As usual, there is no way we could see all we wanted to see in just one month. Here is just a tiny taste of what this small part of Washington---The Olympic Peninsula---holds for its visitors.
One of the first things we did after we were settled in the campground here in Chimacum was to drive north just eight miles to the picturesque victorian seaport town of Port Townsend. Driving in from the south, we had the most spectacular view of the harbor as we rounded the curve. With the Olympic Mountains as a backdrop, the harbor full of sail boats with their naked masts reaching to the sky fills the view. It is a breathtaking sight. As we continued into town, it became apparent that there is a low part of town and a high part. The main four block shopping district, marina etc., is along the water; the rest which is on a bluff is called “up-town.”
Designated as a National Landmark, this charming town on the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula has something for everyone. There is a marina, wonderful restaurants, golf courses, great shopping, elegant victorian houses (most now bed and breakfasts), history, fishing and more events and festivals in one year than some states have. The events include everything from the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in July to the Wooden Boat Festival in September to the Wild Salmon Festival in November. There is something going on every month of the year with summer months having a different event each week.
Be sure to stop in at the visitor information center first to arm yourself with maps and information on all there is to do and see in the whole peninsula. One of the pretty sights in town is the Point Wilson Lighthouse which is part of the captivating Fort Worden State Park. This park which has a small campground utilizes the beautiful old barracks for dormitories. These dormitories are rented out for hostels, conferences, family reunions and so on. In fact this state park is so popular that folks interested in hosting an event here, call to find out what dates are available before planning. Much of the movie, An Officer and a Gentleman was shot at Fort Worden and the fight scene was filmed at the Town Tavern in town.
The very efficient Seattle Ferry system is the second largest in the world; the largest is in Norway. The fleet is comprised of 25 vessels serving nine routes with 20 terminals. We took our first ferry ride from Port Townsend when we went to explore Whidby Island and Anacortes. The ride across to Keystone takes a half hour and is very pleasurable. Although most make this trip in order to take another ferry from Anacortes to the San Juan Islands, we did it just for a Sunday drive. By the way, Whidby Island is the second longest island in the contiguous U.S. I'd like to know what the longest is? Anyway it was a nice drive and Anacortes is another quaint harbor town which one could spend lots of time getting to know.
Sadly we only had time to visit the rain forest which is a phenomenon that must be seen to be believed. But with an average of 142 inches of rain annually it is easy to see why species of trees and plants grow so big. The day we visited was sunny and warm, but we understand that it can rain a foot in a day. In 1990 the annual rainfall was a whopping 175 inches. We took two walks, the Hall of Mosses Trail (three quarters of a mile) and the one and one quarter mile long Spruce Nature Trail. Both were very relaxing and we found ourselves noticing spooky shapes in the moss covered trees. It was a lot like seeing pictures in clouds. I couldn't get over the ferns which were like bushes and the cedar trees are as large as redwoods. One large sitka spruce which was estimated to be about 500-550 years old was over 270 feet tall and had a diameter of 12½ feet. And everything was green in this thick forest; I couldn't even see the blue in the sky through the thick canopy of trees. I would like to go back and spend more time; we didn't get to go to the Sol Duc Hot Springs, Hurricane Ridge or take the Storm King Paddleboat tour around the sublime Lake Crescent.
Another drive to nearby Mt. Walker was fun. This scenic drive in a national forest was up a good gravel road for about 12 miles. The views at the top two different areas) gave a good perspective of the area. On a clear day one can see Seattle, the islands and the mountains.
But every time we went to Robert's home we had to pass through Port Gamble and there was definitely something different about this place. In fact it really isn't a town anymore. It's historic in that the oldest continuously operating sawmill in North America is there and so are many of the original homes. The town which was settled by Captain Talbot in 1853 was built to look like his native home in East Machias, Maine. It hit me square in the eyes; that is why this place looked so different. It looked just like a Maine seaport. The Episcopal church is lovely and quaint and I wanted to show you a picture, but it didn't turn out. The steeple bell at the church which arrived by sailing vessel in 1879 still calls people to worship on Sundays. And when we visited, a wedding had just taken place; the bride was dressed in an old-fashioned dress and I swear I was back in time for a split second. Be sure to visit the Historic Museum in town as well as the Country Store. The whole town including the museum and store can be visited in just an hour or so.
Robert & Kristen wanted to show us part of Seattle and assured us that the best way to see the city was on foot, after taking the ferry from Bainbridge Island. It was fantastic! The largest ferries run this route; they hold up to 2,500 passengers and more than 200 vehicles. It was so much fun that we made the trip twice taking new friends, Tubby and Audrey Watson, with us the second time. We made sure that we did not go during commuter rush hours and the ferry was not full. When we left the ferry in Seattle, we walked to the end of the ramp and turned right on 1st street. After walking just a couple of blocks we were in the historic old part of town. We loved the architecture and enjoyed looking at the restaurant menus. In fact, we ate a wonderful cajun lunch somewhere, but since the “eat” column was done I didn't get their name.
This month's campground report will only have one resort because we haven't been moving. Although we have been staying at a SKP park, there are many good parks in the area including some beautiful state parks.
Evergreen COHO (Escapee Co-op) Park, Chimicum, Washington. This
park will make you glad that you have a SKP membership and can use this
beautiful park based in one of the most scenic areas of Washington. The
spaces are wide (40 feet), level and the hook-ups are excellent. Their
basic cable at no extra charge will get you the local stations. The member/owners
here pride themselves on their landscaping and work continually at it.
Flowers, bushes, and trees clustered in little parks add to the charm of
the park. All roads are paved. The large modern clubhouse and immaculate
large laundry contribute to make this a top notch facility. The club-house
has a very nice library with videos available for your use. The park is
located on the peninsula across from Seattle (30 minute ferry ride plus
a 30 mile drive to the ferry docks) and just 8 miles from the beautiful
little seaport town of Port Townsend. This would be a great jumping off
point for those planning a trip to Alaska. The monthly rate is $160 plus
It sounds funny, but we will be leaving here Thursday afternoon at high tide. Since we are crossing on the ferry it's best at high tide so that the on/off ramp is level and the long overhang on the motorhome won't scrape.
I was nervous when I got my first cub reporter assignment to photograph Robert when he did the ship's shopping at Safeway (Barb had a bad cold). Wonder if I'm still on probation.
The perimeter of this park is .8 miles and I walk it 5 times each morning. The SKP walking club walks it counter clock wise and they tell me I'm going the wrong way when I walk it clockwise. I told them that it's the story of my life---going the wrong way.
A postscript to the leveling jack saga that Barb reported on last month. South Side Motors has cheerfully refunded our money. We wanted you to know that.
For those of you who think dominos are only for retirees, I would like to report that Robert and Kristen love to play Mexican train dominos.
So now we are going to visit Jack and Esther in Kettle Falls where they play golf every day and know every foot of their home golf course. I will definitely be at a disadvantage. When I retire again, I am going to play more golf.
I like Dr. Levy, the Port Townsend urologist who gave me my check-up.
He says that he is “just a country doctor.” I wonder how many country doctors
graduated from Duke University and Stanford Medical School and have a room
full of modern medical equipment.
It was time for Ron's six month check up so while the couple were in Port Townsend he located a urologist and made an appointment. He was given a super clean bill of health. His PSA is ZERO. And after a physical exam of his prostate, the doctor said it felt normal and soft. Ron is to continue on the hormone theapy for at least another six months. Dr. Levy said that doctors don't know a whole lot about prostate cancer, really, and sometimes hormone therapy works like magic. Ron is just very happy that he didn't have anything removed from his body now that the reports are good. When he gets off the hormone therapy, everything will be back to normal.
(Remember that this report was written many years ago and the restaurants may or may not be in business or as they were.)
Waterfront Mexican Grill, Suquamish waterfront, Suquamish. This
intimate, thatch roofed, restaurant with lots of Mexican music will give
you the feeling of being in tropical Mexico. And
The Landing, by the ferry dock, Port Angeles. Everything that we saw coming out of the kitchen looked good and our dinner was super. The nice chunks of cod in the Fish and Chips were hand cut and battered there. Good service too.
The Public House, Water Street, Port Townsend. Try this place for lunch and you won't want dinner. We had the soup and sandwich special for $6.95 and choose their black bean soup. It was spicy and marvelous. The sandwich was different, large and very tasty. Service was above average too.
Chimacum Cafe, next to the post office, Chimacum. The first time we ate here, we weren't too impressed. Service is super and you get a lot of food, but.... Most meals include, soup, salad, entree, potato, vegetable (canned and not very exciting) and ice cream. Because this place is always busy, we tried again and ordered their special---spaghetti. Very good! Because of the wonderful soup and salad, we took enough spaghetti home to make another meal.
Shanghai Chinese Restaurant,Point Hudson, Port Townsend.
Do try this place if you like Chinese food. Everything was perfect right
down to the hot wash clothes we were presented with at the end of our meal.
Prices are reasonable and service was great.
Goal is to full-time
My husband and I heard you being interviewed on a radio station as we traveled through Pennsylvania on our way to Atlantic City Memorial Day weekend, 1994. I wrote the name of your book on some scrap paper in the car and stuck it in my purse. I kept saying “I'd like to read that book.” My husband, Bob said “order it, order it!” So I did! I read it twice and it has literally changed our life.
We now have a goal---full-timing when we retire (5½ years). This may sound like something you've heard before---but consider this: We have never driven an RV, have no mechanical ability, whatsoever and have only camped in a trailer once in our lives before!....
We hope to purchase an RV within the next year. We subscribe to your
newsletter and enjoy it very much... and read everything we can regarding
RVs and full-timing. We recently read RV Having Fun Yet? by Ray
Parker. We enjoyed it very much... Our next thing to do is rent an RV
Robert & Dorothy Berta
I wrote in the winter to tell you of Joe's illness. He was diagnosed
with gall bladder cancer in early January. We had hoped for some time to
do a little traveling so we traded in our Teton 5th wheel for a Bounder
34J. Joe felt that it would be easier for me to handle on my own, and I
wanted to be able to take him around for some trips. However, he never
had enough strength to travel. In fact, he continually got weaker and weaker,
barely able to get out of bed. On Easter Sunday, Joe died at
During Joe's illness, we talked a great deal about what I'd do when he was gone. That's when I wrote to ask your opinion on women traveling alone. You reinforced our thoughts that I could and should continue with our plans and become a full-time RVer. I've written and joined some of the singles clubs. We were already Escapees members. Now my calendar is full. The house is up for sale and I've notified the people at my job that I'll be leaving the end of September, just in time to make the Escapade in Ohio the last week of September. ....I'm looking forward to becoming a full-timer, but at times I am so overwhelmed with sadness and loneliness without Joe that I become afraid to venture forth. I know that it's what he would want me to do and there's no doubt that it's what I want. Being in the house that we shared is no less lonely than being on the road, and I know that life goes on even when we wish it would stop.
After the Escapade in Ohio, I'm planning to make my way to Arizona and then join a caravan to the west coast of Mexico for three months. Maybe then, volunteering in a national park would be fun. Mesa Verde is very appealing. As always, I enjoy getting your newsletter and hope to meet you someday.
Illness no threat to full-timers
We are back in Minnesota earlier than anticipated. While at Bryce Canyon in Utah, I got sick and ended up in the hospital in Provo for 8 days. I thought I was having a gall bladder attack, instead I had a heart attack and slight stroke. What a Shocker. I thought I was real healthy. All 5 of our kids came to Utah to be with us and I know that's what perked me up more than anything. The hospital let us park our rig in the lot and even had electric hook-up which was great for Gene.... I'm doing fine and with rehab I'll be back to my self again. I just feel so lucky I'm still here and with no real bad after effects. I'll be on the road again and hiking those trails....
Your articles are so great 'cause we can relate to so many places you've been that we also visited.
Rita & Gene Hornby
Full-timing isn't dream anymore
Full-timing isn't just a dream anymore, we can almost touch it! We have put our resort up for sale with the hopes it will sell within a year or so. If you know of anyone looking for a large “family” resort, keep us in mind! Take care and tell Ron I have made his bean casserole and everyone loves it.
Rich and Wanda Townley
Do not regret the decision
Please renew our subscription. I don't want to miss anything in the “continuing saga of...” We're home in Tecumseh, for the summer. (I have to remember the Kountry Aire is “home.”) We became ham radio operators this last month so spent some time studying for the tests. Stopped at the hamfest in Dayton, Ohio, on the way home and took tests---40,000 people there---what a crowd!
Closing out my business now. Getting ready for auction of furniture, and everything else that goes along with living with baggage. Can't give up some pieces (might have to settle down due to health) so we're purchasing an 18' utility trailer (covered) which we will park in the barn. This should be cheaper in the long run than renting storage bins. Then we will always have the trailer to sell-or haul furniture to wherever we decide to stay. Sure learned a lot in the first 4 months of full-timing. We now know that we did not make a mistake in selling the house. This life many not be for everyone, but it's right for us. We can't wait to get back on the road. We were in Wickenburg just one week before you were there. We'll catch you someplace, someday!
Pat & Bill Feight
Wondering where to winter
We sold the house (after 2 ½ years). Closing is on the 26th of June and we will be full-timing after that date. Will tour the east coast up to Maine during July and August then head west, southwest. We don't know where we will winter, any hints? We also joined Escapees. Please keep Movin' On coming as we don't want to miss an issue. Will be looking in all the campgrounds for you so stay in good health.
John & Irene Thomas
One of the best springtimes ever
....Please renew our subscription to the newsletter for 12 more [issues]. We really enjoy the newsletter and read each one through as soon as we receive it. I vote for a recipe on the back page....
We carry your book with us and can't begin to count the number of people we have shared it with and gave them the address to order it. Thank you for writing such a good book.
Since we began our new adventure lifestyle as full-timers, March 7, 1995, we have gone from southern California east alone the bottom part of the United States to Jacksonville, Florida, and then up to Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, then west to Pumpkintown, Pickens and Table Rock, South Carolina, Gattlingburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Nashville and Memphis. Next on to Hot Springs, Arkansas, Russellville, Eureka Springs and we are currently in the Bull Shoals Mountain Home area. We are really enjoying the beauty of the Ozarks. The beautiful trees and flowers we have enjoyed have made this a very special spring this year and because we are “Movin' On” through so many different places, we feel we have gotten to enjoy the best of a lot of springtimes.
There are so many, many nice people to meet not only in the parks where we have stayed, but in the many towns we have visited.... Can you tell we are loving our new adventure?
Where would be a good place to spend the winter months is one of the things we are looking/planning ahead for. Any suggestions from you or readers would be appreciated....
Cindi & Dick Lanman
Bar-B Queing in the Ozarks
...We are set up in Missouri at 65 Hwy and 54 Hwy---a real busy intersection on the way to Branson for people coming from the north. Our 5th wheel is behind our Bar-B Que trailer. It is real pretty down here and we are really enjoying it. We have found a place to square dance on Tuesday night, so we will close early that night....
I sent my deposit to Outdoor Resort for November.... We will be there for 5 months. We had to take it for that long to get it. I am looking so forward to being there with you guys. Can't wait....
We stayed at two Rainbow campgrounds [Escapees] last winter---Plantation in Alabama and the new one in Florida. Really enjoyed it.
Jim & Linda Butner
The adventure begins
Well, I address you like old friends because I feel like you are, just like so many other people do. You have been a big influence in our lives.
I won't go into all the details of the last couple of years but my husband was to retire Jan 1, 1994 and we were having a lot of discussions on just what we wanted to do after that. The fall of 1993 there was an article in our newspaper on an interview with you (I think it was a reprint from the Flint paper). That really interested me, so I sent for your book. That [the lifestyle] sounded really good; it was the one thing we both liked. We had been campers since 1970.
Art retired Jan 1, 1994 and had a heart attack on Jan 16.... Fortunately it wasn't real bad. So after he got over that and all the re-hab and all, we really got serious. We subscribed to Movin' On, checked out Coast to Coast, talked to full-timers in some of the parks, joined Escapees and got things in motion.
So here we are! The house, after being here 33 years, raising a couple of kids, many cats and dogs, holidays with the grandchildren etc., is sold! (Mixed emotions!) And as of June 1st, we will be full-timers!
When we were in one of the parks in Newaygo we met a couple from Oregon, who were full-timers that we really hit it off with, and made plans to meet in Montana the 2nd week of June and go to Alaska together. So that is how we are starting out. With a bang!.... We can thank you for the way things are going. If we are lucky, maybe we'll meet up with you somewhere down the road...
Joyce & Art Van Heulen
Bluegrass festivals in Arkansas
Just received the latest issue of Movin' On and of course noting gets done around here till we've read it from cover to cover....
In 3 years our home goes up for sale... and one year later we'll be hitting the road as full-timers and we can hardly wait..... Also wanted to tell you about some inexpensive camping here in Arkansas. From April to October we have bluegrass festivals. Camping is $5 a day for electric...The shows (Thurs, Fri & Sat) are usually $7/day or $20 for the 3 days....
We will be going to Livingston, Texas, at the end of June to check out
the Escapees Club. From what we've heard it's a real good deal. Also we're
planning on checking out Coast to Coast. After reading An Alternative Lifestyle,
you've answered a lot of our questions and we really want to
Tommy & Joyce Baker
Full-timing becoming a reality
...I just couldn't send you a change of ad dress without letting you know how much we enjoy your newsletter. We read each one from cover to cover and always look forward to unfolding the newsletter to read the front page to see where you are. We have talked about full-timing for so long and now it is becoming a reality.
Phase I---In March we drove the motorhome to Chehalis, Washington, to trade it in on a 33' Alpenlite 5th wheel and Ford F- 350 (power stroke diesel). We drove 5,500 miles in 3 weeks and don't ever want to do that much driving again! There was no time to smell the roses.... really love the new trailer.
Phase II---The house went on the market the end of April and it sold last Saturday! If all goes according to schedule, closing will be the end of July. The rush is on to get rid of everything. We will take most of June to prepare for our HUGE garage sale, which will probably take place around mid-July. Everything goes---no storage building for us.
Phase III--- We can hardly wait to “hit the road” full-time, but that will proba bly have to wait until next spring. When you receive our next change of address to the SKP mail service, you'll know we're out there somewhere full-timin'.
Claude & Daphne Garrett
Interested in the Alaska report
It seems like I want to answer every Movin' On I get!... It sounds like we are following each other around....Tell Bette & Clyde Salter (May letters column) that we liked the SKP park at Benson too. We were there overnight only, and also the one in Southerlin, Oregon. It's nice to pull into a clean campground where we are welcomed by friendly people. We are also planning a trip to Alaska some year and would be very interested in their description of their trip....
Regarding the last page...I think word searches are fun. Quizzes are too much like school! I'm always interested in new recipes--- especially if they are good for pot lucks! If you continue to do them, you could ask readers to send some in....
Lois & Allen Maywald,
This 'N That
I sincerely hope that none of you had to pay extra postage for your newsletter last month. It wasn't until after we had mailed out the whole bunch and were sending out some separate ones that the post office said they were over weight. I had thought the paper Kinko's used felt a little heavier. We will watch that closely from now on.
I have really enjoyed our time here. Don't know if it is the sitting still and getting into a routine or what. We didn't do a whole lot of touring---just enough. I loved going to Port Townsend several times a week and I really like this part of the country---yeah you've heard that before.
I have come to a conclusion. No wonder I like every place we visit; we're always visiting at the best time. Who would choose to vacation in Washington during the rainy season or who could fall in love with Texas in August? Just another advantage of being a full-timer.
Even though we were here for a little over a month, I did not get everything
on my list done. We had our front window drapes dry cleaned and that seems
nice. I wanted to use the clothes lines that this park provides (outside
of the laundry room) to dry freshly washed sheets and air out the
Our neighbors here are true full-timer pioneers. Vi and Ed are in their mid 80's and have been full-timing since 1970. They are a neat couple and don't think for a minute that they are through traveling yet either. They do own their lot here and don't move their big 5th wheel; they have a smaller one that they take trips in.
We noticed a sign in Bill's Garage & Tow ing station here in Chimacum boasting that his family (now on the sixth generation) has run a transportation related business in the same location for 135 years. Isn't that wonderful? In 1860 they made wagon wheels. Inside there are pictures of the various changes. The 1915 picture shows a horse coming out of a barn type door while a car sits out front. That was the year the gas pumps were installed.
Your letters this month were so wonderful. The hardest part of putting this newsletter together is deciding what I can print and what I have to leave out. I want to share them all. But please don't stop sending them just to spare me the trouble. We love them all. I just needed to explain if your letter was left out.
Does anyone know why Washington became the coffee drinking state? I knew it began here and has been gradually spreading to all parts of the country. But why here? And when? You can't go far without seeing a drive-through espresso place. Oh and another thing. I don't like all those coffees with steamed milk and flavorings. I must be getting old and set in my ways because I like plain coffee and black at that.
If you think you have a small kitchen in your RV, you should see Robert's galley on the boat. I couldn't believe how small it was and still don't know how he could have fit almost $900 worth of groceries in the small refrigerator, freezer and pantry. He is a master at organization and an excellent cook too.
All three of my boys are excellent, gourmet cooks. They follow recipes for difficult dishes and desserts like it was nothing. And they have such confidence in their cooking that they can make a new recipe for company without worrying. Maybe they should get together and open a restaurant. But which one would be the head chef? It wouldn't work!!
Good thing we went to the large printing for the book (and that won't last long). Not only are you folks doing a great job of spreading the word about us, the newspapers are too. In just one week after the Oregonian ran a full-page story on us and full-timing, our service got orders for over 200 individual books. This Friday the Seattle Times will run its full-page story.
I don't think I mentioned that Barnes & Noble will be carrying our book in the near future. They want to order enough to take care of their customers. That will make it a lot easier for readers of newspaper stories to get the book. Barnes & Noble owns B.Dalton too.
We have heard wonderful reports from those who have ordered books from
our fulfillment service (Publication Services) and we really appreciate
all the folks there. Doris who usually answers the phone is like an old
friend to us and very friendly to everyone. Janet, takes care of orders
and business accounts very efficiently. Besides not being able to carry
books with us, it would be impossible for us to manage our business without
The Easy Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe first debuted in this issue. I have linked it to the recipe section where all of our newsletter recipes are posted.
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