Monday, September 29, 2014

Olympic National Park

It was a nice clear day, so we set off to visit the Olympic National Park.  On the way we noticed this Elk Crossing sign was flashing, indicating one was nearby but we never saw it.

We went through a series of tunnels on our way up the hill.  I can't believe the number of people who were biking up here.  There are some very fit people in this area.

The Olympics were set aside as a national monument in 1909 and further protected as Olympic National Park in 1938.  Today the park is internationally recognized as as Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site, testimony to its rich resources.  Nearly one million acres on the Olympic Peninsula are protected as wilderness, 95 percent of Olympic National Park.  Let's just say this place is ginormous, okay?

Not sure why this looks so blue, but it shows the glaciers at the top

One of the many mule deer we encountered
We arrived on the Free National Park Day, much to our surprise and I'm sure this is why it was much busier than I had expected.  We would have gotten in free anyway with our Senior's good to be old.
I can see people at the top...we're getting closer to Hurricane Ridge!

The day was perfectly clear and we were able to see much of the mountain range on our hike.

This slice of a 650 year old tree shows an interesting history.  The first marker to the far left is the birth of the tree, the third one from the left shows when the Mayflower landed.  Oh, if this tree could talk.

A nice view of the fall color on both sides of the road below.

After lunch the clouds started to roll in, but to me that just added to the beauty and mystic of the place.

Since options are limited due to the sheer size of this place, we decided to visit Hurricane Ridge for the best overall views it had to offer.

Later in our trip we will be entering from the west side to go into the Hoh Rainforest...that part I'm especially thrilled about and can hardly wait.  But, I've learned to just savor each thing we are seeing at the time.

Long Live the Queen of the Mountains

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Unexpected surprises

This park has a great sense of humor, some of the friendliest people I've ever met and some gorgeous flower gardens.

As we strolled around the park we noticed this monument to "lawn mowing no more".  I guess that's true since all the sites here are gravel.

We had just been talking about getting our flu shots a day or two earlier and as soon as we were set up a kind lady came over with an invite to the flu shot and wine tasting event.

This is the town we are living in currently.

Hmmm?  I would have thought the wine tasting should have been first, but oh well.

I barely felt my shot go in, so I couldn't understand the lady who was complaining about how painful it was and shaking her arm as she left muttering about waiting for the "girl" next time.
This is the totem pole in front of the club house - lots of totem poles up this way.

Then the fun started.  One of the men came in carrying a bottle of wine and when the lady at the flu shot table asked if he'd like to have a flu shot the cork blew off the top of his wine bottle and liquid started sputtering out all over the floor.

One of the berry bushes near our site.

I glanced up from my laptop and said "a simple yes or no would have been sufficient".

These asters are blooming their little hearts out near the park entrance.
Then while that was being cleaned up I noticed the Rawhide theme song and guessed that a TV had been turned on. was the deer on the wall singing, one of those electronically animated creatures.  Oh boy.

the Japanese maple in one of the many flower beds around the park

And I haven't even had any wine yet!  I can't imagine what I'd see had I been drinking.

To add to the surprise, I discovered there was a quilt show in Port Townsend and Left Brain sat in the car reading while I prowled around for things to buy and voted for my favorite quilt.  It was cold enough that I could finally wear my quilted jacket I'd made earlier and that got lots of comments as I walked from room to room.

Long Live the Queen of Surprises

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Weird and Wacky Roadside Attractions

Why do I want to see these things so badly?  I must just be a fool for being fooled, but it sounded like a fun place to explore, so off we went.

this building was actually my favorite part

The magazine described the Eaglemount Rockery as (and I quote) “like dropping into the 1950’s.  You’ll find a small version of Mount Rushmore, a fairy house or two (or three), a relief map of Washington state, and a 12-mule team and covered wagon.  The rockery began in 1948 and remains a roadside attraction.”  I was hooked.  I'll let you form your own opinions from my photos.'s so realistic I could hardly believe I was not in South Dakota!

Thankfully this roadside attraction is free or I would have been upset.  I don’t mind being fooled but I don’t like parting with my money for the honor of it.

the Borax 20 mule team

dinosaur eating the jail

This is both an attraction, museum and cottages for rent, but the No Vacancy sign had a Bates Motel feel to it.

I kept muttering to myself “I can’t believe I’m really here” as Left Brain wore his “I told ya so” smirk.

These were pretty fun
What is that expression about going from bad to worse?  Well, it proved itself at this location.

The small stone buildings were kind of fun and I can see where they would have been fun to make.  

Had we stayed in our house with the large yards, I may have well started doing stuff like this.  I think we sold just in time.

Now you might think that would be enough for one day, but no….nearby is the farm Betty MacDonald lived on when she wrote the book “The Egg and I”.  

This farm was the inspiration for a movie about Ma and Pa Kettle.  I loved that book, have read it more than once and as a kid remembered the Ma and Pa Kettle movie.  We just have to go and see it.  

Are you sensing it was a rather lackluster day and there wasn't much to do?

The section of road that runs through the farmland is named “Egg and I Road”.  That was worth it to me but the gps kept directing us down the road.  When we came across this old farmstead it made me wonder if it might be the old Mac Donald farm.  Not the one in the songs; well, maybe it was…..who knows.

There were no trespassing signs all over, so I couldn't get up close to examine the buildings and this probably has nothing to do with the original farm.

But in my imagination I like to think I stumbled across the real deal.  Yeah, I really am that easy to fool.

Long Live the Queen of Weird and Wacky

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Crossing Over

Well, I guess that could mean many things, but for us it meant we were at the Coupeville Dock to take the ferry into Port Townsend.  I’d been on a ferry before as a walk on, but See-More had never been on one, so he was pretty excited.  The price was right, about $65 for both the RV and car.  We figure it would have cost more in gasoline to drive the long way around.

the road to no where

oh, here comes the ferry now

We like to be prompt and it paid off as we actually got to be there for the earlier ferry instead of waiting an hour for our 11:00 departure.  Everyone was lined up in lanes and then the dog came sniffing around…not sure if it was for bombs, drugs or whatever and nobody got arrested.  That would have been exciting to watch.

It’s amazing what these ferries can hold.  I watched the departure of the vehicles when it docked and it was a bit like witnessing dozens of clowns climb out of that little car at the circus.  There were semi-trailers, cars, bikes and walkers.  I guess getting our RV loaded would not be a problem.

The ride was pretty short and before long we had our first glimpse of Port Townsend.  It looks like a cute little town and we look forward to exploring it during our stay. 

I loved this old building with all the advertisements on the side from over the years.  Hmmm, this might make a neat texture for a photo of the city, I’ll have to play with that concept later.

Left Brain took off in the RV and I followed in the car until I wasn't sure where he was going and took off on a different road.  Our gps systems both had their own unique idea of how we should get there and pretty soon he pulled up behind me at the Evergreen Coho SKP park.

I had forgotten that there was an Escapee’s park way up here, I think of them as all being in the south going from coast to coast.  Since we are proud members, this makes for a less expensive stay and we opted to remain for a week.  And that’s probably a good thing since now our jacks are acting up. 

 Poor Left Brain had to crawl underneath (on gravel this time) and use his power drill with the socket attachment to manually get them to lower.  Jeeez…what’s going to break down next?

Long Live the Queen of Disrepair

Monday, September 22, 2014

We are Ready to Roll!

The day didn't go completely as planned, but was a good one anyway.  Our missing shipment finally arrived and we ran up to the park to pick it up.  Finally!  Now we just need to find someplace to install it, but one step at a time.

They make the hugest marshmallows up here!
We have our reservations to board the ferry tomorrow at 9:15, that should be fun since we don't usually get up very early...but we'll have to make an exception.

After we had the part in the car we went to grab some lunch and since Left Brain is not a fan of Indian cuisine, we ended up at I-Hop.  Oh well, at least I wasn't hungry any more.

Then we stopped at Walmart for some things and I took him home.  He put the bikes on the car while I put away our purchases and then I headed out for my last adventures.

The specialty kitchen store didn't have the electric frying pan I wanted either, so that will have to wait until we land someplace and I can have it shipped.  This one is submersible, which will make cleaning easier.

The quilt store was beautiful but I left empty handed, which always feels wrong, but there just wasn't anything I needed.  

Then it was off to Petco to snag some cat food before we leave this area.  We never know what we will find or not find and G-d forbid the cats don't have their food.  We can shuck and jive...them, not so much.

Last stop was to Safeway to buy yet some more of my favorite coconut curry soup to freeze in case I don't find another store any time soon.  They were completely out.  Bummer.  So I picked up some clam chowder and jambalaya  that I like.  I almost got my flu shot, but didn't have my health insurance card with me, so that will be put on hold as well.

The rest of the afternoon was spent putting things away for an early departure, all those sewing projects had to go back into storage for a while.  Left Brain did the laundry, so that's all caught up for a while as well.

This is Gracie's reaction to learning we'll be moving again soon.

It's been a nice stay here, but we're both frothing at the bit to get back on the road and explore new vistas.  Our plan is to stay at the Escapee park in Chimacum, near the Olympic National Park, for a week to take in the area and be able to get our mail shipped to us again.

This will be a first for me, putting the RV on a ferry.  I'll be driving the car and he'll follow in See-More.  For the cost of the voyage I doubt we could afford to drive around the long this is part of the adventure.

So, if you don't hear from us for a while it means we are off the grid and I'll catch up later.

Our nightly sunset view from the RV

Long Live the Queen of Farewell

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Weekend Woes

By Saturday we were getting a bit bored and ready to move on, but there's still that stupid part for the awning that's holding us up, so we are scheduled to stay here until Tuesday morning.  If it hasn't arrived by then....well, we'll need a new plan.

Is it just me or does it look like this water tower is wearing a tool belt?
So we decided to bike into Old Town Mount Vernon to see the little shops and take in the farmers market.  Actually we'd forgotten all about the farmers market until we got there and thus caught the very tail end of it.  But it was in time to snag some fresh organic tomatoes for snacking on later. 

Getting them back on the bikes was a bit dicey (get it?  diced tomatoes?) and a couple of them required immediate eating, which we were only too happy to do.  There's nothing like a good juicy home grown tomato.

It was fun checking out this little town and I spied some interesting looking shops to revisit during Sunday football the next day.  I could hardly wait.

Later that night we caught a nice documentary PBS did on Robin Williams and I learned that Left Brain has not seen Dead Poet's Society and Good Will Hunting.  That must be remedied at once.

Sunday arrived and the minute Left Brain turned on the scourge of our nation (aka football) I snatched up the car keys and said goodbye.

I arrived at the old downtown area about 10:15.  The plan:  visit the quilt shop and the kitchen shop and then have some Indian food for lunch.  Oh what a sweet day this will be.

Sunday.  It appears many things are closed on Sunday.  Such as Indian restaurants and quilt shops.  The specialty kitchen store wouldn't open until noon.  Oh what to do?

some lovely flowers in a planter downtown
Since I had just loaded the new app "map my walk" that I saw my friend Becky using, I figured I'd walk for a bit.

I've meant to start out this trip by walking 30 minutes every day and whittling away the excess fat that has taken up lodging around my middle. 

 So far that hasn't happened, but today is the day!

I figure if I just make it a plan to walk for 10 - 15 minutes a day I'll end up wanting to do more.  Yes, I really am that easy to fool.  So I strolled around downtown Mount Vernon for about 40 minutes without even knowing it.  Translation: I forgot where I parked my car and went a few blocks out of my way.

Then, since I'd burned a couple hundred calories, I figured I'd find some pizza for lunch, but nothing came up in the area that didn't have horrible reviews.  So, it was back to Panera where I had the spinach artichoke souffle for brunch....better choice for my weight loss plan anyway.

I checked Best Buys and Walmart but couldn't find either of the movies I wanted, so called it a day and returned home to do some sewing.  These titles are too old, I'll have to order them through Amazon when we land somewhere.

At least I started my daily walking routine.  All journey's begin with one step.

Long Live the Queen of Denial

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rainy Days in Washington

It's the kind of weather that makes you want to curl up under a quilt with a good book.  Drippy, cool wet weather....the stuff Washington is famous for.

But it's also the perfect weather for cooking up "one pot spaghetti", a recipe from my friend, Karen.

This recipe is so simple, quick and uses only one pot.  I'll share it with you here: 

One Pot Spaghetti   

12 oz pasta of your choice
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 lg sweet onion cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped
1/2 t red pepper flakes
2 t dried oregano leaves (I zapped fresh in the microwave for 2 min)
2 lg sprigs basil, chopped (I had frozen from last year's batch)
4 1/2 c vegetable broth   (regular broth NOT low sodium)
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese for garnish

-In large soup pot add uncooked pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil.
-Add vegetable broth.
-Sprinkle pepper flakes and oregano on top.
-Drizzle with oil.
-Cover pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to low simmer and keep covered.
-Cook about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so.
- Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – leaving about an inch of liquid in bottom of pot  but you can reduce as desired.
-Season with salt and pepper; stir pasta several times to distribute liquid in bottom of pot.

These are my notes added:  I added julienned zucchini and peppers as well as some hot Italian sausage and shrimp (pretty much kills the kosher aspect of this fine recipe)  

And as you can see, both cats have given their approval of the half a comforter on the bed.

Long Live the Raining Queen

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sewing in Mt Vernon WA

Having some time on our hands is a nice feeling and I took advantage of this down time to get out the sewing machine.

The off-white covers I made for our chair tables were not a good color choice.  I don't know what I was thinking.  When the kids left home we thought the house would be so easy to keep clean, but much to our dismay we found out that we are pigs.  It wasn't was us.  Oh well, as long as they never find that out.

Since everything has to have more than one function here, I created a quilted cover where one side matches the chair and toaster oven cover since I had some of that fabric left over.

The flip side of that is this little Halloween/Fall theme quilt.

And then to change it up even more, I created a lining out of this cool money fabric for a third option.  I could have used yet another fabric for the second half of the lining, but was getting too impatient to finish.

Now Left Brain can at least feel like he has his hands on some money.

It's really nice to have one object with three different views and I think I'll do a cover for George's window bed with four different fabrics in the same manner.  Maybe for the four different seasons.   Hmmm, I guess I have more shopping to do yet.

I've started a runner for the top of my new shelves, which will have two different patterns as well for variety.  Photos of that will come after it is quilted and in place. 

Long Live the Queen of Stitchery

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sleepless in Seattle

During the time we spent in the area, we took a day trip into Seattle to see the sights.

The first thing on my agenda was to visit the Fremont Troll, which based on the description sounded so cool but it was a bit of a disappointment.  He's basically constructed out of concrete and with the graffiti and dirt you can barely see the VW Beetle bus he's holding in his hands.  Oh well.

Yes, this is an actual full size  VW Beetle 

The troll is located under a bridge...very appropriate

Next on our agenda was to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit next to the Space Needle.  This was the highlight of my day and I would consider it a "must see" if in this area.

As we went from one exhibit to the other inside I think even Left Brain was stunned by the scope of this beautiful exhibit.
This was called the Persian ceiling and the light coming through the glass made the most delightful splashes of color on the wall.

This is just a small sample of the ceiling
  One of my favorite exhibits was the Ikebana and Float Boat.

This was my attempt without flash to show the richness of the colors

This was with flash to show more of the detail.  It's set on a mirrored surface, creating the reflections

This area was called the glass forest.

This was in the sea life room.  You can get a sense of the size by noticing the lady standing towards the right side.

This is in the glasshouse, with this huge exhibit suspended overhead.

When we were ready to go outside I turned to him, smiled and said "and the best is yet to come" as I knew there was much more out in the gardens.

The plantings were beautifully paired with the glass art that was placed everywhere.  There are no words to describe it.

Great care was taken to have the proper colored foliage to pop the colors of the glass. 

Even these black and white glass balls were lovely nestled in the black Mondo grass

the flowers and foliage were beautiful all by themselves

I loved the use of the Japanese Forest Grass with this grouping

Parts of it made me feel I was inside a Dr Seuss story.

Parts of it were exciting and stimulating.

Other parts were calming and serene.

I will set up an album in Facebook for all the photos I took, but I tried to show what I felt were the highlights in this blog post. 

To take this shot I was on my knees and laying back on the sidewalk, much to the shock of a couple of people passing by.  

What can I say?   I'm bendy.  

And the best part was I was able to get up again using my own powers

After this exhibit we went to Pike Place Market and had lunch at Cutter's Crabhouse. 

 We both opted for the cup of clam chowder with an open faced crabmeat sandwich.  Both of these offerings were so rich and so good.  Why I didn't photo the presentation I don't know...too excited to start eating I guess.

They are designating some areas just for bicycle traffic and this was the first time I've ever seen a signal like this.

When this truck went by, I just had to take a snap of its clever use of a title.

We had planned to take the Underground Tour but the parking was horrible, so we settled on a Pot Top hand forged donut as a consolation prize and headed home.

Long Live the Sleepless Queen