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 –
Mt. Baker
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!
Deception Pass ViewDeception Pass Bridge
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
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
Ft. Casey
(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!

Posted in Mondays are for Memories, Pictures of the Adventure, RV Life, The Adventure | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Joy in the Journey

Cali to Wash 2016-14 words1

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.
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
Have you ever heard of this place?
It was very interesting – lots of lava, beautiful views
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!
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 –
I’ll confess that the petroglyphs were a little disappointing, but the rock itself was fabulous!
(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, 
but draped in the beauty of snow – this was still a crazy beautiful experience!
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!
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!
Cali to Wash 2016-47

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

Ironwood Wrap-up

I know I’ve shared some of our adventures while we were at Ironwood Camp for our April project,but I haven’t shared much about the SOWER side of things. (I know I say this most every month, but) Once again, it was a grand month.
The work was great. The guys were kept busy over in a new building, the Hacienda. Once completed, this building will be used as a pastors’ retreat.
While the basic construction was mostly done, the guys were doing some drywall, mudding, painting and general finish work. Gary was able to get all of the air conditioners installed and running, and if everything continues to move forward, they should be ready for their first guests by the end of May! I know the Ironwood maintenance team was very pleased with all that was accomplished!
April 2016 iPhone Pix1
We ladies had a variety of tasks also. While we all started together in the project room – some of us painting signs, some of us sewing – eventually most of us moved to other more strenuous work like spring cleaning some of the cabins.
April 2016 iPhone Pix
I confess I felt pretty fortunate (maybe even a bit guilty) that I was at the sewing machine the whole time. There were curtains to make, crib mattress covers to construct and other miscellaneous sewing projects that managed to keep two of us busy almost the whole time.

But as you know, the month was not without some challenges. I have learned over this last month that 4 months in the desert (whether New Mexico or Arizona or California) is well over the ‘legal limit’ for desert living on the Gary-scale. So sand and wind wise, it was a rough month in that regard. Then there was the whole awning mishap.
But for every sandstorm that whipped by, there were these people –
that we got to work and play with. Love them!
For every time we had to shake the sand out of our shoes, there were these guys, our bosses –
and all of the other staff members that made us feel like family!
And for every time we wiped the grit off the counters,
there was this
and this.

So, was it a perfect month? Nah. We can’t say that. But was it a great and blessed month overall? Oh, my yes!
Here is a selection of the photos from the month (most even with a caption!).

Real time update – we’re more than halfway to our May project (Lake Retreat Camp in Ravensdale, WA), and will share more about our travels in a future post. Tonight (Tuesday) we’re tucked in at a BEAVER (RV) dealer in Bend, Oregon and tomorrow we’ll be moving on to Washington. Baby, we’re not in the desert anymore!

Posted in SOWER Projects, SOWER Projects 2016, The Adventure | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Four Wheel Weekend

I suppose that most weekends, if you get in a vehicle, are four wheel weekends, but this past weekend we enjoyed some REAL 4-Wheeling adventures (along with some other more normal driving around kind of 4 wheel travel!). So let’s start with Friday (The official start of a SOWER weekend. Don’t hate me.)
Friday morning seven of us (Gary opted to stay home) piled into two 4 wheel drive vehicles and set off for some back road adventure!
Friday 4Wheelin-3
I was in the lead car, in the back seat, and Bill was driving (with wife Shirley in the passenger seat). They have both done extensive four-wheeling, and his jeep has seen more crazy roads than I can even imagine. Behind us was Terry (driving) and Alice with Don and Jenny in the back seat. Terry loves these off road adventures (Alice not so much) and we were all game for wherever the road might take us!
Friday 4Wheelin-1
It was a different experience for me (being in the back seat and not being in my own truck), but I did my best to not gasp too often (or too loudly!). We made our way through some pretty impressive landscape Friday 4Wheelin-4
and finally took a small break at the crest of a hill.
Friday 4Wheelin-8
Wait, I say – we’re going down that?
Yes, and then up the other side!
Friday 4Wheelin-7
Before we took the plunge (as it literally seemed to me), we paused for a quick photo op!
We ladies –
Friday 4Wheelin-9
And the macho men!
Friday 4Wheelin-10
Soon we were back in the cars, and headed toward some abandoned mine somewhere in dem dar hills!
Friday 4Wheelin-24
As the road became less and less navigable (or so it seemed to this back seat driver), the jeep went on ahead to scope out the terrain.
Friday 4Wheelin-16
Friday 4Wheelin-18
The road gave way and the jeep was really ‘off road’ at this point!
And much to the delight of Terry, he got to do the rescue!
The rest of the drive seemed almost sedate, and we even spotted an RV or two which had navigated the off-road-but-not-quite-as-off-road-as-us for some dry camping!
Friday 4Wheelin-25
(Apparently, during certain times of the years the less rugged areas are filled with campers of all descriptions and the air is full of the sound of dirt bikes and dune buggies!)
Friday 4Wheelin-26
We really had a great time (all vehicles returned home with only minimal damage), and it was fun to do some ‘4 Wheeling’ with friends!
Saturday was a bit more of a traditional 4 wheel adventure. Don & Jenny joined us for a big California loop – from Barstow to Mohave to Palmdale to Victorville and then back to camp, north of Barstow. We managed to fill the day with a stop at the 20 Mule Team Borax Visitor Center and Museum
Although Boron was originally mined in Death Valley and transported to Mohave via 20 Mule Team wagons, today it is mined in one of the largest open pit mines in the country in (you guessed it) Boron, CA.
It was a very interesting stop (and free!).
Then we tried to drive through Edwards Air Force Base. Somehow Jenny’s gym membership card just wasn’t enough of a credential to get us in. But we did get close!
(Yes, that’s the parking lot at the gate.)
From there it was on to Mohave,
a lovely stop at a SOWER project in Palmdale (Crosswinds Community Church) to say hello, and then a lingering stop at the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark right there in Palmdale.
This is the (or maybe one of the) 727’s that transported the space shuttle back to FL when it landed in the California desert.
Crazy big!
Next door were some early generations of the Blackbird stealth jet.
So much aviation history! Another very interesting (and free!) stop.
From there it was east to Victorville (and some food!), and then north back to camp. It was a 200+ mile day – but it was all good road, good sights, and good friends. My kind of Saturday.
Sunday, after church and a bite to eat in town, the 8 of us set out to explore Rainbow Canyon, a nearby natural area. It wasn’t quite the intense 4 wheelin’ that we did on Friday, but still had some interesting spots and some ‘other worldish’ scenery!

All in all – it was a great way to spend our last weekend in California. We start our trek to Washington State on Saturday, so Friday will be a busy day of getting ready to hit the road! And hopefully during our 5 days on the road I’ll have a chance to do a bit more catching up. I seem to be stuck on “Yesterday”!

You know there are more pictures – so if you’d like to see more, just click on the day below!

Posted in Pictures of the Adventure, The Adventure | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment


OK – here in the high desert of California they don’t get many hurricanes. (Although it did rain last weekend and apparently that was pretty big news around here!) But while we aren’t subject to hurricanes here in our current neighborhood, we are are subject to a component of hurricanes – High Winds. And around here, high winds don’t just blow over lawn furniture, scatter trash, and send the patio umbrella into the neighbors pool (though of course there is plenty of that also!). Around here we have the added ingredient of sand. Acres and acres, and acres and acres, of lovely fine beach sand. Yesterday, the mountains that surround us were almost obscured by the blowing sand.
(Although according to our host, sometimes you can’t see them at all – so I guess yesterday was less impressive to them than to me!)
Even with the windows closed, there is a fine coating of grit on all my counters, and there isn’t so much a dirt ring in the shower as a pile of sand. Even the cuffs of my capris had sand in them from my brief jaunts outside. Truthfully, just the sound of wind gusts over 40 mph can be quite intimidating when you live in a long skinny tin can. But oh, what a reminder of the power of our Great God!
And one other thing that wind/sand storms are good at – destroying awnings even when they have been put away for safety sake.
Gary jerry-rigged some tie-downs so we could sleep without the banging of the awning hitting the roof (not to mention what other damage that might do), but we won’t really be able to assess the damage (or the repair) until the wind dies down.
“Wind advisory in effect until 5PM Saturday”
Welcome to the desert!

Posted in RV Life, The Adventure | Tagged , , | Leave a comment