August 20 - Oct 9 - Family Time, Errands and some fun
We pulled into Jan & Denny's driveway (36) in Longbranch WA on Judy's birthday (her big seven-oh), as they'd agreed to let us leave the motorhome there while we cruised to Alaska. We generally downplay birthdays, but not so Jan & Denny. As Judy's birthday came the day before Denny's, we figured a joint celebration would probably happen. It did.
The level of surprise grew a bit when Denny returned Thursday evening from Eugene OR with Judy's other sister Joanna in tow. That was cool. And then the next night, just before we headed out for birthday dinner, in walk Ira & Anna, who'd driven up from Portland. As it was a Friday night, that meant they'd both taken a day off from work. The level of surprise was now much higher. Collusion had obviously been committed.
Dinner was very nice. We were joined by niece Lauren and Paul, and post meal came a delicious birthday cake (not sure when Jan did that) in honor of both Denny & Judy. Very good cake, it was. Back at Jan and Denny's, prezzies were opened. This is a group that takes birthday card shopping very seriously, and the cards exchanged are dutifully read to all. Perhaps the best one was given to Judy by Joanna, which assured her that even though this was her 70th birthday, it didn't mean she was old. Open card. "Hell, you were old last year!".
And then we took our cruise (links to our cruise report), returning after a week on Aug 29.
Until Labor Day, we pretty much just hung around and visited, with occasional outings to Costco and Home Depot. One of Judy's birthday gifts was tickets to the Tacoma Museum of Glass, a place we'd been wanting to visit for years. We are big fans of blown glass artist Dale Chihuly, and being as he's from the Tacoma area, he was instrumental in the building of a marvelous museum of glass art, highlighted by a wonderful stadium-style "hot room" where glass blowers work their magic daily. Jan & Denny drove us over (they have the SUV) and we spent most of the day. Truly wonderful.
We'd never been sailing on Jan & Denny's motor sailer the Photofinish, so one day when the weather was nice they brought the boat around and we spent a few hours on the water. There was a nice wind and Denny was able to sail most of the time we were out. Much fun. We think we prefer our "land yacht", though.
Labor Day weekend Jan & Denny played host to Dirk & Birget Vogel and their two kids Jonah and Timothy. The Vogels are from Bayreuth Germany, and Dirk was an exchange student in Eugene the same time Jan & Denny's twins were in high school. They were winding up a three-week visit to the area where Dirk spent his exchange year, reconnecting with friends, and showing the area off to his family. Great folks, and much fun.
Day after Labor Day, we drove southwest to Seaside OR (37) for a couple of days to check in with Judy's brother John. John had major open heart surgery in July, and we wanted to make sure he was mending well before we disappeared for the winter. John is doing fantastically well. Shortly after we left, he went back to Portland for a checkup, was given a clean bill of health and permission to go back to work. That he did. We haven't yet convinced him of the joys of retirement.
From Seaside, south to Pacific City OR (38) for 10 days. We'd never spent more than a few hours on this part of the Oregon Coast, and we were looking forward to the visit. We parked just a few hundred yards from the ocean - couldn't see it from our rig, but we could hear the surf. We made a few trips into Tillamook and Lincoln City, revisited the delightful Tillamook Air Museum, had a yummy lunch at Pacific City's Grateful Bread restaurant (the name drew us in, but the food was also first class - you gotta try their gingerbread pancakes), and were surprised to sign the guest book at the local Presbyterian Church right below Dick and Harriet Smith from Florence OR, who sat just a couple rows ahead of us. We had a nice, but brief visit after church. We also took advantage of the very nice "electronics superstore" in Lincoln City (actually, one of the best Radio Shack stores we've ever seen) to change our satellite TV service to DirecTV.
Next stop, Florence OR (39) for almost 3 weeks, where we reconnected with friends, took care of our annual doctoring and took advantage of the expertise at Florence RV Service to have a few nagging things fixed on the motorhome. We have a microwave that's over the hill, and we'd hoped to replace it. Alas, it takes a very special microwave to mount in this particular motorhome (we discovered after having it removed) and we were unable to find one. That quest continues. We made a couple of shopping trips into Eugene and also had a visit with Joanna, had a delightful dinner with Wes & Vendy Lockard, who had just returned from their Alaskan vacation and cruise, and patronized Benny's International Cafe in Florence for way too many yummy calories. One night, we drove to Corvallis for a marvelous jazz harp concert by Park Stickney and Rudiger Oppermann. We've heard Park a few times at various harp festivals, but never Rudiger. A most delightful evening, and Judy got to see several of her harp friends from Eugene and Corvallis. One of the things we still need fixed on the motorhome is a nagging water leak near the front of our slide-out room. Turns out we'll need a visit to the factory to fix it. Meanwhile, we will give the evil eye to any rain dancers we encounter. We're scheduled at the factory in Lancaster CA on Nov 16.
Oh - the doctor visits went very well, and we've been told we'll probably live longer than we can possibly afford to. Judy had a chance to go to a meeting of her Reedsport PEO chapter and actually visited her home Curves location for her exercises. We actually were able to go to our own church three weeks in a row, and Judy sang in the choir one of those weeks. A very good visit. We also took our unsold house in Reedsport off the market for at least the winter, and it was rented within a couple of days. Good thing to have that income, too, as the house needs a new roof, which it should be getting as we post this report.
From Florence, we drove to Junction City OR (40) where the craftsmen at Countryside Interiors removed most of the carpeting in the RV and replaced it with very nice simulated flagstone (OK, vinyl flooring), to which we added a new upholstered recliner. The carpet was getting pretty worn, and now we have a floor Judy can sweep instead of having to vacuum. Very nice improvement.
So - not much touristy stuff considering the length of time this report covers, but lots of visiting and errands. We did take some pictures, and we've posted some of those here.