Saturday, July 31, 2010

Home again

Made it home about 14:30 yesterday.  Glad to see that things were as we left them!  One minor problem occurred, about a million little black bugs decided to die (mostly) outside our front door.  I've no idea what the deal was but there is a pile of them.  We've never had anything like that before.

Our last day driving was pretty trouble free; there were a couple idiots who don't know how to pass who are still alive because I was able to pull off the road but otherwise all was serene.  I backed into the yard and plugged the rig into the power.  We'll get it completely unloaded in a day or so. The truck is absolutely filthy so it's off to the car wash for me. 

Our next-to-last night was spent in a campground that is part of a working ranch.  They had this old John Deere tractor sitting under the trees.  I imagine it might be worth quite a lot to people who collect tractors; it certainly seemed in good condition. 

Have a good one!

"We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there."  Charles Kettering

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nevada!!! Not home but....

Stopped for the evening in Hawthorne, NV.  There isn't a lot here but there is the Hawthorne Army Depot; a huge weapons storage area that makes for a lot of the jobs in the area.  We found a nice rv park with concrete pull-through spaces and excellent internet.  What more could we ask?  How about a couple stories from the road today?

We are back in the desert though here it is at the 4,000+ foot level  (1200+ meters); Pahrump is around 2700 ft (825m).  Had a good day driving through country that reminds me of the old tv show Bonanza - lots of scattered pine trees with lush green meadows.  We did have a good laugh not long after we got on the road.  This road is in the middle of nowhere; miles to the nearest gas station much less anything else.  Along come two state patrol cars leading an extra-large and wide load going somewhere.  Following was another state patrol car - and, what made us laugh, about 30 cars full of people who thought they would be moving at 65 mph (105kph) but were instead doing about a third of that.  Yes, I know it was cruel to laugh at them but gee, they all looked so happy! 

An hour or so later we were climbing this really steep grade on a narrow 2 lane road when we see a line of three traffic cones across our lane and a state patrol car pulling away up the hill.  We carefully go around the cones and find a large semi broken down in our lane of the road and the cop putting out yet more cones on the uphill side of the breakdown.  In my heart I know the cops help people every day but today I actually got to see two instances of them doing it! 

We were pulling into Susanville, CA - slowly because there is a big hill for us to go down west of town.  The hill is signposted for trucks at 35 mph (56kph); I was going a bit faster but not a lot more.  We were right on the outskirts of town going through a piece of road that was blasted out of the rock leaving about a foot of shoulder (35cm).  Here were two little deer strolling along the side of the road; no horns and they were both really small.  I braked to the point of almost stopping but the deer just kept walking.  Finally I honked the horn and they hopped up the almost vertical rock face to safety.  I was sure glad they went the right direction! 

Should be home tomorrow.  We are both looking forward to it.  It's been a good trip but we are home-bodies.  There will probably be a few more pictures that I haven't shared yet in the next few days.  Have a good one.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Here we sit; all Californicated in a place called Hat Creek.  Interesting, kind of, but really a sack of s*#t.  Paying excessively to sit in the woods and watch a bunch of idiots playing horseshoes is not really something I'll be doing again.  We were hopeful though; we are trying to make the journey from Sutherlin, OR to Pahrump a three day journey - days of approximately the same length.  This would be a good first days run but this park just isn't going to do it.  The only thing that can be said for it is that we have internet and a bit of a breeze.  There are other parks around here that we'll try next time.

We spent the last two days just resting at the Escapee's park in Sutherlin - resting defined as cleaning the rig and doing laundry.  My opinion of the organization is no secret; I'm a huge fan.  The park is nice, blacktop roads, big spaces and not at all expensive.  Oh, and the people that we met were all great too!  The drive from Reedsport to Sutherlin was along the Umpqua River valley; that was downright beautiful. 

The road here was ok.  Interstate-5 through the Siskiyou range - in summer it's got some challenging spots;  I've heard that in winter it can be downright scary.  Lots of 6% grades both up and down with a few slow curves interspersed.  Needless to say, there's lots of traffic.  After you leave the interstate, it's a narrowish 2 lane road with lots of ups and downs.  The cars following us may not have been too happy but that's not something we can do much about.  There aren't lots of places to turn off.  The state of California also is part of the problem:  if you tow anything the speed limit is 55 (88kph); otherwise it's 65(105kph).  We are a built in moving blockade for other vehicles.  Happily most people are pretty cool about it.  Only saw 4 California Highway Patrol vehicles today.  Unfortunately saw three deer hit by cars; a buck and two doe. 

Should be in nowhere Nevada tomorrow; then home on Friday.  Drive carefully where ever you are.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Last days on the coast

We have spent a last couple days just being lazy not going far from Lincoln City.  There is an outlet mall that we had to check out.  Spent a few bucks but nothing special.  Neither of us are great shoppers.  Yesterday, for example, I went to a Dollar Store and bought new toys for the animals - $2.  NOT too great for the local economy!

The weather has been weird; it may be sunny at our park but foggy in Lincoln City 5 miles away.  You've got to take your coat wherever you go.  There were tons of people in town.  The city is strung out along highway 101 and turned into a giant line of cars all just crawling along.  What fun. 

Today we are south down 101 a bit more then we turn inland and head for Interstate 5 and home. 

Take care!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

More coastline

We wandered south from our park yesterday afternoon just looking at the view.  We found it was easier to access the actual coast and enjoyed that.  There were even a couple places where we could have gone down to an actual beach.  Unfortunately that 60F (15C) and 20mph (30kph) breeze dissuaded us.  It was pretty though!

We got to see the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse.  You can actually go up in it since it is no longer used and has been taken over by the state as a recreation area.  We didn't; there were already lots of people in line and you know what I think of standing in lines!

I loved the view of the bay that you got from the point.  The rocks offshore are rather close but far enough that they are home to lots (!) of birds.  Kind of hazy but very beautiful.

We stopped at one viewpoint that was inhabited by a different species - landscape painters!  (Sorry couldn't even approximate the latin name.  Hell, I'm lucky I can spell it in English - or is it American?)  At least they can cut out the haze in their work.

I was liking that old tree but clearly they were after something else.  Gotta go.  Have a good one.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Oregon Coast

We have finally made it to the Oregon Coast; yes, it's beautiful.  You can certainly believe there won't be any bikinis on that beach though!  It's barely 60F (15 or 16C) and there is a nice wind blowing. 

We found a park near Lincoln City - it's another PA (PassportAmerica) park so the cost is very reasonable.  Sometimes such parks are not really nice but this one, though crowded, is pretty nice.  No dog run but it works for us.  It's Coyote Rock RV Resort & Marina - they have a big sign talking about the biggest fish they've had taken this year.  The kind of place where it's really quiet at 21:00 but you start hearing people out and about at 05:00.

Yesterday we did a loop up to Tillamook and back.  Tillamook has a cooperative that has been making cheese and other milk products for many years.  We visited the factory and must admit it was pretty awful.  There were zillions of kids; crazed parents and angry drivers in the parking lot.  Not much to see either; just some bored people cutting and packaging cheese into bricks.  Of course it would be a great place to buy an ice cream cone; if you didn't have to stand in line for 10 minutes!  I'm way too old for that shit.

Going to go down south today.  Hoping for more good views and maybe a walk on the beach.  Hope you are having a good one.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Mountain - and wine country

My wife and I visited Mt St Helens a couple years after the first eruption.  We were living in Seattle at the time so it wasn't tough to visit.  Last year we tried to visit it again but it was socked in.  This year we succeeded in finding good weather.  We were worried; it was cloudy down where the rv park was located.  We decided to try it anyway and our wishes came true.

The interpretive centers are well done; the scenery is great; even the road is good.  It is a worthwhile stop on any journey, especially if the weather is clear.

Now we have moved on; but only about 90 miles.  We are near the town of McMinnville, Oregon; a town of many wineries.  There is also an aviation museum that houses the famous Spruce Goose airplane; Howard Hughes' famous 'largest aircraft in the world'.  It may not be that any more but I've got to see it anyway.  Wine and a famous airplane, what more could I ask? 

Now, if I can only find a laundromat!

Friday, July 16, 2010


I've been in an internet-free zone for the last week; that is staying with family who are not technologically advanced. Anyway it's been an interesting time. Got to my wife's sister's place on Thursday afternoon. The truck was riding like the road was made of individual rocks so we figured we might have an out-of-balance problem. Took it to Les Schwab, a big local tire chain that has a pretty good reputation. On the way over, my BIL noticed a squirrely motion when we were stopping and suggested we might have a bulge in one of the tires. Anyway, the tire people didn't ask us anything, they just took it for a test drive then got us in and balanced the front tires. On the way home, it was better but still not great. We decided to check the rear tires and sure enough, there is a bulge in the sidewall of one of the tires. Put the spare on and that fixed the problem.

The reason for our trip is that my wife's step-dad is turning 80. Had the big birthday party on Friday: prime rib, oysters from their own beach, lots of sides. Very good party. Our daughter flew in from Vegas to attend as a surprise for the FIL. The champagne was really flowing but my wife and I managed to refrain so when evening came we were half-way sober but feeling good. It was really warm all day, I think Seattle hit a record in the mid 90's and it must have been close to that where we were.

A telephoto view from the sister's 2nd floor deck:

Saturday we spent recovering; well, we rested and our hosts recovered. They had put a lot of work into the party and needed nothing but some quiet time. I went into town to do a couple errands and proved that changing the tire was what we needed. My wife and daughter went to see the latest Twilight movie; thought it was pretty good, much better than the second. Had a lovely dinner on the patio with leftovers from the party. There's a good chance it was all better the second time around!

Sunday we headed north towards Sequim, WA up on the Straits of Juan de Fuca where the parents live; it's only about 75 miles. They are in a private rv resort having stopped traveling after about 15 years full-timing. A friend has an empty lot so we get to stay here at nominal cost. Makes it very convenient but we sure don't get much exercise. Sunday and Monday were devoted to eating and talking. I am typing this on Tuesday. Today we are off to see my wife's brother & SIL.

They are an interesting couple. Live near Port Angeles, WA which is a rather 'artsy' community about 40 miles from here. Nice people who are developing into rather artsy people after having retired from a rather constrained life in the military. The BIL is doing wood-working and we are to collect a table he made out of driftwood for my wife. We already have one and are looking forward to another. His wife is a poet and we brought along a copy of her first book for her to autograph.

A view of Canada (Vancouver Island) from their deck:

We'll be here for another day then leave on Thursday. We are headed to Mt. St. Helens to try to view the mountain. We were there back in the mid 80's when everyone was just amazed at how fast the mountain was recovering from it's eruption. Tried to visit it last year when we were here but it was socked in; maybe we'll make it this year. After that we are headed for Oregon. We'll be staying near McMinnville where there are wineries and also, Howard Hughes' airplane, the Spruce Goose. I'm looking forward to seeing that!

It's Wednesday, 14 July. It's our last family day and I'm sitting alone in the trailer while three young people are outside washing and waxing it! This is the life! We intended to get it washed and waxed before we left but it just didn't happen. This is much easier. LOL Of course I'm going to have to part with some money but what's it for if not to be spent? Besides, these seem to be nice young people and I'm sure they need the money. According to my FIL, their dad delivers propane to the park. They also have a relative who lives here. I hope they get lots of business; they are doing a fine job. They thought $150 quite generous; it took 3 people four hours, good enough pay but not incredible.

After the kids got done with the trailer, I joined my wife and her parents for a lovely meal. (They do three meals a day - breakfast and a lunch/dinner thing with a snack just before bed.) Lots of good food and mostly good talk. There were times when we were near talking about some unpleasant stuff that's in the past but we managed to skirt it. We got back to our nice clean trailer about 18:00. Now we'll say 'good bye' in the a.m. and head out.

The visit with the BIL & SIL yesterday was great. We sat on their deck and ate crab and smoked salmon that they had caught and smoked. Then went inside for steaks with all the trimmings. Yum! I had to skip the crab, of course, because of my allergy but smoked salmon is a treat that I can eat. The Coast Guard was doing some practice rescue stuff out in the Strait so we even had some entertainment; kind of noisy though! The local native tribes are doing a long distance paddle next week so I guess the Coastie's were getting in practice. Don't want to screw up during a big event!

The weather has been pretty amazing. It started off HOT and morphed into simply perfect. It's in the low 70's and sunny. If it were like this more often this place would be as crowded as Southern California. Happily, it gets gray and nasty quite often. Most people who live here and can afford it like to vacation elsewhere in the middle of winter.

Walking the dog this evening I was consumed by a feeling of "being home". It's funny because I truly feel that "home is where my hat is". It is true that I lived in the Northwest for 18 years. However, I lived in Iowa for my first 21 years; I also lived in Florida for 14 years. But when I lived in New Jersey; just a year and a half, that was home. When I lived in the Netherlands; only two years, that was home. My wife and I both commented; landing at Schipole was "coming home". Odd that this evening I should have that feeling.

Thursday morning: we have a foggy start to the morning. Walking the dog we didn't see any wildlife; only a kid with a back pack waiting for a bus. Funny, I don't expect bus service out here but there it was. Now we've made it down to Mt. St. Helens. Staying at the Mt St Helens RV Park - ok but a bit expensive. The sites are terraced so if you don't like backing into a spot, you're out of luck! Looking forward to seeing the mountain tomorrow morning.

Have a good one!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Mt Shasta, CA

Managed to make it to Mt. Shasta, CA to Abraham's RV Park on Tuesday night.  We've been here before.  The spaces are still not level and the water pressure has declined to Not-Great AND they have decided that they want $28 (cash or personal check only) for a night.  They do have cable and wifi but really!  It's not that wonderful.  I would stay here again but only if it fit into our plans REALLY well.  There is one redeeming thing:  close to the mountain.

For a place a mile off the interstate, that's not a bad view when you take the dog for a walk. 

Headed north today and ended up in the Portland-Woodburn RV Park about 15:30.  Another place we've stayed several times before.  It has it's own private gate to a discount mall which may be a selling point.  For us, it's not.  They have managed to raise the rate to $35 this year so, again, we may not be stopping here again. 

The folks in Oregon seem to have taken Interstate highway building lessons from Louisiana;  if I didn't know better I'd think we'd lost wheel weights on all four tires!  It's still beautiful though.  We were watching Mt Hood get bigger all afternoon.   We are just lazying around; it's 94F tying a local record for the day.  Hotter tomorrow.  Out on the coast there is a split between warm and cool.  On the northern Oregon coast it's in the 90's (33C) but the southern Oregon coast it's 58F (14C).  What a difference in just a few miles!

More later.  Hope things are well with you & yours!

"We don't have to worry about anything. No nation in the history of the world was ever sitting as pretty. If we want anything, all we have to do is go and buy it on credit." Will Rogers

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


It's been a while since we've been on the road.  Today we are just outside of Reno, NV; not a lot of a change for us but it did take us until 17:45 last night to get here!  It wasn't a bad drive; mostly 2 lane roads with not too much traffic.  We did have the occasional idiot who doesn't know how to pass but otherwise uneventful.  We did have two people who made illegal passes.  I wonder what they think they are doing?

We are staying in Fernley at the Wild Rose RV park.  It's a Passport America park so for $17 you get a nice concrete pull-through space with cable and wifi.  It doesn't have much of a dog run but that's the limit of my criticism.  It's a rack-and-stack kind of place but for a night, it's lovely.

Headed  into California this morning; should end up somewhere around Mt. Shasta or Weed.  Not a very long day but it will give us the energy to do a couple things around the rig that we didn't get done before leaving home. 

"There's two theories to arguin' with a woman.  Neither one works."  Will Rogers

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy 4th of July!!

I hope that you and yours have a good and safe day wherever you may be.  In the states, let's be careful mixing booze, celebration and fireworks!

In honor of the birth of our nation I would like to introduce you to an amazing man, Charlie Reese.  Charlie has been a newspaper man for most of his life.  He is now retired.  Some of his writing is collected here.  His writing wasn't the kind of thing you always agreed with but it was always reasoned and thoughtful.  Charlie has forgotten more about history than I ever knew.  He is from the South and proud of it.  I was looking at the titles of some of his pieces; "The US Government is Corrupt From Top to Bottom" would be a favorite. "The Drug War Hogwash" is another.  In it Charlie reminds us that Prohibition changed the Mafia from a few poor crooks into a lot of very wealthy ones. "Why Obama Can't Win" proves his crystal ball was sometimes cloudy.  The fact remains, Charlie was a great American voice.  I highly recommend checking him out.

"We are all responsible for ourselves, our family, our community and our nation. We need to shuck this "It ain't my fault" syndrome and start taking care of business." - Charlie Reese

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Dog and cat days....

Having lots of fun getting ready for our trip.  Today was dog and cat maintenance day - brushing, trimming and washing all around.  Oh my aching back!  But everyone looks better (to human eyes anyway) and touching their coats is again a pleasure.  The dog was pretty cool with the whole thing.  The cat yowled a lot but at the end of the day, that's all he did and he's already been on my lap.  Can't be too pissed off!

We have piles of stuff around that are ready to be loaded into the trailer.  Cold weather clothes, blankets, extra water hoses, the bbq, there's just a ton of stuff that gets taken off the rig for one reason or another.  Tonight I'll start the refrigerator and in the a.m. start the a/c. 

I went to the store for a few things and it turned into one of those WTF moments.  It's Independence Day on Sunday so it's ok to expect the stores to be busy.  What I wasn't expecting was the general incompetence.  The kid behind the meat counter told me he had two days training; I'm surprised he could tell hamburger from ground pork.  What did they do?  Lay-off the butcher and hire this kid?  Heaven knows!  The ordinary check-out lanes were crowded with people with lots-o-stuff.  There are four self check-out lanes:  one was out of order.  A customer was on one and had fouled it up somehow so there were two left.  A family with two kids were fumbling with a third; that left one for the rest of us.  The idiot who oversees the self-checkouts even carded some guy buying a six-pack of beer - even I could see he was pushing 40!  Makes you glad you don't have to get anywhere in a hurry!

So, if I don't get to it tomorrow, Happy 4th of July everyone!

"Laws for the liberal education of the youth, especially of the lower class of the people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant." --John Adams

Friday, July 02, 2010


Our news today is mostly concerned with two wildfires in the Las Vegas area.  One, near a tiny town called Moapa, has destroyed homes and other structures.  The other, on Mt. Charleston, is in the forest.  That fire was started by an illegal campfire, the fire service hasn't given any information of the start of the other.  (Fires are banned from April through November in the area.)  Right now the fires are reasonably small but you have to feel for the firefighters.  We are looking at another 105F (40+C) day with 15-25 mph (24-40 kph) winds.  It has to make a tough job much worse and they certainly will not get them put out today.  Go here or here for photos.

Personally we are just continuing to get ready for our trip.  Today I'm off to buy carpet protector material; we are tired of cleaning the carpet in the trailer!  We can't really shave the dog & cat so we are going to try protecting the carpet with plastic.  At least it will give us a fighting chance.  Tomorrow I'll do most of the loading.  We need warm weather clothes for the first couple days then cool weather stuff for Washington; they are supposed to have a high of 63F (17C) today.  It will be quite a change for us!

Have a good one.

"For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.  I travel for travel's sake.  The great affair is to move."  Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Good trip yesterday

Had a good trip yesterday.  The ladies got all painted and I stocked up on booze for our upcoming trip.  Here the adult beverages cost about half what they are in the NW so it only makes sense to plan for it.  We are getting excited about the trip.  It's only the NW and we've been there three times in the last 2 years but it's still fun.  Plus, this may be the last one for a while; how many family visits can you have?  We just have to go check out new places; Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, California, Arizona, New Mexico - they are all calling to us.

Had a little dog fun this a.m.  I looked out the window and saw a roadrunner of all things sitting on the patio table.  I didn't recognize him for what he was but we don't need him taking up residence there so I let the dog out the back door.  Well, the chase was on!  And I have to admit for a 75 lb 9 year old mutt, she did pretty good.  The roadrunner actually had to fly off to escape.  Happily for the dog, there was another distraction, a bunny had decided to enter the back yard.  The dog goes flying past the bunny while chasing the bird then realized what she was seeing.  Fast U-turn and bunny decided it was time to leave.  Zoom, away want bunny under the gate to safety.  Bottom line, it's a good thing we feed the dog, she'd be pretty hungry as a predator.  But she's great at keeping her yard free of strangers.

"The poor dog, in life the firmest friend, 
The first to welcome, foremost to defend."
Lord Byron