascadian Farms…organic products in the supermarket.  Here is their road side stand, and the farm area where they began.



We are staying at Alpine RV Park, a small place in Marblemount, just on the outskirts of the west side of North Cascades National Park.  Very undeveloped, and did you know it’s free to get into this National Park, even without a senior pass.


You are not seeing double!  The only other RV that pulled in (at this point) last evening was another Casita!  Met more nice people!


Dogs ARE allowed on MANY trails at this National Park!!  Yay!


Mom, the water is COLD!




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The Mountains Are Calling…

Leaving Wilbur, the wheat fields give way to apple orchards.


These don’t look ripe, but most are and it’s apple harvest time.


These boxes are piled at all the orchards, and there are much bigger box piles than this.  See the mountains ahead?


Please wash your apples, and all fruits and veggies!  Buy organic when possible.  I saw guys covered from head to toe in white plastic getup to protect them from the poison they spray on the fruit.  They were carrying huge containers of pesticide  around on ATV type vehicles.


This situation wasn’t a comfort to me either.  I repeat….WASH YOUR APPLES. (however this is better than….just going anywhere among the trees!


Winthrop, Washington is home to a few hundred people, but it’s a big tourist attraction, I learned upon arriving and seeing all the traffic.  The town is all done up in old western attire, and the sporting good stores sell everything you can possibly need for hiking and skiing.


We turn right at the one stop sign in town and go up the hill to the next block where our home will be for the next three nights, Pine Near RV Park.  Nice little campground full of green grass and we are lucky enough to get a tree, too.

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The tree is behind us so you can’t see it in this picture, but it does give shade.

I got to talking to my neighbor Bill next door, who has a Class C Jamboree.  I come to find he is 90 years old and on his own, except for his 14 year old black lab Roody, traveling all summer and then going to his park model in southern CA in the winter!  Wow!  Impressive!  He used to live in Winthrop, years ago, so he likes to spend some time here in the summer.


Joy and Shiloh pose with a carved bear in town.  :-)


View near our campsite….these are the mountains that are calling, the Cascades.


Deer wander all over where we are camped and where we walk.  This was one of a group of five that we startled as we went for our morning walk.


We walk the town and I shop….I think it lifts my spirits and gives me more energy.  :-)  I buy a new pair of shoes that were on sale in the sporting goods store that JR is parked in front of.

Now it’s time to pack up, hook up and drive 80 miles through the mountains and through North Cascade National Park to Marblemount, a town much smaller than Winthrop.  It’s on the west side of the National Park though, and since we will be there a week, we will have time to do some exploring in the park.

AT&T and internet will no doubt be iffy.  If I can post a blog I will, but if you don’t hear from me for awhile, that’s why.

One more picture, and this one is just for Badger Rick.  I hope he sees it!  This cute little inn is on the same block as the RV park we are staying in.




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Grand Coulee Dam

While in Wilbur, Washington I’m having some ‘low energy’ days.  Not sure what else to call them.  It happens sometimes….a day, or a few days,  when I don’t feel really good, but I don’t feel really bad.  Blah days.


The weather has turned cooler, and much more comfortable.  We are here for 3 days.

We are camped 20 miles from the Grand Coulee Dam, and on the 2nd day, August 24,  we get ourselves into JR and drive through 20 more miles of wheat fields, to see the longest dam in the United States (almost a mile long).

Near the dam it’s warmer, at least 80 degrees,  and there is only one parking space in the shade, at the very end of the lot.  Someone has taken it of course.  Next to it, in an area where you drive, not park, there is shade, and that’s where I park.  I can’t leave the dogs in the sun, even with the windows down.  If I get a ticket, so be it.  I’d rather have a ticket than baked dogs. The parking lot is only about a quarter full anyway, and this is at the end where no one is.  Except….that one car.


There’s JR on the right.  The scalloped area there is the center part of the dam….the spillway.

Below are a few views of the dam.


This is the 3rd power plant, and by itself, the most powerful power plant in the United States.


In the foreground is the park below the visitor center.  I can’t get the whole dam in a picture at once.  This is the spillway and power plant # 3.  The other two are on the right side of the spillway.


Still not showing the right side.  Notice all the wires?

The visitor center is filled with interesting exhibits and there is a movie that I watch.

Sixty million dollars was authorized to build this dam by Franklin D Roosevelt, and it was started in 1933, during the depression, as a way of helping to employ the unemployed.  It was completed in 1942…ahead of schedule and below budget!

Twelve million cubic yards of concrete was used….enough to build a 6 foot sidewalk around the earth at the equator…twice.  It rises 550 feet from the bottom of the river, and is 500 feet wide at it’s base.

It contains 3 power plants, and the third, the most recently built, generates more power than any other power plant in the US, even without the other two.

Once completed it’s main functions were (are) irrigation, power production, and flood control.  The first order of business was to get the irrigation system working, but priorities changed, since WW2 started, and power production became the priority.  Farming and irrigation had to wait until the war was over.

What does ‘coulee’ mean?  it’s a geological term and means a ravine or deep gully, usually dry, which has been cut by water.

Near the dam:


Standing over this area, I could hear the hum in the wires….



Roosevelt Lake, behind the dam.

Many people were displaced when the dam was built and the area was flooded. These were mostly Native Americans, but not all, living next to the Columbia River.  The other very major problem is that salmon can’t jump over the dam.  Of course.  It’s even too high for use of a ‘fish ladder’, and it’s not even the only dam on the Columbia that salmon can’t get across.  Salmon fishing was what the Indians mainly did, to survive.

In all these years, no one has figured out how to get the fish over the dam!  Seems that minds that could figure out how to build this thing, could figure out how to get the salmon to the other side.  (???)

After I finish at the visitor center I drive down to the park below and the three of us walk the shore.  I consider….the miracle and the misery of this ‘man-made wonder’.

I’ve heard about the Coalville Tribal Museum just a mile or so away.  Even in my low energy state, I want to visit it.  I find some shade in a nearby church parking lot and spend some time in the museum looking at the exhibits, which are very well done, and talking to one of the employees about the salmon situation.


Coalville Tribal Museum

Below are of few of the many beautiful and educational displays:


All beading!




That’s enough for today and we travel back through the 20 miles of harvested wheat.  I consider going back the next evening for the Laser Light Show,  but that’s as far as I get…thinking about it.  It seems better to me to get in bed with a good book.

Friday, August 26 we leave Wilbur and drive 120 miles to Winthrop, Washington for a 3 day stay at Pine Near RV Park.  We’re coming back into the mountains, and my energy is returning.

I’ll tell you about Winthrop next time…






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