Friday, August 11, 2017

A Day at Seahawks Training Camp

"We are 12!"
The first to arrive claimed seats and began the waiting line.
It was a first for me, a relatively new Seahawks fan, to spend the day at the Seahawks Training Facility on Lake Washington in Renton, WA. My new travel buddy, Wayne, has a daughter, Susan Smith, who has been a Seahawks fan all her life. (He started following them when they first started back in the 70's.)

At her invitation, we got up at 2:30 a.m. to drive from Sequim over to Renton via the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. And as the traffic was lighter than expected, we got to The Landing just after 5 a.m. so we met up for donuts and coffee. And other fans began arriving shortly thereafter.

These were the other early arrivals. Soon this line would be
bent so that folks were across the street and down past the
Pro shop.
Wayne Smith and Wayne Ratcliff walk and chat as they waited
for the beginning of the processing to start.
By 7 o'clock, we saw the line lengthen quickly from our initial group of about 50 to 500 and by the time the busses arrived there were over 1500.

We were quickly processed through the security system and funneled through the scanners into the next bus in line.
The entrance to the security and clearing staff to make sure
we weren't going to disrupt the day with any devices.

More folks arriving at The Landing.
The drive to the Training Facility was delayed by morning rush hour traffic, but we were all eager to get there so I don't think most of us noticed that it took longer than our return trip.

As our bus pulled in, we were shouting "Sea-HAWKS!!" so loudly that that staff commented on it. There was a band playing and photo opportunities with the DJ and three of the SeaGals.

Wayne Ratcliff with daughter, Susan Smith, and her husband,
(also named Wayne) at the Seahawk Training Facility.
Once off the bus, we were lined up in front of a gate which opened just at 9 a.m. Folks ahead of us (not too many) began running up the hill to the other side where they claimed spots on the fence for watching. Those were the folks who had experience at the routine. Others continued to arrive until after 11 a.m., but the team was out on the field by 10 a.m.
Wayne in his element with the SeaGals!!

At the top of the field, there were vendors with food, snacks, drinks and hawking lots of Sea Gear.

My breakfast on the road had been a homemade PB&J with blueberries and coffee. But that had been hours ago and by 10 a.m. I was ready for some pizza. Perhaps it was the sun, the field, the energy, but a huge slice of cheese pizza was just what was needed!

There were a lot of tall men in the line, and in one of the photos I took, it was hard to spot my pal. And they all had on their fan regalia, so trying to find a tall guy with a Seahawks hat was pointless!

Where is the tall guy with the Seahawk hat that I came with?
Once the team took the field, we were glad we had put our chairs just behind the line because lots of folks claimed a spot at the fence and our seat location gave us a little elevation to be able to see over their heads.

At the Gate waiting for it to open.
But as the sun rose higher in the sky, there was no protection and with the hazy skies it got very hot very quickly. By 11:30 I had to escape the direct sun and settled myself in the shade of a vendor tent for a short while.

I think if I ever do this again I will bring a tripod and my telephoto lens. My handheld Sony camera with the distance lens was challenged by the light and the space between me and the subjects.

On the field, the team begins to stretch and move.

Everyone down for pushups!

Cam Chancellor shows a move to the right.
Defense shows off some moves before the crowd.

My best shot... Russell Wilson launching the ball.
The training has, apparently, in the past included team members coming over to give autographs and be available for closer photographs. Not today. Not one came over. Not even any representatives. And, in fact, most of the training, scrimmages, etc. took place on the other side of the field. By 11:30, I wasn't the only one climbing the hill to leave.

But it was an awesome experience to see in person (if at quite a distance) some of the fellows I have watched play these past few years. And I got some new items for my own team regalia... but best of all I spent time with folks I am growing to love. What could be better than this?
The crowd begins to thin out as folks leave the arena.

Wayne and 'Sandy Banks' taken by Susan Smith.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Square Dancing at the Cranberry Museum

I didn't even know there was such a place as Greyland and that it had a Cranberry Museum. Now I have been educated. 

On August 3, Wayne and I arrived in Greyland, which is just below Westport, the fishing capitol of Washington State (they say) on the western coast of the U.S. The day we drove in, it was still blistering hot and hazy from the fires to the north.
Cranberries on the bush, a few weeks from ripening.

Cranberry fields in Greyland, WA.

Beach walkway to waterline of Pacific O.

Driftwood and native plants.

Unique fencing along Highway 12, Greyland, WA.

The owners of the museum are also the recreators of the Fulford Cranberry harvesting machine, making a new version of a very successful invention to harvest and prune cranberries. Chuck and Gwen Tjernberg have made the museum the focus of both historical and industrial times in Pacific and Grays Harbor counties.

I learned that cranberries do not require being in a bog to grow but that flooding the land they are growing it on makes it easier to do a wet harvest. Coming from Cape Cod, it was an assumption on my part that all cranberries are harvested wet, but the Fulford machine is designed to harvest dry and prune at the same time.

Wayne (tallest one) with dancing friends.
Ocean Spray is a business which is cooperatively owned by the farmers, and berries are classed as being top quality for the fresh market or second quality which used for juices and canning. Last year the top quality berries sold for about 89 cents a pound while the second quality sold for about 30 cents a pound. Most of the berries from the dry harvest have a top quality rating, while wet harvest berries are rated second.

First shipments go to Canada because they celebrate Thanksgiving in October. If there is a late harvest, it can severely impact shipment dates with a domino effect.

We enjoyed the tour that Gwen gave us, enriched with her personal knowledge of the industry.

Later that day we met with long-time friends of Wayne’s, Ann and Les Kilwein, over some lemonade and chips in the RV. When we were packing to go, I never thought about having snacks on hand for guests, but now I know enough to have something available for anyone who might show up.

Square dancing at the Cranberry Museum, Aug. 2017.
RV life is not that different from land-living, but being more close-knit, folks are more likely to share time and adventures over food and dancing. And like sailboat live-aboards, friends are made quickly. 

There does not seem to be a disparity in relationships just because you have a larger or smaller travel home; what is the division appears to be whether you are a weekender or a ‘real traveler’ for longer periods of time. 
Round dancers include caller Randy with Mike and
Marion Freely in the back.
Eventually there comes a time when even the most seasoned of RV travelers has to give up life on the road due to health, family or financial concerns but with the membership in the square dance ‘family,’ gatherings can still happen for that connection of friendship. 

Gwen and Chuck did a skit for the final act of the three-part weekend, poking fun at all the retirees with getting-ready-for-bed issues... putting the cat out, locking the doors, etc. with the group getting a big laugh at the end. It was a lot of fun!!
Chuck gets up (again) to fulfill Gwen's bedtime request.
This is what has been happening at this camp-out; folks that Wayne had not seen for years came to share in pot-luck and/or dancing and he appeared to have enjoyed greatly renewing those friendships.

The River Hoh and Lake Quinault

Continuing the journey to Westport for the square dancer camp out, and
Kayaker with packs paddling down the Hoh.
Thanks to Friends of Wayne, who are probably scattered all over the U.S. and maybe even in foreign countries, we found a welcome at the home of Mary and Dave Christensen in Lake Quinault.

But first we stopped along the Hoh River for a lunch with an awesome view and two kayakers making their way downstream. It was already heading toward the triple digit temperatures the National Weather Service had been warning us about, so we didn’t linger.
Home away from home

Back on the road, the purple foxglove, white daisies, fireweed and other roadside flowers and weeds made a colorful quilt of colors muted by the haze from the British Columbia fires. 

Dave and Wayne were forestry buddies in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) during the 80s when Wayne moved to Lake Quinault. When we arrived at their lovely home (which I shall sweetly refer to as ‘Mary’s Meadows’ because the smell of the budding grasses in the motor home as the dew was evaporating), there were two donkeys to greet us along with the largest Chocolate Labrador, Ollie, I’ve ever seen.
A drive around the lake was the afternoon excursion, which included stopping to see an old friend, Marilyn Wiesse, who used to cook for different restaurants and was a neighbor.
Wayne and Marilyn laughing about old times.
Wayne learned she will be heading to Yuma with her husband in the fall, so there was some chatter about meeting up again later as we waved goodbye.

Back at the Christensen’s, it was finally cooling down and the couple cooked us up some  incredible hors d'oevres of elk meat (their game) with home-made pickles (her canning) and salmon (his catch) spread over great crackers and sweet iced tea. Dinner was called a ‘gut-bomb’ of ground venison, fresh fried potatoes, vegetables and a home grown garden salad. SOOO delicious!!
View for breakfast at "Mary's Meadows"

"The Relatives"
We sat around a fire pit without the fire (it was still over 80 degrees) and talked for awhile and then it was off to the RV for the logger to saw some “ZZZZZs” while I read a few pages on my Kindle. 

The windows were open so I could enjoy the quiet sounds of a farm settling down for the night… bugs buzzing, donkeys chomping the grass, birds calling to others to nest, chickens clucking and blackberries growing. Bliss.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Another Summit

 Shortly after I met my logger friend, Wayne Ratcliff, I convinced him to come with me to see another pair of friends, Carol and Joe, in the Bellingham area.

I loved the message on this trailer:"I go where I'm towed."
We had a lovely drive over there, July 27, catching the early ferry in Port Townsend, and arrived in time for lunch; a feast that Carol prepared. We still had daylight and Carol knew that Wayne would like going up on Mt. Baker. And further, it was an item on his bucket list, so off we went.

No one thought anything about footwear, and when we arrived at Artist's Point with me in my sandals and Wayne in his dancing sneakers, we were not daunted by over 10 feet of snow.

Here are the photos of that day including a stop at the Nooksack River Falls, which was just as impressive as the first time only I think it was a little bit warmer.
A man and his dawg... at Artist's Point, Mt. Baker, WA.

Wayne at the 'summit' of Artist's Point.
When I first moved to the Sequim area, there was an expectation that perhaps Carol was going to live there, too. Only she ended up in Bellingham instead.

Carol, right, pokes fun at Joe, left.

So we end up going back and forth visiting each other. Only now what was just two good friends has evolved into four good friends.

So first, there was Carol at the top of Mt. Baker. Then she invited me over to go up there (See earlier blog entries about that trip.) Then she got together with Joe and they made the trip up there. And now we've all introduced Wayne to this wonderful experience.
Joe and Carol at Artist's Point, Mt. Baker, WA.
Wayne practices the 'scissors' and 'vine' steps from dance class.

First on the Point is Carol.

Next, it's Carol and me on the Point.
Then it was me with Joe and Carol at the Point.
Now, it's the Four Communeros at the Point!
So what was the point? It's that through the remarkable process of thought and manifestation, dreams are being realized and it's all good!

Mt. Shuksan as we departed Artist's Point, Mt. Baker, WA.

Wayne at Nooksack Falls trail entry.
Peaches and I at the Nooksack Falls overlook.
This is the view from the bridge over the river,
looking down at the head of the falls.
Great meal to end the day in a roadside eatery.
Heading to the Coupevdlle Ferry Landing, the Olympics are
calling us home.
A long, but glorious day ends with a quarter moon over the
Strait of Juan de Fuca near Port Townsend, WA.