September 17, 2017

Escape Road Trip - Day Seven

Our final morning at the Lynden KOA started with off with a bang. Literally. Shortly after 4:30 a.m. we heard what sounded like a loud gunshot. We both woke up and after fumbling around to turn on lights, we realized we were without power. The campground was pretty quiet, but Rod decided to head outside and see if anyone else had lost power. After chatting with one of our neighbors, we confirmed our second theory. It was not a gunshot, but rather a blown transformer. The entire campground was dark. We quickly decided it would be a good idea to head over to the showers before anyone else since the hot water wouldn't last very long once people started waking up. We gathered together all our shower gear and headed out. The sky was still very smoky from the British Columbia fires and it looked particularly eerie on this chilly morning.

Local power crews to the rescue! It took them a few hours to get things up and running again, but thankfully we were heading out after breakfast and weren't too concerned.

I think it was around 5:30 and not very many people were stirring. If I weren't in such a hurry to get a hot shower, I would have enjoyed just sitting by this lake.

So, after our showers (which were still pretty warm, but in dark shower rooms!), we returned to our campsite only to discover that it is possible to lock one's self out of a trailer! After pacing around the trailer, looking for an open window (and yanking on the front door multiple times, hoping for a miracle), we started to panic. How would we get in?! We couldn't drive back to Chilliwack for a spare key since our truck keys were inside the trailer, as were our passports. Nope. A return trip to Canada was out. We didn't dare break a window, not that we had any way of climbing up into one. We couldn't call AAA since our phones and wallets (with the required membership card) were inside. We really thought we were screwed. Until I got a bright idea. The hatch to the "basement" has an opening underneath the bed with two small doors that open into the galley. As luck would have it, someone accidentally left that hatch unlocked. Hmmm. Could I possibly fit?? There was only one way to find out, so we started moving things out onto the patio and made room for me to crawl through. 

Much to my surprise (and I wish I could have seen Rod's reaction), I was able to fit quite easily through the hatch and using an army crawl, made my way into the galley. What a relief!! We've learned our lesson and now wear the lanyards with a set of keys to the door & hatch, which were provided by Escape.

After that stressful wake-up call and lock-out, we were tempted to pour ourselves a neat bourbon, but opted for a nice, hot cup of coffee instead. 

Still pretty quiet around the campground, but we were happy to finally be heading out. The KOA was very nice, but we had no desire to hang around for the weekend. It was nice and quiet up until Friday afternoon, but I have a feeling it isn't quite as peaceful on a Saturday night.

So, off we went on our way to our next campsite in Cinebar, Washington. Due to the power outage we got a late start, so we were ready to pull off at the Smokey Point Rest Area just north of Marysville and Everett where we had a quick lunch in the trailer. Nice not to have to rely on fast food restaurants!

According to Google Maps, it's about 215 miles and a 3 hour and 46 minute drive. Obviously, pulling a trailer is not as fast as simply driving a car. Our tires are rated for a maximum of 65 mph, but driving on I-5 through Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia proved to be a bit of a challenge to even make it over 55. The traffic was awful. We're hoping to do more traveling via backroads and blacktops rather than on the interstates. It's not always about the destination, right?

The sky was pretty overcast and smoky as we drove past Lake Union and the Space Needle. 

Ah, finally a backroad! A backroad with a one-lane bridge. A very narrow one-lane bridge. 

Yes, I held my breath as I drove across. Thank goodness both the truck and trailer fit!

We arrived at our next campsite without any problems. According to the truck computer, we drove for five hours, but our actual time with stops was closer to six hours. So much for Google Maps' estimate! In any event, we made it. The Arboretum is a "dispersed" camp that we found on Hipcamp, which we only recently discovered and has proved to be quite a nice resource for finding unique places to camp. This particular site is located on a tree farm in Cinebar, Washington and is family owned. Our total cost was $20.70 for one night.

Park your trailer or RV in the arboretum on our Christmas tree farm. Beautiful view of the mountains and forests here in western Washington. Close to Mount St. Helens and Mt. Rainier and several lakes. Walking trails all around the site. Picnic table, firewood, fire pit and grill supplied. Property has a view of the Tilton River, which can be reached via a half mile trail. Water available on the farm within a half mile of the campsite. No restrooms. Self contained vehicles only. (from Hipcamp)

This is the gorgeous view that welcomed us from the main road. It looks like we left the smoky skies behind us.

The main house is behind the trees on the left and the barn is just barely visible.

We had a few minutes to relax while we waited for our host to greet us. It was nice to get out and stretch our legs and admire our beautiful little home.

We were greeted by our host, Terry Burres, who directed us to our private site. There are no hookups at the site, so this was our first experience of "dry camping." The Burres have done a nice job making this spot very comfortable for campers. There's an earthen stove for grilling, as well as a picnic table and benches and two comfortable chairs.

They also provided a big pile of firewood to use in their fire ring, but unfortunately with all the forest fires in the area, we were banned from having any open fires. 

This is our view to the south. You can see how dry it is!

Since we were there for just one night and didn't have anywhere we needed to be, we decided to keep the trailer hooked up to the truck. The awning helps to keep the trailer cool, but the sun was already falling below the trees, so it wasn't really necessary but we wanted to see how it would do if the wind picked up. It's got a setting to retract when the wind reaches a certain speed.

It was so nice to relax and have a drink after a fairly stressful drive. We both agreed that we could be very content spending more than just one night at this location.

Happy campers! Notice the lanyard around Rod's neck. :)

It was actually getting a little chilly as the sun went down.

We did a little exploring before dinner and found this pond, which is just on the other side of our camp site. We could hear fish jumping and there were lots of barn swallows flying about, catching bugs. It was simply lovely.

What's camping without a cast iron skillet?! We had a simple steak dinner with some veggies. Delicious!

After we ate, we decided to take a walk and explore the farm. In addition to the tree farm, the Burres have a pretty grape arbor and a large vegetable garden. We thought about walking down to the river, but it was starting to get dark, so we decided to skip it.

There's our cute little trailer, tucked in for the night.

This is the closest neighbor and while they were very quiet, their rooster crowed almost non-stop at dusk and dawn. However, I'll take that over a bunch of loud, drunk campers any day!

Here's another view of the trailer where you can see the Maxxfan and the small skylight/vent on the roof. Someday we'll add solar panels.

Life is good!

August 5, 2017
Lynden KOA, Washington to Bear Canyon West/Cinebar, Washington (Boondocking at The Arboretum)

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September 14, 2017

Escape Road Trip - Day Six

Our second day at the Lynden KOA was very pleasant. It wasn't nearly as hot as the previous afternoon, although the sky was very hazy with smoke from the nearby fires in British Columbia.

While sitting outside, enjoying our morning coffee, I glanced up and spotted this huge wasp nest! We had seen a few wasps flying around, but weren't terribly concerned. They pretty much left us alone and while wandering around the campground, I noticed a few more nests. There's probably not a lot anyone can do about them until the off-season. I sure wouldn't want to be around when they knock those things down!

This is the second lake in the campground. I never saw anyone out in the paddleboats, but I did see a few people fishing. Very peaceful.

We had a few locals recommend this ice cream place, so we decided to give it a try. Not bad, but not nearly as good as Face Rock (in Bandon).

The single scoop serving was huge, but very inexpensive. $1.50 or so.

Happy campers!

The flower baskets along the main street were enormous and very pretty.

Lynden is a cute little Dutch town, somewhat reminiscent of Solvang, CA.
The city lies in a broad valley along the winding path of the Nooksack River, which empties into nearby Bellingham Bay. The surrounding area is filled with dairy, raspberry, strawberry, and blueberry farms. Even though not founded by them, the region saw significant Dutch immigration in the early and mid 1900s, spurring the growth of dairies. Today, Lynden pays homage to some of its Dutch heritage through locations such as buildings on Front Street, where some businesses have been made-over with a Dutch theme, complete with a windmill. Along that street, you'll find the Lynden Dutch Bakery, Dutch Mother's Restaurant, and numerous local businesses. Some local supermarkets contain Dutch food sections, but Dutch is spoken by very few of the city's residents today. In the last two decades, the population has nearly doubled in size, with Dutch being more predominate than other ethnic ancestry. (Wikipedia)

These baskets were everywhere! They must love the climate.

I discovered this nice little coffee shop in a little strip mall, while getting gas for the truck. Since we were running low on coffee, I decided to buy a bag for the remainder of our trip. 

Delicious! I may just have to get online and order more.

More about Lynden.

I spent almost an hour in this delightful bookstore, perusing the shelves and stocking up on greeting cards. I wish Depoe Bay had a store like this.

Back at the campground, we were surprised with a bottle of bubbly to christen the trailer.

No name as of yet, but it's officially ours!


August 4, 2017
Lynden KOA, Washington

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September 11, 2017

Coming Soon!

Well, in April, but who's counting?

I have read and loved all of Lisa's books and so I am very excited to see that her latest publication will be released on April 3rd. I haven't bought a book in ages, but this is one I plan to pre-order!

Publisher's Blurb:

From neuroscientist and New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice comes a powerful and heartbreaking exploration of regret, forgiveness, freedom, and what it means to be alive.

An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world in awe of his rare combination of emotional resonance and flawless technique. Every finger of his hands was a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago.

Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralyzed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce—his divorce.

He knows his left arm will go next.

Three years ago, Karina removed their framed wedding picture from the living room wall and hung a mirror there instead. But she still hasn’t moved on. Karina is paralyzed by excuses and fear, stuck in an unfulfilling life as a piano teacher, afraid to pursue the path she abandoned as a young woman, blaming Richard and their failed marriage for all of it.

When Richard becomes increasingly paralyzed and is no longer able to live on his own, Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard’s muscles, voice, and breath fade, both he and Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late.

As poignant and powerful as Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You, Every Note Played is a masterful exploration of redemption and what it means to find peace inside of forgiveness.

September 9, 2017

Escape Travel Trailer - Interior

I have more pictures to share from our "shakedown cruise", but I thought I'd show you some shots of the interior. This is a 19 foot Escape trailer and while it's cozy, it doesn't feel too crowded as long as we can manage to keep the clutter at bay. There are lots of storage lockers and drawer space, so I think it will suit us just fine. Until we decide to go full-time, that is!

Note all the essentials: Avocados, bourbon and wine. Oh, and a kitchen window, which was an upgrade.

The folding counter extension is great, as long as we remember to ensure that the brackets are locked in place. We broke a coffee cup and a bourbon glass (thankfully, they were empty!). The laptop survived. We added a small microwave, which we've only used to heat water for coffee. I'm sure it will eventually come in handy .

In addition to our Coleman camp stove, we have a very nice 2-burner cooktop with a fold-down cover (for additional prep space). We'll use it when it's too cold or rainy to be outside. The sink has a cover, which helps create more prep space in the galley. 

The u-shape dinette is very comfortable and provides us with an additional sleeping space, if need be. There is lots of natural light thanks to all the windows. They're tinted, but they still let in a lot of light. There is storage underneath the seats, but we'll probably only use what's accessible near the trailer door. There's a separate screen door, which is wonderful for ventilation and natural light. 

We upgraded to the 6.0 cubic foot refrigerator. Plenty of space with a large freezer up above. The wardrobe/closet has a mirror, which you see reflecting the stove and monitor panel (for the holding tank levels and battery strength indicator). Below the drawer is a 12,000 BTU furnace and a carbon monoxide/smoke detector.

I added an extension rod in the wet bath so we have a place to hang our toiletry bags. We plan to use the campground showers as much as possible and only use this shower set up when absolutely necessary. It's not very big!

There's a fairly large medicine cabinet (with the mirror) that I hope is watertight. Also, a power vent.

True queen-size bed (8" coil spring plush mattress) with windows on three sides. Very comfortable, but not easy to make up or climb out of (if you're on the far side). There are three LED lights and two LED captain's reading lights. The lockers above the bed are very spacious and held all of our clothes for the week. The side windows open and provide plenty of fresh air. One of the windows is an emergency exit window. 

We added extra 12V/USB outlets near the bed and kitchen so we can charge our phones, Nook and iPad. There is lots of storage under the bed, which we can access from both inside (two doors) and outside (one basement door). 

The pull-down blinds provide privacy and help keep the trailer cooler when there isn't any shade.

In addition to the Maxxfan (not in view), we have a small skylight/hatch. 

I'm not in love with the upholstery, but I can live with it (and our old, ugly green comforter) for a while. I'll just add some fun throw pillows to make it feel more homey. 

A fun dishtowel or two doesn't hurt, either.

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