A day in Seattle, local friends, leaving Gig Harbor

While most of our time in Gig Harbor was spent going back and forth to Vashon Island, we did take a day to drive into Seattle. Did the obligatory fish market and shops on the waterfront, and really had a great time just wandering around.

At the end of the day we drove to an area called West Seattle to meet up with a friend of Leslie’s named Liz and her new boyfriend. They have rented a small house with great views of the sound. We had dinner at their house and a great time with Liz eating and drinking the night away.

We finally left Gig Harbor and for the first time had a little trouble getting out. The area our rig was parked on was dirt and it had softened with some recent rains. As our rig is about 50,000 pounds fully loaded it can dig into the dirt and it sure did. I thought maybe we were going to have to get a tow, but I was eventually able to go backwards enough to get a running start through the problems. On to Pacific Shores in Newport, Oregon!

Vashon Island and more old friends

Gig Harbor is about 40 minutes from Seattle in one direction and 30 minutes from the ferry to Vashon Island in the other. We decided to be up in the Seattle area at this time in large part because our Reno friends Jim & Ruthie were going to visit their daughter Lauren. Ken was going too and others were meeting them there. Lauren and a couple of partners opened a very cool restaurant named “The Ruby Brink” on Vashon Island earlier this year. This is a combo restaurant, bar and butcher shop with each of the three partners responsible for one aspect. We have known Lauren since she was young and she actually used to babysit our kids years ago.

We went over tho the Island 3 times. The first was a Wednesday which is the day the restaurant is closed. But Jim & Ruthie rented a nice house right on the water and we all gathered there for a terrific meal. The next day we went back and had a great meal at the restaurant with everyone.

The final time was with Laurie Morgan, a friend I have known since high school, but hadn’t seen in over 30 years! Thanks to Facebook we had stayed in touch so we knew she was living near Seattle. Laurie met us at the ferry over to Vashon and we went over to have lunch, walk around a local farmers market and do a little wine tasting. We also took advantage of the butcher shop at The Ruby Brink as Lauren set us up with some great take away meats (that I’m afraid are all gone now).

It was really special to see Laurie again after all these years.

On to Gig Harbor and a dog who wanted out from the car

Leaving Portland we planned on a halfway stop at a Thousand Trails RV Park mid-state. But when we got there it was too hilly and spots way too small for our rig. We have found that Thousand Trails in general is not right for us with limited full hook up spaces, no advance space specific reservations, and tight spaces. So we bailed on that and found a small RV Park next to next to Riverside Golf Course. Basic spots but served out needs.

We made the short hop to Gig Harbor RV Park, our home for the next 5 nights. Our spot was tree covered which meant no Satellite service, but we had so many things planned that wasn’t a problem. After setting up we went into the town of Gig Harbor for dinner at a place Rosemary Thompson recommended right on the harbor. On our very short drive over we were behind a car with 2 dogs in the backseat and the windows rolled down. One dog saw a pedestrian walking their dog nearby and decided to join them by jumping out of the window while the car was still moving. Even though the car was going slow the dog was still spun around by the jump and landed very hard on the street. Of course we stopped (as did all other traffic) but the dog was panicked and running around. Luckily the owners finally noticed and popped back to get their pet. And it didn’t seem as if the dog was hurt.

At the RV Park we met a couple who had a Newmar Dutch Star that was the same year and floor plan as ours. I learned some nice tips and got connected to a company that allows unlimited Data steaming with no throttling. As this has been a sore spot for us we really appreciated this.

Eugene, Portland, a sad side trip and on to Gig Harbor

We left LongSword and had to deal with a narrow winding road for about 15 miles before hitting the I-5 north and on to “Premier RV Resorts of Eugene”. Nice place, great site but right near the freeway and we only stayed one night. The on to Portland at Fairview RV Park. The place was very basic but served our needs.

The second day was our sad side trip as we drove all the way back down to Eugene (2 hours or so) for the funeral of Stacy Deveraux’s. Stacy is a co-worker who has been close with me and Leslie for many years now, and she is actually my replacement at ASSA ABLOY. Happy to see Stacy, sad it was for this.

Back up in Portland we had our friends Kim and Linda visit for dinner in the coach. It was really great to see them and we loved the area and will visit them again. After only 3 nights we hit the road again for the Seattle area, specifically Gig Harbor!

Long Sword Vineyard & finding old friends

Still on our way up to the Seattle area we wanted to try for the first time a program called “Harvest Host”. Once in the program we can use their website to find members that allow us to park our rig overnight for free, but without hookups. Most of these are vineyards, but there are farms, museums, golf courses and others. You are expected to patronize the hosting business but it isn’t mandatory.

The first one we tried was “Long Sword Vineyard” in southern Oregon just west of Grants Pass. It was a small vineyard and the width of the gate I had to drive through was just barley larger than the rig. But it was nice countryside and we were the only ones there. Leslie ended up liking their wine and bought a case.

While in the tasting room Leslie had a phone call about her cruise travel job. While she was on the phone I started talking with the young woman working the tasting room counter. She said she was from Grants Pass and I mentioned that Leslie’s best friend from middle school, Gigi, had moved there 23 years ago with her husband Harry, and we had eventually lost track of them. It turns out she knew the daughters of Gigi and presto 20 minutes later Leslie and Gigi were on the phone talking as if they had seen each other yesterday! We were able to change our agenda and made plans to see them later in our trip. I will blog on that later when it happens. What a wonderful bit of random serendipity!

Leaving Reno – Burney Falls

Both sadness and excitement filled us as we left Reno heading to the Pacific Northwest. Sadness to leave behind our family and friends for a while, and excitement for the adventures ahead.

Almost at the beginning of our drive just 30 miles north of Reno our check engine light popped on. I immediately pulled over and called Freightliner. After going through some diagnostics over the phone with we determined we could go ahead and sure enough te light went off not long after we started again. We will have this checked the next time we are in the shop anyway.

Our first over night stop was at the Hat Creek RV Park. The first spot they gave us was too small for our rig but we found another spot that worked. More on the RV Park in our RV Park reviews.

When we told our friend Jim Garavente the route we were taking up towards Seattle he said we had to hike to Burney Falls. We had time that afternoon so drove over and was it ever worth it! One of the most beautiful falls I have ever seen. It is a long hike with major elevation changes but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

The GSR in Reno July 2-23 (week 3)

As I have said our time in Reno was very full, and one reason was the fact that July is “Art-Town” in Reno, a month long celebration of art of all types. Steve Rubin, one of our local friends, wrote, produced and starred in a production of “Euthanasia the Musical”. It also featured our talented musician friends Jim and Ken. While the subject sounds morbid, it was actually very enlightening and positive. Great job by Steve and friends to support something he truly believes in.

We had a fun cook out at the coach with a bunch of Patrick’s friends, all of whom used to hang out at our house when they were in school. It was great to see them all. As I mentioned we had dinner with Roy & Jean at PF Chang’s 3 times during our visits to Reno. But on the 18th we had dinner at their house and their daughter Paige joined us. A really fun night and I really appreciated the effort they made to have fun foods for me that night!

The next night Leslie and I saw Steve Martin and Martin Short perform in the GSR showroom. Leslie was a little disappointed, and while not as good as I had hoped it was still a fun time. Our friend Darren showed up from Phoenix that day but didn’t join us at the show. Leslie and Darren went down to Carson City on Sunday and did the “Taste of Downtown” walking food tour/charity event with Leslie’s cousin Deanna and her husband Jeff.

We finally checked out of the GSR on the 22nd, but parked the coach overnight in front of Ruthie and Jim’s house. This is because Leslie wanted to see s jazz group she had seen San Diego previously called “Sammy Miller and the Congregation”. Sammy is the son of a friend of Sara Butler Gold and they performed as part of Art Town month and were an absolute blast.

We left Reno on the 23rd of July after wonderful action packed weeks. We really loved our time there mostly because of the people we spent our time with. Thanks to all of you who were part of our special month.

The Vasovagal event- July 11

On July 18th Joe, Rich, Dominick Leslie and I went over to the GSR to have dinner at “Cantina”, a nice Mexican restaurant inside the casino. Before dinner we gathered at the coach for cocktails and everyone was having great fun. As I don’t drink I was taking the (legal in Nevada) candy edibles with THC. I perhaps over did it slightly. In any case during dinner I started to feel very light headed and eventually got up and told Leslie I had to leave. While standing next to the table getting ready to leave I just completely passed out and hit the floor. I woke up with several strangers standing around me and I had no idea where I was and what had happened. Leslie and others assumed I had a stroke or heart attack. I was still very light headed and knew I had not had a stroke as I had no symptoms. They called the paramedics who showed up in 15 minutes or so. After the paramedics got there I passed out again and they told me my heart rate dipped to 30 and my pressure was 60/40. Then I started to vomit for a few minutes and was obviously still feeling very poor. They hooked me up to an IV and took me to the hospital in an ambulance. After getting and EKG and a series of blood tests the emergency room doctor told me I had this “vasovagal” event which I had never heard of before but apparently is very common. Basically my issue was dehydration, which while still very serious in the short term is fine if dealt with quickly as it was. It is the most common diagnosis for fainting from standing too long, too much pressure , stress or in my case dehydration compounded by the THC.

While it was very scary at the time I am happy to report I am fine! Thanks to all who expressed concern and support.

The GSR in Reno July 2-23 (Week 2)

Dominick, Rich and Joe all came to Reno July 9th to spend some time with us. They all stayed at the GSR. On the 10th we had a large meet and greet in our coach with Dom, Rich and Joe + locals Jim, Ruthie, Steve, Julia and Ken. This was a precursor to our river cruise in October that they are all coming to Europe with us for. I made a vegetarian stew called “Ratatouille” which is basically my spicy marinara with sauteed eggplant, zucchini and squash added. I will add the recipe to the blog.

The next evening Dom, Rich, Joe, Leslie and I were having dinner at the Mexican restaurant in the GSR when I had a “special medical” experience I will detail in my next post.

But I survived and Rich & Dom left the next morning. Joe stayed for a few more days and Leslie drive him around Lake Tahoe. We went to Food Truck Friday which was great fun for all of us. The three of us also went to the movies and saw “Yesterday”. This was a sweet fantasy that has only a couple of people who remember the Beatles after a global event.

After Joe left, Noam flew up from Phoenix and stayed a few days. He and Leslie went to “Pops on the River” and we generally had a great time.

The GSR in Reno July 2 to 23 (week 1)

We moved down to the RV Park next to the Grand Sierra Resort (a local hotel/casino) because we had a series of friends coming to visit us who stayed there and we could walk back and forth easily. Lots of activities those 3 weeks including: dinner at PF Changs with Roy and Jean Lassiter (3 times actually as this has become one of my favorite things with them); Madison and Joey came to town and we had a brunch at our coach with them, Patrick, Mysha and Ronan, + Jim & Ruthie; Noam flew up from Phoenix for a few days (he and Leslie went to “pops on the River” with Ruthie and others); dinner at the coach with Dawn, Jon and Kai. And this was just the first week!