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Traveling Summer, 2013

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Ferndale live theater We watched the play by Thornton Wilder, "Our Town"
Friday, October 25, 2013: This will be the last entry for this series, "Traveling Summer 2013". Before leaving Ferndale on our Oregon/California coast trip, we were able to attend the first night of the Thornton Wilder play, "Our Town" in downtown Ferndale, California. I've seen the play before and it's always been one of my favorites. This theater group did an excellent job and brought back good memories of the plays I saw previously. Here are a few lines I remember: Emily: I always expect a man to be perfect and I think he should be. George: Oh... I don't think it's possible to be perfect, Emily. Emily: Well, my father is, and as far as I can see your father is. There's no reason on earth why you shouldn't be, too. In the third act Emily ends the play with some startling statements: "I can't look at everything hard enough." "Mama, just for a moment we're happy. Let's look at one another." "That's all human beings are! Just blind people." I believe this is a play with a simple message, appreciate every second with each other. Click the photos for additional views.

Logs loaded for export to China
Tuesday, October 22, 2013: I missed this photo the last time we were in Coos Bay. This ship is only half full, the logs will pile to beyond the height of the retaining bars. Click the photo for an enlarged view. Tomorrow we return home. Before the purchase of the Alumascape, we always towed our "home" with us with no home base. Now we have home as our Cameo fifth wheel, twice the size of our Alumascape, reliable TV, Internet and routine, plus my woodshop. I admit, there is some comfort in that. I also have a pretty good "to-do" list of repairs and changes needed to the Alumascape. These last few travel days have not been that pleasant due to the fog however, the weather forecast for home also shows "fog" so we'd have to be in the mountains or perhaps eastern Oregon to avoid this damp, cold weather pattern. I hope we try that next fall. I in the North Bend Library again looking for music CDs. I've noticed in all the libraries I visit, there is always a small group of what appear to be homeless (or living out of their vehicle) patrons. Of course "homeless" must be defined by the SIZE of the "vehicle" one lives in. Ours is 28 feet long with one slide-out and solar powered while looking in the library parking lot, "theirs" is a "station wagon" or van with possessions piled above the windows. Everything is relative.
North Bend Public LibraryMonday, October 21, 2013: Our new campsite next to the Mill Casino and US 101 is pretty noisy, but we did OK with ear plugs. Something has happened to our fresh water. I filled the tank in Ferndale but the tank is empty today. I believe the fresh water relief valve needs to be replaced. The RV park next door let us fill our water tank for $5. I should feel grateful but I have mixed feelings since we paid full price for three days a month ago. I spent the day at the Kaffe 101 coffee shop where they have free Wi-Fi and good coffee then at the library where they have a large music CD collection and free Wi-Fi. You can tell some of those parked in the free parking area at the casino are poor (like us) but there are just as many (if not more) $300,000 motor homes here. My assumption is they are just trying to get there money's worth from their generators (the exhaust fumes this morning were pretty bad) and a few getting their money's worth from their solar systems (again, just like us). We haven't used our generator the whole trip and dry camped about half the time. I admit, the fog prevented us from getting to 100% charge on the batteries but we DID get to 96%. We watched a Redbox movie tonight with plenty of power to spare. Click the library photo for a view of Kaffe 101. They use a reward system new to me called Loyaltree. It's a phone APP used to track loyalty rewards. After a purchase, you scan a QR code on the receipt with your phone which tracks your rewards. I already have a 30% discount on my next purchase. Guess where I will be sometime tomorrow for the free Wi-Fi and good coffee. It's a neat marketing idea. I will be scanning Loyaltree for other coffee shops where we travel to get my rewards. Loyaltree charges the merchant a nickel for every QR code scanned.
Free parking at The Mill Casino, Coos Bay, Oregon, Behind: Panorama of our parkingSunday, October 20, 2013: This is a travel day from Ferndale, California to Coos Bay, Oregon. It was foggy most of the route arriving late in the afternoon in Coos Bay where it is relatively clear but very cold due to the wind. We have parked in the Mill Casino free parking on the gravel unlike a month ago when we paid to stay in the Mill Casino RV park. We were hoping to see a movie or two here but none playing which has our interest so will probably try Redbox for tomorrow night. I'm also interested in spending some time in the library because they have a large music CD collection. Today was the longest travel day of our six week vacation, 236 miles. We did discover a great healthy food restaurant in Crescent City, California, The Good Harvest Cafe.
A unique item at Eureka CostcoSaturday, October 19, 2013: I spent most of the day (after lunch) at the library to upload some videos to go along with some of my previous posts (check below). For some reason, it takes the library connection a long time to upload a video. I also posted a negative, stinging review of the Mendocino Campground on Yelp because I felt the campground was one of the poorest we've ever visited. However, besides being dirty the campground was creepy and mysterious because of the occupants of the campground who seemed to be friends of the ONE person who hung around to collect camping fees but did little else. Anyway, after posting this review, I decided the place was TOO creepy and might come looking for me because of my negative review so I deleted the review ... I'll consider what to do if anything. Yesterday, we shopped for a few items at the Eureka, California Costco. I like to visit the Costco while traveling. Costco will often have unique items related to the area where the Costco exists. Sometimes it's a book of local history, or maps of local highways. What I found was a set of two crabbing pots and all the gear needed to go along with the pots (except the bait). Click the photo for a larger view to see what's included. Crabbing was something Gwen and Ralph wanted to do and considered renting pots when we were in Brookings for a week. Then we found a commercial fisherman selling Rock Cod and giving away crab. The crab pot set is $80 (2 pots). I've never seen this item at any Costco other than Eureka. It's always fun searching for the special items in each Costco.
Breakfast at the Samoa Cookhouse, Behind: The four locals who shared our tableFriday, October 18, 2013: We spent the entire day in Eureka. It began this morning with breakfast at the famous Somoa Cookhouse where all meals are served family style with no menu, all items are served and you choose what to eat. Behind this photo is a photo of local loggers a few years back, they don't look very happy, perhaps they didn't get breakfast at the Cookhouse. The left photo below is of the Eureka Inn. 48 years ago I was a member of the UC Davis Marching Band. The UCD football team played Humbolt State University and the band accompanied the team for this away-game. The UCD student body put us up in the Eureka Inn. What a time we had. 48 years seems like a long time but to me is seems like last week. Behind that photo is the Eagle Inn, I liked the architecture. The center photo is a horse and buggy waiting for a fair. Gwen and I were tempted but decided to walk the streets instead. Behind that photo is a panorama of the Old Town Eureka area. The right photo is one I forced Gwen into posing. I'm still hoping one of us will get lucky tonight. Behind that photo is a panorama of the interior of the Eureka Co-Op, a grocery health food cooperative. It was very well done so Gwen and I stocked up on some healthy groceries.
Eureka Inn, Behind: Eagle Inn Waiting for a customer in Old Town Eureka, Behind: Panorama of Old Town Wow, someone might get lucky tonight, Behind: Eureka Co-Op a nice copy of Whole Foods

Petrolia Road out of Ferndale into the California Lost Coast, Behind:View of the Pacific Ocean from the Petrolia Road, this is the California Lost Coast
Petrolia general store, Behind: Entering Petrolia "The Wall" from the Petrolia Road, Behind: Looking down from The Wall back toward the ocean section of the Petrolia Road.
Thursday, October 17, 2013: The Chico Bicycle club sponsors a ride known as the "Tour of the Unknown Coast" every September. It is a very tough ride from Ferndale through the Avenue of the Giants then to Honeydew, Petrolia and the "California Lost Coast" back to Ferndale. It's a two day ride of 100 total miles. I have done the ride twice and you'd think I'd remember much of this but it's been 15 years since the last time. I drove much of the route today and now understand why the ride is so difficult. The road if very steep in both ascending and descending, narrow and very rough, multi-patched pavement. The views are spectacular with very little traffic because this area is so remote.jI made a short video while driving the Lost Coast road. If you calculate remoteness by how long it takes to get to a large grocery store from Petrolia, I'd estimate, 1.5 hours one way. If remoteness is judged, as I often do, the length of time to the nearest Costco, then Petrolia is 2 hours of tough driving one way. The ocean is hidden by fog in the left photo. Petrolia has ONE general store in the center photo. I also spotted a nice looking restaurant. In the photo at right is "The Wall" because it is so steep. Cyclists must climb this grade (only partially shown) to get back to Ferndale. After getting to the top of this grade, it drops to sea level on the other side then must be climbed again to 2,000 feet to drop down again into Ferndale. Ugh! Click the photos for additional views.
Camping in Ferndale again, Behind: enlarged viewWednesday, October 16, 2013: Travel day from Redway to Ferndale where we plan to camp long enough to visit Eureka and a few other northern California towns. We chose to stay at the Humbolt County Fairgrounds again, a comfortable place to camp with the race track and grandstand on the other side of the fence. Driving was easy on this section of Highway 101 with the Avenue of the Giants off to the right (east) the whole way. We are getting plenty of sun and the temperature feels comfortable. Nice enough to sit in the sun and relax. I made a trip back to the library for Internet access.
Doing the tourist thing (free) on the Avenue of the Giants, Behind: a redwood woodworker in Miranda, California Driving through a Redwood grove, Behind: Redwoods are 300 feet tall.
Hiking in the Avenue of the Giants, Behind: Comparing historical events to the age of a redwood.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013: Today was a tourist day. We drove the Avenue of the Giants parallel to Highway US 101 between Miranda and Redcrest, California. This is one of the last virgin redwood forests. There are small communities along the route selling redwood souvenirs. There are hiking trails through the redwood groves, the outside air temperature is 20 degrees cooler than outside the area. The entire area is part of the Humbolt Redwood State Park. Click the photos for additional views. I also made a short, silly video while driving the Avenue of the Giants.

Parked at the Dean Creek Resort near Redway, CA, Behind: Front view of our camping space
Monday, October 14, 2013: This was a travel day from Mendocino to Redway, California via California Highway 20. This road was also two lane, slow with steep climbs and decents but far better than Highway 1 because it was wider, had many pullouts, hairpin turns not as tight and grades not as steep. We chose to stop at the Dean Creek RV Resort so we could explore the Avenue of the Giants without the trailer. This is not much of a "resort" but has full South Fort of the Eel River, Behind: View of the Eel opposite direction into the sun
hookups and cheaper than the rustic dry camping we endured in the Mendocino campground. We had lunch in Garberville and have learned that all this area including Mendocino and Fort Bragg have a large population of alternative life style "rainbow family". Garberville seems to have especially been taken over by the rainbow family. I honestly don't see evidence of the high goals reported the rainbow family document. A lady visiting the area referred to the group as "rainbow", I would call them hippies. I spent some time with "hippies" in the 60s and I don't see THESE hippies showing artistic or musical talent like many of the hippies I knew. However, they are similar in that they are NOT employed. The Dean Creek Resort is 5 miles north of Garberville on the south fork of the Eel River. Our space is above the river bank, photo on the left, click to see the front view. The Eel river is on the right looking downstream, click to look upstream. Before leaving Fort Bragg we visited the Eggheads Restaurant which is rated an average of four stars by 317 reviewers, an unbelievably high rating. We would also rate Eggheads at least four stars. I used the restroom, and told to take the spoon hanging on the red hook and follow the yellow brick road.

A family photo at Mackerricher State Park, Behind: Enlarged view
The corner view toward the point, Behind: Panorama of the view Lunch at the 4 star Sea Pal Cove on the harbor in Fort Bragg, Behind: Dorana makes a joke about our numbered order.
Dorana and mom show off two special quilts, Behind: close-up view of the quiltsSunday, October 13, 2013: This was a fun day with my sister Dorana and our mother. Our first activity was to visit the board walk at Mackerricher State Park north of Fort Bragg. This is a beautiful, well made board, walk-way to the tip of Laguna Point for a view of the Pacific ocean and wildlife (seals). This must be one of the most scenic ocean views in California (almost as nice as Oregon views). Click the left two photos for additional views. The right photo is our lunch location at the Sea Pal Cove Restaurant a four star rating in Yelp. We all agreed to the four stars after our lunch. Behind the lunch photo is a photo of my sister making a joke of the order #3 given to us, strange since we were the only customers so easy to find us even without our order number. The photo at left is of two quilts made by Eulene, one of Dorana's friends. The quilts are significant because they are made from my father's shirts. One of the quilts features all the pockets from those shirts. Dorana's dog, Amika loves to pose for photos. Amika is Morgan's litter mate (sister). This photo was taken at Jughandle State Reserve on the trail to the beach. Click on this photo to see a closer view of the quilts. The Jughandle State Reserve was chosen for it's peaceful and sunny setting. The "father's shirts" link above will take you to the story of the last few months of our father's life in 2011. I'm a little surprised that a quilt could be made of his shirts because my father would wear his shirts for 20 years, until the fabric was so thin, you could see through them. Dorana has learned to be as frugal but I haven't noticed the ability to see through her shirts (smiley face).

Homecoming parade time in downtown Mendocino, Behind: another of the "Duke and Duchese candidates
Mom is dog sitting Morgan and Amica at the Mendoncino Art Center, Behind: The lodging location for Mom and sister Dorana Mendocino headlands, Behind: Panorama of the Mendocino Headlands
Saturday, October 12, 2013: I enjoyed the day with Mom and my sister Dorana walking through the business district of Mendocino California. Today happened to be homecoming day for the high school so we were treated with a parade of the "Duke and Duchess" candidates. The kids were having fun. Click the parade photo for another view. Before returning to Mom and Dorana's lodging location we visited the Mendocino Art Center. Mom chose to dog sit rather than view the art. Behind Mom's photo is their lodging location found in the forest near Caspar. Finally, a view of the Mendocino Headlands, click that photo for a panorama.
The California coast north of Fort Bragg, Behind: Panorama from Highway 1 Friday, October 11, 2013: This was a travel day from Ferndale to Mendocino, California. We mostly drove Highway 101 but turned onto California Highway 1 at Leggett. The drive from Leggett to Fort Bragg was the worst driving experience I've had since beginning RV travel. Highway 1 is a narrow two lane road with many sharp and hairpin turns, many signed at 10 mph. The view at left is Campsite at Mendocino Campground, Behind: Lunch at David's in Fort Bragg
what we saw once we reached the ocean above Fort Bragg. Click that photo for a Panorama of the coast from Highway 1. I also made a short video at this location just after the drive. I answered an Internet ad for the Mendocino Campground offering a 50% discount. As it turns out the discount is for Sunday through Wednesday nights only. The campground is very rough, as if they just cleared space in the forest with dirt roads between the campsites. One hose bib and one bathroom for the whole campground. I'd already paid for the space and it was late so didn't feel like I had a choice. We are use to FREE or inexpensive dry camping such as the $10 fee at the Humbolt County Fairground we just left. This campground is $35 for dry camp, the highest we've ever paid for dry camping. There is one other RV, otherwise, we are surrounded by tent campers. We ARE in California and we learned three years ago as campground hosts that California campers are willing to pay what we consider to be outrageous fees for camping. Click the campground photo for a view of our lunch in Fort Bragg at David's Cafe and Deli. The day ended well with my sister, Dorana, and our mother showing up with the plan to stay the weekend in Mendocino.

Theater box office, Behind: Ferndale city view
Ferndale city views, Behind: Popular bed and breakfast Centerville Beach, 5 miles west of Ferndale, Behind: Panorama from the hilltop
Thursday, October 10, 2013: We are hanging around Ferndale today because the first night of "Our Town" by the local thespian group will begin tonight. It's a play I've always liked and enjoy the music composed by Aaron Copeland for the 1940 movie, worth listening to. I'll be surprised if they know-of or play any of Copeland's music tonight. The above views were found around Ferndale. The theater box office on the left with a local tourist store in downtown behind that photo. The center photo is of a candy store which smells like licorice as you walk by. Behind that photo is a popular bed and breakfast. The right photo shows the Centerville beach five miles west of Ferndale with a panorama behind that photo. Ferndale will be in trouble with a tsunami since it is only about 20 feet above sea level and only 5 miles from the coast.
Exploring the Humbolt County Fairground where we are camped, found grave stone for 3 champion cows, Behind: Wider view Wednesday: October 9, 2013: I explored the Humbolt County Fairground where we are dry camped. Three champion cows are buried here, Sunny King Berna is a WORLD champion. All three are honored with gravestones. Click the photo to see all three. We are parked just beyond the entrance at right. We could have parked inside but need to get as much sun as we can for power. We are back to 100% today. When traveling in rural areas, we are often asking ourselves if the movie "Deliverance" was filmed HERE. Or say something like, "If we see dueling banjos, we are turning around." Today I found the dueling banjos. Click the county fair entrance photo to see them. I also found the library so I can upload my pages. From the Humbolt County Fairground courtyard looking toward our RV, Behind: Found the dualing banjo players

Road construction delays our travel on US101 with Pacific on 20 feet to the west, Behind: Camping area of Clam Beach a disappointment
Tuesday, October 8, 2013: A travel day south toward Mendocino, California. We drive south on US 101, a major coast highway but very difficult driving on two lane road with many 30 mph hairpin turns. It happens that we met with road construction along this route. The above photo is stopped traffic at a construction point with the Pacific only 20 feet to the west (right). So incredible views of the Pacific along the route. We did stop at the Trees of Mystery just because we have been there before and enjoyed the gift shop. I tried to get Paul Bunyon to talk to me but he wasn't home today. Here's a video of my attempt to get Paul to talk. Our destination was Clam Beach campground because it was voted the best beach in northern California a few years back. We arrived to find the "camping" was a large paved parking lot. Click the above photo to see the Clam Beach "campground". We learned the beach was a half mile walk to the water against a fierce wind today so we didn't make the hike. Instead, we stopped at a roadside viewpoint to take this photo. The fee was $15 plus $2 for the dog and $5 for the extra car. I doubt we would have stayed for FREE camping. We had lunch and moved further south. We knew we liked Ferndale and the county fairground in Ferndale. It was only $10 with no extra charges and plenty of room for Morgan and Annie to roam. We really want to spend some time in Eureka but that will likely be during the return trip. The county fairground has hookups for $25 but we don't need hookups for an extra $15 per night. Ferndale is a picturesque town with unique shopping. It is also the location where the movie "The Majestic" was filmed, starring Jim Carrey in 2001.
Picnic at Loeb park, Behind: wider view of the picnic areaSunday, October 6, 2013: Janet, Gwen, Ralph and I decided to go for a picnic up river on the Chetco River. The mouth of the river is only a few hundred yards from our camp location. We chose Loeb State Park about 8 miles up-river. When we arrived, the park was closed for renovation but since we all have the Oregon spirit, we hoped the fence with our lunch and chose a table for our picnic. It was another warm do so comfortable picnic lunch. Click the photo for a wider view. On the way home we spotted a sign, "Lady Louise, Rockfish, $1.50/lb, Dock 1". So we found dock 1 and tried to buy Rockfish. Ralph and Gwen are negotiating with the captain of the boat only to learn that all the fish has been sold. Gwen and Ralph must have looked so sad, the captain gave each of them a fresh caught crab. They shared the crab during happy hour.

Boardwalk Arts and Crafts show at Brookings Harbor, Behind: My photo with a live statue
Measuring cats and dogs distance to the target, Behind: Helicopter "raining" cats and dogs Saturday, October 5, 2013: This was city-wide garage sale day with map published in the newspaper. Ralph, Janet and I went to a dozen sales and finally gave up finding anything. We were disappointed in the quality of the sales. So we headed to the boardwalk, only half mile from our camping location. I bought a few vegetables and would have walked by a live "statue" but Janet pointed out that it really wasn't a statue but a man who painted himself to BE a statue. Click the boardwalk photo to Helicopter take off, Behind: video of the take off
see me with the statue. Note the tips bucket at the base of the statue. I donated a dollar then had Ralph take my photo. After lunch, I walked over to watch the Rotary Club's fund raising event titled, "Raining Cats and Dogs". Rubber, numbered, cats and dogs are "adopted" by individuals then dropped from a helicopter. The numbered pets closest to the target win prizes. I got there too late to adopt a pet. It looked like the Rotary had good participation. Grants Pass had a similar fund raising event but with rubber, numbered, ducks floating down the Rogue River. Click the left photo to see the helicopter dropping the pets. Click the right photo for a video of the helicopter returning to base.

Morgan and I started our day at this coffee shop next to Brookings Harbor, Behind: panorama from the center of the harbor
Hike to McVay Beach, Behind: Panorama from above McVay Beach with Ralph on the left Friday, October 4, 2013: My day started when I walked Morgan to a coffee shop at the Brookings Harbor. She enjoyed the walk and sun at the shop while I enjoyed the coffee. Click the coffee shop for a panorama of the harbor. The coffee shop girl had to come out of the shop to pet Morgan on the right. Later, Gwen, Ralph and I hiked to McVay Beach, a unique Oregon beach about 4 mile south of our camping location. Click the beach for a panorama of the beach view. It is a beach of pebbles and lots of driftwood which Gwen and I are collecting for some sort of craft project. On the return drive, we stopped at the oldest Cypress tree in Oregon, planted in 1850. The circumference of the tree is 34 feet. I used the panorma feature of my phone to begin a photo with Ralph and Gwen scanning to directly over my head. So the branches you see at the top of the photo when you click this one are not straight up but the canopy over my head. Ralph and Gwen at the oldest Cypress tree in Oregon, Behind: overview of the tree

Friends visiting for the day, Behind: enlarged view

Thursday, October 3, 2013: Ralph, Janet, Gwen and I had visitors today from Medford, our friends, Dick and Mary Ellen spent the day with us to bring us up on all the news. We talked about all our friends from Escapee Chapter 37 and learned what Dick and Mary Ellen have been doing in the last year. Dick has been a sports referee in a previous life so I asked many football questions about the new rules and some of the football situations I didn't understand. Our final event was pizza at the Wild River Pizza restaurant which has a branch in Harbor where we ate, in Grants Pass where Gwen and I use to live, and in Medford where Dick and Mary Ellen live. Janet and Ralph retired from Medford so all of us were familiar with this restaurant. It was good to see our friends again. Click the photo to enlarge.

USCG Motor Life Boat, Behind: rear view
Brookings beach opposite the Best Western Plus, Behind: panorama of the beach
Tuesday, October 2, 2013: While walking Morgan today I came across the Coast Guard 47' Motor Life Boat, Chetco River, stationed at Brookings Harbor. In a previous life (about 1997) I was servicing southern Oregon with greeting card displays and making custom greeting cards. Somehow the Coast Guard in Washington DC learned of this and contracted with me to make custom Christmas cards with a 47' Motor Life Boat on the front, training at the Columbia River bar, a very treacherous sea area. The photo was very similar to the one pictured in the link above. They were very happy with the cards. What was significant about 1997 ... it was the first year of service for the 47' Motor Life Boat built in Louisiana to replace the 44' Motor Life Boat. No doubt everyone in the CG was excited about it. Click the photo to view the rear of the boat. In the beach photo, I'm shooting into the sun so a silhouette of beach objects opposite the Best Western Plus motel. Click that photo for a panorama if what motel guests see outside their window on a bright, sunny day.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013: Today was a travel day, short travel day, to Brookings, Oregon where we chose to stay only a few feet from the Best Western Plus motel and a busy street hoping there is very little traffic at night. We are paying $31.50/night so I began wondering what a room in the Best Western would cost thinking about $70. I learned the cheapest room was more than $140. So I feel better about paying for the RV park directly across the street. Weather is improving and we are looking forward to drying out with sun and power at the RV park. Parked only 100 yards from us is a Neoplan. No, I didn't know what it was either but I found some information here. It's a european bus conversion which probably cost a fortune in time and money to convert to an RV. Click the photo to see what the Neoplan in this park looks like. I've not seen anyone near the bus so haven't had a chance to talk with anyone. We were down to 28 miles before empty in the Prius so visited Fred Meyer for fuel and a few groceries. While at "Freddies" I noticed this unique toaster. I thought it funny but might be a "mommy saver" on days when mom runs out of quick ideas for lunch.

A private lighthouse viewing platform, Behind: painted rocks at the base of the lighthouse.



Monday, September 30, 2013: The storm is slowly moving east giving us a weather break. We used that weather break to walk through Ireland's RV Park onto the beach. The trail to the beach has high sea grass on each side. The photo is from the return from the beach toward the private lighthouse styled view point. Here is another photo of the lighthouse. Click the photo for a view of the base of the lighthouse showing all the personally painted rocks. Some are dated as much as 15 - 20 years ago. We painted some about ten years ago but found only one of those. There are just too many to find them all. Tomorrow is another travel day, this time to Brookings, Oregon.

Gold Beach Marina, Behind: Mouth of the Rogue River during a stormSunday, September 29, 2013: The big news today is the Pacific storm battering Gold Beach while we are camped 300 yards from the ocean. The wind is normally above 30 mph with rain showers (I'm sure it's nothing like an Atlantic tropical storm but more that what we usually experience.) Still, we are all comfortable in our cozy Great Blue Heron Edition Alumascape. The photo is of the Gold Beach Marina. Not much here compared to the Winchester Bay Marina. I read the local newspaper where improvements are planned for this marina including more parking, replacement of the "upper deck", and dredging of the Rogue River. I'm not sure what all the problems are for this marina but I believe one of the problems is the treacherous entry into the Pacific. Click the photo to see the mouth of the Rogue as it enters the Pacific. I'm sure no one would be fishing in this weather but I remember a rough entrance even in good weather. Maybe the dredging will solve that problem. I also took a video of the mouth of the Rogue during this storm. All the photos except the video were taken while I walked in the storm for 4 miles. I was walking in my rain gear but still got wet from the fierce wind-blown rain.
Our site at Irelands in Gold Beach, Behind: incredible nautical mobile found in BandonSaturday, September 28, 2013: A stormy travel day from Boice-Cope County Park to Irelands RV park in Gold Beach. Irelands has always been one of our favorites but since the motel next door purchased it, virtually no maintenance has been happening. Still, it's a good place to sit out a storm. You can just see the top of the lighthouse view point behind Ralph and Janet's Chevy tow vehicle. The wind is coming from the south gusting to 30 MPH. I picked a spot where I don't have to unhitch and the trailer is perfectly level. It's Saturday so time for college football. Unfortunately the Beavers game with Colorado is not being televised but I expect the Ducks to be televised this evening. Click this photo to see an incredible nautical mobile I found yesterday in Bandon. It's hard to see details because the mobile is crowded with other artwork but imagine brass rods with different little ship and fishing boats above the rods and all sorts of fish hanging below the rods. All the boats and fish are made of glass in a stained glass style. The mobile is beautiful and should be for $5,300.

Bandon Toy shop where I found items for Chloe and Noah, Behind: Bandon's premier cranberry sweet shop
Our lunch stop, Behind:, a place to create art from ocean debris Bandon lighthouse and mouth of the Coquille River, Behind: panorama of Bandon lighthouse with Bandon on the far right
Friday, September 27, 2013: We are camped at the Boice-Cope County Park in space 7. This park is 17 miles south of Bandon, Oregon so we drove north to visit the tourist city of Bandon. We began in the toy store, I wanted to find something to send the grandkids. But the rest of the adults headed to the Cranberry Sweet Shop which has been in the town forever. Click the toy shop for a nice panorama of the sweet shop. After wandering through many of the stores, the ladies were getting hungry so we visited a new restaurant in town, the Sea Star Bistro. They deserve 4 stars loosing a star only for their tiny seating area. Click the bistro for a view of museum and workshop. We wanted driftwood for a crafty project so took a short drive to the south jetty where there is plenty of driftwood and a great view of the Bandon Lighthouse. Click the lighthouse for a panorama of the mouth of the Coquille River with Bandon on the far right. A fun, but long day in Bandon. It's been about 12 years since our last visit here and not much has changed. Bandon is a popular town for beach tourists who like good restaurants with a quaint coast town.
Roseburg Chip exporting facility at North Bend, Behind: Working Coos Bay boatThursday: September 26, 2013: Today was a short travel day from the Mill Casino to the Boice-Cope County Park southwest of Langlois, Oregon. Yesterday we took a trip onto the north spit from North Bend and discovered the Roseburg chip exporting facility. Chips, sawdust, is loaded onto ships and exported to Japan. I joking say that the Japanese turn the sawdust in the Prius automobile and send it back to us. My assumption is that the Japanese use the chips for a specialized particle board which is used in the manufacturing of many different products. I also spotted some sort of working boat, click the photo for a view. At first it looked like an ocean going freighter but as it passed, it was much sorter than I was expecting and filled with some sort of equipment. I also took a video of this passing work boat. Check out the view of Coos Bay boardwalk and fish market.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013: We began our day at the downtown Coos Bay Farmer's Market. Gwen bought a few vegetables, I just looked around. Interesting because there were no crafts, only farm produce. After farmer's market we went exploring the north spit, north of the bay from North Bend. The photo at the right uses my Samsung S4 to take a photo forward and behind the camera so I'm getting a photo of Gwen with Morgan at the same time I'm taking a photo of myself taking the photo. Click both photos for interesting panoramas. Downtown Coos Bay Farmers Market, Behind: a view from behind the booths We visit the beach off the north spit, Behind: a wider view
Logs on their way to China, Behind: another view of log exportsTuesday, September 24, 2013: I left my bike at home so walked five miles today. While walking I came across the Coos Bay port where logs are stacked for shipment to China. Why would a country the size of China need to import "raw logs"? According to one article I read, because they have over logged their country. We have only 25% of the forests left in the US before the European settlement. So what country will the US import logs from once we have depleted our forests. The advertising points out that Oregon replants three trees for every one cut down. So trees which are 100 - 500 years old are cut down and replaced with trees (one specie) that will take 100 - 500 years to become what was cut down. I don't think lumber should be so cheap and I don't think we should be shipping logs to China.
Parked at the Mill Casino RV Park in North Bend, Oregon, site 38, Behind: Panorama from out siteMonday, September 23, 2013: This was a travel day, a short travel day, about 30 miles. We've moved from Winchester Bay to full hookups at the Mill Casino RV Park in North Bend, Oregon. The girls wanted to do laundry, see the new fall season TV shows and take LONG showers. I'm happy to have Internet access in the park. We are also using the "free" electricity to dry out the inside of the trailer from all the rain and humidity at Winchester Bay. Many in Timber Valley like to stay at the Mill Casino, they must like to gamble because I don't see the attraction. So the laundry is done and the TV is connected to the park cable and I'm getting up-to-date with this Webpage. Click the photo for a panorama using my new Samsung S4.

The Waterfront Depot Restaurant, Florence, Oregon, Behind: Panorama of our site on Winchester Bay using my new Samsung S4Sunday, September 22, 2013: A nice day for a visit with friends in Florence. This time we go to Ralph and Janet's favorite restaurant location, The Waterfront Depot. Most everything on the menu has some sort of seafood in the recipe. Ralph and Janet's friends, David and Pam joined us. I had a Portuguese seafood stew while Gwen has crab encrusted Halibut. It was worth the drive. After eating, we visited Fred Meyer where we found some Christmas gift items and sox for us. We both like Fred Meyer sox. Behind the Waterfront Depot photo is a panorama of our Winchester Bay camping site. I picked up a new Samsung S4 at Costco on Friday and this is the first try of the panorama feature using the new camera. So far the camera and the phone work much better than the old HTC phone which I disliked. I would recommend NEVER buying an HTC brand phone.

Our rigs from the pier, Behind: The Bone Breaker, at the end of the pier only 100 feet from our camping location.
36' yacht for sale, Behind: details of the sale
Thursday, September 19, 2013: Morgan and I decided to walk the piers located only a few feet from our camping location. We wanted a closer look at the yachts in the slips. The top photo is from the closest pier looking toward our camping location. I'm standing next to the Hatteras Yacht (probably the finest one in the harbor), The Bone Breaker which I've learned belongs to a local orthodontist (it's worth several million dollars). Click the top photo for a view of the Bone Breaker. We also learned that 10 - 20% of the boats in the harbor are for sale. The sailboat above is one of those. It does not appear to be in good condition, all of the teak trim will need refinishing. The details of this boat can be found by clicking the photo. I've owned two sailboats and the saying of, "the happiest two days in a sailor's life is the day he purchases the boat and the day he sells the boat." Another saying I remember when owning a sailboat, "a hole in the water in which you throw money." We've seen only ONE of these boats leave the pier in the four days we've been here so they don't get much use. Another thing we learned by walking the piers is that 10 - 20% of these yachts haven't been used in years (crud is growing all over them and in some cases the fabric sail covers, etc. have rotted). We found a dozen yachts with people living on them. Perhaps they are like us, sold all land and now living "fulltime Yachting" (in our case, fulltime RV). This is a very expensive hobby, both the purchase price and maintenance plus harbor fees are very costly. Also, my assumption is the yacht "season" at Winchester Bay is only four months long. Watch a short video Morgan and I made while walking one of the piers here in Winchester Bay. Maybe, if you owned a 36' sailboat, you could sail south for the winter and hang out in San Diego or even Mexico.

Lunch in a floating restaurant, Behind: Visiting the Umpqua Discovery Center
Looking upstream on the Umpqua River, Behind: Looking downstream and at the cafe where we got drinks on a warm afternoon. Some very happy Salmon fishermen, Behind: a wider view
Wednesday: September 18, 2013: These photos begin with lunch on a floating barge. Gwen and I couldn't pass up the clam chowder in a bread bowl but Ralph and Janet had the house specialty, fish and chips. We all agreed to five stars for the meal. Behind the lunch photo is the Umpqua Discovery Center, our next stop. It is a museum of human and natural history of the area. We took our time reading and listening to the stories of the native americans inhabiting the Umpqua River area before European settlers. The Hudson Bay company established a trading relationship with the indians which lasted for more than 100 years. Around 1850, real estate speculators began claiming and settling the area changing the area from a simple to a more complex way of life. Within a few years the native americans were replaced by Oregon settlers. Many of the native Americans died from the diseases brought by the settlers. The center photo is upstream on the Umpqua from the Discovery Center, click that photo to see downstream and the little cafe where we had iced tea after an hour in the museum. While relaxing with our tea, the three fishermen showed up with their salmon catch. Click that photo for a wider view showing the charter boat and the guide taking the photos.

Umpqua River Lighthouse, Behind: Lighthouses of Oregon
Umpqua River Lighthouse Museum and Gift Shop, Behind: Umpqua River Lighthouse from the beach Mouth of the Umpqua River between the jety taken from the Umpqua River Lighthouse, Behind: The great sand dunes south of Winchester Bay
Tuesday, September 17, 2013: Today was a visit to the Umpqua River Lighthouse built in 1894. Click the photos for additional views. Some of these photos were taken during a bike ride along the beach in front of the Lighthouse while others were taken while visiting the grounds with Ralph and Gwen. The lighthouse is located only 2 miles south of our camping location. This was the first lighthouse built in Oregon (1857). It was rebuilt in this location in 1894. The signal light can be seen 19 miles off shore with the sequence of two white followed by one red. Further south of the lighthouse is a dune buggy staging area. This area is part of the great Oregon Sand Dunes. The sand dunes are covered with those riding the dunes with their ATVs.
Parked on the bay at Winchester Bay, Behind: an enlarged view camped with Ralph and Janet
The view from Ralph and Janet's rig, Behind: The view from our rig.
Monday, September 16, 2013: This was a travel day from Sutherlin to Winchester Bay, only 1.25 hours travel time. This time we are traveling with Ralph and Janet and have decided to begin our coast trip with a week at Winchester Bay. The weather today is perfect but we are expecting rain tomorrow. We are parked in RV parking at the harbor for $108/week. No hookup but the harbor provides a table, fresh water at the far end of the harbor and a dump station for a fee. We expect to survive on solar but brought out generator in case we need more power. Click the photos for enlarged views.

Great Blue Heron at the weigh station, Behind: Gwen and Morgan on the last morning beach walkSaturday, August 31, 2013: Today was travel day from Tillicum Beach Campground back to Sutherlin. But before the drive, we take a final beach walk, click the weigh station photo. There is a weigh station one mile from Waldport and a dump station in Waldport. I visited the weigh station first with full holding tanks and about 1/4 fresh water tank. I also had full diesel tanks (both tanks). The weight was:
Front truck wheels: 4350
Rear truck wheels: 5550
Trailer wheels: 7450
After this weight I decided to change the equilizer setting. Normally I set the equilizer bar at the fifth link of the chain but this time I set it at the sixth link. I reset the equilizer to the fifth link and weighed again:
Front truck wheels: 4250
Rear truck wheels: 5550
Trailer wheels: 7550
Next, I drove the mile into Waldport and dumped the holding tanks then went back to the weigh station:
Front truck wheels: 4250
Rear truck wheels: 5550
Trailer wheels: 7000
I was surprised at the big difference one chain link made in the weight on the front and trailer wheels. On the return drive I decided to change the equilizer back to six links and noticed better handling so will set the equilizer at six links from now on.

Gwen enjoying the Tillicum beach, Behind: Dale rests after flying his parafoil kiteFriday, August 30, 2013: Gwen and I picked up her lanyard I ordered from Portia on Wednesday. Gwen actually chose two lanyards, neither was the one I had Portia make special for her (it was too scratchy). Then off the to Waldport Library where I talked my way into a Waldport Library card to make it easier to get music CDs and free movies (I brought home two for this evening). It was after that, we walked out onto Tillicum Beach. Gwen read her book while I flew my parafoil kite. When you click Gwen's photo you see me resting after flying the kite. The kite is in the bag sitting on my lap. We are headed home tomorrow after returning the movies and weighing the truck and trailer at a nearby ODT (Oregon Department of Transportation) weight station. It's closed but they left the weigh scale on, that when to drive up and weigh your rig in Oregon.

Old Town Newport, Behind: Newport siteseeing and fishing boats in the pier
A pier in Newport, Behind: The Coast Guard Cutter Osprey    
Newport seals, Behind: Gwen watching Yaquina Bay with NOAA weather ship stationed across the bay.
Thursday, August 29, 2013: We visited Newport today which is surprisingly only 19 miles to the north of our campsite. We first visited Fred Meyer for a few grocery items then found a unique Toy store to get some birthday items for my grandson Noah. He will turn two in about two weeks. Then into downtown Newport next to the Yaquina Bay. We discovered the Coast Guard Station with the Cutter, Osprey in port. It was stormy weather but the bad weather didn't bother the folks walking the sidewalks looking for treasures and food. Looking across Yaquina Bay, we could see the NOAA weather ship in port. Click any of the photos for additional views. We found the most amazing seafood lunch at Ocean Bleu Seafood and Fish Market at Gino's. Here is my oyster lunch and here is Gwen's prawn tacos. Note the herb and spices breading on my oysters, very good.

Wednesday Market in Waldport, Behind: unusual product, a didgerie do

Alice serving cookies, I bought Gwen her favorite, peanut butter, Behind: Portia models two braided necklaces, I ordered a lanyard for Gwen.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013: Today was Wednesday Market in Waldport, only five miles north of our camping location. It was a small outdoor market but some quality crafts and farm produce. One of the most unusual was a booth selling handmade didgerie-dos. Click the above photo to see them up close. I also found a bakery from Depoe Bay selling Gwen's favorite cookie, peanut butter so got a couple for her. Gwen has also been looking for a lanyard to carry her new FOB for Miss Scarlet. Portia was making braided necklaces so I asked about lanyards. She makes those too so I ordered one for Gwen. Click the "Baykery" photo to see Portia.

I'm walking Morgan on the Tillicum Beach, Behind: Miss Scarlet at the Yachats State BeachTuesday, August 27, 2013: Raining all night but clear this morning so that means a walk on the Tillicum Beach about 4 miles north of Yachats, Oregon. No wind so no kite flying but lots of kids building sand castles and people walking their dogs. Gwen was walking with us too and Morgan likes to walk with Gwen too. Later this afternoon I took Miss Scarlet for a drive into Yachats looking for some tourist decals and something to drink. While wandering the Yachats streets we found the public library and uploaded Monday's post then found the Yachats State Beach. You can see Miss Scarlet at the state beach when you click my photo. Unfortunately, the clouds have moved back in so I'm unsure of solar for tomorrow. We have no plans but of course, I'd like to go for a drive along the Oregon Coast with Miss Scarlet.
Gwen found one of our favorite restaurants in Waldport, Behind: Ripping CDs in the Waldport LibraryMonday, August 26, 2013: After breakfast, I wanted to drive into Waldport, Oregon to use their library for Internet access. Gwen agreed to go along if I took her to the Salty Dawg for clam chowder. She remembered the Salty Dawg from our last trip to the coast. So we went to the library first. I was already familiar with this library since I used it in May. Our last trip to the coast, we had no solar power and were forced to use our generator for every electrical need, even DC power. This time, we DO have solar (and even with the bad weather, the batteries were at 100% when returning from Waldport). I quickly used their Internet to upload my Webpages then located their CD collection and began ripping CDs. I found some Chuck Mangione (jazz trumpet), Paul Winter (New Age clarinet ... yuppie jazz clarinet), Oscar Peterson (jazz piano) and Classical Wynton Marsalis (trumpet). This library keeps the CD collection out of public reach so I had to "leave something valuable" to have access to the CDs. I left a $20 bill which I retrieved after returning the CDs. Gwen was hungry so I didn't have much time at the library. Click the photo to see a short stack of CDs with my laptop. I hadn't remembered the Salty Dawg but Gwen remembered the clam chowder well. After looking at the menu, I remember the chowder in a sour dough bread bowl and that's what we both had this time. It seems every time we take off for a trip we experience bad weather and today the weather arrived about 3pm. We found ourselves huddled in the Great Blue Heron Edition away from the rain and wind. That gave me time to finish reading the 640 page Prius Owner's Manual. (BIG smiley face)
Space 5 at Tillicum Beach Campground, Behind: another view from our picnic tableSunday, August 25, 2013: On the road again! This time a short trip to the ocean and our first trip with Miss Scarlet. Currently our plan is to have "Big Blue" tow the "Great Blue Heron Edition" while Miss Scarlet trails along. Big Blue will stay in the campground while all site seeing is done in Miss Scarlet. This might help you understand our reasoning: I stopped in Florence to fill Big Blue because diesel in Florence is $.25 below the Roseburg area. However, unleaded fuel is $.25 MORE than the Roseburg area so Miss Scarlet was filled before leaving. It took $205 to fill Big Blue and $14 to fill Miss Scarlet. We expected to pay an extra fee here at Tillicum Beach Campground but the hosts are friends and showed us how to park without an extra car charge. We were here in May and will probably return again. We reserved the only site available six weeks ago which is not our favorite but we figured we could survive space #5 for the few days we will visit the ocean. We brought lots of fresh vegetables from Lehne Farms in our cooler with two bags of block ice. You can see the cooler at an angle to drain ice water. The weather promises to be much cooler than Sutherlin with mid-sixties predicted as the high for the week. Here is the reason we like this campground.

Wildfire smoke covers Grants Pass, Behind: wonderful bean burrito
It's clear in Sutherlin, Behind: Gwen finds a new sign on our shed, a gift from the across-the-street neighbor Gwen finds our tomato plant has been well watered, Behind: Our Cameo is ready for us
Wednesday, July 31, 2013: No bear bothered us. After a nice bean burrito for breakfast, we left our campsite on the slopes of Mt. Shasta heading north to Sutherlin, Oregon. We are driving into southwest Oregon where there are multiple wildfires, most from lighting strikes. The area is blanketed with thick smoke. Click the smoky photo of Grants Pass to see our breakfast burrito. Sutherlin, 80 miles north of Grants Pass, is clear. Click the Sutherlin photo to see the new sign Gwen found tacked to our shed. This was a parting gift from our across-the-street neighbor who has sold their park-model and will depart tomorrow. Gwen also found that Ken, our other neighbor, did a good job of watering our solo tomato plant and some are ready to eat. Behind the tomatoes is a photo of our Cameo ready for us.
Rolling Hills Casino, Behind: The praying mantis I found Our campsite on the Shasta Ski Area road, Behind: A larger view
Tuesday, July 29, 2013: This was a travel day north toward Oregon. We got a late start of 11am so did not go further than Corning, California to get lunch at the Rolling Hills Casino for the half price buffet for seniors on Tuesday and Thursday. I can pick and choose from the selections to avoid meat and dairy. While in the Casino restroom I noticed a praying mantis on top of the urinal I was using. I have no idea how it got there. I coaxed the mantis to my hand and took him outside to a nearby flowering bush. Probably the most excitement for the day. Click the casino photo to see the mantis. Gwen and I enjoyed the meal then drove on. We both decided we were too tired to finish the trip to Sutherlin and wanted to camp free in the cool national forest. I thought of the Shasta Ski Area, so we drove only 8.5 miles off I-5 to a wonderful camp site on the Shasta Ski Area road at cool 5,200 feet. We enjoyed a quiet night in the national forest. Click the camping photo for a better view. I thought to take the dog food out of the back of the truck and since the container is already in bad shape from the previous bear attack set it in front of the truck so I wouldn't forget it. If a bear arrived, I was hoping it wouldn't damage the contents of the pickup truck but rather go for the dog food. Click here to see where I put the dog food.

Parked in Lodi

Monday, July 29, 2013: A day of visiting and of working with my Edward Jones Financial advisor. During the day, my mother had a dozen short items on her "to-do" list for me. All were easy, like the repair of the clock I built for her after it was dropped on the floor and teaching her how to play a DVD. The evening brought more visiting with my two sisters in Elk Grove, California. We had a vegetarian meal while enjoying each other's company.

Sunday, July 28, 2013: A travel day to Lodi, California to visit my mother. The drive from Coarsegold to Lodi is about 3 hours but we took the long route to avoid construction on Hiway 99. As it turned out it was 50 miles further and Interstate 5, especially around Stockton was rough enough to shake the bolts loose on both the truck and trailer. We arrived in the afternoon and began our visit.
Saturday, July 27, 2013: Back to the party. The guys spent the morning touring the Shaver Lake classic automobile show. Ralph, his brothers and high school friends all were From the left, Steve, Larry, Fred and Ralph, Behind: stabilizer jacks given me by Ralph's friend, Kurt involved in restoring classic automobiles. Of course, when they were in high school, the automobiles weren't so"classic". Then we spent the afternoon playing "Canadian Salad" a card game, then "Chase the Aces", another card game where brother Steve tookeveryone to the "cleaners". Ralph barbequed some tri-tip steaks for dinner along with twice baked potatoes. What a great birthday dinner it was. Gwen and I left the party Saturday evening to return to Park Sierra to prepare to leave on Sunday morning for Lodi, California to visit my mother. The photo includes brother Steve on the left, friend Larry, friend Fred and Ralph on the right. When leaving, Ralph's friend and neighbor give me four stabilizer jacks which I will use with the Cameo or with the Alumascape. Click the photo to see those jacks.

Ralph surprised at his birthday party, Behind: Ralph shopping at the Woodshed

Friday, July 26, 2013: This day has been planned for a long time. Our friend Ralph is going to have a significant birthday on Sunday but a surprise party is to begin today. My job is to take Ralph into Fresno for a"guy's shopping trip" to give the girls time to drive to Jason's cabin (Ralph and Janet's son) which is at Shaver Lake, about 1 hour from Fresno. That's where the party will happen. Several of Ralph's friends will be at the cabin waiting for him to arrive. We first went to the Woodshed, a retail store with a unique inventory of exotic hardwoods and supplies for woodworkers (click the photo to see Ralph shopping for hardwood). Next, we drove several miles to find a store who could price a new tonneau cover for my truck, I was anxious to know the price before the insurance company gave me a settlement offer. By this time we decided to have an early lunch (11:30am) at the Fresno Sizzler because we had heard a good report of their salad bar. It was the best Sizzler salad bar I've seen. Our next stop was a man's favorite, Harbor Freight. Jason's job was to call Ralph at 12:30 pm to request he drive to the cabin to check on a report of a water leak. Ralph took the call while we were driving to Harbor Freight. Jason did his job well and "the fish took the bait". Ralph asked me if we could drive to the cabin before returning to Park Sierra. "Of course", I replied, "I want to see the changes you've made to the cabin." Everything worked perfectly and Ralph was completely taken in by our elaborately planned surprise party.

Kathy and Gwen approaching the gondola building at Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort; Behind: Kathy and Terry scared to death in the gondola
Views on the ride up; Behind: Arrival at the top View of the Minarets, Behind: Panorama to the west
Reaching the top of Mammoth Mountain at 11,053 feet, Behind: Kathy, Terry and Gwen enjoying the western view The city of Mammoth Lakes in the distance; Behind: a Panorama of Mammoth Lakes and the view east Dale and Gwen and the top in matching Oregon Coast jackets; Behind: Trail map of Mammoth Mountain bicycle trails
Thursday, July 25, 2013: We are parked at Park Sierra but I'm reporting today on the gondola ride Gwen and I took with Kathy and Terry to the top of Mammoth Mountain (MM). MM is a popular ski area during the winter but in the summer, the area is popular with downhill mountain biking. The riders and bikes are taken to the top of the mountain then follow a challenging trail to the bottom. However, we are sightseers here to enjoy the fabulous views at the top of MM, 11,053 feet. Kathy and Terry were apprehensive of the gondola ride but fortunately there was little screaming and sobbing. The views at the top were incredible especially looking toward the Minarets to the west. The view to the east was of Mammoth Lakes city far below us. The area is covered with condos popular with the southern California adventure seekers. Be sure to click each photo for additional views. I also created a video of our experience which you can see here.
Bear damage to the tonneau cover, Behind: Rear view of the damage. Ascending 9,943 ft Tioga Pass, Behind: The summit is "just around the corner". Janet and Ralph greet us at Park Sierra; Behind: Our space at the park, #330 with deck and lots of shade trees
Wednesday, July 24, 2013: We woke up this morning in Twin Falls Campground to bear damage to our tonneau cover on the pickup. The bear was after the dog food in a hard-shell, sealed plastic bin with screw top lid. The bear was able to tear open the tonneau cover, pick up the dog food container and rip the lid off the container. Virtually none of the dog food was missing so the bear was either frightened away or didn't like our brand of dog food. The bear problem delayed the start of our trip over the Sierra but only a few minutes. We chose to climb Tioga Pass through Yosemite. Tioga Pass is closed in the winter because it reaches 9,943 feet and no one wants to keep it clear of snow. Be sure to click the photos for additional views. We arrived at Park Sierra, a Escapee park in Coursegold, California. Our friend Ralph and Janet are lot holders in this park. It is our favorite park and if it was in Oregon or Washington, we'd be lot holders too. Ralph gave us a tour using his new golf cart. Click that photo to view our site in space #330.
In the campground, running a generator for hours, Behind: Another unit doing the same thingTuesday, July 23, 2013: We learned as camp hosts a couple years ago, there are all sorts of people who come to the campgrounds. This campground is no different, campers with expensive motor homes camped next to families with tents. These campers come from southern California looking for the "camping experience", away from noise, people, traffic and for family fun. This morning at 8 am, this motor home started its generator and let it run for hours. The photo behind this one (click on this photo) was another camper running a generator for hours. I'd be very upset if I was a southern California tent camper and had to listen to a generator and smell the exhaust fumes of my next door camper. Another good reason to boondock. I would bet these are "well-to-do" campers who camp one week per year in this equipment. They store this unit 51 weeks of the year. Before you invest in a RV calculate how much you will use it and the expense involved with license, tax, maintenance, insurance, storage fees and filling it with camping gear. In 95% of the cases it would be cheaper to pay $3,000 per week to rent a RV than to own one. Think about it! We did some exciting things today at Mammoth but I'll report on those in the next few days. No time today.

Space 50 at Twin Lakes Campground near Mammoth Lakes, California

Monday, July 22, 2013: This was a travel day from Verdi, Nevada to Mammoth Lakes, California where our friends Kathy and Terry are working as camp hosts. The Twin Lakes Campground is only a few miles from the city of Mammoth Lakes where they saved space 50 of us. Most of the campers are from Los Angeles and San Diego. No doubt these southern California folks are amazed at the coniferous forest and the cool summer temperatures compared to the smog and hot summer temperatures in their home towns. It is pleasant for us too arriving to 70 degree temperatures from the 100+ in Verdi. We are camped at 8,627 feet and surrounded by peaks 5,000 feet above us. An amazing scenic area of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Don't try to camp here without a reservation, at least during the summer months. Our first meal with our friends was a the Mammoth Brewery where meals are half price from 5 - 6pm on Monday nights. Good thing Kathy and Terry know the local hangouts.

The summer fun continues

Sunday, July 21, 2013: The summer fun continues on this 100+ degree day. The grandkids love to swim and Gold Ranch RV Park has a pool just right for them. Kim, the kids mom, also spent more time in the pool than anyone playing with the kids. After the pool, we crowded into our little trailer for lunch then rode bicycles on the paved roads of the park. Again, I think the kids had more energy at the end of the day than we did.

Grandchildren Noah and Chloe


Saturday, July 20, 2013: This is where I spent the majority of this day, with my two grandchildren Noah and Chloe. We ate breakfast together then played cars, sang songs, watched train videos (the kids like trains), played "dive bomb", and tea party. Later we had a barbeque party with Gwen, Mindy, Scott, my son Joe, plus Noah and Chloe's mom and dad, Kim and Ben. They should be worn out from all the play today but suspect WE are the only ones worn out. I brought a kazoo hoping the kids could learn to hum into it ... it took only a few tries until both kids could hum a tune into the kazoo. I did have time to take a video of Noah using Dad's iPad to watch train videos. Click here to see it.

Scott is inflating the tubes for a float down the Truckee River
My daughter Mindy with Dad, ready to float the Truckee Mindy with husband Scott, ready to float the Truckee
Friday, July 19, 2013: This was a day to float the Truckee River in "River Run" tubes. Gwen and I visited Whole Foods Market then Trader Joes this morning for a fun time at our two favorite markets. I met up with Mindy and Scott just after noon to travel to Truckee, California, a 40 minute drive where we parked my truck at the take-out point. Then we all piled into Scott's Honda Element to drive to the launch point. We inflated the tubes then went for a float down the Truckee River. I was expecting a leisure float but it was like "bumper boats" with each other and with boulders in the river until our take-out point. The river was flowing swiftly which gave us a perfect length trip of 1-1/2 hours. Returning to Reno from Truckee, I happen to pass Amtrak moving from Truckee to Reno in the Truckee River canyon. I stopped along the way, climbed between the two tracks (since I didn't know which track to expect Amtrak) and waited for Amtrak to pass. I also caught some serious raft touring down the Truckee. Click here to see the video of the passing Amtrak and of the rafts on their final rapid.

Campsite #37 at Gold Ranch RV Park in Verdi, Nevada

Thursday, July 18, 2013: Traveling this hot day from our campsite at Willow Creek Campground to Verdi Nevada to stay at the Gold Ranch RV Park while visiting Mindy, Scott, Ben, Kim, Joe, Chloe and Noah, my children and grandchildren. Our stay at Gold Ranch will cost $129 for 4 nights. For that we get power (for the air conditioner, water heater, refrigerator and morning heat if needed), water, sewer, cable TV and WIFI in the office. There is also a pool and hot tub but guess who forgot their swim suits. We have stayed in the past and enjoyed this park but prefer to camp during the "off season" when the fee is not so expensive. Still, this is a nice park and the fee is pretty normal for an RV park this nice.

I'm reading "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar WildeWednesday, July 17, 2013: We tried a hike today but the trail ended after a short distance. So Gwen started a new book reading outside in the shade. I also read in the shade and finished "This Side of Paradise" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I took Morgan for a dip in the creek then started a new book, "The Importance of Being Ernest" by Oscar Wilde. Actually, it's a script for a comedy play. The version I'm reading was performed in 1895, I'm not sure when it was written and currently don't have Internet access so can't find out. Gwen and I like to listen to "old time radio shows" and often don't find the older comedy funny. But this play is very funny. I'll probably be able to finish it today. Gwen caught me in the trailer avoiding the insects but most of my reading was outside in the pleasant shade.

Willow Creek campground, Behind: Only store in Adin, California

Gwen and grandson Dustin in Klamath Falls Sizzler, Behind: bridge over Willow Creek leading to our campsite
Tuesday, July 16, 2013: This is a travel day south from Sutherlin. First stop is Klamath Falls, Oregon Sizzler where Gwen's grandson Dustin works. We had a nice visit with him even though this was a work day for him. We continued south with a goal of Eagle Lake in mind. However, we explored Willow Creek Campground, 20 miles north of Eagle Lake and decided to stay two nights in this campground. The campground is clean with only one other camper. Water, table, fire pit and paved roads/parking are provided. Our fee with the senior access pass is $6.; There are plenty of National Forest Service roads where the camping would be free but I don't want to drive on gravel because the dust would cover the truck and trailer. The creek is small but enough for Morgan to dip and stay cool. The afternoon is warm (high 80s) but night time temperature dips to 33 degrees. Highway 139, the only road through this eastern California area, is only 100 yards from our campsite but very little traffic and virtually none at night. We consider the campsite "quiet" because we are nearly camping alone and the only sound heard is the wind through the Aspen trees. We expect to explore some of the trails tomorrow. Click these photos for additional views. The view behind our campsite is of the tiny town of Adin, California. It has a "one-stop-for-all-needs" merchant which had a nice selection of groceries, sporting goods, hardware and tourist items plus serves food. The major employer in Adin seems to be the forest service. Adin does have its own cell tower so that keeps the folks in touch.

A sign of invitation and exclusion, Behind: the parts, stack and driver
Square aluminum tubing to join with the stake, Behind: Using the driving jig to set the stake A steel point for the stake, Behind: Stake and driving jig
Tuesday, July 9, 2013: I'll admit to getting carried away in making my sign which I expect to both be an invitation to other Escapee RV club members and discourage others from disturbing our camp. In our recent boondock trip into the Deschutes National Forest, we marked our campsite with "Sutherlin Hiking Club" to discourage other campers from driving through our camp, disturbing the dust. This gave me the idea of making a more official looking sign to mark our future campsites. This sign would welcome other members of the Escapee (SKP) RV club and also work to keep those not SKP members from joining our camp. I have aluminum pieces from a broken TV antennae, in this case, square tubing which I used to make a driving jig and to encase the shaft of the stake to strengthen it. It was also mounted to the back of the sign so the sign will slide onto the stake. I added a steel point to the stake. Click the photos for additional views. The sign, stake and driving jig are now stored in the front hatch of the Alumascape.

The Black Butte Ranch Lodge and Restaurant, Behind: Entrance to the restaurant.
The "Powerfood Breakfast" with egg beaters, Behind: Our view of Mt. Washington from our breakfast table. Gwen investigating the four-person peddle-mobile, Behind: A climbing wall made available for the kids.

Sunday, June 30, 2013: Our last day in the mountains was Friday. We chose to leave the mountains after a breakfast at the Black Butte Ranch Lodge and Restaurant. This is a well planned destination resort with condos, lodge, restaurant, golf course, pool, lake and a view which can't be beat on a clear day. If the prices of the rooms are as reasonable as the breakfast prices, then this should be an affordable resort. We ate a very relaxed breakfast meal then walked around the resort grounds to learn what we could find to do. Gwen found some peddle cars next to the pool and tennis courts. I found a bunch of kids enjoying a climbing wall brought to the resort for their entertainment. On the drive back to Sutherlin, we stopped in Springfield to shop at Winco Foods. We love Winco for the selection and the prices.Click this map to see the area we explored.

I'm leaving this trip with a map of the area we explored. Click this map for a larger view. You'll find most of the places we explored on the map with the exception of Sisters (south of Black Butte off the map to the bottom right) and Three Finger Jack (off the map to the top left, the word "Jack" just visible), and Mt. Washington is off the map to the bottom left. Look for Santiam Pass, Suttle Lake, Link Creek Campground (our first stop), Round Lake, Square Lake, our boondock camping location on First Creek, Black Butte (lookout), Head of the Metolius River, Camp Sherman resort area, and the Hoodoo Ski resort is just off the map to the west on Highway 126/20. Jack Lake, where we had to return Henry and Rachel, is off the map to the northwest on Forest Service Road "12" then continued west onto some pretty rough, gravel mountain roads.

In search of Three Finger Jack, Behind: Three Finger Jack from the south side of Square Lake


Saturday, June 29, 2013: Here's another set of photos I want to share. This day was in search of Three Finger Jack since it was the closest mountain to our campsite. With another day of hiking I would have hiked to the east base of the mountain which is easily do-able from Round Lake. I've already moved my day-pack and trekking poles to the trailer so those are not forgotten next time. Click on this photo for a panorama of Three Finger Jack from the south shore of Square Lake. Black Butte would be just out of view to the right of the panorama. You can see the two different shades of gravel. Both the truck and trailer are covered with two shades of dust, red and gray from our back country travel.

The head of the Metolius River, Behind: Looking downstream from the head of the Metolius
Wizard Falls, Behind: a larger view of Wizard Falls, the location of Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery Feeding the fish at the hatchery, Behind: An overview of the ponds at the hatchery
Friday, June 28, 2013: This was a travel day back to Sutherlin but there are trips we took which I haven't reported. The Metolius River begins entirely at a spring near our camping location then flows north. About five miles north is the Wizard Falls. Located at Wizard Falls is the Wizard Falls fish hatchery. We spent a couple of hours walking around the hatchery and watching staff feed the fish. We saw beginners the size of a finger up to 3 foot long rainbows who had escaped from the hatchery only as far as the cooling pond. This is a popular location for visitors and for picnics. Here is a video I made in celebration of returning to the sun.

Black Butte from Santiam Pass, Behind: The Black Butte Trailhead, I wasn't the ONLY one with the idea of hiking to the summit.
The Black Butte Fire Lookout comes into view, Behind: Visitors are not allowed in the fire lookout. Back down the trail with Suttle Lake in the distance, Behind: Three Finger Jack
Sisters Oregon in the distance, Behind: The Three Sisters. Thursday, June 27, 2013: Today's event was a hike to the summit of Black Butte. It towers to the east of Santiam Pass and to the north of Sisters. The photo above, left is from Santiam Pass looking a Black Butte. When you click that photo you'll see that I was not the only one with the idea of hiking the summit today. The hike looks awesome but the trail head is only 2 miles from the summit, but a steep 2 miles. As it turns out, visitors are not allowed in the fire lookout but the views are worth the hike. The center photo above shows my first view of the tower which gives the hiker encouragement but I'm still only half way to the summit. Clicking the center photo shows the forest service sign identifying the tower. The cupola on the right was built about 90 years ago and was used Sisters in the distance, Behind: Mt. Washington on the left, Three Finger Jack then Mt. Jefferson (obscured by clouds) on the right.
as a fire lookout until replaced by the tower. Behind the cupola photo is the lookout residence with Three Finger Jack in the distance. You can also see Suttle Lake and Santiam Pass. At the left is the trail down with Santiam Pass and Suttle Lake in the distance. Behind that photo is a view of the Three Sisters Mountains. I met lots of hikers both coming down and going up the Butte so this is a very popular trail (especially for a Thursday). The trail head parking lot was full with me taking the last parking spot. There is another trail I want to do to the summit of Black Crater with even more spectacular views especially of the Three Sisters, but that will have to be next year. The photo at right has Sisters (the town) in the distance with a panorama of Mt. Washington, Three Finger Jack and Mt. Jefferson (obscured by clouds) on the right. I'll have to admit I was surprised at how well I did in my hiking adventures this week. I did NO preparation and forgot my trekking poles but still felt strong and not exhausted after each hike. Today's hike was the toughest due to the steep climb and made me wish I had spent more time on the stair stepper at Anytime Fitness where I have a free membership.

Rachel, Gwen and Henry in the middle of the night. Rachel and Henry were LOST.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013: Last night at 9pm we had a knock on the door. Remember, we are pretty remote and alone in the Deschutes National Forest. At our door were Rachel and Henry (we eventually learned their names). Henry asked, "Do I know where the road (about two hundred yards away) leads?" Eventually I learned that they had been hiking for six hours and started at Jack Lake and were lost. They wanted me to point the way back to Jack Lake. Well Jack Lake was 12 road miles away and probably a six hour hike back the way they had come. It was obvious, they needed a ride back to Jack Lake (they were in serious trouble, in the woods, lost, at night). Gwen and I put on heavier clothes (it was cold), put them in our truck and found our way to Jack Lake at night. We wished we had done this drive during the day to see the scenery because it looked like good views. It took 36 minutes to get them back to their car. We learned they were from Eugene and actually planned to return to Eugene yet tonight. We learned that Henry works at Falling Sky Brewing in Eugene where a fresh organic menu is created from whatever is in season around the local area. Sounds like a place we should visit. When we arrived at the lonely Jack Lake trailhead, I grabbed this photo and made sure their car would start before leaving them. They are standing in the truck headlights so that's why the strange lighting. These two must be pretty tough hikers with all the trails they covered yesterday. Do they look HAPPY to be back to their car?

Dee Wright Observatory at the top of MacKenzie Pass. We should see views from here but only clouds and rain today. Behind: Gwen is looking through one of the view ports. Mckenzie Pass, Behind: a view of the rain covered pass and trail through the lava Any combination of 35 feet or more is prohibited from this scenic byway, Behind: What we would have seen if the view had been clear.
Today (Wednesday) was a short drive to the McKenzie Scenic area. Road 242 is paved but becomes very narrow with sharp switch-backs so any combination of vehicle length over 35 feet is prohibited. At the top of McKenzie Pass is the Dee Wright Observatory created out of the lava it sits on. It is filled with directional window ports labeled for the mountain you will see when looking through the port. Only today ... all we saw were rain clouds. Click the photo of the observatory and you'll see Gwen trying to make out one of the mountains through the clouds. Behind the Summit sign is a view of the pass itself as well as the paved trail through the lava. Behind the last chance sign is what we WOULD have seen had it been a clear day. We returned to the Sisters Library so I could upload my Webpage and the photo behind the "last chance" sign was hanging on the wall in the library (hence the reflection on the glass of the photo).

Junction of PCT with Summit Lake Trail, Behind: Panorama of the Mt. Washington wilderness
Santiam Pass trail head, Behind: Hiway 20, Santiam Pass from the Pacific Crest Trail.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013: The weather was cool with rain all night and threatening rain during the day, a perfect time for an eight mile hike to the Pacific Crest Trail and return. This began at the Round Lake Trail head as our hike a couple of days ago. This time Gwen stayed back to sew and Morgan no longer has the endurance for an eight mile hike. I was anxious to reach the Pacific Crest Trail for the views at the crest and to reach the Santiam Pass Trail head I carried rain gear but had to use it only a mile from the truck on the return hike. Click the sign on the left to see a panorama of the view at the top. The panorama shows Mt. Washington in the Mt. Washington Wilderness Area, obscured by the clouds, then to the right, the Hoo Doo Ski Area. Click the center photo to see Highway 20 at Santiam Pass with the sign for the Pacific Crest Trail at the Santiam Pass Trail head I forgot my baseball hat so had to wear my OR (brand name) rain hat during the hike. A T-shirt and vest was all I needed but carried rain gear, sweat shirt, water, and lunch in my pack. Behind this photo is a nice photo of Mt. Washington, my view during my lunch stop. I also took two short videos, one at Santiam Pass and the other as I meet the Summit Lake Trail junction back to Round Lake from the Pacific Crest Trail.

Being a tourist in Sisters, Oregon, Behind: visiting the Sisters Fly Shop looking at the "cool" stuff.
Monday, June 24, 2013: This was an overcast, wet day so we decided to do the tourist thing in Sisters. I made a list of the stores and their addresses from the "Sisters Country" magazine which we wanted to visit. However, our first stop was the Chamber of Commerce to ask for a laundry. I walked into the chamber and said, "I need to do my laundry! Is there a place here in Sisters." The receptionist thought that was funny and began laughing then gave me directions to the laundromat only two blocks away. While we were waiting for the laundry, I walked to the Habitat for Humanity Thrift Shop because they had advertised
"sporting goods". I was looking for golf shoes to give me traction when mowing the steep hills at Timber Valley. They didn't have golf shoes but DID have cleated baseball shoes my size so that's what I bought. I also found a $2 Nike day-pack since I forgot mine and wanted to do some extended hiking before leaving here. Next door to the thrift shop was the Sisters Fly Shop. I'm not a fisherman but I like looking at the cool stuff fly fishermen buy. You'll see the fly shop when you click the photo above. The dog in that photo belongs to the fly shop, it's not Morgan. The Sisters magazine also mentioned the Beacham Clock Company where they MAKE clocks. There were four clock makers hard at work when we visited. I love clocks and these were pretty fancy. Prices from $29 to $125,000. The most expensive was a clock made for Queen Victoria in 1875, far right. Click that photo to see a vertical panorama since I couldn't fit the entire clock into one frame. Also impressive was the street view building clock at right. The clock face is stained glass with the clock movement on the shelf. Click that photo for a close-up view of the clock movement. Beacham's Clock Shop, large clock viewed from the street, Behind: clock movement for street view clock. Clock built for Queen Victoria in 1875, Behind: panorama of the clock (too tall for ONE frame)
Gwen visits the Stitch'n Post Quilt Shop, Behind: view of the Beacham's Clock ShopWhile in the clock shop, I had to make a video of what I was seeing, hoping you might get an idea of how great this shop is. Click here for a 2.5 minute tour of the shop. Sisters is known for their "Outdoor Quilt Show" always held the second Saturday of July. The Stitch'n Post is the premier Quilt Shop which organizes the Quilt show. So Gwen spent a good deal of her tourist time inside the Stitch'n Post and found a fabric pattern she was looking for. I sat outside with the other men while their wives visited the store. On the bench with me was a gentleman visiting from western Oregon. His wife likes to sew so here we were waiting for the wives to find their next project. He was on the bench when I arrived and was still on the bench when I left. We had a nice visit, he must have been an RVer since he liked to talk. I'll admit to visiting the yogurt shop on the way out of town but I had non-dairy sorbet while Gwen had her favorite yogurt flavors.

The inverter couldn't handle the toaster, Behind: Behind: our new propane toaster so we don't have to use the evil electric toaster.
Uploading the Webpage at the Sisters Library, Behind: "The Thinker" Preparing to fill the 25 gallon ice chest with water, Behind: borrowing wate with permission from Sisters Ace Hardware

Hoping to move the water from the ice chest to the holding tank by gravity.

Sunday: June 23, 2013: OK, I did something very stupid! The day after the "accidental" toaster use which worked on the inverter we decided to do it again. Five seconds into pushing the plunger on the toaster the inverter clicked OFF. To make matters worse, it would NOT reset. I was thinking very bad thoughts about my decision to use a 750 Watt toaster on a 600 Watt inverter. Additionally, the instruction manual for the inverter was in the Cameo. I made a note: "Transfer appropriate instruction manuals to the Alumascape." Fortunately I had good enough Internet access on my phone to download the instruction manual from "Go Power". It didn't help much... said turn off the inverter for 5 seconds and turn back on to reset. I had already done that and more. But, it did mention an "internal fuse" and "return to a technician". So I took off the cover (after considerable work to remove from under the trailer). I found TWO 35 AMP fuses, both burned OPEN. I didn't have any 35 AMP fuses so put those on my "Sisters" list. That's what we did today, drive to Sisters for supplies. I was able to get replacement fuses and fixed the inverter (thank goodness) later in the day. I also bought a "camp stove" toaster so we would no longer be tempted with the "evil" electric toaster. Click the inverter photo to see the new propane toaster. I also wanted to go to the library for WIFI access to upload this Webpage. The folks in Sisters are serious about their library. I got run out of the "teen" room (just next to the computer room" because the "teens won't come into the teen room if an adult is present". And Gwen and I got "shushed" in the "Quiet Area" by a patron who informed us, "Do you see that sign? You can talk anywhere else in the library." Click the library photo to see the "thinking" photo. I DID rip three classical albums while waiting for Gwen. Today was day number four of our wilderness camping and I was concerned about the amount of water we have been using. I purchased some items at ACE Hardware so asked them if I could have some water from their hose bib. Click the truck photo to see me accessing the ACE water. I'm hoping to move the water from the ice chest to the Alumascape holding tank via gravity but so far, it's not working. I DO have a small pump but didn't want to use it unless I really needed it. There seems to be some sort of valve which is causing back pressure. Monday morning update: YES! gravity worked and the ice chest was empty this morning.

The trailhead to Square Lake begins at the west end of Round Lake. The hike takes us into the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area. Behind: Note all the new tree seedlings from this ten year old burned forest.
This was a relatively easy 2 mile hike to Square Lake. Behind: An enlarged view showing Square Lake. View of Square Lake, Behind: panorama of Square Lake

Gwen and Morgan on the trail, Behind: wider view of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness.

Saturday, June 22, 2013: The best weather day yet during our "vacation" took us on a hike into the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area. The trailhead begins at the west end of Round Lake, only three miles from our campsite. Our goal is to hike into the wilderness two miles to Square Lake. I figure someone in the forest service must have a sense of humor since Round Lake isn't round and Square Lake isn't square. This is our first hike for quit some time so we chose and easy hike. Easy, although 2 miles in the woods seems like three times that much compared to "hiking" around Timber Valley on pavement. When you click the left photo above you'll see all the new trees growing where the burned forest once stood. The new growth is natural, not forest service planted. In many places the trees are growing in groups on inches apart from each other. In that case, genetics will take over and the trees with the best genes will survive. In the center photo above, we have just reached Square Lake. Clicking the photo will give you a wider view showing the lake. We arrived just in time for Morgan. She was overheating and tired and needed a lake to cool off. It worked and she was a much happier dog on the hike back. The photo on the right is of Square Lake with a panorama view by clicking the photo. The last photo at the left is Gwen and Morgan on the return hike. Note again the many new trees behind them in the forest. Clicking this photo will give you a wider view showing Round Lake and the truck through the trees. This trip back to the truck was mostly downhill so everyone liked the return hike better. We saw lots of flowers along the hike. Click here for an example of what we saw. Gwen plans to identify these by searching wildflower books or the Internet.

Friday, June 21, 2013: I awoke this morning, turned on the Trimetric meter expecting to see a positive reading due to our new sunny camping location but instead saw -65.1 Amps, a reading I should NEVER see. I rushed to the circuit breaker box thinking a circuit breaker had accidentally been turned on (I manage power usage by turning off the appropriate breakers). However, on the way, I passed Gwen using our 750 Watt electric toaster on our 600 Watt inverter. The inverter overload switch should have turned off the inverter but didn't. My only explanation is that the voltage dropped below 100 from 110 keeping the Wattage below 600. I guess we better get a camp Awaked before 8am to see -65.1 Amps on the Trimetric meter, YIKES! Front door to the Suttle Lake Lodge, behind: close up view of the Indian.
stove toaster. The photo to the right is of the hand carved front door to the Suttle Lake Lodge. It's appropriate for this up-scale lodge. Click the door photo for a close-up view of the Indian. Click HERE to see a close-up view of the eagle. Both very finely carved. The lodge didn't seem at full occupancy but the staff was busy and had little time to chat with us. The photo to the left below is of the interior of the lodge. Someone has invested a great deal into the building of this lodge and its atmosphere. No doubt the rooms are equally eloquent. Click the interior lodge view to see the hand-carved mirror at the bar. The lower right photo is of the restaurant deck but it's far too cold today for dining on the deck. Behind that photo is a view of the small marina. If the weather improves, we may rent a small motor boat (only $30) to take a motor tour of the lake. Our batteries are doing well even though the day was mostly cloudy, we achieved 100% full charge and ran the inverter all day too.
Interior of the Suttle Lake Lodge, behind: bar with hand carved mirror frame Suttle Lake restaurant outdoor deck and dining area, behind: Suttle Lake Marina

Our dispersed campsite 2 miles up the Round Lake Road
The view outside our large dining area window, behind: Morgan's private swimming hole Keeping our campsite private
Thursday, June 20, 2013: Today was moving day although we moved only 7.1 miles to a dispersed camping area, 2.1 miles up the Round Lake road. We are still 3 miles from Round Lake but have our own access to Round Lake Creek, lots of solar (when the weather allows the sun to peep through), and quiet. I say quiet because our campsite at Suttle Lake was nice but only 1/2 mile from a steep grade on highway 20 with lots of truck traffic. The trucks are "grinding" going up hill and using their "Jake-brakes" when going downhill so lots of traffic noise. Our dispersed campsite allows Morgan and Annie to roam without a leash or cage. Click the left photo for a wider view of our campsite. The center photo is the view we see from our dining area window. When you click that photo you'll see Morgan's private swimming hole. This is a "hunter's camp" so I've had to do a lot of "policing" of the area picking up broken glass, beer cans and shotgun shells. I don't believe ALL hunters are this careless but SOME of them certainly were. We've already had one visitor to our campsite who, after seeing us, made a loop and left. In the right photo you can see the dusty road so they stirred up the dust with their action. To try to stop this from happening again (and to keep our site private) I placed the three cones in the access road at a spot easy to turn around but before our camp. Our campsite is only 200 yards from the main Round Lake road but we can't be seen from the road. Click this photo and you'll see that the center cone has a sign stating "Sutherlin Hiking Club behind these cones", as if the area is reserved for the Sutherlin hikers. That's US. We moved here about 1pm and have been getting partial sun (due to the clouds) since then. That was enough to bring our batteries back to 98%. Our batteries have not fallen below 83% and this is day four of our trip. Much different from our previous coast trip when the batteries were dead in 2 hours. This is due to the solar charging and NOT having to use the furnace (heating only with our Empire heater) and installation of the LED light bulbs. Additionally, we haven't had to run the generator yet and had to run it about 10 hours each day (since the batteries were always dead) on the coast trip. Gwen is getting anxious to vacuum so that will mean connecting the generator.

Entrance to the Suttle Lake Lodge Restaurant,  behind: at our own lake window seat.
Canadian Geese from our restaurant window, vegitable fritata with a strong kale flavor At Whole Foods Market, a favorite when we are near one, behind: free WIFI access at Whole Foods where I can post my Web pages.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013: Our day began with a nice breakfast on the opposite end of Suttle Lake at the Suttle Lake Lodge Restaurant. Our window seat was right on the lake and marina. Just outside our window the Canadian Geese were roaming in/out of the lake to find food. Gwen ordered the omelet special while I ordered a vegetable frittata (with egg whites only). My frittata had a strong flavor of kale, one of the main vegetable ingredients. We were disappointed with the frozen potatoes from such a fancy restaurant. I believe you must eat here once for the atmosphere but not for the food. We had a list of activities to accomplish in Bend. We forgot our checkbook to pay for camping so visited Wells Fargo for counter checks, then off to Costco to investigate their printer cartridge refill service (our Roseburg Costco does not offer the service). The printer cartridges were for the $3 printer we purchased at the Timber Valley yard sale. I learned that the color cartridge couldn't be used and the black cartridge was half full so couldn't be filled. We left Costco without buying anything. Next was Fred Meyer for diesel. It's 12¢ cheaper in Bend so I wanted to fill both tanks. Next was Whole Foods Market, one of our favorite places to shop for healthy food. We have none near Sutherlin. Also, Whole Foods Market offers free WIFI so I didn't have to find the library to upload my Web pages. On the drive back to camp, we toured one of the National Forest campgrounds nearer to Sisters (Indian Fork) and learned it was too close to the road for our comfort. Click the photos for additional views. It was cold, spring weather today with intermittent showers and hail. I was hoping we'd come back to camp and find our batteries fully charged but the weather and the trees have been in the way of a full charge since we arrived. They are currently at 88% so we'll be OK until tomorrow when we plan to move.

In search of dispersed camping on forest service roads
A distant view of Suttle Lake Learning about the B & B complex fire which burned 140 square miles
Tuesday, June 18, 2013: This was a fun day exploring the forest service roads looking for dispersed camping. We were looking for some sort of water (creek, river or lake) and good solar exposure. We found one or the other but rarely both in the same location. We did discover lots of scenery and learned about the B & B complex fire which burn most of the area we explored about ten years ago. We have several locations in mind for a move on Thursday. This was not a great solar day with scattered rain showers and lots of cloud cover. We expect to visit Sisters and Bend, Oregon tomorrow.

At the McKenzie Bridge Ranger Station
Space 20 at the Link Creek Campground, Suttle Lake, Oregon
Monday, June 17, 2013: This was a travel day from Sutherlin to Suttle Lake, Oregon. Only 146 miles but we took our time. Suttle Lake is at 3,438 feet in the Cascade Mountains, 14.5 miles northwest of Sisters, Oregon. Our first stop toward Suttle Lake was the McKenzie Bridge Ranger Station where we talked to the ranger about dispersed camping and purchased a forest service map. We decided to stay in space 20 of the Link Creek Campground on the shores of Suttle Lake then explore for dispersed camping without the trailer. "Dispersed Camping" is National Forest camping outside of a designated campground. Unless marked otherwise, all National Forests allow 14 days of dispersed camping with few rules and of course, no fee. The camping fee in space 20 is $16/night with paved access roads, gravel sites, picnic table, fire pit, water nearby and that's it. With our "Senior Access" pass, we pay half the rate, so $8 per night. Click the photos for additional views. Gwen is standing in space 20 next to our trailer. In the photo behind Gwen is a view of Suttle Lake only a few feet from our campsite. Morgan has already taken herself for several dips in the Lake. I purchased three orange cones at the Timber Valley yard sale for $1 each and have already made good use of them. We are hoping for enough sun to charge the batteries each day but it will be tough since we are surrounded by trees and have heard rain is expected tomorrow. We'll explore the area tomorrow.

In line for Dune tour tickets, a popular tourist even on the Memorial Day weekend
Some 4 wheel ATVs in the distance on the Oregon Dunes
Tuesday, May 28, 2013: Today was a travel day from Florence, Oregon back to our fifth wheel in Timber Valley SKP park in Sutherlin, Oregon. Normally a 1.5 hour trip. Before leaving the ocean however, we had to take the Oregon Dune tour to see the attraction to all those Dune buggies over the Memorial Day weekend. The Oregon Dunes stretch for 62 miles north of Coos Bay and south of Florence. The average width is 3.5 miles of fine sand and huge dunes for ATVs and Dune Buggies to play. Virtually all the campers in our campground were there to play on the dunes. The dune sands are glacier deposits then blown by the wind. Our driver (Bob) says the dune where the above photo was taken will grow by 150 feet over the summer months due to the summer winds (an little rain to hold the sand in place). Our short tour (30 minutes) gave us an idea of the size and fun which could be experienced by climbing the dunes with an ATV or dune buggy. It must be for a younger person because I had no interest in the sport. This is another of those sports which would be very expensive. The participant would need the ATV, safety gear, proper clothes, trailer to transport the ATV to the dunes, some sort of camping gear while visiting the dune area (tent, trailer, motor home). Additionally, the lady we purchased our dune tour ticket, above photo, also sold permits to those who had their own dune vehicle. The permit was more than our tour ticket but I guess it was for more than one day of dune fun. She rattled off prices to rent an ATV and drive yourself. The price increase by the size of the vehicle and I heard as much at $300 per hour but my opinion is that it's still MUCH cheaper than owning one of those dune vehicles. I'd do another tour with friends and recommend it to anyone whose never seen the Oregon Dunes. Click the photos for other views.

Looking north on the beach near Waxmyrtle campground
Siuslaw Public Library in Florence for Internet access
Monday, May 27, 2013: Yesterday we visited the Siuslaw Public Library for Internet access. As it turned out, everything work well except I couldn't upload my Webpage. We found free WIFI elsewhere to do that. I did find a large CD collection in the library and ripped 7 blues CDs. The term "ripped" is the software term for copying the CD digital format to the MP3 digital file for storage on a computer hard drive, portable MP3 player or cell phone. That's particularly nice for those who live in an RV. I can store thousands of CDs on my computer without having to worry about storage space and weight for the actual CD and it's case. I'm anxious to visit this library again to rip more of their collection. After our library visit, we drove to the end of our campground road for access to the beach. We climbed a large sand dune for the view on the left. A kite flyer was flying a parafoil the size as mine. I've already put "kite" on my list of items forgotten. Click the photos for additional views.
View of the Pacific from the Waxmyrtle TrailSunday, May 26, 2013: Morgan and I returned from a couple of hours searching the garage sales in Florence yesterday to learn that Gwen had taken off on a "hike to the ocean". So Morgan and I had a quick lunch then went in search of Gwen. She had taken the Waxmyrtle Trail without realizing it was a pretty tough 1.25 miles each way in loose sand. As it turned out, Morgan and I took a distant entrance to the trail and missed Gwen on her return hike. Meanwhile, we kept hiking hoping Gwen was just around the next bend in the trail. In this photo, I would make my
Waxmyrtle trail, a 1.25 mile hike to the ocean Much of the beach is off limits to protect the Snowy Plover

(frugal) sister Dorana proud because I'm wearing my $1, garage sale, Oregon Ducks, hooded sweatshirt.

This whole area has large sections of the trail and beach marked as protected area for the Snowy Plover. Morgan and I are allowed to hike the trail to the beach but Morgan is not allowed north or south of the beach entrance. Without Morgan, I could hike the beach only if I walked on "wet sand". The weather improved yesterday with sun for the first time in a week and little wind so it felt much warmer and the hike help to dry us out from a week of humid (rainy) weather. Today, the hooded sweatshirt was mostly needed to keep the mosquito's off my neck. Click the photos for additional views. This was a nice hike along the short (only 3 miles long) Siltcoos River. Tsiltcoos was the name of a local native American chief and his family.

The Oregon Coast Sea Lion Caves


Saturday, May 25, 2013: The Oregon Coast Sea Lion Caves is the largest of its kind in the United States and a real tourist stop along the coast. It has been here as long as I can remember. It's a nice gift shop and entrance to view the caves below the gift shop. There is a fee and I've never been willing to pay the fee, just look at the post card photos. The parking lot is a good place to stop for some terrific Pacific Ocean views if the weather is clear. Today it was a bit cloudy but slowly clearing so we got a pretty good view. Our Alumascape was crammed in among the huge motor homes but the big Alfa left giving me enough space to pull over into his space just before continuing south.

I also found a baby banana slug while camped at Tillicum Beach. Click the photo to see the slug. This guy is pretty small compared to some I've seen.

Space 22 in the Waxmyrtle campground south of Florence

Friday, May 24, 2013: Today was moving day. We drove south to Waxmyrtle Campground, we liked it because it was quiet and private. Although this weekend is Memorial Day weekend so there are many more campers her this weekend. We are protected from the wind much better here and the rain is only a drizzle with a few sun breaks. We drove back to Goodwill and bought three more jigsaw puzzles for 99¢ each except one was on sale at 50% off. We already assembled one and found it was missing four pieces, darn. Morgan likes this park because she has a private area to explore with no leash. Annie has re-adopted us and is staying close, returning to the trailer often. This is her usual way of acting while traveling. Apparently she was comfortable enough at Timber Valley to stay outside for a month. Click the photo to see her sitting guard at site 22. Satellite radio is working well.

Waldport public libraryThursday, May 23, 2013: It's like we are going back in time. We don't have solar (although this weather would give us very little solar power), we have no television (only satellite radio) and we have no Internet access. I intend to move the solar power system to the Great Blue Heron Edition when we return to Sutherlin, but not moving the television. When we head south to Arizona next fall, we'll subscribe to Verizon WIFI again to take care of Internet access. In the mean time, I must visit where-ever I can find WIFI. Fortunately, the Waldport Public library has free WIFI and is only 4 miles from our camping location. I must still take care of the college class I'm teaching while on "vacation". That class will end in three weeks. It continues to rain on the coast so Gwen came prepared with jigsaw puzzles and playing cards. So far, we assembled two puzzles and I've won all the card games. Of course, that's annoying to her since she plays games all the time and I don't usually like card games. Click the photo for a view of the most recent puzzle assembled. Gwen does 90% of the work on the puzzles.

Entering the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport
Spider crab posing for a photo Rock cod about to smile
Tufted Puffins Inside the Passage of the Deep Posing for a photo in the Passage of the Deep
Exploring all angles Grilled local Oregon Oysters for lunch Wednesday, May 22, 2013: Neither Gwen nor I have visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. Today was our first time and it was a good experience, even in the rain. Several of the exhibits are in the open air so standing in the rain to see marine life. We were able to get a senior discount as well as a AAA discount. We enjoyed watching the children of the school tours get excited about the exhibits. They especially liked the exhibit where visitors could touch the marine life. The favorite for me was the "Passage of the Deep" which turned out to be a walking tube through the largest exhibit. The visitor is completely surrounded by the water exhibit inside a tube. So you will see visitors peering through the glass on the floor as well as watching the sharks as they swim overhead. We probably stayed inside this exhibit for most of a hour. I'm glad the aquarium was not crowded. We were hungry for seafood after the aquarium tour so visited the Chowder Bowl. Gwen had chowder with fish tacos while I had grilled local Oregon Oysters. Yes, we were both cold so had several layers of shirts, sweatshirts and jackets. Click the photos for additional views.
Site 48 at Tillicum Beach campground near Yachats, OregonTuesday, May 21, 2013: No jury duty today. We are camped in Tillicum Beach campground, a national forest campground between Yachats and Walport, Oregon. Most of the sites are on pavement parked parallel to the access road however site 48 is far more private with a private ocean viewing area and surrounding vegetation. I did extend the awning knowing rain was to happen on Today. There is water available in the campground, otherwise, no services.

Gwen enjoying the beach view just behind our trailer in site 48

Since this is a national forest service campground, our senior access pass gives us 50% off the fee, so $12 per day for us.

There is a trail behind our trailer which leads to a private viewing area of the beach. It is also protected from the wind which makes it much warmer than the surrounding area. When we pulled into the campground we saw familiar faces as camp hosts. Our hosts are Charlie and Doris who we met while camped at Outlet Bay campground in Idaho. They have been on the Oregon coast all winter and can't wait to get back to Arizona and away from the wet weather.

Rhododendron Parade, 2013, Florence, Oregon
The first car in the parade with honor guard behind Oregon Ducks Mascot is the Grand Marshal
Lots of bands Parade marshal
Biggest wheeled vehicle in the parade Monday, May 20, 2013: Yesterday was the Rhododendron Festival parade. It was 1-1/2 hours long with several bands (my biggest interest). Don and Irene joined us at the side of the parade. It was cool and windy so we are dressed warmly. Lots of spectators, this is a major event for Florence, probably the beginning of the tourist season, a major economy for the coast. The parade route is shared with Hwy 101, the main north/south route on the coast. Click each photo for additional views and click here for a short video of the last band in the parade. Last high school band

Kimm is cooking the salmon purchased locally
Items for the after dinner "white elephant" auction
Sunday, May 19, 2013: Keeping with the food theme of the rally, Kimm barbequed salmon on a pellet barbeque last night for our dinner. Everyone brought side dishes or dessert to go with the salmon. After dinner, the annual "white elephant" auction happened. Everyone brought something concealed in a bad of some sort for bid by the members. We ended up purchasing two items. One turned out to be a sun-tea jar with spout on the bottom. The other item was a colorful backpack which I think Gwen will use for one of her hobbies. The best items were a very large non-stick fry pan worth $65 and a set of leveling blocks worth $45. Of course all the items were fun. Click the photos for additional views. The photo behind the auction items is of a local restaurant with vintage auto theme.

The historic Florence bridge over the Siuslaw River
A view of Old Town Florence during Rhododendron Festival, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013: This day began with potluck breakfast in the pavilion at our campground. It was a wonderful breakfast and hard to stay on a "plant based" menu. This weekend is the Rhododendron Festival so the "Old Town" has a carnival, vendors and lots of motorcycles in town. This view of the historic Florence bridge entering Florence from the south is a photographer's delight during good weather. Today was misty and showers much of the time. The town is also full of motorcycle clubs with the street lined with parked motorcycles. The bridge crosses the Siuslaw River (pronounced Sie (rhymes with die) oos law. I spent my day at the hardware store for a few repair items then walking Old Town. Gwen rested in the trailer. Click the photos for additional views.

Heceta Head Lighthouse
Friday, May 17, 2013: What a great weather day. Gwen and I drove north looking for potential campsites after we leave the rally on Monday. One of the most photographed lighthouses in Oregon is the Heceta Head lighthouse. Today was no exception because the weather was so clear. I've never visited this lighthouse. Perhaps we'll have time to hike in to get a closer look this trip. Today, we found what we were looking for, a campsite located right on the ocean. We'll spend four days there after the rally then return to Waxmyrtle for some quiet time. Click this photo for a panorama.

Thursday, May 16, 2013: We've moved from our campsite in Waxmyrtle Campground only a few miles north to the Odd fellows Campground just south of the Florence bridge across the Siuslaw River. This is the site of the spring Escapees Chapter Nine rally which begins today. This campground has full hookups and our special overnight rally fee paid to the park is $20 per night. The rally is four nights/five days so we paid $80 to stay the four nights. With full hookups, we are able to dump the holding tanks and fill the freshwater holding tank. Additionally, we are able to easily charge phones, tablets and whatever electronic gadgets we have. I am carrying our generator so I could do the same with the generator. The Odd fellows have crammed us together, apparently the people who stay here must like to talk with their neighbors. We are so close, putting out our slide touched our neighbor's awning in the Komfort. Everything in our trailer is switch to electricity (electric refrigerator, electric hot water, electric heat) from propane since we don't pay extra for electricity. Registration for the rally was at 3 pm with a raffle at 4 pm. We won the "big" raffle prize which was $22. That paid for our meal tonight with the group at a local Chinese restaurant. Click the photo below to see everyone enjoying the chinese food. This is a panorama photo (three photos stitched together to make one photo) so there are a few people in the room who are missing parts due to the stitching process. When moving some place new, my first priority is to get my weather station erected and recording weather. You can see it on my new mast at the back of the trailer. If you are wondering how Annie is doing, she has gone from living outside at Timber Valley and totally ignoring us ... to ... NOW, being our best friend. She goes outside for a short look, then wants back inside with her dog and us. She learned immediately how to go through her cat door to her food and litter box. She experienced a cat door for four years when we had a house in Grants Pass but that was seven years ago. Full hook-ups at the Odd Fellows, good friends parked close by

Parked at Waxmyrtle Campground south of Florence, OregonWednesday, May 15, 2013: This is our first real travel day with the "Great Blue Heron Edition" Alumascape. Our previous trip was to Medford, Oregon to help Ralph and Janet get their garage sale ready. This trip is for fun and may last as long as two weeks depending upon my jury duty commitment for this month. We've loaded the truck and trailer heavier than the Medford trip and both Gwen and I have used our "transfer lists" to double check the items we need to load into the Alumascape. We've also brought our generator thinking we might get into an extended stay in a National Forest campground with no power. Our first campsite is in the Waxmyrtle Campground, seven miles south of Florence, Oregon on the Oregon coast. We are in space 22 about 1.25 trail miles from the Pacific Ocean. This time of year and on mid-week there are few other campers. We are able to use our Senior Access pass in the campground so the cost is $10 per night. The site is paved with a table, fire pit, water is nearby but no direct hook-ups of any kind. $10 per night may sound cheap but that's $300 per month for nothing but a table, fire pit and access to water. In our travels east, we noticed that virtually every campsite had electricity and water. We think the reason is that no-one would camp back east with hook-ups because of the high heat and humidity. You don't have to worry about either on the Oregon coast. Yes, high humidity but never the heat to go with it. Tomorrow we join an Escapees, Chapter 9 rally in Florence. Click the photo for a view of our rig parked at the Umpqua Wayside on the Umpqua River, the second largest river in Oregon. Both the North and South Umpqua Rivers pass through Roseburg near our home base in Sutherlin.
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