Saturday, September 30, 2017

4 years ago

Facebook has this nice feature that reminds me of what happened on "this day" in years past... today's reminder was of kitties on Kauai in 2013 at Makai Club Cottages. On Facebook at the time, I called them our "Local Herd":
"Angel" and "Max"
"Ginger" and "Max"

View from our Lanai
Another view from our lanai (a little more to the left/west)
Sweetie Pie (note that her right ear is tipped, indicating that she has been spayed)
Sweetie Pie eating
I had noticed that Ginger and Angel did not have their ears tipped... now, it is possible that a cat could be spayed or neutered and re-released without having the ear tipped (Miss Kitty was an example of that), but almost all of this colony had their ears tipped, so I was suspicious. I contacted a local feral group... and after I had posted the pictures earlier in the day, I posted again on Facebook that evening:
Amazingly, Kauai Ferals brought me two traps a couple of hours ago, and they now house Ginger and Angel. They will be checked by a vet, spayed and returned here in a couple of days. Ginger and Angel were the only non-tipped (un-neutered) that were part of the local "herd" that we had seen (though two additional un-tipped have shown up this afternoon). First time I have ever tried helping out in management of a colony!
Afterwards, both Angel and Ginger seemed to hold no grudges against us - returning to visit on the lanai:
Angel lounging on the lanai railing.
Angel, 5 days post-op
Ginger - back on the lanai for munchies 1 week post-op
Angel eating in the trap in which she was caught last week, and Charlie wishing he could access the food!
As you can see, we kept a trap on the lanai, as there was other cats that we had not yet trapped. We had a water bottle under the door and a string pulled across the lanai into the sliding glass door so I could see if the cat we wanted was in the trap, and if he was, pull the bottle and catch him. (I typed "a string" - it was actually dental floss that Dwayne had contributed to the effort!)

One of the cats we wanted to trap:
We called him "SC" for Scaredy Cat - he was VERY cautious, and the one time I saw him in the trap, escaped just as the door was closing on him, which made him even more cautious.
We never caught SC, but... one night I saw that a cat was in the trap, but it was dark and I couldn't tell which one. None of our "regulars" was on the lanai, so I decided to pull the string and catch whoever it was, knowing that we could release the cat if it was already tipped. It turned out that the cat I trapped was a large alpha male cat - whenever we would hear cat fights in the complex, if I looked out and could see combatants, this large alpha male was almost certain to be part of the mix. He was NOT happy to be in the trap. The feral group had a cover that we put over the trap, but reaching for the handle was dicey as he was slashing with his claws anything he could. We drove down to Kilauea and delivered the cat in the trap to one of the feral group folks - we didn't want to keep him overnight. When we picked him up a couple of days later from another of the feral group folks (at the Safeway in Kapa'a), she confirmed that he was one tough cat! He had slashed at her when she was attempting to replace the pee pad in his trap one day post surgery. When we returned with him to our complex, we took him to a wooded area away from the cottages, turned the door of the trap away from us, and pulled up the door with a long stick. He bounded from the trap like he was rocket propelled and was gone in the woods. We did not see him again, and it seemed that the colony was a bit more peaceful (no cat fights that we noticed for the remainder of our stay).

Some additional history - I found some additional pictures from October 2, 2012:

I had included this comment: Anybody want us to bring you a kitty from Kaua'i? These are on our lanai... there are two others under the front steps.

I am pretty sure the calico is the same as the one I called "Sweetie Pie" the following year (pictures further above). I don't think that the orange tabby kitten is the same as "Max" - I think Max may have been a previous generation.

We got rid of all of our timeshare weeks at the same time that we were clearing things out of the house in 2014, so we have not been back since 2013... I do sometimes wonder how the kitties at Makai Club Cottages are doing, and we remember fondly our times on Kauai over the years - from our honeymoon in 1989 every other year in odd years through 2013, with a couple of even year visits thrown in too.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Quiet day in Chehalis

It was a rainy day, so we elected to take it easy and mainly stay around the bus. Dwayne did make a trip to the post office to mail the oil sample that we took from the bus after driving yesterday (10K miles on the oil). He also tried to mail the used batteries from the tire minders as we had a maintenance agreement with the company to supply free batteries for three years (the third year is up this week)... but the post office had changed their rules and would not accept lithium batteries for shipment, so he was not able to ship them. We've decided we are probably better off just purchasing batteries from Amazon Prime after we looked at the cost of batteries versus shipping costs.

One of the Bluebird friends that we met in North Dakota, Lee, had shared a package of his favorite gravy mix with us when we were in Casper. Since we're now at a point in our diet where we can have breads, we decided to have biscuits and gravy this morning - not really on the "diet", but we did some additional walking today to make up for it - and they were very delicious!

Our campsite here at Chehalis. We have full hookups with 30A electric (so we need to think about which things we have turned on at the same time).

There is a hedge on the driver's side of the bus, and although there is no foliage separation between us and the rig next to us on the passenger side, it is far enough away that we can park the Jeep and still have a bit of space.
We walked around the campground a little this evening (adding some exercise to the biscuits and gravy from this morning!) - it is a nice campground - most of the spots are separated from each other by trees or hedges. It is a bit chilly (high in low 60s today) and rainy, but good for getting some tasks completed around the bus.

For the past several weeks, we've been traveling more in "vacation mode" - the type of travel we would have done when we were working - get somewhere, see all there is to see, going, going, going all the time. We've adopted that because we had been wanting to try to stay at all the Thousand Trails campgrounds down the west coast, but... we decided to get input from some other sources and eliminate the campgrounds that have poor Verizon service (our "entertainment" is primarily from the web, so we like to have good data service via our Verizon MiFi device) - and stay longer at the ones that remained on the list. So.. after this stay, the plan is to do 1 week stays instead of 3-4 days, which should give us less "vacation mode" travel. Just trying to find the balance!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

South of Seattle in Chehalis

Today we drove south past Seattle and have arrived at the first Thousand Trails campground in Chehalis, Washington.

After a couple of stops (at Sam's Club and Walmart),
... we got stuck in traffic heading south on I-5 from Seattle. But... there was a Safari Trek (the model of motorhome that we purchased in 2014 and the first motorhome we owned - Miss Daisy) just a couple of vehicles in front of us.
Safari motorhomes almost all have a wildlife mural on the back - Miss Daisy did not because she had a window in the back.
Eventually we got past the traffic - there was an accident on the northbound side that was slowing traffic on both sides - and made it to the campground - a little over 6 hours from campground to campground - glad to have that behind us!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Being tourists and getting stuff done!

We had planned to stay an additional few days in this area at the La Conner Thousand Trails campground, but since we found that it has essentially non-existent Verizon service, we've elected to head further south from here tomorrow. As a result we decided to try to do those things that we possibly would have done from the La Conner campground today (it is only about half an hour away).

We headed to Anacortes, and first stopped at Cap Sante for an overlook of the area. This picture from 1925 shows the wood processing facilities that were there at that time. The information plaque indicated that the last mill on Fidalgo Bay succumbed to fire in 1992, ending that era in Anacortes.

The view is quite different today! There was a marina on the right that seemed to be largely commercial craft - another outside the picture to the left that was more pleasure boats.

We could see Mount Baker way in the distance...

Close up with my phone...

Closer up with Dwayne's camera's "normal" lens...

Closest up with Dwayne's camera's "long" lens!
 From there we drove to Washington Park, on the west side of Anacortes.

It was so beautiful and so peaceful.

The San Juan Islands are beyond this point.

So much to just see and ponder! Dwayne said he could have stayed there just looking for hours!

We saw the ferry leaving from Anacortes - the ferries from here go to the San Juan Islands and to Vancouver Island, in Canada.

Another overlook further up the Washington Park Loop Road - the island on the left is probably Burrows Island.

Around toward the south and east - Burrows Bay and here Burrows Island is on the right. Here Dwayne said that if we lived in this area he would want to have a boat! Maybe our next adventure? Nah... I don't think so!
From there we drove to Mt Erie Park... I had read that there were 360 degree views from this high point on the island.

Well... maybe there are views between the trees...

We walked a short way down to a lookout area where we could see Mount Baker in the distance.
There was another lookout area, but we had not stopped at it on the way up, and on the way down, the parking lot there was full - maybe it would have had really gorgeous views, but... we would probably recommend skipping Mt Erie if you are looking for views. It appeared to have quite a number of hiking trails, but we did not take advantage of any of those.

We kept on going south to Deception Pass. There is a state park there - we didn't really go in to the state park, just stopped along the road and took some pictures.

Bridge at Deception Pass

The waters were really churning at Deception Pass.
I read online that George Vancouver gave the pass the name of "Deception" because he had thought that Whidbey Island was a peninsula instead of an island.

We had arranged for some orders to be shipped to La Conner a couple of weeks ago because that was the last place we would be staying in this area. We then made another order (Amazon Prime) just this week to pick up a few things that we had wanted to get. The route that this order took to get to us seemed a bit odd:

Reading from the bottom, the order started in San Bernandino, CA, went to DFW, then the eastern side of Washington at Spokane, before getting to this area (Seattle, Redmond, Burlington) on its way to La Conner. When I first saw that it went to DFW, I thought I had selected an incorrect delivery address - but, I checked, and it was correct. I guess the shortest way from California to Washington State is through DFW...
From La Conner, we headed to a produce stand:
 RVing friends had told us about the SnowGoose Produce stand - I had thought they meant for fresh produce... but... they clarified that we should go there for ice cream!

You might think that looks larger than real life because Dwayne is holding it out in front, closer to the camera... but... it really was that big!!!

They also had large zucchini - the sign says "I love zucchini cause they're never very teeny!" We didn't get any Giant Zukes ($3/each), but we did get sweet corn and peaches, in addition to our ice cream cones!
Tomorrow our plan is to drive down to Chehalis. We've been told that it was the very first Thousand Trails campground. Not only is it a longer drive than the ones we've been doing recently (170-190 miles), we have to get by Seattle - we've heard that rush hour never ends near Seattle. So... could be a long and stressful day of driving tomorrow, but with God's help, hopefully we won't do any damage to any of God's property and arrive safely at the campground before too late in the day.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Whatcom Falls

Our Safari Trek and Denton, TX area friend Karen suggested that we visit Whatcom Falls while in the Bellingham, WA area, so we headed up there today.

As we were heading out of the campground, Dwayne told me to check the bulletin board by the restrooms about a cougar being seen in the park. He suggested that they need someone to proofread their communications... (I probably should not point fingers as I am certain that these blog entries frequently have errors that my readers are gracious enough to overlook!)
We got to Whatcom Park and followed the path to the falls. It is really a lovely park, right in the city, but you would think you were miles from any population when you're down in the woods.

Sign indicating stone bridge was built by WPA (Works Progress Administration) in 1939-1940.

A view of the bridge

A view of the falls from the bridge...
and another view of the falls.
Another set of falls upstream...
A view of the path we were walking along - it was a nice broad path with some moderate elevation changes accomplished by steps.
A view of the stream and small falls...
The trees above us...
My honey got a picture of me taking a picture of the smaller falls...
And I got a picture of him climbing some of the steps...
We eventually crossed back over the stream and took a path on the other side of the stream back to the parking area - on that side, we saw a railroad trestle bridge (I read that it was built in 1916) - no longer in use.
I was looking for the meaning of "Whatcom" (it sounds like something recent - like dot-com) - the Wikipedia article on Lake Whatcom indicates the name is 'from the Lummi word for "loud water"'. Whatcom is the name of the county that we have been in northeastern Washington state (,_Washington).