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.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sunset Bay – Camp Host Tales

ChrisWe have pretty much established a routine work day which, except for weekends, hardly varies. I say EXCEPT for weekends because there is absolutely nothing that could be construed as “routine” in a campground once you add weekenders – those wonderfully lost souls who have come to get away, if even for a very short while from the rat race. For them it is a well earned break or perhaps an exciting new adventure. For us its like the opening credits are finally done and we're on to the main attraction!

sunsetbay_beachOur “show” actually begins outside of the campground on the beautiful beach depicted in the some of the pictures we've posted. Here we find visitors and locals alike enjoying the curling waves, cawing seagulls and the occasional glimpse of seals bobbing in the waves. For people watchers such as Chris and I no time at all passes before the opening act unfolds before us with one visitor turning her back to the ocean to admire something in the sand. I don't believe anyone told her of the wave rules where you NEVER turn your back to the ocean while in the surf line. Of course no one needs to tell her now either as a 2 foot curl caught her right behind the knees sending her backwards into the foamy water. Most of this is what we believe was the case – we didn't see anything until the glass shattering scream caught our attention (guess the water was a bit chilly) to the fully clothed person who looked like she was trying to body surf in way too shallow water. Fortunately for her it was only a short dash back up to the parking lot to retrieve her beach towel.

The beach show continued as the endless cycle of the tide caught the unwary, the incautious and some really good runners-up for the Darwin awards.

At the campground there is always at least one weekender in each loop designated as the star attraction. parkhostThis person or group has, for one reason or another, captured Mr. Murphy's attention and by sheer willpower (or just the fact they are breathing and have a pulse) are bound and determined to prove the law is true; that anything that can go wrong will.

Take the couple over in A-34 last weekend. First up was the tent poles. I mean that literally. Instead of putting the poles in the guide holes of the tent first as the directions probably say (I'm not really sure though, they had used the directions to light their firelog), this couple had put the poles together and then arranged them on the ground. Placing the tent upside down on the poles they commenced to move it around and around in an attempt to line up the guides with the poles. We came upon this exhibition just as a neighbor began assisting them. I have already nominated the neighbor for the REI Golden Camper award for his patience and in showing these camping novices HIS tent directions – unburnt.

With the tent up and the couple settled into their camp site we were pretty sure we were in for a quiet weekend filled with laughter from kids and adults alike. Nothing could have prepared us for what was next to occur! Raccoons!

In a completely different loop and at the opposite end of the campground, one of the yurt hosts heard what she thought was a domestic violence situation filled with yelling, shouting and some unusual bumps and thumps. Fearing the worst, the host called 911, bringing law enforcement to quell what to her sounded like an escalating situation. This went on for nearly 20 minutes until, upon arrival, the deputy quickly took control of the situation by aggressively shining his light around the camp site and settled the matter almost immediately. While there isn't any dispute over there being a serious disturbance there has since been some extended discussion amongst the hosts whether the two raccoons who had been fighting over a bag of chips were actually in a domestic relationship. Sometimes perhaps it is best to just not know.

The raccoons here are some of the best trained sneaks and ninja warriors you'll find and they are not afraid of campers. Our couple in A-34 learned leaving any food out or a cooler not closed properly will result in a nocturnal visit. In their case they got to see our furry residents up close and personal when a couple of them (I'm unsure if it was the two fighters) joined them at the table to mooch popcorn. Sure, there was the initial shock of meeting them but the couple mentioned the next morning how well trained the wildlife was in the park.

Imagine their faces when we told them we had no trained wildlife. That's why they’re called wildlife.

shoreacresThanks for reading this one, a compilation of a few weeks of hosting experiences here and are really some of the main reasons we'll keep coming back to Sunset Bay.

Hey, we got a visit from Gordon and Juanita Pierce and their sub-woofer today. What a welcome surprise!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sunset Bay–Growing Pains

ShoreAcresOur new home is developing its own personality. We're not quite sure what may develop, but we have had a glimpse of what may unfold in the coming year.





As most readers of our blog know, our last motorhome was a 34 foot Excursion and I believe I mentioned how enjoyable driving it was – like participating in a Virginia Reel with an intricate yet smooth blending of moves resulting in a wonderful experience. Driving our new home, until this past week anyway, was quite frankly more like dancing with an inexperienced partner who is constantly stepping on your toes. The trip from Boise to Sunset Bay, with the exception of our short stop at Crystal Crane Hot Springs was grueling.

Enter Henderson's Line-Up in Grant's Pass Oregon. Over the last couple of years I have read and heard there is ONE place on the west coast to take your motorhome for suspension and steering and that is Henderson's. They literally wrote the book and as such are the industry leaders and teachers. Getting an appointment so quickly was pure luck.

During the first step Henderson's performs what they call the Road Performance Assessment which involves the technician taking your rig out for test drive while you ride along as a passenger. This was a first time experience for me as Chris doesn't drive the RV. (My new perspective pretty much explains the fingernail impressions in the armrests of her chair and I'm sure I made them just a bit deeper.) What our technician Eric found out was just what I had endured – pulling to the right, sway and porpoising on stops. What he found after we got back to the shop was a whole different matter.

You see, Henderson's also performs a pretty detailed inspection underneath the rig and in my case found the bell crank (there was no bell and I didn't see any crank for a bell even if one existed, weird) that was far from tight, allowing the steering wheels to wobble. While the wobble didn't cause the pull to the right it did contribute to the handling and would have eventually resulted in odd wear patterns. Another find was during the alignment check. Come to find out we had been sort of going down the road sideways with the rig wanting to make a very wide sweeping turn to the right. Problem found – or nearly so. Being nearly a full inch out of square contributed a great deal to the pull to the right but like Bob Barker used to say “That's not all!”. The loose bell crank I mentioned camoflaged another contributing factor that is really not that unusual; a tire that is not really round and lastly, for probably the first time in its short life our motorhome was weighed at all four corners and was found to be just a bit lopsided. Add it all together and we have a rig that would head for the shoulder of the road at any lapse of concentration on the part of the driver. Knowing my difficulties just walking and chewing gum at the same time makes this a very dangerous situation.

The cure for all this? A little cutting and welding to straighten the out of square alignment. Replacing the bell crank with Henderson's own designed heavier duty one and finally giving the tire a shave to make it really round and of course balancing both. Lastly, to assist in tracking straight down the road and to help in the event of a blow-out we had the Safe-T Plus steering control installed. This last piece is like a sideways shock absorber, keeping the steer wheels running straight and true.

All in all, a full day at the shop and a moderately expensive solution but it was all worth while. Our drive home proved the work well worth every penny. This ungainly toe-stomping dancer has been turned into a graceful grand lady who is a pleasure to turn a waltz with. I'm looking forward to many a dance with the grand dame.

I'll tell you about our campers next time round. Just think raccoons, dog food and really thin tent fabric.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Transitions - 2016

We haven't blogged for some time but I assure you there was a good reason.

Two years ago I wrote about transitioning from a work life to a retired life which also entailed moving from a traditional home to living full time in a motorhome. At the time I believed these would be the biggest changes we would be making for a good while. Boy was I wrong!

We started this adventure with our first motorhome purchase, a 23 foot Class C which almost immediately confirmed we needed more room, especially if we pursued our dream of doing this full time. One year later we upgraded to a 33 foot Class A and we were very comfortable with it. We figured we could be happy while fulfilling our dream.

Alas, it was not meant to be. Here we are, beginning our second year and we found we needed just a little bit more space – particularily true when the weather closed in, forcing us indoors for an extended period.

So, the search commenced and a long one it was. We had become very particular in our tastes and were very reluctant to compromise on what we wanted.

IMG_20161007_103703794[1]First was the kitchen area. A larger counter space for our cooking experiments was definitely called for. Whereas prepping in advance does have its advantages and makes sense, we had continually found ourselves needing just a bit more of something and not having the space on the counter to accomplish it.



IMG_20161007_103729190[1]Second was the “living room” area. In the past, having guests over consisted of breaking out another lawn chair and hoping it stayed warm as there was no room inside to accomodate more than the two of us comfortably. By having the room to put extra chairs on the inside we were no longer restricted to good weather and early evenings.



IMG_20161007_152111365[1]Third is a spacious bedroom where either of us could get around the bed without doing the sideways shuffle which also usually resulted in barked legs and stubbed toes – especially at night. We would have settled for an olympic queen like our old rig or even a queen sized bed if there was ample space for two people to occupy the area without resorting to contortions a circus performer would be proud of. In our case we were very fortunate and ended up with a king sized bed and LOADS of room – both in the closet and the surroundings.

Fourth was some ammenities such as a washer/dryer; either a combination or, most preferred, the stacked models. Here we scored our preference with a Whirlpool stacked washer and dryer.

We did have to compromise some but I believe we will actually appreciate more with what we ended up with than what we think we wanted. A central bathroom instead of the desired bath and a half. Having dealt with all the quirks of the vacu-flush system in our old rig, it should come as no shock just how much happier I am dealing with the simplistic traditional toilet and plumbing. Want something to go very wrong, very quickly? Just bring a closed system to a 6psi vacuum and add poop and toilet paper. I guarantee your imagination will only scratch the surface on what we have endured.

Another compromise and one I can easily rectify if needed is the propane range instead of an induction one. Sure, with all the fancy stuff we did get in this new-to-us motorhome, it would make sense to have the most fancy induction range we could manage. The stumbling block here was cost and predicted use. Normally we cook outdoors on our grill and depend on an Instant Pot pressure cooker for the rest. We do have an induction hot plate for those days when a quick fry up is all that is needed. So, all things considered it was far cheaper to keep the existing propane system and our familiar cooking tools.

When you add all the new stuff, the preferred stuff and the really nice to have stuff, well we couldn't stuff it into a mere 34 feet or, for that matter even 38 feet. So, without further adeu, allow us to introduce you to our Berkshire XL 40QL. Our single axle, 41 footer that we now call home.


The transition is ongoing. We have returned to Sunset Bay State Park in Oregon and mixed with our camp host duties we will be spending lots of time learning the systems and hopefully remembering where we stored our stuff.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Flaming Gorge 2016 – The Return

overlook1Nearly a year ago Chris and I came to this wonderful place as our very first experience as volunteers. We only spent a month the first time round but it was enough to enchant us with the desire to return; and so we have.
There are the familiar places, having not changed in the big scheme of things and other places where the change has been stunning. For example, the visitor center had a remodel planned and the various exhibits were just coming in when we left last year.

IMG_20160828_093939143IMG_20160828_093946942This year a seemingly whole new center welcomed us with all sorts of interesting displays reaching out to grab our attention.
IMG_20160827_131447627The kids had a great time sending messages to the fire lookout tower via carrier pigeon.
Sheep_greet1Of course not to be outdone, the local sheep just had to swing by to say hello after we had set up and there hasn't been a week go by without them paying us a visit. Between the sheep and the deer it is always a good idea to open the door slowly in the mornings so as to not scare them or ourselves. Let's face it, having an angry turkey gobble as a wake up call puts a whole new perspective on life.

This year the ranger has decided to give us a bit of variety and has shifted our jobs to encompass more of the recreation area. As I mentioned before, most weekends find us manning one of the boat launch area booths and its launching ramp. Since these are usually separated by at least a half mile our only means of communication is via walkie-talkie. I mention this only because Chris is a really fine judge of character and never fails to warn when the characters are enroute to the ramp.
IMG_20160825_082534530IMG_20160826_111547690What a stark contrast it can be! The professional guides quickly back their dories down their selected ramp lane with little to no correction. They get their boats launched, towed over to the waiting area, and then are off to the parking area. Time on the ramp, 5 minutes or less. The local fishermen may spend a little bit more time on the ramp but for the most part can rival the pros in backing and unloading.
Then come the rafters. Usually arriving around 10am and only on the sunny days these intrepid water enthusiasts will arrive with their rented rafts that are floated only after the requisite taking up of two or three ramp lanes, 20 minutes of unloading and absolutely no idea of just how cold the river is. A_launch3(That last part changes quickly and is usually accompanied with a high pitched squeal – regardless of the age or gender of the water tester.) The launching of the rafts reminds me of a holiday weekend with new RV'ers arriving at a campground. Thankfully, the ramp has benches for the spectators. (Sorry, I was just too busy un-clustering to take more pictures.)

Another job the ranger will be having us do in the coming weeks is collections. We'll be traveling the roughly 257 mile circumference of the reservoir visiting each launch and fee area to collect the iron rangers. We are definitely looking forward to seeing some the territory that is called Flaming Gorge.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

We have returned – Flaming Gorge 2016

 A_birdWhat a busy two weeks!

As we were pulling out of Champoeg we received a call that our replacement air conditioner was in and we had been scheduled for a service call. Still riding the high of selling our house this extra bit of good news came as a wonderful surprise and really eased my mind about handling the hot weather of the high plains deserts of Utah and Idaho. So, with a quick routing change we headed back to Coburg staying at the Premier RV Resort and using this bit of downtime to hit up Costco for a last chance at stocking up - sales tax free.


A_snowflakeWe had planned to take our time using a route we had not traveled before but with the loss of two days we were “forced” to head east taking the quickest way possible. Did you believe that? I hope not.

Leaving Coburb going due east takes us through to the Sisters and close to Bend. Of course from there it is pretty logical to take highway 20 across Oregon to Boise and lookee there, with an ever so slight detour there just happens to be Crystal Crane Hot Springs at about the half-way point. Detour? Stop?



Oh yes we did!

A_motorhomeReluctantly we could not stay any longer than overnight. We did manage to hit up the ponds for a couple of soaks and admire a glorious sunset that changed the colors of our motorhome.



Even though we both grew up in the area, neither of us had taken the I-84 route between Burley Idaho and Brigham City Utah so here was our chance, bypassing Pocatello and seeing new country. Eh, not so much; scrub sagebrush intermixed with alfalfa fields look very much the same regardless the route. To be honest though, once we started getting into the hills most of our view was obscured by smoke and haze from nearby wildfires. At one point, the smoke was thick enough to warrant headlights and a bit of a slow down to be safe.

A_townA_barn_2With different routing came an opportunity we couldn't pass up – a visit to the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville, Utah. We wrote briefly about this place last year but this time round I received a personal guided tour from my brother-in-law (his name is also Chris) who works here. This family friendly, educational and fun place makes for a wonderful inexpensive stop for any traveler. Access is RV friendly with parking and plenty of room for even the largest rigs. (Sorry about sounding like an advertisement but this gem deserves the exposure.)







Four days of refreshing family ties and catching up brings us to this blog's conclusion and our destination for the next two months – Flaming Gorge. Over the past year there have been some significant changes. The visitor center we worked in last year has been remodeled with new flooring, exhibits and furniture. We'll get more into that when our schedule has us returning to working there after Labor day.

A_launchA_fishermenFor now though, we are split up and working a booth at the dam's spillway boat lauch and down on the launching ramp. These two spots are about a half mile apart and with no cell or other phone service available; portable radios are our only contact.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Champoeg (Sham Poo Ee) The Departure

DSC_0015Trying not to sound like one of those old time travelogues I watched as a kid (yes, television had been invented back then), we do bid a fond farewell to the Champoeg Visitor Center and the new friends we've made while here. We'll be heading east for the annual family reunion and then a bit further yet to end up back where we started at our first hosting gig – Flaming Gorge.


DSC_0266There is a whole gamut of emotions we've run through this past week. First are the obvious ones of sadness as we part company with a whole bunch of new friends. Special mention goes to the Rangers we worked with: Dan, Janet, Kim and Kevin; a more dedicated group of folks would be hard to find. We learned a great deal from them even though I still failed the walk and chew gum course. Our fellow hosts are awesome people and we sincerly hope we meet up again sometime in the future on our travels.

DSC_0241DSC_0235Overriding the sadness though is the excitement of heading back to where we started the hosting adventure – Flaming Gorge. After a short stay at the annual family reunion (also pretty durn exciting) we'll be heading up into the back country to host once again at the Red Canyon Visitor Center and at the Green River boat launch.


Putting icing on the cake is absolute joy finally being houseless! After a whole year, countless teases and a couple of earnest offers and final change out of realtors we actually closed on our house. This has been a tremendous weight lifted from us and without the anchor of a house holding us back we are now free to really cast off and explore in our land yacht.

IMG_20160730_163827490_HDRSo, we're east bound and down, loaded up and RV'ing. Stay with us, its sure to be a fun ride.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Champoeg (Sham Poo Ee)Part Deux

IMG_20160702_142627385This place is BIG! I thought our last gig in Washington with its 104 sites on 80 acres was good sized but here we are on 640 acres. Wide open spaces, 85 RV sites, some tent sites, cabins, yurts, an 18 hole frisbee golf course, boat launch and several group sites. Not to mention several acres of grass land, forest and just plain lots of nature stuff. IMG_20160702_143009689

Our work schedule allows us to really explore the area and we plan on doing just that - as soon as life gives us a break. This past week on our days off for instance, we were back in Coburg at the service center to get our air conditioner fixed. Sort ofa good news, bad news thing. Bad news, it requires a replacement. Other bad news, its on order. Really good news, the unit is covered under warranty. Other good news, the service center is only an hour and a half away so once the new unit is in, it will be a short jaunt south to have it replaced. Our next stop is in southeast Idaho and their temperatures have been hovering near triple digits so having two operational A/C's is sort of critical for us. Oh well, we did get another chance at Coburg Pizza and Chief's Tavern for some excellent lunches.

As visitor center hosts our little corner of the world consists of about 4 acres containing a field with a variety of grains, a small 1860's kitchen garden with heirloom plants and of course the visitor center itself. In the photo you can see a portion of the center painted red, the whitewashed picket fence surrounding the garden and the weathered barn.
IMG_20160716_133814034_HDRAt over 150 years old, this is the oldest standing barn in the state of Oregon.

pump_corntobaccoBehind the barn is an interesting combination of crops. We have barley, oats and corn and a small patch of tobacco. Moonshine and cigars anyone?

Oh, to make it kid friendly there are a couple of pumpkins as well. 
IMG_20160716_133740525Normally we don't see that much foot traffic but this weekend the rangers put on Blacksmith Day and for four hours there was a good 100 people wandering about. Our volunteer coordinator happens to be the resident blacksmith so he and his wife, who is also a blacksmith, gave demonstrations and a bit of education over an authentic traveling forge.
While it might have been the “title” of the event it certainly wasn't all that was going on. IMG_20160716_142716644Inside we had the interpreters who provided oral history of the area and specifically the park. Outside we had wainrights to demonstrate how they used to put an iron tire on a wooden wheel, a lumberman and a shaker.
IMG_20160716_134311598Probably not intended but it fell in line with our perspective was one RV’er; the tinsmith who  in addtion to his work on tin cups and copper pots built this own caravan. A very popular exhibit so we couldn't get in to take pictures of the interior. Suffice it to say, it was built well and is beautiful outside and in.
Another historical spot is just outside of the park in the town of Butteville where the Butteville Store is believed to be the oldest still running store in Oregon at 153 years.

Its been a great couple of weeks and time has really flown by. Can’t wait to see what happens next!