Finally – my much belated post about our summer vacation!
We made it to “the cabin” this year! A wonderful, relaxing, depression-era cabin built by my great-grandparents, Fred and Hannah Rankin – hence it’s name, “The Rank-Inn”, in Eastern Washington. About two weeks ago, we were able to claim it for a week, and headed over on a Sunday and back the following Saturday.
The weather was nice, though the breeze made it a little cool to spend as much time in the lake as I had planned. We got some good floating in on our inner-tubes, and spent a fair amount of time reading (hooray for my Kindle!), enjoyed some knitting on the dock, and spent entirely too much time on my cell phone looking up quilting designs, fabrics, and browsing Instagram tags for the mini quilt swap I’ve signed up for. I was surprised at how low the lake was – the last few years there hasn’t been any sand visible on the beach. Between the heat this summer, and the drought from our mild winter, I haven’t seen the lake this low since before all of the cabins around the lake stopped pumping their water out of the lake and hooked up to city water. We only saw a few sunfish, but we got to watch fish jumping for bugs in the evenings, and there was an osprey flying around looking for fish, too.
The coolest part of the trip was seeing an otter. No joke. I had no idea there was such a thing as a freshwater otter – I’d only ever seen them in Monterey Bay in California. The first day, I saw it running across the shore from up in the cabin, and a couple of days later we saw it swimming around from the dock – and it seemed to be fairly annoyed that we were on the dock, as it kept swimming back and forth above and below water, snorting at us when it was surfaced! I tried to get some photos, and thankfully with digital photography, one photo has the same cost as a hundred – I took 20 photos of the critter, and ended up with one semi-decent photo!
We spent some time browsing the Deer Park pawn shop, nearly bought some spendy toys, and I managed to drag Destin into the quilt shop I found. He was actually a really good sport about it, and luckily for him, it was a small one! The owners were very friendly, though, and I walked out with a couple yards of fabric that I just couldn’t live without.
One afternoon we headed into the town of Loon Lake to check out the “2 Loons Distillery”. We got a tour of their setup by one of the owners, and then had a tasting. Their cinnamon whiskey was very good – more cinnamon toothpick than red hots, and the owner suggested that it goes very well in apple cider, which I can’t wait to try out this fall. I also decided that I do not like gin! Yech. It was very cool to see the stills, and find out how it works, and the different types of alcohol that come out of a single batch at various stages of the process – the heads (primarily acetone – good as a cleaner, toxic to drink), hearts, and tails of each batch.
It surprised me this year to realize that it’s actually quieter outdoors at night at our home than it is at the cabin – I don’t think that’s ever been the case before. The first night it took us a while to get to sleep on the sleeping porch. Destin was teasing me about not wearing earplugs so he could listen for “the boogedy man”, and I swear I’d only just fallen asleep when two or three deer came crashing up through the brush from the lake to the road and nearly scared me out of my skin! This year we were lucky enough to have the cabins on either side of us empty for the majority of the trip, which made for a nice, quiet week. When I was little and the majority of the houses around the lake were still old summer cabins that were only used occasionally, the lake was usually fairly quiet, but as more and more have been replaced with year-round homes, there seems to be more boat traffic on the lake, and more noise in general.
I had fun one evening taking “spooky” photos with my little point-and-shoot camera – put it on sepia mode, at night, with the flash on, and the photos come out pretty creepy looking! Several photos have multiple “orbs”… also known as dust specs floating around in the air… but it makes for a fun photograph.
Before we headed over, I was a little concerned about air quality, as there were (and still are) many large wildfires burning on that side of the state. We were fortunate most of the week – though the air was hazy and smelled a little smoky (noticed more once we got home and realized all of our clothing and bedding smelled like a campfire) it was only really bad the Wednesday night we were there. The rest of the week, there was a breeze coming out of the south, but that Wednesday, the breeze came out of the north, bringing in smoke… and then died down. By the time we called it quits for the night and went to bed, we could barely see across the lake to the opposite shore – about 3/4 to 1 mile away, and usually easily seen! The breeze must have picked back up again in the night, because all was fine by morning. One of these years, I hope we get one of the spectacular thunderstorms that I remember experiencing when I was little! We saw some airplanes flying around, but didn’t have the good luck to see a water-bomber come through and scoop water out of the lake like I’ve seen once before.
We got really lucky on the drive home – there were wind advisories and dust storm warnings in the forecast, so we headed home earlier than we would have normally done on Saturday morning to try to beat the dust storms across the state – and less than two hours after we drove through the Columbia River Gorge and Vantage, they closed the interstate due to a lack of visibility due to the dust storms! We got home to two kitties that were very happy to see us, and no power – so we got the generator out, and hooked it up to the fridge. Power was back on by evening, and as the kitties insisted, electricity wasn’t necessary to snuggle the furballs!
Both kitties are glad we’re home – even Monkey, who I wasn’t sure would even notice we were gone, as little as she’d been home lately. She’s back to occasionally being a snuggle-bug, and we can hardly sit down without Mia ending up in one of our laps. Mia usually insists on sleeping with us (read: keeps returning to bed after being removed from it multiple times) and the first night home, Monkey slept with us as well. It’s good to know we’re missed when we’re gone!