Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Spruce Railroad Trail

IMG_2607Last week we had several “hot” days for the Olympic Peninsula (anything over 80 degrees is considered extreme).  I have to admit when the temperature hits 80 degrees, it is too hot for me any more, especially when we are doing anything physical.  Our hiking group elected to walk a shaded trail near the water to keep cool.  If we really overheated, this path, the Spruce Railroad Trail,  has one of more popular swimming holes known as the Devil’s Punch Bowl.  We did not swim, but we watched plenty of others keeping cool in the water.  Lots of kids were jumping off the rocks into the deep pool (see picture at right below).

IMG_2608The Spruce Railroad Trail (sometimes called Lake Crescent Trail) is a rail trail located on the shores of Lake Crescent about 20 miles west of Port Angeles, Washington. The trail follows the former Port Angeles Western Railroad grade along the shores of Lake Crescent. Built during World War I for the Spruce Production Division to transport spruce from the western Olympic Peninsula for the aircraft industry, it was completed in 1919, a year too late for its intended purpose. The trail is approximately 4 miles one way, and trailheads exist at both ends.   We parked at the East Beach location.

Friday, August 24, 2012

RV Interior Design

When we first purchased our 5th Wheel RV, I got with a friend and interior design expert, Katie, from Spencer-Carlson Unlimited in Kennewick, Washington and redecorated. (The store is fabulous, by the way.)  The original interior was done in gold “silk” with a Parisian/Traditional theme or something like that.  Seriously.  What are you thinking RV manufacturers?  It looked like a brothel.  Remember, we lived full-time in our RV and we would not decorate a home this way.

IMG_0055Wanting to minimize clutter and streamline our look, we redecorated with a modern theme of burgundy, black and tan and downsized the trimmings.  Taking down the gold “silk” window treatment side panels we reupholstered the cornice boards and the chair seats with our color scheme.  Got rid of the ornate sconces on the wall and replaced them with small paintings/photographs of our travels framed with simple wood/black frames.  The wimpy gold (again) bed comforter was replaced with a tailored black bedspread.  No more extra pillows…thank you.  Got rid of the extremely heavy gold (again) sleeper sofa and oversized recliner.   Replaced our seating with light and comfortable Ekornes Stressless recliners.  

Nice and neat.

I would love to redecorate more RVs using inspiration from Ralph Lauren’s redone vintage airstreams.  In the early 2000's, four vintage Airstream were designed by Ralph Lauren in various themes, including Adirondack, Western, Nautical and Army Surplus / Utility.  Although the Western and Adirondack themes look extremely cool, they would be a bit cluttered for us to live in.  My favorite is the Nautical theme.

Left to right:  Adirondack, Western, Nautical



They were sold through the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation (initially asking $150K each, later $100K) with proceeds donated to charity.

Wake up RV builders and get a clue!  At least create a truly neutral palette for a starting point.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Watercolors

IMG_2628Still working at the watercolor painting.  Many have hit the trash can, but a few survive.  I get lost in it.  It will take many years to improve, but so rewarding.  I have not really found my style, but I have to say the ink and watercolor combination is my favorite so far (salmon painting to the left incorporates india ink between the rocks).


We Ride the Bus

P1060976About once a month, three of us, Wanda, Lyn, and me, with a common love of watercolor painting take the public transportation (the bus) to somewhere with art involved.  Last month we rode to the Akamai Art Supply store in Port Townsend.  We caught one wrong connection on that trip--Wanda noticed we were NOT headed back to Sequim and the bus driver was nice enough to stop and redirect us!  Fortunately, there was another bus stop nearby.

P1060964This month we rode to the Lake Crescent Lodge.  Finding comfy Adirondack chairs with a view of the lake and mountains we sketched and painted for about 5 hours.  This also involved many Bloody Mary drinks and a tasty portabella mushroom burger from the Lodge’s restaurant.  No worries about drinking and driving if you are riding the bus.

Next month will be either Coupeville on Whidbey Island or Daniel Smith’s Art Supply store in downtown Seattle.  If you are willing to work out the bus schedule and devote a little longer day, the bus is really a relaxing way to travel and a lot less expense than driving.  The Olympic Peninsula has an extensive public transportation system and gets you to most locations (we had to walk a couple of blocks into Crescent Lake Lodge).

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wear Where?

We have been asked how to pack for our part of the country…

If you have read a little bit about the Olympic Peninsula weather, and in particular, the Sequim area, you will know it rains on the Peninsula; but not so much in Sequim.   We are surrounded by some very wet places, with the rainforests to the West, Vancouver Island to the North, Olympic Mountains to the South, and Seattle to the East.  Our coastal climate is very much affected by the marine layer from the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Meaning mild and cool.

bellaOn the warmest days, you may want to wear shorts for part of the day.  Warm weather warnings came out last week for 85 degrees (for you desert rats, I know you are rolling your eyes on that one).  But come evening, long pants and a light jacket are a must.  Preferably a rain jacket, just in case.  Definitely think layers and very casual.  No one dresses up here.  The wardrobe Kristin Stewart wore in the movie series, “Twilight” is not far off the mark.  We are only 70 miles east of Forks (the location for all things vampire and werewolf in Twilight).

There are a lot of beautiful locations to walk—in the forest or along the beach.  Bring your sturdy shoes, if you want to enjoy a few.  Generally, the paths are gentle with hardly any elevation unless you want the serious stuff in the Olympic Mountains.

Ferry trips can be chilly, and you will want to be out on the decks if the weather is at all good.  We generally foot ferry to save the high fees for taking a car.  Please pack your passport for trips to Victoria.  Going to Canada is quite different since 9/11. 

Oh, and there are many nice golf courses on the “O” Peninsula and Vancouver Island—bring a collared polo and Dockers if you want to play 18 holes. 

Do not bring your Sorel boots or fur-lined anoraks.  Do not bring the itsy bikini.  The key word for weather here is mild.  But, it can change from warm to cool in a blink of an eye.  Makes for a very interesting day.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Downtown Sturgis#7 - Copy (2)The first full week of August the tiny town of Sturgis (population 6,400) increases to a population of over 500,000.  Every summer this rural location of South Dakota hosts the largest motorcycle rally in America.  In 2003, with our small tent and sleeping bags strapped to the back of the bike, we  rode our Harley Heritage Softtail over 1,000 miles to attend the rally which hit an attendance level of 750,000 bikers that year.   We met bikers of every age, more than one over 80 years old, with young babes draped around the old guys and the older grand dames holding their own!

If you are around Harleys, you know the pipes are loud.  With so many riders, it is not surprising to learn I lost my hearing for two days.  Seriously.

SturgisCamp#1-1 (2)This wild rally started in 1938 and up until the late 1980’s the adult party was attended by gangs and  “outlaws”.  Although the wild element still exists, the event has become somewhat more civilized.  We stayed in the Glencoe campground with close to 100,000 campers.  Only two rules were posted—you have to pay to camp (wearing a colored plastic bracelet as proof) and you cannot discharge your firearm.  Everything else is fair game.  Located across the street from the campground was the enormous Full Throttle biker bar with a concert held every night (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts played while we were there).

SCAN0852 (2)Each day during the rally, thousands and thousands of bikers head out to ride through South Dakota—Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Custer State Park (unnerving to ride so close to free range bison).  Rarely do you see a car this week in South Dakota.  The roads are ruled by the thunderous roar of motorcycles!

24/7 it was crazy and we had a blast!  Out of our normal comfort zone, and something we will certainly remember for the rest of our lives.

SturgisParty#5-1 (2)SCAN0890 (2)SCAN0709 (2)

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