July 21 Tuesday
We knew it was going to be a hot day when we saw the ducks leaving the area around the creek and heading off to the shade of some nearby trees. Taking a clue from them, we spent much of the day out, looking. We couldn't call it shopping as we weren't in the mood to buy anything even if we had seen something that had interested us.
Earlier in the morning, with the relatively cooler breezes coming through the window with the aid of our ceiling fans, I had checked the RV service reviews website to see whether there was anything on the dealer we were going to for service. There was. I'd picked this facility because it was close, and also because they were a Tiffin dealer, figuring Tiffin knows what it was doing when it picks dealers. Hopefully the only people who post reviews are the ones who are disgruntled.
We got a chuckle looking at our lunch today. This could have been a breakfast, or at least a plate of some of the foods they served for breakfast in many of the hotels and B&B's that we stayed at in Europe. Unfortunately we had opted for the not quite so healthy but awesome tasting food during our European travels, which was why were now eating this way, trying to lose the excess baggage we, especially Bob, brought back.
Linda also found a way to keep busy, though I'm not sure it was the most pleasant of things. The first was to try and organize what we had brought back from Europe as far as all to papers, tickets and other non souvenirs. The other was to try and get our finances up to date in Quicken. The first problem, how to get the Quicken program was solved by downloading it. The other problem, how to discover where the big error between what we have and what the bank says we have will take a few days. It's a good problem though since the bank says we have more than Linda says we do. When I commented as to how I'd believe the bank rather than her, I got a "How do YOU know they are right" reply. She sure can be testy when the books don't come out to the penny.
Somehow or other today revolved around food more than anything else. Dinner was a total south beach experience, the best part being the mash potatoes. White potatoes are a no-no when you are eating this way, so what we are eating is cauliflower mashed potatoes. Takes a little getting used to, but they have become a favorite of ours. We will both admit to having some really good potatoes in Europe, but over here, to us these are every bit as good as any white potato in the supermarket, and far healthy for us to boot.
I'll end the day by noting that our refrigeration woes continue, as today the air conditioner in the Explorer stopped working. Maybe it is fate's way of letting us know why we try so hard to spend all our time in mild weather. At least the coach's rear air conditioner continues to work, and we're keeping our fingers crossed there. Hey, we both grew up without any air conditioners, so if we just look at it as being a kid again....
July 22 Wednesday
Habits are hard to break, but believe me, I'm trying, so hopefully the breakfast photos will stop in a few days. Gotta' love that scoop of cottage cheese with those eggs however.
With the service appointment being at 1:00, Linda spent the morning trying to fill out the on-line rebate form for the new CPU. Since all the fuming and fussing coming from the area in front of her computer monitor was cause causing the coach to heat up faster than it should, I ventured over to see what the problem might be.
It seemed that when she entered the serial number of our unit in the form, a message came up saying the rebate had already been applied for. It took a while, but once we determined she wasn't entering the actual serial number, the problem was solved. Now if all our problems were this easy to solve.
Linda made sure we had the coach in for service long before the scheduled time, though by the time it was our turn at the service desk, it was past time. She was proud of herself, telling me that had we not gotten here early, we would have probably had to wait much longer. Looking around, I noticed there wasn't anyone else waiting in the area, but decided it was one of those, best to keep my mouth closed moments.
The paperwork handled, we left the keys and drove over to a nearby thrift store. We spent the next several hours looking in air conditioned comfort, before it was time to pay for our purchases and see what they had found out about the coach. They had said it would probably take about an hour to diagnose the problem, but we would be receiving a call as soon as they did. Since we still hadn't received a call, we decided to go back and see what was happening.
As we were driving into the lot we got our question answered, which was nothing. The coach was still parked in the same spot where we had left it. An inquiry, an apology, and a promise of something being done in short order resulted. Unfortunately, it was looking like the review had been correct. At least it gave us an excuse to start reading some of the used books we had bought at the thrift store. Linda laughed when she showed me this photo, saying she had caught me asleep. I'd like to think I was in deep contemplation over what I was reading, but I did make a note to myself that it looks like I'm going to have to lose more weight than I thought.
Eventually we heard from the service department. The air conditioner was low on freon, and being a sealed unit with no one locally available to repair it, needed to be replaced. Unfortunately the factory was back ordered two weeks. The refrigerator had a problem with low propane pressure, which they had adjusted and it should now work fine. It looks like a second opinion is in order as far as the air conditioner is concerned, and with all the things we have to do over the next three weeks, what with all our kids and grandkids spending time with us when we will be traveling throughout Northern Oregon and Southern Washington, we aren't going to have time to get the air conditioner fixed anyway. Now if the weather will just cooperate and be somewhat pleasant it won't be a problem.
Here's one for the: "what is it" page. I don't know if this would qualify for the world's ugliest hamburger, but when we cooked these 4% beef patties in the skillet, this is what we got. They did taste great, and I guess that is all that matters.
July 23 Thursday
With the visit to the RV service shop completed, it was time to move on down the road today and it would end at our original destination of several days ago, Baker City, Oregon. Since we were less than two hours drive away, we decided to take advantage of the cool morning hours and do a few things around the coach. If you get the idea that we are still not back into the swing of things after being gone for so long, you are right on.
That little gremlin that has been plaguing us ever since we got back quickly raised it head and, and clicking on the wrong button while trying to hide the router signal, I managed to cause the router to stop working. That meant a total reset of everything, something which we had never had to do before. The original problem was Linda's computer couldn't see the router when she rebooted it. We will just chalk it up to another opportunity to learn something new.
You might also have noted I was sporting something new in the way of headgear in the above photo. That band aid is stemming the flow of blood from a nasty scrape, Linda called it a gouge, but it didn't hurt at all, so I'll call it a scrape. The incident in question occurred when I was trying to hook the blue cable into the back of her computer. Got to remember to wear a hat before I do those things. Work on her computer that is, and also to try and not bump my head into the door latch.
The RV park we wanted to stay at was the one we had stopped at back in 2006 while on our way to the Umpqua River Lighthouse. As we were driving along I-84 we passed an abandoned plant, and I mentioned to Linda that this was the same one we had seen in 2006. To resolve the major differences between us on this matter, I later checked our journal for that time period, and sure enough, on August 20, 2006 I had posted a photo of the same plant, taken as we drove on I-84 to Baker City.
They were also doing miles and miles of road repair, tearing out the the old pavement and replacing it with new. It didn't cause any problems, unless you wanted drive really fast, which we didn't, so it made for a more interesting trip. Having spent all those years working with and around asphalt, it was intersting to see that all the new pavement was concrete. It made sense since there was another cement plant on the other side of the road. The only disappointment was not getting to see the paving operation actually running. Now that would have been something to see. I couldn't help but wonder how many cement trucks it took to keep these three pavers operating.
It was early afternoon when we arrived at Oregon Tails West RV Park. We could instantly tell the difference in the outside temperature from Nampa. It had to be at least 15 degrees cooler. Rather than stay inside the coach we sat outside, reading and relaxing. This was why we had decided to come here from Phoenix, and it was everything we remembered it to be.
Linda was really enjoying the first decent weather we were experiencing since we left England, and it showed when she volunteered to help with dinner.
It also gave us a chance to try something new for dinner, and I fixed a seafood stew that Linda thought was about as good as anything similar that we had eaten in Europe. Her salad was definitely different from mine, meaning it was filled with what she likes. Mine are heavy on the greens, hers had a light covering of greens over the mounds of diced mushrooms, cucumbers and tomatoes. There was also a little bit of onion and green pepper, but not so that you would notice. She also made up a creamy salad dressing, with plenty left over for the next couple of nights. I do believe she was trying to tell me something.
It had been a good day, one to connect with past experiences, and one to give us our first chance in over three months to really experience that Life we love so much.
July 24 Friday
We had decided that today would be a do nothing day, one where we would read, drink iced tea, and just relax. Good concept, but unfortunately we had forgotten about the pork lion we had bought at Sam's Club which was still in the refrigerator. It needed to be cooked, shredded and then frozen so we could make barbecued pork when our grandson, Zachary comes to visit. Something tells us that his mom and his uncle Richie are also going to be looking forward to it just as much as he is. As always, it was my job to do any task that required touching raw meat, as that is one of Linda's major phobias.
Linda did have something in mind to do this morning, and was soon busy rearranging the cabinet over the sink. It's one of those things where we put things in it three and a half years ago when we started, and have then complained about it ever since, but never did anything about it. Until this morning that is. The main thing was moving the dishes we use everyday from the side of the cabinet to the middle, and did it ever make a difference. She also put into our donation bag, a number of plastic containers that we were going to use someday, but that day hasn't occurred to date. If we ever need more we will simply buy some at the time. It is something we've learned with our travels in Europe. Only take what you know you will need, anything else can be bought if you find you need it.
With it being a slow day, we were doing cooking in several different ways, both of which were slow. The pork loin was in the slow cooker, which would keep the heat outside and not in the coach. Linda was also making solar tea at the same time. The last tea she made was with hot water, but it is never as good as the solar kind which is so smooth. We make a concentrate which we then dilute with water. She made this one in a quart canning jar with four tea bags of decaffeinated tea. It turned out to be a little on the strong side, which may have had more to do with the brand of tea or their age rather than the number of bags. Next time we will use three bags and see how it tastes.
We didn't have to work very hard to accomplish our goal for the day, and before you knew it, it was time for the pork to be shredded. That's another job which is always delegated to me. We put the pork up into the freezer in Ziploc™ bags. It was either that or Linda will have it all eaten long before Zachary flies up to be with us.
In the late afternoon the wind had come up, just as we had remembered from before, which cooled things off and gave us a chance to sit outside. This was what we had been dreaming about during those last few weeks in Europe, and now we were getting to live it. Doesn't get much better than this.
July 25 Saturday
After all those weeks of looking out the window and seeing something that related to Europe, it is almost good to look out the front window and see other RVs. Almost, but not quite. Though our bodies are back into US mode, our minds are still slipping in and out of European mode.
Linda had spotted an advertisement for the local Farmers Market, and so that was where we were off to this morning. The problem was that Baker City being a very small town, the Farmers Market was a very small market. In fact it was so small that there were twice as many people selling crafts as were selling produce. Since there were four people selling crafts you can guess how many were selling produce. Looking over the selection, she decided we could do a lot better at Albertsons, so that is where we went. Since we are so many vegetables it requires more trips to the store, something that isn't a problem, especially during the heat of the day.
Next to Albertsons was a Bi-Mart, and needing a small box fan, we went in to see what they had. As luck would have it, they had exactly what she was looking for, as well as some things that she wasn't looking for, but once she saw them, just had to buy. That's why it is always dangerous to take her into a store. She has always had a bad case of Idkintuisi, I didn't Know I Needed That Until I Saw It, disease
We took a little detour from our eating habits with lunch, with Linda having put some fresh Mozzarella cheese in the cart at the grocery store, then mentioning how we didn't want it to get too old when it came time for lunch. Something tells me this was no spur of the moment thing, but that she had this all thought out well in advance. The key was the fact she had also bought some fresh basil, which went perfectly with the tomatoes and cheese. Smart woman, smart man for marrying her.
In the afternoon I made one of our favorite soups, gazpacho, which Linda loves to eat it, but doesn't have the patience to cut all the vegetables up into the small pieces that's needed make it just right. Once it was fixed, into the frig it went, where it will sit until lunchtime tomorrow. The only negative was we forgot to get a can of spicy V-8 juice to add to the regular kind to give it that extra kick. But who's complaining, certainly not Linda, afterall, I did all the hard work.
It was also another day to sit outside in the late afternoon and read the books we had bought today at the Salvation Army Thrift Store in town. They were having a special sale, which we accidentally stumbled upon, where the books were 12 cents each. Needless to say we stocked up, and the checkout person was also happy, because they have these sales to clear shelf space so they can put out the lastest donations. That's a win-win if there ever was one.
The book I'm reading is a mystery set in Buckingham Palace and the surrounding neighborhood. Some of the action has already taken place on the street where we stayed while in London. This is about as good as it gets, which was exactly how we looked at this day.