Back in Austin and the sunshine

Sher and  I thoroughly enjoyed our time in Seattle with our daughter, son-in-law and grandson for the past 3 weeks. On our way out there, we flew Delta from Austin to Seattle with a layover in Salt Lake City. Scroll though our blog for recent posts about the highlights of our Seattle trip.

Real winter in Seattle 2020

Before we left someone commented that we were nuts going to Seattle in January. Guess they were right as we were snowed in for three days the first week we were there. Seattle does not have the road equipment to handle snow! Oh, and Seattle maintained its reputation of rain, fog, rain, fog and more rain. We witnessed the sun one day, I should say about 3 hours, while we were there.

Returning to Austin we had the de-ice process at Cincy airport on a heavy frost morning

This is the first time in over 10 years since we have traveled by air. (You know, with an RV you don’t need planes!) Next time we fly we’ll have one large suitcase to check and each of us will have a small carry on bag. It was a pain carting those “carry on” size suitcases and stuffed smaller bags around. Coming back we flew Delta from Seattle to Cincinnati for crying out loud. Now I know what they mean when they say “red eye” flight. Left at nearly 11 pm, got into Cincy about 6 am. Got in to Austin about 10:30 am.

Welcome home!

Once in Austin, we got back to the La Hacienda RV Resort. Got the RV out of the storage yard, parked in our new site, hooked up the utilities and got things somewhat back to normal. My were we tired! Got carry out fast food for supper. We’ll hit the store next day. It was good to get back to our RV.

The Snohomish haunted Oxford Saloon

Snohomish, Washington is one of the most historic and haunted locations in the state. We recently had the pleasure of having a private tour of this historic and ghost filled structure originally built in 1900.

1st floor bar

After a delicious meal Rebecca Caden, General Manager of the Oxford Saloon, started our tour of the building by leading us to the basement. Used for parties and other events, the basement of the building has two pool tables, a full bar and seating scattered around. Rebecca shared with us some of the history of the place. After a time as a store, the saloon opened and immediately became one of the most notorious joints in town. It even was a speakeasy during prohibition, with a basement entrance from a tunnel.

The basement bar, where the black caped figure was seen

One of the resident ghosts is a chap named Henry. Henry was a policeman and tried to break up a fight resulting in his death by stabbing. He died on the bottom step of the basement stairway, and is known to stand behind the bar talking to folks. Rebecca shared with us that she personally does not like to be in the basement, and goes there a little as possible. She has seen a large black shape with a black flowing cape down there. The son of the owner finally became a believer when he too saw this figure the same time as Rebecca.

The infamous doll locked safely (?) in her case

Above the main floor bar is an old antique doll in a glass case. This doll has a creepy history. Ready? Many people have bought the doll and all soon returned it to the person or antique store where they got it. Rebecca says she has determined that the doll does cause chaos and is best kept in the case and inside. She once took the doll without a case from the upstairs and slipped outside and then back into the main floor. There was a large and happy crowd. When the doll came into the room conversation ceased, everybody felt bad emotions and said “what has happened”. The doll has been in the case ever since.

At the top of the 2nd floor stair

Upstairs rooms

 

 

 

 

 

The upstairs is equally filled with other-worldly beings. It was once a thriving brothel, and the Madam of the business still walks the upstairs hall and the many rooms. The rooms are currently used for special events, and are beautifully furnished. One of the furnishings, however, has a tragic story. The claw foot bathtub was the location where a young lady’s body was found. Stories say she fell down the stairs (or was pushed) and placed in the tub to make it look like suicide.

On the left is our tour guide, Rebecca Caden

Rebecca shared other instances of strange happenings. One time after a band was done playing on the stage on the 1st floor one of the ghosts had fun with the speakers. It played music and when they tried to turn it off, it wouldn’t. Unplugged from power, it still played. In addition, for a while there was a jukebox in the bar. The ghosts had too much fun with it as well, so it was removed.

Upstairs, former brothel room

Original double sliding doors

 

 

 

 

 

It was very interesting to hear of all of the paranormal happenings at The Oxford. Also interesting is the fact that there have been several paranormal investigations held on the site. Rebecca shares that investigations are still allowed, however the Oxford does not want anyone to try to remove any of the ghosts. She says that they are happy and will move on when they are ready. Rebecca shares that some employees like the basement, others prefer the upstairs rooms.

Sign from the 2nd floor

By all means visit the Oxford Saloon in Snohomish. Not only is there a fascinating history and some ghostly residents but also great food and good times. Live music is common on the weekends. Private parties can be accommodated. The main floor is family friendly. Here is The Oxford’s website.

Snohomish pie!

What better way to enjoy a cloudy misty day in the Pacific North West than having some warm fresh pie in a quaint and cozy pie shop? Well, Sher and I along with the rest of the family spent such a time today at the Snohomish Pie Company.

Just some of the flavors available

The Snohomish Pie Company baked the first pies in 1996. Known throughout the Seattle area as home of the best pies, this award winning store deserves its many accolades. It is only open from 10 to 6 M-F. If you have a favorite flavor pie, you best get there early: it is not uncommon for some pies to sell out before closing.

Snohomish Pie Company storefront on 1st. Street in downtown Snohomish

Sher and I enjoyed the Northwest Berry along with our son-in-law. We ordered the pie all warmed up. Daughter and grandson had the chocolate pecan pie. Yummy for sure. Our grandson also had ice cream with his. These pies are as good, if not better than they look. It is easy to see why they are so popular.

 

All kinds of good stuff!

Total immersion at Teatro ZinZanni show in Seattle

We had heard about it, we had looked at the web site, but nothing prepared us for the extravaganza that was our evening at the Teatro ZinZanni Seattle presentation of A Night Like This. It’s hard to describe, but here goes:

Imagine walking into a real life vintage circus tent. This tent, made in 1910, has fine wood work, mirrored walls and wood floors. Fancy does not do justice to the opulence of this structure.  Daughter Katy and son-in-law Mike arranged for us to all go to the show.

Entering the world of Teatro ZinZanni

Striking fabric ceilings in the lobby

 

 

 

 

 

The lobby offers coat check, a full bar, and even a “Boutique” for purchasing boas, masks, hats and other trimmings for your outfit. We were seated at our table big enough for 8, but private for the four of us. It was an amazing sight to see how ornate and big the tent was!

The walls are ornate, table is set

Orchestra stage in background, seating where the action takes place

 

 

 

 

 

Right after we got our drinks, things started to happen. Cast members started roaming around, interacting with the crowd. The show had started, even tho there was no official “start”! It was time to start eating: course 1 was a delicious beet salad. Keep in mind that this evening includes a full 4 course meal, each served with a flair by waiters/actors. The spacing of the courses is just perfect.

Cocktail time!

My two beautiful girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The star of the show, Christine Deaver, brought laughter and mirth throughout the evening. Her singing was terrific, and she brought members of the audience into her act several times. Her improve work is sensational and she keeps the audience in stitches.

Christine, photo courtesy of Teatro ZinZanni

Christine, photo courtesy of Teatro ZinZanni

The orchestra is just, well, fabulous. The variety and quality of music those four guys put out is incredible. Throughout the show you will be treated to songs that will bring back memories and get your hands clapping and foot a tappin’.

Both seating and performance area

The salad course: delicious beets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words cannot describe the excitement you feel when viewing the gymnastic and aerialist acts. An international cast ads to the quality of these performances. The thing about this show is that there is always something going on. When a center stage act in not happening, cast members are wandering around having fun with the crowd. Star Christine liked and felt of Mike’s hair, and another actor repeatedly stated he liked my mustache. You are totally immersed in your experience at A Night Like This.

No photography once the show starts, so we had our group photo taken by the in house photographer

Sher and I have been to many places, events and entertainment venues during our years on the road. We both feel that our night at Teatro ZinZanni Seattle was the best and most unique of any we have experienced. We would strongly suggest that you also attend a performance.

 

 

Huge walk through ancient tree stump on I-5 Rest Stop

Usually interstate rest areas are straight forward: a truck and RV parking lot and a separate car parking lot. In between are the restrooms, vending machines and a scattering of picnic tables and a doggie “poop here but pick up” park.

The story

However, the Northbound I-5 Smokey Point Rest Stop at mile marker 207 north of Seattle has the above mentioned features (including an RV dump station) and a huge tree stump. Yes, it is a piece of local history. The story of this artifact is fairly well documented on the story board. The size of the stump is obvious in the photo.

The stump

When I first saw this I thought that it was some kind of new picnic table shelter. Then I saw the story board. Strange but true are the things you find when traveling!

Haircuts in Seattle

Here I am with my absolutely stunningly beautiful wife.

Haircuts were not the reason we came to Seattle this January.  While we were here we both had the opportunity to go to our daughter’s salon. We took advantage of that, and the result is in the photo above.

Beardslee Public House in Bothel, Washington

While our grandson was having his music lesson, Sher and I went with our daughter and son-in-law to a brewery/restaurant in the town of Bothel, north Seattle. This place was opened in 2015 serving brewed in house craft beers and food made from locally sourced ingredients.

We ordered the “Brewer’s Choice” selection for our flight to taste

The variety of beers was fun to sample. Sher and I liked the Tangelo Sour Ale with a sour citrus taste and a low IBU of 18. Our favorite turned out to be the Grappen Belgian Tripel. This ale is an American version of the famous Belgian ales. The 8.6% ABV and an IPU of 24 fits the bill for me for sure. We always enjoy trying the different beers in the flights. Sher and I are starting to know what we like and don’t like.

Current listing of the crafted onsite brews

The food was Excellent! This was my bacon cheese burger . Yum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The food at Beardslee Public House was just as good as the beer, IMO. The burger I had was delicious, Sher enjoyed the tomato basil soup, and the kids had a huge appetizer sampler plate. The atmosphere here was informal and comfortable. Service was excellent and very friendly. Yet another good time during our winter stay in Seattle!

 

Elliott Bay Pizza and Pub

Tonight we had supper with our family at a great pizza joint and pub. The Elliott Bay Pizza & Pub has outstanding pizza. They also offer sandwiches and pasta dishes.

Very very tasty pizza!

This is a very popular place and we had to wait about 20 minutes to get a table big enough for all of us. The facility offers family seating as well as a 21+ bar area. Once our food arrived I could tell why the place was so packed.

Love the pink elephants

We are certainly enjoying this retirement thing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pub also has a great variety of craft beers from local breweries. They state there are 20 craft beers in a changing rotation, and also a selection of local wines. All in all we all had a very enjoyable evening. It is fun trying different restaurants when we travel to different parts of the country.

Great brewery in Bastrop Texas

For our last jaunt in 2019 we took a road trip to the historic town of Bastrop Texas. We literally saw the name of a brewery and restaurant on the store front of one of the neat historical buildings on Main Street.

The 602 at Main Street

The interior of the 602 Brewery

We had lunch in the 602. The craft beer was great, and my oh my was the food delicious. The home made coleslaw and garlic fries were wonderful. The three fish pieces were obviously very fresh and fried to perfection in the “secret recipe” batter. Best fish and chips I’ve ever had.

The fish and trimmings are better than they look!

Bastrop is a unique and historic town south of Austin. When you visit make sure you stop at The 602 Brewery on Main Street. Get a great meal at a great price with super friendly service. You won’t be disappointed!

Roadtirement’s 2019 revisited

My gosh has this year gone fast, or what?  We started the year traveling from Indiana to Harlingen, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. Park Place RV Resort was our home for two months.  Some pure tourist type stuff was of course a requirement in the new to us area. The border with Mexico, those daunting US Border Patrol SUV’s and the fence/wall were eye openers for us. We enjoyed the sights of Port Isabel and the beaches of South Padre Island. That 55+ RV resort living helped us realize that we liked being “Winter Texans”!

Nice concrete patio at our site in Harlingen.

One day we went to the border wall in Brownsville.

The Port Isabel lighthouse

We spent some time in March with family in Austin, then back to Indiana. It took a bit to get back into being in the Midwest again, but there was lots we did over the summer. We try to go to as many musicals as we can at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre in Indianapolis. An excellent buffet and even better show make for a great evening out. In May we also set up at the US Highway 40 Yard sale in Dunreith, a small town  between Greenfield and Richmond, Indiana. For four days folks travel the highway looking for treasures and bargains.

Musical “Hairspray” at Beef and Boards

Our set up for the Highway 40 Yard Sale

 

 

 

 

 

Camping with kids and grand kids became a fun past time this summer. We took our RV and our kids brought their tent(s) for themselves and any of the grand kids that could come along. An Ohio State Park, US Forest Service Recreation Area, and a Jellystone Park RV resort served us well. Never a dull moment when camping, especially in West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest after a toad strangler of a rain which flooded a tent. Yes, we were able to sleep 6 fairly comfortably in our 24′ Class C Four Winds. We had to use an alternate route to leave the area as the main road was washed out.

Spacious campsite in the Monongahela National Forest

West Virginia’s Horseshoe Rec Area

Our campsite, tent is out of site on the left

Entrance to the Ohio State park, lake in the background

Gorgeous end to the day at Ohio’s Kaiser Lake State Park

Another summer highlight was our trip to Niagara Falls. The guided tour was definitely worth the cost. The small Gray Line tour bus picked us up at our RV campground. The tour was all inclusive, including of course the famous Maid of the Mist boat ride taking you into the soaking up close view of the falls. If you have not been to Niagara Falls, go!

Here we are after our Maid of the Mist adventure. That is the American Falls barely visible between us.

Restaurant view of the Horseshoe (Canadian) Falls. The food was good, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sher and I were pretty busy during the summer, including some additional selling at several town festivals. By the time the end of October came around we were ready to head back out on the road and head south once again. We had talked before about visiting the Diamond Mine State Park in Arkansas. The weather had been rather wet, but we decided that it would be a great time to check this place out on our way back to Texas. We went and had a ball. No diamonds found, and the muddy ground was hard to traverse. But, we have a bucket of neat rocks for our rock garden.

Getting ready to head to the muddy field and begin our search for diamonds

Here I am shovel ready to find one of those huge diamonds shown in the picture next to me

 

 

 

 

 

 

On to Texas with a quick stop in Texarkana. There the courthouse is positioned literally on the Arkansas/Texas State line. Interesting to say the least. We stopped at our family’s place in Austin for a couple of days before we went to our spot at the La Hacienda RV Resort in Austin. The La Hacienda is a Sun Resort property, complete with all the expected facilities. We have been here since the first of November. The past two months have given us a chance to explore the Austin area. The Hill Country is filled with wineries, breweries and distilleries. Yep, we have enjoyed more than one of these establishments.

A beautiful Saturday at the Bull Creek Park in Austin

Los Pinos restaurant is only 1/4 mile from our RV Park!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 has been quite the adventure for Roadtirement! We can’t list everything, but know that we have had a great year. In figuring up where were have been, we discovered that in 2019 we actually lived 5 out of 12 months as Winter Texans. This could get to be habit forming! We are going to start 2020 by going to Seattle to visit our daughter and her family in January. Stay tuned, we’ll fill you in!

Wishing you and yours and all our friends a safe and prosperous New Years!

Maj and Sher