The Next Week in Review

Location: Washington State Fair Campground, Puyallup, Washington

Dates: Aug. 20 to 25, 2017

On Monday, Elizabeth and the girls came over to experience the solar eclipse with us. Though we weren’t in the path of totality, we did get 94% coverage. That meant that it got fairly dark, like just at sunset type of dark.

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Waiting for the Eclipse

We did do some interesting experiments when not viewing the eclipse through the two pairs of eclipse viewing glasses we had. One was to see how the eclipse affected the bright areas in the shadow of a nearby tree, making a bunch of semi-circles.

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We also showed the girls how you could view the eclipse on a solid surface by putting a small hole in a piece of cardboard and focusing the resulting image on a piece of paper.

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Once it was done, life went back to normal with Malcolm working for a while and Val visiting with Elizabeth and the girls. We had dinner at their house later in the day.

Tuesday was generally a stay inside day. Malcolm worked and Val worked on some sewing projects. We went over to Elizabeth’s house for dinner and came back home afterwards. Right after we left, Cole called Malcolm to let him know that the wheels for the trailer had arrived.

When Malcolm contacted the wheel company about the cracked wheel, he got them to send him a replacement wheel for the cracked rim, and two more to complete the set of four on the trailer (we already had one replaced last fall).

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On Wednesday, Malcolm spent most of the day working on getting wheels replaced on the trailer. We drove up to Elizabeth’s in the morning to pick up the wheels and drop Val off to work on some sewing with Elizabeth. Malcolm took the new wheels and the three tires and wheels from the trailer to the tire store to drop them all off.

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Malcolm picked up the wheels and tires a couple hours later, then went up to pick Val up from Elizabeth’s house since Elizabeth and the girls were going to visit some friends. Malcolm got everything mounted back on the trailer and the spare put back into place.

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Later in the afternoon, we ran the old wheels over to a recycling place and got $36 for them, offsetting some of the cost of mounting and balancing the tires on the new rims. Afterwards, we headed on back to the trailer.

Cole and Elizabeth dropped the girls off around dinner time and headed to have dinner with family. The girls spent the night with us in the trailer. Nana and the girls had a slumber party in the living room and Pa got the bed to himself (a change from the usual overnight arrangements when the girls stay over).

Elizabeth came by on Thursday with her babysitting children and we all had cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Afterwards, Elizabeth left with all the children to run a couple errands, taking Val along with her. She dropped Val off later on. Malcolm stayed in the trailer and worked. We went up to their house for dinner.

After dinner, Elizabeth and Cole took Violet out to buy back-to-school supplies (she’s in first grade this year). We talked Scarlet into going to the grocery store with us by bribing her with a stop for ice cream.

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We dropped her off at home and headed back to the trailer after Elizabeth, Cole and Violet returned.

On Friday, it was moving day. Time to leave the fairgrounds as the fair starts in a week and they need the campground for vendors and others involved with the fair. We were only moving 24 miles up the road to Gig Harbor, so we delayed leaving until nearly noon.

Val took some time to pick up Violet and take her to the store to buy a birthday present for Scarlet since they were having Scarlet’s birthday party (a couple weeks early) at Elizabeth’s house. Val got back around 11 am and Malcolm called ahead to the next campground to verify that our site would be available. It was, so we finished hitching up and headed on up the road to our next stop in nearby Gig Harbor.

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The Week in Review

Location: Washington State Fair Campground, Puyallup, Washington

Dates: Aug. 13 to 20, 2017

After arriving at the Fairgrounds on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 13), we scoured the entire trailer looking for our receipt that says we paid. We were supposed to put it in the window of the trailer somewhere so that they would know we were legit. Malcolm walked over to the fairground office on Monday morning and got a duplicate copy made and we tacked it up in the window.

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Our site at the fairgrounds

Malcolm also contacted the wheel supplier for our trailer and started a warranty claim on our cracked wheel. He also asked if they would send two more wheels  so we would have a complete set of four wheels of the newer version. They said they would as a goodwill gesture. Now, we just wait on the wheels to arrive.

On Monday afternoon, we met Elizabeth and the girls for lunch at Trackside Pizza – one of their favorites. We were treated to several trains running by the restaurant while we ate. We headed back to the trailer so Malcolm could work the rest of the afternoon. We headed on over to Cole and Elizabeth’s house after work and had dinner with them.

Tuesday was kind of a quiet day for us. Elizabeth was babysitting some children so we hung around the trailer while Malcolm worked and Val worked on some sewing projects. We headed over to Cole and Elizabeth’s after work for dinner again.

On Wednesday, Violet had a dentist appointment, so Elizabeth dropped Scarlet off with us for the morning. She got some alone time with Nana’s iPad so that Pa could work.

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On Thursday, Elizabeth was babysitting again, but brought her charges along with her to the trailer. They wanted to see Callie. They also brought along crafts and made “slime” while they were here.

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Elizabeth realized she left the house with her own girls’ lunches, but forgot the lunches for the children she was watching. We made an executive decision to walk over to Don’s Drive-In restaurant which is on the other side of the fairgrounds from our trailer.

On Friday, Elizabeth asked if we could watch both girls since she and a friend were going to do a photo shoot. We watched the girls most of the morning, then headed to McDonalds for lunch (the girls’ choice). Afterwards, we met Elizabeth at the Meeker Mansion in Puyallup. It was a very interesting mansion that has been under restoration for some time now.

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Outside the Meeker Mansion

Ezra Meeker was known as an ambassador of the Pacific Northwest to the world and was one of the primary promoters of the Oregon Trail. He and his wife joined a wagon train in 1852 at the height of the western migration along the trail.

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The music parlor

Ezra was an adventurer, farmer, businessman, philanthropist, writer, civic leader, and hops king to the world at various times. He earned and lost several fortunes after settling in the area.

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Restored ceiling

Ezra Meeker platted the town of Puyallup, naming it after a local Indian tribe. Ezra continued to be a proponent and champion of the Oregon trail well into his elder years, making several trips back and forth on the trail well into his 80’s. He lived to be 94 years old.

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The front of the mansion (currently being repainted)

On Saturday morning, Malcolm headed out to Fox Island where Cole’s grandmother has a place on the Puget Sound. It is traditional that the family congregates there most every weekend during the summertime. Malcolm was helping Cole and some of the other men replace the shingles on the front of the house.

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Work underway at “The Island”

Elizabeth and the girls picked up Val and they did some shopping and looking around at various places in Puyallup. They found a Cajun restaurant in Puyallup and enjoyed lunch there before heading out to the island to join the rest of the family.

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Time for some Cajun food

The men worked well into the evening and Malcolm was sore and tired when we went to travel back to the trailer around 9:00 PM (most everyone else stays there in their travel trailers).

We both headed back to the island today (Sunday the 20th) after stopping by to grab some donuts for breakfast. Malcolm assisted the men again as they finished the siding and did some painting. He also took a walk along the beach with the granddaughters.

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The Puget Sound (Mt. Rainier off in the distance to the right)

Val’s sister, Anne (who currently lives in Tacoma) and our nephew Jonathan came out to visit, as well. We all had dinner together and, after helping clean up a bit, we headed out around 7:00 to head back to the trailer.

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Mt. Rainier very visible as we head into Puyallup

We’ll be here at the fairground through this coming Friday, the 25th after which we’ll be moving to Gig Harbor which is closer to Fox Island. The fairgrounds has to chase all us regular customers out on the 25th to make room for incoming fair vendors since the fair starts the Friday before Labor Day weekend.

A Few Days at the Lake

Location: Lake Chelan State Park, Chelan, Washington

Dates: Aug. 9 to 13, 2017

We arrived on Wednesday afternoon right at check-in time (2:30 PM), breezed through the check-in process and arrived at our site. Right after backing in, Elizabeth and the girls came up to give everyone hugs and watch as we got the trailer set up.

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After getting settled in, Malcolm headed down to the lake with Cole and the girls to do some floating and swimming in the lake. We grilled hot dogs for dinner and ate at the picnic table outside of the trailer.

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Scarlet and Violet (petting the cat)

On Thursday, we took Elizabeth downtown to do a little shopping. Malcolm went to the variety store to get an outdoor hat safe to wear in the lake as well as a float to use on the lake (we have one we purchased here a couple years ago but we think it got left in a tote down in Florida). Meanwhile, Val and Elizabeth did some shopping at the yarn and fabric stores. We ended the downtown trip by stopping in to the antique shop. Malcolm tried his new float out on the lake with the girls and Cole later in the afternoon.

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Violet (middle) and Scarlet (right) at the lake with a new friend

We pulled out the Jiffy Pop popcorn and popped up a treat on Thursday evening. The second batch came out a lot better than the first (which burnt a bit).

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Friday was more swimming and floating in the lake. We also ran back into town to grab a couple items from the antique store that we hadn’t picked up the day before. We all drove into town on Friday afternoon. Elizabeth, Cole and the girls stopped by on the way in to visit some friends staying at the hotel downtown. We met them at the Apple Cup Restaurant for dinner. After dinner, we stopped in downtown Chelan and had an ice cream treat. Violet had the licorice ice cream.

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Nothing like some black ice cream

On Saturday, we did more floating and swimming on the lake. In the morning, Elizabeth and Cole ran into town and had lunch while they were there. The rest of us had lunch at the trailer. On Saturday evening, we walked across the street from the park to Watson’s Alpenhorn Restaurant. We had dinner there and played a round of mini golf on their course.

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Cole and Elizabeth golfing

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Val and Violet golfing

On Sunday, we all packed up our stuff. We watched the girls while Cole and Elizabeth packed up all their camping gear (they were tent camping). Once everyone was packed and ready, we took Scarlet with us in the truck and we all headed west.

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Scarlet riding in the truck

We stopped at Cle Elum for lunch (about halfway home) and switched passengers in the truck, taking Violet on to Puyallup with us to our next stop at the Washington State Fairgrounds.

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Violet riding in the truck

Fortunately, our tires and wheels held out the rest of the trip to Puyallup. We’ll work on getting a replacement wheel on the way since we’ll be stationary for a couple weeks.

Last Stop Before Grandchildren

Location: Spokane KOA, Spokane, Washington

Dates: Aug. 8 to 9, 2017

Spokane is our last stop on the way in to visit with family at Lake Chelan in Washington. Our site was a standard pull-through which had plenty of space for truck and trailer. Nothing special otherwise, but it did the job.

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We made our final grocery run before hitting the lake as well as picking up a couple items at the local Camping World. Otherwise, we sat around and waited until we could leave to go visit the family.

Our spare tire did fine on the drive from Missoula. We’re praying nothing else happens to it or any other tire on the rig while the fifth tire and wheel sit in the back of the pickup awaiting submission of a claim to get the wheel replaced.

On Wednesday morning, we took our time getting ready to go since we were working with about a 4 hour drive and a strict 2:30 PM check-in time at our next destination. We hit the road around 10:00 AM.

 

Montana Stop 3 of 3

Location: Missoula KOA, Missoula, Montana

Dates: Aug. 6 to 8, 2017

After changing our tire and riding on our spare, we made it to Missoula just fine. It was only an 85 mile drive. We got set up early in the afternoon at the KOA in Missoula. Our site was very close to the pool (which we never got around to going to) and the office. We even had a separate parking space for the truck.

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While the air conditioners cooled off the rig, we ran across the street to Costco to pick up some items there. We relaxed the rest of the evening. Malcolm caught up with some work. We sat outside for a while, though it was somewhat smoky from nearby forest fires, it was pleasant otherwise.

On Monday morning, we decided to try out the breakfast served by the KOA. It was pretty tasty. Malcolm sampled the whole buffet and Val ordered a couple items ala carte.

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After breakfast, Malcolm loaded up the spare tire and the flat tire and put them both in the back of the truck. He headed out to a nearby Les Schwab tire store and had them fix the punctured tire and swap it and the nearly new spare tire between the rims. The thought was to use the half-worn and patched tire as the spare from now on and put the nearly new tire into service on the aluminum rim.

While they fixed the tire, Malcolm ran a couple errands including a hair cut. When he hadn’t heard back from the tire store, he stopped by the trailer and picked up Val so we could do some other shopping. The tire store called and we picked up the tires while we were out running the other errands.

Back at the trailer, Malcolm put the regular rim with the formerly spare tire on the trailer and put the spare back in the spare tire carrier. The rest of the evening, Malcolm caught up with some more work and we relaxed inside.

Tuesday morning, we got up and had breakfast at the KOA again. We weren’t in a big hurry since we didn’t have a long drive to Spokane, so we took our time getting ready to hitch up the trailer. When Malcolm checked the tire pressure monitor in the truck, it was beeping about low pressure. He saw that another tire was supposedly at 0 PSI. He checked that tire and it was at normal pressure, so it was the tire monitor that was acting up. We went ahead and hitched up the trailer.

After all our usual checks, Val hopped in the truck and noticed that another trailer tire was showing low pressure – the tire we just had put on. Malcolm checked, and sure enough, it was down to 31 PSI. We ended up having to unhook the trailer and remove the tire to take it back to the tire store. In the process, one of the lug nuts got bent up (they have decorative covers on them) and Malcolm couldn’t remove it with the shallow socket he had on the lug wrench. Off to Lowes to buy a deep well socket (we ended up with an entire set).

With the tire off the trailer, Malcolm drove to the tire store while Val let the office know we needed to stay a little longer (it was already almost checkout time by this time). The tire store prioritized us after Malcolm let them know that we needed to leave soon. They found that we had a cracked rim, so there wasn’t anything we could do immediately. The rims have lifetime warranties (we had to replace another one for the same reason last fall), so we’ll submit a claim to get a replacement, but will have to wait until we get out to the Tacoma area next week.

Back at the trailer, Malcolm mounted the spare tire (the one with the plug from the screw we picked up a couple days earlier) and we said a little prayer before we hit the road.

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One More Time

We made it to Spokane just fine later in the afternoon. We’ll update you more on that stop in the next blog entry.