With the US-Canada border closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to ship our RV and toad to Anchorage and fly ourselves there to embark on a 14-week trip ... including the travel time required to get us to/from Tacoma.
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  • Day8

    Prep Day

    Yesterday in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 64 °F

    Today was set aside as prep day ... prepping the “cold weather” gear we will need in Alaska while we await the arrival of the Cruiser and CR-V ... prepping the vehicles for delivery to Tote Maritime.

    The latter means making sure we have no more than ¼ tank of gas in each vehicle ✔︎; securing and stowing any loose items in the vehicles ✔︎; removing anything we want to take with us when we fly out on Wednesday ✔︎.

    Chores done, it was time for a bit of R&R. Although I’m still wearing “the boot” while my Achilles tendon heals, I am supposed to walk around a bit. So we took a short walk over to American Lake. We’re on the far side of the Shoreside Beach Park, with nice views of the lake. The brilliant yellow bushes of Scotch Broom added a pop of color. We were entertained by a couple of mallards that flew in to see if we had any handouts. We didn’t, so they quickly turned their backs on us.

    Except for a tiny bit of rain last night, today was a dry day. With the sun peeking out from behind patchy clouds, it was pleasant enough to sit on the patio for a while. I did not expect that we’d be able to do that at all during our short stay, so it was a pleasant change of pace ... and nice to just chill for a bit before we head up to the 49th State.
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  • Day8

    Red-Breasted Sap Suckers @ JBLM

    Yesterday in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 55 °F

    It was a rhythmic, metallic noise that sounded a like travel trailer cranking up its stabilizer legs that first caught my attention. Mui, who was coming back from the laundromat, said that the metallic tapping was actually a woodpecker pecking at a road sign.

    Turns out, it was a red-breasted sap sucker ... a type of woodpecker. The bird was perfectly OK with me approaching it to take a photo or two. Every once in a while it would peck at the sign again. A minute or so later, another sap sucker flew in and perched on a nearby tree. Then, the two of them flew off to their nest, in the tree across the road.

    What a neat experience to watch them.
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  • Day7

    Day 7 Takes Us to “Fun in Port Townsend”

    May 9 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 52 °F

    Since we made good time getting from Colorado Springs to Tacoma, we didn’t have to delve into the two “what-if” days we had added to our trip. So, we headed to Port Townsend for lunch today ... going up via the Olympic Peninsula and returning via the Kitsap Peninsula.

    Why make a 205-mile round-trip drive for food? Well, we like Port Townsend ... have fond memories of our very first camping trip there. Plus, the forecast called for the sun to put in an appearance up that way. And perhaps most important, we needed to near-deplete the CR-V’s fuel tank as we are only allowed a ¼ tank or less gas in each vehicle when we deliver them to Tote Maritime on Tuesday.

    We arrived in Port Townsend about ½-hour before our lunch reservation @ Doc’s Marina Grill. That gave us a bit of time to wander around and enjoy the blue skies and sunshine. We were glad we had our thick jackets with us since it was quite cold with a breeze adding a chill factor. So glad we resisted the temptation to request a table outdoors for once.

    After lunch, we headed over to Fort Worden State Park. This is where, in June 1982, we had our very first camping experience ... in our car. We were penniless youngsters, newly emigrated to the US, and could afford little else. It’s a memory that we still talk about fondly. (Here’s a link to the story from 1982: https://2totravelblast.blogspot.com/1982/06/richard-gere-wasnt-there.html.)

    With my left foot in a “boot”, we weren’t able to do much more than drive through the park and snap a few photos. Too bad since the skies were a beautiful blue, with what I call character-clouds adding interest. And the temp had warmed up nicely so that it would have been a delight to go for a stroll on the beach.

    All in all, we had a lovely outing ... enjoyed reminiscing about old memories ... and making new ones to add to our memory banks.

    ———————————————-

    For those interested in what’s pictured in the “food porn” photo ...

    We started out by sharing a Crispy Fried Calamari, served with a pesto aioli. Then, we both ordered seafood dishes — for me … Salmon Aglio e Olio [a traditional Italian dish; grilled Northwest salmon on a bed of angel hair pasta, sautéed with garlic, chili flakes, and fresh herbs; topped with a baby arugula lemon salad]; for Mui ... the Saltwater Café Sauté [Manila clams, Penn Cove mussels, salmon, cod, and prawns; sautéed in white wine, butter, garlic, and herb broth ... with asparagus and Yukon gold smashed potatoes]. My beverage of choice was a pint of Manny’s Light Ale; Mui had a glass of the Montoya Vineyards Pinot Noir. We finished with the Legendary Big Fat Chocolate Cake …. which was moist, big, and rich … just like it was described on the menu. All in all a very satisfying meal.
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  • Day6

    Day 6 Ends @ JBLM in Lakewood, WA

    May 8 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 52 °F

    After our brief stop at Multnomah Falls, we didn’t dally much along the way. Just one stop for a quick bite to eat — ham & cheese sandwiches at the Touttle River Rest Area — and we kept going.

    The skies throughout our drive were overcast ... the temps chilly. But the wind died down once we crossed the Columbia River into Washington. Something to be grateful for.

    By 1:30p, we were settled into site 118 at the JBLM [Joint Base Lewis-McChord] Travel Camp. Our 50A FHU site is at the end of a loop ... quite private, with trees and bushes on both sides. We have a nice grassy yard with a picnic table, grill, and fire ring. However, I don’t think the weather is going to allow us to use it during the few days we’re here. We’ll see.

    Once we were settled into our site, we went off to do a bit of recon. Our goal? To figure out where we will be going on Tuesday when it’s time to deliver the vehicles to Tote Maritime for their cruise to Alaska. Afterwards, back home for a quiet evening at home.

    We’ve got some sightseeing planned for tomorrow, but that’s a story for another footprint.
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  • Day6

    Reminiscing: Multnomah Falls

    May 8 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 45 °F

    In March 1983, a little over a year after we made the permanent move to the USA, we relocated from Tacoma, Washington to Hill AFB (now Joint Base Hill) in Utah for Mui’s first USAF assignment.

    The drive to Utah took us through the Columbia Gorge for the first time. One of our favorite stops on that occasion was Multnomah Falls, where we got up close and personal with the thundering water.

    Today, we pulled into the parking area between the east- and westbound lanes of I-84 to see the falls. We were hoping to park the RV and walk through the underpass to visit the falls again. Unfortunately, there were no pull-through spots. Since we cannot back-up when the toad is hooked up, we had to make do with a distant photo op. At least I remembered to use the video feature.
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  • Day6

    AK Entry Requirements No More

    May 8 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 46 °F

    The language for pre-arrival testing and other entry requirements had already been softened to a suggestion.

    Now, it is official. The Ted Stevens International Airport website says there are no special entry requirements, though testing is still mentioned as a “good idea” for the non-vaccinated. Since we’re fully vaccinated, we’re good! YAYRead more

  • Day5

    Day 5 Ends in Mosier, Oregon

    May 7 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 52 °F

    The wind came along with us all the way to our destination for tonight ... Memaloose State Park, just off I-84 ... in Mosier. And boy did it blow. The windshield wipers were dancing. The Columbia River was decorated with whitecaps and the windmills on the ridges were twirling like crazy.

    Wanting to get off the road as quickly as possible, we didn’t dally after our lunch stop.

    I’d originally planned for us to boondock along the Columbia Gorge. Now, I’m glad I made reservations at Memaloose for tonight. It would have been miserable camping with all that wind shimmying and shaking the Cruiser as it sat in the open along the river.

    We’ve stayed here once before. Had a lovely, quiet site in the B loop then. This time I had to settle for an A-loop site — #04 ... one of only two sites available when I went online for a reservation. It’s a 30A FHU ... plenty of green grass between us and our neighbors. A lovely spot ... except for the noise from the highway. You see, we abut right up against the highway, which passes just above us. Oh well ... it’s for one night only. And perhaps the weekend traffic will eventually die down.

    We arrived at the park to sunshine and slightly calmer winds. Moments later, as Mui was unhooking the toad so he could back the RV into the site, it started raining. Of course, it did! No sooner was he finished hooking up the utilities, the rain stopped. Of course, it did!

    And that’s been the story since our arrival. On and off rain showers — true liquid sunshine — with the sun peeking out from behind the rain clouds to decorate the blue sky and give us some relief.

    Our plans to meet up with friends for dinner in Kirkland, Washington have fallen through. So, we have no reason to hurry-up and leave our site tomorrow ... which will be our last day on the road.
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  • Day5

    Lunch Time!

    May 7 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

    Despite the wind — which is still blowing hard — we enjoyed a nice drive this morning. With lovely scenery to keep us entertained along the way. Plenty of sunshine, blue skies, and texture clouds. Cool to cold — 43F to 53F — especially when stepping outside the RV.

    We’re now stopped at the Stanfield Rest Area along I-84W in Oregon for a bite to eat. On the menu: salad with feta cheese and pears for dessert.
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  • Day5

    Windy Start

    May 7 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 52 °F

    The wind blew all night ... hard. It’s calmed down a bit this morning, but the trees were swaying when we left Farewell Bend State Park to continue west on I-84. Calmer conditions are forecasted for the Columbia Gorge, our destination today.Read more