30 July 2018

OPA: Seattle Scottish Highland Games

Found out about Seattle Scottish Highland Games less than a week before. The Games are held at the Expo Center in Enumclaw the last weekend of July, this year 27-29. The drive is about 3 hours from Sequim. I looked for a motel room for Friday, all sold out or too expensive closer to Tacoma. Originally decided not to drive there and back in same day. There were some other things more local to go do. 

Woke up Saturday morning and changed my mind after having some computer problems, off to Enumclaw. I had already printed out the directions and was familiar with route up to I 5. Traffic got heavy after the Tacoma Narrows bridge and stop and go at I 5 interchange. Construction has deleted the exit in Google maps. Took me a while to figure missed something. Saw a VIC, Visitor Info Center, for Fife and went there to find it closed. Looked at maps on phone and headed north a little, rest stop provided needed break and a person to get me back on correct road more easily than phone maps. 

As driving further east, was able to see Mt Ranier. It was kind of hard to see due to haze and all the snow merge with the white clouds. Was slightly tempted to keep going there, but HLG called. Finally got there passing one turn off at edge of town and easily backtracked. It was late enough, after 4 hour drive, that there was closer up parking to entrance available. Could hear some music from parking lot. Happy music. 

The venue has VERY little shade. It was a good size event. Lots of clans tents. Good number of usual type of vendors. Only one pottery stall. A bunch of stages. There were areas for animals, heavy athletic events, pipe/drum bands, a couple of 'beer gardens'. Walk Through Time was area for reenactors - Vikings, Picts, Queen Mary. 

The Welsh Cake folk were there. So got a small supply, will need to order on line next time. There did not appear to be much in way of gluten free food, turkey leg and that is too much. Kept hydrated with lemonade and water. Had a good time listening to some music and looking at wares. 

It only took me 3 hours to get home. The route I took home went directly to I 5 rather than the round about way Google maps had me to get to eastbound highway to get to Enumclaw. Something to keep in mind for next trip. The Northwest Renaissance Faire is in Bonnie Lake, not as far as Enumclaw, in a couple of weeks.

Glad I went. Had a good time. Not worth going every year. After this year, think I will alternate HLG and RF.

01 July 2018

OPA: Six Month Review

Today is 1 July 2018. Six months ago I left San Jose California and moved to Sequim Washington. Things haven't gone as planned, but have worked out very well. 

The people in the Church Ward here are better for me than in SJ. 

There are Twilight friends a couple of hours away in Forks. I can work as a docent at the Twilight Collection in Forks. There are two active Twilight groups based in area - Washington State Twilighters and Pacific Northwest Twilighters. I've been able to attend a couple of events with WST. The two groups are planning a combined big trip in 2020. Please note, Twilight brings us together, but we stay together for lots of other reasons. We talk about wide variety of things, actually very little about Twilight. 

The weather has been acceptable. Clothes that I have kept me warm during snow storms in February. Still have my first summer to get through here. 

My plan was initially to live in The Vintage apartments. Turns out my investments and Social Security brings in too much to qualify to live there. Found that out the first day the packers came in San Jose. I extended my reservation at the EconoLodge while I looked for other options. One of the desk clerks' father had an available rental. Rent lots more than planned to plan at The Vintage which has kept me at home and not spending money. Was blessed to fall into a place at all. Very few rentals available. Also found large rental space to have all my household goods moved up here, saved lots of money over keeping at the moving company's place in California. 

Went out with realtor, mostly looking at manufactured homes already in place. All too big. I was downsizing to two bedrooms in The Vintage. Found a park with some empty lots, found a model I liked. Ordered new home the end of March. 

I went to Skyline plant in McMinniville Oregon for a plant tour and my home was ready for transport. That was two weeks ago and it is still there. Hopefully this week. It will then need to be put together and garage built. 

Enjoyed the Irrigation Festival in May. Looking forward to the Lavender Festival later this month. There was a home expo that I should have paid more attention to things there, but didn't know moving into my own new home. 

That is the short version of my first six months in Washington.

OPA: Irrigation Festival Part 2, 11 & 12 May 2018

not sure why this was not posted when written. better late than never.

The Carnival part of the festival opened on Thursday evening. Most events were on Friday and Saturday. Went to the logging and truck show both days. There were some vendors there, including a few doing wood carvings with chain saws on big pieces of logs. It was interesting to watch. There are lots of different sizes of chain saws. There was one lady working on carving details on a turtle. 

The Welding Club at Peninsula College was also there and selling items. Saw some flatware repurposed into dragonflys. Thought one would go well with my watch dragon. On Saturday I went back and they had some airplanes out of knives and got one of those too. Most amazing was an X-Wing being chased by Tie fighters. Tempted, but really want a Millennium Falcon to go with my Enterprise.  

The belt vendor I saw the previous weekend was there as well and got a butterfly belt with Welsh dragon belt buckle. There were some show items - tshirt, hoodies - in bright orange. Price seemed high and didn't get any. Bought a roasted corn on cob both days. Mouth a little sore from Friday's being too hot. Worth it. Saturday I let it cool longer. 

There was a big crowd around the arena making watching the logging events difficult. From what I saw I prefer Scottish Highland games heavy athletics. The truck pull was in different area. Never watched that before. There is a set length they pull a weighted sled. The time and speed is measured. Lots of black smoke. 

There were displays of big equipment trucks and two kid size ones for the kids to try out. 

On Saturday there were two parades. The first was of hot rods. Nice looking vehicles for the most part. The second was the grand parade of floats and marching units. There are a lot of local festivals and they all have a queen and courts and that float travels around to all of them throughout the summer. Could be a very busy time.