Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunland Golf and Country Club

SunlandGolf#5Our new future home is located on the Sunland Golf course in Sequim.  Hole #11, in fact.  Mike was itching to play golf on a regular basis--he joined the Sunland Golf and Country Club prior to our move-in date (like two months before move-in).  He plays at least twice a week on this beautifully maintained course and loves it.  A great way to meet new friends, too. 

The summer daylight hours last until 10 p.m. here in this outer edge of the Pacific Daylight Savings time, so I am sure Mike will work this to his advantage to add a few more games to his weekly average.

Another great feature of membership is reciprocal agreements with private courses throughout the U.S. and Canada; allowing him to play free or for a reduced rate.  Sweet.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dungeness Spit

IMG_1872IMG_1874Weather forecast called for partly cloudy today, but again we enjoyed another all blue sky with temperatures near 80 degrees.  Taking full advantage of the warm day, we took a short hike called, “Heart of America” at the National Dungeness Wildlife Refuge (located about 4 miles out of Sequim).  The path leads you through a cool thick forest down to the waters of the Straits of Juan de Fuca.  You can continue to walk another five miles along the spit out to the lighthouse.  But, we elected to sit on beached giant driftwood and enjoy the sunshine, surf and sand.  (The number of people walking on the spit toward the lighthouse in the picture above makes it look almost like they are making a pilgrimage of some sort.)

IMG_1870There is surf here at high tide.  Surprising, when we are so far from the actual coastline.  Love the smell of fresh salty air.  A touch of humidity off the water can really cool down a warm day.

Oh, and supposedly there was a 3.7 earthquake here this morning.  Honestly, did not feel a thing.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hurricane Ridge

DSC_0076 (7)Remember the fairy tale books set in the alpine meadows where Heidi romped?  Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park reminds me of the illustrations in those books, lots of purple flowers (lupine?) and miles of meadows looking like manicured lawn.  (Not surprised the grass is short—black tailed deer are grazing everywhere.)  If I visit the Alps someday my fairy tale comparison will be a bit more accurate, but for now the closest I can get to Heidi-Land is the high areas of the Olympic National Park.  I am sure the European mountain vistas are just as beautiful, but one thing the Alps do not have is the magnificent view of the Straits of Juan de Fuca and Canadian island of Vancouver and the City of Victoria in the distance.  All enjoyed today from the viewpoints at Hurricane Ridge on a perfect, cloudless day. 

DSC_0072 (8)Taking pictures of the Straits is really difficult at mid-day.  The sky and water seem to blend together—the misty blues are almost the same hue.  Looking east, Mount Baker in the Cascade Mountain range floats on the clouds.

DSC_0086 (6)And surprisingly, there is still snow in patches on the trails.  We did a little scouting on the hiking trails in the area, but decided to get an earlier start on another day.  Hopefully, the snow will clear away by the time we make it back.

Hurricane Ridge is only 30 miles from our starting point in Sequim.  Easy drive back to enjoy a full day of hiking.  In fact, we are finding lots of trails on the Peninsula near Sequim.  It will take us a long time to investigate each one.  Fully exploring all of the Olympic National Park will take a while too, we still need to visit the rainforest, the ocean beaches and lakes all part of this large national park.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lavender Festival vs. Lavender Faire

lavender posterEven small towns cannot escape a little drama and controversy.   On the seemingly most benign events.  Every mid-July, Sequim, Washington celebrates their lavender industry by highlighting local lavender farms, showcase artists, food, and enjoy a variety of music.  But this year, the lavender farmers and representatives had some sort of falling out and the event split into two.  The Lavender Festival and the Lavender Faire. 

imageThe Festival with its artists, food vendors and musicians was held “downtown” on Fir Street and you drove yourself to selected small lavender farms (free).  The Faire was held in Carrie Blake Park with artists, food vendors, musicians, and booths representing special interests (National Park rangers explaining the upcoming tear-down of the Elwha River dams, Washington State University Master Gardeners, and more).  The selected large lavender farms provided bus tours from the park ($10).  You did catch the underlines…the dispute is between the little guys and the big guys. 

Personally, we enjoyed getting two festivals on one weekend.  Each had a different flavor and both were within walking distance of our RV Park.  Especially liked the music of Pearl Django at the Lavender Festival.  Hot gypsy jazz.  Great stuff.  Need to find them on iTunes and download a few songs.

Unfortunately, this last spring and summer (so far) have been cooler than usual and the lavender was not in full bloom.  Give it another two weeks and we are told the air will be pungent with lavender scent.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Art Studio Tour

Once settled in Sequim, a big ‘to-do’ on my checklist was enrolling in an art class; hopefully, in watercolor.  This weekend the Sequim Arts organization offered a tour of approximately 20 different artists’ studios ranging from painting, sculpting and even, basket weaving.   The tour provided a great opportunity to talk with a few artists offering classes and a viewing of their work.   We limited our visits to three studios.

image“I’m very happy to share my space. It’s very scenic,” said Carrie Rodlend, a painter and art teacher who makes her home near the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.  Carrie’s place includes beautiful rolling green pastures for her horses which she frequently rides on the beach near her home.

Pat Gordon’s studio and watercolor style really struck a chord and I signed up for her class beginning in September.  Pat focuses on detailed subjects, rather than a broad landscape painting.  I like that.  Her studio is located near the perimeter of the Olympic National Forest in a pretty little meadow with trails leading out into the forest (photo at right).  Painting here will be an experience on its own.

Click here to zoom...Mike and I also stopped in at the Olympic Driftwood Sculpture display shown at the Carlsborg Conference Center this weekend.  There were demonstrations showing the process of stripping off rotting wood and bark, sanding, and then finishing the piece smooth with a deer antler.  Yeah, an antler, unusual technique.  Apparently, the antler’s composition does something to finish the wood.  There are even a few sculptures with crushed turquoise placed in the cracks of the wood.  Spectacular.  If he can find the time between golfing, fishing, hiking, building our kayaks, and settling into our new home, this is another hobby appealing to Mister Mike. 

Driftwood artists, from left, Barbara Ralph, Tony Ralph and Tuttie Peetz.--Photo by Jeff Chew/Peninsula Daily News

Friday, July 8, 2011


No, we did not run away and join the circus.  We are still in Sequim, but we did leave for Eastern Washington and stayed there five days to help My Mom and Stepfather.  My Mom just had colon surgery to remove a pre-cancer spot, and she is having a tough go for recovery.  We enjoyed our visit and like seeing her make some progress back to good health.  Eat and do your walking, Mother!

26LargeStill very busy with the house building (and will be until the end of July).  The mortgage paperwork is in order and approved, home insurance in place, furniture and appliances purchased and ready for delivery.  Need to contact garbage service, internet connection, and television hookup.  Remaining belongings previously stored in Eastern Washington are now moved and stored in Sequim.  Lots of sss….stuff relocated--glad we downsized for our full-time RV gig or we would have needed professional movers.  Moving is not for the faint of heart.  

We are ready to jump into some fun stuff this week and forget about the house for a while.  Starting July 15, Sequim celebrates their lavender industry—lots of local lavender farms open (we drive by several on the way to our house), 150 vendors will be selling in the local park, live music, and artist studio tours.  Seems the event is internationally known and the small town of Sequim will be grid-locked with tourists.  Time to be a tourist and indulge in some downtime.

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