Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On the Road Again

The hot tub is a great addition to the cabin

The past six weeks have flown by, filled with re-connections with friends and family, as well as many activities and accomplishments at home on San Juan Island. We arrived just in time for the San Juan County Fair, and felt fortunate to have our 12-year-old granddaughter Olivia with us. She was a great help with settling in and getting the spiders out of the corners of the cabin. We were grateful for the ministrations in our absence of island friends Mary and Nikki, and Seattle friends Annie and Shelli who  made sure the grass was mowed around the cabin, litter was gathered off the beach, and all systems were operational when we arrived. The rest of the Vashon family came the next weekend, put up tents, and we loved playing with them in the water and around the campfire. As always, they left the cabin a better place than they found it, clearing out the garden, building compost bins, and reconnecting the hot water system for evening soaks in the old bathtub.
Colleen, Albert and Liz talk manure
The following weekend, our other daughter and son-in-law (Colleen and Albert) arrived from Kentucky. Albert fixed the wiring in both the cabin and A-frame, caulked the cabin windows, brought up a huge wood round from the beach to make a perfect breakfast table, helped Liz get a load of horse manure for the garden and still found time to help out some of our friends as well. He is the newest member of our family, and we feel lucky to have him.

It was great to catch up with island friends and others who have followed our adventures via TravelLily.com. We also managed to take in several cultural events with the highlight being a trip to Everett for the induction of our dear late friend Maggie King into the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame for her work on behalf of girls as a coach and Title IX activist.

We moved into storage on Paul Illg's 100th birthday 

We rented out the condo and had the huge job of extricating all our belongings from the upstairs where we stored everything last year. This is the first time in our thirty years that we have stuffed our stuff into a storage locker. It was exhausting and freeing, as well as a little traumatic. The condo has had an outdoor makeover which included the sale of the hot-tub and replacement of the deck and fence. Both these projects were long overdue so it was nice to have them done before our new tenants moved in. Speaking of tenants, we were very lucky to get two competent people who can deal with anything that comes along,, including three issues we left them: a malfunctioning kitchen light, a broken faucet and rats! You might wonder what kind of landlords we are, but they signed a two year lease and then turned out to be amazingly adept at keeping a positive attitude as all of these problems began manifesting the day before they moved in. 
The best thing that happened during the homestay was the acquisition of a fabulous violin for Liz. After our brief fiddle experience at the Celtic Music Interpretation Center in Judique, Nova Scotia, Liz decided she was going to learn to play. When we first landed on Vashon Island in August Liz sat next to Xan’s violin teacher Sarah at a softball game. They chatted and Sarah mentioned she had an old violin that required some work and offered it to Liz at no cost. We took the tattered but well-loved violin to Kirk Fuhrmeister in Friday Harbor who managed to transform it into a very nice playable instrument by the time we left. Now Liz practices every day and can play a recognizable rendition of “Ashokan Farewell.” (Janna, too, has acquired a new instrument, but announcements about her instrument of choice and her progress will have to wait. Now there’s a nail-biter that will keep you coming back to read TravelLily.)

Roger, Lisa, Xan, Liz, Janna, Angela, Dylan, Carrie, Olivia and Ann Marie on the bike trail in Tacoma
As we get ready to hit the road again, we’ve been enjoying our Vashon family for a few days. This included a multi-generational bike ride in Tacoma. We piled many bikes into the truck and took them to the south end of the island where 10 of us walked our bikes onto the ferry. The younger set went 14 miles from Pt Defiance along the Tacoma waterfront while the three grandmothers were happy with six miles and a great chat. We are now sadly saying farewell to our Vashon family again, promising to return in time for Little League and spring performances. We will keep you all posted as to our itinerary….as soon as we figure it out!