We left Sacramento to get out of the summer heat just before a record breaking hot spell. Plans were to spend time in the lake country of northern Idaho. It turns out that the heat wave was wide spread. We soon decided to head for the ocean hoping for a break. Plans were to meander around the northwest until cooler weather came to Sacramento.
Adventures of Krystonia
August 10, 2006
Here we go again… In the last newsletter from our Mexico/Oregon Coast trip we briefly talked about our next trip. Well it turns out that our crystal ball was not reliable. The lesson here is not to trust crystal balls! After we arrived home we were quickly reminded how much work was involved in home ownership, especially when you are gone half time and the weeds keep growing. We decided that it is time to downsize and find a place to live with fewer responsibilities. This led to the overwhelming discovery that when you live in the same place for 30 years, getting it ready to sell is a hell of a lot of work. To make a long story short, the house went on the market on July 7th.
A long trip through the Midwest no longer seemed reasonable. We did decide that we would stay out of the house while it is being shown. Once you get it ready to show it is not easy to live in it and keep it ready for folks to look at, at a moments notice. Our Realtor, Kristin lives in the neighborhood and said she would keep an eye on it and even dead-head the flowers in the front yard. Thanks Kristin.
We headed north looking for cooler weather in Idaho. Fortunately we missed the record 12 days of over 100 degrees in Sacramento, but were not able to find relief because the whole country was experiencing a heat wave. We decided to head for the ocean coast of Oregon or Washington. We are currently in Ilwaco, Washington, just across the Columbia River from Oregon. Highs are in the low 60’s. I think the heat wave is over!
In Idaho we stayed at Arrowhead RV Resort, on the Payette River in Cascade, Idaho. This Park is known as a “summer camp for adults.” They have an activity center that includes woodcarving and jewelry making. In the Jewelry center they provide materials and instruction in making very nice pieces that take form several hours to several days. We are talking about stuff that sells in the store for $50 and up. In the woodworking area they have all the material, tools and equipment for small carving projects to full size totem poles. Ruth spent several days making earrings and bracelets for family members as gifts. Arlo, always interested in wood carving chose a kokopelli as his first attempt. They have three professional carvers ready to assist, encourage and support you through your project. After feeling success with the first project Arlo decided he wanted to learn to carve faces, so we stayed an extra three days. Needless to say this turned out to be an expensive but satisfying stop. Now Arlo has all the knives and equipment to continue on his own. Something to do while Ruth is quilting.
Adventures of Krystonia
August 29, 2006
In the late 1960s we lived in Lacy, Washington for three years. It is just east of Olympia. Arlo worked for the Olympia School District as an Elementary School Counselor. These three years were times of conflict and turmoil both personally and nationally. We were in an unpopular war (Will we ever learn?); Bobby Kennedy was assassinated; and there were riots in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention.
During this same time among other things, Arlo lost his Grandfather and Ruth lost her Mother. Olympia Schools had a grant to fund an experimental Elementary School Counselor program, whose goal was to bring about positive change in the system. We Counselors thought of ourselves as “Change Agents”. Unfortunately many of the folks in the school district and a vocal group of the public did not see a need for a change! There were editorials or letters to the editor almost weekly, criticizing or attacking the program.
But it was not all negative. Our memories are also filled with good thoughts of this time. We were in a beautiful new home, in the woods and just a block from Long Lake. We had wonderful neighbors. I (Arlo) will never forget the feeling the morning I looked out the window after the first heavy snow. Everything looked so peaceful and quiet. Turns out that it became a record winter for snow and the feeling soon left while shoveling it out of the driveway and off the roof.
We also found the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship. This was a group of UUs that gathered without having a minister. It was a very special group of liberal minded people. They provided support and comfort to each other in this conservative city and during these troubled times. It became the center of out social life and a place to discard all the negative influences.
The deteriorating job satisfaction and the support from our UU community is what prompted Arlo to return to graduate school to pursue fulfilling his dream of becoming a Psychologist.
So why am I telling you all this? Last week we had a chance to spend a couple of days in Olympia, visiting old memories. It turns out that memory; good or bad, is like a time machine. When we left Olympia time froze in our heads. Somehow I expected, or wished everything to be the same. No such luck. It felt as if we had entered a time warp and were viewing the future. In fact it was the future of the locked memories I had from the past. The current owners of the house we had loved have not maintained it. It was sad to see how is has deteriorated. We drove past the place the UU Fellowship met. It is now a Quaker Meeting House. With the help of the Yellow Pages we found that it has grown into a Church with a Minister and a Staff. We went to a very nice service on Sunday morning. It is an active, growing community of liberals. Olympia is no longer the conservative town we remember. But that special feeling of intimacy that can only be found in a small fellowship was gone.
So what have we been doing since the last Newsletter? In Ilwaco we spent time with our friends Phil and Patrice who we met on the Mexico trip. They are full time RVers and were staying in Astoria. We also visited with Rita and Fred who we met two years ago on the Oregon Coast. RVing is a great way to meet some wonderful folks. Then it was on to Seattle for a family visit. Arlo’s cousin Ray entertained us with an electric boat ride on Lake Union with gourmet food. Ray manages an organic, health food co-op.
Arlo and his cousin Ted spent two days salmon fishing on the Hood Canal. Fishing was not good but we managed to catch a couple of small ones. Now we are at Copalis Beach on the Washington Coast. We are staying over Labor Day until September 6th. We plan to circle the Olympic Peninsula before starting south.
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Adventures of Krystonia
September 10, 2006
Have you ever thought about running away?
We left Copalis Beach last Thursday headed north on Highway 101 along the west side of the Olympic Peninsula. All our literature suggests that the public campgrounds are designed for tents or very small trailers. So we left hoping we could find a suitable spot. We found a wonderful private RV park right on Lake Quinault. Because we got there early we had our choice of sites. We chose one on the end with an unobstructed view of the lake. Being early we were able to “RV watch” as other folks arrived. In came a Prevost motorhome. For you non RVers, it is a custom bus conversion that averages about one million dollars ($1,000,000). Parking next to us was a “Cruise America” Class C motorhome with a family from Germany, Mother, Father and teen age son.
But the diversity became more interesting. I noticed a Ford Taurus station wagon parked by the restroom/shower building. The couple in it seemed to sit a long time. Finally they got out to use the rest room. They appeared elderly, the man using a walker to get around with some difficulty. After moving the station wagon into the site next to the building they began pulling things out of the back. They had a large blue tarp and one or two large black trash bags. As I watched, the man filled two gallon milk cartons with water and with the help of his walker moved them to where he had placed the tarp on the ground. They were to keep the wind from blowing it away. All this was done slowly and with great effort. Now, I wondered if they were going to pitch a tent and how they would ever accomplish it. At this point I walked over and introduced myself. Then I offered my help if they needed anything. With a smile but no sign of being offended they declined.
We continued to talk and this is what I learned. They used to be RVers but have “scaled down.” Now they are trying to get out by sleeping in the station wagon. The stuff they were putting out was to hold their spot while they went to dinner. Apparently this was their second night out because they explained that last night they slept with their heads toward the back which made it difficult to get out for going to the bathroom at night. Tonight they were going to try sleeping the other way. The man was very pleased with himself, telling me how he had thought up buying the large tarp that covered the station wagon at night. “It gives much more privacy.” I was so impressed with their spunkiness and determination to keep moving in their old age. I tried to keep an eye on them when they came back from dinner but several RVs had parked between us by then. When I checked just before dark they were in the station wagon under the blue tarp.
The next morning I made a point of walking down to the restroom to check on them. They were up and ready to go. I asked how they slept and they enthusiastically said “just great.” I asked how dinner was. They said it was a good dinner but spoiled by the fact that the man’s colostomy bag had filled and he did not smell good. They told me they were from Auburn, Washington and lived in an “old people’s home.” They said it really felt good to get away, but the other residents were jealous of them being able to leave and wanted to come with them. When I said they really did not have room for anyone else their answer was, “Oh, they are not healthy enough to leave.” I was inspired by their unwillingness to allow “old age” to be a handicap.
I wonder if these kids are running away from home??
We are in Forks, Washington. We took day trips for here. We visited La Push and Rialto Beach. Yesterday, we went to Neah Bay and Cape Flattery, the most North Westerly point in the continental USA. The ¾ mile hike out to the point is well worth it. Tomorrow we move again.
There are 19 new pictures to see on the web site. Two general pictures along the coast. Three at Lake Quinault. Seven taken at Ruby Beach, just a short walk from Highway 101. Seven of Cape Flattery, Neah Bay and the lighthouse on Tatoosh Island, just off the point at Cape Flattery. Enjoy…
Adventures of Krystonia
September 15, 2006
Travel Stories… Many years ago, early in our marriage we lived in San Diego. One spring there was an exceptional wildflower blooming in the California dessert. Wildflowers in the dessert are delicate, small and full of color. The only way to view them is to gently walk through the dessert to get close up and personal. We drove out to Anza-Borrego State Park to enjoy one of nature’s wonderful displays. The flowers were profuse and colorful. We stopped for gas and compare notes with fellow travelers. A well dressed lady in a late model luxury car came in. She appeared agitated. She had been driving all day and “could not see the wildflowers.” She demanded to know where they were. It was soon learned that she expected to drive by and see them. All these years we have wondered if she figured out that to experience the joy of nature, you have to go to it, not look for it to come to you.
Now we have a sequel to this story. In Washington evergreen berries (commonly called blackberries) grow wild along many of the roadways. Now is the time of the year that the berries are ripe and ready for picking. We were in the General Store in La Push, Washington. General Stores are great fun in small towns. It is a great way to get a feel of the local community. A well dressed lady, probably in a late model luxury car came into the store. She was obviously not a native. She asked if bears ate blackberries? After learning that they did, she then asked where all the bears were with all these ripe berries along the roads? I wonder if she is related to the desert lady.
We are in Port Townsend, Washington. Last Tuesday we were in Port Angeles which has the US ferry terminal for the Victoria, BC ferry crossing. We spent the day sightseeing in Victoria. It was a long day but well worth it. Victoria is a lovely city. In addition to spending time exploring the city and having a wonderful dinner on the water, we took a bus trip to Butchart Gardens and the Butterfly Gardens. Pictures from this day are on the web site: www.krystonia.info.
Adventures of Krystonia
October 11, 2006
We are home… been here two weeks already. An offer came in for the house the day before we arrived home. Been busy. OK, let’s review the trip, there may be a quiz coming.
We put the house on the market the first part of July and moved into Krystonia. We planned to explore the lake country of Idaho and wait for a call from the realtor. Two things changed our good plans. First, the whole country was experiencing an extreme hot spell. Second, the housing market in Sacramento fell into a black hole. People just stopped looking. Nothing we could do about the second, but we could try to escape the heat. After a wonderful, but hot, week at Arrowhead RV Park north of Boise, Idaho we started west to find cooler weather near the Pacific Ocean. At the Arrowhead RV Park Arlo learned beginning word carving and Ruth learned how to do bead jewelry.
We stopped in Portland, OR to visit with friends and family. We had a wonderful salmon dinner with Dave and an interesting walking tour of downtown Portland guided by Ragnar and Toni. Then to Ilwaco, WA, just across the Columbia River from Astoria, OR. We had a great visit with some RV friends that we meet “on the road” now and then. Great weather most days.
Next to Seattle to spend some time with family in that area. We wrote about our visit to Olympia, WA and salmon fishing with Cousin Ted. We hunkered down for almost two weeks at our “home park” at Copalis Beach, WA. This got us through the Labor Day crowds and gave Ruth time to quilt and Arlo to wood carve.
The answer is: This north/south highway on the west coast allows you to change directions without turning around. In other words if you are driving north on this highway, do not u-turn and go far enough, you end up driving south. And the question is:... Highway 101. It loops around the Olympic Peninsula forming an inverted J.
We explored the Olympic Peninsula circling it in a clockwise direction. Wonderful coast lines, small fishing villages and the most northwest point in continental USA. We spent time with son Aron and Becky in Port Townsend. They were vacationing in the area and met with us after kayaking in the San Juan Islands. Next stop was home.
Coming through southern Oregon/northern California, we learned about the State of Jefferson.
“There have been many attempts at forming a new state comprised of northern California and southern Oregon, but none has gained so much attention and retained it, as the secession movement of 1941.
The abundant supply of minerals and timber in this region was largely inaccessible due to the lack of sufficient roads and bridges into the rugged mountain border country. The local pioneering people grew weary of unfulfilled promises from Salem and Sacramento to help fund sufficient highway projects in the region while building campgrounds in the cities where there were more votes.
Representatives from the mountain border counties involved met in Yreka, CA on November 17, 1941 to form an alliance to obtain federal aid for the construction and repair of bridges and roads. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted to allocate $100 to research the possibility of seceding from the state of California and joining the other counties to form a new 49th state. The Yreka Chamber of Commerce was very instrumental in persuading the Board.”
If you are interested in more history and pictures about this effort look at: www.Jeffersonstate.com. Apparently the movement is still alive to become the 51st state.
OK, back to the house. We are currently in a 30 day escrow. We may be homeless in about three weeks. We are looking for a place to rent in the Sacramento area but do not want to commit until we clear escrow, ‘just in case.’ If we can’t find the right place on short notice, we will live in the RV for awhile.
Adventures of Krystonia – supplementary
November 12, 2006
You may recall from our newsletter of 9/15/06 that on our last trip we spent a day in Victoria, Canada on Vancouver Island. Now I would like to add to that story. On the return ferry trip we met a young couple. They got on the ferry in Vancouver with bicycles. They attracted my attention because the bicycles were loaded with gear. It was obvious that they were embarking on a long journey. He even had a bicycle trailer allowing him to haul even more gear. Their appearance was somewhat reminiscent of the hippy look of the 1960’s; clearly in contrast to the other bicyclists on the ferry, with their mountain bikes and fashionable sports wear.
As we approached the terminal in Port Angeles we were able to talk with Simon and Lynne. Simon is French Canadian with limited English, but enough that we were able to communicate. Lynne on the other hand was from Manitoba. What we learned was they were on their way to Chili, South America. Their ride was to raise funds for the Farha Foundation and CECI in order to help in the constant battle against HIV.
If they came through Sacramento, we invited them to stay at our place for a hot meal and a comfortable place to sleep. We asked if there was a place we could get more information on the Farha Foundation and CECI. Simon gave me a card with a web site address. The only problem was the web site was in French. He said that they were hoping to have an English translation soon.
It was probably after 9 pm when we docked. Two things they asked for were: 1) Did we know any place where they could camp, and 2) Where could they recycle some spent flashlight batteries. We told them what we knew of campgrounds near Port Angeles. They knew they were going all the way to Chili, but had no idea where to spend the night! We took the batteries and put them with our supply of spent batteries to recycle when we got home.
Their web site now has an English translation. When I checked it today, they had made it to Mazatlan, Mexico. They have a running journal with pictures that is fun to read. Apparently just after we left them they had some problems with customs. You can read about it at: www.letourdumondeenvelo.com I found that it takes a little effort to find your way around and you have to tell it you want English (in the upper right corner of a page) because it seems to want to revert to French when you change pages. But it is well worth the effort.
"If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies."