Saturday, August 28, 2010


August 25 – You may remember a couple of weeks ago we went to Camping World in Rogers MN concerning our refrigerator cooling unit that had stopped cooling. Arrangements were made at that time to have a new cooling unit shipped to Camping World in Burlington, WA because we were going to be in that area for several weeks. An appointment was made at Camping World for today, August 25.

In the meantime, as shown on our Blog, we spent some enjoyable time at the Omak Stampede and a week at Thousand Trails Mount Vernon.

We just want to advise that Camping World in Burlington did replace the refrigerator cooling unit and took care of a few other tweaks. We left there on Thursday and checked into Thousand Trails La Conner, WA where we hoped to see some of our long-time friends.


August 26 – We checked into TT La Conner just before lunch time. Among the first friends to greet us were Mike and Jeannette who were headed to the Family Center where the Swinomish Community was putting on a Clam Bake – come on over!!

[As an explanation, TT La Conner is unique in the fact that the preserve land is leased from the Swimomish Indian Tribal Community. They have fishing rights from our shores as well as other privileges.]

Ken quickly connected the electric and pushed the button to get TracVision and we joined the Clam Bake.

This is the great buffet line with baked salmon, huge prawns, potatoes, salad, fruits and UUUMMM Fry Bread.

In addition to the buffet there were numerous trays of clams and mussels on each table!

Our group enjoying the occasion!!
Ken, Me, Jetty, Marge (her husband is hidden), Jeannette and Mike who invited us.

The Tribal Chief and the young man who coordinated the food for the event.

The Swinomish Tribe recently opened an Interpretive Center on Lone Tree peninsular. After the Clam Bake, our group visited the Center.

On the walls were many flyers explaining the Swinomish heritage, their dependence on fishing, and in particular, Salmon. I found this flyer particularly interesting. It contains the statement: “The Skagit River is the only river in the lower 48 to have wild runs of all 5 Salmon species [Chinook, Coho, Pink, Chum and Sockeye].”

Beautiful scenery going to Lone Tree! Note the huge drift wood (tree trunks).

What a delightful Clam Bake it was!! Thanks Mike and Jeannette for inviting us!!


August 26, 28 – While we were enjoying the Clam Bake, we discovered there was a Pickleball Happy Hour at 4 PM near the courts. We quickly finished setting up and headed to the Happy Hour.

This was a great opportunity to renew ole acquaintances!! Everywhere we turned there was someone else from our past. Unfortunately, there are only a few pictures –most of them seem to be of our good friend Peter!! It was so good to see him again! He is so funny!!!

Steve, Peter, and Ken

And Peter showing some leg for the picture!! This one's for you, Toni!!

And Peter and Chuck comparing Italian noses!!

As part of the Happy Hour fun, there was a Ladder Golf Tournament run by new friend Doug.
First Picture: Martin tosses as Jetty watches.
Second Picture: Chuck tries his hand as Sandy hopes he misses.
Third Picture: Doug kept the score tally and after the games the winners crowd around him to grab for prizes!!
At Saturday’s Happy Hour we practiced Bocce Ball for a Tournament tomorrow afternoon.
First Picture: Ken pitches the ball while team mate Barbara watches. Bruce and Jetty are the opponents.
Second Picture: Its Bruce’s turn with Jetty’s encouragement.
Third Picture: Now it’s Jetty’s turn.
Fourth Picture: My turn!!
Canadian friend, Jackie, is running the Pickleball Tournament next week. Her parents are here for a visit.
I was able to get this family picture!! Brad, Mother, Jackie, Father Jack.
A great time was had by all!! It's great to be back at La Conner!!


August 28 – Everywhere you look in northwest Washington there are Blackberries!! We even have Blackberries all around our camp site.

Note the different shaped leaves in the fourth picture. Barb, are these the Marion Berries you were telling us about??

Ken has been dreaming having Blackberry Pie, Blackberry Cobbler, or anything else Blackberry. So, yesterday afternoon we picked a bunch of berries. Today, it was a family project to bake a Blackberry Pie!! I prepared the berries and Ken did the crust!! We agreed it was one of the most beautiful pies we have ever made.

The pie was beautiful, and topped with ice cream, it was delicious; however, it was probably the juiciest pie anyone has ever made!! It definitely needed more thickening!! It’s a good thing we did not invite anyone to share it with us!! We will have to try again!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


August 23 – We drove into Burlington this afternoon to take advantage of the Senior special at El Cazador is Restaurant-- One-half off all day Monday”. El Cazador is a very nice Mexican restaurant.
We discovered that the Senior special applied only to the Combination dinners. That was OK because we found a couple of Combination dinners that appealed to us.

I wondered why there were so few clients. I mean, the meal was very good. I did have a bit of a problem paying $6.95 for two Bud Lights. But what really got me was being charged $1.25 for sour cream for my Tostado!! I always though sour cream came with a Tostado. Anyway, I guess that’s the reason for lack of clientele – the prices of their beer and condiments!! I think we won’t be going back!


August 23 – After dinner we went to Wal-Mart for more ICE!! As we drove into the parking lot, Ken recognized a Vector motor home parked there with a Jeep in tow that had a “Mobile Windshield Chip Repair” sign on the roof. It had to be Steve and Cheryl!!! We last saw them at TT St. Clair, MI in July 2007. We made a quick U-Turn and knocked on their door!!

It was so much fun reminiscing with them, talking about mutual friends, and wondering who was coming up to TT LaConner for the Pickleball Rally and Tournament!!

We all laughed about their camping overnight in the Wal-Mart “campground”, right under the NO OVERNIGHT CAMPING ALLOWED sign!!! Steve said they had checked with Wal-Mart and were assured the regulation is not enforced.
We’ll be looking for them when we get to LaConner on Wednesday afternoon.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


August 21 – Yesterday when I went to the Laundry at TT Mt. Vernon, I ran into old-time friend Karen. Have not seen Karen and Bruce since maybe 2006. We reminisced awhile, and then I told her to tell Bruce to come up to the Barn for Pickleball the next morning. So this morning, Bruce came to play. But other friends from the past came to play also – Jackie, Chuck and their son Brad. Jackie and Chuck run the Pickleball Rally and tournament over Labor Day weekend at TT LaConner. It was so good to see all of them again.

Bruce and Brad are the challengers

Against Chuck and Jackie.

Good Game!!

After Pickleball, I make another Ice Run!


August 20 – This afternoon I went to the Laundry at TT Mt. Vernon. After loading my laundry into the washers, I checked into the Adult Lounge. I spoke to one of the staff and told her I was hoping to practice some line dancing. She pointed to a group of four in the far corner and said “That’s what they are doing.” I moseyed on over and asked if they were line dancing. Then I commented that they had on real dancing shoes and looked like professionals!! So that is how, out of the clear blue sky, I happened to meet World Renowned Line Dance Choreographers, Karla and Paul Dornstedt!! In fact, later Karla told me they were going to the Dominican Republic next week to lead Line Dancing there. What a deal!!

After chatting a while, we danced a couple of dances – Little Red Book that I had taught the group at Torrey Oaks this Winter, and Mamma Maria that my friend Marge taught us at TT Chesapeake Bay this Spring . Then Paul was teaching me a new dance they had just choreographed – Let the Little Girl Dance (song of the same name by Billy Bland). But BINGO was scheduled, so we had to stop dancing.

The other couple, Rhonda and Mike Allen said they will be leading the Line Dance Rally at TT Wilderness Lakes beginning March 13. They thought I should attend!! They will have two buildings – one for beginner dancers (that's me) and the other for more advanced. So, I think I might include Wilderness Lakes in our Spring schedule.

Unfortunately, they will be leaving the preserve in the next couple of days. But, they invited me to join them on Tuesday at the Mt. Vernon Senior Center where they have line dancing all morning, followed by a luncheon. Sounds good to me!!

My new friends Rhonda, Paul, Me, Karla, Mike.


August 20 – We checked into TT Mt. Vernon earlier this week. Have been playing Pickleball in their “barn” every morning. Not a great number of players, but enough to make for a good time. We had never met any of the other players, but all were very good.

Today we had Sandy and Richard.

Ken played with Chuck. Chuck’s wife, Julia was here earlier in the week, but not today.

I was there, too!!

Eric and his son, Isaiah (left), met up with several other young guys and they have been playing every morning. The boys are pretty darn good!! They could really whack the ball!!
When we were last here in September 2005, they converted the old maintenance barn to a recreation barn, including three Pickleball Courts. At that time they said they needed to replace the ceiling lighting. It was inadequate and potentially dangerous. We still have the same lighting today. They did add the multi-colored panels that make it easier to see the ball.

Monday, August 16, 2010


August 15 – After the Stampede Parade, Ken watched the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race from Michigan, which he had recorded earlier. When the race was over, we set out for Mt. Vernon, WA, almost 180 miles west. We estimated about four and one-half hours of driving because we were traveling on WA-20 – no major highways here.

It was not fun driving for Ken – twisting and turning, up and down through the mountains, with the afternoon sun in his eyes. And the shadows from the trees flickering in the glare!! As bugs accumulated on the windshield, the task became even more difficult. BUT, it was such a beautiful drive!!!

We saw SNOW today!!

“The Road Less Traveled”!!

A glimpse of Diablo Lake.
And now, the beautiful Lake!! I told Ken we could drive back sometime when we when we had time to enjoy the Lake. But, it is 65 miles from Mr. Vernon, so we probably will not do that.

It was an incredibly beautiful drive, but both of us were happy to see level ground and all the mountains were in the distance!!


July 28 – The next morning we drove up to Whitefish Point on Lake Superior.

The complex consisted of the Shipwreck Museum, The Store, The Lighthouse and Keeper’s Residence, The Coast Guard Station.

We toured all of them. The Shipwreck Museum was amazing! About a dozen of the most significant shipwrecks on Lake Superior were highlighted. The stories were so interesting. The captain of one ship let it be known that he carried His Majesty’s mail and other ships should stay out of his way!! He was responsible for the sinking four ships!! In fact, it seemed that most of the shipwrecks were caused by ships colliding into one another.

Of course, the most famous shipwreck of them all was the Edmund Fitzgerald (made all the more famous by Gordon Lightfoot’s sea chantey)!!

We really enjoyed our tour of the Coast Guard Station Museum. There was an old Coast Guard retiree who greeted us – he was very knowledgeable and could answer all our questions. He pointed out in the center of the museum was a Surfboat that carried about ten highly trained and dedicated surfmen who often risked their lives to rescue those in peril. He said it was used for more rescues than any other type of rescue boat. I asked if the boat was carried on a larger ship to the scene of the wreck. He said No -- they rowed the boat from shore to the shipwreck.

In reading about the rescues I noted that they had recorded 6,735 launches and rescued 6,739 people from shipwrecks. It seemed rather futile to me!! They averaged about one rescue per launch?? I questioned the old gentleman. He explained that they may have to launch five or six times before reaching the shipwreck. They recorded every launch.

After enjoying the museums and the Lighthouse Keepers dwelling, we went out to the beach!! What a beautiful Lake!!

Having lunch!

Of course, I could not resist putting my toes in Lake Superior. Ken did not come down to the water with me so I took this picture of my foot in the surf!!

As Zack Brown sang, “I’ve got my toes in the water, my ass in the sand … I feel good today!!”


August 12 – 15 – We are not going green any more!! On Friday afternoon in Omak, instead of resting and enjoying the beautiful Washington weather, Ken spent the afternoon compounding the right rear quarter panel of the Suzuki in an attempt to get the green paint off. (Remember the little mishap in Wisconsin!). I think he did a great job!! Only a couple of marks still show!! Thanks, Ken, for getting the green out!!

Besides going to the Stampede and Suicide Race, Okanogan County had a lot to offer. On Saturday, we went to the Okanogan Farmers’ Market. The last time we were here in 2005, we bought a peck of fresh grown peaches for $6!!! We shared them with the other campers at the Fairgournds. This time we were not so lucky. I bought three big peaches for $2 but they were delicious!

These young boys sold me the peaches. I told them I liked the name of their farm – Smallwood Treemendous Farms!!

Ken picked up a basket of plumbs. There was a lot to buy, if we only had a refrigerator!!!
Of course we had to eat!! On Thursday, our first night in Omak, we stopped by China Star and ordered take-out Hot and Sour Soup. I would not mention it, but it’s the first time we have ordered take-out Hot and Sour Soup that we had to wait for them to make it!! They said at least we know it is fresh!

On Friday before going to the Rodeo, we stopped by a Taco Stand we had noticed – Tacos Mazatlan – authentic Mexican Tacos!! They were good, but nothing to compare with those at Taqueria y Tienda in Avon Park, FL.

August 14 –I happened to notice in “Places to Eat in Omak” that the Breadline Café had been included in “The Best Places To Eat In The Northwest”! Imagine that!! In the little town of Omak!! (Well, not so little – it has a Wal-Mart and Home Depot!) Anyway, we made reservations for early dinner on Saturday.

It was wonderful!! We have never been to a restaurant where they had a “Bread Bar”!

Ken ordered Muscles and Clam Linguine; I had the Tuscan Penna. Both came with salad and the bread bar.
Dinner was devine!! Note the abundance of seafood in Ken’s dish and the plentiful vegetables in mine. Keith and Mitch – I want you to work on perfecting this dish for when we are together again!!!


As we were enjoying dinner, a young man and his son sat at the adjoining table. He reminded me of a young Hoff – David Hasselhoff that is!!

The youngster ordered his own dinner. He not only knew exactly what he wanted, but he stated how he wanted it prepared. He topped it off with a chocolate shake with whipped cream. They seemed very familiar with the waiter.

Later when the kid left the table, his Dad took a sip of the shake. Ken made some comment to him about stealing his son’s drink. He asked if we were here for the Rodeo and we got to talking. When we said we were full timers, he said he was a full timer now because his house recently burned down. Then he said his Sister-In-Law owned the Breadline Café!! I was impressed!! Amazing!!