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Our first sunny day on the Oregon coast

Avacado and sardine sandwich
Sunday, January 1, 2012: Our first sunny day on the Oregon coast. We take a long hike on the beach and Morgan liked it so much she was hopping like a puppy. We used our smart phones to take photos and keep track of our mileage. Lots of other hikers on the beach many taking their dogs for a walk too. We hear the surf from our parking location but NO traffic so it's the perfect location for us.

I'm currently using my smart phone to track my food intake. Gwen and I also are fans of Alton Brown on the food channel. I'm wanting to lose 17 lbs but Alton lost 50 lbs over the last year. One of his recipes is for an avocado and sardine sandwich. Alton also promoted sardines on an episode of the Doctor OZ show so Gwen bought four cans of sardines last week. I built the avocado and sardine sandwich today. It looks awful and I was disappointed in the flavor. It had none. I was expecting more from a sardine. I didn't exactly follow the recipe so if I try it again, I'll give Alton a chance and follow his suggestions. Click the beach photo for another view.

Stormy at the ocean
Monday, January 2, 2012: A stormy day today on the Oregon coast. Rain all night then showers all day today. Some pretty strong winds too. The waves are big with spray blowing off the tops. Sand is blowing down the beach even though it's wet. Meanwhile, we watch our favorite bowl games like the Rose Bowl where the Oregon Ducks finally won a Rose Bowl, their first since 1917. Morgan and I went on a pretty good hike on the beach too, then downtown where most businesses were open but it looked like business was slow. The wind was at our backs when walking north so we cut over to the downtown streets to return to our camp.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012: One of the purposes of our "winter retreat" is to "do nothing". So I've begun reading the book Gwen gave me for Christmas, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I'm only 1/3 into the book but it's already interesting to me. I was an entrepreneur about the same time Steve Jobs began Apple Computers. My company was a mail order woodworking supply which supported me and about 12 employees from 1976 to 1991. Being mail order, I quickly learned that a computer system/network would help greatly in virtually every business task so I shopped for computers and software. I never considered the Apple computer for my business needs because it was always too under-powered and those were the days when 1 meg of RAM and a 44 meg hard drive were considered "state-of-the-art". I'm mentioning this because the first third of the book discusses how Steve Jobs tried to make the computer so that every household would want it. It had to be easy to use so the Macintosh was the first to introduce a GUI (graphical user interface), the icons and a mouse to open and close programs. For my business computers, we had to know MS-DOS commands to make them work. I DID buy a Macintosh in the mid-80s to accomplish a specific job, manipulating A bookstore display of the Steve Jobs I never considered it more than a toy because it operated on a 3.5" floppy disk which was highly volatile and slow. You often had to put in a disk to start a program, then remove and replace with another disk to store data. According to the book, it didn't take long for others to figure out the limits of the Macintosh either. Anyway, Jobs DID get the common households talking about computers and looking for reasons to own one. No doubt, the Macintosh at least made the typewriter obsolete. So the book is interesting to me because I lived and worked during the time Jobs was turning Apple into a billion dollar business and I had to make some of the same decision he did. Another interest to me was that Jobs was a tyrant to work for, a perfectionist and often openly critical of his employees. He created a make-believe world around himself in terms of expectations and often ignored the reality. That sometimes worked for him in motivating employees and other times it caused them to pretend attention then go back to creating reality after he was out of the room. He also created a demand for product without marketing research, in other words, he didn't create a product to meet a need, he created the need then provided the product to meet that need (no household needed a computer in 1984, I needed one only because I owned a business). Anyway, I once worked for someone who reminded me of many of the management traits described in the first third of the Steve Jobs book. It was in 1991, at the end of my own business so I had been my own boss for 15 years then went to work for Stuart Friedman who owns Fire Mountain Gems. I lasted only one year before Stuart fired me because "he lost confidence in my work". Of course, while working for myself I had to "forgive" plenty of my mistakes which cost my company many dollars but Stuart couldn't do that. Steve Jobs described keeping only the "A" team and never accepting a "B" member. I was on the "A" team for most of that year with Fire Mountain Gems, then made a mistake so had to eliminated. For Steve Jobs, that management style worked to get him to the level of computer marketing "god". It has also worked for Stuart who is now the "bead marketing god". Another interesting thing is that Steve never made anymore than a rudimentary computer but surrounded himself with people who could create what Apple is today. There is no doubt in my mind that computers would be different today had Steve Jobs not had his vision of what they should be. I suppose the only negative was that he "stepped on and humiliated" an awful lot of people to make his vision come true. I'm hoping for a different Steve as I get into the last of the book. Oh, and being fired by Stuart was the best thing that happened to me, it made me free to pursue my educational interests where I eventually became a manager at Rogue Community College almost as enjoyable as owning my own business. You can click the photo to see what else I found at the bookstore.

The Enola Gay flying in the Gold Rush Mall

Wednesday, January 4, 2012: While walking around town I entered the old elementary school which has been turned into a mall on one end and community center on the other end. It's called the Gold Rush Center. On one end of the building was local artwork hanging on the walls along with a huge model of the Enola Gay with a 12 foot wing span. The center is really done well but obviously struggling this time of year for customers. It was clear and windy this morning but rain returned this afternoon. Today was also the tsunami warning practice happening each month. It was a disappointment because it was difficult to hear. A tsunami from the Japan earthquake hit here last year in March. No damage was done in this town but several million dollars in damage was done to Brookings Harbor and in Crescent City Harbor. The next couple of days should be some unusual surf with a 20 - 30 foot swell expected. Flooding is expected in some areas. It must be interesting living on the coast with threats not seen on the interior.


Thursday, January 5, 2012: The ocean is getting bigger. A 20 foot swell is here today and tomorrow along the Oregon coast with an exceptional high tide later tonight. The photo is of the mouth of the Rogue River where today there have been high waves as much as a mile from the mouth and into the river. There is very little water in the river because the whole west coast is experiencing an unusual winter drought so there has been little rain and virtually no snow in the Cascades. Still, the waves and rough ocean is impressive. Pieces of timber and branches float down the Rogue from the Cascades and when they enter the ocean, they are immediately pushed south then brought up on shore just south of the jetty. Click the photo to see the piles of Rogue drift wood. Compare this photo with our previous visit in January, 2006. In that year there was record rainfall and many full size trees floated down the Rogue then piled onto the beach. Many in the town turned out with chainsaws, cut up the trees for firewood and hauled it off.

Chevrolet Sonic
Friday, January 6, 2012: My mother needs a new, smaller car. We chose to drive to Brookings today for groceries and a few other things so while in Brookings, we stopped by Coast Chevrolet to look at the new Sonic. Coast is where we have purchased our last two cars through Costco and we've always liked dealing with them. The first was a Dodge Durango in 2000 and the second was our current Dodge 3500 Ram in late 2004. Coast now sells GM products as well as Chrysler products. They had one Sonic to look at but since it is new for 2012, I haven't seen it or sat in it before. It's especially important that it be easy to get in/out and comfortable for four people since my Mother has many friends who like to ride with her to events. So the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Focus and Dodge Caliber are all close in size, price and performance so I'm on a search to find the right vehicle for mom. The Sonic was surprisingly nice for an economy car. It had quality features I was not expecting such as a telescopic steering wheel and comfortable bucket seats with easy to reach shift control. I also know it has ten air bags that surround occupants for protection in a collision. I did not drive it but listened to the engine and sat in both the front and back seats. It also comes with six months of free "on-star" (you've seen those commercials on TV). It will be fun to compare these vehicles. The Sonic is made in the USA in Michigan and considered a "subcompact". The Caliber is a "compact" car made in Illinois but will be replaced next year with the Dodge Dart, a joint venture with Fiat. The Ford Focus is a "compact" currently made in Michigan with a totally new body style this year. I'm anxious to try it because it has a new six speed automatic transmission. When I have time, I'll have to compare to the Sonic because it also has a six speed automatic but a much smaller engine than the Focus.

A contractor with a problem

Saturday, January 7, 2012: Down the beach from us is a housing development which was probably built when the beach extended further, at least I hope so, otherwise this contractor was an idiot. The foundation of these two story houses sit about twenty feet above the level of the beach which drops abruptly only a few feet from many of the houses. The ground is eroding and falling onto the beach, you can see the large cracks only 2 or 3 feet from the foundations. When you click on the photo, you'll see how they are trying to stabilize the ground which looks like a losing battle to me. You'll also see what's left of the walkway which use to exist here. I'd say the contractor used very poor judgment here and it's only a matter of time before these houses fall into the Pacific. Most are empty so probably haven't been sold. I can't imagine any insurance company insuring these homes. What's that biblical saying, something about building your house on the sand? Yes, that's Morgan's tail at the bottom of this photo.

Oregon coast silloette
Sunday, January 8, 2012: A beautiful sunny day on the Oregon coast. An excellent day for any outdoor sports and for watching NFL playoff football. Yea! Denver Broncos.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012: Still reading Steve Jobs. Steve is rolling over in his grave because I'm reading his book on my Android smart phone rather than an iPhone. I've owned the Android phone for nearly two months and can say it is wonderful except for battery life. It's almost a joke, the phone promises many wonderful things and I went out of my way to get a "4G - LTE" phone, Still reading Steve Jobs the latest in speed and I probably have 30 APPS on the phone and use 20 of them daily. The joke is, if I actually USE the phone, let's say, to check and read email, search for a restaurant rating, review Twitter and Facebook postings, check stock prices, take a photo, compare prices in Wal-Mart to those at, record food I ate for lunch, play scrabble with my daughter in Truckee, check the weather forecast or a movie review, listen to music, get driving directions from my current location to the Whole Food Grocery store, read a book, check my bank balance, etc. the battery would be dead within 2 hours and I haven't used it as a phone yet. So, yes, it will do all these wonderful things but unless you have an external power source such as plug into AC, plug into the car charger or carry an extra battery, the mobility and ability to do those wonderful things remotely is severely limited. My son Ben owns an iPhone and says he does not have the short battery life I'm experiencing. I hope to get to compare in a "phone stand-off" someday. But knowing what I have read about Steve Jobs, I would not be surprised if the Android copies of the iPhone are far inferior in some way or another and perhaps it's only battery life but, to me, that's a big benefit. I didn't consider the iPhone because it's only 3G but I've used 4G about ten minutes so far in the life of this phone. 4G drains the battery twice as fast as 3G so not sure it can even be used without an external power source which makes "mobility" a joke. Also, Verizon was offering double data if you purchased a 4G-LTE phone (eliminating the iPhone) but in the two months I used the phone, I've used only a fraction of a gig of data usage for two reasons. First, data exchange generally takes only a few seconds then you are working off-line the rest of the time. Second, the phone automatically logs in to existing WiFi, so when at home, it's on my home network. When at a restaurant, it logs in to the restaurant network. In both cases, I'm not using my phone data minutes. In the photo, to the left of the phone, you'll see an AC cable plugged into the phone, so it's charging the battery while I'm reading, again, not very mobile. I have downloaded an APP to help with this problem called PowerMax which essentially turns everything OFF on the phone when it's not in use. I could do this manually but PowerMax acts as a single switch, tap and everything is off. It still works as a phone so it's just becoming a habit to engage PowerMax when I'm not using the phone. Again, the idea is to USE the APPS but unless you have an external power source, battery life severely limits their use. I still like my phone and the mobility it offers as well as the life changes it's helping to make. I'm just planning ahead for methods of retaining/recharging battery life.

Oregon Coast


Thursday, January 12, 2011: Another beautiful day for a walk on the beach. Sky is clear and blue (rather than gray) which means the water is also blue. A perfect day for Morgan and I to walk along the beach. This week is the first week of the college quarter in Oregon so I'm keeping my 14 students happy for these first two weeks. I try to keep them from getting discouraged during the first two weeks because I don't want them to drop the course. After two weeks, the course gets tough but they can't drop the class. Today I got a call from my sister Sandy who was trying to help my mother print some custom greeting cards I had created for her. I was able to use some software to access my mother's computer and print the greetings for her from HER computer in Lodi while I'm here in Oregon. Pretty cool.

The interior of the Y-Knot Cafe in Gold Beach

Saturday, January 14, 2012: One of the pleasures of RV travel is getting to find and visit new restaurants like the Y-Knot Cafe in Gold Beach. We had intended to try a different restaurant but it was closed so we consulted Yelp and found the Y-Knot with many good reviews. The Y-Knot is located in downtown Gold Beach and is not attractive from the outside and easy to choose to pass by but it is often those cafes which turn out to be the best. That is the case in this choice. The staff was a lot of fun and easy to visit and learn more about Gold Beach. I ordered the house specialty, crab cake sandwich with coleslaw. Both were excellent. Gwen ordered a BLT with fries, also excellent. We visited not only with the staff but with the folks eating on both side of us. Click the photo to see my crab cake sandwich.

Gold Beach Highschool track with the Pacific in the distance

Sunday, January 15, 2012: Morgan and I walked to the Gold Beach High School today where the track is only about 100 yards from the Pacific Ocean. The small football stadium is not much further from the ocean. This last football season, the Gold Beach Panthers were the state AA championship football team. Click the photo to see the football stadium. I'll bet there was excitement in this stadium last fall. The high school and athletic fields are backed up to the Pacific Ocean. We did our walk today between rain storms and later in the day, hail. We walked the beach, then cut through the high school back to the street for the return to the trailer. We also watched the NFL playoff games today and saw the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens move on. It's hard to believe Green Bay got beat.

Looking north toward Port Orford

Battle Rock in Port Orford


Monday, January 16, 2012: Time for a road trip today. We drive north to Port Orford. It was sunny when we started the trip but we could watch a rain storm approaching the coast from the west. The above photo is looking north, Port Orford is the little fishing village seen in the distance. The large rock to the right is called battle rock. In 1850, not so long ago, the US Congress allowed pioneers to file claims on indian land. For that purpose, a ship landed and sent nine sailors ashore. They were immediately trapped on what is now called Battle Rock. They eventually escaped but later returned with enough force to take the land they desired. Click the Battle Rock photo to read the story of Battle Rock.

Steve Jobs by Walter IsaacsonTuesday, January 17, 2012: I have finished reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and thoroughly enjoyed it. I would highly recommend it to any business person or anyone interested in reading the reality of someone in a different lifestyle than the rest of us. To understand why I so liked this book, you need to know what I’ve experienced in business and computers for business. In 1972, I was a fifth grade school teacher in the Antioch Unified School District mostly learning that public school teaching was NOT my career but feeling trapped. The school district hired me straight from UC Davis graduate school in 1970 for $8,000 per year. This was peanuts even in 1970. I began looking Joe illustrating wooden toy designs for the company catalogfor ways to supplement my income and explored the idea of designing and printing the blue prints to make wooden toys then selling by mail order in national magazines. It took four years of experimenting before I felt confident to resign my tenured “day job” but in 1976, I was designing and selling blue prints full time with one employee. The business continued to grow so by 1981 I felt comfortable in buying a computer, printer, and business software. It cost $30,000 for a computer with 512K of RAM and a 10 meg hard drive but it actually worked to track all sales and accounting for my business until 1985 when I purchased a three station network for $18,000. That network ran on a server with 1 meg of RAM and a 44 meg hard drive. Again, it worked to track sales and accounting until 1991 when the business died a SLOW death. I mention this in relation to the Steve Jobs book because it was during this time that Steve was creating a profitable computer, the Apple 2 and the “creative masterpiece”, the first Macintosh. Neither of these computers would have run my business and were never considered. The Apple 2 was popular in education and nearly all schools had at least ONE in each classroom for children to “play” with. Some of the more progressive schools had an Apple 2 “lab” for extracurricular activities. I actually purchased a Macintosh in 1987 because it would do graphics, something my business computers could NOT do. I never considered the Mac more than a “toy” because it would not do any “real” work. Steve was a perfectionist, spending a great deal of money and time to get the case just right , for example, or getting the fonts just right, even the color of the case had to be to his liking. However, Ben hamming it up with another designnone of this mattered to me and eventually did not matter to others because the Mac was so underpowered, it was slow and difficult to use. However, it would do crude graphics, and no other computer in those days could. Sales dropped off for the Mac within months as users discovered how underpowered it was. My first 1981 computer used CPM as the operating system and the network used MSDOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System). I mention that because those operating systems gave Steve Jobs what little edge he had and what made Apple computers popular to those who followed Apple products. Using CPM and MSDOS trained the user to never expect computers to work properly. In the four years of using CPM the software had to be upgraded, sometimes, weekly to try to get it to work properly. The hardware/software was so bad, some of the upgrades had to be removed almost immediately because the system would stop working entirely. When I upgraded to a network in 1985, MSDOS was so bad it would crash almost daily and sometimes multiple times each day. I got a lot of experience learning to do backups and how to restore the system from the backups. Finally, about six months after the purchase, a software update arrived which fixed most of the problems. However, the operating system (Microsoft) was still unstable and one had to carefully backup and restore occasionally. These early problems trained the user not to expect much from Microsoft andMindy with some unique puzzle designs the hardware companies using their software while Steve maintained strict control over both hardware and software of any Apple product which made it more stable and created a loyal following. While I was controlling my business computers using MSDOS line commands, Steve implemented the GUI (graphical user interface, he didn’t create it, Xerox actually created it.) Microsoft eventually copied what Steve had done with the Windows-3 operating system. Knowing how to use MSDOS was very helpful since the Windows operating system just provided icons to help control the line commands to make the operating system work. Even with Windows-95 and Windows-98 upgrades, the operating system would crash at least 3 times a week, sometimes more. Finally, I began using Windows 2000 which was much more stable. Anyway, the poor quality of Microsoft software and the hardware companies using that software kept Apple popular with fans. Again, those not using the Apple product had been trained to expect problems with their computers and put up with something that did not work sometimes. I remember teaching computer use at Rogue Ben with some odd car designsCommunity College in 2001 and mentioned to my students that we would never put up with this sort of reliability with our cars. I used as an example, having to stop our car every 50 miles, use a hammer to tap on the carburetor to get the engine to work properly, then driving another 50 miles before repeating the repair. (Although having said that, I remember how much trouble my parents use to have with their 1950s and 1960s automobiles.) Essentially, in 2001, we had to “tap on the carburetor every 50 miles” (reboot) on our computers to keep them working properly. We would upgrade from Windows 95 to 98 to 2000, etc. not for additional features but to just try to get the operating system to work properly and Microsoft was happy to charge for each “upgrade”.  In the meantime, Steve Jobs began to focus on music by putting “1,000 tunes on a gadget in his pocket”, the iPod; then created iTunes to provide content for the iPod. That was his truly firstMindy with more traditional designs break-through product followed by the iPhone then iPad making Apple the most valuable company in the world. I mentioned before that Steve did not invent anything, instead, approved product design and was a marketing genius. Additionally he surrounded himself with what he called the “A team” eliminating or elevating the “B team” with his volatile personality. It would be a good discussion to debate whether the “A team” could be created using methods other than the harshness and humiliation that Steve used. Perhaps the definition of “A team” is a team with enough self-confidence to perform at the “A level” because of or in spite of humiliation. The proof is “in the pudding” when you look at the Apple reputation and the loyal following of Apple product users.
Joe illustrating how to use a coping saw
Another reason I enjoyed this book was the vision provided of those in a different world than the one I have experienced. Steve Jobs commanded an audience with the TOP executives of the world’s TOP companies. He even spent time with the President of the United States. He was paid 7.4 BILLION dollars for his share of Pixar by Disney, a share he purchased for 50 million. Yet, he lived in a common neighborhood in Palo Alto and hiked the same trails and hills around Stanford University which everyone enjoys. It was fun reading about the lifestyle of someone who clearly does not have to be concerned about the price of something before he enjoys it.

I currently teach “Internet Marketing” for Rogue Community College and always tell my students they must “test the market before investing their life savings”. Steve did not believe in “testing the market”, instead he believed in inventing products that people did not know they HAD to HAVE before he showed them what they needed. Consumers did not know they needed 1,000 tunes in their pocket before the iPod. They did not know they needed a phone to get email, have face to face conversations with friends, or check stock prices until the iPhone. I wonder now, WHO will be motivating the “A team” to produce the next great product.

Cat houses
Wednesday, January 18, 2012: This photo was taken two days ago during good weather, the weather today has kept us hunkered down in our trailer. Strong winds to 50 MPH and lots of rain. We are normally in Arizona this time of year but even in Arizona you can get bad weather. In January, 2010 we sat through a 24 hour storm of 3 inches of rain plus 68 MPH wind. The photo shows a series of cat houses which locals built as shelter for the many unwanted cats that are dropped off at this point on the Rogue River. We didn't actually see any cats but I'll bet they were all in the houses today. I saw pans of water and food scattered around. I also saw signs stating the purpose of the houses and asking for donations.
Huntley Park from the north side of the Rogue River Huntley Park during a winter storm
Thursday, January 19, 2012: A few days ago, I took the photo on the left of Huntley park from the north side of the Rogue River. Nice clear, blue water since the Pacific Northwest has had few rainstorms. But, in only a few short days, that has all changed. We've had a large Pacific storm for the last few days which has swollen the Rogue to maximum. Note the debris floating in the river which will likely end up on Gold Beach just south of the jetty. Another 5 feet and the river will be over the roads in several places. Click the storm photo to see a satelite view of Huntley park.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Saturday, January 21, 2012: For the first time in several days, we got to see the sun today. To celebrate we decided to try a little cafe in downtown Gold Beach called Breakfast at Tiffany's. It's it's a "play" on the title of the old movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn. There is a photo of her above the counter at the far end of the cafe. You can see it by clicking the photo. Anyway, there really is a Tiffany, she was our waitress and is half owner of the cafe. We enjoyed our lunch and the windows with all the bright sunshine. Today's special was sourdough pancakes which is what I ordered. Gwen had a burrito. The restaurant is in the Gold Rush mall, a renovated elementary school in downtown Gold Beach.

Timber on Gold Beach

Monday, January 23, 2012: Last Thursday I mentioned how a lot of logs and debris move down the Rogue River during and just after a storm. It continues down the river and out the mouth into the Pacific then is immediately sent back to the beach south of the jetty. When that happens, the locals turn out with their pickup trucks and chainsaws to cut up the debris then haul it home for firewood. You can see evidence of cutting to the right. Click the photo to see a fabulous panorama of the beach and south jetty taken with my new smart phone. I also took a short video with the smart phone. You can watch it here.

A strange place for the best rated restaurant in Gold Beach Black Cod dish
Wednesday, January 25, 2012: Gwen and I took ourselves to the best rated restaurant in Gold Beach called "Anna's". It is the only Gold Beach restaurant rated 5 stars on Yelp by multiple reviewers. Anna's has been closed since we arrived but today was their first day back from a "break". I'm sad to say that we were both disappointed. The seating area if VERY small which we had expected from the reviews. You can see an inside photo by clicking the building. Apparently the staff decided to begin heating the restaurant only after the customers arrived, so it was chilly. The meals are expensive ($18) with no soup or salad. The shop speciality is a selection of imported cheeses where a small sample is $12. We enjoyed the cheese but it was very little for $12. Gwen ordered "Mexican Shrimp" and she was served sauteed shrimp covered in onions with two potato puffs... that's it. I ordered the "Black Cod" which was covered in sauteed onions plus two potato puffs and steamed celery. Gwen did not believe there was anything special about the flavor of her shrimp. I enjoyed the flavor of the onions and cod. Our meal cost $60 with tip and ONE class of wine for me. We did not feel it was worth more than $20 plus the wine. We won't be able to recommend Anna's and this is the first time we have disagreed with the Yelp recommendations.

Crossing the mouth of the Rogue River at Gold Beach

Thursday, January 26, 2012: This day slowly cleared from overnight rain which gave me a chance to get on my road bike again for an hour ride. I got to see this view of the Patterson Bridge crossing the mouth of the Rogue River just before it enters the Pacific Ocean. The Rogue is still swollen from the recent rain but much less water in the river than during the height of the storm. Gwen and I were commenting today of how we like to visit the coast but would not be interested in living here, it's just too damp. I say that but we have not given the summer months much of a chance. I haven't been on the coast during the summer in MANY years. I DO remember being in the Olympic Rain Forest about 15 years ago in July. One of those days set a record for the most rain measured in a 24 hour period during the month of July... Oh Well!

Friday, January 27, 2012: Today was the open house at the new Brookings campus for the Southwestern Oregon Community College (SWOCC). The main campus is in Coos Bay. Since I retired from Rogue CommunBrooking Campus of Southwestern Oregon Community Collegeity College in Grants Pass, I was interested to see what SWOCC was doing in Brookings. It is a very nice campus gearedto connect the students to the main campus for video conference and of course a fee live classes. The entire state of Oregon has hundreds of online courses which may be taken for credit by anyone but are usually attended by Oregon students. I teach two of those courses. This campus would be a good place to connect with those courses and get help if needed for the first few times online. When I took myself for a tour I spotted a presentation to the local business people and I heard many of the benefits I use to tell the business people in Josephine and Jackson Counties. I also spotted a brand new computer lab, just give the students a chance and they can still mess things up. I was hoping to buy a SWOCC hat but all they had were T-shirts, darn. Click each photo for another view.
The reception area Brooking Chamber members introduced to the new campus
Ellensburg Theater Company
Saturday, January28, 2012: This is our last day in Gold Beach, moving tomorrow to Timber Valley RV Park in Sutherlin, Oregon. Before leaving we got the chance to see a play this evening at the Ellensburg Theater Company, a local playhouse with live theater. Tonight were two radio dramas from old time radio. The first was a cute Father Knows Best show from 1951 while the second was a suspense thriller from The Inner Sanctum in 1941. The theater was cozy and has been redecorated well. I was surprised to see almost every seat filled, nearly 50 in the audience. The audience seemed to enjoy the play more than I did. It probably makes a difference if you know the actors. When I arrived, the lady receptionist said, "you must be Dale Prohaska", then checked off my reservation. I think she knew me because all other audience members were known to her. It was fun. It might be even MORE fun to be one of the actors some day. Click the photo to see the radio actors on stage along with the sound effects staff on the right of the stage.

Parked at Timber Valley SKP RV Park in Sutherlin, Oregon
Sunday, January 29, 2012: Today was moving day from Gold Beach, Oregon to Sutherlin, Oregon via Highway 42 from Bandon to Winston then Interstate 5 through Roseburg then Sutherlin. This is Timber Valley SKP Park of Oregon. This is the only Escapee park in Oregon and we have our name on the waiting list to become lease owners. When we put our name on the list, we were number 180, now we have moved to number 22. You can see the spaces are very large and all have a water-tight storage building for use by the least holder. We aren't ready to settle down for any length of time but lease holders can add their lot to the "rental pool" and a portion of the rent goes toward the annual maintenance fee. This is lot #192 backed up to a large grassy area just perfect for Morgan to run. The creek is in the trees behind our trailer. We are looking forward to our park membership. Click the photo for another view.

Umpqua Community College Campus
The Campus CenterMonday, January 30, 2012: As a retired college administrator and instructor, I enjoy visiting college campuses where ever I travel. One of my favorites was Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Mississippi. Today I visited Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. I've been to this campus before but always on some sort of meeting and never with enough time to explore the campus. It is much bigger than I remembered. I was hoping to get a nice hat from UCC but their hats were UGLY. Whoever does the buying for the bookstore needs to look for quality products. I also tried the cafeteria. The sandwiches looked good but I didn't want the calories of a sandwich so I skipped lunch too. The campus looked busy and I did see that today was college transfer day so four year colleges were visiting and encouraging enrollment in their campuses for the junior and senior years.

Bi-Mart, an Oregon discount department store

Tuesday, January 31, 2012: One of our favorite department stores is Bi-Mart, located mostly in Oregon with a few stores in Washington and Idaho. It advertises as a "discount department store" and has a small canned and bagged food section, a pharmacy, small selection of wine and beer, clothing, sporting goods, hardware, kitchen items. a small selection of electronics, household appliances, candy, greeting cards, pet, and garden supplies. So they are going head to head with Target, WalMart and perhaps even Kohls. We are always looking to shop any place OTHER THAN WalMart so that gives Bi-Mart a plus to start. I was trying to figure out what it is about Bi-Mart that we like. Gwen mentioned the competative prices, employees are owners, this is a membership department store ($5 lifetime membership fee) so every Tuesday members with certain card numbers win prizes, today it was 40 specific card numbers and any card ending in #8. Bi-Mart also has Gwen's favorite popcorn brand. I appreciate the simple displays. This store probably looked the same in the 50's as it does today, there is no fancy marketing. The store is arranged exactly like the store in Grants Pass and Gwen says it's exactly like the one in Klamath Falls so the products must be mapped the same in every store, I think that's a plus; I was able to go to every item I was looking for as if I had been in the store before. I assume they have an easy return policy, we find out tomorrow since Gwen wants to return the jeans she bought today. It helps that we are familiar with Bi-Mart, we feel "at home". Of course everything in Oregon is 7.75% cheaper (compared to California) since there is no sales tax in Oregon.

Gwen used today to do the laundry while I used the day to score college course assignments. Then we visited Abby's Pizza, another Oregon chain restaurant we are familiar with. After shopping at Bi-Mart we took a nice hike with Morgan into the mountains behind our RV Park.

Enjoying baked potatoes in the Timber Valley Club House
Thursday, February 2, 2012: Apparently there are several men at the Timber Valley SKP Park of Oregon who like to cook. They baked potatoes and all those who came to eat them brought toppings to share, located at the center table. We met at 4pm today because this is game night starting at 6 pm so the eating and visiting had to be concluded before game night. This is a panorama view of the eating area in the club house. The kitchen is located in the room to the distant right. The library and game room is located through the door at the left next to the fire place. We played bingo with these folks last night but only donated to the winners, we didn't win anything. Just on the other side of the piano is a door into the room next door, about four times the size of this room. It is used for larger meetings plus there is exercise equipment located in one corner but I haven't seen anyone using the equipment yet. Click this photo to enlarge.

Buy one recliner get the second free
Friday, February 3, 2012: What do you do in Sutherlin, Oregon on a Friday? We took Annie (our cat) to the vet for a check-up and her shots. Then Gwen met a craft friend for lunch while I scored assignments. When Gwen got back from lunch, we drove to Roseburg for some shopping, especially at J C Penny to check out the new advertising campaign. We stopped by Fred Meyer. The photo is what I saw when walking in the front door. Where many department stores have a big Super Bowl special on digital TVs, Fred Meyer pulled a surprise. You buy ONE recliner and the second one is FREE. Such a deal. Click the photo to see the sign.

Out our back window

Saturday, February 4, 2012: The view out the back window of our trailer. The deer always seem to be present, Morgan sometimes notices but most of the time she misses them. The deer wander through the park not wanting to be near humans but only a little bashful of them.

Watching the Super Bowl at the clubhouse

Sunday, February 5, 2012: This is America's day to watch football. After a good morning bike ride, I ended up at the clubhouse hoping for a large crowd watching the Super Bowl together. Unfortunately, there were only three of us but we still shared our snacks and cheered for our teams. While the game was happening, I looked through the thirteen volumes of Timber Valley history photographs. The park was begun from an open field in 1988. The folks who did much of the "dirty work" of construction in the park where the original lot owners who were my age at the time (65). It was amazing looking at the photos of all the physical labor to building this park and seeing the men and women who did it. I was 43 years old in 1990. That was the year I purchased raw land in southern Oregon and built a place to live on 38 acres so I know some of the problems with starting from scratch. These folks had to dig huge trenches and bury drainage culverts to handle winter water run-off. I'll speak more about this park at some later date. Click this photo to see the winning quarterback.

Guacamole Vegiburger
Lighthouse Center Bakery and Cafe
Tuesday, February 7, 2012: After a nice morning bike ride, Gwen and I decided to try another fine restaurant in the Sutherlin area. This one is located in the tiny community of Umpqua, the Lighthouse Center Bakery and Cafe. I found it last Sunday while riding in the rural countryside. They make fantastic bread and muffins then combine these with a vegitarian menu for a really nice lunch. They also have a small collection of grocery and bulk food items. It is obvious that there is plenty of outdoor seating so on a warm spring day, this place must be very busy from folks who want a drive in the countryside. The Umpgua, Oregon Post Office is located next door and in the same building. Click the photos for additional views.

Rogue Community College campus in Grants Pass
Wednesday, February 8, 2012: This was moving south day. I needed to stop in Grants Pass to visit the head of the business technology department for Rogue Community College to be sure he knew I was still working and to learn of any new events. The photo shows the Student Center for the Grants Pass campus (there are three campuses for RCC). This was somewhat of a gray day but the campus is very beautiful in the spring and summer months with lots of green lawn and places to wander on campus. I also talked with the book store about the Internet Marketing textbook I an using next quarter. It is out of print so adjustments need to be made. I'll have to change textbooks for 2013. That adds about 200 hours (unpaid) to the preparation for the course. Click the photo for another view.

This was to be a simple tire change and bearing lube

Thursday, February 9, 2012: While visiting the RCC campus I planned to have two trailer tires changed and the wheel bearings lubed. I learned that I also needed brakes even though I had them done 16 months ago. That added several hours to our Grants Pass stay and forced us to spend the night in the Les Schwab parking lot. Click the photo to see our camping spot.

Traveling south on Interstate 5, Mt. Shasta in the distance

Friday, February 10, 2012: After all the repairs are completed, we continue heading south. It's a beautiful sunny day in northern California with a hazy view of Mt. Shasta from an Interstate 5 view point. I met an Alaskan traveler at this viewpoint who had just sold all his Alaska property and felt "homeless" in his RV. I introduced him to the Escapees RV club and briefly explained how they might help eliminate those feelings. The rest of the trip went by quickly and we ended up in Lodi, California to check on my Mother and complete a few projects. Click the photo to see our new camping location.

Waiting for the Crocker Art Museum to open

Saturday, February 11, 2012: Today was a special day for my Mother, sister Dorana and Robin. We visited the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento for a special viewing of the oil paintings of Edgar Payne. These were paintings done in the early 20th century to attract travelers to use the train to visit the southwest USA. His favorite subjects are views of remote mountain and desert scenery. I was not allowed to photograph anything inside the museum. I did sneak a few shots of the cafe and views to outside the museum. This was a "members only" viewing day so we were able to attend this private viewing because my Mother and sister are members. The art exhibit was very organized and well attended. All the paintings were of oil and done on location. Standing back from each painting gave the impression of a well formatted photograph. We enjoyed the cafe for a light lunch. Click each photo to see another view.

The view from inside the museum Having lunch in the museum cafe

Visiting Bogle Winery on their Port and Chocolate eventSunday, February 12, 2012: Look at the sun in this photo. This IS sunny California, at least for the first half of the day. My sister Dorana and Robin invited me to attend a winery event titled: "Port and Chocolate" which was happening at every winery in the area. What a fabulous winter day for this event. It could have been foggy, rainy, cold, and windy but it was none of that. The sun was shinning and it was relatively warm, only a light vest was needed for the day. Although every winery in the area participated, we spent the entire day at Dorana and Robin's favorite, Bogle Winery. Dorana and Robin are members of the "Bandwagon" club which gives them discounts on Bogle wine as well as selected bottles direct shipped to them three times each year. It also gave us a half-off discount for this event today which included generous wine tasting, and lots of cheese (large selection), bread, crackers, chocolate, fresh strawberries and a large lawn for our picnic. Behind the photo to the left is a view of the lawn which is half full of visitors in the photo. It filled later in the afternoon. Obviously, this winery is also a favorite of many others in Sacramento, Elk Grove and Lodi. The winery is separated from a Sacramento River Slough by a levy (you can see a partial view in the distance to the right of the photo). What a wonderful afternoon. Fortunately, we arrived in time for a great parking location and chairs. Click the photo to see the lawn and two story tasting room.

Share the road with a bicycle

Monday, February 13, 2012: I didn't ride on this wet Monday but I like seeing these signs since I spend a lot of time on paved roads with my bicycle. I've been riding long distances since sixth grade and have been relatively lucky so far but it would take only ONE driver in 100,000 to make life very bad for me.

This was a busy day with my Mother doing errands then preparing to buy a new car for mom. She went to an afternoon meeting while I drove to the car dealership and got permission to keep a Ford Focus Hatchback for a 24 hour test drive. Mom will test drive the car tomorrow morning then we will either purchase it or return it and continue looking. Gwen and I drove the car to Elk Grove, about a 30 minute drive, for an early Valentines dinner. Seems like a nice little car.

Joseph and Mom with Mom's new Ford Focus

Tuesday, February 14, 2012: A great Valentines Day for mom. We picked out a "Silver Ingot" Ford Focus hatchback with a moon roof and other technology features which I'm still trying to figure out. Joseph Brightenstine was our salesman. Just before this photo, a mobile soft-serve truck drove up and many of the salesmen rushed to the best part of their day. Joseph offered to buy an ice cream for each of us and mom jumped on the opportunity. After mom finished her ice cream Joseph showed her a few more features of the many her new car has. Mom and I have been driving the car to get use to the sporty feel and tight turning circle. We started in the empty church parking lot then advanced to her favorite grocery stores. After taking delivery of the car, we drove to State Farm to be sure the insurance has transferred from the old family car to the new one. We bought the car from Big Valley Ford in Stockton and found it to be a pleasant experience. Joseph was willing to work with us in any fashion, got us the best deal, he showed us their invoice which is what we paid less the $2,000 Ford rebate and our trade-in. Now we are looking for some fun road-trips. Click the photo for another view.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012: Today was a day to score midterms and assignments as well as visit with my sister Sandy who came to visit for the day. Of course we had to take Sandy for a ride in the new car and she wanted toA futon on sale at Target shop in Stockton at Winco Foods as a first time experience. On the way, we made a phone call and received a phone call on "Ford SYNC", hands free phone controls and music controls. A female voice asks, "What is your command?", so I said "Artist: Randy Newman" ... and the stereo began to play Randy Newman tunes. So I pulled the voice command switch and the female voice says, "What is your command?" so I said, "Artist: Nora Jones" ... and the stereo responded with Nora Jones tunes. I began to try to think of the other artists I put on the 1 gig flash drive I plugged into the music system but the three ladies with me began complaining about my driving and laughing (because I was enjoying the technology) at the same time so I had to begin paying more attention to what was happening on the road.

So why is there a photo of a couch? Gwen and I are looking for a futon for our fifth wheel to use as an extra bed but we need one large enough for a bed, not too heavy, no arms so our table will fit next to it, must be narrow enough to clear the slides as they retract, and not too expensive. This one is on sale at Target for $190 (plus tax in California), is light weight, folds flat for a bed and the arms are removable (I think). Maybe it can be improved with pillows. OR ... maybe we will wait until we are back in Oregon so we don't have to pay sales tax!!!

The happy ladies about to visit the Senior Center for lunch and a movie

Thursday, February 16, 2012: Today, we picked up a friend in the new car and drove to the senior center for shredded chicken tacos, rice, beans, orange juice plus a churro for dessert. After eating a visiting with friends, we all watched the movie, "One Day", a romantic drama. It was an enjoyable movie until the end, bad ending! After the movie, we took Mom's passenger friend home then went to another friends home to pick oranges to take to Reno when we visit the grandchildren (great-grandchildren). Then shopping at the grocery store and finally back home to wait for my sister Dorana to arrive for a visit. She wanted to see the new car and share our turkey meatloaf.

Replacement panel for section removed


Saturday, February 18, 2012: The photo shows the section of the panel I removed (bottom of the photo). I had to remove this section because the zippered door to the "door-side" slide has failed and to use it again would leave the door open. I took the section removed to an tent maker who was willing to build a replacement for more than $100. After a long discussion with the tent maker I was convinced to replace the section with a plain panel (top of the photo). The new material is twice as durable as the original. The panel will be partially removable for continued access to both slide motors. I'm still working on this project and will detail all at some point in the future.

Riding soloChloe learning on a bicycle


Sunday, February 19, 2012: We made a road-trip in the new Ford Focus to Reno to visit my sons and grandchildren. Great-grandma went along and enjoyed the trip. It was a 2-1/2 hour drive one-way from Lodi. I'll post more photos tomorrow. Chloe is growing quickly and so is Noah. Chloe is getting better on her push-bike. We expected some holiday traffic and saw some on the return trip where skiers looking for the meager amount of snow were returning home. Click the photos for another view.

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