Fun With Family, Part 2

Dates: July 1 to 9, 2018

Location: Gig Harbor RV Resort, Gig Harbor, Washington

Here’s a day by day rundown. Makes it easier to organize.

July 1 – Ball Game

The whole family attended a Tacoma Rainiers baseball game. It was a great day for a game and we all enjoyed ourselves. The weather was perfect.

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July 2 – Horse feeding and Bike ride

We headed over to Elizabeth and Cole’s for the evening. Malcolm took the girls across the street to dispense carrots to the horses.

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Later, we all went out for a bike ride or walk, depending on who you were (and if you had a bike).

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July 3 – Horseback Riding and Scarlet Lunch Out

Malcolm, Elizabeth and Violet went out for the annual Daddy/Daughter horseback ride. However, this year it was the Daddy/Daughter/Daughter horseback ride. Violet was old enough to ride this year, so she went along, too.

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Violet did really well. Malcolm and Elizabeth have been to this place a couple times before and the horses are always very fun to ride and very well behaved.

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After the ride, the participants got to feed carrots to their horses and get pictures taken with them.

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July 4 – Waffle Off, General Mayhem

On July 4, most of Cole’s family (and assorted family friends) converged on Fox Island for the annual July 4 Waffle-Off. Val made our waffle entry (S’Mores) as well as assisting Violet and Scarlet with their entries.

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There was a lot of great competition and interesting entries.

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All in all, it was a fun time and everyone got to taste their favorites afterwards.

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July 5 – Ride the Trolley, Dinner at Stanley and Seaforts

Elizabeth brought the girls over to the trailer and we rode the trolley into Gig Harbor for some lunch and shopping. There is a trolley stop right at the campground entrance. It is $1 per person to ride all day.

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We had enjoyable weather. We strolled around town, visited a few shops, wandered through the farmers market and had lunch.

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We rode the trolley back to the campground and Elizabeth and the girls visited for a bit before leaving us to go to dinner (just the two of us).

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Our daughter Elizabeth and our son David pitched in together for a combined anniversary, mothers day, fathers day and birthday gifts to the two of us and bought us a fancy dinner out at Stanley and Seaforts in Tacoma.

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The restaurant sits on top of a hill overlooking downtown Tacoma. We were able to get a table with a view.

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The food was great and we had a really good time.

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July 6 – RV Toll Tag, Island

Malcolm worked part of the day today. We drove into town and picked up our mail and packages from Cole and Elizabeth’s house since they were all staying out at Fox Island the latter part of the week. One item that Malcolm received was a new RV Toll Tag that he will be testing for work. His company makes these and is finalizing the product that is aimed at the large full-time RVer market.

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After collecting up mail and packages, as well as bicycles for the girls and other items needed by Cole and Elizabeth, we headed on out to Fox Island to visit for a while. Of course, Malcolm was greeted by his buddies.

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July 7 & 8 – Fox Island

We visited over the weekend with the family at Fox Island, returning to our trailer in the evenings.

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Sometime over the weekend, our security camera noticed someone on our property in Florida. It was nice seeing our neighbor checking out the place for us (and waving as he left).

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Dates: July 9 to 11, 2018

Location: Washington State Fair Campground, Puyallup, Washington

July 9 – Moved (back) to Puyallup

On Monday, the 9th, we packed up the trailer and moved back down to the fairgrounds campground for a couple weeks since the dog show over the weekend was finished. The campground was still nearly full, but they had room for us (we did get reservations). Most of the dog show crew left by Tuesday afternoon.

July 10 & 11 – Malcolm Working, Val Visiting

On Tuesday and Today, Malcolm worked at the trailer and Val visited with Elizabeth and the girls. Malcolm borrowed a swimsuit from Cole today and swam with the girls in the swimming pool in the back yard. Today was one of the nicest days we’ve had for a while. The sky stayed blue all day and the temperature got up into the lower 80’s.

 

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Fun With Family, Part 1

Dates: June 18 to 29, 2018

Location: Washington State Fair Campground, Puyallup, Washington

The day after we arrived in Puyallup, Cole’s mother handed off our youngest granddaughter, Scarlet, to us. She had been watching the girls while Cole and Elizabeth are off on a combined business trip and anniversary celebration.

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The first order of business was to walk over to Don’s Drive-In Restaurant for lunch.

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We picked up Violet from school later that afternoon and both girls got to spend time with Nana and Pa, as well as spend the night at the trailer.

The next day, Wednesday, was a normal school day for Violet. Val dropped her off at school and picked her back up that evening.

On Thursday morning, Val took Violet to school for her last school day. Scarlet hung out with us during the morning.

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Violet got out of school at noon, so we picked her up and headed to the airport to pick up Elizabeth. We all headed to the house. We kept Violet with us that evening as Elizabeth and Scarlet had to head to ballet rehearsal. Of course, frozen yogurt was involved.

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On Friday, the whole family showed up for Scarlet’s first ballet recital. It was a pretty big crowd. All of the ballet and dance classes were taught at the local YMCA. Everyone was proud of our newest ballerina.

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On Saturday, we all congregated at Cole’s Grandmother’s house out on Fox Island – a family tradition during the summer. On Sunday, we went to church with the family and hung out at the house that afternoon.

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Malcolm’s buddy – Jet

Monday through Thursday of this past week primarily consisted of Malcolm working at the trailer during the day. He drove Val up to the house to spend the days with Elizabeth and the girls. Malcolm would drive up later after work and have dinner with the family and visit. A couple days we were out in the yard picking Rainier cherries off the tree.

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Val and Elizabeth made several jars of cherry jam. Elizabeth also put quite a few cherries in their food dehydrator to make snacks.

Dates: June 29 to 30, 2018

Location: Gig Harbor RV Resort, Gig Harbor, Washington

On Friday the 29th, we packed up the trailer to head over to Gig Harbor for a week. The fairgrounds are hosting a dog show the weekend after July 4th and the campground was going to be booked up with dog show attendees. Plus, with July 4 in the middle of the week, we thought it would be nice to stay closer to the family place out on Fox Island.

On the way between campgrounds, we stopped at the local Goodyear commercial tire place and had two more new tires put on the trailer to match the two that were installed in Louisiana.

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Once we got to Gig Harbor, we set the trailer up and went out to Fox Island for the afternoon to visit with family. We spent all of Saturday out at the island, as well.

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Smooth Sailing On West

Dates: June 9 to 11, 2018

Location: Lafayette KOA, Scott, Louisiana

We ended up staying through to Monday morning. On Sunday, we met our friends Andy and Joanna Grimes for lunch since we missed coming on over on Sunday to camp with them.

On Monday morning at 7:30 Malcolm called the local Goodyear dealer and found that they had two tires in stock that we needed for our trailer. They told us to come on over and they’d take care of us, so we packed up the trailer, hitched up and headed over.

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Ready for new shoes

They had us in and out the door in a little over an hour, so we continued on our way north and west pretty much on schedule. The plan is to get two more tires put on in Washington to match the new Goodyears on the left side if nothing happens along the way (it didn’t).

Dates: June 11 to 12, 2018

Location: Texas Rose RV Park, Tyler, Texas

We found this little RV park near the interstate in Tyler, Texas. Malcolm called ahead and talked to the owner who happened to be out of town at the time, but gave us instructions to check ourselves in and pay for our spot with the envelope drop. Using our Passport America card, the price was only $20 for the night.

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The campground was a bit older and had lots of longer term residents, but it was kept very neat. For the sites on our circle, the campground even provided a fairly new charcoal grill and a plastic tote with charcoal and lighter fluid in it if you wanted to cook out. Nice little touch.

Dates: June 12 to 13, 2018

Location: Cedar Valley RV Park, Guthrie, Oklahoma

We stayed in this campground in Guthrie (no pictures). Their Passport America rate was $18 for the night. It was a quiet park, but rather old and decently kept. It was fine for an overnight.

Dates: June 13 to 14, 2018

Location: WaKeeney KOA, Wakeeney, Kansas

This KOA is kept very neat. They serve ice cream in the evenings and offer pancake and sausage breakfast (we took advantage of both) for a reasonable cost. They’ve been filling up every night during the week as there isn’t much else close to the interstate through western Kansas.

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Dates: June 14 to 15, 2018

Location: Fort Collins North / Wellington KOA, Wellington, Colorado

This KOA was fairly nice, as well. We had a nice, wide concrete slab to park on. When we were rolling in, there were storm clouds over the front range of the Rockies. They eventually blew in, bringing lots of wind, but no rain.

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Malcolm found a couple friends in the pasture adjacent to the side of the campground where the tent sites are. Several of the campers were enjoying our visitors.

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Dates: June 15 to 16, 2018

Location: Buffalo KOA, Buffalo, Wyoming

Due to re-scheduling our stay here and then scheduling it back, we ended up with the last available site that would fit our rig – a really nice patio site. It was only $6 more than what we would have paid for the site we originally booked.

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It was a little windy as we arrived here and it was blowing in cool weather. The temperature was around 70 degrees when we arrived and fairly quickly dropped into the low 60’s. Overnight, it was around 50 degrees. We ended up turning on the furnace in the morning. We also did a little antique shopping in downtown Buffalo.

Dates: June 16 to 17, 2018

Location: Deer Lodge KOA, Deer Lodge, Montana

When we arrived in Deer Lodge, it was around 50 degrees and drizzly rain. It stayed like that all night. We had the furnace on overnight.

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Snow on top of the nearby mountains

Deer Lodge is one of our regular stops. The owner came out and gave us a hug when we arrived. It’s not much of a park, but she keeps the place very neat and tidy.

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Dates: June 17 to 18, 2018

Location: Spokane KOA, Spokane, Washington

When we arrived in Spokane, the temperature and weather had improved considerably. It was sunny and in the 70’s when we got there.

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After we got there, we contacted our friends Tim and Emily Rohrer. They were in the area and agreed to meet us for dinner. In addition to Tim and Emily, Tim’s parents, Bonnie and Doug, also joined us. They recently just started full-timing and were traveling with Tim and Emily.

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Dates: June 18 to ???, 2018

Location: Washington State Fair Campground, Puyallup, Washington

On Monday, we rolled into Puyallup and set up at the fairgrounds campground.

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Now it’s time to visit family. We’re actually keeping the grandchildren for a couple days as Elizabeth and Cole are out of town. Elizabeth flies back in on Thursday.

The trip here from Florida was 3,435 miles. There are more direct routes than what we took, but we wanted to visit folks along the I-10 corridor, so that added a couple hundred miles or so. The following map shows the approximate route here (note the other trip earlier this year to Tennessee and Kentucky is on the same map).

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Travels and Travails on the Road

Location: Tallahassee RV Park, Tallahassee, Florida

Dates: June 7 to 8, 2018

Our first day on the road ended at the Tallahassee RV Park in, you guessed it, Tallahassee, Florida. This was a really nice park. We’ve never stayed here before but really liked the place. We even spent a while in the swimming pool relaxing and meeting new friends.

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Nice, wooded site

Location: Cajun RV Park, Biloxi, Mississippi

Dates: June 8 to 9, 2018

We left Tallahassee with the intention of staying near Mobile, Alabama, since it would have been 2/3rds of the way to Lafayette, Louisiana where we planned on visiting friends. However, between an early start and gaining an hour from changing from Eastern to Central time zones, we decided to drive on and stop another hour or so later in Biloxi, Mississippi.

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Nice, unwooded site

We’ve stayed at Cajun RV Park before, but this was the first time we’ve been in the area with the other longer-term trailers and not in the front part of the park near the road (and the go-kart track next door).

We did a little bit of “touristing” and browsed the local beach shop (buying some postcards). We also decided to eat at our favorite BBQ place in Biloxi – Slap Ya Momma’s. They had moved to a new place (used to be next door to the campground) just down the road.

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Location: Lafayette KOA, Scott, Louisiana

Dates: June 9, 2018

Today was an eventful day. The first event occurred when we were driving through Baton Rouge, Louisiana on I-10. A local police car was pulling over a speeding vehicle across several lanes of traffic. When the police car got into our lane, he slowed way down to almost a stop directly in front of us. We avoided rear-ending him and locked up our tires trying to slow down quick enough.

Shortly after that fun incident, while descending the hill on the far side of the bridge over the Mississippi River, we heard a really loud bang. Malcolm looked in his side mirror to see a pickup truck that was passing us on that side swerving away from our trailer. Shortly after that, our tire pressure monitor started beeping and showed 0 PSI on the front, left tire on the trailer. We coasted the rest of the way off the bridge and pulled over to the side to assess damage.

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Flat tire

Fortunately, the tire held up well after blowing out a chunk of the sidewall. The tread stayed intact and we suffered no damage to the trailer. Malcolm set about changing the tire when a local roadside assist truck appeared.

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Though Malcolm had all the tools and everything he needed to change the tire, he did ask if the roadside truck driver would leave the truck there with his flashing sign on. He did and also set out cones to direct traffic away from us (we were at the end of an entrance ramp merge area). He also helped Malcolm with changing the tire and airing up the spare a bit.

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The blowout

We drove on west to our scheduled stop in the Lafayette, Louisiana area. Part way between our roadside incident and our stop for the evening, we hit a milestone of traveling 100,000 miles with an RV since we started full-timing.

This evening, we visited with our friends Nick and Sheila, taking them out to dinner for Sheila’s birthday.

Our plan is to wait here until Monday morning. We hope to be able to get some new tires sometime on Monday. We may or may not be able to roll on down the road Monday, but hope to on Tuesday morning at the latest. The KOA here has reserved our spot for us (they are not full, surprisingly) through Tuesday at least. We’ll play it by ear depending on how the tire thing goes.

 

Celebration Super-post

Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

Dates: May 6 to June 7, 2018

Has it been a month already? Sorry about that. Let’s see what we’ve been doing for the past month. Before that, though, we’ll go ahead and say that as of today (June 7), we are traveling west to visit the grandchildren (and other family members) out in Washington state. We’ll drop a few posts here or there along the way so you can follow along.

Hmm, let’s see. Well, our son David came down to visit for a couple weeks. He arrived on Saturday, May 12 and stayed through Sunday, May 27. He brought his cat, Maui, along. The two of them stayed out in our guest house (though we brought Maui in the trailer during the day or when we would all go out).

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Maui

On Sunday, May 13th, we celebrated Mothers’ Day and David’s 30th birthday by heading over to Medieval Times. We had fun watching the show and dinner was good as well. While we had been to Medieval Times before, David had never been, so it was a treat for him.

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Cheering on the Black and White Knight

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The Parade of Knights

David picked up a military ticket for Disney and we went there on three different occasions. We went to Magic Kingdom one day, Epcot another and Hollywood Studios on a third day. The weather through most of May was dreary and rainy a lot of days, but we managed to go to parks on mostly dry days.

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Goofy and David

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Malcolm, Minnie Mouse and David

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Birthday Guy at Epcot

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Trying to keep David from floating away

Malcolm and David also headed over to the Andretti Go Kart racing place. It’s fairly new in town. Before David came down, we bought gift cards at Costco at 1/3 off ($33 for $50 in gift cards), so that helped bring the cost down. They both had fun. There are three different indoor tracks (electric carts). David and Malcolm raced on two of them (the third is for children).

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David also helped Malcolm put new coroplast underneath the trailer. The factory covering was sagging and starting to break down due to the hydraulic fluid that had soaked into it from our former hydraulic leak. We actually picked up the new material last summer coming back from out west. Malcolm wanted to get it installed before we left this year on our western journey.

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The underside exposed

Malcolm tidied up some loose wiring after removing and discarding the old cover material. David jumped in (or, actually, crawled under) to help install the new material. It was definitely a two person job.

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New material laying out to rest

Once all the new material was installed, Malcolm bought some angle steel from Lowe’s and made a few cross braces to keep the new material from sagging too much.

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Finished installation

On May 31, we sadly said our goodbyes to our travel cat, Callie. A couple days earlier, she apparently had a stroke or some other type of neurological event. She was continuously wandering around the trailer and bumping into things like she couldn’t see. She also made no response when you would talk to her or call to her.

Malcolm took Callie to the animal hospital. They looked at her and gave her low hopes for any kind of life. We both felt that we would rather have her go peacefully than to be subjected to traveling with us out west. Malcolm held her as she passed from this world. We had her remains cremated. We will miss her, but traveling was taking its toll on her the last year or so.

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Rest now, sweet Callie

After David left and Callie passed on, we spent the last few days preparing for our trip out west. We purchased items we would need, took care of doctor follow-up visits, packed things for travel, stored items we weren’t taking and generally got everything ready for departure today, June 7th. We will be on the road for 12 travel days, arriving in Washington on Monday the 18th.