Tag Archives: Lessons Learned

It’s gotta be 4:20 somewhere…


It is just after 4pm on Sunday April 20, 2014. I have my AC/DC playlist jamming away while I have my window open so I can not only get some fresh air, but I can also hear the Rufous Hummingbirds come and go from our feeders.

While not in the great number or varity of hummingbirds we was so lucky to have while in Patagonia, we still get a kick out of these few 5-6 Rufous’s. With a Anna’s being seen every so often.

Our friends Daphna and Allen visited us this weekend and as usual, we did nothing but laugh… Ok, we ate and drank more, but you know, a good time was had by all. They even brought Maude so Drew could day “Hi!” to her. Sakura of course is above them all and stayed in the bedroom pretty much the entire weekend.

But she made her presence known…

When Daphna and Allen got Maude, we got them a dog toy. One of those “squeak” toys that we thought nothing of. We saw it, squeaked it once, threw it in the cart and later sent it off in the mail forgetting all about it.

Until we visited a few weeks later to be informed, that not only is there 1 squeak in this toy, but 18 of them. And Maude LOVED this toy above all others. To the point that when they took the toy away, Maude would cry. Both Daphna and Allen work from home. They voiced their appreciation in many tones and ways and very colorfully.

So of course we felt bad and decided on our next visit to make this up to them but getting them more squeak toys and putting them in odd places around their house, while leaving a doggie treat next to it. What made this even funnier was at this time of this, Daphna and Allen had many sleepless nights prior to this night, so when we left at 8pm they went to bed…

Only to call us at 11pm letting us know they went to bed when we left but had to get up a hour later to search their house for a full hour for any more squeak toys so they could, at long last, go to bed and SLEEP!

They used many colorful words and gave us an example of what they hear over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… Xs 1,000.

I tell you this so you can better appreciate this…

When we met up at Daphna and Allen’s hotel room for lunch, one of the first things we saw sitting on the bed, was Sakura’s squeaky mouse. Which is battery operated and very sensitive so any minor vibration will set it off.

My first thought was Maude stole Sakura’s toy, but then I realized I told Drew to watch Maude carefully so she won’t steal anything, so it must have been Sakura coming out of the bedroom when we was site seeing the park, and putting her squeaky mouse in Daphna’s bag just so she can also torture these poor, squeaked to death people.

Cat’s. They are evil.

Our visit even started off on a bang. Daphna told us she planned to leave at 1pm so she should be here by 3pm. We knew there was a zero percent chance this would happen, but we love her for trying. Around 4pm she texted that they just got off the ferry. Around 6pm Daphna text’s me “they are on “whatever road” so will be here in moments”

I heard of this road, but for the life of me, where is it??? Um… Wait a minute… I call Daphna.

After a few questions and a round of debate, Daphna and I concluded that yes, Pauline and I really are at Fort Flagler State Park and no, that we are not, nor have we ever been, at Fort Worden State Park, which is across the bay from Fort Flagler and about a 40 minute drive.

And honestly, this explained so much about prior conversations like “why did you get a room in Squim?” (hour away) and why it took them so long to get here but after hearing about their travel and recent events, it just adds more lore to our dysfunctional, untrustworthy, immoral lives that we all share with each other as we have for the last 14+ years at least.

I made some chili, this time I really went for it, and it turned out really good with a strong kick. Now I know how to get there!

We then took Maude and walked around the park, showing them a small section of Fort Flagler as we talked long into the night and watched the stars from a battery. The weather was as good as we could have had, it could have been 10 degrees warmer, but other then that, it was great.

They left around 12am and we met up at there room in Port Ludlow, WA (20 minutes away) They stayed at the Inn of Port Ludlow which was really nice, nice room, very nice staff, and good food at the restaurant where no one under 21 is admitted which is another reason to LOVE it!

After a really good lunch, we walked around the beach some to let Maude off the leash and she quickly took to the water and even swam with a large branch in her mouth. Apparently this is the first time this dog went swimming willingly.

After this we came back to the park, we walked where we walked last night due to a missing water bottle, we found that and returned home to get our Jeep as we showed them the rest of the park. They left around 6pm and Pauline and I still trying to recover. It has been rare where we have been on the go at this rate for 2 days.

The extra bonus is, we will be just 1 ferry and 1 hour from Daphna and Allen all summer.

This will be a good summer!


I hate plastic…

A few days ago our door latch on the screen door stopped working, I assumed the “spring” broke so we ordered a new door latch.

While ordering a new one, we discovered there are “left handed” and “right handed” door latches. The latch is on the right side of the door, but the handle is left of the latch so we ordered a left handed latch.

We received the new latch today and thinking I could put this on in 1 minute or less, I braved the cold winds coming from the Southeast and went outside to install this… and spent about 35 minutes messing with this piece of plastic. I even cut a finger for extra bonus!

Of course the screw holes where just far enough away from the original holes that I had to mess with that, and when I finally got it on and tested it, it worked locking into the main door, but when we tried to have the screen door by itself, it would not lock into the latch at all, so it was just flopping in the wind.


I moved the latch around, tried this, tried that, nothing would work and the damn wind so was NOT helping so I said screw it, let’s deal with this later.

I came back inside with the new latch and the old latch when I came up with the idea of just swapping out the “spring” of the new one into the old one. Once I did that, I put it back on the door and boom. Done.

And then I saw what the issue was…

We should have ordered the “right handed” latch.

There is even a large “R” on the old latch, but of course, not in a spot anyone would notice it.


$15 for a “spring” and I also have a few spare parts of plastic.

Yeah… plastic on a metal box… What could go wrong?

And as a side note, it has been too damn warm the last few weeks to have this freaking cold wind hitting us from the Southeast. Yesterday the wind was from the Northwest and twice as strong but much warmer.

Brrr. I am so over this cold wind crap.

If you ever wanted to walk to Asgard, I know the way…

Let’s see how many of you get that.

Today was a wild one. It started off very windy and rainy, then it got very, very windy and rainy and then it just turned epic in a blink of the eye.

We was picking up branches around 11am while there was a strong gale force wind hitting from the South, it was the strongest winds we have felt from the South, and we was only about 50 yards from the Southern cliffs so we had very few tree’s between us and the sheer force of the wind.

We had a 1 ton flatbed truck full of yard debris such as tree branches, vines, brush etc. We we filled the truck bed. (Which is measured by how high Pauline has to jump to get more debris into the truck.)  And while on the way to the dumping area, we decided to drive down to the boat launch area to turn around and to see the water.

That turned out not to be such a good idea, as in the wide open the wind was hammering the truck and blowing some branches off.  The winds had to be 50+ mph. We had to return after we dumped the load to pick up what we had lost site seeing. I love picking up the same branches twice.

When we returned about 20 minutes later the winds had dropped to about 25mph. While it was still windy, it was not as windy. That is a win!

We came back home and ate lunch around noon and worked to about 2:30 while it rained, and rained more, oh it rained so much more, we could not see Whidbey Island. It was just nasty out. But also incredibly beautiful. I love being here in the Northwest! I am not sure I will leave anytime soon, but back on what I was saying…

Suddenly, it just stopped raining and boom. Bright Sun! That is when we noticed one of the must vibrant rainbows we have ever seen. It looked like it was in 3D. I took some pictures of it, but honestly, without seeing it for yourself, nothing could do it justice.

Still, the pics are pretty cool! I so love being in the Northwest!

Yesterday I got on a tractor to move some timber that was blocking a boat ramp. I was planning to wrap a chain around it and drag it out of the way, like I have in the past, and ever grabbed some chains to do this. When I got to the boat ramp I reassessed the situation and thought maybe if the gravel beach was solid, I could just push the timber out of the way and be done faster and maybe in a more time saving way?

So I walked on the gravel, jumped up and down, kicked it around some and was convinced it would hold the tractor and then I started to push the timber off the ramp and onto the rocks on the side of the ramp. I had it almost completely off the ramp when the left front tire sunk, which caused the left rear tire to sink, which brought the right rear tire in the air…


Once again I over thought what I was going to do. I played around trying to get myself out of the gravel, both using the bucket as a push off and turning the tractor in different directions, using larger rocks to put under the wheels and anything I could think of…

Nope. I can’t fix this on my own. I had to get help. I had to have a Ranger come pull me out.

If I did what I planned to do originally, I would have been done in 10 minutes tops. This took 45 minutes. Fun.

I have been running once more. For the most part it has been November 2012 when we stopped going to the gym Monday to Friday of running at least 3 miles a day.

Last Monday was just my second run while here, I had run around the roads of the parade ground on Super Bowl Sunday, but I really struggled on the long incline and about died just trying to get a 1.5 mile before the game.

So on last Monday I ran on some trails taking my chances on those hills and got just under 2 miles only walking for 300 yards or so. It was a struggle, but not as harsh of a one.

I took my GPS so I could get the distance and figure what I am trying to do route wise and effort wise. The next day I adjusted to a different route on another trial and walked about 50 yards and ran 1.82 miles.

The next day I hit gold! I once again changed my route and find a route exactly 2 miles and ran that 2 days in a row and both were non stop and I finished only my second 5 day running week in the last 14 months.

I have been breathing really well and I’ve learned how to control my own pace which is not easy to do when you are use to a tread mill setting the pace. A tread mill that has no hills. I have been paying more attention to my running style and realized I was blowing myself up running up hills since I changed my stride into a faster pace.

Once I realized that, I started running up hills in what I consider “stutter stepping” and I am no where near as winded as I had been. Once I figured out the ups and downs of the hills I also learned where I could “rest” and where I had to really work it.

Yesterday, I got to the second left where I had been turning and realized I was feeling really good, so I ran to the third left which got me exactly 2.5 miles.

Today, I once again changed my route and I got exactly 3 miles and had a controlled breathing rate and recovered as fast as I use to recover on my cool down walk on the treadmill. It felt good.

Of course right now I have sore feet, sore ankles and and a sore lower back and for some odd reason, I also have sore neck and shoulders. Maybe Im holding my arms too tense as I run? I’ll figure this out over the next few runs.

It was so nice during my run, I had so much Sun on me, I almost had to take off my hoodie. It was still sprinkling, I saw another rainbow, and I heard tree frogs croaking behind me and I heard another tree frog respond in front of me.

Tree frogs. Once they start talking, there is no shutting them up.

Here is another iPhone photo dump. I still can not seem to remember I take pictures with this thing.


Better days? What better days???

I think I spoke way too soon. This is February in the Pacific Northwest. There might be a better day or two, but this is still February in the Pacific Northwest which mean high winds and rain. We have had gust up to 46 mph with sustained wind of 30 mph. It is suppose to calm down in the next few hours to the typical 10-15 mph but until then….


Since we are the only RV in the retreat center camp host spot, which has 2 full hook up sites, we did not want to park the typical East/West direction with a view of a building but facing North/South so we could have a perfect view of the water and Whidbey Island and the Cascade Mountains, Mt Baker and at times Mt Rainier.

Worth it!


The only issue we have had with this setup, is when the wind comes from the Southeast, it hits our main slide out and shakes the whole rig and when the wind is over 35 mph + the canvas cover over the main slide out flaps in the wind since it is getting hit on the edge so the wind is traveling between the canvas and the top of the slide out like a sail.

There is really nothing we can do to stop this short of pulling the slide out in and living in a even more confined space, and from experience that is just plain miserable to live in.

Now, I kind of wish we pulled in the slide out when the winds are over 35 mph. But reality is, it just isn’t practical.

I went out today to take a better look at the canvas cover and it’s destroyed. There is a 14″+ rip where the canvas meets the RV  on the left side and one of the three straps was so chewed from flapping against the edge of the slide out, I just pulled it off to save time from having to do it later.

We think anything over 50 mph we will bring in our slide out. But until then, we will weather the storm.

I tried to figure out what the best thing to do is, and at this time, I can’t think of anything.  The damage has been done to the existing cover. It will need to be replaced. I don’t want to start putting straps on or weight or whatever on top, since I don’t want the extra weight on the slide out roof, and if the winds did get over 50 mph, I would rather be able to pull it in without having to get a ladder to “free it”.

We estimate this will cost $350-$400 to replace. I have been thinking on this all day and short of pulling the slide out in every time, I can think of no other option we had. The canvas is 12 years old and weak. The wind is strong and constant with the wind coming from the Southeast the angle it’s hitting it is “the perfect storm”.

Since we have been here the wind has hit us from every direction, so short of pulling the slide out in every time or parking in different directions every time the wind shifts, I have not yet figured out what we could have done to prevent this.

We had the canvas replaced with a “vinyl” cover over the bedroom a few months ago due to the same reason, the canvas just gave away. That cost $175. And so far it appears to be holding up, but we have a pretty good wind break protecting us from the West winds. We have been hit by winds from the West, and they rock the RV more then the winds from the East, but they don’t hit the cover on the edge like is happening with the main slide out.

Ok, enough about this subject.

We also have been dealing with internet issues. We had 3 MiFi hotspot’s. 2 used the Verizon network, and the 3rd on the AT&T network. Recently our unlimited MiFi has been cut off with zero chance of coming back so we are now down to 2 and both of those are iffy in the best of times. We do plan to get a 3rd one again, also on the Verizon network, but until then, we have been fighting to get and stay online enough to get our work done.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the last few weeks. It is not all “doom and gloom” here, I just can not think of too many happy thoughts at the moment due to the constant winds getting on my nerves and the internet of tubes is too unreliable so I want to get this posted before the tube burst.

Enjoy the night.





Cool Binoculars, Hair Issues & Pictures

This gallery contains 13 photos.

We finally got our own binoculars. Larry from Paton’s Bird House has Vortex 10x42mm Diamondback Binoculars let us check them out when we were there and recommended them. These are sweet. We are very impressed with them. I’m having an … Continue reading