Even though we arrived home Sunday night, May 8th, soil survey work was the priority this week and blog updates were a bit lower on the list. After seeing the blip in blogger, I was just as glad I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to update! The other BIG priority was completing our work on the greenhouse, but more about that on another post.
Thought I would mention SmugMug. I saw the website on E-Squared and Mui’s blog in addition to Froggi Donna’s blog, and decided to check it out. I have used Picasa for all its handy features, but with the volume of photos that I take and upload, I still have to pay a fee for storage. The SmugMug site isn’t free, but it IS delightful, and after perusing it a bit, I decided to go for it. Eventually I will manage to upload all my past photos to the site, and that takes time on a satellite connection, but for now, at least all my current photos are there. One of the things I love most about SmugMug vs. Picasa is the ability to organize photos into categories and subcategories, which makes for much easier viewing. Here is an example: a link to the set of galleries that are from our recent Oregon Coast Trip.
Of course, the other major feature available with SmugMug is the ability to store all your photos at the original resolution, and to download them again at that resolution with no charge. I learned about this once the hard way, losing some photos and going back to Shutterfly (which I used prior to Picasa) to retrieve them, only to find I had to pay for a shipped CD to get full resolution. SmugMug is a great backup, for a fee of course, but worth it in my opinion.
After four gorgeous sunny days in the Brookings “Banana Belt”, we drove north to South Beach State Park just south of Newport to spend a couple of days camping with Mo’s brother, Dan and wife Chere. They traveled from Beaver Creek Oregon to spend some time at their favorite beach park. Even though the water is actually half a mile from the campground, I can see why Dan likes it. He has two big dogs who need lots of space, and there are miles of lovely trails and open space where he can run the dogs each day. Chere loves the cozy comfort of the motorhome and a great book, so it’s perfect for them. It was wonderful to see Dan looking so healthy and happy, since just last fall he scared all of us with a bout with throat cancer. Pretty amazing how he came through the surgery and radiation, and according to all the reports, he is back good as new. He is getting back his sense of taste, and looks wonderful. Of course, there will be periodic checks in his future, but the worst is over.
We enjoyed the morning walks with all the dogs, and the hike to the beach was nice, even though it was cloudy, and quite windy. The two days went by quickly with long afternoon campfires, spurts of rain, and bits of blue emerging from the clouds now and then. We shared dinners and breakfasts and on Saturday evening trundled off to Newport to explore the Old Town area, find some fudge and some gorgeous coastal art, and check out the harbor sea lions.
I hadn’t heard that NOAA “National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration”, decided to move to Newport. Dan showed us the new site under construction. What a loss for Seattle and what a huge boon to the town of Newport. The new site is just inside the harbor beyond the famous Newport bridge, and very close to the open ocean. In Seattle, the facility was many miles from open sea on Puget Sound. We talked about what a difference Newport will be for the 175 families relocating there. Some may love it and others may have a hard time with the isolation of the Oregon Coast after all the amenities of a big city like Seattle.
We left South Beach early Sunday morning, deciding on the route east from Florence directly to Eugene. I love Florence, which has an actual downtown, a beautiful kayakable harbor and estuaries, and beautiful surroundings. We had a spontaneous Mom’s Day breakfast at a comfy little local restaurant before traveling the easy route east. Florence isn’t as warm as Brookings, but the convenience to Eugene was impressive. We put Florence on the “possibility” list for our nine-years-out relocation to a less snowy place! Who knows, magic happens and wherever we should be will show up when the time is right, I am sure.
On the way home, we decided to detour north a bit to La Pine and visit Mo’s other brother Roger and wife Nancy. Roger was recuperating from back surgery just three days prior, and was in amazing shape considering he was barely out of the hospital. After a great visit, we traveled the last leg of our trip south and home. It’s always amazing to me as we cross the Wood River Valley west of Chiloquin to see the massive green slopes of the Cascades rise above the rich valley. The sun was setting between the clouds and the mountain crest creating a brilliant backlight to the shadowy clouds. As always, it was good to be home, knowing that part of my family is close by in town.
We drove about 700 miles and this time our costs averaged about $89 per day. We never paid more than $4.00 per gallon for gasoline, and found that Florence actually had the cheapest gas at 3.79 pg at the local Fred Meyer’s. State Parks in Oregon are certainly cheaper than California, with our partial hookup (water and electric with cable at Harris Beach) sites costing 27.00 per night and an $8.00 reservation fee for each park. Both parks had on-site dump stations. We only ate out twice along the way, not wanting to miss fish and chips on the coast or a Mom’s Day breakfast that I didn’t have to cook. It seems that travel for us manages to average out somewhere around 70 to 120 per day, whether we are cruising around in the motorhome or on a ship. I know that motorhome travel can be much more thrifty if you boondock more and move around less, but so far, we have wanted to enjoy our trips without having to manage our travels around the most thrifty options. I am sure if we were full-timing, the choices would be far different.