• Follow me on Twitter

  • Blog Stats

    • 21,517 hits
  • Archives

  • January 2019
    M T W T F S S
    « Oct    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28293031  
  • Advertisements

Wine, Women, and Smoke

Yep, that’s right, another camping vacation in the books and it was another fun one of course! This one took us to the wine country of Eastern Washington and into the foothills of the Blue Mountains of Northeast Oregon. Four couples and four trailers involved, us, Rich and Pam, Bob and Patty, and Rob and Ursie, otherwise known as “The Gang of Six”! The ride over was a white knuckled extravaganza due to high winds blowing and reduced visibility to to blowing dust and smokey skies. It was also a boys(Cordell and I) solo journey without Debbie. See got her calendars crossed and signed up for a half marathon in Vancouver, BC during the same weekend as the beginning of the vacation. It was all good and we arranged it so she could still go up, by herself, do the run and then fly into Walla Walla the second night and join in the vacation fun! So after the trailer blowing from side to side most of the way into Walla Walla, the boy and I made it to the first stop RV Resort Four Seasons safe and sound.

Now there is Bob McEvoy, one of the unluckiest and in the same note, luckiest guys we know! As I arrived and started backing in, there he stood blood all over his hands, arms, dripping down his clothes with his permanent grin plastered on his face. He looked like a scene from a horror movie. Seems their camping cat they rescued some time ago and may still be a bit feral, escaped from the truck when they pulled in. Afraid the cat might just take off for good, he and Patty made a mad rush after it. When Bob got his hands on the crazed feline, it went catnip crazy on his extremities. The result was a bloodied Bob but a captured cat! These injuries hampered him throughout the trip, requiring a trip to an urgent care then surgery back home as sever infection set it! It could only happen to him.

The second night, Debbie flew in from Vancouver, BC at the large international air hub that is Walla Walla Regional Airport and the following two days we spent indulging in the region’s many many wineries. Wine tasting all day, four women, many bottles purchased, well you might take an educated guess how the nights went. We found Walla Walla to be way more interesting than imagined. I don’t recall ever actually being in downtown Walla Walla although have driven by and near it many times. The downtown core is bustling with many cool shops, restaurants and many tasting rooms. One restaurant we stopped for lunch was the Red Monkey, a funky little place with some really good food, and you can see the tasting tour list we did at the end of the post. It was a very nice town, but would we live there…….naw!

The next half of the trip was just over the border into Oregon, taking a road from Milton-Freewater into a canyon along the south fork of the Walla Walla River to a campground called Harris Park. It was a nice clean place and we had it all to ourselves for the first two nights. They had a group camp section and that’s where we all gathered.

Camp Crazy!

Camp Crazy!

We really wanted to do some hiking and that we did. The only problem there was really only two good trails and one was closed due to the large number of rattlesnakes infesting the hillside around the trail. Debbie does NOT do snakes………of any kind! We ended up doing two days of hiking the same hike. That is kind of boring but on the second day we went a bit further and stumbled on a very cool cluster of cabins at the end of the trail. It probably could only be accessed on the other side of the range by ATVs or four wheelers. The place looked like an old homestead, but was being visited and kept up. We let our imaginations run wild. Our campground was totally off the grid, no cell or phone service was to be had. We actually had to look at and talk to each other the whole time we were there….imagine that! The closest town was Milton-Freewater about 12 miles back the way we came in. We had to go there to get ice and also had to hit their only laundromat to do some washing because our boy Cordell decided to blow bits into the bed one early morning. We have only one set of bedding in the trailer(make note to buy another). Now unlike Walla Walla, the town isn’t so….well…..bustling! It is actually kind of depressing, but one weird thing, there are statues of frogs all over town and Debbie was fascinated with them.

Debbie and the Frog!

Debbie and the Frog!

There are over 40 of them placed throughout the town and do you know why? Well you can read why here! The one gem we did discover was the El Sirloin Mexican Restaurant. They had a mexican food lunch buffet and it was very authentic and excellent. Do not pass it up if you ever find yourself in town. The only downside to the whole trip was the constant haze and smoke in the air. As you might have heard, Washington State has had one of it’s hottest and driest summers on record. That has not bode well for Eastern Washington and it’s fire season. It has been horrible with hundreds of thousands of acres burned and many homes lost! We were surrounded by fires while there and the hazy skies and the smell of smoke reminded us daily. As we slide into Fall please help us with your prayers for rain, we need it! There you have it, our fun vacation filled with wine, women, and smoke! I should add blood to the list! Happy trails until we write again!

WINERY TOUR LIST!

Woodward Canyon Winery
Lodmell Cellars
Three Rivers Winery
L’ Ecole No. 41
Sleight of Hands Cellars
Otis Kenyon
Cougar Crest Winery
Henry Earl Estates

Advertisements

Our New Trailer

Well after four years in our little 19 foot Salem Trailer, it was time to upgrade! It worked very well as an entry-level trailer and we had no problems with it. It just became too small for us and was time to trade it in. A few weeks back, we went to the Tacoma RV Show and looked around to find out what we liked and didn’t like! This next trailer was just going to be an interim one to keep for 5 years or so until Debbie possibly retires. Then at that point we would decide what and where to go from there. We decided to just look at mid level quality trailers then that were inexpensive but NOT cheap! That changed our plans when we went down to the Valley RV Supercenter to have a look at the Jayco trailers and stumbled on this one! It was a little more luxurious and higher priced than what we originally intended, but we fell in love with it. They gave us a great deal on it and paid us generously for our Salem and the deal was inked!!! So now, we are the proud owners of a 2015 30′ Jayco Eagle Trailer and the next chapter of camping trips begin! We will bid a fond farewell to our Salem which did us good for many years and hopefully, it will be enjoyed by some new campers in the near future!

Vacation 2013 Part One

It is vacation time again and we took two glorious weeks off!! The weeks were as separate as night and day and we start off with part one, the first week! This was the fun one. We got or trailer hitched up and made our way down to Oregon to hook up with three other couples and their trailers to make the Crazy Caravan! After enduring the horrible Friday afternoon traffic in Portland, we finally made our first destination and hooked up with the first couple (Rich and Pam) in Eugene. Our overnight stay was at Premier RV Resort which is a clean and convenient stop for an overnight stay! We had a nice evening hanging out and catching up.

Our next stop and destination was near Cave Junction, OR at the Country Hills Resort. There we hooked up with the rest of the gang, Patti & Bob, and Rob & Ursie. It was hotter than hell and luckily we had power to run our A/C cause it was a furnace! The place was nice and tucked back into the woods but soon we felt a strange vibe about the place. There wasn’t anything wrong with the place, just strange and had some strange folks staying in the other sites! More about that later! It was also where some trailer breakdowns started occurring. Bob’s brand new rig had one of the cabinet and doors come away from the mount. Rich’s fairly new trailer’s water pump started leaking. Our shower stall started leaking water onto the floor when showering. That just took some heavy duty caulking to finally get it to stop! I had recently bought a new fangled PocketHose that seemed perfect for the trailer! I was excited as I hooked it up, it expanded, and water flowed into the trailer….all was well with the world! My trailer buds were ready to buy one ASAP! The very next day this happened:

What a piece of “made in China” shit!!!! Do NOT buy one of these pieces of crap!!! That deflated my bubble and back to the old stiff, hard to manage, regular hoses we went. At night we would hear strange noises and see shadows in the woods and out of our trailers. Scary and weird! Then to top it off, we had the “magic mushrooms boys” across the way from us. Twice they brought us various containers, one being a blue pumpkin candy holder and the other a glass with figures of nude females on the sides, filled with glass beads. Then on the way out, I ran into him again and he offered me some of his magic little shrooms of which I courteously declined. The big highlight of the stay was taking a trip through the Oregon Caves. That was a blast and it was a refreshingly 44 degrees in them also and the caves themselves were fascinating! Another highlight was all piling into the McEvoy rig and playing Cards Against Humanity! Yes, we are all horrible people! It was nice to finally pull out of there and head on down the road!

Down the road meant driving into Northern California and heading toward the coast and into the redwoods. As we did that, we watched the temperature plummet from the low 100’s into a very cool and comfortable low 70’s. i may speak for myself but I was now a very happy camper! Our next stop was at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. It was a beautiful place hugging the Smith River. We took a nice hike into the majestic giants and felt really small and insignificant against these beauties of Nature. We decided to take a break from campground cooking and cleaning up after and drove into a fog shrouded Crescent City and located a nice restaurant, the Harbor View Grotto, and had a decent meal, drinks, and camaraderie.

Up into the Oregon Coast we went to our next destination, Humbug Mountain State Park. I had driven by this locale many, many times in the past and had never stopped. It was a very nice campground and just a short walk to the beach where whales were spouting off in the distance. We hiked the Humbug Mountain Trail, which was a pretty steep trip and surprisingly offered few good views of the coast and ocean, but was beautiful none the less. Then the inevitable occurred as it always does when Rich and I get together, we got really spanked on Jager and stayed out on the beach until 3am with our girls. We were looking at the mountain in the darkness and saw lights among the trees and actually thought there were hikers up there in the dark. It turned out to be the full moon rising up from behind the trees! I didn’t feel too hot the next morning and also pulled my back out, just great for the rest of the vacation. I managed to get camp up with help from Rich and Bob and hobbled on to the next and final stop.

Cape Perpetua was our final stop of this fun trip. In my opinion it was the most beautiful part. The coast of Oregon is at its most rugged and captivating along this stretch. It took awhile to get there, as I was contacting my local doctor trying to get a prescription for something, but after a long wait in the parking lot of a Safeway, they declined to get me anything. So I just winged it with a little help from my buddy Rob who shed some of his muscle relaxers to get me through the worst of it. Since some of us were either injured or just worn out, we did minimal hiking. We went up to the top of the Cape and went out to the rock shelter. We also went into the town of Yachats and had big Bob’s 60th birthday dinner at Ona Restaurant. It was a great dinner and we had a fantastic waitress who endured our craziness and partying. Bob had a good time on his milestone day and it was a great fun trip with some great fun friends. Check out the pictures in the photo set. Stay tuned for part two of the 2013 vacation……more work…less play on that one!

Summer Adventures

It has been a busy summer so far. Much of the spring was involved taking monthly trips to our island cabin, furnishing, cleaning, decorating, fixing, etc. I am having to learn how to fix things now and even tackled replacing the kitchen faucet and range hood, thanks to help from my buddy Larry! We had much of the interior painted except for the two bathrooms and one bedroom. We are going to do those rooms ourselves as we didn’t have colors picked out yet. The painter was a local guy who didn’t really do that great of a job and is still not finished and says he won’t be until the first week of September…….fucking unacceptable! We are not happy and I have paid the dude in full already, my very bad mistake!!! We have pictures that we cannot even put up because the mistakes really show up in the flash. At any rate, it looks better than before and is getting very cozy and comfortable with many of our touches. We have accommodated guests twice now and they felt very much at home and our little cabin was big enough for them all!

We finally de-winterized the trailer, cleaned her up, loaded it with supplies, hitched her to the truck and headed back to………yep, Oregon, once again! Our destination this time was the coast once again and we camped at Beverly Beach State Park. It was beautiful. We explored the coast again, heading to Newport, Depot Bay, Florence, Agate Beach, etc. We also scoped out campgrounds, visited scenic sights, lighthouses, and did a little wine tasting as we always do! We never tire of the Oregon Coast and are planning the next trip to start from the California redwoods and drive back up the coast next year!

Duplicating our route in February, we drove to central Oregon over the Santiam Pass to our secret camping spot near Sisters, OR. There we met up with some very good friends Rich, Pam, Kelsey, Rob, and Ursie. We all camp together in the middle of the woods and eat, drink, build big camp fires, hike, shoot guns, drink, ride dirt bikes, more eating, and drinking. It is hot, dusty, and dirty, but a very fun time with great friends! Have a look at the few photos we took of the trip!

Camp Givens

After we got back, the following weekend we rode the Mt to Sound Greenway Snoqualmie Tunnel Bike Ride. It was a twenty-five mile bike ride down the John Wayne Pioneer Trail which took us through the two and a half mile tunnel. All these years of living here and we had never been to the tunnel. Going through an old two-mile, abandoned train tunnel is dark, cold and spooky, but was fun as hell! At the end we had a great BBQ. It is fun to get out and explore what is just right outside our doorstep. We have a wedding coming down in Portland we are going to, the Boeing Classic Golf Tournament that we always volunteer to work and watch, then we will be spending a whole week at the cabin right after that which takes us right into September. Wow, where did the summer go!!!???

What A Summer So Far

While the rest of the country bakes in intense heat, we here in the Seattle area have yet to see a real summer. We have just barely hit 80 and have only flirted with the upper 70’s. You wouldn’t believe all the crying and whining about it! Me, I just sit back grinning from ear to ear because I love it and cannot stand hot weather anymore. I grew up in the heat and lived in it for much of the first part of my life and have had enough. I would not care if I ever saw an 80 degree day for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, it is driving Debbie and many others up here crazy, and I have to listen to it! I could just imagine the whining and whimpering if we were experiencing 120 degree heat indexes like a lot of the Midwest. You can have it! I just hope August doesn’t prove to be a scorcher. I am crossing my fingers!

Summer part two – now I try to stay healthy, maybe not hard enough. I have a few extra pounds hanging around me that I just can’t shake, but it is my own fault. I have sweet cravings these days that kick me in the gut. I love Schwan’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream, and put a doughnut in front of me and I will inhale that unhealthy bastard before you can blink. Debbie can ignore all the unhealthy food products these days and is great health, in fact just lost around 70 pounds and has kept it off and looks and feels great! To try to offset my vices I try to stay active. We hike, ride bikes, walk Cordell around the neighborhood, and I run (well jog). I am not a fast runner, or a running fiend, just kind of like it and it helps to keep some of the baggage under control. Back in June I was out on one of my runs and my foot caught a unlevel sidewalk slab and I went down hard!! I road rashed my left knee and elbow, my face slammed in my left forearm and put a nasty bruise on it, and I bruised my left kidney and ribs and abdominal wall. I haven’t run or been the same since! There have been visits to the walk in clinic, hospital, doctors, and again recently to the ER at Swedish when my muscles in the left side of my abdomen went into spasms. Debbie and I spent a whole Saturday afternoon and evening sitting in an ER room! I would say that ruined our weekend. At this point there is really no treatment except to just let it heal, so I am impatiently trying to do just that! No running, lifting, pulling, pushing, sit ups, etc. I guess Debbie has to do everything 😉

With all this going on, we still managed to take the truck and trailer and go on a week-long camping trip. We met some of our great camping buddies down in Oregon just outside Sisters and did some camping out in the middle of the woods. We took Debbie’s gun and with Rob and Rich’s collection, we had an arsenal with which we did some target practice. Debbie and I love the Sisters/Bend area and may retire there! We parted from our friends and solo’d up to Toppenish and Leavenworth to finish out our trip. Did a lot of wine tasting and buying and found a great RV resort in Leavenworth which we will return many more times. Cordell was with us on our trip and he just loves going camping and loves being in the trailer. The truck did it’s job wonderfully.   Our next excursion is back down to Best Friends in Utah and we are toying with the idea of just driving down there with the trailer. We’ll see what happens! Look at our camping pictures at our photo page and now it is time to go back to work…..yuk!

%d bloggers like this: