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Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood...

Today we planned to spend most of the day in Leavenworth.  Back in 1962, this little town had a problem – it was an unknown way stop on the way to Wenatchee.  The local economy was pretty much dead and there wasn’t much in the way of business activity.  The town fathers decided to reinvent the town, way before that term ever became popular.  They decided to redo the town with a Bavarian theme.  All buildings and infrastructure would follow that theme.  The plan was that this would give the town some uniqueness and make it a tourist destination.

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Above is a sample of one of the buildings.  As you can see, it looks like it came right out of Southern Germany.

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Here is another building following this theme.  Even the local Safeway follows it.

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There are tall mountains on three sides of the town, so it really gives you the “alpine” flavor.

We had brunch at a place called CafĂ© Verona.  The current owners have no idea how it got that name.  But the food was good and that’s what really matters. 

After brunch, we went for a walk around town looking at all the shops.  It is much smaller than Solvang, CA which is a Scandinavian themed town.  But we were able to do it in about an hour or so.  Then we went down to Waterfront Park which follows the Wenatchee River as it goes through town.  It was a good walk on a gravel path.

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Above is a shot of the path.  Right now the trees here are just getting their leaves.  In another week or two, you won’t be able to see through so easy.

In the early 1900s, logging was big in this area.  Lumberjacks would cut the trees up in the mountains and then float them downriver to Leavenworth where they were milled.  This worked great as once the lumber was milled, they could ship it out on the railroad.  Unfortunately, during WWI, lumber was not a critical war commodity, so it wasn’t able to be shipped out and the mill died off, never to be resurrected.

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Here is an interesting shot of sunken logs as we crossed over a bridge on the path to Blackberry Island.  There are hundreds of these sunken logs here and one wonders why they weren’t recovered and processed years ago.  Now they are just an underwater hazard.

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You can see here the pilings where the logs were tied up waiting processing.  This barrier goes almost all the way across the river.

After we got back from our walk, we took the back road to the town of Plain.  There isn’t much there, but it was a nice 17 mile drive.  All the buildings there had either red or green metal roofs and wooden sides.  All were sort of, well, plain.  Maybe that’s how it got its name.

We went out to dinner to a BBQ place in Cashmere called Country Boys BBQ.  Good food and they have these fries that are actually like potato chips as one of the sides.  You get a ton of them and they really are good.  I suspect we will return to Country Boys for sure.  It is on Aplets way as you come into the town.  If you are ever here, be sure to check it out!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Up, Up, and (not so) Away

Today we moved the RV from Wenatchee Confluence State Park to the Chelan County Fairgrounds in Cashmere – about 10 miles away.  Had to refuel first – paid 3.96/gal which is expensive.  We used the Gas Buddy android app to find the cheapest gas and it was in Cashmere.  Wenatchee had it for $4.09 at the cheapest station I could get the RV into.

The park here isn’t the world’s greatest.  The sites are not level and I had to use 3 blocks under the rear tires to get us even close.  But it does have 50 amp power, plenty of water pressure, and even cable TV.  They do have 300 sites here……and we are the only ones here!

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Kind of lonely out here….

After lunch we drove up highway 2 towards Steven’s Pass.  We never made it there.  We took a turn off for Lake Wenatchee and went to check out the Thousand Trails RV park.  We drove around some of the sites, but a portion of the park is closed for the season.  The sites all appear to have electricity (30amp) and some have water and some of those have sewer.  We are not Thousand Trail members, but we do like to check out the parks.

After leaving there, we drove back to the road that we thought would take us to the north entrance of the state park.  Turns out we missed the north entrance and went half way around the lake until the road degraded and had not been plowed.  We turned around there and found both the north and south portions of the state park, but the camping was closed in both sections.

So we came on back to the RV about 5:15 and Carol is now cooking dinner.  It is still windy here and hopefully that will go down tonight/tomorrow.  Since tomorrow is Carol’s Birthday, we are going to spend a good portion of the day in Leavenworth at her request.  it should be fun, especially if it is not windy!

Here’s one of the bugs that seemed to survive hitting our windshield today

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Odds and Ends on the Road

Today we took a nice ride up to Chelan, WA.  Chelan is a small city on the east side of Lake Chelan.  The lake was originally formed by a dam built in 1892 and upgraded and modernized several times since.  Originally, the dam was built for flood control and irrigation and in 1927 a Powerhouse was added to generate electricity.

We also visited several public parks, some were state, others were county and one was city.  Interestingly enough, all had one thing in common….

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Tennis Courts!  Yes, almost each park we visited had tennis courts.  Interestingly enough, every park was in great condition, lawns mowed, facilities clean and in good repair, etc..

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Also, the play equipment in each park was also in great shape.

Our weather today did not follow the forecast.  First, overnight we had one thunderstorm with mostly wind and some rain.  Probably lasted about 15 minutes or so.  Also the snow that was forecast did not make an appearance at all.  And again today, the sky has been sunny with some large buildups, bot overall a very nice day.

Tomorrow we move to Cashmere for a few days.  We could not get a spot here on the weekend, but will probably return on Sunday and stay until Thursday.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Cold Day in H#$@

Last night it got down to 39 degrees in Wenatchee!  That’s cold for this time of year.  And while today was overcast most of the day, it at least made it into the high 50s.  Tonight is supposed to be cold again with possible snow showers!

This morning we went over to Cashmere, about 10 miles away.  This little city is home to Aplets and Cotlets, a kind of fruit based sweet treat.  You can read all about them by clicking here.  We had visited this factory many years ago and took the free tour.  Unfortunately, this is their low season and they don’t give tours until about July-November. 

While there, we also checked out the Chelan county fairgrounds for RV camping.  We have to move on Friday somewhere because Confluence state park is booked (the Apple Blossom Festival is this coming weekend) and we thought the fair grounds would work.  They have lots of sites, all with water, 50 amp, and sewer as well as Wi-Fi.  So we went to the office and reserved the weekend.  We will probably come back to the state park for Sunday through Thursday.

After lunch we made a quick visit to Wal-Mart and a Sports Outlet looking for a mirror and water bottle holder for Carol’s new bike.  Her wrists bother her after riding with hand brakes, so a week ago we went to Camping World and bought a traditional bike with coaster brakes that also folds up.  So now she can fit it in the back of the car which will protect it from the weather.

Interestingly enough, the day after we bought it, we received a flyer from CW with the bike on sale at a price $30 less than we paid.  So we trekked back to CW and got a credit for the difference.

So when we came back after our errand and lunch, I mounted the new bike accessories.  Then we went for a 6 mile bike ride and saw the  Funtastic folks setting up the Carnival area for the weekend.  Ron and Ali, blog friends of ours, work with Funtastic last year but are now doing another job in Texas.  I was tempted to stop and ask if these guys know Ron & Ali, but they all looked pretty busy and probably would not have had the time to talk.

Back at the RV, the clouds are thickening and the temp is getting colder.  I may BBQ tonight if it is not too cold.  We will see if it snows tonight!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

Well, it has been a few weeks since we were on the road, but as of today, we are back at it.  And a lot has happened since the last blog post, so let me see if I can update you….

First, I finished up my major project at home where we park the RV.  I wanted to get some trees out of the way (7 each about 30’ tall) and replace the dirt where they were with gravel.  Also wanted to run a 50amp electrical service to the RV so that I would not need to use extension cords anymore.  It is much nicer now and I don’t have to worry about the tree branches and sap getting on the rig and there’s no concern about the electrical cords on the ground having their plugs freeze and then short out.  The last step in the project was to place 2 yards of gravel in the area.  It turned out really well.

If you have been following Carol’s blog, you know that we now have our first grandchild, a girl named Sophie Peace.  I’m not going to replicate all that Carol has on her blog, but if you haven’t kept up on this story, you can visit her blog by clicking here.

During our “down time,” I also managed to do a number of maintenance tasks on the RV.  It seems like I always have a list of things needing attention and that it is so much larger than our old RV.  But when you consider all features this one has, the list really isn’t so large.  So here are the highlights:

1)  Our toilet would not keep water in the bowl.  It would last maybe an hour or so and then all drain out.  I gave the plastic flapper plate and the surrounding rubber seal a good cleaning and it has held water for over a week now, so I think that one is fixed.

2)  There were many rusted spots on the tow bar.  I wire brushed them off and spray painted them with Rustoleum.  I also sprayed the non-painted surfaces with Silicon spray to try to keep them from rusting.  When we arrived here today, the tow bar was much easier to work with, so I judge that project a success too.

3)  Our right side refrigerator door had the nasty habit of coming open during sharp left turns.  I tried to adjust the striker plate and think I may have fixed it.  We drove 288 miles today and it didn’t fly open, so I judge that one a qualified success.

There were about 8 other minor things I fixed and so far all those seem OK.  Also, to report on a previous fix, you may recall the problem we had with our outside cabinet doors opening while in motion.  I wrote quite extensively on the fix for those, and I have put almost 1,000 miles on them and can say that this fix is done.

Now to the current day….We had planned to leave yesterday for a trip to the Wenatchee area.  Unfortunately, Sunday afternoon my laptop died hard.  The video chip on the board would work for about 5 seconds and then go black as it warmed up.  I had noticed the last few weeks that the screen was not as bright, but thought it was not a big deal.  Well it was.  So instead of leaving yesterday, we made an emergency trip to Fry’s so I could replace t.  It used to take me about 20 hours to load all my software.  Most of it was related to work and included Oracle databases, tools, and all kinds of developer tools.  Now that I am retired, I  don’t need to load these and it only took about 5 hours to get it all going.

We left home at 9 this morning and arrived at Wenatchee Confluence Park a few minutes after 3pm.  It was mostly an easy drive except for a few rain showers and wind gusts.

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Above is a picture out our window.  The Wenatchee River flows into the Columbia River right at the park.  As you can see, it is a real pretty day, though somewhat windy.

There are three young guys in the next site up from ours.  We were hearing loud music and were worried that they would be playing all night.  But while I was cleaning the car, one of them came over to introduce himself and tell me that if there music bothered us, to let them know.  He was extremely polite.  I mentioned that we probably wouldn’t have any problem unless it was after quiet hours (10pm).  His response was that he didn’t think they’d even be up that late!

This encounter gives one hope for the next generations!

Even more weird…..he is a senior at Archbishop Murphy HS over in Everett, WA.  He did play on their football team and played in the state semi-final championship game in 2009 that was in the Tacoma Dome – the same game I refereed!  Small world.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bye Bye Bothell

Tomorrow we leave Bothell and head for home.  We had partly cloudy weather today and hopefully, if the forecast holds, it should be the same all the way home tomorrow.

Today we drove up to Monroe, WA to check out the area.  Nothing too exciting there.  Not much really to write about it.  Carol will probably have some pics on her blog entry.

Don’t yet know when the next trip is going to be because all plans are pending grandbaby arrival.  So stay tuned for updates.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bothell or Bust!

Yesterday (Wednesday) was a fairly easy day.  We looked at some RV lots up in Surfside on Tuesday just for fun.  These lots have hookups (most do) and you can take your RV there for a vacation trip.  Surfside is up near the top (northern edge) of the Long Beach, WA peninsula.  On Wednesday, we drove back up to Surfside to visit the office of the homeowner’s association.

Well, as they say, there’s good news and bad news…..First the good: The HOA fees are only $497 annually and that includes water, garbage (you take it free to their disposal center) and security (They contract with the sheriff to provide a deputy for their area.  Now the bad….some lots, including one of the good ones we looked at, have restrictions on how long you can put an RV on it each year.  The rule is you can have it full time from May through September and then a total of 60 days from October through April, no more than 21 at any one time.

That restriction seems really arbitrary to me and frankly is a show stopper.  I don’t want to own property that I cant use whenever I want it.  So that restricts us to only looking at lots that don’t have that restriction.

Ideally, this would be a great deal for 2-3 families to go in and split the costs.

After that, we went to McDonalds so Carol could use their free wifi.

Woke up this morning and it was very cold – below freezing!  Actually had a small block of ice on the base of my extender antenna!

We left the park about 9:20 and headed up 101 to SR107 to SR12 to SR8 to another section of 101 to I5 and north to Bothell.  We left the park under mostly clear skies (but cold!) and by the time we got to Bothell, it had already showered on us a few time – just enough to mess up the car.

We arrived at Lake Pleasant RV park about 2:30.  Our car was dirty so I washed it here (it is allowed in this park!).  We have great cell service and there is free wifi, but only 1hr per day.  Otherwise you have to pay for it.  I’ll stick with my cell tether program.

Tonight we hope to hook up with our younger son, maybe for dinner.  At least to unload his belongings from our car – it is full!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ho Hum, more rain.

Well, I went home over the weekend.  While it was rainy and windy at the coast, it was partly sunny and 65 degrees at home!  What a difference!  I arrived home late Friday afternoon after running some errands on the way.

Saturday Jonathan came home briefly to pick up some of his belongings to move into his new apartment.  The rest we loaded into the Honda to be brought up to him this weekend.  Unfortunately, he really wasn’t home for more that about 45 minutes or so.  It was great to see him, but he had to get back to the new apartment to be there for the delivery of a mattress.

Sunday, I went to my meeting at noon and left for the coast from there.  Only had some very light showers on the way and I arrived about 3:30 or so – about 30 minutes ahead of schedule.

We packed up, disconnected, and left the RV park in town and came back to Cape Disappointment.  Now we are in site 5 which is a nicer location, but still has pathetic cell service.  I sure wish there was a way to get Verizon to put in a tower here!  We decided to leave here Thursday to head up to see Jonathan and, while we could have stayed here one more day, I’m just as glad we aren’t.  At least we will have better cell service there.

Of course, all these plans may change at the last minute if our grand-baby arrives any one of these days.  Then we will abort and head for home.  Stay tuned!