The first day back, we spent the evening and night with Mike's daughter, Ara, at her new home in Spokane. It was a delight to be able to hug her in person once again!! It was also a time of some healings for Mike, as he and his son, Travis, made amends. And, a true joy for Mike to be able to spend some quality time with his grandson, Dallas, for the first time in 4 years.
We are very fortunate that our good friends, Mike and Leslie Anderson, have opened up their beautiful apartment to us that they lived in while they built their new home in Northport, WA on 20 acres very close to the Canadian border. It was a nice respite to have our own space and not feel we were intruding on their space.
So we enjoyed several get togethers at friend's homes or at a local restaurant/bar for our meet & greets and to catch up with each other.
When our planned party boat excursion on Christina Lake, BC didn't come together as planned, Mike, Leslie, Mike & me shifted to Plan B and went to spend the day in Nelson, BC in their beautiful park along the lake to try and keep cool, as the temps had surged into the 100's. The water up there hadn't quite warmed up enough to take a real dip. Up to our knee caps was about as far as we got. But a great day anyway!!
And so since the weather was nicely accommodating our plan to float the river, we did so with a group of 13 on a 105F day!! Such a wonderful place to be idling away the time and watching the Bald Eagles sore overhead and their young figure it out while bickering on the river bank. Again, such a wonderful day spent with family and friends!! no photos though since we didn't want to chance the camera with the water, so I'm posting some pics of a river float from days gone by.
The Winthrop Blues Festival is held every year the 3rd weekend of July and for years Mike and I would go with friends and spend the weekend in a cabin on the river and listen to beautiful music all day by some of our finest musicians at the "ranch" venue. We were so looking forward to attending again this year and camping out at the state park. But, alas, the huge central WA forest fires kept us from getting there due to road closures.
So we thought about Plan B, which meant driving an extra 10 hours through BC, Canada to get to the west side of the state to then drive east into Winthrop, which lays on east side of the Cascade Mountains. Once in Osoyoos, BC at a Visitor's Stop, we made the decision that that was still too risky when the fires were raging all around and you just never know when the wind will whip up and blow it right at you.
So we did Plan C, which was made up as we went along. As we were in the Okanagon Wine Country region, we continued to drive north up through Penticton, West Kelowna, and finally to a Provincial State Park on the north side of West Kelowna and directly across Okanogan Lake from Kelowna. A peaceful tent site where we were able to set up both tents and park both cars. We felt very lucky to find a camp site since we had no reservations and there were campers everywhere with most parks that we stopped at being completely full!
Our journey continued the next morning after packing it all up. Sitting around the citronella candle the night before and enjoying drinks and conversation, we decided we would continue on to Nakusp Hot Springs, which entailed a ferry ride across Upper Arrow Lake. But along the way, we had to stop for fresh picked cherries and a stroll around a very out of the way Farmer's Market in a small spit of a town called, Cherryville.
The hot springs are way back into the forest about 12km from the main road and you climb and climb up the mountain. The last time Mike and I had been here was in 2002 in February when there was close to 5' of snow on the ground. A simply stunning venue!!
Even though we had camping gear, it looked like it might rain, so we decided to rent one of the chalets together. A great evening in the hot pools and a good night's sleep in a bed. We once, again, chilled out in the pools before heading back to WA and catching up with friends for dinner that were supposed to meet us at the Blues Festival.
That following week, we drove over to Pend Oreille County and spent the night with other good friends, Donna & Randy. They live right on the river there and have glorious views of the river and mountains. It turned out that their cat need immediate attention by a vet and the closest one open was in Deer Park just outside of Spokane. I went with Donna while Mike & Randy headed to take the boat out for a ride.
While we were driving south we could see lots of nasty bolts of lightening and a storm front that was colliding right in front of us. Sure enough, the wind became incredible and the pine trees started to fall in front of us and behind us! When we came to a tree that we couldn't see how to get around and the rain was coming down so hard that we couldn't see, we just stopped. The wind pushed the car from side to side and it felt like we were going to be thrown. Pretty scary!! And, then we saw an opening to get around the tree, so we did. The carnage that displayed itself right on the other side of the downed tree was devastating to see!! A mobile home park with at least one if not two, trees on almost every home!! It looked like a war zone and we were smack dab in the middle of that horrible storm like sitting ducks. We felt extremely lucky that we didn't have an accident or that a tree hadn't fallen on top of our car.
Trying to keep going, we took some detours around other downed trees, and eventually the storm passed. Only once we made it to the vet clinic, their power was out. So we left the kitty in a safe secure environment and she would be taken care of in the morning when, hopefully, power could be restored.
We retraced our steps trying to get back to their home and were able to see the carnage all over again. By now, people with chain saws, trucks, loaders, emergency vehicles were everywhere to begin picking up the pieces. We began to shake all over again with the realization of how truly lucky we were!! Let's just say that more than a couple of bottles of wine were consumed once we were safe & sound!
Our final weekend was spent at the Rock Cut Blues Festival, which has taken place over the last 16 years on ground that Mike had sold them and directly across from where we had lived on the Kettle River. This is a truly special venue for us, as it's our neighborhood party where we get to see people that we may not have seen all year. This year was no different and we got to catch up with some folks that never knew we had left!! Such is life in rural America.
We had also made several trips into Spokane to see family over the 3 weeks and to spend more time with our grandsons, Robert, Arlo, and Dallas. We were even thrilled to be able to spend one whole with just Robert hanging out, going to the movies, having lunch, and doing some shopping. It's nice to be able to have one on one time with them!
So our trip to the US came to an end and with a 5am flight out of Spokane to PV via Seattle and LA, we arrived back HOME in PV. This was our first return here with it being our home and it felt ... well, like coming HOME!!
It's been a very busy week since we've returned with much to tell you about our continuing ex landlord saga and the second phase of completing our Permanent Resident visa in Mexico. So stayed tune, that too shall get posted soon! And, thanks for continuing to follow along on this continually unfolding journey of ours!