5 1/2 Months–Week 15

At 2:30pm, May 20, Miss Sienna Breckenridge, our granddaughter,
preformed before a crowd of friends and family two of her favorite
selections. Her piano performance was magnificent. Bravo, Sienna, Bravo!

Early that morning Sandy and I began preparations for the drive back to civilization. We were leaving Mazama by 9:30am to make certain we would be back to Mount Vernon in time for the piano concert. We drove highway 20 westward through the Cascade Mountains, witnessing, once again, the splendid beauty God created for mankind to enjoy. This winding drive took us out of the valley to snow covered heights at 7000 feet. The roads were cleared of snow but their was plenty of snow to see at driving elevations and mountain tops far above. Along the way I continued to think, we should stop to take some pictures. But, unfortunately, we didn’t stop at all of these higher elevations.

IMG_3862 We finally pulled over at the Diablo Lake overlook to take one quick picture before jumping back in the car to continue traveling on time.  It’s a beautiful place but I believe we passed far more beautiful picture opportunities at less staged places earlier in the trip.

Monday afternoon we picked up Rumi and Teo from school at 3:30pm to go shopping for Teo’s birthday present and to use the gift certificate that Rumi received from Aunt Judy. This is why Sandy wanted to come to the Northwest for a few months. This is what real grandma’s do. Buying present’s for Teo’s birthday and watching his enthusiasm is far better than ordering via Amazon and getting a Skype thank you call.

In fact, this whole week is filled with such opportunities. Sunday was Sienna’s piano concert. Monday was the Rumi and Teo shopping trip. Tuesday and Thursday were Ravens games with our favorite players, i.e.; Teo and Sebastian. Wednesday was a school play where Sienna had a major role. Friday night was Teo’s birthday party with Pizza, cake and ice cream. And, we have been with Amaya several days this week.

IMG_4302Sienna is the lead actor in a school play called the “The Golden Apple Thief.” She delivered her multiple lines loudly and distinctly. She showed poise and confidence and lots of animation in her performance. She was terrific! Awesome job Sienna, you deserved the standing “O.”

When we returned to Guemes Island tonight I had time to weed-wack around the house and yard at the cabin where we are staying. It looks much better if I do say so myself. Then we had dinner and still enough time for an outdoor hot-tub, The hot-tub sets on a deck facing west looking across the sound to Cypress Island. The view is spectacular. The sun is setting. Far to the south I can see a large car/passenger Ferry headed through the San Juan Islands presumably headed for Canada. Once again, this quiet time provides moments of reflection. We are counting are blessings and thinking about our friends who live in all parts of the country and our loved ones back home.  We miss you all. You are in our thoughts and prayers. I’m glad to report that while we miss you, we are still having FUN in La La Land.

Thursday was golf day at Avalon followed by another Ravens game. I joined three great guys–Tim, Jerry, and Michael for an enjoyable 18-hole round on a tough course. Despite hitting sand traps, two balls out of bounds with penalty strokes, lousy drives most of the day, shooting a nine on one hole and an eight on another, my over all score was 97. Which means I had some very good holes as well as the bad. The highlight of the day was my third shot on a par five from 160 yards out. It ended up 12 inches from the cup. I tapped in for a birdie. Best shot of my golf year! And, I won some money on that shot too.

The Ravens played one of our best games of the year. We had more hits and made more good plays in the field than our opponent. We scored three while they scored zero. But, who’s keeping score? This is a non-score training league.

Friday night is Teo’s birthday party and pizza party. Its also Fisher’s 14th birthday. He is celebrating with his mom in Portland, Oregon.

Our friends, Scott and Emily with their children, Colson and Teddy, are coming up from Seattle for the Memorial Day weekend. We are looking forward to spending time with them. So, I will save all of those pictures and stories from the birthday party’s and their visit for next week’s blog. Week #15 was full of great activities….that’s a rap for now.






5 1/2 Months– Week 14

FDD5A377-BC6A-4A8F-9D6E-9BF563140839Happy Mothers Day to all of the greatest Mothers I know….

If Anacortes is a small town what exactly is Guemes Island? After all, we will be spending two months here. Most mornings we depart for new destinations but always return by Ferry to our cabin and bed. The picture above sums it all up. This little shack sits next to the Guemes side Ferry entrance. All who come and go by bike, hike, or auto will gain valuable information by reading the chalk message boards. Notice there is no information about the Cardinals. There is no news here about the Mariners or anything sports related unless you think fishing is a sport. And, of course, there is no National news at all. By the way, is Trump still the President?

I’m making fun, tongue and cheek, because Guemes Island is a special place. Its a mixture of remote farm land, dense forests with deer running wild, private luxury homes on and off the water and then there are smaller homes, some are beautiful and some dilapidated. The Island has one General Store where you can buy most necessities like beer and bread, wine and cheese, ice cream in waffle cones, it”s where you buy gas at the two pump gas station, it’s a full service restuarant for lunch and dinner, and it”s the local pub as well. Then, there is the Guemes Island Resort (www.guemesislandresort.com). It’s a one of kind place that you have to experience to fully appreciate it. Mark and Kelly have invested a lot of themselves into the place. This labor of love is quite the success. From this time of year until November its sold-out or near so. We are fortunate to spend some nights at the Resort and some nights at the west shore cabin.


4EE608BB-9D5D-4AAA-AF06-74F0D1EFED76 (1)This has been a slow moving week since Mother’s Day. We have had time for walks to the Mad Hatter ice cream store, with Brian and Amaya. We’ve walked the streets of Anacortes to admire landscaped homes and the Azalea’s. They are everywhere!

I had time for nine holes at the Overlook course. Played the nine hole course in one and half hours. This unusual golf course is built in the middle of farm fields. It doesn’t get a lot of play. It’s the only course I have ever come across that offers no T-Times. You just show up and play. Today, I was lucky. No one was in front of me to slow me down and no one behind. So, it felt like I had the course all to myself. It was wonderful!

Thursday afternoon Emily, Amaya, Sandy and I drove up the Mazama where Kelly and Mark have 10-acres and a fantastic cedar cabin home nestled in the woods, located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. The USA Cross Country Ski teams have chosen this area for training because the trails are ideal for cross country skiing. We are here because Emily is running another 50K race.

The Sun Mountain race started in Winthrop, Washington at 8am Saturday morning. Emily started her 50K run with 300 other runners, about 1/2 were  women. Five hours and 47 minutes later she jogs across the finish line finishing in the top twenty among the tough competition of women. CONGRATULATIONS Emily!!!


51/2 Months– Week 13

Week 13 begins on Big Mama’s Farm, a name affectionately chosen when Kris and Kerry purchased a home with a 2 acre lot with loads of potential. This place is heaven for children where they have some responsibility caring for the rabbits, chickens, cat and other animals. Their playground and play yards include plenty of room for a 4-wheeler, a small indoor swimming pool, baseball, soccer, football, finding snakes or whatever.


For the adults, primarily Kerry and Kris, Big Mama’s is a lot of work and well deserved pride in the outcome. The grounds have come a long way from the time they bought the place eight years ago. Despite two years spent in San Francisco and another two years in Bermuda as part of the Oracle America Cup team they now have a landscaped front yard and back yard. The side yards have blueberry trees, a kids playground, covered party house, small art studio structure, Kris’s tool shed, two covered greenhouses, a new greenhouse in the works, bark walk-ways, and lawns always cut and trimmed. Then, of course, there are the tilled gardens where once they were tarp covered weed barriers. The kids planted their vegetable garden this week thanks to the hard work of Kerry, Sandy and some old guy they persuaded to help out.

The shot below is of the Anacortes Harbor which is a favorite spot to take short walks when killing time waiting for kids to get out of school or timing our next Ferry boat to Guemes Island.


Wednesday we had another fun drive. This is something most people would call crazy. We left Burlington at 10am. By 11am we were crossing the Canadian border to check out the BC Ferry drop off point near Vancouver. We then drove into Vancouver for lunch before heading back to the USA. We were safely back to the Guemes Ferry by 4pm. Fun day for those of who don’t mind 4 hours in a car exploring roads never traveled by us previously.

Thursday begins with the Ferry ride. I take Rumi and Teo to school, then I’m off to Mary Anne’s Kitchen for breakfast. The next stop is Pelican Bay Books and coffee house. I purchase two books. It’s a rainy morning good for reading, writing and contemplating. Sandy and Kelly spent the morning shopping. Thursday evening was Little League, Ravens, game six. We were outplayed soundly. We only scored one run and looked bad doing it.

Friday night was a hoot. Sandy signed up for a dinner and Rosary on a boat. That’s about all she knew about the evening. Her new found friends from St. Mary’s had invited her out. She said yes. When Sandy arrived at the pier, to her total surprise, she found 150 people loading on to a whale watching vehicle. She was departing at 5pm and would’nt return until 9:30pm. One Mass, one dinner, and four Rosaries later she returned, disembarked the boat for a mad dash for the Guemes Island Ferry. I can safely say she will never do that again. My evening was sane. Dinner with Brian and Amaya (Emily had to work) and then desert at the Mad Hatter.

4EE608BB-9D5D-4AAA-AF06-74F0D1EFED76 (1)


5 1/2 Months—Week 12

The good life….enjoying the hot tub with Sienna and Sebastian on Guemes Island West Shore. And, dugout injury, game one of the Little League season.


Week #12, can you believe it? We left St. Louis February 8th and tomorrow is the first day of May. This week we have big plans– two Ravens games, golf planned for Wednesday, Sandy will be showing her new friend around Guemes Island that day, Monday we plan to drive up to Mount Baker and then this Saturday we will heading to Seattle for a Sounders vs Crew professional soccer game.

IMG_3738Mount Baker

Monday’s drive to Mount Baker was an hour and half of winding roads slowly climbing the foothills through the Evergeens. As we drove on we noted the temperature plummeting from 55 degrees to 40 degrees. When we reached the Mount Baker ski area, which officially closed on April 22nd, we passed eight foot snow drifts with snow covering most of the area, but melting fast.

Thursday night our Ravens Little League team had only eight of twelve players show up for the game. So, we were a little short handed in the outfield when chasing line drives hit by the other team. It’s a good thing the outfield grass wasn’t cut. We held every batter to a looong single. What a game the Ravens played! We had twelve hits in two innings. In the 2nd inning we had eight batters in row hit the ball in fair territory. This is a miracle! The game ended on Ava’s first hit of the season. What an exciting post-game celebration!

Friday we had an enjoyable day babysitting for 4 year-old, Amaya. We spent the entire day on Guemes Island moving from one childhood adventure to the next. Amaya has quite the imagination and she wants Grandma and Grandpa to play along. Then, Saturday morning at 8am we were on the Ferry headed to the dog kennel to leave Mesa Ruby.  After the successful dog drop off we headed to Seattle for the Sounders game. The flag waving, singing crowd and total game ambiance was worth the price of admission. And, it was a good thing too because the Sounders looked awful in a 0-0 tie.




5 1/2 Months — Week 11




More than once I have told you about the beautiful drive through parts of the USA. Today’s drive on Highway 97 to Highway 2 through the Wenatchee National Forest has to be one of our best on this trip. Ellensburg to Leavonworth is an hour and 15 minute drive. The little town of Leavonworth is a tourist trap town duplicating authentic towns in Germany, or so they say. I would guess, probably not.


Tuesday was a special day for me. Fisher and I spent three hours together at the Swinomish Golf Links. I got in 14 holes and Fisher was my caddie. He drove the golf cart choosing to head into the mud holes not around them. He learned a little bit about the game of golf. Shared excitement with my good shots and hung his head with my bad shots. Really a GREAT TIME.

Tuesday, April 24, 6:00PM Opening Day for the Anacortes Ravens!

What a game…we had eleven hits in four innings. We actually threw out two runners at first base. The machine pitcher struck out 10 of their batters and 12 of ours. It was an epic pitching dual  won by no one since runs scored are not kept. But, I was the score keeper coach, so I know we had two runs.

Wednesday was another beautiful travel day. Brian, Fisher, Sandy and I drove along the Chuckanut Highway to the historical Fairhaven District of Bellingham.


We enjoyed a great walk along the water edge and then a very good lunch at the Boundary Bay Brewery. What a fantastic fun day!


Thursday was game two for the Ravens. The Ravens had twelve hits, scored five runs, two kids crying after striking out, one center fielder who left the field in middle of the game to go pee, six coaches to manage nine kids with three no shows. two line drives caught, no one thrown out at first base in the entire game. You gotta see it to believe it!


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.