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!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


August 12 – 15 – Oh, what fun we had in Omak!! Of course, it would have been more fun with some friends, but we had a great time, just the two of us!!

We went to the Rodeo on Friday and Saturday nights.

A scene of the crowd!!

The program was the same both nights. As the Rodeo began, there was a team of Precision Riders from Canada performed.

Than the Riderless Horse was led around the arena in memory of a well known Rodeo performer who had died.

Next horsewomen with banners representing each sponsor cantered around the arena. There must have been 20-

There was a time to honor the Three Nations!! Canada, The Indians, and the United States. The anthem of each nation was sung as that rider cantered around the arena. Very impressive.

We were thrilled when we saw the 2010 Rodeo Queen was camped next to us at the Fairgrounds.

But when they announced about 15 Queens at the Rodeo,

we realized that Our Queen was not THE OMAK STAMPEDE QUEEN, but the Othello Rodeo Queen Jade!! Here she is!

Following the introduction of the Rodeo Queens, the American Flag was carried around the arena.

The Rodeo competitions began with Bareback Riding! Most cowboys were able to ride the required 8 Seconds!

Next came the Calf Roping. It was amazing how many missed the calf!

Then it was time for Saddle Broncs. Again, most cowboys did a good job!

That was followed by Bulldogging’!

The ladies of the Rodeo competed in the Barrel Racing!

But, of course, the most popular event was the Bull Riding!!

Not many were able to complete the 8-Second requirement. This bull was amazing!! This PICTURE is amazing!!

This was a funny episode!! This bull refused to leave the arena. The riders spent about 10 minutes trying to get him through the gate.

Finally, the bull just laid down and rolled over and played dead!!

That ended the Rodeo but the evening was not over!!

It was time for the highly anticipated SUICIDE RACE!!