We had such a great time last year for Heidi's 40th at Rod and Polly's place, we managed to horn-swaggled another stay this year (2007). Even thought their kitchen wasn't quite finished and they had a big annual 4th of July party to throw, they graciously put us up for the entire week! This trip we decided it would be fun to drive, see a bit of the country side and, of course bring some model airplanes! This also allowed us to stop by Heidi's college friends Suzie and Tom's place in Portland. They even gave up their bedroom for a couple of very tired travelers as I think we had been driving for 18 or so hours. We decided on a route that took us north out of Denver to Wyoming to pickup I80 East across the southern part of the state and then to Salt Lake to pickup I84 through Idaho and on into Oregon. I84 takes you along the Columbia river to the west of Portland and some really beautiful scenery. We did stop to take a few photos of the river, but mostly because we saw a PBY Catalina; an old WWII Amphibian sea plane being transported on three semi-trucks. What a sight! Oh, the river was pretty too...
We finally rolled into Portland and to Suzie and Tom's place where we had a great din din out on the patio and then a little sitting time up on their terraced patio behind the house. By then, Heidi and I needed sleep! The next day, after Heidi's full-on Eggs Benedict breakfast, we headed out to see the famous public Rose Garden and a beautiful mansion up on a high hill. Their son Ziggy was in rare form and I got some great shots. After that we went for a yummy lunch down on the river.
After that it was time to say good bye and drive the rest of the way up to Rod and Polly's place on the lake outside of Seattle. They took us out for Chinese and we got a chance to catch up a bit. The next couple days were devoted to getting set up for the big 4th of July party they throw every year. Heidi, Rod and I sanded down and refinished the Party Barge and helped set up the chairs and tables. Polly is an absolute master at organizing such an event and I think we all made a good team getting everything set up. The party was a big success! Everyone had a great time. I also managed to get a little "stick" time with my Little Gasser RC airplane on the lake. I spent a couple weeks before the trip building a set of floats for the little guy and we just about flew the wings off it! Heidi took all the fabulous flight photos and she got some amazing shots. That little airplane was just the right size to fly off the point, and I think I flew almost every morning and most evenings off the Party Barge. I spent a day or so and put together Rod's "E-Starter" styrofoam trainer and we added a set of floats to that as well. I couldn't have been happier to be flying my little model airplanes not once, but TWICE a day! The flying was simply fabulous. Rod got in a bit of stick time as well with the Gasser and E-Starter and on the simulator running on the laptop in the evenings.
After the 4th, we could relax a bit and had dinner one evening with Rod's Mom Violet. She is the neatest lady. Always a big smile and a real inspiration to be around. We also visited Gary and Iris' beautiful house in West Seattle and got to visit with Gary's Mom Wilma. Their patio was lovely and their house is truly fabulous. Heidi and I have been through the whole renovation thing and know just how much work it takes to get an 100 year old house just so. Beautiful work and so cozy. Thanks to them for their wonderful hospitality.
As a quick little day trip, Polly took us to see the Snoqualimie Falls to the west of Sammamish. The fall are spectacular and over 100' higher than Niagara Falls in NY. Polly told us that in the winter and spring the water covers the entire span of the falls and the mist is a dense fog from the observation platform. We also walked through the nice lodge and gift shop.
Another fun little trip was to the Boehms Chocolate factory in Issaquah. There they make Swiss style chocolates and candies from an authentic Swiss Chalet. Great fun and yummy chocolate, fudge, and brittle!
Heidi and I also took an afternoon and found a lighthouse near Discovery park. We walked up and down the beach a bit and took photos of the boats and the water. The sun was warm and the breeze was cool. Absolutely beautiful.
The rest of our time was spent visiting during the day and on the party barge in the evening and spending time with the Pugs!. I noticed that Rod and Polly were in need of a "proper" gate on the south side of the house so Heidi and I put one together like the one we have across our driveway. Maybe next year we can entice them with a gate across the driveway...
We ended up staying a couple days more than we planned and on Tuesday morning early we started our drive back to Denver. This time through Western Washington, Idaho, Montana and down through Wyoming. We were doing great until we got a flat in Bozeman and before we know how bad it was it was shredded. That put us a bit behind schedule and with all the deer and bunny rabbits on the road in Wyoming, we stopped and slept for a few hours before getting under way again at dawn. We got home at about 8:00AM on Wednesday morning and went right to bed. Work came for me at about noon and we were back to our routine again. sigh...
It was such a great trip! Thanks sooo much to everyone for their warm hospitality and a special thanks to Rod and Polly for putting us up for a long week! Thanks to Suzie and Tom for putting us up when they had only arrived just the day before from LA. Our weather was perfect the entire time and I am convinced that Seattle-ites just say it rains all the time to keep the entire country from moving there!
Here are the photos in roughly chronological order. Enjoy!