A trip to the west coast ; the chapter one

Was it last fall? One of the Seattle FOC guys told me to join the NW FOC EVENT they were planning this summer. I used to be told or even to be invited for such meeting in the past for several times. My work as the owner of private practice has prevented me from attending those in the past. It was a little bit different from the past then. I have made up my mind to quit my work by this spring. I was inclined to say yes to them.

I and my wife decided to go there. The main purpose was to attend that meeting. I still had some other ends for this trip. I have a number of old friends in the west coast. I have met some of them in the past but have some friends whom I have never met in person. I thought it was a good chance to see them and renew our friendships.

Since we have started our residency as soon as we got married, we have not gone for a real honey moon except for a very short trip to JA2 at that time. After having spent over 3 decades with my wife, I thought this could be another honey moon, even though my wife's work still limited the length of the trip to pretty short one. She was pleased to hear of this trip plan and agreed with it without any hesitation.

The last reason why I made this trip was to confirm by myself that my chapter of working in my life has been already over and I should go on into a new chapter of life. 

 Everything for preparation of the trip was new to me. Application of the passport, arranging the transportation and booking the hotels and so forth. I have never known of ESTA, a new security system for the US through internet etc. It might be difficult for us to go through those process without my retirement. Some friends like Bob W6CYX or Steve N6TT were helpful to us. Red K5ALU and Bill W7GKF told us to come to see us at the Seattle airport.

As I told before, it was our first trip abroad going together. We might seem like a teenage couple before the first trip ever abroad. Full of excitement and hope for foreseeable enjoyment in the trip. A shuttle bus has brought us from a stop near by our home to the airport of Narita after 3 hours ride. Not bad. My wife was sending an e mail to our daughter, who was supposed to go with us but had givenn it up for caring for our old cat while our absence.  It was at the United Airlines lounge at Narita immediately before departure of the flight.

We had a little bit hard hours flying to Seattle. The seat was not very comfortable. It turned out to be due to the plane model. Boeing 777, the newest one, I believe, which we took on the way back home, has served us a much more comfortable seat. We might have flown to the moon on that seat!

Anyway, in the morning of July 27, we arrived at the Seattle airport. Bill W7GKF and his wife Ann have welcomed us at the exit. A paper showing "NUT" on his hand has made me smiling. In addition to their effort arranging the meeting and the nice lunch at their home, I am really thankful to them for their hospitality.

The Hilton Bellevue was located near to the downtown of the city. The streets had beautiful lawn and trees along the side walks. The attendants were out for the lunch at W7QC and then for a tour. We decided to stay at the hotel taking some rest. It regrettfully meant I had lost a chance to taste the home brew beer by Steve, which he kindly brought a bit to me later. We could refresh ourselves by the time a dinner would be held in a pier restaurant in Seattle.

A great mobile operator, Red K5ALU together with his wife Linda, has taken us to the restaurant. His set up was a simple but quite efficient one. He told me his big amp etc had been burnt out at one time due to RF feed back and set this present TS480 in stead. He has shown how to QSO in mobile with K5TF on 20m. It was the station which I had worked so many times from all over the states.

It was still bright outdoor. It told us how high in latitude Seattle was located.

There were so many people at the restaurant. It was a little bit funny that almost all of them were known to me with their call signs even though it was the first eye ball to most of them. From left to right, W7QC, AC2K, N9RV XYL, N9RV and W9KNI.

From left to right, K6XG, DJ6ZM a big gun from Germany, DJ6ZM XYL, W6IJ XYL and possibly K5ALU XYL.

The dish I took was a king salmon. Already half done! Very fresh and good.

I have not seen Tommy W6IJ for over 20 years. He looked so young and healthy. His wife Deana told me what she had done as a registered nurse. It was amazing for it was what a resident is doing here in our country. Rita, N9RV XYL, originally from Germany, told us to go for a Mozart Festival held in northern Germany. Vic WA6MCL, whom I had never expected to see in eye ball, was there. A sociable and cheerful person. It was a little bit different from what I had expected from his style in operation on the radio! Old friend, Jim KF7E, was there also. We used to talk when he was on the way from night shift work to home. Years ago. Anyway, we have had a lot of interesting conversations with a number of people.

The day after, we woke up early in the morning. We took a walk around the hotel. On halfway, Fred W7FU, has joined us there. It seemed my wife and he had had the same interests in gardening, their same profession and travelling. A gentle nice person.

In the hospitality suite, Dave K6XG has shown his performance with his brand new soprano recorder. Warm and soothing tune. It amazed me that he was using an i pad for score of music. It was a foot switch that he turned pages of the score. A new style of performance. I would enjoy ensemble with him with my cello some day. The audience has enjoyed his performance much.

PS;Dave has let me know it was not an i book but an i pad. I really don't know how different they are yet hi. Thanks, Dave.

Alan AC2K has brought us to W7GKF's home for lunch. It was 20 min drive from Bellevue, I guess. A quiet and serene place. Neatly cared lawn, flowers and trees have welcomed us there. A nice house. I have seen a typical prosperous side of the US in his property.

A pleasant and good lunch was prepared and served for us. I have had nice conversation with Vic W9RGB, Cliff K6KII or Rick N6XI etc. It was surprising that Rick had a liberal idea on social security etc, that looked pretty rare among the people there. A relaxing and enjoyable afternoon there.
From the lady foreground in clockwise, K5ALU XYL, K5ALU, W6IJ, K6ZB and an unknown person. N5AW. PS: Marv let me know it was him. Sorry for forgetting him. We have talked about our mutual friend Gary W5ZL in the elevator. We have lost Gary in this winter.

Bill's home was really fantastic. In the garden, there were also beautiful lawn and flowers. They said the antennas were all wire set among the trees behind. Steve used to use a bow to set them. There was a brook running through the trees, which might make the soil wetter and good as the radio ground. Or his big signal into JA could not be explained.

In the afternoon, I had a promise to see one of the oldest friends in ham radio. i had to cancell the tour to Boeing factory. He is Kemp K7UQH, who told me he would come to see me with his wife from Bellingham after a couple of hours drive. I have mentioned somewhere in this blog on him as a friend since '60s. We were company of a panpacific round table on 40m old Ed K6NB had kept for years.  It was the first eye ball with him and his wife after all 45 years long friendship. He looked very young and vivid. He has told us about his young days as a beginner ham and later a radio officer on a LNG carrier and so forth. A lot of old fond memories. Junko was a charming lady originally from Japan, who had known Kemp through ham radio, What a romantic couple! In some time, there were some others joining our conversation looking into the album Kemp had brought there. He seemed to be a little bit inactive for the past few years. He told me he was more engaged in trombone performance in a big band. He is still active from his car with this antenna. He and Junko have left there after a couple of hours visit. It was one of my high lights in this trip.

A banquet was held in the evening of July 28. I have had an enjoyable time there again. It was Fred K1NVY who pleased me most in this event. He is an avid CW operator and is an enthusiastic ragchewer as most of you know. He told me he won't join any club ! I often feel the same way for any social events. That's why I feel close to him, even though he is not happy to hear that ! A nice guy who enjoys his lif in his own way.

I am writing this together with another post. It may take me some more time to go on the next chapter. Be patient. To be continued. Sorry for easy going writing.  

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