31 October ‘09 HAPPY HALLOWEEN…. Tonight Louise and I are parked in the driveway of Mark and Susan’s and giving out treats to all the little “tricker treaters” of the neighborhood. Having Halloween here in Yuma vs. the Seattle area is quite different with tonight’s temperature hovering close to 80 degrees and all the tricker treaters dressed in their costumes without heavy/rain coats covering. It also gives us a chance to watch a little bit of the World Series (game 3). Mark and Susan are at a Halloween party tonight so we’re handling the door and giving out the treats. We have been busy getting the coach ready for our journey into Mexico this last week. Over the last couple of days I’ve changed out the shower, bathroom sink, and the kitchen faucets. Tonight I changed out the electrical power converter because we’ve had to put up with a noisy one that can keep you awake throughout the night. In the morning I’ll go back onto the roof and re-caulk the screw heads on the skylight and around. They’re flaking off and I’d better get it done before we get some rain. Louise got news this afternoon that her meds wouldn’t be available until late Monday afternoon, so we’re not going across the border until Tuesday now, buts that’s ok since we’re enjoying Mark and Susan’s company and the great food of the area. Yesterday we took a short trip into Algadones for a margarita, a taco, and a little shopping of no description.
_28 October ‘09 I think we could almost call Yuma our “second home”… Since coming back to the states and doing our thing, we’ve found ourselves staying in Yuma for at least a couple of weeks. This time is no exception, we’re here for at least two weeks. We spent the first four days and nights sitting in Mark and Susan’s driveway and now we’re back in our campground at Pilot Knob. The weather has been hot, but who’s complaining??? We’ve been in the low to mid 90’s but it gets down into the 60’s for our sleep. Yesterday the winds came up because of this approaching cold weather front and dropped the temperature down to 75 for today’s high. They called for the winds to really get with it, but fortunately it wasn’t too bad. With the Imperial Sand Dunes within sight, we could have been buried… While at Mark’s, I took gross advantage of him having a great tool selection and got caught up on doing some little projects on the Minnie before our heading across the border. The only problem I had was getting as much accomplished as I could before it got too hot to work. I installed 2 roof cap covers and did some caulking on the roof and a little on the front side along with cleaning all the exterior windows of the hard water stains (that was one Hell of a job…). Since arriving here at Pilot Knob, I’ve worked more inside than out. The shower faucet had to be replaced and I cleaned all the vent and hood screens. Last night I took Louise to one of the local casinos. I left ALL I waged behind (as usual) and Louise broke even…
_18 October ‘09 Some of the locals tell us it wasn’t quite that warm, but let me tell you something…these “locals” don’t know what they’re talking about. As we pulled into Indio this afternoon the first sign we saw that was showing the temperature, indicated the temperature was 107 degrees and I BELIEVE IT !!! Right or wrong, it was hot as hell. We’re sitting here at Indian Waters (our campground for a couple of days), at 9pm and it’s still in the high 80’s. Hell, we’re just not used to this heat all at once, we’re “Northwestern’ers”. When we left Seattle it was getting into the low 50’s and when we pulled out of Portland, the winds were howling and the temperature was in the high 30’s, now…the 80’s at 9pm? Well the drive down out of the Grapevine and onto Indio was hot but other than that, un-eventful. After arriving here at Indian Waters, we hooked up, started up the roof-air, and headed for the pool. Just after 6 we walked down to the local shopping area (about ½ mile each way) and split a very nice Italian dinner. Now we’re sitting here reading and catching up on the blog, little by little. I’m already missing not having the internet dish with us. We’ve found a campground that wanted to charge us $8.95 a day to get our emails and now we’ve found one that was only $2 but it would only give us 60 megs per DAY (which is nothing)…I want my satellite dish back. It’s either that or I’ll just have to stop up-loading my pictures. We’ll see how things go down the road.
_17 October ‘09 After being in a campground with all the hook-ups, tonight we are parked beneath the stars about 30 miles north of Los Angeles. More specifically, we are dry camped at Pyramid Lake, just at the southern end of the “Grapevine”. Our campsite sits on the side of the hills above the lake (no views from here) with no sounds but the crickets and the aroma of the steak on the BBQ. The further we get into southern California the warmer…no HOTTER it gets. Here we are, about 3500’ above sea-level at 6 pm and its 90 degrees. Now much later (fact is, it’s now 7:30am) and its 52 degrees…we even had to pull up the comforter this morning. Oh ya, I forgot to mention the bugs. We’re back into those damn little flies that bite, suck blood, and leave a deep red mark that itches like hell for a week…damn those little critters.
Boy gas prices have sure been running the gambit. Since arriving in California, we’ve paid anywhere from $2.74 to $3.39 a gallon.
_16 October ‘09 Who doesn’t like a drive through the California wine fields (especially now with all the foliage changing colors), filled with all those beautiful tasting rooms (huge buildings that look more like personal mansions), and all this bathed in perpetual sunshine. There is no doubt about it, northern California is beautiful. From the Pacific beaches that are dotted with “sea stacks”,
_to the incredible Redwood forests, and as I mentioned above, the wine fields. Our drive continued to take us down Hwy 101 until we hit Hwy 12, and then a drive through Sonoma and onto our campground alongside the Sacramento Delta. This is our 4th time to stay at one of two campgrounds along the Delta and into this area. Each and every time we have passed by the Jelly Belly plant and have said “we’ve got to stop and take the tour someday”…well today was that day. We pulled in about 2:30 and in another 15 minutes we were offered samples and guided throughout the plant. The history leading up to the “Jelly Belly” was really fascinating. It’s the familiar immigrant story that came about by brothers bringing a candy receipt to the states in the late 1800’s, going broke, and then finally a couple of the “family” members brought it to what we all enjoy today. Another part of the success of the company came about when “Governor Reagan” brought them into the Capital building then into the White House as President.
_15 October ‘09 This “tin roof” is amazing… I’m not sure whether we had a slight rain fall last night or more than likely, we were the target of falling foliage from the tall trees above us. Anyway, it was like living in a water torture chamber all night. Prior to leaving this morning I grabbed my tire gauge and proceeded to check the tires for departure. When we had the tires installed in Portland, I made sure that the installer knew that I checked the tires regularly, so “Please” make sure that I can get at all the valve stems to get an accurate check…”no problem”… Ya right. When we arrived to pick up the coach they had a valve stem so short that I couldn’t even find it…”Oh, well I had better get an extension on there for you”… Ya right. This morning I went to check the tire pressure and guess what??? One of the rear tires, with an extension, didn’t show any pressure…Thank God it was one of the outside duels because I could see that it did have plenty of air, and besides that, ALL of the tires were about 20lbs over inflated !!! I was NOT a happy camper this morning. Well there wasn’t anything that I can do now about the incompetence of this installer and his company, but I could do something… We drove directly to Les Schwab in Brookings and told them of our dilemma. It didn’t take but 10 minutes and they were out there at the coach and “fixed” everything….”NO CHARGE” !!! What could I say but “Thanks Les Schwab”. We finished off the Oregon coast and continued down Hwy 101 with more stops for pictures, a late breakfast, and lunch…all sitting beside the heavy surf crashing at our wheels. Another “detour” was driving the 26 miles through “The Avenue Of The Giants”. It was a slow ride because of the narrow two lane road, but the views of the great Redwoods made it well worth the time. We had planned to camp in one of their state campgrounds in The Giants, but when we pulled up to register, we were blown away by the $35 a night charge WITHOUT hook-ups. Well the Giants are very nice, but the price for the stay just didn’t warrant our staying with them…cheap, Yep… Sooo, further down 101 we found an abandoned restaurant parking lot that sits right next to a gold course that said to us…COME-ON IN, THE WEATHER IS GREAT AND THE COST IS FREE…
_14 October ‘09 I’ll bet you there are more state parks on the Oregon coast than any other coast in the states… Every few miles we come across one or two that line the coastline. Tonight we’ve chosen Cape Blanco State Park, which is just off Hwy 101 south of Sixes, or about 10 miles north of Port Orford, Oregon.
_Boy let me tell you, the winds can blow along this coastline… As we “tried” to sleep last night, we were told the winds blew between 45mph with gusts to 65mph. You mix that with a little rain and you’ve got a racket. Fortunately for us, the winds did die down by 10am and we were able to get back on the road. With the winds hitting us directly in the nose and gusting to 35mph, it made for quite a drive for the day. We weren’t in any hurry, so when something caught our eyes, we stopped. The winds did kick-up one heck of a surf, and with that, it made for many stops just to watch the breakers hitting the rocks. I don’t know just how high the waves got today, but they were some of the highest we’ve ever seen, long, high, and powerful. Of course some of our favorite towns still warrant a stop or slow drive through…Newport, Waldport, Dunes City, and our all time Oregon coast town of Bandon. Bandon has seen its potential and the merchants, politicians, and townspeople have moved forward and did a great job marketing itself to the tourists with quaint buildings and a harbor to kill for. Well we’ve filled our gas tank twice now since leaving Seattle and we’re getting just over 9.5 gallons a mile. We also filled the propane tank this afternoon…$1.99 a gallon (5 gallons to fill). That was a pretty good buy. As we were traveling just outside of Dunes City, we came across a truck weighing station and I thought we should find out just how much weight we were taking down the road…thank God we’re within limits.
_13 October ‘09
Well this is the first of many nights that are going to be soooo different from the last couple of years. It’s now 7:15pm, we kind of had dinner (I found a left-over pork chop in the refrigerator and a bread stick), and we’re sitting here at the dining table reading. I promised the family I’d keep the site up so I put my magazine down and plugged the computer in and got right to it. This morning we were still at Ricardo and Susie’s place. After getting back with the coach and checking the air pressure in the tires, I found that I couldn’t get a gauge onto the outside duals…what a pain. Now it’s back to the tire shop this morning to get this fixed…can’t a person get a job done right the first time??? OK, stems all fixed, wind blowing like hell, and it’s COLD, let’s get on the road. We’re going to miss the hospitality of Ricardo and Susie a lot, but we’ve got to get going, snow you know… We headed south on I-5 until we got to Wilsonville and we stopped at Camping World to see if we could dump our black and gray tanks. It seems that we’ve got to move on to a state campground some 12 miles further south and west to find a dump station. We had no other choices as we were FULL !!! As we pulled into Champoeg State Heritage Park we were very impressed. It sits on the shores of the Willamette River in a beautiful wooded site on rolling farm hills, has a wonderful hospitality center offering lots of goodies and help, and sits about 9 miles from Newberg, Oregon. Leaving the park we decided to head west instead of back to I-5 and made our way to the coast. Just a little further west, and just as your coming into McMinnville, we came across a real surprise…The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. This is one of the best of Aviation museums we have yet visited, and was the brain child of a young local pilot, Captain Michael King Smith. As a young pilot in the Oregon Air National Guard in the early 1990’s and flying an F-15 he started to see his dream come true. Then unfortunately he was called to a different calling, but his mortal dream continues. This is also the home of the famous “Spruce Goose”
_that was built and flown by Howard Hughs!!! Let me tell you, this is a big ship… Another dream that came true and still gives people amazement. If you’re ever in the area of Portland of the surrounding areas, you’ve got to make this a stop. Just after 4pm we pulled into Lincoln City and found a state campground alongside Devils Lake.
_We’ve been to Lincoln City many times and also to Devils Lake a few times, but never to the state park. It’s a nice campground right on the shores of the lake (although you have to hike to see the lake) with some large campsites to park at. We’re only going to be here for one night but as it was getting a little late in the afternoon we decided to stay here for our “official” first campground with our new “Minnie”. For $19 we’ve got full hook-ups in a nice campground…what else would we want??? When we awoke this morning we woke to rain hitting the roof and the wind kicking up, well just after pulling into here we were welcomed with some more rain. This is the first rain that we’ve had for quite some time so I’m not complaining, just letting you know.
_12 October ‘09 Well it’s all began again….”We’re On The Road” !!!! Now let’s catch up a little for the last few weeks. Louise and I drove over to Ellensburg to bring back our “Winnie Minnie”
_2 weeks ago, I drove the coach and Louise followed with the Grand Vitara. This was really the first time that I had the Minnie out on the road and up to speed, it went very well for the 2 hour trip. Then it was getting it ready for the “long haul”… In between working on the Minnie and the Endeavor (getting it ready for winter storage), we went to a number of family events as well. One weekend Joelle and Amy came over from Coeur d’Alene and became the first to stay a couple of nights in the Minnie. On that Saturday, we took the day and went down to Issaquah and took in “The Issaquah Salmon Days”, a large celebration that welcomes the salmon back to the hatchery each year. The small river is packed fin to fin with these large fish that have fought hard to get all the way back “home”. Lena also drove over to see us and to visit with her cousin Amy.
_She drove from Yakima for a short visit at Salmon Days and then went on to a meeting for her Yakima High Drill Team.
One demonstration that I’ve never witnessed at Salmon Days, was a young Moroccan man doing some very impressive wood carving.
_He was using a stick with a string to turn a piece of wood while he used a couple of “toes” and his hand to finish the lathe work…pretty interesting.
_Leslee drove over a few days later to wish us happy travels and deliver some of the most fantastic apple pies…I can still taste every bite…mmmm good !!! Finally, we got what we thought we would want to transfer from the Endeavor to the Minnie, it took a while but we did it. Now to “winterize” the Endeavor and move it into storage. Winterizing was a little easier than I thought it might be, cross your fingers for me that I did it all right and we have no surprises when we get back this next May. We chose a 45 foot covered storage area in Snohomish thinking that with the length we might be able to store the Grand Vitara there as well…well it didn’t work, we were about 6 feet too short. We couldn’t waste any more time looking for another spot so we took our good friends Ricardo and Suzie up on their offer…we would drive the car and the Minnie down to Portland and leave the car there for the time we’re away. Anyway, we might need the car for a day or two while we were having some work done on the coach. We stopped off to see Mikleane, Ric, Drew, and Louise for coffee and muffins, and then drove out to have lunch with Ben and Shirley at Lake Martin before heading down I-5 to Portland. We pulled into Ricardo and Suzie’s place just after 6 and were all set up prior to dark. 9am the next morning and Louise and I were at Camping World ready to have the Minnie serviced with an oil change and furnace cleaning/check-up. Then it was off to a tire shop for new tires and shocks. Before you know it and it’s almost bed time and I’m sitting here at the table and rushing through this so that I can get to bed. It’s going to be up early and on the road heading south be for you know it, “night all”.