Merry Christmas from Arizona

06703549934171-56086db36b7c41

Greetings. No, we don’t have snow here…yet. I stole this picture off the web. It doesn’t depict this joyous time of year when we once again remember the reason for Christmas. Not Santa or the giving, but to celebrate God’s gift to us in Jesus.

Through the years…centuries…the story of Christmas has evolved a bit and permeated our minds with visions without a biblical basis. In the past, I enjoyed sharing a simple Christmas “test” that helps us understand some of the fallacies. Here is a sample.

What does the Bible say that the Innkeeper said to Mary and Joseph? (Luke 2:7)
    A. “There is no room in the inn.”
    B. “I have a stable you can use.”
    C. “Come back later and I should have some vacancies.”
    D. Both A and B
    E. None of the above

Curious? Check the other 19 multiple choice question test here. There is also a link to the answers.

zoolightsbobtwy1205

We enjoyed meeting up with Bob and Twyla for a pizza and a visit to the Phoenix Zoo to see the fabulous Christmas lights. Bob and Twyla hosted with us at Colorado Bend State Park in Texas; back on our very first volunteer job. This winter, Bob and Twyla are volunteers at  Maricopa County Park: Desert Outdoor Center near Anthem.

zoolightsconnie1205

zoolight-top-image1

zoolightspenguins1205 zoolights1205

We saw several Lego displays on our walk around the zoo. You can’t tell much from this picture, but they are quite incredible.

edraking edmeterreading

Our duties here at Twin Palms RV Park are pretty basic. Owners Steve and Jenni are fantastic. When an RV departs, Ed rakes the site and reads the electric and water meters in preparation for a new incoming RV. There are only 15 spaces, and many folks are here by the month, so not too demanding.

connieplanting plants

Connie is back doing her favorite work…playing in the dirt. Especially when someone else pay$ for the flowers. She has offered to do her next favorite thing, painting, but Steve hasn’t taken her up on it yet. Her least favorite is cleaning restrooms, but only does that once a week and they are small and stay pretty clean.

gilbertmktsign1126

gilbertmkt1126

gilbertmktbuy

Gilbert Farmers Market is open every Saturday throughout the year. A great place to stroll and pick up a few items. Gilbert and the market is only around 4 miles from our park.

mesaflea1126

About 4 miles in the other direction is the Mesa Flea Market. Over a mile of covered shops, food, and entertainment. A fun way to spend a few hours getting some exercise. Reaching for your wallet doesn’t count as exercise.

4peakskevinamanda1126

Other than the fantastic weather, having a great place to park our 5th wheel and lots of activities, we have family here too. Connie’s sister Carol and her husband Roger are only 4 miles from us…a nice bike ride on the canal path. Roger’s son Kevin and his girlfriend Amanda joined us at Four Peaks Brewing Company in Tempe for a brew and supper. Fantastic! Kevin and Amanda both have high school daughters that are friends and play soccer…Amanda’s twins and Kevin’s daughter Jenna. The girls were actually responsible for them becoming a couple.

Connie’s other sister, Cheri, is driving down from Loveland this week (December 15) to spend a few weeks scouting for a new home and maybe a job? She really wants to retire, but she is inhibited with youth…not quite old enough 😉

We wish you a very memorable Christmas and 2017. May it be filled with comfort and joy. Comfort knowing Jesus, and Joy knowing He paid the price for our everlasting life.

 

Winter Home in Mesa

awning-not-closing

We arrived in Mesa Wednesday afternoon, November 9. Our awning had pulled out of slot a bit, so we dropped our trailer at Desert Autoplex for warranty repair.

We were not able to get in to our spot at Twin Palms RV until Saturday, so we were left with 3 homeless nights. Jill, the service manager at Desert Autoplex, was super and allowed us to leave our trailer in their secure lot with 50amp service. They completed the awning repair Wednesday! They are conveniently located directly across Main from Twin Palms.

ed-at-sauterspool

Connie’s sister Carol, and husband Roger left for the Holy Land (no not Texas) trip the day we arrived. So we had their home to spend our 3 homeless nights! Now that’s some kind of deal! It was like staying at a $300 a night resort with pool and all the amenities. Here’s Ed on their patio near the pool. Even had the use of Carol’s car!

twinpalms-spotpatio

steves

We got settled in to our new spot (#9) on Saturday, then had orientation with Steve (the owner) on Monday. Orientation included basic items Steve wanted us to do in his absence as “Managers.” Pretty light duty compared to our other volunteer jobs we’ve had. We love our spot. It’s directly behind Steve’s Motorcycle shop on Main Street, so we get some noise, but quite tolerable.

ed-roof-prep

solar-install

We had Mike Isley install three 260 watt solar panels and associated equipment the week we arrived at Twin Palms. Mike did a great job and knows his stuff. Click here for a few more pictures of the install. Ed braved prepping the fiberglass roof for solar by washing and waxing it. The solar will be our safety net while traveling with a power hog residential refrigerator. And of course we like to have our popcorn and movie while parked at Walmart 😉

marshalls-back-yard

Carol’s son Marshall, his wife Amanda, and daughter MacKenzie live in Chandler. Just a few miles from Mesa. While they are only a block off a major street (Dobson), they have a large irrigated tract. The former owner boarded horses. Marshall and Amanda have huge plans for “going off the grid” and have a perfect place for that…only as outsiders, we see lots and lots of work! They invited us over for BBQ and to get a tour of their new place. Even had a beer!

Colorado to Arizona via Texas

childresspark1 childresspark2

Left Loveland RV Resort on Thursday November 3, 2016 in route to our winter home in Mesa, AZ. We had a nice uneventful drive to the Walmart in Trinidad, CO. Managed to walk the 2 miles in to downtown along the Santa Fe Trail. Not really a trail, but a 2-lane highway.  But enjoyed getting out and seeing some of the downtown area. Somewhat surprised of all the emphasis on cannabis (marijuana) sale places. One next door to Walmart, and a block of stores in downtown. Trinidad is on the border, so is a good source for folks from other states to stalk up.

Traveled from Trinidad to Childress, TX on Friday; pulling in to a delightful campground in the park. Only $15. Was nice and quiet, but we did hear the ducks quacking on the lake. Loved it.

We ventured to Stephenville on Saturday and stayed till the following Tuesday. Great visit with Ed’s sister and family there. Click here to view Texas family pictures.

cowboywalk1

cowboywalk2

Many rodeo cowboys call Stephenville home and the town honors them with a dedicated Cowboy Capital Walk-of-Fame block in downtown.

cowboywalk-tuff cowboywalk-walt

Walk-of-Fame plaques include famous bull rider, Tuff Hedeman, Rodeo Clown and bull fighter Junior Meek, and Dallas Cowboys running back and steer wrestler Walt Garrison and 1979 Miss Rodeo America wife Debbie.

tarleton-sign tarleton-vb

When driving from our Stephenville City Park RV site to Ed’s sister’s place, we would pass Tarleton State University, home of the Texans…or Texanns if you’re woman volleyball player. Tarleton is an extension of Texas A&M, College Station, Texas. We made a note that our grand daughter Faith might one day be interested; scholarship pending of course.

bluebeacon1 bluebeacon2

Drove 600 miles on Tuesday November 8, voting day, to another Walmart in Las Cruces, NM. We had stayed here before on a different trip and remembered it offered pretty nice accommodations…for free..plus they have all night security patrol. Many choices for dinner after hours on the road. We enjoyed a Goose Island IPA and dinner at Applebees, a short walk from Walmart.

tucson-restarea

A shorter drive from Cruces to Mesa on Wednesday. Only 350 miles. Another great leg to our journey. We knew we were getting close when we drove through the Texas Canyon area. By this time, our poor Mobile Suites and Dually were quite dirty and weather beaten. Stopped at the Blue Beacon Truck Wash in Casa Grande and were very pleased. Full wash, hand dry, and wheel service for $69. Now we’re all clean again and ready for our new site at Twin Palms RV.

Still in Colorado

kari-and-blakelee

Good news is that Kari is home in Gillette after the ordeal she went through at Anschutz Cancer Center. She’s started a new round of chemo, but not sure how well it’s going to work yet. She gives thanks for the few days she feels better. One day she was happy to get out of the house for a lunch date with a friend. Our prayer is for her to regain her strength so she can participate in life…and granddaughter Blakelee!

sewingweekend

Meanwhile, Connie spent 5 days at Jodi’s mountain condo sewing with girl friends. Had a fantastic time and laughed a lot.

sewingweekendhike

We’ve been blessed with a warmer than usual fall, which allowed some of the condo girls to take a break outdoors and get in some hiking on nearby trails. This picture has Connie and Jodi leading on.

brocogame-bustrip

Ed has been driving charter bus to help pay the rent here. Weddings, shuttles from downtown Denver to Red Rocks for all kinds of concerts, high school volleyball & soccer teams, seniors from Greeley to see a play in Denver…and transport for folks going to the Bronco’s Monday night football game on October 24.

ed_connie_faith

We continued to battle the traffic in to Denver to watch Faith and her Lakewood Tigers play volleyball. Shannon got this picture after her last home game. The Tigers finish up this weekend with a tournament…then maybe go on to some playoffs. Faith then begins club volleyball.

presserfootfriends

Connie pops in to the Presser Foot (Bernina sewing and quilt store) now and then, and helped them at the Quilt-a-Fair event. She also enjoyed meeting Jenn and Debbi for breakfast a few times.

storage

After selling most all our stuff (treasures) the summer of 2014, we stored all that we could not part with at sister Cheri’s shed in Loveland, CO. Quite a reduction from a 2700 SF home eh?

 

finalfootprint

Now Cheri has decided to sell out and move to Arizona. Okay, so we once more reduced our footprint…to this. Cheri will take it with her to Arizona. What a peach she is. Just family treasures and keepsakes remaining. Well, except for the steel base swivels for our lounge chairs.

Heading south Thursday. Should beat the Colorado snow. Yeah!

Pre Arizona Visiting

Daughter Kari with her granddaughter Blakelee (our great grand daughter) prior to returning to Denver for more surgery.

Kari has battled cancer since she was 28. It has escalated to the point where her lungs fill with cancerous fluid and must be drained. She’s been to Anschutz Cancer Center at the University of Colorado Health Center 3 times since we’ve been here. We’ve battled the traffic from Loveland several times to be with her post surgery and while she was there. Not pleasant.

Each surgery was supposed to coat her lungs to prevent the fluid build up. Each time requiring a hospital stay. The surgeon punctured her spleen on the last surgery and he had to removed it!! She’s home now, but on oxygen regaining her strength. Kari handles all this with grace and has many people praying for her comfort, strength, faith, and lots more time for her to ride her Harley Trike!

loveland-rv-spot34

We miss Big Creek Fish Hatchery, our new friends there, and the park like spot we had. But family is west of there and we feel disconnected without a seasonal visit. We had a great visit in Wyoming, and now in northern Colorado. We’re parked at Loveland RV Resort, located right next to the Centerra Marketplace shopping complex. A huge area with lots of restaurants. Not good! At least when trying to restrain ourselves from going out.

faithcolumbine

Grand daughter Faith’s high school volleyball schedule is one reason we wanted to be back in Colorado this fall. Like the good grand parents we are, we’re very proud of her. She is not only the smallest on JV and Varsity at a 5A school, but the only freshman. She loves volleyball and we love watching her and the Lakewood Tigers. The only drawback is the traffic getting to Denver area schools. We will not miss that as we travel south.

We travel to Stephenville, TX on November 3 and will spend a few days with Ed’s sister Alice and all the family there. We will also try and beat the snow in Colorado, then on to Mesa Arizona for the winter.

 

Goodbye Oregon Hello WY & CO

sisters-portland

Sister Cheri flew in to Portland August 22 and spent time with us for our last week in Oregon. Lots for us to show her, but we had to experience downtown Portland before heading back to Big Creek. Wherever women are, it must include shopping! Cheri popped in to a TJ Maxx for a shopping fix. We enjoyed a beer and lunch at Deschutes.

connie-cheri-museum

Had to take Cheri to Astoria’s Maritime Museum. A fabulous place to visit. We also got to tour the Lightship Columbia in the background. Fantastic history that we never knew about before.

bowpicker-line

Cheri’s visit would not be complete without a stop a the Bowpicker for a basket of tuna and fries. This time it included the typical wait in line.

ed-connie-lighthouseboat

Ed and Connie on the bow of the Lightship Columbia with the Columbia River port in the background.

coffeegirl

Took time to stop for a beer at Rogue Brewery on pier 39 on Thursday August 25, then visit the historic Coffee Girl and Bumble Bee Cannery the following Saturday, August 27. Made it a morning visit for coffee and a treat prior to driving to Ilwaco, WA to buy some tuna and visit the waterfront vendors. Girls need their shopping fix.

bigcreek-techs

Our volunteer hours didn’t cease because we had a visitor. Cheri actually spent a couple days helping out a bit, but soon realized there was no future in it. She did get to meet our wonderful new friends at Big Creek. L/R are: Joy, Mike, Dustin, Travis, Ross, and Rob. A great group to work with.

wackertrail

Some of Ed’s last days at Big Creek was spent on this weed wacker. Whew! Didn’t quite finish wacking this path from the hatchery to the inlet, but got a pretty good start.

wackertrail-after

Looking back from the picture above is the “after” wacking look.

oswardwesthike0816

Enough with working and on to more Oregon adventures. Pat, a volunteer at Big Creek (didn’t show up for the picture) was relentless that we had to visit Oswald West State Park, just south of Cannon Beach. We found the Cape Falcon hiking trail and were determined we could easily hike the 2.5 miles…and return. In spite of the posted warnings!

oswardwesthiked0816 oswardwesthikec0816 oswardwesthikeb0816

oswardwesthike-girls0816

Needless to say, we felt like we had hiked way beyond the 2.5 miles and never did see a sign that said Cape Falcon. We saw some breathtaking views before heading back, including the little waterfall and typical misty view of the Pacific.

tilamook0816

Cheri’s visit wouldn’t be totally complete without a visit to the Tillamook Cheese factory in…you guessed it…Tillamook, OR. Ed was especially excited for the visit because getting a couple dips of his annual ice cream treat was in store. Vanilla of course.

wheatmt-or-wy-trip wheatmt2-or-wy-trip

We pulled out of Big Creek around 7am Tuesday August 30, dropped Cheri at the Portland airport and headed toward a Walmart in Spokane for the night. All went well. Even found a Great Clips where Ed could get a much needed haircut.

Stopped at Timeless Quilts in Missoula to get their row by row. Click here to see pictures and comments on bottom of Connie’s Quilting page.

Got an early start Wednesday with hopes of making the 540 miles to Billings. However, we had inadvertently failed to latch the refrigerator doors and soon discovered a few things had “flown” out. So decided to stop and a Bozeman Walmart. We had stayed there before and remembered it was walking distance to the 406 Brewery and Wild Rye Distillery. Connie got a jug of their Five Drops Bourbon whiskey.

Oh…the pictures are from our in-route to Bozeman stop at Wheat Bakery in…you guessed it again…Wheat, MT. Always a must. We did refrain from the scrumptious looking cinnamon rolls.

gillettefamily0916

Finally arrived at daughter Kari and Edward’s in Gillette, WY on Thursday afternoon, September 1. They were futuristic enough to equip a 50amp hookup for us next to their house. We took advantage and bummed out here for a week. We had time to have several nice visits with family: L/R Hagen, Shelby, Leanna, Brittani, Ed, Connie, Garth, Blakelee, Edward, and Kari.

Preparing to leave Bozeman early Thursday, discovered our inverter had suffered a low-voltage shut off during the night,  and our refrigerator was off. We were pleased that it had only gotten down to 50/28 before we connected to Edward’s graciously supplied outlet.

edwardscementaryfeature

While in Gillette Edward took us on a tour of the city cemetery where he works. Quite impressive for a cowboy/oil/gas town, or any town for that matter! This water feature is just one example. The residents there can’t really appreciate it, but their visitors can. Edward does everything well and was proud to show us all around.

loveland-rv-spot34

Pulled back in to Loveland RV Resort in Loveland on Tuesday September 8, but site #34 this time. We like the spot. Lots of shade and pretty nice yard, but we have more traffic than our last #213 spot. And doesn’t compare to our digs at Big Creek!

Tuesday was busy. Shannon came up from Denver to hang out a few hours before we drove up to Poudre High School in Fort Collins to watch Faith’s volleyball game. She didn’t get much play time on varsity, but when she was out there, she was awesome.

Winding Down

MikesBoat

Mike, one of the “techs” here has been at the hatchery for 20 years and grew up in the area. A great guy that we enjoyed getting to know. Loves to fish. Missed the chance to go out on his $150k boat, but dropped by the waterfront in Ilwaco, Wa to see what it looked like. Pretty nice fishing boat!

Jessies.Ilwaco.WA

We also enjoyed the Saturday market along the waterfront docks while in Llwaco, stopping by Jessie’s for some fresh tuna. They didn’t have any!! However, got some great halibut. The other fish markets didn’t have tuna either. Lots of tuna fishing boats, but weather has been holding them back.

Connie.boat.dock

Across Young’s Bay from Astoria is Warrenton where we shop at Fred Meyer’s (King Soopers affiliate for our Colorado friends). A very nice store. We must travel 40 miles to Longview, WA to find a Walmart. We stopped to check fishing boats for tuna in Warrenton. No luck there either.

Blackberries.behind.RV

We love having blackberries everywhere. Connie picks a few from directly behind our trailer.

neighbors.Julian.Julia.Isabel

Julian and Julia, along with Henry (not pictured) and Isabel, live right across our grassy area. What delightful neighbors. Welcomed us right away, and even let us bootleg from their Wifi. We’ve enjoyed all the kids in the neighborhood of 6 tech houses.

OregonGiftQuilting

Connie stays busy on her Bernina. A real blessing when wanting a little something to give back for all the generosity shown to us from the techs and their families. Check Connie’s Stuff to see her other quilts and notes.

AwningAnchors

The bucket of rocks awning anchor worked out so well, we got a couple Camco anchor sets. They have worked out great. Haven’t had to roll in the awnings because of wind since using awning anchors. We changed our menu on the main blog page a bit, adding Mod/Repairs to track some of the little modifications we’re doing, along with some repair issues.

We’re on our last week here at Big Creek. Sister Cheri will be here to spend it with us. We’ll drop her off at the Portland Airport as we say goodbye here and head toward Gillette, Wyoming to spend a few days with daughter Kari and other family there.

Big Creek has been a marvelous summer for us!

Fantastic Oregon Summer

Ed-hammerDrill

We continue to work around the hatchery. We try to get all the mowing…and there’s a lot…done on Thursday and Friday, but keep busy at other times too. Here Ed is using a hammer drill to insert concrete anchor bolts into the steps to secure a handrail.

Connie-Mulching

We’re trying to use all the mulch dumped for us earlier. Connie flexes her muscles loading and unloading the Gator. She has made a huge difference in all the landscaping around here.

Connie-Weeding.on.River

Connie hates weeds and sometimes finds them in hard to reach places.

Chinook-inBigCreek

Just below the area where Connie is pulling weeds, and just below the weir, is this pool of Spring Chinook (King Salmon), 10-15 pound range. These salmon are “lost.” Believed to have taken a wrong turn (probably following a Garmin eh Cliff?) or mistakenly came up Big Creek to spawn. So they just wander in this pool, can’t go up any farther upstream and not in their nature to go back.

NoFishingSign

We see anglers up and down the creek and not many catching fish, or only one or two. The “lost” salmon are just beyond this closed sign. Go figure.

Henry-Isabel-onTractor

There are six homes on our neighborhood street, the hatchery road. Hatchery techs and the manager live here, and most have children; ranging from toddler to 12 years old. Having the kids around playing in the street (rarely has traffic) give us joy and we’re getting to know them. Our next door neighbor, Julian and Julia have two children that we see most often. Here is Henry and is little sister Isabel. Grandpa just got them this contraption from an antique store.

AwningAnchors

We don’t get a lot of wind here, but an occasional gust causes concern with the awnings flapping around. If the wind catches them just right, we’d have more damage to contend with. Ed hung a couple buckets of rocks using bungee cords to the awning arms which seems to help.

Clatskanie.FarmersMkt

Hard to believe that the nearest Walmart is 40 miles away in Longview, Washington. We do need our Walmart fix now and then and the drive is actually quite nice. Highway 30 takes us through Clatskanie, Oregon. We made the Walmart trip Saturday July 23 and stopped at the Clatskanie Farmers Market on the way back. A fun day.

DewberryCrisp

Remember the dewberries we posted that we picked in our last post? Connie made a delicious dewberry crisp. We don’t eat desserts much, but had to indulge in this tasty treat. Locals like the dewberries better than the blackberries. Dewberries are like blackberries, but a lot smaller, ripen a month or so earlier, and are much harder to locate and pick. We are surrounded by blackberries. They are everywhere. Connie’s next project is Blackberry Jam. Yeah!

FortGeorgePulledPork

Living in Oregon calls out to visit a local brewery whenever you get the chance. We love Astoria’s Fort George Brewery. Stopped in for a Vortex IPA and a pulled pork sandwich(?) after one of our adventures to town. We ordered the pulled pork on chips instead of a bun. Quite interesting.

HaystackRock

The hatchery asks us to work 20 hours a week each in exchange for living in this beautiful park like setting with full hooks-ups for our trailer. They even provide us with a cute little shed with a washer and dryer. Everyone is super and seem to love having us here. Our normal schedule of working around the hatchery is 7:30am to 11:30am. We often go over that a little, but it leaves us with ample time to explore Oregon. Especially when it doesn’t get dark until 9pm or so.

So Thursday July 21 we traveled about 45 minutes down highway 101 to Cannon Beach. What a delightful little town, albeit a tourist draw. They are well known for “Haystack Rock” (picture above). Can you guess why?

Connie-CannonBeach Ed-CannonBeach

Enjoyed walking on the beach. Even got a little sand between our toes.

CenterDiamond

Other than exploring this quaint little seaside town, we had two primary goals. Those that know us can imagine what they were. One was to find the quilt store. Connie loved the Center Diamond Quilt Store and…of course, bought another “Row by Row” for her ongoing collection.

CannonBeach-street

PelicanTaps

And we both loved the Pelican Brewery. Shown in the forefront of the street picture above. Several taps available. We tuned in to their Umbrella IPA (the green label on the left tap).

BowPicker

July 28 – Drove in to Astoria again for Astoria’s downtown Farmers Market setup on Thursdays. Click here for our earlier posting about the market. It was also time to visit Zac at the Astoria Brewery again. Zac is fantastic and hugs, sounds, and resembles our nephew Marshall. Connie tried a 10oz glass of their stout and liked it, and Ed stuck with the Ichiban IPA.

We always pass the Bow Picker Fish and Chips boat as we travel to/from Astoria. There is always a long line. Except this Thursday, so we had to try in out. A little pricey, $9 for 3 pieces of fish and some fries, but…the fish is tuna and absolutely great. Worth the $9. And they are very friendly.

Gull-on-truck

So friendly even the sea gull says hello as we enjoy our fish and chips. Probably waiting for someone to leave a morsel for him?

Big Creek Grounds Keeping and Trailer Maintenance

Ed.mowing

Because the hatchery is in more of a maintenance mode during the summer months, they like us to keep the grounds looking nice for visitors and anglers. Lots and lots of mowing. It seems it takes a full week to get it all done, then its ready to start over. No one likes the little Cadet Zero-turn, including Ed, but no grass clippings to dump

Connie-JD-clean

Connie loves the John Deere mower and takes very good care of it, but Ed notes that she makes a quite a mess when she cleans it by blowing grass off with an air hose. He complains about having to strap on the big blower to clean up her mess. We enjoy teasing each other about that.

Ed.spraying

We do have several other grounds keeping chores to do other than mowing. For example, Ed spent a some time spraying weeds. Connie has spread several loads of mulch (a load it just the bed of a John Deere Gator utility vehicle).

Ed-trailerWash Connie-trailerWash

Saturday July 17 we tackled washing our trailer. As usual, it was a rather cool day in the mid 60s. But we started around 12:30pm and it turned out to be a great afternoon for getting the job done. Our site worked well as a wash bay. Connie got under the slides and tackled the windows.

Waxed.Trailer

We didn’t think we would have the energy for the waxing job, but after an hour break, and a little refreshment, we started the project. Connie waxed the bottom, and Ed waxed all above where she couldn’t reach. We finished around 6:30pm and were very pooped. Can you see it shine?

Some folks think are trailer is small to live in full time, but it actually has a lot of space: Full kitchen, breakfast nook, sewing suite, spare bedroom, dining room, theater, laundry room , full bath, master bedroom, and a study. They can’t all be used a the same time, however 🙂

LogRdviewColumbia Ed.top.logRd

Back to work the week of July 18. Our hatchery work hours are generally 7:30am till 11:30am so we have time to explore in the afternoon. Tuesday afternoon we ventured a couple miles up a logging road behind the hatchery to find some dewberries to pick, and to catch the view one of the Techs told us about. Spectacular view of the Columbia River valley, and if looking hard enough, we could see where it runs into the Pacific. By the way, we did pick enough of the delicious dewberries for Connie to make a crisp and provide a special treat for Ed’s morning cereal.

Seeing the fireweed in the area brings back fond memories of our time in Alaska last summer.

Exploring Astoria Area

Con-Faith-FortClatsop Faith-JrRanger

Sunday, July 3rd – Took Faith to the Lewis & Clark Historic National Park where she toured Fort Clatsop. Along the trip she completed a Junior Ranger questionnaire and was sworn in as an official Junior Ranger. Her certificate is invalid, however, she gave her name as Melina  Meade. First and last names of two celebrates she likes.

We all found the history of Lewis and Clark’s journey fascinating; learning that Fort Clatsop is where they spent the winter of 1805/1806. It rained nearly everyday.

July4th-Sunset

 July 4th – Waiting by Columbia River docks in Astoria for the fireworks.

July4th-cold

Still waiting…reminded that you don’t have to go to the mountains to escape the heat! A cool night on the river.

July4th-fireworks

Finally! Enjoyed a wonderful display to celebrate our Independence. We got home late and have an early day tomorrow. But a great time to spend with our grand daughter.

TidePools-Ed_Faith.Starfish

 

July 5th – Coming back late from fireworks, then having to be on the road again by 6am didn’t set well with Faith, but she was able to sleep on the way to see the tide pools near Seaside, Oregon. The goal was to be at Ecola State park by 6:45am, an hour before low tide. Otherwise the tidepool critters  would be covered with sea water. Here, Faith and Grandpa observe one of the many starfish clinging to the rocks.

TidePools-hidingCrab TidePools-starfish TidePools-anemones TidePools-lost.crab

 We saw many anemones. They close up when not in water, but blossom when in a pool. The first picture is a sand crab (I think) trying to hide, and the bottom picture is a Dungeness crab that must be lost. Connie picked up a discarded shell in the sand…she thought it was discarded, but it was a live crab! Faith said she enjoyed the trip very much and it was really worth getting up early. But Ed and Connie had to put in a few hours at the hatchery when we got back. Realizing our age more now days.

Wednesday July 7th – We made another round trip to the Portland Airport to get Faith headed back to Colorado. She enjoyed her stay, but we’re sure she’s be happy to be back home.

FarmersMarket

Thursday July 8th – Made another 17 mile trip in to Astoria. This time to check out the Thursday afternoon Farmer’s Market. Another cool day (we’ve been in the mid 60’s) and somewhat small, but Connie purchased a beautiful head of cabbage, and got a recipe for fried cabbage that we both like. In addition, we stopped at Homespun Quilt, the Bernina Store, for another “Row by Row”,  and met Zac at the Astoria Brewery. Zac poured our beer and told us about his paintings. He reminds us so much of nephew Marshall. Another bearded bear.

Later, we enjoyed another beer with our dinner at the Buoy Brewery and restaurant. We found that we could google the name on a ship anchored in the bay and learn about their cargo, home country, and much more.

Astoria-SunMkt

Sunday July 10th – Back to Astoria. This time to check out the Astoria Sunday Market. Wow! About three blocks worth of all sorts of stuff. Mostly crafty and innovative, but there were a few stands with produce and fruit. We, of course, had to visit Zac again. He filled our 64oz growler with their Ichiban IPA for $10. Very good.

ClipTrailer

Meanwhile, back at Big Creek Hatchery. Ed and Connie continue with their chores. Mostly mowing and landscaping. But this semi trailer came in over the weekend, so we’re learning about how the small hatchery fish have a fin clipped to identify it as a hatchery fish when it grows to be 20 plus pounds.

ClipTrailer.inside

Inside the clipping trailer is quite impressive with all the fish clipping automated machinery and computers.

Clip Trailer-start

The fish start their journey by being hand dipped out of hatchery ponds just outside the trailer. They are poured into a large basin, a little smaller than a bathtub, the sucked through this blue hose (see the fish in the hose?), which begins the process. The fish are distributed to the clipping step through the white tubes (see the previous) picture and on to the clipping machines.

Clip Trailer-process Clip Trailer-handclip

Any overflow, or fish missing the machine clippers, wind up being hand processed by the two employees at the rear of the trailer. What a tedious task. This trailer will count and clip all the Steelhead at the hatchery. Over 100,000! After their ordeal, they are discharged though the large blue hose at the back of the trailer (5 pictures earlier).