Heading Back East, Part 1

Dates: July 30 to 31, 2018

Location: Spokane KOA, Spokane, Washington

Our first stop on the way back east was at the Spokane KOA. The trip through Washington wasn’t too bad. Leaving at the end of rush hour on  Monday wasn’t terrible, traffic-wise. Washington was still a bit smoky from forest fires, but not near as bad as last year.

The only small thing we ran into was that the site the KOA assigned to us was (still) occupied by an RV (we were in well past check-in time). We called the office and told them a couple nearby sites that were empty and they reassigned us to one of those. We left the truck hooked up to the trailer since we had recently filled the tank and didn’t need to run any errands.

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Site at Spokane KOA

Dates: July 31 to Aug. 1, 2018

Location: Deer Lodge KOA, Deer Lodge, Montana

Our second stop along the way was our favorite little KOA in the middle of Deer Lodge, Montana. We’ve apparently been here enough that the owner remembered Malcolm’s name. We unhooked here and Malcolm headed downtown to pick up a couple grocery items and fill the truck with fuel. He also did a little photography while out on his errands.

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Deer Lodge KOA

Dates: Aug. 1 to 4, 2018

Location: Red Lodge KOA, Red Lodge, Montana

We stopped in Red Lodge, Montana for three nights so we could do some sight-seeing for a couple days. We stayed in the same KOA that we attended a rally in last year.

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Red Lodge KOA Site

The rally organizers, Tom and Sherry Egenes, still have their respective businesses in downtown Red Lodge, so we stopped in to visit both of them our first full day there. We also did some shopping while we were there. Lunch was at the local pizza place.

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After a little more shopping, we headed to Red Lodge Ales so Malcolm could sample some of their beers so he would know which ones he wanted to pick up at the store. We also picked up a couple souvenirs while we were there.

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That evening, we drove over to Absarokee and visited with Malcolm’s cousin Sue and her husband Rich. We had a fun visit and met them at the Cowboy Bar restaurant for dinner. We said our goodbyes there and we headed back to the campground.

The next day we took a day trip with the truck (but not the trailer) over the Beartooth Highway. We drove about 38 miles of it to the Top of the World gift shop. We bought a couple souvenirs and turned around to head back to Red Lodge.

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Malcolm took a lot of pictures with the big camera. They are posted in his gallery [HERE].

Once back in town, we had a late lunch at the Red Lodge Ales brewery (downtown was really busy) and did a little more shopping downtown. We also picked up some groceries at the store and headed back to the trailer for the evening. We stayed in and ate dinner at the trailer.

Dates: Aug. 4 to 5, 2018

Location: Buffalo KOA, Buffalo, Wyoming

We left Red Lodge and headed on to Buffalo, Wyoming, staying in the KOA there. The only trip out we made was to fill up the truck with fuel nearby and then walked through the store at the KOA office, picking up some postcards.

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Buffalo KOA Site

Malcolm wandered around and dipped his toes in the creek that runs behind the campground (cold, as expected). He also went to mail out some postcards we had written to different people. On the way to drop them off at the front office, he found these two young rabbits (and later, their mother), frolicking in the grass near the main building.

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As we were hitching up the trailer to leave, Malcolm found this painted rock nestled in the trunk of the tree next to our site. On the back was instructions on logging your find on a Facebook page (Casper Rocks). You can keep the rock, or re-hide it either in the same spot, or, as we did, in a new spot. We thought the rock might enjoy a trip to Wall, South Dakota, so we took it with us.

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Painted Rock find

Dates: Aug. 5 to 6, 2018

Location: Sleepy Hollow Campground & RV Park, Wall, South Dakota

We had an uneventful drive to Wall, South Dakota. There were hundreds of motorcycles on the road (and in Wall) due to the nearby yearly bike rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

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Teepee found at most South Dakota rest stops

We set up in the Sleepy Hollow Campground, which is only a couple blocks from the famous Wall Drug complex. While we could have walked over, we elected to drive over in the truck so that we could subsequently run by the gas station and fuel up while we were out. We bought a couple souvenirs and did some Christmas shopping before heading out to the gas station, then back to the trailer.

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Sleepy Hollow Campground

Malcolm found a place to hide the painted rock in the campground. On the way back to the trailer, he was stopped by one of our neighbors who was interested in both our Florida license plate and the University of Kentucky sticker on the back window of the trailer. As they talked, Malcolm found out that the other gentleman and his wife live in the next RV resort south of ours in Florida (less than a mile away). He also grew up in Kentucky about an hour from where Malcolm lived as a child. Small world!

Dates: Aug. 6, 2018

Location: Lake Mitchell Campground, Mitchell, South Dakota

Malcolm had made our reservations here based on three things we expected to do in the area. The first was to get the truck serviced. Based on our mileage, Malcolm saw that we would be in this area about the time the oil change was due and that there was a Ford dealer almost across the street from the campground. As it turns out, the “Change Oil Soon” indicator came on literally 40 miles before we got here.

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Our site at Lake Mitchell Campground

The second reason we chose this stop was that Val wanted to take a day trip to De Smet, where one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s homesteads is located. And the final reason was to visit the Corn Palace (again) while we are here.

We got set up here about 3:00. Malcolm called the Ford dealer to see what day we could bring the truck in for its service. They indicated that they had an opening an hour later at 4:00, so we took that appointment and Malcolm headed over to sit at the dealer while they did the work (about 45 minutes).

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Old inventory in the showroom

With that out of the way, we plan on heading up to De Smet tomorrow and the Corn Palace the day after tomorrow.

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Lake Mitchell

From here, we’ll be driving pretty much on through to Nashville (with appropriate overnight stops along the way).

 

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Visiting With Family, Part 4

Dates: July 19 to 23, 2018

Location: Washington State Fair Campground, Puyallup, Washington

We visited with family at Fox Island over the weekend. On Sunday, we were on our own since Cole, Elizabeth and the girls had friends over for the day. The weather had heated up pretty good and they decided to skip a ball game that they had tickets for and instead swim in the pool at their house.

On Saturday, we did a little antique shopping before heading out to the island. While we were in Puyallup, there was a local car show going on. We browsed some of the cars while we waited for stores to open.

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As we were heading out towards Fox Island, we called Elizabeth and found out that she and the girls were heading to Gig Harbor for their Arts and Crafts event. We detoured and met them there. We browsed a lot of the vendors and had lunch at a Chinese restaurant nearby. The girls got their faces painted at one of the vendor tents.

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Scarlet the Unicorn

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Violet the Mermaid

Dates: July 23 to 30, 2018

Location: Gig Harbor RV Resort, Gig Harbor, Washington

On Monday, we hitched up the trailer and headed back out to Gig Harbor. With an upcoming car show at the fairgrounds, most everyone that wasn’t involved packed up to leave the same day. Val picked up Elizabeth and the girls at home and they rode with us while we moved the trailer. We took them home later and had dinner with the family.

On Wednesday evening, we all went out to dinner to celebrate Cole’s birthday. The girls picked the restaurant. We all had a good dinner and Cole was treated with a huge plate of ice cream (and lots of spoons to share) for dessert.

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We had the girls spend the night with us on Thursday evening. Elizabeth had an event she was going to with friends, so it was a perfect evening for the girls to hang out with us.

On Friday evening, the girls went over to Fox Island along with Cole. Elizabeth spent the night with us in the trailer. She and Malcolm stayed up, fixed popcorn and watched a movie.

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Movie Night

On Saturday, Malcolm and Elizabeth headed into Puyallup to go to the Good Guys car show at the fairgrounds. They had a great time walking around and taking pictures. Elizabeth dressed up in one of her vintage looks.

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Heading to the Car Show

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Posing with a Car

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Today we headed over to Cole and Elizabeth’s and visited with them for one final day before we head east tomorrow. We stayed around and had dinner, then said our goodbyes and headed back to the trailer, fueling up the truck on the way.

We’ll pack up early in the morning and head out across the state of Washington. Our first stop will be Spokane tomorrow evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun With Family, Part 3

Dates: July 11 to 19, 2018

Location: Washington State Fair Campground, Puyallup, Washington

A few highlights from the last 8 or 9 days. Generally speaking, Malcolm has been working during the day while Val visits with the family. Malcolm comes up later and visits for a bit and eats dinner with everyone. On the weekends, we’ve generally been hanging around with the extended family on Fox Island.

On Thursday, the 12th, Elizabeth and the girls met us in Puyallup for a concert in the park. The band first played Elvis songs, with the lead singer dressed as Elvis. He does an excellent job. The second half of the concert was more 60’s, 70’s and a little 80’s music.  We packed a picnic dinner and enjoyed the show.

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Elizabeth and Violet dancing

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Elvis on stage

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Part of the crowd

The concerts in the park are free and there is always a good crowd. The park has a splash pad that the girls took advantage of while waiting for the music to start. The weather was in the 80’s and sunny, so it was probably pretty refreshing.

The other big trip was a trip to downtown Seattle on Wednesday, the 18th. Sadly, Val had a bad headache and decided to stay in, so Malcolm, Elizabeth and the girls had a fun sightseeing trip.

First stop was the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. There are tons of exhibits and planes all around. You could easily spend a couple days there, but we spent a couple hours before heading out to the car to eat lunch before heading on downtown.

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Entrance

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Military Planes

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The girls brought their “babies”

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More military planes

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Commercial Airliners, including Air Force One

While we were wandering around the commercial airliners, the PR person and photographer spotted Elizabeth in her “Pan Am Flight Attendant” garb. She was carrying an old Pan Am bag and using it as a purse. The PR person asked if he could take some pictures of her for the museum’s website and she agreed. Malcolm kept up with the girls at the kids area.

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Kid Port

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Elizabeth heading out for her flight

While we were there, we noticed quite a few people out cleaning the planes. The PR person told us that it is a group of about 60 volunteer auto detailers that come in and clean the planes on a volunteer basis. We thought that was pretty neat.

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Volunteers Detailing a Plane

After lunch in the parking lot, we headed on into Seattle and stopped at a camera store that specializes in old Polaroid cameras and supplies. Malcolm has a couple old Polaroid cameras and wanted to stop by and check the place out.

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Say “Cheese”

After the camera store, the crew headed downtown to visit Pike Place Market.

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While there, they visited the famed “gum wall”.

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Eww!

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Violet, Scarlet and a lot of gum!

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Puget Sound and the Ferris Wheel

After a trip up the hill to Starbucks for treats, the crew hopped in the car to head home for dinner. Both girls napped most of the way home.

Tonight (Thursday the 19th), the girls are spending the night at the trailer. As this post is being typed, they’re both fast asleep upstairs in the bed. Val is sleeping on a cot and Malcolm on the recliner.

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Story Time

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Popcorn Approval Rating – 100%

This weekend, we’ll hang out at Fox Island again. On Monday, we move from the Fairgrounds campground back to Gig Harbor for one more week of visiting.

 

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.

 

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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