Thursday, July 31, 2008

Parked at Lucy's House, Playhouse, Birthday Party

Thought you might like to see our 40' motorhome parked behind Lucy's house (and the neighbor's house).

Dan drove down the alley and parallel parked between Gretchen & Rodney's blue garage and the neighbor's brother's small travel trailer. And there is a chain link/wooden fence on the other side of the motorhome. Several times he has commented, "I don't know how I did that."

Just another view of the narrow alley and the local "campground".
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We are really enjoying being right in the kids back yard. Lucy and her mom have had breakfast with us and it is so nice to be able to go back and forth between houses. Makes it a lot easier to prepare meals and share food. We've enjoyed playing table games at our house after Lucy has gone to bed (with the baby monitor on); and it's nice to have our own space to retreat to without having to drive to a campground. Plus we get to sleep in our own bed every night. :) And it feels more like family time rather than just visiting. Erin has really enjoyed playing with Lucy and is earning some babysitting money.

Grandpa has been building Lucy's playhouse, so I've included some pictures. It now has a roof. The back wall is not on yet, and the door will probably be installed tomorrow or Saturday. Grandpa has been visiting the shipyard to see a fleet of ships that came in this week; and the Blue Angels are at the airport. So for those of you who may not know, Dan has a real interest in ships and airplanes, so he gets time off for some fun.

We celebrated Lucy's second birthday yesterday. The Adams family, Frank, Maggie, Bridget, Nick and Matthew came to supper along with Ella and her mom and dad, Pauline and Bill. More pictures of the birthday girl and her friends.

Notice the "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" on the side of the playhouse for Lucy's birthday party.

Terri, the neighbor who is sharing her backyard with a motorhome, gave us some bing cherries from her tree. Erin pitted them, with the cherry pitter, and Rodney showed Lucy how to put them on her fingers. Of course she now has to put her cherries on her fingers before eating them.

We are really enjoying this time in Seattle with our family.

More later......

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wading Pool, Airplanes and Chalk Drawing

If "Variety is the Spice of Life", then being in the company of a two-year-old provides lots of spice. Yesterday afternoon we walked to the neighborhood park about three blocks from Lucy's house. (I haven't forgotten that Lucy has parents, Rodney and Gretchen) - It's just easier to type "Lucy".

For those of you who may not know, Gretchen is our fourth child, and third daughter. She is married to Rodney and Lucy Marie is their daughter. Lucy's middle name is the same Gail's mother's middle name. Gretchen moved to Seattle in 1997, met Rodney and subsequently Lucy was added to our family.

Now, back to this post. Two dogs live at Lucy's house. Jack is sixteen years old and came to live with Rodney during Rodney's college years. Jack is getting very feeble, blind and deaf. He is living out his life as the senior member of a very loving family. Murphy was adopted by Gretchen when he was five months old, not too long after she moved to Seattle. He is a Golden Retriever/German Shepherd mix. Murphy didn't really interact with Lucy until she started crawling and walking; and now he certainly is her dog. She climbs on him, tries to ride him and just generally gets along well with him. And he is very tolerant of her. She leads Murphy down the sidewalk all by herself. As you can see from this picture, she is leading Murphy. He slowly trots along and she runs behind holding his leash. If she so much as tugs on his leash, he stops and waits for her to start again. They really do have a unique relationship.

Lucy loved playing with her cousin, Erin, in the wading pool.

Today we went to the King County Airport to see the display of planes celebrating the airport's 80th anniversary. Since grandpa has such an interest in airplanes, Gretchen thought he might really enjoy this. Here's a few pictures of the day.

Lucy following Grandpa up into a plane

Erin and Gretchen dressed in part of the Airport firefighter's gear. Hope we don't need them in a emergency.

Lucy and a firefighter in the cab of the fire truck

Grandpa at the controls of a small aircraft

Lucy in the same plane Grandpa had been in; listening to the chatter from the tower

The Chalk Corner in the children's area

Erin and Lucy drawing with chalk around Gretchen

Lucy wanted Grandpa to draw around her feet

Not much else to report for today. Nap for the toddler, played a new game with Erin, Rodney cooked steaks for supper, had S'mores for dessert. Gretchen, Rodney and Erin have gone to a park to see an outdoor movie, so Grandpa and Grandma are babysitting. Lucy is sleeping and Grandma is getting this post done. Sorry about the sizing of the pictures. Not sure what happened, but I uploaded some directly to the blog and some were copied from Web Albums. Please forgive the different sizes. I'll do better next time.

More later.....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

We're in Seattle :-)

Hip, Hip, Hooray!!!! We arrived at Lucy's house (our soon-to-be 2-year-old granddaughter) about 1:30 this afternoon. So glad to be here. Grandpa drove down the alley behind their house and backed the motorhome into the space behind their backyard. I'll post some pictures tomorrow to give you a sense of the space he had to work with. Gretchen & Rodney's neighbor's brother has a small trailer parked next to us, so we have our own little campground.

Walked to the park about three blocks away with Lucy and Gretchen so Lucy could play in the wading pool.

Dan and Rodney are going to an air show at King airfield on Saturday. Nothing else planned for the weekend.

Just relaxing.

More later.........

Friday, July 25, 2008

Trees and Water

After much debate (not really debate, more indecision), we decided to drive to the South Side of Mount St. Helens to see the old-growth forests that were not damaged by the eruption in May 1980. We drove south on I-5 to Woodland and then on Route 503, then Route 90, for thirty miles up the Lewis River Valley to Cougar, WA.

The scenery was beautiful and really different than the drive on the west side of the mountain. The trees are much larger and taller, and the undergrowth much denser. The whole area has a more mature look. There are two dams across the Lewis River which makes for two beautiful reservoirs, Yale Reservoir and Swift Reservoir. Both have day areas maintained by the state of Washington with picnic sites, boat ramps and beaches. Since both reservoirs are surrounded by mountains covered by forest, the water is VERY clear. No cultivated field run-off or pollution from chemicals.




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We also visited an area called the Trail of Two Forests, which is about 10 miles from Cougar. A boardwalk path meanders through what looks like a very lush, green forest. But there is a story to this forest. The visible forest and the trail are on top of an old forest that was orverrun by lava flows from Mount St. Helens almost 2,000 years ago. Mount St. Helens is an explosive volcano and typically does not expel lava. But 2,000 years ago, lava poured down the south slope of the mountain and covered the trees. Most of the trees were felled and all were killed. The lava hardened, the trees burned away, leaving molds of them behind with the imprint of bark still showing. The current forest has grown on the thin soil on top of the hard lava flow. You can actually look down into some of the tree molds. We saw snow in the bottom of one of the molds.

After leaving the Trail of Two Forests, we drove on up the road until we reached a barricade across the road. The road is closed due to some unstable edges and some rock slides. But we did see the south side of the mountain and a little stream rippling down the mountain.

A beautiful sunny day appreciating all of Nature's glory and in awe of how powerful Nature can be.

More later....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Catching UP AGAIN

Here are some links to pictures we've taken in the past 2 weeks. Just seems like I can't get "in the groove" to actually post, so thought I would play "Catch Up" with pictures and then tell you about our trip to Mt. St. Helens yesterday. So here are the links to pictures. Just click on the picture and the album will open in My Web Albums in Picasa.

Redstone & Carbondale, CO and surrounding scenery

2008 07 16 From Deschutes SRA, OR to Ainsworth SP, OR

2008 07 22 Mt St Helens drive

The story of the Mount St. Helens eruption on May 18, 1980 is very powerful. The first earthquakes that signalled that the volcano was awakening occured in late March, 1980. As the frequency and intensity of the earthquakes increased the Forest Service and geologists were on alert and monitoring the volcano. Along with the earthquakes, which occurred about one to two miles beneath the north slope of Mount St. Helens, a large bulge was growing upward and outward on the north face of the cone. The bulge was more than a mile in diameter and pushed out 300 feet by mid-April. It was growing at a rate of five feet per day.

The Forest Service had set up a Red Zone around the mountain and had evacuated people from the area. On Saturday, May 17 some people were let back in to retrieve belongings from their homes and there were plans to let another group of people in on Sunday, May 18th. Dave Johnston, a geologist monitoring the volcano from a ridge 5.5 miles from the volcano, made an early morning radio report that the bulge continued swelling at a steady rate. An hour later Dave was dead. At 8:32 AM an earthquake of 5.1 magnitude shook Mount St. Helens and triggered a giant avalanche of the bulging north slope of the cone and slid away into Spirit Lake. The blast cloud shot out of the torn-open north face and quickly outraced the speeding avalanche. It raced north, northeast and northwest, climbing ridges and sweeping down valleys, killing everything in its path. It blew trees down like toothpicks and destroyed 230 square miles of forest. That took about 5 minutes.

The unroofed magma column jetted upward for the next nine hours into a fifteen-mile high ash cloud. More dense portions of the ash cloud near its base formed pyroclastic flows of hot rock fragments fluidized by expanding gas. These flows poured our of the horseshoe shaped crater toward Spirit Lake. Mudflows - floods of water from melting ice, the ground water soaked avalanche, and the water from Spirit Lake rushed down the stream and rivers. Homes and bridges were swept away. Much of the mud ended up in the Columbia River, clogging the navigation channel for months.

Fifty-seven people died and property damage totaled 1.5 billion dollars. One person we talked to said if it would have happened on Monday rather than Sunday, more lives would have been lost because many of the men would have been working at the logging camps.

Mother nature is doing her part to recover from this terrible event as are private and public entities. Weyerhaueser Lumber began an aggressive reforestation program and the Forest Service alone salvaged 200 million board feet of downed and standing dead trees and has replanted millions of small trees. Replanted areas are labeled with signs indicating the type of trees that were replanted and the year replanting occurred. And most amazing of all, after five years, the numbers of Roosevelt elk and black tailed deer at Mount St. Helens were back to normal.

Inside the National Monument boundaries, which include Mount St. Helens, 110,000 acres have been set aside to study Nature's process of healing itself. No replanting was done in this area, so it is still very stark with patches of renewal. Researchers from around the world are studying this area and learning about the recovery of a totally destroyed ecosystem.

Geologists continue to monitor Mount St. Helens with sophisticated equipment hoping to be better able to predict her next eruption.

The Mount St. Helens Visitor Center, at the beginning of the drive; the Forest Learning Center, and the Johnston Ridge Observatory all depict different aspects of the eruption. Each has wonderful displays and short movies which really help the visitor understand all the events that occurred on May 18, 1980.

This drive to Mount St. Helens was, for me, both very sobering and exciting. Sobering, as I saw up close what can happen in just a very few minutes when something this catastrophic takes place; but exciting to see the beautiful new trees, many of which are now 25 years old, the bright patches of color from the brightly colored flowers and the Roosevelt elk that I watched along the river from the Forest Learning Center overlook. It was also refreshing to see how the people have recovered and rebuilt as we drove along Route 504 which follows the North Fork of the Toutle River, leading to Johnston Ridge Observatory. Much of the original road was buried beneath the avalanche and mudflows of the 1980 eruption. The new road was built during 1992-1995.

We were able to see the mountain from Elk Rock lookout, but because of thick cloud cover, we could not see it from Johnston Ridge Observatory. There is a cloudy picture in the web album, and here is an "official" picture from the Mount St. Helens website.

Mount St. Helens

Not sure what we doing Thursday. We may check out the south side of the mountain which was unaffected by the eruption or we may drive to the Pacific Ocean. Dan and Erin are probably getting tired of trees and more trees, so the Ocean may be a good choice. Will decide in the morning.

Happy 17th Birthday, Taylor

More later....

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


We left Carbondale, CO Tuesday morning. Sure was hard to leave Elijah & Isaac and their parents. I'll post pictures from our visit tomorrow. I've been really tired; and realized we've been busy every day for the past month.

We had originally planned to only stay 2 days in Provo or Salt Lake City, but found this really great campground, Lakeside RV Campground. I would give it a 9 rating on a 1-10 scale, but the sites are really close to each other. Otherwise, it is great. It's right next to Utah Lake with a walking trail along the lake, lots of trees, but excellent satellite signal; level sites; excellent WiFi throughout the park and plenty of things to do in the area.

We do plan on some drives into the mountains and will visit the Mormon Temple, but this stop is really intended for rest and recuperation. I hope Erin will tolerate the slower pace for a few days. Hopefully we'll be able to mix in just enough activity to keep her happy.

I'll get some pictures and text posted tomorrow about Carbondale and the kids. Just plan on vegging out the rest of today.

More later.....

Friday, July 04, 2008

More Colorado Slide Shows

I'm having trouble with linking to the Picasa web albums, so have embedded slide shows instead. Here are 2 more. Erin's has over 200 pictures.

Hope you enjoyed. I'll try harder to label pictures. Just enjoy the scenery.

We've Been Sooooo Busy

We arrived at Redstone Campground in the White River Nat'l Forest south of Carbondale, CO on Friday, June 27 about 4:00pm after leaving Denver. Had to unhitch the truck about an hour out of Denver because the motorhome was overheating. Thought this problem had been resolved last year, but since we hadn't driven on steep grades until now we hadn't had any more problems with overheating. Sooooo, when we take the motorhome back to Elkhart, IN in October that will need to be looked at again. Otherwise, it was a great trip from Denver.

We have no cell phone service at the campground so I haven't posted on the blog for quite awhile. I do have excellent aircard service in Carbondale so can only get on the internet when we're in town. But we've been busy helping Tim and Karen so I've not taken the time to post to the blog until now. I'll just post a few comments and links to pictures we've taken of the beautiful scenery around here. The pictures should speak for themselves.

Tim, Karen, the boys and the moving truck arrived at their new house about the same time. The truck was just about empty when we got to the house, so we helped get the beds put together and tried to organize a few things. Last weekend was spent opening boxes and putting things away with the help of an 18 month old and 3 1/2 year old. But we accomplished a lot and the house actually looks pretty homey.

We have taken some rides into the mountains and taken many pictures. We sure are glad we have a 4-wheel drive vehicle so we can drive over some of the roads we've driven on.

I'll post the links to our Picasa Web Albums so you can see where we've been. Erin has also taken a lot of pictures and I'll include her pictures in the links.

We'll probably be leaving Colorado on Tuesday or Wednesday and I'll try to stay a little more up to date with posting.

So, more later.......