Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Settling.....

I have to say it's been kind of a nice change these past few days experiencing something other than crystal blue skies and warm weather.  If it is variety you seek the Oregon coast will not disappoint.  Our first day here it was wet and cloudy, but Monday was the complete polar opposite......clear blue skies, and view that went to the horizon.......



The August hosts who were occupying site #3 vacated their site by 0730 hours, and we were moved in and setting up by 0930.......

Site #3 - our home for the next 30 days


One of the things we loved about our stay here last year was our almost daily walks on 'south beach'.....that's our name for it....basically 'south beach' is the long stretch of beach to the south of the lighthouse.  


 About as far as we can go this day.....


At the very northern end of 'south beach' you come to a large pile of logs that have washed on to the beach since last fall.......we call it the 'bone yard' because the sun bleached lumber looks like dinosaur bones from a distance.


We almost always find some interesting stuff that has washed up on the beach.....interesting pieces of wood, buoys, sea shells, small toy lions......you just never know.....we use our treasures to adorn our 'Lighthouse Host' sign......




We took a walk along 'south beach around 1500 hours and were back at the coach a little after 1600 hours.....before we went inside TLE suggested we walk our current pile of trash over to the trash bins about 100 yards away, but when we arrived there we found the trash cans all gone.  Just about that time a ranger came by and we inquired as to the whereabouts of the missing cans.....he advised they had removed all the trash cans and 'centralized' their trash collection to the entrance to the campground....about a 1/2 mile walk.  He said the prior system was 'too labor intensive'....wait, what?  Last year they had one guy who came around once a day to empty the trash cans.....it probably took him less than 40 minutes to empty all of the cans in the park......labor intensive?  I think not!

Just as we were returning from our unexpected 1 mile walk to drop off our refuse our friends, Mike and Liz arrived in their 38' Class A Forest River RV.  We first met Mike and Liz at Amazon in Campbellsville, KY almost 3 years ago now.  Since that time we have been trying to hook up with them as we both criss crossed the country, but it never happened until now.  They will spend September and October here at the lighthouse, just as we did last year.

I started up the BBQ about 1800 hours to grill some carne asada for 'Street Taco Monday', and by 1830 hours I was enjoying dinner!  We watched 'So You Think You Can Dance' and were in bed a little after 2200 hours......I am loving the ocean air!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, August 31, 2015

The last 100

Last year we made the 554 mile drive from South Lake Tahoe to Cape Blanco in two days spending one night in the Walmart in Yreka, CA.  By the time I hit the last 100 miles into Cape Blanco I was ready for a nap, and I wish I would taken one then......this year we saved the last 100 miles for our third day of travel, and I'm so glad we did.  The last 100 miles is essentially a two lane road (one lane each direction) that becomes narrower and narrower as you progress.....it starts out seductively enough with a wide shoulder and wide lanes, but just about the time you begin to get comfortable the squeeze begins.....at one point as it meanders along the Coquille River the lanes get down to just about 9 feet wide with NO shoulder.  The west bound lane (our lane) is next to the river with a 25-50 foot drop in most cases.....you really have to hug the center line....especially pulling a trailer that is 9' wide......last year there was a lot of construction, and we had no idea what we were in for......


......this year we knew what to expect as we departed 'On The River' Golf and RV Resort.....the carved bear at the entrance to the park was the last friendly thing we saw for 100 miles.  We waited until check out time (1100 hours) hoping the rain would stop, and it finally did about 10 minutes before departure.....well we were ready to go, and just fired up the engine and pulled out of the park turning left on Old Highway 99, which would take us to SR 42 and westward to Bandon, OR......just past Coquille, OR we switched to SR 42S which is where the road really begins to narrow....fortunately this section is only about 16 miles long, but it feels like three times that length.....our average speed was about 30-35 mph......

Finally we hit the outskirts of Bandon, and eventually US HWY 101 where we turned south for the final 22 mile jaunt to Cape Blanco......and it felt like a 'jaunt' compared to SR 42S.  I have driven that stretch of road 3 times now, and I'm pretty sure that will be my last adventure on that road.

We arrived at Cape Blanco State Park around 1330 hours........since our host site was still occupied until August 31st we backed into our temporary one night spot just about 200 feet from our permanent site.....like TVC, there are very few sites in this park with a view of the southern sky, but we found this one......


.....and Monday we will move into our permanent site, #3, where we will also be able to get satellite TV........

Within an hour, or so of arriving TLE and I were off for our first walk on 'south' beach (the beach south of the lighthouse).....it was as if we had never left 10 months ago.....


......the residue from Saturday's storm was still evident with heavy cloud cover and pretty brisk winds at sea level.......we walked south along the beach for about 20 minutes then back up the very steep hill to our coach.......around 1630 hours Gary and Angie (hosts from last year) stopped by to say 'HI!'.....they, as last year, will be residing in the site to our driver's side left.  

It's good to be back at one of our 'homes' on the road....a familiar place full of friends and new experiences.  On Monday our friends from our first Amazon adventure back in the fall/winter of 2012, Michael and Liz, will be arriving here to join the lighthouse host fun!

Just walked down to our site and it is ready for us to move in.......looks just the same as when we left it last year, except all the stuff we collected from our forays on the beach are now gone.....:-(

 Our host sign is already up!

 Waiting for the Newell

All our cool stuff from last year is gone!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

100%

I almost chuckle when I see the weather forecast reporting there is 100% chance of rain at a specific time, or over a period of time.......it's almost like the proverbial "broken clock" with weather forecasting.......the odds are they will be right twice a day.  The forecast for our stay in McCloud was that there would be 100% chance of rain several hours during the night, but what we got was a light 10 minute sprinkle once, and nothing else.  We were up a little after 7 am and had planned to wait until later in the morning, after the forecast rain passed, to leave as our plan called for barely a 120 mile day up to Grants Pass, OR, but then about 0830 the power went out, and never came back, so finally around 0930 we unhooked our electrical (what's the point, right?), turned over the big DD 6V92 and headed back to HWY 89 and northward.  Within 3 minutes of entering the highway it began to rain.....of course!

In McCloud we were less than 8 miles from I-5, so just about the time we hit the Interstate the rain ceased, and then the sun made an appearance.  As we merged into the light traffic I set the cruise control at 60 mph and then realized we were headed directly at Mt. Shasta for a few miles.


Our destination for the day was the Walmart at Grants Pass, OR, and we arrived there just before 1200 hours to find signs prohibiting overnight parking of RV's.  Well, we needed to do final shopping before we head to the coast, so we did.  We had noticed as we were turnign left onto the street where Walmart is located that the local ARCO was selling propane for, get this.....$1.65/gallon!  Wow!  We have never paid under $2.00 in the past 7+years we have owned the Newell, and our tank was about 3/4's empty after almost four months at TVC.  Being the opportunists we are we decided we would walk over to the station to scope out the ingress and egress options and decided we could get in and out with no problem.  

Something to remember here is when you are 62' long you always check out the ingress and egress options of fuel stations, RV parks, grocery stores, etc. before you enter them.....if you don't you may find yourself in an embarrassing situation.  I was amazed this summer at how often people would drive blindly to their sites at TVC without checking them out first (even though we often suggested just that) to be sure they could get around trees that line the roads, and then get into their site.  If they had they would have saved themselves some grief.  It only takes a few minutes and eliminates any surprises.  Ever since we found ourselves in just such a situation back on 2010 in a gas station in Flagstaff, AZ we always find a place to park comfortably, then walk over to the fuel station to check it out....we figure out which pump we can easily get to, and then how we will exit.  Since that time we have never been stuck again.

Since we couldn't stay at the Walmart we checked on Passport America RV parks up the road, and found one right near the exit we would be taking from I-5 to cross over to the coast called "On The River" Golf RV and Resort (located on the shores of the Umpqua River) were the Passport America price was $16.50 for the night.  We called ahead to be sure they had a site for us, and they did......their pull through sites are 70 feel long, and they had just one left......SCORE!  We arrived at the RV park at just 1500 hours, and were in our site by 1515 hours relaxing, and watching NFL pre-season football.....suweeeet!

I lost track of the number of 3-5 mile climbs we made on Saturday, but the DD 6V92 ran like a champion up the multiple grades getting over 200 degrees a couple of times, and 'jaked' down the declines......some as long as 8 miles at 6%.......purring like a kitten.  I checked the lugs on the trailer wheels one more time at a rest stop just over the Oregon border and all was good.  I forgot to mention that when we arrived in McCloud Friday afternoon, having descended some 3,000' in elevation from South Lake Tahoe, the tires had lost some air pressure, which is to be expected.  I checked them and then added air to get them up to the required 50 psi. 

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, and me watching football into the evening......in all we traveled 180 miles Saturday, leaving just a scant 100 miles to go to Cape Blanco and one month at sea level.

To be fair to all the weather guessers out there rain was forecast during the night here in Dillard, OR and it did rain, and, in fact, is still raining as I write this morning......maybe we'll just stay put here in Dillard until the rain stops.....we don't have to drive in the rain if we don't want to, right?


Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

T minus zero!

For the first time in 111 days I am writing a post that does not begin with TVC.....  

And we're off!!!  I was up by 0515 hours, and TLE followed shortly thereafter......I had switched on the block heater about 2 hours before in preparation for our 0630 lift off.  In reality we were rolling the wheels by 0615 and turning on to HWY 50 towards Stateline by 0630.  As we traversed HWY 50 across the southern end of Lake Tahoe through uncrowded streets I once again turned to TLE, as I always do, and said "It's good to be moving again!" to which she replied "Yeah...".  We crested Spooner Summit around 0700 in 2nd gear at which time I returned the throttle to 'zero' and began 'jaking' at 32 mph down the hill to Carson City.

We arrived at Eagle Gas around 0730 to fill our diesel tank.....we took on almost 113 gallons at $2.39/gallon for a total of $270.90....you may recall we took on diesel at Eagle Gas back on December 19th as we headed south after 2 months at Amazon.com.....back then the price was higher at $2.79, but was the least we had paid at the time for 3 years.  Last September when we fueled up after TVC we paid $3.66/gallon and were happy to pay that....we saved just over $143 due to the continued low price of diesel.


Eagle Gas aka: Gas and Save


We were back on the road about 0755 headed northward on HWY 395 towards Susanville, CA, our second stop of the day.....we had planned to stop at the Starbucks there for breakfast.  We arrived in Susanville just after 1015 hours, and spent about 40 minutes eating a breakfast sandwhich (sausage and eggs for moi) and drinking a grande coffee of the day (room for cream, please).  On the north end of Susanville we switched to SR 39, which eventually took us to SR 44, and then to HWY 89 where we caught this view of Mt. Shasta.....



Our destination for the day was McCloud, CA......at the 268 mile of our day....a longish day for us, but the perfect stopping place.  As we pulled into McCloud RV Resort at 1330 hours we spied this small craft beer place called Siskiyou Brew Works right at the entrance....how handy!  Yelp gives them 4.5 stars on 16 reviews.

As usual we did not make reservations, and were able to snag one of two remaining sites that would fit our 62' length (these sites are about 80 foot back ins).  After I hooked up our electricity we both sat down to rest......for the first time in 3.5 months we are alone again with no obligations for a few days.  The temps upon arrival were in the high 80's, but they cooled down quickly.


Around 1800 hours we decided to walk over to the 'brew works' to try a 'flight' of their offerings.  They had 5 brews on taps, but the only one I was really drawn to the was English style Porter......the other four were lack luster, in my opinion.


They also serve pizza, which I understand is quite good, but we still had pizza left over from Blue Dog Pizza, and decided to just eat in.....I got a kick out of the following sign, and thought I would share it with you.



The 'flight'

We were in bed by 2200 expecting rain during the night, but all we got was wind, and a few sprinkles.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 28, 2015

TVC - Day 110 - T minus 1 and still holding

Thursday should have been 'T minus 1', but I didn't feel like going back and renaming the prior 4 posts, so I just decided to hold the count.  I was up around 0700 hours knowing full well I had a full day of packing up our site......by 0800 I was outside beginning the process.  I just took my time and worked steadily all day long with a few breaks here and there, of course.  By 1500 hours we were 90% done, so I took another break, and a long shower, then we headed off to do some errands.....first up was take the car through the Raley's carwash......it hasn't seen the inside of a car wash since early May when we were in Riverside, CA.  Then it was off to the bank to draw out some cash to pay for diesel Friday as it usually saves us 5 to 6 cents a gallon.  Then it was over to Blue Dog Pizza where we used two coupons we had saved for two free LARGE pizzas......we ate one there, and brought the other home for dinner Friday night.  They had Icky IPA on tap there so we added a couple of those to go along with the one pizza we ate.


Blue Dog Pizza.....not a great 'usie', but it will do

We stopped off on the way home to visit my good friend Harry, then at the office to say our 'until next times' to Duane, our manager, and were home by 1800.  Within a few minutes I was dumping the tanks one more time, putting away sewer hoses and water hoses, and then backing up the coach to drop the trailer on the hitch one more time.  After hooking up I pulled the coach and trailer forward so TLE could put the car in the trailer via site 359 behind us.  By this time it was getting quite dark so I turned on the running lights to be sure they all worked, and they did......you never know after almost 4 months of sitting in one place.

We were done loading the car, and the firewood we are taking with us by 2100 hours and I was beat......that was one long day, and I was reminded why I hate packing up.  I was in bed by 2130, and TLE followed shortly thereafter......Friday is zero day, and lift off!  YAY!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

TVC - Day 109 - T minus 1 and holding

Wednesday, our last day on the job at TVC, started out pretty much the same as the past few days......very quiet.....very few people in the office/store....very few people in the campground......and it remained so the entire day.  As I rode around the park in my golf cart I began to feel the bittersweet feeling I always feel when it's time to roll our wheels, but not with the same intensity.......we have been here 109 days now and that is a long time for us to be in one spot.  Knowing it will be just a scant 8+ months until we all reconvene here at TVC for another summer adventure makes it a little easier to say our 'until next times', and before we do TLE and I will have become grand parents for the 5th time.

I made my rounds pretty quickly and then set in to 'deep cleaning' some more sites in 'F' section, and then late morning I decided to drive along the Melba Drive fence line one more time to see how my fence repairs were doing......all of them except one were still intact.....someone had cut the fence again out in the group area, so I got my gear together for one last repair and hope this time the fence cutter will be discouraged by my reinforcement of that area.......hmmmm......probably not.....we'll see next summer.

I was off work by 1430 hours and TLE followed an hour later.......as she walked up to the coach I asked her how it felt to be retired once again......we both smiled, and hugged and went inside.  I put away a few more things and then took a nap.  Our staff friends, Mike and Carol asked to join us for one more fish taco dinner at Classic Cue, and we agreed to meet them there at 1800 hours.......we like to walk, they don't.    We spent about 2 hours talking and eating and getting to know each other better.  Mike and Carol have done a lot of traveling outside the USA and we talked a lot about their trip to Nepal about 17 years ago.....very interesting stuff!

As we were walking back into the park we remembered there was a movie in the tent, and since we had not been to one movie in the tent this year we decided to stop in......they were playing 'The Thomas Crown Affair' (Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway) from 1968....wow, that brought back memories.  That was one of the first movies TLE and I went to see together during the summer of 1968.

The movie was over by 2200 hours, and we were home a few minutes later........a nice finish to our sojourn here at TVC!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

TVC - Day 108 - T minus 2

Okay now, the emptiness of TVC is starting to get a little creepy......it's like driving through a 'still life' painting these past few days......everything seems frozen.....like someone pushed the 'pause' button on the remote control.....not that there's anything wrong with that.  It's just that after 8 weeks of 80%+ occupancy which brings about that hustle and bustle feeling of the campground it's a little difficult re-acclimating to the peace and quiet we have been experiencing these past few days.

Once again site checks took no time at all, and I spent the better part of the morning doing some more deep cleaning of the tent site areas near our coach, as well as picking up around the dumpsters where the bears had been active the previous night......and speaking of bears we had our own bear incident last night........

 Bear activity

.......the bear, or bears, came through our site for the first time last night and pulled everything out of our outdoor trashcan.


Around 1030 hours I got the call from Ken's Tire Center that my trailer tires had been mounted and were ready for pickup so around 1130 I borrowed Duane's truck again and went over to pick them up.

I spent part of the afternoon repairing a 20 foot section of fence behind site 470 along Melba Drive which had apparently been hit by a motor vehicle the night before......whoever caused the damage left the scene without reporting the accident....parts of the vehicle were on the ground along with 20' of fencing.  It took me about 90 minutes to fix it, but it is back in place.....a little the worse for wear.

I clocked out with TLE at 1500 hours and we headed for the barn one more time......Wednesday will be our final day of work this season at TVC.

After changing clothes I headed outside to remount the new tires on the trailer, which involved greasing the wheel bearings, and torquing down each lug nut using my torque wrench set at 90 foot pounds.  I'll stop a couple of times on Friday as we work our way northward on HWY 395 to check them all again, but for now our baby has new shoes and we are ready to roll.....we now have relatively new rubber  all the way around.....our steer tires on the coach are 18 months old, the drive tires are 8 months old, and now the trailer tires are brand new!


Since we won't be here for the annual end of season banquet held after Labor Day, one of the staff ladies, Sandy, had a get together for us to say our 'until next times'......


.....we really do work with a great bunch of people, and they are the primary reason we will return for one more year next summer!

Thanks for stopping by!