About Us

Chris and Dennis are traveling around the country seeing the sights and occasionally volunteering at select locations. We avoid the interstate as much as we can and tend to stop for squirrels and shiny objects.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Farewell Goose Lake

Berk_SelfieSmall towns. You know, those ideal communities you've seen on television where everything seems way too good to be true. My first recollection of such small towns were Mayberry from the Andy Griffith show and of course Hooterville from Petticoat Junction and Green Acres. Regardless of the story plots one thing rang true for all of the shows, people in the town cared and watched out for people in the town.

IMG_20180722_112224265_HDRA few weeks ago my wife and I were involved in a nasty car accident that left us with no transportation and doctor appointments some distance away – the closest being 14 miles one way and the other just over one hundred. Enter two small towns: New Pine Creek (population 120) and Lakeview Oregon (2300 people). New Pine Creek, when all is said and done consists of the post office and an antique store across the street. The post master allowed us to use the general delivery address and she kept an eye out for our prescriptions and other incoming mail and we got the word we had mail. Sort of critical when we had to chase down transportation to get there (about 2 miles from the park).

GL_Distance_sunsetLakeview has a Safeway grocery store and we had been going there about once a week during the month of June so I guess we were “regulars” - at least the cashiers made us feel that way by always greeting us with a hello and a smile. A few days after the accident we were shopping and I can't count the number of people who asked after us and offered help in one form or another; not just store folks but fellow shoppers as well. Made us feel like we were back in the small town of Ucon Idaho (pop: 640) where we grew up and everyone knew everyone else.

DSC_0343Now here we are the end of July and our time at Goose Lake is coming to a close. Tomorrow morning we'll be heading to Klamath Falls for a post surgical evaluation on Chris' wrist and since we'll be in the “big” city, we'll of course pay the obligatory visit to Wally World to stock for our next journey – Hyrum Reservoir in Utah.

IMG_20180722_110822791_HDRIt has been a little hectic what with doctor appointments and a little painful discovering new bruises on an almost daily basis but despite the adversity a couple of facts remain. Our stay here was very rewarding, leaving us with a feeling of accomplishment and sure in the knowledge we have indeed made a difference. Further, we  have thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. Our permanent ranger Rick and the seasonal ranger Lee and of course, our guardian angel and park aid Tina have made us feel right at home. Without their guidance, input, and support our time here could have been quite the opposite. Couple the environment these three fostered with our co-hosts Charlie and Becky and you know what? We were our own very small town.

Shoot, it certainly is not too much of a stretch to say... We're home.

Perhaps we’ll return next year.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Pizza Run!–NOT

IMG_20180709_164904701_HDR



I'll tell the tale about this a bit later in the blog but...




“Sun's up in ...”

So begins the early morning message from fellow RV'er Millie Duffin. She and her husband Dick have traveled around the country for years and each morning Millie will get up with the sunrise and post her news of the day, plans for the future, and sometimes, as she put it, “just ramblings of an old lady.” What I've found in the years I've been following her is these “ramblings” as she put it, are actually short, simple messages very much like the song birds she observes each day; pronouncements of simply the joy of life.

We met the Duffins very briefly on a hot, black parking lot just off the I-5 freeway in what used to be the Monaco motorhome factory in Coburg Oregon. This was the year after we had purchased our first class A diesel pusher and the parking lot which used to be known fondly as “Camp Monaco” had become the service center for a consortium of active and defunct motorhome brands called the Allied Recreation Group. I have always thought of it as the “ARG” (said in my most piratey pirate voice) – usually after seeing the invoice for the repairs.

There we were, a group of people as widely diverse as the our rigs, held hostage by the whims of the service managers. With only a truck stop and McDonalds within easy walking distance and not a heck of a lot to do except hang out in the customer lounge, I'm sure you can understand just how welcome any diversion can be.

millieduffinEnter the Dillie Muffin party. As rookies Chris and I had yet to experience an RV'er potluck and being the kids of the group, honestly thought this would simply be a group of really old people sitting around eating soft food. Not so for we had not calculated on the tornado of energy, the monsoon of ideas, or the sheer force of will that is Millie. While folks will toot their horns under the direction of a band leader and fancy people will play in the orchestra following a conductor, true brilliance and awe inspiring audacity can only come from that rare individual bestowed with the title – maestro. In our little corner of the universe we have something better, we have Millie. Nuff said.

Years have passed since that one time parking lot gathering and the only contact has been via the almost daily “Sun's up” posting. That is, until this past week when Chris and I were privileged to host Dick and Millie at Goose Lake. I've said it before and I'm sure I'll be saying it again, one unique aspect of the RV lifestyle is though often separated by miles and years, friendships, even if those formed in a matter of minutes, can be picked up and continued as it was only a day.

Sure did miss them when they pulled out. Of course chances are always pretty good we'll run into each other (in a good way!) in the future.

GooseLake_sunset


IMG_20180709_164913308_HDRNow, about that picture. Yes, that is our toad. Yes we were in an accident and yes we were injured. Chris got the worst of all yet truthfully it could have been much worse than her broken wrist. For those who follow some of our Facebook posts; no we did not get our pizza which was the reason we were traveling in the first place.

To make a short story even shorter, neither of us has recollection of what exactly happened other than the sudden appearance of another car as it smacked us or we smacked them. No matter; the end of the story is our car is totaled and Chris will be having some surgery to correct the break which was probably caused by the airbag going off. She has also been blessed with some really awesome purple bruises from the seat belt. I have been calling her stripes. She says I will pay for it.

Folks that saw the accident say we must have had angels watching over us. If they were, they have since handed the job off to the park aid here who stayed with us in the emergency room for the five hours while we were evaluated, drove us back to the park and then loaned us her vehicle to use. Tina, if you are reading this, words cannot express our gratitude.

So, we'll be staying at Goose Lake for a while longer to get some doctor appointments out of the way and the obligatory post surgery followups. I've already got a lead on a replacement toad so we can get around and as I write this, the soreness has lessened enough so we don't need help getting dressed.

What's the phrase? “It's nothing but a thang.” When all is said and done things can be replaced or fixed. And us? We survived.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Goose Lake–Avoiding the Crazy


IMG_20180618_164138408_HDR-EFFECTSRV'ers are crazy. I know this is fact based on my observations in the campground (and I read it on the internet so it has to be true). Einstein perhaps said it best with “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”


This week has been a case where the theory is proven. The evidence involves several short stories so please, indulge me.


Camper #1 Actually not a camper, just a visitor to the dump station. Yes, I do hang out there on occasion solely for the entertainment um, er, to assist campers; yea that's it, assist campers. I digress.


IMG_20180618_120851290_HDRThe subject of our study enters the park missing the actual turn into the dump station area and so ends up going into the exit instead. Not a major problem as the whole thing is a looping affair which in his case, takes him right back to the entrance. Of course, since he went the wrong way on the loop, his dump side was on the opposite side from the actual dump station. He stops and you could almost hear the gears going round as he thought of his predicament. No worries, he'll simply go around once again and that should fix the problem. As he approaches the station this second time round he's already realizing it just isn't going to happen – again. Without stopping he speeds up ever so slightly and; want to take a guess?; yep, goes around for the third time. I figure he sped up thinking a faster pace will make it all work better. Upon arrival at the dump station for this, the THIRD time, our visitor finally realizes something is just not working. He's not sure what but there must definitely be a trick to lining up on that silly dump station.


path3Cue the park host, aka, me.


I calmly arrive in our little host gator (going the correct way) and inquire if there is a problem. The visitor, who obviously saw me approaching across the VERY LARGE turn-around area, sheepishly admits he was just a bit disoriented. You see, this was his first time at this campground and was unfamiliar with the layout. I nodded understandingly and wisely did not mention the three foot long reflective white arrows painted on the pavement nor did I point out the large square sign marked “Wrong Way, Use Turn-Around”. I did give them a long hard stare and wished him good luck as I mounted back up and went off to patrol the park.


path1Campers #2 and #3. Yes, a group of campers occupying two sites and perhaps partying just a bit past their limits. This group decided to pool their resources and have a communal campfire at one site.


I have to break away for just a moment. Our motorhome is a 2015 Berkshire which features a full frontal, one piece windshield. The anti-glare treatment and the lighting differences makes it very difficult for outside people to see inside though I can assure you looking outside is completely unrestricted. For the purposes of this missive, simply think of our windshield as our own one-way glass bubble looking out into the wonderful world of crazy campers. An added bonus is the thickness which renders it a very effective noise blanket.


Returning to the partying campers. I happened to be sitting in the passenger's seat (it has an electric foot rest and really reclines nicely – cozy), and was looking out over the campground. I could clearly see them gathered around the fire ring attempting to light their fire with wooden matches. Match after match was struck, lowered into the ring, and promptly snuffed out by the very light breeze. About every third match or so, the person lighting them would become mesmerized by the flame and forget the objective was to actually light a larger fire. I'm pretty sure they went through about half of the box before someone in their group decided it was the location causing the problem. In just a matter of minutes the fire makings had been stripped from the one ring and moved to the other and our expert match lighter once again began striking matches.


central_fire_pitPerhaps it was the mesmerizing flames holding the match too long or maybe a match held incorrectly when transferring to the ring, but at one point our fearless not-maker of fire burnt his fingers. I am now very familiar with the allure of the silent movie. I had a front row seat watching the victim mouth words and swing his arms about trying to cool off his burnt hands. I'm sure my rather crusty, retired sailor vocabulary did not diminish the impact of what words were probably actually spoken.


I'm also assuming it was the guy's wife who gathered up the spilled matches, (there were really not that many left), gave the patient a cold beer and proceeded to crumple up some paper, add it to the wood, and light the fire. All with just one match.


The last camper, #4, demonstrated either an immeasurable amount of perseverance or, more likely, a truly serious case of crazy. Standing about 10 feet from a gopher hole, camera at the ready, our camper was bound and determined to snap a closeup of one of our park residents. Every time he moved back a few paces the gopher would rise up out of the hole only to drop back down as the camper/photographer stepped close to take the shot. I watched this activity for quite some time and finally saw what was happening. The gopher, after dropping down one hole, would peek out a nearby one to see if the coast was clear. I believe it was a toss up between the gopher and myself on who was having the most fun.

picnic

I can't say it enough. Goose Lake State Park is one of the most peaceful, laid back, and relaxing stays we have experienced. Cell service is sketchy, TV non existent for non satellite users, there is no internet to tempt, and the nearest town is far enough away to discourage running in on a lark. No matter though. If you hang around the dump station or simply observe your fellow campers, there is some really good entertainment to be had.


Until next time, safe travels and please, avoid the crazy.