November 03, 2007

We have Arrived -- La Penita, Mexico

La Penita RV Park Beach Sunset












Nov. 1st (Day of the Dead), 2007  Our arrival at La Penita! 


     We left Mazatlan at about 7:00 a.m. and we were the third group to pull out.  The drive was to be a bit shorter than any of the previous runs but it was also going to be a bit more challenging.  There was to be narrow streets through the heart of a couple towns, highways that were very narrow with no shoulders, winding mountain roads with switchbacks, and jungle growth that threatened to slap at the sides of the coach almost constantly.  Hours and hours of the aforementioned were a fact but it was beautiful.  Sugar Cane fields, mango plantations, tomato fields, and of course field after field of          
 agave from which tequila is made.
     There are fruit vendors everywhere and one wonders how to select where to stop.  It appears when you pass that they all have the same products to display.  I suppose they each have their own unique way of displaying something and we are just not seeing the uniqueness as we pass.  We will for sure walk among them and perhaps will be able to see a difference then.
     The town of La Penita is where we were all instructed to pull in to the local Pemex (fuel) station and wait to be called to the La Penita RV Park one kilometer away.  One by one we would enter the park as the road entering the park is narrow and the leaders were trying to avoid utter chaos by everyone trying to jam in at one time.
     We could sense our fellow traveler’s great anxiety, as we milled about waiting to be called.  Everyone’s adrenalin was flowing at max, very much wanting to lay eyes on what was to be our home for some time this winter.  I know that Kathleen and I were no different from the rest as we were very anxious to see what kind of a spot we would have.  We didn’t have a lot of desires or many unwarranted expectation, as we know that this part of the world lives with the bare essentials, but we at least hoped that we would have a view of the ocean, shade if possible by some overhanging palms, a level spot to park on, enough power to keep our batteries charged so we could function off of our inverter for the bare power needs, water with enough pressure to take a shower when desired, and a beach within a reasonable distance from the coach so we could spend hours and hours wading, swimming, and perhaps fishing the surf.


     We have been here now a couple of days.  The entry to the park was a cobble stone narrow road, large cobble stone!  We inched along as we did not do any damage to dishes, etc. on the way down and we didn’t want any now.  There were a few Mexican workers standing about calling out “hola” and waving with big smiles as we entered.  This was truly a jungle trail leading up and up with so much growth that it was difficult to see much beyond a short distance.  As we neared the first terrace one could begin to see that there were spots with pads and patios placed in areas where the jungle growth had been hacked away, but man did they look small.  This park was built over 30 years ago and of course then they had no idea that coming to stay would be this 40 foot giant motor home called the “tin in the wind.”  We were told to continue taking the roads to the left and we would come out on top, by the pool, and we would see site “129” off to our left.  The climb to the top was interesting as during the previous rainy season there were some pretty significant ruts across the road


     Rather than go in to a lot of detail now I will let the pictures I will include speak for themselves.  In short I can tell you that it far exceeds our expectations.  It is stunningly beautiful.  We couldn’t be happier with our site.  I have tried for now to only include pictures that are representative of what we see while on or very near what is to be our “home” for at least the month of November.  In addition the pool is great; our fellow La Penita residents are warm and friendly.  It is true we are high above the beach area but a short winding drive down hill in the jeep and we can park within an easy walk of a spectacular soft sand beach.  Life is good! 





Our Site 129
















Our Front Door View
















Our Site
















What a View
















Nice Cool Pool




















More to come!!!!

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October 14, 2007

Black Diamond Sunrise Resort RV Park

 Black Diamond













Oct 9th - 15th  

      After arriving back in the Seattle area from our trip to Wisconsin for Kathleen's check up we stayed an extra night at Lost Lake RV Park.   After leaving there we hung out in the Muckleshoot Indian Bingo Hall parking lot for about 3 days as we wanted to "boondock" for a few days and be close to the Kids. 

     We moved to the Black Diamond RV Park on October 9th and will be leaving here on the 15th or 16th.  This park is about as close to Bill, Heidi, Mason and Maddie as we can get.  It is a bit of a drive for Scott and his family but they visited today in fact.  Bill and Heidi are on a short three day cruise put on by Bill's employer and we are looking after Mason and Maddie.  I will go to the Cruise line dock in the morning to pick up Bill and Heidi and once they are back home with the Kids, Kathleen and I will say our good-bys and head South.

     We will be taking our time traveling down the Oregon and California coast before heading a bit east to Tucson Arizona where we will be meeting up with the small group of RV's that are traveling together to La Penita, Mexico

     It will be bitter sweet to leave the Brosius Families and especially the little ones.  We have had a fantastic couple of months out in this area, but we are anxious now to see what is around the next corner and we are looking forward to our planned Mexican Winter Journey. 

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September 24, 2007

Long Beach RV Park Washington

Site 24 Long Beach RV Park














Sept. 22nd to 26th      Kathleen here,

      Traveling south from Port Townsend was a beautiful drive. The long fingers of water that form the canals and lakes around Puget Sound thrive with life and the road that follows them offer a breathtaking view. We enjoyed the trip south and west, as we headed for the coast once again.

     We arrived at Thousand Trails Preserve in Seaview, WA. late in the day. As we settled in, we could hear a distant roar through the pines to our west. Morning came and we decided to follow the path from the park. We walked along a winding trail through a grove of pines. Beyond the trees we found tall sea grass softly waving in the breeze. We meandered through the grass. As we drew closer to the end of the path, we saw the endless horizon. Nothing but the sea was before us. A few more yards and the path opened to the beach.

     I have seen the Pacific Coast before. Something about this particular beach took my breath away. The sky was blue and the ocean was blue. Far out into the sea, slow moving rolls became fierce white caps racing to the shore. These giant rolls of water crashing into the shallow beach shot white sheets of foam high into the air. Wave after wave after wave kept crashing to the beach. And with the sight of this breathtaking form, the roar of its unrelenting power humbled us. 

    I looked up tide movements on the Internet. I cannot begin to explain what causes the tide to come in and go out. I walked the path to the beach several times during the day and each time I found the ocean's point of contact with the shore at a different place. This, of course, is the tide movement, which is controlled by the moon, the sun, and the stars. Well, maybe not all the stars. No matter where the sea level was, it kept rolling in. The surf did not cease to pound the shore. No matter what time of the day or night, the roar of the sea crashing onto the shore is there.

     I dragged a lawn chair out to the beach. In a bag, I carried a bottle of water, a camera, binoculars, and a book. I did not open the book. I was mesmerized by the sea, the Pacific Coast. My Lord, my God, how great Thou art.



Trail to beach beginning
















trail to beach middle 1















 trail to beach middle 2















Pacific Ocean Beach















Remember, place cursor over pictures for description!

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September 21, 2007

Fort Casey RV Park

     Sept 19th - 22nd  We had seen this little spit of land and the campers and RV parked here on a little road trip in the car several weeks ago and we said at that time that we would try and come back here to stay at some time in the future.  Since our plans are to finish out this month over on the peninsula and coast of Washington, one way to get there is to take the ferry from Widbey Island, which you can reach by bridge, to Port Townsend.  The ferry ride will be only about 30 minutes as the minute the ferry clears the spit of land that the RV's are occupying you can see Port Townsend.  It is this little spit of land that has drawn us here and our stay of three days has not disappointed us.  The view from our site has been pleasant.

 Our Motor Home site















RV Park Beach














     From the beach you see above one could Salmon fish for Coho, Silver, & Pink Salmon.  I walked down when we first got here to watch a few guys fishing and heard of a few being caught.  I wasn't sure if my equipment would cast as needed cause these guys seemed to have very long surf casting rods with big spinning reels on and they were casting out a country mile.  I went and got out the crank bait rod I have used for years to fish the bass in the Mississippi River and proceeded to give it a try.  My stuff worked just fine.  Over the course of a couple of days and several hours of fishing I hooked a nice Silver Salmon and got him almost to the beach before loosing him.  I got to see him jump several times.  I did have one more on for a few seconds but the frying pan is still in the cupboard, for now.



Surf Salmon Fishing














     We sat out along the beach wall and the ferry cove the other evening and a huge bull seal entertained us for a while with his fish chasing antics.  There are sea gulls everywhere hoping to get the remains of a salmon that his been cleaned by the lucky fisherman on the beach. 



Evening Sea Gull














     We will board the ferry in the morning for that 30 minute ride to Port Townsend.  I had to climb up on the roof this morning to measure to the ground, (12 feet 8 inches) as the ferry can handle a max. height of 13 feet 4 inches.  Now I know for sure we can make it.  We are looking forward to about four days along the coast.  It is bound to be a bit more blustery and perhaps cooler but we are ready for it.  To reach our destination at Seaview Washington we will have about a 3 hour drive through one of the only true rain forests on this continent.  Should be a neat experience.



Tomorrows Ferry













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September 16, 2007

Leavenworth Washington RV Park

Site 173 Leavenworth Washington














     Sept. 14th - 18th 2007  Leavenworth Washington Thousand Trails RV Park turns out to be another gem in the Thousand Trails system.  So far staying in their parks we have stayed along the water, both lakes and the ocean, on the outskirts of communities, and now in the Cascade Mountains here at Leavenworth.  The pine trees are huge and the mountain scenery is spectacular.  Kathleen thought earlier it was raining as she could hear it pelting the roof of the motor home but on further checking, the sun was shining and it was simply a lot of big long pine needles "raining" down from the trees overhead as it was a bit windy.

     This is almost the first time since we left Wisconsin that we truly feel like we can just R & R (rest and recreation).  We don't have to be anywhere, and we aren't expecting any company.  We would prefer of course that one of our sons and their families could be with, but as with all young families they have commitments as well as the need to w*rk, (dirty word).

      Many of you may remember from our past posts and pictures the blue jay who would visit us while we were on our deck at our stick house in Wisconsin and would land on our hand to take a peanut that we were holding.  Seems that if you want to work with a bird and you have the time you can probably make a new friend if you just have a spare peanut handy.  Check out these two.



Mountain Jay with Peanut















 Ravin Says Where's my peanut
















     We have taken some drives around the area and are always excited by what is around the next corner.  There are some great rivers and lakes within easy reach of this park and if in the future we return I will be sure to take the time and try them out.  No matter where you drive the scenery is spectacular and one can take a lot of pictures.  The town of Leavenworth which is about 26 miles from the RV park is definitely a tourist town as it has a zillion shops all built around a Bavarian mountain village somewhere in Germany or Switzerland.  We enjoyed a great mid day snack there and a walk through some of the shops.



Leavenworth Shops

















Mountain Scene Leavenworth WA

















Mountain Scene Leavenworth WA
















Example of Campsites
















Fish Lake full of Trout















     We are planning when we leave here to gradually make our way back over to the Washington West Coast and the ocean with a couple of intriguing stops in between and a ferry ride for the coach and us to gain access to the peninsula.  Should be spectacular!

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September 12, 2007

Birch Bay Blaine Washington

Birch Bay Blaine Site 













Sept 10th-12th 2007  Birch Bay Thousand Trails RV Park at Blaine Washington is another very nice TT park.  This is an older park with a rather small pool and older Lodge than those we have been in previously but it had everything you could want in a nice quiet place to stay and was strategically located so as to allow for a lot of exploration of surrounding areas.

     We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the Blaine area.  The weather was perfect and one afternoon was spent just hanging out at the beach watching the waves lap the shore, looking for unique rocks and shells, and just getting in a lot of R & R.

     We had initially scheduled ourselves to stay 3 nights as we would then leave for a rather long drive to Leavenworth Washington and another TT Park.  We decided to cut our stay short by one day and head on down to the Tulalip Casino parking lot which would give us a good jump on our trip for Leavenworth on Thursday.  Besides that, the Casino has one of the best buffets we have been too.  As we readied for departure from Birch Bay we noticed that our front steps were not retracting as they were supposed too and after checking all the obvious fuses, etc.  I ended up dismantling the mechanism and using a bungee cord to hold them up.  We will now stay in the area of Seattle to try and get our steps fixed.  Leavenworth will be postponed for a day or two.


Birch Bay Blaine Washington














Canada is just across the bay and will have to wait for a future visit!

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September 06, 2007

Mount Vernon TT RV Park

    site 128





















 Sept 6th-9th 2007  We departed the La Conner Thousand Trails RV Park and journeyed exactly 21 miles to this Thousand Trails Park at Mount Vernon, Washington.  I guess you could say we are gradually making our way North.  The Black Berries I have mentioned in the previous blog so I will not dwell on them but I can't tell you how nice it is to simply walk outside and grab a handful.  This RV Park does not have the Ocean/Water theme but instead is nestled at the foot of the Western slopes of the Cascade Mountains.  The roads within the Park are somewhat steep but make for interesting sites nestled over a rather large area.  We are in a very nice site which has electric and water but no sewer hook-up but we really don't care about that as we are only booked in here for the four nights and our black tank can easily handle that length of time.

     We have excellent cell phone signal here and broadband access through our air card with Verizon on our lap top computer, so life is good.

     The Park has a very large lodge with one end being a huge fireplace.  Today when I stopped in to check it out a small group of campers were taking line dance lessons and it looked like fun.  Next to the lodge is a beautiful pool and hot tub area.  There are basketball courts, tennis courts, & pickle ball courts.  I also saw several horse shoe pitching sites.  We had accumulated a rather large load of laundry so while I snooped around the facilities Kathleen completed that task in a rather nice laundromat on the first floor of the lodge.  There are all kinds of events scheduled for those of us camped here but I am just looking forward to kicking back and checking the insides of my eye lids from time to time, so will opt out of the scheduled activities.

The road leading through the hills to our camping area!

get out the compass
















Mount Vernon Thousand Trails RV Park Lodge!

Mount Vernon TT Lodge





Inside Lodge
















Pool Area
















Wide Open Spaces














   I have taken my scooter on several rides through the complex and on some of the trails.  When doing this, ones tends to find hidden gems, and this morning I did just that.  What I found will be the basis for its own blog entry soon.  Stay Tuned.

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September 05, 2007

Casino's Everywhere

     Sept 5th --

Just an Example














     I had always thought that we had a fair number of Indian casinos in the Midwest but I must tell you that in Washington and Oregon they are everywhere.  Not just pole barn type buildings with a few machines and bingo but full fledged fancy Las Vegas style casinos.  In addition they seem to go out of there way to welcome the RV crowd to their facilities.  Many have designated parking areas for the Coach RV's and 5th wheels with wide enough parking slots to allow opening all slides, allowing you to put out your awning, setting up your grill, chairs, etc and after registering with security you are allowed to stay for up to 7 days, all this without charge.  Now, obviously they "hope" that you will gamble and lose, but for those of us who are in control of our actions, this turns out to be a good deal, especially since most of our units are capable of several days of dry camping before running out of fresh water or filling our grey and black tanks.  I wish we had more discipline when it comes to how many times we visit the excellent buffets.

     We have stayed at several for a day or two, obviously to save on the nightly camping fee, but also to give ourselves time to explore the area and visit specific sites. 

     During my research over the years leading up to our going full-time I had come across the comment that the Tulalip Casino in Washington just North of Seattle was an excellent stop when passing through the area in your RV as they were very RV friendly.  I had filed that information away in those dark back brain cells and as we approached Tulalip I decided we would give it a try.  The following pictures will give you an overview of the facility.  I wish I had taken a photo of our coach as we were parked in a very nice RV area, within an easy walking distance of the casino itself and some great eating.  We will stop there again as we will no doubt pass through the area many times in the future.



Front Entrance
















Front of Casino area
















Casino Pool
















Casino Pool
















Casino Pool

















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September 03, 2007

La Conner Washington


Our Home at La Conner RV Park


     Aug 30th to Sept 3rd 2007  We left Lost Lake Resort after having stayed there under our Coast to Coast membership.  We had visited a booth at the FMCA rally that was hawking memberships in Thousand Trail RV Parks.  Thousand Trails is a membership program that we may be interested in for the future but it is still our intent to give ourselves a year before we commit to an expensive membership program.  Thousand Trails is big in the Northwest, fairly big in all of the West but is a little weak in the Southwest, Midwest, and until recently the East.  Since we were going to be around the Northwest until late October we decided to see what they had to offer.  After visiting with them a bit at their booth we were invited to accept a 3 night four day stay at one of their premier resort parks at La Conner and for listening to their pitch we would be their guests for free.  We were asked what days we would like to come and we selected Sept, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, leaving on the 4th.  They also had a Las Vegas type wheel to spin for a prize that would be awarded to you if in fact you kept your appointment with them.  I spun the wheel and hit the top prize.  A 30 day free membership in Thousand Trails.

     We have sat through their presentation and it was given by a young fellow who was very professional and not high pressure at all.  At the end of the presentation we let him know that we were going to stay true to our original plan to not buy in to any program for at least a year and in that time we would continue to evaluate our options.  Our 30 day free membership was activated and we have one year within to use it.  When we make our first reservation it will begin and then for 30 consecutive days we can stay in Thousand Trail parks FREE.  We are actually going to activate our 30 days on the 6th of Sept and will jump from Park to Park in the Northwest area as we continue to explore Washington and Oregon.  We will actually only get about 25 free days out of it as we are coming back to La Crosse the first week in October for Kathleen's follow up medical appointments.  There are some outstanding Thousand Trails Parks that we are looking forward to visiting in the next month.  We will try and give our impression of each park and add photo's as we take them.  The best part of course is we will not have any park expenses for most of the month and that is going to be good for the budget.

     This Thousand Trails Park that we are in now is situated directly on a half-mile beach along the Puget Sound, at Skagit Bay.  The 111 acre La Conner Park is in the heart of the beautiful Skagit Valley.  La Conner is a picturesque park, with approximately 325 sites for RV's and camping trailers. To the west lies the natural beauty of the San Juan Islands, and just 5 minutes away is the historic fishing village of La Conner. It reminds us very much of Mc Gregor Iowa on Steroids.

     We have some tentative plans that when we leave here we will spend a few days at the Mount Vernon Preserve, Thousand Trails Park, and will then head up to the very Northwest corner of Washington to Blain and put in at the Birch Bay Resort.  From there we will try to fit a stop in to Leavenworth Preserve Thousand Trails Park over a week-end so the kids can come and join us and the little ones can enjoy the Pool and play areas.  Then we will complete the month of September by going back over on the Washington Coast and visiting several more Thousand Trail Parks.  Perhaps the kids will drive over and join us there as it is only a couple hours drive from their homes.



Our Site
















Which Way
















Parked at Beach Area
















Left of Beach
















Looking Out Over Bay 















Above the Beach
















RV Park 1
















RV Park 2
















The Lodge
















End Of Walking Trail
















Beginning of San Juan Islands














     It should be no secret, we love being by the water!

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August 28, 2007

Lost Lake RV Resort - Olympia Washington

     August 24th - 31st, 2007  Lost Lake Resort is a first class RV park and our RPI (Resort Parks International) membership allows us to book in at $8.00 per night.  They have it all here including a private lake stocked with trout and bass.  We were so busy during our stay that we never did get a chance to fish.  Our purpose in booking in here for the week was so our son Bill and his family had an easy 1.5 hour drive to come visit us.  Bill, Heidi, and the kids (Mason & Maddie) came Fri. evening to camp with us for the week-end and then Grandma and Grandpa would keep the kids, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday while their mom and dad worked. 

     The week was filled with lots of fun for the little ones and the big kids too.  Bill and I took part in a miniature golf tournament as the park was celebrating the opening of its new golf lay-out.  Following the tournament we were all invited to a barbecue hosted by the park owner.  The following morning we were all invited to a complimentary breakfast and it was excellent.  The pool, spa, hot tub, exercise facility were first class and we managed to go there every day during our stay.

     One of the days that the kids were with us we made a driving trip to Mt. Rainier.  We left the coach around 10:00 a.m. and were back at 4:30 p.m. having driven to near the snow line.  The scenery was spectacular.  Pictures do not do it justice.

     All of the area around here is really part of the West Coast Rain Forest and no matter which direction you drive it is heavily forested, and yet one is only a couple of hours from the coast.  The temperatures have been in the low to mid 70's and in the last two weeks we have only seen drizzle for a few minutes one morning. 

     We will be leaving Lost Lake Resort on the morning of August 31st.  Plans are to "boondock" at the Tullalip Casino north of Seattle for one night and then book in to the La Conner, Washington Thousand Trails Resort for a free 3 day stay.  The catch is we must agree to sit through a 90 minute presentation on the resort and their membership buy in program.  Anyone can sit through 90 minutes and say no thanks for 3 free days!  Those three days will cover the Labor Day Week-end for which we don't have reservations at one of our membership resorts.  We have memberships in Coast to Coast, Resort Parks International, Passport America, Escapee's, and Good Sam which covers us just about everywhere.  We can pretty well plan our stays for $8.00 per night wherever we go.



Bill and Heidi
















Pool Time
















Lost Lake Camp Site
















 Mason, Maddie, Grandma















Pool Time















Kids Friend
















Mt Ranier
















Road to Mt Ranier
















miniture golf tournament
















teeter totter time














     Now on to La Conner, Washington RV Resort!

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