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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Squattin’ with the Squaxin

May 8, 2023 (Mon)

What? It’s time for another Trip Log? Didn’t we just get back from a trip? Ugh, we sure did, but this time we have a goal: The California Autoharp Gathering (CAG)!

CAG is a gathering of autoharps in California (which you would never have guessed from the name). Also, people who play the autoharps show up. Gini is one of those people who plays an autoharp, which is why we’re headed down south.

We would like to point out that this has nothing to do with our house being a construction zone right now. When we visited Robert’s sister, Mary Ann, in the last trip, Gini was enchanted with her very durable, attractive flooring and decided that we should replace half the flooring in our house with this stylish 21st century walkway. (Because when Frankie the cat spits up, it’s way easier to clean up than our old wall-to-wall carpeting.) So half of our house is packed up and stored in the other half.

What our living room looks like

Rather than fly (ick) down to Fresno, California (kind of halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, but scootched east a little bit into the dry valley part), we decided to use our portable home, Harvey, and travel down there in style. We are also very satisfied with Harvey’s flooring and foresee no improvements in the near future.

This trip will be more leisurely than past trips—mostly because we’ve gotten about zero instrument practice in the last month (Robert has lost track of two of his ukuleles, “I’m sure they’re here somewhere”). We’re hoping to use the trip down there to get practiced up.

Okay, so that’s where and why we’re going. Let’s get to it!

1:20 pm Woodinville, WA

Our goal was to leave on Saturday, but between this that and the other, Saturday became Sunday and Sunday was a lot of trouble and here we are on Monday—raring to go!

We gather up as much of our stuff as we can find, throw it in Harvey and head out the door!

1:30 pm Woodinville, WA

And almost immediately discover we’ve forgotten something and turn around and head back. This time we’re leaving for sure!

2:00 pm Woodinville, WA

You might recall the “Quest for Propane” storyline in our last Trip Log, wherein our heroes spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find a place that would sell Harvey some basic hydrocarbons. It might take a whack or two on the noggin, but eventually we learn and our First Stop is at the local 76 station for 8.5 gallons of propane (we think we can fit 10 gallons in Harvey). Also some gasoline (hardly any—just $67 worth).

2:50 pm Seattle, WA

Just one more stop to deposit a crib on a porch. (Yes, the person who owns the porch was expecting to find a crib there, although we got confused about how to pack it up, so there was quite a pile of “portable” crib.)

The “portable” crib

3:30 pm Tacoma, WA

The chief advantage of our original plan to leave on Saturday (or Sunday) was that we wouldn’t run into rush hour traffic. Of course, we haven’t run into rush hour traffic today—just three separate accidents on I-5 which tied up traffic for miles.

But this was good, because it gave us the opportunity to figure out Harvey’s quirks today! (As you may recall from the Desert Tour, we poured a quart of water onto the engine and Harvey got a little wonky as a result. We thought he worked through his issues, but he’s had a relapse.)

Here’s what we discovered:

  • When the lights are turned on, the backup camera comes on.

  • When the lights are on, the cruise control doesn’t work.

  • When the lights are off, stepping on the brakes turns on the backup camera.

  • When the cruise control is on (meaning the lights are off), using the turn signals cancels the cruise control

  • When the lights are on, the turn signals don’t work.

  • We have no idea what’s going on with the brake lights—maybe they work?

Robert in his natural environment

4:15 pm Olympia, WA

We’ve been reading a lot about how smart Artificial Intelligence (AI) is, and how it’s made Google search into a regular powerhouse of finding exactly what the user wants. Well, so far this is about as practical as flying cars.

“Boondocking near Olympia,” returns suggestions that maybe we’d like to camp in the Wenatchee National Forest (or Mount Rushmore!). Asking for “RV Parks Near Olympia” leads us to a self-storage unit in Olympia (possibly the World’s Smallest RV Park, where you pull into a storage unit).

Finally, we give up on Google (see if you can make your Intelligence less Artificial, Google!) and ask Good Sam to recommend someplace.

4:55 pm Shelton, WA

And that’s how we ended up here at the Little Creek Casino, Hotel, Restaurants, Gas Station and Oh Yes, an RV Park as well. This enterprise is run by the Squaxin Island Tribe, which has a typical Northwest Indian history (fat and happy, U.S. government decides that they have way too much land and they can all comfortably fit onto this bit of marshy swamp land, or actually—this other even less valuable land looks better).

The RV Park is on a lovely bit of land, although it looks a lot like an upscale parking lot. The grass between the spots is very impressive (most RV Parks are more dirt fields with occasional clumps of grass).

The Little Casino RV Park

And it’s cheap! $44 a night and full hook-ups. The downside is that we are right next to a road which has a 35 MPH speed limit, which is cheerfully doubled by most folks in the middle of the night.

But then, if we’d just go inside to the gaming tables…

5:30 pm Little Creek Casino

Traditionally, the Squaxin Island Tribe ate seafood, a lot of seafood. They lived in South Puget Sound, which is jam-packed with animals that can be eaten (and none of them have faces, so that makes the eating all the easier!).

We eat at the Island Grille in the Casino (there are at least two sit-down restaurants and a half-dozen “I only want to take a short break from gambling, so give me something hot and quick” Food Court style restaurants).

We get the Seafood Cioppino, which is Italian for “Just grab a bunch of stuff from the water and cook it up” (mussels, shrimp, scallops, clams, salmon). At the end of the meal, we are fat and happy and we stagger off to Harvey to digest.

Waiting for our meal in the tastefully decorated Island Grille


Monday Travel

Gini & Robert

Harvey Staff

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Stephen E. Moore
Stephen E. Moore

Hah! You travel; we travel. Yesterday the Black Ball ferry took us from Port Angeles to Victoria, BC, from where we drive north up the island of Vancouver to Cowichan Bay. Here we are ensconced in a lovely room overlooking the working harbour (one of us LOVES working harbours) for some R&R (that's rest and romance).

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