5 1/2 Months—Week 10


We begin week #10 by moving from the Baker House on Guemes Island Resort, where we spent the weekend, to our new place on the West Shore. The resort faces east looking at Lummi Island with a view of the snow capped Mount Baker in the background (when clouds don’t interfere). The west shore of Guemes faces Lopez Island, then beyond is San Juan Islands, then the Cascades and further southwest is Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada. Of course, you would need a boat or a plane to jump over a bunch of islands in order to get there. We been to them all. Its worth it.


The new place is an older spacious 2 bedroom cabin with a large kitchen, large deck, and a magnificent million dollar view. This is where we will live for the next six weeks–where we will have that first cup of coffee in the morning. In the evening, after a short walk down the hill, we can enjoy the sunset walk on the beach. We’ll look for agates.

One of the things Sandy and I noticed this morning is how literal the street names are here in Skagit County. The drive along Best Street will take you to Tulip Town. If we went the other direction we would be driving on Market to Farm Road. We past Church Road and School House Road yesterday. There is also Beaver Marsh, Bay View, and Swinomish Casino Road. it takes you right to……well, you get it.

This morning, I discovered Mary Anne’s Kitchen. She made a delicious breakfast that was just like eating out of your best friend’s kitchen. So, this what living in small town America is all about. This month is the Tulip and Poetry Festival. There is live music from local bands every weekend at an Anacortes venue or at the Guemes Island Store, or both. If you like live theatre there is the Dolly Parton, 9-5 live musical at the Anacortes Community Theatre from April 5- 28th. It’s hard to miss an event because there are promotional fliers on local business poster boards all over. And, it’s hard to get lost here. Most streets in the City are on the grid A Street through Z Street crossed by 3th Street- through 36 Street. Sometimes they mess you up by throwing in an Avenue. But, lets not get into that. Kelly and Mark live at L and 7th. Brian and Emily are at 12th and just past A. And, Kerry and Kris, live way out there in Mount Vernon. They live off Avon-Allen Road. Of course, that road connects you to the two towns of Avon and Allen. BTW the tulips were beautiful this morning. I wish I could send more pictures. Gotta go…leaving the Anacortes Library now to pick up Sandy. She was volunteering at the Fiddlehead Montessori where Rumi and Teo go. Then, we have lunch by the Bay. Babysit for Anamya at 2;30pm. And, then Ravens baseball practice from 4:40-6:00pm.

It‘s Friday afternoon and we have just arrived at our Holiday Inn Express in Ellensburg, WA. We drove down through the Mount Baker National Forest area. It’s a nice three hour drive with magnificent scenery much of the way. The Mountain’s still have lots of snow but it melts fast at 3000 feet we had 65 degree weather today. So, we saw some nice small waterfalls; lakes, rivers, and creeks full of water. We are meeting Brian, Emily, Fisher and Amaya at the hotel. Tomorrow morning Emily competes an a 50K mountain running event. We will be there at the finish line. Hopefully, I’ll have time to add a few more pictures before this article will post on 4/22.

Emily started her run at 8:00am. At the five k mark she fell for the first of three times for the day. When she crossed the finish line the first thing she said to me was “Happy Birthday.” She was hardly panting and other than some cuts on hands and knees you would have never known she just finished a grueling 50K race–the toughest course of her life. CONGRATULATIONS EMILY!!!



                                                        We moved on to the Guemes Island Resort, owned by our son-in-law, Mark Linnemann this past Sunday. Thanks to his generosity we will be living comfortably with a magnificent view of Mount Baker as we look east each morning.

Our home for the next week is special. It is a deluxe cabin built by our son, Brian. It features a beautiful kitchen, bedroom, living room and steam bath in the shower area. There is a private deck with hot tub in the back surrounded by trees. We are making good use of that already.

The remainder of the resort is somewhat difficult to describe. It offers rustic two-bedroom ocean front cabins, modernized cabins like ours, two large homes for extended families , and it even offers one “tiny house” for rent. And, if you are a camper there are yurts to rent with nearby bath and shower facilities. This is an awesome place for family gatherings, fishing, hiking, kayaking,    biking, clamming and more.

This is the kind of place where you go to “chill” — read a book, get off the grid, have some quiet time for yourself, leave the stress of work or other obligations behind. Try it, you’ll like it. http://www.guemesislandresort.com

Monday morning we decided to get off Guemes and the Fidalgo Islands for a scenic drive over Deception Pass to Whidbey Island. We traveled Hyway 20 through Oak Harbor and eventually visited the small historic town of Coupeville. Worthwhile. Fun time.

One of the investments you have to make when living on Guemes Island is the $136 senior discount auto pass which gets you 20 trips to Guemes by ferry boat. Then, there is the $40 senior walk-on pass for 25 trips. After that investment you have to learn the ferry departure times and the nuances. For instance, Tuesday morning we were surprised by the long line of cars departing Guemes. We got in line at 9:49am and we missed the 10am ferry. We got on the 10:25am arriving Anacortes at 10:40am. So, its not a good idea to be in a hurry to anywhere at anytime. Remember…..just chill.

Sandy has volunteered to work at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church rummage sale gathering and organizing items. After 4 hours work she is allowed to “rummage” before the general public. If you know Sandy you know she is motivated by a good bargain. I think she volunteered so that she can bargain shop for Brian, Kelly and Kerry.

I have volunteered to join Kris and Kelly as coach of an Anacortes Little League team. Two of the twelve players on the team are my two seven year old grandsons, Teo and Sebastian. We had our first one-hour practice Thursday night. This team has moved up from T-Ball to machine pitch. All twelve players had a chance to bat off of a pitching machine for the first time ever. I believe one kid hit the ball in play. If it doesn’t rain next week we have two one-hour practices to get our “Purple Ravens” ready for the first game.






5 1/2 Months– Week 8

All aboard!

Sandy, Emily, Amaya, Kerry, Kris, Sienna, Sebastian, Kelly, Mark, Rumi and I all load food and clothes for an overnight stay on Orcas Island. We had a beautiful smooth boat ride with Mark as our Captain and Kris, as the more than qualified, super-duper deck hand.

On the way to Orcas we stopped at James Island to give the kids a stretch. We hunted for and collected cool rocks, ran around the beach scaring away all varmints and explored the uninhabited Island searching for other humans. None were found. Kelly stayed on the boat to rest her broken foot while the rest of us took the small dingy to shore.

When we arrived at Orcas Island we stayed at the Historic Landmark Hotel, Rosario Resort and Spa. As our boat was secured at the dock Kelly was letting us know that we had less than an hour to unload, register for our room keys, change clothes and then walk to the resort dining room for dinner.

After dinner we went separate ways. Kelly and her family slept on their boat. Brian, who arrived by car, Emily and Amaya went to their room. Kerry and family headed to their room and Sandy and I to ours. I got in the room in time to watch the second half of the Villanova vs Kansas game which of course Villanova won easily.

Easter Sunday morning was FUN. We had our own private Easter egg hunt in Kerry’s condo room and then at noon we joined all other Rosario patrons on the grounds for their scheduled egg hunt.

Our five grand kids were joined by another two dozen kids under age 12 and before you could count to ten all 500 Easter eggs filled with candy were found. Our kids proudly fought their way to their fair share.

The boat ride back to Anacortes was an adventure. I was tossed around looking at times like Pinnochio. Sandy, as you tell, was wide-eyed as Kelly just chills.

Sunday night we headed back to Kelly and Mark’s home while they loaded up some refrigerated food for their family vacation on a small island in Canada.

We will do the house sitting and some babysitting this week which should be fun.

Wednesday through Saturday we lived with Kris and Kerry. Sienna and Sebastian on their two-acre property affectionately referred to as “Big Mama’s Farm.”

Today, Sandy did the power-washing of plastic sheds while Kerry did some ditch digging and replanting. I mowed the lawn, six different sections of acreage. Kris was raking, gardening while he sold about six items to customers world-wide on Amazon.

The kids kept busy, helping at times, when it didn’t interfere with  their more important play time.

As this week comes to a close we accomplished a few things at Big Mama’s including a day of painting white trim to finish up the living room and a bathroom. Kerry and Sandy made big progress on the gardens and the green houses. Kris continues to sell his Marine products inventory as he had a good day of sales in Seattle, Saturday.

We move into deluxe accommodations at the Guemmes Island Resort in the afternoon. More about that next week.

5 1/2 Months – Week 7

The Saturday morning drive from Luke and Amber’s home in Santa Cruz to David and Gretchen’s home in Santa Rosa was, unexpectedly, traffic heavy over the Bay Bridge and most of the way up Highway 101.

Our old neighbors from Compton Heights David, Gretchen, Oliver and Vivie.  

David and Gretchen were totally prepared for our visit. Upon arrival at 12:45 pm, lunch was served. And, WOW what a lunch it was. We started with a Guinnes beer toast. Our lunch was Portillo’s  Italian Beef shipped directly to their home from Chicago.  After a great afternoon walk and hanging with the family we had NY PI Pizza for dinner.

Our private guest room and bath was located above the garage and away from the family so everyone could get a good nights sleep.

Sunday morning Gretchen prepared a delicious breakfast– egg quiche, scones, and fresh fruit. David made his special French Press dark roast coffee with foam cream on top. It was sooooo good.

We really hated to leave Santa Rosa so early Sunday. It was great to see David and Gretchen and it was so cool to see how they included Oliver and Vivie in everything we did. As we got ready to depart Oliver entertained us with an awesome Kung Fu  demonstration.

The Sunday drive through the wine country on Highway 128, then on to Highway 101, then on to the Fort Brag Highway 20 was amazingly beautiful. We ended up driving all the way up through Redwood forest to Eureka, CA to spend the night.

The Monday drive may have been the most beautiful of the entire trip. We stayed on Highway 101 hugging the California Northwestern coast except for when the road veers off for some winding mountain type roads through on the Redwood Highway.

We stopped frequently for photo opportunities- far too many to include in the blog. At Trinidad Bay we spent an hour r more walking up a small rocky hill that jets out into the ocean. We have been hoping to see Blue or Gray Wales but so far no luck. Our view from the rocks edge was spectacular but we haven’t seen any sea life. We did see three Elk in the wild yesterday but that’s about all we can report from our car window.

Today, we have ended our drive in Gold Beach, Oregon. We are staying at a rustic place with an ocean view. Headed out to dinner now and then early to bed.

Tuesday we traveled a short distance up the coast to Newport, Oregon. As I climbed the mountain foothills through the Redwoods I was reminded of the days when I would be driving in the fast lane passing everyone as soon as I could. Today, I drive the slow lanes, far to the right, driving the speed limit or slower trying to notice the running water in the creeks, the large lakes down below in a valley, or peeks at the ocean as we drive by. Cruising along the highway at slow speed with no particular destination is liberating.

We have traveled more than 4500 miles and have not yet seen a Cooling Concepts refrigerated trailer. Somebody, tell my brother Tim he has lots more work to do.

We arrived in Portland in time to do some laundry and visit with Fisher. After a quick snack at Fisher’s favorite Blue Star donuts we had dinner with Jen and Fisher. We all know how much Fisher loves to have his picture taken.

Thursday we showed up at Scott and Emily’s old house in Renton, WA. Ooops my mistake! We were supposed to be at their new house in New Castle, WA.

They have a spectacular new home customized to their taste and they have made it awesome. After a quick walk through the house we headed out to lunch. In downtown Bellevue they took us to Din Tai Fung for one of the best Asian meals we have ever had…..we ordered Taiwanese Soup Dumplings and green beans. Fabulous!!! The pork loin dinner and salad Emily prepared was equally fantastic.

We were entertained by the two boys, Coleson and Teddy, until they went to bed. Thanks to Scott and Emily for moving out of their Master Suite to make room for us. I’m not sure Scott got a good nights sleep but Emily insisted we get the Master and they got the guest room. Scott and Emily are gracious hosts and very good friends.


We finally arrived in Anacortes, Washington. After a brief visit with Kris and Kerry we arrived at Kelly and Mark’s home in time to drive them to LaConner to pick up their boat where it had been getting some electronics updates and engine repair.

Hopefully, all goes well with the boat repair because the whole family will be in it tomorrow as we do some Island hopping on our way to Orca Island for dinner and an overnight stay.

Mark, Kelly, Rumi, Teo, Kerry, Kris, Sienna, Seba, Brian, Emily, Amaya, Sandy and myself all headed for a fun weekend together on Mark’s 36 footer.



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5 1/2 – Week 6

Dinner at Tom Hans Lighthouse overlooking San Diego Bay

Randy and Chris live in Liberty Station which was established in 1923 as a Navy Training Center. The entire area is alive with parks, walk able neighborhoods, great indoor-outdoor restaurants, lots to do. Randy and Chris live the good life in San Diego. We had a great time eating awesome meals and then walking it off. Saturday we walked 7 miles round trip to downtown San Diego with a view of the bay. Plus, I spent a little time, maybe one mile, on a rental bike. The rental was from Lime Bike, an appropriate choice for St. Patrick’s Day. The bike ride actually hurt my aching knees more than the long walk.

Sunday we started the day with brunch at the Broken Yolk and then headed to Pacific Beach and Mission Beach for an interesting 5 mile walk along and among the bikers, hikers, skaters, scooters, baby carriages and runners. This is a great place for sight seeing—the ocean, the beach, the volley ball games, beach soccer games and other things people do on a beach.

Monday morning we started the day with my first ever electric bike ride. We had a short ride in the park and then climbed a hill with ease. Randy installed battery packs on his and Chris’s bike. You can tell which bike I rode from the photo. We need to get e-bikes for rides through Forest Park.

Having a great time with our hosts, Dennis and Brenda at thier beautiful home in San Marcos. 

Dennis and I got in 36 holes at the St. Mark’s Executive course. This par 3 course is challenging. Shot a 76 the first day and a 75 on day two. If I could putt I would be dangerous.

We enjoyed the day trip to the top of Double Peak where you can see Catalina Island and San Clemente and more. We had time and energy that day for a fun pontoon boat ride around San Marcos Lake enjoying good conversation and an occasional beer.

Sandy and Brenda were at the top of their game making fantastic home cooked meals each night we were there. Brenda prepared Jimmy Dean’s home made gravy one morning. So good it is worth bragging about. The bar-b-q pork chops one night and ham and bean soup the other was awesome! Good times-good friends.

Drive from San Marcos to Dana Point on Hyway 5 was easy…arrived in time to take Donna (Sandy’s cousin) to lunch at Proud Mary’s.

Donna, Chris and their 15 year-old son, Kevin were perfect hosts. Kevin is an excellent volleyball player. We got a chance to see him play as his high school team at Dana Point High defeated their opponent two matches to one.

Chris and Donna prepared a scrumptous tri-point beef dinner with green beans. Then, we spent the evening enjoying the most fantastic backyard I have ever seen. The pictures including hot-tub do not do it justice.

We really had an awesome time even though it was a short visit.

Early the next morning we were back on Hyway 5 for a very long drive around Los Angeles. Heavy traffic. Not much fun.

We arrived in Santa Cruz by 4pm just in time to greet Amber when she got home from work. We spent some time visiting with Luke, Amber and Leo then headed for the beach.

The Santa Cruz Warf dinner including ice cream at Leo’s favorite place was great. The walk along the beach and through the Monarch Butterfly park, led by Leo’s full explanation of what were seeing was a delight. He is such a cute kid.

Early Saturday morning we headed north to Santa Rosa. We have so much to share about that visit that we will save it for next week’s blog. Peace-out. Love to all.



5 1/2 Months – Week 5

We got out of Bangor just in time!!! There is another, BIGGER, snowfall due Monday. We departed Bangor Airport  at 7:45am Sunday morning, arrived St, Louis at 2pm. After lunch and nice visit with Brent we were in the car at 4:15pm and on the road. Thanks to Mary for storing some of our winter clothes until we get back in town.

By Monday night, with the help of Paul Simon, Paul McCarthy, Tony Bennett, Lada Gaga, Jerry Garcia, Ray Charles, and Frank Sinatra, we traveled nearly 600 miles to Shamrock, Texas.

We passed the Big EGG (?) three times on the Hyway and then the egg driver truck happened to stop for the night where we did. He said he was not allowed to tell us what he was carting but it was traveling from NY to LA and we’ll see it on National TV soon.  Let us know if you figure out this mysterious package or if you see it on television.

We had a great steak dinner at an authentic Texas steak house– BIG VERN’S

Long drive today from Shamrock, Texas  to Flagstaff, Arizona. We had one interesting stop in Winslow, Arizona. Have you ever hear of the Harvey Girls? We stopped by to see La Posada, the last Great Railroad Hotel built by Fred Harvey. Never heard of Fred Harvey? Neither did we. Apparently, Fred Harvey was quite the entrepreneur in the 1930-40’s. He built luxury hotels along the railroad routes. Teddy Roosevelt, Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper were among the many celebrity guests at the La Posada.

The drive from Kingman, Arizona to Las Vegas through the Kaibab National Forest was awesome. We stopped briefly at the Hoover Dam. It is an amazing building accomplishment but not worth the stop, in my opinion, because of the tourist traffic is horrific.

We spent two nights in Las Vegas and took advantage of the O”Rourke’s new swimming pool and hot tub. The picture, taken by Nettie, is of my lifelong friend Terry and his wife Jo, Sandy and me. Terry and I have been friends since kindergarten. He and Jo, their dog Stella and Jo’s mom Nettie live in a beautiful Mountain View home. Jo had prepared our bedroom and bath like it was a high-end hotel. We enjoyed prime rib dinner at the South Point Casino and then we played a few games of chance at the Silverton Casino. I lost $35 and Sandy won $6 at the penny machine. We left the O’Rourke’s hospitality and friendship Friday morning for the drive to San Diego. The six hour trip through  the Mohave Desert, Death Valley, was highlighted by a lunch stop at Peggy Sue’s Diner located off Ghost Town Road in Yermo, California.    

5 1/2 Months- Week 4

Nancy Dunn, my sister-in-law, gave us a really nice practical gift. It’s a National Geographic Book- Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways. The book lists “the best 275 drives in the U.S.” Most of these byways are off the beaten track. They are literally the roads less traveled. And, although Sandy and I have been to all 50 States I could not count more than 40 of these “best” scenic drives that we have traveled.

Yesterday and today were special days. We left the main roads and traveled bumpy, pot-holed backroads of Maine to discover heaven. Monday we drove up through Ellsworth to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor to find the road to the top of Cadillac Mountain and the Jordan Pond were closed for winter. In fact, most of the restaurants and shops are closed too. So, we skipped the downtown walk along the beach for a scenic drive to Schoodic Point. Schoodic Point is a 2,266 acre reserve with a six mile drive along the windswept granite shores of the Schoodic Peninsula.  Awesome drive and amazing scenery—the pictures will not do it justice.

Tuesday was an equally fun day of driving and stopping for photo opps. We made the Deer Isle Drive. Departing Blue Hill on Hyway 15 we headed straight for Stonington which is a very small old fishing harbor town. There was little to see and not many stores open but luckily the main café was open. Crab soup, coffee and water is all we needed to sustain ourselves until dinner.

For the next few hours we rambled around the Penobscot Bay, Deer Isle area finding one quaint town after the next. The best find for sure was the Tinder Hearth Bakery located somewhere near Brooksville. We bought a round loaf of Maine whole wheat bread and a cookie for my afternoon pick-me-upper. This place must survive on the tourist season because it offers pizza only on Tuesday night if you call ahead to place an order and then come in to pick it up. There is no seating area for the Bakery….you walk in the door and there is the fired up hearth and all of the goodies for purchase. No one takes your money. You pay cash in a tin box and take change if you need it.

Oh, another highlight, we had a huge bald eagle circle in front of us at the tips of the trees as we started our drive south. This a clear sign from heaven that today is going to be a good day. And, it was!!!

I’m writing this from the Blue Hill Library. This afternoon Bangor is supposed to get hit with 10-18 inches of snow. We are looking forward to our first nor’easter since our days in Boston. Flights all up and down the coast are cancelled including our March flight connecting in Philadelphia. We feel like little kids. This will be FUN!

We got 15 inches. Snowed in. Our flights – 4 of them on March 8, were  cancelled. We can’t get out of Bangor until Sunday, March 11. So, we get more beautiful drives and more beautiful photo’s opportunities in Blue Hill, Bar Harbor, and Ellsworth. Today, we took advantage of this inconvenience by traveling to North Harbor, Maine which is located on Mountain Desert Island. We are now back to the Blue Hill Library because it is the most convenient place to get WiFi and have an opportunity to get all of our messages.