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2009: Howard Prairie Lake Resort
Ashland, Oregon

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Our campsite for the season
April 12, 2009: Yesterday we took a run up to the resort to learn of the conditions. Gwen will need to start work beginning tomorrow. The resort is much different this year from last year. Last year the lake was still covered with ice and we have about two feet of snow on the ground. We did not move into our usual space until May 11 last year. In the photo above, the pile of snow is where we usually park our truck. The deck is covered by the tarp on the right. We don't expect to return to Howard Prairie for a sixth season so we will put a "For Sale" sign on the deck this year. The picnic table is just to the right of the snow pile in the back. Gwen and I cleared the trailer parking area of about 8 inches of snow so it will be ready for our trailer when we return next weekend.
The marina is empty
The marina is empty and the shack is still boarded. The resort will open on April 15 so I expect it will get into working order within the next few days. Compare what the marina looks like this year with last year.
East Phoenix April 13, 2009: Only two miles east of our RV park in Phoenix, Oregon is a hillside of pear trees which are slowly coming to life. You can click the photo to enlarge. Note Mount Ashland in the background. Mt. Ashland Ski area is still open and plans to stay open until the end of the month. This has not been a good snow year but apparently enough for die-hard skiers. Howard Prairie is located about 45 minutes from this valley location and three-thousand feet higher. The temperature difference is usually 15 to 20 degrees cooler.
Our new campsite
April 19, 2009: We are back at Howard Prairie for the season. Yes, the pile of snow is still in our usual truck parking spot but the trailer site is clear after we move a foot of snow. These last two days have been exceptionally warm and tomorrow is predicted to be even warmer. We don't usually get this kind of weather until mid-June or later. Our beautiful cedar deck makes getting into and out of the trailer much easier. You can click the photo to enlarge the view. This also means we are back onto our own network with our satellite Internet dish.
Chipmunk Party Pine cone leftovers
April 23, 2009: Gwen has done several duties at the resort. Last year and again, this year, she cleans the resort Schooners. The first ones are rented tomorrow (Friday) but she must get all 19 ready for the season. This is Schooner #3 where apparently a family of chipmunks had lunch each day. These are the leftovers from pine cones which they brought into the bathroom. One interesting note is that this was only leftover parts of pine cones, NO chipmunk poop. Apparently chipmunks don't poop where they eat. What a nice place to have meals during the winter months. I assist Gwen one day each weekend and will be helping her full time once I retire from the college. A nice place to spend the winter
Boat trailers are lined up Fish cleaning time
Is this a limit? April 25, 2009: Although the resort has been opened since April 15, this is the real opening day. The parking lot is full and cars are parked on the shoulders of the access and campground roads. This is the opening day to fishing season. Traditionally, this has always been one of the biggest days at the resort. Today seemed about 2/3 the crowd of what I have seen in past years with the exception of last year when the conditions were much worse. I'd say it is a hopeful beginning for the resort season. There are always worries about weather, fishing success, and of course the recession when it comes to running a resort. This resort like many other seasonal businesses must make all its income in about five months, although the real crowds aren't here until July and August. There seemed to be lots of happy fishermen today.
April 28, 2009: This is typical mountain commute weather for late spring. The high in the valley is in the mid-50s today but only 39 as a high in the mountains. Still, we save up our days to laugh at the valley crowd when the valley temperature reaches 110 in the summer and only 85 in the mountains. I've actually seen the weather here much worse this time of year. You can see the road is dry today and the snow only seems far away in the trees. Still, the forecast is for better weather toward the end of the week but you never can trust the weather reports when you live in the mountains. The Mountain Commute
April 29, 2009: I made the decision to retire from Rogue Community College several months ago. I've already notified the state retirement system that I want to begin my small retirement income during the summer. I've notified my supervisor and written an official letter to the college to notify them of my intention. Yet, even with all that, the notice I got today from the college was somewhat of a shock. I realize that retirement was MY choice, but still, to need college board approval to retire certainly makes the decision final. Not that I would want to turn back. I've made similar decisions during my working life and I've not been sorry for any of those decisions. In fact, I'm really looking forward to the adventures of retirement and what it will bring. I'm not sure if I should frame this notice and hang in in our RV bathroom or just file away with all the other curious papers. It does show a nice advancement over my nine and three-quarter years at the college.

Child Abuse Awareness Rally in Jackson County
May 1, 2009: Yesterday I was able to attend the Child Abuse Awareness Rally in Jackson County. It was only around the block from the college. There were a variety of speakers. The person speaking in the photo is the Superintend ant of Medford School District. The speaker was saying that two children are abused each day in Jackson County. The rally organizers were hoping for 730 people to attend the rally so the city would see the number of faces equal to the number of children abused in our county. I think there may have been 200 present. Child abuse is one of those topics which is very difficult to hear about and even more difficult to talk about. The point of this rally was to bring the subject forward hoping that awareness might help reduce the occurrence. I found myself standing next to a college colleague. I noticed she was in tears much of the rally so this topic must have meant something very special to her.
A pose for an online magazine May 3, 2009: While working today, I noticed a "tweet" by Twitter from the online magazine RV Travel. The tweet asked that readers send a photo of themselves reading RV Travel and if the photo was used, I would receive a "neat coffee mug". So I jumped to my feet, set my camera on a tripod and snapped the photo on the left. You can enlarge the photo by clicking on it. You'll see Annie sitting in her perch at the upper right along with our Escapees decal in the window above her head. Anyway, RV Travel published my photo, you can see it in the right column here. I'm looking forward to my "neat coffee mug"! (of course this is Gwen's computer, I don't have the view Gwen has at my computer)
Motorcycle gathering
May 4, 2009: Today is Monday but on Saturday, the resort prepared for a motorcycle event which was to be 300 riders. It took a great deal of preparation to get enough hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad and drinks ready for 300 riders. When Saturday morning arrived, it was very cold. By the time 10 am arrived the wind was blowing at about 20 mph. We put up the canopies in anticipation of rain but they had to be tied down to the trees and benches to keep them from blowing away. We had a ton of potato salad ready along with hamburger patties ready to barbeque. You can see Gwen below ready to prepare meals for 300 riders while trying to keep warm. All the riders were to arrive at 11am and on to the next stop by noon. As it turned out only 30 riders arrived. They were all frozen, shivering and did their best to hold a cup of hot coffee while standing around the tiny wood stove trying to thaw. The resort sold two hot dogs. It's the nature of a resort business, you take the good days with the bad.
Warming by the fire
May 10, 2009: Today was a work day for Gwen and I at the resort but we were able to punch out, attend this little mountain church, then return to work. It made for a late work day but it was enjoyable to spend Mother's Day at our little church. We were able to catch up on the mountain happenings since October was the last we were able to attend. Now that we are back on the mountain, it will be easy to attend except on extremely busy Sundays. Mother's Day in the mountains
Helicopter practice May 12, 2009: While returning to the resort today, I passed the Ashland airport as I usually do. Today, it seemed it was helicopter practice day. The object of the practice was to set the bag between the flags. They looked to be about six feet apart. This pilot seemed to be an expert. It didn't take him long to set the bag exactly in the center of the flags.
May 13, 2009: Last week I got a "Tweet" that the state of Maine had introduced legislation to ban all RV parking in the whole state other than designated camping and RV parks. No overnight parking in parking lots or public sites for the whole state. Several RV news groups rallied to encourage members to write, phone or email the legislature in the state of Maine. What we were all afraid of was a bill like this passing in Maine, then in other states too. Of course I would like the freedom to choose a free location in Maine to park rather than being forced into a RV park for an overnight stay. I emailed about six individuals including the governor, key state chamber of commerce officers, tourism department officers and Anne Perry, the legislator who authored the bill. I learned yesterday that Ms. Perry had recommended the bill be defeated due to the number of emails she got on the subject. When you read this news article, you'll see that some of the emails she got were "nasty and name-calling". I followed with an email apologizing for any inappropriate language in emails and assured her that responsible RVers, like those in Escapees, would have no need for threats or name calling. Today, I got a reply from Ms. Perry concerning my first email. I'm proud to have helped to stop such a bill. At the same time I know there are RVers out there who do not follow the Code of Conduct for overnight parking on private business parking lots. If RVers don't speak up when someone is obviously abusing a privilege, we will all likely suffer from laws banning RV parking in the future.
May 14, 2009: Each morning and evening I drive by this meadow overlooking the north end of Howard Prairie Lake and Mt. McLoughlin. In the spring, the meadow is filled with yellow wild flowers. This photo is taken from an elevation of 4,500 feet and the mountain soars to 9,495 feet. It's almost a perfect cone shape. Not much to worry about since the last time it erupted with 30,000 years ago. By mid-summer, all the snow will be off the mountain and it becomes a popular day hike but very strenous. You can click the photo to enlarge. Only another month of commuting and I won't be passing this way each day. Mt. McLoughlin
Cheri with her new car May 15, 2009: We sold the commute car today to Cheri, my student helper at the college. Cheri has not had a car in a few years but now has accepted a new job in eastern Oregon where she will need a car. I need to sell the commute car by June 17. I've sold it a bit early but Cheri needs the car now. The Camry has many miles on it, nearly 300,000 but it may have many more. It's running great and has always been reliable. Hopefully it will be the same for Cheri. So, this is one more item out of the way of retirement. The last big item is the deck I built for Howard Prairie, it's time to sell the deck.
May 19, 2009: Today I discovered an interesting location on the Internet. Travelers are uploading hundreds of short videos about their trips. Many show National Parks and other campgrounds around the country. Many of the videos are professionally done but the real benefit for the viewer is to get an idea of some neat areas to travel and camp. The video to the right won the "video of the day" award and shows an RV trip through the Petrified Forest in Arizona. The entire video is only 1 minute 4 seconds long.

Watch more travel videos at
Fields of purple May 27, 2009: Three weeks from today is my last day at the college. It's not all fun after that. I must workamp with Gwen until mid-September and she works me very hard. But no more commuting. This time of year, I see fields of purple on my commute up and down the mountain. Tomorrow is to be a day in the 90's in the valley but in the mountains, we'll see only mid to high 70's. Howard Prairie is on the otherside of the highest peak you see in the photo.
June 1, 2009: We have been having late spring thunderstorms for the last several days. Here are a few cumulous clouds slowly building into another thunderstorm for this evening. Fortunately, these have been wet storms so we haven't had any fires in the area. The valley has had cloud bursts; so local flooding when the storm drain system can't handle the heavy downpour. Mt. McLoughlin is an old volcano at 9,495 feet. The last eruption was 30,000 years ago so I think it's due. The mountain is slowly losing its snow cover and will be without snow completely, at least on the south facing slopes soon. This is a popular summer mountain to hike. Surprisingly, because of the very rough rocky surface, the trail is difficult to follow at the top of the peak. Every summer, at least one or two hikers will become lost because they lose the trail in the decent. This is Dead Indian Memorial Road which I follow each day to work in Medford. I have only another twelve commute days left until I retire from the college. You can click the photo to enlarge. Mt. McLoughlin
Shopping June 2, 2009: WinCo is a cultural experience. It's usually the least expensive place to shop. Some major chains are even twice the price. Today, Winco was packed. It seemed like everyone in Medford was in WinCo shopping. Gwen likes the inexpensive WinCo take and bake pizzas. She puts all sorts of great ingredients onto a plain cheese pizza. We find it to be better than any other "take-and-bake" pizzas after Gwen is done fixing it up. Another item I purchased was a quart of organic yogurt for $2.50. The same brand was $3.50 at Albertsons market.
June 6, 2009: It would be nice if we could sell our Cedar deck. We have used it for four years and we aren't returning next year so it's time to turn it back into cash. Gwen created a flyer to tack on the campground bulletin board. I plan to drop a flyer off at the Holiday RV park where we spent the winter. I've also listed it at Craig's List. We've had good luck in selling items on Craig's List. A deck makes it much easier entry and exit into the trailer. Deck For Sale
Pelican on the lake

June 8, 2009: Over the weekend and today, we made the decision to ask the resort owners to find someone to take our place at the lake. We talked to the owners today. Here is what I posted today on the Escapees Workamper BOF (Birds of a Feather):

I'm retiring from my "day job" in 9 days then going traveling. My wife
currently works at Howard Prairie Lake Resort
(, 23 miles east of Ashland Oregon in the Cascade Mountains. I'd like to take her traveling with me. That means the resort needs a couple to work mostly full time (at least during the month of July) and about 3/4 time during the month of August. You get your site free, $8.40/hour for every hour worked, plus one meal while on shift. You also get half off a meal (from the restaurant) when not on shift plus a 20% discount from the store. The job is to clean the schooners (25 foot travel trailers) which the resort rents. They have 18 schooners and one cabin to rent. This job could go to the middle of October if you stay to the end of the season. Gwen is more knowledgeable about the job than I am. If you have questions,
email her at . Otherwise call Holly, the resort owner to talk with her, 541-482-1979. Tell Holly you want to talk about Gwen and Dale's job. By the way, Holly did mention she needs someone to work in the store too.

June 9, 2009: We looked today for a location to camp once we leave Howard Prairie. We want some place to the east but not too far. We found some BLM land called the Gerber Recreation Area which is half way between Klamath Falls and Lakeview, Oregon. That means it will be about two hours from Howard Prairie. It seems to meet exactly what we are needing. We need some time to re-coop our thoughts, repack the trailer and eliminate all unnecessary stuff. Gerber Recreation Area

Oregon State Park coupon June 10, 2009: Oregon is making a special offer to campers this summer. Oregon State Parks is making an offer of the third night free. Pay for two nights and get the third night free. The only catch is you must print the coupon and present at check in. These parks are "First-Come, First-Served" parks. Click the graphic to visit the Oregon State Park offer.
June 12, 2009: I've been told of worse situations but this is the worst I've seen. This fellow drove around three times looking to get stuck and he finally did it. He can't go backward nor forward. He actually drove off the road thinking he would back up the hill into a tiny space. I doubt that he could do this even if the pavement was dry. He's called for a tow truck. This will be a large bill for camping at Howard Prairie. A new way to park your RV
Looking up the hill Left front wheel is holding the coach back
Free Stuff June 18, 2009: It's time to have a "garage sale". We've put stuff out front of our trailer with a "FREE" sign. We plan to leave Howard Prairie on Monday (it's Thursday) so the "valuable stuff" we aren't taking with us needs to go. If it's not gone by Monday, it will go to the trash. It looks like this will be a busy weekend so I'll bet the free stuff is gone by the end of the weekend.
June 21, 2009: My daughter Mindy has been visiting these last three days. She brought her dog, Gunnar to visit also. Gunner and Mindy like to hike so we have been hiking one place or another each day. Today was a nice hike in cold rainy weather on the Pacific Crest Trail. You can see the trail disappearing into the forest behind Mindy and the dogs. Besides hiking, Mindy enjoyed shopping in Oregon where there is NO sales tax. She is leaving tomorrow morning to return to Truckee, California. This is likely our last day at Howard Prairie Lake Resort. It's been a good four and one-half years but we're very happy to be on our way to the next adventure. Daughter Mindy visiting for Father's Day weekend

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