Lone Tree Point and Hope Island

Thousand Trails La Conner

Lone Tree Point and Hope Island

The Swinomish Indians share some of their land with the Thousand Trails La Conner Preserve in Washington.  La Conner Thousand Trails  is on the Puget Sound just north of Seattle.  Lone Tree Point is a sacred spot for the natives in the area.

Here’s a map of the area, compliments of the Swinomish Indian Tribe

 

20100901 Usfws Twg Map E1 498x644

Swinomish Indian Reservation

And an aerial view of the point:

2017-06 Lone Tree point

Lone Tree

On the point of land is a single lone tree.  Over the years, storms have ravaged the tree, and it is smaller than it was when we were last here in 2006.  The tribe is growing seedlings from the seeds of the Lone Tree to eventually replace the old tree.  The Swinomish tribe has established a marine interpretive center primarily focused on the clam re-seeding program.  There are several informative signs explaining what the tribe is doing.  They are experimenting with raising clam varieties that are better suited for eating than the invasive non-native pacific clams.

From Lone Tree Point, out in the sound is a large floating nest of pens where salmon are farm raised.  These do not belong to the Swinomish Indians and the tribe has erected a sign explaining the amount of pollution created by these pens.

Getting Some Pictures

Great weather continued during our visit to thousand Trails La Conner, and I spent a couple of hours out on Lone Tree Point enjoying the sea breeze.  On a couple of visits I flew the DJI Mavic Drone to capture the beautiful scenery.

Here’s the flight path on one of the flights (using Air Data):

Hope Island Flight

Hope Island Flight

I have been experimenting with using D-Log and the GC-Heron LUT (Look Up Table) for color adjustment from RTH Studios (non-paid reference).  I have found it a challenge to dial in the drone camera settings and the right post production settings.  More drone photography experiments to come!  {Updated Video with Corrected Color Grading}

 

Back to Oregon

As I mentioned in a previous post about our arrival in La Conner, in May and June we were in the middle of getting my dad’s house  ready for sale.  Fortunately my brother was able to maintain the house and get a new roof up prior to Christine and I arriving to get it ready for sale.  We remodeled the kitchen and bathrooms, put new siding on the house and painted it inside and out.  Thank goodness my younger daughter and her husband were able to take some time off from their busy schedule or we would probably still be up in Oregon getting it fixed up.  Thank you!

Anchor

Dad’s house

What’s next?

As a retired couple full-timing in their RV, life is a breeze, eh?  Not!  We purchased a true fixer-upper close by our daughters in the Sacramento area and are currently busy ripping out carpets, remodeling bathrooms and the kitchen and hauling trash away!  Almost feels like work.  Good thing we have Lola to live in during these crazy times.

We are headed to Albuquerque for the Balloon Festival and are busy planning our winter visit to Arizona and South Texas.  Stay tuned!   We will explore more of Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico on our way to the festival.

Balloon Trip

New Mexico here we come

In the meantime I want to do some reviews of tools we have been using successfully and NOT over the past full year of full-timing in Lola.

Jeff and Christine

 

Happy Trails

 

Whale Watching and Friday Harbor

Whale Watching and Friday Harbor

Trips and Places to Visit while at Thousand Trails La Conner

Whale Watching!  We spent a day in the San Juan islands located north of Puget Sound watching whales and visiting Lime Kiln Point State Park on San Juan Island.

We started off with a ferry ride from Anacortes to Friday Harbor on San Juan island.  The water was calm and weather clear so we could see Mt. Baker in the Cascades and Mt. Olympus in the Olympic range.  I always feel reinvigorated feeling the sea breeze wash over me.

 

 

No drone video for this episode – took the little Panasonic for stills and video using that.  After arriving at Friday Harbor we drove to Lime Kiln State park while we were waiting for our whale watching boat.  You can often see whales from the point, but no such luck this time.  There is a neat little light house at the park you have to check out.

We drove back to Friday Harbor and had lunch then went out on the whale watching cruise.  We took the Western Prince Whale tour.  I have been on a half-dozen whale watching trips in California, Hawaii and the San Juan Islands, and this is probably just about the best.  There was a lot of activity in the pods we watched – so I hope I caught some of the excitement in the videos and pictures.

After getting back to Friday Harbor we got the car and got in line for the ferry.  After talking to the Western Prince folks when we got there they suggested we change our ferry reservations to the last ferry out.  We did, but made it back in time for our original time and was able to change back – getting back to Anacortes and Thousand Trails La Conner in time to share our experiences with the rest of the family who were exploring the trails and beaches at TT.

This was a great birthday present from my eldest daughter and family.  Thank you!

Happy Trails!

 

2017-06 Whale Watching

Whale Watching & Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands

Deception Pass Bridge and State Park

Deception Pass – Puget Sound

Deception Pass State Park is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Thousand Trails La Conner.  We visited the park with our daughters many years ago, and again about 10 years ago when Christine and I took our first vacation ‘without kids’.

 

 

 

Deception Pass State Park – Little North Beach

Little North Beach is the closest beach to the Deception Pass Bridge – a magnificent engineering masterpiece composed of two bridges.  One over Canoe Pass and the other over Deception Pass.  The bridge was built in 1934-1935.  A fun fact from Wikipedia is that it cost more to paint the bridge in 1983 than to build it in 1934!

This is a great place to catch some drone footage, and we did!

There are lots of agates on the beach, this is a great place for any rock hound.  We had Little North Beach to ourselves for most of the time – amazing to have an entire beach for the family during the summer!  The kids and grandkids skipped rocks over the water, watched boats cruise by through the narrow gorge between the islands and soaked up the summer sun.  We truly escaped!

This is only a small part of the over 4,000 acres of Deception Pass State Park.  There are campgrounds, beaches and lots of walking trails to enjoy besides the view of the pass and bridge.

You can see it was fantastic weather in Washington.

Happy Trails!

2017-06 Deception Pass

Deception Pass State Park and Deception Pass Bridge

Thousand Trails La Conner

Camping at Thousand Trails La Conner

We arrived back in California in April, so what’s up with this late post?  May saw the Trippin’ Engles up in Oregon for two months to prepare my dad’s house for sale.  He passed away on December 31st, and we had already started a few things to get the house ready to sell.  While we were gallivanting between Florida and California on our way to Oregon my brother had the house re-roofed and we ordered all new appliances for the kitchen.  We arrived in Eugene on April 30th and worked on the house through July 8th.

We had some great help – our cousin’s son did a home inspection for us and my nephew came up from Ashland to help paint during these first weeks in Eugene.

Take a break, Jeff & Christine!

By the third week of June we were FRIED and ready for a vacation.  Both of our daughters and their families met us up in La Conner to spend a week recharging our batteries and spend time with the grandkids.

La Conner Thousand Trails is on the Puget Sound north of Seattle on the Swinomish Indian Reservation and a perfect place to reset our brains.  I was able to spend some time flying the drone with a captive cast and a beautiful scenery backdrop.

Nestled between the Olympic Mountains and the Canadian Coast range on the west and the North Cascades on the east and the Puget Sound all around we were in heaven!  On top of that we had absolutely  perfect weather.

 

 

Christine bought an inflatable kayak on one of her visits to our cabin outside of Louisville New York and the weather was perfect for us to put it in the water for its maiden cruise (too many ‘gaters in Florida according to Christine).  Christine had also gotten an inflatable paddle board and it was time for it to get wet too.

Here’s our beach video at the boat ramp:

 

We have more to share of our stay at La Conner – we wanted to get this video off and to let you know that we are still around and kicking!

We have great internet now so watch for more soon!

 

Jeff & Christine

Happy Trails

 

 

Lake Minden

Lake Minden, Nicolaus California

 

Lake Minden RV Resort is a NACO/Thousand Trails RV park located in Nicolaus California between Sacramento and Marysville where highway 99 and 70 split.  This is the second time we have stayed at this RV park.  We are staying for 3 weeks.

The park is close to Sacramento and the Lake of the Woods State Wildlife area.  Our daughters live close by and it is a convenient place to camp while visiting family and friends.  We are also catching up on dental, medical and vet check-ups.

Lake Minden has a small lake where fishing is popular with the campers.  The California drought seems to be over for now, and it rained most days for the first two weeks at the campground.  The sites are level, and our campsite finally dried up the last week at the park.  Since we spent most days out visiting and taking care of business it did not impact us too much, but we welcomed having a dry space to enjoy sunny weather the last week here.

The only campsites that have sewer is Section A.  Only one spot was available when we arrived, and we didn’t fit in that site.  Only a few sites in Section A accommodate a 40’ RV.  The other section for RVs is Section D.  The sites have more space but only have water and 30 amp power, so we have to pull around to the dump station to empty our tanks.  We could have paid $25 for the honey wagon to empty us but decided not to use that service.

For the past several months, our Norcold refrigerator has had a lot of condensation that pooled at the bottom of the inside.  I finally took some time to diagnose the issue.  I first checked the drain hose and it seemed clear.  Then I checked where the drain hose connects to the tray under the fins inside the fridge.  I had to take out the restraining bars that prevent the shelves from sliding out then pulled out the tray.  The drain hose connector is broken where it connects to the tray so I ordered both a new drain hose and tray from norcoldparts.com.  Since I was not certain whether the hose came with a new connector or if it was part of the tray I got both.

I also sold the RViBrake2 and got the new RViBrake3 control panel set up.  The Tire Patrol tire monitoring sensors from RVi are not available yet, so we will continue to use the TireMinder sensors for tire pressure monitoring until they come in.  Once the Tire Patrol sensors arrive we will have one control panel for both brake status and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).  We bought the RViBrake3 at the Tucson Escapee Escapade RV rally.

We spent time with our friends and family – here’s pictures from a walk in Rocklin

 

 

Our summer schedule has firmed up, and we will be going up north to Oregon for May and part of June, then up to the Puget Sound area north of Seattle for the rest of June and July.  Then back to the Sacramento area in August to work on a house there.  For the fall, we will be going to the Albuquerque Balloon festival!  We are excited about that.

Happy Trails!

 

Seligman Arizona to Lake Minden California

Seligman Arizona to Lake Minden California

March and April 2017

Route 66 and Seligman Arizona

March

 On our way to the next stop after leaving the Verde Valley is Kingman Arizona.  Before reaching Kingman is the little town of Seligman and a nice stretch of Route 66 that branches off the freeway.  We stopped at a ridge along Route 66 and gave our DJI Drone Eyes Of Lola a chance to stretch her propellers!  Not only did Lola travel route 66, but the drone did too.
About 20 miles down Route 66 is Seligman where we enjoyed walking by old cars and classic neon harking back to the days of 2-lane travel. After buying some Route 66 memorabilia we stepped back outside for some SNOW!  As usual, Sam the yellow lab was in the driver’s seat ready to get back on the road.

Desert Diamond Distillery

Kingman, Arizona

At Escapade in Tucson, we signed up for Harvest Hosts.  It is a service that matches RVers to farms, breweries, wineries and other businesses that let RVers lay-over for the night.  Many of these are a bit off the beaten track and look like fun diversions while traveling.  At the Fourth Street fair in Tucson, the oldest distillery in Arizona – Desert Diamond Distilleries – shared a bit of their product with me.  I am typically not a rum person, but “if you like sippin’ bourbon, you will like Gold Miner Dark Rum”.  With one sip that I could feel from my lips to my toes I knew it is a winer and a bottle slipped into my messenger bag!

Planning our route from the Verde Valley to California took us through Kingman Arizona.  Checking Harvest Hosts guess what business is listed in Harvest Hosts?  You guess it, Desert Diamond Distilleries!  We arrived mid-afternoon after driving a bit of historic Route 66 and stopping at Seligman to buy T-shirts and enjoy a bit of snow.

 

Peggy Sue’s Diner

Yermo, California – April

We drive through a small stretch of Nevada after leaving Arizona where we made a quick side-trip so the dogs could swim in the Colorado river at Bull Head City.  We drove through some beautiful desert country all through Arizona, Nevada and California especially this year after the desert received more rain than usual.  Another Harvest Hosts business is Peggy Sue’s Diner in Yermo, California, where we stayed next.

 

We had a nice dinner in the diner and took the dogs for a walk through a brushy area next to Peggy Sue’s.

Mojave and the Nipton Trading Post

We missed the peak blossoms at the floor of the Mojave, however the weather was perfect and the desert is green.  We traveled the back roads through Mojave and stopped at the Nipton Trading Post for pictures and a break.

Horse Creek Campground

Lake Kaweah, Lemon Cove, California

The drive up along Highway 65 going north from Bakersfield is magnificent this time of year with the wildflowers blooming and the Sierra mountains shining bright with fresh snow.  Our next stop is just outside of Lemon Cove at the Army Corps of Engineers campsite at Lake Kaweah.  The Horse Creek campground is only open from January to May.  After May it is usually under water.

With our senior discount staying at the campground is a real steal.

Lake Minden Thousand Trails

Nicholaus, California

A full post of Lake Minden is here.

 

Happy Trails!

2017-04 Rocklin

2017-04 Peggy Sue