We’re Settled For Winter

Having spent most of 2023 in desert heat, we’re enjoying the cooler temperatures this winter in the Pacific North West. We decided early in the year that we wanted to camp far enough north to significantly shorten the drive to Alaska in 2024 and reserved with Blue Sky RV Park in Issaquah, Washington. We’re located only 23 miles east of Seattle’s famous downtown Pike Place Market and just 25 miles west of The Summit at Snoqualmie (closest ski resort). The park is right off of Exit 22 on I-90, and while it has an Issaquah mailing address, it’s adjacent to the historic mill town of Preston (unincorporated community). Downtown Issaquah (pop. 39,505) is two exits west and large enough to have everthing we’ve needed so far.

For us, the first part of feeling settled was getting a “great site.” Our criteria include: level spot; well-maintained and close utility connections; and enough room for parking Sid, our Solo fire pit, the Weber grill, chairs, and our storage tent. We consider it a bonus if there are trees for shade, and we’re reasonably close to the community laundry, bath/showers, and club house. Suffice it to say, we think this is one of the best, if not the best site we’ve ever had in our 127 stops over four years.

Blue Sky has 66 spots along a loop with a center road splitting the loop. We are on the center road in the middle of the park on site #45, the only spot with no neighbors (none, zip, nada). The rear of Arthur backs up the the laundry/bath/shower building, and the clubhouse is about 30 yards down the road. A wooded knoll rises behind Arthur and in front is a beautifully landscaped dry pond.

The second part of getting settled was having a sufficient, reliable propane source. MFI pleaded with me our first two winters to purchase a larger propane tank, so we’d have the security of a consistent supply without having to repeatedly fill our two smaller tanks. I relented last winter, and we purchased a 30-gallon tank, which got filled at our request. No other options were available. Luckily, we sold it before we left. Here in the PNW, where year-long camping is normal, companies offer leases on large propane tanks with an automatic refill schedule. We opted for this service immediately. MFI is clearly a visionary, while I remain burdened by skeptical pragmatism. Yeah, I’m cheap too!

The number of pictures I’ve taken of our ideal spot is evidence enough of how utterly satisfied we are here.

Blue Sky sits at an elevation of 660′, which isn’t very high. Nevertheless, we’re located among the low western mountains of the Cascade Range. For example, Tiger Mountain (summit 2,293′) looms just west of us and is host to over 25 trailheads. As a result, we enjoy terrific views, some from our front door, and definitely have the feel of being in the mountains.

The third part of getting settled was finding a facility to help us stay in shape. There were a half dozen gyms nearby, and we chose Anytime Fitness for these reasons: price, quality of facility and equipment, proximity (8 miles from our camp and only 100 yards from Starbucks), and broad reciprocal access to 2,662 franchises across the US and Canada. We’re getting great 90-minute workouts between 4 and 6 times each week, because we needed to be in tip-top condition for ski season.

Speaking of skiing, the fourth part of getting settled was purchasing season passes for the ski resort. MFI was thinking about this long before we arrived, so after we signed our Blue Sky lease agreement in September, she immediately bought our season passes for seniors at a significant savings. We were invited to the opening day festivities for season pass holders on December 9th and had a great first-time-out finding our ski legs again. The snow base was just under two feet and hadn’t been groomed, so the slopes were a bit challenging. It had snowed lightly the night before and snowed all day. This made for some pretty scenery. We’ve gone a second time, but since then there hasn’t been much snow. Three days of snow are forecast this coming week, so we’re planning on returning soon.

Our final need for feeling settled was finding go-to coffee houses and breakfast joints. Starbucks is always a good bet, and we’re definitely in the land of this popular brand (founded in 1971 across from Pike Place Market). There are no less than sixteen within an 8-mile radius of us. But we also look for reliable backups and found a great one in nearby Fall City (unincorporated community) called Aroma Coffee Co. This is their original business located in a 115-year-old King County Historic Landmark, the Prescott-Harshman House. Their pastries are to die for!

We’ve narrowed the breakfast joints down to two and highly recommend both. The one we enjoy and frequent the most is All American Diner on Front Street in historic downtown Issaquah. The atmosphere is quiet and cozy, and the staff are nice and accommodating. Glenn, the proprietor, always takes time to talk with us. He claims we’re fun people and living his dream. We suggested he follow our blog site. The second is called 12th Avenue Cafe on Gilman also in Issaquah. Generally very busy. You must try their “Strata” dish.

We’ve been here over two months and remain amazed at how fortunate we are. Every part of our planning has fallen perfectly into place, and we find ourselves continuing to live our best retired life on the road.

Male member of the BunMack team. Happy to be Ms Fix It's lovely assistant on past and future projects. Maybe I'll learn some skills along the way. 69 years old when this adventure began, with expectations to help family and friends with their projects, see great sights along the way, and enjoy our life together.

Leave a Reply