August 31 Can you believe the month is almost over. Where does the time go? Life goes on at the same speed, the clock never ticking faster or slower, but when you are having fun there never seems to be enough hours in the day. I know today will be a busy one for me, because my goal for the day is an extreme reach. It is to catch up on the posts for August. Can I do it? Time will tell, lol. Maybe I need a system to keep me on the right track or at the least, on schedule. One of the better systems Linda has come up with is a method forecast the use of our time. Not in the sense of scheduling or detailing how we will live, but rather where we will go. Linda likes to have some idea where we will be tomorrow or next week, so she has developed her own calendar. I tease her that we should get onion skin paper to make it easier to erase since there are so many changes made to it, but what it does, is give her a snapshot in time as to where we are going. As you can see from the photo, erasures are a definite part of this process. Linda calls it her "where we will be" chart. I call it the "about where we will be" chart. Not something for everyone, but it works for her, she prints the blank off the internet, then pencils in what our projected route will be. It is simply a planning tool and thrown away at the end of the month, in fact it has just gone into the trash can right now. One of the keys to making this lifestyle succeed is to do it your way and each day we become more and more comfortable as we learn new ways to enjoy it.
(Extreme rant warning) As I typed away, I watched Winchester Bay come alive in the early morning, out my little window on the world. The majority of people who are up and about at this hour are either dog people or smokers. Not a good subject for me to bring up as I think that at the least,the former top management (and the more I read, the current management) of the tobacco companies should all be in prison for life and every last penny confiscated from them. If that makes their families destitute, tough, they harbored a criminal so I have no sympathy for them. Rant over, smile.
Soon, she who makes my face glow with a near perpetual smile arose and made her presence known. I have never figured out how someone's hair could become so unruly in just a few hours. I dunno, maybe it's an Appalachian genetic trait incorporated by nature over the eons to scare away the ghosts and goblins who haunt the hollows. I have to say that the first time I ever saw it, it scared the bejebeers out of me, so I know it works, lol. Once she is up, it doesn't take long before the coffee is brewing and the eggs are scrambling. Today I was also reaping the rewards of yesterday. While I had taken my walk to the pier yesterday, Linda had made huckleberry scones. That meant leftover scones for the next several days. This is not leftovers in the normal sense meaning the dregs, or what wasn't wanted. No sir, these are leftovers in the sense that there was simply to many to eat all of them, so the rest will have to be eaten later. The gulf that separates those two positions cannot be fathomed unless one has eaten a fresh huckleberry scone just out of the oven. Linda not only fixed scrambled eggs, Canadian Bacon and the scone, but she also cut up some cantaloupe. If we eat like this everyday I am going to<p> gain some weight. Of course there is always the walk up the hill to the lighthouse to burn it off, smile.
After breakfast it was time to get down to some serious business, and did we ever. While I worked on my goal for the website, Linda worked on hers. You could call hers, killing two birds with one stone. For months something has stared back at her every time she looked at the main index web page: Those little words, See Our New Coach (Coming Soon). Some people say that soon never gets here because by definition it can't. Otherwise it would be now. But that's a subject for another time, smile. For Linda the time was now. If you look at the photos we take inside the coach on a day to day basis you see that we live exactly like most people, clutter, piles and all. It's just that due to space limitations there can't be as many of them in our little home, though we do try. These remnants of living will not do, however, in photos which show how our coach looks. A point I completely agree with Linda on. Otherwise it would only be words, you know, like, pile covering computer desk, or couch is under pillows, blankets, hats, books, etc. Not exactly the the type of photos that someone can actually learn what our coach looks like, smile. One of the rules we read about repeatedly before we started on our adventure was everything in the RV must have a place and it should be in its place. I have to wonder whether these types of people have actually ever lived? Or have the simply spent their whole life in a ultra fastidious little hole in space. Loosen up (pun intended, lol) and live in the darn thing. We do.
One thing that is always amazing, is just how fast time goes by when you are totally immersed in something. That was definitely the case with today. Words rolled off onto the pages and the seconds and minutes rolled by on the clock. Almost before I knew it, it was afternoon. Looking out the front window, the crab pot was boiling at the site across the way, everyone, including the dog laying in the shade of the picnic table, relaxing and enjoying life. Meanwhile I was ensconced at the computer, keyboarding away, trying to make up for my past reluctance at typing each and every day. That commercial, "You can pay me now, or pay me later" holds true for more things than just oil filters, lol. All this crabbing that goes on around here really intrigues Linda. Our plan is to get all the equipment we need to catch those delectable little buggers and try our hand next week after the holiday hordes have retreated to wherever they came from. And hordes is a correct term. The amount of traffic through this little park so far today has been far more than the total traffic since we arrived several days ago. From the number of people who drag trailers past the front of the coach, many of them apparently stop in hoping to get a spot when they see the empty sites from the highway. Unfortunately, the only empty sites are the reserveable ones, so we watch them circle, then turn back onto the highway and travel on. We talked about how smart we had been to come in on Monday. Sometimes things just work out.
All this time, Linda kept up a running commentary regarding the goings on over at the site with the boiling crab pot. Once steam really started pouring out of the pot, it only boiled for 15 minutes before it was taken of the fire and carried over by the water spigot. In a moment of forgetfulness, the man tried to take the lid off with his bare hand. The sudden flash of movement, flying lid and the shaking of his arm, followed by a close examination of his fingers, gave us a brief chuckle, as Linda commented, "I don't think he thought the lid was hot." They filled the pot with cold water, then later, lifted it into the back of their pickup truck and drove off. We decided they didn't want the smell of crab around their site. After returning, the two men sat down at the table and began cleaning the cooked crab. Linda, of course pointed out that was just how it should be done. I pointed out the women had cleaned the crab the day before so they were just taking turns. The fact the men were cleaning the crab actually disappointed Linda, since she was hoping to go over and pick up a few picking pointers from the ladies. Maybe tomorrow. She then decided it was just too nice to stay in the coach and told me she was going out into the garden to read. This took me back for a bit, then looking out the window I realized she truly was out in the garden reading.
Having finished another chapter, she returned to the coach and said she thought we were going blackberry picking today. Since my attention had been distracted from my writing by the clatter of pots and pans, I was confused by what she said. Then looking up and seeing the look on her face I asked if she was ready. Wrong thing to say. Suffice it to say that a short time later the computer was hibernating and I was hurriedly grabbing some clothes. We had already decided that we would go north of town, then east along the Smith River. The blackberries seem to love open areas and we figured we would be more likely to find along the river valley than up in the mountains. Linda said we wouldn't be gone long as she only wanted to get enough berries for breakfast. Looking at the collection of mixing bowls in in arms, I wondered if she was talking about our breakfast or a breakfast the size that the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk would eat, lol. Driving through Reedsport we were astounded at the number of RV's on the highway. We had been told they would start pouring into the area on Thursday, before becoming an avalanche on Friday. It looked like it was true. We crossed the first bridge just north of town and turned onto Smith River Road. There followed a slow, leisurely drive along the north bank of the river. We kept our eyes out for blackberries but there just didn't seem to be any. In a way it didn't matter because the beauty of the river was a worthwhile reason to drive this road in its own right.
Further up the river we pulled over at several places and could see that the vines were loaded with berries, unfortunately they weren't ripe yet. We retraced our steps and coming to the South River Road, turned and drove across the bridge. Just on the other side was a large pull off area. We stopped. Then we picked, and picked and picked. The berries were just ripening, but there were enough to make it worth while. At first we worked side by side, but then I moved a little father away. It looked like someone else may already picked these berries, because just beyond where we could reach were loads of far larger berries. Trying to reach them I took a step closer. Wrong move. The berries were growing on a steep bank and there was only air under where I had stepped. Suddenly I was up to my armpits in blackberry vines. In a way it reminded of the time Linda got trapped in the raspberry patch when she was pregnant with our oldest. Somehow she had gotten to the middle of the patch which had closed in around her. In her advanced state of pregnancy, she couldn't bend over far enough to get out, so I had to rescue her. It is something we always talk about every time we pick berries. Memories are so important and for a second I thought I was going to be making a new one today. However I was able to crawl up the bank and somehow throughout the whole episode had managed to keep from spilling my half full picking bowl. We were using our oatmeal breakfast bowls to pick into, and soon we each had a full bowl. I hadn't realized when she said we were going to pick enough for breakfast that she had meant that blackberries were going to be all we had for breakfast. I followed her back to the Explorer, only to watch her dump her pickings into a mixing bowl and head back to the patch. Oh well, better to be married to a blackberry addict than some other kind of weirdo.
Back near the bridge I had found several vines that seemed to have bigger, plumper, juicier berries on them, so leaving my bowl, I walked over to take a look, eventually crossing the road to the other side. Peering down I saw what looked like a monster cluster of berries, Taking a couple of steps forward and downward I suddenly found myself hurtling towards the river and an eminent soaking. Fortunately the bank leveled out a bit just before the edge of the river and I was able to stop my forward momentum just inches from the water. Okay, maybe it was a foot, but in those life flashing before me seconds it seemed like just an inch or two. Looking around I saw the bush I had been looking for. The one just loaded with huge, dead ripe berries. The kind that fall off at your touch. The kind you can never ever buy, even at the roadside markets. There was just one little problem. I couldn't find my picking bowl. I was sure it had been in my hand when I started down the bank, now it had seemingly disappeared into thin air. I looked and look, in the vines, the grass, even the river, but no bowl was in sight. The only thing to do was to climb back up to the top and see if I could spy it by looking down from above. Two up, one back, three up four back, it was slow going, but I made to the top, otherwise I wouldn't be writing this. (It always amazes me when I am reading a story written in the first person where the person gets into a suspenseful life threatening situation. Come on, how can it be suspenseful, after all he's still alive to write the story.) Of course you may already guessed how my story turned out. Up at the top I looked for my bowl. Maybe I dropped it when I started to slip, or when I flung my arms up as I fell I threw the bowl, I don't know, but now I was ready to pick and couldn't find my bowl. I looked around for Linda. She was nowhere to be seen. I walked down the road a ways and saw some movement down towards the base of the vines. Walking towards her she looked up and saw me. With a shy smile she said, "I'm stuck." I had to admit that she certainly wasn't going anywhere because running down her back was a large vicious looking bramble that had her securely in its grasp. It took me some time to extricate her from its clutches. She said she had called several times, then just decided to wait until I showed up. Obviously she hadn't just been sitting there all the time since the vines within her arms reach all looked like a swarm of locusts had descended and eaten every ripe berry. Walking back towards the Explorer, I saw my bowl right where I had left it when I had walked over to look at the bridge. If I had taking it along, I would still be down there picking and Linda would still be trapped. As Linda says, "Things happen for a reason." We resumed picking and continued until we were tired and then headed back to the coach. The scales told us we had over four and a half pounds of berries. I think I see blackberries in our future meals for a while. I also know where we will go when they are about all gone.
Dinner was leftover grilled tuna, chaote squash with onions, garlic and cheese and a tossed salad, garnished with fresh blackberries of course. The evening was spent on more web page work, CSI and Without A Trace. The rhubarb pie was even better tonight than last night, plus there are four big plastic containers of blackberries sitting in the refrigerator. I don't know about you, but love the way I live. By the way I am only one proof reading away from having all of August completed, so even though I did not get the brass ring, I at least got to touch it. For me, that was close enough, smile.
30 What a difference a day can make. The gloomy fog of
the last few days seems to have gone away. Outside the sun is shining
and the fishermen are up. It is a campground of two worlds. The
fishermen and the ATV'ers. Their habits and habitats, as well as their
origins are different.
One of these days I'm going to have to write about them. Then there is
a third group. In this morning hour they pass by the
window, head down. The restrooms are calling. A while later they pass
by once again in the opposite direction, the morning sun partially
illuminating the top of their bodies as it rises over the hill behind
us. Their heads are up this time, they are
ready to take on the world. As I watch I am reminded of the words in
the song by Cyrkle that went like:
And I think it's gonna be alright
Yeah, the worst is over now
The mornin' sun is shinin' like a red rubber ball
How easy it is to be influenced by the things we can't control such as the weather. Just a few short hours ago we were wondering whether the next several months were going to be cloudy, foggy and cold. This was in spite of what Linda was reading about September being the warmest month in Winchester Bay. The mind, what torturous paths it can follow. Deciding that worst was over now, I walked down to the crabbing pier and ended up getting an education. At this early hour the yuppie, tak'em all crabbers are still in bed, while the grizzled veterans of trap and claw are out. I learned about the three main types of rings and how to use them. Why different people use different bait, and it is not just personal preference, some actually know how to crab. I learned why almost all the traps seem to be on just one side of the pier and that sometimes the best spot to place the traps was not the spot you picked, lol. I also learned the pier would be crowded this upcoming holiday weekend, but next week things would be back to normal. That Oregon used to not require a license, but now they do. That wooden pilings, barnacles, the tide and poly-rope can combine to ruin your morning as you lose a trap. On balance it looks like a fascinating way to have some fun and eating pleasure, so maybe there will be a crab trap in our future.
As I was walking back through the campground I saw a fisherman working on his lures. Turned out he was replacing and sharpening his hooks, because yesterday he had had a salmon hooked that got off. It is amazing how much you can learn in several minutes conversation, so I suspect there is a trip on tap today to watch some fishing action. Back at the coach I discovered the wi-fi connection was working, so I uploaded the web page. It feels great to be current even if I am behind, smile. Outside there was definitely more activity and the same was taking place inside, as we ate our breakfast of oatmeal and peaches which Linda had prepared while I was on my walk. Trying to be considerate, I had left her a note letting her know where I had gone. Life is made up of little, sometimes seeming insignificant things, I'm glad I could help get Linda's day off to a good start.
Linda was now also ready for a walk, so we combined exercise and pleasure, walking over to the river and watching the many salmon fishermen and lone fisherwoman, smile. Even though we saw lots of lures flying out into the water, there were no fish being caught. That didn't diminish the pleasure we were deriving from the moment however. As you can see, the Umpqua River is a grand and glorious place.
In a past life I had a co-worker who had this thing about trebuchets, you know, those siege engines they used to fling rocks and dead cows into the castles in Medieval times. As I watched the line of arms repeatedly flinging those pink or green projectiles out into the water, I couldn't help but recall those words from Tim, "It's not the thing you fling, it's how you fling the thing." Not everyone was a master at the flinging. An occasional errant fling would result in a tangle of lines. On the other hand the things they were flinging, even when they landed on target did not seem to be having any effect on their quarry. So maybe the reverse was also true, "It's the thing you fling, not how you fling the thing," lol. Of course another of my former co-workers, Tressa, also took Tim's comments about flinging to heart and had a very custom flinger constructed to, putting it delicately, dispose of some unwanted guests. To know the link with the past. To experience the connection of being human. The joy of life. The spirit of individuality. The adventure goes on and on.
As we sat there, a US Coast Guard ship slowly made its way past. The bright colors made for a picture perfect moment. Now if I could only learn to take picture perfect photo's, smile.
We spent the afternoon in Reedsport, checking out crab traps among other things. The prices do vary quite a bite and after our initial go around it looks like the ACE Hardware store may have the best selection and also the best prices. We stopped by the Reedsport Public Library to see if they had wi-fi. The librarian told Linda they didn't, but people report they can get on line when they are there. As we left the library we noticed the the spot we had connected the other day was back behind the library, smile.
Lest you think this was a joy ride, it wasn't. I had started out by my turning on a street that was being repaired, getting caught in traffic control and unable to turn around. Then, when we passed by the construction zone, I turned down a street that wound around until it dead-ended. It is one of those towns that doesn't need dead-end street signs because most streets dead-end, smile. Anyway, back to my story, coming up on the construction as I tried to retrace my mis-steps, I pulled off to the side of the road to look at the map of Reedsport (I am a man, so let me get lost before I look at the map, okay) and it turned out we were right beside the Presbyterian Church, one of the places we wanted to locate. God sure does work in mysterious ways, lol. Next we stopped at a strip mall, throughly examining the treasures to be found in the second hand store, finding nothing but new junk in the ultra discount store and finally ending up at the Safeway store where we ended up buying a red pepper and two jars of chipolte salsa that were on sale. Big spenders, lol. We also spent a few happy moments calling and wishing our oldest a happy birthday. Over years this week was traditionally, vacation week, so she either spent her birthday at some boring places during her teenage years, or received a birthday phone call from mom and dad who were at some far more interesting places. We always get a big laugh from her comment when she would hear where we were calling from, "Why didn't we go to places like that when I lived at home?" This was the first time we had called from a second hand store, so we didn't hear the comment this year, lol.
It was just after 4 o'clock when we returned to the campground and that was when high tide was expected. That is kind of a dumb statement now that I think about it, high tide was expected. Shouldn't it be, the time of high tide. If it didn't come as expected we would be in very deep doo doo, lol. At least one angler had paid attention to the necessity of flinging the right thing as the photo below shows.
Later in the evening I took still another walk, but this time it was for exercise. It is almost exactly one mile down the road, around the curve and up the bluff to the Umpqua River Lighthouse. It turned out that the fact I have not been walking regularly for these past eight months slowed me down a little, (translation: at the top of the the hill I had legs and lungs of fire, lol) but still made it in 18 minutes. If I can get it down to 15 minutes over the next couple of months I will be both happy and in far better shape, smile. The view from up at the parking lot was fabulous, and to think, this will be where we will be calling home for the months ofSeptember and October. Life is good.
Dinner was some of the left over chicken from two nights ago, along with baked beans and sweet potato salad. But there was still more to this night. When we had been home, our rhubarb plant had still had some semi-tender stalks, which Linda had picked, plus she had gotten a recipe for a "press in pan pie crust", courtesy of her former co-worker, Beth. As you can guess, the air was soon filled with the aroma of baking rhubarb pie, the real thing (no strawberries allowed here) and the sound of me repeatedly swallowing the saliva that was almost running in my mouth in anticipation of the delectable delight we were about to enjoy. Homemade rhubarb pie, fresh from the oven and a scoop, well, two scoops, of ice cream, that's about as good as life gets. In fact it was so good, it was eaten before my mind thought to take a picture. So don't be concerned over the fact that the photo shows a hole where two pieces of pie should be. Know that some things simply have no value, as they truly are priceless. This was one of those things.
August 29 Our first full day at the beach. What to do? Since we are going to be here for a while, we certainly don't need to do everything at once. Always before when we were at the Oregon coast, since we were on vacation, we only had 5 to 7 days to cram as much in as we could in as quickly as we could. This is almost like relearning how to live, smile. Knowing full well you can't do anything if you don't get your proper rest, we both started out the day by sleeping in, lol. I had to chuckle at myself as I was awake at 4:17 and debated whether to get up or not, finally electing that the warmth of the covers outweighed the warmth of a hot cup of tea. It was 3 hours later when I awoke the second time. Maybe I'll get the the hang of this life of leisure retirement thing yet. With hookups, even though they are only 30 amps, we can run the heat pump, so I turned the front one on. Wasn't long until it was nice and warm and cozy, sure am glad we finally figured out how to use them. Linda is no slouch at figuring out the best time to get up and she was soon up enjoying her coffee and fixing breakfast, her version of oatmeal. She added some yogurt to her bowl and said it made it creamy, plus it kicked up the flavor. I tried it, but unfortunately my mouth and taste buds interpret the texture and taste differently than hers, so I will pass on the opportunity to consume this mixture in the future.
Linda had noticed the stuffed state of our clothes hamper, so she promptly attacked what she considered to be a major problem. Soon there were clothes hanging from our impromptu clothesline, giving the coach the feel and smell of home. While she was doing the laundry and dumping the gray water tank, I was working diligently at updating the website.
Later we walked up to the Post Office to mail some letters and also make sure how our general delivery mail should be addressed. Since both Reedsport and Winchester Bay share the same Zip Code, the Postmistress pointed out that we need to have both the city and the zip code. Apparently some people just address it General Delivery 97467, which ends up over at Reedsport, since it is the main Post Office. Of course it wasn't actually as simple as that. Linda had seen the Post Office when we arrived yesterday, but what street was it on? Things can go a little faster when you're driving, but all the little details are often missed. Since we were walking we got to see everything. For example, the store that advertises, Antiques, Things and Junk. Translated that means less than 1% antiques, ~5% things and 95% junk, lol. We finally found the Post Office which is located in the general store. While Linda did her postal thing, I gazed at all the fishing equipment. Who knows what the next several months will bring. There is something so special about these little towns, so after leaving the Post Office we walked around enjoying the sights, sounds and smells, eventually ending up at the marina area. As we neared the fish cleaning station we could see two successful anglers hard at work. One had caught a salmon, the other had bought a tuna. Now that's my kind of fisherman, lol. We asked where they had bought the tuna and they pointed across the marina and said, at the commercial dock. Something tells me there is a trip to the commercial dock coming up in our near future, smile. As for the salmon, it was caught a mile out in the ocean at a depth of 350 feet. Doesn't sound like we will be catching an salmon sometime soon,
The marina is a large area encompassing shops, ship repair shops, myriad docks and RV parks. We set out to explore as much as we could. Seeing a sign that said albacore tuna we walked back to a large blue building sitting at the water's edge, A door was partly open with a sign saying come in. It was a tiny room full of freezers. The sign said $1.50 a pound for more than 100 lbs, $1.75 a pound for less than 100 lbs., average size 15 to 20 lbs. We talked to the lady for a few moments, learning that she only has blast frozen tuna. We continued on our walk and stopped in the same fish market we had been in yesterday, looked at the fish and seafood, then continued on our walk, eventually finding our way to the other side of the marina. Here we were surprised to find a huge dry camping RV park. At the far end we found the crab dock that we had seen from further across the harbor yesterday. The same people were crabbing today who were there yesterday, so we walked out to watch what they were doing. We discovered what they were doing was throwing their pots in the water, waiting about 10 minutes then hauling them out to find nothing in them. There is only so much excitement like this that a person can stand, so we were soon on our way back to the coach, lol.
Suddenly we saw it, the commercial dock, the dock where the commercial fishing boats tie up. We also saw two couples walking up dock with several coolers. Taking the opportunity to learn something, we found out they buy tuna off "the blue boat" every year. It is fresh, is caught about 150 miles out and the boat comes in about every two weeks, price is $1.75 a pound for the whole fish. They will clean for $4 a fish with a yield of about half the weight of the whole fish, which is albacore tuna that tastes wonderful. As we walked back to the coach we talked about what we wanted to do. Finally deciding to go over to the fish market and buy a piece of fresh albacore tuna so we could see whether we like it or not. Since it was peanut time we sat out at the picnic table and enjoyed the sunshine which had chased away the fog. We were joined by a friend. Linda tried to give it a tiny piece of peanut, but it said no thank you. We decided that with fall soon coming on it was looking for a place to hole up.
We read up on the best way to grill tuna, thank you Jenny for "The New Best Recipe" from the editors of Cooks Illustrated, which had just the information we were looking for. The secret ingredient was olive oil, so soon our piece of tuna was basking in an oil bath.
The thing was, the tuna needed to marinate in the oil for a while, so what to do? We decided to walk down the road to the fishing/crabbing pier. It was the time when people were leaving. It is really interesting, what you see and learn out here. There are the people who obey the rules and those who don't. There are the people who sex and measure their crabs and those who don't. Older people tend to be concerned with the rules, the younger, well dressed people seem to think the rules don't apply to them. If this is our country in a microcosm, we are in deep trouble. We also got to watch a young couple in a boat retrieve their crab traps. It was interesting to observe that as soon as they realized I was taking pictures of them, they moved far away to sort through their catch. Wonder why they didn't want their picture taken? The view of the RV Park from the pier is postcard perfect.
Returning to the campground we fired up the Baby Q and grilled the Tuna. The fillet we bought was about a pound, enough for two meals. It was thick and tender, moist and flaky. In sum, it was perfect. As we ate we talked about how far both of us had come in the last 15 months as far as liking fish was concerned. Once we learned how to cook it correctly, we found that it was a wonderful food. It looks good and it tastes good. What more could we want, smile.
About dusk we drove up to the Umpqua River Lighthouse and had our first look at the light at night. When we were here last year on vacation we didn't realize how pretty the light was after dark. The light beams play off of the trees that encircle the lighthouse like a dance of shimmering ghosts, it was poetry in motion. All the reading we have been doing in preparation of our volunteer stint, made us aware of the beauty we could witness. Now we knew what they were talking about. I tried to take a photo, but without a tripod to hold the camera steady, there was no way to get a good photo. I guess you'll just have to visit the lighthouse to see how pretty it is after dark. Later we once again enjoyed chocolate zucchini cake and ice cream. It was as I was taking our bowls over to the sink that I stepped on something sharp. It is our house, so I can go around in my stocking feet if I want to, smile. The sharp object turn out to be a sand spur, which one of us must have picked up on our shoe when we crossed the sandy area near the pier. As you can see from the photo, these are wicked little buggers. Before long we were headed to bed where I would finish up reading Thornton Wilder's, The Bridge of San Luis Rey. It was no wonder he won a Pulitzer Prize. One of my enjoyments in life has been trying to read as many Pulitzer Prize pieces of literature as I can. There is so much in life to enjoy, may you too find your own "place in the sun."
August 28 This will be a day of change, as we head for the coast where we will be spending the next several months. It was a typical morning at a Walmart. About half of the people who had overnighted were already gone, while nearby was a 5th wheel, unhitched and with its slides out, plus at the very outer fringes of the lot the people spend the night in their cars and old vans, the more or less permanent residents of a transient city were up and heading for the nearby bushes to whatever was they did out in those places. As for us, we were in no great hurry to leave, wanting to arrive in Winchester Bay around 11, trusting that our plan of getting a site at Windy Cove without a reservation would work. Breakfast was road food, or at least the Linda version of road food, Uncle Sam's cereal, nonfat vanilla yogurt with fresh peaches cut into bite size pieces. Quick, easy and tasty. Isn't that what road food is all about? The other thing about overnighting at a Walmart is how easy it is to leave in the morning. Pull back the front drapes, check the hitch, put the key back in the Explorer, bring the coach engine up to temperature and leave. What's not to love about the way we live.
Our plan was take Route 126 over to the coast, where, in Florence, we would turn south on 101 and follow it to our destination in Winchester Bay. Since 11th Street, which was the main street in front of the Walmart was also Route 126, there wasn't going to be any problem getting lost driving through town trying to get on the right road, lol. The speed limit on 126 is 55 mph and that was the speed at which traffic was driving. It had worked out that we were in a group of vehicles that had another RV at the front. This really made it extra nice, as he slowed for the sharper curves, which meant we were traveling just the right speed to ease through them without Linda having to say, "Slow down." I like that a lot, lol. Route 126 from Eugene to Florence is in reality three different roads. The first 10 to 15 miles are flat and fairly straight, the comes 30 miles of more or less mountainous terrain, though nothing what the drive over the Cascades had been. There are passing lanes and one tunnel, but it is short, straight, wide and high, though the road does descend steeply shortly afterwards. Both of these sections are smooth good road, but at Mapleton the road makes a 90° turn to the left and while it now is following the river with gentle curves, the condition of the pavement is not very good, being patched in numerous places and, shall we say, in need of patching or repair in others. As we neared Florence the the nice sunny view we had out the front of the coach began to disappear as fog began to cast its ominous shadow over the landscape.
As planned, at Florence we turned south on US-101 for the last leg of our trip to Reedsport and Winchester Bay. Once again we were on a good smooth road and the miles flew by in quick succession. The last time we had been here, it was a beautiful, warm, sunny September day. Now we were traveling the same route 51 weeks later on cool, foggy, austere August morning. Maybe it will clear off, maybe, just maybe. Then again, it doesn't, does it really matter, after all since we are going to be here for quite some time, not every day can be like this, or can it, lol. We pass through Reedsport noting the location of the Safeway store and traversing the hill south of town descending into Winchester Bay. Then we were on Salmon Harbor Drive heading to the campground. We passed Windy Cove "A" noting that it appeared all the sites were occupied, then stop at "B". There was a little sign out front that said, "No Vacancy". Linda's firsts words were, now what are we going to do, here second words were I'll go inside and see if they can help us find another campground. About 10 minutes later she returned all smiles. Turned out they had forgotten to take the sign down and they had one site available. Unfortunately it was back against the bluff so it didn't look like there would be any Motosat. That hasn't been an insurmountable obstacle in the past and it won't be here either. Besides, they have DirecTV hookups at each site so TV won't be a problem, smile. We got all set up, then drove into town to check our what is where in Winchester Bay. We also had a secondary motive, bringing the computer along to see if we could find and open access wi-fi signal. We did find one, but it was slower than molasses in January, so that wasn't going to work. We walked around, spending so time in the fish market, but not seeing anything that appealed to us. Next we drove over to Reedsport, stopping at the visitors center, picking up some literature on the area and finding a high speed wi-fi connection. At least one problem is solved.
Returning to the coach we decided to take a walk. Directly across the road from where we are parked is the Marina RV Resort, which is also run by Douglas County, but is, shall we say, a tad more upscale, lol. We took the path that circles the park and were amazed at the number of people fishing and further down the river a pier jutted out which also had a number of people on it. It was not a path designed for walking, rather it demanded we take an extremely leisurely stroll. Besides the activity on the water, the RV park was also a feast for the eyes, with a plethora of big rigs, but besides the diesel pushers and 5th wheels there were travel trailers and C's. Upscale equates to dollars, both to stay there and the condition of the RV's. We laughed, commenting that our coach looks a little out of place across the road where the common people park, but then since we are common people that's where we feel most at home, smile. Continuing on around the trail we looked across the harbor and saw there were two people throwing in crab rings while standing on a floating dock. We sat on a nearby bench and watched them. Remembering the crab we enjoyed when we were here last fall, it may be that in a few days we will be doing some crabbing ourselves. As we sat there enjoying just simply being in this place at this time, Linda remembered we were planning on trying something new for dinner tonight and that we needed to get back to the coach to get it on.
Our something new is the Bob and Linda version of the beer butt chicken we had enjoyed at Bruce and Tressa's way back in January. Due to the fact we don't have any beer, it will have to be called: butt chicken, though that is not exactly true either, since the height limitations of our Baby Q will mean it will have to be cooked lying down rather than standing up. That means we will have to call it: chicken. Somehow or other that doesn't sound as exotic as beer butt chicken, lol. So how to you imitate something when you have two strikes against you before you even start? Well, if we aren't staying in the high class resort across the street, we can at least out cook those people, so we will call it olive oil basted, dry rubbed, pan roasted chicken. But in order to remain true our proletarian roots and haunts, we will use a well aged Pinot Noir Blanc for the wine from our extensive collection of (over) aged wines, smile. We started with a whole frying chicken, the rub was a blend of New Mexico and and mild chili powder combined with garlic powder which we sprinkled on over the olive oil coated bird. For added flavor Linda placed a cut up onion, several garlic cloves and a handful of cilantro in the cavity. This went into a foiled lined 9x13 pan and several cups of wine were added. We really were playing this by ear, so we used a meat thermometer make sure it was cooked, which took a little over two hours on medium low heat. Talk about good, it was.
Besides the enjoyment the food provides there is the ever present activity that takes place in the campground, some of which we can understand, some of which we can't. This was one of those things that has an explanation, if you only knew what it was.
As the evening drew to a close, we watched CSI Miami. My take is they only have one plot on this show and it is getting old. But something that never gets old, at least around here is dessert, so it was with much gusto that we downed our Turtle Sundae ice cream and chocolate zucchini cake. It was a magical day where dreams came true and expectations were met, though not always in the way we anticipated. The next several months are going to be quite interesting.
August 27 A day of travel once again, but not an early leave taking. With our plans to spend the night at the Walmart in Eugene, Oregon, we figure it will take around 3 hours to drive there, so the later we leave the later we will arrive. We could drive on over to the coast but our thinking follows these lines. This is prime coast vacation season and the later in the day you arrive, the greater the odds that the park will be full. If we arrive early in the day, the better the odds we will be able to get a site, hence we will spend Sunday night in Eugene, stocking up at the SuperCenter, before journeying to the coast Monday morning. Since it was Sunday and a day of rest, I rested from doing breakfast. Linda immediately jumped in to take up the slack and and made an omelet. Green and red peppers, onions and cheese went together to form a delectable delight. Add a slice of Canadian Bacon and melon for a great start to the morning.
I spent time working on the website, finally getting a few days done, while Linda cleaned the nooks and crannies of the coach. It is simply amazing how much dust and dirt accumulates on the counter surfaces. We both enjoy fresh air, so I guess it is something that just comes with the territory, so to speak. We also watched the people continue to carry things into the coach across from us. Finally curiosity got the best of Linda and she walked over. Turned out they had closed the sale of their house on Friday, bought this coach yesterday and and were packing to begin their life as full timers. Fortunately they also had two storage units rented so what wouldn't fit in the coach still had a home. The funny thing was they had sold their old coach when they bought this one and hadn't realized there was less usable room in this on than their old one. We also found out that there is most definitely a lower class of citizen at this RV park. Overnighters are treated as good for some money, but little else. The reason for this thinking was the fact we saw the campground manager ignore several people who were out washing their cars. That was a big mistake on his part, as the woman I am married to soon showed him. Suffice it to say that once she had tracked him down and exchanged some heated words with him, he did at least stop by the people across from us. Of course he did not stop them, but then again we will never again stop at this park again. You can screw me once, but in the future I will vote with my dollars some place else. In fact because of his obnoxious behavior we will not be spending any more of our dollars in Prineville, Oregon.
It was just after noon when we headed out of town on US-26. Just outside of town the road started climbing and for the next three hours with the exception of several brief interludes, the road was always either going up or down. We followed US-26 to Redmond, where we picked up Oregon Route-126, which we would follow to the WalMart in Eugene. The distance was a little over 150 miles and when we left Prineville, the fuel gauge showed we had one mark over a quarter of a tank of diesel. I will fast forward and say when we fueled up at the T/A truck stop just north of Eugene we had two marks above empty worth of diesel left. I still don't have a good feel for just how much the tank holds since it only took 80 gallons to fill what is supposed to be a hundred gallon tank. The road itself was not bad. The traffic in Sisters was really heavy, reminding us of Shipshewana or South Lake. In the background are the snow capped Three Sisters mountains, so it is easy to understand why this area would be so popular. There was also a lot of construction going on just after the 20/22 split. It actually made for a more pleasant drive as traffic had to slow down some and the result was a very comfortable speed to drive the coach and not hold up traffic. We did decide that as far as driving this route, Sunday afternoon was probably the worst time to be going in the direction we were, lol. There were enough passing lanes so that the slow pokes did not hold up traffic too badly and the speed demons could play Russian Roulette without endangering oncoming traffic. It was a drive where our headlights were on for safety, smile.
We arrived at the WalMart a little after 4 o'clock and settled in with a few other RV's that were already there. Our first order of business was to do a little shopping, so off to WalMart we walked. The store was surprisingly busy for a Sunday afternoon and it was also built on a reverse floorplan from most SuperCenters, having the food section on the right hand side as you enter the store. Our purpose here was twofold, to buy some needed items and to simply kill some time. Wasn't long before one of my lengthy examinations of a piece of meat brought a comment from Linda to stop dawdling. I looked up and said I thought that was one of the things we had come into the store to do. It took her a second, but then she laughed and said I was exactly right. We had a great time doing a lot of just plain shopping. Of course it also gave us time to buy a lot of things that were not on the list, but so what, we might actually need them someday. Then we won't have to go out and buy them because we'll already have them, that is if we can remember where we put them, lol. When we came out of the store the mix of RV's had already changed with another coach like ours joining in. I will say that the highway in front of the WalMart is extremely busy, so if you're one of those people who are bothered by road noise, this wouldn't be a fun place for you. Also it is a very expensive place to stay, costing us almost $120, smile.
We put up the Motosat and downloaded the recipe page so Linda could could update the page. Something had happened to the computer when she was working on it yesterday and we had lost most of the file. Since the current page is up on the web server, we simply downloaded it to fix the problem. After she added what she wanted, including her first picture, we uploaded it. There is a little more to it than that, but in reality it is very easy. Even got to use the newest version of SmartFTP to do the transfers, which I like a lot better than the old version. Linda also fixed a turkey rollup for a very late lunch, which was then followed with our nibbling on the last of the homemade pimento cheese using low fat triscuits we had just bought as our scoops. They were on sale for goodness sake so how could we pass the up, lol. All this food was followed by a time of surfing on Linda's part and updating the web page on my part. Now if I can just stay current, smile. My web page updating is akin to driving an old car. Sometimes it just purrs along, running on all cylinders and other times it misses, sputters and backfires, hardly making any progress until it stops altogether. Then it gets fixed, and the cycle seems to start all over again. What can I say, I'm just human.
It was about 8:30 that the subject of supper came up. Our
original plan had been to heat up the left over white chili, but Linda
suggested some cut up cantaloupe instead. I asked if we had any cottage
cheese we could mix with it, but she said no. Then she piped up that
she could just run into WalMart and get some and before I could answer,
she was out the door. I think my suggestion about the cottage cheese
was a good one, lol. It sure did taste good. After dinner Linda edited
my web pages, which were then uploaded and then it was time for dessert
which was chocolate zucchini cake and ice cream. There is a little more
to the story than mets the eye. Last night we had eaten the last of the
peach cobbler, so it was time to get this cake out of the freezer, the
ice cream, however was a different story. We had found Blue Bunny sugar
free, nonfat Turtle Sundae at Walmart, which is our favorite ice cream.
The only problem was we still had quite a lot of the butter pecan ice
cream in the freezer. Linda solved the problem but serving all of the
butter pecan tonight. Do I ever love the way that woman thinks, lol.
August 26 Proving that I am a glutton for punishment, I tried to cook the oatmeal blend for breakfast, once again this morning. How does that saying go, "Third time is a charm." Since Linda declared it to be, "just right", I will rest on my accolades for a while. This time it was one third of a cup of old fashioned oatmeal, steel cut oats and wheat bran cooked in one and two thirds cup of milk over very low heat. That did the trick. I believe I understood Linda to mutter something about, "He may be old but at least he eventually got it right", or maybe it was something about any old fool can stumble onto a diamond if he gets lucky enough, lol. However I suspect what she really said was more like, "this is a great breakfast, but then any breakfast I don't have to cook is a great breakfast", lol.
We were in no big hurry to leave the park as it was only about a hundred miles to our next stop, Prineville, Oregon, so several more walks around the campground were in order. Also it had finally become time to get caught up on the website, a job I have been extremely tardy at the past month. It's time has finally come, so we shall see how the pages roll off the computer. I suspect that just like any old piece of equipment that hasn't been used for a while, there will be a few glitches in relation to my writting at the start. We shall see, smile. I will admit to making a colossal formating error when working on July's journal, one that I still have not gotten completely fixed. So for now we will just move forward. My apologies to our regular readers.
Soon it was nearing 11 o'clock and we were finally ready to depart. Our route would take us up through the mountains and over Ochoco Pass on US-26, then down into the valley and Prineville. We retraced our steps of yesterday over towards Dayville, getting another view of the layer upon layer of lava that piled up on top of each other in that area. It was most definitely a case of the more we know, the more we see. The road was once again in good condition. The hills and curves meant that travel was slow, but as the months have gone by I have found it to be much easier to drive at a slower pace, to pull over and let the people in a rush get around us and to arrive at our destination when we get there rather than at some preconceived time. That is one of the things I have really come to appreciate about our life. It is far easier on the body and the mind to leave a little earlier rather than drive a little faster, besides, what's our hurry anyway. It's one of those sayings that is all so often bandied about, but I believe, seldom followed in practice. Old habits are a difficult thing to change.
Once again the miles passed by, helped by the audio book we have been listening to over the past few days of travel, "Say When." Entering Prineville, we proceeded into the downtown area and turned onto South Main Street, heading towards the Crook County Fairgrounds where the RV Park was located. The RV park is run by the county parks department and it was a very large and well laid out park. Of course they did have speed bumps, a device I detest in RV parks. But then it is a county park, so we are talking about government engineers, smile. Shucks, maybe they were engineers that had been born in Iowa and were homesick for those bumpy Iowa roads. I will say that the roads of that state certainly made an impression on me, lol. All the sites were pull through's and with 80 full hookup sites, it was more than half full. There were trees and consequently we had no satellite. We could have moved and gotten on, but since we were only going to be here one night we stayed put. They had cable so TV wasn't a problem, though it is limited to just the network stations. Later in the evening Linda realized why we never watch network TV on Saturday nights, there isn't anything on that is worth watching.
When we had pulled into our site, our neighbors were just finishing up washing their car, so after we set up, we got the water and hoses out to wash the Explorer. Didn't take long for the campground manager to come around and inform us that this was a no-no. Turned out he was from California and spent his life managing campgrounds throughout the west. We also found out there was a little park across the road along the Crooked River. Many of the people in the campground were hunters, as it was antelope season. In fact one of the fellows a couple of sites away had shot an antelope earlier in the day.
Across from us a utility trailer, that looks like a prop from of the Beverly Hillbillies, was parked. A blue trap partially covered the top and all sorts of household items peeked out. In the front, several coolers were also partially covered by a tarp, but that was all that was there. No people, no cars. As the afternoon went on more RV's came into the Park. I watched a Winnebago Journey drive in and park in front of the trailer. Before long boxes were being carried from the trailer up beside the coach. by a couple who appeared to be of retirement age. We had a great time watching the interplay between them acted out as if by pantomime. Linda really, really wished she was a little birdie who have perched nearby and overheard their conversation.
We watched as they struggled to fit a couple of those white plastic storage containers with drawers in the bay. The hand gestures and body posture of the woman was especially priceless. Sort of a, I want those in there, so figure out a way to do it speech, without words, smile. After some jamming and pushing without success, the man roughly threw the container on the nearby picnic table and appeared to be ripping it apart. That was not the case, but we did see the feet get ripped off and thrown down. There followed some more pushing, trying to force it in the bay. Then after some more gestures by the woman, the man literaly climbed into the bay, disappearing from sight. We saw the woman lift the container, carry it over to the bay and a pair of arms and hands emerge from the bay and grasp it. The woman used her hip in an effort to force the container into the bay, but all was for naught. Later, as the sun went down the two plastic containers still sat on the picnic table and Linda was dying to know the story of what was going on.
Dinner was fish tacos, followed by a walk in the park across the street. There was an old bridge across the river which led to a trail that beckoned us on. As we followed it, I noticed a flat area with a sign beside it that said Hole 9, A 275', B 280'. A little later was another one sign with different letters and numbers. Suddenly light bulbs clicked on, it was a Frisbee golf course. Linda did not readily accept my conclusion and when I could only answer that while it was true I had never seen one before, however I just knew this was one, the air got decidedly chillier, lol. A little later we saw a strange contraption made up of metal rings and chains on a pole. It had to be the Frisbee golf goal, and when I explained to her how it appeared to work, she realized I was probably right. After we returned across the bridge we found the sign and score cards for the course. After this adventure, dessert was almost anticlimactic, but not quite. Somehow or other, the low fat, sugar free butter pecan ice cream served over warm peach cobbler, made from whole wheat and Splenda, tastes better every night. The shame of that was that we were eating the last of it. The bright side is that peaches are in season, lol. I hope your days are filled with as much pleasure as ours are.
August 25 I gave up on the oatmeal this morning, not only for my sake, but for Linda's as well, smile. Trying to think of something we hadn't had for a while I offered Linda several choices. She took longer than I had expected to make her choice, but then the less than scintillating meals of the last two mornings may have strongly influenced her decision to request pancakes with sliced peaches on the side. Whole wheat pancakes demand a topping, so we ended up with two, sugar free syrup and homemade peach jam. Linda leaned more toward the peach jam while was a syrup man. Only problem was the sheer number of pancakes the recipe made, which resulted in one of those, I can't believe I ate the whole thing, kind of meals, lol. But did it ever taste good, smile.
After breakfast dishes where done and put away, Linda fixed a lunch for us to take along on our adventure for our John Day day, no pun intended, smile. Months and months ago, Linda had spied the John Day Fossil Beds out in the middle of eastern Oregon. Our journey had been plotted so as to take us past the Park for two reasons. The first was to actually visit the Park while the second was to see if it was a place where we might volunteer sometime in the future. Linda has decided that before too many seasons roll past, we are going to volunteer at a Park that is known for its fossils, be it State or Federally managed. Me, I'm going where ever she says, lol.
The park is composed of three very widely dispersed units. We would be visiting only one of them on this trip, the Sheepshead Unit, which was the closest one to where we were staying, being only 35 miles away. There was one thing that we found, or maybe I should say, didn't find, on the drive that puzzles me. Oregon has the nicest State Parks and State Park Campgrounds of any state we have been to. Then why do they have such horrible roadside historical and geological markers? After several stops at markers that didn't exist, we finally arrived at the visitors center. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the National Park Service does things right. The displays at the museum were both educational and interesting. The pictures below tell the story.
We always think of fossils as coming from tropical climates, but that was not always the case. Some of the layers in the John Day Fossil Beds contain fossils of deciduous trees, very much like the trees of today.
Not only were there leaves, there were also flowers. The people who study such things think this flower may have been one of the very first that was pollenized by birds. The delicate detail preserved in the rock is almost unbelievable.
Trees, leaves and flowers means seeds. And they are also preserved. These alder balls look just like the ones we can see on trees growing today.
They do have the remains of many animals also on display, but it was the plethora of plant life that held our attention. To give you a bigger picture, both figuratively and literally, there are large murals on the walls behind each display that tie together what the overall environment was like. One of the things that amazes me is how lava could completely cover the landscape every 8 to 10 thousand years, yet life quickly returned, the trees often times the same or very similar, yet the animals quite different.
Leaving the museum we hiked several of the trails in the Monument. But first we stopped for lunch. I told you the visitors center was interesting, well we had spent over two and a half hours in it, smile. The brilliant colors of the rocks made a glorious backdrop for our turkey wraps.
The trails were fair to moderate in the amount of effort required to walk them, so we ended up taking all of them but one. The beauty of the rocks more than made the hikes worthwhile. The formations resemble what we saw in the Badlands of South Dakota. It is hard to believe this is Oregon, the land of endless forests. But them Oregon is divided into the side of the mountains where the rain falls and the side where it doesn't.
The main road passes an area of an ancient landslide that is called Cathedral Rock. The photo says it all.
Dinner was a repeat of breakfast, something different. We cut up four fat free hot dogs into our leftover homemade baked beans and served them with some fresh made cole slaw, slices of cucumber and red pepper, plus the left over bread from last night. Took us back about 30 years when we had three little kids to feed. To watch us pack that food away you'd have thought we hadn't had a decent meal for weeks, lol. Of course no night is over until the dessert has been eaten and tonight was no exception, ending once again with warm peach cobbler and butter pecan ice cream. Some days are simply better than others, today was one of those days.
August 24 After yesterdays fiasco with my attempt to make something new for breakfast, you'd think I'd learned my lesson. Think again. Proving that old men can learn from their mistakes, I tried the oatmeal blend once again today. While the ingredients were the same, the ratios were considerably altered, which of course, meant that I erred in the opposite direction, lol. A third cup oatmeal, a third cup steel cut oats, a third cup wheat bran and two and a third cups of milk make for a wet sloppy porridge that needs to have the dickens cooked out of it in order to be the right consistency. I have to admit that it really did taste great, though. If you think this means I'm getting closer to having it turn out "just right", you think like I do, smile.
After breakfast we started putting things away in preparation to heading on down the road. If everything goes according to plan we should be spending the night at Clyde Holliday State Park near Mt. Vernon, Oregon. Besides doing all the cleaning yesterday, Linda had also had several bids ending on ebay. She was excited because all the items sold, plus she had received immediate payment for them. Packaging everything up, we drove in to the Post Office so she could mail the items, then we stopped at the Safeway to buy a few necessities. It was almost 11 o'clock before we pulled out, but since the drive would only be about a hundred miles, it was no problem. Our route took us out of Baker City on Oregon Rt-7 and up into the mountains to Austin Junction, where we turned onto US-26. After climbing over Dixie pass, we descended, picking up the John Day River and following it to the State Park. They were good roads in excellent condition, just a little curvy as could be expected. We saw quite a few other RV's on the road, and very little truck traffic, which made for a good trip, even though there were the required stops for construction. After all, what is a mountain road without some stops for construction, smile.
Plus we were listening to an excellent book on tape, "Say When", by Elizabeth Berg as we traveled along the roads of eastern Oregon that were filled with a number of pretty vistas, many of which, Linda just couldn't resist taking a picture of, lol.
We arrived at Clyde Holliday State Park in mid afternoon. It was about 2/3rds full and this was a Thursday. One of the reasons is that it is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but with a something nearby. That something is why we are here, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. This is a small park with only a campground host to oversee the 40 sites. We drove around the campground and picked out a number of suitable sites which would allow us to find the satellite. Our first choice had a fence on one side of the entrance to the site and very large bushes on the other side as well as across the road where we needed to swing into the site. On the opposite side of the circle was our second choice and soon we were safely backed in and on the internet. There is one pull through site, plus the park has a very large parking area out in front just off US-26 where you could boondock if that was your choice. Since we were staying for several days we opted for a regular site at $17 per night, which has a water and electric hookup. The John Day River literally ran right behind our site and there was a trail that paralleled the river. Of course we had to walk along it and even managed to find a blackberry bush that had a few dead ripe berries on it, which we took as a harbinger of things to come, yum, yum. Along with food there was beauty, as we found some poppies growing along the far end of the trail. Kind of a reward for those who stick with it to the end, lol.
Besides the poppies, when we returned to the campground Linda noticed movement in a small meadow that also served as the hiker, biker, camping area. The movement turned out to be a small covey of quail. You want a challenge, just try to take a picture of some quail. Talk about alert, talk about fast, talk about gone in a flash, that was those quail. I did end up with one long range shot, but somehow none of their cute little top knots showed. Oh well, better luck next time.
There had been a chill in the air when we pulled into the campground, so Linda suggested White Chicken Chili for dinner. Talk about hitting the spot. It was like an arrow splitting an arrow, splitting an arrow, lol. We talked about how corn bread would be the perfect accompaniment, but alas, we had no corn meal. Not only that, but we were what could be considered a goodly distance from any grocery store. Not to be stymied, Linda searched the archives and web pages coming up with a wonderful substitute based on whole wheat flour, grated zucchini and onion. Trust me on this one, it was awesome. If you're one of those people who turns their nose up at food based on the ingredients, I have no sympathy for you and that's just the way it is, smile. That's one proud cook who is also one satisfied diner, in the the photo. Before I go I should mention that we are still eating the peach cobbler and butter pecan ice cream, sugar free, low fat version of course. Not just good, it's great. In fact Linda is so excited about her last tweaking of the cobbler recipe, she is going to revise her recipe on the web page, check out the Double Crust Version. That speaks volumes for how good it is.
August 23 We have decided to stay one more day at this RV Park. For some reason we just really like it here, even though it seems to be populated either by permanents or one night stopovers. It is what makes everyone different, for I'm sure that there are many people who would beg to differ with my opinion. How does that saying go, "Whatever floats your boat." We like the fact that people come and stay for one night, it gives you some interesting things to watch. The fellow in the 5th wheel who had to pull up and back up at least seven times to get into his pull thru site. He sure made me feel better about my pull thru parking problem, lol. In fact we have observed that most people have a problem when it comes to pulling into a pull thru site. Walk down the row and look at the number of toads that are left hitched up to the back of the motor homes. Most are partly on the grass because the driver made to short of a turn into the site. Then there are the people who don't have a clue about sanitation. Sewer hose and water hose stored on top of each other, no gloves, etc. The best one was the fellow beside us last night. When he opened his dump valve "water" streamed from around it. He used his bare hands to tighten it, then connected his water hose, ugh. The kicker was that his sewer hose was one of those cheap blue ones and it sprouted fountains of water when he dumped. Maybe it is the entertainment factor that draws us to this place.
We love sitting out in our chairs and reading while all this goes on around about us. The wind comes up everyday about 4 o'clock and cools things off, plus that's peanut time at it blows away the little thin brown wrapper that surrounds the peanut after you remove the shell, smile. We think that besides the time of day, the fact that the wind can make driving a little more challenging out on the Interstate may help with people's decision to pull into the park. Since Linda's episode with the plum pit, she has been using the campground facilities until the problem has been eliminated, so to speak, and she reports the restrooms are spotless. The grounds are well kept and the atmosphere suggests the owner's actually care about keeping the place up. Whatever the reason, we like this park.
Since the oatmeal of a few days ago tasted so good, I thought I'd make it again today, but with a twist. I would change the ratio of ingredients. It was an experiment and the results proved that not all things turn out the way you expect, smile. Two thirds of a cup of thick rolled oats, one third of a cup of steel cut oats, about a half cup of wheat bran and two cups of milk result in something that needs help. Another half cup of milk changed it from a solid into a semi-solid that tasted good but was still not of a consistency consistent with epicurean ecstasy, lol. The last of our farmers market peaches when sliced, turned out to be a white peach that was mind boggling good, which provided just the right touch of class to an otherwise classy-less breakfast. Not all of them can be great, smile. But while the food may have been a little lacking the ambiance created by eating breakfast outside almost made up for it.
Our intention was not to set around and do nothing today, rather it was to get some things done around here. You know the old RV'ers saying, "All play and no work makes Jack a dull boy", lol. To emphasize the point, I turned off the computer as breakfast cooked, 8 to 5 were going to be work hours today. Dishes done, we swept the tile floors, getting up the usual pile of dirt and rocks. Next out came the opportunity to shake the throw rugs, a job that seems to always fall to me, smile. It is also a task that seems to take longer than one would think it should. This is not because of some sloth like behavior on my part, far from it, to do to a good job just takes a while. We are now up to eight throw rugs in the coach, which I think is Linda's limit for the time being., smile. That job finished, out came the Orick and all floor surfaces were vacuumed. We store the vacuum under the bed, so when it was opened, we reorganized that area, a task which was long over due. Not only did the the floors all get cleaned, they really got cleaned, as before long I was down on my hands and knees scrubbing the tile floors. Linda keeps them clean, so I was more or less just giving them a once every few months, extra cleaning, smile.
While we were moving things around under the bed, we realized we had previously moved all the bulk grains and other dry foodstuffs in here from a box that always had to constantly be moved every time we put in the bedroom slide. We decided since we do not use them very often, only to restock our everyday larder, we would move all of the bulk items down below and into the cooler. This sounds easier than it was because the cooler was sort of locked in which required moving a number of things to get it out. We didn't want to just lift the lid and dump them in, otherwise we would have had to dig it out everytime we needed to restock the small containers we keep in the pantry. This meant removing a good deal to items from the back bay. We decided it would definitely be worth it, so soon the cooler and a lot of other things were piled beside the coach. We then moved the cooler over to the roadside, putting right at the door. Will that ever make the task of getting into the cooler easier or what, smile. That job done, we left everything else out of the bay and returned to the bed, completing that job and finding that repacking everything freed up a good deal of space. We have concluded that repacking and rearranging things is a never ending job. The need to put things closer to hand, or in a more accessible location is the one thing we really need to do on occasion. The result is that it makes our life easier.
When I shook the rugs I had left them out in the sun to air out. Linda noticed the two rugs in the bathroom were a little dirty so she proceeded to scrub them on the picnic table. In such a way was the entire day spent and by the time it was over we had throughly cleaned the inside of the coach, washed the outside to a height of about four feet, washed three sides of the Explorer, Applied Rain-X to all the Explorer windows, after first throughly cleaning them with micro crystalline cleaner, made the tank flush hose up, checked out the new coiled cable for hooking up the Explorer, plus Linda even found time to make a peach cobbler for dessert. Dinner was grilled pork with tossed salad, broccoli and sweet potato salad, eaten out at the picnic table as we reflected once again on the wondrous life we live. All of our lives we worked hard, now we get to enjoy the fruits of those labors because we planned for this day. Life, indeed, is good.
August 22 This is getting to be a habit. Here it is another day of vacation mode., but for another good reason. Baker has a lot of things to visit and do. Today we are driving just a couple of miles out of town to visit the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center which is operated by the BLM and is land which still has the wheel ruts of the wagons as they came over the Oregon Trail. Linda was so anxious to walk the trail, we stopped before the center and took the path down to the trail. Doesn't she look almost exactly like the pioneer women who walked to Oregon beside their overloaded wagon. The only problem is that she seems to be having some difficultly finding the trail. Lost today, lost in the 1850's, guess thats why the trail boss was always a man, lol.
When she did find it, was she ever proud. Her she is, standing in the wake of the prairie schooner. She's also probably thinking the end of the trail is just over this rise, lol.
Then as soon as we were inside she posed in front of some of the people who traveled the trail. looks like she belongs, doesn't she.
They have so many interesting exhibits at this center that it should be, just like the center in Montpelier, Idaho, a must stop for anyone looking to follow, even a small part of the Oregon Trail. Here is a diary which is opened to the entry about their stop near here. The reference at the bottom of the left column to the long steep sandhill is the hill in front of the Interpretive Center.
Here is the hill they were talking about.
Here are a couple who look like they may be marooned on the trail, what with their oxen either having run off or died on the trail.
All in all it was a wonderful day that we will remember for a long time and when we take our trip following the Oregon Trail in a couple of years, we will be sure to stop here again. It was that good of a place.
August 21 Back into vacation mode today as we are going to visit Hells Canyon and are looking forward to a great day. Obviously not every day is a great day for everyone. Late last night a coach pulled in across from us that look slightly different. The light of day revealed just what was different. I don't know whether you call this a whoops or an Oh $&^%, but what ever it was, it was not good. Found out that they have been on their dream trip after retirement and Yellowstone was on the list. They stayed one night on the way at a Forest Service campground near Jackson Hole and didn't see a stump at the turn to their site. Reminded me of our run in with the island at the service station last year on vacation.
It was a long drive to the canyon and along the way we made a pit stop at a campground along the Snake River. When we had been deciding how we were going to plan our visit to the canyon we debated whether to stay in Baker or drive the RV up along the Snake River closer to the canyon. We had checked maps and forums, then decided it was better to stay in Baker and make it a day trip to the canyon. Now that we were on the way we found out that there were several nice campgrounds that could accommodate large RV's up towards Oxbow. The parks were not what really impressed us though. What impressed us was the signs on the restroom doors at the campground where we stopped. We'll let you draw your own conclusions, smile.
The road down the canyon is
not one where there are overlooks, rather it is mostly right down at
the level of the river. The main part of the canyon, the famous narrow
part is only accessible by taking a float trip. We took a lot of
photo's just like everyone else was doing.
The road you drive in on was the former haul road which was constructed to get construction materials to the dam site. It follows the river on the Idaho side, then crosses the river back over to the Oregon when it goes over the dam. Rather than talk about it, we will let the pictures tell the story.
A view from the dam looking north towards the canyon.
About a half mile from the dam the road ends at a Forest Service visitor center. It is also the launch spot for all the raft, boat and float trips. You see all types of watercraft put in here.
It doesn't take long to hit the first white water.
Then it is calm water here you can even get in some fishing. As we watched we saw one fellow, like the guy in the raft at the top, catch several fish as they drifted through this stretch.
Then it was off to the canyon for the rafters as they disappeared into the distance.
Since we were in a canyon, there were rocks everywhere and you know who just had to find the perfect one to take back to the coach, lol.
On the way back we saw another interesting sign. It worked too, because we were hungry and the had just what we were looking for in a healthy snack.
Back at the RV park Linda decided to relax. Think she succeeded, or at least it looks like she did, lol.
August 20 It was time to move on down the trail, just like the pioneers did, for today we are going to Oregon. Our route will be a lot easier on us than the Oregon trail was on those early pioneers for much of our trip will be on I-84. It will take us a little less than three hours to traverse the land it would have taken days to travel by wagon in the 1850's. We didn't skimp on breakfast, got to have lots of energy if we're going to hit the trail, so breakfast was scrambled eggs, Canadian Bacon and cantaloupe.
Before we left, I did the routine maintenance on the Explorer and coach, checking the fluids and the tire pressure.. Decided to put a little more air in the coach tires to bring then up to 105 lbs, plus the right rear of the Explorer was down some. That meant I got to use the air compressor we got a couple of months ago. sure was nice and handy.
It was a rather uneventful drive. US-95 from Marsing up to I-84 was a good road. I have to say that other than the roads in Iowa, the roads, particularly the US highways, are in good shape, at least in the states we have driven through. The scenery in eastern Oregon was just like the scenery in western Idaho, lol. Oregon, the green state, is high desert on the east side of the state. In a way it reminded me of New Mexico, a whole lot of nothing. Even the somethings were bordering on nothings as you can see from this photo. It appeared to have been a cement or clay plant in its heyday, but now it was just a dilapidated bunch of structures that were falling apart, whether by design or neglect. Then after going through a long canyon we saw a newer plant of the same style. One of those mysteries of the road we will never be able to answer.
Finally we reached our goal for the day and what a pleasant surprise it was. The Oregon Trails West RV Park was an oasis in the middle of the desert. Shady and cool, but satellite accessible, quiet and peaceful, yet minutes from town, it was just the place we were looking for. Just look at this happy RVer if you don't believe me.
August 19 This is a day to get some things done around the house, so to speak. If your going to work, you need energy so we started the day with one mighty good breakfast. Scrambled eggs, Canadian Bacon, spinach topped with cheese and sliced fresh peaches. Let me tell you, that was one good breakfast.
Later we took all the boxes and other "stuff" out of the bays and sorted through it, putting everything we either hadn't used or had no further use for in the 'take back' pile. It is amazing just how many things we brought along which we thought we would find useful, that we actually had no use for. One of those was the electric skillet. Years ago there had been a time when it was used several times a week. We thought we would use it to cook outside the coach to minimize the smells, or when we would be cooking something that splattered grease or oil. Never used it once, so back it goes. Thinking about all the things people took along on the wagon when they hit the Oregon trail, then later pitched out, we are them too, lol.
We also worked at cleaning the windshield, which lead to washing the front of the coach. Like I said, it was a work day. After peanut time we fixed dinner. The thoughts of the electric skillet and the splatters must have been rolling around in our minds when we decided what was for dinner. We ended up with barb-e-cued pork, sweet potato salad, baked beans, tossed salad and corn on the cob. We sure must have worked hard to have appetites big enough for all that, lol.
August 18 I'm not sure what all we're going to do today, but before it is over I know we're going to have some fresh baked dessert, smile We hadn't been up but for a few minutes and Linda was already trying to figure out when would be the best time to pick some plums and peaches. My story, and I'm sticking to it, is, that just like Sgt. Schultz, "I know nothing", lol. Well, almost nothing, as I did know I wanted to fix something different for breakfast. Those scrambled eggs are getting old, so it's a return to the past. Long time readers have probably already guessed what it was, but I will admit to a twist with the fruit. Not having strawberries, they were $2.49 for a little container at the SuperCenter, I used one of our Farmers Market peaches. Talk about good, awesome was more like it. So back to the beginning: oatmeal, wheat bran, steel cut oats and milk, slow cooked to a creamy, yet thick porridge, topped with bite sized pieces of fresh peach, some finely chopped walnuts, all of which is topped with cinnamon. A meal quite literally fit for a King. We had also gotten the coffee maker out so Linda enjoyed a cup of fresh brewed coffee while I luxuriated in the aroma and taste of hot glass of Cherry Bancha tea. (Hey, it's good to be back in the coach again - yes it is, Sometimes this old food feels like a long-lost friend, Yes 'n' hey, it's good to be back home again) Great food, great song writer, and the play on the lyrics wasn't too bad if I do say so, lol.
Since the hamper was full, today will see shirts hanging throughout the coach. Linda has really got the washer/dryer down pat. It seems like ages since we first got out the manual and tried to figure out how to wash and dry clothes in it. Now she doesn't even think about it. The clothes are rapidly sorted into piles that will wash and dry together and soon the gentle movement of the coach that signifies the washer is running vibrates throughout the land, so to speak. She has come up with her own way of managing the fact that the washer can wash more clothes than the dryer can readily dry. It is the hang the tee shirts and blouses from the overhead compartment method. Doesn't take long before she is ensconced in front of the computer, merrily typing away, answering email, paying bills and doing some surfing, all the while surrounded by the sights and smells of air drying clothes. A smell I must admit that I find very pleasant.
It is amazing just how quickly some days pass and this was one of them. But before the day was, there appeared some more purloined peaches and plums in the coach. Soon the clatter of mixing bowls being extracted from the cupboard filled the air, followed shortly after with a request to get the Splenda out of the cupboard. For something that we use so often, why is it that we store it in such a hard to access place? To get it out, I have to move my chair, get down and find the bag by feel in the cupboard. You would think there would be a better, or at least handier place to keep it. I think the reason it is where it is, is because that is where we keep all our bulk baking supplies. In reality this was all a big deal in my mind only. Linda's mind was focused on turning out another peach cobbler. After the incident of a few nights ago when she accidentally doubled the topping, she decided to follow up on my suggestion and purposefully double the topping, but place half of it in the bottom of the pan to serve as an informal crust and the other half on top as the original recipe called for. The result was way beyond anything we had hoped for. As you can see from the picture, it looked as good as it tasted, or said the other way, tasted as good as it looked, lol.
We headed to bed fondly talking of the times when were kids. What were the odds we would both come from families that treasured homemade desserts so much. What a long path we have eaten to get to where we are now, with a nutrious, delicious, healthy dessert every night. To know the link with the past. To experience the connection of being human. The joy of life. The spirit of individuality. The adventure goes on and on.
August 17 Somewhere along the line over the past 6 months I stopped fixing breakfast. Today I woke up with the crazy notion in my head that it wasn't just Linda's responsibility. Besides that, I do get some enjoyment out of cooking. A year ago I would have cooked both breakfast and dinner. Not sure what changed, but sometimes the old way is the best way. Not daring to be venturesome on my first day, we had scrambled eggs (forgot the onions) and sauteed spinach topped with melted cheese. Also fixed a piece of Canadian Bacon for myself. I was so proud of myself, I never did put any fresh coarse ground pepper or hot pepper flakes on my eggs, lol. Linda thanked me for fixing breakfast and asked why I had decided to do it. I think part of it was the fact I really enjoyed fixing the beef strogonoff last night, but an even bigger factor was the time off. What it did, was give me a real appreciation for just how wonderful our time and life together here in the coach the really is. It really is the most wonderful feeling. All that reading over the years before we left our old life behind had been good for me. The forum postings, the articles, stories, the seminars, where it became readily apparent people either loved this life or they really didn't like it, but they never had just a, "it's okay attitude", was what we both have found to be true. Lest you wonder, we both fall into, the madly in love with the life camp, lol.
That this life is not for everyone is true, heck, the vast majority of people probably wouldn't like it. Should one party in the household find it is not what they what, it isn't going to work. This morning we opened up the curtains at the front of the coach and looked out at the sun rising over the hills that marked the eastern side of the Snake River valley. The foreground filled with trees, and here and there, the grayish blue waters of the Snake River sparkling in contrast to the gray green leaves of the trees. It was at moments like this that Linda and I talk about the fact that home truly is where we park the coach. Among the many little bonuses that we have found that accompany this lifestyle, are the ones you never expect. This was one of them.
Breakfast over, we got ready to depart on our day of touristing. Linda is a marvel at getting everything done, while I on the other hand am lucky to remember my sunglasses. She had made a turkey wrap for lunch, sliced a peach, filled a small container with pimento spread and requisite sesame crackers and also packed two fresh plums in our micro-mini cooler. The fanny pack had two freshly filled water bottles, the GPS had the campground set as home, plus she had made maps of Nampa and our projected route, taking care to mark the location of the SuperCenter, as we also needed a few groceries. So where were we going? With the Boise area having enough attractions to keep us occupied for a week if we wanted to see them all, we had decided to pass up the in town things and just take a drive in the country to the end of the world, so to speak. The Western Heritage Historic Byway was calling to us. We left the RV Park to drive over to Meridian and the start of the Byway. Of course we hadn't been gone 5 minutes before I realized I didn't have my sunglasses, sigh. Having driven back to the park and retrieved them, we left once again to see the sights.
It was a short drive over to Nampa and as we drove up out of the Snake River Valley we passed a number of orchards where the peaches and plums were in season. Since we had stocked up on peaches at the farmers market on Saturday, we couldn't stop. I could see Linda really wanted to, but her common sense got the better of her, so the only stop was for gas. I marvel at how gas in the middle of nowhere in Idaho can be cheaper than in the metro areas of California. Maybe that's just another reason we are doing what we are, smile. Looking at it another way, maybe we were lucky to have lived in California all those years, because we don't have to visit there to see all the sights, instead we can come to great places like this, lol. It surprised me just how much traffic there was in Nampa, but soon we were on I-84 heading east toward Meridian and the official beginning of the Byway. In Kuna there was an information both for the Birds of Prey National Conservation Area so we stopped to pick up some brochures. The fact that there was a freight train stopped and blocking the the road also helped with the decision, smile. The information center was closed for the summer, but the brochures were in outside racks. We also walked in the City Park that was adjacent to the info center, stopping to admire the beautiful roses. As you can see from the photo we were not the only ones stopping to smell the roses, the bees were also having a grand and glorious time.
Heading south on Hwy-69 we started watching for our first stop, Initial Point. The interesting thing is that Initial Point is not what you first think of when you hear the name of the place. It is not a place where the pioneers carved their initials on a rock, neither is it a rock formation that looks like some initials. Rather it is just what it says it is, The Initial Rock. Everything has to start somewhere and this is where Idaho starts. It was on April 19, 1867 that surveyors started at this point and began mapping the entire state. I wonder if every state has an Initial Point? There has to be a beginning to everything doesn't there??? This turned out to be one of those special places that we will remember for some time. Not because of what it was, nor because of the absolutely spectacular 360° view. No it was because of the drive to get to the Initial Point. When you turn off the paved main road road the only sign you encounter is one stating no shooting of rifles or pistols. Gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling to know that, lol. There is a gravel washboard road that heads in the direction of the volcanic butte that has the Initial Point at its top. When you get to the base of the butte the road makes a fork, the right fork appearing to go back behind the butte, the left fork appearing to go up and behind the butte. One is a sandy, gravelly smooth, flat track while the other is a rock strewn remnant of broken lava that rises sharply and seems to give the appearance of at least being a trail, if not a road. I, being the driver and responsible for not only the vehicle, but also the lives of all the passengers on board asked Linda which fork she thought we should take. Her reply was, "the one that goes up." Momentarily we were bouncing over rocks. She who had been so glib in requesting we take this wagon trail, was now sitting silently, while the driver had assumed a death grip on the steering wheel and looked wide eyed at the ever increasing upward angle of what was rapidly assuming the characteristics of a mule path that curved out of sight in front of our exploring Explorer. Finally after one last gut wrenching climb we made it to the top.
What an awesome sight greeted us. Believe me, we felt very humbled as we looked upon the DirecTV van that was parked just in front of us, lol. The view from the top is magnificent and the howling wind in the cloudless sky bespoke volumes of just how harsh life had been for the early pioneers in this seemingly desolate land. Having taken the necessary photos to document our presence, we drove back down. The drive down was actually harder than the trip up to the top, with what seemed like much more bouncing over rocks. I will say it certainly didn't appear to be nearly as steep as it had on the way up, lol. Soon were back on the main road, heading south, glad that we had driven up to the top, thankful we had had a high clearance vehicle and puzzled as to why a DirecTV truck would be in such a remote place. Another of life's imponderable mysteries, smile.
I always remember the saying about making a mountain out of a mole hill, in this case it was more akin to this photo making a mountain look more like a mole hill, lol.
Our next stop was the Dedication Point overlook. This wasn't the kind of place one would want to spend much time at on a hot summer day and the birds of prey are no different. In the summer most of them leave. We did have a good time taking the walk and reading all the interpretive signs. It was a great learning experience and it gave a great view of the Snake River Canyon.
Leaving the overlook, we could see the electric poles disappearing off in the distance. That was where the road led, to the edge and then down into the canyon itself. It made a steep descent to Swan Falls Dam and as we drove down we wondered how the workers at the power plant got in and out in the winter. Since it was lunch time, we carried our food over to the little park by the river. Rather than sit at a picnic table we walked down near the river and ate while sitting under the shade of a tree. A slow leisurely lunch and a time of quiet reflection. How different our life is. What if we were still living our old life and had come here on vacation. The first thought was that we would have hurried through everything, second was that we probably wouldn't have come here in the first place, we would have visited the closer in more typical tourist sites in the area as time was precious with only a week to see everything. We talked about our 1000, 1000, 1000 vacations of the past. A thousand mile drive to get there, driving over a thousand miles while there, and then the thousand mile trip, sometimes in one straight through drive, to get home in order to go right back to work to help make money for the owners so they could enjoy the good life. Somehow we prefer the way we live now a whole lot more, smile. The powerhouse museum had changed to only being open by appointment, so instead of a tour, we took a walk across the dam. We watched fishermen in the slack water pool behind the dam cast their lines, while out beyond the range of their lures, huge fish were roiling the surface of the water, occasionally even jumping out of the water. Not a good day for the fishermen, but definitely a good day for the fish, lol.
When we had looked down into the canyon from the overlook we had seen a gravel road paralleling the river. We now headed down that road. What a different view than from up above. One of the signs up there had mentioned the flood of water that came down the canyon during the Lake Bonneville Flood over 10,000 years ago had deposited huge rounded basalt boulders up to 10 feet in diameter along the river. Sure enough, we soon started seeing what looked like giant bowling balls. When we are out in places like this we realize that what modern man calls a catastrophe or disaster is only relative to what experience tells us is a catastrophe. Further on, we passed through an opening in the rock that Linda named "ambush rock", after all the places she remembered from watching westerns where the bad guys tried to ambush the good guys. There's that connection with the past once again, and it feels so good.
Next we drove over to Celebration Park. If you go, approach it from the west, not the east like we did, enough said, smile. Either we were looking left when we should have been looking right, or we were tired and just weren't seeing things, but whatever it was, the only thing we saw in the area was an 1890's railroad bridge over the Snake that had been turned into a foot bridge. Returning through Nampa we stopped at the SuperCenter, getting what was on Linda's list, plus a few impulse purchases, a pretty top for Linda that I picked out, good Bob, lol, and a container of guacamole to go along with two bags of corn chips, only one bag was on the list, but it's been so long, and four ears of fresh corn. Dinner was grilled salmon, tossed salad, baked beans and corn on the cob. We said goodbye to the day by eating the last of the purloined peach cobbler, drenched in warm milk and topped with a squirt of redi-whip. It's what makes life worth living, smile.
August 16 A lazy do nothing, a goof off day. No real work, no work on the website, no work outside the coach even though we have things to do. Linda does plan to vacuum and do a little cleaning (and I do plan to help some) but other than that, nada, zip, nothing. Not bad for a Wednesday if I do say so, smile. Breakfast was delicious as always, even though it was back to what we had been eating before our vacation. It is simply amazing what a little water and chopped onion can do for something as mundane as an egg. It makes for a light fluffy scrambled egg that with a little additional cooking becomes more firm so that you can easily fix them to whatever consistency your taste may demand. Add a side of sauteed fresh spinach with its vibrant green color that has onions also sauteed with it and top with a little melted shredded cheese and it is several bites of pure delight. This was accompanied by a side of Canadian Bacon and several slices of the best melon in existence per Linda, Ambrosia melon.
The melon was apparently named for the indescribably alluring fragrance that bursts forth from it. Linda thinks it describes every bit of the melon and I have to agree with her. We have never found Ambrosia's in a store that were the real thing (they simply tasted like very good cantaloupes), but at farmers markets and roadside stands you can sometimes get the real thing. I will admit that Linda is a real connoisseur of these melons and can instantly tell the real deal. She even tried growing them in our garden once, but the results left much to be desired, to say the least, smile. They have an extremely thin skin so do not ship well at all when near ripe resulting in them often being picked to soon. The other thing is that they tend to be quite a bit more expensive than regular cantaloupes, so it better be the real thing or I've got to live with one P.O.'ed woman for a while. Like I said, she takes Ambrosia's seriously. Like a fine bottle of wine, you just don't know how good it's going to be until after it's been opened.
Breakfast over, it was time to get down to work. We both played around on the computer for a while, Linda catching up on email while I investigated the nuances of our genealogy program, The Master Genealogist. Well, I did slip in a visit or two to some RV forums and websites, but otherwise I just lingered longer on the great time waster, othewise know as the computer, lol. All too soon Linda decreed that that it was time rid the house of dirt. Out came the vacuum, the hand vac, the window cleaner and spot remover, the carpet cleaner and cleanser, the bucket and rags. Before I realized what had happened, I was moving furniture and shaking rugs as Linda vacuumed. Dirt and dust were slowly but surely banished from our home on wheels. As always, I was amazed at the amount of grit on the floor. I make the distinction between grit and dirt, grit being rocks, albeit tiny ones. The amount of grit tracked into the coach is directly proportionate to the amount of time we spend in our bare feet. There's an Ohm's law for electric and a Boyles law for gases, maybe there should be a Tracks law for grit, lol. Real or imagined, it still needed to be cleaned. Done with my tasks in the living area, I attacked the toilet while Linda used Soft Scrub to make the kitchen sink gleam. Finished we returned to a life of sloth. An occasional lot of nothing is good for you. Just as there is chicken soup for the soul, so is there occasional sloth for the mind, lol.
Apparently Linda took a genuine liking to the idleness of the day, as it was soon announced I would be responsible for tonights dinner. Not brooking any excuses on my part she also informed me the menu would be beef strogonoff. We had a pitiful small amount of meat (she had a second aim in my cooking this, which was to use up a piece of beef that had been in the freezer for a number of months), so I decided to increase the quantity of sauce and kick it up several notches. I believe this is called stretching the protein or something to that effect, smile. It was amazing what a tablespoon of horseradish, plus extra mustard, wine and sour cream did to the dish. Over the top and then some. Served over whole wheat noodles with sateed squash and tossed salad, it was a grand feast. With all of this food you would have thought I would do a repeat performance of last night and fallen asleep on the euro-lounger, but instead it refreshed me and I surfed away into the night, only going to bed after the Letterman show. Of course that was the Letterman show on the east coast channel, lol. Before venturing to the rear of the coach we desserted once again on warmed purloined peach cobbler. Life is good, life is normal, we love our life.
August 15 What a difference a day makes. One day you wake up in the remnants of your old life, the next, back in your new life. Pinch me, it's not a dream, it is real. Yesterday was a day driven by adrenalin, today is totally different, tranquility and calm, slow and deliberate, joy and adventure. We are home once again. A week and a half ago we were only a few hundred feet from this spot, getting ready to head west. This morning we are getting ready to head northeast for another three months of adventure. Last night when we had pulled into this lot, I had parked facing the way we pulled in, toward the west. That put the sun to the rear of the coach this morning. I wish I could say this was good planning, but it was not. The way I felt this morning was a reflection of over doing it yesterday. As Linda fixed our breakfast of Uncle Sam's cereal, yogurt and fresh sliced peaches, we talked about yesterday. We both agreed we had really, really wanted to get on the road, but it would have been okay to have stopped at the Fallon Wal Mart. Still we were glad to be where we were because had we stopped then we would have had to decide how far to go today, drive all the way to Marsing, Idaho or stop somewhere else. Once Linda gets our route planned out, she doesn't like changes, thus we had made the right choice to drive late into the night. Our route today would take us north of Winnemucca on US-95, continuing north into Oregon then northeast across the border into Idaho to just a few miles west of Marsing where we would turn east on Idaho Rt-55 to complete our journey.
The road was good and the miles rolled by, slowly the scenery changed from unchanging mile after mile of sagebrush to grasslands and back to sagebrush. The road was in excellent condition, smooth and well maintained, though it did began to undulate the further north we traveled. It was at Burns Junction, Oregon that 95 turns to the east and the terrain suddenly becomes more mountainous. Not long after crossing the Owyhee River we pulled over to the side of the road and ate our lunch of turkey wraps. Back on the road again we started encountering bigger and bigger hills till, at last, we topped the final climb. Pulling off at the brake check area, we walked up to the scenic overlook and caught our first glimpse of our destination.
The area we were in carried an interesting name, the Owyhee Country. The sign at the overlook explained it.
It was a long, steep descent down into the Valley of the Snake, but the exhaust brake made it easy, necessitating only an occasional use of the air brakes. Had I descended at a slower speed I would probably never have needed to touch the brake pedal, but our next home was calling. Before long we were at our destination, Riverhaven RV Park. It was a typical Passport America Park, not fancy and with a number of permanents, but that was alright with us. Other people have a different viewpoint, which is just fine with us, as it makes these parks more numerous and less crowded, smile. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In our eyes this is a beautiful place. If you doubt us look at the photo. We settled in getting comfortable. A quick walk around the park revealed several peach and plum trees loaded with fruit. It wasn't long before Linda came back with an armful of fruit and shortly later the smell of fresh baked peach cobbler was wafting through the coach. We hadn't even had supper and we could hardly wait for dessert, lol. Besides the dessert, baked beans and sweet potato salad also came out of Linda's kitchen. We went for the mundane tried and true for supper, turkey burgers. Since Linda had "appropriated" the fruit we called the dessert, "purloined peach cobbler," smile. We were back where we wanted to be.
August 14 Departure day. The morning was spent gathering up the last of those items we were going to need for our sojourn in Oregon. Small piles appeared in the family room, a mere shadow of the pile that had been unloaded from the Explorer just a little over a week ago. Some things had been brought home that would be going back, the tool boxes and the plants for example. The bottom line was, we were going to have a little more room in the overhead cabinets in the coach. It would be easier to find things in the future, a fact that made Linda quite happy. Before we could pack up we wanted to make a buying run. We were not going shopping, we were going buying. It was those special things that we knew where to get them around here, but not on the road. It took longer than we expected, but finally we were done and so could begin packing. Many of the things we had packed into boxes, so it was quite easy to pack everything. Finished we walked around the house, turning off the air conditioner, turning down the water heater and making sure everything was closed up.
Before going we spent some time out in the back yard. There is a special place out there. The place were Linda and I ate breakfast every morning. The place we retired to every evening to relax. It was the fish pond we had built a number of years ago. The fish in the pond are a number of generations removed from the original few fish we had bought. We knew many of them by name and we marveled at the newest ones that had been born this year. It is a special place of tranquility and contemplation. It was here we spent time talking when we were planning our adventure. It was now the place we retired to prior to returning to our adventure. As you can see, there is a small baby, our albino and "Orangey", a fantail who want to say goodbye.
It is interesting how they all swim to the same spot whenever I walk by the pond.
As we left the backyard we we made a symbolic transition. For many years our garden gate had served as an entrance into a different world. It let us leave our world of work and electronics behind. It let us come into contact with the simple things, soil, flowers, vegetables, weeds. Now as we looked at the gate, it reminded us that once we through it, we would be leaving our "things" behind, but we would be on our way to where we want to be.
At last we bid our goodbye's and started our drive to Carson City.
Words can not describe how happy we were to be going back to the coach, We had spent the last 10 days at our house, today we were returning to our home. It was unreal, how little time the drive took and almost before we knew it we were craning our necks to get our first glimpse of our coach. Then just a few miutes later, we were pulling up in front of our home on wheels. We unpacked the things that needed to be in the refrigerator, but left the rest in the Explorer. The road called and already it was getting late. We had planned to return to Winnemucca, following the same route we had used a little over a week ago to drive to Carson City. It was near dusk when we reached Fallon. There were several RV's parked at the Walmart and we briefly talked about stopping, but decided to do as planned and head to Winnemucca. In hind sight it would have been wise to have stopped, but the level of adrenalin was driving us on. The miles rolled by and the tiredness slowly crept into our bodies. Thank goodness for the intriguing audio book we were listen to, as it helped keep us awake. At last we arrived in Winnemucca, stopping first at the Flying J to lop off our diesel tank. Then we drove over to the Model T RV Park where we stayed the last time we were in town. However, instead of getting a site, we pulled into the vacant lot beside the park and boondocked for the night, along with several other people. We pulled the curtains closed and crawled into bed. We were home once again. It felt good to sleep in our own bed again. Life was good. We knew we had made the right decision to leave our old life and live our life on the road.
August 13 This is our last full day of vacation and there is still so much to do. However, more importantly, we've also got grandparenting to do. It is the day that the birthday party for our youngest grandchild will be held. Instead of pin the tail on the donkey, it was stick the parts on Scooby.
There were hamburgers, hot dogs and tri-tip to eat.
Followed by presents and birthday cake.
August 12 Today is a special day. it is the day of the soccer extravaganza. It is like the opening ceremony of the Olympic in micro miniature. This is what could be termed a big deal. With almost 2000 kids enrolled in the soccer program, there were people everywhere.
The girls looked so cute in their uniforms.
The teams marched into the stadium as every mom tried to get the perfect picture.
The kids are so proud as they march in the parade.
The stands and the field were full.
August 11 Not every day can be play. We did nothing today but work in the yard, trimming ivy and grinding the piles we had acculated over the past several days.
August 10 Another day of compost making followed by the joy of grandchildren. That was what we were looking forward to and that is what we are enjoying. First off it was Linda's special time, taking Lindsey to neat ceramic store where she got to decorate a piece of bisque, which was then fired.
Abby got to pick out a bear to be stuffed. I don't know who had more fun, the girls or grandma, lol. Special times and memories.
Later there was another evening of soccer practice. It is so much fun watching the younger girls try so hard to do things right.
The athleticism of the older girls is phenomenal. The things co-ordination and level of skill that appears in just a few short years is amazing.
Big brother was there cheering the girls on.
August 9 Another day of cutting and grinding. It is too bad we will never use all the compost we are making, but someone who we don't even know will benefit some day in the future. I hope they enjoy our house as much as we have. One thing we are not enjoying is the lack of internet connectivity. I have found found a spot in the back corner of the lot where I can connect through one of the neighbors wi-fi network. I t is a high speed connection so it only takes a few seconds to download the mail. Once in the morning and once in the evening keep us up to date. Linda couldn't help but take a picture of me, out under the cherry tree, looking casually cool as I downloaded the mail. Boy oh boy do I ever miss our home with our Motosat internet connection. This camping at the house is not the most efficient thing going, lol.
Later, Zach came over again and we played his favorite game, Trap. It is very simple. Grab a part of Grandpa's body, his little finger for example, and suddenly arms and legs wrap around you. It's a game that a seven year old boy can play for hours, laughing and giggling all the time. While grandpa gets tired after a while, he never ties of the fun his grandson gets from the game. It is a magical special time.
August 8 This was a day of work followed by an evening of pleasure. Our backyard called us today, with a number of hours spent turning vegetation into compost, or at least the raw material of compost. It was hot, it was dirty, it was tiring, but at last it was followed with the opportunity to spent more time with our family. Our grand daughters both had soccer practice tonight. One is 8 and the other 5, but their practice times were back to back. Of course the fact their dad was a coach on both teams might of had something to do with it, lol. We had a great time watching them had a special surprise when our son also came to watch practice.
The fact that there were blackberry vines along the fence at the edge of the field is readily apparent. Like father, like son, lol.
August 7 Grandma had promised Zach something special today, so we drove to Sacramento so we could visit Sutters Fort. Talk about a good time. There are a number of people who portray characters who would have been at the fort in the late 1840's. Zach was completely captivated as the photo's show. Of course the adults were right behind him wishing they could get to do the same things, smile. Later we found out attendance is normal low on Monday and since school is still out there are no hordes of school kids. Plus the weather was sunny and mild. Simply put, we couldn't have asked for a nicer day to visit.
Going through the fort, Zach suddenly found himself a member of the Navy. Under the watchful eye of the mate, he learned d the ropes of being a sailor. It wasn't long until he has handling the ropes himself.
Once he understood the ropes, it was time to hoist away. It didn't take him long to get the hang of it, lol.
Inside the fort, near the office of Captain Sutter, Zach found himself in the clerk's office. He had fun trying to weigh several pieces of eight to see if someone had tried to cheat Captain Sutter. The adults had fun learning that pieces of eight were just that. a coin that could be broken into eight pieces. Good job Zach.
All work and no play make Zach a dull boy. Everyday at noon there is a cannon firing demonstration. It was the hi-light of the day. Don't doubt for a minute that grandpa didn't enjoy it just as much as Zach, lol.
That evening we went over to the house of another dear set of friends, Dave and Nancy, for a delicious meal and a wonderful time catching up on all the news of the past months.Shame on me for not taking any pictures, but we were just having to good of a time visiting to remember the camera. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it, lol. One thing I must mention is that when we arrived, Dave was enjoying a glass of Madrona wine. It brought back many pleasant memories of Dave and I walking, yes, walking, to to the tasting room while Nancy and Linda enjoyed the fudge factory at High Hill Ranch. Such wonderful memories, such wonderful friends. As I've said over and over. May everyone someday enjoy the same pleasures of life that we now have the opportunity to enjoy.
August 6 Sunday brings another facet of our old life back in focus. We attended the church we had gone to for years. The one whose contemporary music program we have so favorable compared to the music at the far larger mega type churches we have attended over the past months. Someday, Chris, who is the worship leader for the contemporary service will be gone from this church. That is when the people who took him for granted will begin to understand just how lucky they had been and what a big problem they have now trying to replace him and his talents and abilities. True genius is often unappreciated until after it is gone. Maybe they will get their act together before it is to late and he is gone. After church our grandson stopped by. He knew exactly what he wanted to do and soon the American Bricks, grandpa had played with as a boy were scattered over the family room floor as a house with a balcony took shape. This is truly a connection to my past and a very precious time in my life, both the time past and the time present. Who knows, maybe someday Zach will be on the floor with a child of his own, doing the same thing with these bricks.
One of my jobs as a parent had been to assist in extracting our kids teeth when it was time. Zach's time had come, as his first loose tooth hung on for dear life. Having learned from me, our daughter took pliers in hand and soon the tooth was out. More memories and connections.
We hadn't even gotten out of the car on Thursday when the cat that calls our place, home, came out to greet us. For an animal that never gave us the time of day before, she sure didn't act the same. Our daughter had been by the house everyday, getting the mail and feeding the cat, as well as playing with it, so it sure wasn't neglected. Cats, who can understand them, smile.
Ever since we had the beer butt chicken at Bruce and Tressa's, we had been wanting to try it. It was just that our Baby Q was too squatty for the chicken to stand up. Tonight we tried it on our other grill. With no beer, we used the next closest thing, root beer, smile. Here is Linda proudly standing beside her root beer butt chicken. The answer is yes. It did taste great. We figure the liquid has more to do with keeping the meat moist than it does with providing flavor. That and the fact the can serves to hold the bird upright. It seems adventure fills every moment of our life any more, lol.
August 5 This being Saturday we are heading off to the local farmers market. What a treat. Almost all of the regular vendors we remembered were there. The one thing that we missed was a certain type of grape, who's name we couldn't remember and that, of course, wasn't available. In a way it was simply more proof that we were living a new life, experiencing new things. At Dinner last night, Jan and Carl had mentioned they were going wine tasting today. One thing lead to another and now we found ourselves waiting for them to pick us up so we could join them. Everyone is familiar with the Sonoma and Napa Valleys, but the Shenandoah Hills are another area that produce wonderful wines. Meeting some other long time friends and co-workers, Dave and Beth, we spent a wonderful day, visiting wineries, tasting wines, tasting port, sharing stories about our life these past months, enjoying grilled leg of lamb followed by port and chocolate, then watching a movie before returning to the valley. I will simply let the following photo's describe our day.
Isn't interesting that the produce in the stores always looks perfect always seems to lack in taste. A bit of beauty over substance, while at the farmers market everything you buy, no matter how it looks always seems to taste great. Grocery store food ships well, farmers market food eats well, lol.
One thing that always intrigues Linda is how the grapes grow. It is one of her little pleasures, holding a cluster of magnificent wine grapes in her hand, feeling the soft silkiness, the rounded texture and smelling the fragrant aroma. It was interesting over the years watching her around the vineyards. Being that she was a child of Appalachia, at first she kept looking in the vines for where they kept the still. Finally she came to accept that they use barrels instead of stills out here in California, smile.
Dave is a master with the grill, his bar-b-que sauce is good enough to be sold commercially and he could, no doubt, win on the bar-b-que circuit. Just look at the pleased look on the diner facing the camera if you don't believe me. In fact she spent the next week telling me she couldn't believe that was lamb, the taste was so unbelievably awesome. Now I fear the pressure is on to fix a leg of lamb that measures up to Dave's level of gastronomic excellence.
The view looking down the hill is something that most people don't even know enough to wish for. It is also something you don't get simply be wishing. It also takes more hard work than most people can comprehend.
Some little pleasures seem to just happen. An assortment of port. An assembly of friends, add a little bittersweet chocolate and life takes on anew meaning. A moment savored. What more could we ask for? Maybe a taste of Luis Arroyo port? Life is good. The smiles on everyone's face says it all.
August 4 Our first day back home. We plan to spend the day relaxing, we are on vacation after all. We spent time putting away the things we had brought back because they were not being used and got out the things on our list that we want to take back with us. They were working on our street, so we got in some sidewalk superintendent time. Lest I forget it, we also had scrambled eggs for breakfast. We had been gone for almost 8 months and we had turned off the refrigerator when we left. Our daughter had turned it on several days ago so it was cold, but there was nothing in it other than what we had brought along from the coach. We laughed, but it was true, we were camping in our own house. Everyone one has to make their own decision when they opt for a life on the road. Had we waited several more years to live this life, it would have been possible to sell the house, but still not likely that we would have. We wanted to see if this was really something we wanted to do, or was it just a passing fancy. Our verdict after 8 months is that it is what we want to do. Will we feel the same way in another eight months? Only time will tell. We do feel that everyone needs to make their own decision in these matters and pay attention to their gut feeling. How I look at it must be in tune with Linda's thinking or it just isn't going to work. However what Jack or Jill, Tom or Suzy, or anybody else thinks has no bearing on what you should think. My opinion, and that is all it is, my opinion, is that there are only to decisions that count. The first is , do you really, really deep down in your heart, or if there are two of you, hearts, want to do this and second, do you "think" you have the financial ability to do it. Everything else is small stuff.
It was funny how the place we had lived in for almost 25 years didn't seem like home anymore. It was familiar, but not the same. It hadn't changed, we had changed. There was one thing I had been looking forward to, seeing a painting that hung on the family room wall. Months ago when we were down in Carroll County, Ohio I had looked for a house, not knowing where it was at, or what it looked like. We had also spent a wonderful time eating lunch in a country cemetery in East Sparta, sharing some time with my beloved Aunt Fern and Unky. Looking up I saw the painting. It brought back my childhood, the sound of playing cards, the memory of being taught how to play three handed, cutthroat euchre, the smell of hot cornstarch pudding bubbling in the pot. Of being loved just because I was. The painting of the house Aunt Fern and her father before her were born in. Wonderful memories.
In the evening we meet some dear friends for dinner. It is funny how some things can be picked up months later, almost as if nothing had changed. One our favorite outings in our old life had been to meet Carl and Jan for a Friday night feast at a local restaurant. It was always an adventure, how else could I say I have eaten chicken feet, ducks feet, deep fried turnips or had an entire meal of nothing but appetizers, including a number of chef's special appetizers that weren't on the menu. Things we shall never forget. To forge the link with great friends. To experience the connection of being human. The joy of life. The spirit of togetherness. The adventure goes on and on.
August 3 Last night the RV Park had nearly filled up, but a late evening walk revealed there were apparently alternate places to park for the night if you didn't need hookups. The light of dawn revealed the truth to that observation, as the view from our windshield looked out upon several RV's and semi's that had spent the night in a large open area beside the park. If you arrive early in the day, you need the hook-ups for the air conditioning. Sure we could have run the generator, but just maybe we are wusses, lol. But then again, there is always a next time. We were up early because this was going to be our last day on the road for a while. We are going to take a vacation for about 10 days, getting reacquainted with our children and grandchildren. A quick walk around the park showed that virtually all of the patrons of the park must have availed themselves to the late Nevada style entertainment opportunities at the nearby casino, either that or they are all people who like to sleep in late. We left the park very slowly, but for another reason than a concern about waking the late sleepers. The real reason for for the slow exit was the pronounced dip due to the difference in height between the street and the lot. If you stop at the Model T RV Park make sure to go very slow when entering or exiting or you will be sorry. Prior to getting back on I-80 we topped off the diesel at the Flying J just up the street. Because all the truck pumps had two or three trucks lined up, we opted for the RV pump. We were first in line and had only a brief wait before it was our turn to begin fueling. The biggest problem with the RV diesel pumps is that they have the small nozzles, not the large nozzle like at the truck pumps, so even though there is a slave pump allowing us to fill from both sides, it still seems to take forever. Eighty plus gallons is a lot of fuel, and also a lot of money, lol. Fortunately a Schwann's Food truck needed propane so no one could get in line behind us, so when we were done they still had to wait on the Schwann's truck. I don't suspect it earned them any new customers, smile.
Soon enough we were out on I-80 heading towards Miriam, Nevada where we would exit and head south on US-95, to Fallon. In Fallon we would meet up with Hwy 50 which we would take over to Carson City. Once off of I-80, things were different. Both the road and the traffic. The road was much flatter than 80, it was also narrower and curvy. But because there was so very little traffic, it was actually just as easy a road to drive as I-80. Fallon is an interesting city. While you are still way out in the middle of nowhere the city limits appears and at the same time the speed limit drops to 35. Since everyone seemed to be traveling at our below the speed limit it would appear Fallon is very serious about enforcing their traffic laws. Normally this is no consequence, but the drive to see family is there, smile. As with most things, time cures, and this was no exception. In downtown Fallon we turned onto Hwy 50 for the final segment of our journey.
The miles passed and as we came up on the intersection in Silver Springs where Alt 95 headed south, Alt 50 came in from the north and Hwy 50 continued to the west we decided to stop for lunch and pulled off just short of the intersection. As we sat there eating, I couldn't get over the feeling something looked very familiar about this place. We finally put 2 and 2 together and realized it was at this very same intersection where we had turned south on Alt 95 on January 12th to start our trip. Thinking of the many times that serendipity had come into play during our trip, it was fitting that just short of seven months later it should end on the exact same road, smile.
Another 30 miles and Carson City appeared in the valley below us. This was familiar territory. This was were we had taken some of our driving lessons in January, where we had camped last fall and driven on more than several vacation trips. Before long we were at Comstock Country RV Park and parking in the spot we would be leaving the coach for a little over a week. We had a suitcase packed with the clothes we would need and a number of boxes of items that we had not used and so we were taking back to the house. It was amazing how many things we had thought we really needed that we didn't. On the other hand, there were only a few items at the house that we hadn't brought along that we realized we should have. For example, Linda was looking forward to bringing back her egg slicer, of all things, lol. On balance we did a great job of planning. The photos below give some idea of the amount of things we didn't need. Even though we would be gone for just a matter of 10 or so days, we need to take our plants along.
Finally we had everything loaded into the Explorer and pulled out. We were dropping the garbage off at the dumpster on our way out of the park when Linda asked if I had locked the door of the coach. It took us just a moment to figure out that not only had we not locked the door, we hadn't even shut it. Think we weren't excited, lol. Returning to the coach we found the wind had blown the door shut leaving the front drape partially hanging out. Locking the coach, we headed up Hwy 50 towards South Lake. The views of the Lake and mountains were so familiar from our many, many past trips to one of the, if not the most beautiful lake on earth.
We descended the Sierra's, passing through Placerville and then getting our first glimpse of Valley.
Later that evening it was grandson time, lol.
For the next 10 days we will be taking a vacation from our life of travel, visiting with our friends and family, working around the house and preparing for the next journey of adventure in our life on the road. I will end this post with a picture of the pile of things we had brought back. It made us excited to think of all the extra space we were going to have in the coach, lol.
August 2 Today we leave Utah and journey to the great state of Nevada. Even though we have a fairly long day ahead of us, we plan on leaving mid-morning. One thing we do not want to do is challenge the morning commute. The joy of setting our own schedule, smile. We are however, doing one thing that we try very hard to avoid doing. When we first looked at routes across Nevada to Carson City we debated on whether to take Hwy 50 or I-80, both of which have their good points and their bad points. One less traveled but out of the way, requiring extra travel time, the other more direct, but also much more heavily traveled and an Interstate to boot. We had finally settled on I-80, our grandchildren were beckoning, smile. Being in no hurry, we opted for scrambled eggs, Canadian Bacon and sliced fresh peaches for breakfast. There was no doubt that a temporary change in our lifestyle was in the offing as this picture of Linda eating breakfast shows.
We had planned to leave about 10 AM, but the itch to hit the road found us pulling out at 9. Luck was with us and the morning rush hour was over as we headed north on I-15. Rather than take I-15 all the way north to where it intersected I-80 near downtown Salt Lake City, we took I-215 around the west side of town. There was very little traffic, so we had made a wise choice, meeting up with I-80 after a stress free drive. One thing we had not spent any time at was the Great Salt Lake. Having been there before and not having enjoyed the insects or the stench, we had decided there were other things that could occupy our timeduring this visit. Driving by the lake on I-80 we passed Magna, site of the copper smelter that refines what came out of the Bingham Mine into a commercial product, by the millions of pounds.
Also located nearby, but on the side bordering the lake is Saltaire.
A little later we passed a salt processing plant, something you would expect to be located on a body of water called the Great Salt Lake.
Then began endless miles of desert which slowly morphed into the salt flats. Suddenly a strange structure appeared off to the side of the road. The closer we got the more puzzling it became, until the mystery was finally solved. We have seen cell phone towers in many shapes and up until now the fake tree towers had taken the cake. This one was the frosting on the cake, lol.
Miles further down the road we crossed the border into Nevada, a border that is well marked with gambling establishments. Then it was 240 miles of Basin and Range. Up the mountain where the top is marked, oftentimes by a town, but at the least by a mine, then down into the basin, the road angling downward to the lowest point before starting back up towards the next mountain. Always we are traveling either up or down, but also always further westward.
Needing some time behind the wheel, Linda took over the driving duties and of course as so often happens, it didn't take long for the road conditions to deteriorate. There followed a long stretch of road construction. Unfortunately in one place a barrel jumped out at her and she nicked it. The scratch line done the side of the coach will be a reminder that life has both ups and downs, but most things that happen are just superficial with no real damage other than to our psyche.
As you have already surmised, no sooner did I take over the wheel once again than the construction zone ended. Poor Linda, maybe someday she will have an easy drive. As we drove along we noticed something unusual off to the left. It turned out to be a dust devil and a rather large one at that.
Before long the signs announcing the entertainment opportunities available in Winnemucca appeared and then we we at our exit. After negotiating a route through the city we finally arrived at our destination for the night, the Model T RV Park in beautiful, but very, very hot Winnemucca, Nevada. We may have broken a speed record hooking up the electric and getting the air conditioning running. There is always something of interest everywhere we go and this stop brought two things to mind. The first was why did this campground have such short, small, narrow sites when there are huge amounts of undeveloped area literally just feet away. It seemed like every normal sized rig was hanging out into the campground streets, in some cases with the larger rigs, both in the front and back. The second item of interest, at least to Linda, were the entertainment opportunities which one could avail themselves to in this desert oasis. It wasn't long before Linda was rifling the spare change drawer in search of all the nickels she could find. The casino next door had better watch out, there's a high roller about to hit the doors. Later I found out that since they also had penny slots, my comment about her being a high roller may have not been so far off the mark, lol. For a change, pun intended, lol, she returned really excited instead of merely excited because, she had won. Not much, but the amount wasn't the point, it was fact she had won that meant the most. Before leaving she had counted out her poke, now she even more eagerly counted out her winnings. She not only had nickels, she also had paper money. They call it fun and this time it turned out to be just that.
August 1 The hand of time is poised on the curtain of discovery. This is our last full day in Salt Lake City and it goes by in a blur of activity. Breakfast, TRAX, the library, but only for a few hours, then returning to the coach for an early dinner and relaxation. We did have one real good laugh in the course of the day. There is a computer genealogy book we would really like to have. It deals with how cite the sources of the facts we uncover. We thought about ordering it on line, but decided that maybe it would be easier to buy it in Salt Lake City, the genealogy capital of the known universe. We had checked to see if there were any bookstores near the Library and there was a Borders only a couple of blocks away. We had spotted on our way in a couple of mornings ago, since they were working on the sign in front of the store, but had not seen it since then. We were puzzled as to what had happened to it. This morning we solved the mystery of the missing bookstore. As you can see from the photo below, it had literally disappeared, going out of business. The work we had seen them doing on the sign had been the removal of the sign, not some repair of the sign, lol.
Since we were leaving tomorrow, we once again spent the evening going over the items we had brought along that we had found to be, putting it delicately, not needed, or put the other way, turned out to be a dumb idea to bring them along, lol. What we had done was what everyone does. The only thing is, everyones needs are different, so there is no way that a list was serve any useful purpose. If you have always eaten toast in the morning, a toaster is a necessity. If you seldom eat toast a toast will most likely prove to be a dumb idea. Clothes are another example. We thought we would wear a little dressier type of clothes. The rule of the house has been established as quite casual. I was really surprised at Linda as she was normally very fastidious in her mode of dress. That we are really out of the rat race has become abundantly clear. The term, clothes make the man was invented by the clothing industry. Out here, casual is the order of the day and no one needs to put on their face so to speak to impress anyone else. Is it any wonder we love this life so much, smile.
Almost before we knew it it was time for dessert. It hadn't been all work today as Linda had found time to bake a batch of chocolate brownies. There is something about brownies and milk that makes for the recall of pleasant memories of childhood. Life is good, may we long enjoy this life and may you too have the opportunity to enjoy the life you want.