Monday, May 31, 2010

Blue Tarp Campers, We Salute You!

Well, today is the beginning of our cross-country retirement. The weather was overcast when we arrived at Ike Kinswa State Park and perfect for a short 2-mile hike. The park is located on Mayfield Lake and the hike followed the shoreline. Then, it started to rain around 5 p.m. and continued to rain hard through the night. Blue tarps tied to trees making a canopy were located at almost every campsite. We didn't have one and the fire pit area was a swamp in the morning. Oh well, this is just a one night stay to break up our trip to Astoria, Oregon.

Ike Kinswa is a lush, green park with layers of huge ferns and mossy trees. I guess you have to have the rain to get this wonderful growth. Apparently, the Native Americans felt the area was a beautiful location, too. Ike Kinswa State Park was named after after a member of the Cowlitz tribe who resided in this valley before it was dammed.

My family traveled this route every summer from Richland, Washington to Centralia, Washington to visit my grandparents. Before the Mayfield Dam was built creating the lake--the road went down into a deep valley cutting through and around huge boulders--I remember one rock as big as a house that loomed over the road. As we neared the rock, my dad would yell out "this is it; we're getting squashed!" We would all squeal as we passed under the rock and then giggle after passing unharmed. Simple times for simple people.

Talk about giggling--Mike hasn't stopped since we started driving. We are both so excited about our RV lifestyle and our traveling plans. Let the good times "roll"!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Afternoon with Mr. and Mrs. Smith

We left our last week in our hometown with no errands or major chores; the time was purposely kept open to visit our friends and family. We're so glad we did. Yesterday, we spent time with the Smiths.

My gosh, has it been 20 years since we went on our first cruise with Judi and Smitty? Cruising is always a good time; but the first experience at anything is so exciting. And this cruise was the definition of fun with the Smiths. They're always game for that trip into the jungle; and well, you really can't leave Mike and Smitty on their own. We did...twice--one story involved a near death jeep excursion on St. Thomas on a narrow road on a cliff with, of course, an open air bar at the end of the road. The other included a nude beach on Martinque--they seemed to like the French girls....

Our first concert at the "Gorge at George" was with Judi and Smitty. Kenny G flew his own plane into the area with a little wave of the wing and then gave us a great show. Michael Bolton performed that night, too--seriously, he can belt them out. A blanket on the grass, a warm evening and the sunset over the Columbia River cliffs was the perfect backdrop to the stage. That night made us all life-long fans of Kenny.

Our time with the Smiths always involves smooth jazz, so here's the playlist for our afternoon visit.

"An Afternoon with the Smith's" Playlist

I believe a playlist should be about an hour and a half. That is the least amount of time to share a good bottle of wine and have engaging conversation. If needed, you can repeat the list once without getting tired of each song.

Oh, and The Rippingtons are on our must-see concert list. They are phenomenal--so varied in their music. For this playlist, we selected Rippington songs with a touch of the tropics for our cruise memories.

1. Tango/Kenny G
2. Sunland/Marc Antoine
3. Summer Song/Kenny G
4. Smiles and Smiles to Go/Larry Carlton
5. Silhouette/Kenny G
6. Sigh/Praful
7. Sax-o-loco/Kenny G
8. My Favorite Things/Nick Colionne
9. Mediterranean/Marc Antoine
10. Love Child/The Rippingtons
11. Let Go/Kenny G
12. It's Been Too Long/Nick Colionne
13. Island Aphrodisiac/The Rippingtons
14. I'll Be Alright/Kenny G
15. High Flyin'/Nick Colionne
16. Hi-Lo Split/Marc Antoine
17. Caribbean Breeze/The Rippingtons
18. Be Cool/The Rippingtons
19. All In One Night/Kenny G

Three more days before our journey begins. The PC Travel Gnome (see next to me above--wow, are my legs really that white--hopefully that will soon change) is saying ta-ta from Horn Rapids RV soon!
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