Traveling on Highway 97 in Oregon

Traveling on Highway 97 in Oregon
Traveling on Highway 97 in Oregon

Monday, December 30, 2013

California transit

12/30/2013 Orange Grove RV Park Bakersfield CA  65 degrees F as the sun sets

map lodi to bakersfieldTransiting California reminds me of all the reasons why I really don’t want to ever live here again.  Yes, I am a California girl, was born here, as were each of my children.  But I left for good reasons, all of which come to mind as we travel south on I-5.

California has so many areas that I love, that I wouldn’t want to have missed in my lifetime.  If you are from the east and haven’t seen Big Sur, or Yosemite, or the Mother Lode in springtime, or Lake Tahoe, or the Lost Coast, or Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, the Central Coast ……I could go on and on.  San Diego is rich with culture and has perfect weather. The Bay Area is vibrant and fabulous, with so much to see and do. Parts of California have wonderful places to live for lots of people who love it.  Mo lived happily on the coast north of Half Moon Bay for 35 years. 

uglyTrouble is, we have been to all those places many times, and now are just trying to get THROUGH California so we can get on to the southwest deserts.  This time of year 395 isn’t smart, and the coast highway 101 is waaay out of our way.  We are moving fast so that we have as much time as possible when we get to the Gulf Coast and Florida. That leaves us with the one choice in California that is the least lovely.

Down I-5 we go, passing what I consider one of the creepiest cities ever, Stockton.  The freeway through Stockton is like something in a third world country.  Once beyond the Highway 120 ramp toward Sonora, the traffic thinned a bit and the road got a bit smoother.  The foggy smog cleared enough that we could see a bit of the landscape around us.  Just a bit, although at this time of year it was brown and barren and not so pretty  Thought I would put in a pretty photo from our 2011 trip south to remind me of how beautifully seductive the state of California can be at times.

Lodi to Bakersfield (10)We did get through it.  Mo and I taking turns driving, and by the time we got to our exit toward Bakersfield, I was tired of all those cars, just so many cars, all going fast and trying to pass each other and the trucks.  I plunked along at  60mph, and decided to avoid the fray, but the lines of cars passing me in the fast lane were often bumper to bumper, moving fast, but rarely a car length between them. 

Turning off toward Bakersfield, we negotiated our way around some back side streets trying to find Costco.  Google Maps and the GPS don’t seem to understand fences and we ended up right by the gasoline bays, with a fence between us and them where the road ended.  Hmmm….did manage to wind around to another highway and found the entrance, but it sure did seem silly. No such thing as a simple off-ramp by the Costco.  According to my trusty Gas Buddy, it was the cheapest gas around at 3.37 per gallon, considerably less than on previous trips through this part of California

costcoIt really was a short easy day, driving only 275 miles or so to our afternoon destination at Orange Grove RV Park.  We ambled in to a nearly empty park, planning to relax after washing the rig, only to find that the park was booked solid and we were led into overflow. Water and electric only, no sewer no cable.  I didn’t have reservations, but tonight the park is completely booked.  The owner said that this is their busiest week of the year.  oops.  good thing they have an overflow! In fact, after the overflow fills up they have a big space for dry camping as well.  Nice that we didn’t have to do that.

Instead, tonight we are packed in like little sardines, lined up row by row with a lot of very friendly campers.  Most of them are from California with another big contingent from British Columbia.  A smattering of Washingtonians and Oregonians rounds out the mix.  Everyone wants to talk, everyone is just so nice.  We are out of practice.  We live out in the woods and like to boondock.  I love nice friendly people, but in small doses!  It is just a different way of camping, of enjoying the RV lifestyle, and I know lots of people really love it.  Others are famous for NOT loving it, and wouldn’t dream of staying in a crowded RV park

the desert 1_074DSC_0074We could have just continued on to Joshua Tree, but it would have been a long day and I wanted oranges.  We also will be boondocking a bit and we wanted to fill up with water and be sure the tanks were clean before we wander out into the desert.  I have no clue if the campgrounds (dry camps) in Joshua Tree will be full.  In years past we have traveled there this time of year and everything was empty, but with this park packed in and overflowing, I am a bit skeptical.  Whatever happens, we will be ready for it.  There are lots of boondocking sites nearby if things are filled up in the park.

In a few days we will be back with full hookups enjoying the pools at Catalina Spa in Desert Hot Springs. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

“Do you ever get tired of being on the road?”

December 29 2013: Lodi CA 49 degrees F and clear

Miles driven today: 373

map to lodiA friend asked that question of me this afternoon, after seeing a Facebook post about being on the road again and loving it.  And the answer is “yes, of course”.  That is why we aren’t full timer’s.  I love going home at the end of the trip.  I love being home.  In reality, the only time I really get tired of being on the road is toward the end of a trip, whether it is 3 days, 3 weeks, or 3 months.  Once we turn toward home, and it is getting close, I get antsy, and get tired of the doing and going of a trip.  I am ready to be on with it.  Much like when I am home and know that we are leaving, I am ready to get going!

DSC_0003In reality, Barb’s question was a surprise.  Reading RV blogs as I do, I know that we are on the road much less than many folks out there, even part timers often travel more than we do. In 2013 we only were on the road for a total of 102 days, a little more than 3 months, a quarter of a year.  Only.  I really thought that it was more than that.  Until I actually counted, I thought we were out between 1/3 and 1/2 of the year.  This year, however, it might actually get a bit closer to that 1/3 to 1/2 time.  We will see.

Looking back again, I saw that most of the summer, we were home as planned, enjoying Rocky Point.  Most of the fall I was home doing family things, quilting, knitting, cooking.  Last winter and spring I was still working.  So no.  I don’t come even close to getting tired of being on the road. Which is a good thing.  Like an unfinished “bucket list”, there is so much more to do, to see, more places to explore, more hikes, more rivers…and more evenings just sitting in the MoHo quietly typing away and thinking about what I am thinking. Ha!

IMG_0995This morning we managed to get up easily at 5:30.  I had been awake since 4 and couldn’t sleep. Deb had made coffee in the house for us and left the back door open so we could slip in for a last shared morning cup before we got going.  It was cold, maybe 30 degrees, and everything was shrouded in an icy fog.  Seems as though those foggy inversions are a very common winter occurrence in the Rogue Valley.

DSC_0017We left just at 6am, in the dark, with full tanks ready to go, and sleeping with the slide in and the car hooked up, we just pulled out and within minutes were on Interstate 5 heading south.  Oh I do love that feeling, knowing that there are miles and months ahead of me with expected and unexpected adventures.  Sometimes just a change of scenery outside the window from one place to the next is all I need to feel energized.

Especially energizing today was watching the temperature rise from a frosty 14 degrees F near Yreka just over the California border to a toasty 64 degrees all the way from Redding to Lodi south of Sacramento.  I have written about this stretch of road so many times, driven it more times than I care to count.  Just what can you say about it anyway?  The surface is a bit better in places than it was last April.  The skies were clear to the west with gorgeous views of the coast range and a bit murky to the east and the Sierras.  Nope, that isn’t anything new at all.  I quit trying to analyze it, and when I took over the wheel, and Mo napped, I just slid into the sound of the wind coming in the open window and the feel of the sun on my face….and in my eyes.  Dang, that California sun is BRIGHT!

IMG_1012Oh…a quickie story, another one about Michelin tires.  Remember how we got an entire set of Michelin tires for the MoHo before we left for Alaska?  Somehow after sitting in the Texas sunshine waiting to be sold, the sidewalls deteriorated and Michelin replaced them in full, minus balancing and mounting.

After 40K miles on the new second set, the tires were getting a little tired, so Mo decided to replace them before we embark on more than 8,000 miles of traveling.  She replaced 5 of them in late October.  Just a short time ago, she received a notice from Michelin saying those tires were being recalled.  Sheesh!  bad timing for sure.  Mo went to town to get the spare replaced on the recall and talked to the manager at Basin tire about what to do. Today we got an email  from Michelin saying that Mo was being reimbursed for all five tires that she bought.

DSC_0009These recalls aren’t such a bad thing I guess if Michelin keeps giving us free tires!

Tonight we are settled in to Flag City RV Resort in Lodi just off the interstate.  We arrived early enough to set up easily and get the TV going in time for the 49rs game, a close one, but they did win.  Then another re-heated dinner of yummy roast pork, apple compote and scalloped potatoes from Christmas was perfect.

Earlier in the afternoon, while Mo watched the game, I took Jeremy out into the sunshine for a walk and checked out the park.  This place is so generic, close to the freeway, row after row of cement pads and little grass yards, and yet it is completely perfect for us just as it is.  It is clean, predictable, 27 bucks for everything with the Passport America card, with great hookups, good TV, spotless restrooms and laundry, and a really nice lounging area in the office.  We don’t use any of these lovely facilities, since for us this is always just an overnighter on our first night out.

DSC_0011Still, as I was walking around the park I thought it might be fun to at least post some photos of it and as I walked about six big rigs pulled in at the same time.  Some kind of caravan thing had arrived.  We never make a reservation here, and even with the caravans choosing this park, we have never had a problem getting a site.

Yup, I love the unpredictability of a road trip, and then again, I love it when some things are predictable.  Such as a great place to stop for a good night’s sleep on a level pad with power, water, sewer, and cable.  Sadly, we are in Lodi, and if we were “stuck” we could explore the more than 100 wineries in the area that have the very best old vine zins in the world.  Instead, we will settle in for a good night’s sleep, grateful that the MoHo is fairly well insulated from the sounds of the interstate, and continue south in the morning. Generic freeways, generic RV parks, all have a bit of a purpose, they get us where we are going.  The desert is calling.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013

In Rocky Point, Oregon on sunny day with only a bit of snow left around here and there

Melody, Deborah, Xavier, and Axel Christmas was lovely this year, with some good times with Deborah on Christmas Eve, and then celebration on Christmas morning when daughter Melody and my local grandkids, Axel and Xavier, joined us for breakfast and dinner.  Not often we try to do both traditions on the same Christmas day, but somehow this year we wanted the eggs benedict breakfast AND the Christmas dinner. 

In spite of the goodies in between those two great meals, we still managed to have a wonderful time eating a succulent pork roast dinner by 3PM without too much trouble.  It helped that we skipped dessert after dinner, opting instead to sip Deb’s great dessert wine from the local Troon Vineyard in the Applegate Valley.

Christmas 2013_192 Family gifts were a part of the tradition, with some homemade stuff from mom and some incredibly lovely and thoughtful presents for Mo and I from the family as well.  We had fun.  The sun was shining, and with the snow melting the icy driveway kept us from going on the traditional walk or the other tradition, sledding.  Kevin was in California working, so he and Melody talked via text and video, and of course the phones were ringing off and on during the day while we talked with distant loved family members.  Truckers  Deanna and Keith even made it home to Washington to spend Christmas afternoon with son Steven. 

the perfect box from Russion for Mo from Deanna My sister Sal got a reprieve from trucking with a visit home to her loved ones in California, including her daughter Savannah, who managed to get south to sunny California for the holidays.  She is a sophomore now at Oregon State and studying zoology, so Christmas break is definitely appreciated. 

It was a simple day with lots of love and hugs all round, and another chance to appreciate the uniqueness of every single one of us. Nothing simple or ordinary about any family, I am sure, but somehow the holidays remind us of our bonds and our lives and what we love and what we share.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

Today instead of doing the shopping thing that many are doing, Mo and I are backing up files, packing up the last of what is needed for our trip, and checking off the list items with relish.  All is good for departure, and I am definitely ready for some desert time.I think she likes it

and a table runner with steampunk fabric for Melody

Christmas dinner table with Mo taking hte photo for us

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas soon and then we are outta here!

Rocky Point Oregon high today was 36 and some of the snow is melting

Lighted musical Christmas panels in towntown Grants Pass In the midst of doing all the Christmasy things, I am packing for three months on the road.  I am feeling just a little bit schizo, since my two deep desires are warring with each other.  I want to do Christmas up well, but on the other hand, with our departure day looming so close, I am ready to get rolling, to leave the everydayness behind.  I actually dreamed about eating juicy sweet oranges from the Orange Grove RV Park in Bakersfield and I could taste them as if it were real.

ladies luncheon_067I also dreamed about being in turquoise water swimming and watching turtles floating beneath me.  Must be sunlight deprived I guess, and ready for some light and some warmth.  Christmas lights are great, and at this time of year I have a LOT of lights on all the time everywhere, but nothing beats the real thing. 

Still, in the mean time, I have been doing the traditions.  I once again did a table for the annual Rocky Point Ladies Luncheon and enjoyed the wine and good food and laughter with local friends.  The local men cook and serve and pour wine and the ladies eat and enjoy. It is a sweet community tradition, and though we don’t even have a post office out here in Rocky Point, we do have a great community. See Deb there in the middle of the group photo?  It was a real treat to have her living close enough to join us at the luncheon.

ladies luncheon_115Our only real snowfall this season was early in the month so Mo and I haven’t had to spend a lot of time plowing and shoveling.  Instead, I have been tied to the sewing machine, and actually managed to get Deanna’s quilt bound and shipped, and finished some Christmas presents for my other daughters.

Mo and I traveled over to Grants Pass a couple of times, just a bit nervous about the 6 degree temperatures that Deb reported to us, but the MoHo was just fine with the small heater we left running.  Deb didn’t have cold water in the cottage kitchen for a few days, but those kinds of temperatures are almost unheard of in Grants Pass, so hopefully that won’t be happening again very soon. The MoHo shed is big and built well, but still, without any heat, it is amazing how warm it stays inside.

Shop windows in downtown Grants Pass With each trip we take a bit of “stuff” over for the big trip.  The bikes and kayaks are there, and our single cruise suitcase that will have to be hauled around in the Tracker until we reach New Orleans.  I keep wishing I could pick Erin’s brain about how they packed for their three months of travel in all sorts of conditions, but I guess that will have to wait till I am in Port Aransas and actually visiting with her in person. It feels a bit like being a full timer, but in a much smaller rig. I really don’t need three months of clothes.  Mo reminds me that of course there will be laundry facilities along the way.  I am laughing at myself here a lot, at how silly it is to try to pack for three months.  People pack for a lifetime of full-timing with much less angst, I am sure. Hard to believe that Mo and I fit a week’s worth of cruising stuff in one suitcase….minus the snorkels however, they are in a mesh bag tied to the suitcase.  No airplanes to restrict us this time.

Deb with the Lighted musical Christmas panels in towntown Grants PassWe drove over the mountain to the cottage again last Saturday to spend an afternoon attending to travel preparations and details and to spend some time with Daughter Deb.  Grants Pass is such a lovely small town, and it actually has a really cute “downtown”.  I am glad that we settled on property there rather than over in Brookings where we looked originally.  Brookings has the ocean, but it doesn’t have any kind of real downtown. Deb treated Mo and I to dinner at a well known established restaurant, overlooking the Rogue River, called Rivers Edge.  It was a lovely experience in a lovely place and we all had a great time.  After dinner we went downtown to view the charming musical lighted panels that line the streets.  They are a different take on town Christmas lights and are so much fun.

The weather cooperated with no rain and temperatures in the low 30’s rather than single digits.  Nice for walking, but also nice to have the car close by to warm up.  We then went down to the park to check out more lights and then home to the cozy MoHo. 

wine with dinner at Rivers Edge Jeremy was in full old-cat-mode and we got a taste of how this next three months will be a bit challenging.  Fun, but challenging.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I can’t imagine how I thought I could leave him behind.  Although at 4am when he gets all talkative and needy I wonder at my sanity.  Anyone who thinks cats are independent hasn’t lived with a cat for 17 years.  Old cats are needy, needy, needy!

Tomorrow Deb will be here for Christmas Eve cooking time together, and on Christmas Day Melody and the kids will show up early enough in the morning to have our traditional eggs benedict Christmas breakfast. I am planning on a classic pork roast, bone in, with a sweet salty crusty rub.  I love my Cooks Illustrated magazine recipes.  Something as simple as a pork roast has a four page fine print article on the science and chemistry of making a truly tender, tasty roast.  I did it once before so I know it works!Downtown Grants Pass at Christmas

On Thursday morning I will start putting away the Christmas decorations and packing up the last of the clothes and food for our trip.  Back up the computer, back up quicken, make sure we have ALL the cords and chargers for all the electronics, the batteries and chargers and cases for the cameras, so much stuff to remember!  Sheesh!  I did remember recently that I will not be in the wilderness for the entire three months.  I can buy something if I forget it, right?  Still….I am making way too many lists and then trying to remember where I put them.  I think that is why I am so ready to be gone.  Once we leave, all the details slip into place and a sort of peace settles in. 

I can’t wait.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Home in December

Rocky Point, Oregon 25 degrees F and partly cloudy with a high predicted of 40F

reflected sunset in the eastern sky When we planned our winter trip south, we knew that December in this part of Oregon can be cold, snowy, and wintry.  Still, I wanted to be home at Christmas in spite of the weather.  Daughter Deb is close enough now that she can come over the mountain to share the holidays with us, and Melody and her family always come out for Christmas as well, with just a 25 mile trek from Klamath Falls to mom’s house in the woods.  We have some great family traditions, one of which includes sledding down our hill on Christmas day.

winter comes to Bel's little barnThere have been times when there was no snow, but not often.  Last year the snow started in November and I counted 13 consecutive days of plowing and blowing as the snow dumped on us.  This year November was sunny and the grass was still green. Then WHAM, that Big Chill that gripped the nation landed in Oregon as well, and our temperatures were as low as 20 degrees below Zero F.  We broke all time records for cold for any day in Klamath Falls with readings of almost 30 below.  Yup, you read that right.  30 miles north of the California border and it was -28F.

moon in the blue blue sky at five below zero in Rocky Point The good part about this cold spell however, was that it was just too cold to snow very much.  Around the 5th of December, the snow started falling and Mo and I plowed and shoveled for two days, unable to keep up with the dumping white stuff.  Then the true cold hit, the skies turned bluebird blue, and the snow froze in place, clean and dry after all our snow management.  With temps that cold, there wasn’t much ice in our driveway and on our road, and we haven’t had to plow since then.  The rest of the area wasn’t so lucky, however.

Daughter Deb over in Grants Pass spent a few days without water when the pipes froze.  Grants Pass and the Rogue Valley are not used to that kind of weather, and there were hundreds of accidents on the local roads and freeways and most of the schools have been closed for more than 5 days now.  We didn’t winterize the MoHo but left a heater running inside and the RV shed is completely enclosed, so we think all is OK.  Our reason for buying the Grants Pass property had to do with lowest winter temps being an occasional bout with the teens and most of the time above 30F or so. 

deanna2 Daughter Deanna was right in the midst of the worst ice storm, just 30 miles from Dallas, where she and her husband spent 13 hours trapped in their semi on one of those “fake” hills at an overpass that no vehicle could manage.  Deanna said someone would try and they all would slide backwards.  Traffic was backed up for 40 miles or something like that.  They finally got out of the mess to deliver in Memphis, run down to Miami to pick up some other kinds of fancy engines, and take off for Manitoba, where the cold was just normal Manitoba cold and not impossible to navigate.

Here at home, I managed to work on quilt projects for Christmas presents, and finally got the house decorated.  I do love decorating for holidays, but for some reason it was a bit hard to get into it this year.  I was dragging my feet.  Possibly because I knew we were leaving just two days after Christmas, not to return until April.  I definitely want to get it all packed up and put away before we leave, and of course I know there will be a bit of crunch time in that short two days as we finalize our packing for three months on the road.

Winter_031 Still, on Wednesday this week, I finally went out to the very cold garage (it was still around zero F, and Mo and I brought down the Christmas bins and I started unpacking and deciding what to use, what to skip.  This year I will skip the Christmas villages, and those bins remain untouched.  I decided to decorate the perfect little Christmas tree this year with the heirloom little pieces that have been with both of us for more years than I care to count instead of my fancy fruits and shiny globes that I bought for my Klamath Falls home when I moved there 11 years ago.  The snowmen came out, and I laughed with Mo, saying “No matter how old and worn out I get, I’ll always be able to manage the snowmen, even if I don’t do anything else!”

my favorite Last night I finished up the lights on the porch, and in spite of the lack of enthusiasm I felt during the process, as I stood out in the snow looking at our cozy house I was so glad I had made the effort.  Somehow it finally feels like Christmastime.  Today I’ll go down to our Rocky Point community place and set a pretty table for eight for the ladies luncheon held here every year.  The kids will come for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and the house will look like a Mom’s house is supposed to look.  I’ll start baking cookies and make some fudge, listen to some Christmas music and be grateful that we decided to stay home once again for Christmas. 

This year I even made the effort to do Christmas cards and the Christmas letter.  I saw on the news not long ago how this old tradition is rapidly dying as we all seem to be communicating in different ways with social media and the internet.  I decided that the letter and a sheet of photos was still a nice gesture.  I still have old Christmas letters from lots of friends who used to send them.  Mo gets lots of cards every year, I get very few.  I do think I have friends, but maybe our friends are different kinds of people.  Hers are more traditional, mine are all over the map.  All over the map kinds of people tend to not send Christmas cards.  So what am I, all over the map or traditional??!!

testing different methods for shooting the Christmas lightsWho knows if we will be here every year.  Sometimes we might like to take a break and travel somewhere warm BEFORE that winter snow and cold hits Rocky Point.  Each time I have done that, however, my heart misses the old traditions of Christmas and my family, at least as many of my family that I can gather in one place at one time.  Mo would much prefer to be elsewhere at this time of year, and when I first knew her, she would almost always be off somewhere in December, avoiding all the Christmas hubbub, calling me from Spain, or Costa Rica or some other exotic location.  I am glad that she is tolerant of my need for family times and patiently waits for two days after Christmas to escape.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Raining in Brookings Oregon

surf at Harris Beach on a cloudy grayish dayOf course it is, it is doing something dramatic just about everywhere in the country right now and the southern Oregon coast is no exception, in spite of that “Banana Belt” description for our current location.  The National Weather Service is actually predicting the possibility of scattered snow showers down to sea level, and temperatures well below freezing tonight and tomorrow night “on the beaches”.  Whew!  Makes me happy for tank heaters and a nice little electric heater to keep things cozy inside.

After a couple of months hanging around home and Grants Pass, the second home, we decided to come to our third home, Harris Beach State Park.  We needed a change of scenery.  I suppose Mo needed a change of scenery, especially that daily view of fabric and sewing machine on the dining table.

home in site 23 at Harris BeachI am comfortably settled into the super comfy, super convenient new dinette with a view out the windows, watching the surf breaking over the black shadows of marine rock sea stacks below us on the beach.  It has rained all night, but the thick spruce above us makes the rain fall in spurts and fits as it sifts through the trees to the roof, random and not at the steady rhythm of raindrops in more open areas.

We have been entertaining ourselves with radio, tv, reading, computing, and for me, some knitting.  Resting, napping, and a few damp walks here and there have rounded out the schedule, or non schedule you might say.  Mo took Abby for a walk this morning but so far I am still in jammies…oops…it is no longer morning! 

Abby's favorite things, the beach and a ballWe arrived early on Saturday, a bit before the official 2pm check in time, and even a bit before the 1pm check out time.  As expected, the front row was full, the view row, all with cable hookups.  When we came over, we didn’t expect to get front row, but we were hoping for cable so Mo could at least watch her 49’rs game on Sunday.  Mo stopped at the dump to do a little pre-dump before we settled in and I drove the park looking for a spot.  Sure enough, a nice guy was hooking up his fiver in the front row and I asked if he was leaving

Yup, he was, and he said that by the time we got back with the MoHo three more folks had asked about the spot.  Lucky us!  A23 is probably our favorite site in this park, with ocean views, a bit of tree cover for protection, nice shrubs around to block public view of our table and firepit, and of course cable, water, and electric.  No sewer, but we can handle that for the four nights we plan to stay here.

a bird in the bushThat first day was gorgeous, and Mo unloaded the firewood for our planned campfire, but instead of cooking outdoors we wandered off to Harbor to the Chetco CafĂ© for our traditional fish and chips supper.  Love that place, so much that we didn’t even mind waiting another day to polish off the Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thanksgiving was as delightful as expected, with family gathered at Melody’s house to partake of the fabulous cooking of both daughters and a couple of Melody’s friends as well.  It was a good day and it was nice to go back home with a pack of leftover containers and no mess to clean up.

Thanksgiving_024Things around Melody’s house are up for some changes with Kevin heading south to Mountain View for his Google job this week and Melody in full Christmas mode at the jewelry store in the midst of rehearsals for her play.  Seems as though grandson Xavier is also trying out for “Grease” so things should just be hopping around there in the next couple of months.

Mo and I drove to Grants Pass and visited with Deb at the cottage overnight before pulling the MoHo out to enjoy the biggest reason for the Grants Pass property…just two hours to the beach.  The drive was beautiful and the change of scenery was divine.  Yes, we knew rain was coming, but that didn’t matter in the least.  Love coming to the ocean any time of year.

Abby play time at Harris BeachOn Sunday, even though it was cloudy, the rain held off long enough for us to get some good beach walking time and ball time with Abby.  Balls and beaches are her favorite thing, but it was a bit bittersweet as she seemed to be somewhat less energetic than before.  She loves it so much, but the years are catching up and she tires more easily.  Hard to watch our animals age.  I suppose it is hard for our kids to watch us age.  Better than the alternative, at least we are all still here.

On a last note….I have changed some plans for our three month travels.  Jeremy will be coming along after all.  My heart just can’t deal with abandoning my sweet cat after 17 years of loyalty, even if it is at my daughter’s home.  He is so needy and attached to us, and to Abby, and to our life together.  We decided we will just deal with whatever his age requires for the trip.  Jeremy is heading for Florida!  I know one person down there who will probably enjoy meeting him.  Karen and Al are serious cat people who have been through the “old cat thing”, and I hope that I can introduce them to Jeremy.

final days_006

Later:  The rain stopped, and cold notwithstanding, Mo got a great fire going tonight.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sick of that photo!

In Rocky Point, OR: 26 degrees F and the high predicted today is sunny and 57 degrees?!

Friday morning sunrise on the Pacific.  Third full sea day November 2012 I have nothing exciting to write about, but I am sick and tired of looking at that last post with that face!  Needless to say, I am better, with just a few yellow and green patches here and there and a bit of a weird nose.  November is my least favorite month for outdoor photos, though, and I don’t have many that are worth putting up.  I suppose I could get out there and try for something, but all the leaves are gone, there isn’t any snow on the ground, and nothing seems to inspire me much.  Instead I’ll just pop in a shot of last November on our cruise for bit of text relief.

It is almost the end of November and just a few days ago, Mo motored around the yard with the mower.  She said technically she wasn’t “mowing” although that is what it looked like.  Instead, she was mulching up the bazillions of pine needles that come down every year and make spring raking a back breaking chore.  With no snow yet to speak of, that chore should be a bit easier this year when we return in April to the Rocky Point homestead.

Mo is mowing in November (1) I have been busy quilting, and sent sister Sal’s quilt off to her daughter in Corvallis.  She was supposed to make it home for Thanksgiving, but instead is holed up in a motel on the Iowa/Minnesota border, waiting once again for a truck repair.  Cold and no income while she is sitting.  Bummer.  The life of a trucker can be so frustrating when the truck doesn’t run.  Although with the weather back in that part of the country, I guess I am glad she isn’t on the road.  She has her gorgeous big German shepherd with her for company, and I am glad for that as well.

Daughter Deanna is safely home in Washington State for the holiday, something that doesn’t happen all that often.  Thanksgiving for her will include most of Keith’s family and at least one of their sons.  Makes me happy for her.  They will be back on the road again before Christmas, and I am dreaming of the chance for a visit with them here sometime around Christmas.  Then again, who knows, I may not see her again until we are both somewhere in Florida.  They deliver a lot of jet engines to Miami.

Tomorrow Mo and I will amble into Klamath Falls for Thanksgiving dinner at my daughter, Melody’s home.  Yippee!  I am often the Thanksgiving hostess, although last year I was cruising around Hawaii for the day.  This year Melody decided she was up for doing the holiday and since Daughter Deborah lives close enough now to share, she is heading to Melody’s tonight after work.  I hear rumors of lots of sister cooking with some drinking involved.  Ha!  They should have a lot of fun together.  Makes me happy.

Deanna and Keith's quilt ready for machine quiltingI have just two jobs.  Dressing and Gravy.  Melody and Kevin are making the turkey on his Big Green Egg.  Makes for a great turkey, but then there isn’t any gravy.  So I bought a turkey, will cook it today, keep the meat for sandwiches for Mo and I, and have lots of gravy to take to Melody’s tomorrow.  The girls have big lists of goodies, including a lot of our traditional favorites and some new things Deb is trying.  I am stress-free.  All I have to do is show up.  Wow, that is just soooo different, but kinda nice.

I even managed to finish Deanna and Keith’s quilt and get it down to Merrill to the machine quilter.  It is promised before Christmas and I can get the binding on in time to deliver it to Deanna before we head off to the southland.

trip map In exactly one month we will be heading out on our three month sojourn, and I will find out just how well all the planning worked.  Being on the road that time of year is a crap shoot, and the possibilities run the gamut.  Smooth sailing or crazy weather, either way it keeps us young and if we stay loose, it will be great.

In the midst of all the homey things I have been doing that involve a sewing machine, I neglected to wander around the internet enough to keep track of the comet Ison.  This morning I heard that it may just get blown up by the sun, but if it doesn’t then we should get a great comet show in December. 

comet On another very exciting note, my theater geek daughter, Melody, who acted with Albany Civic Theater, Corvallis Civic Theater, and the Linkville here in Klamath Falls, was just cast in the Sally Field role for Steel Magnolias.  Acting is Melody’s first love, but it sometimes is hard to do with a family, a full time job, and all the other requirements of daily living.  She thought long and hard about auditioning, especially since she works in a jewelry store and it is the Christmas season.  I pushed kinda hard, knowing how much acting means to her and she went for it.  Of course she was cast, my daughter is one amazing actress, something that was born in her, and something I knew by the time she was two.

Worst part about this whole thing is that the play is opening on January 15!  Yes…right in the middle of the part where we are somewhere in Texas.  For the first time, I will miss one of my daughter’s plays.  Filming or photographing a play is just a no-no, but rumor has it that someone is going to film it, with permission from the director, just for Melody’s mommy!  Is that great, or what! 

easter 010 On a final note, my son-in-law Kevin, Melody’s husband, who has worked in our small town of Klamath Falls for insignificant salaries, just landed a job with the big guy!  Kevin is now a Google contractor, and will be heading south to the Mountain View Google Campus for a year long stint with hopes for more permanent employment in the future.  Sad to say, the Klamath Basin just doesn’t offer much for computer geeks, so Kevin and Melody will be managing a long distance marriage for a time, at least until the grandson exits high school in three years or so.  Working at Google is pretty amazing, and Kevin’s brother has been there for some time now.  Melody is in super freak-out mode, knowing it is a good thing and still not excited about being a long distance wife.  Of course. Those two communicate on Facebook when they are sitting in their own living room, so I would imagine they are better equipped than most to handle the apart time.

Time to get busy with the turkey (source for the gravy) and finishing up the complicated quilt blocks that are making me crazy.  Wishing all the US folks a great Thanksgiving celebration.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Fight!

Home in Rocky Point: cloudy, chilly at 40 degrees F, with snow coming tonight

IMG_3758IMG_3755 It was just a fight with a lawnmower, but the results looked as if I had been in some kind of bar fight!  Early in the month, we took the MoHo over to Grants Pass for the last time this winter and decided to do a bit of yard cleanup while we were there.  Mo, of course, is the riding mower queen and I was busy raking leaves.  I was at least 20 feet away, but was downside from the eject window on that mower and a rock hidden in the long grass decided to come my way.

Ugh!  It knocked me down, hurt worse than anything I can quite remember, and the results were not pretty.  Of course, all the yard equipment danger stories came out of the woodwork after it happened.  Of course I wouldn’t mow barefoot, am pretty careful with the weed eater, and have managed to do yard work for half a century without anything like this happening to me in the past.  Still, you can bet I won’t be anywhere in the yard in the future when that mower is going.

Now, of course, it has been a bit of time since I last posted and lots has been happening, and it is time to try to catch up so I don’t forget what we did in November.  How do you pick a title for the mish mash of stuff that is to follow?  A funny thing to note….until recently the most popular post in my entire 6 years of blogging is one called “Vandalized”.  Go figure.  At last the main post about the MoHo has surpassed the stats for Vandalized, but it has taken years!  Betcha I get a bunch more hits when I talk about a fight.  What is it about people anyway.  I am sure the the word “Fight” gets a ton more views than something like “gorgeous bird” or “Halloween” or “My grandson’s play”.  Wanna make a bet with me on that?

IMG_0963 We have driven the MoHo across the mountains more times than we planned because it was time for new tires.  Basin Tire does great by us, but it is a locally owned company in Klamath Falls, 30 miles east.  The MoHo was already over in Grants Pass, where she doesn’t have to be winterized, 100 miles west.  Oops.  So we brought her home to get tires, and an oil change and transmission service, which made her very happy, and made us very happy with more than 8,000 travel miles already tucked away on our winter agenda.  Of course, sitting at home in Rocky Point, with sub freezing temperatures and a smattering of snow wasn’t the best.  Mo set up the electric heater inside and we parked her under the shelter of the big trees.  It was nice to see frost and snow all over the grass but not on the driveway.

IMG_3748 Not long after the tires were added, I got an early morning wakeup call from Daughter Deanna, who was just an hour out of the truck stop in Central Point.  This was exciting for several reasons, one of which is that I don’t get to see her often, and their jet engine deliveries don’t take them down I-5 all that often.  For some reason she thought I was in Grants Pass, but instead we jumped up and dashed over the mountain in the melting snow, in the MoHo, so that we could meet them by 8 at the restaurant so they could continue with their very tight schedule.  They were delivering some kind of big jetway, an oversize load, and had all sorts of permitting and route variations they had to follow on their way south to LAX.

IMG_3751 Whew!  Now,  just maybe, a few old time readers will remember Deanna lent her huge fast magnificent Nikkor lens to me for our trip to Alaska and I crashed to the ground and crashed the lens.  I replaced it for Deanna, and repaired the old one for myself and I love it.  I happen to have a zoom lens, but it isn’t anything like the big zoom lens that Deanna had for her photography business, and since I was responsible enough to replace her lens, she had no problem lending her big zoom to me for our upcoming trip to the southeast.  I really do want to get some spoonbill photos!  Now lets hope my old lady tendency to crash every now and then won’t cost me the several thousand dollars it would cost me to replace THIS lens.

IMG_3760The good part about the quickie visit to Medford, is that Deanna had a chance to pick up the lens from their storage in Wenatchee and bring it along for me. Way better than trying to ship and insure the thing.  Breakfast and daughter hugs were great too!

Another good part about the quickie visit is that I was able to bring the beginnings of the quilt I am making for their truck bed over for her to see and approve in person.  Deanna saw Sally’s quilt and asked for one, and was willing to pay for the fabric if I would make the quilt.  We decided on an idea, and it was great to see that our over the phone choices worked out perfectly for the soft gray and blue interior of their truck.  Eventually I will even make truck curtains to match.  It is been good that I can stay at home in the dreary November weather and just quilt and not scare people with my fighter face.

new lens-015 Another little glitch showed up early in the month while I was working away on the quilt with a broken sewing machine.  Sheesh.  My machine is a Bernina 1230, a model from the 80’s, and it seems the part is expensive and hard to find.  It would require a 150 mile round trip to the Ashland Bernina Dealer.  Sister Sal, the other trucker in the family, who recommended the 1230 because she loves hers, sent a quickie text message to me saying, “Go get mine, it is in storage, you can use it while I am driving”  Wow!  Just before that, Mo and I decided it was time for me to get the little 12 pound travel Janome 600 machine I had been eyeing for awhile now.  So now I have the Janome for travel and classes and quickie piecing at home, and my broken Bernina, and Sal’s working Bernina and two of her sergers which I haven’t a clue how to thread. Did I mention I don’t have a sewing room, that I store all my sewing stuff in my bedroom and quilt on the dining table?  Ha!

new lens-010It seems I don’t have a lot to show for it yet, except of course Deanna’s quilt which will be ready for the quilter this week.  They promised to get it back before Christmas, so the next time I meet Deanna on the road somewhere (probably in Florida or Texas or something), I’ll have her quilt all bound and ready to give to her.  Yippee!!

IMG_0976-001 The other little busy maker around here has been Mo’s computer.  She has a great Dell workhorse that has plunked along for a very long time, but it is a bit slow and still runs XP without the bones that could be upgraded to Windows 7.  I had Bel’s little Dell laptop I got for her before she passed away, just sitting in a cupboard, so decided that it would be a good backup computer for Mo.  Sure enough, Mo is now learning to use Windows 7 and is getting more and more used to the idea that she can let the old beast go.  I have been using Windows 7 for some time now, but in teaching Mo the differences in the OS, I am learning things I didn’t know.  I have no desire whatsoever to try out Windows 8 any time soon.  Just the upgrade to the IOS on my iPhone made me a bit crazy.  Finally, after some of our computer work, this morning Mo said something to the effect, “Gee, I like this, I can work on Quicken on my old machine and see all the banks on the laptop at the same time!”  Power User!  You go Mo!!

woodpecker_133 Oh yeah, another little busy maker….I am trying to get all the old VHS videos that I have in boxes transferred to DVD’s so that I can actually do something with them.  I bought a Toshiba machine that does the job, but still takes a bit of tweaking and concentration to make sure that the resulting DVD can be viewed on a computer.  The plan is to eventually get those files converted and transferred from the DVD’s to the computer and to then make some nice movie clips from the good parts.  I can’t believe how much wasted, pretty boring footage there is on the old videos, and yet how many sweet special moments are tucked away in there as well.  It is a big job, and I have to thank Erin and Mui (this is a link to his great videos) for sending some emails along that helped me at least begin to understand what I was dealing with, what kinds of files and software I needed to understand to actually do the project.  For now, I am just happy to get them to DVD’s where I can skip and fast forward and find things much more easily.

Another delightful treat early in the month was a trip to town to watch my youngest grandson, Xavier, starring as Jack Rover in the play Wild Oats.  It was amazing to me to see how great the kids were in this high school production.  It was as good as many community theater productions I have seen.  I even went for the second night since I did learn, when Melody was doing theater, that every single performance has its own nuance, its own special moments.  Sure was proud of that kid!  Plus he is getting all A’s for his first year of high school in advanced placement classes.  He is on  a roll, and I trust it will keep going throughout his high school years.Wild Oates_060

I would imagine that those who read the blog because it said “Fight” are long gone.  Those who read the blog because they read RV travel blogs have probably bailed by now as well.  But at least when I go back to the blog to try to remember what we did this month I will have something to read.  There are times in the past when we ask that question, and if we weren’t traveling there is nothing but a big blank!new lens-002

I have lots of practice ahead of me using Deanna’s lens, but I did try it out a little bit.  She has a nice tripod that is attached to then lens rather than the camera to help hold it.  While it is only a 200mm, it is fast, so hopefully I can get photos that are more clear than I have managed with my much less expensive slower lens.  Wish me luck!