Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Cabin on the Lake

Allan & Sharri live on Lake Mayfield with a wonderful view of the lake from their deck.


I tried to make the sky a little bluer, but you can tell it was typical Northwest weather, cool and overcast.  The good news is it didn’t rain.

We were able to back the MoHo into Allan & Sharri’s driveway, with Bob & Maggie’s motorhome in the next driveway.  The Kainu’s were the perfect hosts, and we had a great dinner of BBQ steaks.


Their kids Brian & Amy, along with granddaughter Madison, were visiting for the weekend and we got to enjoy their company.


The cabin is really nice.  It started out as a simple A-Frame, but over the years Allan has added more rooms on and remodeled all of the living areas to make it a beautiful home that they live in year round.  And did I mention the beautiful lake view?


Here’s a picture of their kitchen that Allan did a great job of remodeling.


Of course Allan had a lot of help from their son Brian.  He’s a little camera shy.


On Monday we washed the Motorhome from all of the rain encrusted dirt we have picked up here in the Northwest.  Brian washed while I dried.  We also went for a drive around the area and learned about the lake.  We had another great dinner, this time it was Betty’s chicken, a special recipe that Sharri created.  It was delicious, but Sharri wouldn’t share the recipe.  I guess we’ll just have to make a return trip up here to have it again.

Here’s the whole group.


From left to right:  John & Linda, Maggie & Bob, and Sharri & Allen.  Tomorrow we get up at 4:00 AM (are you kidding me) to caravan to the FMCA Northwest rally in our old home town of Albany.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Wine Tasting & Traveling Day

On Friday Bob & Maggie invited some of their friends over to their house for a wine tasting and heavy appetizers.  The ladies were in charge of the food,  and Bob & I the wine.

We decided on two flights red wine.  One would be a comparison of four different vintages of Zinfandel, and the other flight would be four different red wines, identifying the varietals.

Linda & Maggie did their magic and presented a bountiful feast.  This is one of my favorite types of meals, small plates or tapas.  There was a range of various cheeses, meats, and specialties. 

The first flight, the Zinfandel, included a 1993, a 1994, a 1999, and a 2006 vintage.  The idea was to prove that aging wine in the bottle makes the wine better.  We found that the oldest wines were over the hill.  This was due to bad corks or improper storage.  The 1999 was good, but the best wine was the 2006.  It was a wine from Renwood Winery of Amador County in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. 2006 Old Vine Zinfandel had the normal brambleberry flavors with hints of cedar.  A great example of California Zinfandel for those new to the varietal.

The second flight of wines featured Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Hills Merlot, Hedges CMS Red Wine, and Eola Hills Pinot Noir.  The challenge was to define the varietal.  Now I admit, this was very tricky because I threw in a red wine blend that contained Cabernet & Merlot.  Only one person got all of the wines right.  Almost everyone picked the Pinot, but really got mixed up on the other three.  It made for some interesting conversations, and much debate.  I’m going to remember this tasting and try it with some of our other friends (be prepared Donna).  This was a special night and it was really great meeting Bob & Maggie’s interesting friends.

On Saturday we stayed around the MoHo doing chores and laundry.  We’ll be boondocking for the next week so we wanted to be prepared.  On Sunday we caravanned with Bob & Maggie down to our friends Allan & Sharri Kainu’s home to spend some time with them.  More about that in the next post.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Two Days, Two Visits with Friends

On Wednesday we were invited to Bob & Maggie’s house to spend the day exploring the Bellingham area.  Their house is in Sudden Valley, a suburb of Bellingham built next to Lake Whatcom.  It’s heavily forested and next to a golf course.


They have beautiful hand carved wood plaque in their entry way.


The first place we went to was Fairhaven, and early part of the city that retains historical charm.  There are many unique shops and restaurants.



After walking through the shops and buying a few thing, we left to go to lunch at the Harborside Bistro in the Hotel Bellwether.  It had great views of the harbor and yacht basin, and the food was first class.

After lunch we went to Bob & Maggie’s unique storage unit.  They own this unit, like a condo, and it’s big enough to store their motorhome and cars, plus a lot of other things.


Yes, that’s a Rolls Royce! And we’re going for a ride around town,


Grey Poupon anyone! Do you remember the commercials?


The ladies look pretty good in there.  We toured all of the area North including Birch Bay and the Semiahmoo Resort, where the Rolls fit right in.


It was tough to park the Rolls back in the storage unit, and go back to riding in Bob’s Mercedes.  Tough duty.

On Thursday we went south of our campground to Burlington to visit another of our RVing friends, Joe & Phyllis Beebe.  They live in a beautiful house high on a hill overlooking the foothills and the cascade mountain range.


As you can tell, the weather has not been cooperating during our visit up here in Washington.  It’s been pretty much the same every day, but we haven’t let it affect our enthusiasm.  Here’ Joe & Phyllis’s living room and kitchen.



Joe actually built that table and his media center.  And he designed his whole house over two years on a computer.  On one side of the house is a two car garage and on the other side is the motorhome storage. 

We had a great lunch at Lorenzo’s Mexican Restaurant.  The owner live two houses down from where the Beebe’s live.  I had the crab enchiladas and they were very good, the best I’ve had outside of California.

After some more conversation, we left Burlington and headed back to Fairhaven.  Linda had spotted a bead store she wanted to explore, and I saw a bookstore I wanted to explore.  So, a new book for me, and some additional beads for Linda to make into beautiful creations. 

We’re really enjoying this trip.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Settling in at Mt. Vernon

Monday we did the normal things everyone has to do.  We cleaned the coach, and Linda caught up on the wash.  I went grocery shopping at a very nice store, Haggen.

At 4:00 pm we met Bob & Maggie Lawlor, our friends that live near here in Sudden Valley.  That’s a suburb of Bellingham, WA.  We met the Skagit Casino which is located right by our campground.  We joined the player’s club, which gave us $5 in free slot play and 25% off of meals.  They have a nice restaurant called The Five Onions Grill.  Bob & I had the prime rib special at $14, Linda had an Asian noodle dish, & Maggie Seafood Trio special.  Everything but Linda’s was very good.  After dinner we all used our free play.  My time was very short, as I played video poker and lost.  But Bob & Maggie won BIG, and Linda won.  It was a great night with great conversations, and a cash prize!

On Tuesday I got to go somewhere I’ve been wanting to go for a long time, the Boeing Plant tour in Everett, WA.  There’s no photography allowed in the plant, so I took these pictures off of the website.



The building is the largest in the world by cubit volume.


That’s a 787 next to the building.  The camera compresses some of the size.  Our first stop on the tour was the 747 assembly area.  There was 8 different planes in various stages of being built.  It takes about 13 months to complete a 747 from start to finish.

The next area built 777 and the new 787 Dreamliner.  It only takes 3 weeks to build a 777, and the new 787 comes in sections and only takes 3 days to assemble.  Here’s the plane they use to transport the sections of the plane.


That use to be a regular 747! It must be fun to fly.

After our tour we were ready for some lunch.  After our good experience at the Skagit Casino yesterday, we thought we try the Tulalip Resort & Casino we had passed on our way to Boeing.  It’s really fancy.



We ate in the Cedar’s Café, which is in the hotel and away from the smoke.  With our player’s club card we got a 10% discount.  Linda had a great cheeseburger with Tillamook cheese.  I had steamed clams that were very fresh, steamed with herbs and garlic.  Needless to say it was lunch & dinner.

The casino was very large, but we didn’t try any games.  We’re just not into gambling.  But it was very beautiful.  This is from the website.


On our way back, we took a drive down the Chuckanut Rd., a designated scenic drive.  The road started out in Burlington, rolling through farm country until it met the bay.


We passed a beautiful little creek that was next to a farm that raised mussels for restaurants.


The road ended up in Fairhaven, near Bellingham.  At the very end Linda saw a house that was unbelievable.


It was right on the water, and had a guest house, a 6 car garage, and views of the water from every room.

It was a full day, but we enjoyed every minute of it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Moving Day

It’s always with a little regret whenever we leave Oregon.  We’ve really enjoyed our time here, and the campground and area was very lush and beautiful.  And our visit with friends was very special.

Our first stop today was at a Pilot truck stop to take on some diesel.  I didn’t say fill our tank because we only got $400 worth and it left us a little short of full.  Oregon has some odd rules about using truck stops so we had to pay for our fuel first since we didn’t have a PUC permit.  But it was mostly full.

Our next stop was a rest stop near Fife, WA, about 130 miles over the border into Washington.  You’re probably wondering about why I would mention a rest stop.  Well we stopped to meet some great friends of ours from Turlock, Matt & Sarah.  Sarah grew up across the street from us with her sister Jessica.  Sarah went on to Biola University to get her BS in Nursing before coming back to Turlock to work and marry Matt.  Sarah decided to continue her education to become a Nurse Practitioner after Matt received his teaching degree.  They moved to Washington to fulfill their dreams and now, after 3 years of hard work, Sarah graduates next Friday! These are great young people who set goals for themselves, work hard to achieve their goals, and help others whenever they can.  We had lunch at the Olive Garden, but the food was secondary to the conversations.

We then continued on to Mt. Vernon and the Thousand Trails campground.  As with most Northwest area campgrounds, we’re surrounded by trees, which we love.  But that also means our Direct TV can’t see the satellite.  But we were expecting that, so our son Matt gave us some DVDs to watch.  Besides, when you’re in such beautiful country, who needs TV.  We plan on being here until next Sunday when we’ll head south to meet with Allan & Sharri before the FMCA Northwest rally in Albany.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Special Days

On Friday we got to spend some time with old friends.  Linda had lunch with Darlene & Jackie, friends from when we lived in Tigard, OR, in the early 90’s.  She really enjoyed herself, sharing pictures back and forth and sharing life stories.  These women have a unique tradition.  Every Christmas Jackie & Darlene sent small presents to Linda, and every Valentine’s day Linda sends them presents.  It’s been going on for 16 years now, and I know Linda really looks forward to the remembrances from her friends in Oregon.

I had lunch with an old work colleague of mine at a new restaurant to me, the Oswego Grill.  We talked about friends and families.  It’s hard to believe that one of his sons is starting High School next year.  It seemed like only yesterday we were working together in Portland building shelf sets for Safeway and he was dating his lovely wife Kris.  Time does fly.

After lunch we cruised around some of our old neighborhoods, and then headed to Canby to meet with our friends Dave & Cheryl Anderson, and Ron & Ethel Sunnarborg.  We had happy hour in Dave & Cheryl’s beautiful backyard overlooking the Molalla River.  Then we went to dinner at the Canby Pub & Grill. It was our kind of restaurant, locally owned with good American food.  I had the coconut shrimp, while Linda had the Chicken with lingonberry sauce, a Northwest specialty.

Saturday we started the day at the Salem Saturday Market.  It had about 300 booths by the state capital, with a wide assortment of crafts, food, flowers, and plants.  There was a lot of people shopping, many with their dogs.  It was a lot of the fun, and Linda found a unique crocheted necklace with beads.  After that we went over to Costco to fill up with gas at $3.78 a gallon full service.  That’s right, in Oregon you’re not allowed to pump your own gas.  It’s a nice perk when it’s cold and raining!

Then we went back to Silverton to explore the small city.  It’s been rated as one of the best small cities to live in, and it was very nice.  Linda even saw a house she liked.  It was built in 1901.


Click here for more details.

Silverton is also famous for the Murals painted around the town.  Here’s one of local hero Don Petitt.


We both enjoyed this Pet Parade one outside of a vet’s office.


And then there’s the story of Bobbie the dog, who made 3000 mile journey to get home to Silverton.


Click here for the complete story.  That finishes up our stay in Silverton.  We really enjoyed meeting with our old friends in the area.  The park we stayed at, the Silver Spur, had nice gravel pull thru sites with full hookups.  With Passport America, it was only $15 a night, and the hosts were very nice.  We would stay here again if we’re in the area.  Tomorrow we leave for a Thousand Trails park, Mt. Vernon, WA.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Silver Falls State Park

Today we decided to visit one of finest state parks in the U.S., Silver Falls.  It was created during the depression by the CCC.  Here’s the lodge that was built:




    We had lunch at the small café in the lodge, enjoying the craftsmanship and style.

After lunch we went on hike to the South Falls.  There are 9 different falls in the park.  South Falls is the highest and most visited.  Here’s a view from the overlook:









One of the unique features of the falls is that you can walk behind the falls.


We then hiked down to the bridge across the stream, and cross over to the other side.  The trail then climbs back up the canyon.  Linda took a picture of me on the bridge, and I took one of her back up behind the falls.









The hike back up the canyon was a lot tougher than coming down.  I had to stop a few times to gather my strength.  Linda beat me up the trail.  I need to exercise more! If you want to see more photos, visit our Picasa albums at:


After freshening up at the MoHo, we headed to our old hometown of Albany to have dinner with our good friends, Paul & Kathy Ross.  We had dinner at McGrath’s Fish House.  We made sure they had chicken and ribs for Paul & Linda who don’t enjoy fish.  I had the fresh Alaskan razor clams and they were delicious! We all showed pictures, Paul & Kathy showed wedding pictures of their son Andy and his new bride Cassie, and we showed them (guess what??) Jaxson’s latest photos.  We took a tour of Corvallis to see all of the changes, and we couldn’t stop talking.  It was great.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Silverton, OR

We left the Seven Feathers RV Resort after an enjoyable stay, and continued heading North on I-5.  Today we didn’t get stuck in any parking lots, so we arrived a the Silver Spur RV Park in the afternoon.  It’s not as nice as Seven Feathers, but it works for us.  It’s another Passport America park which allows us half-price camping.  It’s a good location East of Salem, North of Albany, and South of Portland.  We’re planning on staying here a few days and visiting friends and old haunts in the area.

On Wednesday we drove NW of the park to Woodburn, OR, where there’s a huge outlet mall.  One of the advantages of Oregon is that there’s no sales tax, so we receive a 8.75% reduction on everything we buy here compared to California!  After exploring the stores and buying one shirt, we headed up to the Tigard area for linner.  Linner is a combination of a late lunch and an early dinner.

There a fairly new Whole Foods store in the Bridgeport shopping area.  Whole Foods is a market, health store and restaurant all rolled into one.  About 1/3 of the store is prepared foods.  I saw what I wanted right away, hazelnut encrusted salmon.  I added a little salad from the huge salad bar and I was set.  Linda had a harder time deciding, but got the chicken marsala and some salad.  We paid for our food, about $14, and then went outside and ate on the patio.  Did I mention that the rain disappeared and it is sunny and in the mid 60s? Spring has finally come to OR.

Bridgeport Village is a new to us shopping area right across from Whole Foods.  It’s setup as a small town with pedestrian streets and upscale shops.  Above some of the shops are professional offices such as dentists & doctors.  It creates a very attractive area.  Click on the link to find some of the shops and pictures of the village.

From there we headed back to the rv park.  We stopped in Mt. Angel, which is near Silverton.  It’s famous for it’s Oktoberfest, and it Abbey which is over a century old.  In town I found a nice old railroad station.


Very appropriate for the history of the station, part of it contains a model railroad from the local club.

The town also has a building with a Glockenspiel which performs 4 times a day and contains a restaurant and office.  Mt. Angel was founded by Swiss immigrates, not German, but it celebrates both heritages.



Tomorrow we’ll continue to explore the area and meet up with some of our old friends.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

An RV Resort with the Highest Rating: 10-10-10

We left Weed, CA, about 9:30am.  It was tough getting everything buttoned up because of the occasional snow flake.  Yes, it was 34 degrees.  But we wanted to get over the summit ASAP.  We ran into some rain, but the road was clear.  The snow level was low, thought.IMG_5109

We did make one stop in Yreka, the last town in CA.  There’s a lot of problems in CA, but the price of booze isn’t one of them.  Both OR & WA have state controlled liquor stores with an average markup of 115%.  So we stopped at the Liquor Barn in Yreka for some last minute purchases.  It was easy off the I-5 and easy back on.

It was not so with a visit to Harry & David’s Country Store in Medford, OR.  I remembered it was out on Hwy. 99 away from the city.  But when we followed the signs to the new store, it was in a strip mall.  I made a bad decision to enter the parking lot, because it was pretty empty.  Bad decision.  We got stuck in a tight spot near a planter and we had to unhook the car (major pain) to get pass the spot.  And then the store was a disappointment.  Oh well, another live and learn experience.

By now you’re probably wondering what the 10-10-10 means.  We stayed at our first Trailer Life campground with a perfect score, the Seven Feathers RV Resort in Canyonville, OR.  And it deserved the ratings.



It has 191 sites, most of them pull thru with grass and nice landscaping in between.  The amities include an indoor pool, fitness center, party room, horseshoes, fire pits with free wood, playground, a large dog run, and a nice creek running through the property.




The RV park is part of the Seven Feathers Casino complex which includes a hotel, restaurants, and a major service station.  It’s all very nice.  We’re very glad we stayed there and we plan on returning to visit some of the wineries in the area.  It was cold and rainy while we were there, but we still loved it.  If you want to see more pictures, check out our Picasa web albums here:


Tomorrow we’re off to the Portland area.