Wednesday, September 19, 2012

“Fix-it-up” out West – Part 2

After leaving the motorhome in Junction City, Oregon for some overdue repairs and maintenance, we were ready to embark on our “homeless period”.  So, on Monday, July 9, with a trunk full of necessities, we headed west on Highway 126 to Florence and then north to Newport to visit my brother Tim and his wife, Vicki, and kids Todd, Mackenzie, Daniel & Brianna for a couple of days.  We normally took the northern route to their place, but it was time for a change.

Lots of pretty flowers…


…and gorgeous scenery on the way.



We stopped for a walk at Yachats State Park and did a little beachcombing…


…and, found more flowers.


We had a fun time hanging out with the nieces and nephews, went to Daniel’s baseball game, went to Agate Beach with Tim, Todd & Daniel to see the debris on the beach from the Japanese earthquake, and wandered around the waterfront area to see Mackenzie at work.



On Wednesday, July 11, we bid the fam goodbye and headed to Longview, Washington.  Time to see Jody & Sebastian again!

For the next three weeks, we hung out with our oldest grandson and our daughter-in-law when she wasn’t working.  We went to  Cannon Beach, the county fair, a couple of city parks with fun water features for kids, a movie and farmer’s market in Portland.  John had fun baking with Sebastian and Jody helped me knit a hat – my first ever knitting experience!





Meanwhile, back at the ranch – uh, I mean Country Coach – the repair job just kept dragging on.  The insurance company had OK’d the windshield replacement (from the foot-long crack that developed while we were parked in Golden CO) but, while trying to locate and repair the leak in our slide, it was discovered that the “skin” was delaminating and needed to be removed, fixed and put back on.  Of course.  Sooooo…..

On Monday, July 30, we headed back to Junction City to check up on things and pick up some stuff that we would be taking to Alaska.

Wow, this looks major…


One of the repair items was to reseal two of the passenger side windows that had creeping inner seals and, of course, the frame for the large window in the slide was removed also and all of the frames were being stored on our bed.  Such a time I had crawling over everything to get some clothes out of the cupboards…

Late that afternoon, we drove up to McMinnville, Oregon for a quick tour of the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum.  Our oldest son flies for Evergreen International and it was fun to see the actual 737 that he had flown sitting atop the waterpark there!


An amazing place and we enjoyed finally seeing the Spruce Goose that we had heard so much about.  If you look very closely at the following picture, you can see John (in black shorts & tan shirt).  Gives you some perspective on the size of this aircraft!


We spent that night at a hotel in Salem, Oregon and on Tuesday, July 31, we took a nice leisurely drive up the Columbia River to Curt & Diane’s near Walla Walla, Washington.  Multnomah Falls is a favorite with many travelers and we’re no exception.  Great place to stop for a break!


Our oldest son, Eric and his family were on their way west from Colorado to move back to Alaska.  They arrived on August 2nd and early in the afternoon on Friday, August 3, John & Eric dropped me, Kari & the two little boys off at the Tri-Cities airport.  We flew north while they drove a rental truck and Eric & Kari’s car with a trailer.

Kari, the boys and I settled in in their rental.  Fortunately, it was the two upper floors of my sister Deb & her husband Mark’s house, so Debbie very graciously had beds made up for us and some basics as we had only what we could bring on the plane with us.  We spent the next five days getting things cleaned up and playing with the boys.

John & Eric arrived with all of their belongings on Wednesday, August 8th.  We helped get the car, truck & trailer unpacked and then moved over to my folks’ place and spent the next week and a half hanging out either at Eric & Kari/Deb & Mark’s or at Mom and Dad’s.  One day we drove up to Eureka Lodge with Mom & Dad for lunch and another day Deb, Kari, Mom & I drove over Hatcher Pass.  It felt good to be in the mountains again!


Had a family get-together one evening, too!  Here’s Jonah with even more teeth:


and, Jacob trying to ignore the camera,


sister Deb,


bro-in-law Mark,


and Mom.


Dad’s even better at avoiding the camera than Jacob is!

On Tuesday, August 21, Mom, Dad, John & I hit the road for Homer.  On the way, we stopped in Anchorage and had a nice lunch with our niece, Olivia.  It was great to see her again – she’s almost grown up!  I remember when she used to come stay with us for an occasional overnight when she was just little.  She could beat me at the memory card game even then….

We stretched our legs at Turnagain Pass (a favorite for John & me) and again at the Homer Overlook where we (i.e. I) had fun photographing the flowers in the early evening light.  Then it was on to a restaurant on the famous Homer Spit for a bite to eat.






Then it was time to pick up our tickets, park the car and catch the 10:30 p.m. ferry to Kodiak!  Our youngest son, Vance, is stationed with the U.S. Coast Guard there and John & I had never been to Kodiak during our 20+ years living in Alaska.  My dad was stationed there with the Navy way back when and Mom had been there a few times when they were working at a fly-in hunting/fishing lodge during the 1980s.

Since we wouldn’t arrive in Kodiak till 8:15 the next morning (August 22nd), we had reserved a cabin with its own tiny bathroom.  Mom & I enjoyed the view from the top deck of the lights of Homer disappearing as we departed, but John & Dad were all settled in in their cozy bunks.

Getting close…




Vance met us at the ferry and we made a quick tour of the visitor center there before finding breakfast and then heading out to where he works.  He had recently received that “Sailor of the Quarter” award so got to use a prime parking spot:


After touring his workplace and meeting some of his co-workers, we did a driving tour of the base.  Dad enjoyed trying to figure out where the buildings he remembered may have been…  Lots of changes since 1950!  We had dinner that evening at the Rendezvous Restaurant – one of Vance’s favorites.  We were pooped by then, so Vance dropped us off at our hotel.

On Thursday, August 23, we hopped in the car with Vance and headed for his favorite place: Pasagshak Bay where he surfs.  Yup – surfs in Alaska!  Not sure who these guys were, but I sure hope they had dry suits on…




Gorgeous place, complete with buffalo. 


It reminded us a lot of Hawaii, only a lot cooler!


We had a nice meal on the way home and then went to hang out where Vance lives.  Played a little pool…


…and then took a drive up to Pillar Mountain.


The view was great, but it was COLD!


Friday, August 24: time to head home.


Vance came with us to meet Jody and Sebastian in Anchorage.


Kodiak is gorgeous and so glad we got to see it!

We didn’t need a cabin this time as the ferry left at noon and arrived in Homer at 9:00 p.m.  We stayed the night in Homer, and on Saturday, August 25, we headed back home.  Here’s a gorgeous spot near the Sterling Highway turn-off.


We dropped Vance off at Bob & Carol’s in Anchorage in time for him to go pick up Jody & Sebastian at the airport and headed back to Wasilla.  Fun trip!

On Sunday, August 26, we were all invited to Bob & Carol’s.  They always very graciously host us when Jody & Sebastian are in Anchorage and we all enjoy watching the little cousins play together!



Then it was time for a walk down to the local frozen yogurt store where Jacob & Sebastian had a great time messing up the sign board!


Well, our trip is about over…  The locals headed home and we headed for a hotel for the night.  Got an early flight out tomorrow.  It’s been great and so nice to spend time with our wonderful family!

By late afternoon on Monday, August 27, we were back in the lower 48.  We settled in again at Curt & Diane’s to critter-sit while they took a vacation out east to visit their good friend, Jennifer.

In between chores, we entertained ourselves with shopping and a visit to the local fair. 

Over the Labor Day weekend, I drove to Seattle and then took the ferry over to Poulsbo to see my cousin, Theresa and her husband Bill.  My aunt Mary and her husband, Dick, and my cousin Shelley were there, too.  It was a regular old-fashioned house-party weekend with friends of theirs there also.  We had a lot of fun and everyone kept busy visiting and helping with chores and kitchen duty.  On Labor Day, Theresa & Shelley’s cousin came as did my niece Jenica and her husband Johnny, their little girl Onyx and my nephew Ryan, and his girlfriend Lauren.  Fun, fun time!

P1140842                                            Everyone loved the llamas!

P1140861                                            Wonderful sunny day…

P1140877                                            Onyx and Uncle Ryan have a good time together!

P1140897                                               The princess of the party!

On Tuesday, September 4, Mary, Dick, Theresa, Shelley and I hopped into two cars and took the Kingston Ferry for the mainland.


Beautiful day, but we were people on a mission.  Theresa, Shelley and I had an uncle that had died (of natural “old-age” causes) in a small town northeast of Seattle a couple of years earlier.  To make a long story short (this post is getting pretty long), we were able to locate several people that knew and loved our uncle, whom we hadn’t seen since we were kids.  It was an amazing day full of laughter and tears and we are so glad we took the time to do this!

I headed back to the farm, arriving a little after dark.  Great weekend!

The following Saturday, September 8, John & I toured Whitman Mission National Historic Site near Walla Walla.  The whole Oregon Trail history has fascinated us since we first spent a summer in this area in 2007.


November 29, 1947 was the date of the Whitman massacre when Marcus & Narcissa Whitman were murdered by area Indians, along with others including two adopted boys from the Sager family, all seven of whom the Whitmans had adopted after their only child died by drowning.  A lot of history in this area…

By September 12th, Curt & Diane were back from their vacation and the four of us (and Maddie) snuck off on a day trip to Oregon before they had to return to work.  It was a beautiful day with wonderful friends!


We finally received word from Country Coach that the motorhome work was finished.  We would be homeless no more.  A big thanks to all of our friends and family who put up with us for the past 10 weeks – ya’ll are awesome!

Wednesday, September 19th: we have a “new” roof, repaired slide, non-creeping window seals, new running & porch lights, truly fixed engine brake, new A/C covers, new awning fabrics, etc. etc.  And, yes – we are quite a bit poorer now!  But, our home is in much better shapeSmile


  1. OK, so that covers Sept. 2012. And what adventure(s) came next? Done anything fun THIS year??? This MONTH?? Hope to see y'all again real soon, and, puhleeeeze bring some of that rain down with ya!! hugs all around!!

  2. Karin - you KNOW we've done fun things this year, but we've been so busy I haven't had time to work on the blog. Trying to now, so wish me luck:)