Monday, August 26, 2013

Here's How It Happened.

Eleven days ago we were just beginning to plan our next big adventure.  We had been invited to travel with friends East to Yellowstone National Park to sight see and do some fly fishing.  We were excited that Darren and Marcy had invited us to tag along and were eager to hear their itinerary. 

As the week progressed we gathered more information about their plans and realized a few logistical problems. Foremost of these was the fact that I needed to be back to Coeur d'Alene in time to pack my boat and get ready for a raft trip down the Lower Salmon River to do some Steelhead fishing and Chukar hunting. If we were to tag along with the Upchurch's then we would have to leave them before we got to do any of the fun things, like fishing. Disappointed, we we called our friends up and bowed out of their plans.

This all happened just before the weekend and on Saturday morning Linda got a call from our friends in Westport. Caroline had just finished up making all the plans for them to do a Holland American Cruise up the inside passage to Alaska.  She was so excited because it was a very good deal and asked if we wanted to go with them. We were immediately thrown into a tissy. Accepting their invitation would mean that we would have to book the trip in the next day or so to get the good deal. We had to find a house sitter, get everything in line for the adventure and commit!

Our first call was to Fatima our house sitter.  We lucked out! Fatima was free to stay at the house and take care of Kobi!  The wheels started turning and, of course, Linda started making a list for our possible trip to Alaska.  We called Caroline and Don, got all the information, and booked our passage on the cruise liner.

On the first day of Linda's retirement we will be on a ship heading for Alaska! We are very excited and I will be posting photos and notes on Canyonwren Travels as we make our way to Alaska and back. 

You can check out our route by exploring this Google Map, Trip to Alaska with Don & Caroline.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

On the Road to Westport

We caravanned down the highway, sometimes Mike Anderson led but most of the time Linda and I were in the lead. Our destination was Westport, Washington to catch some fish, visit Don and Caroline Samuelson and do some camping. Leaving exactly a 7:00 AM, we traveled without a problem, only missing one turn during the entire adventure. We arrived in Westport a bit before 3:00 PM. Linda and I went to Don and Caroline’s and Mike and the boys traveled on to Twin Harbors State Park.

We had a wonderful dinner with the Samuelsons; Caroline made tortilla soup with all the fixings, Don’s son and our boat captain, Eric, joined us and so did Eric’s son, Peter. They had both been out fishing that day and told us their boat had limited out.  This made me feel better and helped ease any concerns I had about the next day’s adventure.
I went to bed as soon as I could.  I had to be at the boat by 4:00 AM which meant I needed to get up at 3:00 AM!

Mike catching some Zs as we run North.
The alarm jolted me awake and I gathered all the gear I had put together the night before and hit the road.  I drove Don’s truck into town and left it in the parking lot for the day.  I was the third person to step aboard the Playboy II that morning; I guess I was a bit early. For the next hour, fishermen stumbled aboard, coffee in hand, eyes half closed. Mike and the boys dragged themselves aboard looking a bit worse for wear. Turns out they had run into a few beers the night before and had to drink them before they got warm.

The boat left the dock at 5:30 AM and ran north to an area where the sea bass were holding.  We fished for about two hours catching 140 fish. The limit is 10 fish each and we had 20 folks fishing so we could have brought another 60 fish on board.  The group fishing had several non-fishing types so we missed our mark by a bit.

Next we ran south for two hours to where the salmon had been biting.  Once we were set up the “Fish on!” cry began.  During the day I caught five keepers, two Kings and three Coho. I also caught five other Coho, but they were wild and had to be released.  Mike and the boys caught only one keeper but they also caught many wild fish.
Once the day was done we ran back into the harbor and they divided up all the fish. I kept the King and a large Coho. This filled my limit so I gave Mike and the boys the rest of the keepers I caught. They were driving home the next morning so we said our good byes at the parking lot. I drove home arriving just in time for a spectacular grilled salmon dinner.

Cleaning the bottom fish.
Linda went to bed and I took a dip in the hot tub. It took me exactly one minute to fall asleep once I hit the pillow.
The next day was a day of rest.  We stayed out on the deck most of the afternoon sunning ourselves while the fog stayed off shore.On Wednesday we helped Caroline and Don hook up their new Casita and we drove up to a campground at Lake Wynoochee.  There were a few sites available, but only two were close together so we grabbed them.
The catch.

Note on campsite choice: Always look at the site next to you and if there are three tents and two EZ-up shade units with couches around the fire pit, move on and find another spot.  We failed to note this and so we were stuck next to a huge group of loud talkers. In fact, the group had three sites, one next to us and two across the road.
 We did the best we could to avoid the crowd. It became a bit of a joke between our groups; it seemed like the entire campground was nice and quiet except for the area around us. We designated the upper loop as the suburbs and our sites as the ghetto.
Pointing a bird.

Thursday morning Linda got up and walked down to the beach. We joined her and staked out a table far away from the beach area. It was nice and Linda chose it because she had walked down to the beach the day before and noted that it was busy with families.  This area was not a high use area.

Kobi watches Sam and Ruby work.
We set up our towels and settled in for a quiet morning.  Not twenty minutes later some of the folks from the sites around our camper arrived at the beach.  They scanned the beach. There were only one group besides us at the beach and they were at the far end on the grass. Where did they decide to set up for the day?  At the picnic table right next to us!  They could have at least moved one table away, but no.  The crowd grew and so did the sound level.  A boom box appeared followed by a wakeboard boat, complete with rap music blaring from chrome speakers.
Bug on the deck.

At that point I left and moved to our camp area. Don and Caroline moved down the beach where it was quiet and Linda hung in there, stubborn, not willing to give up her spot.

Back in camp I read and when Linda returned we started playing cribbage.  Linda looked up as a camper pulled up and stopped.  Out popped Larry and Maggie; they had driven down to join us.  They found a spot in the suburbs and came over to play cribbage.  Caroline and Don fixed dinner and we all laughed and talked, catching up on the past year.
From the deck of Don and Caroline's house. (Downriver)
(Looking upriver)

The next morning we baked some scones and everyone gathered at Caroline and Don’s for coffee and warm treats. Larry and Maggie had to get on the road so they left at about 8:00 AM, we packed up and then helped Don and Caroline get their Casita hooked up. While we were packing Don went in the trailer and Caroline put Ruby and Sam into their truck.  Not long after that we heard the truck horn honk. We looked at Sam sitting in the driver’s seat and laughed.  The horn honked again and we thought Don was playing a trick on us while he was in the trailer.  We laughed again, telling Don that we had figured him out.  The horn honked again and we went to the truck to see what was up. Sam was sitting on Caroline’s jacket, moving his butt, honking the horn. We laughed until we tried the door.  It was locked.  The only set of keys was in Caroline’s jacket and Sam was sitting on them locking the door! Oh, boy!
The new Casita on its first camping trip.

We started a campground search for a clothes hanger and a nice guy from a neighboring campsite came over with a hotdog fork.  He and I worked on the driver’s side window and got the fork into place and luckily we were able to hit the electric lock and unlock the truck.  Boy were we lucky! Once we got past the lock situation we were on the road back to Westport. 
Lake Wynoochee.

The dam at Lake Wynoochee.

Linda, Maggie, Larry, Caroline and Don eat dinner.

Mole, caught in the act. No more digging!

This pict. shows the damage one mole can do in one night.