Temporary Change of Dwelling

It's been a long time since I've posted. From February to the 18th of August, 2011 we did a lot of traveling and absolutely loved living in the 5th wheel full time. It was wonderful being able to stop whenever we liked to spend a few days exploring an area. (I haven't posted about our time in British Columbia in August but will do so soon.)  Below is a map showing our travels for 2011.  (You can click on it and make it bigger.)  We covered a lot of ground!


On August 18th we landed in Coffeyville, KS where Mike had gotten a seasonal workamping job with Amazon.com at their 1,000,000 sq. ft. warehouse there. Amazon gave us a great deal – paid for our site and all utilities except propane as well as a good wage.

Mike looked forward to being busy and bringing in supplemental income – and I understood that – but I still drug my feet all the way from British Columbia. I knew it was going to be horribly hot where we were going, flat, windy (think lots of dust), and no family around. We have friends in the Joplin and Tulsa areas but all were over 1 hour away. When you're driving a diesel truck that gets low mileage and you're on a fixed income, you think long and hard about the trips you're going to make and what you're going to accomplish on those trips.

Sure enough, when we got to Coffeyville, the temp was over 100° with high humidity for almost a solid month. (Locals told us we missed the really bad heat; it had been as high as 117°!) The air conditioner on the RV decided to go on the fritz and there was no shade anywhere to park under. Then the refrigerator stopped keeping things cold. (We ended up replacing the fridge with a household-type fridge.) In the middle of all that my allergies kicked up big time. I haven't had so many problems in years! I am allergic to all sorts of farm 'dust' - wheat, corn, hay, etc. There we were in a newish campground in farm country. Up until a year ago, that campground had been a hayfield. After the RV hook-ups were installed, they just let the hayfield grow back.  I learned very quickly when they were mowing the campground to get away from there for several hours!

By the middle of October the campground was completely full – 133 RV's. Mike and I are country people; we like our seclusion and privacy. That full campground was like living in RV suburbia! Not our cup of tea.  The neighbors were nice but there were just too many of them.

This picture was taken 2 weeks before the whole park filled up.  It was solid
RV's no matter where you looked.

Mike enjoyed the people at Amazon and they liked his work; they very quickly put him in charge of a crew. But spending 10+ hours 4 days a week walking on concrete floors with lots of up and down bending made an old back injury flare up and affected his knees. As time went on, there were evenings when he'd open the door to the camper and just stand there mentally preparing himself to climb the 3 steps into it. Then Amazon announced they were going to make a 5th 10-hour day mandatory.  As it was, Mike needed 3 full days off to recuperate.  No way was he going to be able to handle 5 long days and only 2 off.

Add to that that I was miserable from the heat and allergies; plus we were both missing family.

Our joy at being full timers came to a screeching halt!

We were trying to figure out where we were going to spend the Winter because our 5th wheel didn't have an arctic package so we couldn't go north. Neither one of us likes the south.

To make a long story short, we put the 5th wheel in storage in the Joplin, MO area and came 'home' to New England for the Winter. We're in a Winter rental cottage that is adorable.  Lots of other houses around but they're mostly summer places.  Plus there's so many trees that everyone is pretty secluded.  

Are we seeing snow? Sadly, no. (I love snow.) But we are back in the trees of New England, very near a saltwater pond (Quonochontaug) and the Atlantic Ocean. Two of our children live nearby as well as some of our grandchildren. And lots of friends. It is wonderful being here and we treasure every day.

We're hoping to go back to Joplin to pick up the 5th wheel the end of April then go back up to BC to our other son. It's all in God's hands; we'll see what happens.

Til Next Time,

Gloria - The Internet GADabout

Tomato Street Restaurant, Spokane, WA

I know it's been quite a while since I've written but lots has been going on. Will update everything as soon as I can. Suffice to say we left New England 2 weeks ago and are almost to the Canadian border at Midway, WA. It's been a fantastic 2 weeks!

Today was extra special though. We needed to stop in Spokane, WA to pick up some things we wanted to give our 1 year old twin grandchildren in BC. By the time we got to Spokane from Albertson, MT, found the necessary store, and made the purchases, it was 2:30. We'd only had fruit for breakfast so Mike was getting a little cranky. Well... a lot cranky. We had noticed a restaurant across the parking lot called, "Tomato Street" - an Italian restaurant. Both of us love Italian food - and I could live on tomatoes - so we were hoping this was a good place. I asked the sales personnel where I was shopping if they would recommend the place and got a resounding, "YES!" So off we went.

The smells as we entered were so 'fresh' and, of course, very tomato-y (Is there such a word?). Very attractive, large place that could probably seat 100 to 150. It was busy with probably 75 - 80 customers already there and more kept coming in all the time. The floors were large ceramic tiles with occasional mosaics that made huge tomatoes. There was tomato art on the walls. Empty cans of tomato products were everywhere. Juice cans were covered with notices of Menu Special items. Empty tomato paste cans held crayons for the little ones. Empty cans were stacked on shelves and wall dividers. Tomato 'art' graced the walls. Done wrong it all could have looked tacky but it didn't.

Partial Interior. On the other side of that divider was the drink station and the open kitchen. 
Both were pristine and decorated as nicely as the dining room

They use brick ovens to bake. The entire kitchen and drink station are open to the customer's view - just behind that wall divider. They were just as attractive and clean as the dining room.

The menu... It was really hard to make our choices; it had a lot of variety and the descriptions had our mouths watering (prices were reasonable, too). Everything just sounded so wonderful. We finally opted to share a 10" Sicilian pizza (cheeses, mushrooms, Italian sausage, some type of Italian ham, and chopped tomatoes) and Seafood Alfredo (Shrimp, calamari, scallops, and clams in a creamy Alfredo sauce over fresh linguini). We both chose soups as our first course. Mike got Clam Chowder while I chose Creamy Tomato Basil. They make both soups themselves from scratch. The Tomato Basil was fantastic! The Clam Chowder was good but being from New England where they *really* know how to make Clam Chowder, Mike was a little disappointed in his. Good, but not fabulous. The garlic bread and fresh brewed iced tea just kept coming.

The staff were all very friendly, prompt, and courteous - and unique. All of them had on wild hats - even management had on baseball caps. There was no question who the staff members were. Most of them very obligingly posed for a picture for me.

The hats were all unique. Our waiter was the second 
from the left. Didn't remember his name, unfortunately.

It might be hard to tell in this picture but his hat was a roasted chicken. 
You can see the drumsticks and wings with the waiter's head 
filling out the body of the chicken.

Our waiter told us that twice a year the staff makes a trip to Leavenworth, WA where there's a very unique hat shop. Looks like they have a lot of fun. Let me tell you, we never had a problem spotting our waiter!

They bake in brick ovens: most things are made from scratch. The flavors were tremendous!  We left there very, very happy with our meal. We encourage everyone, if you're in the area, to be sure and look this place up. You will NOT be disappointed.

By the way....We left there at 3:30 and people were STILL coming in. All ages. Quite a place, quite a place!

Til next time,

Gloria - The Internet GADabout