After crossing back into the “lower-48” on Monday afternoon (8/8/2011), we made it to Wenatchee, WA about 6 pm where we had hoped to camp at Wenatchee Confluence State Park. Oops, the “campground full” sign was out. They are one of the few state parks that accept reservations, and even though there were a couple of empty sites, they had cones blocking their use. Duh, note to self: read the fine print and at least call ahead.
We did call to the next closest park listed in Church’s Northwest Camping book, Wenatchee River County Park. Yep, they had a “premium” site @ $30/night we could use for our three night stay over. It turned out to be a beautiful park with just a few “distractions” – next to a very clean migrant farm worker camp (no problems), located between Hwy. 2 and the railroad tracks (what’s new), and a farming irrigation pump system that was pretty loud most of the day. Surprisingly, we too learned to ignore the noise.
We’re the gray motorhome on the back of the circle. The folks in this area rent a space for 5-months and pop over from the coast to enjoy the sun and heat.
We made a detour on our exit from Alaska, Yukon and British Columbia so we could catch up with our friends, Janet and Howard Pelton. If you have been following our travels, the Peltons are our former neighbors from Cool, CA who indirectly inspired us to make the trip to Alaska. Howard is a retired AF pilot who was stationed in Alaska at one time. He is also a retired school teacher who would take off for Alaska every summer vacation. He and Janet made the trip up the Alcan 16 times before it was paved. They finally moved to the Kenai/Soldotna area where they lived for 11 years. The Peltons are the ones who put us in touch with Dave and Janet Bledin, the folks who own the “fish camp” property we visited right on the Kenai River.
The Peltons and their backyard during winter on the Kenai River.
I’ve told the story before… We had lost track of the Peltons so I started doing a Google search for them when we started planning our Alaska trip. Turns out they moved from Alaska to be closer to their son and his family in East Wenatchee. Oh, did I mention they are both 87 years old and still RV in a 2000 36’ Dutch Star!
It was fun reconnecting with them in-person for a couple of days. I guessed we surprised them with our extended travels and active RV lifestyle. We had always had some form of an RV when we were neighbors in Cool. They just didn’t know that we are now “extended” travelers. They also didn’t know we wanted to do what they had done – see the world from the seats in a motorhome.
While in the Wenatchee area they showed us their local towns – E. Wenatchee is actually a separate town located across the river. They also chauffeured us around nearby communities of Cashmere and Leavenworth – a destination spot for tourists.
Leavenworth is a town that re-invented itself when the timber industry faltered in the area. You can read HERE how they transformed their buildings into a theme park Bavarian village. At one time the Peltons had considered moving there so they were happy to show us the cute stores and facades.
We had lunch at Café Christa, ordering such dishes as schnitzel, sausages and gravy, and potato pancakes. The lunch portions were smaller than expected, but pretty tasty.
On Wednesday evening we had a great dinner at La Fuentes Mexican Restaurant (we really missed Mexican food while traveling north). The Peltons then came back to our motorhome to view photos of our trip to Alaska. They said they had plenty of fond memories of places we had visited in our short travels. They left with an SD card with most of our Alaska photos for their reminiscing.
As an added attraction, we showed them the PowerPoint show I had presented at Boomerville on “Balloons and Boomers”. As a retired pilot of AF bombers over Berlin in WWII and helicopters later in his career, he admitted he had never been in a hot air balloon before. Guess what? These ol’ Escapees are now coming to ABQ to be with the Boomers and Howard wants to fly! Janet’s response, “Oh, Howard!”
NEXT: FAIRCHILD AFB AND KID-SITTING