Water

Yesterday, when we were crossing the sound on the ferry, it looked like someone had sprinkled diamonds across the water.  The tops of the waves sparkled and shimmered.  It was mesmerizing to watch.

Today, we went to the portion of Olympic National Park that is on the Pacific Ocean.  It is another scorching day on the peninsula, so we thought it would be cooler for the dogs to walk on the beach.  It was considerably cooler.  There was a fine fog hovering.  It was probably from the hot air sitting on the cold water.

This place is spectacular.  I did not know about it.  I wish I had known about it when I was younger and more willing to backpack and sleep on the ground.  I didn’t realize that the Olympic National Park includes a long strip along the Pacific Ocean.  It is very remote and there are very limited access points.  While standing on the beach, there are no human made structures available except for the picnic area and parking lot around the access point.  There are no boats or ships on the ocean within sight and only wilderness for as far as the eye can see on the shore going north.

You can hike along this strip of land and camp along the way.  It is an amazing part of our public lands.  We have so much to be thankful for in the United States that areas like this exist.

We were only permitted to take the dogs 1/2 mile up this beach.  It worked out okay.  It’s hard to walk on the beach because of the stones.  Even though it was cool, the sun was beating down and it made the dogs hot.  There are areas of beach further south where you can walk a long way.  We may stop at them and walk on our way to the next campground.  We plan to drive along the coast of Washington to get to the next campground and we should have time to stop for several hours to enjoy the ocean.

Regis found a camera someone left sitting on a large piece of driftwood.  I hope they come back and retrieve it.

Regis and I provided some shade for the dogs and just sat on a piece of driftwood and watched the waves crashing on the shore.

My mother would love this place.  The stones have been tumbled in the surf and they are beautiful.  You could spend hours in one spot looking at them.  I have one shot here of a few rocks I gathered.  

I didn’t see a single person walking in bare feet.  It was probably the rocks, but the cold water probably didn’t help.  There was no one in the water.

When we left the beach, it was 65 degrees.  Seven miles inland, it was 83 degrees.  It reached a peak of 94 degrees on the way back to the campground.  Apparently, that is not normal for this area.  Jason said the weather in Seattle has been abnormal.  It is much hotter than usual.

There is a wildfire in the park right now.  The following link has some information about it: Paradise Wildfire 2015.  The page says that the snowpack in the area was only 14% of average.

On the way back, there was a store called Burnt Mountain Store.  With some of the names of places, it makes me curious about the story that led to the names.

We drove by Lake Crescent on the way to the beach and back.  I have paddle boards reserved next week-end so Jason and I can paddle board on the lake.  It is so clear and beautiful.  I tried to sign up for a special paddle board class they hold on Sunday afternoons.  After your lesson you drink wine and/or beer.  It sounds good to me!  But, the class was filled.

Coco has taken over a corner of our bed and when she isn’t sleeping on Dart’s dog bed, she is often laying on the bed.  This morning Regis took Dart out first, then let him back in and took Coco out.  Dart took the spot on the bed while Coco was out.  Coco was a bit troubled about how to handle this situation when she got back.

Ferry

We took the ferry from Whidbey Island to the Olympic Peninsula today.  We left from Coupeville and sailed into Port Townsend.  I drove to get more driving experience with the RV.  It didn’t turn out to be as scary as I expected to drive onto the ferry.  We got to share the privilege with one other RV of being in the front of the ferry.  It was a great view!  Notice the hood of the truck in the second picture.  I saw a seal on the way over.

Here is a view of Port Townsend as we were coming in.

It was about 86 degrees this afternoon.  According to the local literature, it rarely gets that hot here.  The dogs did not like being in the sun.  I took them to the little dog park and they went under the picnic table and laid down.  Now that the sun is going down, it is cooling off.  We need to get the dogs out for some good exercise tomorrow.  If it is hot again, we’ll have to find someplace cool.  When you are in the shade, it is not that bad.

When hooking the RV to the truck today, the lube plate on the hitch broke.  We had to stop at Camping World after we left the campground to get a replacement.

Coco got a cut on her tail a few days ago and she is determined to turn a small problem into a big one.  She keeps licking it and making it worse.  I have wrapped her tail a couple times and she just rips the bandage off.  We thought we beat her at this game last night when we put duct tape over the wrapping.  This morning, the duct tape and bandage were in a pile on the floor.  Perhaps it was on there just long enough to work.  She isn’t bothering it much today.  I hope she is on the road to recovery.

We spent several hours this afternoon seeing if we could move into a public campground after the upcoming holiday week-end.  There are, what appears to be, spectacular campgrounds on the Olympic Peninsula.  Some are on the beach.  The size of our RV is very limiting.  There are no forest service locations on the peninsula that accommodate our RV.  In fact, most locations allow a maximum length of 21 feet and we are 37 feet.  Not even close!  Any campground that supports our length has no vacancies.

Our campground is fine.  It’s not that we hate it.  It’s just that there are so many beautiful locations close by that would make for a better experience.  I realize now that you have to plan way ahead if you want to stay in outstanding public campgrounds.  It also helps to have a smaller RV, but we have what we have.

Planning

Today we cleaned up, bought supplies, and planned where we go from here.  Regis tried to clean the front of the RV as best he could.  Many campgrounds won’t let you clean your RV in the campground.  Therefore, cleaning the RV is a problem.  In Spokane, we saw an ad at the campground to have someone come clean the camper, but when we called the phone was disconnected.  We got the truck cleaned the other day, but the RV has over 3,000 miles worth of bugs splattered on it.  We continue to seek a solution to getting it adequately cleaned.  Regis made progress today but we need to get a good cleaning done.

I made campground plans through a visit to Yellowstone.  Yellowstone was the biggest problem as far as getting reservations.  I had to take what I could get and plan around that.  I currently have a plan that gets us home by September 9.  We may adjust a bit after Yellowstone, but we have reservations through then.  We arrive at Yellowstone on August 6.

Tomorrow, we hop on the ferry with the RV and head to Port Townsend and then to Port Angeles to camp.  We will stay there for 12 days.  That is the longest we will stay in any place and there is a wildfire in the area.  It should be interesting.  Jason will meet up with us the week-end after the fourth of July.  When he leaves, he takes Coco with him.  Boo hoo!  She is a doll baby and we will miss her.  Even Dart is beginning to get cozy with her.

Regis has a strict rule that no dogs are allowed in the bed unless they are invited, which is not very often.  Coco has managed to worm her way into his heart and she has slept with us the last two nights.

We had a talk about what we would like if we lived in an RV full time.  We are very comfortable with the size of our RV and have never felt we needed more room.  But, the size of the RV limits our access to public campgrounds.  Public campgrounds are often the nicest places to camp.  Also, our RV is probably not built for full-time use.  If we sell the house and live full-time in the RV, we may reconsider what we would do long term.  Right now, we wouldn’t change a thing.  Long-term, we might do otherwise.

We took our house off the market temporarily while we regroup since the house hasn’t sold yet.  We may relist when we get back in September or hold off.  We are still thinking about what to do.

We have learned that we need to spend more time in one spot and less time driving.  We have enjoyed staying here 9 days and not feeling like we need to investigate the area every day.  If we only stay a couple days, we try to check the place out before we move on.  Sometimes, you need to stop and not do anything.

We will stay 12 days in our next location, so it is a good opportunity to test the waters on staying put.

I have an observation about our campground.  There are a lot of Canadians in it.  Many of the campgrounds and other places fly US and Canadian flags.

Many of the current RV occupants are friends with the owners and each other.  We feel left out that we don’t know everyone.  It appears that many of the campers are regulars.

North Cascades

Once again, this country is stunning.  We drove through the North Cascades today.  It was a long drive but worth it.  The dogs may not have agreed, but they did get to split a hot dog for lunch since I forgot their lunch treats.

No words are adequate to describe how beautiful the country is in and around the North Cascades National Park.  The streams and reservoirs are a beautiful color green.  I can’t find the word to describe the color, but it is amazing.  When we were driving up to the park, the air temperature began to rise and there was a mist hanging above the Skagit River.  The water was probably very cold.  It was awesome.

We spent so much time stopping at overlooks and oohing and aahing that I began to think it would take us days to get through the park.  (Regis will tell you it’s because I had to make frequent bathroom stops.)  In my original plan, we were going to go from Concrete to the east side of the Cascades to camp.  We were going to drive around on the Cascade Loop.  Inability to get campground reservations coupled with waiting for my lens to be repaired made that plan un-doable.  So, we settled for a long drive through the park and back today.

My favorite sign for today:  Weeds are a pain in the grass.

Mom update:  My mom had her surgery today and they found no critical blockage.  I’m not sure what they did, but she was well enough to go home this evening.  My sister is staying with her tonight to make sure she is okay.  I was out of cell phone range most of today, so I haven’t talked to my sister/brother yet to get more details.

RV Steps and the Dogs

The first time we put Dart and Tekoe in the RV, they jumped out. That’s dangerous and it is surprising they didn’t get hurt (especially Tekoe).  As a result, we taught Dart not to exit the RV and we lifted him out.  We also lifted him in.   He got very good at this and would place himself nicely in your arms to do it.

When Coco arrived at the RV, she easily ran up and down the steps.  I became determined to teach Dart how to do the same.

This week, we were successful in teaching Dart to go up and down the steps.  He still has problems going down properly because he prefers to leap off the steps.  We mostly have it under control but I can’t declare victory yet.  Perhaps I never can.  I taught him to properly stop at the bottom of agility course obstacles and as he improved, I got lazy about enforcing the stay at the bottom.  The result:  He leaped off the top of the A-frame in a trial right in front of the judge and rolled a couple times when he hit the bottom.  We had to go back to training and enforcing stays at the bottom again.

There is one problem that both dogs are having trouble with that will require training not to go up until told.  Earlier this week, Coco ran up the steps and crashed into the screen door.  It has happened more than once, so we have to be careful not to allow her near the steps until the door is opened.  Dart apparently didn’t want to be left out and he crashed into the screen door today.  Being heavier and less agile, he didn’t recover as well as Coco and had to nurse a hurt leg for awhile.

First, we couldn’t get Dart to go up the steps.  Now, we have to stop him from going up until commanded without confusing him.

My mom was admitted to the hospital yesterday.  She was having trouble breathing and may have a blockage in her heart.  They are performing a procedure tomorrow.  Hopefully, all will go well and she’ll be ready to do some traveling in no time.

Mt. Baker

We took a ride up to Mt. Baker today.  We went on the Chuckanut Drive first which goes from Burlington to Bellingham along Puget Sound.  Beautiful!!!  Then we headed to Mt. Baker.  There were some girls offering car washes along the way, so we took advantage of having someone clean over 3100 miles of dirt off the truck.  The girls were great and scrubbed and scrubbed (the bugs were really stuck on the front!).  We made a good contribution for their work and immediately headed off to get the truck dusty again.

The pictures are better than any words that I can say.  It was hot, so we didn’t venture far off the roadway with the dogs.  There tongues were hanging low pretty quickly.  We went to the Nooksack Falls and walked around a bit at the end of the road at the top.  We let the dogs walk on the snow and the first thing Coco did on the snow was pee.  There were a couple cute snowmen someone built.

On the way back we got some great sandwiches and vanilla cream sodas at a local place.  At the campground, I twisted Regis’ arm to go to the ice cream social.  As you can imagine, it was very difficult to get him to agree to go!

A local sign says “If you see a fork in the road, pick it up.”

Kielbasa

We went to a local Co-op today to pick up some food and they had kielbasa.  We figured we’d give it a try.  I was hoping for some local trout, but there was no trout so we bought the kielbasa.  We couldn’t find any horseradish.  I grew up eating kielbasa with horseradish.  If you didn’t make numerous facial contortions while eating the kielbasa with horseradish, you either didn’t have fresh horseradish or you failed to put enough on.  Until you couldn’t breathe, you didn’t have enough horseradish.  Sadly, we couldn’t find horseradish and had to use mustard instead.  Mustard is okay, but simply not the same. The kielbasa was the spiciest I have ever had, but it was pretty good.

The owners of our campground pulled out about 4 trailers from storage and set them up for the week-end.  I suppose the owners of the trailers have arrived by now or will later today.  Most of the trailers had Canadian tags.

I spent some time tweaking plans for our return trip.  There are so many choices and we can’t do them all.

Seattle is celebrating Pride this week-end.  They have a lot to celebrate this time as a result of today’s Supreme Court ruling.  Hooray for justice! Today LOVE WINS!

That’s Regis making dinner.

Seattle Traffic Ugh!

We had dinner with Jason in Seattle this evening.  About 25 miles outside the city, there was a sign that said 85 minutes to Seattle.  We were moving along at the speed limit, so I thought the sign was a mistake.  It wasn’t.  About 8 miles outside the city we slowed to a crawl.  We could have walked faster.  It’s probably typical traffic for Seattle.  It is not my cup of tea.

We took the dogs for a walk on a rails-to-trails.  They are trails built on old railroad beds.  I love them.  We did about 4 miles round trip.  We planned to go further, but it got hot today and the dogs were wilting.  It’s supposed to get even hotter through the week-end, so we may have to get our hikes done early in the morning or do something else.  (I know my friends and relatives in Maryland are dealing with exceptionally hot temperatures so I don’t expect any sympathy from them over our little heat wave.)

There is a several casinos around here.  Maybe I’ll be a big spender and drop a twenty on the slots and see what happens.  It beats the heat!

The Fly

The most entertaining thing that happened today was watching Coco chase a fly that got in the RV.  Had I known it would be so much fun to watch, I would have tried to get a fly in sooner!

I picked up my lens today and it works great.  Today I remembered that on one of the flights I took this last year, they made me check my carry on bag.  I always carry my camera on the plane in a camera bag that looks like a backpack.  If I knew I was going to have to check the camera, I would have used a better bag.  I didn’t have a choice.  I believe my lens may have been damaged as a result.  It’s great to have the lens back.

There are some cows next to our campground and one calf.  I walked the dogs by the field today and didn’t notice the calf.  When one of the cows saw the dogs, she started to trot over and moo.  After first, I thought she was curious.  Then, I noticed the little calf laying in the field.  It was hard to see him/her in the grass.  Mom stopped at the little calf and mooed at us until we left.  I got a couple pictures later.  The little one looks just like mom.

These Mountains are Crazy

The mountains here are mysterious.  One day you’ll be in a spot and not see a particular mountain, the next day there will be a huge, snow-capped mountain looming.  Sometimes the huge mountains look small and other times they are overwhelming.  The mountains that play with your head the most here are Mt. Rainier (especially) and Mt. Baker.  When we drove on Route 20 from Fidalgo Island the other day, we did not see Mt. Baker.  Today, we drove the same road, turned the corner, and the mountain was there.  The same thing happened when we looked at Seattle from Whidbey Island.  The first day, we didn’t see Mt. Rainier.  The next day, it was unmistakable.  I know the haze accounts for some of this, but it is still eerie.  I don’t understand why the size changes from one day to the next.  Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker can look bigger, the further away you are.

We went back to Deception Pass today and did some hiking.  I love the Pacific Coast and Maine because the mountains/hills meet the ocean and it is stunning.  Also, the water is very clear and blue.  We saw some dolphins or porpoises way off in the water.   It was 56 degrees where we hiked by the water and 20 degrees warmer when we got back to camp in Burlington.

On the way back from the hike, Regis asked if I thought we needed to stop for anything on the way back.  I suggested ice cream.  He looked at me with disgust (like that’s not what he meant), but then quickly asked me to let him know if I see anything.  Of course I found a place and the ice cream was delicious.  We encountered two separate groups from Maryland (out of about 4 cars total).  I guess Marylander’s like ice cream!

My lens is ready.  We plan to pick it up tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to having it back.

The dogs are waiting for water in the picture below and probably hoping for a treat too.