Archive for September, 2011


Woof

Really we don’t know how Mom does stuff without us. For example, me, Olympia, I’m the one who finds the lost keys. If they’re on the ground I step on em. There’s a button that makes a noise, I just put my paw on that over and over and wallah then we can go! Mason’s the serious one, always watching and encouraging and telling Mom where to stop and all. But now that we’re home, oh sure, it’s good to see our usual haunts, but we’re getting fat and lazy.

This is great place to curl up... just the right size and no one's going anywhere without me!

Jamie and the Dogs

To do list:

  1. Insulation for the floor from the heat (and later from the cold)
  2. Fix all loose and broken cabinet and door hinges, latches, etc
  3. Replace or repair rear side window crank
  4. Replace and repair privacy door sliders
  5. Solve leakage problem with fresh water hose / water regulator and make attachment easier
  6. Adjust or replace sewer hose for ease of operation and simplicity
  7. Purchase and install solar shades on all windows. . . will be backup light blockers behind the current window shades
  8. Seal gaps around rear cabin air conditioner
  9. Fabricate removable bed for front captain chairs
  10. Add padding to dogs view platform
  11. Purchase drill and other hardware as needed including tire gauge and voltage tester
  12. Take to RV shop for replacement of outside molding strip
  13. Oil change and check-up servicing
  14. Have heater hoses checked for leakage
  15. Take front curtains to dry cleaner
  16. Remove items not found useful–sort, clean and repack
  17. Test new 20amp fuse re refrigerator problem
  18. Think about updating radio to Bluetooth for GPS, cell phone, etc.. for ease of use
  19. Purchase better campground directory & boondock guide
  20. Add a Lagotto decal to van

I don’t feel right here, in my bedroom, doesn’t seem like I have ever been here before; I keep having panic attacks, move the curtains aside and find sunlight pouring in, a little starlight but there is no light here except the evil eye of the street lamp. The dogs seem to recognize where we are, for me everything’s wrong. My head is moving, my hands gripping the wheel but the world remains still.

A few days ago I pulled in to a vacant 65-footer space, $45 with discounts RV Park  in Fortuna below Eureka. The long dusk was fading. The cool air delicious. Mom had called and helped me decide to head North on 101 where there was lodging. The dogs were eager to be on sniffing running ground. Could have saved $$ if I’d discovered the Casino. Picked up a new water regulator at the shop in the morning. Over conversation I learned that in CA, state park runs $36 for no hook-ups and $50 was common for RV Parks. Wow.

Gorgeous in the Redwoods. The dogs and I did a few jaunts; we saw a deer so perfectly posed I wondered if it were a statue, then it moved. Olympia flew straight into the air! I tarried considering camping in the Redwoods; in the end I moved on.

Passed the RV Park in Willits that had been my first stop. Thought of staying there but couldn’t risk spoiling the piquancy of that night. The heat had whomped through the fog. By the time I reached Ukiah it was roasting. So much for a side trip to Clear Lake, wanted to but for the heat. The sign for a KOA in Cloverdale seemed right, took a chance. The road wound through grapevines and watery pools, lovely on small county lanes. Just when I decided it was a joke and there was no KOA I found it. When she said it was $45 I swallowed hard, well, okay then. I was determined to stay and enjoy myself. The dogs and I walked through the camp looking at the spaces, trying to understand the one she’s assigned us. Mason stepped on stickers; Olympia had branches stuck in her feet, dust was coating us from the underside, bees began to gather and it was hot! Was so hot I barely made it back to the LT and the air-conditioner. Told the proprietor I’d need 30 amps; oh, she said, then that space won’t work for you. It’ll be another $10. Oh My! I couldn’t do $55 for a camp that was burning air and dust—we’d never make it to the cute lake and the dogs couldn’t use the pool. What a shame, she told me the heat was an issue for them as well—the place was mostly deserted. Wound up at a semi-demolished RV park for $27 in Wilson, CA. Was on top of the 101, could reach over and feel the wiz of the traffic. No hot water, bathroom was moldy anyway. The pool empty, weeds everywhere, picnic tables gone. I stayed there anyway…apparently the property is to be converted to condos. Great, right on top of the fwy. Some climax to my first foray into RV camps…whoa. Nice public parks, cool lush grass, the dogs loved that. Except for the RV Park, the town looks new.

No swimming here

We had delicious fish and chips for about $8.00 in Pismo Beach! So much better than what we’d had in Washington for $18.00. And then here in the socked in fog. Haven’t seen much sun. The house is dark inside, like a cave. Little lights surrounding the painted red cement patio.

Daredevil RVer

“Home” is not the right direction for me. This start to go wrong in a hurry. I was homesick, once, the first time I went to Summer Camp as a young girl; it hasn’t happened since. However it was time. Heat is also not the right direction for me. It feels so good at first, like the old sun soaking days, sprawled on a beach towel at the Santa Monica or Venice beach, or out by the pool covered in baby oil with a dab of zinc oxide on the nose trying to see how brown (i.e. tan) we could go. Okay, sure we did a lot of things ‘wrong’ back in the ‘60s but it was fun. If I’d had a large bath full of cool water with a few floating toys in the back of the van maybe it’d help? Nevertheless I headed inland (again) spending the night at the Corvallis fairground. It was my 4th visit, the first time, some 10 years ago I’d been determined to move to Corvallis, I’d loved it. Yet each succeeding visit was like steel wood, removing its luster in my eyes. This visit was the worse. Public parks posted, “No DOGS” Jeesh! What is a park for? Tons of traffic. Heat. Run down neighborhoods. Specified Dog Parks that cannot be located. I finally did find a place to walk, on-leash. But then there was my accommodations; the shower was free but pathetic, spewing a bit of luke-warm water aimlessly for about 30 sec with each press of the button. Not one hook or platform to put your towel or clothes on to spare them a spraying. No trash container provided, laundry machines locked up—I had a spill and really really needed them! Blazing lights at night, of course; the stench of burned meat and caustic charcoal ( a no-no for a vegetarian,) the screaming of children, the thunder of the long-stay resident’s trucks  early and late, and then at 8 a.m. the City Tree Trimmers… And I had to PAY for that! So much for Corvallis, I decided it would be a long time, maybe never before I tried a 5th visit.

I headed to Eugene to buy a new pair of jeans; mine had been ruined by the “caustic spill.” It was rainy that morning so I’d flipped on the defroster. The LT began making a sound. It was whooshing, clicking off and on and off and on. Was the engine going to blow? A explosion would put an end to my homegoing. Stuck on I-5 in sweltering heat with two little dogs that depending upon me for everything. Oh Great. Could you see me carrying a dog under each elbow, a bag of dog food slung around my neck, my hair and clothes wetted down (and not rung out)…I’d be okay til they dried.

Eugene was bizarre. I did find a new pair of jeans at Marshals and slipped them on in the van. There was a pile of green fluid on the pavement. I checked the GPS and sure enough there was an RV repair shop very close. Spent the next 45 min being led in a wild goose chase in ever increasing circles down convoluted roads with college kids begging at every corner. “Can I have some money for a toaster,” one would cry, another wanted a piece of pizza for dinner, a camp-stove. What sort of bizarre world was this? Why weren’t these kids in class? Was this a collegiate hazing, a new course on begging in the streets? They were dressed better than me and were young and healthy. Why were they doing this? Since the LT hadn’t blown up yet I headed for the highway.

I turned the defroster off; heat was beginning to rise. I kept driving until I reached Ashland. Certainly normalcy would reign among the theatrical and their patrons. The city had grown. I found a nice RV park about 10 min from the city. Crowded but next to a river. Drove back to Ashland to find my dogs were not welcome in any of the great city parks. No mater, we walked along the shops and restaurants. I was so hungry my stomach hurt until I was nauseous. There was a smattering of outdoor seating but the prices stopped me. And there was more begging. This time the beggars looked like actors—young good looking ones and rather crazed made-up ones. Had a cold dinner of corn chips, a handful of nuts and a cookie back in the RV Park. Well, I’d try for a nice breakfast, I thought. Wrong. Never got that far, spent an hour searching for the dog park. No city parks would allow dogs, not even the “nature park.” We walked on the sidewalks around the greenery sadly looking in.

No, it’s not you Southern Oregon, it was me. Another time..another day. Grant’s Pass, Josephine, Smith River, Rouge River….  later when the thermometer is back to normal.

Thank you for visiting Oregon... I'll missya

I forged to California, with antsy dogs and a growling belly. Oh goodbye Oregon, Hello California. Ergo the nice welcoming sign at the first rest stop: No Dogs Allowed On The Grass. And did I say it was HOT! The woman in the air conditioned information center took a bit of pity on me. I wanted to come inside and see what they offered. “You can’t bring your dogs in here!!!” You’d think they carried bombs, dog bombs. I asked why, “we had a dog come in here and do its business right there on the carpet! WE had to clean it up!” You can come in if you carry them. I’m not fooling or making this up. It’s like 100 + outside and I’m not about to leave my pals in the LT to roast. No shade of course. No one else was inside the info building, they all had dogs and could read the not welcome sign. The nice lady finally hobbled over with her cane, when I asked her to hand me a map. “Here I’ll hold your dogs and you go in and sign our visitors book. That was the price for the map. I snuck a few other free brochures while my dogs were nervously looking in the window and the nice lady was getting worried about being out in the heat.

I failed to see my cousin in Ashland, I failed to see my friend Faith in Redding. I simply wanted out. I wanted cool. I wanted sane. I was very tired, dirty, overheated, worried about the dogs, the LT and anxious to start repairing the growing pile of little broken things. I decided to take a look at Weaverville. I’d fingered it many times on the map. My dad once told me to move there after he recovered from the shock of hearing that I wanted a small town to be my home; he lived in Oakland or was it Benicia at the time. I couldn’t imagine how he’d ever heard of Weaverville but since I’d written off Ashland, and that’d been another piece of my past with Alan and an old longing to live there which was now gone, I had to check out Weaverville. It was a longer curvier drive than I’d expected. And it was hot, I was absolutely certain that my dad suggesting such a place meant he hated me. Why send me to such an isolated woebegone brume? Fine, there was no fog, but seemed like a good word. It was actually sorta cute in a patriotic sorta way. Tons of flags, was this a holiday that I had missed? Maybe it was Flag Day? Of course there was no RV Park and I didn’t  want to stay anyway. But it was cute. Maybe Dad didn’t hate me? Okay, next was Hayfork, I’d seen it on Google and had looked at homes for sale in Realtor.com. It wasn’t too far from Faith who is probably wondering why I didn’t come see her and get some advice and nice drink and a meal… so sorry Faith! I’ll make it up to you–if I kept going from there I’d reach the coast and cool air!!!!

I did a check on my GPS. It didn’t like that direction for going home, but it wasn’t far. Here’s my advice—even if it’s early in the morning and you are up for an adventure, don’t take Hwy 3!  Maybe on a motorcycle with a cooler full of sandwiches and cold drinks. Not ever, not even for one moment try this in an RV. Don’t ever do this after a full day of driving, being exhausted, hungry, thirsty, tried, hot, with nervous dogs and an RV of uncertain conditions. You have to be crazy as a loon! Well wait a minute now, take a look at some of these You-Tubes! Wow, I want a motorcycle!!! I want to do this on a bike!  The day I was there, I saw maybe 8 or 9 beat up cars, a few big-tire trucks and a handful of bikes. They don’t show you the washed out sections of road, the continual hairpin turns, the steep grades up and steeper grades down. The one lane rutted sections. The nearness of the edge, the wind, the desolation.

So there I am worrying the LT will overheat, the dogs are clinging to their perch and looking somewhat green. Both Olympia and Mason were wedged together between the door handle and the window crouching and Mommy is hightailing it like a wootsy cow loving cowgirl trying to beat the dusk before complete darkness falls. Talk about a bumpy ride!!!

Welcome to California

I posted this for the irony. Shot it at the first rest stop on Hwy 5 entering CA. The large lush grassy areas were devoid of human (or canine) occupancy. It was hot, 100° or over. Where were all the people? There were lots of cars and RVs… The people were carefully avoiding the perfect grass–don’t step on the grass might get cooties! Oh the people were with their dogs! Some braved the stickery hot “dog area” others simply walked cautiously on the cement pathways. Was the most ridiculous sight. All for fear that someone might not clean up (and I know some people do not clean up for their pets – never mind that no scoopers were provided.)

….. here in Santa Barbara now, much more to tell and I will… tomorrow. Have been doing laundry and missing the Oregon and Washington coast!!!

California is Not Dreaming

Tomorrow I should be home. It will be a long day driving from here, Windsor CA but I can’t see delaying. The heat is crushing away from the coast and the CA coast is crowded and mucho expensive. If I were wealthy I’d move to the Russian River, Mendocino area, at least I think I would. I’ve always liked it. Had wanted to hit the west side of Clearlake – Bluelakes, Kelsyville, and up the Cobb Mountain—but the heat!!!!  Note to self–buy insulated heat damping material to put under rugs on the floor of the van. Ever feel melting linoleum? Mason tried to lay on that to get cool, hummm, doesn’t work; then mommy comes at him with that nasty spray bottle of water. The dogs believe in me, no matter what I put them through.

My last entirely good day was when I drove through the Tillamook Forest. …..Lets see where did I leave off? After Mt Hood and a sorta so-so night I decided I wanted to visit the spot along the Oregon coast that I’d missed. I took a quick trip through Portland first. I found the natural peace store (food store) where I used to make falafel burgers–big fat juicy ones, not the dry ones you sometimes get and the food coop. Alan and I belonged to both those when we lived in Portland. That fact didn’t get me membership prices however…  I think I passed the house I used to live in or at least one like it. I could see moving to Portland except for how big it is. I’d like to spend more time there as a visitor (as opposed to a resident.) It’s unfinished business but maybe I’m done, maybe this trip closed the circle of that part of my past which I’d longed for.

Can you see the rain drops?

Jumped on Hwy 6 without any inkling that I would fall in love. Tillamook Forest is the dream. 355,000 acres of woods burned (adding itself to the list of major forest fires) in a series of wipe-out blazes from 1939 to 1945; the movie said the forest burned every 6 years until they’d come up with idea to install fire roads and fire breaks. Accumulated burns had left the land barren. I fell in love before I heard the story: from inmates and foresters to children and housewives the forest was replanted one tree at a time. And 2 or 3 out of  every 5 plantings went into the smiling mouths of deer and elk. I met two senior women in the Interpretative Center with bits of joy sizzling like a pool of water around them. They showed me, “see, that girl in the picture, she’s my sister,” she was planing a 2-year seedling along with others, and she was smiling. “Wow, I have to tell my sister her picture is here.” She told me stories of the planting and every so often would become excited again… seeing another and another of the kids she used to know there on the museum walls.

ΦΦΦ/As I drove and walked through the forest that day I was swept into an ethereal mist. Such a young forest blossoming; how many trees had been touched by human hand and given to the earth? My heart began to scramble and flock, soaring with the vapor tongue of beginning rain. Here I could frolic, playing hide ‘n seek with the faeries, throwing my hair down, tossing off my shoes and laughing, laughing. Oh, I could have stayed until forever but of course I didn’t. The rain came harder and I moved along.


The dogs fought when I came down the coast to Lincoln City. Maybe it was my sadness at leaving bliss and finding traffic, and finding Lincoln City had changed, now full of chain stores, boulevards  jammed with tourist and tormenting traffic directions.  The State Park I’d been aiming for had turned into a gigantic gravel patched lot back to back with RVs. I couldn’t stay there, no matter I didn’t have reservations. I was lucky to find a spot at Devils Lake State Park–they had Yurts and things. I landed in the tent section with an easy walk to the lake, two women across from me in a tent and Honda.  The rain was soft now, faint, it would grow stronger in the early hours.


Yup, you guessed  it, I’m tired. Am in a strange place tonight, right next to hwy 101. Even rest stops have more separation from the traffic. This RV Park is in semi-demolished state. A lot of things don’t work or have vanished like the picnic tables and the grass and the hot water, but it’s still full price…..    Seems so wrong, I have the air conditioner pumping and it’s 10pm, and it was dark long before 9pm.


My apologies for the shortage of photos…  there are some on my Droid which I’ll post later..  the rain made me forget to take pictures.

Shot this from a park while the dogs were playing

St. Helens, Hood River, Mt Hood

Started this awhile ago… tonight I’m headed home; am in an RV Park near Ashland, OR. Went for a walk downtown, smelled all the great food. . . came “home” to make dinner only to find more of  my food had spoiled in spite of my best efforts, darn.

I’d gone back to staying in State Parks….  really love the lights out approach and with many of the kids back to school the State Parks seemed to be settling down. I fidgeted on the road, doing partial drives up one and back and then another and another…..  wound up in the upper campground at Castle Rock (Washington) side of Mount Hood…  I enjoyed that, lucked out with a double space in a clearing surrounded by tall thin pines, I went part way up the high road, then veered back and explored the lower road to the volcano but the visibility was almost nil and the driving hard mountain type so instead I tiptoed up the Columbia Gorge on the Washington side, then was struck by “intuition” and slide-slipped into Oregon for a rush up the Gorge on Hwy 84. That was a smart move. The smooth four lane highway was a joy to drive, along the way were sidetrips along the old “historic” highway. I took all of those! Waterfall hikes, resorts, the locks, the Bonneville Dam and of course lots of spectacular scenery. In searching for a campsite, my (not so) trusty GPS led me over a teensy weensy green metal draw bridge.  I NEVER want to do that bridge again in the LT. It’s very windy (gusty) and the LT does not track all that well. I had to do that bridge twice! Fine, it was only $0.75, one false move and you’re over the edge. It’s posted 25 mph but the cars push and cram trying to get you to move along. When I was on the other side I sampled the 2-lane narrow road that I would have taken (trying to make a U-turn) if not for my intuition. I wound up staying at a State Park flanked by the whistle-blowing freight train and the highway 7 miles South of Hood River on the Columbia. I loved the town in spite of their lack of RV accommodations. Apparently it was reborn after the demise of logging by California windsurfers. Indeed I saw lots of daring windsurfers. What would that be like, in that vast body of water zooming at top speed….what would Lewis and Clark have thought if they could have seen the future!!! My wind hands were getting pretty good at keeping the LT on the road.

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Hood River has been added as one of my favorite cities including the lush farmland as one starts to head east. I had a nice breakfast sitting with the dogs at a cafe then bought fresh peaches, tomatoes, blueberries and pear wine in the farmland. I didn’t feel the same about the forest in spite of dramatic views of Mount Hood. Maybe I was tired or already homesick for Hood River and the Columbia. Maybe it was the dark day and the dark woods. I decided not to camp in the woods…ah but I should have. I had trouble finding a place and wound up with a bad night at a crowded RV Park near where I’d started at Troutdale…  didn’t sleep well there as I had in the State Parks. I missed the dark night, the towering trees, the clamoring squirrels, the wind–blazing overhead lights and a laundry room can’t compare!

It’s A Dogs World

Traveling alone I can do what I want even if I don’t know what that is. Of course the dogs have an opinion but I can veto their choice. We have a system. What’s really cute is how excited they get when I stop and give them the, “let’s go”  signal. Heck It’s probably a roadside viewpoint, where they stand around while I gawk at something far over their head or on the other side of a wall, but they don’t care. When they’re not going they take turns in the driver’s seat guarding the LT till I get back. When I pull into a campsite or a nice RV park (and it has to be a nice one, Mason knows the difference,) it’s like a big jackpot for the day, tails a wagging, heads at the window, shinning happy eyes–makes me feel special–like I did something wonderful. Then we go for our walkabout and I just know those two are telling everyone how they get to go everywhere and are treated like royalty along the way. Today, though, they had a fight, their first one. It was over two big milk bones I had broken into four pieces that someone had given me for the dogs when I was lost. She was giving me directions. The dogs don’t usually like milk bones and I don’t blame ’em. I thought they’d probably let them sit there. Instead I heard extreme growing, snarling, my darlings were looking like they wanted to kill each other. I was furious. There will be peace in our little home. I scared them both (and me) telling them quite loudly that in actuality I was the one who makes all the decisions including who should eat what. The two of them were shocked to see me so riled up. They were both shaking but I ignored it. A half-hour later we were all friends again. Hope they remember who’s boss.

Trouble

After I left Larrabee. . . oh wait, I loved it so much I looked for property. Not for me apparently, not unless I win the lottery or land a grand jackpot at slot machine. So lovely.

My happy spot at Larrabbe

Troubles were building. Even at Larrabee I was having trouble. First it was the water; the new system Dan had helped me install was leaking; an hour of screwing and unscrewing left me cussing. The campsite faucet was also leaking. I broke off the remaining bit of the handle trying to get it to stop. I had the sewer hoses connected, still, I was standing in soggy stinky yuck. What I wanted was the space next to me. It was reserved but vacant. I drove off the nice couple from Canada to get the spot I was in now. The campground only offers a few RV sites…. the tent sites were empty. And tonight’s RV’ers seemed to have particularly vociferous dogs that Olympia wanted to have long discussions with ergo I asked the Canadians… well I didn’t really ask, it was complicated, and now my water wasn’t working. I knocked on the camp host’s trailer. I didn’t know what to expect, usually when I’d tried this the resulting reply would be rather grumpy. This one wasn’t. He came right out and played with the dogs. To my dismay he replaced the handle on the faucet.  However it wouldn’t turn so we sat and talked. I turned my head away when he mentioned that someone must have gone at it with pliers… hmm, no, I didn’t have any pliers but I did have a nice hammer in the back of my van.  He told me where to find the best views and the ins and outs of camp hosting and how his elder cat  who pulled loose his oxygen mask at night, might be succeeded by a dog.  As dark was settling in I was awarded permission to move to the coveted spot, nice and dry with no distractions for my dogs. I gave up on the water idea.

The next day I lingered until checkout at 1 pm, enjoying myself. I’d slept better here than anywhere on my trip so far. Of course it occurred to me to stay. I loved the place.  The sea, the cliffs, the flora and fauna…there was much to occupy me, but I left. I have no explanation. I thought I’d find the same loveliness at the next State Park. I didn’t, nor at the next 4 RV camps. You get the idea. I kept moving. Where ‘O Where is Jamie headed???? I had no idea, Mason had no idea and, Olympia she had her head propped on the door handle in an effort to not look completely bored. Me: Look at the map, the GPS and drive in that direction. I detoured through farm land. Rest and tarry? No I couldn’t. I did pick up a hot vegan dinner from a coop I passed, and non-vegan milk chocolate drops. I’d sort of noticed a lot of water in the refrigerator. It made a mess for me to clean. I’d switched the ‘fridge to propane and it cooled down; plugged in, it failed.

Canada and the San Juan Islands were very appealing except for the expense. I’m a woman with no income, so in the end I scrunched up my eyes staring at the map for some indication of a happy campground. I hate paying money for a bad night’s sleep. Sorry Kate I knew your home was not too far but I was on a mission.

My thought process is vaguely like a bird, maybe a drunk bird…. Oh I almost forgot I found the loons! They were at Larrabee, can’t blame ’em.

I like to find an odd way to get from here to wherever I’m going and land in a ‘just right’ nest; not too lonely, not too crowded, and so forth. I depend on my Garmin to led me. It does so via some very peculiar routes. Often I refuse to listen. It then has to re-route me. We play this game: I see an interesting road and take it, the GPS finds an even more interesting way to get me back on track and starts telling me to do U turns and to take these strange little byways. What do people think seeing a little RV in their midst far from the beaten trail?  Often they wave as if they should know me. I must be visiting somebody and they want to be sure they tell whoever it is, that yes, they were friendly to me. At times, I feel I’ve left the States and am in a nether land, then POP the GPS returns me to normalcy.

View from my campsite

At long last, and it was a short driving day for all my drama, but I was tired, I pulled in to Camano State Park. Not quite deserted, I found a few RVs and at a least 1 or 2 tenters. The RVs were all crowded in the few view spaces. What makes Washington park planners believe folks want to be hidden in trees when they camp? Dark trees, with no view? Are campers like church goers needing to be cloistered? A solemn shroud imparts the right attitude? Do they think we don’t notice that way that (OMG) another camper is right there behind that shadowy tree? What’s wrong with a view, and natural light and space. If I want cramped and dark I can go home. I want to see the world and watch the interchange of nature. Apparently others feel the same, the view spaces are prized.

It was a rough night…. Refirg trouble, door and latch trouble even the pantry door would not close, financial issues from home, Internet died every 2 to 5 minuets while I had issues with loading photos on WordPress and I kept at it, I spilled my dinner on the keyboard, was chased by bees, had to clean some toxic looking purple stuff from the picnic bench Olympia wanted to sit on, spent too much time on the cell phone and then was bitten horrifically by bugs; I gathered a bunch wood others had left for a campfire, it would be my first but I never had the time to light it.

In the morning I headed for the nearby beach to let the dogs run and promptly lost the LT keys in the park. It was that sort of day.

We stop at lots of these along the way

An hour or so ago the dogs were romping, chasing each other in happiness on the shoreline of the Columbia River… but wait…. first I need to catch up.

Dog Heaven

Therese and her husband Dan welcomed me, weary and disheveled to their home in Ferndale Washington. Was heaven for visiting humans and canines alike. They love guests. It was the first time we’d met although Therese’s voice is familiar from our Skype meetings-—she is the president of the Lagotto Club of America. We meet monthly via the Internet although I cannot always make those meetings, and sometimes feel I am too quiet when I do, we have a great club. I could see Therese truly loves dogs! These are very special people. A busy productive houseful filled with contented woofers… 2 grown Lagotti, one puppy Lagotto, a lab, a cute little Schipperke and a cat! (whoa did I miss any?) They romp in the grassy yard, bounce on the outside deck and lounge complacently, cuddled or alone on the couches and chairs. . . But Guido is special! Guido talks; he owns chairs and couches, he scuffles and masterfully flips himself in every direction at once while telling everyone his fanciful stories. He’’s a truly adorable wild-eye Lagotto boy, not to say that the rest of the crew are any less endearing. Check out Therese’s website.

Yummm!

Their hospitality was superb, I feel lucky and fortunate to have been their guest. A warm comfy king sized bed and bath, delicious meals, wine and tea, help with my ailing RV, laundry, a ride with top down in the Thunderbird… …just perfect.. Someday, when I find my own place I hope they will come stay with me and all the dogs too! Little Miss Olympia was not such a good house guest, oh no, she wanted to be the only dog that I would pet. Her voracious disapproval (i.e. jealousy) was way too much…. we’ll be working on her manners till she gets it right.

Dig that tail! Guido the Lagotto

Warning sign at the park in Bellingham near the Ferry Building

I stayed for two nights, my wanderlust overcoming me I headed for the delectable Larrabee State Park on Highway 11, but first I went to Al’s RV to pick up 2 new door latches and then to an astounding hardware complex—many shops all in one (I’m easily impressed but this place was huge.. if I’d had the time I could have lingered all day. The LT would have been chock full of my discoveries.) The clerk was gracious, walking the block or so to see my trouble– the bathroom door and closet were suffering. The closet was popping out of it’s screws allowing the hinge to displace and therefore the entire set of doors were continually swinging open as I drove. This rightfully scared the dogs, the closet door could easy fly off; with the privacy slider attached it’s particularly heavy, nevermind I cant’s see behind me when they pop. Dan had driven me all around Ferndale looking for a latch; alas Sunday is not a good day for that! The clerk at the hardware shop suggested fatter screws. Cost, $1.08! I replaced the falling out screws with the fatter ones—easy. Not so easy to install the new hinges. They looked the same but were longer and would not fit without drilling new holes. Back to Al’s, sure they could do it for me but with a min ½ hour, $48 labor charge. No thanks. A drill is now on my “to buy” list, meanwhile a bungee cord tied around the two door handles is keeping them from opening. This idea came from my hostess’s handyman; he cut me a piece of wood to put in the handles, but it kept sliding out, the bungee cord works better.

I did some sightseeing in Bellingham–yes the shops including TJ’s (Trader Joe’s) then the Alaska Ferry Building—it was deserted but fun to look around. This must have been the place where we caught the ferry back in the late ‘60s. Didn’t look familiar. Yes, I did think about going to Alaska!!! I spent the night at what has become my favorite beach on this trip, Larrabee State Park. The photos here don’t invoke the endorphin rush of pleasure this place brings. Ah my sweet Paradise! Except for one thing, alas, of course…pollution! Such a shame. I remember the case study of the Puget Sound area we did in my Master’s of Public Administration program, how corruption continues to denude the political agenda. Pollution is such a waste.

Walking to the beach at Larrabee

My best shots are on my cell phone and inside my head, so you may need to trek to the coast of Washington to see this park for yourself!