Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Four new tires

After a night at Memaloose State Park on Oregon’s Columbia Gorge, we spent nearly a week with daughter Season and SIL Lee who live in Stayton, Oregon, southeast of Salem. Three nights we parked on their lovely property, which includes a creek and a forest. Then we camped 30 miles east at Detroit Lake State Recreation Area.

We did a lot over those six days. But first we took care of some business, as we had an “incident” driving to Stayton. We were on Oregon 99E near Oregon City when the road narrowed and our tires brushed the curb. The passenger side of the rig even briefly went up on the curb -- which was more like a very rough sidewalk. We don’t think the tow car went up on the curb, but its passenger-side tires rubbed the jagged stones/cement.  

We stopped to check for damage. Our tires looked scraped but OK, so we planned to find a tire store the next morning. By the time we wanted to leave for the tire store, our rear passenger side tire was flat.  

After a visit from AAA, we took both the tow car and our rig to Les Schwab Tires where we bought four new tires for our all-wheel-drive tow car and replaced one of our rig tires with a spare. 

All seems to be well.  More on the rest of our stay with Season and Lee later. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Memaloose State Park, Mosier, Oregon

After we left Yakima we spent a night at Memaloose State Park in the Columbia River Gorge. It's tucked between the Columbia River and I-84 and next to a rest stop. No real hiking, no river access, not much to do except walk the dogs. But it had lots of trees, pretty views of the Columbia River, and was good place to spend the night (which is all we wanted) if freeway noise doesn't bother you. 

We didn’t have reservations, so I called to check availability and left a message. We never heard back. But we’ve never had a problem at a state park on a Monday in the off season, so we made Memaloose our Plan A. When we arrived, a sign on the closed camp office said there were no full hookup (water/electric/sewer) sites, but lots of tent sites. By "tent" site, they just mean there's no electric or sewer. We wanted full hookups. And Jim didn't believe the sign. So we scoped out the campground, found a couple unreserved full hookup sites (despite the sign) and nabbed one.

The park was full of chubby ground squirrels and Maddie went crazy trying to get to them on our walks. Once inside, she stood on guard intently staring out a window until Jim finally pulled the shade.
Our campsite looks bucolic ... until you realize the white streak to the upper left of our rig is a semi tractor/trailer whizzing by on I-84. The tent (no electric or sewer) sites were big enough for RVs.  Many of them were close to the river and had the best views. 

I read that spiders often build a new web every night -- and this one was on our bathroom window in the morning.
We give this view from the dump site a second place award for "best view from a dump site."  First place goes to one we saw several years ago at the Olympic Peninsula. That one had a view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 
The campground at dusk. Memaloose is named for a nearby island in the Columbia River  where Chinook Indians placed bones of their deceased on open pyres.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

She said she broke her wing

We spent four days in Yakima, Washington, and camped at Sportsman State Park close to Yakima's downtown. Like I said in our last post, part of the trip was to attend Jim's 50th high school reunion.  We also wanted to spend time with Jim's high school friends, Pat and Cindy. And we did.  But not as much time as we'd hoped because Cindy broke her arm just days before we arrived when she tripped on her flip flop sandal while taking a walk. Ouch.

Despite Cindy's badly broken arm and upcoming surgery to repair it, she and Pat hosted us at their place twice. What a super trooper Cindy is.  

Mend fast, Cindy. And thanks to you and Pat for your hospitality. 
A photo of Cindy, Jim and Pat taken on a previous trip to Yakima and to Bale Breaker Brewing Company.  We had plans to go to Bale Breaker again. But instead there was an arm breaker. We'll make it there another time.

I have no idea if these are edible or poisonous mushrooms  -- but if you know they are edible and you like mushrooms you should head on over to Sportsman State Park in Yakima.  The fungi are huge (the size of my outstretched hand) and all over the place.
Jim walking the dogs on Yakima's Greenway, which includes a trail along the Yakima and Naches Rivers.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Yakima and AC Davis High School 50th reunion

After Kennewick we drove 85 miles northwest to Yakima, Washington. Jim graduated from AC Davis High School in Yakima, and we attended his 50th high school reunion. 

I remember going to my high school alumni meeting the year I graduated from high school and seeing the handful of folks celebrating their 50th graduation anniversary. I also remember wondering how they could even walk at that age. 

Well -- here we are. We’re not only walking but feeling pretty good, as were the 100 plus people at Jim's reunion dinner. 

The reunion committee planned a weekend of events including a golf game, happy hour, tour of the newer high school (the old AC Davis High was torn down in the late 1970s), and a dinner at the local Red Lion. We just went to the dinner.  Both the food and the people were great. I didn’t know a soul and had a nice time.  And Jim -- whose idea of a major social activity is taking a hike with his dog and meeting someone on the trail -- was a social butterfly. 

We heard about long marriages, some shorter marriages, family, travel, kids and grand kids, people working as teachers, nurses (and many other jobs); military service, sports activities, health problems, and happy lives with some sad in there, too.

Reunion attendees got into groups according to elementary school for photos. Above are those who went to McKinley Elementary School.  That's Jim in the front second from left. Jim is talking to Patty, a neighbor who lived across the street. Patty's Mom is 99 and still lives in the same house. The woman in teal green Evelyn, Jim's next door neighbor back then.  Evelyn's father was the principal of McKinley grade school.  
Jim's name tag.  His legal name is Lance but no one who knows him calls him that, nor would most of his fellow graduates have remembered his legal name. So we made an edit.  Jim graduated with about 400 kids.  Former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas was also an AC Davis graduate. From a previous class, of course.