OK, so two things you should know about this blog. One, this is Ted and two, I’m writing this on the back deck of the Ruby Princess, a cruise ship, and we are in the middle of Glacier Bay Alaska. This place is spectacular...but that’s for another installment, this one is about the last ten days before this cruise. Daisa tells me that she left off the last blog right when we arrived back from Alaska and she retrieved her phone, 30 July. Here goes. The next couple days are just maintenance, getting ready for taking Punch to meet Daisa’s Father in Dallas and then Daisa going on College Girls weekend in Austin. We have to specify College Girls Weekend, because in a month she will be at Cougar Girls Weekend in Napa, but again, I digress. 31 JUL not only brings the end of the month but also a necessary move from the Fort Lewis Campground to the Washington Land Yacht Harbor and a trip to Ernie’s RV Repair for the Glamper. We blew the microwave/convection oven, and you never realize how much you use the microwave until you don’t have one! We also had the heater fan blowing constantly in the kitchen, both of which ended up needing to be replaced. We drop off the Glamper while Daisa, Azlan and myself had breakfast at a local spot, Blue Heron Cafe, and then off to do laundry. We end up going into Olympia proper after laundry for lunch, a haircut for Punch, a beard trim for me and and a hair color and style/trim for Daisa. Azlan and I head to the Children’s Hands on Museum just down the road while Mom is getting her treatments. They finish assessing the Glamper and order parts while we pick it up and move to the new campground. Thursday 01 August is packing day, Azlan and I go out in the morning to the water park in Olympia to give Daisa time to pack and check items off her list then in the afternoon we take a little cruise up one of the many peninsulas in this area. The next day we get up stupid early to get them to the airport in Seattle. We were up so early that after driving an hour each way and saying our heartfelt goodbyes to each other, I was still back at the Glamper before 5 AM! This is where the story breaks in two, Daisa’s weekend and mine.
“Austin August 2nd
I link up with one of my girls at the Austin airport after I dropped Azlan to my dad in Dallas. We arrive at our Airbnb house...which is a modern baller 5 bedroom. All the girls are in the pool, I didn’t hesitate as I walked into the back yard while stripping down to my undies so I could hug them all right where they stood in the water. That evening we had dinner on Congress, I rode an electric scooter for the first time, and we found ourselves on what is called the Dirty Six...aka the ghetto side of 6th Street. Well, we were all certainly familiar with the scene but it has been ages since any of us actually enjoyed it anymore. We played along for a few cocktails and called it a night fairly early. The next morning I cooked us breakfast which was followed by lunch at a local BBQ place. Here I had yet another episode of sadness. I carried sadness with me all weekend, which sucked because I was not my usual perky self that my college girlfriends remembered. I tried to hold it together in front of them, I didn’t want to spoil the weekend. Regardless, I eventually got over it a week later. Post BBQ included a 30min scooter ride, break at an iconic Austin motel and an Uber back to the house so we could jump in the pool before another night out on the town. We went to the Container Bar, a cool place playing good music with lots of dance space. Unfortunately my heart was not into it so one of the girls came with me to a food truck area and then we headed back to that house and watched a weird movie. The rest of our sixsome partied like they were back in 2001! Go Gators!
Sunday morning we had a bright and early start going tubing! We used to do this in college at a place called Jennie Springs near Gainesville, FL. This time we boarded a really dirty school bus and headed 45mins out of Austin to float down the river in big tubes. Even the cooler had a float. Despite some hiccups with one of the girls capsizing like 10 times, loosing her phone (but getting it back - miracle!), some floating feces, and waiting on some stragglers for an hour...we had a great time! My favorite part of the whole weekend was that last evening together. We ordered pizza, laughed until we were sore and caught up a bit with each other. It was lovely to spend some quality time with these amazing women that I had the privilege of meeting while attending UF. I will be seeing them all again within a year!”
Now mine! No shit there I was...Daisa and Azlan took off today to meet her Dad in Dallas so he could pick Azlan up and take him to Miami and she could continue on to Austin for College Girls Weekend. So I drop them off at an absolutely ridiculous hour and return to the Glamper before 5AM...after an hour in the car! I eat and catch a few winks before getting ready to have a buddy from Germany come over. We chat and catch up far an hour then head to lunch at Medicine Creek Cafe down the road. Sleep some more then get ready and drive to Seattle for a night out with a couple other buddies at Amber Lounge Seattle. One of them runs the Friday night events so he is busy but keeps checking in on us and hanging out. The other guys girlfriend comes along an hour or so after we get there and we chill in the back near the fan until almost 2AM, then go get Seattle Dogs. For those unaware...like myself prior to this...Seattle Dogs are spicy fat hotdogs on cream cheese covered with caramelized onions in a bun. So I don’t like anything but the bread and dog...normally! We may have made a substance pit stop on the way to the hot dog place, but one way or another, those dogs were the shit! Who knew? I crash on his floor and the next “morning”...about 11:30 we go get breakfast. I return to the motorhome about 4 and chill and watch movies. The next morning I wake up and head for Olympic National Park. This is a great day! Cruise up the east coast on US 101 along the Hood Canal, which is beautiful, to the Visitor Center and then on to Hurricane Ridge and Obstruction Point. Hiked here and at PJ Lake a few miles up the road and both places were spectacular! Obstruction Point is at 6100 feet, and the hikes are uphill, PJ Lake also about 6000’ is downhill...steeply...and the return is brutal! PJ Lake though was absolutely clear, it was amazing. I continue up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to Crescent Lake and then to the furthest NW Point USA, Cape Flattery. Unbeknownst to me, I have to hike here too, way easier than the other two though, so no worries. There are walking sticks at the entry to the trail with a sign asking people to use them, so I pick one up and off I go. It’s a beautiful walk through the forest listening to the wind rustle through the trees, the eagles calling as they soar through the sky, the waves crashing on the seashore and the distant bark of sea lions in the caves at the cape awaiting me. I get there in time to see the sunset, which is gorgeous, take some pictures and then make my way back up...again. The walking sticks are available to be taken for $5, so now I have a walking stick for future hikes! Alright, here’s the bad part...thinking I wouldn’t be gone this long and what a beautiful day it is...I take the doors off the Jeep...and it was fucking awesome, until the sun went down! So now it’s dark with the temperature plummeting and I don’t have doors on the Jeep...oh and I’m in shorts and a T shirt...that’s damp from sweat/hiking. I’m a fucking idiot! Always Hard! It takes about an hour and a half to get to Forks...yes, the vampire town...now it’s about 11PM, about 53 degrees and my teleport machine is not getting the Jeep doors...maybe I’m not a very good engineer. But hey, after all that time in the wind, my shirt is dry! Thankfully there is a store open, why I have no idea, and they have a great hoodie for sale. No pants though! On I go, I make a pit stop in Hoquiam to see the buddy from Friday at lunch whose a cop on duty there at midnight. When it’s all said and done I’m back at the Glamper about 1:30 in the morning...Doors! I get up, have breakfast, watch a movie and go to Seattle to get my Princess!
OK, we are together again, phew!
That evening we have Caesar Salad with chicken for dinner after grabbing Daisa and returning to the Glamper immediately. The plan had been to stay in Seattle for the evening, but plans change.
Tuesday, 06 August starts with Zumba for Daisa and some meet and greet with the neighbors for me. The doors are still off the Jeep at this point and it is a brisk morning to and from Zumba...but it’s supposed to be 80 later which gives Daisa quite the shock! Today is just chill and be together, which improves Daisa’s mood tremendously, which was definitely jump started by the Zumba class that morning. Wednesday sees us taking the Glamper in to get the new microwave and circuit board for the fan installed, doing laundry together while Daisa fills out a questionnaire, and then going to Boot Camp class on JBLM. I wrap up the laundry while she’s in class and then pick her up all fresh and clean in our way to meet a friend for lunch. As it turns out, the restaurant we are supposed to meet at is closed, so we go to the food court on McChord AFB where we actually get a half healthy pretty good meal. It was great to see her and get Daisa and she to meet. We go see Fast & Furious: Hobbs and Shaw to pass the afternoon waiting for the Glamper, this movie is pretty good but definitely has some cheesy parts. Pick up the Glamper and return to the Land Yacht Harbor with all pieces working! Yay! Thursday comes with a Commit dance class for Daisa and departing to have lunch with Daisa’s friend from college at Homegrown, a little cafe style locally grown foods and my chicken salad sandwich was the bomb! We hit The Art of Shaving to get me some more Initiative Beard Oil, which is very citrusy, then Pike Market before meeting up with another friend. We all go to another spot to meet yet another friend and have a mini 173rd reunion at some bar where people are yelling hawks all the damn time trying to scare the shit out of me...as it turns out, the Seattle Seahawks are playing their first preseason game just down the road and everyone is watching. Great link up just for a few minutes then off to the Space Needle! OK, here is the rub...I’m in flip flops and these other two are in shoes...and they wanna walk a mile and a half to the Needle...I do it...I’m dumb! We get there and go up. It’s really expensive, I didn’t think it would cost that much, but it’s pretty cool and it’s Seattle so of course we have to do the most iconic thing there. The lower deck, with the new glass floor is a trip! It was really weird being in there, I didn’t like it but Daisa and our friend are walking all around...nuts! Dinner at an Argentinian restaurant before our goodbyes and a long drive home. Friday morning starts out a little rough in that we go see a friends grave, his lovely wife meets us there and we talk and hug and cry, say our goodbyes and then we are off to Mount Rainier National Park for a drive by visit! We stop short of the park at an adorable restaurant made out of trains. There is a train car hotel right next door too, really cute! They had some info on Hobos and Cabooses so we got a little lesson while we had an early lunch. Into the park and up to Paradise with a pit stop at Christine Falls. We go for a hike at Nisqually Vista which Is supposed to be easy but is harder than expected. Daisa is sore and cussing me under her breath the whole way but she perseveres and then some terrible coffee gets us back on the road. Down the mountain and through the park is a beautiful drive, albeit very long! Into Tacoma and the Heritage restaurant on the wharf with Daisa’s Zumba sister who is a hoot! Saturday 10 August has Daisa and I closing up the Glamper again for our cruise to Alaska! We load up after Daisa’s Zumba class and meet a friend in West Seattle where we store the Jeep and he drops us at the cruise terminal.
Azlan is with his Grandparents and going to daycare again. He is taking swimming lessons...he swam all by himself!!! And he is being spoiled rotten, he couldn’t be happier!
Join Daisa next week for the story of our Alaskan Cruise! Love Daisa, Ted and Azlan.