Monday, September 7, 2015

A whirlwind of socializing," freebies", and bear encounters!

We're not exactly isolationists, but in the almost two weeks after leaving Anacortes we've become the essence of sociability.  Whew...definitely a whirlwind!

First stop Bellingham, WA, an easy day's drive from our Marina location.  Our goal was to visit our aging friend, Hazel (a mere 89 and going strong) whom we met traveling in Mexico approx. 18 years ago.  Hazel and her daughter, Jennie, were soon leaving on an Alaskan cruise.  Jennie and husband Scott had graciously invited us to share there 5 acres for parking the motorhome. Hazel planned to be staying at their house during our visit. "Freebie parking"!

Though we'd never met before we became fast friends with Jennie and Scott.  Dinners were shared experiences for our 3-day visit, with daytime outings with Hazel, one of which included a drive into Vancouver, Canada for lunch at The Bistro restaurant in White Rock...excellent food.  One day we headed up toward Mt. Baker to do some hiking with Jenny and dog Bogie, while Hazel rested in the car.

Our yearly stay in the Anza Borrego Desert has provided a long list of friends with whom we keep in close touch. Last winter we were lucky enough to be parked near Dan and Heather from BC, a terrific young couple who immediately became friends.  We shared many meals and happy hours.  They invited us to visit them this summer and we decided to take them up on it.  Their place on the Shuswap Lake was an easy drive from Bellingham and, once again, we had "freebie" parking with full hookups on an RV lot in their development.

The drive to their place was magnificent, taking us through the Thompson & Fraser River canyons.

Dan & Heather in Anza Borrego last winter..

Heather is a cook extraordinaire, or maybe I should say chef!  Neighbors and friends were invited over and everyone brought appies to share for Happy Hour.  We had home-made pizzas, 3 kinds to choose from, Thai, Hawaiian, and whatever is left over.  The following night neighbors invited us all over for barbecued steaks with all the trimmings.  The 3rd night we fixed rack of lamb for Heather and Dan.  A fine time we had indeed!

Dan, Heather and all their friends and neighbors...

You'll notice in the above photo that Heather has her right leg in a brace due to damaged meniscus, and ACL which occurred while participating in her first triathlon, and crashing on her bike at 40 MPH.  These folks take their exercise and diet regime very seriously!

Heather gives Howard & I a lesson in bread baking with lots of good grains.

Yummy kale smoothie!
Howard's signature rack of lamb

And now for the bear encounters.  We had decided to divide our travel time in BC to two short days instead of one long one.  Therefore, our first night was spent in Cache Creek at a nice RV park, Brookside Resort.  Our dollar goes a long way in Canada as the exchange rate is $.75 Canadian to $l.00 US, so the $35 RV site cost us $27!

Once we had registered and parked at Brookside I went outside to see if Howard needed any help and just happened to look up to see a good sized black bear crouched in the tree overhead.  I grabbed my camera for a quick pic, but ran inside when he started coming down.

Bear butt, use your imagination!

Our next encounter happened the following day just as we're approaching Dan & Heather's.  We heard 2 quick "thunks" and Howard looked in the rear view mirror and saw a large black bear running into the woods.  We pulled over and sure enough he had run into the MH which damaged the exhaust pipe, then bounced into the car for a bit of a dent.  We're now in the process of getting quotes from our insurance.

Come Monday we headed back to the border crossing at Sumas and on into WA.  The border crossing was unpleasant to say the least and this was the US customs.  Took about an hour for them to go through the MH and take most of our produce.

In Washington we decided to take the coast route 101 instead of I-5.  We stopped at Milepost 75 to visit one of our very favorites, the Artic RV Park.  The parking conditions resemble a beautiful rainforest and Annie's garden was bountiful and beautiful.  We picked tomatoes, kale, dahlias, green beans and cabbage.

We decide to stay 2 days at Artic ($25 dollars for full hookups) and take the loop drive down to Raymond and around to Grayland and Westport, returning through Aberdeen.  We stopped in Westport for lunch, a walk thru town, and a stop for fresh oysters on our way back.

Gray Harbor Light and along the Westport waterfront

With Labor Day weekend fast approaching we need to pick a location to carry us through the holidays as RV and state parks are filling up fast. We decide on Lincoln City and the Chinook Winds Casino.  RV parking is now restricted to a section on the lower level and we're all crammed in like sardines with generators.  Yes it is another "freebie" so we'll persevere.  We never once went into the casino!

Crowded casino parking

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