September 9th, 2018

Adventure, food, Just things, Music, Outdoors, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

Friday was a bit of a busy day. It was a day to get caught up on some paperwork and do some arranging, cleaning, shredding and make a trash run. I did the recycling last week so that was already out of the way. Saturday was jam-packed with some filing and more shredding and getting rid of unnecessary paperwork.

Another thing I am doing is pondering my travel options now that I have my schedule. Europe is definite during the off-season, but not exactly sure when yet. It is narrowed down to a timeframe but no tickets are bought yet. I have seen some great deals and want to go twice at the prices I have seen but I am leaning more towards a road trip in the trailer for a month or so and a single trip to Europe. Decisions, decisions.

The trailer trip is something I was planning on doing before but with everything going on I could not go earlier this year. I was hoping to do some weekend trips this summer (as I had posted earlier) but this is a great time to be able to make a longer adventure happen.

I needed a getaway so I went over to Port Townsend and attended my first-ever Wooden Boat Festival.

2018 Wooden Boat Festival - Port Townsend, WA


Wooden Teardrop TrailerDetail on Wooden Teardrop Trailer

My schedule changed so I took full advantage of the time off to get out, hang with some friends, have a few beers, some food-truck deliciousness and have enjoy some much-needed relaxation. It was a great time and I had a lot of fun and had some unexpected things happen while there.

I got there early and decided to walk around and check out the amazing craftsmanship that was put into some of the boats. The skill and attention to detail is just incredible on some of these vessels. One was an old speedboat capable of going 63 mph with a two-stroke Mercury that had been carefully rebuilt and restored. The motor alone was Art Deco brilliance.

My friends showed up while I was in the “Main Stage” tent having a local beverage. They joined me with an IPA and then we went for fish tacos and poutine. Perfect match with a beer. We then went back to the tent to enjoy some more music. And another IPA.

We ended up standing on the edge of the dance floor since there was not ,much room anywhere else and one friend had happy feet and was busting a move. While we were talking between songs another song was started as I made some gesture with my hand while talking. All of a sudden a strange hand grabbed mine and dragged me to the dance floor before I knew what had even happened.

You have to understand something. I do not dance – it is just not my thing and never has been. It’s not that I haven’t, but it takes quite a lot of alcohol to get me out there to bust a move. And I really do mean a LOT. I had not had but two beers so for this to happen was rather shocking. But, I went with it. When in Rome…

It was a slower song so that was better than a fast song as far as my dancing abilities. So there we were, slow dancing and just chatting away. Then came a rather unexpected surprise. She suddenly said “Oh, there’s my husband!”, to which I replied “What?”, trying to make sure that I had somehow incorrectly heard what she had said. She repeated it and then he came up to us, fairly drunk and a bit bigger than me. “Oh shit.” went through my head quickly and repeatedly. She told him that SHE grabbed ME to dance and introduced us. He smiled at me and said “whatever”. We then shook hands and he went on his way to find yet another beer. Just another adventure in my life.

It was really good to get out and do something and do it with some friends. With the events that have taken place over the last few weeks I am now trying to return to the version of “normal” that is my life. After losing your parents you find that normal will never be the same again, though. Then there is the emptiness that will never be filled and the endless “shoulda-woulda-couldas” that goes through your head.

But we have all the great memories and that is a wonderful thing to have on top of knowing that they loved us all and we were lucky enough to have them in our lives. And we loved them, and still do love them.

No one can take that away.

This Week’s Journey…

Adventure, food, Outdoors, pictures, Travel

I saw this sign on a side street as I pulled into town:

The Western end of U.S. 20 - Newport, OR

I just might have to do this one too!

Yep, my training was five horrid days spent on the ocean in Newport, Oregon. Man, what a beautiful place this is. Gorgeous ocean views and lots of food choices.

I came down the interstate and turned off where Siri told me. It ended up being a nice drive through small towns on a blue highway. Definitely a worthwhile drive if you are heading down this way.

I passed one place that caught my eye. The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum you really cannot miss driving past. There’s a Boeing 747 sitting out front in the yard. Looking it up as I write this post, I find out that it is the home of the Spruce Goose – Howard Hughes’ famous plane. Gotta go back there and see it.

Next door is the Wings and Waves Waterpark. Apparently, one of the waterslides goes through another 747 parked on the rooftop. Wow. I bet that is pretty cool. Too bad I cannot ride that stuff any longer or I’d be all over that.

I enjoyed spectacular views the last 30 miles or so along U.S. 101 before getting to Newport. The coast is so pretty along here – rugged and impressive, with beautiful sunsets. In this area alone I saw numerous State Parks and plenty of places to park the trailer. It would be a great trip and I know it is one that many people have made due to the scenery.

My hotel was nice and I would stay there again. I was at the Holiday Inn Express in Newport. It is in a pretty convenient location but not too much for views. Rooms were clean and nice, staff was friendly, a great breakfast bar, pool, hot tub…I suffered the entire week.

The weather was nice almost every day and the one day it WAS bad, of course, we had to be out in it for training. It was a great trip and the training was very helpful in many ways. I even aced my test! It was hard being indoors sitting in class for 3½ days. I am glad to be back home and I can get back outside daily to do my job.

As far as dinners, I ate some really good food. The restaurants that have links I have linked to their websites and the one you will have to be happy with a Yelp link. I usually check Yelp for food recommendations and follow the ratings pretty closely. I don’t want to give my money to a place with bad service or food. So here we go:

I walked to the Rogue brewery and had my usual brew – a stout – and some food, which was short rib poutine. It was pretty good and quite filling even though I thought the portion was a bit small. It was a little more stout than my usual Guinness but it was a good beer. They have quite a selection and a cool industrial atmosphere.


Me at the Rogue Brewery

The next night I went to Local Ocean Seafoods. I was looking for a dive but decided to try this one. It is really not my type of restaurant but it never hurts to try something new. I ended up with lingcod tacos. They were really tasty and the fish was local caught. It was cooked perfectly and the pico was fresh and delicious.

The scenery here was nice and the smells of the ocean were wonderful – fishy and salty air – that I enjoyed with every step along the boardwalk. It was great to be back near the water once again.

Bridge in Newport, ORSeal Docks - Newport, OR

I also walked to the South Beach Fish Market. Just what I love – a dive. Real down-to-earth  food that was fresh and fantastic. I got the clam strips and fries and they were nothing less than delicious.

Every Bit as Good as it Looks

Every Bit as Good as it Looks

The red stuff on the side was their own homemade cocktail sauce. They warned me it was spicy and they were not joking. It was straight horseradish with a dash of red color it seemed. Opened up my sinuses! It had a great flavor though and you know how spicy can be addictive…

As I said previously I really like the dive-type places. It’s not the prices, since dive food can be trendy and spendy in some places. It’s the atmosphere and the “realness” of the food; the “working-class” aspect of it. The South Beach Fish Market was just that as you will see if you click on the link and look at the pictures and the menu. It reminded me of the first place like that I went to in Rhode Island for seafood 30 years ago – clam fritters and fish and chips in an old converted house on a small rise looking over the Atlantic. Watching “No Reservations” for many years probably fed into my becoming somewhat a foodie and liking these types of places as well.

I also went to a place called Thai Elephant. I was tempted to go back to the South Beach Fish Market again, but I wanted to have Thai food and have something different after two straight nights of seafood (yeah…like THAT’S a problem!). They served Thai food. Surprise! I ordered my usual pad Thai with Chicken, and I also had an interesting appetizer called “Bikini Shrimp”. Oh man…

Bacon and Shrimp...What's Not to Love?!?!

Imagine if you will, shrimp wrapped with bacon and deep fried, served with a mildly sweet sauce that may have been fish sauce. There were seven of these tasty morsels to an order. The pad Thai was excellent as well and a generous portion so I left quite full.

The trip back home was north on the Oregon coast, heading from Newport to Astoria to head home. It is such a beautiful drive and I cannot wait to bring the trailer back down and spend time here leisurely driving the coast and staying along the way. It is easy to see why it is such a busy highway.

Speaking of that, if you are on a highway like this and you are holding up traffic for miles please pull over! I got stuck behind someone from another state pulling a trailer 35 MPH in a 55 zone for over an hour – possibly two. Some of us need to get places so have some courtesy.

It was a gray, misty, and beautiful drive and I got to see some new sights. I had one last meal on the road this trip at a place I stumbled across on 101 that has been around for quite some time called The Pronto Pup.

The Pronto Pup - Rockaway Beach, OR

I got a spicy one with fries, which was a chorizo corndog and it was delicious. Not overwhelmingly spicy but definitely chorizo. It was a large chorizo before it was battered and was very filling with the fries. The interior has been renovated, but a classic and a must-do!

Across the street were some railroad tracks. These paralleled 101 for several miles and earlier I saw an old steam locomotive on it. Waiting for my order I heard it so I went out and took a picture .

Steam Train - Rockaway Beach, OR

Looks like one more thing I will need to go back and do in the area! I like trains and have ridden a few old steam trains. If you really think about it, trains have never really changed since they were invented and that’s pretty fascinating.

Well, off to bed. It was a long drive and a long day.

We’ll be chatting again soon! Write if you need to!

Back to the Peninsula

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Travel

Had an emergency pop up with one of my hearing aids this past week so it was back to Port Townsend – but just long enough to drop it off for repairs. No Waterfront Pizza for me today, but I had burgers and fries on the mind once back on the Mainland…more on that soon.

I went to Sequim first, hoping to catch up with my good friend Dave. Both he and his wife are great friends and we have had some great times. I glad I got to see him. We got to chat for a bit and could have went on for a long time I am sure (we usually do), but I had to get to my appointment.

While over there it brought back many memories. I did get to see a few more old friends from the Refuge while we were at the kiosk. It was good to see them as well. I hope to get back soon and have more time. With my days off changing soon I am trying to squeeze in what I can on the few Saturday and Sunday “weekends” I have left.

It was such a beautiful day and I am glad it wasn’t raining. Had enough of that nonsense for a while. It was beautiful blue sky, sun, and perfect temperatures – a perfect day to be outside with friends. Wish I had not been so rushed but I needed to get groceries and get back home.

So back on the ferry after my appointment, the last one loaded on the boat, with just enough room:Barely got my truck on the boat!


It was great to be out in the sun on the water again. It has been a while and it was absolutely wonderful.

Yours Truly

On the ferry heading back home


Now it was time for that burger and fries. Actually it was four burgers and two fries. Hahaha! (They are not big orders of fries or big burgers.)

A Seattle Legend

Yep, my choice for best fries anywhere and a delicious, old-school thin-patty burger. For those of you in the Kansas City area, much like the old Griff’s Burger Bar. We had a Griff’s in Leavenworth while I was growing up and it was simple and good. They ALSO had a clown!

Anyhoo, those fries at Dick’s…man I like Five Guys’ fries but these are better than those by leaps and bounds. Just look at these things!

Best. Fries. In. The. World.

Best. Fries. In. The. World. Really. Yes.

Those are little straws of tasty perfection. I have eaten here several times since I try to stop when I am in the area. Fortunately that is not that often or I would probably be there way too much.

A few weeks ago I gave it a shot and made some pad Thai.

Pad Thai

My Very First Attempt at Pad Thai!

It actually came out pretty decent. Now I don’t need to spend $15 on a meal; I can make several meals’ worth for that price or less. Proud of my accomplishment!

Anyhoo, there’s a few new pics for you to look at and some new news to read.

About a year ago…

Adventure, Just things, Motorcycle

…I decided to stop blogging. It has really been quite a year and many things have happened. I will try to shorten it down just to make it easy on both of us.

First, after getting off of Protection Island I went back to the Dungeness Spit to be a part-time caretaker there for six months while I worked at my new job at the post office.

I started working at the post office in October 2014. In late November 2014 I was involved in a motorcycle wreck. My beloved Honda V65 Magna was totaled but I wasn’t. It was a bad wreck that actually could’ve been much much worse. I was very fortunate. A lady pulled out in front of me and stopped in front of me. I hit her going about 35 mph and bounced off of her windshield and landed in the street. I was very lucky to escape without serious injury, concussion, broken bones, or any other number of injuries I could’ve sustained. Or worse.

While recuperating I was unable to work and lost my post office job in January 2015. In late March I was finally released for work without any restrictions. I had been applying for some jobs, and one day I got a call from a place I had applied to but had forgotten about. It was with Washington State Parks in the San Juan Islands. I was hired on as a seasonal Senior Park Aide for Sucia Island State Park in the northern San Juan Islands. It is absolutely a beautiful state park and I would recommend visiting it if you have the chance. I get to go out onto the water almost every day. We actually take care of about eight different islands up here in the state parks. The entire area is just amazing and the people are great to work with and talk to around town.

Some thought I was crazy, but I bought a Yamaha V-Star 1100 bobber motorcycle to commute on between home and the San Juans. It was nice, saving many dollars on ferry fares as well as getting 45 miles to the gallon.

The recuperating continues, but hopefully the results of physical therapy will be good and give me some relief. I am more than ready and anxious to get all this bullshit behind me. It has been very stressful financially, emotionally, and physically.

August 16, 2014

Adventure, Outdoors

Well, my trip back out to the island was an adventure. It was the first time I have operated a boat in the fog completely on my own. I have been out in fog twice before, once while crabbing with someone else running the boat, and the other time while getting some training with someone else on board. I was a bit hesitant, but hey…you don’t learn if you don’t try.

We were going to take two boats out – I was heading back out to stay, and another crew was heading out to do some research and returning the same day. I left first, and was going to wait for the other boat. I got situated, got the fog horn set up, and headed out of John Wayne Marina to wait for the other boat. I decided to ease on ahead to get a feel for it and felt confident so I went on. The fog was pretty thick but cleared up a bit for just a brief moment. Then, as I proceeded out of Sequim Bay, it got quite heavy again and was that way all the way back out.

I had to navigate completely by GPS and compass, checking buoys and radar as well. There was no line of sight for anything. You can see water about 20-25 feet around you and everything else is stark grey. It is quite easy to go the wrong way on the water in conditions like that. You can get off-course so fast and so far. You think it is bad in a car, but at least you have pavement to follow while driving.

It was a lot of work, but the challenge was interesting and fun in its own way. I would like to have seen a breadcrumb trail of my path on the water to see just how much I wandered to and fro before getting on a straighter path using the compass more. It is not a straight shot from John Wayne Marina out to the island, so you have to work for it.

Needless to say I made it safely and still beat the other boat – albeit not by much. It was good experience and I now know I can handle it if the need arises and I have to be on the water in those conditions.