Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Casino Camping and Red Tailed Surfperch

The entrance to our campground.
The sounds were electronic, like walking into the area at the fair where the Whack-a-Mole resides. Colored lights were everywhere; flashing, blinking, trying to get your attention. But even more noticeable was all the smoke! Not the smoke from forest fires! Smoke from cigarettes. We were visiting the Snoqualmie Casino. I think the last time Linda and I were in a casino was in Las Vagas and we had just gotten off the Colorado River. The casino parking lot was to be our camping spot for this night on our road trip to Westport. The parking lots were well lit and looked safe.  Inside the casino, we were both not comfortable as we wandered around. We spent some time checking out the gaming area, stood and watched a few minutes, and then headed back to our camper. The smoke was just too much for us to handle. That brief half hour of casino life was enough for us.
Checking out the view.

Walking to our campsite located in a lower parking lot under a big street light, we noticed how clean the area was. This free camping might be something we could use more often.

Earlier that day, we had driven west leaving Post Falls and a little forest fire haze behind. Linda needed an ocean fix so we were dropping in to visit Don and Caroline in Westport, WA. As the miles passed the smoke grew thicker. The plan was to camp somewhere over by Vantage, WA, but as the miles ticked off and the smoke blanketed the Wheatland. We adjusted our plans and kept pushing, searching for smokeless skies.

We made it!!!
We crossed over Snoqualmie Pass and the smoke cleared, but finding a camping spot was a bit harder. Linda checked the Free Camping website and noted that the Snoqualmie Casino was recommended as a semi-quiet free spot so we headed there.

Once we parked and explored a bit we settled in and ate dinner. Our location was good in that we were parked in a safe zone. The light from the street lamp was very bright so it took some doing to get the camper dark enough to sleep, but we were successful.

Traffic was consistent and the gamblers came and went. Some folks stood outside and talked but all in all, it wasn't the worst spot we have camped.  In the morning we packed up and drove on.

Linda beach running with surf fishing happening beyond.
Just after hitting the road, I noticed that the check engine light had come on in the truck. Linda got out the truck operational manual and read about the indicator. It said that we could still drive the rig as long as the indicator didn't flash. With reluctance, we pushed on.

Traffic in the Tacoma/Olympia area was terrible! We spent most of our drive bumper to bumper crawling along. As we neared our exit to Aberdeen, Linda called the Dodge dealership in that city and they said we could stop there and get a reading on what the warning light was saying.

When we arrived we drove directly into their service entrance and a young fellow checked out the code. It had something to do with the transmission and so the first fellow went and got a crusty old mechanic who brought a bigger code reader box. He plugged it in and mumbled as he talked to himself.

Red Tailed Surfperch.
After reading the code and griping about life, he basically said that if the transmission was working ok, then he would drive it and we could probably make it back home. He said that everything read normal and that the code may have been a glitch. He reset the indicator and sent us on our way. He also said that if the light came back on and didn't flash, then we could probably make it home and get it repaired there. Then he huffed and said that he wasn't going to tear it apart on a Friday afternoon, that was for sure.

We thanked everyone and drove on to Don and Carolines, our truck showing nothing to be concerned about.

At Don and Carolines we relaxed, watched football and enjoyed our visit.  We really enjoy those two and love just being around them.  We laugh and talk about what's happening in the world. Don tells stories and we eat and drink.

Bennett at Bennett's.
Caroline and I went surf fishing for Red Tailed Surfperch.  We pulled on our waders and took our rods and reels in hand and marched into the waves. I used a Carolina rig with worm bait and Caroline used a pyramid weight and hook with clam bait. The first time we went to the shores the sun was out and the ocean was calm.  We caught a few, but nothing to write home about.

The next time we went out it was raining, windy and the surf was big.  I caught one fish on my first cast but that was all, we were not very successful.  I would say that we learned a lot about surf fishing, but not enough to brag.  We'll have to give it another chance when we visit again.
Almost bought one, maybe next time.

Caroline, Don, Linda and I went into Westport and ate dinner at Bennett's Fish Shack. They have some of the best fish and chips around so we all loaded up. Don's sons, Chris and Eric had been out fishing over the weekend and we were able to spot their boats in the marina across from the Shack. This confirmed that they were safe from the harsh seas that the weather was providing.

On Monday morning we loaded our camper and headed out. Don and Caroline were packing to go camping at Ft. Worden up by Port Townsend so we needed to get out of their hair and let them go.

We chose to drive home via highway 12. south of Mt. Rainier. We felt that this would get us past all the traffic and road work that we endured on our trip over and would only add a little time to our trek. The plan was to break the trip into two segments like we did on the way over and camp somewhere along the way easing the driving burden.

All was well as we veered south and crossed US-5. Then the check engine light lit again.  I made the decision to continue on because the truck was running like a dream, but I said we would drive home all the way today and get it in for repairs ASAP.

We were cruising and enjoying minimal traffic. Our route took us through Mossyrock and up to White Pass. We were making time and then came the construction. In one area, they were clearing up the results of rock slides. This cleanup stopped us several times for a few minites each time. We continued on.  At one point they detoured us onto a very curvy nerrow road thet led around Rimrock Lake. This detour took forever and we had to drive 25 mph all the way. By the time we reached Naches we were well behind schedule. The truck was running beautifully so we pushed on.

It was smooth sailing and as we approached Ritzville. We finished our book on CD and Linda picked up her phone to check Facebook for stories that she could read to me to entertain me as I drove. There was a traffic warning posted about some power lines that were stopping traffic on our route through Spokane. GREAT!

Linda watched the news feed as we approached our final traffic test. When we arrived everything was moving as smooth as silk heading east.  The west lanes were blocked by a huge wreck, it didn't affect us, but boy did we feel bad for everyone involved over there. We drove on into Post Falls and parked the truck. I was stressed to the max but the work was done.

We unloaded the gear, ordered pizza and watched America Ninja Warrior! Tomorrow I will get our truck into the doctor and get everything taken repaired.

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