The Dance

I have ALWAYS loved to dance. I was doing the twist while listening to a transistor radio as young as 3 years of age. My teen and college years were in the Disco era. I could be found under the mirrored ball on the crowded dance floor several nights a week. Our kids and I danced in our kitchen all the time and still do when we are together. Dancing for me was and still remains one of my life’s greatest pleasures. I love to watch Dancing With The Stars.  It takes perseverance, thirst for knowledge and a competitive spirit.What I would do to be able to dance like they do! I love watching the improvements over all the weeks of practice. 

This past year we have been practicing a perfecting our own “dance” while learning the ropes of the Nomadic life. There are loads of similarities between learning the Tango and being on the move…especially the fact that it takes TWO people to do it. 

Just as any couples dance, one of the partners takes the lead and the other follows to make the dance appear seamless and effortless. Each does their movements in part to compliment the other. We have been perfecting our “dance” with lots of practice this summer as we have been moving across the northwest. 

We have been moving at least every seven days. That’s a bunch of packing up and then setting up at our new home for the week. Each time we move we load the Harley in the truck, stow everything in the “basement”, hook the truck onto the tow bar of the RV, unhook water, sewer etc….It takes time and precision of a dance routine. Any hiccup in the routine could cause a disaster. I am so thankful to have a wonderful partner to dance with. In the beginning it took hours to unpack and pack up. With practice we have gotten the routine down to a science and can be on the road on no time.

We danced our way out of the state of Washington which we called home for about a month into Oregon. 

 Logging trucks were everywhere on our route. Just before the bridge over the Columbia River we found out why. 

   
We followed along the Columbia River to make our home in Astoria, OR. Astoria is a quaint little town on the mouth Columbia River before it dumps into the Pacific Ocean. 

   

The Lewis and Clark Expedition spent the winter of 1805–1806 at Fort Clatsop, a small log structure south and west of modern-day Astoria. The expedition had hoped a ship would come by to take them back east, but instead endured a torturous winter of rain and cold, then returned east the way they came. Today the fort has been recreated and is now a historical park. 

   We never set out on this northwest adventure with the plan to follow the Lewis & Clark trail, but it sure has been the journey we ended up on. We too will be heading back east in a few weeks, BUT we will not be going back the same route as they did. We will continue to seek a new adventure on different “trails”.

 Astoria attracted a host of immigrants beginning in the late 19th century: Nordic settlers, primarily Finns which is my heritage.

The town has streets as steep as we have been on in San Francisco 

 The roads were dotted with these signs  
 Hopefully this route never needs to he used!

 Unbeknownst to us before we visited here, Astoria has been the place where the movies The Goonies, Short Circuit, The Black Stallion, Kindergarten Cop, Free Willy, Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Benji the Hunted, The Ring Two, Into the Wild, The Guardian were filmed. It is also the home town of the Counting Crows. Pretty cool stuff for the little town if you ask me!

We made our home at Camp Rilea an Oregon National Guard camp. While bicycling to the beach through the training facilities we came upon 3 different herds of Elk! 

  They were HUGE and appeared indifferent towards us thank goodness! 

Following the sound of crashing waves over the dunes, we went on bicycle to find the beauty of the Pacific  

   
 The rhythm of the crashing waves was music to our ears. For this week my handsome dance partner and I will continue our dance to the beat of the waves thanks to the Pacific Ocean.  

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OWNING LESS AND DOING MORE

A year ago this time was a stressful yet freeing time of our lives. We freed ourselves of “stuff”. It was a process, but so worth it. While looking at our “prized possessions” I will admit it was a walk down memory lane. Some things brought beautiful memories, yet there were things that we  asked ourselves why we ever kept it! The mantra we had was if it doesn’t fit into our RV or does not fit purpose for our new life it had to GO! 

When we cleaned out closets, under beds, attics etc…. I realized that we hoarded memories in things. Yes, some were family heirlooms. Those things I contacted extended family members to ask if they would like them. The others were sold only after I took pictures of them so I could have the memory. We took a small portion of our “treasurers” to store at our kid’s house in Tennessee. We are now collecting memories instead of things.

We moved out of our 3200 square foot home that we raised our family for 19 years into an aproximately 400 square feet of living space in our RV. We have all we need with room to spare. We are FREE of STUFF! 

In all honesty it was an undauting task. One year later I can honestly say there may be a day that our “Mobile Condo” will not be our full time home, but when we elect to move back into a “Sticks and Brick” home we will continue to be free of STUFF and continue to make a lot more memories.

Heaven Scent

There are certain scents that can conjure up some wonderful memories for us. The scent of pine trees for one is huge for us. The scent transports us back to a time in our life when we were carefree kids hanging out in the local forest preserve in our neighborhood.  

 The forest preserve was our natural play ground with huge pine trees, a lake and lots of paths to walk. In 1975 my hero and I, along with assorted friends started constructing a log cabin fort. We spent many a weekend and after school hiking back through the woods carrying tools that we “borrowed”from our parent’s garage to work. We cut down huge pine trees with the aid of only hand saws covered in sap. Using Penny nails we  constructed a fort that was 8×12 and 6 1/2 foot tall. Now that’s a LOT of hand sawing! Our fort took time but was a labor of love! Construction was completed after about 9 months. 

One day while we were all there enjoying the fruits of our labor we were greeted by Forest Rangers that informed us that our “cabin” was  a BIG NO NO! They wanted to know who was responsible for cutting down all these trees. My Hero took full responsibility for the construction. The Rangers were not in the least bit impressed with our hard work. They marched us out of the preserve to discuss the matter with his parents (“lucky” them because he took responsibility) as we were all of 14 & 15 years old. There was going to be a fine of $500 per tree cut down! YIKES!!! 

After discussing it all through with the powers that be, we were not fined. The county was going to open up the Preserve for all to enjoy with trails etc…They dismantled our cabin and used the logs we cut for bridges and path markers. Phew did we ever dodge a bullet! 

Now we are living amongst the wonderful scent of the glorious pines in Tacoma, WA area at the joint base of Fort Lewis/McChord AFB. Thankfully the sap is not running as my Hero would not be pleased. He stays busy sweeping up the needles though! 

  

Our sight backed up to a lovely little lake that is filled with swimmers and boaters.  

 
The sound of laughter and splashing can be heard during the afternoon, but is quickly replaced at 7:00 p.m. with the whir of helicopter blades as the Army practices its missions! WOW what a sight! 

    Let me tell you there is a LOT of training going  on here. This is one of the largest joint bases in the world. It is said that there are 25,000 active duty members here. The mission is training and deployment.
Staying in the campground I have had the privilege of meeting some young families that are relocating here from other facilities. I have   the utmost respect for these families. Moving is difficult to say the least. Relocating a family and having to wait for housing can be a long process. The women and children I met from all outward appearances take it in stride. They support our active duty members while making a new life in a strange new area because of the duty of their beloved soldier or airman. They make “home” wherever the military plants them. They are the unsung heroes of our military. 

Mt Ranier sits majestically to the southeast of us. It is breath taking. 

 We decided to take a ride to see it up close and personal. As we ventured out it was amazing how as incredibly huge the mountain was it would suddenly  disappear from sight. Then POOF emerge bigger than life. 

  We took the winding beautiful road up through pines that almost touched the sky. Some of the trunks were so BIG it would take at least two adults to measure around their circumference  
 The air was so clean, cool and fresh. The amazing aroma of pine every where. Then it was confirmed we were heading the right way 

 Paradise….. Yep, you betcha we were in Paradise both figuratively and literally! 

  Paradise is world-famous for its glorious views of wildflower meadows. It averages 680 inches of snow each winter. We were blessed to have a sunny day to explorer the area.  

 It is most frequently cloudy as it is cloaked in moisture from the Pacific Ocean and hooded by snow. 

 Mt Ranier is an active volcano. The Cascade Range has been volcanically active for millions of years. Like Mt. St. Helens, Mt Ranier has the potential to erupt again. The professionals say that it will give plenty of warning, but the threat of unexpected mudflows exists today. 

 These signs dotted the roadside. You can almost imagine the mud flowing down these channels.

   but for now spring thaw and rain water fill them.

While going up closer was impressive we both agree that seeing the mountain from afar was much more majestic! 

There was a 2 day heat wave while we have been here. On the warmest day we took advantage of going to the Maritime festival at the Port of Tacoma.  

 Very impressive and informative. ALL things that go to Alaska have to pass thru the Port of Tacoma. 

   The ship that passed us was MASSIVE, but is one of the “small” ships that services the port. This ship holds 10,000 containers that are shipped by road or rail across the country then loaded onto this ship to make it to their final destination. The weight is incredible. It is a miracle it floats. It took 3 rather large Tug Boats to guide the ship out if the port. It sure gave us a deeper appreciation of what it takes to get things from point A to point B be it grain, building materials, or ANYTHING!

Tacoma has been a great place to call home. It has rekindled some memories of our past and given us new memories for a life time! We may pass this way again.

 

 

Top Gun..well kind of

We made NAS Whidbey Island, WA home for not long enough. The place was gorgeous not only being able to have the Puget Sound out our front door, but the grounds were by far the best place we have been to yet. Filled with beautiful flowers every where we walked.

   
Even the shower house/bathroom had fresh cut flowers!
  
We felt like we were camping at the Ritz!

The campground was tucked in the active Naval Air Station home of the EA18 Growlers. 

   
They have a specialized mission that requires lots of training and practice. So along with the sound of waves crashing  and beautiful bird sounds, we were blessed with the roar of plane engines now and then while the troops were doing touch and go maneuvers. It was like having our own air show every other day. 

One day we decided to check it out up close (kinda) and personal. We rode our bikes down to the end of the flight line while they were doing touch and goes. So amazing and LOUD! With the theme of Top Gun playing in our head we watched the precision in action. I can only imagine what it would be like to land the Growler on an Aircraft carrier bouncing around on the ocean. No wonder it takes so many practice runs! 

    
 Again, we were reminded of the freedoms that we all are afforded here in the USA and at the cost of lives that freely go into harms way. Most of the Growlers missions are seamless yet when something goes wrong it is catastrophic to many. This memorial really tugged on our hearts. The children pointing to names of Daddys  and Mommys who didn’t get to come home to them.  

 Here too we started our day with Reveille and ended with Taps. Occasionally we got the pleasure of a group running by in Cadence 

  
We enjoyed bicycling daily. The paths were decorated with lots of unique art and signs 

   Look who else was here! Ha….we can’t seem to get away from Lewis & Clark’s travels! 

Amongst all the beauty we saw this sign was concerning to say the least  

A Superfund site is an uncontrolled or abandoned place where hazardous waste is located, possibly affecting local ecosystems or people. Yowser! The sights were covered in Blackberry bushes too! I guess the birds eat them.

Speaking of birds there was a resident Eagle perched majestically atop a huge tree every day. Our picture doesn’t do it justice. While looking at it through binoculars we could see it was every bit of 4 foot tall. His perch in the tree over looked our American and the Canadian flag. Gave me goosebumps! 

   
On one of our last days there we took a ride over to the Marina and found our boat  

   If we ever stop “Winging it” ……”Jammin it” maybe next on our bucket list!
Up before Reveille on to our next home. Tacoma, WA here we come!

Ahhhhh the 70’s

I loved the 70’s! Life was simpler. I loved everything about growing up in that decade and revisit often while listening to satellite radio.  A song can come on and beam me back to a time in my life immediately that brings me such joy, 

Today the 70’s bring me joy in another way… We have FINALLY reached a destination where we are enjoying 70 degree temperatures that we craved! AMEN!

We spent the 4th of July traveling from Spokane west and made our home for the night nestled in a campground amongst Douglas Fir trees in Cle Elum, WA 

 
A quaint little town on the Cle Elum River in the heart of the Cascade Mountains. It was finally cool enough to ride our bicycles so we took the opportunity to check out this picturesque town via 2 wheels enjoying the wind on our face.  

   
Up bright and early on the 5th heading further north to our new home. You would think that after all the miles we have done, this passenger would get more comfortable and more at ease traveling. In fact, I can say it is getting better, but I do not think going over mountain passes will EVER give me an “easy peaceful kind of feeling “😬. Up and over the Cascades we go towards Seattle. It is very scenic… at least when I would pry my eyelids open ! Whew we made it! 

If mountain passes were not bad enough we had to go over Desperation Pass  bridge from Fidalgo Island to our home on Whidbey Island 


The height is 180 feet depending on the tide. It is a two lane bridge with each lane 11 feet wide and 3 foot wide walk ways on each side for a total of 28 feet wide! Pretty impressive AND scary. We were traveling across on Sunday afternoon along with LOTS of others going the opposite direction towards their home after celebrating the holiday weekend. On top of those driving towards us, many of those folks were also standing on each of the walk ways taking in the magnificent views. 

   
These people were busy looking through various cameras or binoculars….they were NOT paying attention to the Mobile Condo/Circus Train that is 8 1/2 feet wide in the 11 foot wide lane! I swear it looked like we were going to take a few out or cause them to take the 180′ plunge with our huge side mirrors, but my calm and cool driver was able to keep the bus centered and no one was hurt!

We took a ride back over on our Harley yesterday to get a closer look. I was much calmer crossing it on the bike than in our home! The area was less traveled on a Tuesday and much fewer folks were on the walkways. We decided to walk across. YIKES! With knees shaking we started our journey all the while remembering what it was like crossing it in our Mobile Condo and keeping an eye out for large vehicles 

 Then…. What did my eye spy coming when we were smack dab in the center of the bridge? 

   
Holy Mother of GOD! The bridge started vibrating AND the draft the truck caused almost removed my hat! I started to laugh hysterically, NOT because it was the LEAST bit funny…. I was certifiably scared to tears! I could not get off that thing fast enough! The only scarier thought is that we get to drive back over it on SUNDAY with all the other Weekend Warriors! Yippie Skippie I cannot wait!

We arrived at our new home, Whidbey NAS safe, sound and before time to check in. Wow… Those who know us are aware of “Berthold Time” aka LATE. Try as we might we are almost always late. The slot we were scheduled to move into was still occupied. The lovely camp host offered us another option that was the “best” sight in the campground. To be very honest there didn’t seem to be a bad one anywhere. This is by far the BEST campground we have stayed at yet! It is probably the best kept secret ever. I am so thankful that I met  Coral while doing laundry in South Dakota as she is the person who told me we just “HAD” to make it to Whidbey NAS. By all accounts she was right!

Our view is amazing. We were able to pull in facing the Puget Sound. San Juan Islands to our right and Victoria Canada to our left. We were estatic! 

 
   
 
The natives here told us that they were experiencing an unusual weather system here. It is warmer than usual. It is in the mid 70’s. We are in heaven! They all are “sweating” and we are just taking it all in with big breathes of cool sea mist and enjoying the sun dancing on the Sound 

  
It appears that not only were the people sweating, but the big pine tree that they recently trimmed was also “sweating” sap all over our Mobile Condo and truck! 

 
Now my Hero is a patient man. Not many things get him riled ….that is with the exception of his dearly loved KC  Chiefs or KU Jayhawks losing a game,  STAINS …..and especially SAP! Whoa, the sap covering our stuff in less than 24 hours has him fit to be tied. He JUST cleaned the entire roof 2 days prior while we were living in Smoking Hot Spokane which was quite the chore! Off he marches to the office to request a move. He doesn’t care if they think this is the best spot in the park …WE NEED TO MOVE! 

His request is granted. We only need to move one space over. There are NO trees which is music to his ears. We still have a fantastic view of the Puget Sound. Let the packing commence!

Moving even only a space over requires stowing everything we put out to make our house cozy. Most of which we were able to walk to the new sight, but we still needed to unhook sewer, electric, water, pull in all the slides yada, yada yada…. It doesn’t matter if you move a few yards or travel miles it all needs to be done! So we get moved and the cleaning begins!

While we were staying at Great Falls we met a fella who use to work in the RV industry after he retired from the Marines. Bill was a wealth of information and loved to share it with anyone who had ears to hear. He shared with us a trick to clean all of our rig, truck &  Harley. He told us not to wax as it removes clear coat. Wash with a mild soap if really dirty, but all you need to use is a concoction of water and clear lamp oil in a spray bottle. Spray on and wipe off with a t-shirt. He mixed up a few tablespoons in a quart of water and sent us on our way.

We put thus WONDER concoction to use on the sap. WOW wow WOW! The stuff is magic! No scrubbing and the shine is incredible! 

We are incredibly blessed that God puts people in our path who help direct us to our next stay or give us tricks that they have learned while being fellow Nomads. We are especially thankful for Coral’s recommendation to make Whidbey Island home. Bill for his recipe to keep our home and toys shiny clean and sap free. 

Life is good on Whidbey Island! It has put Joy into our Journey this week!

 

Smoking HOT Spokane

Boy, talk about a change in weather! We went from sleeping with our windows opened while covering up with blankets in West Glacier, MT to living in a furnace in Spokane! As I previously wrote, we had a heck of a time getting the Mobile Condo close to a comfortable temperature with all 3 air conditioners running. 

  It sure didn’t help being a woman my age and having “personal summer moments” too😉! Our shades were drawn down tight to keep the blaring sun out. It felt like we were vampires trying to live in a cave! Occasionally we would venture out in search of a breeze and sit under a shade tree. No Harley riding either😢! 

We took advantage of the ungodly heat to get some chores done that we were putting off. We rode into downtown Spokane to check it out and get the oil changed in our truck. Thank goodness we did because during the “free” inspection they notice our tire took on screw! So we got to spend another hour in air conditioning while the tire was mended. Of course we have no idea when or where we picked up this screw . We are praying all 8 of the Mobile Condo’s “shoes” have not also picked up a treasure. Whew, so far so good all are air tight!

Spokane is a pretty city. Lots of bridges over rivers. Parks filled with children playing. We drove by the BIGGEST  Radio Flyer wagon EVER. 

  

Spokane was host to a large 3 on 3 basketball tournament the weekend we were here. It is said that the asphalt temperature was 168 degrees! So when I say it was hot I am NOT being a “Drama Llama”! I had a hard enough time sitting in the shade under a tree. How or WHY people played ball is beyond me. I spoke with a lady who had been to the tourney watching her son play. She said that her flip flops MELTED on her feet and burned the top of them! YIKES!!

Although our campground was sparce in the tree department we did have a spring fed lake to cool off in. The beach was filled with loads of people trying to get cool. We rented a boat for a day and wandered off to a cove. So refreshing!

   
We are ready to be cooler! We are heading further northwest. We broke camp at dawn today to avoid driving in the heat. Crossing the Columbia Basin you can see just how scorched the land is. Rain would be a huge blessing! 


Crossing the Columbia River and seeing snow covered Mt Ranier on the horizon we can almost feel the coolness we crave. Now this is the Washington we thought we would be seeing!

  

  It will be a QUIET 4 th of July here in Cle Elum, WA. Bans on all fireworks, charcoal grills and campfires because the threat of more forest fires is so huge.  

 Tomorrow we will make Whidbey Island our new home. I am hopeful that being on the ocean cools us to our hearts content! 

Wishing  everyone has a happy and safe celebration where ever you call home!