Saturday, December 31, 2011

Update from Blaine, WA


Saturday, December 31, 2011                                                                                                                                        Lorraine’s report

Well, here it is, the last day of 2011. We would like to wish all our family and friends a very Happy, Healthy New Year. May God’s Blessing pour down on each and every one of you this year!

Hello once again from Latitude 49 in Birch Bay, WA. It’s not a bad day so far, there’s no rain or snow, and the clouds are stable. It’ 39 degrees outside, with the low’s tonight forecast for 36. Hopefully the sun will burn through this afternoon.

Actually it has been a really dry, cold December so far, with Seattle news saying that this December has been the second driest since they started keeping records years ago. The weather man said we were six inches below normal as of the day before the 24th of December. The past 2 nights it rained lots, so we aren’t as far behind, with the rivers rising a whole bunch.

Now the temperature has been below normal this whole December, averaging the mid to low 20’s at night, with day time being around 37. If only the sun came out everyday, instead of the gray clouds we’ve had most days. There were a few days when the sun came out, showing off the beautiful white capped mountains around here, but those days don’t happen often enough for me. I miss the nice sunny, blue skies of the southwest in the winter time.

Since last I wrote, Chuck has been working most days 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. His company didn’t know how far behind they were when he first started. He’s put in a lot of hours, trying to catch them up enough to see daylight. One day he was given 37 new projects to handle; way too much for just him. And he’s asked for help, but no one has been hired as of yet. Maybe after the new year starts.

I went to see Susy and Kaitlyn on the day before Thanksgiving, coming back the following Tuesday. We had a wonderful time together, with Kaitlyn not wanting me to leave. She wrote me the most beautiful, heartfelt letter, saying how thankful she was for her Nana. She said I should just live there by her now; we truly have a wonderful time together playing, coloring, just about everything. It tears me up to leave them. Our time together just flies by too quickly.  Thanks Susy for a fun time.

We just returned on the 28th evening, spending Christmas with Susy and Kaitlyn. Chuck was able to go with me in spite of his claustrophobia when he flies. I was able to go on early, save him a seat, and then he would be the last to board the plane. Thankfully the crew was able to let us have the first row of seats on the airplane. I must say Allegiant was pretty cooperative about this, and did their best to accommodate him.

But Allegiant needs to work on boarding people in a more timely manner; they had only one worker checking people in. It took us almost 2 hours to get our boarding passes. It didn’t help that there were three different flights going out of Bellingham about the same time either. But I am grateful that Allegiant flies directly to Oakland, CA, thus by passing the dreaded Seattle traffic and all that mess.

The week before Christmas I made up about 12 pounds of fudge to give to family and friends, and of course, I had to make up Susy’s sugar cookies, and Chuck’s favorite chocolate chip. I packed them in my suitcase in tins and they made the trip okay.

Since our son, Rick is up on the North Slope again building the Ice Road, I didn’t do his peanut butter chocolate balls, or as he calls them, hockey pucks since I’ve learned to make them bigger for him. He went up on the 17th of December, 10 days later than last year. He’s up there for at least 6-8 weeks before he gets a week off.

Christmas was very low keyed and wonderful! Kaitlyn had written Santa Claus with a list of what she wanted. I thought it was great she asked Santa for stuff for her Mom and for her dog, not just herself.

Her favorite gift was a big wooden Barbie doll house. She was so excited, she said she didn’t even ask Santa Claus for it but it was her favorite gift.  Thank you Susy for a wonderful Christmas, good food, fun and family time…loved it, you too Kaitlyn.

Now that Christmas is over, I hope to rest up a bit. Seems to me like there has been lots to take care of; like oil changes, car tires, paper work, etc. hopefully things slow down.

With that I would like to say to Rick/Joy, Rob/Norma and Barb/Dennis, hope you stop by before you head south to Quartzsite and AZ for your fun in the sun. Wish we were going with you, but maybe next year. I know you will have a blast! Be sure to enjoy the oranges at the Orange Grove RV Park for me; they are the best right off the trees!

Until next time….Hugs,



12/31/11                                                                                                                                                                           Chuck’s report

First off, I hope everyone had a Very Merry Christmas with family and/or friends.  And of course, wish you a Happy New Year too. 

Just a quick update from our winter hang out back here in Washington.  As we said in our last blog, we are back here because I accepted a job to work (now that’s a four letter word) with a contractor back here.  I’ll be working until probably June so we are pretty well settled in here.  We’ve taken the coach out one time to “exercise” all the systems, plan on doing that once a month or so.  Once again, thanks to Joe and Alice for renting us their extra space here in the park, it’s nice to not have to move every two weeks within our membership parks here. 

I’ve been working some longer hours than expected, 5 or 6 days/per week and 10 hour days.  What a shock to the system after being on our own schedule for the past few months.  But once again, I know it’s only temporary and then we will be back on the road again this summer.  As far as the work is going, I’ve been pretty busy trying to get caught up and meet the deadlines the company wants, not much time to goof off.

I got my little work car out of our shop and it’s been running ok except I’ve had trouble starting it a couple of times.  I finally got the battery checked out and sure enough, it wasn’t holding a charge very well so we replaced it.  Other than that, it’s been a great little car and serve my needs very well.

Lorraine has been busy doing all the things necessary to live here, shopping, cooking, keeping our car going (it needed a set of tires and she got those installed) and taking care of me.  She was able to fly down to Susy’s place for Thanksgiving, I found out I could have gone too but I didn’t know what my work schedule would be so I didn’t get a ticket in time.  I think they had a good time down there, I know I was ready for Lorraine to come back and she was only gone a week!

Lorraine cooked a couple batches of cookies and fudge for Christmas, like I really needed the calories but they were good just the same.  She also put a few Christmas decorations about the coach and a small tree on the steering wheel table.  She said it made it feel more like Christmas but she still missed all the decorations she used to put out.  We still have them stored in our shop but no place to put them in our much smaller living space. 

We haven’t done much visiting with family and friends since we’ve been here, I’m just too tired after getting off of work, getting old I guess.  Lorraine is willing to sit with me but I know she would like to be out a bit more.  Usually I get home, we eat and watch a movie or whatever then I head to bed and do it all over again the next day. 

I was able to take a week off this week and we flew down to spend Christmas with Susy, Kaitlyn and Mark.  Boy what a mess at out little airport here in Bellingham.  There is a small airline flying out of here and they had three flights leaving the morning we were and only one person at the check-in counter.  We waited in the check-in line almost two hours and the line still was strung all the way past the baggage area and out the door.  And to make matters worse, there was absolutely no line at the Alaska counter and they kept announcing that if you were on an Alaska Airlines flight and in a long line, you didn’t need to be there and just come up to their counter.  But we made it on time and the flight was a direct into Oakland so we didn’t have to change planes in Seattle.

We did have a great time with Susy and Kaitlyn.  There was lots of play time with her, boy does she love to play with Nana.  We went out for a few meals, had a couple at home too.  Christmas was great, especially “seeing” it though the eyes of an excited 6 year old who still believes in Santa.  But soon enough we had to head to airport for our trip back here.  The check-in went much smoother even though we were in a full service airport, we both had to go through the full body scanner, not sure why but our number must have come up. 

We been BUSY since we got back too.  Lorraine took down the Christmas decorations, boxed them up and they are ready to go to the shop.  She also cleaned the place from top to bottom and found a few more items for the shop too.  I had to change out the controller for our select comfort bed, second time our display has gone out.  This time they sent us a remote control type VS a wire one, made the installation a bit easier.  I also ordered a new entry door handle but haven’t gotten it installed as yet.  And just because things come in three, our clothes washer is acting like the pump isn’t working again and I have to check it out.  Oh well, we still had a good year, can’t let the small things stop us. 

There is a band at the club house here at the park tonight, don’t think we will go however.  We will probably just watch the New Year’s Eve ball fall in New York on TV and call it a night.  Boy what party animals we are (not).

Like I said, we will here until June or so and my South Dakota driver’s license expires in April, what to do, what to do.  We finally decided to just get a license from Washington, seeing as how I’m working here but will get a South Dakota one after we’re done here.  So guess that makes South Dakota one of our first stops once we leave here.  Other than that, we don’t have any destinations but we have plenty of time to work on that.   And the plans we had for this winter, spring and summer may just carry over and we’ll use them next time. 

So that’s been our life since we last posted, not too exciting.  Not sure when we’ll update again but will send out a note when/if we do.  Here are a few pictures to complete the blog.

Susy’s Christmas tree up Thanksgiving at her place. 

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A handwritten note from Kaitlyn to Nana.  The quilt Lorraine knitted for Susy’s Christmas present. 

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Our place all decorated for Christmas.  Notice the sun is shining!

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Kaitlyn’s Christmas tree.

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Out to dinner before Christmas. 

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Christmas morning.  And the stockings were hung - -   That’s a big doll house for a little girl!

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A Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  Kaitlyn enjoys Christmas morning. 

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Showing Papa the doll house and accessories.   Love the smiles!!!

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One happy little girl.


And that’s all folks.  Until next time, enjoy life and keep smiling. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

We’re in Blaine, Washington


Sunday, November 6, 2011                                                                                                                                      Lorraine’s report

Hello again from our old spot in Birch Bay, WA-Latitude 49; yes, we are back in the cold Pacific Northwest for the winter. I never thought we would be spending another winter back here, but here we are. Chuck took a job back here with a main contractor working on the major turn around at his old company-British Petroleum. It looks like we will be in Joe/Alice’s lot until the end of the turnaround in June or so.

They are predicting a very cold, wet La Nina winter, like they had last winter. Our spring was pretty non-existent. I heard a report on KIRO 7 TV saying they had 1 day of sunshine in April, 6 days in May, and 4 days in June; only 11 days out of 91 days-pretty sad for those that live here full time.

I have to say I really enjoyed our time away, and I loved the hot, dry weather of the southwest, Utah and the great parks, all unique; seeing Katie, Joe and the boys in Salt Lake City. Nevada and the new places we went to, the casinos, the buffets, meeting up with Joe/Alice and all the fun we had there with them.

I loved spending time in California with our daughter, Susy and granddaughter, Kaitlyn. We spent 11 days with them, way too short a time for me and Kaitlyn, she didn’t want me to leave. She said Nana should live there all the time now.

We would pick her up after school on school days, bring her back to the rig and have FUN. She is in a growing spurt and I had a hard time filling her up. Her favorite food is Nana’s macaroni and cheese, plus lots of fruits and cheese.

We did lots of art work, she is getting so creative in her drawings, and I love to watch her while she works on her art work, she really gets into it. She loved putting it up on Nana’s refrigerator. And of course all the chatter; she loves to share secrets with Nana. She spent 4 weekend nights with us over the 11 days we were there.

For Halloween, Kaitlyn was a Mermaid Fairy, a costume she thought up herself. Susy found her a mermaid dress and ordered fairy wings with matching crown and scepter. We went over to her old classmate’s home, Grace. Gracie’s parents decorate their home every year in a theme. This year they did Mulan, from the Disney movie. Gracie’s parents sure do get into decorating their home. Kaitlyn has Trick or Treated with Gracie for the past few years in Gracie’s neighborhood. She was really liking Trick or Treating and getting all the goodies.

Earlier in they day on Halloween we went to Kaitlyn’s school for the schools yearly Halloween Parade. All the children dress up and parade around the school yard, with all the parents on the sidelines. It was so hot and sunny that morning, everyone had a great time.

We got to go to her dance class the 2 Saturdays we were there, she was taking Hip Hop and we saw her dance recital. She had fun, but I don’t know how much she actually learned. It was cute and fun for her anyways.

Afterwards, Chuck wanted to hit the San Jose Outdoor Flea market. It was a beautiful hot, sunny afternoon and we all enjoyed our outing. Susy and I found some great fresh fruit and several dresses for Kaitlyn.

I forgot about Kaitlyn’s ear incident. She had her ears pierced in June and somehow, one of the ears swallowed up the back of the earring and she couldn’t turn it. The ear got infected and Susy took her to the doctor for antibiotics. Then 3 days later another doctor, a surgeon, had to pull the earring back out with a needle nose instrument. That doctor didn’t even numb it or anything. It sure was barbaric the way the doctor did that, Kaitlyn didn’t like that one bit. It was all I could do to hold her hand and dry the tears. To help her get over that incident, Susy and I took her to Build a Bear and Panda Soup for lunch.

One day the 3 gals, Susy, Kaitlyn and I went for a manicure/pedicure. Chuck stayed at Susy’s new condo and worked on putting up her TV on the wall above the fireplace. When we got back, Susy helped Chuck lift the TV so he could finish up. We then helped her unpack some boxes and Chuck cleared out the boxes.

One day Chuck had to go to a tire place for tire stems for the car. He had them ordered, but they never called to say they came in.

Next door to the tire place was a Fry’s Electronic store. We checked it out and I found the camera I had been looking at on line in this Fry’s. We ended up buying and I now have a new Nikon P 7000 Coolpix. I must say I am pretty happy with it, it still has a view finder as well as a back screen, and it’s not too heavy to carry in my purse.

The day after Halloween we got word Chuck had gotten his job and we left Santa Clara and started north. That first day the wind was blowing so hard, we ended up in the next lane in our big rig. That is some hard wind and so scary to be blown around like that.

We took 3 days coming back, driving 4 hours most days, then parking the rig and then scrambling after we stopped, taking the car and gathering the things we needed for back here. I was pretty tired each day and I know it was the same for Chuck. So we are off the road for a while.

It was 34 degrees last night-high of 52, about half of what we were 3 weeks ago.  We put on the heavy winter weight down blanket, Chuck bought some heated water hose and we are hunkering down for a long, cold wet winter.  So that’s it for me.

Until next time…



11/6/11                                                                                                                                                                     Chuck’s report

Yes, that’s right, we are back in Washington for awhile yet again.  Last time I posted I said there might be something that could change our winter plans and that happened.  I accepted a job offer to work for a contractor back at the refinery where I retired from 4+ years ago.  I actually start work tomorrow and will find out exactly what my duties will be but I do know they will be using my operation experience.  I will be helping with the planning of the work until the actual shutdown and associated work start in Mid-April.

We didn’t post our blog as normal last week, we both were too busy being grandparents and having fun with our grand daughter who stayed overnight with us.  We are going to miss our scheduled stay with them over Thanksgiving and Christmas but will see about flying down for a visit.

The reason we were in Santa Clara was to spend quality time with our daughter and grand daughter.  We were able to pick Kaitlyn up from school most days and spend the afternoon with her.  Plus she spent the night at our rig 4 nights while we were there, she loves to be with her Nana, that’s for sure. 

We were there to help her pick out some pumpkins, helped carve them into jack-o-lanterns, go to her school for their Halloween party and go with her when she went out trick or treating.  We also spent time with her while she did her art work, school work and watching some kid shows on TV. 

Lorraine was able to do some shopping while we were there, a couple of time with Susy, which they really enjoyed.  Lorraine found a new camera to replace the one that broke when it accidently got dropped.  Susy had to move to a new condo about a month before we got there and I was able to help her finish some move-in projects too.  

But as all good things, our time with them had to end.  We were able to stay there through Halloween but on Tuesday I got the official call offering me a job opportunity and accepted it.  I had been in communications with them but didn’t get the offer until the day we were leaving, not sure if we were going South to continue our scheduled itinerary or change our plans and head North.  So when we got the call the decision was made and we were on our way a couple of hours later.

We had a couple of stops we wanted to make on the way up so we knew we wouldn’t be driving straight through but still we did travel on four consecutive days.  This may have been a first for us, we rarely drive more that two days in a row without at least staying in one place for two days.  The driving parts weren’t too bad, probably averaged 4 –5 hours per day but we did have errands and shopping at each stop, after all, we were in sales tax free Oregon for most of these stops. 

We had heavy winds the first day out of the Bay area, the gust were 60 MPH in a couple of places and I had some trouble keeping in our lane when they hit us broadside.  We hit a couple of places that were wet but didn’t get any rain until we were in Washington, just what we expected.  The sun has been shining since we’ve been here but clear skies mean cool/cold nights, below freezing both nights we’ve been here.  This morning I got up and was greeted to a heavy frost and cold temperatures in my early morning walk with Misty.  The forecast is for rain starting tomorrow and continuing for the rest of the week, welcome to Western Washington in the winter!!

So here we sit for the next few months.  We are in the same lot we rented from our friends, Joe/Alice, who are down South right now.  Joe might be offered a position up here too so we still may be able to spend some time with them this winter, ha. 

I know we won't live a very exciting life while we are here so I don’t plan on posting a blog very often.  I will continue to send out a note when/if we update. 

We had made some long range plans for next summer, those of course will not happen.  We were going to travel up the Mississippi from New Orleans to the headwaters in Minnesota, stopping to visit family and friends along the way.  Sorry, but those visits won’t happen this time but that trip is still in our bucket and something we would like to do, just can’t do it this time as planned. 

Also, we were going to meet with some of our Canadian friends down South, that won’t happen either.  I’m sure they will have a good time even if we aren’t there with them, keep it touch and let us know what we are missing.  And for our friends who will be in Quartzsite, enjoy yourselves and think of us as you are having your 5:00 gathering around the campfire. 

I’ve already got my work car out of the shop, had the oil changed and drained/flushed the antifreeze.  We picked up a couple of heated water hoses for our water supply so I don’t have to unhook the hose every time the temperature gets below freezing.  I have two trouble lights set up and ready to turn on in case of cold temperatures to keep our wet bay from freezing.  We have two electric space heaters ready to turn on if needed to keep warm inside too.  We both need to get our blood “thickened” to get used to the cooler temperatures too. 

So guess we are pretty well set up for our time here and we’ve spent enough winters here to know what to expect.  Not that we are necessarily looking forward to it but at least we know what’s coming.  Plus we should have some time to spend visiting with friends and family in the area too, that’s always a good thing. 

So now guess I’ll add the customary pictures and get this posted.  Not sure when we will update next but as I said, I’ll send out a note when we do.  

Kaitlyn, Susy, Nana and Papa at the pumpkin patch.

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I’ll pick this one.                                     Now see, if you just stay away I can pick it up by myself. 

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This one would make a good horse.          You say I have one too many and have to leave one?

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Helping carve and the finished product. 

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At school with friends. 

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Boy, can I Hula-Hoop or what.


Now you know the truth behind those motorhome drivers. 

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After dance class at the fountains.

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The gals getting pedicures. 


In their costumes at school.

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Gracie’s house, that’s a false front made out of cardboard.  Gracie and Kaitlyn.

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On the road from California to Washington.

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Pictures from the park where we are staying. 

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This will be our “home” for the next 8 months, nice lot with all the services we need.


Thanks   Chuck