Friday, May 28, 2010

Leavenworth-Bavaria without a passport

Yesterday we drove back to Leavenworth.CIMG5561
The first thing we did was go to breakfast at Sandy’s Waffle & Diner. I made the mistake of ordering a Belgium Waffle - too doughy. Tom said his was OK, but he smothered his waffle with 2 eggs over easy and lots of Raspberry syrup. CIMG5559
We shopped (or not shopped) all along the cute streets of Leavenworth. There is more ‘stuff’ to buy than you can shake a stick at. The funniest place was the Hat Haus. You could buy just about any hat from cowboy to Disney Mad Hatter and everything in between.  We seriously have enough hats!!! There were some very nice boutiques and art stores that we looked and didn’t buy at. A little pricey for our pocket book.CIMG5567
As we drove in to Leavenworth we had passed this interesting dam so we drove back to get some pictures. It was actually the Tumwater Fish Collection Facility where they count the fish using the fish ladders. This is part of a large hatchery complex. After that we drove to Cashmere. CIMG5582
This is another cute little town and we heard there was a nice museum there. We followed the signs through town to the museum and paid our $4.50 each for Seniors and spent the next 1½ hours in one of the nicer small town museums. CIMG5601 CIMG5598 The Iris around the Frontier Town were amazing. The lady in the museum said they have an Iris Society and they had just had a show there. The deep purples are impossible to show; something about the digital camera does not recognize that reddish, blackish, purplish color.

The Frontier Town has been recreated with the original cabins to depict life in Cashmere.

CIMG5620 Another surprise we found in Cashmere was the Aplets and Cotlets factory. In the 40’s my Grandmother would buy my sister, Janet, and me these special fruit treats when we rode the train from Los Angeles to Fresno which we did often because we rode on a pass. Dad was an engineer for the Southern Pacific. It is thrilling to find the completely unexpected while on the road that brings back those very special memories.
CIMG5622We came back to the RV to watch the news before heading back to Leavenworth. Tom wanted a Brat. We ate outdoors under a heater in the light rain. It was great. Just like almost every building in Leavenworth all the buildings are painted with either beautiful murals or pictures. Even the Safeway has pictures of 3 cornucopias filled with fruit and vegetables.

This morning we were on the road by 9:30 which is early by our standards, but we wanted to see Rocky Reach Dam and get to Spokane by dark. Fortunately, it does not get dark before 9:00.
The grounds at the dam are just wonderful.
We toured the Educational Center in the dam and learned about the early  “Peoples”, the Discovers, the history of this valley, life along the Columbia River, and the history of electricity. This is a must see if you are ever near this area.
CIMG5644 CIMG5676 We particularly enjoyed how they protect and preserve the salmon. We even saw the salmon swimming up the ladders. They have even landscaped the ladders with ivy and hanging flower baskets.

CIMG5679 CIMG5681 Below the ladders there are windows where we watched the salmon come up the ladders. The count today was over 140. There were large, small, and even tiny salmon about 1 inch long.

CIMG5690  We left after lunch and drove  along I-2 through many small towns that were separated by miles and miles of green fields of wheat.
We checked into the Spokane Elks at 6:30, hooked up and went for their Friday night fish fry. Then back to the RV, pulled out the slides and started to plan our day in Spokane tomorrow.
We sure hope we have dryer weather than we have had. So far it has rained every day since we left Monroe. I guess that’s Washington.
On the Road Again, Caching Places That We’ve Never Been…  Thanks for joining us.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Old Friendships are New Again

On Friday we left Rob & Gwen’s driveway and drove to the North Whidbey RV park across from the Deception Pass State Park.  It is a nice park with very nice staff. We explored the North Island Lavender Farms, one, A Knot in Thyme, even grows Holly trees. They supply most of the Holly in the US around Christmas. 
CIMG5503We drove up to the small town of Anacortes and down to Oak Harbor. We found the “Best of Whidbey Island” restaurant, Seabolts Smokehouse,, in Oak Harbor and almost drove right on by. They cure and smoke their own fish.  I had seafood gumbo in a breadbowl and have never had better. Tom had a seafood stew which was like Chopino.

On Monday, we left the Island for Monroe about an hour away. Our friends, Darold & Mary Lobb, moved from Fresno to Washington many years ago, though we would visit when they came to see their folks. Tom and Darold go way back to Sunday School days in Junior High School. Darold saw Tom on Facebook and saw we were traveling in Washington so invited us to his town of Monroe. We checked into the Fairgrounds in Monroe and drove over to the Lobbs’. After catching up on our families we went to dinner at one of our favorites, Golden Coral.  We then had them over to our home. We just couldn’t stop talking and Mary had to insist on leaving as her arthritis was really hurting her and she needed her medication.
CIMG5520CIMG5519  Coincidently, we had another old friend, Bonnie Foss, living in Monroe. We also go way back, almost 47 years, when we all lived in the Los Angeles area. We have been praying for Bonnie for almost 2 years in her battle with cancer and heart problems. It was so good to see Bonnie looking just like her old self… only pretty weak after having heart surgery and part of her lung removed. We thought we would only spend about an hour with Bonnie... that turned into all day. What a great time we had reminiscing. We took Bonnie back to her cute tri-plex after having lunch, a short trip to Albertson’s, and a visit in our RV. Stay strong Bonnie.
CIMG5546 We left the Evergreen State Fairground in Monroe WA in the rain today. We traveled along the Skykomish River for a while then continued on the Stevens Pass Greenway, I-2. Everything is so green and clean with many picturesque homes with smoke rising up from their chimneys. It looked very warm and comfy in those cabins.  We were warm and cozy too traveling through small towns with so many enticing eateries. We had just eaten breakfast and were not hungry enough to eat even at the Dutch Cup Breakfast and Bakery. I can’t believe we passed that!
There are towns with names like Start Up, Gold Bar, Index all about 5 miles apart.
We were on our way to Leavenworth, WA, known as Bavaria without a passport. Since this RV won’t float we are taking the opportunity to visit Bavaria in the US. The sharp snow covered peaks of the Cascades were hiding in the clouds this day. We saw glimpses of their beauty as we traveled up the Skykomish River. It is so pretty with rapids, huge rocks in the middle of the river and so many water smoothed river rocks along the bank. We also passed many Espresso shops. One advertized it was ‘A cup above the rest’ and featured White Worthers’ Mocha. We have never seen so many espresso shops; I think espresso must be Washington’s legal drug as so many are addicted to it. This road has more than its share of narrow bridges, but Tom stayed on his side and everyone else did too. This was a time I was glad he was driving and not me.
CIMG5535We climbed up to Stevens Pass and saw lots of dirty snow, but none of the predicted snow flurries. Then we cruzed down the other side at 45 mph with the Engine break on high and Tom never had to step on the brake. We do love this Windsor. We checked into the Leavenworth KOA and took the shuttle into this very European looking town, Leavenworth. We asked our driver what would his choice be for a German dinner. He suggested CafĂ© Mozart. This was a real winner. While a bit pricey it was a unique dining experience. The Bavarian Salad Plate was outstanding, German potato, spiced carrots, pickled cucumbers, and pickled cabbage. We each had  Schnitzel Jaegar Style, Tom pork, me chicken, with wild mushroom topping. I had Homemade Spaetzle noodles and Tom had Lyonnaise Potatoes. We shared the Mozart’s seven layer Marzipan Torte for desert. What a dinning experience!
CIMG5556 We plan on returning tomorrow and will update our visit tomorrow.  On the Road Again, Caching Places That We’ve Never Been…  Thanks for joining us.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

From Cousin to Cousin

We left the Tacoma Elks, Post 174, the oldest post we have ever stayed at.CIMG5322
The traffic was not bad as we got onto I-5, but as we got closer to Seattle we crawled to a stop.  CIMG5333 This gave us lots of opportunities to snap pictures of the beautiful skyline. CIMG5329 We were warned about the I-5 Seattle traffic, but this was at 11:30 in the morning… how bad could it be?  When we got up to the slowdown about 1 1/2 miles from the ‘slow down’ we found a car had been pulled over by the police completely off to the side of the freeway out of traffic. CIMG5334
All this because of ‘rubber-neckers’; go figure. From here we sped up to 55 mph in no time and were on our way to Mukiltio to catch the ferry to Whidbey Island.  We were not sure if we would have to unhitch the Jeep, whether it would be cheaper or easier, but the nice lady at the Terminal said she would measure both the rig and the Jeep hooked up.  It measured 57 feet. This is nice to know and as it was less than 60 feet AND we are seniors the ride was only $52.50. DSC02946 CIMG5335
We were the first vehicle in lane 5 with a great view of the ferry coming in. We drove onto the ferry very close to the right side.  I think our mirror was less than 2 inches from the wall. CIMG5338 CIMG5341Tom can thread a needle with our Windsor.

CIMG5361 The ride took only 20 minutes and we barely felt the ferry moving across to Clinton, Whidbey Island. All the cars from the upper deck exited first, then the middle lane, then we were motioned to leave.
We drove to Payless Food Market where my cousin, Rob, is the seafood manager. Rob’s department sells $7000 in seafood a week (or is that a day?), anyway it is a lot. We later shopped for a few items and found this to be such a nice store with lots of healthy, fresh items. We even found Gingerbread Biscotti. Woo Hoo!!!  Since Rob was not going to be home until a little later and Gwen works late at the hospital, we decided to unhook the Jeep and take a joy ride around South Whidbey Island. When we got back about 2 hours later, Rob was sitting in his car in front of the RV calling us. Tom jumped out of the Jeep, and brought Rob to the RV to take a look around.  It was poring down rain and I stayed in the Jeep until it let up then joined the boys in the RV.  When it finally let up a bit we all drove the 3 vehicles the mile to the Parrick abode.  CIMG5374
They live on a hill overlooking Useless Bay and across the Sound to Seattle. What a view! Rob is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of NY so he insisted on fixing dinner. There was no talking him out of it… though we didn’t try too hard.  When Rob and Gwen built their house they planned a serious commercial kitchen. These are a few shots of their wonderful kitchen. pantry oven

Rob had potato crusted halibut, red potatoes, asparagus, and salad with a raspberry dressing. We talked all about our memories growing up with our grandparents, stories about of kids, we watched the rain, the rainbows and the sunset. CIMG5376 CIMG5378 If you look real closely you can see the double rainbow on the left.  These rainbows only lasted a few minutes then were gone. It is like the opportunities in life where sometimes we only have a brief time to catch the treasures offered us in the gift of life.

We had a fantastic evening catching up on our shared lives.  What a joy it is being able to travel to see our family. We have visited 3 cousins that we have not seen in over 10 – 30 years. WAY TOO LONG and we won't let this happen again. While we have 2 family reunions a year, this side of our families have lived too far to travel and we count it a privilege to visit them.
CIMG5420Yesterday, Rob & Gwen went off to work and we headed to the north end of Whidbey Island. Our destination was Rosario Bay.  We were intrigued by the name, Rosario, and thought our friends, Sharon and Don DelRosario would be interested. I know they have to have visited here so we just had to go here too. We saw so many vistas, forts, bridges and learned the history of this Island. We are going to explore tomorrow also. These are a few of the places we visited:

The most patriotic restaurant on the Island, we think. There was every kind of honor for our service men and women inside and out.
The guy, Frank, has a real funny sense of humor, too. Notice who is on the restaurant sign, Frank and all the presidents from Roosevelt to Obama. frank CIMG5392  franks2

I guess I was wearing the right sweater for Frank’s Place.

We drove over the very high Deception Pass Bridge. The state of Washington is rebuilding the beautiful guard rails that were originally built by the CCC’s, Civilian Conservation Corp, in the 30’s. Tom’s dad, Joe, was in this and was one of the men that put up the hand rail posts up the back side of Half Dome.CIMG5406 CIMG5417
The state flower of Washington is the Rhododendron. They are in full bloom and come in amazing sizes and colors.
CIMG5399 CIMG5403CIMG5404
We stopped by Fort Casey, which looks a lot like Fort Stevens in Oregon. CIMG5454
Visited the Admiralty Head Lighthouse.CIMG5460
And then hurried back to Rob & Gwen’s for another one of Rob’s fantastic dinners: Parmesan baked chicken, spaghetti with a wonderful marinara sauce, green salad, and Tuscan bread. CIMG5476
The Parricks have two adorable and of course “not too spoiled” dogs. CIMG5477  Lilly, the basset is just too typical of a basset. Our first dog, Blossom, was such a character too. She actually got me into the Animal Welfare business while volunteering for our CCSPCA . CIMG5486
This morning Gwen came over to our place for coffee and biscotti, then we went to Rob’s store to store to stock up on a few things. Biscotti anyone?DSC02952 CIMG5493

On the Road Again, Caching Places That We’ve Never Been…  Thanks for joining us.