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Wandering Oregon in an RV page 7

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Hilgard Junction State Park
Sunday, September 13, 2009: Today was a travel day from Meridian, Idaho to Hilgard State Park, near La Grande, Oregon. This is a "primative" park meaning there are no hookups although roads and campsites are paved with asphalt. We are in one end of the park with no neighbors which gives us a lot of open grass for Morgan to play and we are on the bank of the Grande Rhonde River. Our location will give us a lot of sunlight for our solar system. Tomorrow I must return to Enterprise, Oregon (about a 1.5 hour drive from this location) to complete my eye exam. The fee for a "primative park site" is only $8. Oregon has a "third night free" promotion happening but we must be in Salem on the third day to have an adjustment to our slide.

Wallowa Mountains
Monday, September 14, 2009: Today was a quick trip back to the Joseph, Enterprise area to complete an eye exam I began while visiting in August. I never tire of viewing the Wallowa Mountains. This view was from the Wallowa Chamber of Commerce parking lot on the western edge of Enterprise. You can click the photo to enlarge. Note all the farming in the foothills of the mountains. This is the area where Chief Joseph was run out in 1877 leading to the Nez Perce Trail.
Wind generators in the Columbia Gorge

Wednesday, September 16, 2009: Yesterday we traveled from La Grande to Salem, Oregon for the slide repair we needed. The day seemed to go quickly and I'm very pleased with the way the trailer tows now that the axles have been flipped. We saw the Columbia River for the first time on this trip. It's always an impressive site. There are many new wind turbines located in the Columbia Gorge now. Click the panarama below to enlarge.

I was somewhat disappointed in the "repair" completed by Wager's Trailer Sales. The kitchen slide did not match the trailer very well and was bending and damaging trim at the top of the slide while barely touching the bottom of the

slide to the trailer. We've had two other repair locations look at it and both felt it needed some sophisticated rail adjustments which they couldn't do. Wager's didn't make any sophisticated adjustments. According to the Carriage protocal, they added additional rubber gaskets to the top of the slide which helped to stop the bending and aided in bringing the bottom of the slide toward the trailer body. So Wager's replaced the rubber gaskets and part of the trim on both sides of the trailer, checked the slide gear teeth, and that's all. The cost was $271. This was something I could easily have done for a fraction of the cost. One of the servicemen referred to the repair as a "bandaid". I believe the Carriage engineers need to redesign the slide mechanics, and this "bandaid" is to keep a bad design working a little while longer. The slide mechanics is one of the weakest parts of the Carriage design. It may be unique to the Cameo but I wouldn't know that without talking with some Carrilite or Carriage owners. I can't complain about Wager's work, they were following Carrige protocols, just a warning to current and future Cameo owners, you better keep an eye on the slide mechanics.
Our first view of the Columbia River
Hooking up after the Wager's repair, we drove to the Oregon Coast. We learned that the tourist season is still going strong on the coast and there was no room for us in two state parks we checked. It is very difficult to locate boondock locations on the coast and we wanted to spend some time parked rather than just an "overnight" so we ended up in a "dry dock" location of an RV park next to the Alsea Bay in Waldport, Oregon. There is no place like the Oregon Coast for perfect scenery and usually good weather this time of year. Our campsite in Waldport, Oregon
Reading a novel on the shore of Alsea Bay Thursday, September 17, 2009: Morgan and I walked from our campsite to explore Waldport, only a short distance. We walked the entire town and viewed the ocean. I spent much of the afternoon with Gwen reading a novel while sitting on the shore of Alsea Bay.
The Pacific Ocean near Waldport Gwen at a Pacific Ocean viewpoint
Friday, September 18, 2009: Today was a particularly nice day at the ocean. Perfect weather, clear skys with a gentle wind. We sat in our beach chairs in the sand and read for an hour or more. Gwen took Morgan for a long beach walk while I tried to finish my novel. We are preparing for tomorrow which is forecasted to be poor weather.

Saturday, September 19, 2009: I spent much of the day working on the course I'm to begin teaching in a week for Rogue Community College. The have change the online interface software for all online courses which means I must rework the course.

Later in the afternoon, Gwen and I plus Morgan took a walk downtown. If you ever get the chance to visit Waldport, go to the Ace Hardware store first. The owner has the most inventory I've seen in any one Ace. The bridge is on Highway 101 over Alsea Bay. The bay is

Alsea Bay Bridge at Waldport, Oregon
very shallow so the tides create a strong current in both directions. Much of the bay is nothing but mud when the tide is out. It reminds me of Willapa Bay up in Washington. The McKinley's Marina and RV Park is where we are staying in the "dry dock section". They have made a big investment in the main portion of the park with concrete pads and streets plus all new building, laundromat, etc. Since we are boondockers and did our best to find a free location to stay but failed, we have stooped to paying their "dry dock" fee of $16.32 ($15 plus tax) per day. The management thinks of us a second class RVers and we are getting by cheaply however, this is the most we have paid to "dry dock" this whole summer. I asked the management where we could get fresh water. She acted liked no one had ever asked that question before and began to suggest places to look in downtown Waldport. I asked about the faucet outside her door and she objected to my "filling the trailer tank from that faucet". "What about a gallon jug?" I suggested. "Maybe that would be OK." she replied. (I was really wanting to fill our 25 gallon ice chest but thought that would just be TOO much for her.) "We'd like to dump our holding tanks when we leave here (after our four days of $16.32/day), do you have a dump station we could use?" I asked. "Yes" she replied "for another $5". OK so, after paying her $64 to park on her ground for four days (well she did supply a wood picnic table and inverted truck rim for a fire ring) she wants another $5 to use her dump station. OK, so maybe I'm getting a boondocker's attitude but I'm going to save my Sh*t and dump it someplace else. I understand she must make most of her money in a short season, but NOT off this boondocker, AND, we won't be staying here again the next time we drive through. (Did I mention the motor home parked five feet from us uses a generator?) Gwen says she will use their laundromat again though, probably the best one we have seen. The photo below shows the dry dock area where a 20 ft by 50 ft space is marked in chalk for each camper. The porta potty is for the tenters and the 10 kids with each tent. (BTW - we drove four miles down the road to a state park and filled our ice chest with water ... for FREE.)
McKinley's Marina and RV Park Dry Dock area

Heceta Head Light house
Sunday, September 20, 2009: Today was moving day from the ocean inland to Sutherlin, Oregon. It's a relatively short drive of only 120 miles and we took our time. We passed the Heceta Head Light house. You can click the photo to enlarge.
In the boondock area of Timber Valley SKP Park We have parked in the boondock area of the Escapee park (Timber Valley SKP Park). It's located in Sutherlin, Oregon just north of Roseburg. The charge is $5 for the night and I can get all the water I want and use their dump station at no charge. This is a very comfortable park. Our name has been on the waitlist for a lease for nearly a year. We expect the wait to be 7 - 8 years. There are already 20 names on the waitlist behind our name. Click the photo to see the transfer of water from our 25 gallon ice chest to the trailer holding tank.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009: Last night we were able to have dinner with our friends Alice and Rich. We hadn't expected to be back in southern Oregon this soon so it was a pleasure getting to visit with them for the evening.

We learned that several wildfires were happening in southern Oregon. One was in a mountain very near a friends home in the foothills east of Medford.

Dinner with friends
Wild fire threatens a friends house in Medford Planes and helicopters began to fight the fires immediately but our friends were very close to being ordered to evacuate. As it turned out, no evacuation was needed but it was very frightening for a while. The plane fighting the fire would fly directly over our friends home and at low altitude. Pass your pointer through the photo to the left to see the low level flight pattern.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009: We are still in Montague, California after the Balloon Rally. What do you do after an RV rally? Yes, the laundry. This laundromat was located in Montague, it was very small but clean and we were the only customers so we didn't have to fight for machines. We used our new Garmin truck navigation device to lead us to the laundromat. What do you do after an RV rally?
Alone on the Montague Ranch
Wednesday, September 30, 2009: All the other Chapter 37 members have left the Montague Ranch so we are alone in the field. The weather has changed from the high 90s to mid-60s and breezy so it's feeling like fall weather again. Still, it's a wonderful place to be camped. Lesa, Gwen's daughter will be coming to Montague tomorrow to visit. We are both looking forward to having Lesa here at the ranch. Click the photo to enlarge. Click here for the 2008 aerial view of this location.
Mt. Shasta creates it's own weather Thursday, October 1, 2009: We've had clear skys until the last few days. Now Mt. Shasta is creating it's own weather and this is our new view while we are camped at the Montague Ranch. You can click on the photo to enlarge.
Sunday, October 4, 2009: Two days ago, we left Montague, California but while visiting we had the opportunity to raise the solar panels for the first time. I was using lots of power because I needed the power for the first few days of the college class I am teaching. We are facing due south because the front two panels are slightly angled to the south. By 2 pm each afternoon the sun is far enough in the western sky to give me only about 2/3 of the watt rating for the panels and it drops rapidly as the sun moves First time to raise the solar panels
further into the west. By angling the panels toward the western sky the watts came back to maximum for at least two additional hours. I increased my daily AmpHours by at least 35%. I went from 100 AmpHours per day to 144 AmpHours per day. Normally the batteries would be easily fully charged with that much power generation but I needed the inverter on to run the Internet network for much of the day and so the batteries where not fully charged until later in the day.
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