Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday, Day 25 - Bismarck ND to Traverse City, MI

We haven't blogged since Tuesday? We have gone from Bismarck, ND to a night in Duluth (cold place) to a night in Marquette in the U.P. (still cold) to our favorite place outside of home ... Park Place Hotel in Traverse City.

We have traveled just over 5,000 miles. We decided to use this blog to highlight our favorite and not-so-favorite aspects of the trip. We've also posted a few pictures of some scenes from this section of the trip.

1. Favorite man: The man smiling from ear to ear on the side of the road as he watched his dog take a poop (he really looked like "he" was enjoying it more than the dog).

2. Least favorite women: Lady in the pool who knew David was swimming in a particular lane and she just stood in the middle of the lane when he was ready to swim back.

3. Favorite gorge or section of highway: Entering Utah from Idaho. Would do it again tomorrow if it wasn't 2,000 miles away.

4. Least favorite section of highway: All of Nebraska.

5. Favorite meal: Steak sandwich at the Rusty Moose in Spokane, WA

6. Least favorite meal: breakfast at Krolls Diner in Bismarck, ND (we stopped because it was voted the "best breakfast in North Dakota." All we can think is that there are some pretty bad breakfast places in North Dakota.)

7. Favorite thing to hope for: Seeing Elk each day at the Big House in Tillamook, OR.

8. Least favorite thing to do: Not see any Elk in Tillamook, OR at the Big House.

9. Favorite Bumper Sicker: A bumper sticker in Tillamook that read, "Treat your children nice ... they will pick your nursing home."

10. Least favorite car: Subaru. It has two speeds: SLow and Slower. No matter what the driver looks like there is a little old lady inside them.

11. Favorite speed limit: Montana at 75 and all the bends in the road.

12. Least Favorite speed limit: 50 going through the wilderness in Minnasota with no other traffic for miles.

13. Favorite hotel: Park Place in Traverse City (high rates, small room, great view, wonderful tradition to end our trip here each year).

14. Least Favorite hotel: AmericaInn in Wyoming where we forgot we made reservations and stayed at the Holiday Inn instead. They still charged us $110.00.

15. Favorite thing to find: A Starbucks in North Dakota when we had driven 450 miles.

15. Least favorite thing to find; No Starbucks in a town ... why wouldn't Traverse City have a Starbucks (other than one in Meijers)?

16. Favorite accomplishment: 750 miles riding in one day our 2nd day.

17. Least favorite day: The day after riding 750 miles and not finding a hotel with a room and then realizing we had made reservations at a AmericaInn (the same one that won't give us our money back for not calling them even though we didn't stay there).

18. Favorite desert: Peach cobbler in Utah.

19. Least favorite desert: No such thing?

20. Favorite evening activity: Going for a walk at the Big House trying to be quiet to see a bear.

21. Least Favorite evening activity: Watching Animal Planet a week later and they re-enacted bear attacks where the bears killed people who were walking too quiet in the woods.

22. Favorite State: Washington - way too much to see in the day and 1/2 we were there.

23. Least favorite state: Nebraska or Illinois

24. Favorite Harley Dealer: We must be getting too seasoned on our trips since we stopped at very few. However, the Harley dealer in Portland built a chrome clamp for our new GPS. Looks great. And, they did it for free.

25. Least favorite Harley Dealer: One in Seattle that has no bikes - just shirts. What a waste.

26. Favorite thing to visit: The YMCA in Tillamook to go lap swimming each each day.

27. Least Favorite thing to visit: Gum wall in Seattle - a wall where people chew a piece of gum and stick it to the wall. Why?

28. Favorite thing to do: Be together

29. Least favorite thing to do: Get up in the morning

30. Favorite thing to plan: Next years trip - Muskegon to Mobil, AL to San Antonio Texas to Yellowstone, to South Dakota to Northern USA-Canada Boarder to Muskegon.

31. Favorite fun thing to do: Hang out with grandkids and kids in Portland and Tillamook.

32. Favorite funny thing to do: Down load the sounds of Elk calling on David's iPhone via You-Tube and walk through the woods in Tillamook hoping to call a moose.

Picture of Tunnel of Trees on US 119 North of Traverse City:

Picture of kids diving into Lake Superior (55 degrees) in Duluth:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Seattle, WA to Bismarck, ND

WOW!!! What a ride. We have gone 1,350 miles since we left Seattle on Sunday and every mile was a Kodak moment. We could have stopped at any mile marker to take a picture (but, we would still be traveling). It is really hard to take it all in. Montana is great. When they say, "Big Sky Country", think bigger. When they say "gorge" they don't mean a hole in the ground ... they mean your eyes hurt from all you are taking in. If they say "Over the next pass" they mean hold on and watch each curve in the road (don't ask Robin about David taking one at 75 m.p.h. and getting the "line" wrong.). Also, if you are in Butte, MT don't ask the lady at Walmart if they have a Starbucks in town. She will take a personal offense to the question. Her exact words, "I don't do the coffee scene."

In Montana, Cowboy hats and boots out number baseball caps and sneakers, 10-1. Gorges almost out number the number of clouds we saw and it seems like mountains out number people. When they put a sign up on the road that warns about possible animals crossing in the road, it simply states: "Game Crossing" ahead. They can't use just one animal or picture.

Their food is as good as their landscape. We ate at the Rusty Moose in Spokane (right on the edge of Washington and Montana) and he ordered the Outlaw Steak Sandwich (12"). It is by far the best sandwich ever consumed. He ate 10" of it and brought the rest back to the room where he simply forgot it the next day.

Here are some pictures but we didn't take too many. It was just too much fun riding and gawking.

Tomorrow: Duluth, MN (We think the great landscape is done until we get to the U.P.).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Headed Home - Starting in Seattle

We woke up on our 22nd day, 2,250 miles from home. So, we set the GPS for "boat" and took off. Before we did, we attended church in Seattle at a satellite church for Mars Hill, Seattle. They have three or four such churches. It was a great service. We headed for Spokane, WA, 290 miles to the east and closer to the boat. Here are some pictures of our visit to the Space Needle and Pike Street Market famous for the Pike Street Fishery, First ever Starbucks and the famous gum wall (you chew gum and stick it on a wall ... think "your desk in 7th grade ... we took no pictures of the wall ... too disgusting ... people in Seattle are a little different at that wall is a landmark). The gospel quartet video is a group singing outside the first Starbucks.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 20 - Back in Portland

Robin instructed David to "hire" Aiden to clean the bike. So, after a quick lesson in capitalism (Aiden didn't listen to the part about savings, college and investments), Aiden finished cleaning Grandpa's Harley and then headed off to the Build the Bear Shop. Here are some pictures of our morning of cleaning and shopping. During the cleaning time it should be noted that Aiden asked for several "breaks" like "his dad takes at work."

Day 19 - Oregon Coast Ride

We finally left the Big House in Tillamook. The only problem with staying in a 7,000 square for log home for a couple of weeks is cleaning it. When you are used to cleaning a 300 square foot boat it is a little different. David even vacuumed ... yes, that's right ... with a real vacuum. It took him most of the day.

Although we were headed for Tiffany's house in Portland for a couple of days before heading home, we decided to take a ride down the Oregon Coast. We went from below 50 degrees along the ocean and then up to 90 degrees when we got to Portland. We only took one picture but it does show the rugged Oregon coast and some of the many scenes we past.

We also added a picture from Tammy's super camera of a Starfish from the Tide Pools from the other day. It really shows what we wanted to show you from our picture.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 15 - Tillamook, OR

We are still at the big house on the mountain. It is going to be hard to leave. Robin is in love with the kitchen (when you live on a 300 square foot boat a 300 square foot kitchen is heaven for a cook like her). David is in love with the fire place (even on 90 degree days he likes to start a fire ... no, not in Robin's heart ... in the fireplace). The kids did drag us away from "Shiloh" (name given my the owners of the home) and took us to Ocean City Beach. The tide was up but we did get some great pictures. Take a look.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 13 - Tillamook, OR

Here are some of the pictures we took of being up on the mountain with the clouds rolling in. We have never seen a sunset over the ocean that was also above the clouds.

I also included a the little test for you all from yesterday: Who really ordered all that ice cream? Aiden or Grandpa?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 11 - Tillamook, OR

Still no internet unless we go to town. We can post something written via our iPhones but no pictures unless we go to town. So, we are in town. Three miles or so down the mountain and then six or seven miles to town and we are here. So, why no pictures? David left the cord on top of the mountain to connect to the iPhone camera to download the pictures and video. So, you will have to pretend we posted the following pictures.

Pretend you now see the top of the clouds. We are on top of the mountain but there is cloud cover on the valley floor. So, the picture is from the BIG HOUSE on top of the clouds. Gives the expression, "head in the clouds" a whole new meaning.

Pretend you are looking at three large scoops of Mint Chocolate Chip, Oregon Strawberry and Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream. In the background of one picture you have Aiden with a spoon and a big smile. In the other picture you have the same ice cream scoops with David and a very large spoon in the background. Which one ordered the three large scoops from Tillamook Cheese Factory where they make their own ice cream: Aiden or David? (If you don't know, just look at the bellies of each of them and you can tell who makes the habit of ordering ice cream this way.)

Pretend you are looking at a video of a deer in the front "lawn" of the BIG HOUSE. The deer is moving back into the woods because it is tired of David staring at it. Great video - but embarrassing for the doe, however. Her hair was not done and her nails needed work.

Pretend you are looking at a storm coming in over the ocean and across the valley and you are above the storm. Nice shot with the camera but an amazing thing to see from above the storm clouds.

Pretend you are seeing Robin in ... Oops! Not supposed to post that picture ...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 10 - Tillmook, OR

We spent our first full day in Tillamook getting a car (can't take the Harley up and down the three mile dirt driveway to the house on the mountain). We did find the YMCA and Robin got David back in the pool for some lap swimming. David did get some writing in for the first time on the trip. He started a new book entitled, "Foxes in the Vineyard.". It is a book about the little things that destroy relationships. The highlight of the day was seeing a coyotee outside our house. It was a young one who wandered almost to our door.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 8 a Tillamook, OR (no Internet)

We are in the house on the mountain in Tillamook, on the ocean on Oregon's coast.  The house is so huge our boat could fit in the living room.  It has everything but Internet access - but who needs it with the view of the ocean, bears, elk and mountains?  We have to use our iPhone to update the blog but haven't figured how to post pictures, only brief comments.   We will post picture when we go to town Robin insists we go in each day to the YMCA and swim

We are having a great time.  David misses riding the Harley everyday, but he is anxious to final start writing.  The house is more than a great place to write.  

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 6 - Portland, OR

Seven things you should know about taking your grandkids to the movies while on vacation in order to make the day a success:

1. Pick a good movie - Toy Story 3 is one of those movies.

2. Don't try to watch a World Cup game on your MobilTV on your iPhone during the movie ... your grandson will point out that your not watching the movie.

3. Throw-in a train ride to get to the movies. (However, make sure you know how to purchase a ticket from the machine at the train station or your grandkids will have to show you how to do it).

4. Make sure the movie theater is at the mall near a Build a Bear store. (Did you know they actually bring a bear to life in that store?)

5. Make sure there is a Barnes and Noble near by and you can find a good Where's Waldo book (my eyes hurt from the strain of searching for Waldo).

6. Walk back from the train station and watch your grandson splash in puddles on the walk back to the house.

7. End the day with a camp out in a tent ... on the deck.

Great day today in Portland ... not a bad movie, either ... plus, we had a great time and didn't even ride the Harley ... it was raining.

Day 5 - Portland, Oregon

Snake River, Twin Falls, ID

The Gorge and Red Neck Cafe.

We made it. It was a great ride. 2,424miles. Coming in on Thursday was an awesome ride. We started in Boise, Idaho and rode next to the snake river most of the morning. We ended, of course, in Portland but for the last 135 miles we road along side the Columbia River through the Columbia River Gorge. One of the most longest-scenic rides we have been on. But, the scene never gets old. Here are some pictures.

Here are two pictures of the Snake River in Twin Falls, ID. We stayed in Twin Falls in 2008 on our trip to the West Coast.

We also stopped to eat at the Red Neck Restaurant when we entered Oregon. It is not a Starbucks .... just to prove we don't only stop at Starbucks.

We are in Portland and our son-in-law, Jeremy, made us a great dinner. It was great to spend the evening with family.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 4 - Bosie, Idaho

Great ride into Idaho. Very scenic and hot, but a great ride. We only went 300 or so miles, got into Boise early and spent time around the city before checking into a great hotel for the evening. We thought we would give you our "Most Awards" for the trip so far.

1. Most foolish statement: We are at a Harley dealer in Wyoming and we ask a guy who is sitting outside the dealer, "Do you know if there is a Starbucks close by?" He answers, "No, I never really thought about paying twice as much as I need to for a cup of coffee." He says this and pulls away on a Harley he paid $20,000.00 plus for and could have bought a Honda or Yamaha for half as much.

2. Most surprising statement: "Do you want ice cream with that black berry cobbler?"

3. Most in your face statement: When David asked our waiter in Egdon, UT if the clouds we had seen all day ever really produced rain or just faked it, the waiter replied, "I'm a waiter, not a weather man ... how would I know." (David still left him a tip).

4. Most honest statement: We asked the hotel clerk in Egdon, UT if there was a Starbucks in the direction we were going. He stated, "Nothing that way but Jack Rabbits."

5. Most shocking statement: We went to a movie in Boise, Idaho and paid $20.00 for two tickets. When we ordered two pops and a bucket of pop corn the cashier said, "That will be $18.50, please." (It was nice that she said please for such an outrageous price).

6. Most kindest statement: "Sir, I have $49.00 worth of coupons for this restaurant that I can't use and would like to give them to you for your meal tonight." (Some 20 year old in a Sports Bar in Iowa City, Iowa.)

7. Most favored statement: When we used the $49.00 to pay for our $25.00 meal we asked the waitress if we could give those left over to someone else and she said yes. We gave them to her and she said thanks.

8. Most delightful statement: "Mee-ma, Mee-ma," Said by Aiden when Grandma Robin got off the Harley and got her first hug since January.

9. Most possible comment to sleep alone: We are sitting at an iHop for breakfast and Robin looks at David and without smiling and quite seriously says, "Oh, look, honey ... they have a senior menu for you." (David did not order from the senior menu).