Sunday, May 26, 2013

Our Visit to WA Comes to an End

Our week was filled with spending time with wonderful friends and family !  We are so thankful for them all!  How did we get so lucky? You know who you are and we love you!!

But we did manage to help our hosts/friends, Lesley & Mike Anderson finish the siding on their beautiful shop!  3 days of working, but not grueling hours at all, and it was finished. We were all happy campers to see that accomplishment. 

On Friday, we said our farewells to the Anderson's and went to visit the Krohn's for the night. Along the way, we booked our Peru tour, which includes Lima, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, and of course, Machu Picchu.  That tour begins October 3, at the end of our Ecuador journey. It'll be here before we know it!

On Saturday, after saying our goodbyes to the Krohn's, off we went to Sandpoint, ID to visit with our good friend, Tina Cummings.  A lovely evening dinner overlooking the lake with her and her friend, Gary, with a nightcap at Coldwater Creek wine bar.

We woke to a beautiful sunny day that followed us down the Pend Oreille River on our way to Randy & Donna's, our friends who have a home in Costa Rica and who we spent time with there this winter.  They live on the river and we were invited to spend a few nights with them in their guest cottage. So great to catch up and talk about Costa Rica without boring them - LOL!! 

And, then it was time to make our way to Spokane for one last evening of visiting with friends - Jeannette and Ken, at The Elk Public House, one of our favorite Spokane hangouts.  One last nightcap with our daughter, Ara, and her friends, Jon & Heather.

The time has gone by so fast since being back and we were saying our goodbyes when we felt we just had said hello. With some we had to say hello and goodbye in the same visit. Hard, very hard to do!!  Of the many emotions we both felt upon coming back to the US and to "home" was a true realization that our actual home and animals were being loved by a warm, wonderful family. That it was no longer "ours" but "theirs". That we have no regrets for doing what we're doing and we can now truly in our minds move forward with this journey.

Wednesday morning we made our way to the airport with Ara for our flight to Sacramento. We had no issue whatsoever renting our car in Sacramento, thank goodness, even though I was more prepared than ever with proof of insurance. We then made our way to Modesto, CA for our grandson, Azuriah's, high school graduation on Thursday evening.  Spending time with all the family for such a joyous occasion is priceless!! We are so proud of Azi and his accomplishments!

While there, we did get an opportunity on Friday to explore the old revitalized downtown of Modesto. Walking in the beautiful warm sunshine, we discovered many interesting and beautiful sites.  We even were able to catch a movie at the Brenden Theater and saw Star Trek in 3D.  Fabulous movie!!  Highly recommend it.

Since Ara had an early flight out on Saturday morning, we drove back to Sacramento that evening to spend the night close by.  After seeing her off in the morning, Mike and I headed to Alexander Valley Winery in Sonoma County where we met up with our good friend Bret LeRolland who operates a fabulous wine & buggy tour. This was our 4th time partaking of this great adventure and we love it more each time!  Thank you, Bret!!

Our evening was spent catching up with Lily, Bret's lovely wife and friend, and Bret about our travels and all other things that have happened in our lives since we saw them last year on our US cross country journey.  They are always so gracious to have us in their guest cottage. We ended the evening by going to a local brew pub where there was live music.  Fun, fun, fun!!

We will be in the northern part of CA for the next week and then we will make our way south to Carlsbad, CA by next Sunday.  Have a GREAT Memorial Weekend Everyone!!!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Having Fun With Friends!!

This week has been filled with good friends, eating, drinking, and even some traveling!  Now that's an oxymoron!! Because the area of NE Washington State (Stevens County), where we call "home", is extremely rural and to visit our neighbor can entail an hour or two of traveling by car to get there and you're only going from one side of the county to the other.  No joke!!

In fact, the traveling within our area is one of the highlights of living in this beautiful part of the world! With the forested mountains the peaks of which are still covered in snow, the lush spring green beautiful valleys, the Kettle River (which we lived on), and the Columbia River Valley all make up the "eye candy" of being here!

Monday Mike and I headed to Colville (the largest town of only 5,000 residents and the County Seat) to meet with our accountant and file our 2012 taxes.  Yes, we had done an extension knowing we were coming back to do them. And by Friday they were done and ready to be signed and sent off!! A biggy on our list of "things to do"!

We also met with our travel agent.  She has been putting together an itinerary for us for our Peru tour. We've decided not to pursue, at this time, any other country in South America for living possibilities so a real tourist tour is a possibility.  Will let you know when we decide.

We also continued our discussion and dismay at being turned away from Thrifty Car Rental upon our arrival. Today I was told that the reason was because we were "locals" and it sent up red flags why a "local" would be renting a car.  Snarff, snarff, but surely you jest??!!!!  We aren't going to get any restitution but I got all riled up again with their lame excuse. So much so that I have spent hours now reading every Policy & Term attached on their website to not only find NOTHING about needing a hard copy to produce for them under these circumstances BUT they, in fact, encourage renting from them "locally" when your car is being repaired with no mention of needing a copy of your policy!!

Ok, deeeeep breath!! Nope, I'm still madder than a hornet!!!!!!!!!  My theory, and Mike agrees, is that they saw the really good rate we were quoted and they didn't want to let it go for that little when they knew they could rent it to someone else for more because of the high demand that weekend.  I have even found nothing but awful reviews of that Thrifty location specifically on Yelp. Unbelievable how many people have been treated so horrifically!!  So BEWARE my Spokane/Colville friends!!  Travel agent won't be using them anymore either!

Thursday brought a "playing hooky" day!! Leslie, Mike, Mike and I drove up into Canada. A simply glorious day which had temps reaching 93 degrees in BC, Canada!! The whole time since we've been here the weather has been utterly amazing!  Upper 80s and low 90s! We are happy campers!

Lunch in Nelson, a little shopping, a wonderful walk in the park along Kootney Lake and beach, a drive a bit further up to a Provincial Park where we dipped our toes into the lake and enjoyed the peace and serenity, and then off a bit further north to Balfour for dinner on the patio overlooking the lake and the Ferry!! Isn't retirement grand??!!




The rest of the week was spent visiting and enjoying friends at their homes or out and about at our favorite places - Maverick's and Northern Ales. It's hard to say "Hi" then "Bye" in the same evening. We certainly miss our friends and are so lucky to have so many!!

Mother's Day was spent in Spokane with our daughter, Ara, and grandsons, Robert and Arlo. A delicious brunch and long walk around Corbin Park was enjoyed by us all!!  Lots of hugs, snuggles, and kisses that we've missed!

Mike and Mike are putting up scaffolding and preparing everything for our tomorrow project of putting up cedar siding on the back of their shop. It's all been completed except for the higher area and peak so with 4 of us it should be completed in a day. Yeah, we've earned our room and board!!

More of the same for this whole coming week with every evening booked for dinner with friends and family throughout the county. So looking forward to still seeing so many!!  The weather has taken a turn back to "normal" and the highs are in the low 70s, high 60s. Feels quite chilly but the break from all of the "hot" weather is quite refreshing.

Here's hoping everyone has a wonderful week!!