Saturday, October 25, 2008

Posting from Morgan Hill, 10/26/08

October 26, 2008
Lorraine's report

Well, another week has flown by. It was a very nice week. We were at a nice camp outside of Isleton, CA. This was on the waterways of California Delta. What a great region. The weather was great in the mid 80’s in the daytime and down to the upper 40’s at night. The sun was still warm; it felt like the summer we missed while we were home in Bellingham in August. We had sewer, water and 50 amp, so I was able to have nice long hot showers, washing and drying clothes was not a problem, and we could run both air conditioners in the late afternoon. I could get spoiled very easily with all of these amenities.
We got in on Monday afternoon, it was about a two hour ride from the hilly region of the gold country. The area was really flat, with a lot of water ways everywhere. We were across the street from a canal, with the levees being used as the roads. Monday was spent cleaning and setting up.

Tuesday we went into Antioch to Costco and Wal Mart. It was a busy town, there was a lot of activity all over town. Chuck decided to take a different way home, he had told the GPS to avoid toll roads (there was one on the way going back to the motor home). Well, the GPS sent us all the way into Stockton on I-5, then back west. An hour and forty five minutes later, we made it back home. A long drive to avoid a toll.

Wednesday as we were getting ready for the day, the shore power quits. Chuck goes out and checks the breakers, but that wasn’t the problem. He then heads up to the office and they tell us we have to move. So, we pack up and move to the other end of the park. Everything there worked fine. They never did tell us what happened to the power.

We didn’t have any plans, so Chuck and I decided to explore the area. We went to a small town called Rio Vista. We found a nicely stocked store with clothes that we could use for our upcoming cruise. Next door to the store was a Moose Lodge. I did some shopping, then we went into the Moose for a drink. It was small, but nice and was cooler inside, it was 85 degrees outside.

While visiting with other patrons at the lodge, one told us we had to see the restaurant/bar down the road. So off we go to check this place out. It was full of lots of stuffed animal heads, hunted by the old owner of that restaurant and his friends, from all over the world. It was an amazing collection. We took pictures then headed back to the Moose Lodge for Tacos. They have Tacos the second and fourth Wednesday’s of each month, 3 for $4.00 or $1.50 each, plus nachos and all the fixings. All in all, a good deal and the food was great.

Thursday, we wanted to get a new sewer hose for the motor coach, ours was leaking he said. The neighbor told Chuck there was a camping world about 35 miles away. We decided to head up to Fairfield to the Camping World. It was a great day for another drive.

After Camping World, Chuck said he wanted to go to the Budweiser Brewery there in Fairfield. After all the years we’ve driven right by and never had time to stop, this time we took the time to tour the brewery. We both enjoyed the short tour , a lot of information was given to us by the tour guide, and she gave us two tickets apiece to try the new products. I tried a new brew with raspberries and pomegranate in it, for a beer it was very tasty.

Then we went over to the Jelly Belly factory, just down the road. We took the short tour there; and they gave us a big handful of product; all in all a great day.

Friday was moving day. We were headed into Morgan Hill, just 45 minutes south of where our grand daughter lives with her mom and dad. Morgan Hill is a Thousand Trails park, they have 30 amp only, no sewer, but water. There are turkeys here and deer are seen all the time.
We get to MH, set up, Chuck washed the windshield, the power goes out, he gets it fixed, and finally we head up to Sunnyvale to pick up Kaitlyn from her day care, such joy for all of us. Since then I have been busy with my daughter, Susy and Kaitlyn. I look forward to being with them as much as possible. We have a great time together.

We will be here until the Monday after Halloween.

So until next time, see you down the road.


Chuck's report

We are at Morgan Hill, California, about 35 miles from our daughter's home. We are in a 1000 Trails park, 30 amp service without sewer hookup. This is a nice older park and is pretty busy. We've been here before and always seem to meet some nice folks, this time being no exception.
There are also white tail deer and wild turkey in the park. The deer come out at night, you may find them anywhere in the park. The turkey come out early in the morning, mostly in the area we are in. Last year I counted over 90 turkeys in three different flocks (or is it a rafter of turkeys?) while we were here.

Here are two pictures of the turkeys. It's pretty early and the light isn't the best yet.

A picture of our rig.

We got here Friday around noon time, set up and then we went to pick up our grand daughter, Kaitlyn, from her day care and met up with Susy and Mark for dinner. Lorraine is in grand baby heaven, I think. We sure enjoy spending time with Susy, Mark and Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn is growing up too fast, though. We saw her in August and I would swear she's almost a year older than she was then. I'll bet most grandparents say the same thing, though.

Granddaughter Kaitlyn after day care, waiting Notice all the different outfits on the same day.
for Mommy to come home.

Lorraine brought this outfit with us, Kaitlyn loved it 'cause it came from Nana!

Good picture of Susy and Kaitlyn playing. Gotta love that smile, easy to tell where it comes
from, huh. Notice, a different outfit again.

That's Susy, Kaitlyn and Mark in their kitchen area. And again, a different outfit. Not sure what she will wear on Halloween night. Oh wait, this was on Saturday morning, the others were all on Friday.

Saturday morning, Lorraine went to Susy's so they could spend the day shopping. Mark and Kaitlyn went to an amusement park, Great America for the day. I had a few chores to do around the coach, IE, a few lights that didn't work, replace an electrical switch, etc.

That afternoon the temperature was about 90F when the front air conditioner quit working, After troubleshooting it for awhile, thinking the power in the park was too low, I finally checked the circuit breaker. Sure enough, it was tripped and once again it works fine.

Living in the motorhome, I have to be an electrician, plumber, carpenter, mechanic, heating and cooling tech and I get to wash/wax the coach too. But this is still a better life for us than living in the sticks and brick home. So far, I haven't had to mow a lawn, weed a garden, paint anything or go into a crawl space with spiders or other critters.

Out of order a little bit but after our posting on Sunday, we again took off touring the local area. This time we went to Folsom, of Folsom Prison fame. This is a fairly large town, even has a Costco and Super WalMart. Folsom Prison wasn't much too see from the outside, took a couple of pictures and moved on.

Monday was moving day again. We didn't get to see all of the California Gold country, will have to return and explore more of the area. Lorraine called ahead and made reservations in a campground in Isleton, Ca., located Southeast of Sacramento in the California Delta area.

I have heard about the California Delta area but didn't really know much about it, maybe I slept through American Geography class in school or something. Seems the whole area between what is now San Francisco to the West, Stockton to the East, Pittsburg to the North and Antioch to the South was just the delta from from the Sacramento river. This is quite a large area, very flat and just a couple of feet above sea level.

During the California gold rush days, transportation in the area was via the water. In the early 1900s, people started trying to dry out areas by building levees to hold the water back, drying out the area between the levees and farming the rich delta land. Soon the government got involved building the levees. They didn't just dike the river and attempt to keep it in it's bank but rather created almost 1000 miles of water ways and lots of islands. At one time, steam boats were used to transport people and freight along these waterways The area is heavy into farming but the water ways have created their own “business”. There is lots of boating on the water, good fishing and of course, tourism. Lucky for us, there are quite a few campgrounds around the area, too.

Driving from one area to another around here means driving on these levees and over bridges. There are lots of draw bridges, some designs are unique to this area, I hear. The water level is effected by tidal action too but from what we've seen, the water is much higher than the surrounding area. If the levees were to fail, the whole area would be under water. When Katrina hit New Orleans and the dike system there failed, I remember hearing that this area have more damage if these levees were to fail.

Picture of water way across the street from us with dock.

A draw bridge with large counterweights. Another water way, we are driving on a levee.

One more bridge.

I understand there was a failure of some of the levees in 1972, since then, any homes built had to have it's living quarters above the level of the water. There can be other parts of the house below, garages, shops, etc. but that has made for some strange looking houses.
I wonder if there is an elevator on the right side, be a real pain to walk up/down every time.

Now that's a bit better, has a walkway over to the levee, notice the motor bike on the front porch. That's a motorhome on the bottom, probably about 36' I would guess.

All in all, this is another part of the country that I have enjoyed learning about and exploring.

On Tuesday, we needed to re-supply (that means shopping) so we found a Costco about 30 miles away in Antioch. Using our GPS, we headed out, no problem finding Costco. Using the GPS to return home, it sent us South then East instead of Northwest. It also said it would take about 90 minutes to get home. Trusting in the GPS, we continue on, not sure why it was sending us on this tour but enjoying seeing the country. I finally figured out that I had it set to avoid any toll roads and the shortest distance back would have required us to go over a toll bridge. So our GPS sent us on a trip of about 80 vs 30 miles to keep from crossing one toll bridge. I guess they are only as smart as the person (me) programing them, huh? Oh well, lesson learned and we got to see some of the area that we hadn't planned on seeing yet.
Wednesday morning I woke up to a cold motorhome, the heat was off. I checked and we had no electrical power to the coach. I checked the surge protector and found it wouldn't let the campground power though to us. Further checking showed they had about 149 volts on one of the 50 Amp legs, should have been 120 volts. Without a surge protector, we would have damaged some of the electrical stuff on board the coach.

I switched over to the 30 amp service and it worked for awhile but within about an hour, we lost power to the site completely. We ended up moving to a different site across the campground, meant we had to unhook the water, power and sewer, put stuff away inside the coach, pull the slides in, raise the jacks and move. It took about an hour to move from one spot to another but we have good power in this site. The campground owners said they know they have problems and are planning on redoing the whole system soon.

After moving and giving Misty (our dog) a bath, we decided to go exploring again. We just typed in a local town's name in the GPS and let it lead us there. Again, there is lots of farming in the area, we saw corn fields being harvested, lots of pear orchards and of course stuff I don't know what it was. We drove through the small towns, once again, lots of history to learn.

Lorraine found an advertisement for this dress shop in Rio Vista and wanted to see if we could find it. Trusting the GPS once again, it lead us there with no problem. Happens right night door was a local Moose Hall, being a Moose member, we checked it it out. Nice place, nice people. They told us about a local restaurant that had lots of stuffed animal heads in it. Seems the owner traveled all around the globe hunting and sent the stuffed heads back to his restaurant. The elephant head was so large they had to reinforce the walls and they put wooden tusks on because the real tusks were too heavy to hang on the wall with the head.

Can you tell we were impressed a little bit? This was interesting, under most of the heads was a picture and some information about the hunt. Some of these animals are extinct now, but probably not from him shooting one years ago!

Once again, we used the GPS to direct us home, this time it led us directly there without going the long route. Even with the problems we have had with it, I still like using the GPS. We actually have one built in on the coach, one for a laptop and the portable, hand held one.
Once again that was our week. I hope the pictures add some information and give a better idea of what kind of stuff we are experiencing and enjoying.
Until next week - - - - Chuck

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Central California, 10-19-08

One of the many switch back curves on Hwy 49.
Notice the intense concentration and this curve.
One more of the nasty curves.
One more, I know, I know.
We didn't have to go over that bridge, but we do turn onto the road in the bottom.

This is a picture of the American River near Sutter's Mill where GOLD was first discovered in California.
This is the American River directly behind our campsite. It's on a weekend when they increased the water flow.
Just upstream of our campsite.
More of Hwy 49, that is the American River down there and we are headed in that direction.
Replica of some of the gold nuggets found in the American River during the gold rush in 1849. The largest ones are over 5 pounds. Now if there were still some of them in the river, I might have tried gold panning, cold or no.

Saturday, October 19, 2008
Lorraine's Report

It’s hard to believe another week has passed. We’ve gone from “Bright Lights, Big City” to choose between 30 amp, water & sewer or 50 amp & water- no sewer; and spotty TV reception, no cellphones and no e-mail. We are out of range for the later two. In other words, we moved from Reno to Lotus, CA-a Thousand Trails/Naco West RV Park. We came in here on Tuesday afternoon and searched for almost two hours, moving twice, trying to find a good spot. Boy, am I ever glad we didn’t have to pay for our Thousand Trails/Naco membership. For what they want for membership and the number of members, you would think they would try and update/fix up some of their parks.

This park, Ponderosa RV Park, is on the South Fork of the American River. It is a much sought after park, and during the prime season, full all the time. To get here we came down CA 49. Now no one told us what a terrible “S” curvy road this was, in fact, this is the way our GPS sent us. I don’t get scared too often, but this road scared me to death. This is not a good road to take a 40 foot motor home and a toad car down. You could meet yourself coming and going, and the traffic was heavy and speedy.

And if coming down it once wasn’t enough, we drove our car back up it Friday to go to Grass Valley, where our friends, Mike & Linda live. They are in NM, so we didn’t get to visit with them. Chuck tried to find another way to drive home, but we ended up having to drive back down it; I ended up car sick all night from that awful road.

We stayed an extra day (Monday) in Reno so I could do laundry. Since we have no sewer hookups here, I’ve been taking navy showers, and Chuck is showering up at the men’s bathroom.
We went into Placerville on Wednesday to get groceries and an antenna so we could get the internet. I also got my flu shot at Safeway; with my health history, I’m suppose to get a flu shot every year. I arrived at the pharmacy just as the pharmacist was leaving for lunch. He told me to come back an hour and a half later. I told him that this was the third Safeway I’d been to for my flu shot, so he said he would give me one an hour later. It cost $30, but our insurance paid $5.00 of the cost. Thursday, while here, Chuck washed the entire motor home again I cleaned out our closet and got a big bag of stuff to donate.

Friday, I also started my Christmas wrapping. I’m hoping to stash the stuff I’ve wrapped at our daughter, Susy’s, home in Sunnyvale, CA. That way I won’t have so much to do and can spend quality time with her and our Grand daughter, Kaitlyn, next week when we get there.

When I finished my chores, Chuck suggested we take a drive and see some more of this area. That’s when we drove to Grass Valley as I said before, and then we headed west and found a new casino, east of Sacramento, about 29 miles away. We played for a few minutes, no luck, but it was Crab night at the buffet. Was it ever a great buffet. The place was very crowded, very noisy and very busy.

Saturday, Chuck said we should see some more of the area so we took off to the left. We went into Placerville, this time a different way, where they were having an art and wine festival from 5 pm to 10 pm Saturday night. We went into Cameron, and I tried calling Sandy H in Minnesota, since I missed calling her on her birthday on October 12. Happy belated Birthday Sandy. Hope it was a happy day for you.

In all fairness, this area is really pretty, the weather has been warm, especially after the snow and cold in Reno. The trees are really pretty, though not as much color as I expected. They let water out of the reservoir on Saturday, so the river is running higher and is very calming to listen to.

On Monday I think we will be leaving here and heading farther west. So till next time-see you down the road…Lorraine

Chuck's report

Hi to all that are following along. As I've said earlier, we lead a pretty boring, sedate life. Not much to write about but will attempt to add some pictures again.

We left Reno on Tuesday, headed West. Reno was nice but we didn't do a whole lot other than go to the casinos, never did find that Bar-B-Que place we were looking for last week. Oh well, I know we will get some good Bar-B-Que in Arizona this winter.

We headed out of Reno on I-80, the road is much better than in the past years but still needs more work. In places I moved into the passing lane, it was just too rough in the right hand lane. We were headed to a 1000 Trails park, Ponderosa Resort in Lotus, California. Both GPSs had us going on the same route, I-80 West to California Hwy 49 then South about 14 miles.
OK, both say the same thing, let's go! Once we got on Hwy 49 we found out it was a narrow two lane road with lots of places where the turns are tight, 20 MPH. The first ~ 6 miles had some severe curves and switchbacks, I swear I could see the license plate on our tow car in a couple of places. Finally, just after passing through a town called Cool, the road returned to a more normal 40 MPH. This is probably the worse RV un-friendly road we have traveled on in the past year.

Of course, to add to the trip, we missed the turn into the campground. We had to turn around in a pasture, couldn't see it had deep holes and a pretty steep drop off until we turned into it. Remember, we can't back up the motorhome with the car attached well, just go slow and turn the wheel hard, we made it. Back on the road and make it to the campground to check in.

The ranger at the gate found our paperwork and proceeded to check us in. I mentioned how the road into here was pretty bad. He asked which way we came in, I said from Auburn on hwy 49. He said nobody takes their RV, especially ones as large as ours, on that hwy. Boy, thanks for that information about an hour too late. (I did check their web page and it states they recommend not driving on hwy 49, wish I had caught that before!). There aren't any road signs either that would warn anyone about the bad road ahead other than something about maximum length on a truck hitch or something like that. I think they need to put up a big warning sign with flashing lights. That was a real hair raising experience that I don't care to do again anytime soon.

The campground is nice, can get either 50 amp without sewer or 30 amp with sewer. We picked a spot right on the American River with 50 amp, no cell or Internet access. Have seen some large white tail deer and some wild turkeys, no sign of fish in the river, however. Not many people here until Friday then the place filled up with locals. Seems this is a very popular campground, fills up almost every weekend. It should start to empty out late this morning, I bet.

The weather here is nice, in the 80s during the afternoon, drops to the 40s at night. Even next to the river, we haven't had any bugs bothering us so we can sit outside. I stopped by a store and bought a trucker's antenna that hooked up to our air card, allowed us Internet access.

On Friday we decided to tour the area a little bit. One couple (Mike and Linda) that we met in Quartzsite and spent some time in Yuma with, live just up the way in Grass Valley. Knowing we were going to be in the area, I sent them an e-mail last week. Bummer, they are in Albuquerque for the balloon festival and we didn't get a chance to meet up with them. Mike had mentioned how nice the town was so we decided to check it out, The town does seems pretty nice, has a neat historic downtown and the houses are interesting to look at. It is in the area of the California gold rush and some of the names show that.

Lorraine checked the GPS for a good spot for dinner, she found a good sized Indian Casino (boy, they are all over the country) close by. We decided to check it out for food, found they had a seafood buffet and we got $5.00 off each for signing up for their player's card. A good dinner and, as we had just been in Reno, we didn't spend much time on the slots. We also got a chance to enter a contest for the NFL games today, they give away some $50 prizes with a (very remote) chance to win a million, ya right. But it doesn't cost anything and the way the market has been, that would be a nice thing to happen.

Saturday found us in the exploring mood again. We wanted to check out some of the small towns around here.

Unknown to me, about ¾ of a mile South of where we are staying is where GOLD was discovered in the American River. Yes that's right, Sutter's Mill, the one that started the California gold rush in 1849. They have a little museum there that is interesting and a few old building and such. It's the same river we are camped on, the water is cold even in these warm temperatures. No, we didn't try panning for gold in the river, the water is way too cold and they open the upstream reservoir to allow more water flow on the weekends.

We also checked out the small towns of Placerville, Shingle Springs and Cameron Park. Lots of tourist trap stuff but some old history that was fun to see. There was an Art and Wine Festival on Saturday night but we didn't stay, the town was crowded by early afternoon and I don't like crowds if they can be avoided.

So, that brings us up-to-date for another week. As before, keep the shiny side up - - -

'till next time Chuck

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Reno, Nv, Biggest Little City in the World

Lorraine's Sunday’s posting

Here we are, in Reno, NV. We really had a nice week. Monday we were at Seven Feathers in Canyonville, Oregon. Tuesday we left there and drove seventy miles on down to Medford, Oregon. While there I was able to start my Christmas shopping for our children. Medford has a large mall, tons of strip malls and sporting goods stores, so I was able to find stuff for all of our family. I love shopping in Oregon because there is no sales tax, which is great, especially when we would pay 8.9% back home in Bellingham. And the sales were really good, anywhere from 30 to 75% off retail price.

On Wednesday, I went to the Holiday RV office (Holiday RV is where we stayed, fairly nice and just a few miles south of Medford) and asked the gal there where to go to get my hair colored. I asked her because she has colored hair and it looks really good. She gave me two names and I called both right from the office and was able to get appointments for both. But she helped me choose the one for that afternoon, she said it was a good place, clean and the gal that was to do my hair was teaching a class at the local beauty school. So that morning we did our running around doing our chores, when I get a call from the gal doing my hair that day. Her name is Stacy and she asked me to come by where she is teaching so she can see my hair and get the products she needs to use on it. We finish our grocery shopping and hurry by for a look see. We meet her and I leave my formulas for my hair with her. She said she would get the colors my hair dresser uses and would see me later. So then I show up for my four o’clock appointment. She has my products and gets started right away. Stacy was fast, she knew what she was doing and was very efficient. She trimmed my ends, and when I was done, my hair was just like my local gal does it. One of the best beauty shop experiences I’ve had while out here on the road.

We stayed in Medford until Thursday. I was able to finish my shopping. I must say, I found a new jacket for me, which was great. We left for Reno, NV on Friday.

We drove south on I-5 and cut over to the road to Susanville. It’s a pretty drive, but low and behold, we run into snow. There is snow on the sides of the road and the temperature is dropping as we climb into the mountains. It’s a five hour drive from Medford to Reno, and when we reach Reno, it’s snowing here too. The temperature is cold and has been since we came. The gal here at Shamrock RV park said not to leave the hoses out at night because it’s suppose to be below freezing, and if the hoses freeze and break, then we have to pay for repairs. I was glad I found my new jacket, because it’s been freezing cold and very windy here.

Today, I hope to go looking at the mall, while Chuck has the football games on all day. I think we leave tomorrow and head west into the lowlands. Not sure where, but some place warmer.
Till next time, see you down the road.


Chuck's report

Last week was pretty quiet for us. We left Canyonville on Tuesday, headed South once again. We traveled about 70 miles to Medford, Oregon. Lorraine wanted to spend some time here to do some shopping. We also were able to explore the area a bit more than we have in the past, its a nice area but gets too hot in the summer. We found a roadside fruit stand where we bought some different pumpkins. They are called “winged pumpkins”, never seen these before. The main reason I mention them is, I wanted to try to attach a picture of them in the blog, our first attempt at a picture. We will see how that works when I get this posted.

Friday was moving day again. This was to be our longest trip in a couple months, about 300 miles from Medford to Reno, Nevada. We decided to take state roads 89, 44 & 395 vs staying on I-5 and I-80. We have driven this route before but in a car, not a motorhome. We knew this route would take us though more mountains but were hoping to see some of the fall colors in the trees. The roads are nice, no problem driving with a motorhome but the tree leaves seemed to go from green straight to a brown. Of course, most of the trees in the mountains are evergreen, although they are nice to see, there isn't much color except green in them.

When we got about 50 miles out from Reno, Lorraine called the campground we had checked out in our books. They said come on in but they were getting some snow. As we were still under clear, blue skies and the I had checked the forecast before leaving, this was a surprise to us. I had washed the coach in Medford and ran the car through a car wash so both were clean. It had been raining in Medford but the roads were, for the most part, bare and dry. Not so about 20 miles out of Reno! We started getting a little bit of snow and the temperature started dropping. We go to about 37F and more snow but nothing sticking. As we got closer to Reno, we got more snow and the roads were getting wet plus there was more traffic. The coach is heavy enough (34,000 lbs I think) that it handles well in snow. By the time we got to the campground, it was in the low 30s, cloudy with a steady North wind. The coach and especially the car were filthy, looked like they had never been washed, shoot. We ended up getting about 1” of snow and the nighttime temperatures were below freezing, meaning we don't leave our water or sewer hoses hooked up at night. This isn't what I signed up for!!

The forecast was for two days of cool (cold) temperatures, warming up on Monday. The temperature got down to the high 20s last night, but we kept the heaters on and didn't have any problems. Today is cool, clear with blue skies, hope it warms up more, however. Heck, I could have stayed in Washington and had the same weather, guess we aren't' far enough South yet.

We have hit a couple of casinos here already, nothing to write home about. I'm a few dollars ahead, I think Lorraine may have lost a few. This is a good place to people watch some of them are interesting, to say the least. It is amazing how some folks loose all their good manners when they are in the casinos.

Last night, we wanted Bar-B-Q for dinner so out comes the trusty GPS. We find a place called “Earp's Smokehouse and Bar-B-Q”, located in Sparks about 10 miles away. We took off through the desert, very remote. Finally we get to the address and it's nothing more than someone's house, no sign of a restaurant or anything. Never did find the place, we drove back to Reno and had dinner at the Peppermill Casino, bummer.

I guess I can't do one of these without some editorial comments. Although I have my own feeling about this financial mess we are in, I will not discuss it here. All I want is for all of us to do our research and vote. We received our ballots in our last mail delivery and will fill them out soon. I believe if you don't vote, you don't have the right to complain. So as they used to say in Chicago, vote early and vote often.

'till next time, Chuck

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Oct 5th 2008, Left the Oregon Coast, headed inland


Lorraine's Sunday’s posting

We were in Coos Bay, OR. for several days, our last stop before we left the coast. What a nice area and a nice park we stayed in. It’s called Midway RV Park and we found it in the Passport America book. It was paved, with landscaping that came to the top of the coach’s windows. It had 20, 30 & 50 amp and the sites were large enough to park the car and rig in.

We enjoyed our time in Coos Bay and our time on the WA and OR coast. It has been since ’93 since we were here on the OR coast, and I must say it sure has changed and grown, just like the rest of America.

On Tuesday, we went for our normal 25 mile north and south drive, of where we parked the Bus. That took us to Simpson Reef. What a nice treat to see all the seals and seal lions sunning themselves on the rocks of Simpson Reef. We walked out to the point at the end of the road and took some nice pictures of where we had just been, up on the cliffs.

Then Chuck headed north. We ended up at Umpqua Lighthouse, where friends of Richard and Patsy King and Mike and Linda, are volunteers at the lighthouse. Chuck took the tour with Bob, while I stayed with Linda Klyne. We had a nice visit, talking about Quartzsite. Bob & Linda talked about going to Quartzsite this year and want to go to Mexico with the group again. It was late when we got back to the Bus.

We left Coos Bay, Oregon on Thursday morning, this was the last of our time on the coast. We are currently at Seven Feathers, Canyonville, Oregon. I think this is one of the nicest if not the best RV parks we have stayed in. The sites are paved, most sites are pull thrus plus there’s really nice landscaping. There is a big rec house, with a pool and hot tub, where tonight the manager of the park was having a free wine and cheese tasting party for all people staying here.
Seven Feathers is also a big casino, owned by the Cow Creek Band of Indians. So far, all we have done is just donate to the cause.

Also, we received our mail for the first time since we left on September 10th. We even got our voters absentee ballots so we will be able to vote for our next president.

October 3 is the first anniversary of our year out on the road. And it’s raining, just like it did when we left a year ago. This year has been full of fun, a few tears, a lot of challenges, and many adventures. I wonder what the future will hold for us in this next year. I eagerly look forward to our next year on the road, and I pray we are up for whatever the future holds.

Till next time

October 5, 2008

Chuck's Ramblings and Weekly Report
Oct. 3 was our one year anniversary of being on the road. I can't say I know and understand everything about our coach yet but the surprises aren't coming as often! I can't say we have explored all the sights to see in any one area, will have to return for more. I can't say we haven't had any problems or quarrels but nothing of a major event. I can't say some of the costs are not more than anticipated, especially fuel. I can't say everyone we've met were overly friendly. I can't say all the places we've stayed at were 5 star, some in hindsight, we would have avoided all together.

I can say, I have enjoyed our time together, we have had fun, seen lots of places, done lots of things and made some life long friends. In that respect, the first year has met my expectations and then some. I just hope the 2nd year is as good for us. We knew we would miss our family and friends but with cell phones and e-mail, it seems we can stay more current with them than when we lived in our house.

In the first year on the road, we have driven the rig 14,400 miles, visited portions of 22 states. Lots of people ask what is our favorite place, I don't think any one is the best, it depends on what the weather and we are doing. We really enjoyed Arizona and Palm Springs in the winter. We found out it isn't rainy and gray ever day in the winter like it can be in Bellingham. We enjoyed being back in Bellingham for a good portion of the summer and we've really enjoyed the Oregon coast for the past month.

Another question we are commonly asked is about how much money it costs. I can only say, it costs whatever you want it to. With the high fuel prices, we just don't travel every day and try to stay in one spot a bit longer. For example, we filled the diesel tank in Idaho just before we crossed into Washington state on July 27th. We wanted to put some diesel in last week in Oregon, means we made it ~ 8 weeks on one tank of fuel. This doesn't mean we don't feel the effects of the higher prices, we are just finding a way to live with it.

Campground fees are another controllable cost. Between staying at 1000 Trails, Beachwood in Birch Bay (thanks John and Thelma), frequent stays at Passport America parks and weekly vs daily stays at others, we have managed to keep these costs reasonable. A lot of places ask $40 – 50/night, we probably average more like $10 - 15/night.

So far, we have had schedules to keep, some for maintenance on the coach and some for rallies we wanted to attend. We even had schedules for doctor visits back in Washington. This year, the only schedule we have is to spend the holidays with Susy and her family and be at the Kenai River in Alaska when the Kings are running next summer. Not running on a set schedule should help with the costs, again staying in a spot longer and not traveling as far or as often.

Another controllable cost is casinos, LOL. Usually Lorraine is able to make enough to make up for my losses, a very few times it was the other way around. Sometimes we both won, sometimes we both lost. We are not big time gamblers (penny machines) so even when we both lose, it isn't a bank breaking affair. Of course, we don't have to go to them at all but sometime they have good campgrounds associated with them, such as here at Seven Feathers.

Enough of my musing, here is my weekly report.

Last week, our stay in South Jetty ended on Monday so we headed South once again. This time our drive was about 65 miles, still not a long trip but a nice drive. We stayed at AAA Midway RV, a Passport America campground on the West Side of Coos Bay. There are lots of campgrounds around the area, some of them we felt uncomfortable just driving through to check them out, in other words – They were dumps --. Midway is fairly new, long sites, easy access except for the turn around the office. All the sites have full, 50 amp hookups. A very nice stay and half price using Passport America, I would recommend staying there if you are in the area.

As I stated earlier, our favorite area of the Oregon coast is the long, sandy beaches in the Newport area. This area has more of the sand dunes and a bit further South it gets back to the high cliffs with rocky beaches. Tuesday was a very nice day, weather wise, so we decided to explore the area. Coos Bay is on a bay (surprise) so we headed Southeast to the coast at Simson's Reef. What a nice area, high cliffs but just off shore are the Oregon Islands with lots of seals and sea lions on them. You can hear them barking, see them swimming and frolicking around. We were there just about at high tide and the waves breaking over the Island and rocks were pretty neat. As this is a bit out of the normal route for exploring the coast, I would recommend you put this on your list if you are in the area.

We then drove North to tour the Umpqua River Lighthouse where Bob and Lindy Klyne are volunteering for two months. The year before last, Bob and Linda were with some of the folks from RV America Forum at Quartzsite and traveled to Mexico with them. I've been following Bob's blog since then and almost feel I knew them before meeting them. In fact, reading his blog was part of the reason we decided to camp with the RV America group at Quartzsite this past winter. Bob gives tours of the lighthouse, takes about an hour and costs $3.00, well worth the time. He has researched the history and knows the lighthouse and area's history, gives a very informative tour. Lorraine didn't feel up to doing the stairs so she visited with Linda while I was on the tour. You can access his blog here from his web page, he posts a lot more often than I do and he adds lots of good pictures.

Although we really enjoy the coast, the weather forecast showed a big storm heading for the coast from California all the way up to Washington. We decided to head inland and see if the weather would be a bit better. So on Thursday we drove about 100 miles to Canyonville, Oregon.

We made reservations to stay at Seven Feather's RV Resort, part of the Cow Creek Indian tribe's holding, not much in “town”. Of course, they have a nice casino here that draws in lots of people for the gambling but the RV park is probably the nicest one we have stayed at in the past year. It is just over two years old and they did a great job of setting it up. Being a new campground, it has it all. This place and Midway RV are the best places we have stayed at since leaving Washington.

On Saturday morning, I woke up to a partly sunny sky which soon turned into a partly rainy morning. I saw an unusual sight, a full rainbow in the morning. It was very bright but only out for about 10 minutes. The rest of the day was off and on rain, never did see the sun again on Saturday.

Lorraine wanted to do some shopping (another controllable cost, ha) so she headed off to Roseburg. She really likes the no sales tax here in Oregon plus she is a good shopper, always looking for good sales. I was able to get in some good football watching time.

I also was able to work on what to do with the motorhome when we go on our cruise. Our cruise dates are 12/6 – 12/13. There is a 1000 Trails park about 75 miles from the terminal in Los Angeles and we can leave it there, hooked up to power, keeping the 'fridge running and the batteries charged. I would much rather leave it there than put it in dry storage somewhere so glad that worked out for us.

And so ends our first year and another week since our last post. Until next time, keep the shiny side up and I don't want to read about you in the papers unless it's good news.