Saturday, May 16, 2015


Tuesday, May 12 through Thursday, May 21
Baker City to Seattle to Fairbanks and back again....

Tuesday the 12th:
          We left BC around 11am, once again back in the Prius and grateful for its great gas mileage!  I drove over to Pendleton where we stopped for a good meal at the Denny's there.  Then on up toward Yakima, listening to a new book which was just a little crazy different!  However, I was fighting the sleepies (my usual post meal problem!), so a rest area stop in Prosser to switch drivers.  I have to admit I missed a few sections of book after that!  The day is cloudy and misty at times.  Big banks of fog drifting over and through the Blue Mountains - pretty!
Fields and meadows of central WA were lush and green and wet!  Cascades at Snoqualamie also layered in clouds and a light rain at times.  Rick drove us down into Seattle, arriving just about at the height of rush hour!  We took 405 south to the freeway area and slowly found our way to our SeaTac Crest Hotel off Hwy 99 just south of airport.
           This hotel was an experience....confusion in registration with the billing which was eventually later settled with a refund credit, the key to the room had to be changed so we could get in, no pillows on the bed, toilet seat loose.  They moved the Prius before they were supposed to so a little harder to put stuff back in the car in the morning, and they didn't get our shuttle request written down right, even though I tried to verify it the night before.  Breakfast was NOT out at 4am as promised, but the clerk gave each of us a cold muffin from the fridge.  (There WAS coffee in the pot!) There was a king size bed, however, and we were able to relax enough.  Hopefully our car will be in one piece when we return.

Wednesday the 13th:
          The day dawns early at 3:15 wakeup!  We pack up and head out to lobby.  One other guest shows up around 3:50 to catch a shuttle, on the same plane as us bound for Anchorage.  The clerk is new and doesn't know how to give Rick instructions to get to the car, so we wait for the shuttle driver who can take us down enroute out.  Driver finally arrives at 4:10 and tells Rick to just take elevator down and go out - which he does!
          Anyway, it is a short distance to departure gate and we get unloaded and through security in good measure.  I had printed off our boarding passes, and we had no checked baggage so that process was smooth.  Plane packed at 100% full, so boarding took awhile, but we finally got off at 6:15am.  No good views of the sound as it was lightly raining at times and cloud cover very low!
St. Elias Mts. 
The lake region of southern Alaska
Smooth flight to Anchorage.  Seatmate on the window side had switched from further back so two Asian girls could sit together (much to their relief - one was in my seat when Rick and I arrived and I had to ask her to move) Caught a few views of St. Elias range out the corner of the window (but we were just in back of wing, so harder to see).  Otherwise a blanket of puffy white clouds below us the whole way!
The highway to Anchorage
runs down this valley.
That's Denali off the prop tip.
 Anchorage was bright and sunny in the airport!  We grabbed a quick yogurt parfait from McD's and then back on the prop job for Fairbanks.  I was excited for the clear skies and views of Alaska range and Denali.  Views were great, altho we were still blocked by the back side of the prop behind the wing. Still good!  Rick let me have the window and I clicked lots of pictures!  
Mac and Liz  were there to pick us up within 5 minutes of our arrival at the curb!  They had been shopping.
Liz works on the perimeter fencing! 
Rick helps Liz and I with some corner
tie work. 
          Back out to house on Chena HS Road for lunch and to assess our plans!
          Liz and I spent afternoon finishing up wrapping the aluminum ties on the fencing around the perimeter of the property.  Sprayed up as the mosquitos are persistent coming out of their nests in the ground down in the trees!  Rick and Mac were busy loading stuff into the truck for dump runs, Rick finished the gate of the fence, and in general thinking through processes with Mac for a second opinion!
Coming into Fairbanks: Tanana R
          Mac called the realty lady in the evening and set up an appointment for next week. Another item to check off the list! 
          Spaghetti dinner and an early crash for Rick and I.  I was feeling a little frustrated as I had NO cell service at all, but Rick did!  But I got the laptop up and running on Mac's internet, so I was able to at least post ONE Denali picture and let folks know we had arrived.  That gave me a response from Annika, and when I heard Dave and Shelli wouldn't be home until after 9, I said I would call tomorrow cause I was going to bed!!  (Using Liz's phone!)
          We crashed around 9am cause on Alaska time we had been up since 2:15 am!!!
Front of Mac's home
Side patio and decks
Powerline road at rear property line

Thursday, the 14th:
          Beautiful morning listening to the birds singing outside the window.  Rick and I are upstairs in the double bed, while Liz has moved to pads in another little room.  Furnishings and kitchen-ware is sparse for this many people!  We can manage!  It's like living in a roomy trailer, but still no fancy stuff!
    I focus this morning on getting Mac's list of sale items on to Craigslist.  It is a slower process as I go out to take additional pictures and details for descriptions.  Then I have to wait for Mac to get his email up and running so I can confirm and actually publish.  Then we had a phone verification issue which I sent to his cell as a text.  We never received that so I had to wait while Rick and Mac made a town run to see if he heard anything.  Later I used the house phone and a verbal message for the verification.  That went through and finally I could post the rest of the items.  By 5:30 we had already made our first sale and cash in hand for a dog kennel!  Later the garden cart sold, with lots of phone calls and messages about the jumbo kennel, home gym, double bed, and 55 gal drum.  Here's hoping the calls and messages continue to come.
Moby the Whale of a Trailer
Liz worked on the inside of all the window wells in the morning, then while Mac and Rick were gone we went outside and powerwashed the outside of the windows with the hose and some Windex outdoor cleaner.  It worked pretty well!  Might have to use it at home!
Scrub, scrub, scrub....
          Rick and Mac moved stuff around inside Moby today (Moby is the huge 20' cargo trailer that came up from Louisiana 14 years ago and hasn't moved since then!)  The wheels were sunk in the mud.  Hallelujah!  It moved!  Mac plans to repack it and take it to a flatbed and ship it south.  It won't make it to drive back down the Al-Can!
Fun in the bathroom! 
          Liz and I began the process of cleaning tile - a scientific test to see which of all the cleaners Mac had worked the best.  We both agreed on the winner and headed into town to purchase more!  We have an abundance now!  Also got some groceries.  Mac was inundated with calls on craigslist right around dinner time so we didn't finally get dinner on the table until 7pm!  We were hungry!
Quiet evening.  I talked with Mom on phone and then with Shelli.

Friday the 15th...
       Another beautiful morning.  The days have been reaching the 70's and nights in the mid 40's.  Perfect weather to bring out the mosquitos.  Right now Mac says we are seeing last year's old folks.  They are big and slow!  In another week the new kids will hatch and they are hard to see and fast (and prolific!)  I'm sure hoping we will be on our way by then!  
Rick cleans up the trimwork before starting
to paint. 
        We sold five more items from craigslist today and had calls concerning two more of the 'big ticket' items - the gym and truck canopy.  Mac was getting text messages and emails on his cell phone until midnight last night!  With all the phone calls and interruptions, it was hard to keep Mac focused on any one job, so Rick struggled a little today with direction, but he mowed, cut down the tops of wood fence posts to even them up, and did alot of painting on the exterior trim to clean windows up.  
Modeling Liz's new shirt after we
made rags out of most of it!
Shirt later was completely ripped
up for rags!  
  Liz and I tackled the cleaning the downstairs rugs, then shampooing.  An amazing amount of dog hair came out of the carpet.  We will shampoo once more next week because the downstairs was particularly in trouble.  The first attack sure helped things look better.  

        We also finished our grout work in the downstairs bathroom and got the upstairs done (that was a 'one butt' bathroom which I did alone!) Will tackle the kitchen before we leave for Farmer's Market on Saturday morning.  
Watching Netflix......???
        Meatloaf dinner and fruit salad!  We had a craigslist pick up at 9:30p for two items which was great!  Liz and Mac have been watching a Netflix series 'Arrow' every night - one to three episodes.  I watched one with them tonight, and then clicked the picture to record how much they really watch!  Zzzzzz....!!
        I haven't been in Alaska in May before and am amazed how light it is at night even now and summer solstice is still over a month away.  The bedroom is still light at 11pm and when I got up at 3 I thought we had left a backporch light was just the sky through the trees!  Amazing.  

Saturday, May 16th
Liz loves all the
pictures I take of her!
          What a gorgeous day!!!  Crystal clear in the morning with a good breeze blowing that keeps the mosquitos at bay (at least for awhile!)  We arise and get going so we have earned our 'break' this morning!  Liz and I tackle the tile around the wood stove and the front entry.  Both are gray grout and stubborn to clean as the ZEP just doesn't cut through it as well.  Rick and Mac are focused this morning on rearranging items in Moby to make it possible to start loading things in from the house.  
Mac and Rick in the closet!
          Around 10 we clean up and take off for town.  Stops at Lowes and Home Depot (where Liz and I return the white grout repair stick, but then find we can't purchase a gray one!  Sad!) Then we head over to the Farmer's Market which has opened for the season.  Many plants on sale, but little produce yet which is understandable!  I am on the prowl for the denim shirt lady from whom I purchased a beautiful shirt with fireweed four years ago.  Never found her.  :(  Liz crossed viewing the Northern Lights off her bucket list when she purchased a beautiful photograph.  We did buy a cookie crust blueberry pie section!  
Rick uses his head on the
ceiling project. 
          Groceries at Fred Meyer and Liz took us out to eat at Subway!  Thank you again Mom R in ABQ for the use of another coupon!  
Swansons minus Sarah...
          And then it is scrubby time again for Liz and I!  She seals the bathroom floor tile and we shut the door!  No use for 3 hours.  Rick and Mac tackle the ceiling of the pantry closet which must be done before the wall can be finished, and then the floor man come in for that.  They put the final screws in just before 5pm in time for Rick to clean up for dinner.  
          Mac is on his own to eat leftovers tonight, as we head into Swansons for a night of Thai food and Liz is picked up at 4pm by her niece Dawn for the evening.  We enjoy a great dinner at a little Thai place and then back to the house to sit around the table and visit for 3 more hours!  We meet Riley the new canine family member.  Annika is almost as tall as Rick!  Annika had made a lingonberry cake for dessert.  Quite good with a tart taste! 

Driving home at 11:15pm!!!  
          We leave Swansons at 11pm!!  The light skies make time so deceiving!  I can't believe how light it is all the way home to Macs.  I am in bed and asleep within 5 minutes I think! 
          PS.   Rick got a call from Jed today and he heard back from Willamette.  They hadn't crossed him off their list.  Still hope there! 

A few more pictures from the Swansons....
I love the birch forest across the street. 
Rick and Dave chat outside the house
Rick and Riley
Annika gives a smile
Sunday, May 17..... 
          Another beautiful sunny morning!   We are heading into town for church around 10, so a little time to get a few things done before we go!  Seems like daily trips to town at this point!  
         We worship with the Swansons at University Pres Church, delighting in the fact that Annika was performing the Lord's Prayer skit that Rick and I have done more than a dozen times.  She did a great job, adding a little dramatic flair at times.  Good visit time after church, but we had a deadline so couldn't stay too long. (The gym guy from Craigslist was coming at 1:30 and we had a couple stops to make enroute home!)
Rick found the
height marks on pantry
wall - we had to
record before paneling
over them!
Height record gone! 
          Rick spends the afternoon working on the pantry wall, installing plywood around the circuit box and cutting out four opening for switches.  Liz worked on the 'restore' product on all the kitchen cupboards, and I painted the back patio door from the outside (put on skeeter spray today for that!)  Thom came over around 4 for a salmon and yam dinner, complete with sourdough bread, spinach and salad.  Thom brought ice cream to have with our blueberry pie!  Liz had never met Thom so that was a good treat.  
Thom and Liz at dinner

          By days' end all the grout has been sealed, oak stain applied, doors painted, cupboards beautiful, and the pantry ready for Mac to mud and tape the ceiling. We are tired!  No Arrow movies tonight.  I give Luke a quick call....a little later than planned and everyone is heading to bed by 10:45pm!  
Mac and his son, Thom

Monday, May 18:
          My goodness....Rick's mom was saying that ABQ was cold and wet, but up here the weather has been absolutely gorgeous.  Today dawns again sunny and bright.  Fifties in the early morning, but days warming to high 70's or 80's.  
Scraping the shelves
          A work day!  Rick spent more time in the pantry closet sanding the shelves because it be apparent that more than sanding was necessary.  The bottom three shelves were layered with grime.  After scraping, wire brushing, PineSol and vinegaring, he finally knocked the shelves loose and turned them over!  Problem solved!  Mac picked up some paint on his run to town, and by mid-afternoon Rick was painting away.  
Liz taking a break! 
          Liz and I tackled the film Mac purchased to put on the patio doors - an attempt to somewhat hide the scratch marks from the dogs on the glass.  That was a job...came out OK, not perfect.  Then we moved boxes downstairs and emptied closets, getting three rooms upstairs empty enough to vacuum and shampoo. Finally we wrapped up and prepared for packing in Moby the rest of Mac's framed pictures and wall art.  First I had to take pictures with my Canon camera because Mac couldn't get his notebook to recognize his camera and HIS pictures.  He pastes a photo of the picture on the box so he can find what he wants without opening.   
A handsome Mac in his
early 30's.  
         Liz and I found a stack of photos and some CDs on a shelf in a closet .... including this gem of a picture from the 1980's!  
         Final project - I helped Rick finish up the pantry, painting the small shelves on the one wall.  A few strokes of spot check touch ups in the morning and it will be DONE!  
         Rick escaped prior to painting for a stretch-the-legs walk in the afternoon, but the BIG NEWS of the day was the phone call from Jed around 9:45 am....he got the job at Willamette University!!!  Jed is moving back to Oregon as a visiting professor!  So exciting for him and a perfect spot....some of his closest friends from college are also moving back to the area or already live there.  He was pretty happy with life today!  
         Stirfry for dinner....exciting to prep with all the pantry stuff on the counter and the big cast-iron skillet packed, but Liz managed!  
         A good productive day!
View of the back yard trees from the upstairs master bedroom
From master bedroom to front yard
Tuesday, May 19...

          Oh, what ANOTHER beautiful morning!  A little cooler outside perhaps, but we later discover that hasn't hindered the big fat mosquitos yet.  Soon the little young'uns will come out and it will be fast and furious slapping.  
Soaker hose fun
          We sold the SUV Pet Gate yesterday evening and Mac has to go into town anyway, so he will deliver it to the Lowe's parking lot around noon.  Only four items left to sell, but unfortunately one of them is the camper shell.  Hope, hope.  
Freshly painted pantry
          Liz and I start this morning outside with the soaker hoses, but we can only go so far.....we ripped everything out, tested old ones for leaks, installed the good ones, and then had to wait for Mac to return from the store with a new one.  Mac wants to keep the front flower garden growing and blooming throughout the summer and this is the only way...on a timer...that he can do it.  The skeeters were a bit obnoxious so we both had on our 'gear'.  I also managed to soak myself several times in disconnecting the joints.  
Door trimwork
         Rick and Mac got alot loaded into Moby, starting with the bed Rick and I have been sleeping on.  We left the mattress, but they loaded up the box springs, the headboard, and the frame.  Liz and I then got the rest of the upstairs vacuumed and shampooed.  I got the stairs done, as well as a second coat of touch up painting in the pantry closet.  
New switchplates in
         Rick worked in the pantry with finish jobs today, as well as some trimwork on the back patio door.  More touch-up painting here and there.  
         This afternoon Liz and I (mostly Liz) cleaned all of the REP room, mopping floors, wiping down molding, etc.  Liz did most of it while I worked a bit more on Craigslist, adding another item for sale.  
Liz dusts the REP.
         And then?  Cleanup time for our dinner date with the Swansons!!  I fixed up salad veggies minus the lettuce in our high class lamp salad bowl.  We stopped at Freddies for the lettuce and croutons, the postoffice, and arrived at Swansons right at 6pm on the dot!  A wonderful evening followed of conversation,
Riley dog!
entertainment by Riley the 6 month old pup, and terrific food.  Shelli had made a Greek chicken and artichoke pot pie (only in a cake pan!), asparagus, lingonberry bread, and the salad I brought.  Then Annika pulled out a cinnamon blueberry cake (VERY moist!) and ice cream for dessert.  Shelli had made TWO pot pies, so they will be eating the other one tomorrow night!  But we did considerable damage to the blueberry cake!  

Mac eyes another piece of
blueberry cake
        Driving back out from Swansons, Mts. Deborah and Hays were visible to the south, the sun was setting.  Skies not quite so clear with high clouds, but a beautiful evening.  If only there wasn't this constant hum in the background and little black insects swarming around!  
        Early to bed as tomorrow night will be short!  

Annika took an official picture of the four of us! 
With our friends Dave, Shelli, Annika, and Riley!!
Wednesday, May 20....Departure Day!

Pantry work!
          Today is our last day to get things done, and as usual, we think we are pretty well caught up, but as we work, we discover more loose ends that need to be tied up!
Loading up the camper shell
  Rick spent the day working on molding in the kitchen hallway, final details in the pantry closet, and helping Mac move the camper-shell to the transfer station for garbage.  Mac hadn't heard back from the party interested in the shell and it was too big for him to dispose of himself, so today was the day!  He had to rent a Uhaul truck for an hour to do the job as we weren't sure we could get it on top of the truck....Liz and I weren't tall enough!  Unfortunately, we later found an email on Mac's computer from last night from said party still expressing interest.  Such is life.  Mac emailed the guy back and said it was at the transfer station for a good price now!

Staining the door frame
Liz cheers for her break
when husband Dave calls!
Shelli gave us a mason
jar to use for a vase
for a 'homey' touch!
       Liz and I worked on paint touchups (trying to match the popcorn ceiling color of paint!) so we went into town to pick up some paint samples and molding for Rick.  Eventually on the third sample purchase, we got the color right and were able to finish the job.  But while we were gone, Rick discovered that the door molding and door, plus the window, had never been stained in the downstairs bath.  Back to a BIG stain project, but I finished it by dinner time.  We ended up removing the solid oak door which made painting easier, but it was heavy to get back into place.  Our other goal today was to clean mirrors, vacuum downstairs carpets again, and do a second shampoo on the downstairs carpets. Liz did the majority of that work.  In between it all, we packed more boxes, washed all the sheets and towels, some of our dirty clothes.  
The crab apples have started
to blossom! 

         Everyone is running out of steam, especially Liz and Mac.  They have been at this for two weeks now.  Showers, pack, and dinner of chicken, tater salad, and corn.  Maybe even a little relaxing time before we take off for the airport!  
          Our relaxation?  Three more episodes of Arrow, leaving just the LAST ONE unwatched.  A tough place to end it!  But 10pm rolled around and the airport was calling!  (Addendum:  while we watched, someone called about the tire rims!  Maybe another sale???)

          A beautiful evening drive into the airport.  Still didn't see a moose which disappointed Liz.  Not one moose in two weeks!  Lots of robins and birds, but no big wildlife.  However, the sky was glorious with a swoosh of clouds in front of the setting sun.  We could see the white shadows of the Alaska range to our south.  Mac dropped us off, we had just enough time to do a little shopping in the gift shop before loading onto the plane.  My seatmate was a tall young man....definitely picked the aisle seat on purpose!  And as we lifted off, Wednesday ticked away into......

Thursday, May 21
          I slept for half the flight with my head on Rick's shoulders, but it put a kink in my back, so then tried the table out and head down in front method.  It seemed to work as it was 2:40 and landing time soon after.  (I won't say that it was flawless sleep, but we grabbed a little in the very tight space!)  We landed a half hour early, so by the time we said our goodbyes to Liz, called and waited for the shuttle, got our car (which was waiting for us in front of the hotel), and got on the freeway, it was still just a little before 5am!  

Sun coming up!
  Out of Seattle before the big morning rush hour hit!  Hurray!  A stop in North Bend for coffee and gas and Rick heads east into the rising sun, up and over Snoqualamie.  Quick conversation with Liz somewhere between Ellensburg and Yakima revealed that she was able to get on an earlier flight to Portland, so didn't have to wait THREE hours in the airport.  
Rainbow in the sky near Ellensburg

          It was a beautiful drive home.  Plenty of thunderstorms in the past week have kept things green....very green.  The fields of wheat were like velvet carpets.  Watched the sun turn the peaks into glory and mirrored surfaces of lakes and ponds.  Thought we would get to at least wave to Luke's Baker van headed to state tennis, but they stopped in Pendleton to hit and snack and we sailed right passed them.  Thought about stopping, but Rick was getting sleepy by then and wanted to GET HOME, GET BED!!  Which we did, arriving in BakerCity around 11:15.  I was in my bed by 11:40am and took a good 2 1/2 hour nap!  We have one full day to pack the trailer and tie up loose ends before heading out again on Saturday!  
Green of Cabbage Hill near Pendleton
     This was an unplanned adventure for this spring, but it was a worthy adventure.  As the days came to a close, Mac expressed his gratitude over and over.  We got alot done, he has alot left, but most of the tasks are doable smaller jobs.  The end is in sight.  Prayers this morning as I type for the realtor visits today!  May that go well.  We spent quality time together, for working together develops quality!!  I had long opportunities to converse with my sister, to reconnect and support her as well.  Family time!  Rick commented he enjoyed just watching and listening to the three of us reminisce, reflect, and interact!  

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