Year End Wrap-Up

Sorry it’s been a while since we last posted. We had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year holiday visit with our granddaughters. We attended the traditional Christmas activities with Cole’s family – Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas day activities at his parent’s house, family coming over to Cole and Elizabeth’s house on Christmas Eve to swap presents and have brunch, and so on.

One thing we didn’t get to do was a winter activity. We had planned on heading out somewhere to go snow sledding or tubing for the day between Christmas and New Year’s Day. We waited a bit too late to look for tickets, as everyone else had the same idea. We did get to go to the YMCA and swim, though. They have a fairly new YMCA with really nice pool facilities.

We flew back “home” on New Year’s Day, arriving late in the evening. David came to pick us up and bring us back to the trailer, spending a couple nights with us before we packed up to head down to Florida, where we will be spending the month of January. Malcolm is working from the trailer this week.

We are looking at changing up our blog format and content just a bit this year. You’ll notice a lack of “Current Location” indication at the top of the blog posts. Location information will now solely be posted on our 2016 Travel Page. For the time being, at least, this information will be less “real-time” and will generally be updated after we leave someplace. We might change this at a later time.

The Year in Review

2015 was our third year of full-time RV travel and it was probably the most unpredictable. We lived in three different trailers during the year. Of course, our traffic accident in September was a bit of a game changer. Fallout from that incident will affect us probably most of this year, as well.

Our previous trailer is now in the hands of Lippert Industries at one of their repair facilities. They are going to do a thorough inspection of the damage and let the insurance company know if they can fix it or not. If they do, we’ll be putting the trailer up for sale.

A passenger in the van we ran into has filed a personal injury suit that includes Malcolm as a defendant. State Farm has already retained a lawyer on our behalf and is pretty much handling everything for us. They are confident we have nothing to worry about.

As can be seen in the sidebar on the blog, we traveled a mere 18 miles more in 2015 than we did in 2014. This number would have been quite a bit higher had we not been sidelined by the accident (we only count miles that we pull the trailer). We also visited the same number of states in 2015 that we did in 2014, though not the same 22 states.

We had our share of excitement, of course. Two different bearing failures in the same week on our first trailer was a challenge. Fortunately, nothing terribly bad happened in either case, especially considering that during the second incident the grease in the hub caught fire. The traffic accident is something we hope we never have to go through again, but we are grateful that neither one of us was injured. Being chased out of Lake Chelan State Park campground due to nearby forest fires was also a bit exciting.

We changed things up a bit the first of 2015 by staying south and traveling out to California and back during the winter months. Otherwise, most of the rest of the year was typical travel patterns for us. We still haven’t traveled to the northeast part of the US.

The Upcoming Year

We’re staying south again for winter. This year, instead of traveling west across the southern states, we’re hanging out in Florida for the month of January. Malcolm plans on working most all of February at locations unknown as of yet (probably Alabama and maybe Nashville, weather depending). In March, we celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary by flying out to Hawaii for 10 days.

Most of the rest of our travel year isn’t set at this point. We might do more impromptu traveling instead of having everything planned out in advance. We will be making our annual pilgrimage to Lake Chelan in August as well as visiting the family in Washington the rest of the month.

We’re thinking of doing more sightseeing in the western states on the way out west and after visiting in Washington. We also might finally get some of the New England states knocked out this summer. It should be interesting.

Slight Change of Plans

Current Location: Seattle-Tacoma KOA, Kent, Washington

On Wednesday, we didn’t do a whole lot. We finished up some laundry and visited with Elizabeth, Cole and the girls before heading out for the evening. We ended up down in Sumner eating ice cream treats before heading back to the trailer.

Thursday morning, we headed out early and stopped by Happy Donuts in Puyallup to pick up a box of donuts to take up to Elizabeth’s. Thursday was Violet’s first day of pre-kindergarten, so we went along to see her into her class after having our donuts for breakfast at the house. Malcolm headed back to the trailer to work for a while, then headed back over to the house after lunch.

On Friday morning, we were heading out fairly early again to see Scarlet off to her first day of pre-school. While Malcolm was taking things out to the truck, he noticed something amiss. It turns out that overnight someone had cut the cable that locked our two (fairly new) bicycles to the trailer and had stolen the bikes. Sadly, we hadn’t ever noted the serial numbers on the bikes, so there’s not much that can be done about it.

We went on over to the house and rode with Elizabeth and the girls to see Scarlet off to pre-school. Malcolm was dropped off back at the house to continue working for a while. Elizabeth, Val and Violet headed out to the grocery store. We ended up going out to lunch at Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que.

We also drove down the road to check out a campground that we might use next summer when we visit instead of the KOA. We’ve not been very impressed with the KOA here. At nearly $60 a night and located in a not-so-nice area, plus having our bikes stolen (the first theft of any kind in three years of full-time RV travel), we don’t plan on coming back to this campground.

We ended up leaving a little early on Friday evening and headed back to the trailer after stopping by the grocery store. On the way home, Malcolm mentioned that we could leave on Sunday from here and stop in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho for a few nights (he has to work all day Monday and Tuesday) instead of staying through Wednesday. Though we hate to leave early, we are really starting to feel a bit uncomfortable where we are. Plus, we will have an extra day on the road heading to North Carolina.

Malcolm walked down to the office this morning and told them we would like to leave Sunday instead of Wednesday. They didn’t have any problem refunding us three day’s worth of fees. When Malcolm walked out of the office, there happened to be a local police officer sitting in his cruiser apparently taking care of “paperwork”. Malcolm asked if it was worth reporting our bikes stolen if we didn’t have serial numbers. The officer suggested that without serial numbers, there was pretty much nothing they could do. We decided not to bother reporting the theft and just moving on tomorrow.

We headed out to run a couple errands and had lunch at a Mongolian Grill in Puyallup before heading up the road to Fox Island to visit with family. We stopped at the shopping center at the exit for Fox Island and Malcolm got his hair cut while Val did a little shopping. We visited out at the island until about 8:00 then said our goodbyes before heading back to the trailer to start packing stuff up to leave.

Hello, We’re Back

Current Location: Seattle-Tacoma KOA, Kent, Washington

Malcolm often says “We’re Back” when we revisit a campground, even if it is a year later. In this case, it’s only been eight days. The lady at the KOA desk recognized Malcolm after he mentioned that we’d been here several days ago for one night. We moved up here on Tuesday after taking our time in the morning and meeting Elizabeth and the girls for lunch at Casa Mia in downtown Puyallup for lunch.

Once back at the park around 12:30 PM, we pulled in the slides, unplugged the trailer, hooked it up and headed out. After dumping the tanks at the Auburn park, we were on the way for our 15 mile trip up highway 167. We got the trailer backed in here, hooked it up, let the cat out and headed out to visit with Elizabeth and the girls at the house as well as start our laundry in their washer and dryer.

We took our swim suits with us and met Cole and the girls at the Fife swimming pool. They both had their swim lessons, then we put on our suits and joined them for the free swim afterwards. We headed on home from the pool.

Malcolm worked until 10:00 this morning, then we headed over to Elizabeth’s to grab the last of the laundry. Since Elizabeth wasn’t feeling well, we helped entertain the girls. We headed to the grocery store and picked up some fixins for dinner. Malcolm made his stir fry for the family. The girls were sorta grumpy as they got up early and hadn’t eaten much all day. We decided to take leave a bit early and stopped for ice cream in Auburn before heading back to the trailer for the evening.

Catching Up To Our Week

Current Location: Auburn City Campground, Auburn, Washington

Here’s another weekly roundup for you. One thing we didn’t mention in our last post was that our son-in-law’s grandfather, Keith Call, passed away last Monday (Labor Day). There was a short memorial service for him this afternoon. Keep the family in your thoughts and prayers as they move forward.

Malcolm worked part-time this past week, generally in the mornings from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM. After that, we would enjoy our time with family or take care of little errands or shopping. That was the bulk of our daytime activities on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Thursday, we drove up to Port Angeles, Washington, about a two hour drive out onto the Olympic Peninsula. We visited the visitor center for Olympic National Park and got our National Park Passport book stamped and bought a t-shirt for our quilt. We drove back to Sequim, Washington (about 15 miles east) and shopped around downtown for a while. We were there to meet our friend Lucy Brixey.

The Brixeys are good friends from way back when we lived in Indianapolis in the 1990s. Their daughter, Claire, was our daughter’s maid of honor in her wedding and was like a sister to her growing up. It was great to see Lucy again. We had dinner at the Alder Wood Bistro and visited for a couple hours after our dinner. We said our goodbyes and headed back to the trailer.

On Friday morning, we drove up to Elizabeth’s house and met her and the girls. We all loaded into their SUV and headed down to Puyallup. Friday was the first day of the Washington State Fair. They kick off the morning by offering a $2 breakfast of pancakes, eggs and sausage along with coffee, juice and water. We all had a great breakfast after setting our chairs up along Meridian Street.

Lined up waiting for the parade

Lined up waiting for the parade

The girls' seat (that wagon has paid for itself many times over)

The girls’ seat (that wagon has paid for itself many times over)

Around 10:00, the cattle drive starts down the street to the fair, followed by a parade of local school bands, horse-drawn wagons and other parade activity. At the end of the parade, the street remains closed and fair-goers are invited to follow the parade on into the fairgrounds. Malcolm has more pictures of the parade and a few of the fair on his photography website. Click here to see them.

On opening day, until noon, you could get into the fair free by donating at least one can of food to the local food bank who was collecting the food outside the fairground entrance. After Elizabeth moved the car to an approved parking lot, we all headed to the fair, dropped off our canned goods and went inside for a few hours. We mainly walked around the exhibits, saw the horses and other animals and had some fair food for lunch. We got our hands stamped and headed back to the house.

Later, after dinner, we all headed back to the fair, including Cole (who had a free pass ticket) and spent the rest of the evening at the fair, walking around some more of the exhibitor halls. Elizabeth and Malcolm rode one ride – the giant tower ride called the Extreme Scream. We plan on heading back to the fair this week (maybe Thursday) to ride the rides with all day passes.

Sunset at the fair

Sunset at the fair

Going up!

Going up!

And up...

And up…

On Saturday, we spent the morning doing laundry at a laundromat in Auburn. We also did some shopping and had lunch out. Afterwards, we headed out to Fox Island to visit with the family. Elizabeth cooked spaghetti dinner and we all celebrated our youngest granddaughter, Scarlet’s third birthday with cake and ice cream. We headed on back to the trailer afterwards. Elizabeth, Cole and the girls stayed overnight in their camper at the island and headed home mid-day on Sunday.

The birthday girl and her ladybug cake and wings

The birthday girl and her ladybug cake and wings

Malcolm doing some pencil coloring with his buddy LuLu

Malcolm doing some pencil coloring with his buddy LuLu

We headed out to do some shopping Sunday morning, including a trip to Costco for things we needed and a few things Elizabeth needed. We dropped their stuff off at the same time they got back from the island. Since they had family in town for Monday’s memorial service, we decided to do our own thing. Malcolm stained the wood air intakes we bought to replace the metal one in the trailer (it had sharp fins).

Afterwards, he finished up scanning the last of the pictures that we’ve been working on forever. We have around 17,000 digital images on the computer now that need to be sorted out and organized. The pictures are from both Malcolm’s family and Val’s family, including our own pictures taken before the digital camera age.

Today, as mentioned, we went to the memorial service in Puyallup, then headed over to Cole’s parents’ house for snacks and family time to visit with those who came for the service and to give their condolences. We headed back home to the trailer after dark.

Tomorrow, we make one more move back to the KOA, where we will stay until it is time to head back east. We were supposed to move their today, originally, since the Auburn campground has a seven day limit. When he realized we would have to be moving at the same time as the memorial service, Malcolm called the Auburn City Parks department and got approval from a supervisor to stay an additional day (paid, of course).

A Short Move

Current Location: Seattle-Tacoma KOA, Kent, Washington

This morning we slept in a little bit. We tidied up the trailer a bit, had some breakfast, then finished packing up the trailer inside and out in preparation to move. Since check-in time at the KOA was 1:00 and check-out time from the fairgrounds was the same, we decided to run a couple errands and eat lunch out to take up some more time. We ended up hooking up and pulling out of the fairgrounds campground around 12:30 PM.

We pulled into the KOA right at 1:00 on the nose. When we were checking in, Malcolm asked if they happened to have any of the longer back-in sites available. As it turned out, a reservation had been cancelled, so we scored a longer back-in site. We are just here for an overnight before we move to the Auburn city campground for a week. Then the plan is to be back here for another 9 days or so before we head east.

We got set up on our site, made sure the cat was comfortable, turned on an outside light and headed out for the evening. We visited with Cole’s family out at Fox Island for a few hours before heading back to the trailer for the evening. We get to do it all again tomorrow as we moved on down to Auburn.