Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rain Shadow

We are enjoying the weather in Sequim.  Rain all-around on the Olympic Peninsula, but not in Sequim due to the rain shadow.
Rain Shadow definition:  A region of relatively low rainfall that occurs downwind of a mountain or mountain range.

Sequim_MapTo the left is a rain fall (precipitation) map showing the relative rainfall in inches on the Olympic Peninsula. The Yellow section covers all of Sequim, this section averages 15" or rain per year or less. You can see why Sequim has an Irrigation Festival and the western half of the Olympic Peninsula has a rainforest.

SequimBlueHoleSequim averages 15" per year due to the precipitation pattern caused by the storm blocking effect of the Olympic Mountains. This is how the term "Blue Hole" came about. From the ground it looks as if there is a blue hole in the clouds right above Sequim and the Dungeness Valley, because the Olympic Mountains at almost 7500 feet on average, are blocking the rain from falling on Sequim.  Since we arrived in Sequim last Sunday, we have witnessed the “Blue Hole”.  All around us are big, dark rain clouds, but here in Sequim…sunny skies.  It is really bizarre.

Sequim is known for its mild winters and moderately warm summers. This varied climate allows for participation in activities throughout all the seasons of the year. Sequim rainfall is about the same as San Francisco, California.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Visitors

Over10000visitorsThe number of visits to Driving Miss Terry has exceeded 10,000.  Wow!  Hope you all enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing (and reliving the experience by reading older posts). 

Please feel free to comment anytime.  I love making new friends!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sequim

Road to SequimLeaving tomorrow for Sequim, Washington.  We have spent many a vacation in this area on the Olympic Peninsula, and it is wonderful.  Hiking in the Olympic National Park.  Kayaking.  Beautiful golf courses.  Historic Port Townsend.  Boating in Puget Sound.  Quilcene concerts in “the Barn”.  Harley rides through the forest.  Ferry to Victoria, Canada.  Ocean beaches at LaPush (think clam digging).

So excited!

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Full-Time RV Nomad

shooting-starNot everyone feels comfortable moving into less than 300 square feet and relocating their home every one to four weeks. But that is the life we chose in May 2010, one year ago, when our home became a 32-foot recreational vehicle—a fifth wheel—pulled by a one-ton Ford truck.  The transition wasn’t without effort—including a major downsizing of belongings—but when you can select the scenery, climate, and pace of the day, it was worth the trouble to make it happen.  Each day, we can open all the windows and be pleasantly overwhelmed by the scents unique to each area—the salty sea, the rich loam of the forest, the spicy desert sage after an unexpected rain or the freshly cut hay from the field down the road.

Our typical day includes:

7:00 a.m. – Morning Coffee

Daily morning coffee is enjoyed with views out our large living room windows.  Mike says he cannot remember where he is until he opens the shades each morning.  And each morning is a delight—whether it is a foggy mountain view of the redwoods or the vast vistas of the desert.

8:30 a.m. – Planning Our Day

Our daily plans are dictated by our mood, the weather, local scheduled events or sights or people we want to visit (new friends, familiar friends or family),  or simply daily housekeeping.  And plans can easily change throughout the day.

10:30 a.m. – Daily Walk

Walking provides our daily exercise, but it also allows a thorough look about of the region.   Nothing feels better than getting your blood flowing by hiking in the crisp, fresh air; and mentally nothing sends your spirits higher.

12 noon – Executing the Plan of the Day

[Insert Here] 

2:30  p.m. – Errands

A weekly visit to grocery store or a farmer’s market has become a ritual.  Maintaining a location in a warm climate allows access to fresh vegetables and fruit; and each region has a ‘protein’ specialty--salmon, cod, oysters, lobster, beef, bison, or wild game.  Without much effort, we are now eating healthy and living green.

4:30 p.m. – Dinner at Home

A super-efficient kitchen means meals run smoothly.  Honestly, a tight kitchen is a huge advantage. We are not running back and forth all the time from the fridge to the counter to the stove.  We are fortunate to have a brilliantly designed kitchen with a large Corian-topped island and lots of storage (wonderful pantry).  We rarely eat our meals out.

6:00 p.m. – Evening Reflection

Warm evenings allow us to sit and talk and enjoy the night and relive the day.  Most likely, a bottle of wine will be opened and savored slowly.  Because we usually stay away from the nearest city, you can really see the stars and the occasional shooting star.  Nature’s fireworks.

I think we hitched on to a lucky star, don’t you think so too?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Work Thoughts and Interpersonal Relationships

trumpComing back to our hometown to visit has me thinking about my previous work career here.  I did not love my job, but it paid generously, there was satisfaction when the tasks were handled well, and I made a lot friends.  They are friends I still have today and look forward to seeing while we are in town.  But…there was the occasional personality that would rub me the wrong way.  I tried to handle the situation professionally and move on.  Most of the time.

One of the techniques I learned when dealing with difficult personalities at work has translated into working through challenging situations in everyday life….

the shiningThink about three positive attributes of the offending person.  Either say them out loud to a friend or simply acknowledge them some way.  Doing this usually helps to offset the negative feelings you may have.  It can be anything…they are creative, hard-working, devoted father or mother, intelligent, good speaker, snappy dresser, funny…you get the idea.  If you have the opportunity to sincerely say those positive things to the person, it may soften their feelings toward you, too.  (You do know the abrasiveness works both ways…don’t you?)

I know this is kind of a “touchy-feely” thing, but try it.  Unless you work in law enforcement, the military, Homeland Security or for Donald Trump [or insert name], most of the time it helps. 

You may still dislike the person overall, but your interactions with them may occur with less conflict.  The world can stand a little less conflict, right?  On a couple of occasions, I have become friends with someone I could not stand to be around initially.

Oh, and believe me, I know I can be the “difficult” person.   So be nice.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Home Comforts

Traveling helps us get out of our comfort zone and pushes us to experience new places and meeting new friends.  It is exciting and fun.  But, it is stressful.  Unfamiliar roads.  Untested restaurants.  Is this a good part of town or a dangerous place? 

Coming back to our home town allows us to ignore using the GPS, visit familiar friends and family, take care of errands quickly and efficiently.  We will be ready to leave again at the end of the month.  But, coming home is always nice.

A-Z_housesSome interesting facts about our hometown….Richland's unique "alphabet houses" were designed by Spokane, Washington, architect G. Albin Pherson to accommodate the tremendous growth in population at the Hanford site during World War II. He was given less than 90 days to completely design the entire new Richland community, including streets, utilities, and commercial and residential building plans. Each housing design was assigned an alphabet letter designation and included single-family homes, duplexes, apartments, and dormitories. [Our first home was an “H” house.]  As Richland was a "company town" until 1958, these homes maintained a distinct uniformity for many years. [My parents purchased their first home in 1958—a “V” house or precut.] One neighborhood of 162 alphabet houses that have largely maintained their original appearance, designated the "Gold Coast Historic District," was named to the National Register of Historic Places in April 2005.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Heading Northwest

We have made the decision to head back to our hometown a little earlier than planned.  The weather at Bryce Canyon is not in our favor.  We will visit family and friends; do some fun stuff and some not so fun stuff (clean up the storage shed, appointments, etc.). 

Score-Card-Aerial-PhotoOur hometown, Richland, Washington, is located in south-central Washington which is the desert part of Washington State—lots of sagebrush and hot summers.  The weather is usually pleasant this time of year, except for a few wind storms now and then.  The area is known for some amazing wines, great golf courses, and it is located at the confluence of the Snake River, Yakima River, and the mighty Columbia.  No water issues here.  The fun stuff will definitely include wine and golfing.

Looking forward to spending a few weeks back “home” and then we are heading to the Olympic Peninsula on the very northwest tip of Washington State to spend the summer.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hogback Highway

smEscalanteRoad2Utah’s Highway 12 is considered one of the top ten scenic drives in the United States and we agree.  The scenery between Escalante and Boulder on this road is unbelievable.  All of the spectacular sights we have seen the last three months in Utah’s National Parks are found along this road—grotesquely-shaped red rocks, rainbow-colored arches, bottom-less canyons, lush cottonwood filled valleys with rushing little creeks, forests of juniper and pinion, petrified sand dunes, vistas to far-off mountains, and smooth slick rock.  And something unique--the Hogback portion of the highway—approximately two miles of narrow two-lane road with cliffs on both sides (no shoulders!!!).  Makes your stomach clench.  I tried to take pictures, but they either did not do justice to the views (the picture to the left is from the internet) or we were just too chicken to stop and take a photo.

BTG_outsideWe turned around at Boulder to make the trip back to our camp in Bryce Canyon, but before leaving we ate at the Burr Trail Grill.  Who would have guessed this is a happening place employing young outdoor enthusiasts and an amazing chef.  The d├ęcor was desert hip, the music was lively and the place was packed.  This is in a town of less than 100!  We had a pear, pecan, toasted coconut pie for dessert and it was to die for.

We have now made the “Grand Circle” tour of the U.S. Southwest national parks and national monuments including Zion, Grand Canyon, Camp Verde, Mesa Verde, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and finally the Grand Staircase-Escalante (Utah’s Highway 12).  If you have not experienced the Grand Circle, do it!

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