Thursday, May 21, 2015

Shakin' down...


More for me than the boat.

Another staff member volunteered to come along to handle lines.  Then, a couple more.  I got there early to go through the boat.  She is looking and running good.  Since the staff who rode along are not boat crew, I was looking to practice some close-quarters maneuvering, then take the boat out into open water and make sure all the systems are ready to go.

The fog from this morning...


Was heavy and water saturated when I dropped Joan off at work this morning.  I didn't have to be to the other side of the island until mid-morning, and by then, it was clear blue sky.

I was just finishing all the boat checks when the other staff got there; I briefed Alex (kayak guide who was serving as first mate) for my plans, and we shoved off.  Then came back to the dock.  Then shoved off again.  Back again.  Off.  Back.  That's enough of that - the arrivals were all as I was hoping (of course, no one was looking), so we headed out of the harbor, out Mosquito Pass, and into Haro Strait.  If there were whales nearby, we would go check 'em out, but that wasn't the case.  Yes, we saw other wildlife (harbor porpoise, seals, bald eagles), but I was more interested in checking all the systems while underway.

After a couple hours of enjoying the scenery... I mean, completing the checks, I headed the boat back to her dock.  On the way, I got the camera out for a few photos of the scenery that brings us back...



The bottom image is looking west towards Vancouver Island, BC.  And the ferry coming back to the US from Sidney, BC...


Staff onboard...


Battleship Island...


And, a rare site coming back in to Roche Harbor...


Hardly any boats anchored out.  I didn't have to "thread the maze" on the way back to our dock.  I dropped staff at our dock, Alex and I took the boat to the fuel dock, then celebrated a successful shake down with a burger with a view of the marina.

Nice first day.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gearing up...


We ran some errands and picked up uniform shirts and jackets today.  Joan starts with her regular hours tomorrow; I will be taking one of the boats out for shake down (no guests).  Trips for me start on Saturday.

At our location with the RV, our phone and data connection is marginal and variable.  Most of the time, we have a weak 3G signal; sometimes not even that.  This morning, I had an hour or so with a weak 4G signal.  A trip to the Verizon outlet here was unfruitful - the guy did his best to talk us out of a signal booster.  So, we will probably order one from Amazon.  We used a 3G version when we were in the Tetons, and it definitely helped - turned an almost nonexistent signal into a barely adequate signal.  The discussion we had with the Verizon guy today let us know there is no cell tower on this island - the signal comes from Orcas Island or Whidbey Island... both are a ways away.

The rest of the errands were just daily living: checking out the local laundry situation and a trip to the grocery store.  Lunch out (it will be next week before we get to do that again).

The living will be different this season.  I liked living on the boat in the marina... to a point.  We have more room and amenities in the motorhome.  WAY more privacy.  We don't have to reset our satellite TV at extreme high or low tides, and there isn't anyone standing in front of the dish/cube, blocking the signal.  While I really enjoy the scooters, it was nice to be right in town; walk to the grocery store or restaurants... and to work.  Can't do that this season.

But, we don't have anyone peeking in our windows - yes, that happened in the marina.  Seems that some people think all those boats are a "floating boat show."  Instead of boats and water, we have a pastoral view from the motorhome...



Izzy loves going for walks here; she didn't care much for that in the marina... too many people walking the docks (for her) and dogs not on a leash.  We have a yard (that I don't have to mow), and a tree that Izzy thinks about climbing...


"Yeah, I can climb that."

And birds to watch...



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Touching base...


Nothing to do with playing baseball.

After getting ready this morning, we rode the scoots into town for breakfast at the Hungry Clam...


Then, we touched base at the Friday Harbor office, where our boss was manning the phones and counter.  With two phones ringing, Joan took one of them... and booked 5 people for whale watching this weekend.  Memorial Day Weekend, the weather is predicted to be nice, and there has been repeated mentions on the Seattle news about the sightings of 3 new members of J-Pod, who were born in the last few months.  I think it is going to be a very busy weekend.
 

We rode around a bit on the scoots, eventually making our way to Roche Harbor...


I had to check out the boat I'll be driving this weekend - I was told she got fresh paint and graphics - looks good...


I wanted to see how long it takes to get from our RV location to Roche.  Along the way, I picked up a "scooter tag" of "your scoot with a horse in the background"...


They are kind of far away, but it is a momma and colt...


We stopped at the Alpaca ranch... sure do like the socks I got from there last year (as a gift).  We each picked up another pair.

Back to the coach, where Izzy got to spend plenty of time outside.  Joan spent some time with her in the screen room we set up yesterday... Izzy was a little confused about it... "I know I'm outside, but..."


Monday, May 18, 2015

Settling in...


It was a long ol' haul getting to the San Juan Islands.

The fact that Mother Nature wasn't particularly friendly during many of those miles made it seem even longer.  Having our own "home" with us while we made the miles makes it easier for us.

Yesterday, we were in an RV park in Anacortes...


The sites are pretty close together, but it is a handy place to get things ready before heading to the San Juans.  We have stayed in this park 5 times before, but in the boat (getting ready to launch or ready for the road) - this is our first time here with an actual RV.  This morning, we unhooked and headed for the ferry landing.

We had made a reservation for the ferry (new this year), but we were still in line an hour early...


The guy at the booth who tells you what lane to get in (after we paid nearly $350) said, "Do you want to get on the 8:30 ferry instead of the 9:30?"  I was concerned about the low tide at 10:35 when we were scheduled to arrive at Friday Harbor (steep angle getting on and off the ferry), but as I said, "Sure," he said, "Good, 'cause you will be getting on the 8:30."

We had almost no wait.  The woman who directed us where to park had us REALLY close to the wall and the dump truck in front of us...





I couldn't get out the driver's side door.  Going out the coach door, I couldn't let the door swing open all the way.  The photo just above is another motorhome behind our cargo trailer (they were going to Vancouver Island, BC, the next stop for this ferry).  Joan stayed in the motorhome, I wanted to get out and look around...




This place is so beautiful!  I don't know if everyone gets this, but I get a little twinge in my stomach, more a feeling of happy anticipation, when I am heading home after being gone for a while.  I had that feeling as I looked around at all the great views from the ferry...



We were actually early when we pulled into Friday Harbor.  Beautiful sunshine.  We were early to meet with the guy where we are renting an RV site, so we parked the Aspect and had breakfast.


We got a glimpse of the office/kiosk where Joan will be working - it is still there, just moved a bit.

We had directions to where we will be staying - it doesn't sound like much when you hear "It is next to an old, unoccupied mobile home."  It has potential...


The guy installed RV hook-ups.  The concern: to get to where the sewer connection is downhill ('cause shit don't run uphill), we couldn't get level...


Even with boards stacked under the tires and jacks, the sewer connection was still "uphill."  The guy that owns this place is a professional plumber; he said, "We can make this work."  He and his brother went to work putting a sewer connection in a different location.  Where we are more level.  And the connection is downhill from our sewer outlet.  They are doing all they can to make us feel at home here - very nice guys.

We started settling in...


Little Izzy got to be outside while we set up the patio, unstrapped the scoots, and rearranged things in the trailer from travel-mode to living-mode...


She is a happy girl - lots of grass to explore.


It's a pretty setting.  A couple miles from town, so we won't be walking to the store everyday... but we have a bigger fridge in the motorhome than we had in the boat, and a pantry; and scooters to make the run.  The satellite TV is dialed in, including getting local network channels.

Home sweet home, for the summer.  It is going to be a different experience, living in the motorhome as opposed to living on the boat in the marina.  Being out of town vs being in the middle of a busy marina.  We are looking forward to it.



Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ready for the ferry...


We have driven just about as far as we can go.  The next portion of the trip will be tomorrow morning, on the ferry.  We are in an RV park; tanks dumped and flushed.  We are looking forward to getting settled in on San Juan Island.

A big bonus today: getting to visit with our friends from home, Herb and Wilma.  They are getting their gorgeous Ranger Tug ready to launch.  They came out to the RV park we are in, and we enjoyed getting caught up.


Boondocking and a new route...


On the Oregon/Washington border.

We called an RV park where we had stayed before - no room at the inn.  We decided it was time to dry camp with the Aspect - it is self-contained and certainly capable.  We stopped at a Walmart to pick up a few things, but just down the road was Cabela's - quieter and a more level parking lot situation.  I checked with our new friend, Megan, at their Customer Service Desk, and she said, "You are welcome to spend a night or two in our lot.  Not a month, though.  Someone actually did that."  I assured her that one night was our plan... we'll spend a night and some money in the store.  That's fair.




Nice evening sky.  We saw a couple other RVs pull in before we turned in.  We checked the batteries before going to bed.  Watched some TV.  Next morning, the batteries were still in great shape.  We fired up the generator to use the coffee maker and microwave; we had plenty of fresh water onboard and empty holding tanks.  All the comforts of home.  Yep, the Aspect will be fine with boondocking.

The weasels were calling for rain, but the sky looked promising.  We were looking to get off the Interstate once again, and our friend, Merv, suggested we avoid Seattle traffic and go over the Cascades on two lane roads.


The portion of I-90 that we were on wasn't bad.  Well, there was this sign...


Yeah, we've had more than our share of potholes - no need to visit a State Park full of 'em.

We both lamented about missing the wine country in central Washington with this routing.  Who knew there was plenty of vineyards and crops to see along this route!  I really like that someone puts up signs telling you what the crop is in that particular field...




We grew up in Iowa, so we know what corn looks like; but we were both city kids.  When Joan asks what I think any particular crop is, I say, "Sorghum," 'cause no one really knows what sorghum looks like.  These signs make my sorghum answer unnecessary.

The terrain gets hilly to mountainous, and there are cherry trees, pear trees, grapes, and more on every useable soil...





This is definitely more interesting than the I-90 alternative.  The Columbia River Gorge - beautiful scenery...







We stopped for fuel; Joan cleaned the windshield and side windows while I pumped the gas.


Speaking of which, Washington is sure proud of their gas - highest prices we have seen this trip.  We might be able to pay for it by moving to this street...


More pretty scenery...




We stopped for lunch at a rest area...


By the time we got to Stevens Pass, we were climbing into the clouds...



The road down the west side wasn't as smooth as that up the east side.  Not bad, and certainly more scenic than I-90.

This road eventually met up with I-5 at Everett.  Before that, we found ourselves in bumper to bumper, stop and go traffic in Munroe... at the Seattle Auto Swap Meet.  There are also Big Rig races today.  SO many people, so many cars.  For a car guy looking for parts, this IS the place.  For a couple tourists with their cute cat just rolling through... it's timing.

Getting close; and wrapping up the "through the windshield" tour.