When the cat’s away….

…the mouse will play. That can be a pretty negative saying, I know,  but in the case of me being away, and Gary staying home – well, it’s all good!

After my two week family hug-fest, I returned to a virtually spotless RV. Dishes were washed and put away, laundry (sheets, towels, rugs) was done, counters were clear and the floor was swept.  Even the plants were watered and thriving.  Either he (a) missed me terribly and was just keeping busy to keep from going stir-crazy without me, or (b) he just plain does a better job with life when I’m far away. I’m choosing to believe “a”. 🙂

But he wasn’t just keeping out of trouble by detailing the RV.  He also got lots done around the Camp.  He had started on this fence when we first arrived.
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That’s where I left him.
By the time I got back, he had not only finished up that fence,
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he had also built a fence around their BBQ area –
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got one of the ladies rooms a little closer to being completed (as in installing the toilets and doing some drywall)
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and worked on the design and implementation of a retrieval station for their zip-line.
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Something to do with winches and stops and making sure the platform is out of the way before anyone does any actual zipping.
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So, all in all, while I was busy lovin’ on our family, he was busy doing a great job of holding down the fort.

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Tomorrow morning we head to our June project – Black Lake Bible Camp over in Olympia (see our Where Are We Now Page for more location details). We had hoped to do some sightseeing this week, but a typical weather pattern has settled into the area, and the sun has only broken through for a moment or two each day. (We must be near Seattle, right?). I’ve kept busy catching up on some sewing and computer ‘stuff’, and Gary has continued finishing up some odds and ends around the RV. Today we’re wrapping up some loose ends and then tomorrow morning we’ll be ready to set out AFTER rush hour!

Have a great long weekend, friends! Thanks for stopping by!
Steph

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Home

It’s been said that “Home is where the Heart is”, and yes – I am home! It was wonderful to be reunited with my dear Gary who labored away here without me for two weeks. I know he managed just fine without me, but I think he was happy to have me back.  And I was happy to be back.

But the last two weeks – Oy! Such a beautiful time! The days were filled with family (I saw all of my immediate family save one, and countless other nieces and nephews and their offspring) and fun (soccer games and ice cream outings, board games and giggle-fests) and frivolity (picnics, stops at Dunkin Donuts, and (very occasionally) beating my sisters at Rummikub). So while I did come Home to where my Heart is, I confess that I left pieces of it behind with these guys
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and this little one
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in Ohio.
Then these littles snagged a piece of it in Baltimore –
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There was this crew that came together for a picnic in the park in Carlisle –
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Be still my heart!
More great nieces arrived from Minnesota on our last full day –
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and I wasn’t sure I would have any heart left to take home!

Then there was the Sister Time – time most precious to me!
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Time spent with these two ladies is always soul-restoring to me and I am so thankful for these sisters/best friends. Girls’ Week is always one of the best weeks of the year for me, and this year was no exception!

It IS good to be Home. Sleeping in my own bed, next to my love.  The ‘glow’ of the last two weeks is lingering, and my heart is growing accustomed to functioning with those little pieces missing.

(A couple more pix from my heart-stealing time away can be found here HERE!)

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10 Things I think I forgot to mention

10. Way back in February (yes, that was quite a few ‘yesterdays’ ago) we took a little field trip to Robson Ranch and Mining Camp, a ghost town remnant of the booming mining industry that helped settle the Wickenburg area of Arizona.
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It was an interesting day –a little history,
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a little hiking (complete with some petroglyphs that I personally never found but were documented by others in our group),
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and some beautiful scenery.
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Here’s a link to my set of pictures from the day – Robson Mining Ranch

9. In March we checked out St. Anthony’s Coptic Monastery outside of Barstow, CA. This was WAY OUT THERE.
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(It’s that little white dot on the left, halfway up! And we had already driven about 1/2 hour on that dirt road.)
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And we really weren’t sure just what to expect. What we found was a relatively new church that was quite ornate, a grouping of single-wide mobile homes (the monastery part), another older church (or two – it was hard to tell) and 5 (yes, 5) tour buses that had come up from Los Angeles. We were a bit out of our element (most of the other visitors were actually Coptic Christians and there on a pilgrimage of sorts) so aside from checking out the gift store (most items in Arabic) and taking pictures of the church, we chose not to linger.

8. Early Man Site. OK – here’s another head scratcher. Since we were already driving on dirt roads (finding the monastery) that day, we thought we’d find out just what this Early Man Site was all about.
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Well, apparently although no human bones have been found, there have been discoveries of tools and tool making rocks. Again, it was a nice hike and some beautiful views of the San Bernardino Valley and the Mohave Desert. And I suppose if I was into archaeological digs, this could hold some interest. For us – not so much. (Just keeping it real!)
Here are just a couple more pictures.

7. Remember our Berdoo Canyon Adventure coming out of Joshua Tree Natl Park?
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As we were navigating our way through that canyon, we had a certain ‘carrot’ hanging out in front of us – a date shake at the Shields Date Gardens.It kept us going, to be sure. However, by the time we emerged from the canyon, the sun was setting and the Date Garden was closed. “Hey, we’re adults,” I said. “I bet we can figure out how to make a date shake.” Without skipping a beat Jenny said, – “Tell him your dad has a gun.” Aren’t we hilarious! 😉

6. This past week my big sister had a birthday. Oh, it wasn’t one of those “Big Ones”, but it was still a birthday, and at our age, we should never take them for granted. So, although I sent her a card, called her, and wished her an official Facebook Happy Birthday – here’s one more – Happy Birthday, Elna! I can’t imagine a better big sister and I’m thankful for you each and every day! XOXOXOX

5. This past week my dear husband also had a birthday. Again, not a big decade jumping birthday, but as I said before, we celebrate each one! (Actually, we celebrate waking up and dressing ourselves. Just sayin’) So Happy Birthday (just a bit late) to the best man in my life! Love you, baby!

4. All three of our kids are either in the midst of or have already accomplished major life adjustments in the last several months. Job changes (no small thing when you have a family of 7), revitalizing a career that has been on hold for a couple of years, and moving across the country. I’m pretty darn proud of these courageous kiddos of mine, and I just want to say here in the Blog World – that I think you are ALL absolutely AMAZING!
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3. Look where we’re parked for the next three weeks!
Lake Retreat parking.
Instead of tracking in sand, now we’re tracking in pine needles. But everything is so GREEN!!! And the trees are so HUGE!!!! Ah…….

2. Tomorrow I head east to Columbus! I’ll be spending next week loving on my Ohio kids (4) and grands (7), watching ball games, enjoying Mother’s Day with my kids (that hasn’t happened in about 12 years!), playing games and enjoying all of the beautiful family chaos that I miss so much! Less than 24hrs until my plane leaves!

1. Then next Friday, I leave Columbus and fly to PA for Girls Week ’16!!!! It’s another thing I will never take for granted – a week with my precious sisters! We’ll be bopping around the countryside, trying to fit as much family and fun (oh, and maybe a bit of shopping) in as we can! Not to mention talking, praying, talking, napping, coffee drinking, etc, There are even plans in the works to connect with most of my PA kids and grands, too – super excited about that!
The Sisters

So that’s the list. There are probably more than 10 things I forgot to mention, but at least this got some of the real ancient history off the table. And, it gave me a good chance to let you know that the next two weeks might be (ok, will be) pretty quiet. At least here at RV There Yet! (And probably here at Lake Retreat where Gary will be playing the bachelor till I return.)

We’ll catch up when I get back, ‘K?

Steph

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Mondays are for memories – Washington, 2009

It was just about this time of year that Gary and I were last in the beautiful state of Washington. This post is from mid April of 2009 – just before we set off for Alaska (May 11). Enjoy!

April 19, 2009  – Tulips and Bridges and Forts and Mount Baker

Skagit Tulips
After a week of cool and rainy weather (otherwise known as Springtime in Washington State), Saturday dawned with promises of a lovely, warmer (if not blue sky sunny) day. We joined forces with another Sower couple who are “locals”, and took the day to check out the area.
We drove through the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival – but since it has been so cool, most of the fields were just beginning to flower. We did find a couple of fields that were struttin’ their stuff –
Skagit Tulips
and the daffodils were also in full bloom-
Daffodil fields
I think the fields will be in full glory in a week or so – so I’m I’m hoping that we’ll get back again.
This fellow followed us around the entire day –
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Mt. Baker -You’ll see him again before the day is through!
From the tulips we were heading to Whidbey Island and Deception Pass.
Deception Pass Bridge
Even though the day wasn’t all that pretty, it was pretty impressive bridge and waterway!
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Deception Pass Bridge
We could have taken a jet boat trip through the passageway, but decided to spend the money on lunch instead!
Here’s the view from our lovely little cafe in Coupeville –
Lunch View - Mt. Baker
(see our friend way back on the horizon?)
Here it is with a little zoooommmmmm-
Lunch view - Mt. Baker
Coupeville was a cute little touristy town – I’m sure it’s hoppin’ in the summer!

 

Us and the Captain
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Coupeville Boats
Flowers at Coupeville

 
We had one more stop planned – Fort Casey.
Fort Casey State Park is a 467-acre marine camping park with a lighthouse and sweeping views of Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A coast artillery post features two historic guns on display. The park features 10,810 feet of saltwater shoreline on Puget Sound (Admiralty Inlet), and includes Keystone Spit, a two-mile-plus stretch of land separating Admiralty Inlet and Crocket Lake.
Now you know.
And now you can see……
Kites at Ft. Casey
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(see our friend back there?)
Ft. Casey
And one more lighthouse….
Admiralty Lighthouse -Ft. Casey
From Ft. Casey we turned back north and enjoyed a lovely drive home, sticking as close to the Sound as we could. So while the day didn’t turn out to be quite as warm and sunny as the weatherman had predicted, it was still a great day to be out and about – checking out some of this area’s natural (and not-so- natural) beauty.

View Larger Map

View Larger Map

Hope your weekend was just as lovely!

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Joy in the Journey

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Sometimes we drive just to get to our destination. Sometimes it’s even a long drive. But this last week, while our drive was long (almost 1300 miles) and we were pointed at a final destination (Lake Retreat Camp in Ravensdale, WA (SE of Seattle)) we tried to take that road less traveled when it was possible and take time to stop and smell the roses (or walk in the snow as the case may be) along the way.
Want to come along?
Heading on our way! After 4 months in the desert we're excited to be heading to some trees! Washington, here we come! Oregon, we'll be enjoying you along the way. 🚍 🌳 #ontheroadagain
Although we did have to hop on to Interstate 5 for a bit to get through Sacramento, we mostly drove on Route 99 and then 97. Rte 97, in fact, took us from Weed, California right through Oregon and almost up to I90 in Washington. We drove through valleys, scaled (or so it seemed) mountains, crossed rivers and drove along beautiful lakes.
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Along with the gallery of pictures below, HERE is a link to the album on Flickr. (I’ve put captions on most of the pictures, but apparently unless you click on each picture, you won’t be able to see them. I’ll have to talk to Flickr about that!)


Our two main stops were –
Lava Beds National Monument
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Have you ever heard of this place?
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It was very interesting – lots of lava, beautiful views
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and lots of caves to explore. We weren’t really expecting to go spelunking, so we stuck with the one lighted cave (Mushpot) and one other that seemed pretty easy (Skull). As in no duck-walking or crawling easy. Yeah, we’re not into that. Of course, my phone died just as we were entering the Skull cave – so you’ll have to trust me that it was pretty cool!
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The caves found in this park were created by flows of smooth lava thousands upon thousands of years ago. In another part of the park was a huge rock outcrop with petroglyphs –
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I’ll confess that the petroglyphs were a little disappointing, but the rock itself was fabulous!
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(Full album can be seen HERE!)
and (continuing the sentence back a couple of pictures!)
Crater Lake!
We’d heard about how stunning it was – and I’m sure there is a lot more to do in the summertime when things are actually open, 
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but draped in the beauty of snow – this was still a crazy beautiful experience!
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We are so glad we bundled up and stopped to see this amazing lake that was formed when a volcano erupted and collapsed upon itself. So beautiful!
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More snowy pictures HERE!

We thoroughly enjoyed our drive from the desert to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. The scenery was varied, fuel prices were low(ish), our stops were outstanding, and arrival at Lake Retreat welcome!
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We caught sight of Mt. Rainier today on our way home from church –
Mt Rainier
Looks like there will be more ‘sploring in our future!

PS – Here’s a music video of the song “Joy in the Journey” by Michael Card. It’s not so much about RV travel (not at all, actually), but about our journey with Christ. It’s worth a listen if you have a minute (or 3).

Posted in Pictures of the Adventure, RV Life, The Adventure | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments