Monthly Archives: August 2010

What’s a good excuse for not writing?

We have excuses, really good ones. But who really cares? Bottom line, we enjoy sharing our full-timing life, what we’re up to, and we’re in an incredibly neat part of the U.S., and we’re neither writing about it nor will we be able to catch it up. It becomes lost like other chapters in our odyssey. We imagine, sometimes, we can pick one of those lost episodes and share it anytime later. Hope so.

This is at least the second time this year we have completely lost communication, slacked off, stopped answering email and stopped writing. No, make it three times. We had the post-holiday recovery in January. We crashed the Dell laptop in April – not exactly slacking off but a holiday from writing, yes. And we’re in the greater Seattle area and haven’t had much impulse to write.

Conditions require labels and mine has one. Jim ate a bad scone or something in Oak Harbor while we were staying in Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island a couple of weeks ago. Didn’t quite lose his lunch but spent two days in bed, suffered from severe stomach cramps three days, and felt poisoned. Lost his energy, lost muscle tone, stayed achey all over for days, and started reading spy and suspense novels. Bunches of them.

Yesterday Jim felt, for the first time, like his stomach has returned to normalcy. Not any certain size, but holding onto food and liquid without any cramping. He had, before the assault, spent every morning early outside with a cup of Matcha tea and a book. And on every other morning he followed a run with an hour of exercises.

He’s back to getting up early and reading for a little while, and want to start again with the exercise regimen. Jim felt good enough to wash and wax the truck (it looks so great!). And with the writing? Jim spent almost twenty hours in the past ten days learning MS Publisher and experimenting with a newsletter for the RV Service Net/WBCCI Amateur Radio Club. And it takes all the keyboard time anyone can stand in a day.

The newsletter is on ice for a couple of weeks. He’ll take a fresh look at it when we get to Ocean Park, WA, after September 12. Until then, we’re essentially without commitments. Or excuses. Well, almost. Today is Debbie’s birthday. Happy Birthday,

Today it has rained all day. Started sometime after midnight, a fine pouring rain started pattering on the roof. Sixteen hours later, it continues off and on. Mostly on. And the wind is buffeting our trailer hard. We’re in the middle of a 50 by 150 yards gravel parking area for itinerants like ourselves.

Washington Land Yacht Harbor is a WBCCI Club’s residential park. Almost all the 194 sites are built up with park models or mobile homes. A few others appear to have had a structure that has collapsed or been torn down. Unlike some parks we’ve visited, this one doesn’t have a mixture of RVs and residences. The owners have space for their RV on their large lot, or they can maintain their RV in the large storage field.

The available spaces for visitors to WLYH are in the “Terraport”, a pair of large gravel parking lots separated by Harmony Hall. The parking lots have three-way hook-ups for each site and the sites are lined with spray paint on the gravel. The physical layout works fine, the wifi (which I’m using now) works well, and Harmony Hall is very nice with large meeting and performance area, card playing room, pool table/ping pong room, kitchen, and library.

The park is large enough to afford great walking or we can exit to Steilacoom Rd’s walk/bike path or into nearby neighborhoods. WLYH is located conveniently close to Lacey’s Post Office, laundries, restaurants, grocers, and gas stations. There’s a Best Buy and Home Depot and SuperCuts and Cabelas. What else do we need? Oh yeah — a nice bakery next door to the Post Office. That’s a great idea!

We’ve met nice folks in the Terraport and a few during our walks, a few more during last Saturday’s Coffee and Rolls in Harmony Hall. And Washington State is NICE! The weather is mild, the coffee is strong (and delicious), the greenery is as green as North Carolina’s, and south Puget Sound is just a really nice area.

Our sightseeing generated some pictures we’ll share tomorrow. We visited Tacoma (Apple Store; Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the sturdy one; and Steamer’s, a seafood restaurant by the Sound) and spent a day in Lacey for the Sand Sculpture festival last weekend. Fun sights, good eats, great coffee, and fine weather.

Jim’s big birthday present is a new Macbook, arrived just yesterday evening. Our Dell’s crash in April left us without means to update our iPod’s music and podcasts. The iPod’s content, from the Dell, worked fine on the iPod but we could not update it or modify it. When the Dell crashed, the source for all the songs on the iPod disappeared.

While we own the real source, the compact discs (CDs) for all the music, we don’t travel with them. The eighty-five or so CDs are locked up in our storage unit on the East Coast. You know, you can’t take it all with you. And we back-up our data from the laptops, right? We thought so. But found out some things weren’t getting to the portable hard drives. Yep, the music wasn’t backed up.

Ask any Mac user what kind of computer to use and what will they tell you? A bunch of fanatics, these Apple advocates are. Jim’s brother, our children, many of our friends, 3/4 of the people we see in coffee shops (Bozeman, MT; Vancouver, B.C.; and Seattle area), and all the people we’ve met in WLYH so far are Mac users. There’s no other computer for these folks. Something in the water they drank?

We finally succumbed to this Mac thing and bought the Macbook. This is remarkable for a few reasons. We have both been using exclusively IBM-compatibles/Windows machines since they became available at work (mid-80’s). And first cost for the Macs is twice a Windows laptop’s cost.

Why is this worthwhile? For starters, the battery is rated at more than twice as long per charge. The Mac restarts instantly when you open the case. The applications are very slick and integrated, and do NOT crash. Composing and publishing documents is native to Apple’s entire history, and happens to comprise most of what we do.

The iPod thing helped the decision too — how many hours would it take Jim to re-load all the music from the CDs? Multiply 85 CDs X 15 minutes and it is over 20 hours. How long did it take to get all the music onto the Macbook? Twenty or thirty minutes to download SENUTI, register it, and run it with iTunes.

ITunes is all about moving music files from computer to the iPod, and definitely not the reverse. SENUTI is the reverse. If you use the free download you can move up to 1,000 files from the iPod to a computer and use the program for 30 days. We chose to register our copy ($18 USD) to allow unlimited files count and time.

We have over 2,800 songs on our little 4th generation 20gb iPod and enjoy using it to play our favorite music through our home’s sound system. And we can listen to podcasts through our truck’s stereo on driving days. We’re back in business with iTunes and the iPod, thanks to SENUTI.

Unfortunately we lost the playlists from our old iTunes setup. But we have all the songs, organized correctly by album and with genre and artists information complete. And we have the opportunity to reorganize our playlists, not a bad thing.

We’re learning how to navigate the slightly different keyboard shortcuts on the Macbook. This blog is solely from the Macbook, a minor victory already. We have no idea how the photo management will work out, and need this for tomorrow’s sightseeing blog here. Or we can revert to the still-functional Dell laptop.

The Windows machines fill a niche, even for switchers like us. We have an unknown (for now) number of applications not available to Macbook’s operating system (unless we load Parallels or another utility to allow running Windows on the Mac). We’ll keep the Dell running as long as we can for amateur radio apps and whatever else we need it for.

It’s time we get ready for our dinner downtown somewhere for Debbie’s birthday. I’ve rambled (a lot) but had a lot of ground to cover. Conspicuously, I’ve scarcely covered where we’ve been and what we’ve done since leaving Vancouver, B.C. over two weeks ago. That’s a good story for tomorrow, and we’ll make no excuses for not writing then.

See you tomorrow!

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

Jim’s BC RV Show

This post represents a pretty cool sampling of RVs. Doesn’t include any Euro caravans, although yes there are three Euro motor homes. And doesn’t include any TABs or Trilliums or Casitas, or Burros or Scamps, which is pretty surprising. But otherwise a nice slice of what you might find at a slightly upscale RV Park in Canada today.

We may not (or might yet) do a post like this again. This is just a whole bunch of pictures we took on two successive mornings at an RV Park we visited near Vancouver, B.C. We thought it was pretty cool to find such a wide variety of camping machines in one park.

Please give us your comment, is this a terrible idea to make a post like this? Or did you like so many pictures this time? Call this an experiment — we might not find any suitable occasion to repeat this format, but wanted to try it for this informal survey of RVs.

Note: we took off the license plates for the pictures. No, not really, but we did re-touch the pix to conceal any license plate identification.

Check these out:

A vintage Dethleff MB motor caravan shipped over for their tour

Okay, not an RV but represents the diversity of camping in this RV Park

Nice clean tag-along trailer, pretty recently made

Looks like a Bigfoot slide-in, but on a F-450 dually truck -- a great setup

Like mobile homes, this trailer may be rusting in its last spot

No brand name, just the MB star on grill -- another ocean-freighted for N.A. touring. Very compact and neat, probably great mpg

Swanky streamlined Class-C RV, stylish way to tour

Can't i.d. it specifically, can you? Another brought over from Europe for N.A. touring? Looks like it can ford puddles four feet deep

A Lazy-Daze, made in Montclair, Calif. One of our favorite brand mohos, very nice craftsmanship and wonderful layouts

A nice B-van for compact (and short-term) touring

The sole pop-up tent camper in this RV Park

The biggest baddest moho in the park, what, maybe 45 feet long? And maybe 4-5 mpg on the highway. . . Hey, that's only 1/2 our fuel mileage.

What a classic! Cozy, compact, cute, and conservative. I had a '70 VW Westfalia, loud and heatless, but a lot of heart.

Some nights there are two dozen of these in this RV Park, all Europeans or Asians

Interchangeable with the other rental brand. An alternative to shipping your motorhome across the pond.

Nowadays, you have to show at least one tag-along with a tip-out or two, right?

And with one of these 5th wheels, you CAN (and just might) take it all with you

One of five, this is the oldest Airstream in the RV Park. NICE!

A medium-sized motorhome, nice way to travel

We're prejudiced -- This is NOT an RV, it's a park model masquerading as a travel trailer

Not quite a hard-sided camper, not a pop-up. It's a 'tweener -- you get more floor space and more bed space

Just like the Airstream B-Vans, outside looks top-heavy and inside looks comfy

We like this -- a very low-slung 5th wheel. We see fewer of these than the gigantic tall ones --

Seems a neat idea, this slide-in travels low then raises up for headroom in-camp.

There were 130 RVs and we’ve posted pictures of less than 30. Any given night we might see twenty large motor homes, thirty or more rental class Cs, another thirty B-vans, and a wide variety of fifth wheels and tag alongs. And somewhat surprisingly, five Airstreams most nights. We had fun looking at the diversity, and thought you might too. That’s all folks!

See You Down The Road!

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

Can We Three Full-Time?

We’ve added a full-timer to our house-on-wheels, but only for a long weekend. Our granddaughter, Ellie, has joined us for a few days. Hopefully we’re working up to a week away with grandmom and granddad. This is our second visit at Burnaby Cariboo RV Park (BCRV), and it’s a great place for us and for us to entertain her.

Nice welcome to BCRV Park

Three years ago, our first RV visit to Vancouver, we stayed in BCRV for two weeks. Last year, and the year before, we parked our house at Capilano RV Park in West Vancouver. Capilano is closer to Kelsey’s and Stephen’s house and is the closest RV park to downtown.

A stay at Capilano involves our driving across Vancouver’s business district twice daily and it’s a very hectic drive. Capilano has a small outdoor pool and an indoor hot tub; a lounge with wifi; a playground; and a convenient comfort station with showers and flush toilets. And it has all the noises of the big city, since it’s situated at the base of the Lions Gate bridge.

BCRV, on the other hand, is 6 miles east of Vancouver. While it isn’t as close to Canada’s Highway 1 as Capilano is to the bridge to downtown, BCRV is adjacent to a railway line. A few times a day we can hear the trains rumbling by.

Attractive cedar hedge thrives between sites

The biggest difference we see between the two parks is the layout of the sites and the amenities. BCRV, a larger park, seems to provide almost twice the site space for your trailer or motor home. And the sites at BCRV are screened from each other with an attractive and tall cedar hedge.

BCRV's indoor heated pool is most comfortable when uncrowded

Our four annual visits have all been during the month of August, yet the air temperature is just a little cool sometimes for bathing out of doors. The indoor pool at BCRV is just the trick for the sometimes cool days in Vancouver. BCRV also boasts a weight room and above the swimming pool has a large sunning deck.

Both resorts are near shopping malls. The Lougheed Town Centre, near BCRV, is as accomodating as any small shopping mall we’ve encountered. It’s walking distance for a couple of adults but not when we’re walking with a four year-old. Capilano is only a few hundred yards from Park Royal Shopping Centre, a much larger shopping center.

This year we chose BCRV. We decided we prefer the amenities and sites of BCRV and driving Highway 1 instead of commuting across center-city each day. Next year, who knows?

We felt Welcome to Vancouver!

Vancouver welcomed us a week ago with warm sunny weather. We launched immediately into our tour and errand mode with Kelsey, Stephen, and Ellie, visiting the Science Center, China Town, a coffee shop on Kingsway, Rona (their hardware store), Murchies Tea Shop, a fabric store, and IKEA in Richmond.

An attractive exterior and fascinating contents

The HR MacMillan Science Center was a treat for us all. We visited the planetarium for a short program on the summer skies; watched a program entitled “The Colour of Fire” (our favorite was the green flame from cupric chloride); and toyed over an hour with fun exhibits.

Mural across street from Ten Ren Tea

We needed to renew our supply of green tea. We have visited Ten Ren Tea in Vancouver’s China Town each year. Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest in Canada and (after San Francisco’s) was the second largest Chinese population outside China’s mainland.

After much research, we agreed to buy the sencha green tea to which we’re accustomed, some matcha powder, and Dragon Well or Lung Ching tea. We weren’t sufficiently prepared to select from twelve different grades of Dragon Well tea. While we almost certainly did not buy a high grade, our tastes are still too elementary too really appreciate the difference.

The tea stores are very nice, especially Ten Ren Tea in Chinatown. We have heretofore saved our annual tea buying for our trips to Vancouver. Both Murchies Tea and Ten Ren Tea also provide very good on-line shopping. You can spend far more for tea than we’d imagined — $280 for a pound of First Flush Dragon Well, for example.

But you also can find the teas priced for everyday use, like Ten Ren’s High Grade Sencha for $30 per pound. Neither store charges tax, whether buying in-store or on-line. And both have very low shipping/handling costs for orders. Four pounds of white tea from Ten Ren ships for only $8.10 (shipping/handling) to Charlotte, N.C., for example.

downtown Burnaby Village Museum

Ellie came home with us yesterday for the weekend. We right away spent the day visiting Burnaby Village Museum, grilled out, and settled in for a viewing of the movie Tinkerbell before bedtime.

The carousel isn't just for kids, either

The Burnaby Village Museum is a gem. Ellie’s purpose for the visit was to ride the carousel. And she did, four times. We strolled around and viewed a few exhibits, rode the 1912 CW Parker Carousel twice, toured the park again, rode the carousel twice again, and finished with tours of the three houses.

1925 Wurlitzer Band Organ plays wonderfully

The carousel is faithfully and gorgeously restored and turns to the tunes of a likewise well-restored 1925 Wurlitzer band organ. We were surprised by how quickly the carousel turned and delighted with how beautiful the horses and entire carousel are.

This interurban electric tram served 45 years

We would have enjoyed almost the very same activities whether or not we were walking with a four year-old. The park has exhibits and activities for almost all ages from four to one hundred-four. One of the highlights was our visit to the restored tram car. Car #1223 moved people and goods throughout the Lower Mainland between 1913 and 1958.

these seats would be okay for a commute

This was an Interurban electric tram car built by St Louis Car Company in 1912. These Interurban trams were wider and longer than streetcars and designed to carry travelers for the relatively longer trips between Vancouver and New Westminster. This car was retired in 1958, when buses replaced the trams.

checkers as done before miniaturization changed everything

Much of Burnaby Village Museum portrays life and structure cerca 1925. The carousel, blacksmith, newspaper, ice cream parlour, auto garage, dry goods, interurban tram, and several houses are all restored to that period. Jim and Ellie played a rousing game of lawn checkers. Not sure if this is also a vintage activity, but they enjoyed it just as well.

Plenty of room for three people to play in this house

This morning we awoke to grey skies and a densely misting rain. Good thing we have nowhere we have to go. We spent a leisurely morning playing Fancy Nancy before we slipped over to Lougheed Town Centre for earring and outfits shopping and a cup of coffee.

After a Tim Hortons small snack at the mall, we walked to the RV Park’s indoor swimming pool. We all three swam and swam and swam. Ellie jumped in a few dozen times and finally hit the showers with Debbie before we walked back to our house.

We all watched Thumbelina (second time in three days), one of us (not Ellie) took a nap, and Deb started fixing dinner.

different dining dynamics with three

No grilling tonight, it’s rained all day and continues through this evening. This is the rain Vancouver hasn’t seen throughout the past three weeks. We aren’t put off — instead of grilling we’ll eat dine inside on pasta, baguette, and fresh broccoli.

We’ve been in Vancouver one week and already done all these things. There’s still plenty to do, and we have another week to spend enjoying Vancouver’s great weather and many attractions. Wow! Going over all this again tires us.

Ellie’s asleep on our pull-out sofa. Her stuff is crammed on one of our dinette benches. Our weekend living in our house with a third person, even a half-pint, doesn’t compare to full-time family living in an RV. But it does give us a little taste of it.

Space for playing, dining, dressing, and stuff are all a little tight. Oh, and time to sit still or read quietly or just do nothing? Maybe we’re tired from keeping pace with a four year-old? Gotta go — she’s asleep and it all starts again when Ellie awakens.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr