Updated August, 2000
We began August at Mt. Vernon TTN Park in site F-9 after arriving the previous day from Canada. The weather was delightful with a mild breeze and temperatures getting up to the mid-70s.
Tuesday morning the larder was nearly empty, so we drove into Burlington for breakfast and groceries. We ate at Axelson's (claims to be the place where the locals gather) and had a nice breakfast. Yes, there were a few locals in as well. Across the street was a remote controlled specialty store. We walked around for an hour looking over all they had. I could really get involved with that stuff. They had everything, from airplanes to cars to ships. They had the motors, the controls, and the repair kits. Maybe next time!
There is a nice Fred Myers just south on Burlington Boulevard with almost everything you could want to buy. We found out later if we had gone far enough we would have also found a Costco, but that's for next time. So we refilled the larder and went looking for fuel. The prices weren't very good, but as we drove north on old 99, we came to a Texaco with a posted price of $1.459 for diesel. I filled the tank and was pleased with the good price. And no, it didn't help fix the fuel gauge -- it still acted squirrely.
Wednesday we hung around the campground and did some writing and sleeping. I did go down to the Adult Lounge in the lodge and found the Internet connection. We set up the Spaminator feature at Earthlink to see if it would clear out some of the growing amount of spam coming to our email account. I also sent off the latest Smoke Signals copy to Jojoba Hills, depending upon Jackie to fill in the missing parts.
Thursday and Friday were more writing (actually continuing work on the conversion to HTML) and then Friday night we went back to the casino and some more roulette. My luck was missing and I gave back a chunk of what I had won Monday night.
Saturday we decided to drive into Bellingham for lunch at Costco. For $1.50 you get a big polish hotdog and a soda. It may not be healthy, but it is good and cheap. We actually found several things to buy at Costco, including some of our favorite smoked salmon.
We had the TTN breakfast at the family lodge Sunday morning. The sausage links that came with the eggs reminded me of my experience with the Unilever sausages sold by the street vendors in the railway stations in London, 30 years ago. It is amazing how long you can remember a taste that almost makes you ill. After collecting email and finding that the Spamilator was working quite well, we headed back for another restful afternoon in the rig.
The next afternoon we went back to the casino and lost the rest of the winnings. It was discouraging, so we went back to the rig to eat.
On Tuesday the folks across the road left site F-10 and we moved our stuff over to claim it. I hooked up the trailer and pulled it down the hill to dump the tanks. Then when I returned I had major trouble backing in. It was a turn into the blind side with a tree in the way and a bad slope on the opposite side of the road. After two failed tries I gave the wheel to Alice and took over giving the directions. She did the parking just fine. We really need to go to this mode more often.
The next day we went by to pick up mail at the post office in Bow. If you blinked, you missed the crossroads where the post office stood. Luckily, my eyes were open. When Alice walked back out with a huge package, I wondered what had come. We soon learned that the Escapees mail service had done us a favor when they shipped our mail to Kamloops -- they had not included any magazines. We were getting a double dose, and it cost $10 in postage to receive it.
That evening I finished the conversion of the novel to HTML format and started on cleanup and writing some missing sections. After completing that full review I realized I was further away from having the bulk of the writing done than I had thought. Oh well, I just have to keep my nose to the grindstone.
Thursday morning JC and Krista, our son and his wife, arrived for a four day visit. We relaxed and talked about all that had happened in the past month, then we headed out for a drive. We headed west through Bow and toured Samish Island. There are some nice homes out in that area, and I did get one picture of David. We came back by in time for dinner at the casino. While we were waiting I tried the roulette table again and did well. JC said I should be playing the lottery.
The next morning we packed our coats into JC's car and headed to Vancouver, BC. We noted that the line coming into the US at the border was several miles long. The fellow at the information center said it was not normal for a Friday morning.
We were heading for a Japanese restaurant in Vancouver, the Ichiban. JC drove and I navigated and we made it into town and soon found a parking garage within a couple of blocks of the place. We pigged out on raw fish and rice. Unfortunately, Krista was not as enthused about the fare as the rest of us, but she was a good sport and ate enough to keep her going.
Then we walked around the city, down to the cruise ship docks and then up by the tower. The city is a very busy place with lots of pedestrians. It also had lots of Japanese restaurants. It was fun just walking around and looking at the sights. I realized it had been a long time since Alice and I were in the middle of a large metropolitan area.
Finally, our feet were giving out and we made it back to the car. It was just at the start of the commute time. JC and I decided we should head east on Highway 1 and head south through the Sumas border crossing. That should avoid lots of traffic and besides, we wanted to see lots of country. It was actually lots of fun -- I'm just glad JC was driving.
Once we got onto the freeway, we moved along rather smartly, at least until we reached the bridge over the Frasier River. There the road reduced to two lanes and we found a sizeable traffic jam. Once through that it was clear sailing to the turnoff to Sumas. JC was on his good behavior so the border guard let us through without any trouble. We found our way back to I-5 and to the TTN park. That night we treated the kids to leftover lamb and orzo soup.
Saturday it was my turn to drive. We put our supplies into the truck, moved the seats forward, loaded the dog and wives, and headed to Mt Baker. It was a beautiful drive up Highway 9 then east on WA542. We stopped by the Mt. Baker Information Center and bought a parking pass then headed on up the road. I took a number of pictures at Nooksack Falls.
JC was much taken by the valley, looking at it as a place the C-141 pilots could practice low-level flights. As we came to the start of the real incline up to Heather Meadows at Mt. Baker, he was sure he would be back someday.
It was a steady climb up the mountainside. Along the way I stopped on the side of the road to take pictures of some of the flowers. It was apparent that as we went higher the flowers were less and less mature in their blooming.
We had some really good views of the mountain with its glaciers. When we reached the end of the road, we parked and looked over the valleys that lay around the ski lodge. There was still enough snow for kids to do some sledding, and one or two brave souls were still trying to ski down some of the slopes, hoping they would miss the rocks scattered around just below the surface.
Wolf also loved the snow, and he spent a chunk of time chasing around after JC. Finally, he was worn out and hung out with Alice and Krista.
Finally we started back, again heading for Bellingham. It became a game of how could we drive back to Bellingham along the shortest but most convoluted route. I was driving with JC and Alice navigating. Krista was sure we were lost, but we finally made it. We stopped at Costcutters and bought some goodies, but it was not enough.
It was still early when we got back to Bow Hill Road, so we stopped by the casino. Once again I sat down at the roulette table and won big. I was beginning to doubt my luck, so we headed back to camp. I barbequed pork for supper and JC read some of the chapters from my book about the actual earthquake.
Sunday we had breakfast and lazed around. The kids kept hanging around so finally I said I would pay for brunch at the casino. They packed up and we drove over to eat. We pigged out again and gave about a quarter of what I had won back to the casino. Then JC and Krista headed back home to Spanaway.
That afternoon Alice and I straightened up the trailer and prepared for traveling.
Monday morning we finished packing up and said our goodbyes to the Amanses. Then we were off to Birch Bay. Our first stop was down the road to the Texaco for fuel where we found the price had risen to 153.9. We had not done so well on mileage, and we need to have a tuneup in Tacoma.
The drive up I-5 was smooth except for the construction zone through Bellingham. The delay was even worse for the southbound traffic and we may try to find some other way around Bellingham next week. We turned off on Birch Bay Lynden Road and followed it west for a couple of miles to Harbour View Road. Then we turned north. The signage to Birch Bay TTN is not much -- only the NACO West sign gave us an indication we were there.
After registering we drove around to Phase II and found a nice pull-through spot with a large grass lawn for Wolf. There are no trees, but this is the flat coast of Washington with an almost constant sea-breeze so the awnings suffice quite well.
We drove around the bay into Blaine and bought groceries at Cost Cutters. It is a pretty good grocery store with lots of variety. We didn't see much in the way of gourmet places to eat so we have been eating in so far. I have been writing and Alice has been doing odd jobs around the trailer. We both have been playing computer games and watching some of the convention news.
The Internet connection is in the Adult Lounge, and there is a local Bellingham number for Earthlink.
I have worked over our itinerary again. Alice has decided she really does want a larger refrigerator, so I made an appointment at Camping World in Portland to get a new 9.4 cubic foot model installed to replace our 7.5 cubic foot model. I am not sure just what to do with the one they take out. I don't think there is a tradein.
I called our friends, Bob and Penny Fink, in the Bay Area and we found a weekend when they would be home in Truckee and we could go by to see them. It has been over two years since we last visited, so it should be fun. That meant I had to redo all the driving plans for the next couple of months. You can see below what the results have become.
The weather remained mostly cloudy with occasional rain during the week. We have mostly sat around. I have been working on the RV webpage. It takes quite a while to catch up on four months of travelogue.
Saturday we drove over to the factory stores on I-5. We found a couple of things in the kitchen stores that were on our list. Then we came upon a book store selling mostly out of print new books. I ended up finding six that are good references. One is Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery. It brings back the good times I had when taking a History of Science course at the University of Oklahoma. Alice found a book of Weight Watcher's exercises, so I expect to soon be given the prod to get busy.
On Sunday we drove south and found an excellent restaurant alongside Birch Bay. We had fish and chips, but this time the fish was not so oily it dripped.
On Tuesday we did our final shopping and visited the Peace Park at the border. They have some beautiful flowers and it is an interesting experience to wander back and forth across an international border.
On Wednesday morning we packed up and rigged for travel. We headed out about 10am for I-5 and turned south. I was a little apprehensive about going through Seattle, but figured the noon-hour was probably the best time. I was right. There were a few slow-downs at the worst pinch points, then we were through and it was clear sailing to Tacoma and the turnoff onto Highway 512. We turned down Pacific Avenue and found our way to our son's place in Spanaway. No one was there so we let ourselves into the back yard and set up the rig.
The problem with being around relatives is food. Our daughter-in-law wanted to feed us and she fed us too much. Of course, I didn't object to eating so much. Someday I will learn. But for now I just gain weight.
One of the key features of this site is that there is a phone connection. I was able to collect email and send off the Jojoba Hills newsletter. I did the surfing to find sites for the RV Companion article and got it off to the editor, almost on time. I did some surfing for the Memphis novel and added some useful information. And I started to work on updating this website.
But I didn't get it done before the end of August as I hoped.
On the 30th I used the macerator to dump the holding tanks. It took a while for me to remember the procedure, but once I got it going everything went well. Then I hauled the trailer over to Camping World and had them adjust the brakes on the trailer. It does make a difference.
JC rented a boat on the last day of the month and we went out to fish, crab, and see Puget Sound. It was pretty clear with only a little wind when we started, but by the time we headed back to the dock, the wind had come up and the waves were getting far too big for the boat we had. Also, we were about to run out of gas! The trip turned out to be more of an experience than we wanted, and I may tell about it at some later time. At least neither Alice or I got sea-sick.
So we ended the month in Spanaway. At the end of the month we were thinking about traveling in the east next year, so it looked like it will be two years before we come back this way.