Photo

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Spanish Peaks, Colorado

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Friendship!

As I thought about our past year I went into iPhoto and selected photos that would briefly, I thought, recap our year, but when I finished they numbered 35 choices! No one would read my blog with that many pictures, so how could I reduce it down to a manageable number?  As much as we love all the sights we get to see in our workamping travels, what sticks in our minds the most is the people we've met and the friends we've made in each place. I believe this posting may be mostly just for me and for Keith, a tribute to the friends God has given, though I hope my readers will enjoy it, too.The past year has had some new challenges for us, as Mr. Keith was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer in the blood and bone marrow. We've dealt with that and the corresponding treatments for over a year now. In the photo above he was just recovering from 2 procedures to mend compression fractures in his back. A fellow Strasburg KOA co-worker had invited us to join her family for Christmas, 2011. We'll never forget the kindness we were shown.

 Here are Jeff and Tracy, and one of their daughters, owners of the Denver East/Strasburg KOA where we were employed for the winter and spring. We will be forever grateful for their kindness and understanding as they worked around our crazy schedule of doctor and hospital visits. We didn't know Keith's trouble was cancer at that time, but later, as Jeff had been through a siege of cancer himself, they were great shoulders to cry on and had lots of really helpful advice. We will hold them and our time there in our hearts forever!

 This is a good photo of another Tracie and her husband Geoff — the ones who invited us for Christmas, and who, before we left Strasburg, took us to a fabulous Mexican restaurant, the Casa Bonita, in Denver. They are  wonderful folks, she a school bus driver and he an electrician. This photo was taken the day we pulled out of Strasburg, headed for Cheyenne.

 As soon as we arrived in Cheyenne Wyoming to work at the KOA there, Keith got his official diagnosis and began receiving chemotherapy. As we'd expected he started to lose his hair in big gobs so he got a buzz cut. Still looks pretty good! We were fortunate to find excellent doctors in this cowboy town, a place we enjoyed immensely for its beauty and its western flavor. In between treatments we were able to see much of the area. We could live there!

 I was disappointed to miss my 50 year high school reunion in Mossyrock Washington. Much to my delight, my childhood friend, classmate and neighbor, and her husband, came to Laramie to visit their son, and asked us to meet them there. That was truly a highlight of our summer. Thanks, Mari and George! Long-time friends are the best!

 When we worked in Rapid City South Dakota at Bear Country USA the summers of 2005, 2006 and 2008 we made many friends. This is Liz, who worked in the drive-through wildlife park snack bar and with whom we had a special relationship. When she heard about Keith's illness she drove down to Cheyenne from Rapid City, a 5 hour trip, and spent the day with us. Many hugs ensued! Some wonderful friends we may never see again because of distance, but they will always be there in our most happy memories.

 You never know, when you meet people, who you will "click" with. Here is Dale, a 5th wheel drivin', motorcycle ridin' railroad inspector who stayed the summer at the Cheyenne KOA. Dale would come into the office and chat with us often. We liked him so much! He was especially good to us, too, because he did some serious repairs on our 5th wheel, expertly, and at no charge. Here we are at the Coldstone Creamery pigging out!

We had the pleasure of meeting and working with John and Sue for a short time at the Denver East KOA, and to our surprise and joy they ended up coming to the Cheyenne KOA to work, a little after we got there. They are wonderful folks, extremely conscientious and good at their work, and great fun to be with. We had several dinners out with them at various local restaurants! It was with sadness we watched them pull away, heading for Florida. We hope we will cross paths (roads) with them again.

 And here are the owners of the Cheyenne KOA, Dave, Mary Jo, and Jim, only missing Rhonda who was recuperating from surgery. Once again, we were treated so well and with compassion by them as we worked around Keith's chemo sessions. And here is a curious thing — Jim and Rhonda regularly donate blood plasma as a way to help those in medical need, and that's exactly where multiple myeloma begins, in the plasma. We thought that was a strange coincidence. God has been so good to us in every way, and especially by putting us in just the right jobs and with just the right people.


One final note:
 Forty years ago I met my best forever friends in Vancouver Washington. Other than my husband and my children, they are God's richest blessings to me and to us. Their faithfulness and loyalty to us, and care for us, is beyond compare. Since we've come to Lost Lake RV Resort near Olympia to work we've gotten to see them frequently as they live only an hour away. Can't get enough! We were thrilled to be included in their family Thanksgiving celebration with their children and grandchildren, whom we know as well. After all, they and we are family forever!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mushrooms! That's All.

After our resort manager told me a disgruntled visitor called her husband a mushroom to insult him, I got to thinking, "There are lots of mushrooms out in the forest because of all the rain — I'll take pictures of a few while I'm on my rounds!"

With that thought, I found this pretty, golden one right outside our 5th wheel as I stepped out with camera in hand. I googled mushrooms hoping I could identify them for my blog, but after seeing 2000 plus fungi, none of which looked like my photos, I gave up! Dear reader, you'll just have to be content with the pictures! For the best view, click to enlarge each photo.

A trinity. Did some prehistoric bird lay these?

Teeny tiny mushrooms down at the lake. They look like snowflakes.

I admired these crisp, white fungi marching out from the ferny, rocky wall at the parking lot.

I didn't see the same mushrooms any place I looked. They were all different. These are fuzzy little brown ones.

Trying to hide under the ivy leaves down by the lake, these 'shrooms are about 5 inches across.

I found these — whether mushrooms or lichens— taking advantage of the fresh cut in a downed tree along the road heading up from the lake.

Same tree, other end.

A grey lady. It really is this color, and quite wide, about 6 inches.

Some mushrooms like company! It's a happy family! Don't they look like banana chips?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bridges

We found this picturesque railroad bridge down a dead-end road along the Nisqually River. It looks like a place fishermen frequent. On this day it was rainy and darkish, but I can imagine earlier in the fall it must have been pretty with the trees still in their colorful mode.

The Nisqually River is full and quite green. The little hut behind me is a shelter for the fisher folks. There was even an abandoned fire still burning, but no one nearby.

In contrast to the railroad bridge, earlier the same day we crossed the mighty Tacoma Narrows Bridge on our way to Poulsbo. The span on the right, heading west onto the Kitsap Peninsula, has been there a long time. The larger span, heading east towards Tacoma, is newer. I remember that when we were in this area 5 years ago it was just being completed. Drivers don't pay the toll going west, but they do going east.

 "Over the river and through the woods...", a song some of you might remember — here we are heading back home on another day, our Thanksgiving Day trip to our friends' home in Poulsbo.There is lots of reflection from the lights on the car window, but I wanted a nighttime snap of the bridge. It's awesome! I'm sure we will be making several more trips across the Narrows while we're workamping near Olympia. The Puget Sound area is gorgeous! There is lots to explore and we hope do to as much as we can!




Saturday, November 10, 2012

Seeing Beauty Everywhere

 My job at the Lost Lake RV Resort takes me on about a 2 mile circle riding my little golf cart from building to building. I check everything and clean what needs cleaning. At this time of year there are leaves and more leaves to sweep up, not to mention millions of fir needles coating the walks, steps, porches, etc. On this day I ran out of things to clean till I passed by the little playhouse on my route. I thought to myself, "Surely that needs sweeping". It did, and I enjoyed "playing house" for a few minutes.

 While down at the lake checking the clubhouse and the library I spied these two happy fishermen admiring their catch. They were glad to pose for a picture. The man on the right is Harvey, our fellow workamper, and on the left his proud son, showing off his rainbow trout.




 Driving around the far edge of the resort property I was lucky to catch a rare glimpse of Mt. Rainier on this sunny autumn day. Usually in fall and winter the elusive, mysterious mountain is hiding behind clouds. When the clouds and fog do depart, the sight of this glorious mountain is awe inspiring. It  reminds me that though I may not see God I always know He is there and He will reveal Himself in special ways when I need Him most.

 Putt-putting on down Fir Lane I happened upon this sharp and shiny restoration of a 1939 Chevy owned by one of the resort residents. He usually keeps the car covered, so I was happy to get to see it unveiled. Wouldn't want fir needles and leaves coating this car!




 All life is precious and beautiful, no matter how small. Coming up the walk to one of the resort restrooms I became fascinated with this tiny snail as he made his way across the pavement. Many times I've seen tiny empty shells, which look like seashells, but I think this was the first time I had seen an inhabited "house" with its tiny creature moving it along, antennas waving. I placed a leaf next to him, watched him creep onto it, and put him safely on the forest floor out of the reach of giant's feet.

 Growth of green stuff is rampant in the wet, rich and dark soil of the old forest. After our recent rains, myriads of seeds are sprouting, though they may die off again with the coming frosts. I found tiny seedlings growing in a minute amount of soil on this rock. Where there's a will, there's a way!




 I remember as a child finding little ferns growing in the abundant, thick moss on the forest trees. Someone told me they were licorice ferns and showed me how to dig into the soft moss, pulling the ferns out by the roots. Biting into these roots does definitely produce a licorice-like flavor. The road here is the exit above the lake, seen as a patch of blue in the photo. It seems that there are more trees in this area covered with beautiful moss than in some of the other parts of the park, and I've noticed that the moss prefers the alders, maples and oaks, while the firs, hemlocks and cedars have very little.

At the end of my working day, heading up the hill from Lost Lake in my trusty little golf cart,  I am thrilled and impressed once again with the beauty I see everywhere; rich green Douglas firs and cedars, alders reaching to the sky, maples raining down huge leaves covering the road, the sword ferns, and everything else in their path. I am so fortunate to be here. The forest brings peace and healing to my weary soul, along with joy, gratitude and clarity in my prayers! One can hear the voice of God here!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lost Lake Residents

 As workampers we've mostly worked at regular campgrounds that cater to overnighters or short-term campers. Here at Lost Lake RV Resort the lots are for sale. The owners usually stay here in the summer and go elsewhere in the winter, though we've found that winter time is gorgeous, too, if you don't mind the rain!. This building is the Clubhouse, fully furnished for dinners, potlucks, etc. It sits right on the edge of the lake. You can see how big many of the Douglas Firs and Cedars are.

 Here is an example of an RV lot. The big 5th wheel is sheltered from the weather and the addition to the left is completely open on one side, allowing the campers to barbecue and to live in comfort, perhaps feeling like they are really "camping".

 A simpler version.

 Some owners have used paving stones to cover the ground around their dwellings and they've added landscaping other than the natural forest plants and trees to their lot. These folks have a regular log cabin with an RV "garage" next to it.

 This unoccupied lot either denotes that the owner is gone for the winter, or else it is prepared for sale. My guess is that it is already owned, since there is a little storage shed in the back. There are many lots in the park that have a much rougher look to them. They are waiting to be developed.

 What a gorgeous tree these two residents have between them! It looks like it is on fire!

 Some of the shelters just barely seem to fit in between the forest trees.

 This one is almost a forest mansion! Most of the lots do not have a view out between the trees, but there are a few on the edge of the park that might, if they're lucky, catch a glimpse of Mt. Rainier on a clear day. Others can see a part of the lake below them. Of course, these lots are the most expensive!

 This cabin is right near the workamper area. It looks like the owner is gone for the season.
 I can remember the last time we were here five years ago I raked and raked many of these lots, which were full of branches fallen from the trees. Let there be a wind, and we are going to be doing it again, at least in the still unsold lots! Needless to say, there is a large burn pile on the outer edge of the park where the prevalent vegetation is the Scotch Broom.
 
This is an example of a very simple lot. All, or most, of the owners have landscaped their properties, some elaborately and some very basically. They are all beautiful. We feel very much at home here!




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lost Lake Scenes

 It has been 5 years since we last worked, for a year, at Lost Lake RV Resort near Lacey, WA. The park is as beautiful as we remembered. This resort is not for overnight campers, but instead the lots are for sale for either RVs or for park models with a log cabin theme. In another post I will feature some of the prettiest of these lots. Today, as I was housekeeping, I used my trusty camera to capture some of the gorgeous scenery here. I love the vine maples, glowing red, a shrub we haven't seen for a long time, especially in our jobs out on the prairie!

 Yes, this is a restroom! It is sheltered by an umbrella-like maple of some unusual variety, simply one of the prettiest trees I've ever seen. The builders have cut a hole into the porch to allow the maple to grow unhindered.





 The yellow leaves look like stars sprinkled on the ground among the sword ferns, and on the porch and the steps leading to the restroom.





 The last time we were here I thought I'd discovered some redwood trees growing down by the lake. I researched and found that these three are indeed redwoods, probably brought here by a traveler. They are not native to this area at all. Judging from the size and height, they are quite old.

 Lost Lake, a jewel set in a circle of firs and cedars, alders and maples. It was a beautiful day for a clear reflection. The lake itself is small in size, but is filled with very large fish and overlooked by a resident eagle. Around the edges I saw colonies of pond lilies. I imagine they display some gorgeous flowers in the spring.

 This log cabin, an original building from the late 1800s, is now used as a library and sitting room. I don't know the history, but I intend to find out! It overlooks the shores and boat dock along Lost Lake.

 The maple tree hanging over the cabin, seen in the above picture to the left, is shedding some huge leaves. I was amazed by the size of them so I put down my glove for comparison.




 Here is another view of the ancient log cabin, seen from the exit road above. I love the setting, the abundant trees, and the sun and shade dappled surroundings. The forest here is dense and actually has many firs that I believe are old growth, never logged. It is strange to be inside the resort, surrounded by deep forest, quiet, lovely, peaceful, and then to go out the gate and be right off the incredibly busy I-5 corridor! What a contrast!

Home, sweet home for us for the next few months. The firs here in the workamper area are very tall but they let in enough sunlight on a bright day. The rainy season has set in — we are lulled to sleep and awakened again to the soothing sound of rain and fir cones dropping on our roof most mornings. We will love it here!