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Summer Wrap Up

Lake Curlew

Time has slipped by me and I have realized that I am seriously behind posting on our blog. That being said, I decided to wrap up what’s been going on lately into one post. Debbie thought retirement would be boring but she has been going non stop in a whirlwind of activity. It has been a busy summer indeed for both of us!

First off back in June we went on our annual Givens/Kelly camping trip. This year took us to the Okanogan area of northeastern Washington. None of us had ever been there before and it was an absolutely beautiful place! Fortunately, our boy Cordell was able to go with us and this turned out to be his last camping trip. We hope he had fun! We stayed at the Black Beach Resort right on Lake Curlew. It was a clean, beautiful place and the owners were extremely nice and almost everything was on the honor system from the store. You just got what you needed and just put it on your bill. They had an ample supply of movies and bikes to rent for free. The nearest town was Republic, an old mining town. It was a cute little town nestled in the hills but seemed very depressed as mining had all but halted years ago. Every place we went to was for sale and I am not sure there will be any buyers. One day we rode into town on our bikes. It was around a nine mile ride on an old railroad grade that was supposed to be paved, but it turned out to be mostly soft gravel. Debbie’s bike was not really suited for it and she had a rough time most of the way. We wandered into a brewpub in town and enjoyed some libations to the point of not really wanting to ride back. There was a three person group near us and we had started talking with them. Luckily they had a pickup and gave us a ride back to our camp. They invited us over to their site just up the road and left. Not thinking we would show up, they were surprised when we did and were a totally different bunch at that point. Didn’t take us long to head back to our place.

Rich The Fisherman

Another day we rented a pontoon boat and tooled around the lake. It was by no means a speed boat, but that was okay, we were in no hurry! We boated from one end of the lake to the other and as with most days of our trip, got rained on. As a matter of fact, at one point we had to take refuge under a bridge because we didn’t want to get rained on or struck by lightning! Another day we rode all the way around the lake. This time we snagged a better bike for Debbie and she had a much better time. By the way, in July she got a brand new bike for her birthday! Whether it be by boat or bike we tended to gravitate to another RV resort up the lake and across from where we were called Fisherman’s Cove. It was a gorgeous resort with RV spots, remodeled cabins and was well cared for, and by the way for sale for $1.2mil at that time. Think we could scrape up that kind of dough? We would love to bring our rigs up there, but they only have a few spots and have to be reserved way in advance!

Hanging Out At Fisherman’s Cove

Another day trip took us up the road to the town of Curlew. This place was practically empty of people, stores, traffic. It was like it was a ghost town and very eerie! It was such a shame because the setting was stunning! What we did find was a very cute little church on a hill just barely big enough for twenty people to be in at one time. Another day we took a drive over the scenic highway over Sherman Pass and it hailed so much that it looked like snowed had covered the road. All in all it was a fun trip with great friends. Of course Uncle Rich and Aunt Pam got to spend time with our little boy one last time! For more pictures of the trip click here!

Cordell Enjoying A Ride on the Boat!

Recently we had our old Packer friends Kevin and Tori come up from AZ in their C Class RV and spend some time with us at our place in Sequim. We are fortunate to have water, power, and dump right outside the house for our RV guests! We packed in as much as we could in the few days they were here. We hit some golf balls, roamed the town, had dinner at Kokopelli Grill, drank a lot of wine, walked our hood, and just caught up with each other. They even managed to find a place to indulge in their pickleball passion. They have a dog named Dash, so we got a bit of dog fix which was nice. He is a good boy!

Right after the Hilltroms left, we had to shoot back to Snoqualmie, pack, load and hitch up the trailer and head off to our fourth Watershed Festival at the Gorge! It was per usual, three days of country music fun with the Kellys! Since we dry camp, the weather cooperated with us and we didn’t get baked too bad! Back from that, the whirlwind continued with Debbie blasting off back to Eastern Washington for her girls “Diva” weekend and me, as of writing this, sit in my house in Sequim enjoying some down time alone without my little buddy! Oh well, time will heal the wounds of his leaving, but the hole in our hearts will never be filled completely. Once Debbie returns, things will calm down for a bit and our focus will be on slowly exiting Snoqualmie and settling here for good! Until next time!

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Goodbye Little Man

07/22/19

Our hearts are heavy and filled with sadness as we had to send our little sweet boy over the Rainbow Bridge this morning. His mind and body had finally had enough and what was once our Cordell was nothing but a shell of a dog. We had almost 10 years of joy from this lima bean and are so grateful he chose us as his people that day at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary! We wished that he could have lived forever, but knew that wasn’t a possibility. It was just by chance that he was able to spend one of his last days with all of his family and see his best friend Wemberley just on Saturday. He got dirty exploring and got lots of lovies from his aunts and uncles! The hole in our hearts that his passing has left will never be completely filled and we will miss him sooooo much! Have fun chasing rainbows and running in the fields until we see you again. We will always love you and will never forget you! Hugs and kisses from Mom and Dad.

Debbie Has Left The Building


So after 33 years at the Port of Tacoma, Debbie has finally closed the door to her office one last time! She started as a computer programmer back in 1986 and finished up as Director of Systems and Business Process. She was also the Public Records Officer for the Port and Northwest Seaport Alliance. During her tenure at the port she oversaw and implemented many projects, processes, and upgrades to the port’s systems. Her career there had her managing most of the port’s internal systems, to then managing the IT department team. She guided the big Y2K brewhaha which went without a hitch and implemented a big systems change that kept her away from home for days once! She climbed the ladder all on her own and we are very proud of her! Now she gets to enjoy the next chapter in life which leads to who knows where. One thing is for certain though, she will not just sit in a rocking chair on the front porch watching the world go by!







Some Fun Memories Over The Years

First Of Many Upgrades

THIS MORNING

THIS AFTERNOON

The process of moving here and living here full time has begun. Up until now, our retirement home has been basically a weekend get away once or twice a month. We have moved furniture from our old Crestview home up here to make it livable and comfortable, but never really made it our own! Today marks the beginning of just that! We had our new bedroom set delivered and built! The pictures don’t really do it justice, but believe me, it looks beautiful. Of course there is more decorating to be done, but the bones are done! Soon another room will be done! Stay tuned!

Latest Addition to the Garage

For quite awhile we were in a quandary about replacing Debbie’s Avalon, but didn’t know when or with what. We were hoping to wait until after she retired and maybe for awhile longer. But after this winter’s snowpocalypse came and none of our current cars could handle it, it was time to get something that could. Debbie has always liked the Toyota FJ Cruiser, but finding a decent one for sale was a tad bit difficult. We found good ones for sale, but were in other parts of the country. When we finally found one we could look at and test drive, someone bought it right out from our noses. Hell, we were just sitting down to go over numbers too! They had bought it without even a test drive! It had a shimmy when braking, let them now worry about it! Then she found one, a 2014 with only 41K miles on it that hadn’t even hit the sales market. After patiently waiting until the dealer had gone over it in the shop, cleaned it, and made it showroom ready, she went and saw and drove it! Then she went back with Alex and he drove it and the deal was done! She did it all by herself with a little encouragement from him. Drove it home yesterday and as of this writing, I haven’t even been in it yet! It does look nice in the garage! So we say goodbye to our Avalon we’ve had since new and traveled over 269K miles in it and still running great! Someone will get a little more miles out of it! Now off we go on vacation!

Bye Bye old friend! You served us well!

Return To McCall

Beautiful Payette Lake

Yes, here we are again! As I mentioned during my last post regarding our trip down in October, Deb and I decided to return again for the last week of the year! We camped in our trailer in October and saw Fall in McCall, and this time stayed in more luxurious surroundings in Winter! It was a magical winter wonderland and since it was the week after Christmas, we still were able to see the town decked out in holiday regalia! We stayed at the Shore Lodge in a gorgeous lake side suite.

The place was absolutely perfect for us! Amenities included, nice bar, two restaurants, small gym (yes we did work out), out door pool and hot tub, theater (we did not use), game room, and a spa. Unfortunately, the spa was booked the whole week we were there so we weren’t able to enjoy a massage or anything else. At night they would build a fire and you could go out and have s’mores with the ingredients provided by the hotel. And every night while the s’mores were cooking, raccoons were hiding in the darkness with little glowing eyes waiting to grab a morsel off the ground or out of the trash! Everything was clean and the staff were very friendly and helpful. As a matter of fact, people in Idaho were nice and happy in general! We love it there!!!!

The weather was beautiful for most of our stay. Mostly clear blue skies with the occasional snow flurry now and then and man was it cold! One overnight low went below zero…..brrrrrrrr. Now if you are familiar with McCall or Idaho in general, you would know there is plenty to do whether it is summer or winter! After we had settled in and had a look around, we started planning our activities for the week. Just six weeks earlier Debbie had knee surgery, so skiing was out of the question. But there was plenty else to keep us occupied.

So we got to it and one of our first things we did is rent snow shoes for half a day. We thought it would be enough and didn’t want to push Debbie’s knee! We asked about where the best place to go and headed to the suggested destination of the Bear Basin Trail Head. It was a great place to snow shoe but we also had to share trails with cross country skiers too and they had the advantage and their own trails that we had to stay off of. That was okay by as as there was plenty of trails and room for both! It was so cold, that both of our cell phone batteries died and we didn’t get a chance to take as many pictures as we would have liked. Luckily before they died, we met a couple of hikers and their dog and they managed to snap a few of us! The most disconcerting thing was that we didn’t know what time it was or couldn’t pull up a map of where we were. That made us turn back a bit earlier than we would have. The last thing we needed was to be out after the sun went down! We had a great time anyway and got plenty of cardio.

One thing that we just had to do, was rent a couple of snowmobiles and hit the tracks. I did a little research before we left to find the best place to rent them. We settled on Cheap Thrills Rentals and were really glad we did. We had brand new sleds and they supplied everything, suit, gloves, boots, helmets, and everything was clean and kept us very warm. We had to drive ourselves to the meet up in a big parking lot where all the sleds were. Then after a brief safety and operation spiel, we were off on our own! Now the only thing that we didn’t really like was that we had to stay on the road, so going off into snow fields wasn’t allowed. Now I get it and why they request it, but it was tempting to hit a nice flat looking clearing to go have some fun in! At any rate, we still had a blast! We road back up to Burgdorf Hot Springs where we had been back in October. We stopped there and had a cup of coffee and thought about going in the hot springs because we did bring our stuff. We decided we didn’t want to change, get wet, dry off, etc! We’d rather continue to ride.

Once we left Burgdorf, we headed further up the road to
Warren which is an old mining town that is almost a ghost town. It does have a population of 7 in the winter and there is a landing strip at the old town to get supplies flown in. It was very cool and we rode around exploring then went into the Baum Shelter for a quick bite and beverage. For a place this far out in the woods and away from civilization, it had an extensive menu and was very good. After hanging out and warming up we finally headed back down the road and went a little bit beyond where we were supposed to. It was a great day and we put just over 90 miles of riding!

Some days we spent driving around the local area looking at different spots around McCall and checking out properties of course and just getting a lay of the land. We also wanted to get more familiar with the town itself and of it’s surroundings. We found some really nice developments and some areas that were just meh. Sounds like we are looking for another place to buy right? Well you never know, we really love it out here. It could be another place to land in case Washington State goes sideways like it just might! We were also able to spend New Year’s Eve here too! The hotel had a big party which we attended. Had a great dinner, drinks, shared a table with strangers that became one night friends, and even did some dancing. It was a great way to end the year and ring in the new one.

We had to say good bye to McCall and drove down to Boise for the last night. We left mid morning to give us a bit of time to check in to our hotel and have some time to do a bit of exploring while we could. We just looked on WAZE and just started driving. We drove onto the campus of Boise State University and looked around. It is a very pretty campus and also drove to the stadium and checked out the blue field. We also saw the capitol building and were surprised at some of the mansions that were nearby in a very cool neighborhood. We then stumbled upon the Old Idaho Penitentiary which was awesome and spooky. We had gotten there too late to see much of the place and were only able to go into the women’s ward. It was not a comfy place to have to be into back in those days. It was such a bummer that we got there too late to see anymore, because it was so cool. Finally we hit a local restaurant that was recommended by some of our good Snoqualmie friends, the  Barbacoa Grill. OMG this place was huge, busy, and sooooooo good. They make the best guacamole fresh right there table side. The drinks were great and the food was awesome and the place was packed. The vacation was such a blast and went way too fast. We both were experiencing post vacation depression upon our return, but we had our little four legged buddy to cheer us up! In addition to the pictures I posted here, you can find many more in our online album, so go take a look!

We Got Soaked

In McCall, Idaho

Every year we pick a place and go camping for a week with our great friends the Kelly’s! This year we picked McCall, Idaho. Many years ago, Debbie and I spent an anniversary nearby, but hardly remember the town and it’s beauty. We hauled our rigs on an almost 8 hour journey to arrive at our camping destination for the week at the McCall RV Resort. First off, I gotta tell ya, this was the nicest RV park we have ever stayed at! It was gorgeous, clean, good wifi, and the staff were very helpful with anything we needed. One instance was when we woke up with frozen hose and water faucet. It had gotten very cold overnight. We just happened to be up at the lodge doing something at the front desk and they asked us how we were faring down in our location with the cold. We were down by the river and that area gets shut down at the end of October. We mentioned or frozen faucet and by the end of the day, we had faucet covers!

River behind our camp!
River behind our camp!

Another wonderfully awesome amenity was the indoor pool and hot tub which we used almost nightly after a really hard day of fun! What a hard life we live! It was clean and the hot tub was very hot! The lodge itself was grand and beautiful with a reading room area, fireplace, hot coffee available all day and free popcorn. We didn’t do any laundry, but had we needed to, there was a laundry facility with more than enough washers and dryers to handle any amount we generated. Maybe I have said too much and any future stays will have to be booked well in advance since I have now open the place to hoards of new campers.

Now on with the vacation. The first day was pretty much shot as the drive over there took most of the day and then came setting up camp. The next day we explored the area driving around Payette Lake which was an adventure in itself since major road work was underway. The lake is a glacial lake and is beautiful. The town of McCall is nestled up against it’s southern shore. Don’t tell anyone, but Idaho is awesome and gorgeous! We then walked about town exploring and making mental notes of what to plan for the days ahead.


The town of McCall itself is very cute and quaint. It’s also nice to not see a bunch of corporate stores everywhere. The local coffee shop isn’t a Starbucks, but a little place called Fogglifter Cafe. The coffee was excellent too!

Another place we dropped into was the Broken Horn Brewery which was conveniently located right near the RV park so driving after a few wasn’t a problem! It was a nice and the beer was good, if you like beer.


There were a few disappointments during the trip, but it didn’t hamper our fun. One day was a bust at every turn. We heard that you take the lift up to the top of the mountain at Brundage Mountain Ski Resort. We headed out hoping to take the lift up and hike around a bit during a beautifully sunny day. Upon arrival we learned we had picked the wrong day and it was closed. Okay then, next stop was looking around for a natural hot spring near Last Chance Campground. The campground was pretty primitive and wasn’t opened at the time. We had to hike around for awhile before we even located the hot spring. It was definitely natural but not as warm as we would have liked.

Last Chance Hot Springs

Well we then decided to head down to Tamarack Resort. As I mentioned, Debbie and visited the area on one of our anniversaries many years ago and we stayed at the lodge at the resort and did some skiing. The resort has had trouble getting investor money to finish the village and sadly it remains exactly as unfinished as it was those many years ago. It was actually kind of creepy looking too. That finished our day of duds, but we still had fun!


Now unfortunately not all days were bright and sunny. We did have one day of rain and some chunky snow(never stuck). We used that day to chill in our RV’s and watch movies, maybe clean up the interiors a bit, just hunkering down and enjoying the RV life. It was also a perfect day for the girls to head to the local CrossFit box at Legends CrossFit. Leave it to Debbie to always know where she can go get her sweat on!

Getting Ready To Work It

Now us guys aren’t that crazy. We instead went into town and sipped some hot spiced wine at a cute little place called Bistro 45 and waited for the girls to show up. We then headed over to another drinking establishment called the Yacht Club and continued our indulgent! That evening we enjoyed a night of trailer games and eating crap and drinking more adult bevies! We know how to make the best of any situation!

Did you know that Idaho has the most usable hot springs in the nation? Now you will see the meaning and reasoning for the title of the post! We were heading to the first of one of them in addition to all of our soaking in the hot tub of the RV park. We drove down to Donnelly and went to the Gold Fork Hot Springs. There they have six natural hot pools of differing temperatures. You could pick your heat and just sit and soak. It was nice and relaxing and we met some really cool people while we were there. We spent half the day there and got our money’s worth. All of us were really starting to fall in love with this area and once again, talk began of maybe moving here. It seems like we always do this when we vacation, but really, the place is breathtaking! Later that evening we took the advice of many and stopped in the Shore Lodge for some adult bevies! This place was just awesome, set right on the lake shore! After a few bevies, Debbie and I made a spontaneous decision right then and there. We have a vacation that we were in the midst of planning at the end of December down to Santa Barbara, CA. We had reservations at the Ritz Carlton and due to the cost, it was only for a partial week. We hadn’t done anything to fill out the rest of the week, or made air flight reservations or anything else for that matter. I walked over to the front desk and inquired about those dates and if they were booked and we are now going back to McCall, spending the week in this glorious hotel, and will be here for New Year’s Eve! We cannot wait! Later that evening we had a great dinner at a cozy restaurant Steamers. It was a great meal with great friends after a great day!


After another attempt at heading up the ski lift back at Brundage and being told that the lifts were now closed until the ski season, we headed for yet another soaking at a different hot springs up at a place called Burgdorf! This place was……..to put it mildly……..rustic! We had been told by everyone we talked to go up there and we were so glad we did. Originally, it was a sacred site of Native Americans who bathed in it’s healing waters, then settled in 1860 by a German miner named Fred Burgdorf. For awhile it became a mining town and then he turned it into a resort and is that to this day. Much of the town is now deserted and only 4 people live there full time. You can rent out one of the few cabins there but be aware, there is no internet, electricity, or running water. I’ll keep my vacation arrangements in my RV thank you very much! It was another great soak and Rich got his yearly bath as you will see below!

One of our final fun times was renting bikes and going on a long ride through some scenic areas around town and beyond. We found a place to rent some very nice bikes. They were Cannondale comfort hybrid bikes and were very nice!! We may just have to buy a couple just like them to replace our old beater bikes! We road down south of town following an old railroad grade and stumbled on a stalled development called River Ranch. It was to be a fancy schmancy high end development that just only had three homes built so far. It was in a beautiful area with nice views of the nearby mountains, but just never took off. it seems like McCall isn’t ready for that kind of high end real estate. We finished off the day with beers at the Salmon Brewery and a final night hanging with our friends. The next day would be the long drive back to reality. It went by way too fast, but as usual, we had a blast! The good news is that Debbie and I will be back in just a few weeks!!! Can’t wait!!!

GOOD TIMES WITH GOOD FRIENDS


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