Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Little Trip (Part 2 of 2)

On Friday I dropped Tom off at work again, then went back to our hotel to try to get a little more sleep. I couldn't get to sleep, so I checked us out and headed across the street to read at Borders for a few hours, grabbed lunch, and headed back to pick up Tom. We drove back towards Washington DC, hoping to make it to the Frank Lloyd Wright Pope-Leighley House before they closed.

It turns out they closed an hour before their website stated, but we were still able to walk onto the property and see both the Frank Lloyd Wright house and Woodlawn Plantation. The Woodlawn Plantation is 2000 acres of land with a large brick home, built in 1805. The land and home were a gift from George Washington to one of his younger relatives and was originally part of Mt. Vernon. It has been turned into a bit of a museum and park with beautiful old trees and plants.

The Pope-Leighley house was moved to the Woodlawn Plantation in 1964 to save it from destruction during the building of route 66. I think it's a pretty simple but nice home. Maybe Tom can build one?

(On a side note, Tom says we need a new pose for taking pictures of ourselves.)
We were just a few miles from Mt. Vernon, so we drove past George Washington's Grist Mill and Distillery. We were able to see Mt. Vernon from a back gate. From there, we continued along the waterfront into Maryland where we spent the night in Oxon Hills. (Yes, they really spell it like that.)

On Saturday we slept in, turned our car in at the airport, then hung out for a few hours waiting for our flight. Just as we were getting ready to board it started dumping rain. The little luggage carts our by the planes were driving around in about 8" of water. We had a quick 30 minute flight to Philadelphia where we then sat on the taxi way for about an hour, waiting for them to let us take off because there was a ton of rain once again. On that flight a guy had a heart attack, but a couple doctors who were on the plane were able to take care of him. At first they called for EMTs and doctors, which was a little scary to me because I don't feel like I've got a fresh enough mind when it comes to medical emergencies. We finally landed in Seattle, reclaimed out car, and were home!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Little Trip (Part 1 of 2)

Last week Tom had another business trip to Virginia, on which I got to accompany him. We left home at 2:30AM on Wednesday and arrived back last night around 11PM.

When we landed in Washington DC it was sunny and much warmer than I'd expected. We found out rental car, a 2010 Chevy Cobalt (extremely uncomfortable seats), and drove towards the capitol building. We managed to find parking, although we're still unsure if it was really a lot open to us or not. They weren't very sign-proficient. We walked around the capitol building and enjoyed the beautiful fall colored trees surrounding it.

From there we drove around some of the business area of the city, past the Jefferson Memorial, around the White House, and around the Washington Monument. Traffic was packed into the streets, so this took us about an hour to accomplish.

We then sat in traffic for another couple hours trying to get to our hotel in Stafford, Virginia. Neither of us slept well that night because the parts Tom needed to use for his business trip hadn't made it to the hotel yet. He ended up staying up most of the night, on the phone with UPS, eventually driving to Fredericksburg to pick them up himself.

On Thursday I dropped Tom off for work, then drove towards Fredericksburg to see George Washington's Ferry Farm, the land of the home where he grew up. I was a bit disappointed because the website made it sound like the ruins of the home had been dug up and were still laying there for people to see. It turns out that they have covered the space back up and have planted grass where the ruins were. They had about 10 items on display in the entrance building, but that was it!

I drove back and picked Tom up from work so we could explore a little of the area together. We drove through the Fredericksburg Battlefield and into old Fredericksburg. We saw quite a few historic churches, many beautiful brick homes, and some older broken down buildings along the river. Sadly, we had forgotten our tripod in the hotel room.

From there we used our GPS to find Cracker Barrel where we ate dinner. Neither of us were able to finish our food! I had chicken and dumplings for the first time, and know they're not my thing. We filled our car up with gas and headed back for a better night of sleep!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Since I got my own canning pot and have accumulated quite a few canning jars I was really wanting to can apple pie filling this fall. Last week Tom's mom and I went to Remlinger Farms in Carnation where I was able to find lots of great produce, including 26 pounds of Granny Smith and Fuji apples, a much better price than at a grocery store.

I knew I needed to find a product called ClearJel, a starchy substance that doesn't break down in the boiling process, to go in the pie filling mix before I started canning. The lady at Remlinger told me she was out but that I should be able to find it at Safeway. Riiiiiiiight. I checked Safeway, Top Foods, Albertsons, and QFC. None of them had it or appeared to have carried it recently. The clerks all told me I was looking for fruit pectin, something that goes in jams and jellies, which I knew wasn't right. I did a little more research and made a few calls only to find out that it has to be mail ordered, and the companies (including Amazon) who carry it ship 5 days after you place the order. That was not going to work with my apples' life expectancy.

I looked through my canning book again and decided I'd just can apple slices to later be made into pie filling. I spent 2 afternoons washing, peeling, slicing, and coring. Once I had all the slices ready, I soaked them in lemon water to prevent browning, boiled them for 10 minutes in a light syrup, and funneled them into jars to process for 20 minutes.

I ended up with 9 quart jars. One quart is perfect for an apple pie filling!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


We spent Friday night and Saturday on a Jeep adventure with Dave and his friend Becky. We left Redmond at about 8PM and met Dave and Becky in Roslyn around 9:30PM. Our plan was to drive to the end of the paved road and camp at the Salmon Le Sac campground. It turned out that they had already closed the campground for the season, so we decided to head up the dirt road and find a nice place to camp. We ended up turning off the forest service road onto our Jeep trail (Fortune Creek Trail) and followed it up to Gallagher Head Lake to camp!

We've done this trail the past 2 years on Labor Day weekend and have noticed huge variances in the weather. In 2007 the temperatures were in the 70s and 80s. In 2008 we know it was 43 degrees at 9PM when we went to bed. This year, 4 weeks later in the season the temperature ranged from 31 in our tent to 37 degrees outside during the day! Check out the set below, taken at Gallagher Head Lake, comparing 2008 and 2009.

Tom and I had a hard time sleeping because it was so cold. I think we finally went to sleep after the coyote finished howling and the sun came up. On Saturday we made hot oatmeal and I tried some free Starbucks Via instant coffee... it was gross for the record. We tromped around the lake, Tom disconnected our front sway-bar, and we drove to the end of Hawkins Mountain Mines Trail.

I got to drive most of this road, managing to avoid the hole I got us stuck in last year. There are 2 really steep parts of this road. I was able to get up the first, but couldn't get all the way up the second hill. Tom jumped out to help guide me, but I still ended up having to back down to the base (which was rather a scary feat). Dave tried the hill and had to back down too. Eventually Tom got our Jeep to the top and was able to help guide Dave.

We munched our lunch and walked around the meadow, amazed at the beautiful colors the scrub was turning. Tom, Dave and Becky climbed to the top of the ridge you can see in the next picture while I hung out in the sun in the meadow below. It started snowing later in the afternoon, so Becky and I ran the heater and sat in our Jeep for a few minutes. I had fun with the camera, but discovered I need to remember to check the lens for fuzzies.

It was getting colder and my sinuses were starting to hurt more, so we decided to head home Saturday evening instead of Sunday morning. We had a fun drive back through the trails. Oh, and the number used as the title for this post? That's the number of miles the Jeep ended this trip on!