A Long Trip to Washington

July 13 to 14, 2019 – Sprague Lake Resort Campground, Sprague, Washington

As mentioned yesterday, our stop in the Idaho panhandle didn’t pan out, nor did a stop in the Spokane, Washington area. We ended up about 35 miles west of Spokane at this little campground at the east end of Sprague Lake.

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Our Lakefront Property

The campground is small and is run by one lady that lives in a house on the grounds. She met us at the front as we pulled in and walked us around to choose our site. When we arrived, there were two other RVs here. She decided we should have the corner spot since the way our RV would angle in, we would have a good view of the lake not only from our back window, but the door side windows as well.

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The only downside to the place (aside from the cost of $50 a night) was the smell of goose poop. There were approximately 100 Canadian Geese roaming around on the adjacent property and have obviously been hanging around the campground at different times. Fortunately, it was a breezy day, so the smell was carried away pretty well – well enough to sit outside and enjoy the afternoon.

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Today’s trip was 468 miles – about 120 miles further than we planned for today. However, tomorrow is our last travel day and we now have 120 miles less to travel on to our destination in Gig Harbor, Washington.

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Christmas and New Year

Dates: December 23, 2018 to January 2, 2019

Location: Our daughter and son-in-law’s home near Tacoma, Washington

We headed into Christmas with Malcolm catching yet another cold after our flight back from Hawaii. That ended up turning into a full-fledged sinus infection on Christmas Eve afternoon. Of course, nothing could be done until the day after Christmas (aside from an emergency room visit), so he soldiered on through Christmas festivities as best he could.

We had a really nice evening service at church on Sunday, the 23rd. The evening service had the children singing and presenting the Christmas message. Elizabeth played the flute and Scarlet and Violet were up on stage. Violet had a speaking role, as well.

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Children’s Choir

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Violet Speaking Her Part

After the choir presentation, the children came down to sit with their families and the remainder of the service was a candlelight service as we sang a couple of familiar hymns.

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Val and Scarlet

On Christmas Eve, we headed over to Cole’s parents’ house for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner. A lot of the family and some friends stopped by. Malcolm relaxed with one of his friends.

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Malcolm and King

On Christmas morning, we all opened gifts. Our son David joined us via FaceTime since he had to stay home and work on getting insurance matters straightened out in getting his house fixed.

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Malcolm got a set of socks, one pair for each day of the week and an extra pair for “laundry day”. Since Christmas was on Tuesday…

Later on Christmas Day, we headed over to Cole’s parents’ home again for Christmas dinner and to do the annual gift exchange.

The day after Christmas, Val drove Malcolm to the doctor’s office to get checked on. He was prescribed antibiotics and nasal spray to relieve the symptoms. He was feeling better after a couple days on medication.

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After Christmas, Malcolm stayed home and the rest of the crew headed out to the mall. The girls had gift cards for lunch and for Build-A-Bear.

We didn’t do a lot of activities, but did end up going to the zoo on the Saturday after Christmas. Bullseye the horse left clues around the house and in the car for the girls to figure out where we were going.

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It was cold and started raining while we were at the zoo, but we had a good time anyway. Many of the animals and exhibits were inside, so we enjoyed those. Malcolm took his camera with him and captured quite a few pictures and put them in his gallery: [Click Here].

We let the girls stay up for a while to watch the ball drop on New Years Eve, but found out it was delayed two hours so it would be 11:00 before they could see it, so it was off to bed when they got really tired.

Our flight home left late in the evening on Wednesday, January 2nd, so we got to spend most of the day with the girls and Elizabeth (Cole had gone back to work). Scarlet had woken up that morning sick, so we took Violet out to lunch while Elizabeth and Scarlet stayed home. It was Violet’s choice and we ended up at McDonalds.

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Scarlet was feeling well enough to eat part of a kids meal, so we picked on up on the way out the door and took it home to her.

On Wednesday evening we said our goodbyes to the girls and Elizabeth a little early to avoid disrupting bedtime too much. Cole took us to the airport and dropped us off. We were more than 3 hours early and the lines for security were really light (plus we have PreCheck, which helped as well). Our plane left a little late, about 11:15 PM and got to Orlando a little late, around 8:00 AM eastern time.

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Sunrise Over North Florida

Dates: January 3 to 7, 2019

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

Our neighbor, Jim Lee, picked us up at the airport and brought us home. We dropped all our suitcases in the guest house (to sort through later) and ended up napping the rest of the morning until past noon. We headed out and grabbed some lunch, then picked up our mail from the post office. Malcolm got a little bit of work in during the afternoon and again on Thursday.

On Friday, Malcolm didn’t have any work assigned to him, so he decided to tackle the dishwasher installation in the trailer. He worked on that Friday afternoon and most of Saturday. We’re pleased with the installation. Malcolm will detail that install in an upcoming blog post.

For now, it’s just back to work for Malcolm and the usual life around here for both of us.

 

 

 

Christmas Trips

Dates: December 7 to 10, 2018

Location: Our daughter and son-in-law’s home near Tacoma, Washington

On Friday, the 7th, we got up super early and packed our luggage into our neighbor Jim Lee’s car. He was nice enough to get up super early to drop us off for our 7:50 AM flight out of Orlando to Seattle. We breezed through check-in and security (that PreCheck paying for itself again) and boarded our plane on time.

When we arrived in Seattle, our son and daughter were both at work and both grandchildren were in school, so we picked up a rental car for the weekend. We spent the weekend visiting, making cookies, etc.

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We also went with the family to church on Sunday. We got up early Monday morning, loaded up our rental car with some of our luggage and headed to the airport for part 2 of our Christmas trip.

Dates: December 10 to 17, 2018

Location: Disney’s Aulani Resort, Ko Olina, Hawai’i

We had visited this resort back in 2016 for our 30th wedding anniversary as cash paying customers. This time we decided to go using our timeshare points from our Disney Vacation Club membership.

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Our flight arrived an hour early (yay, Alaska Airlines) and we surprised our shuttle company. They were waiting for other passengers, but ended up taking us to the resort instead.

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Our room was advertised as Island Gardens view (i.e., the back side of the building). However, it wasn’t much of a stretch to see the ocean and our balcony faced the sunrises each morning. As an added bonus, we could see the stage for the luau that they had a few nights while we were there and could clearly hear the music and narration.

Sadly, the first day we were there, Malcolm came down with a cold. Fortunately, it didn’t hit him as hard as they usually do, so we managed to do a lot of relaxing outside. Val caught the cold a couple days later and managed to suffer through, as well. Housekeeping left two extra boxes of tissues with us at our request.

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Cold Medicine

We spent most of our time at the resort, taking advantage of the various swimming pools, hot tubs and the lazy river.

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Adult Hottub View

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Lazy River

We did take one organized excursion around the island of Oahu. Our bus left the resort at 7:30 AM and arrived back at 5:45 PM. We saw many different sites along the way. Malcolm took his big camera and posted the pictures from that journey here: [Click]

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Our Ride for the Day

We also had a special dinner at the sit-down restaurant at the resort on Friday evening to celebrate Val’s “special day”. Val was adopted and her special day celebrates when she came home to live with her adoptive parents.

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On Monday, the 17th, we checked out of our room around 11:00 AM but our flight wasn’t set to leave until 11:25 PM that night. Aulani lets you stay around all day if you want and they even have a lounge with attached bathrooms (complete with showers and lockers) so that you can go swimming if you want, then change into travel clothes before you leave. That room closed at 6:00 PM, so we changed around 5:00 PM and caught a cab to go to the airport fairly early.

We arrived at the airport at 6:00, figuring we’d get checked in and head to get something to eat. Unfortunately, we had to wait until almost 7:30 PM outside with our luggage. The USDA checkpoint was closed until then and you have to put your checked bags through their machine before you can drop them off with your airline.

We finally got back to our gate around 8:00 PM to find out our flight had been delayed and was now going to leave at 1:00 AM. We napped, watched videos on our phones, etc. until we could board the plane. We both ended up napping the whole way back to Seattle, arriving around 8:00 AM. We rented another car for the rest of the week so nobody would have to come get us at the airport.

Dates: December 18 to 22, 2018

Location: Our daughter and son-in-law’s home near Tacoma, Washington

The final part of our Christmas trip is back here in the Tacoma area visiting family for Christmas and New Years. We ran around with Elizabeth on Wednesday while the children were still in school. We wandered through a few different antique stores and had lunch at Lucky’s, dining in the bus.

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The Dining Bus

Lucky’s is all take out drive-in type food. You order at their stand and, if you want, can sit in their bus and eat. The food was tasty and it was a unique place to eat.

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We also ran across this cool 1947 Dodge in a parking lot in Sumner, Washington. Since Elizabeth was dressed in period clothing, we decided to do a little photoshoot. The owner of the car was in the nearby barber shop and came out to let us see the car, hear it run and for Elizabeth to get pictures in and around the car.

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The granddaughters’ last day of school until after the first of the year was on Thursday, so we’ve had more time to hang around with them since then.

Today, the local fire department came down the street with Santa Claus in tow. He stopped and gave the girls candy canes. It’s a cool tradition and lots of fun.

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We’ll be seeing lots more of our son-in-law’s family over the Christmas holiday and will be here until January 2. More to come…

 

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).

 

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.