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The Family Tour 2022

Still recovering from my fall from my truck bed, read the last post, another vacation loomed up. This one could not be cancelled as the last one was. We had airline tickets purchased, family waiting for us, and their vacation time had been taken. There would be none of the sort. Just before we were to leave……..I caught a cold!! I just had to tough it out and hoped I wouldn’t be contagious when we got there. By the time we got there, I just had a nagging cough and all was fine!

Phase One – The first part of the trip was to visit my remaining family in my home town of Alamogordo, NM! I was born and raised there until the early seventies when we left and never returned to live there again. I still miss it as it is my roots, but not sure I’d ever live there again or if I wanted to, convince my lovely wife to take up stakes there! My Aunt Sharon and Uncle Butch still live there in the same location since I was a child. My cousin Lorie lives just across the way from them. Some apples never fall far from the tree! It was nice visiting with them, telling stories of the past, and driving around looking at the old homes and schools we all attended. Much of the town hasn’t changed too much after all these years, but it has grown a bit! As I relived my childhood reminiscing, I admit to being a bit homesick, but the reality of living there again does not fall into the realm of reality. We just have to revisit more often for as long as the reasons remain there!

Phase Two – The next leg of the trip took us to the Dallas suburb of Lantana, Texas to visit Debbie’s sister and husband, Donna and Chris. While Debbie had visited them before, I had never been there. They showed us a great time, taking us around visiting very cool places. We headed down to Grapevine for a day and walked around. The weather was warm and beautiful. We went to Grapevine Main and had some drinks and then dinner at the 1845 Bar! Every place we went to had the aroma of burning wood for their BBQ meats! It was a carnivore’s heaven. We also spent a day in Fort Worth cruising around the Stockyard District shopping, drinking, eating, and riding bulls(real and fake) on the street and in Billy Bob’s 81 Club!! See the pictures in our album here! Another day we went down to Dallas to Deep Elum. That was quite an experience walking around down there. It is a very historic area of Dallas and has a very colorful vibe to it. It seems to get a little sketchy after dark, but it was a fun time visiting all the cool places they took us to and we had a fun time. It ended with a collision of families. Our next visit was to be in Oklahoma visiting my brother and his wife. He texted me that their oldest son and his newish wife (Matthew and Katie) lived down there and if we had a chance, we should hook up. I did and low and behold, they lived down the road and on the other side of the freeway from Donna and Chris just minutes away. We all met up at Marty B’s for dinner and drinks and closed that place and headed to another bar and closed that place too!! It was a great time!!

Phase Three – Our next stop was in Oklahoma City to raid my brother Scott and wife Dana’s place. Oklahoma area was another place neither of us had spent any time in. They have a beautiful home and both worked while trying to also entertain us. We really appreciated the time they spent showing us around and having a good time. Dana took us to a couple of museums while Scott attended work functions. One was the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. It was a very interesting place and I wish we had more time there. We were kind of rushed and missed quite a bit. I could spend hours in museums. She also took us to the First Americans Museum, which was an Indian museum and was a very interesting and somewhat sad place to learn of how there land was taken(stolen) from them! We all went to the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum. If any of you On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh parked a Ryder rental truck filled with explosives in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The resulting explosion killed 168 people and destroyed the entire north face of the building. We spent hours there and it was a very sobering experience. If you are ever in the OKC area, don’t miss it! They also took us down to the Bricktown River Walk and we had dinner down there at Charleston’s. We made a trip to Tulsa to have dinner with their other son and wife Josh and Bailey. It was our first time meeting her as it was meeting Katie! Both of these girls are fun, gorgeous, and a wonderful addition to the family! It was finally time to leave for the final leg of the journey!

Final Phase – The end of our journey had us spending some solo time at the Inn Of The Mountain Gods in Ruidoso, NM. This was my favorite place to visit when I was young. It is nestled up in the mountains, off the desert floor and heat of the summer. As a matter of fact, we hit some snow on the way there. It had all melted by the next day. We only had a full day there and walked the town window shopping, bought some southwest art to hang at home, spent some time in the Hatch Chili Store, and enjoyed the mountain air. We had dinner and drinks in the resort restaurant, Wendell’s and it was very good. Our flight back was in El Paso and we made one more stop at the family to spend a couple of hours before we flew back. It was nice to get back in touch with family away from here and was also nice to get back home. A few days later we had a visit with this little “bean” sporting our New Mexico shirts we brought back. Again, to see all the pictures CLICK HERE! It was a wonderful trip!!!

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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!!!???

Oregon Vacation 2012

It is obvious we seem to love the great state of Oregon because we keep returning there year after year. Once again we took a road trip back there. We first headed to the coast winding up in Newport. We have driven through the quaint coastal town many times in the past, but never stayed and explored it much. This time we did and discovered it to be very beautiful. We stayed at the Hallmark Resort right on the beach. Cordell loved running on the beach. He goes crazy out there on the sand and watches the waves and seagulls and explores the driftwood and bits washed ashore! If you just drive down the coast highway like we have done many times past, you don’t discover the very cool part of the town, the old historic dock part of the town. We did and it was very cool with many shops, galleries, restaurants, and sights. We had one of the best dinners ever at a place called Local Ocean! It was fresh and wonderful and if we lived here, it would be our favorite dining stop. We also took a drive up the coast a bit and ended up at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Debbie loves going there and any time we are within driving distance, we go eat cheese!!!!!

Leaving the coast for our second leg of the trip, we drove to central Oregon over the Santiam Pass to our next destination of Suttle Lake near Sisters, OR. There we met up with some very good friends Rich and Pam and bunked together at the Lodge At Suttle Lake. It is a very beautiful property nestled in the woods on the shores of Suttle Lake. We had a very nice cabin but no internet and you know I needs my internets!!! We had dinner with another couple of friends Rob and Ursie at the Tumelo Feed Company where you can get great steaks and a nice big plate of rocky mountain oysters (no….Deb nor I tried them). It was very nice being together with all these great people at the same table. We have shared many good times together! The next day was snowmobiling time!!! Rich and Pam have their own, so Debbie and I had to rent ours. The weather was iffy at best with the wind blowing hard. In Bend things looked hopefully, but by the time we hitched the trailer with our sleds and followed Rich up to the sno park near Mt Bachelor, the wind was howling and snowing sideways. Well did that stop us, hell no and off on the trails we went. It was fun but slow going as visibility was an issue for all of us at times, sometimes not being able to see the trail in front of you. We made it to the Elk Lake Resort where we dried and warmed up a bit with a hot coffee drink before heading back. We were going to do a loop, but due to time constraints and needing to get the sleds back in time, we had to go back the way we came. The trip back was much better as the wind and snow stopped and the sun came out! It was fun regardless of the weather!

Well we parted ways and started on the third and final leg of our trip driving down the road to Sunriver where we had a fabulous room at the Sunriver Resort! The place is gorgeous!

The Lodge

We absolutely love this area and have thought about retiring here many times! Having a state income tax on top of the federal taxes have changed our mind about retiring in Oregon though. We just don’t feel like giving an additional 10% of our pensions to the state. We have settled on somewhere else, but more on that in a later post! We took Cordell on a nice long walk around the grounds and into the Village, had a great dinner in the restaurant, and enjoyed the accommodations. The next day we went skiing at Mt Bachelor. The weather was perfect, but my skiing wasn’t. I think I rented the wrong skis and spent a lot of time on my back. It was pathetic and poor Debbie’s day was ruined waiting for me! I think some lessons are in order since I have never had any. I just pointed myself downhill one day at Ski Apache in New Mexico on fine day long ago and headed down and figured it out. I am sure I learned some bad habits along the way that need to be corrected. The next day ended our time and we had to head back home. Actually it was in the nick of time, as bad weather and snow had come and made driving a bit tricky at times but we made it back safely. The time had gone by very fast on this trip and the next scheduled vacation won’t happen until July. We will be busy though as you shall soon see, meanwhile have a look at the few photos we took and we’ll see ya soon!

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!

Mt. Bachelor

We have done some very good vacation planning this year, just like the last year! With my job, I have to pick my vacations in January for the complete year. Sometimes it is hard to know what plans to make in advance and what weeks to pick. But last year we did great and this year is all laid out. We have never done a week ski vacation before. Usually it is just a long weekend or possibly an anniversary trip that we do some skiing! This year we decided to plan one! Debbie looked and looked for a place to go. Colorado was a thought, but we found it to be on the spendy side. Tahoe was another target, but again proved to be to pricey. Another factor was Cordell. We planned on taking him with us and just couldn’t justify the expense. On of our friends suggested we check out Mt. Bachelor just outside of Bend, Or. We could drive down and plus we had friends there we could visit! Debbie found a great place to stay so off we went with Cordell in the back seat. Now people always ask, what about Patience (the cat). Have you ever travelled with a cat? They don’t do well and she is happy at home just fine. We have very good friends that take good care of her.

The drive to Bend isn’t a bad one and we had great tunes to listen to whilst on the way from SnoJoRadio my music podcast! Debbie had found us a condo to stay at the Seventh Mountain Resort for the week and our unit was dog friendly! It was a very nice place and just twenty minutes at the most to the slopes at the mountain. It also had a kitchen so we could cook there when we wanted. A very cozy place. Cordell loved walking the grounds and exploring. Both of us had been to Bend a few years back, but had never been to Mt Bachelor to ski and only vaguely remembered anything about the town itself! It is a really cool, hip town and the downtown section is very vibrant and alive. There are many restaurants for a town that size, so when we did decide to venture out for dinner, we had plenty of choices. We ate at the Pine Tavern Restaurant, McMenamins, and also the Brickhouse Restaurant. Each of the were fantastic! When we weren’t on the slopes, we drove around and explored. We took a drive down to Sunriver, and also headed out to Sisters, Or. It was a bit quiet at both places, but we did find a lively and enjoyable place to have dinner in Sisters at a place called Bronco Billys Ranch Grill and Saloon. Dinner was filling, tasty, and cheap. Check out my salad that I had to take part of back to the condo:

My Huge Cobb Salad

Now the real reason we went down to Bend was to ski and ski we did! The only snafu was my feet, especially the left one. I have very flat feet and also pronate somewhat. I have to wear special orthotics in my street and running shoes and the rental boots on the mountain just killed my left foot. After the first day, I was in severe pain. I was hoping not to spoil the rest of the week for Debbie because she was looking forward to doing a lot of sking. We spent a whole day looking at ski boots and thought we had found a pair for me, but hesitated. Then I decided to rent some demo boots skis at the mountain. I explained my situation to the boot fitter there and he came up with a pair of Tecnica Mega 12’s and I was in heaven. It was the first time in my life I could ski for hours and have no foot pain. I scored on a new pair, and as well fitted as they were, they still needed to be punched out for my left foot. Then Debbie wanted to also demo boots and skis and by the time we left, we each had a pair of brand new boots! I guess we will be skiing more often now! We’ll demo skis for a while until we decide to buy, but we need to save money for the next big vacation adventure coming in May! I also put up some pictures of our trip in a new album on our Flickr Photo Page, so go have a look!

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