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Work'n While RV'n

Howard Elementary School Carnival
Click to see What's New at RVeCafe April 21, 2006: My job took me to Howard Elementary School in Central Point, Oregon today. I was the sole person to exhibit for Rogue Community College at the school fair inside the gym. I began my education career many years ago as a fifth grade school teacher so this brought back many memories. In this photo, the performing group is the local middle school choir. These tables of wrapped packages are silent auction prizes built by each classroom as a fund raiser for the school. I had to bid on several items but soon gave up except for one hand knit scarf with matching hat. I thought it would be a nice gift for Gwen.
I couldn't get Gwen to model this gift I won for her so Morgan volunteered to show it off. I thought Gwen would like the red and black colors and it will be winter-like conditions at the resort for several more weeks. The tag says "Red and Black Hat with matching scarf, value $25". I ended up paying $10 as the winning bidder. I'm sure those in the valley thought they would not have a need for this hat and scarf until next winter. There were a number of young families interested in reading the community college course schedule to advance their skills.
Morgan modeling the scarf and hat I bought Gwen at the silent auction
An official parking director April 22, 2006: Early this morning (5:45am), I showed up for work to help park cars at the resort. Since today is opening fishing day it seems everyMAN in southern Oregon must go fishing today. We have filled up all parking spaces in the main parking lot early, then filled all parking areas close to the lake. Finally, we have filled the parking area which requires about a quarter mile walk back to the lake. I'm wearing three layers of clothes because I did not want to be uncomfortably cold. It mostly worked but I wished for my heavier balaclava. The link above also shows the lake changes over the one week we have been camped at this site.
May 9, 2006: Today was lunch from the parking lot motor home Mexican restaurant. Why would someone eat from a Tioga motor home food vendor in a parking lot. I've always seen a crowd A Parking Lot Motorhome restaurant
at this Mexican food vendor in the Ray's Food Mart parking lot in Phoenix, Oregon. I had a reason to be in Phoenix today about lunch time so tried lunch here again for the second time. I've order the Veggie Burrito each time for $3. Both times it has been good, plenty of quantity and inexpensive. So apparently people eat here because the food is good, plentiful and inexpensive. I did learn that the county health inspector has given him permission to sell food here. He is surrounded by a Jack-in-the-Box, pizza parlor, cafe, deli in the grocery store and a new juice bar is being installed nearby. Yet, here he is, surrounded by competition and usually with a crowd. See that generator hanging from the back of his motor home? It's a 10 hp contractor model, very loud, yet people still sit under his awning within 10 feet of four lanes of traffic and a generator operating at high speed. That's me, with the hat and my back to the camera. I guess success in the food business means tasty food at a fair price, not need for the perfect atmosphere.
Lunch from a parking lot motor home
Moving Mirrors May 11, 2006: One of my duties when working for the community college is to manage all the community education courses in Jackson County. One of those courses is a Belly Dancing course with 16 students. Recently, our "PE" room was taken over by the drama department for their spring play. To save the Belly Dancing class, I moved it to a regular classroom where the students and instructor reluctantly moved the furniture in the room to practice.
However, they refused to practice without their mirrors so I agreed to move three large mirrors, very heavy and awkward about a quarter mile to their new practice room then move them back the next morning. At first the mirrors would mysteriously appear back in the correct room in the morning but I soon learned that the evening maintenance man was doing this job for me. When his boss learned of this, he was told to leave that job to me. I could imagine his disappointment because now he had no reason to check on the 16 practicing belly dancers. Today was my last day to move the mirrors because the next Belly Dance class comes after the end of the play.
May 19, 2006: Last night was a special night for my student worker, Tanya, at Rogue Community College. It was also special for me because I got to present an "Outstanding Student Award" to her in front of the whole college. She has been working as a student worker for my colleague and myself for two years. She's not taking easy courses either ... she's a nursing major with a 3.94 GPA, much better than I ever did in college. Besides working through college, attending college courses, winning scholarships, she is also a single Mom and still finds time to be the President of the student body. Congratulations Tanya! Outstanding Student Award
A community college exhibit May 24, 2006: A few days ago (when the weather was much better), I was the sole representative for Rogue Community College at the Medford City employees wellness fair. I had many course offerings ready to discuss which might be of interest to the city employees. Can you guess the topic flyer every third employee picked up? The topic was Spanish Conversation. Apparently southern Oregon is beginning to get their share of immigrants.
May 26, 2006: This would be an unusual pet to take for a walk in your RV park. I happened to see this poster on one of the bulletin boards at our college campus. Seems like a good price for a 3-1/2 foot long Iguana. I'm not sure what they eat but you may never have problems with bugs in your trailer or motor home ever again with this pet. You might have to throw out the couch to fit the 2 foot by 6 foot cage however, but maybe the cage would double as an entertainment center. Want a 3-1/2 foot lizard?
Downtown Medford Higher Education Building
June 5, 2006: Today was a special meeting with the architects of the new Rogue Community College - Southern Oregon University building to be built in downtown Medford. Until last week, my office was in a small building located under the footprint of this new building. Click to see a larger view
Now my office has moved to a very small corner of a classroom building near the construction site for this new building. Today was a final review of the floor plan for this new three story classroom building. Fortunately my office will move to the new building once it is completed in 2008. My office will be part of the new "business center" to be in a corner of the building on the ground floor. If you click on the map, you'll see a larger view showing my new office. This new building will be 75,000 square feet, mostly new classrooms for both Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University students. The business center in the top left of the diagram will be to help educate ongoing and potential business owners. Rogue has asked me to be the "director of the business center" which will give me a new title, but no new pay. It may also mean that I have an influence in what the business center will become. It's one thing that keeps me thinking about work rather than thinking about full-time RV.
Graphic Media Students show off their portfolios June 13, 2006: Today was the day for the Rogue Community College graphic media students to display examples of their work along with their portfolios. Some of these students have another year to finish their degrees while others are graduating this week and are ready to find a job now. I believe there were employers in the room looking at the talent. There were also many others just to enjoy the art work.
RCC Graduation, 2006
June 17, 2006: I have volunteered the last four years to usher disability seating to the college graduation. The graduates are seated in the center with reserved seating on both sides of the graduates for disability seating. My job is to point out the available seating for those with disabilities and one caretaker. There are two usual problems. First, the person with the disability almost always has the whole family with them and the family does not want to split their seating, part in the disability area and the other part in the regular seating area. Inevitably I end up in a discussion of the fairness of making "Grandpa" sit with only one caretaker. The second problem is those without disabilities will walk up to the disability seating as if the chairs are reserved for them even though the chairs are roped off with green ribbon and many others have seated themselves further into the bowl. Today was a particularly warm day, probably 90+ which made the seating uncomfortable for the first half of the ceremony. Once the graduates arrived, I'll bet everyone was too excited to notice the heat any longer.
June 19, 2006: Everyday we must make decisions, what socks, what shoes, what pants, what to make for lunch, the speed to drive down the mountain and should I buy a new car? My friend Brian works with me at the college, I happened to tell him my story of how my fool proof method for buying a new car had failed me. A 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix, no, I did not buy it.
The story goes like this: I have a 1992 Toyota Camry with 243,000 miles on it. The engine seems to be strong but little things are starting to fail. I put new tires on it 30,000 miles ago thinking, when those tires are worn out (I figured 50,000+ miles), I'll get a different car. Well, the tires are needing replacing after only 30,000 miles so I must now decide to get new tires or a different car. "I've got just the car for you!" exclaimed Brian. He brought it to work today so of course I had to inspect it. It's a 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix SE with only 51,000 miles on it. It sure is clean and pretty but for the price he wants for it there are lots of competing vehicles available. I looked up Kelly Blue Book and he's asking the "good" value when this vehicle seems at least that value. I don't have the cash and I don't want payments so you'd think the decision would be easy but it never is. Another surprise is I expected my Toyota to be worthless in KBB but even the "fair" value is $2,400. I still must decide, new tires for the Toyota (and hope it goes another 30,000 miles) or search for another car which might include this Pontiac. Brian is being a real butt ... he mentions how nice the car is every time I see him, honks the horn as he drives by, makes me sit in it to operate the power seats and listen to the premium sound system, and makes me inspect the roomy trunk. I keep telling him I wouldn't know what to do with a car that doesn't drip oil onto the exhaust manifold, doesn't chatter when you apply the brakes, actually shows the radio station because the lights work on the stereo system, doesn't have torn upholstery, and the air conditioning works even in town driving because the clutch operated radiator fan works. I'm use to making do with something that still works in drive and reverse but may be missing these other things I've mentioned. Perhaps I should offer him "trade-in value" to see what he says. Then I could play HIS game because he wants a different car too.
New tires for the old Toyota June 21, 2006: The idea of spending thousands to replace a perfectly good Toyota got me to Les Schwab Tire Center today for new tires. Even though the old Toyota has many small problems, the engine is running fine, so I hope to get another 35,000+ miles out of her before having to decide what vehicle comes next.
Of course it had to be Les Schwab Tires, you can check my feelings about Les Schwab when I got a nail in a truck tire. I only got 30,000 miles from my current tires and was expecting more (as I explained above) so I'll have them check the wheel alignment tomorrow. This is bad news for Brian, I'll have to break it to him tomorrow. By the way, this is Kevin working on the tires. One of the great customer service guys. I didn't even get into the parking lot without Kevin running to the car to see what I wanted. He was happy to hear that I needed tires.
June 26, 2006: Part of my job today took me near the Lost Creek Covered bridge. It is one of the five covered bridges in southern Oregon. Located about 12 miles northeast of Medford on tiny lost creek. Apparently the creek, in 1881 when the bridge was built, was enough to justify such a nice bridge. Click on either photo to enlarge the photos. To the right and adjacent to the bridge is this very well kept memorial park. It appears that the park is arranged to invite large family groups as well as individuals. There is abundant shade to help keep participants cool during a picnic. It was 107 degrees in Medford today. Lost Creek Covered Bridge
Park adjacent to the bridge
Shopping in Costco July 13, 2006: This is one of my favorite places to shop, Costco. On this trip, I had the time to walk every isle which is something I like to do occasionally to see what Costco has new. This day my shopping list included cat food, Feta cheese, bath
towels, dog treats, vacuum seal-Space Bags, laundry soap, mixed nuts and another snack I purchased just because I liked the container. Gwen gets nervous when I shop at Costco alone because I get influenced by products that look "neat". The last time I shopped at Costco, I came home with a combination magazine rack and toilet paper dispenser. I think Gwen ended up approving THAT purchase.
July 18, 2006: This is the first day of the Jackson County Fair in southern Oregon. Rogue Community College exhibits at the fair and I volunteered to be the first in the booth. This was a good choice, little traffic so time to visit with folks who stopped by. It was also a good choice because this was to be a HOT day, 100+ and my exhibit time was 11 - 2pm right under the air conditioning vent. Since I was the first in the booth I could bring my own flyers advertising the programs I manage and everyone who follows me will think that RCC administration felt those flyers should be in the booth. Pretty good thinking, huh! Jackson County Fair
Office Door August 7, 2006: One of my instructors in collaboration with the night facilities person (both my friends) decided it was my birthday or maybe they decided to decorate my door and needed to THINK it was my birthday. Anyway, they had a party without me one evening and this is what happened to my office door during the party. Everything was stuck to the door pretty well. I had to make sure all the offices near mine knew I was about to pop a bunch of balloons to remove them, otherwise they might be ducking under their desks and not exiting for a few days. The prize in the middle is a box with four Whitman's chocolates ... perhaps I should spread the rumor that it's my birthday NEXT week too.
August 20, 2006: The college I work for has 3 campuses. To keep staff from running from one campus to another for meetings, we use video conferencing. We literally sit in front of a TV camera in each campus and talk to each other during meetings. video conference
This saves each of us great deal of time and money because now we can all walk to the meeting room rather than drive as much as an hour each way. Some administrators have several meetings each day. I'm fortunate and usually have only about half a dozen meets each month.
Visiting Elk Creek School
August 31, 2006: Once each quarter I must deliver schedules and flyers to all the schools in the "Upper Rogue" area. This takes me into some remote areas of the county. This is the furthest school I reach. It's towards Crater Lake, a rural school with only about 100 students attending. This is a pleasant task since I enjoy these country schools.
September 6, 2006: The new building is in the final stages of planning. When I built a house, I made decisions as the construction progressed. When building a classroom building, all plans are made before the first brick is laid. Even the color of the paint on the walls, carpet, size of tables in the rooms, virtually everything. Greg works for the architect firm and is pointing to the portion of the business center where my new office will be located. The design has been scaled back for lack of money from the original plan above.
September 19, 2006: Today was one of those days where you find a sign on the door of the college, "Campus Closed for Staff In-Service". This is where we have department meetings and whole college staff meetings to hear the good and bad about the future of the college. One of our treats today was a short discussion with Jason Atkinson, an Oregon State Senator. Our college is always struggling to get enough funding from the state government. The college president is always inviting state legislators to visit and speak to college staff. Senator Atkinson spoke today about the true meaning of public service. Senator Atkinson was the best part of today's "in-service".
September 20, 2006: I used to park next to my office building but now it's being prepared for demolition. I've moved to the Evergreen Parking Garage only two blocks from the college. The tan building through the parking garage window is one of the main buildings of the college. This wasn't the most exciting thing of the day but it's pretty bad when parking on the third floor of a parking garage is close to the top of a day's excitement.
September 27, 2006: Remember the new building RCC is going to construct? That means we have a shortage of classrooms. This is a photo of me "loitering" in front of North Medford High School where I've scheduled 13 courses which can't be placed on the RCC campus. When these students arrive, they don't know where to go so I point the way. Directing students to classes
Business Resource Fair hosted by Rogue Community College October 14, 2006: I spent the entire day coordinating the Rogue Valley Business Resource Fair today. This was a great thing for anyone in business or thinking about starting a new business. 15 different free seminars, each one hour long. Over 180 attended fro 9:30 to 2:30. I arrived at 7 am and did not leave until 4 pm. The day went quickly because it was so busy.
Participants and exibitors at the fair
October 18, 2006: Beginning November 12, 2006, we must move our trailer from Howard Prairie Resort. We could choose one of the many RV parks in the area like this one in the photo. Does this look attractive to you? It does not look attractive to us. Look how closely these RV's are parked together. Note, no access to the beautiful river, which is really a muddy creek. An RV Park in Phoenix Oregon

What is not shown in the photo is Interstate 5, only 100 yards to the rear of these motor homes. We didn't choose to live in an RV to be forced into this "migrant camp". I think we have alternatives. Here is a copy of the email I sent to many friends at the college where I work:

"Maybe you have some contacts?

My wife, Gwen, and I have begun a new chapter in our lives by selling our house in Grants Pass to live in our fifth wheel full time. We've actually been living in it 8 months of the year already at Howard Prairie Lake Resort where Gwen is on the resort staff. You can see our story at  Between November 12, 2006 and April 9, 2007 (when we return to the resort) we must find a new Jackson County location to live and park our RV. We'd rather NOT stay in an RV park. Instead, we'd rather park on someone's rural property and pay for the privilege. Do you know someone who might have a place we could park and would like an extra $300+ per month?

Another alternative we thought about was someone who might like a "house-sitter". In this case we would bring our own house and not bother theirs, but could be on the property while they are absent. Do you know of anyone like that?

Let me know what you think."

Stay tuned, we'll know what we are going to do by November 9 when we will pull out of Howard Prairie for a short trip to the coast.

October 24, 2006: These are the buildings on the block where my old office was located. They are all coming down in preparation for the new three story office and classroom building. The goal is to begin construction in early 2007 and move in during the fall of 2008. My name is on an office in this new building if the college budget can support my position until 2008.
Peter Angstadt is interviewed by local media November 3, 2006: The official demolishing of the old buildings brought the media to our campus. Here, our college President, Peter Angstadt speaks to a local TV reporter while the Southern Oregon University Medford Campus director, Vicki Purslow (in the background) begins to take a ceremonial swing at the old build brick wall with a sledge hammer. This building will be a classroom building and business center for both Rogue Community College (main campus in Grants Pass) and Southern Oregon University where the main campus is in Ashland. Click the photo to enlarge.
November 16, 2006: After 6.5 hours of driving I've arrived in Hood River, Oregon on the Columbia River. The Columbia separates the states of Oregon and Washington, so this is as far north in Oregon I can drive. I'm attending the Oregon Community Education Association Fall Conference. Virtually every Oregon Community College is in OCEA Conference in Hood River, Oregon
Hood River Bridge across the Columbia
attendance. Some of the most valuable discussion is concerning the courses which are popular and how those are marketed. Gwen and Morgan have come with me to Hood River so they can enjoy the area too. We have a sliding glass door off our room to the grass and view of the Columbia and the Hood River Bridge. Hood River is generally a very windy area and has become a destination for wind surfing, however, since I've been here, there has been no wind. The houses you see across the bridge are in Washington State. The photograph of the bridge was taken with the camera sitting on the table in our room since I forgot to bring my tripod.
December 2, 2006: The Dean of our campus, the Riverside Campus of Rogue Community College is retiring. Mary Louise and her husband, Ted, have great plans for retirement. This has been a very busy last two years at our campus so I'm sure she is looking forward to only making travel decisions or selecting something in the freezer for dinner. It has been my pleasure to get to work with Mary Louise. She was in another position for the college when she hired me to my full-time position.
December 8, 2006: Today is our holiday celebration at the Riverside Campus of Rogue Community College. Our special treat today is a musical celebration featuring the Jazz Ensemble. This is one of the courses I manage (I don't play an instrument, just manage the course). The group has been playing for only two years but has grown from only a few players to a good size group. RCC Jazz Ensemble
A long walk from the parking garage to my office January 5, 2007: Today was my first day back to work since December 8. I chose to return on a Friday to make Monday easier. This is my long walk from the parking garage, down the sidewalk, past the Chamber of Commerce then the tatoo parlor, salon, Ginger Rogers Theater and Rogue Art Gallery to my small office in the back corner of "D" building. In some ways I was disappointed that my office still had my name on it and my key still worked to open the door.

June 12, 2007: Today was a work day for me. My job took me to Grants Pass, Oregon where I learned the city was promoting the Bearfest again. Gwen and I used to live in Grants Pass and the Bearfest was always very popular and the art work on the bears is incredible. The bears can stand as tall as 8 feet and are decorated in many different methods. Some are painted, some have materials glued to the base or attached to the body in some way. Click here to see a description of the Bearfest as well as slide shows of previous Bear Festivals. You can also click any of these bears to enlarge. Bearfest in Grants Pass
Grants Pass Bearfest Grants Pass Bearfest Grants Pass Bearfest
June 16, 2007: I have volunteered for the last time to help with the college graduation. These seats in the photo are for handicapped guests. For the last four years I have volunteered to assist with the handicapped seating. Even though the seating is marked, nearly everyone entering the bowl wants to sit in these chairs. I must make sure the chairs are used by
the handicapped. It's not a bad job because once the ceremony begins, I leave the bowl and head home. The actual ceremony can go on for hours with the reading of hundreds of names. This is what last years graduation looked like.
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