Monday, May 31, 2010

Tuesday morning (5/25), we drove back into La Grande to load all the stuff from the storage room we'd rented (tail gate, bed cover, storage box we had on the back of the fifth wheel, etc.) when we picked up our camper in April. Since the back of the camper was jam packed with stuff, we made the trip back to Spokane in one day and arrived at our house in the afternoon.

After arriving home, we hung the picture my mother drew many years ago when I was a child, of a mother horse and her baby, in the bedroom. We went to Michael's and bought framing supplies for another picture we picked up at Mom's and hung that in the living room. We still have other pictures to frame and hang, but haven't decided exactly where to put them.

Below are pictures of some of the flowers in bloom around our house. We just recently planted the flowers in the last picture, so they look a little sparse now...hopefully, they'll grow and fill in nicely.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Well, here we are back at Hilgard Junction State Park after visiting with my mother and attending my nephew's graduation party on Sunday. We had a great time visiting with everyone.

Instead of driving on I-84 all the way to La Grande, we decided to get off at the exit for Farewell Bend State Park and drove US-30 all the way into Baker City (except for a short section where we had to get back on the Interstate).

After having lunch in Baker City at Sumpter Junction, where we always stop and eat if we're going through Baker City at lunch time, we drove SR-203 which makes a loop from Baker City, heading east and north through Union and on to La Grande. We've driven this road a couple of time going south, but this is the first time we've driven it get a whole new perspective coming from the opposite direction! Unfortunately, the Wallowa Mountains were mostly covered with clouds, so the views weren't as grand as they would have been had we had clear skies.

Friday, May 21, 2010

We're spending the night at Hilgard Junction State Park just north of La Grande, Oregon. Had an uneventful trip from Spokane. Stopped in Walla Walla for lunch and to fill up with diesel, then stopped in Pendleton to dump tanks. Ran into a bit of rain north of Pendleton, but by the time we arrived at the dump station, it was dry.

It's going to be a cold night here, I think...the temperature in the truck as we pulled into the park was 43 degrees! Good thing we brought our heavy blanket with us!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We are now bonifide Washington State our license plates today! The only downside was that, since we didn't pay sales tax when we bought our camper, we had to pay it here. :-( But in future years, our licensing fees will be even less than they were in South Dakota (of course, South Dakota doesn't license campers).

Our new refrigerator was delivered last week and the old one put out by the shed for Avista to come and pick up. The new refrigerator sure is a lot quieter than the old one! Plus the fact that the new refrigerator doesn't leak water into the refrigerator compartment when it goes through its defrosting cycle.

We bought a bunch of flowers yesterday to plant in the three planters out front. In fact, we got so many, that we pulled out the two rectangular planters that the previous owner had left and planted those, too, putting them on either side of the walkway.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18, 1980

It's been 30 years since the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

We were living in Spokane when it happened. We'd gotten up that Sunday, had breakfast, and drove to the north part of Spokane (we lived on the South Hill then) to help friends build their house. None of us who were there that morning had turned on a radio or TV, so we were unaware what had happened several hundred miles to the southwest.

Sometime in the afternoon, as we were returning home, we noticed a huge black cloud on the southwest horizon. Thinking that it was a thunderstorm approaching, we hurried to get home before it broke. But the closer we got to home, the darker it became...even the street lights started to come on. Strange thunderstorm!

When we got home, we turned on the TV to find out what was going on...that's when we learned of the eruption. Businesses were closed for most of the week (as was most modes of transportation) because of the ash, which was as fine as baby powder and clogged engine filters. We spent Monday hosing off the roof of the house and the sidewalk. Everyone else in the neighborhood were doing the same thing. In fact, we all used so much water, we ran the nearby water tower dry! I don't recall how much ash we got...probably not more than about an 1"; however, places like Ritzville bore the brunt of the ash fall...they had drifts of ash several feet deep.

Experts who were watching the mountain had anticipated an eruption; however, the power of the blast were much more than had been anticipated. A 5.1 earthquake below the volcano that morning triggered the blast which blew off the top 1,300 feet of Mount St. Helens, sending 3.7 billion cubic yards of debris to the northwest. Temperatures in the blast zone were estimated to reach 600 degrees and trees along the path of the blast were broken off and laid down like dominoes. The avalanche of debris that rushed down the North Toutle River, raised the river as much as 600 feet in some spots, wiping out bridges and burying roads. The eruption killed 57 people.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

At last, TV! Dish Network came out Monday morning to put the dish up (the installer attached it to the rear corner of the house), hooked up both TVs, and voila! we have programming!

We changed from DirecTV to Dish Network...had been Dish Network customers in years past, and decided to make a change. We may rue the decision when it's time to move one of the receivers into the camper, since I think that our Motosat controller will have to be reprogrammed for Dish Network. I'm not sure if that's something we can do, or if we'll have to take it to a Motosat dealer to get it done...haven't gotten that far down the road yet.

Then there's our dome on the fifth wheel. Changing it over to Dish Network is an easy matter of going up on the roof, taking the cover off, and changing the position of a few switches. And I know the dome can toggle between 119 and 110, but what I don't know is if it can toggle to the third satellite that's now required for HD programming (oh, did I mention that we now have HD programming after years of just watching programming in SD?). It may require some type of reprogramming or an added "doohickey" to make it find the third satellite. We'll find out from Satellite Advantage in Quartzsite when we get back down there. If all else fails, we can always get a Dish Network multiple-LNB dish and put it on a tripod.

We are now half way to becoming Washington State citizens...we got our (temporary) driver's licenses today. Now all that is left to do is get the truck registered...and, of course, an emissions test.

Getting our driver's licenses was something of an ordeal. Thanks to the Real ID Act, you now have to jump through a lot of hoops in order to get driver's licenses. I'd gone to the Washington State Driver's Licensing website and gathered together all the documents for both Earl and myself that the website said we'd need. Among others, one of the items was something to prove Washington State residency, like a utility bill. Well, since we've been in the house for only a week, we do not yet have a utility bill; however, there were other items on the list that we could take, like a title for the house or a homeowners insurance policy...I took both.

At first, the woman who was waiting on me said I HAD to have a utility bill. I explained that 1) we do not yet have a utility bill because we haven't been in the house long enough and 2) according to their own website, I could use other documentation, which I presented to her. I'm not sure why the title didn't satisfy her, but she was going to refuse the insurance policy because, although it listed the address of the house that was being insured, it was addressed to us at our Sioux Falls address. Well, yes, it was BECAUSE when I set up the insurance we weren't yet in our house. Where else were they going to send the policy? She finally had to take the paperwork to her boss who said it was OK. Finally, someone with some sense! Of course, after I paved the way, Earl's licensing went smoothly...except for the fact that the lady (the same person who'd waited on me) didn't handle the "Jr." in his name appeared as his middle name! I suspect that this person was new on the job.

After we both got our licenses, we stopped by Home Depot and bought a new refrigerator. We're getting all kinds of rebates and discounts...a 10% discount at the register; an Avista rebate (our electric company) for having the old refrigerator hauled away; and a state rebate for buying a qualifying energy star appliance. Our next kitchen appliance purchase will probably be a stove...Home Depot is having a sale on their stoves starting at the end of the month.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Yesterday was another busy day getting stuff for the house.

We started at Target and picked up a bedspread, plus two end tables and lamps to put on them. The end tables are actually just stools that we'll probably paint black...or put a round table cloth on them if I can find the right size in a color or print that I like. We have limited space on either side of the bed (about 14" maximum) that limits what we can put there. We saw some really nice end tables at Pier 1, but they were something like $120 each, which we didn't feel like paying.

Our next stop was Pier 1 where we bought place mats and a room divider screen to cover a window in the living room that doesn't have any window treatment. I don't know the story behind the window not having any window treatment, but the guy who lived here before us had a mirrored room divider screen in front of the window. The mirrored divider really looked nice, but mirrored ones are really expensive! The divider screen we got has fabric panels which go with the furniture and can be changed in the, since the floor model was the only one they had left, we got a very good discount on it!

Third, and last, was a trip to Best Buy to buy a TV...a Toshiba 40" LCD HDTV. Now all we need is to have someone come out and attach a dish to the house and run cables (the previous owner had cable). Once we get the TV up and running, the house will really feel like home!

Today we bought a printer, but when I got it home, I discovered that it didn't come with a cable to connect it to the computer, so we'll have to go back out tomorrow to pick one up.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I checked out Pend Oreille County Park online and found out that they do not open until Memorial Day, so that explains why they weren't open when we stopped the other day.

We returned to Spokane on Tuesday and went by the house in the afternoon to find that the previous owner had, indeed moved out. We also found a check he left for us to pay rent for the four days he was there after ownership transferred to us and a proration of the lot rent. This was totally unexpected (since we had told out realtor not to bother with getting any money), but we did appreciate the kind gesture. He also left a few items for us, among them the four patio chairs on the porch! This, too, was unexpected, but much appreciated. They are nice chairs and will save us a bit of money since we won't have to buy them.

We parked in the driveway and proceeded to unload the stuff we'd bought earlier for the house...silverware, dinnerware, and a combination convection/toaster oven. Since furniture wouldn't be delivered until the next day, we spent the night in the camper.

This morning after breakfast, we drove up to the Wal Mart in Airway Heights to get a bunch of stuff for the house...garbage cans for the kitchen & bathroom, kitchen utensils, cast iron frying pan and dutch oven, drinking glasses (actually, stemless red wine and white wine glasses) short, all the little things needed for a house. Of course, we still have more things to get, but we've got the basics for now.

We'd pretty much gotten all the stuff unloaded and put away when the furniture was delivered: 4 chairs for the living room (2 recliners and 2 "regular" chairs) plus an end table and lamp for each pair; a bed and dresser; a sofa table (which we're going to use as an entertainment center on which to place the TV (which we haven't bought yet), and a kitchen table and 4 chairs. What we weren't told when we bought the latter, was that the table and chairs had to be put together! It wasn't a very difficult job, but we only put two of the chairs together today...we'll get to the rest of them later.

Anyway, it's nice and cozy in here and we're looking forward to sleeping in our new house and bed tonight!

I'll take some pictures and post them at a later date.

Monday, May 03, 2010

I just couldn't stand it anymore, so I looked up the website of the listing realtor on our house, got her email address, and emailed a letter letting her know how upset and angry we were about the situation with the house and how poorly we think she handled it. The letter wasn't angry...just a statement of facts and an expression of our feelings.

She wrote back a nice response, except that she took no responsibility for the mess...tried, in fact, to put it off on our realtor. She just doesn't get it: When the seller signed the sales agreement, it was clearly stated that possession would take place on closing. If, at a later date, the seller realized that he would not be able to live up to the contract he signed, he should have contacted his realtor (which he did) and his realtor should then have prepared a WRITTEN addendum which she should have presented to our realtor for our approval and signature. This, of course, was not done and WE knew nothing about the seller not being able to move out of the house as agreed in the sales contract until we arrived at the door of the house on Friday.

She did indicate in her email, however, that the seller WILL be out of the house on Tuesday afternoon. We shall see...I'm not holding my breath until we actually see an empty house!

In the meantime, we decided to get out of Spokane and check out some sites noted in the Escapees' Day's End listings and, perhaps, find new places to report.

Our first stop on Saturday was the Deer Park City Park...10 back-in sites with 30-amp electric for $10 per night, although we could find no place to pay and no one came around to collect. Perhaps it's too early in the year for the powers that be to think about people camping in their city park, or as someone else opined, it was because it was the weekend.

On Sunday, we checked out a few places in both Chewelah and Colville on which to report, and then ended up at the city park in Northport, about seven miles from the Canadian border. This park has six sites with 20-amp electric and water for $5 per night...this time, there was an "iron ranger" in which to deposit the money.

This morning, we waited out a wind and rain storm in Northport and then headed out for Colville, stopping at Arby's to have lunch. We pulled into Leo Lake Campground, a USFS campground about 29 miles east of Colville on SR-20. This is campground is free and has eight sites. We were planning on spending the night until around 6:30 PM or so when we realized is was really, really cold out and would more than likely get down to freezing or below overnight. We therefore, decided to head down to a lower elevation for a bit warmer weather.

Originally, we were going to stop at Pend Oreilly County Park for the night, but it was closed (not yet open for the summer season, or a permanent closure, I don't know...I'll have to see what I can find out online). At any rate, we're back at the City Park in Deer Park for the night.

Saturday, May 01, 2010


That's what we have!

We were supposed to be moving into our house today, even had all the furniture set to be delivered. We got the key to the house from our realtor yesterday morning and went by the house to see what was going on (the seller had until 9:00 PM last night to get out).

It was apparent when we drove up that something was not right...there was still a lock on the shed, and the porch still had all the chairs and stuff on it. Since the seller was there, we knocked on the door. Apparently, he had told HIS realtor that he could not get movers in until this coming Tuesday...a fact that his realtor failed to convey to us, despite the fact that everyone knew that the house was closing yesterday.

I don't really understand the situation...the seller knew when closing was way back at the beginning of April when we all agreed on a price and the terms of the sale. I find it hard to believe that at that point in time, he could not have found a moving company that would be able to move him out of the house prior to closing. Or, failing that, that his realtor never thought it necessary to inform anyone that the seller would not be able to get out of the house by the scheduled closing. If we had known, we could have postponed the closing.

As it is, he's living in OUR house, using OUR electricity (because I scheduled the electric company service to start yesterday). And I had to scramble to call the three places that were to deliver furniture today to postpone the delivery until Wednesday. Hopefully, everyone of them got the message, although I've only heard back from one of the places.

We made it clear to our realtor and to the seller that he MUST vacate the house on Tuesday because we're moving in on Wednesday come hell or high water! If that means he has to live in a motel and put his stuff in storage, so be it. But if he's still there on Wednesday morning, we'll be seeking out an attorney.