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Road Trip 2021 – Part 2

THE ROAD TRIP CONTINUES!

Arizona Prices!!!
CA Prices!!!

Well as all trips do, we had a hitch in the get along before leaving Newport Dunes. We sprung a leak in the plumbing around the hot water heater. It has proven to be very difficult to fix. I gave it a solid try before we left, but no bueno. We had a great drive up to Fort Mohave, Az. Took about 5ish hours on the bumpiest interstate yet! We definitely noticed the price of fuel dramatically drop when we crossed over into AZ from California! We arrived and were greeted with hugs and kisses from our friends Jeff and Jaime Simon and Mike and Cathy Richards. We haven’t seen any of these guys since last year (breakout of Covid-19) in Mexico. The guys put the trailer away (worked on the plumbing issue to no avail) and the drinks were flowing. We ordered pizza and spent the evening around the little gas fire in the driveway. The next day was mostly spent on buying parts and tools and calling around to find a mobile RV mechanic. Well despite calling multiple people…. that was a big fail, Mike and Cathy went house hunting and Jeff and I tried everything to fix the leak. After hours of working on it, we thought we had someone lined up to come out. Nope…. We decided to throw in the towel and go to Cocktails to have cocktails. Then on to a steakhouse for a yummy dinner. The next day was boating day! We headed out about noon (after another trip to Lowe’s). We put in the Colorado River and headed to Lake Havasu. Jeff and Jaime have an awesome boat and the sun was out! It was a beautiful day, just a little bit windy. The lake was rough as we crossed but so glad we went. We saw the London Bridge and stopped on a little beach for a light lunch. Debbie friended some ducks that hung around for treats. We stopped on our way back for a bit and had snacks and drinks on the lake. We decided it was time to head back and it seemed the lake was a bit rougher in the way back. But our skilled captain got us across safe and sound! It was such a great day! Thank you Jeff Simon and Jaime for your hospitality, we are so grateful to get to spend time with you. And thanks to Mike and Cathy Richards for driving up and making time to see us, we enjoyed spending time with you two also. We are now limping along with no hot water for now, showering in the RV Park showers and boiling water for dishes. We have a mechanic scheduled to meet up with us in Alamogordo. We headed out Thursday morning (after half expecting the repair guy to come by early that morning… nope) for Prescott Arizona.


After a great visit in Fort Mohave we headed out for Prescott Arizona. We had visited Prescott several years ago while doing research on places we wanted to consider for retirement. We loved it then, but we chose to stay in Washington. Still love it, such a beautiful place with such a cool vibe. We stayed at a nice RV Park (Point of Rocks)with lots of trees and big beautiful rocks all around. We did some shopping in the many shops on Whiskey Row and found some cool earrings for me. They ended up being my birthday present. We had dinner and drinks at The Palace Saloon which claims to be the oldest bar in Arizona. All of the staff wear period clothing also! We stayed only two nights in Prescott then off we went to Goodyear AZ to see our friends Tori and Kevin Hillstrom and Keith and Laurie Helker. We have known these people for many years and we all met each other in local Packer bars in the Seattle area. Just a few hours of driving and we arrived at Destiny RV in Goodyear which was just 15 min from where our friends live. The RV park was nice (each site has a citrus tree complete with oranges or lemons) with a surprisingly well outfitted gym! We spent the first afternoon getting set up and checking out the amenities. Our friends threw an amazing pool party at their beautiful home in our honor that night. We met some new people and really loved seeing some old friends we hadn’t seen in a while. We are so grateful to be able to spend time with everyone! We started the next day with doing laundry (yuck, but you gotta do the dull stuff every now and then too) and getting a great workout in! We met Tori and Kevin for dinner at a great restaurant (The Red Dog) right on the golf course. Then back to their house for a cocktail or two. Our stay was short, but we enjoyed every minute of catching up with friends and are so grateful for the time they spent with us. We packed up and left Arizona the next morning heading for New Mexico.


After such a short , but wonderful visit with friends, we left Goodyear Arizona a little later than planned (the RV office didn’t open until 9:00! Grrr… we had to wait to get a “key” refund, so dumb) to get on the road to New Mexico. We had a longer drive, nearly 7 hours, to get to Alamogordo. Boy, the drive felt so long and the landscape was ever changing! We had to wrangle with strong winds at times, I even caught some pictures of sizable dust devils along the way. We were so anxious to get to Alamogordo as this leg of the trip was all about family. I grew up in Alamogordo and some very special family still lives there. We haven’t been back for over 5 years and I was definitely feeling the pull of my heart strings as we crossed the border into NM. We drove through Las Cruces which is a beautiful city and then just over an hour to the RV Park. We stayed at the KOA, which was awesome. Super friendly staff, locally owned and very nice spaces. We got set up fairly late and had to take care of chores but made plans for breakfast at my Aunt Sharon and Uncle Butch’s house. We spent the day hanging out with them, reminiscing, driving around and catching up. We were joined by my cousin Lori when she got off work at her pool supply store. We could have talked all night, and almost did. The next day, my other cousin Laura, who recently moved back to Alamogordo, was so gracious to host a Cinco de Mayo dinner at her beautiful home. It was so special spending time with her and it was so important to reconnect as she recently and unexpectedly lost her husband. While our time was short in Alamogordo, it was full of love and tons of belly laughs! Debbie now knows where I get my sense of humor. Aunt Sharon and Uncle Butch stopped by the next morning to say goodbye with lots of hugs! We were sad to say goodbye so soon, but plan to come back sooner than later. We headed off for a much shorter drive up to Santa Fe. The drive to Santa Fe was beautiful as the high desert emerged with vibrant colors and commanding views. We checked into the RV Park which was the perfect location for buzzing around town. We loved Santa Fe! We had been there just for the day several years ago so we enjoyed having a few days to really explore. Due to COVID restrictions, some of the sights were closed or limited but we still had a great time. We shopped, went wine tasting and at the recommendation of some people we met had the BEST dinner at Tomasitas. Three days seemed to fly by! Next stop Colorado!!

See pictures of Santa Fe
and family pictures here!


Colorado! We departed from Santa Fe for the relatively short drive to Durango Colorado (4ish hours). The drive to Colorado was full of beautiful landscapes as the desert gave way to the more typical mountains of Colorado. We arrived at the Oasis RV Park and were thinking about our plans for the next few days. We had planned to stay 4 days to get in the sights we were absolutely wanting to see. As we were setting up in our site, we decided we really needed to stay 5 days to fit it all in. So we extended our stay, ordered dinner ( the RV Park offered handmade pizza delivered to our site!) and settled in with a couple of cocktails. We highly recommend Oasis RV Park of you’re ever in the Durango area. We had an early call to catch the train to Silverton the next morning and we’re delighted to find out the RV Park also offered made to order breakfast and coffee! We took advantage of breakfast and off we went to catch the train in old town Durango. The train was awesome, with sights you just can’t see any other way. The trip is somewhat shorter (4 hours round trip) in the spring with the terminus at Cascade versus Silverton due to snow still present in the mountains. We had lunch at the terminus before heading back to Durango. It was a gorgeous day and we decided to drive up to Silverton on our own to check it out. Silverton is an old silver mining town where it feels like time has stood still. It is quite a climb to get there where it’s nestled in the mountains at over 9,000 feet. The drive there and back was breathtaking! We headed back to old town Durango for a dinner out to celebrate Mother’s Day. It was fabulous. The next day was totally dedicated to touring Mesa Verde National Park. What an incredible site! It is huge and holds magnificent views. The Pueblo Indians settled there and lived in the area for over 700 years. The ancient ruins of their cliff houses and other dwellings still exist. We took sooo many pictures that I had to create yet another album here! We decided to include a challenging hike into the cliff to see the petroglyphs. It was rocky and steep, climbing over and down rocks with open cliffs on one side. But.. it was so worth it to see the amazing drawings in the cliff wall. It was a full day even though we couldn’t do any up close tours (covid closed all the up close tours of the cliff dwellings) but we had great views of them from a distance. Day four was reserved for driving up to Williams Creek Campground and Lake. It was really the primary reason we chose Durango as a stop. Williams Creek was a childhood camping destination for me and my family! The drive up was quite a distance with most of it on dirt roads. I couldn’t wait to get up there and see it again. It had been some 50 years since my grandparents took me and the family there. We packed a picnic and explored the beautiful spots with bubbling creeks, crystal blue skies and a beautiful reservoir. Even though it has been so many years since I had been there, not much has changed! I did find it sad to see our absolutely favorite spot to camp by the river was no longer there. It looked as thought at some point the river had altered course and the spot had to be closed. Still it brought back many cherished memories of days gone by with family members who are no longer with us. We drove from Williams Creek to Pagosa Springs to check it out. It’s a cute town, but has grown way too much and like all the towns we have visited on this trip, has been ruined by outsiders fleeing their states to come and drive up prices everywhere out here. It is very sad to see! We made our umpteenth trip to Wally World for supplies (we never seem to be able to get everything we need in one trip). The next day began our 3 day trek toward home. We drove through Colorado to Utah and stopped for the night in Brigham City. We were suffering a bit from trailer fatigue so decided to hotel it for the night. On to Idaho and Oregon the next day with an overnight stop in Pendleton, also at a hotel. We looked forward to our big bed, long showers, and just being home finally but are sad it’s coming to an end. We have seen so much and enjoyed seeing so many friends and family. We are so very grateful to everyone who took time to spend with us. We love you all! This trip has been epic- 28 days, 8 states, 5,127 miles and full of love, hugs and countless laughs! We are truly blessed. Can’t wait for the next adventure!

No camp site here anymore!!!

Road Trip 2021 – Part 1

AWAY WE GO!!!

So here we are, both retired and living quietly in a world constrained by the COVID “plandemic” for close to a year and a half. We have our routine from day to day, get up, spend some time on the computer, go to the gym, back home, do stuff around the house, make dinner or maybe go out, watch some tube and bed, get up and do it all over again. Every once in awhile we head back to Snoqualmie for appointments and see old friends. Now and then we have family or friends up for a visit or we visit them. Then one day, we looked at each other and said, “Let’s go on a road trip!” Thus began the planning months in advance. We had to decide where we were going to go, the route, booking RV spots, telling people we might want to see that we were coming, etc. We decided that this would be a friends and family visit/sightseeing trip. Debbie did a great job scouting out RV places, carefully checking reviews to make sure we were staying in decent places and it was awesome the job she did. The drive began with the first stop in Newport, Oregon and then on to Eureka, California. These two days are just stop overs on our way to Monterey, California where we will stay for a couple of days. Newport Oregon is a lovely place on the Oregon Coast and we have been there several times, so no need to sight see this time. We stayed at a nice RV park that is just a short walk to the Rogue Ales brewery and restaurant. We had to wait forever to get a table, but it was worth the wait ( we were so hangry! ). We packed up fairly early and headed out for our next stop Eureka, California. The drive was beautiful, with so many beautiful beach views and driving through the Redwoods is spectacular. The RV Park in Eureka was a little sketchy, nice people and super nice RV’s here but there is some sketchy stuff going on here so everything is locked up tight for the night and we will head out as early as possible for Monterey!

We left Eureka as early as possible and headed out for Monterey. Actually we are staying in Moss Landing which was “supposed” to be in the heart of Monterey, well not quite but it’s just fine. We took Hwy 101 which took us on a beautiful route. Through many Redwood forests and small towns. We ended up driving through wine country. Debbie wanted to stop and wine taste at the many wineries, but we had to stay on schedule to try to beat traffic. Next trip we are stopping and drinking. We thought we were going to go through Oakland, but Waze ended up rerouting us through San Francisco instead which afforded some beautiful views of the city but some dicey traffic for me. The drive, while a little hairy, was so gorgeous and we ended up arriving on time at the RV Park. We set up and headed out for a beach walk, it was beautiful. The next we lazed a bit and then headed for the gym for a workout and then on to Carmel for lunch and some window shopping . We fell head over heals in love with it and if we ever win the lottery we’ll be moving there! One ridiculous thing we had to endure while walking about in Carmel was the stupid mandatory mask wearing while OUTSIDE!!! Signs were posted everywhere that if you failed to do so, you would be fined $100. There are more sheep living in the town than there are on Clint’s ranch! We made our way to the Mission Ranch to have a glass of wine with Clint Eastwood (he owns it), haha we were told we just missed him. The rest of the day we spent on the 17 mile drive through Pebble Beach back to Monterey and Cannery Row. Had a light bite then back to the RV Park for the night. Such a fun couple of days here and then we headed for Santa Barbara!


My Old Buddy Rob Miotti and son
Salt

We really enjoyed our stay in Monterey and headed out around noon thinking we could avoid the commute traffic in the Santa Barbara area, we did hit some traffic but not as awful as we anticipated. Our drive was really nice with lots of beautiful scenery. Our route was down 101 which took us through lots of agricultural lands and by San Louis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Buellton which claims to be the home of split pea soup! Who knew!! We arrived at Ocean Mesa RV Resort (highly recommend this RV Park) in the early afternoon with sun and clear skies we quickly set up and headed out on a long walk in search of the laundry room and to explore the area. This park has a lot to offer including a pool and hot tub, very well stocked store, large sites and a restaurant within walking distance. We loved it. The next day we headed to Santa Barbara to visit the Santa Barbara Mission and later meet up with a good friend of Joe’s from many years ago. The Mission was beautiful and full of history. We took a lot of pictures at the mission and I created an album that you can go see here! Santa Barbara is a very nice city with a vibrant downtown full of shops and restaurants. Out of necessity with Covid everywhere has outside seating! Since it was Friday junior, it was pretty hoppin once it got dark. We were blessed to meet up with Rob Miotti and his son Robbie for the rest of the day. We stopped in to take a look at Salt Cave(a salt spa) and then in to Joe’s Cafe for a drink and light bite. We walked all over the downtown area and ended up at the best Mexican restaurant right across from the beach for dinner. Thank you Rob and Robbie for driving up to spend the day and evening with us! We really appreciate it and loved seeing you. After that adventure we departed for Newport Beach, California where we stayed at Newport Dunes Resort spend a few days visiting friends! So excited to see everyone ♥️


We left Santa Barbara around noon and headed down 101. The drive was mostly good with so many beautiful beach views. There are so many RV’s just parallel parked along the beach frontage roads, camping and surfing! It was incredible how many we saw! As we neared the LA area the traffic got thicker and much more crazy the closer we got. Thankfully I know the area from living in So Cal for many years in the 80’s. It’s unbelievable how many lanes the freeway’s have! Maybe almost as many as the Texas freeways, but far more congested. We arrived at the RV resort and were really pleased with the amenities and location, right in the heart of Newport Beach. This made it much easier to connect up with friends. We had dinner at SOL Mexican Cocina with our good friends Jeff and Jamie Simon the first night, super yummy Mexican food! We will be spending time with them again in Arizona. The next day we met up with a group of friends at my favorite Long Beach breakfast place, Schooner or Later. Back in my salesman days, this was one of my first accounts and made many early morning calls there selling them supplies. Sadly, the owners Denise and Denny weren’t there for me to surprise them. It was so great to spend time catching up! We spent the rest of the day with our friends Debbie and Tom Neforos hanging out in Long Beach grabbing beers at Murphy’s and later dinner at Simmzy’s . Many many beers were drank over the years at Murphy’s and the place hasn’t changed one bit since I left. Second street in Long Beach is definitely the place to be if you are young and single! Lots of bars, shops and restaurants. Another day we met up for brunch at The Tavern House with Debbie and Tom; and Maria and Jan; where spent time visiting and sadly said our goodbyes to our friends. We so much appreciated spending time with them and love them all dearly. We toured around Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and Long Beach for the rest of the day. We drove to many of my old haunts and a few old places where I used to live and did a lot of reminiscing and showing Debbie lots of memorable places. We were then on to our next destination to Fort Mohave, AZ to spend a few days with Jeff and Jamie! Stay tuned for the update coming in part two!

Follow The Money

It’s all part of his plan. We must resist and take action now or it will soon be too late!!!

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!

A Family Affair

In early October we took our last vacation of 2013. It was a combination of family get togethers on both sides. The first part of it involved Debbie’s side of the family and the wedding of her niece Jennifer. It took place in Texas near Dallas, so we flew into the Dallas-Ft Worth airport. I had driven through the area years ago mainly speeding by on the interstate, but had never spent any time in Dallas. This time was no different as the wedding was held in a town called Whitewright which was north. What did strike us was the size of the airport. It was huge and we got lost just trying to leave, driving in circles for a while before we finally managed to escape the madness. Then as we drove toward the location of the ranch, the sprawl that is the DFW metro area was just crazy. The place is way too big for me and Texans drive insanely! The wedding and reception were held at a beautiful place called the Bethel Ranch. Most of the wedding party, family, and many guests stayed right there as the place was huge. Debbie’s sister, Donna(mother of the bride) and her husband Chris did a lot to make all of who stayed comfortable. Austin’s, the groom, Mom and sisters did a lot of cooking and feeding of the guests. There was quite a bit of organized chaos, but the event went off without a hitch and even the weather held off until the outdoor ceremony was over. Much fun!!!

After the wedding fun, we departed the Dallas area and flew to the glorious city of El Paso. We got our rental and drove up to my hometown of Alamogordo, NM! The closer I got, memories of childhood and growing up came streaming in. It seems like such a long time ago that I roamed these streets and many loved ones who were part of my young life are now long departed. It is bittersweet returning here sometimes. What helped was our somewhat mini reunion of my brothers Scott and his wife Dana and Garth, sister Monica, and seeing my aunt Sharon and Uncle Butch and cousin Lorie. Due to my half assed organizational skills, we had forgotten to let my other cousin, JoAnn know we were coming and she wasn’t able to be around. Next time I will do better! Boy did we have fun! Along with running around town looking at old homes we haunted and schools we went to, we did road trips around the State together! We took a drive up to Santa Fe where Debbie had always wanted to go and I hadn’t been in years. We had a great time going to the plaza and eating tamales and visiting the shops and old churches. On the way back we stopped in a very small town called Duran and parked in front of this building! It was dark by then and very spooky and no matter how we tried, we could not get a decent photo of it at night! We also stopped on the highway near Carrizozo where, when were young,  we saw a woman in a wedding dress come walking out of an arroyo and tried waving us down. We later heard the story of her ghost!!!! We weren’t sure of the exact location though, and didn’t see her again!

Other journeys took us to the ghost town of White Oaks, the old Fort Stanton, Lincoln, and Ruidoso. Deb and I love Ruidoso and here we go again thinking we might like to live here when we retire. It is a very cool town and we saw some very nice homes nestled up in the hills. There is the yearly worry of fires when the season hits and the last one saw some pretty intense fires come very close to the town. We have thought about New Mexico before, but we have thoughts about going to many different places to live once we have removed the shackles of employment. We may just get an RV and just drive and hang out in all these places. We took a drive to Las Cruces and went to the old town of Mesilla. The town has a lot of history and home of one hell of a Mexican restaurant called La Posta where we had an awesome lunch! Our final trip was up the hill with my Aunt to Cloudcroft. It is an old lumber town which is just up from my hometown. It was a cool place to go in the heat of the New Mexico summers. We visited the Lodge at Cloudcroft and looked around at the old hotel. We went into the tower and the Governor’s Suite. The place is supposed to be haunted by many different ghosts and one in particular, a girl called Rebecca! My Aunt had a strange experience coming down the stairs from the tower. One of her earrings was knocked out of her ear! She just took it in stride and put it back in. Then it got knocked out a second time. I was walking behind her at that point watching it and saw it just fly out of her ear. Was it Rebecca???? It was a great time and for once, time did not fly by! It was great seeing all of both families and sharing some great memories!! Check out our the New Mexico pictures here!

Winter Has Arrived

Finally we are looking at a wintry wonderland for the first time this season. It would have been nice if this had happened at Christmas and up until just now, we have had a very uneventful winter this year! La Nina didn’t sock us into multiple snow storms like last year and I am kind of glad because I am driving articulated buses now and they are horrible in ice and snow. This wintry weather is supposed to last the next four days and I am not looking forward to going to work tomorrow!

Our Holidays were nice. We hosted Thanksgiving at our house and our friends Larry & Lynette hosted Christmas. So it was a family affair on both occasions. For New Year’s we headed up to our long time friends the Hillstroms in their brand new home on San Juan Island. They have a beautiful waterfront home overlooking the sound. We have always loved the San Juan’s and Friday Harbor and have thought about maybe retiring there among the other places that we consider. Well we have taken the first step into making that possibility a reality. We were walking about and found a wonderful smaller home we are calling “the cabin” for sale. We contacted a realtor we know there and had him come open it up and show us. We decided it was a deal we couldn’t pass up and made an offer a few days later after we returned home. After some offer counter offer volley, we came to an agreement with the seller and are now moving through the financing process. Until we have the keys in our hot hands, I hold off on providing the details until later but we are very excited!! I am also working on possibly what will start out as a side career that I am hoping flourishes into something I can do full-time! Again, I’ll hold off on the details until I get a better idea on how it is going to work out but I think 2012 is going to be a great year…..(knocking on wood)!

Happy 2011

The Givens Family Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well another years has passed us by. This was the fastest year yet for me. It seems like we had just put the tree and decorations away from last year just a few months ago and here we were dragging it all out again. For that reason, I was not very prepared for this Christmas. Debbie, on the other hand, gets excited no matter what. She loves the Holidays and loves giving. Our great friends Larry and Lynette hosted Thanksgiving and we had Christmas Dinner at our house. The day after Christmas we went down to Tacoma and had brunch at the Hob Nob with the sisters and their families. This has become somewhat of a tradition at the Hob Nob. It makes it a lot easier on everyone to just gather together at a restaurant and have our brunch and gift giving right there. The staff has become used to us taking over the dining room!

We had a wonderful Christmas. It was also Cordell and Patience first Christmas and they both enjoyed the company over. I think Cordell got a little stressed at all the fuss, especially while gifts were being open. He went off on his own and spent some quiet time by himself. We were very proud of both of them! Speaking of gifts, Debbie and I got some nice gifts this year! She got a Nikon D90 digital camera and I got an IPad! She is taking pictures of just about everything. I have left the photo editing to here as I can no longer keep up with the avalanche of photos she is ripping off. I love my IPad and it is really cool using it during my breaks on the bus (what few I have these days). It is an awesome gadget and I can hardly put it down. We are very blessed.

 

The Snowy Estate

Not soon after Christmas, we got our second snow storm of the season! They had predicted a rough winter for our area and so far it has been pretty wild. It made for a beautiful wintry wonderland right at the Holidays but also made my bus driving job not very fun. So now we have had two very big winter storms and we have a lot of winter left. I wonder how many more of them we will see this year. Everybody is doing well in our tribe. Alex is still working at Milgard Windows and is also a volunteer firefighter. His wife Mo is teaching and loving it. Her kids love her too. Ryan, after being laid off for awhile, now has a new job he likes better. He is still doing HVAC work, but is now with a different company and they are treating hime well. He recently moved to downtown Seattle and has his own space finally and loves it. It is quite a nice bachelor pad if I say so myself. Now we are looking forward to a new year and new adventures. We hope your upcoming year will be bright, prosperous, and wonderful!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Summer Update

A lot has been going since the last blog post so I’ll do my best as concise as possible. Patience and Cordell have settled into their new forever homes nicely! They seem very happy and content! As with most pets, we have had a few accidents along the way, especially with Patience the cat. She has taken to occasionally peeing on our bed. Not good!!! We have to now keep her out of our bedroom while we were not at home and when she does sometimes sleep in our room, we bring up the cat box and put it in the bathroom. So far these tactics have prevented further pee episodes, but we are still at odds at the reasons she is doing this. My assumption  is that she is jealous of the relationship Debbie has with Cordell. Cordell is mommy’s boy and he loves her to death. We are making sure we give her as much attention as we give Cordell and so far seems to be working….crossing fingers!

We are enjoying our new camp trailer and so is Cordell. We have made a few outings to places with hook ups just to get a feel for things and learn how everything works. Cordell just loves to go camping with us. He has such a good time on these adventures. He has turned out to be a wonderful dog!! We were on the fence about taking Patience with us on these trips and in the end decided it would just upset her routine too much and exacerbate her peeing problem, so she has to stay home!  Over the 4th of July weekend, we met friends near Mt. St. Helen’s and dry camped for three days. Dry camping is no power, water, or toilets. It tested our water rationing and the brand new generator and everything worked out great! It was also a long drive with winding roads and long grades which tested the Mercedes and the car also passed the test! We also had a great time with great friends. One of the days we were there, we hiked the Ape Caves. That was a cool but long brutal hike, climbing over rock falls and tight spaces sometimes a bit challenging and scary! We’d do it again in a heartbeat! In a few weeks we will be heading down the Oregon coast for a week of camping adventures.

Just before that, we had Debbie’s oldest son Chad and his wife and two girls come out for a visit. It was the first time visiting us out here since they found each other! It was also the first time Chad had met Ryan and Alex. Deb took some time off work to visit with them and show them some of the sites of the area. The highlight of the visit was Chad and I running the Seattle Rock n Roll Half Marathon! It was my first half and six years and though I finished allot slower than the last time I ran one, I did finish it! Chad of course rocked it and kicked my ass! That day was finished off by a big family barbecue at the house. It was a nice visit and hope they enjoyed their stay with us! As I wrap up this entry,  go and check out all the new photos on our Flickr page and watch the video of us being fools in the cave at our You Tube page. Until next time!!!

It Was Bound To Happen

We are back at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah for our annual volunteer week with the animals. As usual, we are having a wonderful time. It is so wonderful and satisfying working with all these wonderful creatures! It is a lot of hard work, but you know it is much appreciated by staff and the animals themselves! This trip we did things differently. Instead of flying to Las Vegas and driving from there, we flew to Salt Lake City, then to St George where we rented the car and drove. It was much better doing it that way! I must admit, getting on a small propeller plane to go to St George was a little scary and then landing on a freaking plateau in St George wasn’t pleasant either!!! But the short drive to Kanab made up for the harrowing experience! Before we started our stint we had a day to go visit Zion National Monument and took a long hike which was very challenging and somewhat scary at times. It was the Angels Landing hike and took us up on some very high and narrow spots! Debbie did pretty good even though she is scared of heights. We decided that trying to reach Scouts Lookout was too much and continued on the West Rim Trail! It was a beautiful hike and we were both wiped at the end! Now on to the sanctuary!

This was our third trip to the sanctuary and as usual we always work with dogs, cats, pigs, and horses. This time we also worked in the Parrot Garden with all the birds. It was loud as expected, but we learned just how intelligent they are. The average cockatoo has the intelligence of a 3 -4 human child. It is also very sad to see them in cages as that is where they should not be! Please never buy a bird from a pet store because you are just exasperating the problem of bird mills, yes they exist. If you must have a bird as a pet, get them from a rescue and realize they can live for decades!! We also learned that one of my favorite piggies, Raisin, who fell in love with me on the last trip, is getting adopted and will be leaving the sanctuary for her forever home! We are happy for her, but at the same time sad we will not see her when we return. Here is another adoption story, ours. We have always come here with the idea that taking home any animal is not in the cards. A year and a half has past since Simon, our last kitty passed over the Rainbow Bridge and we have been pet less ever since. I kept that idea in mind, yet Debbie fell in love with a little cutey named Cordell. He is a Chihuahua mix and is the sweetest little dog we have ever met! Also, while we were working with cats, a little gray princess named Patience fell in love with me. She more or less decided we were going to give her a home, so did Cordell! So as of today we have adopted both of them and they will be joining us in our home in Snoqualmie. Cordell will be flying home with us Sunday and Patience will fly in later the next week. We will soon be pet parents once again. Oh God what have we done!!! We have one more day of volunteering, then doing the logistics of adoption paperwork and transport details. There are pictures up here of the trip and videos are up at our YouTube Page. In the mean time meet the newest members of our family:

Meet Cordell

Meet Cordell

Meet Patience

Meet Patience

Holiday Recap

Before it gets too stale, well it may already be stale, let me post a recap of our Holiday season. I thoroughly enjoyed the holidays because we hosted nothing!!!! It was kind of nice for a change and less work! For Thanksgiving, we were invited up to our friends Larry & Lynette for the turkey feast. It was wonderful as Lynette is a great cook. The only other family member that was there was Ryan. Mo and Alex went to her parents for Thanksgiving. This is what happens when the kids get married off. Time has to be shared with the in-laws!  Then came Christmas and again it seemed to come way too fast! Alex and Mo hosted their first Christmas in their new house in Gig Harbor. Larry, Lynette, Mariam (Lynette’s Mom), Ryan, Mo’s parents and brother and sister joined in the festivities. We had a fantastic dinner and opened gifts! By the end of the evening, Alex knew what it was like to host a family gathering….. allot of work! This year, our gift giving was toned down a bit! We exchanged small gifts between ourselves because we got big gifts earlier on! I had California Closets installed in her closet in our bedroom! That was her big gift! We also had bought a 52″ TV for our downstairs family room and called that a gift to ourselves. Between the two, that was plenty! Since Gig Harbor is quite a drive from our home in Snoqualmie, we had reserved a room in a nearby hotel for the night! It was convenient also because the following day we met up with Deb’s sisters and their better halves for brunch at the Hob Nob Restaurant in Tacoma! This is an old Tacoma establishment and looks to be an annual thing for Deb and her sisters to do at Christmas time! New Year’s Eve was fun especially since I got the day off unexpectedly!!! We went to a bash at the Queen City Yacht Club where Larry & Lynette are members! We also stayed at a hotel in the  University District so we wouldn’t be on the road afterward!! It was a fun time and we hung out with some boating people we had met on one of our voyages! So that was the holiday recap!! Look to the right under our Flickr photos for links to the pictures!!

The new year will be an exciting one and hopefully without the disasters that befell us in 2009! We have some awesome vacations planned for this coming year! We plan on returning to Best Friends Animal Society for our third visit in April!! We are looking forward to seeing our animal and human friends again there! In September we have booked a two week cruise to Alaska and I am busting with anticipation for this one!!! I can hardly wait! We have also possibly planned to rent a boat in July and cruising with Larry & Lynette up to Canada, but that one is still tentative! I am a little anxious about getting on a boat of that size again and cruising around on it, but I will have to get over the hump and just do it!!! Well, that’s it for now will be back soon!

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