The Start of the Southern Migration

It’s time…the weather is changing…fall will quickly turn into winter in the PNW and so we begin our southern migration. Eventually we will end up in Palm Springs California at the Outdoor Resort where we own a lot. But the trip in between will be filled with visiting family and friends.

We left Anacortes with heavy fog bidding us farewell. Our destination, Portland Oregon where we planned to spend 5 nights at Pheasant Ridge RV Park in Wilsonville. Those five days were spent catching up with our long time Portland friends and family. We were well fed…really well fed!!! That’s one common thread with all our friends…they are all amazing cooks, one actually being a Cordon Blue trained chef and they all like good food and wine. We managed to get in a few good walks to try and counter balance all the eating.

Goodbye fog…

Hello Oregon!!!

Our next five days would be back to back driving – something we normally don’t like to do but we were on a mission to get to Sedona where we would be staying for three weeks. Now, that’s civilized!!! We were super excited to be meeting up with fellow RV full timer friends Sharon and Joe there. The route we chose to Sedona would be remote state roads or highways through eastern Oregon and Nevada allowing us to avoid major interstates as long as possible. Interstates in generally suck… One would think they would be the cats meow, well paved and well traveled. Not always and the well traveled part is sometimes no fun in a big ass coach. Back roads can be a risk too but with all the internet rver info, I can totally figure out which roads to avoid. That said, I am here to tell you google maps is not always your friend in an RV. Fastest route, well that’s great except when it sends you down switchbacks with a 15% grade. Nope, don’t trust it and ALWAYS double check the route it recommends.

Leaving Portland, we headed over Mt. Hood on Hwy 26 and it was raining so no great views of the beautiful mountain. This road is great for big rigs, even with the big pass to climb. Thanks to our auxiliary braking system and cruise control, Wally’s driving stress is minimal. Hee-Hee, easy for me to say from my comfy reclining passenger seat. Hey, my job is to plan our route, navigate, look for sightseeing opportunities and good restaurants. I honestly tell myself that me driving would most likely be more stressful for Wally than him driving. That’s my story and I am sticking to it!!!

Love my reclining navigators seat!!!

Our a first night was spent near Burns Oregon…got in late, didn’t even unhitch the car or level the coach as we planned an early departure the next morning. I try to keep our drive days under 300 miles and this leg of our drive was the longest at 305 miles.

The second day was a beautiful drive with little to no traffic to Winnemuca Nevada where we stayed at the New Frontier RV Park. This RV park was in a great location and had large, level pull through sites – perfect for our one night stay. Again, we didn’t unhitch the car or level the coach.  As it turned out, a friend I know from Palm Springs was also on the way to Winnemucca and was also staying at the same RV place. Small world right? Sue is an amazing photographer and I have been enjoying her Facebook posts over the summer. Of course, we had to meet for happy hour!! 

On the road again early the next morning, our third stop was in Ely Nevada where we stayed at the Ely KOA. Again convenient and very okay for one night. Good thing we wanted to unhitch the car that night because the pull through site was just long enough for the coach but would have never worked with the car attached.

I was desperate for some exercise by then and had found a state park nearby to explore, so after a late lunch, off we went to the Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park. I was intrigued by the charcoal ovens and wanted to take a look.

The 700-acre state park is a designated historic area and protects beehive-shaped charcoal ovens constructed in the latter half of the 19th century. Bonus points for having some flat hiking trails, a stream and cows to keep us company! Only saw one other couple there while we were exploring.

Our fourth day, again started early and was our last day on the awesome Nevada State Roads. The remote back roads gave way to the interstate near Las Vegas where we found ourselves back in traffic. EWWW DAVID!!!  Our destination for the night was Boulder City, where we stayed at the Lake Mead RV Village. I popped for a lake view site and it was worth the few extra dollars. This was the only stop along the way that I actually wished we had a few more days to explore. 

Lake Mead is huge but we only saw a small amount of it on this quick stopover.

Hoover Dam was closed to tourism but we had a great time at Hemenway Park in Boulder City. It was a Trip Advisor recommendation and boasted Big Horn Sheep that made frequent appearances. I was skeptical as we pulled in as it was in a fairly developed area but was quickly delighted to see a big herd of smelly sheep grazing happily on the luscious green park grass. Seriously, these sheep are no dummies…the area just outside the Park looked dry and barren. Not only were there sheep but sheep with a view. SCORE!!!

We also took a drive to the tiny historical downtown Boulder City where we enjoyed all the old neon signs and found an awesome brewpub with outdoor patio seating. The Road House tour guide had also scoped out a highly rated BBQ joint where we got take out and enjoyed a simple meal back at the RV Village overlooking the lake. Overall, the highlight so far of our pedal to the metal road trip.

The next morning we were up early again (okay don’t go getting all impressed… 7 am isn’t that early to some folks). For what ever reason, Sucia Kitty went on strike and hid under the couch. Apparently she doesn’t appreciate moving everyday either or getting up early!!! I had to use a broom to get her out… (not appreciated either) but managed to get her in her travel crate without much fuss. She is a bit of a timid kitty, so we always put her in a spacious travel crate with a litter pan when we are on the road. She is usually quite content to be in there and often just puts herself in it on mornings when she knows we are traveling. 

Our last leg of the trip was honestly the most stressful, kitty under the couch, a weird (am I going to Heaven) tunnel just out of the Lake Mead area, heavy traffic with road construction in Las Vegas, CRAPPY roads on I17 in AZ and more crappy traffic and road construction in Sedona. The final fun part was navigating five roundabouts in Sedona with the last one pushing us into some super tight areas where I almost had to get out and move the road construction signs. Traffic was backed up and we crawled along on 89a but finally made it to Rancho Sedona where we would put down the jacks, level up the coach and unhitch the car for three weeks – YAY!!!

Am I seeing the light????

Off to a weird, winding start just outside Lake Mead!!

We were all worn slick (a favorite Oklahoma saying I learned from my friend Joe) when we arrived at the Rancho Sedona RV Park but after lunch we rallied and later had a wonderful dinner and evening, sitting outside under the stars catching up with Joe and Sharon. Seems the Sedona vortex can heal even the most stressful drive days!!! 

Yep, worn slick!!!

Our Social Distancing Summer

Who would have thunk that there would be a pandemic when we planned for our nomadic lifestyle. The buzz words “social distancing” had never been uttered, the concept of staying 6 feet away from other people and wearing a mask – utterly silly. Fast forward to the hell year known as 2020…never imagined our nomadic lifestyle would actually become the envy of people who found themselves locked in there homes, afraid to travel or venture out of their safe bubble. Ironically, RV’s and boats have sold at record pace this year as many people sought a way to stay safe while getting out and seeing the US. It’s not like the rest of the world is welcoming US travelers …okay, and with good reason. But I won’t digress into a political rant at this point!!!

We easily transition onto the boat from the coach, continuing our newly learned social distancing skills and honestly had a great summer in the San Juan Islands. This year we used our marina in Anacortes as base camp so no big provisioning like prior years. Anacortes felt super safe…all summer events (no stupid Sturgis like events were allowed to happen) were cancelled so tourism was much lower than normal. People in Anacortes were diligent about wearing masks and we frequented several restaurants that had outdoor dining. 

Our first outing of the season was buddy boating with our friends Kristen and John. We had great weather and had fun showing them some of our favorite anchorages and marinas in the San Juans.

Our big boat project this year was the flybridge remodel, which I must say turned out great. All new seating, a second helm chair, new carpet and vinyl covers for all the storage areas. The biggest chore was getting the old, heavy wood based furniture off the flybridge. This was made way easier by hiring two young, energetic dudes to assist Wally who mainly just had to oversee them. Anymore, we write checks for anything that will require us to go to the chiropractor more than once!

Of course there were the unexpected repairs …it’s a boat! Luckily, none of them cost a boat unit this time, just a bit of frustration and sweat equity. Yep, that is one of our macerator toilets in the picture below …on the dock … getting a huge clog removed. This may be way too much information but never flush a macerator toilet when your water pump is turned off – oops poops!!! We also had a window break mysteriously in the galley but luckily we were not underway.

Staying in the San Juans (not by choice) meant we could host more guests and spend more time with local boating friends. Not sure if it is our age or ??? but our friends have been uber careful as well and we all felt comfortable spending time together.  

Oysters and clams at the Wescott Bay Shell Fish Farm.
Big crab feed with friends Darryl and Randy from Manzanita Oregon.

Out on the water we had several floating happy hours with friends. Sometimes rafted to the back of our boat and some days rafted to other friends boats – how’s that for proper distancing! The San Juans are full of great places to hike and with the kayaks we could get plenty of exercise. Despite the exercise,  I am pretty sure I still may have consumed more calories at happy hour than I expended on shore. 

Wally tried paddle boarding for the first time…we may need to add a new toy to the
Beach House!

June was a bit gloomy but in July the weather turned 100% San Juan Summer. We had a great time boating with a group of friends from Anacortes and crabbing with long-time boating friends from Portland. I added some serious amounts of sea glass to my collection from Sucia and Patos Islands. I also added a new favorite cocktail to the rotation – (thanks Ted and Marsha).

Kraken rum and ginger beer… ridiculously delicious.

We had a staycation with our friends Steve and Donna who came up from Portland in August. The gale force winds kept us in port for most of their stay but we had a great time anyway. Before the windstorm descended, we got in a day cruise around Lummi Island and lunched on the hook at Eagle Harbor. A big drama unfolded as we all took a walk, in the wind, from our marina over to the point by the port marina, Cap Sante. What we saw, were huge waves tossing boats like corks in Fildalgo Bay and two boats washed up on the breakwater rocks.

We were all mesmerized so we stopped back later in the day to see how the rescues were going. That was when we met the owner of the partially submerged powerboat…His boat was a total loss and was signed over to a salvage company who eventually got it off the rocks outside the break water entrance of Cap Sante Marina. He was devastated as he loved that boat and had worked so hard to buy it. Luckily, the sailboat (which ironically, was his father-in-laws boat) was rescued. I think the keel saved it from sinking as it got lodged into the breakwater rock wall, keeping it mostly upright.

The calm after the storm…

Stuart island has been a long time favorite and this year we spent several days with friends Howard and Susan who own a home on the island. The Beach House was tied up to their mooring buoy in the bay which is just below their house. The views are stunning from both their deck and from the water. We enjoyed dinner al fresco on their deck one evening and had a huge crab feed on the boat one night – no surprise right!! But the real treat was the “mule” tour of their end of the island. We piled into the mule – aka an ATV and Howard motored us all around on the rustic roads. Stuart Island is only assessable by private boat or small airplane so it was great fun to actually see the island from land. There are no stores, no electricity (homes have solar and/or generator power) and all water is via a private well.

Our last big hurrah was a week long buddy boat cruise in the smoke/fog/smog with friends Caety and Frank from Wyoming. Our mutual friend Jane was onboard the Beach House and it happened to be her birthday trip – can you say Jell-O shots!!!. Caety and Frank brought loads of food from their ranch and garden so boy, did we eat well. It was a bit of a surreal week as smoke from the Washington and Oregon wildfires blew into the islands. The combination of marine fog and smoke had us running the boats on radar when were were cruising from island to island. It did not stop us from crabbing and the guys dropped some lines for salmon too. The girls did a day trip in our boston whaler to Roche Harbor where we toured the sculpture garden.

The pets had a pretty darn good summer too. Crab is Sucia’s favorite food and she was always the first one at the table for a crab feed. She’s gotten to be such a PIA that we have had to lock her in our stateroom during dinner when we have friends onboard and are serving crab. Bad kitty….

Yep, she’s waiting…

Our 4 months in Anacortes flew by, in late September we had the Beach House hauled out for maintenance and we moved onto the Road House. Our last two weeks in Anacortes were spend closing up the boat for the winter, getting the coach ready to roll, doing routine doctors visits and yes, some happy hours and dinners with friends. We also got in a bit of local crabbing too before we pulled the boston whaler out for the winter. 

Despite COVID, summer 2020 was pretty darn enjoyable!!! Sedona, here we come…

Okay, a few more of my favorite pictures…

Pop Goes the Window…

On a boat there are always planned projects like our recent flybridge remodel. Unfortunately, there seems to always be some sort of unplanned project too. Sometimes, they are major… like our recent galley window replacement.

The weird thing about this unplanned project was how the window actually broke. I mean all we were doing was drinking wine and playing cards with friends in the salon…its not like it was some wild party with dancing on the counter tops. Yep, that ship has sailed!!!

Then pop…a really loud pop… it sounded a bit like a shot was fired. I got off the counter, oops I mean I got up from the salon table and took a look around. Just in time to see the galley window cracking and see some glass on the countertop. Did a bird hit the window…nope. Well, what the hell???

It was sickly fascinating to watch the glass crack into this mosaic.

Not long before the big pop, I was in the galley prepping salmon for dinner and making a lemon, garlic yogurt sauce. So glad the glass didn’t end up all over my beautiful moroccan spiced salmon fillets.

All we can figure is that holes around the the slider latch got stressed and just gave way. Not wanting to slow down the raging party, Wally knocked all the fractured safety glass out, found some plastic, duct tape and patched the gaping whole that was the window up for the night.

The area where there is no glass is where the slider latch holes used to be.

The good news is that we were at our dock in Anacortes and not out on the water somewhere or underway. The other good news is that we actually had a spare window and frame(s) in our storage unit. I know, who the heck has a spare window and frame for the one window that mysterious blows out??? Well, thanks to the prior owner of the boat, we have all kinds of one off spare for the Beach House.

We had a local glass guy with boat experience come by with hopes it would be a simple glass replacement. Nope, of course not, it’s a boat. After taking look at the project, Mark from Quality Glass counseled Wally to replace the entire window and frame with the spare which was in great shape. He unfortunately couldn’t get to it for over a week so Mr. Handy Pants got out his tools and got to work.

Getting the screws out of the frame and taking the trim pieces off was a snap. But then the frustrating fun began, lots of tapping and pounding with a rubber mallet and putty knife ensued. Seems boat window frames are really well bonded in. The sound of the frame coming out of the fiberglass was a bit terrifying. According to Mr. Handy Pants, he was terrified periodically thru out the whole removal.

No spices were harmed during this unplanned project.

Several trips to the hardware store to get a new tool and then to West Marine to get some anti-bonding spray. Seriously, who know anti-bond spray was actually a thing. Guess Wally did and this miracle spray loosened up all the remaining bond That was left on the fiberglass so he could scrape the area clean.

At this point, I was really glad I married a handy guy and really glad I wasn’t expected to help. I chose to stay out of the way and just chime in occasionally with words of encouragement. I also learned about another magic product called Sikaflex. When Wally told me he need more Sikaflex, I got the giggles thinking maybe it was a wonder drug like the ones you hear about on TV. I had images of a couple sitting in bathtubs, holding hands as the sun goes down.

Turns out, I was way off base…Sikaflex is a fast cure adhesive/sealant – LOL!!!

Open air window …not a great concept for a boat!

Not sure if if would have been a 2 1/2 day project for Mark, but is sure was for Wally. Of course Marks bill would have been at least a boat unit (Boat stands for break out another thousand) and Mr. Handy Pants works for good food and wine, all of which I was happy to supply.

I disappeared for most of the afternoon today and came back to a swanky new window frame complete with glass in both sides. Being the good assistant that I am, wine was poured and the unplanned project completion was celebrated!

YAY… solid glass and a functional latch.

Green Bean, Potato and Egg Salad with Goat Cheese Dressing was served with a huge mound of fresh, Steamed Crab, Garlicky Focaccia Bread and a bottle of 2018 Domaine Gerbeaux Macon Villages Chardonnay.

Buddy Boating….

Wally and I have cruised solo to some very isolated areas. We have enjoyed every minute of exploring these new areas and the peaceful, quiet anchorages. #our38ftliferocks, #our38ftlife

Beach House anchored near Greenway Sound in the Broughton Islands.

We also really enjoy cruising with friends and “buddy boating”. Our first cruise of the summer was with friends, Kristen and John who chartered a 36 foot motor yacht out of Anacortes. They had never operated a boat that large so we were totally up for the challenge of helping John learn how to handle a big boat and showing them the San Juan Islands.

The Scaparre

To charter a boat with out a licensed captain means that you need to have experience in a similar boat, understand the rules of the road, navigation and how to operate a big, heavy floating object with no brakes! Yep, there is a test and basically you have to be able to get the boat out of the slip, out of the marina and back in again, then dock the boat back in the slip. Ideally you don’t hit anything…yep, that will get you a big F. Sounds pretty straight forward right??? Well, toss in winds and currents and things can get hinky really fast.

John did great on his two training cruises with us on the Beach House. Wally ran him thru the paces, did some docking at a nearby marina with big open slips and took him to the marina that the charter boat was moored at. Once there he practiced maneuvering in and out of their breakwater.

Anacortes Marina…the breakwater exit (Gar left corner) is a tricky 90 degree turn. Remember, no brakes, wind and current…HINKY!!!

Ready, set, go…Saturday was D Day! I was a nervous wreck, hoping the wind didn’t pick up, hoping our training sessions were enough, hoping everything went well during the check out cruise. Like proud parents, we knew he would do just fine (but I was still a nervous wreck) and of course he aced his check out test. Now it was a mad rush for them to load the boat and get out on the water. We had plans to meet them outside our marina which is on the other side of Anacortes.

It was so exciting to get their text that they were underway and to see them out on the Guemes Channel headed our way. The sky was dark and a bit foreboding but that certainly didn’t dampen our enthusiasm to hit the marine highway.

Part of the fun of buddy boating is sharing meals and trip planning. Kristen and I planned menus and divided dinners, then shopped together to provision both boats. Since we live aboard all summer, our floating pantry is usually pretty well stocked which makes buddy boating easier too. Forgot something? Good chances are one of your buddy boats will have it.

I had put together a loose itinerary which included some of our favorite anchorages and a marina stop.

Our cruise route around the islands…

Weather and wind sometime dictate where we go and on this trip we mostly had ideal weather. We did make a few adjustments…especially when I found out our favorite seafood farm wasn’t open until Tuesday. I know, tough life right!!! But hey, fresh oysters, mussels and clams were part of the menu plan.

Our first night was spent anchored in Hunter Bay which is on the south end of Lopez Island. The Beach House was the anchored boat with Scaparre rafted to us. Rafting is essentially when one boat ties off the other. Typically, the heaviest boat anchors and in our case that was true plus we have years of experience anchoring. Anchoring can be tricky and is definitely a learned skill.

We had a relaxing evening In Hunter Bay after a stressful but exciting day. There was definitely some wine consumed and an easy dinner of pulled pork tacos, black beans and slaw on the Beach House was enjoyed by by all.

After a slow, relaxed morning we pulled anchor Sunday and cruised about 2.5 hours to Stuart Island where we found a great anchorage in Reid Harbor. Stuart Island Marine State Park is one of our favorites, with two great harbors for boaters, docks, mooring buoys and hiking. The rest of this 2.8 sq mi island which is only assessable by private boat or private plane is home to two communities of full and part-time residents, a state park, a one-room schoolhouse, and two airstrips. At the northern end is a beautifully restored light house which is 6.2 mile hike from the marine park.

The highlight of our two night stay there was watching a pair of Osprey’s fledge their chick. Those parents weren’t messing around either….despite juniors squawking and numerous attempts to get back in the nest, they had him flying like a champ by the end of the day.

Not only did we see ospreys, there were numerous eagle sightings, otters, kingfishers and we even saw a seal thermoregulating right near us for hours.

Beach House and Scaparre on the floating dock in Reid Harbor.

Our second day in Reid Harbor, we left the Beach House tied to a floating dock and took the Scaparre for a day cruise around Stuart Island. We anchored the boat in Prevost Harbor and had lunch, then continued the cruise around the island. It seemed fitting to have John cruise through John’s passage!

On Tuesday it was time to move on to Garrison Bay which is just a short 35 minute cruise from Reid Harbor

Garrison Bay has loads of history, some great hiking trails and the Wescott Bay Shellfish Company is just around the corner. Not only did we enjoy a great oyster happy hour there, freshly harvested mussels, clams and more oysters came back to the Beach House.

Seafood Paella anyone???

Our big excitement while we were anchored in Garrison Bay was seeing two Orca whales swim into the mouth of the bay. Hell yes, we stopped our happy hour on the flybridge of the Scarparre, jumped in our dingy and flew out there to check it out. We got close enough to see them surface a few times and head out through narrow Mosquito Pass. Orca sightings are very common on the southern side of San Juan Island but we have never seen Orcas come into Garrison Bay…what a thrill!!!

After two beautiful days in Garrison Bay it was time for a “city” fix! Roche Harbor Marina is the premier marina in the San Juan Islands and no cruise is complete without a stop-over there. Normally, Roche would be bustling with summer travelers but with Covid-19, the resort and marina were unusually quiet.

During our two day visit the resort and marina were operating at 50% occupancy as part of Washington’s phase 2 reopening plan. Even at that, we found plenty to keep us busy plus we had a birthday to celebrate.

We toured the sculpture garden, took a hike out to the creepy but historical mausoleum, had lunch at the outdoor cafe, checked out the historical Haro Hotel and its beautiful gardens, had a fun BD Happy Hour on the outdoor deck at the restaurant.

Happy Birthday Wally!!! John grilled some beautiful ribeye steaks which were served with a chimichurri sauce, baked potato and grilled asparagus. Kristen made the BD Boy a meyer lemon pie for dessert.

After two days in the big city we were ready to get back to the quiet outer islands. Sucia Island was our final destination and we found a unique way to raft/tie up there. The forecast was calling for a bit of wind that would blow into the bay so instead of anchoring we decided to use the mooring cans.

Tied on the mooring cans stern to stern so we could step back and forth between the boats.

So far Captain John had conquered rafting on an anchored boat (with and without wind), tying to a floating dock, docking the boat in a busy marina, navigating Mosquito Pass, anchoring the boat for a picnic lunch and now tying to the mooring cans.

We spent our last two days at the Sucia Island State Marine Park. This 814-acre marine park with 77,700 feet of shoreline, abundant camping and moorage is a boaters dream. The main island and several smaller islands comprise the “Sucia group.” There are no services on this island and no ferry service but loads of camping areas, hiking trails and hidden coves to explore. Despite only being assessable via private boat Sucia is always busy during the summer.

We like Sucia Island so much we named our cat after our favorite play ground.
Sucia at Sucia Island June 2017.

From Sucia Island we cruised back to Anacortes. John and Kristen got to experience a “lumpy” crossing on the top side of Rosario Strait, the wind and tides were causing the lumpiness (2-3 ft standing waves) from the eastern tip of Orcas Island to Sinclair Island. That toughens up all new boaters for sure!!!

We had a fabulous 10 days with our Buddy Boat Scaparre and the crew, John, Kristen and Duchess. Looking forward to our next adventure!!!

Time Flies…

Oopsie doodle…how time flies and how lazy have my fingers been, no post, no updates, nothing… Sorry …time just got away from me but all is well here in Anacortes Washington where we spend our summers.

We spent our first week in the coach at Pioneer Trails RV Resort moving onto the Beach House. The boat is mostly equipped with kitchen equipment, bedding and household items but there always seems to be plenty to move. Cleaning out the RV fridge, freezer and pantry is always a chore. We don’t leave much clothing onboard the boat – despite the heaters and dehumidifier we have running in our absence, boat funk smell seems to permeate fabrics – EWWW David!!! I always pack all of our freshly laundered bedding in big plastic, air tight storage bags when we are gone. So, while it is a bit of a chore getting the Beach House “opened” up for the season, I am not complaining!!!

Love these blue crates for moving days!!

Then, with a day onboard we took a short 2 day shake down cruise, trying to remember how to operate the boat and all its complex systems after almost 8 months on land. The poor pets didn’t even have a chance to get settled in before the engines were fired up and off we went – tough love baby!!!

Sucia is cautiously checking out the reflections on the water. Don’t worry, we always keep the door closed when we aren’t onboard!

Bentie found his favorite place by the heater vent!!!

Good news is, we kinda sorta remembered how to run the boat, nothing serious was broken or not working. And that my friends is very good news!! We had a short cruise to James Island where we met friends who were already tied up to the state park dock there. The current at that dock is wicked and getting on the dock when it is pushing you off isn’t always smooth or pretty. Luckily we had plenty of help and despite our lack of grace, our friends still let us raft on them!!!

She’s looking good!!!
Rafted at James Island State Park with our sister boat Chardonnay.

We enjoyed our brief reintroduction to the water and then headed back to our marina to get ready for our next adventure – Buddy Boating!!! Stay tuned for that update.

The view from our slip in the marina is actually Mt. Baker and the Cascade Mountains.

Back at the marina, Wally had a project list to get cracking on cause it’s a boat. Boat stands for “Break Out Another Thousand” which honestly is true and not always that funny!!! In this case, it was more time than money. Our diesel heater needed to be serviced and Wally wanted to reroute a vent to our cockpit. YAY – heat on the back porch!!

We do get some amazing sunsets right from our slip in the marina. This is a completely untouched photo.

Our other big project for the season is a flybridge remodel. Stay tuned for more on that too!!! What is a flybridge you may be wondering???  It is an open deck on a cabin cruiser located above the bridge on the cabin roof and usually having a duplicate set of navigating equipment. In our case, the flybridge is covered with a bimini and isenglass/canvas. While we do have controls inside the cabin of the boat, we always drive Beach House from the flybridge. Why?? Because she has a long bow and visibility is much better from the flybridge. 360 degree view to be exact…you would be surprised how often we have to dodge floating logs and debris in the water when we are cruising.

Yep, its does rain when we are out on the boat. This photo was taken from the flybridge looking out over the bow of the boat. This why our flybridge is completely enclosed!

It’s great to be back in our sleepy little Anacortes. More sleepy than usually this year thanks to COVID. Anacortes is the hub for people who want to see the San Juans Islands. Ferry are operating and things are starting to reopen but people for the most part, are being cautious. The city has also been very cautious and cancelled all the big summer events that usually drawn thousand of people to this sleepy island. Of course, there are always the Aholes, that refuse to wear a mask or openly declare it‘s all bullshit. Don’t even get me started on that topic!!!

My latest mask… thanks Kristen. Perhaps my next mask should read – “Be considerate you AHOLE”!!!

It Was A Long Week…

Our plan to stay a week in Bend morphed into three weeks… For no other reason than we just like it here! Plus, the weather up north in Anacortes still seem drippy so why not just stay put. Hiking, biking, and exploring the area have kept us busy. The Crown Villa RV Resort has been the perfect location with its easy access to the Old Mill District and Downtown. Great location, huge sites with brick pavers, patio sets and a storage shed certainly set this RV park apart from others we have stayed at. The other nice feature is that there is literally a grassy park behind all the RV sites and loads of mature ponderosa pine trees. Our only disappointment was that the pickleball court was closed due to COVID but I suspect it will be re-opening soon.

We have spent a lot of our time here in Bend just enjoying the outdoor life. Hiking, biking, walking and exploring the area have kept us plenty busy. There are no shortage of hiking trails nearby and we have especially enjoyed the extensive Deschutes River Trail system. Hiking along water – bonus points!!! Dillion Falls was one of our favorite hikes and the falls are just beautiful.

The bird watching on our hikes has been fun too. Colorful Western Tanagers, Black Headed Grosbeaks, copious amounts of Red Winged Black Birds, Finches of all kinds, Woodpeckers, loads of LBB’s, Nuthatches, Bald Eagles, Turkey Vultures, Ospreys and Hawks but our best sighting was a Great Blue Heron contemplating how to fish the turbulent waters at Dillon Falls. Herons take a bit of effort to take flight and seriously, one false move and this dude would have been swept into the water and over the falls.

Yesterday (Friday), we took a walk through Drake Park and Downtown Bend. Shops, bars and restaurants are starting to re-open but there wasn’t much foot traffic for the beginning of a long weekend. Much as I would like to plop myself down in a restaurant with white table clothes and gleaming stemware, a cold tap beer on a mostly deserted pub patio was a daring step out. Man, did it feel good to sit outside by a big fire table , overlooking Drake Park with a cold brew, sun on my back, yep…it felt normal.

While we aren’t partaking of newly opened restaurants yet that doesn’t mean we haven’t been eating well. There is a great produce stand just a few miles away and I even braved a trip to Trader Joe’s. The line was kinda long to get in as they were only letting 20 people in the store at a time, masks mandatory. So it was a thirty minute wait but once inside it was really nice not to be elbow to elbow like it always was pre-COVID. Not sure why the gal in front of me needed to bring her kids but at least they had masks on.

We have had a wide range of meals and I made a batch of triple chocolate brownies with toasted coconut which we have been feasting on for the last week. Tomorrow night the Uuni Pizza Oven is getting fired up…there is homemade pizza dough rising as I type.

We have a few more days to enjoy Bend before the Road House rolls on Tuesday. Tomorrow we are headed out to Tumalo State Park to take a hike and look for a family of owls that someone told us about. Hope you are all sane, healthy and enjoying a bit of normal…what ever that is!!!

Sheltering in Place – A Diary of Virusapocalypse: Day Fifty One – Fifty Five

May 15, 2020

We extended our stay in Bend through May 24th and have had a great week with two different friends visiting. Additionally, today is momentous in that many counties in Oregon including Deschutes County, which Bend is in, are starting to re-open. Under phase 1 of the re-opening, Gov. Kate Brown is allowing nearly all of Oregon’s counties outside the Portland metro area to begin reopening  Friday, as well as all retail statewide (except malls and shopping centers).

It will be interesting to see how these phased re-opening go, will people continue to observe the stay at home orders in counties that are still closed, will COVID cases spike, will small rural counties be able to maintain their low cases if people start traveling again… all TBD.

Great mural that has been painted on the back side of the Les Schwab Amphitheater which is in the Old Mill District.


So here is how day Fifty One through day Fifty Five of our sheltering in place went:

  • We are hiking or walking everyday…there are so many trails yet to explore!
So Bend has it’s dark and moody side! This field is right next to the RV Resort and is where Wally takes Bentley for a run everyday.


  • Monday I made some awesome Elk Burgers. I had recently discovered a package of wild ground elk that was gifted to me last fall in the freezer so that got me salivating for a good burger. Wild Elk is actually very lean so I added some garlic that I had been soaking in olive oil to the meat along with some thyme, salt and pepper. The burgers were served with carmelized onions, homemade sundried tomato goat cheese spread and arugula. YUMMY!!!! I also did not not repeat my failed burger bun attempt…licked my wounds and just bought some nice fluffy potato buns from the store.
That is an excellent burger…


  • Tuesday we had friends from Portland drive over in their Leisure Travel Serenity aka “The Mobe”. We are lucky to have some friends who like to travel as much as we do and have joined us along the way in our travels. In this case, Donna and Steve also share our love of good food and wine so we always have fun cooking together and sharing our latest wine acquisitions. Despite the fact the weather took a rainy turn, we had three days of fun together, hiking, exploring the area and quaffing some delicious wine that they brought with. Since there were no restaurants we could visit, we co-opted some great meals together.
Donna brought this delicious bottle to share… yes, the picture is blurry but hey I took it after we drank the whole big bottle!!!

  • Wednesday, a long time friend, Connie who now lives in Burns Oregon stopped by while she was in Bend. We spent a couple of hours catching up and talking about dogs, so great to see her. Connie is a devoted Standard Schnauzer breeder and our boy Gus was one of her pups. Gus was surrendered to the Oregon Humane Society while I worked there. One of my staffers called me the day he came in day so I went down our medical clinic to take a look at him as Standard Schnauzers are a bit of a rare breed. I kinda fell in love with the dude, fostered him for a few days after he had major dental work done and eventually got him transferred to a Standard Schnauzer Rescue Group. Poor buddy had serious separation anxiety and wasn’t doing well in the shelter.
Wasn’t he a cutie!!!

A couple of days after Gus went home with the Standard Schnauzer Rescue gal, I got a call from her. She told me she figured out who the breeder was (Connie – Von Berg Schnauzers), that Connie was in Portland and that she had let Connie know that she had Gus. Being a reputable breeder meant Connie wanted Gus back and of course I was thrilled he found his way home at almost 9 years old. Long story short, Connie and I kept in touch and some how I ended up going to see him one day and somehow he came home with me!! He was my buddy and my pal, a great dog that Wally and I loved to pieces. He still had terrible separation anxiety which got a bit better over time but he was otherwise fearless, confident and loved to go any where we went. Gus also helped us raise Bentley, another puppy I couldn’t resist at the shelter.

Our second week is flying by almost as fast as the first week here in Bend did. Sadly, we have no more visitors coming by but have plenty of exploring to do still. Donna texted me on her way out of town with the location of a great farm stand where I scored some awesome fresh veggies today.

Left over slow cooked bolognese with fresh fettuccine and steamed broccoli starved with a big glass of ghost pine cab – thanks Jill and Cindy for that delicious wine.


While it is tempting to go out to one of the many retaurants here in Bend that are re-opening, whats more tempting are all the micro-breweries…sigh. But we are going to continue to avoid crowds of people, do occasional take out, get a growler filled to go and just enjoy the great outdoors here in Bend. Today we ran errands, stopped at the produce stand, went to Petsmart and Ace Hardware. Yep, we are cautiously venturing out so I think this will be my last entry as sheltering in place…I hope….fingers crossed.

Quiet Downtown Bend…PS…please wear your mask!!!

Sheltering in Place – A Diary of Virusapocalypse: Day Forty Four – Fifty

We have been here in Bend for week now and loving it. What’s not to like…great weather, friendly people, hiking galore plus we are settled in a nice big site at the Crown Villa RV Resort. Liking it so much, we extended our stay another week. It has been easy to continue sheltering in place, I am still using Instacart to have groceries delivered, utilizing restaurants that offer take out and generally avoiding people as best we can. With a population just under 200,000 Deschutes County has been relatively unscathed by CODID-19 – 85 cases and no deaths. I think this could have been very different if Governor Kate Brown hadn’t shut down the state so early. Bend in particular is a tourist destination both winter and summer so with no big influx of people from all over the US, they have stayed relatively healthy here.


So here is how day Forty Four through day Fifty of our sheltering in place went:

  • We have been hiking or walking everyday. There are so many options in the Bend area that we can do something different everyday. Monday Kristen and I walked the Bend River Park Trail that starts in the Old Mill District. It is a very pretty 4 mile walk along the Deschutes River.

Dinner was a full spread of Cinco de Mayo eats complete with a pitcher of Margaritas – Thanks Kristen for the great grub!

  • Wednesday was Kristens birthday so of course we hiked!!! Our choice for a pretty afternoon hike was at the Riley Ranch Nature Preserve. There is a great trail system there with a series of small loops.

Kristen requested that the Wally Brenda pizza duo cater her birthday dinner so that’s just what we did. It was a three course meal featuring… wait for it…PIZZA. Of course, I made the dough from scratch in the morning so it could rise all day. I started the BD girl (Well, and me too) with a French 75 cocktail which I made with frozen meyer lemon juice (from our trees in Palm Springs), gin and prosecco – that’s how you get the party started!!! Head Pizza Chef Waldo started the birthday girl with a Pizza Margherita topped with fresh basil from my traveling herb pot. The second course was a Green Chile Chicken Sausage Pizza and the third course was an Apple Chicken Sausage Pizza with Blue Cheese topped with Arugula. John bought the birthday girl her favorite dessert – Cheesecake which we topped with Lemon Curd and Blueberry Compote. After dinner, we played a round of Five Crowns – it was a fun evening with the BD Girl!!

  • Wally and I took a day trip to Camp Sherman on Thursday. We brought a picnic lunch and hiked along the Metolius River. This is a gorgeous area and the crazy thing is the head waters of the river. The headwaters of the river are at Metolius Springs, where the river emerges from two clusters of springs at the base of Black Butte. Water flows to these springs from the drainage basin around Black Butte Ranch, several miles to the south. The elevation of the drainage basin is 300 feet above that of the springs, forming a natural standpipe that tends to stabilize the river’s rate of flow. But seriously, how can all that water come out of such a small hole in the ground???
  • Friday Wally and I headed out to Sunriver which is a city all in its self. It was actually developed in the late seventies and was the first luxury resort community in Central Oregon. The resort community is home to 63 holes of world-class golf, a marina, an aquatic center, stables and its own small airport. In Sunriver, you can spend the day riding bikes along 30 miles of paved trails, going on a guided horseback ride or visiting the Sunriver Nature Center, Oregon Observatory, High Desert Museum or Lava Lands Visitors Center, where the first astronauts trained to talk on the moon.  The Village at Sunriver hosts a variety of shops, restaurants, breweries and art galleries. In winter, the Village at Sunriver offers ice skating and Mt. Batchelor with first class skiing is just a 20 minute drive.

Wally and I have spent some time in Sunriver, mostly on skiing vacations so it was fun to drive through and reminisce. Unlike other trips, Sunriver was a ghost town. The Village was mostly shuttered except the Bend Brewing Company which was offering take out. After splitting a burger and fries we needed a good long walk so we headed out to the marina area where we picked up the River Loop Trail. This paved walking/biking path was a great way to burn off that burger and 6 miles later we were both ready for a shower and a cold beverage. We saw a plethora of birds, a big herd of elk which were way off in the trees behind the horse pastures, deer and some ground critters. We met up with Kristen and John back at the RV Resort for drinks, dinner and some time around the fire pit. Persistence won out and we finally got through to Wild Rose Thai Eats – OMG, what a feast we had. Truly some of the best Thai food I have ever “eats”. Sorry, no pictures… we forgot!

  • Saturday was our last day with the Quaranteam so we loaded up our bicycles, a picnic lunch and headed out. Kristen and John had never been to Mt Batchelor or Sunriver so those were our destinations.
Mt. Batchelor off in the distance.

Back at Sunriver, we headed to the marina again and rode the same trail we walked the day before. Kristen brought carrots so we had fun feeding the horses. Seems they are furloughed too and were definitely enjoying the attention and treats. We had our picnic after the ride at the marina by the river – such a pretty day.

Our week together with the Quaranteam in Bend literally flew by and we spent our final evening together on our patio with the fire pit going. Dinner was a light fare, White Bean and Chicken Soup with a Mixed Green Salad which Kristen and I co-opted. Great caravanning and week with our fellow full time RV friends…our paths will cross again soon!!!

Sheltering in Place – A Diary of Virusapocalypse: Day Forty Three

The last leg of our road trip to Bend Oregon on Sunday was just under 250 miles. We tooled along in the remote back country of California and Oregon with rarely another vehicle in sight. Our route from the Likely Place Golf and RV Resort took us along Hwy 395, then we connected to Hwy 31 which then connected us onto Hwy 97 at La Pine Oregon. Part of Hwy 31 was a bit bone jarring but for the most part it was such a pretty drive that we could ignore the bad roads for a stretch. It felt like the Indy 500 when we rolled onto Hwy 97 with all the car and truck traffic!


So here is how day Forty Three of our sheltering in place went:

  • We decided to enjoyed a more leisurely start to the day so Kristen and I took a long walk around resort on the nature trails. The area around the pond was really active with Red Winged Blackbirds.



  • The caravan was on the road Saturday by 10:30 am and headed for our final destination – Bend Oregon. Wally and I have spent the last 28 years collecting experiences and our love of travel is jointly shared so what better way to spend our 28th anniversary – Love you babe!!!



  • This portion of the drive was mostly high desert plains which took us by several lakes and through tiny farming towns. I love this glimpse into old, rural america and took so many pictures… unfortunately most through the window so please excuse the window glare and bugs on the windshield!!
  • We ate a big breakfast but didn’t stop for lunch so the caravan gang was ready for an early dinner when we rolled into Bend. We had our eye on Wild Rose Northern Thai Eats, had all the entrees picked out and were looking forward to a big family style feast. Only problem was that no one ever answered the phone even though their website said they were doing take out. How rude, didn’t they know it was our anniversary??? Our second choice was Dang Vietnamese which turned out to be a great second choice and we definitely feasted.




Our three day sprint to Bend Oregon was definitely a sprint… we usually like to take our time, stop and explore the areas we are traveling through. These are strange times to be on the road for sure. Most of the small rural towns we drove through were hauntingly quiet but maybe thats how they always are. We are happy to get settled in at the Crown Villa RV Resort in Bend and enjoy exploring all the outdoor activities the area has to offer. As things start to open up again, I don’t think we will be rushing to go out to restaurants, bars or any other big venues for awhile. Being out and about in the great outdoors is just right for now.

The Lava Butte Caldera in Bend.

Sheltering in Place – A Diary of Virusapocalypse: Day Forty Two

Our first day on the road (Friday) was was mostly great… a few minor issues with the passenger seat side window (yay for gorilla tape) and low tire pressure in the passenger tag axle tire. … hey whats up with my side of the coach??? But that said, the scenery was amazing. Smoggy Victorville with heavier than expected truck traffic gave way to clean, blue skies, majestic snow capped mountain and very little traffic. We made it to Mono Lake where we stayed at the MonoVista RV Park. It was a quiet stopover…so glad they were able to get a variance to stay open for overnight travelers.

Beautiful Mono Lake


So here is how day Forty Two of our sheltering in place went:

  • The caravan was on the road Saturday by 8:30 am and headed for Likely California. We have never RV caravanned with another couple and who more perfect than our shelter in place buddies Kristin and John?
  • The drive between Mono Lake and Gardnerville is absolutely gorgeous. Snow capped mountain, lakes, roaring rivers and massive plains capture you and delight your eyes. One of my favorite parts of the drive is following the Walker River as is roars down into Topaz Lake.
  • Our first stop of the day was in Gardnerville, NV for fuel. Diesel for $2.49 a gallon – woo-hoo. Not only was it a very scenic stop but someone served me a mimosa!!! WHAT…now this is why caravanning is so fun. What wasn’t so fun was the DEF incident… luckily it all turned out fine thanks to Mr. Handy Pants but he wasn’t a happy camper for sure. If your curious what DEF is you can read the link, but suffice to say it isn’t windshield wiper fluid. I drank my mimosa while he flushed the DEF tank and refilled it with DEF.



  • We made a lunch stop at Del Taco in Carson City. Wally and I normally find a rest stop, grab a sandwich and keep on trucking but something about a taco salad just sounded good! Kristen found us a great parking spot at the nearby Walmart. She also ordered online and walked thru the drive thru to pick up our lunch – now that’s good service. We ate in our coaches and got back on the road with a full belly.
  • After leaving Carson City NV, it was about 185 miles to Likely, CA where were spending the night at the Likely Place Golf and RV Resort. The stunning scenery and virtually no traffic made the drive feel easy. Well, easy for me as I was sitting in my plush passenger seat or up taking pictures the entire time. I had great intentions to get some driving time in but somehow that just didn’t happen.
  • We arrived at the Likely Place Golf and RV Resort road weary and ready to put the jacks down and relax. Seems the computer reservation system didn’t relay our reservation to staff so they were a bit befuddled when our two big rigs arrived. No pull in sites in the big rig area were available but they took our guys in a golf cart to look at the sites “up the hill” by the group gazebo. Yep, we would fit and would not have to unhook the tow cars. It was kinda funky and for the most part neither coach could get level but whatever… it was just one night and it really is a beautiful spot in the middle of nowhere.
Heading into the Likely Place Golf and RV Resort
Circling the wagons!!!


  • Our coaches were right next to a three sided gazebo designed to block the wind which was blowing a bit. We took advantage of the outdoor setting and enjoyed our dinner in the gazebo with our propane fire pit taking the chill off. Kristin and I co-opted dinner, she did a whole chicken in her Ninja air fryer/pressure cooker and I provided all the sides, garlic-rosemary roasted baby potatoes and asparagus with clarified butter. After dinner, we hung out in the gazebo and played a game of Five Crowns. It was actually quite cozy despite the serious sideways blowing rain that started up.
Kristen was the only one not making goofy faces for the photo!!!





It has been an interesting few travel days. As we move further from the populated cities of California, we have seen less signs of lock-down. As an example, in Modoc County where we were spending the night moved Friday to reopen hair salons, churches, restaurants and the county’s only movie theater which defies the Governor’s order. There haven’t been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the 9,000 residents of Modoc County, but the reopening came with strict social distancing limits. Businesses could only have half the patrons, and customers must stay 6 feet apart. I sure hope this works out for them.

The county is an outlier in every sense of the word. It is tucked into the far northeast near the Oregon border, hundreds of miles from the capital of Sacramento and even further politically from the Democrat-controlled state; it’s a place where seven in 10 voted for Donald Trump in 2016.

One could argue that technically we aren’t sheltering in place either but actually our road travel in the coach has kept us mostly isolated from other people. We are still being careful, wearing masks, lots of hand washing and wiping down of things to keep us safe and healthy.