Because We Can - Fulltime RV'ing

Journal Archive 09/01 - 09/10 2007

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September 1 Saturday

Some days are boring, ones where nothing happens, others are filled with something unplanned that makes the day special. When we first got up this morning we weren't really planning on doing anything other than to stay in the coach and either read, work on the computer, or watch TV. In other words it was planned to be a boring day.

After not doing much of anything for most of the morning, Linda had an idea. She had been without much to do for several days, having completed her last Ebay sale because we didn't know if we were going to have an Internet connection in Winchester Bay, and tired of working on the computer, I was curious to hear what she was going to propose. It turned out to be another trip to the St. Vincent de Paul store, but not just simply another trip, rather, ANOTHER trip.

It started out simple enough, with us walking out the long park entrance road under a canopy of gathering clouds, then along State Street to the heart of downtown Sutherlin, then East on Central a block or so to the store where we finally escaped the ever growing gray clouds that were by now filling the sky. We had scouted out the store the other day, but that wasn't good enough for Linda. It is one thing to take a quick look, it is entirely another thing to shop at a thrift store. It's the kind of place that you never know what is going to be there, and just because it was there yesterday doesn't mean it's going to be there today. And if it's gone the chances are they will never be getting another one, whatever it was.

Linda has been shopping for denim jackets that she can use in her latest crafty thing, so she headed towards the clothing. The other thing about thrift stores is the layout, which can take any shape or form and is usually dictated by the building that houses the store. This shop was rather unique in that it was cobbled together out of three or four smaller shops, meaning the rooms followed no pattern at all. It did allow for the different departments to be housed together, which made for easier shopping. Hence I started in the small appliance room, not that we needed any appliances, but then again, we didn't think we needed a slow cooker until Linda saw the one in the thrift store in Medford, and the rest has been culinary history, or at least the prospect of culinary delight.

Rather than describe all that we bought, let's just say that Linda found more than enough denim items, while I picked out enough books that it took two trips to bring them all up to the front counter. Now they weren't all mine, as Linda had discovered John Jakes' American Bicentennial Series, and I found five of the books in the series she hadn't read. On the other hand, the paperbacks were 25 cents each, so when in doubt, buy.

It was also while we were standing at the counter that we noticed something else. Those clouds we had seen when we walked to town had decided to dump their load. It was raining, not pouring down in buckets, but neither was it a light drizzle. Deciding the plastic bag, yes the one plastic bag all our purchases were in, would keep the contents dry we headed off. We had only gone about about half of a block when I decided that having everything in one plastic bag was not the best idea. It was heavy and it was slowly cutting off the circulation to my hand.

Eventually we made it all the way back to the coach, looking as much like drowned rats as people, my arms two inches longer than when we started and both hands having taken on a strange purplish pallor. It took awhile but not only did we recover, before long we were curled up, each with a book, oblivious to the sound of rain striking the roof of the coach. That's how our day went, we hope yours was just as rewarding.

September 2 Sunday

I have a job to do today, which is to clean out and rearrange the bays, something which I know the other half of the family is not going to let me get out of doing. Before starting work it is necessary to have a good breakfast and our old standby, the breakfast parfait, this time using fresh blackberries, fat and added sugar free vanilla yogurt, and topped by Uncle Sam's cereal sure filled the bill. It was while I was doing the dishes that Linda noticed something moving on the hillside behind the RV's parked across from us.

Turkey time

We watched those turkeys forage for quite a while. It was interesting how there was one who seemed to always have its head up, looking around while the rest of the flock grazed in the dry vegetation. It also called to mind the turkeys we had watched the last time we had stopped here at Timber Valley. No doubt this was the same flock, but if it wasn't, we wouldn't have had a clue. As I watched the feeding flock of fowl, I began to sense there just might be a foul female nearby, not across the road, but right here in the coach. Deciding it was time to get to work, I put down the camera and went outside to tackle the fall cleanup chores, RV style.

One of the problems with cleaning out the basement, whether it is at one on a foundation or one on wheels, is where to start. Deciding that the front compartment with the roll out Joey Bed was the easier of the two options, I started there. The road side holds our excess staples and wine, while the curb side is where the Baby Q grill and some odds and ends are kept. Following the KISS principle, I started with the grill. One really handy tool we have used many times during our travels is a small hand vacuum our youngest daughter had gotten us several years ago. It is just the perfect thing for picking up the dirt and debris that finds its way into those difficult to clean places. Thanks, Megan.

Cleaning the Joey Bed

As we worked, we tried to remember when the last was that we had cleaned the bays, finally agreeing it was a year ago last July in Lincoln, Illinois, though we did clean up the Joey Bed after our problem with the sprinkler a year ago August in Salt Lake City. In that case it was not because we wanted to, it was because we had to. Maybe once a year is often enough, especially since we both seemed to remember what was in most of the boxes. A little vacuuming, followed by some washing with a solution of Simple Green and water, then a rinse and dry, what could be easier. Of course once this was done there was always the task of what to keep and what to get rid of, a job Linda took on. One thing which bit the dust, or at least headed to the recycling bin was a box that had survived the Salt Lake sprinkler incident, even if it was a little worse for the wear from all that water. One thing we have noticed is how at first we seemed to have a disposition towards larger boxes, something which is no longer the case. The real problem, or more precisely, the real challenge, is how to find the right size boxes for the space, boxes which not only fit the floor area, but also maximize the vertical space.

Maybe it will fit here

In the end Linda discovered the solution , which turned out to be what we had already been using, wine cartons, which fit perfectly, just clearing the top of the compartment and with the top flaps folded, they offer maximum protection to what is inside. The other problem we were trying to overcome was the penchant for the things in the rear bay to shift forward under heavy braking, which sometimes resulted in the Joey Bed hitting the edge of one of the boxes when it was closed. The best solution would be to move the Joey Bed to the rear bay, something we might do in the future, but for now we attempted to rectify the problem through what might best be termed creating stacking of the boxes in the back bay. At Denman we had also picked up that large cardboard box which Linda just knew was going to work for shielding the crab pot from the wind when we boiled them late at night, so here I am trying to fit that monstrosity into the bay, a task which turned out to be very easy and also served to lock some of the boxes in place.

The perfect fit

One other objective of the cleaning process was to take a full inventory of just exactly what we had down there, something which Linda took care of as I cleaned. We decided that we are getting better at being efficient as most of what we have are items that we actually use. We also have along some things which other full timers might not, such as the four cartons of genealogy material, two for Linda and two for me. Digging them out also got us to thinking that we need to make sure we stop at Salt Lake City again next summer to do some more research. That in itself is one of the things which makes this life so rewarding, the fact we find something we would like to do, so we simply include it into our plans.

For dinner we grilled the other marinated pork loin, then for dessert we had the last of the reduced fat, sugar free vanilla ice cream over a chocolate brownie which had been topped with blackberry sauce. I don't know about your day, but ours could hardly have been better, what from entertainment by the turkeys this morning, the sense of accomplishment from cleaning the bays and its concluding with great food. Life is certainly good.

September 3 Monday

Labor day, the last big Holiday of the summer, but not one that we will celebrate like we did in our former life. Oh, we always looked forward to Labor Day, it was a very special day because the week of Labor Day was when we usually took our vacation. When the kids were at home and school started the Tuesday after Labor Day, we took the week before Labor Day off and drove our 1000 miles to someplace we had never been in order to drive 1000 miles during the week seeing as much as we could, then drive another 1000 miles to return home and look forward to next years vacation. Then once the kids all left home, we would take the week after Labor day off and do the same thing.

Needless to say, our life is somewhat different today, as we have holed up at this park to wait out the Holiday, when we can once again resume our year round experiment in vacation living. To say that we like the way we live would be an understatement and more. That didn't mean we weren't looking forward to doing something different today, we sure were, but it wasn't of the normal Labor Day variety. No picnic for us, no burgers or dogs, no fattening potato salad or baked beans. And certainly no pies, cakes or watermelon. Now lest you think we think we plan to experiment in living in a culinary wasteland, let me tell you what Linda was looking forward to having.

Delicatessen Barbecued Chicken, home style, made in our new to us, slow cooker. There had been a trip to the grocery store a couple of days ago, where she spent about 10 minutes picking out the perfect young fryer to work her magic on. Then it was on to the Internet to find the ideal blend of spices to coat the outside and give it that special deli look. Next it was a search of slow cooker information to determine the proper cooker temperature setting and cooking time. Only then was she ready to try her hand at the objective. There was one thing I did find humorous about all these preparations, which was the search for the perfect blend of spices to give it the right color.

When we eat that fowl food, the first thing we are going to do is to peel off the skin and throw it away. So what was the big deal about how it looked. Once again man comes up against the mysteries of the female mind and falls short.

The preparation of the cooker fell to Linda, while she delegated the preparation of the bird to me, that old bugaboo she has about touching raw meat once again rearing its head. It wasn't like I was on my own however, as she had nose in every step of the preparations. Once or twice she had to point out that my technique was lacking in one form or another. But at last I had completed the task to her satisfaction and the bird was baking. Or was it slow roasting?

The end result was as good as we had hoped, possibly there was a little more grease than we would have liked, but given the alternative of no bird at all, it was beyond delicious. We know we will have it again, there was enough for at least three or four more meals, plus we also plan to roast another chicken in the future. The very best thing about it was the fact the slow cooker worked even better than we had hoped. Talk about having a good time on Labor Day, we had a good time and then some.

September 4 Tuesday

We had planned to drive over to Winchester Bay today, spend the night boondocked at the Marina, then move into the spot the Lighthouse provided for us on Wednesday. That was the plan, but as usual, nothing is cast in stone. Oh, we did need to be over at the coast tomorrow, but today was a different story. It was also a different story as far as the weather was concerned. The sky was overcast when we got up, and by the time we were eating breakfast, a light drizzle was falling. That was when I checked on the weather forecast for Winchester Bay and found it was calling for rain almost the entire day. Then I went a step further and checked the radar.

Once the dishes were done, Linda asked when I wanted to pack up, not that there was much packing to do since we had spent most of yesterday doing the work of getting ready to leave. It had been Labor Day after all, and Linda being Linda, she had me labor much of the day. See it wasn't spent just waiting for that slow roasted chicken to cook. I responded somewhat gingerly, "I'm not sure we should drive over today, it's going to be raining most of the day" That immediately caused a torrent of questions to burst forth from Linda. "How do you know?" "Have you looked at the weather report?" "Then where are we going to stay tonight?"

Once she was finished, I calmly resonded in the same order they had been asked, "Just look outside." "Yes, I just looked." "We can spend another night here." It turned out to be the Linda version of twenty questions, ask two or three questions, get the answers and ask two or three more. In the end I managed to convience her of the wisdom of staying, pointing out the radar on my screen that showed a solid green area indicating it was currently raining along the entire coast, then offering to drive her down to the office to register for another day.

That should have been the end of the story but it wasn't. When we arrived at the office I had to just go and open my mouth as she was getting ready to go inside, "I'll stay out here, but don't forget to make the check out to SKP." She had a problem the last two times she had paid at this park, not knownig who to make the check out to. I thought as those words were leaving my mouth that I had made a serious error, and that I was going to pay.

And pay, I did, she was in there for over 15 minutes before she emerged, smiling sweetly. It turned out that all the pay back had been in my mind only, what had happened inside was that a couple were interested in information about buying a lot at the park and she had listened in on the conversation, with their permission. All the while I had been wondering what was going on inside, she had been totally oblivious to me. As President Roosevelt once said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

September 5 Wednesday

Today it is time to move on to a new adventure. New in the sense that it is different from what we have been doing, but not new in the sense that we have never done it, because we are again returning to the Oregon coast and the Umpqua River Lighthouse. It is hard to believe that it's been two years since that fateful day we stopped by the lighthouse to take the tour and struck up a conversation with the O'Brien's, during which we not only learned what volunteer workamping was, but which also resulted in the seeds being planted that have led to all the the other volunteer positions that we have enjoyed over the past 20 months.

The drive over to Salmon Harbor from Sutherlin wasn't going to be long, but it was going to result in a great change in living conditions. Gone would be the warmth of summer, replaced with the cool refreshing breezes from the Pacific. Since it had only been a little less than a week ago that we had driven up from Medford, the amount of packing was minimal, so I decided to take a photo of our site. For some reason or other I have gotten away from my habit of documenting our daily happenings with the camera, but today was one of those times when my brain was actual engaged in something productive. As I set up to take the photo, the family model just couldn't pass up the opportunity to come outside and pose in front of the coach. That was when I noticed that she was most certainly prepared for the cool coastal breezes, for the first time in ages, other than blackberry picking, she had on her jeans. Smart woman, did I marry marry well or what?

Timber Valley site

It was shortly after going back inside the coach that I learned long pants was not the entire extent of her preparations for living the next two months on the coast. While I was up front putting away my computer I could hear Linda moving things around in the bedroom, now anybody who has lived in an RV knows there just isn't a whole lot of moving around of things that can be done, primarily because there isn't much room for many things in the first place, so eventually my curiosity got the better of me.

Getting ready for cooler weather

Maybe now you can understand why I consider myself so lucky to have met this girl some forty years ago on a blind date. One thing that got me to laughing was her struggle with the cords. To say that there were a few more feet of cord than necessary would be an understatement, there must have been a quarter mile or so extra by the looks of things. I did promise her that once we had arrived at the coast I would find some way to shorten the cords, which by the way was accomplished by using our velcro straps to bundle the cord into managable lengths, a neat solution in more ways than one.

Prepared for what would most likely await us at our destination, we headed out, stopping first to top off the diesel tanks since we will be sitting in a high humidity location for the next several months. The drive over to Reedsport was very pleasant, our route taking us on RT 138 to Elkton, then on RT 38 on into Reedsport. Since driving through tunnels is not one of my joys in life, I like this route as it avoids the tunnels on the roads further to the north. There are several somewhat narrow bridges, though maybe a better term may be that they are not wide. Even so, from the looks of things the Oregon Highway Department seems to be in the early stages of replacing them which will make the trip even better in the future. Between Scottsburg and Reedsport on RT 32 the road has a few places with an undulating surface where a slower speed makes for a more comfortable journey, but other than that, it was good roads all the way.

Outside of Reedsport we not only saw elk in the elk viewing area and also a dredge in the river. The family model who serves as a substitute photographer as we drive down the road did her best to take a photo of the dredge.

Dredge with trees

Dredge with blurry trees

Dredge behind trees

Never did say she was perfect, just that I married well, of course since it is her only fault I do think it is important to point it out, else people could have the wrong opinion of her. You will also notice there are no photos of elk, mostly due to the fact she was so busy looking at them that she forgot she was holding the camera.

It wasn't long before we were once again driving through Reedsport, pointing out the many places and things that hadn't changed and the few we noticed which had changed. Our next stop was at the campground, Windy Cove A, where we will be staying for the next two nights before moving up to the lighthouse on Friday. One thing we do not have is a view of the southern sky, though we do have a good view of the cliff immediately behind us, meaning we can't get on the satellite, so it may be a while until this is posted. There is a very spotty connection with the wifi network for the campground across the road which is also run by Douglas County, but it is so bad as to be virtually unusable. Once we were set up, we took several walks, including one down to the Post Office to pick up some packages Linda was anticipating, then it was off to the seafood store to see what the price of tuna and salmon was this year, where we discovered tuna was the same as last year, $4.75 and wild caught salmon was $11.75 a pound. Since we have the leftover crock pot chicken for tonight, that means tomorrow night 's dinner will be fresh tuna on the grill.

One good thing is the cable hookup, so we will have some entertainment other than reading, though with all the books we bought at the St Vincent De Paul store in Sutherlin, entertainment, or at least reading entertainment, is not a problem. As always we finished the evening with dessert, which tonight was more that the usual blackberry pie, as Linda also served up a mug of warm milk with a splash of Kahlúa, a good way to end our first day back in the Reedsport area.

September 6 Thursday

Our first full day back at the coast and my first glimpse out the window this morning revealed the white wall of fog which blankets the area at night. The next thing I noticed was the temperature in the coach was a little lower than what we had been experiencing over the summer. Of course those lower temperatures meant the onset of fall, meaning winter was near at hand, a situation which fits right in with the sound of the hibernating grizzly bear growling in her sleep which were emanating from the rear of the coach.

All this got me to thinking, something that on occasion has proved to be a very dangerous thing, but which this time turned out to be a good thing. If it was fall, it was time for the leaves to be turning and start dropping from the trees, which of course lead to connections in my fertile mind. Words from a song, Autumn Leaves Must Fall, a book, The Winter of Our Discontent, a saying, Spring Up, Fall Back, and then since it is spring there are new leaves coming out, so Turn Over A New Leaf naturally followed. This resulted in my thinking about turning over a new leaf myself, which lead to writing a Daily Journal article, and I'm sure that is the same line of thought that most people use to arrive at what they need to do. The end result is what you have been reading about our adventures over the past few days. Of course once I wrote something it was only moments until the great growling grizzly was out of hibernation and into editor mode.

Editor at work

It wasn't long before she looked up from the computer with a big smile, saying, "Very good", and I knew the seal of approval had been placed on my efforts. One thing she knows is that when I am happy with my writing, good things sometime happen and this morning was no exception as I told her I would fix breakfast. It may have simply been the same old thing, fresh blackberries, non fat, sugar free yogurt, and Uncle Sam cereal, but she didn't have to fix it. Then to put the jewel in my crown, I also did the dishes. I sure hope it isn't something permanent that came over me.

We are staying here at Windy Cove A Campground only temporarily, as on Friday we will be moving up to the Lighthouse for the month before moving back down here for October. That means Linda has three weeks to get her Ebay things listed and sold, so you know what she worked on for most of the day. Meanwhile I futzed around with the Daily Journal, not really into things, but definitely wanting to be. Other than the lack of an Internet connection, this is not a bad place to be, what with the harbor and Winchester Bay near at hand. Our site, which is out near the front, gives us a great view of the marina and all the goings on, something that the family people watcher really appreciates.

Home for several days

As you can tell the name of the place is I Like It Like That. Oh wait, that had something to do with the Dave Clark Five, the name of this place is Windy Cove. After staying here for several days we are lucky that the person who named this place was here in the afternoon, because if they had been here only in the morning it would have been named differently. Maybe Calm Cove, Quiet Cove, or perhaps Fogged in View Cove, but not Windy Cove. Having visited in the afternoon they certainly named it for the conditions that one encounters, in the afternoon that is.

We did have one last thing to do, which was to stop in at the Lighthouse and pick up the key and our shirts. The second we drove in the parking lot we could tell there had been a few changes made as the green color of the shutters on the museum were much brighter than we remembered. It looked like everything had received a fresh coat of paint and it sure looked nice. Then entering the building we encountered something else new, the host couple, Les and Karen, who were in the midst of their first day as volunteers, and talking to Karen about how their day was going brought back memories from a year ago.

We also took a quick tour of the museum and noticed that many of the exhibits had been upgraded which resulted in a very professional look to many of the displays, not that they didn't look good before, they now looked even better. Gaylyn had been helping Les with a tour, so just as we were finishing looking at the upstairs rooms we heard her voice and up the stairs she came. In short order we had our info packet, plus our shirts and were ready to do our thing on Saturday. We did make one last stop at the gift shop to see if either one of the two ladies who had worked there last year was working today. Neither was and it it turned out that one of them, Pat, had retired, but Karen would be there on Saturday. Linda is looking forward to renewing acquaintances as she really enjoyed talking to Karen.

With that it was time to head back down to Windy Cove, but we did have one stop to make first, at Sportsman's Cannery, to but a fresh tuna fillet for dinner tonight. Linda was able to pick out the perfect piece, and soon we were back at the coach getting ready to take a walk. Unfortunately we had forgotten why Windy Cove is named the way it is, so a return trip to the coach for jackets was in order. Finally we took off and got in our exercise, trying to push past the 10,000 step plateau. As we walked, we talked about just how many steps I walk during a day of giving tours. One thing we do know is that every tour I give means 58 steps up the lighthouse stairs and 58 steps back down. Of course numbers can be deceiving, since six tours a day means 58 plus 58 steps times six for a grand total of 696 steps, which leaves 9,304 more to reach my goal.

Deciding that such conversation would be a great deal more pleasant if held in the comfy confines of the coach, we turned back, still short of our 10,000 steps for the day, but eagerly looking forward to grilled tuna for dinner. A little lime juice, salt and pepper, wait 10 minutes and it was grill time. We decided to grill four minutes to a side, which we will cut back to three minutes next time, as it was slightly overcooked, meaning a total grill time of 9 minutes should be just perfect. I will say that even if it was a tad over grilled, it sure did look great.

Grilled tuna

We spent an enjoyable evening reading and ended it up by watching Top Chef, which is on Bravo, and is a show we have really enjoyed. The one nice thing about the campground is that because of where it is situated, tucked back up against a cliff, they do provide cable TV. We ended the day as always, and tonight it was an exact duplicate of last night, warm milk with a splash of Kahlúa, and blackberry pie. We've said it before, and we'll say it again, Life is good.

September 7 Friday

It seemed like we just got here, and already it was time to leave, and you can bet that we are both happy about that. Like we say, it isn't called Windy Cove without a reason. We also expect there to be a marked difference in temperature between our abode of this morning and our abode of tomorrow morning. It is only about 75 feet difference in elevation and only a mile in distance, but it is a world of difference in orientation. We are going to have sun, plus there will be very little of the everyday fog.

Thermometer by the bay

As you can see, even at the late hour of 7:30, it was only 46° outside. That didn't discourage Linda however, since it would be a month before we would once again living down here, she decided this was the appropriate time to take one last walk around the block. The only problem is, the block is probably about two miles around, but what the heck, it's only exercise, and besides it healthy for us. Because the wind was blowing a good one, we bundled up and waddled out. It is really a great place to live, the boats in the bay, the birds over head, and out at the point, all the salmon fishermen casting their lines. We did see one salmon being landed, but it happened so far away that I couldn't get a photo.

Eventually we made our way back out to the road, where we saw the oyster boat drive past. The triangle is an oyster farm and they harvest the oysters every morning, placing the ropes on which the oysters grow in the boat, then using a tractor to tow the boat and oysters back to the processing plant.

Oysters by the bay

Back at the coach Linda informed me of a promise I had made. "I promise to fix the little sliding door under the pantry before we get to the Lighthouse." I can't recall just how many days, weeks or months ago those words were uttered, but the little woman of the house had remembered. Heck, she was the one who had pried that promise out of me in the first place. Out came the screwdriver, off came the cover to the furnace, which was the only way to reach the spot I need to reach, a couple of false starts with a zip tie, and the deal was sealed, or at least the door was closing once again. All I had to do was put a zip strip around a screw head and fasten it to the hose cover, it was simple, but it had also been easy to put off. Now it was done and Linda was happy. I'll even give her credit for not reminding me how easy it was, and that I could have done it long ago. I wonder if she has something else on a secret list that she wants fixed?

All holed up

That turned out to be all that I had promised to fix according to Linda. Let me tell you she kind of blew that one because she could have told me most anything and I probably would have done it, not knowing whether I'd actually promised to do it or not. Before long we were in our most favoritest spot in all the world, (excuse the grammar) overlooking the Pacific in the shadow of the Umpqua River Lighthouse. Of course you aren't set up until all the hookups are connected and that was when the fun began. We did have the 50 amp extension cord and the special hose and fittings we needed for the waste line, but that didn't mean I had gotten any better at fishing them under the coach. What followed was good for a laugh or two. Linda will confirm, it wasn't only her who was chuckling at my antics, I had to laugh at myself, it was that bad. Eventually everything was hooked up and working, including those stupid, dumb, wheel covers Linda had to go and buy to make our tires last longer. I won't say any more about installing them, you can figure it out for yourself just how much "fun" it was. (Note to self: put the tire covers on before you dump the air next time)

The battle of the cords

When this was all done, it was time for lunch. Actually it was way past time for lunch, but since we hadn't eaten yet, it was lunch. I was eating my turkey rollup when I noticed Linda wasn't sitting at her desk where she normally eats. Thinking she might have gone outside I started to pick up my plate so I could go out and join her when I saw her.

Lunch time thoughts

I think she had missed our little spot on the ocean just as much as I had. Once lunch was over she started making where we were parked into home. One of the special things she does is to always plant a garden when she moves into a new home, and today was one of those days. The only difference being that with a rolling home, you also have to plant a rolling garden. Today it was a six pak of Pansies that were being added to the garden. We hadn't had much luck with the garden this year, seemingly always selecting the wrong plant for the season. Tomatoes in the darkness and low temperatures of January, Dianathus in the heat of summer, but I think she got it right when she picked Pansies for fall on the coast.

Planting by the bay

The remainder of the day passed by as we continued to do the myriad little things that make home, home. Even to the point of getting some of our "piles" back out, now that really made the coach look like home. Later, after dinner, we both stood, looking out our front window at the sun setting off the point. We were happy, we were indeed home.

Sunset by the bay

September 8 Saturday

Just yesterday I had written: "We are going to have sun, plus there will be very little of the everyday fog." So what happened?

Where did the ocean go?

According to Carl Sandburg, here's what was supposed to happen:

The fog comes
on little cat feet

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

It's just that sometime during the night that little fog kitty did what all felines do, it fell a sleep and when this morning came it was still here and sleeping. Let's hope it soon rises up on its haunches and moves on. The reason is that we have to go to work this morning and it's no fun leading tours if you can't see anything. As luck would have it, both the cat and Linda woke up about the same time and as Linda crept out into the living area of the coach, the fog crept back out to sea on little cats feet.

Soon it was 9:45 and we headed over to the Museum. It had been 10 months since we had last been here, but we picked up just as if we had only had the normal four days off. Gaylyn came along on my first tour and suggested several changes, one of which was not to refer to us as volunteers of Douglas County Parks. It's Douglas County I was informed. Information noted and presentation changed. She also suggested that we not use the story of the cracked step being caused by a Lighthouse Keepers children swinging on the weight. It was a cute story, but it wasn't necessary, so again, I can easily leave it out. Other than those two minor things, all was well and the day went by quickly, with one tour following another. As always, the focus was on the Lighthouse.

1894 Lighthouse?

By the end of the day we were both tired but happy. We had given our best and our visitors had been appreciative. It is a very special feeling to look upon the 113 year old lens, revolving once every two minutes,throwing her beams out 19 miles over the Pacific.

The lens made in Paris 113 years ago?

As we ate dinner we talked about our day, the things we had encountered, especially the first day gaffs we had made. But over all the talk, the smiles, the joy, towered the light. More than ever, we knew we were back home, living in the past, bringing it alive for others. It's a feeling you have to experience to know what it means, the chance to live history, to make it alive and real. There is no better feeling.

September 9 Sunday

Our second consecutive day on duty dawned without the specter of fog, which meant that it should be a good day. The warm weather and the sunshine would bring out the people and we would do the rest. When I came back from opening the Lighthouse Linda was already in visitor mode, giving me a big smile when I walked through the door. Is it any wonder she gets so many people signed up for the tours and collects more in the way of donations than I do?

Well, hello stranger

It didn't take her long to assemble the first tour. If you walked into the Museum, you'd be greeted with a huge smile and a sweet voice welcoming you and asking you to sign the guest register. Then she would point out the large maps hanging on the wall and ask you place a pin to indicate where you are from. Next she would point out where the restrooms are located, let you know that tours are available, point out how to enter the free museum and finally, tap lightly on the top of the donation box while mentioning that we DO accept donations. Now you know the reason the tours run one after the other, and are filled with excited people eager to see the lens up close and personal.

Bob at work

There had also been a number of changes in the Museum over the winter. There were new displays and artwork, but the most glaring difference was the fact the building had been repainted. It just made everything look newer, better, and fresher. Linda was especially interested in the new display about the Museum building itself. The photograph of the Administration and Barracks Building, which was now the Museum made everything come alive for her.

The museum building

We had only been here for several days, but by the time the day was over, we were once again tired but happy. Besides, our work week was over and we could look forward do four days off. What's not to like about this job that is not a job.

September 10 Monday

With a day off, our first order of business was to get everything set for the next month. The biggest problem, and the one we tackled first was also the most important one, leveling the coach. Last year there were two nice leveling ramps which someone had made that we used. This year they were gone. As Linda said, "They weighed as much as two people could lift, I wonder what happened to them?" That will just have to remain one of those unsolved mysteries of life.

That left the problem of what to do this year. We had leveled as much as we could when we got here on Friday, using some concrete blocks someone had left, plus the wood blocks we normally use under the jacks. The problem was that they weren't high enough, so we would have to rig something else up. My first thought was that we would have to go into Reedsport and buy some planks at the local lumber store. Then looking around, I spied the large pile of wood where the County employees dumped their junk. Things like the signs they took out, the leftover lumber from projects and various odds and ends that resulted when things were demolished. With more ambition than good sense, I dug through the pile and pulled out some broken timbers I thought would work.

After doing some rough estimating to determine what sizes I would need, I got out the tape measure and my hand saw. Builder Bob was about to go to work. Nothing is ever easy and this job involved more than just a little bit of work, but it was a challenge and I figured that I was more than up to it. At least in my own mind I was. To give you some insight into the amount of sawing I had to to do here is a photo of me with my saw and the result.

Paul Bunyan Jr.

Confession time, really, I didn't saw all those timbers with the saw I was holding. I did saw the fist two, but then one of the County Maintenance guys showed up and suggested I'd probably still have a working arm, plus I'd be finished this month if I used the small chainsaw that was up in the maintenance building. Lucky for me, he also helped me get the saw started, because it turned out they used it about once a year and starting was something it really didn't want to do. Then it was Katie bar the door as the sawdust flew and the cut timbers accumulated.

Of course cutting the wood was only half the job, because if I was going to drive the coach up on them, they were going to need to be fastened together. Luckily there were a few nails around that, while not the perfect size, were more than adequate for the task at hand. Linda was a good sport and held the wood while I nailed it, then once I was done, she said we should have taken a photo of me at work. All those nails I pounded in my former life had been for training purposes, but this was the real thing and she wanted to document it. By this time I was to tired to debate the relative merits of a posed picture with her, so I just pounded away at one of the nails I'd already pounded in while she snapped the photo. I thought it still turned out looking like I had posed, but since I was really to exhausted to care, what you see is what you see.

Carpenter at work

The final step was driving the coach up onto the completed assembly, something that proved to be far easier than I anticipated. Linda did a great job of directing me, while I made sure to hit the brake when she said stop. {Editor's comment: This time he did "Stop" when I said so.} It looks pretty good if I do say so.

Well done, Bob

Thus ended our first day off, a day where I worked far harder than I had on our days on. Some days you do what you love and some days you have to suck it up and love what you do, and it wouldn't take two guess to learn which day, today was. I went bed at an earlier hour than usual and quickly fell asleep wondering what the little woman had planned for me tomorrow.

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