Tahoma, Tacoma, or Rainier

y3K29%KXSYKFLlXSM1YWVgThe American Indians named the mountain Tahoma which translates to Snowy Mountain Peak.  And I am here to say right this minute that the name Tahoma is much more descriptive than Rainier.  Rainier was the name of a friend of Gen. Vancouver, a military officer in the 1800s.   He was not nearly as majestic and a man of average looks.

The American Indians had been in the area for 9000 years.  Just in terms of seniority, the mountain should be renamed.  Or in terms of longevity it should be renamed.  

But I digress.

This is not a matter we should concern ourselves about.  No, I am here today to tell you that Rayman and I have been to the mountain.  It is a dormant volcano.  It is 14,410 feet high.  It has glaciers.  It gives rise to 5 different streams that feed various rivers, I suppose.  It is impressive and amazing.  


On our trip to Montana and Glacier National Park, we had a choice to make.  Attempt to go into Glacier from the eastern entrance since we only got to see about 17 miles of the park when we entered from the southwest.  It was a very big disappointment that could be mitigated by going east and north to see the other side of the park.  

We stayed a night in Whitefish, Montana, a cute little town with plenty of shopping and restaurants.  Stayed in a lovely new hotel right in the center of the action.  We had a late lunch/early dinner at a lively pub with a great waiter.  He is the one that told us snow was coming.

Alas, clouds were gathering.  The National Weather Service was predicting a change in the weather.  Should we go or not go?  We did not go.  Instead we left Whitefish, Mt on a bright, cloudless day believing our Weather Service and our groovy waiter who incidentally haled from Southern CA.  And we headed to the Grand Coulee Dam because I wanted to see it.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had heard that Grand Coulee was the dam of all dams.  It was located between Montana and Oregon in the state of Washington…on the way back to Portland.  And that is what we did.  It really was a very pretty day.   

Coulee was massive but not as impressive as Boulder (Hoover) as dams go.  It has enough concrete in it to build a four foot wide sidewalk about the earth 2 times, I think they said.  Or enough concrete to build a freeway between it and Florida.  So, it was mighty big.  It also is said to generate enough electricity to 4 million households (this is all recollection so the facts are in question).


Me at the top of the dam.


Okay. Facts.


The other side of the dam where the water spills.

After we stopped to take pics and read up on the dam, we headed down a two lane highway that was a total surprise.  It was like we had landed on a moon with water.  The strange rock formations, the sand, the water all made for us scratch our heads.  So, we stopped at the visitor center along the way and made a discovery.  It seems Montana way back when was covered in ice which melted and formed a huge interior lake that was hemmed in by the Rockies, the Bitterroots, the Sawtooth (teeth?) Mountains.  One day the ice gave way and all that water had to go somewhere…and this is where part of it went.  Roaring down at 65 miles per hour, it formed in quick fashion a landscape quite apart from most landscapes that have taken milliinias to form…think the Grand Canyon.  It was a total surprise and a feast for the eyes.  


Rugged and steep.


Looks like graphite. Sandy stuff.


Combo of cliffs and stand.


Beautiful views.


Heading down to the lake.

Which I must now take time to say…traveling 2 lane roads is a hoot (I’m quite sure I am repeating myself).  They can be beautiful, they often times follow rivers, are often times preserved from earlier times, and they often times have railroad tracks nearby.  What they don’t have are a lot of cars, trucks traveling 70 mps to get where they are going.  It is a slower way to travel.  And there are usually a few small towns trying to hold on to their way of life the only way they know how…by reducing the speed to 25 mps so you can slowly look at the whole place as you drive through.  And they have police that like to give tickets if you don’t slow down.   Hence a good revenue stream for these one horse towns.  Perhaps.

Spokane was the city we stayed in between Whitefish and Yakima.  Spokane is a lovely city in the northeast corner of Washington.  It is a university town known for basketball …Gonzaga and Washington St. U are right next to each other downtown.  A river runs through it.  The city has lovely outdoor art and what seems to be a robust theater company judging from the ads hanging in the lobby of our Best Western Plus Hotel.  The location was right across from the Convention Center.  We had a good time there for the one night and morning.



The next morning found us getting out of the city and back to the backroads which led us Yakima, WA, apparently the apple capital of the state.  Lots of trees, big shipping facilities, etc.  It has an ag-industrial feel.  We stayed at a Red Lion and ate at a modern restaurant that was quite chic yet laid back.  The next morning we drove to the entrance of the Mt. Rainer National Park in the state of Washington.  The friendly gatekeepers told us were very lucky because it was so sunny, that they hadn’t seen the top of Rainier in quite some time.  Boy, excitement reigned.  We were stoked like kids on crack.  

Nothing can compare one for what we saw.  We had been in the park for 20 minutes before we drove around a corner and there it was.  Funny how huge mountains can be right there and still you can’t see them until the trees give way and allow it.  It is like being on a small sailboat and all of the sudden the fog lifts, and there is a huge ocean going vessel off the bow.  The rush you get causes to you to blurt out, “OMG.  There it is” or “OMG that is huge.”  There is really nothing quite like it.  


First glimpse of the tippy top.

So, we took our time winding our way up to 5500 feet and observe the top of mountain in all it’s glory.  Marvelous.   And we visited the Visitor’s Center which was quite impressive.  There is also a hotel with all the accouterments.   The area is called Paradise.


It was heck of a day.  And as we were doing it, the weather is getting really nasty in Montana.  Good call by us to believe the National Weather Service.  There were no sharpies involved, so we felt comfortable about trusting it.  


Up close at the Visitor’s Center


Love the reflection.

The plan was that we would exit the park the way we came in.  Only we didn’t.  Rayman missed a turn and we got lost on the only road in the park.  Don’t ask.  We don’t know.  It follows a sweet pattern we have adopted thru our lives together.  Getting lost.  

Mt. Rainier was the last stop at a mountain before we re-entered Portland city limits.  It was a grand tour of parts of the country we had not visited before.  We hope to do more exploring next summer from our northern exposure of Portlandia.   

We are now back and winterizing our SHIP as we plan to head south for winter with all the birds.  Leaving about the 13th of this month so it’s time to scout out some more backroads.  You just can’t beat them.

Regarding Bitterroots

If there is a better name for the Bitterroot Mountains, I don’t know what it would be.  And for those that have not traveled the Bitteroots, I suggest you consider doing so.



As we tootled along at about 50 MPS or less, we followed the river that ran through the range.  Beau did not appreciate this as he stuffed himself between the backseat the front seats…we think he was afraid of sliding right off during all the 180 degree turns.  Or maybe he just wanted to be near the source of air emanating from the vent near the floor.  Whatever makes him do it seems to occur on winding roads so I’m sticking with that explanation.

What makes the ride so exceptional is the abundance of water in the river, the huge peaks rising up from the river like citadels for the curving river below.  All the mountains were various shades of green with trees.  Trees standing guard orr the mountains, providing nesting opportunities for bald eagles, osprey and various other birds at the top of the food chain.  And the trees were thick and unabused by man.  No loggers had been there.  There were no roads leading off into the trees with signs announcing “Watch for trucks”.  Actually, now that I reflect, there were no big trucks on the road.  In short it was nirvana.  



As you drive the road, there are historical markers because the Highway 12 that we traversed was, in fact, part of the Lewis and Clark trail.  We stopped and read the signs and then gazed out at the mountains and tried to imagine the shear courage of what the men and one woman had  on their journey but also how they had to persist day in and day out.  So many things could have gone wrong.  And they did.  And yet they persisted.  So, we pull up in our Ford C-Max that carried us to these parts with the aid of the GPS, jump out of the car and read the history of how hungry, how tired, how disenchanted they found themselves to be and we were in awe…  Lack of food, hard work.   The only thing they knew about the land and rivers is what the Indians told them.  I’m quite sure they may never have made it if it wasn’t for the help of the Indians.  In the Bitterroots it was the Nez Pearce tribe.  


Extraordinarily, the people of the expedition thought that just around the next bend, over the next mountain there existed a Pacific Ocean.  Oh, the disappointment that they must have felt when they realized there was no ocean.   Yet.

The trip has been a powerful reminder of all that has gone before us.  As I recall only one man died on that effort.  Some turned back.  Most didn’t.  And the woman persisted.  Have they done a movie about Sacaguwea?  If not, please call Spielberg or Andrea Duveige and get them going.  They journey found the expeditionary forces in the Bitterroots in 1805, September.  Amazing.

In the middle of the trip, we stopped in a cafe in the town of Lowell, population 22.  It had been 23 but someone drew a line thru the number and wrote 22 on it.   So it was either 22 or 23.  The cafe was a throw back to another era.  The people who ran it were women.  They had good soup.  Not sure about the pie but they did advertise home made pie on their white board.  There was a pool table.  A bar, a few tables and chairs.  A counter.  I asked the woman that waited on us if the road stayed open all winter.  “Oh, yes.  Unless there is an avalanche.”  Do they open all year?  “Oh, yes.”  You have to be a special breed to live in Lowell.  The only other thing there was a camp ground across the river as I recall.  It must close this month, I’m guessing.  A long winter of short days looks mighty unapppeallng to me.  And what if you needed to get your appendix removed suddenly?  Well, good luck with that…

But I digress.

Back to Lewis and Clark.  They didn’t have medical insurance, an HMO, a PPO or a hospital.  And yet they survived the journey.  And remember, this was when every wild river in the land was free, unrestrained from man’s effort to tame the beasts with the damn dams.  Oh, how exhilarating it must have been to hear the river from a great distance away.  The roar getting louder as they moved toward it.  Many times they had to portage to the next spot of the river that looked like it would carry them a distance without drowning them or throwing them over a waterfall.  Talk about taking a risk.  And imagine the mosquitos.  

So, we enjoyed the journey.  Our imaginations were on full throttle.  Our appreciation of their effort was at hand.  If only the U.S. had not slaughtered the Indians that helped travelers discover their land.  If only the U.S. had not broken every treaty they entered into with the Indians.  If only, if only.  We might not have casinos dotting the land!!

On the other side of the Bitterroots, we emerged into a big valley where Missoula is located.  Lots of farm land.  No Trump signs.  We only saw one Trump sign hammered up on a tree by the side of narrow road that lead probably to this guy’s house.  It said Trump on one sign and 2020 on another sign.  It is still early.  We are interested how the farmers whose land we saw are regarding this trade war with China.

But I digress.

It had been along day in the car.  We did not check in to our Best Western Plus until 7 something.  And we were famished.  As luck would have it the only pet friendly room they had was a handicap suite.  A bedroom, a bathroom with stand up shower, a living room, a fireplace.  We were dumbstruck.  We then discovered a restaurant across the street.  We walked over, ordered a pizza and salad, brought it back and at in our secluded suite we slurped wine that we did not have to pay a corkage for and had a gay ole time.  Then it was curtains.

Let’s Catch Up

Dear Reader:

Our Dog House is gone.  Sold to some people from Europe.  And it did not go well.

To recap, Rayman asked the RV dealership to send the check to us in Portland.  THAT did not happen.  They claim they sent it to Morro Bay.  It was sold on 8/23.  We had not received on 9/4 so we started raising hell.  We asked for electronic funds transfer.  No.  They did not do that.  So they agreed to overnite a new check.  It did not come.  We asked for the tracking number.  It finally arrived on 9/10.  It is an understatement to say that I was besides myself.  Oh, and at the start of Autumn, the first check has still not arrived.  They cancelled it when they wrote the second check.


MOVING ON (without the Dog House, sniff sniff)

We decided to take a road trip.  After all, we’ve been in Portland all summer without one (except our two trips to Bend which I expounded on in earlier blogs).  The plan was hatched.  A trip to Montana.  We actually aren’t that far away.  SO away we went this a.m. in our little Ford CMax hybrid.  To make the trip more interesting, we wanted to leave the freeway.  This necessitated taking highway 14 on the WA side of the Columbia River to Walla Walla, WA.  Okay.  Well.

A disclaimer.  I was not driving.  We had stopped at a scenic rest stop to rest and change drivers. 


Our view from rest stop.

Rayman took the helm and after pulling out on the road, a funny couple of thumps ensued and then it got really loud in the cabin of the car.  Rayman thought it was road noise and wind.  I thought otherwise.  So, we stopped.  I was right.  The under carriage dumaflahchie had torn away from the bumper.  We tried to put it in place and drive the car again.  No go.  So, we called AAA road service.  They said it would be 45 minutes.  



Our view from the place we stopped to call AAA.

Where were we?  On Highway 14 about 20 miles east of The Dalles but on the WA side.  There was nothing there.  Not even a tree.  While we waited I called the Ford dealership in The Dalles.  Talked with Fred.  He suggested AAA just remove the part and we could drive on.  Because we planned to take back mountain roads, that did not sound like a workable solution.  I found out from Fred that there was an Enterprise rent-a-car in The Dalles.  I called them.  First I got the national number.  They reported that the local Dalles location had all kinds of cars.  Then I called the local location.  They had one Chevy full sized van.  Period.  By this time it was about 3:30.  They closed at 5 p.m.  Also…they were closed on Sat. And Sun.  I looked at owner’s manual.  It said Ford offered towing service.  I called Fred back.  No, Ford didn’t offer that at their location.  Did they have loaner cars?  No.  OMG.  And then the phone rang.  It was the tow truck driver.  He was the only tow truck driver at work today.  It would be another hour before he arrived.  

Panic set in.  We decided if we could get to the Ford dealership, perhaps they could take the under carriage off and we could just go back to Portland.

I called my cousin.  She accused us of loosening the screws on the under carriage so we would have a bloggable story to tell.  I mean, how could this have happened?  Why always to us?  We howled with laughter.

Then the tow truck driver showed, up (earlier than expected because he had no earthly idea where we were, really).  He could not fix it.  I told the tow truck driver that this constituted the second tow truck ride for us in less than a year.  Really.  With the same car.  So, he towed us to the Ford dealership and I got to meet Fred in person.  He looked like a Fred.  I recognized him immediately. No tatts on this guy.  The tow driver was a hoot. 

Rayman rode in the backseat.  I road shotgun.  Beau was in the car on the bed of the truck.  Poor  Beau.  Traumatized I’m sure.

Back to the story.

The Ford guys “secured” the under carriage.  Fred said we should be okay.  How much did we owe?  Fred said, “nothing”.  We apparently had bonded with all the phone calls etc.



On the Road Again.

So.  While keeping our wallets in our pockets, we headed out east to Walla Walla.  And the cream on the pie was that we witnessed a fabulous sunset albeit in the rear view mirror as we cruised along the Columbia.  

We arrived in Walla Walla.  We checked in.  It was about 7:45.  Luckily there was a restaurant across the parking lot.  We walked over and as we approached the place, three guys lugging a huge pig on a spit walked by.  I asked where they were taking the pig.  To the roaster.  A portable barbecue. Not a view you see every day.

We had dinner and as we were leaving, we stopped by the roaster.  Three guys were outfitting the pig in chicken wire.  I asked if that was to prevent the meat from falling off the bone.  Bingo.    A big party was scheduled for tomorrow.  Too bad we’ll miss it.  It’s on to Missoula, Montana on backroads with lots of curves.  What could go wrong?

I’m officially exhausted.  Will polish this up and send it tomorrow.  



Fading light of the day…just like me.

What’s to Like About Portlandia

Full disclosure, I’m no expert.  We’re not experts.  However, there are noticeable differences between Morro Bay and PDX  (PDX is the shorthand for Portland airport which they use all over the city in lieu of Portland).  Think Xmas for Christmas.


Drivers are courteous here.  They stop for bicyclists, pedestrians, other cars, buses, you name it.  PDX is an old city with narrow streets.  The narrow streets are so narrow that some only allow parking on one side of said street.  On many streets if two cars are parked across from each other, there is only room for one car at a time to advance.  Therefore, when you see a car coming on a street like that, one of you must move to an empty space on the street to let the other car pass.  And that is why I think most drivers are so thoughtful.  

There is also the fact that many neighborhoods have 20 is Plenty signs in the yards.  Kids can dart from behind a car.  Going slow is a requirement that the people have promoted.  So drivers  really respect the speed limits in and around these neighborhoods.  Nice, uh?  

Trees are everywhere.  Bushes fill in the gaps.  This means that there are blind corners everywhere.  Peering between the hydrangeas is not uncommon.  Straining your neck to see around a big, fat spruce that has a garden of pedaled flowers is another hazard that requires extra vigilance.  And cars park right up to the edge of the end of the street.  That’s one thing if it’s a Smart car.  It is altogether another thing is if is an F-150.  And yes, some of the people in these parts buy those big gas guzzling vehicles which I find ridiculously annoying in almost every situation.  (Sorry bro).

So…for all of the above reasons I find drivers here exceedingly polite and thoughtful.  

Portlandia blooms continually from April until now and I fully expect it will continue until the rains come.  Don’t get me wrong.  It has rained here this summer but it’s a nice, cleansing rain, often times at night with cloudy skies during the day hinting to us that rain is gonna fall.  There are blooming seasons and the wise gardener knows this and plans their garden appropriately so that there is color constantly.  Roses, of which PDX is quite famous for as it is know as the City of Roses, have their time in the spotlight.  Rhodedendrons have their time as do the dogwood trees, the cherry trees, various fruit trees blossom forth.  This all creates a cacophony of colors and scents.  Oh, my.  It is so beautiful.


Sneeze, sneeze.

Parallel parking is an art form here.  Because of all the cars and all the narrow streets, there are very few diagonal parking spots anywhere.  So, you either learn to parallel park or perish.  Or take the bus or TriMet trains.  And that is a big difference from the Central Coast of CA.  We don’t have a garage so we must parallel park every day…somewhere.  Our street fills up with cars on a daily basis.  Carpools are part of the problem…people come here, park their car, get in another car and drive away.    However, to date, we have yet to have to move to park on another street.  So that’s good.  Our parking skills have increased but I suspect when we come back in the spring, it will require remedial training again on the parking.  Just saying.


People in PDX are patient.   Standing in line to eat is a thing here.  Many restaurants have limited space for diners so people form a queue and just wait.  It is okay when not raining.  Its a bit of a pain if cold or raining so understand my feelings on the subject are mixed.  Pips Donuts is in our neighborhood.  It draws a line every weekend and sometime during the week too.  We love Pips…or at least I do.  Ray is not a big fan as his system reacts.

But I digress.


There are lines for places for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Many of the places put out urns of coffee so you can drink while you wait.  Nice.  The weather just drives interesting behaviors that are quite sweet, really.  I like that a lot.   Many places have awnings over their doors.  Good to stand under if it’s raining.  And many restaurants have big patios in lieu of permanent buildings because people just love to eat outside.  Our local pub has tables outside.  The local cheese and wine bar has tables outside.  It is just what they do and this makes the whole food truck scene especially interesting and very successful.  

There aren’t a lot of bugs here which is surprising.   Lots of spiders but not too many mosquitos, flies etc.  Lots and lots of squirrels.  Beau likes that.  They keep him on his paws as he keeps an eye out for them and any outdoor cats that happen to be around.  

It is much greener here because of all the trees.   We just had a neighbor’s tree removed…it was planted too close to the fir behind it and it was growing 3 feet a year.  The only place to add that growth was toward our house from over the neighbor’s fence.  So, we bit the bullet and paid to have it removed.  Now that it is gone, the big fir looms and it is as though the goner tree was never there.  That’s how many trees are here.  I’m looking forward to the color of the leaves changing as that is just another way that Mother Nature keeps this place beautiful and interesting.  We will be headed south by going northeast by the time the leaves start to fall…won’t miss the raking!!nj9TeDvcQIGkECQ7Nv335Q

Haven’t smelled a skunk.  I’ve seen a coyote at the golf course.  The bird life is great.  Eagles, hawks, bluejays, Tweetie birds (not familiar with many).  Osprey.  Lots of Osprey.  I’m sure there are owls but haven’t seen any yet.  So, we have great birdsong especially during the mating season.  Oh, and the crows.  OMG.  Every evening they fly over on their way from someplace going to someplace else.   Impressive.  

As the summer starts winding down, we are plotting our trip home to CA.  Thinking of a road trip to Glacier National Park with many stops along the way to explore and play golf.  It seems only right to take advantage of our northern exposure by exposing ourselves to northern delights.  When we leave, the blogging with increase because it is our plan to go without reservations and land where we land when we land.  Haven’t had any serendipity for a while and my heart yearns for some excitement and new adventures in the form of a road trip in our Ford C-Max.  No RV.  Motels will be our shelter of choice.  And yes, we know it can snow up there so in the event that it does, we will rent an appropriate vehicle if necessary to see a glacier.  We are particularly interested in one road up there that is suppose to be like one of the best in America.  Hope we can find it!!



P.s.  we sold The Dog House.  Fun but a hassle in oh, so many ways which ended with our hitch breaking and causing about $17,000 worth of repairs.  So we have transitioned to a new type of vacation that involves hotels, motels, and the like.  Rayman is happy!!  

P.s.s.  We had good insurance…it was a no-fault thing.  Still.  Poof went the RV.

Short Cut aka Cut Short

In November of last year, we planned a trip to Orcas Island, an island in the archipelago of the San Juan Islands.  At the island resort of Rosario, old and fancy seemingly from another era.   It looked so impressive.  And we spoke of it often.  Memories of island visits danced in our heads.

The bathing suits were packed, the hats collected.  Weather was checked as though it really mattered since we had reservations with cancellation policies.  

So at 7 a.m. cousin Susie picked us up.  Oh, did I mention that Sue and Larry were part of the plan  We were going on vacation together for 6 days.  Sue was kind enough to drive and provide us great music from her playlists.  Singing even occurred.  

There was only one problem.  Beau was not a happy doggie.  His ears were bothering him (not a new problem).  So Friday and Saturday we rinsed his ears, swished the medicine rinse around, then cleaned them out.  Each time we did that he seemed to bounce back.  As good doggie parents, we arranged for Ryan to stay at our place with him.  It was all systems go.

To get to Orcas Island, a ferry is involved.  A reservation is needed.  And a five hour drive north thru Seattle out to Anacortes is required.  We did it all.  We arrived at Orcas without sinking into the grand Pacific.  And we drove to the hotel.  Enjoyed a cocktail by the pool.  Had our dinner.  It sounds positively lovely, doesn’t it?  Only problem was Beau.  Ryan found him to be very lethargic and listless.  So, I was on the phone with Ryan.  I had to cancel the dog walker we had hired for the week.  Had to get a vet appointment for Beau.  It was much more than that but details at this point will just bog down the blog.  Needless to say, distraction was involved.  Does the term “worry warts” have any meaning to you?


Rayman with rose at the pool. A bit foggy.


Sue and Larry enjoying the scene.



In line for our drinks at poolside.


Our room was at water’s edge.  Seaplanes came and went until dusk.  Extremely quiet and relaxing…considering.


Plane landing.

Fast forward to yesterday.    Beau was not improving.  Ryan was taking half a day off work to deal with the situation.  An appointment was scheduled with the vet at 1:45.  Rayman and I decided we needed to go home.  We told Sue and Larry we would catch the next ferry and rent a car to go home.  Nonsense.  They were going home too.  So, we packed out bags, checked out without penalty and hopped in the car  arriving at the loading area at 9:30.  We were in the standby line since our return trip has a reservation for Friday.  7th in line.  We locked the car and found a cafe where you stand in line to order your food.  IMG_8754Sue found a table outside.  We gathered there and so did the bees.  Sue is allergic so she headed inside.  We followed.  When the food arrived, she packed her egg sandwich up and went back to the car.  After we finished we went back to the car.  The street cleaner was there.  He went back and forth, back and forth kicking up dust like a bronco bull would at a rodeo.  It was hot.  Windows were rolled up.  We couldn’t idle…we were in a no-idle zone.  It was pure misery so we spent a lot of time out of car waiting for the 12:10 ferry which was, of course, late.  I’m sure Sue and Larry thought it was the “Jackson curse”.  Trouble being our middle names.  

Street cleaner making his escape.

Street cleaner making his escape.

The parking lot filled with trucks, cars, motorcycles and SUVs.  Still we persisted as Moscow Mitch once exclaimed about Elizabeth Warren who kept talking.  Finally, the ferry came, we were allowed on .  Once on the ferry we picked a place to sit and the bees reappeared.  Are pheromones involved?  Who knows.  We engaged in a take-off of musical chairs.  It was unamusing, mostly.  But after a while, one has to just laugh at the absurdity of it all.  Sort of like the joker does in a Batman movie.  That s when I started this blog. 

Before our departure home.

Before our departure home.

After arriving in Anacordes, the rest of the trip was a 75 MPH race home except through Seattle metro area.  By that time we reached Seattle, it was the beginning of rush hour.  

Susie drove.  She played her music.  This stifled conversation with the backseat (I was riding in the co-captain front seat).  So, I worked on my impossibly hard crossword puzzle.  It was a very, very, long day.  Almost 12 hours.  Arrived last night at 8:30ish.   Exhausted.  Annoyed.  Relieved.  And happy to see our Beaumeister.  

Key learnings:  don’t leave home if you even suspect the dog is sick.  That’s it.  It never turns out well.  The San Juans are beautiful and I want to return.  Rayman isn’t interested.  Perhaps time will change that view.

Oh, and we think is the RV is sold.  We should get a check in about 2 weeks.  Yippee.  Hope it works out to be the case.  But with our luck….


This SHIP is about ready to sail.  Grab your life vests and read on.

It is fairly certain that we have recycled about 2,000 pounds of cardboard boxes.  Just about everything comes packed in a cardboard box.  Of varying sizes.  Of varying weight.  A few boxes that have made a big impression on us are the boxes the patio furniture was delivered from Lowe’s in…two chairs, four cushions, two “ottomans” and two pillows for them.  All in one box.  And we ordered two sets.  Geez.  That was a lot of cardboard.   The full length mirrors from Ikea came in big boxes and it got me wondering if there is like a college course that offers “packing” as an elective because the people that devise the packing are fairly brilliant in my book.  Not one broken mirror.  Not a chip.  Nothing.  And they were in cardboard boxes with no “stuffing”.  Amazing.

Other big boxes?  The Rubbermade outdoor storage unit.  The unit itself was in pieces that gave us the “opportunity” to assemble the unit.  The box was fairly big in and of itself so much that it occupied most of the front porch, the width of the SHIP.   Brian, our new handyman will be by tomorrow to help the gimp, I mean Rayman, get it into the side yard and install it on a level platform that Brian built us a couple of weeks ago.  Poor Rayman.  He has lifted one heavy box too many and is now spending time at the physical therapist a couple of blocks from the SHIP.  


Rubbermade on the porch

But, nothing and I do mean nothing, will compare with the saga of the Dragonfly Fountain.  Let me start from the beginning when it first began.  On March 29, I ordered this fountain on a website with very competitive pricing.  For the price, I did my homework.  What I failed to do is pay attention to the other information.  The time lag from ordering to receiving would be a bit long.  Apparently, when I placed the order, the company that makes these fountains then start the process of MAKING the fountain.  It is concrete.  Concrete must dry/cure/etc.  All that takes time.  To make a long story shorter, my patience was tested.  Never was I given a date for completion.  So, when we arrived in Portland (third week in May), I started contacting the company I ordered from.  All they could convey to me was that as soon as the concrete had dried (my words) they would send us the shipping information.  Okay.  So we hurried up to wait.  Finally, after the third or fourth call, I was informed that it would ship the next week.  Yippee.  By Thursday of the next week, nada.  On Friday, I called and was given a shipping number.   When they gave me the shipping number, they mentioned that the fountain was coming from Pennsylvania.  OMG.  Why not Maine, I asked.  Wendy, the lady that is apparently the only one working for the company told me it would only take a week to get to Portland.  A big eyeroll ensued…no FaceTime was involved.  I recall laughing.  Sardonically.  

Along with the tracking number, they sent me a page of instructions.  We needed the inspect the fountain.  If anything was wrong with it, we should decline delivery.   The fountain which weighed 311 pounds would be deposited curbside.  


Mount Hood as seen on our way to Bend, OR

Fast forward to last Friday.  A freight company in Portland called and scheduled the delivery for last Friday.  Then on Thursday night, they called and said the fountain had not arrived from PA and could we take it the first of next week?  No, we could not take it until Friday (yesterday) as we had reservations for a golf clinic in Bend, OR that we had to reschedule because the Rayman (gimp), could not swing a club.  However, we had booked thru Groupon for our hotel accommodations and that could not be changed or we would lose our $500 …so we would not be in Portland from Monday until Thursday.  Only Thursday morning ended up being the day that Cenk, our Turk of the family, was being sworn in as a U.S, citizen in Portland and so we had to come back Wednesday which meant we left one day early without a refund.  Sigh.  


Cenk in white shirt, taking the oath. So cool.

I mean, do things like this happen to you?  Inquiring minds want to know.  Send stories to me so I can soothe my soul.

But I digress.

So, the appointment was rescheduled for yesterday.  No time window was given.  So, I called the Portland freight company to get a window of time.  No answer.  No return call.  Emails ensued.  Still nothing.  The reason I wanted to know is because the 311 pound fountain needed to be moved to the backyard and me and the gimp couldn’t do it alone…or actually, to be more precise, could not do it, period.  The business that did our yard told me that they would send someone by if I could tell them what time.  Miraculously, the doorbell, yes the SHIP has a doorbell) rang.  A long, rangy, kid with dishwater blonde hair and about 140 pounds strung out on a 6 foot frame said that all he could do is deliver the crate to the curb.  That’s right.  A crate.  A very big crate.  Full of some kind of straw.  Raynan went out to look at the fountain.  When I went out, Rayman was already in the rear of the truck attempting to find the fountain amidst the straw.  I tried to climb up the side of the truck using two “built-in steps” and a “handle”.  It immediately became obvious as I swung wildly from side to side while dangling from that handle that this was not a good plan.   Plan B was to lower the gate of the truck and haul me up…why didn’t the kid do that in the first place?  And why did I try to climb like a chimpanzee up to the bed of the truck?  All good questions.


The fountain in the box., with straw.

The straw reminded me the time I bailed hay as a high schooler…without the clamps.  The straw made it impossible to inspect the fountain.  So, it was decided to unload the freight.  Again an attempt was made to see the fountain without spreading straw all over the neighborhood.  Didn’t happen.  So, we just signed for the damned fountain.  And the kid drove away in the truck.  

I contacted the gardening folks and they came over and got the fountain into the backyard sans crate or straw.  Whew.  

Now our attention turned to the crate and straw in the front of the house.  Well, we were shocked.  It was gone.  The gardening business hauled it off for us.  Clearly the best thing that happened to us throughout the entire ordeal.

So the SHIP is shaping up.  

Oh, wait.  I forgot to mention that while all this fountain stuff was happening yesterday, the electrician, Big Red’s, was inside installing a ceiling fan in the MB.  He was also suppose to install the wiring for our Toto toilet “washlet” but the order didn’t mention that and he could not do the work alone because of “mitigating issues”.  Now that job has been rescheduled to May 29.  And the box the fan came in is sitting in the parlor waiting for us to wish it away to the recycle center about 10 miles from here.  

Next week our outdoor rug will arrive in a box.  Our electric juicer will arrive in a box.  And our new chair will arrive in a box.  And the parlor will be full once more of cardboard boxes.