Life on the Open Road (April 2006 - May 2008)

The continuing saga of a single fulltime RVer who travels the western US. This is part one of my journey, from April 2006, when the blog started, to May 2008, when the blog continues at

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I have been a full-time RVer for 18 years, primarily "boondocking," camping free without hookups, in the Western US. I am connected electronically with the world via satellite TV, phone and internet. My batteries are charged solely by solar panels. I welcome your comments and emails.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Lovely Lady Washington

This past Friday, we again braved the traffic and went to the Tacoma harbor to see the ship, Lady Washington. This is actually a copy of the original Lady Washington, which was quite famous. Built in Boston in 1750, she was the first American vessel to successfully go around Cape Horn in 1788. She then engaged in a lucrative trade with China, bringing otter pelts from the Northwest in exchange for tea, before sinking in the Philippines in 1798.

The current Lady Washington was built in Aberdeen, WA in 1989, and is most famous as Johnny Depp’s ship in the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. The enthusiastic crew was dressed in authentic 18th century costumes. I couldn’t understand how they could figure out which rope did what. There sure were a lot of them!

Still no car yet. The body work is finished, but there are still a lot of mechanical problems. We’ve now rented 26 movies!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hiking Up High and Underground

Friday, Diana went for another hike at Mount Rainier, this one to Pinnacle Peak. Another hike on the side of a cliff with a beautiful view of the mountain. She just never gets tired of it, though.

Then on Sunday, we went to Pioneer Square in Seattle to go on the Underground Tour. It’s a historical, humorous walking tour beneath the sidewalks, through subterranean passages that were once the main roadways and first floor storefronts of the city before the Great Fire of 1889. After the fire, the road level was raised 7 to 22 feet to help level out the hilly city, and make the streets less muddy, and apparently, the toilets (then called crappers) flush better. High tides had been a real problem.

Later, walking around Pioneer Square, we saw this sign on a hotel. Randy thought the price was right.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Life Off the Open Road

Eighteen days in Enumclaw, WA so far, still waiting for Diana’s car to be fixed. We’re getting the chance to live the settled life. What do normal folks do? Well! So far, we’ve rented 17 movies. Randy’s gotten into bicycling every day. Diana, ever fascinated by mountain trails, went off several times to Mt. Ranier to hike. Once we went to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma. It wasn’t huge, but the animals they do have are unusual and the displays well done. (That’s a Beluga whale in the picture.)

From there, we went across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to Gig Harbor. This was the site of the famous span they always show on Engineering Disasters. It vibrated so badly that it came apart and fell into the ocean in 1940.

We crossed its replacement with nary a wiggle. A duplicate is now under construction. Gig Harbor was lovely and touristy. Traffic in the whole Seattle area is maddening. All in all, though, we’re happy and, surprisingly, not the least bit bored.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Mt. Rainier Hikes

On Thursday, I hiked part of the Skyline trail from the Paradise section of Mt. Rainier National Park. It’s a very steep hike; I climbed 1200 feet in a mile and a half. But I think this is the most beautiful hike I have ever done. You are so close to the mountain that it is hard to get it all in the picture, even with a 28mm lens. The flowers and wildlife were great. Saw lots of climbers, both going up and coming down. Most go with guides.

Then on Saturday, Randy and I hiked to Berkley Park from the Sunrise section of the Park. I had done this hike two years ago, and it was as good as I remembered. Spectacular wildflowers everywhere!


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hop, Skip, and a Crash

After Glacier National Park, we headed west, but the heat was unbearable. So we went skipping across northern Washington, staying at each mountain pass.

At Loup Loup pass, a forest fire just to the north of us made for a spectacular sunset.

At Rainy Pass, we hiked to Lake Ann, a hike we had done 8 years ago.

As the weather cooled off, we arrived at Burlington, north of Seattle. While passing through an intersection, Diana’s car was hit by a car that went through a red light.

Ouch! She’s fine, but the car will be in the shop for 2-3 weeks. We’ve settled in at Enumclaw, a lovely town within touring distance of both Seattle and Mt. Rainier. We plan to do a lot of sightseeing.