Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Meanwhile, Back to the Ranch

It took a while, but we finally left Ponderosa Falls RV Resort about one o'clock this afternoon. I had to drive into Spokane this morning before we left in order to pick up a couple of prescriptions at the Group Pharmacy. We were able to get a late check-out from the RV park, so it worked out fine. It was a pretty grey gloomy day, but at least we didn't run into any rain.

It was a pretty short run down to the ranch, only 87 miles and we were heading down the hill --

The gate was open, so we drove right down the lane --

It didn't take us long to get set up. You can tell there has been some rain -- the crested wheat grass is greening up and the dust is gone!

We'll work on sorting some stuff, putting some in the storage shed; and getting the bikes and other things we want to take along ready to go.  At this point in time with the jello plans, we are planning to be ready to leave next Monday.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


We waited all morning without a call saying the paperwork was ready. Finally, about one o'clock Forry called the banker. He said he hoped to have all the paperwork ready by three o'clock and would give us a call... About three-thirty he finally called and said he'd meet us at the branch in Cheney at four o'clock.

Mike was very apologetic when we got to the bank. I got the impression that he doesn't often take care of the paperwork details himself -- and I think he missed a few steps that he had to go back and correct. But, anyway, everything was done and we got all of the papers signed. (Someday, I just know that all of the documents, reports, nursing notes, etc. that I have signed in my lifetime are going to catch up with me and drown me in a sea of paper!)

I had a chance to chat with Niece Daphne in Virginia this afternoon. She said they had had an incredible amount of wind and rain, but other than some flickering, didn't lose their power during Hurricane Sandy's brush with their state. She said they had lots of broken branches dangling up in the trees. There are some big trees around the house she'd like to see taken down before they come down on the house.

All day the television has been showing some incredible scenes of the damages from the storm. Many were scenes from places we visited during our tour of the East Coast this past year. It's hard to imagine what it must be like for the people back there!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Still Waiting...

We had hoped to get all of our business done today so that we could leave for the ranch tomorrow to start loading up for our trip south. But, when we checked, the paperwork wasn't all finished...

Promises are for tomorrow. I guess we'll see.

At least there was some blue sky to be seen today. After the last several days of overcast and rainy weather, it was very welcome.

I was getting a bit of  "cabin fever," so went with Forry to the post office in Four Lakes to mail our second half property tax payments to the Adams County Treasurer. We drove around Four Lakes and then Medical Lake. Didn't have any destination in mind, but Auntie Violet looked better to me when we got back.

You can't see in the picture how mushy the ground is. Your feet actually sink into the grass if you walk across it!

I don't think I should be complaining about a little rain when the people on the East Coast are having such a time with Hurricane Sandy. For all of you dealing with the storm -- keep safe!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


When we were in town yesterday, both in Spokane and Cheney, I couldn't help but notice all of the Halloween decorations. There are some pretty elaborately decorated houses -- with lots of colored lights and carved pumpkins. When our kids were little, we carved faces in pumpkins and I made lots of costumes for them and later for the grandkids. But, I don't recall ever really doing a great deal of decorating.

Now that we live in a motorhome, I still do very little decorating. Over the years, Granddaughter Claire has sent us a few funky decorations that just stick on the windows. There's this one with several bats for Halloween.

And this year she sent this set of harvest pumpkins --

But those five pumpkins are the extent of our Halloween decorations. When the day passes, they'll go back between their sheets of plastic and into the file folder for another year. I guess I enjoy enjoying other peoples decorating efforts, but am perfectly content to be a minimalist in my own home.

It rained pretty hard again last night. There are a few small puddles on the ground, nothing major.

What a day today for sports. San Francisco won the World Series in a four game sweep and the Bull Riding National Finals event title was won for a third year in a row by the Brazilian Robson Palermo. Asteroid won the World Champion Bull title and Brazilian Silvano Alves became the first back-to-back World Champion in the history of the PBR (Professional Bull Riders).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Damp Chilly Saturday

It rained hard last night; it drizzled off and on all day today; and now it's raining hard again. It's almost like being over on the coast with that damp cold that feels colder than snow.

We weren't very ambitious this morning, but finally got our act together this afternoon and went into town to run errands. We dropped off our accumulation of cardboard and aluminum at Spokane's  Waste to Energy plant. We've found recycling to be one of the hardest things to do as a full-timer. Not too many parks we've stayed at have had recycling bins -- even ones for aluminum cans. So because we can't quite bring ourselves to throw everything away, we find ourselves trying to make space in our tight quarters for bags of cans and stacks of cardboard...

From there we went in to Group Health's Pharmacy to pick up a couple of Forry's prescriptions. I also wanted to pick up a pill splitter as my doctor has asked me to increase one of my blood pressure meds to a pill and one-half. Usually Group Health is bustling, but since it was a Saturday afternoon, only the Urgent Care portion was open. The pharmacy only had a couple of people waiting, so that errand went pretty fast.

Next stop was Bed, Bath and Beyond. Forry has been very happy with the pillow he got there a month or so ago, so I decided I would get one too. Of course, we couldn't get out of that store without picking up a couple of other things and some Starbucks coffee for the Keurig as well.

From there we went out to the Lazy Boy Store to look at their recliners. Forry's chair that came with Auntie Violet is starting to break down, showing its age, and we've been thinking about replacing it. I thought it might be a good time to look while Toad II is relatively empty and could be used to haul a new chair. The only chair that fit Forry (and would fit through the door of the motor home) was only available in dark brown or an ugly sort-of-tan. I had been thinking of maybe adding some color to the coach -- maybe a blue or red chair (all of the furniture in the coach is an off-white). I guess we'll keep looking...

Our last stop on the way home was at the Safeway Store in Cheney. We had to hustle to get the groceries and get home in time to watch the bull fighting.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Finally! Toad II is Towable!

It was a l-o-n-g day today. We didn't leave Camping World until 4 PM this afternoon. Putting on the tow bars and the auxiliary brake both turned out to be much more complicated than anticipated. Early this morning, the techs came looking for the rock guard. They needed to fit it on the tow bars to see if they had gotten the spacing right. Forry and I carried it into the shop (it had been on the back of Auntie Violet.).

The tech checked it all out and figured he had gotten the spacing right --

 So he went ahead and started fastening it down --

 Meanwhile on the far end of the rig, the other tech was working with the brake lights --

He had already taken all of the back lights apart...

FINALLY, it was all put back together --

It actually looks pretty good. I think Toad II matches the colors of Auntie Violet quite well. The rock guard still needs to be moved over to the bar in front of the car from its hanger on the back of the RV.

It had rained off and on all day and it was still drizzling when we were finally ready to go. I had been a bit nervous about the final bill as we had been in the shop almost a whole day longer than anticipated. But Camping World was very good about it -- they chalked up a good share of the shop time as "training time" and did not charge us for it.

We need to do a bit of shopping (we've been without transportation for two days) and have an appointment with the banker on Monday, so we decided to go back to Ponderosa Falls RV Park for a few days. With out K/M Resorts membership, there is no charge for camping, so that helps. We got settled in in time to for me to make some chicken rice soup and watch more of the National Finals Bull Riding from Las Vegas.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Toad II

This is the parking lot of Camping World where we stayed last night -- and tonight as well. You can see how wet it is here!

This little island has both 30 and 50 amp hook-ups --

This is the shop area behind the Camping World store. They have seven bays available and they are already looking for more technicians --

You can tell everything is VERY new. All of the tool chests are shiny and clean --

Early this afternoon we went to visit Toad II to see how things were going with the tow bar and brake installations --

Poor thing. She is minus her grill and headlights and is up on jacks...

They've got most of the interior portion of the tow bar set-up in place --

The technician was just starting to put in some of the many fastening bolts --

From what I understand, they will cut holes in the grill for those two bars sticking out...

Most of the wiring harness for the Air Force auxiliary brake was laid out on the floor awaiting its installation --

Forry made another visit to the shop a little after four. They had most of the bolts installed and and were starting to put things back together. It was pretty obvious they were not going to get it finished and checked out today. It's not too bad a place to be spending the night.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Off to Spokane Again

We got ourselves organized this morning, getting ready to head for Spokane -- hopefully for the last time this year! The tow bar package from RoadMaster that was back-ordered for the new Suzuki finally arrived at Camping World and we made an appointment to have it installed tomorrow morning.

Since we have no way to tow Toad II, I followed Auntie Violet. I really like driving the new rig. Maybe because I have had a chance to drive it so much lately...?

After I opened the gate for Forry, I parked across the road to watch him come through --

I shut the gate behind him, then watched him head up the hill, out of the coulee --

We stopped on the way and got some VERY expensive diesel -- $4.32 per gallon! And that's with the Flying J discount! We've seen it for around $4.16 in Spokane. Looks like we should have waited!

We came on out to the new Camping World in Liberty Lake. We had made arrangements with Larry, the service manager, to park overnight in their lot so that they can get started on the rig when they open at 8 AM. They are also going to install the Air Force brake system we got a couple of years ago at the Gypsy Rally. This is a new store with a new crew, so we'll see how it goes... We do have a 50 amp hook-up, so should be able to spend a comfortable night.

Since we will most likely be heading south once we are finished here (though we'll go back to the ranch to load up), we thought we'd take Son Sean out to dinner one more time before we left. He wanted Mexican food, so we went out to Casa de Oro, one of his favorites.

Now we're back at the Camping World  parking lot, watching the first go-around of the National Finals Bull Riding from Las Vegas.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Trip to Othello

We've had our insurance for the ranch through the same company for many years. The agent we used to have bought/leased some additional farmland and gave up the insurance game for full-time farming. The new agent our policy was assigned to has been wanting to get together with us to review our policies. She went by our mailing address and thought we were in Mount Vernon. While talking to her on the phone, she finally realized that we were actually in eastern Washington. She offered to find her way out to the ranch to visit us, but we told her it would probably be easier for us to come into her office in Othello.

We made an appointment with her for this morning at 11:30. It's been a long while since we had driven to Othello. It was interesting to see all of the growth there has been in both Othello and Warden in potato sheds and processing plants. After yesterday's lovely rain, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day to be out and about.

We spent a few hours with our new agent Anna and made sure everything was adequately covered. She turned out to be a very bright and competent woman and a delight to work with.

On the way back to the ranch, we stopped by Monsanto's plant in Warden and surprised my brother Pat. We just caught him coming out the office door with his hard hat to go check on something in the shop. It was good to get a couple more hugs from him before we leave for Arizona.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Odds and Ends

Daughter Mary Mae's home is on a wooded ridge in Mount Vernon. There are lots of big beautiful spruce trees with many birds and squirrels. But Sunday morning it wasn't the little critters that were visiting. First we saw this little fellow along the drive --

Then another one came along with his Mommy --

The twins went on down the road, but the Momma Deer stayed around and posed for the camera --

This is the pot of ivy in the little witch container Grandpa and I gave Granddaughter Claire following her Opening Night performance --

This bouquet is the one MM picked out for her daughter using the colors of the Slave Tituba in "Witches, the Musical."  The black feather plume is a copy of the one that Claire, as one of Satan's minions, givesave to Abigail to sign Satan's book.

One of Claire's friends also gave her this lovely bouquet of gladiolas --

The wind began blowing early this morning and the gusts just kept getting stronger and stronger. It was definitely bringing in a new storm system. Sure enough, in the early afternoon it started to rain. It rained very nicely for several hours.

We seem to have developed a leak around the vent in the hallway near the bathroom. The pan Forry put under it had a good two inches of water in it after the storm (that doesn't mean it rained that much as it is most likely running off a large area of the roof.). We'll have to have it checked out when we stop by Uhlmann's in Chehalis on our way south.

The parts for the tow bar for the Suzuki have finally arrived at Camping World in Liberty Lake. We've an appointment on Thursday to have the tow bar and the Air Force brake installed. Most likely we'll go up the day before and stay in their lot so that they can get an early start on the installations.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Heading Home Again...

Forry was listening to the news last night while the rest of us were at the theater. He was a little concerned about the reports of the snowstorm in the mountains and snow in all the passes. We have all-weather tires on Toad II, but we weren't anxious to test them out. Instead of leaving late this afternoon, we decided to go ahead and get going this morning.

We did take a bit of time to get some snapshots of our getting very tall grand-children. Claire is in front and Varick is standing beside me. Look at how much taller he is than his Grammy!

He's also a bit taller than his mother, but not quite taller than his father, Scott --

This is what greeted us as we got our first glimpse of the Cascades!

There was a bit of snow at the top of Stevens Pass, but the road was wet and bare --

It was actually a pretty nice trip, although there was a great deal of traffic coming the other way. They would come in packs of fifteen or twenty and then there would be long gaps before the next pack.

We had picked up breakfast at Starbucks and made a couple of stops for gas at the Costco in Mount Vernon and the one in East Wenatchee. Other than a needed stop at a rest stop, we pretty much drove straight through, getting back to the ranch just as it was getting dark.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


It was awfully quiet around here this morning. Mary Mae's whole family went to the Opening Night Cast Party after the Opening Night performance of  "Witches, the Musical," and didn't get home until very late -- or should I say early this morning?! Everyone slept in. Granddaughter Claire managed to sleep until a bit after noon!

Tonight was Daughter Mary Mae's turn to be the "behind the stage mother," helping with costumes, etc. for the actors and making sure the three young girls had their costume changes and parts ready. She asked me if I wanted to come along and help do some sewing. It sounded like an interesting way to spend an evening seeing what goes on behind the scenes.

Grandson Varick is working with the sound system. There are 22 members of the cast who are miked, which makes for a lot of batteries that need to be changed and mikes secured. Once the show is up and running, his main task is to listen for a call to come and assist someone who is having troubles.

He watches the show on the downstairs television monitor, alert for what's going on with the sound. That's his sister Claire in the background, waiting for her next turn on stage.

Mary Mae and I were pretty busy before the show started, mainly getting aprons and cuffs for the Puritan girls fixed and adjusted. I sewed the buttonholes smaller on one girl's dress as he buttons kept popping open as she danced...

After the show started, the task was to watch what was happening and being prepared to deal with wardrobe malfunctions between scenes...

Claire's other role in the production is to be one of Satan's minions in the two dream sequences. The other two girls play a cat and a dog while Claire is a bird. Here she is in make-up --

As soon as the two dream sequences are over, she'll have to quickly come back down to make-up to get this set-up removed and her Pilgrim girl look re-done.

Quite the costume!

In the "green room" downstairs waiting to go on again --

After Claire had changed into her bird costume, I called Forry to come down to the Lincoln Theater and get me. I had done my part and enjoyed being backstage, but the show was only half over. It was getting to be too many late nights for this old lady!

They will have four more shows next weekend, starting on Thursday night, one of them a Sunday matinee. They have a special show on Halloween, then the last two shows will be November 2nd and 3rd.

Opening Night!

Tonight was the BIG night -- the World Premiere of "Witches the Musical!"

I was sure glad we had been able to sit in on the dress rehearsal yesterday, it's such a complex play that I saw many things tonight that I had completely missed yesterday.

These are the three little Puritan girls in the play. Our granddaughter Claire is on the right. The girl on the left plays her sister and the one in the middle is the beggar, Sarah's child.

I had not yet seen any of the plays Claire has been in this past year and I was greatly impressed about the awesome job she is doing!

After getting home late last night from the dress rehearsal, we all slept in this morning. Too tired to worry about cooking, we all went over to a Shari's for brunch. Daughter Mary Mae and I dropped everyone else off at the house for some rest while we went to a local florist shop. I found an ivy plant and a little witch holder as a gift for Claire while her mother put together a spray of flowers for her (performance tradition, you know!).

We made it back to the house with only about an hour to spare before Claire and Varick (who works with the sound crew) and Scott (who is working behind the scenes changing the sets) had to leave for the theater. MM left a few minutes later. Forry and I lazed around a bit before we headed to the theater as well. They were serving glasses of champagne to the attendees, who had to enter via the red carpet at the entrance.

Quite a night -- and quite a change from our usual routine...!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Over the Mountains

We drove over the Cascade Mountains to Mount Vernon today. There is a great deal of construction on Snoqualamie Pass and they have been warning about the fact that there is only one lane of road open each way -- long delays are to be expected. So we decided we would take Highway 2 over Stevens Pass instead. We came home the last time we were on the coast over the North Cascades Highway which is a gorgeous drive, but long. We hadn't been on Stevens for several years. It's a slower drive because much of it is only two lane highway and it also goes through many small towns with 25 mile per hour speed limits.

It was still a bit cloudy and hazy from all of the summer fires, but the colors of the trees were beautiful. We probably caught them at their height as many of them were just beginning to drop their leaves...

This is Palisades State Park on the other side of Wenatchee. It's where all of the rock climbers come to play and test themselves and their gear. As today was a week day, we didn't see any climbers, but in the past we've seen large parties of them on the rocks.

The reds, oranges and yellows of the orchards are in sharp contrast to the dry hills above them --

As we got further into the mountains, the colored undergrowth showed quite brightly against the evergreen trees --

Even on the steep rocky hillsides, the brilliant yellows stood out --


And yes, that's fresh snow over there on that mountainside!

It was raining when I snapped this picture. It's fascinating to see the colors of the scrub brush on otherwise barren rocky walls...

By the time we got to Mount Vernon, it was already dark and raining very hard. I had been talking to Daughter Mary Mae on our cell phones and found out that they were all over at the Lincoln Theater for tonight's dress rehearsal of "Witches, the Musical." It was an open rehearsal, so we grabbed a quick sandwich and drove to the theater to watch. This is a World Premiere of an original screen play about the Salem Witch Trials. There are over thirty people in the cast -- including our Granddaughter Claire who is one of the three little girls in the play.

What a treat to get to see this preview of the Opening Night we'll see tomorrow. It's a long play and it was after eleven when it was finished! I was very impressed by Claire. Her part involves singing and dancing -- and she's on stage most of the time.She plays a little Puritan girl and is also seen as one of Satan's minions in a dream sequence.

Grandson Varick is working with the sound crew while Scott is working backstage changing scenery and MM is helping with costumes. Quite a family production!