And the road goes on forever...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Going Home

I swear every time we make the trip from Bend to Yuma it gets worse. We have traversed that highway innumerable times and usually there is some sort of catastrophe and this trip was no different. Marc was deliberately using up what little life was left in the trailer tires so right away the first day the first one shed its tread. We hobbled in to Winnemucca on a bad spare and then used it to get down the road another 128 miles to Fallon the next day where we replaced it with a new tire from Les Schwab’s after receiving a credit on the one that threw its tread. The first day’s travel was miserable with smoke the first 100 miles upon leaving Bend, where visibility was a measly three miles or less. It was hot and extremely windy in Winnemucca (one of those hot, dry winds that suck the life right out of you) so we ran our generator all night to allow us air conditioning.
The rest of the trip was just about as tedious, maintaining a slow speed of 55 mph to baby bad tires and finally having to pull (again) in to a tire store in Vegas to replace another one. Our third and final day was long but we arrived in Yuma to the destruction on our lot at around 7 p.m. Apparently, one of the haboobs (desert dust storms) had its way with our tarps and gazebo and decided they had hung around long enough. Since we are on the verge of leaving we won’t replace them this year; it would be costly to do so when we won’t even be here and especially since this has become an annual occurrence. I still have not found some of our chair cushions!
We have about two weeks to get ready for Marc’s next project but that essentially involves moving back into the big RV so is no little feat. We returned to a first day’s heat index of 115 due to high humidity levels and we experienced rain all day today for sauna-like conditions. This is part and parcel of Yuma during the monsoon season and we can hardly wait to get out of here again.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Stressful Week

The fog finally cleared on our last day at the coast and then we returned with another list of maintenance items still needing attention at Mom’s for Marc to attend to. However we took time out to enjoy some of the fruits of our labor, making some tempting tuna dips for crackers while we enjoyed the company of my son and daughter-in-law and he showed us how he makes his signature “wings”.
Last week, my best friend had a bad bout with fever and pain and very sore stomach, thinking it was flu. She let things go too long and found out after about eight days that she needed to go to ER for testing. From there they admitted her into the hospital with a severe diverticulitis attack. She is still there after five days with a prognosis of maybe a total of eight or nine days stay. Surgery could even be in the picture later. This has left me reeling, knowing how dangerous a situation she is in.

Even earlier, I made the hard decision as we were sitting in the campground at Bastendorff on the coast, that despite telling my daughter that I could continue to keep her cat Derby, I decided we couldn’t. Derby has been fine as a dear companion to me in Yuma when she had a steady routine and environment but she just hasn’t proven to be a good RV kitty. She reacts poorly to the changing physical environment, the closeness of the RV and the proximity to Marc. (She is afraid of men). My daughter finally moved into a rental which allows pets so can have her back, so the decision was made for me to drive her over this Saturday to the valley. Despite Derby being a generally bad-ass cat with attitude, she and I spent many a lonely day together and grew close. Of all the cats I have owned since I was a child, there is only one other who proved to be as affectionate a lap cat as Derby is to me, so it’s quite a heartbreak to give her up. It will be a very tough day. I will forever remember how she so loved our front screened porch which gave her the ability to be a sun cat and outside, yet not really loose.
Marc and I are scheduled to leave Bend very early Sunday for the trek back to Yuma to prepare ourselves and our big rig for travel to the next job. Another huge sadness will be leaving my elderly mother, not knowing when I might see her again. Our vacation time has been wonderful though and very worthwhile. Everyone, at some point, has a terrible dose of reality, don’t they? Chalk this week up as mine.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lost in the Fog

The sun seems to arise much more slowly in this part of the country but that’s to be expected on this tip of our Western world—with trees barely emerging through foggy mists—creating a morning gloom not seen in Arizona. Nights have been spectacularly quiet; just like we like them; without southern California’s frenetic traffic hum at all hours. 

We moved from our friends' place south out to the western tip of Coos Bay into Bastendorff County Park. It’s electric and water, and very private majestically treed sites for $24/day. We’ve been here two nights and finally saw the sun just barely peeking out for an hour’s spell about 4 p.m. on the third day. All of a sudden last evening we noticed a bunch of campers come in and were wondering why mid-week, until we saw the weather report. The Willamette Valley of Oregon is scorching hotter than normal and everyone is flocking to the coast.
We’ve just been running around Coos Bay doing a little needed shopping and a whole lot of relaxing. Surrounded by shrubbery and woods on three sides, our views are dark and lush and enclosed. The fog leaves drips off the trees every morning that sound like rain on the roof. But we hear the ocean’s roar and the whistle buoy not far off and the air is premium fresh. Our air card gives us internet, we’ve a stack of novels, our antenna brings in two Coos Bay TV channels for news, our heater works wonderfully for our 57 degree temps, and we’ve several bottles of unopened wine. What more could we ask as everyone else swelters in 90-100 degrees?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Operation: Fish

We’ve had a very enjoyable time with our friends and the two guys have been fish processing fools! Over 100 pounds of fresh tuna were either smoked &/or canned; purchased right off the boat Dragonet.
One night we barbecued oysters and Marc also smoked and canned some of those. We have been eating pretty high on the hog, going hog-wild over all the seafood as we went out to lunch in both Charleston and Winchester Bay.
Our time is running short so we’re deciding whether to move the rig to an RV park in Charleston or to head back to Bend so Marc can get the next maintenance items done for my mom. The weather is holding good but has been fairly windy, which can get miserably cold right off the ocean.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ready to Roll

With roofing finally out of the way our schedule was clear to make our way to the Oregon coast. On the way, we decided to just hang out in a dappled forest service campground of the Willamette National Forest just north and east of Oakridge named Salmon Falls Creek. The internet description said there was the sound of the falls from every site and that sounded relaxing. We found the creek side spots all taken by tenters but we easily fit into a long and shady back-in with the advertised sounds.
Although with the much higher humidity on this side of the Cascades it felt hot, we enjoyed a nice BBQ steak dinner and had a quiet night. On our morning walk it became apparent that the prime spot in this entire campground was site #4, a huge area off to itself whose bluff overlooks a small waterfall and rushing waters. We immediately decided it would be high on our list for any future trips where we might be able to spend a little more time here.
We arrived Tuesday afternoon to a welcoming reunion with friends Paul and Virginia, whose new home sits just north of Coos Bay, in the country, snuggled against thick forest and the coastal dunes. Our little rig fit easily in beside Paul’s shop, where Marc unpacked my son’s smoker. The salmon and tuna boats will be back to port on Friday and I think more smoking and canning of fish is on tap.
The men kept themselves busy this morning with golfing in Reedsport while Virginia whisked me off to the Coos Bay Farmer’s Market. This Empire Bakery bread kiosk was just too good and aromatic to pass up. Their kalamatta olive ciabatta sourdough loaf was just over the top!
Ah, it’s great to be back to the sublime coastal smell of verdant and damp forest, salt-tinged soft breezes, and cool temps.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

All That Glistens

What is it about a rainbow of shiny old cars that puts nostalgia into high gear? On this fine day in August in Bend, it’s the Cruz-In pre 1979 car show at Drake Park that draws huge crowds. We join the throng early in the morning alongside the gorgeous downtown section of the Deschutes River flanked by gracious old homes that now run into the million-dollar range. Drake Park truly is a jewel as is the surrounding historic neighborhood with beckoning craftsman cottages flanked by majestic old growth trees.
We’ve been to several old car shows but I think this one tops the list for the amount of cars shown. The crowds love it as we gaze upon the ridiculous to the sublime.
Older cars are scattered in with newer ones and usually sport some type of fantastic neon paint job.
There is a strong showing for the muscle car years, with several of my favorites. Only one Plymouth Barracuda however, and I am reminded of a high school friend whose older boyfriend had one and that she always got to drive it, receiving her share of speeding tickets. There are stock Mustangs, GTO’s, Cameros and Firebirds. I find this to be one of the most attractive Firebirds ever made before they started stretching them. At another oldie we marvel at an engine unlike any other I have seen that produces 745 horsepower!
Finally Mom & I spot a 1962 Lincoln Continental convertible. Although ours wasn’t a convertible, we had a 1964 when I was in high school which looked very similar. I walk to the back and laugh out loud as I gaze upon the vast length of the trunk lid, thinking to myself about the way I had to take my driver’s licensing test in this tuna boat and was it any wonder I failed the parallel parking on the first attempt?