Shame on me!

Shame on me!  It’s been well over a month since I’ve done a blog post.  Shucks, I’m not being a very good blogger this summer.  Hopefully I’m ready to get back on track now.   I feel like I have been all go-go-go this summer and frankly, I’m ready to get a little laid back!  At the end of July we decided we better take Jinx our cat on a one night trip in the motorhome, just to see how he might handle the RV lifestyle.  We drove down to Anacortes, only 40 miles or so from home, and spent a night near the bay.  We made one major mistake on this trip.  We learned that Jinx really hates riding in the car, but tolerates riding in the RV, so in the future, we’ll bring the motorhome HOME first and load up Jinx directly instead of driving up to the barn where it’s stored and taking off from there.  Jinx wailed and yowled the entire way – and this was AFTER I bought him a “calming collar” with all those so called pheromones in it to keep kitties happy.   Once we arrived, turned off the motorhome and got set up, Jinx was fine.  We took his kitty scratching post, his kitty potty, and his bed as well as his favorite blanket.  Here are a few shots of Jinx on his first road trip:

"We're not in Kansas anymore, are we mommy?"

"A closet is a great place for a nap!"

"I'd like to get out of here, PLEASE!"

We decided with much trepidation that Jinx might do okay on a two to three day trip, but we were pretty sure he’d go bonkers if trapped inside for a week.  Hence, we decided NOT to take him on our next trip which was to the Oregon Coast.   We left here on a hot summer day (Aug 5), experienced ONE day of decent weather, and arrived home a week later (Aug 12) to a heat wave which we are currently in the midst of.  The week we were gone was cool, misty, breezy, and everywhere we went people were complaining about this being the nastiest (AKA=coldest) summer they could remember.  Well folks, it’s arrived late, but it’s arrived.  Summer I mean.  Apparently they’ve had “it” in full force back east, but certainly not here.  Till now, I mean.  We are currently running every fan we own to try and keep cool… after all, people around here don’t for the most part have air conditioning!  Here are a few pics from the coast trip:

The man, the beach, and a fire awaiting

The next day - rain surrounds the Astoria bridge

Our sunny day, looking towards Lincoln City, OR

Yaquina Head lighthouse in the distance

A closer view of Yaquina Head Lighthouse

There's seals on them thar rocks!

The obligitory seal 'close up'!

The RV park/golf course in Astoria

Rainy morning at the Astoria Column

At the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria. The Lightship "Columbia". She anchored at the mouth of the river from 1950 to 1979.

Despite the less than optimal weather, we had a lovely time.  We learned more about our motorhome, learned lots about Lewis and Clark at Fort Clatsop, enjoyed the sights at Yaquina Head, and all about life along the Columbia River as well as the treacherous crossings of the Columbia River bar (something both John and I have done and do NOT wish to repeat!!!!).

More next time about our murder mystery party which took place in mid-July!  Can’t believe it’s been a month since the festivities!  Be looking for my post about “A Taste of Wine and Murder”!!


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Motorhome trip Day One

Hello from Twisp, Washington on day One of our motorhome adventure!  We scurried around this morning, packing up last minute items – like all our clothes (!) and took off around 10:30.  We stopped  in Burlington where we gassed up the motorhome at the local Fred Meyer’s – using our rewards points for an extra ten cents off per gallon – yahoo!  It was in the Fred Meyer’s parking lot where I realized I’d forgotten to pack any capris or shorts.  Our weather has been okay at best, but we have high hopes for some sunshine on this trip, so without further adieu I popped into Fred Meyers and grabbed a couple pairs of shorts as well as two sub sandwiches for our lunch on the run.  Then it was time to hook up the car to the motorhome for the first time since last February when we got all the bits and pieces installed by the RV dealership.  We dug out the 5X7 photos I’d had made showing the original hook up of all the wires and connectors… it took us about 15 minutes, maybe 20 to do it, but we were successful!  The brake lights, the brake, and the turn signals all worked perfectly.  It was time to take off, headed east on Highway 20 – across the North Cascades Highway.  For folks who don’t live around here, this highway is closed from October through April or May of every year.  The first picture on today’s post shows our car and motorhome stopped along this highway.  The higher we got, the more dreary, cloudy and rainy it became…

We went over “Rainy Pass” which is 4,800 feet high and as you can see from the photo on the right, there is still plenty of snow up there!   This was also the first test of the motor home, going up some pretty steep grades.  Yup, we slowed down a bit, but all was well.  Coming down the other side was another test for the wondrous exhaust brake (jake brake).  It worked great.

We drove through the little western themed town of Winthrop and on to Twisp where our evening’s rest at Riverbend Campground awaited us.  Unfortunately, the further east we went, the more it began to rain.  It was pouring by the time we arrived at our campground on the Methow River.  Here’s hubby, working on getting everything plugged in and set up…

Tomorrow, we’re off for Coeur D’alene Idaho and we can’t help but hope for a bit of sunshine along the way.  So far, very little luck in our quest for something other than sunshine in the liquid variety.  Thanks to our neighbor Susan for the cute little book she gave us to record our mileage and gas ups.  Thanks also to our other neighbor Karen who is watching our precious Jinx.  Thanks to our friend Howard who gave John the hint to bring our own squeegee for washing the motorhome windshield – we’ve already used it!  More soon from John and Suz, traveling in “the mousetrap”.

Journey in June

Believe it or not, we are getting the trusty motor home ready for our first big (two-week or so) trip!  Can you guess where our destination is?  Okay, I made it too easy.  We’re headed to Yellowstone.  Hubby has never been, and it’s such a glorious place – a veritable “must see”, so next week, we’re off!  Instead of making a new blog to chronicle our trip, I’ll post right here on Mizsuzee’s Musings!  I doubt I will have the opportunity to post every day, sometimes we’ll be just too busy, and other times we may run into difficulty getting internet connections.  But when I can post, I certainly will.  It’s still unknown if we will be taking Jinx the RV cat.   Because of unforeseen circumstances (ie: having the RV fridge repaired due to a sudden recall) we were unable to do a trial run with Jinx.  Because of that, I can say we are certainly a bit leery of just popping him in the MH and tooling on down the highways for two weeks.  At any rate, cat or no cat, we’re going.  We’ll cross our state, spend some time in Idaho, then buzz over to Montana and drop down into Yellowstone.  We’ll take a slightly different route the way home.  Not only will this be our first “big” MH trip, it will also be our first experience towing the car behind us.   That should be interesting, especially as we cross the Rocky Mountains at the continental divide.  Hubby says our diesel pusher engine can handle the hills, and I have to have faith in that.   So please follow along as we go on our first motor home adventure!   We leave next Wednesday, June 16th and to be quite honest, we sure do hope to come across some sunshine.  We’ve had very little of that bright light in the sky for the past oh, nine months or so.   Our fist leg of the journey will be to cross the North Cascades highway, here in Washington state.  Hope you’ll check on our progress and do feel free to leave comments! 🙂

Mishmash

Its been a busy couple of weeks around here, and is about to get even busier!  Tomorrow we are making the trek across the Cascades to visit family in Eastern Washington.  Since this winter has been so mild, we’re not expecting any problems crossing the pass – Yay!  So today has been a busy one, recovering from two WILD days at work and packing for our little trip.  It will be great to see #2 Son and DDIL, as well as Gramps and my brother too.  Upon returning home, I’ll have one day to do laundry and pack up for my next two days at work.  Here’s hoping next week at work will be slightly less berserk than this week – but of course there are no guarantees on that!  We have been overflowing (literally! We had to open an “overflow” unit) with tiny babies of late.  Of course, while not so fun for parents, this is job security for us! 🙂

Here is a snap, taken today right outside my front door.  I have to say that I can sympathize with the folks on the east coast… they are having an abominable  winter this year, while we bask in sunshine.  What seems odd to me is that last winter we had repeated blasts of snow (a total of 60 inches here!) and that didn’t make the news.  Yet two big storms in the east, and it’s all we hear about.  Whatever.

Too bad the Winter Olympics didn’t happen LAST winter.  I say that because Vancouver (less than 100 miles from us) is having the exact warm winter we are loving… and had the exact same crazy white winter we had last year.  This year they are trucking in snow to some of the snowboard events areas… Last year, well lets just say that wouldn’t have been necessary!  Speaking of the Olympics, we are SO excited that NEXT WEEK we will be attending two events.  Look for us Tuesday at the USA vs Switzerland Ice Hockey game and rink-side at the Short Track Speed Skating venue on Wednesday. Obviously, I’ll be doing a blog posting on this Olympic adventure – after it happens!

Even though it’s a warm winter, it’s still winter, which for me is an excuse to make soup!  We both love home made soup and last Saturday I made a nice pot of Minestrone.  Here is a photo:

Again I used Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine as a  guideline for my minestrone creation.  It was oh-so delicious, and dear hubby said it was even better the next day.

After the soup, I made one of my very favorite recipes from Everyday Food.  It’s one I have prepared over and over, and never ceases to satisfy!  Asian Pork and Noodles.  Click HERE for a link to Martha’s actual recipe.  And yes, I don’t take license with this one, I make it just as it’s written.  Here it is…

Snow peas and broccoli simmer for about a minute with the noodles

Already sauteed pork strips sizzle with hoisin sauce and orange juice

Ahhhh, the finished product. Simply scrumptious!

Two weeks ago we managed to get our little car all set up to be towed behind our motorhome.  That was a fiasco, but to avoid looking backward, I’ll just say I’m glad it is all done!   Here is a little amateur movie made with my camera as I was following along behind hubby as he drove the motorhome and the “toad” (as it’s called in motor home lingo!) to the storage area…… Check it out here- at You Tube. I tried to embed it, but WordPress is not very accommodating with video!  We are planning a trip with our motor home in April — Spring Barrel Tasting here we come!  And in June, we hope to make a “big trip” and take our [soon to be] “RV cat” with us.  That will be hell on earth an experience!

Look for more next week from your humble “Olympics correspondent”!!!

August delights

I think this time, more pictures and less verbiage!  First off, some of my FOOD pictures.

COOKING09 015 I do love to try a new recipe from time to time, and this one I found I had many versions of.  Italian Bread Salad, or “Panzanella”.   We thought it looked yummy for a warm summer’s day, so I gave it a try.  Seen in the picture are large bread cubes from what the recipe called “country” bread, but it was actually a round loaf of Italian rosemary bread that I picked up at Trader Joe’s.  English cucumber, red onion,  provolone cheese, plum tomatoes, cannellini beans, and fresh basil.  I made a simple vinaigrette as the recipe suggested, using red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper.  COOKING09 018

I tossed it all together, waited the suggested two hours (for all the flavors to mingle and the bread to soak up some of the dressing), and then served it up.  Dee-lightful!!  You can see the recipe I used by clicking here.

Recently (this past week) we took our motorhome out on another adventure.   Each time we go we learn more and more about the features of our newest acquisition.  This time we stayed away two nights and I got the chance to try out the microwave/convection oven.

COOKING09 022The motorhome does NOT have a “regular” oven, so I needed to see what baking in a convection oven might be like.  Well, here is the result!  My version of a Plum Tart.  It was nice and brown and properly baked – and was so tasty.  I only wish we’d had some vanilla ice cream to go with it.  I got my idea for this dessert hereCOOKING09 025

Yesterday we stopped by our favorite farm stand and picked up a HUGE bag of these “Romano” green beans.  We buy them every year and LOVE ’em!  This year I decided to buy A LOT and freeze some for wintertime.  So here they are, just out of their blanching, then ice water bath, waiting to be packaged for the freezer.  YUM!

Now for some motorhome  pics from our last trip.  We headed a little further away this time and ended up at an RV park on Willapa Bay, very near the open ocean.   We were able to park waterside, and this is the view we had!August 09 022The little island you see in the above picture seemed to attract a very large amount of seagulls–August 09 026Guess there really is something to that old saying… “birds of a feather, flock together….”

More  scenes of  “camp life”August 09 016 – just hangin’ out in our fold-up camp chairs…

August 09 035Dear hubby enjoying the campfire and the sunset. 🙂

We had a nice time and would have loved to have stayed longer.  Someday, yes someday if we are truly lucky and blessed, we’ll get to take a three-month trip around parts of the USA and Canada.  That dream is still way off in the future…. but there’s nothing wrong with having a few dreams!   Hoping you are enjoying your own “August delights”!