Saturday, May 26, 2012

We’re in Reno, Nevada


Sunday, May 28, 2012                                                                                                                                             Lorraine’s report

Well, we are in Reno, NV and it has been really cold here the past couple of days. In fact, I pulled out my winter coat and started wearing it since it has been pretty cold for me again. I never expected to have to do that after what we went through this past winter.

Friday we saw the temperatures drop to 36 degrees, we had hail, sleet and snow; snow stuck on the hills around Reno through today. When we arrived it was extremely windy, with winds ranging upwards of 50 mph, but the temperatures were in the high 70’s . The drive up was pretty intense with all the gusts hitting this rig. I know what Joy and Norma meant by saying they couldn’t sit out in Palm Springs this past winter. It was the same way here, too windy to sit out, and walking into the wind was hard, but it was very dry and warm.

We arrived in Reno on Monday, leaving Sunnyvale, CA at the Elks Lodge there, staying in their little RV Park of 7 spots. While that spot is small, it is cheap and close to our daughter’s home.

We arrived there at the Elks on May 10th, set up the rig and went to pick up Kaitlyn from her after school program. Kaitlyn’s mommy or daddy, who ever has her the night before she goes to school, drops her off about 7:50 am for school and pick her up usually around 6 pm. That makes for an extremely long day for a 7 year old, so when Nana and Papa come to visit, she loves for us to pick her up as early as we can.

When we are with her, I hit the ground running full force until we leave her. Since I was still not all the way over my bout of those nasty viruses from the month before, I had to have Chuck help me, as did Susy, when we were together. We had a very wonderful visit, doing all the stuff we normally do.

Susy took me to the 41st annual Stanford PowWow one Saturday; no powwow is complete without your Indian Taco and fry bread. We spent a wonderful day together on Mother’s Day, even though we couldn’t get into the Elks for their Mothers Day brunch. We had fun none the less, very stress free and fun for Kaitlyn and all of us.

The day after Mothers Day, we received a call from Susy to pick Kaitlyn up from her school, this was about 9:30 am; she was in the office with a red rash on her arms and chest, and it was itchy for her and she had a slight fever with it. She stayed home from school on Tuesday, Papa went and picked her up at Susy’s home at 7:45, and she spent the day with us, she just wasn’t her normal rambunctious self.

By Wednesday, Kaitlyn was back to school; and Thursday we went to her school by 2:15 to watch her in the school’s Walk a Thon. Kaitlyn did 10 laps or about 5 miles, some of the kids were up to 15 when we left to take her back to our rig. I’m not sure how much money the kids made for their school.

Friday Chuck noticed that our dog, Misty was not walking very well, like she was dizzy or drunk. We called a vet in the area and took her in. Without doing a lot of tests to the tune of up $900, they couldn’t tell us what was wrong with her even with all those tests, just rule out several things physically. She had been having trouble jumping up the stairs to the rig, and you could definitely tell she wasn’t right. She favored her left side and I asked the vet if she could have had a mini stroke; that is what it looked like to me. We couldn’t get a straight answer from the vet, other than it could be old dog syndrome which comes on really fast, so we took her home and have been watching her. Chuck and I lift her up and down the stairs, etc. Yesterday when we got back to the rig, she was jumping around like she used to do when we came home, so I’m hopeful she is better, just getting old like the rest of us.

We spent our last two days with Susy and Kaitlyn, going to swap meet in San Jose on Saturday, a very hot day, 85 degrees. Sunday Susy and I did the last of our running and Papa took Kaitlyn to a local park for fun in the sun.

During our stay with Susy, the weather was beautiful with sunny skies, temperatures from the mid 70’s to high 80’s, with lows down to the mid 50’s to 60’s, absolutely perfect.

To say that Kaitlyn was unhappy with us leaving is an understatement. It’s getting to the point that she doesn’t want Nana and Papa to ever leave. With a very heavy heart we had to move on.  Thank you Susy and Kaitlyn for such a wonderful time…

We will be here in Reno through Monday, and then we will be heading east. Katie, I believe we will be going through Utah, will give you a call.

That’s it for me….Until next time….



5/27/12                                                                                                                                                                      Chuck’s Report

First off, I wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day, please remember the reason.  Thanks to all our veterans and current fighting men and women for keeping our great country safe!  Some, of course, have paid the ultimate price, giving their lives in service of our country and we especially want to remember them. 

I know, we missed posting our blog last week but we had a very good excuse.  We didn’t want too!!  We were with our daughter/grand daughter and preferred to spend time with them instead of writing our blog.  The last time we were with them was at Christmas and it was great to spend time with them. 

On our way down from Washington we got some things done on the coach.  I had it serviced at Speedco, oil, lube, filters and generator serviced too.  I found a good tire place in Salem and was able to get two new tires on the front using the FMCA discount.  For us, the FMCA discount was a good thing, I checked three places and their prices were higher than using the FMCA group price.  The dealer told us we were able to purchase tires cheaper than he could plus he gave us some trade in for the old tires, enough to cover mounting and balancing.

We also were able to buy two new coach batteries from the same place.  They also installed them, had to pull out/re-install the four house batteries to get access to the coach batteries.  We were out of there in about 90 minutes, not bad for not having an appointment.  And it was good to buy them in Oregon, no state taxes vs. 9% in Washington and even higher in California. 

We stayed at the Elks in Keiser, they have a good RV park there for travelers.  But while we were there we found out that we hadn’t renewed our Elks membership this year, the notice our lodge sent out must have gone to our old address and wasn’t forwarded plus we just never checked my card either.  We were turned down to go in for dinner one time, they checked our card and it was expired, shoot.  Anyway, Lorraine contacted our friend Tom/Dorothy in Palm Springs who sponsored us at Desert Hot Springs Lodge and they dropped our check off and send our new, updated membership card to us.  So we are legal once again and they have our new address on file in case we forget again. 

After leaving Keiser, we spent two nights on the road heading towards Susy’s place.  The second night we were at Rolling Hills Casino and the winds were pretty heavy overnight.  We debated about staying for one more night but the winds were from the North and we were traveling South so we figured a tail wind might be a good thing.  Anyway, about 45 miles down the road, the winds died down quite a bit and it was an uneventful trip into Santa Clara Elks. 

We were able to pick Kaitlyn up from school almost every afternoon and she wanted to (and was successful) spend most of the weekend nights with us too.  She really liked to have Nana food too, especially mac and cheese.  We also spent quality time with Susy, Lorraine and her managed to go shopping a couple of time while Kaitlyn stayed at our coach with me.  She and Nana played lots of games, colored, made pictures, watched kids shows and such but mostly just bonded. 

Two days we were able to have Kaitlyn with us all day, she developed some sort of rash.  On Monday, Susy called and said the school called her and asked could we head over to pick up Kaitlyn.  On Tuesday, I just met them at school at normal drop off time and brought her back to our rig for the day.  She was a little under the weather, didn’t really want to do much but it was a joy to have her with us just the same. 

We were there over Mother’s day and had plans to go to the Elks for Mother’s Day brunch.  Unfortunately, they got started late and when our seating time came they were still too full.  When we went back they had already run short of food so we were turned away.  So Lorraine cooked her own brunch on Mother’s day, sorry abut that.  But at least we had a good day. 

On Friday morning, our dog Misty was acting strange.  She couldn’t walk a straight line, would fall over when she shook herself, kept walking in circles and kept her head turned to the side.  I thought she might have had a stroke or something so we took her to the vet.  They checked her out and were unable to rule out a stoke but thought it might be a quick onset of “Old Dog Disease” or some such thing.  They wanted to run a bunch of tests to the tune of $900 but also suggested we just watch her overnight and let them know how she was doing in the morning.  We opted for the watch thing and are still doing that.   We have talked to a couple of folks who had dogs that had strokes and they said they acted a lot like Misty so that is what we think happened.  But she is getting better each day and is almost back to normal, yesterday she even wanted to play with another dog when we were out walking. 

But as all good things must come to an end, we were leaving Santa Clara on Monday morning.  Kaitlyn sure wasn’t happy about that.  She had a bad time on Sunday night and Monday morning, wanted us to stay longer and be with her.  But Lorraine was able to talk to her and calm her down somewhat, promising her we would see her when she is back in Washington in July and again when we are back in California next time.   And once she got back to school with her friends helped get her back to normal too. 

We got to Reno around 3 pm, checked out a RV park across the street from the Peppermill Casino but the sites were too close together.  If we would have put out our slides, we could have reached into the window of the rig next to us, and that was on both sides.  So we headed back to Boomtown KOA where we have stayed once before.  Normally we avoid KOAs, some folks say KOA stands for Keep on Adding as they can charge for every little thing but this one isn’t too bad.  We wanted to stay here through Memorial day and they have plenty of spaces open for us so here we are.  Lorraine has done a bit of shopping and of course we tried our luck at a couple of the casinos too. 

The weather here has been unusual, lots of wind for the first three days then the temperature dropped from highs in the 80s to highs in the 50s with lows dropping to the 30s.  We even had snow on Friday morning, enough to cover the ground and the trees.  One would think we were sort of used to these lower temperatures coming from Washington but we were cold just the same.   Looking forward to seeing better temperatures tomorrow, back to the 80s maybe.  We might head out on some sightseeing too, that’s one reason we wanted to stop over here for a week and we haven’t been able to because of the winds, rain or cold temperatures.  But guess we could always make a return trip some other time, life is tough that way. 

I’ll cover our upcoming travel plans a bit for anyone who may be interested.  We leave here on Tuesday, headed East.  We will travel on highway 50, “The Loneliest Road in America”.  This will be a new one for us, haven’t even traveled it by car.  We will work our way up to Rapid City, SD for a week then on to Minneapolis.  After that, we want to tour a bit of North Dakota, we haven’t been there either and I want to see the Oil Boom going on.  Then we will continue heading West and be back in Washington for another round of doctor visits in July.  We haven’t firmed up the dates for this run, sort of going to play it by ear but that’s our plans for the next couple of months anyway. 

Guess I’ll go review the pictures Lorraine has taken and maybe add a few then get this posted.

Misty                                                       Kaitlyn

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Kaitlyn and Susy

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The Pow Wow at Stanford

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Kaitlyn loves dressing up.

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Kaitlyn at her school fund raiser. 

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Reno sign over the road. 


Ok, now to get this posted.


Thanks   Chuck

Sunday, May 6, 2012

We’re in Keiser, Oregon


Sunday, April 6, 2012                                                                                                                                              Lorraine’s report

Hello once again from Chuck and Lorraine, finally back on the road. If you remember, Chuck took a job to work back at his old refinery, BP, but with a contractor called Brinderson, that works for BP. We headed back north and on November 4th we pulled into Joe and Alice’s extra lot, not leaving until this last Friday, April 4th, exactly six months in that one place. Thanks to Joe and Alice for letting us rent it so we didn’t have to move every two weeks, we appreciated this a lot!

What a winter we survived; it was a La Nina year, second year in a row, and we had record rains, cold spells with the northeaster out of the Frasier River Canyon, too many cold, wet, gray days to count.  On January 18th I went to the market about 3 miles away at 1 pm and the temperature was 11 degrees out with the Northeaster blowing 30 mile per hour, making the wind chill about 20 below zero.

And after Norma and Rob left in mid January to go to Quartzsite and places south, January felt like it was a hundred days long to me. February was at least fifty days long, and March was unbearably long for me. I missed the blue sunny skies of the southwest, even if the friends there said it was windy.

Mt. Baker, our snow capped dormant volcano had record snow falls this year; the third most snow fall on record. From the Bellingham Herald, “Mt. Baker Ski Area east of Glacier recorded 27 inches of snow in April, making the total snowfall for the season 804 inches, or 15 percent more than average.” The snow up there meant tons of rain down here in the low lands. Our rivers are running way high, and if the snow melts too fast they will flood the low lying areas.

Spring finally came around the 3rd week in April, and I think the entire population of this area was overjoyed to finally see the sun for more than a few hours at a time. In fact April had 4 weekends in a row where the sun came out for the whole weekend.

Chuck started working the turnaround a lot earlier than they anticipated because of the fire at the Crude Unit on February 17.  Chuck’s unit when he retired from BP in 2007 was the Crude Unit and he could see the area from the coverage on the TV. It was fortunate no one was injured; we were home that day doing taxes, when we got a call about the fire at BP, we could see the smoke out the front window of the coach.

Chuck was a planner for the work Brinderson was doing in the Reformer Unit and once the turnaround started he worked many many long hours. I never knew when he would be coming home. Most of the time, he went in by 4:30 am or so; some days he would come home anywhere from 6 pm to 10:30 pm. He would eat, take a shower and go to bed; then get up the next day and do it all again. One week he had 91 hours, the next 87 hours, way too much for most men.

On March 27th Rick and Joy came back north so she could go back to her job. They had lots of fun south and both looked so tan and relaxed. Then on April 6th Rob and Norma and Barb and Dennis came back north. Barb and Dennis stayed for a week and Rob and Norma were here a bit longer. We all went to Bob’s for Easter Sunday Brunch. It was nice to see our friends again and we enjoy our time together.

The day after Easter, I woke up feeling not too well and it went down hill from there. I had picked up that horrible stomach virus that was going around the county here. I still am getting over that virus.

Chuck came home on April 14th with the cold virus that everyone at his work and the entire county had. A week later he was starting to get better and I woke up on April 22 with his cold. So not only was I still fighting the stomach flu, I had picked up that nasty cold virus. On the 9th of May it will be a month and I am still fighting both viruses, but I feel I am getting better a hair at a time.

Chuck worked his last day April 27th and was I ever happy for him to be done. We are both tired, but happy to be out of Blaine.

I missed our granddaughter, Kaitlyn, 7th birthday on April 15th.  When I made the airline reservations 2 months earlier, I had no idea I would be too ill to travel.  I was so sad to miss it, but Kaitlyn being the trooper she is, said it was okay and for Nana to come when she was feeling better. It made me cry.

So now we are heading to our daughter, Susy’s and Kaitlyn’s home to have another party for her, since I didn’t send Kaitlyn her presents.  We hope to be there for Mother’s Day.

Chuck has had the oil changed at Speedco by Portland, and we need to order 2 new tires for the front of the rig, and some new batteries. Hopefully, this will happen tomorrow.  Then we head south again.  I forgot to say we are in Salem, staying at the Keizer Elks RV Park.  It’s $17.00 a night for full hookups.

We hope Richard and Sandy have fun on their Hawaii trip this week, will miss Sandy and my Friday night get together.  Also, to Mark and Sue, I asked for prayers for you and your health problems, also for Manuel and Connie, from my new church.  I love my new church, and hopefully it helps you both.

It’s nice, but kinda scary to be riding in the big rig again. Not used to all the traffic yet. 

Until next time,


5/6/2012                                                                                                                                                           Chuck’s report

It’s been awhile since we’ve last posted, I think it was around Christmas time last year.  We haven’t posted because we haven’t done much, I’ve been working and Lorraine’s been taking care of me and doing her thing. 

I started the temporary job in early November and finished up in late April.  The original plan was to start work in November and end in late June but the refinery had a big fire in February that changed the work plans.  We started the maintenance period earlier than expected and therefore ended earlier too.  It was a good thing too as I was getting very tired for sure.  My boss asked me on Wednesday when I expected my last day to be and I said I sort of expected him to tell me, ha.  Anyway, we agreed that Friday 4/27 would be my last working day and I left shortly after noon, finished at last. 

I think I worked 54 out of 60 days at the end, most of them 12 hours/day.   Way too many for an old man but everyone else was working the same so at least I had company.  We were only allowed to work 19 out of 21 days and I had the Thursday and Friday off just before Easter.  Come to find out, we were all told to take off Saturday and Sunday also so I actually had 4 days off in a row, made it hard to come back after that break. 

They had to hire lots of folks from out of the local area because of the work load and of course they brought all the illness and bugs and shared them with us.  I was lucky, I only caught a head cold for a week or so but lots of folks were much worse off.  In fact, Lorraine is still not 100% from all the stuff she was fighting but at least she’s getting better. 

We didn’t do much visiting with friends and family during our time back home but did manage to see Joy/Rick when they got back from their trip down South for the winter.  Later we got to visit with Barb/Dennis and Norma/Rob when they returned from down South too.  I was tired and probably not much company but it was nice to see them just the same. 

We spent a week getting things done after I finished work.  Lorraine paired down on some of the stuff in the coach and we hauled two loads to Goodwill and put a couple things in the shop.  I didn’t try to sell my little work car until the last week but no luck so it went back in the shop until we return later this summer then it goes on Craig’s list. 

Boy does it feel good to be free and back on the road again.  We left Friday and stopped for the night at Rochester at a casino where the normal results happened i.e., I lost and Lorraine won.  We left there Saturday and I had the coach serviced at Speedco while Lorraine shopped at the Outlet Mall in Woodburn, Oregon. 

I was getting the coach ready to travel on Tuesday before we left and had an issue with it not wanting to start.  I’ve been doing some research and I think the starting batteries are getting old and need replaced.  I also want to replace the two front tires and we want to get this finished while we are in TAX FREE Oregon.  I need to do some checking tomorrow to find the tires and batteries so we might be here a couple more days. 

Lorraine was scheduled to fly down for our grand daughter Kaitlyn’s birthday on April 15th but she was too ill to fly.  Kaitlyn was 7 so she is old enough to understand but none-the-less she wants to see her Nana and get her birthday presents so that’s where we are headed.  After that our schedule is open, only requirement we have on our agenda is to renew our driver’s licenses in South Dakota before August.  Other than that, we don’t have any firm plans until mid July when we have doctor visits once again back in Bellingham. 

It’s good to be back on the road!!

And now for a few pictures, didn’t have too many to pick from so there won’t be too many this week. 


Mount Baker in the background and wintering white swans in the Skagit Valley.

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Lorraine’s Christmas Cactus and snow at our place this winter. 

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We did have some partly cloudy days with nice sunsets too. 

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Richard and Sandy’s new grand daughter and proud parents. 

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Joy and Rick after their winter trip. 

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Norma and Rob after their trip. 

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Nephew John and his son Joey.                 Niece Kerri and husband Paul. 

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Kerri’s kids Rose, Joshua and Patrick. 


And that’s it for now.  Maybe we will get back to our normal blog schedule of once a week but that remains to be seen.  But I will send out a note when we do update next time.

Thanks   Chuck