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Lather…….rinse……repeat

Back To McCall

Every year we pick a place and go camping for a week with our great friends the Kelly’s! This year we went back to McCall, Idaho once again. We just can’t tear ourselves away from this place. Like ping pong, racquet, tennis, pickle balls we bounce back and forth to our favorite destination! This year since we started from the Olympic Peninsula, we decided to just drive to Cle Elum for the first night to keep from making the 10 plus hour trip in one day! This was in the middle of some of the worse fires in WA, OR, and CA history. The whole drive all the way to McCall was enveloped in smoke. As we crossed the Columbia River on I90, you couldn’t even see the river from the bridge. It was even smokey in our rigs while driving! It was a horrible drive, and the smoke stayed with us while in McCall almost the whole time we were there!

We arrived at our camping destination for the second at the McCall RV Resort. We love staying here, this is the nicest RV park we have ever stayed at! It is gorgeous, clean, good wifi, and the staff were very helpful with anything we needed. Another wonderfully awesome amenity was the indoor pool and hot tub which we used almost nightly after a really hard day of fun! We met some very cool people while soaking, the majority from California. Most of them were conservative Republicans escaping the crush of years of Democratic control. Some were moving to Idaho permanently. Only one couple who didn’t fit that bill were hearing our patriotic, American conversations and the wife leaned over to her husband and whispered, “Conservatives”. They were basically ignored. The lodge itself was grand and beautiful with a reading room area, fireplace, hot coffee available all day and free popcorn. There was a laundry facility with more than enough washers and dryers to handle any amount we generated.



Now before continuing, I will not be writing gobs of words here in this post that are just duplications of our last trip here with the Kelly’s. You can read about our first trip here and get the gist of the area and stuff. You can also access the trip’s photo gallery here, where all of the photos reside. Go have a look see! Yeah, I may be retired now and have plenty of time to write these blog posts, but I am getting lazy and many things have been said before so………..


Even though we had all been here before, we managed to fill our days with fun in the smokey sun. We biked all over town and out to Ponderosa State Park. This wonderful park sits right at the north edge of town and is gorgeous. It also has tent and RV camping which we had never investigated. Although we love staying where we always do, this is a fantastic alternative if we want to change things up on a future visit.

Another day we rented kayaks and paddled Payette Lake. We have toured the whole lake via car, but cruising around on a kayak gives you a whole different view of the shoreline. Some of the houses are amazing and as we checked later, prohibitively expensive! It seems as though the McCall area has been discovered as has the rest of Idaho! Residents of Washington, Oregon, and California are flooding the state in droves. Who can blame them as people are finally waking up in blue states and heading for the red ones! Oooops, I am getting political again!


There were a few disappointments during the trip, but it didn’t hamper our fun. One being the smoke, and the other being COVID. Most of the hot springs in the area were closed. Even the iconic Burgdorf Hot Springs was closed. It may have been COVID related, but the official reason was the loss of their long time managers. They are looking for replacements if you are interested in working in a very rustic setting. We, instead took a drive up to Warren! Debbie and I had been there twice on snowmobiles, but had never been up when the road was clear and it was warm. The Kelly’s had never been there either. They thought it was pretty cool too. We stopped in at the Baum Shelter for a quick bite and all of the town regulars were there. Some things just remain the same in this world of constant change. We did a lot of driving around checking out the areas and housing prices, <wink wink>. Here is a list of places we visited during this trip! I tried to put up a full list, but am sure I missed a couple.


Unknown Mountain Man

On another daily adventure we did a 8 mile hike through the Bear Valley Nordic Trail System. It is beautiful and there are many trails you can hike, some can be biked also. We had been there during a winter trip and snow shoed through the area. The views are incredible of Brundage Mountain and the valley west of McCall. One needs to take care of bikes that come screaming at you from blind curves and strange looking mountain men that come yelling out of the forest. The one pictured scared the crap out of us! Another day put us back on the lake, this time in a pontoon boat we rented from Mile High Marina! We spent almost 8 hours cruising, floating, and chillin in every bay, nook and cranny of the lake. We now know every portion of Lake Payette. Each visit we gain add to our knowledge base of McCall and it’s surroundings!


Ready For Some Boating!


Our original plans were to spend one week in McCall and then head up to the Sandpoint area of Idaho and spend our second week there. Due to the fires, smoke, and hazardous air quality up there, we decided to extend our stay in McCall and cancelled our reservations at our second destination. I’ll go ahead and link the second destination, the Blue Lake RV Resort, but we’ll never stay there. They would not refund our deposit even during these unprecedented times using the excuse that the resort is perfectly useable even under the hazardous conditions! It would have been interesting if one of us had a respiratory illness or other problem that would have been unhealthy for that person. Oh well, I suppose money is more important than the health of fellow humans. They’ll not get another dime from us ever!!! The trip was not without some equipment malfunctions. The Kelly’s trailer sprang a leak below the shower basin that Rich had to fix and one of our trailer tires developed a troubling bulge on the way there and we got a replacement while there. When we got back home, we had the other three replaced on the way! We also had a chance to make a stop and visit Alex, Mo, and Wimberley for an overnight. They were thrilled to see us and it was a nice visit. After two weeks, it was good to be home, but it was definitely another fun trip! And yet again, Debbie and I will be returning to McCall at the end of the year. One of these days we will end up moving there…….maybe!


GOOD TIMES WITH GOOD FRIENDS


MORE PICTURES HERE

Settling Into Retirement

It has been over a year since Debbie retired and just over three months for me! We moved to our home and have settled into the luxury of not having to wonder what day it is or time. With COVID still hanging in the shadows our travel options are limited right now. We are perfectly situated to hop over into Victoria, BC but can’t because the borders are closed and the ferry is mothballed right now. We have made a few trips back to the old stomping grounds of Snoqualmie and Bellevue, but with the current lawlessness going on in Seattle, that destination will not be on our radar anytime soon. Luckily, restaurants have opened up in a limited way, we have hit some golf balls with friends, taken drives to surrounding areas to explore, taken many walks and bike rides, worked in the massive yard that needs attending, and as you can see below, done a bit of upgrading to the house. What was once an upstairs deck was enclosed and turned into a sunroom. We decided to repaint the ceiling and walls, add some furniture and blinds and turned it into a TV room. We think it turned out pretty good!



Debbie’s CrossFit attendance had also become a COVID casualty when the state went on lock down and gyms had to close. She was able to borrow and began purchasing some equipment and started working out in the garage and in the parking lot of the gym with others, maintaining a safe distance of course. Once we moved, she began buying even more equipment until finally one hell of a gym was built in our garage. Now she can do a WOD right at home. My gym has finally opened up and I go back and forth depending on what I want to do that day. Debbie, being the social little person that she is, still wants to join a gym to workout with others at least three days a week. Soon she will be flexing her muscles at Storm King Athletic Club on a tryout basis. We do have a two week vacation coming, so she will fully join once we return from that!


Gaslighting

This is so True and unfortunately, so many are falling for it. By the way, this is a copied post!
WHAT IS GASLIGHTING?
The term originates in the systematic psychological manipulation of a victim by her husband in Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 stage play Gas Light, and the film adaptations released in 1940 and 1944. In the story, the husband attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment and insisting that she is mistaken, remembering things incorrectly, or delusional when she points out these changes. The play’s title alludes to how the abusive husband slowly dims the gas lights in their home, while pretending nothing has changed, in an effort to make his wife doubt her own perceptions. The wife repeatedly asks her husband to confirm her perceptions about the dimming lights, but in defiance of reality, he keeps insisting that the lights are the same and instead it is she who is going insane.
We are living in a perpetual state of gaslighting. The reality that we are being told by the media is at complete odds with what we are seeing with our own two eyes. And when we question the false reality that we are being presented, or we claim that what we see is that actual reality, we are vilified as racist or bigots or just plain crazy. You’re not racist. You’re not crazy. You’re being gaslighted.
New York State has twice as many deaths from Covid-19 than any other state, and New York has accounted for one fifth of all Covid-19 deaths, but we are told that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has handled the pandemic better than any other governor. But if we support policies of Governors whose states had only a fraction of the infections and deaths as New York, we’re called anti-science and want people to die. So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
We see mobs of people looting stores, smashing windows, setting cars on fire and burning down buildings, but we are told that these demonstrations are peaceful protests. And when we call this destruction of our cities, riots, we are called racists. So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being
gaslighted.
We see the major problem destroying many inner-cities is crime; murder, gang violence, drug dealing, drive-by shootings, armed robbery, but we are told that it is not crime, but the police that are the problem in the inner-cities. We are told we must defund the police and remove law enforcement from crime-riddled cities to make them safer. But if we advocate for more policing in cities overrun by crime, we are accused of being white supremacists and racists. So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
The United States of America accepts more immigrants than any other country in the world. The vast majority of the immigrants are “people of color”, and these immigrants are enjoying freedom and economic opportunity not available to them in their country of origin, but we are told that the United
States is the most racist and oppressive country on the planet, and if we disagree, we are called racist and xenophobic. So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
Capitalist countries are the most prosperous countries in the world The standard of living is the highest in capitalist countries. We see more poor people move up the economic ladder to the middle and even the wealthy class through their effort and ability in capitalist countries than any other economic system in the world, but we are told capitalism is an oppressive system designed to keep people down. So, we
ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
Communist countries killed over 100 million people in the 20th century. Communist countries strip their citizens of basic human rights, dictate every aspect of their lives, treat their citizens like slaves, and drive their economies into the ground, but we are told that Communism is the fairest, most equitable, freest and most prosperous economic system in the world. So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
The most egregious example of gaslighting is the concept of “white fragility”. You spend your life trying to be a good person, trying to treat people fairly and with respect. You disavow racism and bigotry in all its forms. You judge people solely on the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.
You don’t discriminate based on race or ethnicity. But you are told you are a racist, not because of something you did or said, but solely because of the color of your skin. You know instinctively that charging someone with racism because of their skin color is itself racist. You know that you are not racist, so you defend yourself and your character, but you are told that your defense of yourself is proof of your racism. So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
Gaslighting has become one of the most pervasive and destructive tactics in American politics. It is the exact opposite of what our political system was meant to be. It deals in lies and psychological coercion, and not the truth and intellectual discourse. If you ever ask yourself if you’re crazy, you are not. Crazy people aren’t sane enough to ask themselves if they’re crazy. So, trust yourself, believe what’s in your heart. Trust your eyes over what you are told. Never listen to the people who tell you that you are crazy, because you are not, you’re being gaslighted.
Sophocles said: “What people believe prevails over the truth.”
And that’s what the media are trying to exploit.
Don’t allow yourself to be gaslighted.
(Copied)

Goodbye Snoqualmie…….

…..and Seattle, King County, and Puget Sound!

Leaving So Cal in 1990!

Back in 1973 or 74 I moved from my home state of New Mexico and we headed to the big city of Seattle, Washington. I had no idea what I was heading into because at that time in my life, I had hardly ventured out of my home state! Growing up in the dry desert heat, it was a wondrous sight to come over the Cascades into the sea of green trees, cool clouds, and mist! I fell in love with the area immediately and settled into an area of south of Seattle. My stay there only lasted two years and then was off to various locations for the next 15 years but vowed to one day return.

My life journey finally landed me in Southern California in 1978. There I would be for most of my 20’s and early 30’s. I had a career in sales, had tons of friends, and made decent money. It was a great place to be when one was in their youth, but the longer I stayed there, the more I wanted to leave. The constant brown everywhere, sky, mountains, landscape was depressing. I hated “smelling” the air on a daily basis and the damn weather never changed! Each time I left for a vacation or to visit family out of town, I hated coming back. My yearning to return to the Pacific Northwest was growing like a long forgotten seed planted now starting to sprout. Finally, in 1989, while visiting family in New Mexico and Oklahoma for the holidays I made the proclamation that I was going to move back to Seattle by the end of the following year! That was met with disbelief, laughter, and “yeah we’ve heard it before”. My mind was made up and I would soon be working on my plan to get there.

I started subscribing to the Seattle Sunday Times by mail to read up on what was happening up there. Even back in the late 80’s Washingtonians were crying about the onslaught of Californians moving up there and things haven’t changed much today. Californians are leaving their state in droves to here, Idaho, Texas, Oregon, and even Montana! Ruinous bastards…….okay…..okay I was one too, BUT I can say I “returned” to Washington. I started to put the pieces of my relocation plan into effect. I reached out to my manager of my desire to transfer to the Seattle branch and he thought I was nuts. I assured him I wasn’t and after much persuasion trying to get me to stay, he gave in and contacted the Seattle manager of Kraft Foodservice and let him know there was a potential new sales person from the LA ranks that wanted to join forces in Seattle. So in July I took a vacation to the Emerald City, stayed with a former coworker who just happened to have moved there, met with the sales manager, and sealed a relocation deal. On September 1, 1990 I rolled into Seattle and my dream had finally come into fruition!

As luck would have it, my former coworker had decided to go back to Alaska for another fishing boat gig and I sublet his place in the cool and funky neighborhood of Wallingford. From my bedroom window I could look out over Lake Union right at downtown Seattle! I was in absolute heaven and happy as an Ivar’s clam! Unfortunately, not everything was as rosy as it could have been. Once October came, I discovered never ending gray, torrential sideways rain, and a career that began to stumble. During the beginning, bouts of depression came over me and I really started questioning the decision I had made. I always had an open door to return to LA and go back to work down there, but knew that was not an option for me. Once I realized what it all was for, my head cleared and no matter what happened to my career, I was back in Seattle where I had longed to be and was home! I worked hard and gave it all I could, but a year later parted ways with my career in sales and would be moving on in a totally new direction in life, and boy was it ever! 

In those subsequent years I met the love of my life and married her, became a stepfather in the process, did a brief stint in real estate appraisal, bought my first home, ended up in a new career driving public transit for King County Metro, and settling down in a small burb near the foothills of the Cascade Mountains called Snoqualmie. In the beginning it was an idyllic life. The small community was growing thanks to a new development “up on the hill”. We loved it even though there were hardly any services and you had to drive a few miles to get anything done, but for us, it was no problem. We bought a beautiful house which I loved, started making a few friends, and were enjoying life as “empty nesters”.

Our Snoqualmie Home!

So here we are, 17 years down the road, and it’s time to move along. The once small peaceful town has burgeoned into a bedroom community way bigger than we had expected or hoped for. It’s now full of yupsters, soccer moms, and helicopter parents. We find ourselves surrounded by people of totally different thinking and values than ours. We have a very tight small group of friends that would have our back at anytime, but for the most part, many others would just stab it. Until the COVID pandemic, traffic around the area had slowed to an intolerable crawl even during the off rush hours. Property taxes have surged beyond affordable. The once beautiful city of Seattle, has turned into a sewer being lead by idiotic progressive liberal leadership. We have had enough!!! Debbie retired last year, and I have finally driven my last bus trip, going a bit early. We have packed up and moved to our paradise on the Olympic Peninsula. While we will return to Snoqualmie from time to time, we are glad we are leaving and starting the “retirement chapter” of our lives. Seattle and the rest of King County can pound sand!

McCall…….Again

Payette Lake

Yes, here we are again, the third trip to McCall in the last two years. Once again we stayed at the Shore Lodge in a gorgeous lake side suite just like last time. Also like last year, it was during the week of New Years and we did much of the same stuff we did last time. We were able to ski this time which we did two days in a row at Brundage Mountain! We also spent more time at the Old Idaho Penitentiary Rather than bore you with the details of another similar trip, you can refer here to last year’s trip and links, and I will list some highlights and provide more of a pictorial version on this one!


  • We were delayed getting to Boise by around three hours, thanks Delta Airlines.
  • Our rental car broke down and we had to fight with Alamo Rent A Car to get a replacement. We waited until 2am for the new one to arrive.
  • Debbie’s boots were “taken” from the ski resort changing room and never “returned”. Had to spend $200 for a pair of new ones.
  • This time we didn’t go snowshoeing, but instead ski’d two days in a row.
  • One of those days was New Year’s Eve and I was so beat neither of us saw the new decade ring in!
  • Unlike last year, this time we were able to book a massage and spa day at The Cove in the hotel!
  • And yes, we booked a room for next year!!






Second Room Done

We now have an office!!!! After getting some new bedroom furniture for the master bedroom, we next set our sights on a secondary bedroom to upgrade. We wanted an office but still be able to have a sleeping area for guests. In the condo we are currently renting, we have that kind of set up and took the design and embellished it for our house! It turned out great and we used Wall Beds Northwest to build it and install it! We are very happy with the finished product and now all we need to do is finally move here and get to use it full time! That day is coming soon!!


We went from this……yellow walls!


To this….walls painted grey!


And finally…….the completed office/bedroom!!! Yippee!!!

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!

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!

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