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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 Coming Full Circle


Why we return to Sunset Bay despite rain, floods and all the rest.

Another week passed from our last blog entry before we were able to depart Sunset Bay. We spent the time helping out with the other hosts, even if shirtless Steve refused to allow us to lend a hand cleaning the yurts. With our daily walks through the park, I'm pretty sure we would have had to start an archeological dig to find any more litter.

The day for repairs finally arrived and Porter's RV of Coos Bay did an outstanding job; first in getting us in on short notice after finally getting the parts and then completing the jobs in less than a day. Rather than travel on the weekend, we opted for a final relaxing layover in the park to get travel ready and yes, to test out the repairs. Sort of a mini vacation where we tested more of the local eateries, wandered the beaches and just goofed off.

With only three months with the new rig I have yet to develop the confidence to comfortably drive in tight conditions. Conditions like those found on highway 101 in the redwood forests. There is one short stretch I recall where there are sharp curves, no shoulders and giant redwoods right up against the roadway. A bit stressful in our previous 34 footer and one that gave me nightmares when I considered my now over 55ft tow length. Call me a wimp, I don't mind. I'm a stress free wimp who took highway 42 instead to connect with the interstate.

Speaking of the interstate. I just have to mention how absolutely pleased I am with the job Henderson's Line-Up did for us back in October. The long (boring) stretches of road really demonstrated how much less work I now have to do to keep the motorhome heading straight and true down the road. The greatest challenge I now face is resisting the temptation to simply get up and get my own cup of coffee and where, after four hours of driving I used to start looking for places to stay, it now feels more like we just got started.

5thwheelI titled this blog “Coming Full Circle” and that is what we have done. Our year started with us in southern California for the first time and we are ending year back in the same area, setting up for our travels further south and east to chase the 70's. Oddly enough the weather has been a repeat as well with rain mixed with snow. The difference is we have triple the windows to look out and admire the scenery.

Looking back, the year has been full of firsts in things we've seen and done and I hope we've captured them in our previous blog entries. Then there are the places we've been to before. These gems have unveiled new facets of themselves revealed only to those already familiar. Complacency however, was not allowed. A place we had taken for granted reached out this year and provided us with a whole new unforgettable adventure. Added to this we have strengthened old friendships and discovered long lost friends we had never met before.

Snow in the hills!

They say 2016 was a year filled with turmoil. Perhaps in the big scheme of things this was seemingly true but in our world life has been – life. We've had ups and downs but I can honestly say the vast majority have been ups. And the downs? Well, if you wait a bit sure enough along comes an up to wipe the down away or at the least make it seem not so severe. It may take a while but it does happen. Life is like that – it goes on.

Enough speechifying!

2017 already looks like it holds a great deal of promise. For us, the first three months will be hanging in the south so I can wear out my flip flops. We have pretty much decided Quartzsite is not for us this year but there are plenty of other places to visit. No firm plans yet, we'll let you know once we know.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sunset Bay – Oh the Lights! NOT

IMG_20161203_151441479_HDRFirst thing. I failed. Not a small failure, oh no, nothing that easy. I went full hilt into a total and utter failure of epic porportions. The blame rests entirely at my doorstep and there are no excuses or mitigating circumstances to fall back on.
We are at Shore Acres and I have no pictures in the dark of the lighting of the botanical garden – one of the must see things to do in the area this time of year. I have and will share some of the shots I was able to take before sundown and our friend Gordon Pierce has his video of the garden after dark but as I have stated, I have no after dark shots at all. I had the camera, I knew how to disable the flash and I had set up the first shot with consumate skill and every attention to detail. Except for a recharged battery.
What I ended up with was a nifty weight on a neck strap that imitated a digital camera. A wonderful item that I carried around the garden in the dark - not taking pictures.
Roll the clock back to our last blog entry. We left you as we were evacuated from the flooded park. While sitting in the shop yard awaiting the all clear to return we found we had an issue with one of our slides. Slides are one of the things you really need to be sure of when you hit the road. Having one wander out while driving can be quite distracting and not being able to put one back in can leave your land yatcht aground where ever you may be parked. No problem; emergency tech called. Spent 5 minutes looking at the workings of the slide, another minute picking up and plugging in the breaker that had popped out and perhaps 10 minutes writing up the bill. Oh and by the way, did you know your slide cable was fraying and about ready to break? Ouch to the bill and double ouch for more work to do before we can safely depart.
So, that is why just five days later we ended up back in the park with parts on order and an open appointment with the RV shop to fix our slide when the parts finally arrive. Estimated time: TWO WEEKS! Fortunately under warranty so the work is covered – unlike the emergency tech call out.
The extra time allowed us to visit some other attractions around Coos Bay, do some other routine maintenance and spend some time in our basement storage area straightening up the mess I made of packing when we swapped rigs. Oh and yes, visiting the Shore Acres lighting display during a lull in public attendance and take some really nifty pictures.
See it? There's the silver lining. Oh wait...
Instead I leave you with some pretty nice pictures of the garden in the half light before sundown and a link to Gordon Pierce’s excellent YouTube video.

Gordon Pierce – Shore Acres Video

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sunset Bay – Into each life some rain must fall

IMG_20161125_093245755_HDRNot all camp hosting is fun, games, raccoons and other silly stuff. On occasion it can get darn right serious and our last week here has been one for the books!
We started out anxiously awaiting the arrival of my sister Tricia, and brother-in-law Randy, who were coming down once again to spend Thanksgiving day with us. After a very long drive in mostly rain they did make it safely here and fortunate for us, had decided to stay at the casino. Fortunate in that we really didn't have space for them in the motorhome and I did mention they WERE AT THE CASINO! That sort of excuse to visit a casino is good karma all round.
Thanksgiving day was actually sunny. I'm not referring to the liquid sunshine Oregon provides on an almost hourly basis but actual blue sky bright orange orb in the heavens sunshine. We didn't have to worry about sunburn – the rust stains act as a pretty good sunscreen, probably an SPF 100. Anyway, Chris and I dressed up and headed to the, you guessed it, casino to meet up and ultimately begin grazing on the all you can eat thanksgiving buffet. Talk about a tryptophan overdose!
Getting together with family on the holiday is one of the good things in life. While we had been together just two months prior, once Tricia and Randy arrived it really dawned on us just how much we had missed them and how thoroughly we enjoy their company. Um, well mostly. Sorry, our fondness of being together is not nearly enough for us to go back north to the cold snowy weather. Of course now that they are also motorhome owners maybe they'll be more inclined to head south to chase the 70's like we do.
Back to thanksgiving lunch. After receiving several sly looks from the wait staff (hey, just because we asked for pillows and blankies), we headed back to the park for our traditional session of solving the world's problems while watching movies and trying not to think of just how full we were. By this time, the sun had set and the rains started up – heavy enough to make hearing a challenge and if it had rained cats and dogs I'm sure they would have drowned. This was the “deluge is such a gentle description” type of rain - non-stop bucket upon bucket and I'm pretty sure Noah would have been jealous. I seriously considered breaking out the snorkels before walking Tricia and Randy back to their car.
Friday morning there is a knock on my door and looking at the clock showing only 6am I was just a bit miffed; until I opened the door and was greeted with water lapping over the steps. My dreams of a babbling brook made so much more sense now that I could hear the water running under the rig. This was one of those perfect storm moments. Heavy rains on already saturated ground filled the creek running through the campground to overflowing. Combine a minor flooding creek with a storm surge and high tide to back it up and you have a very rapidly rising and swiftly flowing lake smack dab in the middle of our most popular loop.
That early in the morning there are no park rangers on duty so it fell to the yurt host and myself to wake those guests not already awake and get everyone packing up and moving out. Chris had to stay close to the rig to get it ready to move out and to answer questions from panicky campers. There were even a few who really wanted to ride out the storm where they were – until I let a little bit of my old Coast Guard chief petty officer surface (toned down; after all they are civilians).
Later in the day the sun did come out.
Despite our efforts and unfortunately for one couple the water rose too fast and was too deep to safely hookup. They made the tough but very wise decision to leave their trailer until the tide withdrew and the water lowered. Another couple who had just finished restoring a 1958 Airstream had the very good fortune to have selected one of the very few sites just high enough to stay above water. Later, they hired a flatbed tow truck to carry the trailer out through the remaining flood waters.
Several things went right for us that day. First and foremost, no one was injured. With the exception of the two trailers mentioned, everyone was able to get out of the park with little to no damage (as far as has been reported). Lastly was the cooperation and joint efforts displayed by our campers. I doubt things would have gone as smoothly without it.
Two days have since passed. Chris and I have salvaged as many left behind possessions as we could find in case the owners come back and we're now wrapping up the site cleaning that we can do. The park will have a larger crew coming in and who knows, perhaps in just a couple more days we'll be back open to the public.
We probably won't get to see the reopening, Chris and I will be departing soon to continue our trip sort of southward. Right now we're wrangling over the routes.