We celebrated our fortieth anniversary this past weekend. We took Christina down to Corvallis for 'respite care' at Bjorn and Jenny's. Esther and I were able to watch Ada's and Ruby's soccer games before driving to Newport for an overnight getaway. We stayed at the Agate Beach Best Western which was OK but probably not our first choice, but late bookers cannot be choosers. The view was great and the weather Saturday evening was nice. We strolled around Nye Beach in the afternoon and after a short nap back at the motel, went out for dinner in Depot Bay at Tidal Rave. In the morning we took a walk on the beach before the rain came late morning. A huge breakfast at a Nye beach cafe gave us fuel for the whole day. We picked up Christina in Corvallis and headed home, stopping at IKEA for a mirror for Christina's room.
Monday, September 04, 2017
The past week has been spent training, office work and in Christina’s case, swimming and waiting for school to start. Labor Day weekend gave us a chance to do some adventures together. Saturday we went shopping at the outlet mall in Marysville and IKEA. We ended the day enjoying Ethiopian food. On Sunday we went to Mt. Rainier and took a hike on the Skyline trail. The hot weather in the alpine setting felt surreal. We all enjoyed the grandeur and beauty of ‘the sleeping giant.’
Sunday, August 27, 2017
Esther and I have the special opportunity to abandon our empty nest and be parents for a year. Christina is the daughter of Esther's cousin Kjellaug who lives in Norway. Christina will be living with us and attending high school here. We are looking forward to having Christina in our lives and home this year. Kjellaug and Christina arrived a week ago, and Kjellaug stayed for a week to help Christina get adjusted. Unfortunately, Esther had to work during the days, but we packed the evening and weekend with social engagements. Fortunately, I did not have responsibilities for the week and was able to chauffeur the ladies to shopping and getting registered for school. Christina jumped right into social life and tried out for a couple of sports, settling on swimming for the Fall. We were the recipients of hosting the honored guests and were able to spend time with the Eides in Cle Elem, Anna in Tacoma, Markus and Steph in Seattle and the George Eide family in Lake Tapps. The busy week ended with a good bye to Kjellaug. We are excited for our 'parenting' adventure to begin.
Monday, August 14, 2017
Mikal and Kay were on a mission this summer to get the Eide clan together for a camping trip. Esther and I are no longer eager campers because of too many cold/wet experiences, so we were glad the decision was made to stay on the Columbia River. Every one made it besides Kelsey and the Corvallis crowd. Four dogs kept things interesting. We had a great time with hot though sometimes windy weather. Mikal rented a ski boat which ended up being our entertainment for the weekend. We packed just about everyone in including the dogs sometimes, and took long rides up and down the river; swimming, soaking, beaching on the sandbar and even a little wake boarding. I had to swallow my sailors pride and admit that I enjoyed the motorboat. The food was great and plentiful and Esther and I enjoyed the Sienna RV while everyone else was in tents. The trip made a great ending to our summer as Esther started work and I started the summer institute on Monday.
Monday, August 07, 2017
Ever since we discovered last year that our house's sub floor is tongue and groove 2x6, Esther has been itching to try a reclaimed wood floor in some of our house. Last week we took the plunge and tore up the carpet, particle board and tar paper, sanded and oiled the distressed floor. The project took about a week of full time work on both of our parts. It was rewarding to do the project together and we are pleased with the results.
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
Esther and I set a goal for ourselves to walk one hundred miles together in one month. Though we had walked as many as 85 miles, we had yet to do one hundred. We decided that July would need to be our month, since schedules and commitments would make it difficult in other months. We got a good start at the beginning of the month on our vacation to the national parks. Yesterday was Esther's birthday and we took a hike to Glass Beach near Port Townsend and finished our month with a bang. We ended the month with 114 miles, having walked every day of the month; the least being one mile and the most being seven and one half. Our year to date total is 494 miles.
Sunday, July 30, 2017
We had the joy of having Ruby and Ada for the week. Bjorn and Jenny left us with the girls Monday morning and we rendezvoused in Portland Friday afternoon. Squeezing all we could out of Seabrook, we went to the beach and swam in the pool before heading home. Our activities of the week included building a fairy garden, going to the beach, canoeing, going to Sequim to bike/walk and swim, as well as the obligatory candy store run. We enjoyed ourselves very much with the girls. They were very well behaved and cooperative. They are growing up fast. It's hard to imagine that Ada could be in my third grade class this year and Ruby will be in first grade.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
This past weekend the Bulthuis family (minus Calvin and Sassa😟) enjoyed four nights at Seabrook. We stayed at 'Life of Riley' and liked several features. The private patio area with a fire table was definitely a well used feature. We spent each evening around the fire and didn't go to bed stinking like smoke. The first night was Papa Murphy's pizza in honor of Markus' birthday, even though they had to arrive late. The next night was superb Sri Lankan food provided by Markus and Steph. The third night was chicken wings Vietnamese style provided by Bjorn and Jenny, and the last night mom made seafood fettuccine. Mom also made some soups for lunches and plenty of snacks. The first morning Ada had a traumatic accident with her bike and got some deep slivers. Jenny and I ended up taking her to Urgent Care in Elma, 40 miles away. They didn't do anything to her injury besides taking an X-ray. Back in Seabrook our days were filled with walking town, going to the beach, playing on the zip line, playing pickle ball, swimming, riding bike, visiting the gnome trail, going to the bakery and sweet shop and painting ceramics. All that peppered with lots and of eating and drinking. The weather was the best on the first day and the last day, of course; but at least there was no rain except for some fog drizzle. All in all, it was another successful Seabrook vacation.
Thursday, July 13, 2017
On Tuesday we met Jack, Sue and Ellen in Shelton to do a sister hand off. We ate Sisters for lunch and then took a 2 mile walk through Shelton with a tour map designating the historical buildings. It was surprisingly interesting. Ellen spent the next 24 hours with us before we brought her to the airport, but not without a bowl of ramen in South Center before she left.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Surprise parties are not on the Bulthuis radar. For some reason it has never been a part of our mode of operation. So when our daughter-in-laws schemed up a doozy for our 60th birthdays, we were totally clueless. You could have knocked us over the head and we still would have missed it. The huge 'party next door' with the Nelsons as guests didn't even perk our suspicions. The party was an absolute shock. Under the guise of seeing Emily and Katie's new house, we walked into a room full of family and friends singing Happy Birthday. There were so many people involved in the scheem including my sisters who are not used to deceptive practices. We thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and regretted not being able to connect with everyone who came. Marti had skillfully provided the food and the setting at the Olson's was perfect. The day ended with a family dinner at the Thai Hut in Gig Harbor. Thanks to Steph and Jenny, surprises may become more commonplace in the Bulthuis family.
Monday, July 10, 2017
Breakfast at the motel was great with a ‘chef’ making custom omelettes. We had a long trip ahead of us but we could not leave without a 3 mile river walk. We took I-15 north to Butte and I-90 home. We had never traveled that stretch of interstate and were surprised at the lack of mountain passes. Our last meal of the trip was our only fast food, Carl's Jr. Our smooth trip home was interrupted by a three hour delay waiting out a brush fire on the Vantage bridge. We got home at 2:30 am. 3250 miles of driving, 33 miles of walking, 4 National Parks, 1 National Monument, 4 dumpy trumpies and 3 nice lodgings; we’ll call it a successful Bulthuis road trip!
Motel waffles and Starbucks got us off and running to our last National Park. Crossing Wyoming off the interstate let’s you see a few towns but the landscape is the same. Wind River was very scenic as we approached the Grand Tetons. As usual, we enjoyed the Jackson Lake Lodge Lobby with its panoramic view of the lake and mountains. We hiked for 4 ½ miles along String Lake. The temperature was great and the views spectacular. We will save the Jenny Lake loop for another time, but we did enjoy the pull out views. The town of Jackson was all we remembered and more. It was packed with tourists but we found a nice Thai place to eat. We made reservations for a nice motel in Idaho Falls and headed out for our own evening drive. Idaho Falls was an unexpected delight. The motel was right across from the falls and there was a wonderful river walk including a great Japanese garden. We couldn’t retire for the night without another 1 ½ walk in the coolness of the night.
The apex of our ‘planned’ trip was the Badlands. That required another hundred miles east. As we approached the park at midday, temperatures were hovering over 100 degrees. With some trepidation we chose a mile and a half hike through the strange spires. We enjoyed the surreal landscape but could feel ourselves starting to overheat. On our return route we needed to wait behind a large group of young people trying to descend a ladder. The line would be 45 minutes and we would have wilted. We were bad examples and scrambled down a side path instead. When we got back to the car, it was 106 and we were feeling the start of heat exhaustion. Our stay in the park was short and ‘sweet’ and we high tailed it to our next destination: Wind Cave National Park. We were fortunate to get in a cave tour before closing and enjoyed the mile and a half walk through the 53 degree cave. Wind Cave is an impressive 195 miles of caverns with unique box work formations. A late evening drive brought us to Casper, Wy and the best dumpy trumpy of the trip for $49, which was better than the car option in the heat.
After a real breakfast in the Grand Hotel dining room and a morning stroll through the deserted town, we got serious about road miles and headed for Rapid City. Avoiding I-90, we took a more direct route through reservation land. The Black Hills are a welcome landscape to the dry prairies. After checking into a Ramada in with clean everything, we stopped at a Mexican grill downtown and headed for Mt.Rushmore for the first evening. A feeling of patriotism felt appropriate for the Fourth of July, and as the crowds gathered for the evening ‘light show’ we hiked the loop under the country fathers a couple times. The show was anticlimactic with no sound for a video and a disaster of a sing along. The only redeeming portion was all the veterans coming out of the stands to help in the flag retirement for the day.
Wednesday, July 05, 2017
One of our goals for the trip was to connect with Dan and Judy Mulder. Given our fluid schedule we did not make prior arrangements, but hoped for the best. Luckily, they were available for a lunch meeting that lasted four hours. We ate at the ‘Windbag ‘in downtown Helena and caught up with each other's lives. It was great to connect again. In hopes of a respite from dingy motels, we followed a lead from Dan about the historic Grand Hotel in Big Timber. Big Timber has high sentimental value as Soren, Esther’s dad, immigrated from Norway in 1929 to sheep herd in the Crazy Mountains. The hotel was great. $90 got us a classic room with a toilet and sink, along with a superb breakfast. We ate in the hotel dining room and enjoyed Sonoma chicken and tolerated Rocky Mountain trout. We were serenaded with fireworks on our 3.5 mile walk through the rustic town.
We were anxious to get to Glacier Park, so after a morning Starbucks stop we enjoyed the lakeside drive up to Columbia Falls and the entrance to the park. Esther got her National Parks Passport and her first stamp. We stopped at Lake McDonald Lodge and scoped out the old timber lodge with bark covered logs. Going to the Sun highway was breathtaking and we stopped on the summit to join the throngs of East Indian visitors on a snowpacked trail to Hidden Lake overlook. While we would have liked to spend more time in the park, the priority of further adventures pushed us on to Great Falls and a night at the worst Super 8 of the franchise. ($66, missing linen, stains on the sheet, air conditioning shut off from 10pm – 8am, not to mention a horrible smelling hallway). We redeemed the evening with dinner at Applebee's and a sunset walk along the river trail.
We decided to start our day with a cool morning 3 mile walk along Lake Coeur de Alene. After a quick Costco trip we found ourselves on a stalled I-90. Luckily, our maps app routed us on a 30 mile detour on a mountain dirt road. It was surreal being in heavy traffic on a washboard mountain road. We left I-90 at St. Regis and headed for Polson. We stopped in St. Ignatius mission church and appreciated the fresco paintings. The motel situation looked pretty dire in the Flathead area with Motel 6 at $110 and no vacancies. We found a lakeside dumpy trumpy in Polson for $95. Poop on the toilet seat and curtains too small for the window highlighted this gem. We thoroughly enjoyed our 4.5 mile evening walk and dinner at a lakeside Mexican restaurant.
After Esther worked the morning, we caught a ferry to start our road trip. Our first stop was MS International in Seattle to check out some slate for our new kitchen. Then it was off on I-90 for our adventure. We ate dinner in Moses Lake at a Bistro. Service was bad, but the food was good. We booked a room in Cheney at a dumpy trumpy and hoped for the best. The best was not to be had. But what can you expect for $55. The door was beat up and there was a smashed bug on the wall. We did enjoy a 3.5 mile evening walk through EWU campus. We were shocked to find an ice arena, but enjoyed the cool down.