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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

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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!

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