Thursday, December 25, 2014

Delayed Departure

Christmas Morning – No grandkids this week as we don’t want to infect them with whatever we have. We did spend last weekend with them at a mini-family reunion.

We planned to leave here Sunday morning. First, I got a cold and of course I passed it along to Dorothy. Plus after four months of dry and temperate weather the winter rains have arrived. We just do not care to drive in the rain for days while feeling poorly. So we will wait until we feel better and the cold air arrives. And so it goes.

It will be a fast paced, for us, trip to the Pacific coast. We have 8 stops planned – most will be one-nighters, some could turn into two nighters.

Each year, we leave in a little worse shape health-wise than the year before. Really good that we retired at 60 or we would have missed a lot. 55 would have been better. Dorothy wanted to make sure her hiking boots were in the Jeep. I silently rolled my eyes.

Dorothy has been mentally ready to leave for weeks. If she was not still in PT and that she feels it necessary to spend Christmas at home, I am sure we would have already left.

This trip will be different than any previous one, as we will be spending part of it near major population centers with friends. Of course, there will also be some boon-docking in the outback.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Running Necked

Now that Millenicom is history we are going to leave home without a “guaranteed” on-ramp to the web. Since we were home during the transition to Verizon, we had the plan on vacation. Why pay $90 for limited slow service, we had 10x times faster unlimited cable service for $25?

So we lost the lower conversion rate and would now have to pay the full rate and probably under a contract. Since the next trip is only going to be about 4 months, a contact does not make any sense at all. Plus Verizon only allows a vacation of three months, so we would be paying for a service we would not use most of the rest of the year.

On our last trip, we said we would not surf so much. We failed. Most every morning we spent 90 minutes goofing off. This time, without the temptation, we can get up, get dressed, enjoy a cup of Joe outside and get to our morning activity much earlier. Just like the first two years we traveled. Those trips are filled with some great memories.

Free Internet access is available so many places now. I think we will be able to get by just fine. But, just in case, I will have the modem and router with us.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Enough Wilderness Areas

We have enough Wilderness Area’s. In case you don’t know these are federal lands off-limit except to hikers. Have a physical disability, tough, no access for you. Only those with best genes/ prime of fitness are allowed in. Sounds discriminatory to me. Probably not to those want a private experience on public lands.

They are very popular with the greenies. Many are established by You Sue, We Settle technique. All you need are folks who want to control access to federal lands in the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Parks Service, etc. A suit is filed to restrict lands and they agree and settle.

Since mechanized vehicles are not allowed into WA’s, there is no need for roads. Fires in WA’s can not be fought with mechanized means. Most WA’s borders are National Forest and Parks, so fires easily spread from one to another.

How much land is already designated as Wilderness Area’s? This 2004 map is the latest one I could locate and so it’s out date. The higher saturated colors are WA’s. See legend.

Here is a list by state.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Return Trip

Backing up a week or so. When we left central Oregon for the coast we found fog. We delayed a few days, but the fog hung around and the forecast was for more of the same, so we turned inland, kissing off the northern California coast for another time.

US299 is a great drive in our opinion. It winds along one river after another. The big difference between mountain rivers and the ones in the south are that the latter get confused on which way is downhill, so they just lay there. When the elevation is dropping 200 feet a mile, water flows fast and canyons are carved.

Along with the cascading rivers we had light smoke in every canyon from one side of the state to the other.

We met a delightful young couple from Holland who had just arrived in the states after working nine months in New Zealand. They were going to spend two months touring the western states before flying home. So polite, so well mannered. So unlike many Europeans we encounter.

The Whiskeytown reservoir is a jewel. I wanted to spend several days in the area, but it was hot and then Dorothy did a slip and fall. We spent the evening at the ER getting back to the RV at midnight and left early in the morning. We spent the next evening with some friends in Susanville and then got serious about getting home. The thought of dealing with a one-armed woman in pain for the next 6-8 weeks in our RV was just not appealing.

BTW, the Whiskeytown reservoir is at full pool while the nearby Lake Shasta is way down. The former is federal and while it has a 19 foot diamater tunnel drilled through 10 miles of rock, they are keeping all the water right where it is.

As soon as we left Susanville, we saw more smoke. In fact, we did not get out of smoke until we reached the Mojave Desert at the other end of the state. We over-nighted in Lee Vining at their community center and tried not to look at Mono Lake as the sun set.

The next night we spent in the freaking Mojave. Every time we manage to get stuck there. Thankfully, it’s the smallest of the four deserts because it sure suxs. We spent a total of four nights in California rather than the planned 3/4 weeks. Even without Dorothy falling we would not have spent much time there because of the smoke and high temps. And so it goes.

We normally don’t drive over 4 hours a day, but I wanted to get home and I pushed myself to do 6 and 7 hour drives, which winds up taking from 7 until 4 with lunch and rest stops. My I say my ass was sore everyday.

The fourth day of the exodus was on the high plateau of northern Arizona, in Williams. Cooler. but we opted for a private campground with a nice shower – one big enough for Dorothy and her cast. Gas prices in CA were around $4, in Arizona about $3.30. But, in Williams the local cabal marked it up 85/95 cents besting CA prices. Gas in Meridian, MS was $2.93. woohoo.

Perhaps the only scenery we saw on the return trip were the pink cliffs around Gallup, NM. Well, there are the miles of signs advising you that just ahead you can buy Indian moccasins and stuff imported from Mexico.

Another six hour drive got us to Albuquerque, then the west Texas town of Memphis, then the east Texas town of Tyler. It was here that we woke up to dew and humidity. Back to the land where ROW’s are regularly mowed and trees block the view to the horizon.

I relied on Glenda to route us through Dallas. Thanks to her, we found out that there are more freeways there than in LA. We barely avoided two collisions in the combat driving conditions. It did not help that I was tired. It took over 90 minutes to transit the cities. Construction was underway every few miles with lane closures. About half-way through I wondered why Glenda did not use the easy way I35W to I20. I just did not have the time to drive and navigate.

Our last night was between Jackson and Meridian. So we made it back in 10 hops. That’s moving at light speed for us. And we are worn out.  Our daughter, Alecia, and oldest grandson,Bennett, cleaned the house for us and all we had to do was crash on our bed until Alecia brought over a meal.

Dorothy will see her surgeon Friday morning.

We are already thinking about our next trip, the top of the new year, to San Diego and the local environs. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Premature End

Dorothy fell Monday and fractured her wrist. Surgery is required but can not take place until after the swelling goes down. We are terminating the trip to have the surgery done at home

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The nurse proving to Dorothy that it really really hurts

Parked tonight in Lee Vining. We will attack the Mojave Friday. So looking forward to crossing the country this time of year. Where is the transporter when you really need it?

We have seen smoke from distant fires in every valley we have been through in California. Today the smoke from the Yosemite fire could be seen in Reno over 120 miles away.

Filled up the tank in Brookings, Oregon. That got us to Redding, CA where we found one station selling for $3.66 while the prevailing price was $3.90-4.00. That got us to Carson City, NV where Costco was selling it for $3.55. A station in Bridgeport was offering all you want for $4.86. Anywho, we can get to the Indian station in Bishop tomorrow and that should take us to loverly Barstow. Thankfully, the Golden State will not get much gas tax from us.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Not a thing exciting this week.

Leaving Sisters starts the return trip. It’s all south and east from here on. KoKo has been 5,700 miles so far. Our average parking cost has been $10.40. About the same as last year.

I closed the last post saying we decided not to trip and fall in a cave and would instead head west for 101 and turn south. That plan lasted almost an hour. As we descended the west side of the Cascades we decided to stop for a night at one of our fav CG’s, Paradise on the McKenzie River. We are nestled under a canopy of Doug Firs so that only a ray or two of sunlight reaches us. The river gurgles along and muffles all sound. Glorious.

15 paradise

While enjoying the forest, we remembered that we had not been to Tillicum Beach. One of our fav CG’s and also of everyone else with an RV. It’s still on reservations, but we figured what the heck we could try for a spot. We parked KoKo at the Three Feathers Casino in Florence and drove up to Tillicum in Rubi. No home for us there, but we enjoyed the ride along the coast on a crystal clear day.

We stayed a second night at Three Feathers, simply because we don’t want to get to California until Sunday so we can hopefully find a place to park. Freaking holidays. Drove all the way from Florence to Gold Beach in one day. It’s only 3.5 hours, but it took us several weeks to cover the same distance northbound. First stop was the fish store. Dorothy got three pieces of salmon and some ling cod. Having salmon tonight. They vacuum sealed the rest and it will be frozen. Parked on the Rouge River again.

We continued south a whole 37 miles stopping at Fred Meyer for gas and groceries before crossing into the Golden State. A marine layer moved in yesterday afternoon and the forecast is for it to hang around. Fog depresses us, so we are going to head inland and hope to dodge some fires and stay at some places on our bucket list since 2006. We will keep the coastal places on our list until another time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Central Oregon Continued

We are trying to stay away from places we have been before in this area. But, it is difficult as we can not remember if we have been there or not. I saw a picture of a waterfall in a travel brochure last week and decided we needed to go there. Quite by accident, I saw a picture I took in 2010 of the same waterfall. In two more years, I will not remember if I have ever been to Oregon – where we have spent over 200 nights since we retired.

In 1996 we did a fly and drive exploration trip out here. Well, I did not drive much as the husband of the couple we were with loved to drive. I knew we went to some state park around Bend, but could not recall which one. I could recall a suspension bridge across a river. Well, we found Cove Palisades the other day and it was had two suspension bridges. One across the Deschutes and the second over the Crooked River.

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Today, we took the half-hour long drive from Sisters into Bend and then u-turned back west to the eastern side of the Cascades. We stopped before we got to known familiar haunts and hiked two lakes that we had driven past many times before. Why didn’t we paddle the yaks on these lakes the last time we were here???

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                      Todd Lake                                                                  Sparks Lake

What we planned to do today was aborted when I came down with a nine-hour bug. I was OK by lunch. The temp dropped and we sat outside sharing a Doppel Dinkel Bock. The label assured us that dinkel malt, rather than wheat malt, was used and it would bring out the Barvarian in us. I don’t know about that, but it was really filling and I passed on dinner. Drink more beer, lose more weight?

In our five times to this area, we never made it Smith Rock. Big mistake. It’s great. The best rocks in Oregon. Had I made it here when I was younger and fitter I am sure I could have made it up Misery Ridge. First, you go down 400 feet, then up 800 feet in 2/3 of a mile. I made it up to my starting level across the parking and knew beyond any doubt that I could not make the next set of switchbacks. In defeat, I started down, dizzy, then collapsed - prostrate on the narrow trail - for a long time. I had been drinking water, so I guess I was just not whole after the bacteria fight the previous day. I made it down in short legs, stopping to watch a couple climb the sheer rock face. I made back up the 400 feet to the parking lot, found Dorothy sitting under a shade tree reading.  I laid down next to the tree and guzzled two bottles of cool water. Dana, you could probably jog up this trail. I saw several doing just that.

We may go back and hike the flat canyon trail and river trails. Well, flat if you don’t count the 400 feet down and back up. You can see the river trail in the picture below.

12 - Oregon167Smith Rock - The shot everyone takes from the parking lot.

Best lunch of my lifeCrux Fermentation Project – Woke up to a sky of clouds. An excellent day to go into Bend. We had two friends say this was a great place for lunch. It is. Thanks Gayle and Carolyn. Food prepared in a different way. Flavors were divine. The beer was not bad either. We especially like the Banished Doublecross. A dark barrel aged Belgian. We had some with lunch and came away with two bottles. A bit pricey at $13 a bottle. [Their description: Aged for a year in Oregon pinot noir barrels, our dark Belgian-style ale develops complex flavors reminiscent of dried fruit, vanilla and sherry. The French oak provides tannic counterbalance to the syrupy dark candy sugar]

On the way back we stopped by Deschutes and got two more bottles of their Not Too Stoic ale and at the Bend Distillery Dorothy got another bottle of the Hazelnut Vodka. The rig is full of bottles and our bank account is lower.

Back to Smith Rock – We liked this place so much we went back today to get some more pictures in morning light, which only lasts a short time there. We did the River Walk.

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The River Trail at Smith Rock                              An eight year girl doing what kids do - climbing

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The Deschutes River at Dillon Falls            The Crooked River with the Sisters in the background

12 - Oregon202Always wanted a farm of Alpaca’s, Llama’s and Vicuna’s. There were hundreds of Alpaca’s on this farm.

We had planned to start south by way of Cave Junction. Yesterday, I read more about the cave and the 500 steps with uneven footing made me decide that was no place for Dorothy. So we will go back to 101 and drift south picking up a fish or two for Dorothy.

Until next time.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Central Oregon

We are in the Sisters/Bend/Redmond triangle. Mooch-docking at our RV’s godparents. [You mean your RV does not have godparents?] Their neighborhood is like a well groomed forest. It has to be otherwise it would burn up if a fire moved through. Some places have tornados, others hurricanes, it’s fires for the NW.

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Carolyn and Bill – KoKo’s god parents

More on Wilderness areas. Not only are vehicles not allowed in them, neither are mechanized tools, like chainsaws. A tool commonly used in fire-fighting. So fires that start in wilderness areas can spread to adjacent National Forests, National Parks or private property. But who cares about the latter.

Today we did a road trip. First to Deschutes Brewery where predictably I did not like the IPA and several others brews, but we both liked two high-end brews. Yes, we. Dorothy who has always detested beer, liked them as well as I did. They are priced like single malt whisky – almost a buck an ounce. So that’s two firsts, Dorothy liked a beer and I liked something brewed on a small scale.

12 - Oregon507That’s Bill and Carolyn in the background 

Lunch was delightful at McMenamins. Then we went for the hard stuff - tasting at Crater Lake. The vodka and gin were better than fine, but we really liked the Hazelnut infused vodka. {Infused has so much more class to it than flavored, don’t ya think]  We will go back to the brewery for a tour and also to the distillery for a re-sample and purchases.

We look forward to enjoying the better quality of fruit and vegetables normally available in the western states. Better produce and lower costs are the norm. Not this year. We have not seen corn for less than 50 cents, cantaloupe for under $3.25, avocadoes less than $1.25, etc. A far cry from corn or cantaloupe five for a dollar and avocadoes for 50 cents or less. It could be the drought. I talked with a fellow who distributed avocadoes world-wide and he said the California crop was damaged by a disease.

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All the “food” you see in the steak dinner is actually rocks. Lots of different kinds of minerals in Oregon. We have collected a few specimens for our collection.

We went back to Bend Distillery for more tasting yesterday with some chums. We had to be sure before we bought ya know. We came away with a bottle of Hazelnut Vodka and another bottle of Sweet Ginger Vodka. Our wine, liquor, beer locker is full. But, a large bottle of Not The Stoic (*) beer is cooling right now. One could spend several weeks here sampling all the brews.

We drove to Camp Sherman to jog our memories of the place. We camped there in 2010. I even managed a short Kayak ride on the Metolius River. It has got to be one of the best looking rivers in the world. It emerges crystal clear from a spring. Call it a river from a hole.

16 Metolios 07b

This picture was taken a few yards from where the Metolius pops up. I took this in 2010. I thought I might improve on it today. Nope. Lots of clouds around Mt. Adams, the pine tree in the center of the picture almost blocks the peak and the leafless trees in the foreground are larger and in full leaf so the water is barely visible.


Here is the gorgeous river a few miles downstream. This is where I put in the kayak in 2010. What a ride and quick too.

Besides going to Camp Sherman for memories, I wanted to get on top of Green Ridge for a vista of the Sisters and adjacent mountains. But alas… No Green Ridge.


There are other more distant ways in, but holy moly was the dust thick. Rubi, just does not need to breath it.

Took a wrong turn on the way out and discovered several Forest Service CG’s on the Metolius that we did not know about. Two manned by hosts in Lazy Daze. We stopped and talked with one of them. On the way back, I recalled that Jim and Gayle had been hiking with them this spring.

Dorothy advises that we have spent 1320 nights in KoKo.


(*) Not The Stoic beer label advises that is a Belgian-Styled Quad of stirring depth and complexity. It is brewed with pomegranate molasses and aged in both oak wine barrels and oak rye whiskey barrels. It’s 12% by volume.

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Collect the whole set: Mary Ann, Dorothy Ann, and Debra – who should be a Debra Ann

We will be here for another week and there is plenty for us to do while we wait for Dorothy’s new eyeglasses to arrive. Until then.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Oregon Coast

No super moon for us, clouds in the eastern sky.

The other day an old friend called us while on a hike from the top of Mt. Charleston along the Cashe La Poudre River [had cell coverage there] to advise me to drink some IPA at the Deschutes Brewery in Bend – the best he had ever had. This is the same man who 30 years ago was always offering me a detestable Heineken when I wanted a light pale pilsner beer. Bend is the San Francisco of the High Desert. Lots of young folks on bikes moving from one craft brew house to another. If not beer, then latte. Gag. I am American, I drink Budweiser, Miller, PBR and Folgers - whatever is on sale. Now, single malt is whole ‘nother deal. Late breaking news, I learn that I can sample four brews for free and they have a bitterness scale so I can avoid the really nasty ones. So the worst that can happen is that I can judge for brews as undrinkable and it will not cost me a thing. That I can do.

We drove 13 miles up the Coos and then a tributary, the Milacoma River, towards the Golden and Silver Falls to find the park closed. A sign noting the closure a few miles down the river would have been a nice gesture. The road was narrow with a rock wall on one side and a no shoulder drop off on the other side. One that required close attention even in the Jeep.

Parked a few down from us is a tricked out Jeep, body lift, 35 tires, etc. with a big Rock Crawler decal on the windshield. Having WA plates I had to ask where he goes to crawl rocks. He said he doesn’t, he just liked the decal. He explained to me all the parts you can break rock crawling. I could not resist, I mentioned that we had been going to Moab for over 10 years and had not broken a thing. Well, the statement is literally true.

The population of Coos Bay/North Bend is about 25,000. Not small, not large. Like every town on the coast US101 runs right through the middle of town. Green gold, trees, are still an industry in Oregon, for both domestic use and export. The logging trucks have no other road to use but 101, so it’s normal, if a bit disconcerting, to see the trucks downtown.

Tuesday – August 12 – Over the last two days, Dorothy got the laundry done and I cooked the spaghetti so we left full hookups for another delightful Forest Service CG 8.5 miles north of Coos Bay and south of Reedsport. There are two Lazy Daze here that we met in Jackson, WY a month or so back. Overcast today, with a chance of rain tomorrow.

Wednesday – The forecast late last night was 50% chance of rain today. So dawn broke with blue skies and 77 degrees. And some think that someone can predict climate change. Horse hooey. We moved 20 miles north this morning. Almost to Florence. Parked in Lagoon CG. It’s part of a Forest Service complex we have stayed in three times before. We will stay here through the weekend and then leap north and inland to Sisters.

Thursday – Rain over night and cloudy today. The batteries never made it back to 100%. The first time this trip. We spent the middle of the day at the Florence library where they have flash fast internet. Watched Lone Survivor in the evening. Decent, I would have preferred more dialog and less fire fight, but that fighting was what that afternoon was all about. I would suggest the book over the movie. All were shot several times and remained in the fight. Real Rambo’s.

Friday – Still mostly overcast. Dorothy woke at 7, make pancakes at 9, and was back asleep at 9:30. She woke at 11:30. Spent the afternoon prowling logging trails looking for a different type of picture of one of the inland lakes.

Saturday – Another run to Fred Meyer’s, this time with a list. Refer is now chock full. Drove on the dunes for an hour in the afternoon. Something was different today. I could not get up the steeper dunes. Humidity? Noted some ATV’s were having a little trouble. Wondered how the heck the 2WD trucks got on the beach.

Sunday – Up early to make a four hour jump to Sisters. Totally different climate than the coast. Warm and dry. Wonderful accommodations and hosts.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bandon, Now Coos Bay


After two weeks of sun, we found fog. Entirely normal. It’s been cloudy here and with a marine layer that moves onshore in the mornings and late afternoons. And so it goes. This afternoon, we had mostly sun. So we drove KoKo to an overlook and backed in. Dorothy cooked a marvelous meal and we spent the afternoon looking out the back window at the scene below. Love the windows.


A Snowy Plover habitat is just out of the picture to the left. They are super protected, so beach walking is limited to one direction.

Not that I would want to see them, but I do wonder what becomes of the billions of pictures snapped on cell phones. Are they ever looked at? Are they left on the phones when a new model is purchased? I watched two girls with their phones held high over their heads taking pictures in all directions. They were turning around fast, so maybe it was on movie setting. Half of whatever they got was of the parking lot.

Coos Bay

After getting revved up about parking at the Mill Casino in Coos Bay, we decided to leave Bandon and enjoy a few days of pampering – pool, spa, laundry, wifi, prime rib, etc.  When we arrived we were startled to find it full up for a Monoco RV rally. I guess they are here before the FMCA event in Redmond next week. Bummer. Really nice RV park. Oh, the Monoco folks are not “our people”. Very well dressed, ear rings, etc. I guess when you pay $600,000 for an RV, you have a different life style.

Over at the Red Lion motel their sign welcomed the participants of Virtual Academy Conference.

For Dorothy’s birthday, we went to the prime rib buffet at the casino. It was so good, we had seconds on the beef. It was first Indian casino we have been to that did not have an Indian decor motif. Even tho, they had a smoke free slot area, we were not in the mood to play.

The sun popped out just after 10, so we put down our computers, got in the Jeep and drove to Cape Arago about 10 miles south of our campground. The sun was still out when we arrived, but after 20 minutes the marine layer rolled in. And so it goes. We did see hundreds of seals and sea lions through the mist. The skies were clear over North Bend.

Blue skies the next day so we went back. A splendid day.

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A lens filter makes the water look like the Maldives

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Two types of sea lions and two types of seals get along together here. The barking of the Stellar lions is constant. Sounds like a dog kennel with a sassy cat walking through.

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Cape Argo, just around the corner from Simpson Reef where the sea critters are. Note the “sideways” waves in the foreground.

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On the dunes before sunset

Dorothy’s account

Wednesday, July 30 - After leaving Gold Beach, we made the long drive to Cape Blanco State Park - 30 miles.  It's a very nice campground and would have considered saying a couple of days except they were hosting the Port Orford Country Music Festival on the road leading to the park.  It was going be chaotic, so we left the next morning.  The festival could have been fun and there was camping in the fields onsite, but it was sold out.

Thursday, July 31 - Another long driving day - 27 miles to Bandon, OR.  It has always been a favorite destination.  We found a great boon docking site at the Rocky Point County Boat Ramp along the Coquille River.  It is a very quite place and seems very safe.  Did a little driving around but not too much.

Friday, August 1 - Today was an extremely lazy day and it was overcast.  We drove to the town of Coquille, which is supposed to have some Victoria houses to see.  They had the houses, but they were in poor repair.  Then we went to Bandon and stopped at Gibson Graphics to get a couple of t-shirts.  We have always bought our t-shirts there when we come to Bandon - a tradition.

Saturday, August 2 - Another overcast today and we didn't do very much, but Sunday was suppose to be better.

Sunday, August 3 - After breakfast, we went drove Koko to China Creek and parked overlooking the beach.  As previously mentioned, the Oregon coast is fantastic.  We spent a pleasant six hours just enjoying looking at the beach.

Monday, August 4 - We headed to North Bend/Coos Bay to stay at The Mill Casino.  It sounded wonderful and cheap. When we arrived, we discovered that they were hosting a Monaco Motor Home Rally, so the place is packed until they leave on August 11. We spent a rather restless night in their overflow parking lot.

Tuesday, August 5 - We drove to Oregon National Sand Dunes Recreation Area and found a good campsite.  I had an early birthday dinner at the casino where they had a prime rib buffet.  It was so good, we both went back through the line for a second helping.  And since it was my birthday dinner, I had cherry cobbler and ice cream for dessert!

Wednesday, August 6 - Where did the time go, how did I become so old?!??!  It was foggy in the morning, but around 10:30 the sky cleared and we headed out to Simpson Point for some more beach sightseeing.  It was a surprise when we got to Shell Island and heard so much barking.  The Harbor Seals, California Sea Lions, Elephant Seals, and the Stellar Seal Lion "haul out" there:  meaning, they haul themselves onto the rocks and sun themselves. 


Sunday, August 10 – Moved 20 minutes away to the Mill Casino to do laundry and cook spaghetti. Still a week until we have an appointment, so we have a week to get all the way to Sisters.

Oregon is scenic. The median income is a little above the national average. Many of the homes are small and look sub-standard. Many built on the cheap. I expect to see weathered exteriors on the coast, but when you start with a sheet of exterior plywood, it’s not going to last long. Ditto Washington state.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Leaving Gold Beach

We moved north. Just a little. 27 miles on the first leg. We have almost three weeks before our next commitment, so we are not in a rush. We will miss and remember our two weeks on the Rouge. We have photographed and hiked every nook and cranny of this section of the coastline.

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The redwoods of northern California barely extend into southern Oregon where the Doug Firs take over and dominate for a short distance. The coast of southern Oregon is called the Banana Coast because it’s the warmest section for hundreds of miles – north or south. The dense forest of the extreme southern area gives way to totally different flora only 30 miles north. The tall trees are replaced by low growing, wind swept juniper like plants and ferns are replaced by sea grass.

Two more pictures from near Otter Point. The second one has some kind of zen thing going on with it. I rather like it.

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All the Oregon county sheriffs' with marine patrols are in Gold Beach this week for training. One motel has about forty jet boats in the parking lot. They go up the Rouge to learn how to maneuver in rapids and perform rescues. I would guess the engines are not over 250hp and they are a lot louder than the triple 400hp engines used on the sight-seeing jetboats. Not as well muffled I suppose and a lot slower.

Now for a review. Since we could not recall for sure which of the state capitals we visited this trip, I will list them here so maybe we can remember them.

01 - Arkansas02 Arkansas

03 - Kansas01 Kansas

08 - Denver01 Colorado

10 - Wyoming01 Wyoming

That leaves California and Arizona on our bucket list.

Lots of outrage about kids crossing the border, but where is the concern about Europeans' roaming around the country in Cruise America RV’s?

We spent one night at Cape Blanco SP where it’s always windy. Then moved a few miles father north to Bandon. We found a boon dock place on another river, the Coquille. It’s just a paved parking lot with a boat ramp, but we are backed up to the river, with two bars of coverage and two miles from town. We are the only ones here and it’s very quiet. It seems that every where we go this year we could enjoy the kayaks.

We checked out the campground at Floras Lake. A nice location, quite scenic, but the spaces in campground are close with no privacy and it was near full. A great location for hiking between the lake and the coast.

We have had two full overcast days, but the forecast is to be clear Sunday.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gold Beach – II

We have been here two weeks. Perhaps in another day or so we will have had our fill of this section of the Oregon coast and travel an hour north. Today we went south towards Brookings to check out a place we had missed on all our other trips through here. It’s call Secret Cove. It’s no secret, but the road signage calls it something else and you can not see anything of it from 101. If you follow the trail about a half a mile you start to get glimpses of the coast line. Go a little father and you are on a narrow cape overlooking a secret cove. I say ‘a’ as there is more than one cove. We failed to puzzle out the path to the beach, so we will have to return and do it again.

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They call the center rock Whaleshead as it resembles a breaching whale. If only Alabama had some off shore rocks. If could figure out I do it, I would Photoshop a red rock Utah arch on an Oregon coast line picture.

After two days at Quosatana CG, we came back to the gravel bar on the Rouge – a great boon docking site.

Dorothy writes: This was a great day.  First the mouse in the house is no longer among the living.  You do not want a mouse in an RV for a couple of reason, one is that they chew on the wiring and secondly, they can carry a very bad virus, hantavirus, which you do not want. Leaving the traps set in case he/she had a partner.

We went on a 1.5 mile hike, half of it was downhill to the best scenic overlook on the Oregon coast and that is saying a lot.  It is part of the Samuel H. Boardman State Park and the views are absolutely spectacular.  Of course, the hike back to the car was uphill for 3/4 of a mile, but we survived. We also walked the Whaleshead beach .  The haystacks along the coast can't be beat and are worth the drive from Alabama.

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By this time it was lunchtime, so we headed to Brookings to once again have lunch at Pancho's Restaurant Y Cantina. This is the most reasonable place we have found to eat along the coast and the food is excellent.  We had fish tacos again which were almost as good as the ones we had in Baja a few years ago.

We returned to the Secret Cove area and found the path to the beach. It goes straight down. In 10 minutes you are at sea level. Dorothy wisely did not descend the rocks to the sand. I did and had trouble getting back up. Loose gravel on rock is no friend of old folks. Half way back up, I knew if my foot slipped I would go all the way back down and  something would break. Sobering and it was only 11am.

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The Secret Cove reminds both of us of Vietnam. No, Dorothy was not there, but when she saw the islands she said it looked like the ones she saw advertising a cruise there. The cove comes complete with a waterfall.

Catba_island_Haiphong_Vietnam (6)Islands in Haiphong Harbor

We are parked on the Rouge River in southern Oregon. I spent the last hour looking at an osprey and gull do endless circles in the sky seeing who could out soar the other one. A few minutes went by and the osprey tucked his wings and dove in the water. SPLASH. He missed. No fish that time. Then I watched two spaniels frolic in the water. The geese are just sitting there, they don’t do much. About every hour or so a jet boat goes by carrying tourists upstream or downstream. The sea breeze is just divine. The two weeks we have been here has been the best weather we have ever had on the coast. Don’t you feel sorry for us? Where will we go for sunset today?

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The bridge over the Rouge at Gold Beach. Most of the bridges on 101 are architectonically significant.

The prediction of fires in the three western states has been high all year. So far, the number of fires and area burned has been much less than the average for the last ten years. Other than a fire in Canada while we were in northern Wyoming, we have not seen any smoke.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gold Beach

We came here to attend a get-together with other Lazy Daze owners. It would have been less mileage for us to follow our usual route, but we are glad we came here first. They came, we visited, they left. We have no plans to leave. Our plans are to revisit every place we have been around here before, some new ones and do it very slowly.

Facts about the water flow on the Rouge. Winter, 8,000 CFS. Spring/Summer 2,500 CFS. Fall, 1,200 CFS. Flood, 200,000! No flood this year, very little snow. You can tell the water level is down some, but there is still a lot of water. There will be a test on this.

We are acclimating to the rhythm of low tides and sunsets. Which brings to mind something I read 30 years ago about a system programmer in Tracy Kidder’s book The Soul of a New Machine. Computers, now and then, perform operations in machine cycles. A cycle is a fixed amount of time. The trick is to do as much work as possible in a cycle - clever programmers find it both challenging and competitive. One of them after working nearly a year designing the machine instructions left a note on his desk. I have moved to farm in Vermont. I refuse to deal with any measure of time that is less than a season.

Tomorrow, we will walk on the beach, hike the coast trail or buy more salmon. Maybe one or all three. I think we will do the same thing the next day. I will end each day drinking either expensive whisky or cheap pilsner beer.

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This ship had a working life of 97 years – the longest for any registered vessel. She now sits 100 feet from where she was built. I did not work that long, but I sometimes feel like she looks.

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The Shape Of The Coast

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Out our back window, there is more than ducks, geese and wading birds

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Where the sea critters live. The sea critters at home.

Reading a Forest Service brochure to select a hiking trail, I find one that advises that it is steep and rugged and care should be taken when traveling. Since this trail is in a wilderness the use of wheeled vehicles is prohibited – non-motorized wheelchairs excepted.

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Hiking in an old growth forest – one the loggers missed with Douglas Firs. Which are not really firs. The species is also known simply as Doug-fir or as Douglas pine. Look at the ferns.

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Wildlife encountered on the trail

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The largest Myrtlewood tree in Oregon – measured by girth. They smell good like camphor.