Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another busy week

Hi there all,
 
Sorry, no pictures this week to add to the old blog, but have a look after the 6th of October 'cause the WAITE family reunion is next weekend and our Ace photographer will be taking pictures of all the weekends festivities.
 
This week, Carol and I both returned to our respective grinds with busy evenings almost every night. I continue to test Telesphere version 6.0. I have yet another new version that I am testing. The primary focus being the reports. There were several problems with the reports that are in this latest version (or build) and so I have once again forwarded them off to the vendor for their work to repair them.
 
Carol has returned to her studies with a vengeance and seems to be getting caught up on her Medical Transcription training.
 
Karen and Mike were in town this weekend, so we have been getting together with them and the Wrights on a couple of occasions.
 
This weekend we are going to make our annual pilgrimage to the Fall RV show and also to Tower park to finalize arraignments for the Family reunion.
 
Have a great week! Happy Camping! - Eric-

Monday, September 22, 2008

A little more from Lake Tahoe






Well, we had another fun filled day on Sunday in Lake Tahoe, I took Monday off of work to spend some more time with my sister, Mike and the rest of the group. We had a wonderful day going to Valhalla and then just some relaxing around camp. We also got in a run to the Bijou Dog park on Lyons Ave


There was a little excitement the other night when somehow, the door to Tom and Mary's Trailer got locked with the keys inside. Good Sam Emergency Roadside assistance came to the rescue and got them back into the RV within just a few minutes. AAA said they couldn't help them, but Good Sam found a lock smith that would come out and open the door.


Carol and I headed home today and I return to work tomorrow. Both of us has a wonderful weekend and once again just really love every minute we spend in the RV. Happy Camping! - Eric-

Sunday, September 21, 2008

After a week at home, we're on the road again





Well, after being home for a week, getting caught up on a couple chores (not many though) at the house, we are on the road again. This time we are hooking up with My sister Karen and my favorite brother-in-law Mike as well as their friends from the Drum Corps days Tom and Linda Sheboygan (sorry for the spelling guys), Tom and Mary Trana and last but not least, Robert and Maggie Buckley. A lot of these names I remember from when I was growing up as a kid back in the late 60's. Brings back very fond memories.

Yes, we did have to return to reality for a week. I returned to you duties as chief tester and documenter for the Telesphere 6.0 billing software upgrade. As I have indicated earlier, this is new software for generating our Telephone bills (and eventually Cable Bills) for our customers in Amador county. Carol returned to her studies in Medical transcription.

This weekend though has been an absolute blast hanging out with all of these fellow RVers, sharing some great food and hanging out at the campfire. We also had a very nice day walking around in the redeveloped shopping areas in the Lake Tahoe area. A number of our meals have been hosted by a different rig each meal. We had Chicken Alfreado, Brotworst, Breakfast casserole with all sorts of good stuff in it. I can't wait to see what our dinner consists of tonight!

Everyone has gotten along so well on this trip; it has been great to see everyone laughing and having such a good time. This is what RVing is all about.

Oh yes, we are staying at campground by the Lake, in Lake Tahoe. This is a wonderful campground. Large sites with limited hookups. With the ambiance and the company though, we are having a wonderful time! Thanks everyone! Happy Camping!

Monday, September 15, 2008

We're home

We arrived at home Sunday afternoon around 5:15 PM. We had a marvelous vacation. The best I have ever had. We got to see so many wonderful things and meet so many wonderful people. We've talked to a number of folks at the various campgrounds we stayed at and were surprised how many live full time in the fifth wheel trailers, called full-timers. We came home from this trip really wishing we could join this group of folks who live and work in their RV's 'cause the responsibility of taking care of what they call their 'Stick and brick' house was requiring more work than they wanted to put into it.

Since we have lost our home as did many early this year, we are now renting a place. We are paying for a place that will never be ours. We work to maintain a place that will never be ours, 'cause it belongs to the 'Land Lord'. We hold no animosity towards our land lord, we are glad they had a place for us to move into. None the less, we have felt for the last 7 years, that less is more. But, for now, we need to keep a place for Katie to be safe until she gets moved out on her own. After that however, if we can figure out a way to full time and keep the bills paid, we might very well do this. Most fulltimers have jobs, so it is not like Carol and I won't be working, but all of the people we talked to who are full timers, are a very happy lot, and we would love to join them. But, it will take a while to get there. For now, we're home and getting back to life as normal.

Happy Camping! - Eric -

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The trip home so far





Hi there Everyone,


Well, we're checking in from a brand new RV park in Red Bluff California. We spent last night in the parking lot of a Home Depot in Roseburg Oregon. We got an early start yesterday out of Warrenton Oregon and headed south on 101 to Tillamook. We got to take a tour of the cheese factory down there. After we finished with the tour, we had some lunch and then headed east to Salem oregon and then south to Roseburg. We were hoping to spend the night at the Walmart, but they had plenty of signs indicating this was a no no, so we headed over to the local Home Depot where they said we were more than welcome to spend the night there.


As soon as we got up this morning, we headed south to Red Bluff. We headed down through Lake Shasta on I-5 and were shocked to see how far down Lake Shasta has been drawn or how baren Mount Shasta is now. If you think Global warming is a farce, all you gotta do is look at this area and see that it is the truth.
We found a great brand new RV park called the 'Durango RV Resort'. They have a great facility here. This location has everything you could want as an RVer this day. We got a chance to get caught on Laundry and take a quick dip in the pool and hot tub. We can't wait to come back to this RV park sometime in the future.


We will be heading home on our final leg in the morning. We are only about 3 hours from home, but we are ready to hit the road tomorrow if we could and continue our adventures in the RV. Hey, the good news is, we get to go camping again next weekend. We are going to Lake Tahoe. So, we'll hopefully check in with our next adventures soon.


Happy camping! - Eric -

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The final blog of this trip?





Hi there everyone, this may be the last blog of this trip until we get home this weekend. We don't know if we will have any wifi before we get home. I am authoring this blog entry as I have many times while we are sitting at camp. Many times because of the short amount of time Starbucks allows you to access the internet, I find it more efficient to type in camp and then later upload it to the web.

Today, we pretty much laid low at camp. We played a game of Scrabble as we watched the maintenance crews scurry around cleaning up campsites that were vacated early this morning. It amazes me how many folks were here on a Wednesday night and left on a Thursday morning, but I guess that is just the way things worked out.

Yesterday morning we both got an early start. I had a 8:00 appointment to get the window on the truck repaired, during which, Carol was on the internet working on her studies. After the window was fixed we went back to Astoria and checked out the 'Astoria Column'. This is the highest point in Astoria Oregon. You can see everything from there. We then went and had some great Pizza lunch at a little place called 'Fultons'. From the outside it looked kind of dark and dingy, but using the RVer's rule 'that if you see a lot of cars at an establishment, the food must be good' as our guide, we ventured in without fear. The Pizza and salad bar was great. After Lunch, we knocked out three Geocaches in the Astoria area. I was surprised there were so few in the actual 'Downtown' area. I really thought there would be one at the 'Astoria Column' but they must not have gotten approval from the Park management for one. Oh well.

After we finished our third Geocache, we had just enough time to make it to the last tour of 'Fort Stevens' for the day. The folks who conducted the tour were camping in the sight right next to ours at the campground. They were a very nice couple from Billings Montana who come here every year to conduct the tour. The tour it self cost $4 each and lasted about an hour and a half. It was a wonderful tour of the Gun Batteries (or installations) that are here at the fort. There was another tour that was a truck tour that we could have taken, but we'll have to save that for another trip. It was interesting to find out that this is the only military installation on the Continental US that was fired upon by the Japanese back in World War II. The interesting part is that the Base didn't fire back 'cause they wanted to see if there was just one target or multiple targets before engaging. As it turned out, the lone Japanese submarine only fired a half dozen rounds and then left port. The Japenese commander returned after the end of the war and indicated that he was 'Just harassing the locals' the Japanese didn't even know there was a fort here. The base has been here since the Civil war, so I find that amazing to hear.

We are far from ready to head home. It is hard to believe that as of today, we have been on the road two full weeks. We aren't making each other crazy, the dogs aren't crowding us out of our trailer or anything like that. We only wish that we would have had more time in each place and been less rushed. Also, if we could have scored wifi without having to go look for it, that would have been nice too. But, we have found that we weren't really in want of anything in the way of material possessions on this trip, so we were very comfortable in the trailer. All of the little enhancements I have done to the trailer over the previous months have worked out really well and held up really well.

Our trip home will take us down the Oregon coast through Tillamook to Florence Oregon, inland to Eugene Oregon and then south on the I-5 until we get home. We'll probably spend Friday night in Eugene and Saturday night in Redding. If I get a chance to update the blog from the road I will, so check in when you get a chance, but if not, I'll update it again on Sunday when we get home.
P.S. Take a look at the blog from the other day when we headed from Issaquah to Warrenton. I've added a video Carol took of me while we waited in traffic.
Take care! Happy camping! - Eric-

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Some of the campsites we've stayed at






The following are some of the campsites we've stayed at on this trip.


The Walmart in Yreka California

The Walmart in Cottage Grove Oregon

The Olde Stone Village in McMinnville Oregon

The Blue Sky RV Park in Issaquah Oregon

The Fort Stevens Campground in Warrenton Oregon


Carol and I found that we don't care much for the older RV Parks like Blue Sky. Our favorite parks are ones that have atleast Water, Electric and Sewer and we can have a Fire at night. If we have that we're good. But, we both really enjoy the excitement of boondocking as well.


Well, I guess that is about all for now. Happy camping! - Eric-

Astoria Oregon





Well we spent most of yesterday hang out in downtown Astoria, but we also went to check out the wreck of the Peter Iredale which is on the beach. We had a great time at both places and plan to go back to the Military museum today to take a tour of the old Fort Stevens base.

Some of the pictures you will find in this installment are of the Dogs playing on the beach, a cool old Theater in downtown, an old JC Penney store and a picture of Carol at the beach.

I got the windshield on the Truck repaired this morning and Carol took some tests for her medical transcription class that she is taking. We'll probably go and check out Astoria a little bit more today and then head to the Museum for the tour today. I'm hoping we may get some geocaching in while we are here, but right now we are just enjoying relaxing as much as we can.

We were both really curious if we were going to get tired of living in the trailer together. If there are two things we have learned from this trip is that we love being in the trailer and we love spending every minute of everyday with one another. :-)

Well, I guess that is about all for now. I'll check in again soon. Happy camping! - Eric-

Monday, September 8, 2008

We arrived at Fort Stevens

Hi there everyone,

Well, we have arrived at Fort Stevens in Warrenton Oregon. We are just south of the mouth of the Columbia river, on the northern most tip of the State of Oregon. Our home for the next four nights will be at the Fort Stevens State Park. Our first sample of Oregon state parks was last summer on our way home from Bend when we attended the RV Rally there. We had to stop at an Oregon state park on the way home because there was a dump station there. We were impressed, 'cause as a general rule, California State parks do not have dump stations that we have found. This Oregon Camp ground has not only a dump station but over 170 full hookup sites, which includes Electric, Water and Sewer. We don't have CATV or Wifi there, but with the other hookups, we don't have to resort to spit showers to conserve resources quite so much. Even with full hookups, we do take Navy style showers, Wet down, turn off, soap up and shampoo then turn on and rinse off. But atleast with full hookups, if we need to put a little extra into cleaning the nooks and cranies, then we can do that without any problem.

The campsites are nice and large and level. We're already wishing we were going to have more time to spend here, but that's ok, we'll make the best of what we can, while we are here. During our stay here, we are going to check out Tillamook, sample some cheese, and then also check out the 'Fort Stevens' and Astoria area while we are here.

Unfortunately, we haven't had a chance to do as much geocaching was I would have liked, but that is ok. We may be able to so some if we get a chance while we are here.

Today was 'Exciting' day for us. They were doing some construction at the Blue Sky RV park today and they had some sort of accident that caused a fire. One of the RV's in the park caught fire and it was getting ugly real quick. So, we quickly hooked up and got out of there. The only thing we lost was the sewer hose and the end cap for the bumper. Not to worry, we stopped at Camping world on the way out to replace those. Shortly out of the campground however, we took a rock to the windshield. So, now I have to go in Wednesday and get that repaired at a local glass shop. Then, when we got to the Campground, the Front lift jacks on the trailer stopped working. I found a loose power cable and re-attached it so now those are working again.

All in all, we are doing great. We are having a wonderful time. I'm updating you from the local starbucks, so hopefully, I'll update you again soon.

Take care and happy camping! - Eric -
video

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Life in the trailer





The dogs have been very well behaved on this trip. They really fit into the RV'ing thing just fine. The trailer is big enough for all of us to relax in. Though we believe two dogs is enough for our family, the three dogs fit in just fine. Yes, Roxy is still with us. She is a tough old dog. It's been 8 days since we have seen any evidence of her illness. Though we are pretty sure it has not gone away, she still seems to be toughing it out. She has completed one of her medication treatments, so now we are just on maintenance. We had thought about leaving her at home on this trip, but would have felt really bad if she had passed without us being there. So, we just enjoy her one day at a time. As you can see, everyone is making them selves very comfortable.

Our trailer has been working out exceptionally well for us. Though we aren't hanging out at the campsite everyday, we have had a couple of down days just so we don't feel like we are always 'GOING'. Those couple of down days, we have found our selves enjoying the 'TV' for a while. The new TV setup, documented earlier in this blog, has worked out exceptionally well for us. J Carol has commented a couple times how much she likes it. And you know, if momma is happy, then everyone is happy! The only problems we have had on this trip are as follows:
- An air leak in one of the truck tires that we then had patched.
- A black water backup problem that could have been really bad but once I got a good flusher to put down there, we are free flowing again. ;-)
- Not being able to easily adjust our Select comfort mattress when we are boon docking at Walmarts was a little rough. Since most of the time we have been climbing in altitude, the mattress has been hard as a rock when boondocking. This could be solved with running the Generator, but was a bit noisey for our boondocking neighbors when we arrive at 11:00 at night. So, I bought a 400 Watt inverter to run the bed long enough to adjust it when we setup.
Other than that, things have gone very well for us.

For the most part, we eat Breakfast and dinner at the trailer. Again, by eating dinner at the trailer helps to keep things at a little slower pace and helps us save money too.

We're getting around 11 or 12 miles to the gallon on the truck while pulling the trailer, which sounds horrendous to some, but considering some of our neighbors getting 8 or 9, I feel like we are doing really well. Diesel is running us around $4.30 a gallon. That is a lot to be sure, but a couple months ago, we figured on $5.00 a gallon so we are thankful.

We are finding our selves sleeping in later and later each day. Today, the 7th, we slept in until 9:00 AM. Today is going to be a down day. We head out for Astoria tomorrow, so there will be a lot of driving. So, today, we will stay close to camp, start to button things up, have left overs for dinner and hit the road early tomorrow.

The only thing we are struggling with on this trip is the lack of WIFI. Carol's having a hard time staying up on her weekly school assignments where she must check in on the net, and I'm having a hard time keeping the blog up to date because of the lack of Wifi, but we are trudging through. We have to check in today 'cause Carol must join in on a weekly discussion topic regardless of us being on vacation or not. She actually has to comment twice a week on the topic, so sometime next week, we will have to find access some where.

We are figuring we will eventually have to buy a AT&T wifi account. This is the route most RV'ers have gone and we may very well have to do the same some time. If we do though, we are then stuck with a one year contract for something we use once or twice a year. But then again, if it is as cheep as our normal Internet provider, that may be way to go. Ah decisions, decisions. But, we'll hold off on that until later. Right now, we're on 'Vacation'!

We don't know what WIFI access will be like in Astoria, so I don't know when you will hear from us again, but keep checking, as we may surprise you!

Other things we have seen in Seattle






Well, it's been a few days since we have updated the blog. None the less, we have been very busy on this trip. On the 4th, our 9th wedding anniversary, we went to check out Snoqualmie Falls, which it turns out is just a few files from our campsite. Though the falls is right next to a resort, it is well preserved.

This area, which is about 20 miles from Seattle, is very built up with housing subdivisions. Though Seattle is a big city, it is very clean. You don't have the litter or waste issues in Seattle that you have in say San Francisco or Los Angeles. Yes, there are homeless folks, but there isn't the 'Waste' or 'Smell' that you find in those other two towns.

For our anniversary dinner, we went to the Space Needle. Wow, that was quite the experience. We had a wonderful view, wonderful food, wonderful service and wonderful company. J The Dining room makes a full rotation every 47 minutes. This allows you to see the view of the city a couple of times during the dining experience. I had looked up on the internet when sunset would be while we were here and scheduled our reservation to be 30 minutes before sunset. That planning sure paid off. We got to see the city by daylight, sunset and then in darkness. The food was very good, though I have to say that the Prime Rib we had in Fort Brag a few years ago is still the best by far. But, you can't beat the view we had from the top of the space needle.

On the 5th, we went to Mount Rainier National Park. That was a phenomenal place. There were snow covered glaciers all over the mountain. It was a perfect day for the drive down there as the remainder of the week got a little cloudy up here. The lumber industry is big up here as you could guess. You can see where there is clear cutting going on, but shortly after it is cut, they re-plant the area with seedlings. The visitors center has a great view of the mountain, but as the storm system was moving in, it was a pretty cool breeze moving down off the mountain and the ranger said they have had snow flurries recently and are expecting more soon.

On the 6th, we went to check out the 'Cabela's Outfitters' store in Lacey Washington. We saw this store on the way in from McMinnville and wanted to see if it was as cool as we thought it would be. Well it was. We could have done serious damage to the checking account while in there, but we got out for less than $10. I know, we are such whimps! J While we were on our way down to the Cabela's, we stopped by Jimi Hendrix's grave site. Not something that we normally would have been looking for, but we stumbled across it while working with 'Maggie' one day, so we thought we would have to check it out. It was very tastefully done. We also made an obligatory stop at Camping World. We have been bothered with a bit of a Black water problem, so we needed to get a flushing hose to clean things out a bit. Of course, we can never buy just one thing at Camping world, but we had a gift certificate for $10.00 so that helped out a bit.

Today the 7th is a bit of a lay-low and catch-up day. I have a few chores to do today and then we will go in search of internet access to update the blog and let Carol get caught up on some school work. We will also see if maybe we can find a dog park that we can take the pooches too and let them blow off some steam. On occasion they get a little bit of Cabin Fever, but all in all have been really good on this trip.

I'll check back in sometime next week, so keep checking the blog! Have a great day and Happy camping.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Issoquah Washington





On the second of September, we had an un-eventful drive from McMinnville to Issaquah Washington, once we got rolling that is. We developed a pretty decent leak in the right rear tire of the Ford, while we were out to the Columbia River Gorge. So, I found a Meinikee muffler shop near the McMinnville Safeway and got them to fix the flat and do an oil change on the truck while they were at it. After that was accomplished, I got back to the campsite, hooked up the truck to the trailer and away we went to Issaquah Washington.

On the way to Issaquah, we stopped at the Mount St. Helens visitor's center. It was very interesting to re-live some of that history, which from our own personal history, was so long ago, 28 years to be exact. Later, we arrived at the 'Blue Sky RV Park' in Issaquah, set up camp, and had a Bar B Que'd pork loin for dinner.

On the Third of September, we had a Underground tour scheduled for this day. Once again, this was a very fascinating activity. Shane, our tour guide was very funny, and well informed on the tour. We had been told by a camper at McMinnville that he was a little under-whelmed by the whole underground tour, as he had taken it in the past, but Carol and I enjoyed it thoroughly! What can I say about the guy in McMinnville, he was a Republican, so as usual, they never know what they are talking about! J

Aside from the underground tour today, we went and checked out the 'Pike Street Market'. The longest running permanent open air market. It has been in operation since 1906. Across the street from the Pike street market, we ventured to another 'First' on this trip. As you know, we went to the first Geocache while we were in Oregon. Well, in Seattle, we found the very first 'Starbucks'. This is where the whole thing started for what has now become a 'Mega' corporation.

Seattle is a beautiful town, if you get a chance, you should come check it out sometime.

Two tools on this trip have been absolutely priceless on this trip are the Magellan 1412 Roadmate and the Pressure pro tire monitoring system. With out Maggie, as we call the Magellan, we would have burned far more fuel, hopelessly in search of locations we wanted to go to. And the Pressure-pro monitor saved us from loosing a tire 'cause we normally wouldn't have known it was low.

One of the draw backs to the Blue Sky RV park is that they do not have any Wifi. As a result, this is one of the few updates you may get from us while we are in the Seattle area. I know you got use to your daily updates, but sorry folks, in this town, it just isn't going to happen. L

One thing I may have left out from a previous post about the Evergreen air and space museum, they are working very hard to become the final resting spot for one of the Space Shuttles when they are de-commissioned in 2010. They have a beautiful facility here, so it is very likely they may be able to awarded one of the vehicles 'cause they do such a fine job of protecting their displays.

Monday, September 1, 2008

More from the Air Museum





Hi there all,


Well, the Evergreen Air and Space museum continues to be the highlight of the trip, and we are just getting started. Today, we went to the Air side of the Evergreen Air and Space museum, and were floored by it. We walked in just before 'Chuck' was to start a tour. So, we joined in, and for an hour and half, checked out all sorts of aircraft, from the 'Wright flyer' up through Jet Aircraft. We were in awe of the whole experience, which was capped off by the Howard Hughes 'Spruce Goose'. That plane has a 320 foot wingspan and is just an amazing work of engineering.


After we saw the 'Spruce Goose', we went and did a little bit of geocaching. We spent more time at the museum than we had planned, so we only got four caches in, but as always, Geocaching took us to places we never would have expected. After getting our excercise Geocaching, we went for dinner at 'Outback Steakhouse' since Carol and I both had a hankering for some 'Red Meat'!


After dinner, as we drove back to the campground, we snapped a shot of the Spruce Goose at night. We are having a wonderful time. The only problem so far is we seemed to have developed a leak in a tire on the 'Hulk'. So, I'm off to the tire shop first thing in the morning to get that addressed. Take care, Happy camping! - Eric -

The Columbia River Gorge



Yesterday, (8/31) found us starting our day with a search for the very first ever Geocache. It was in Redland Oregon. If you ever wanted to know where all those christmas trees come from when the trucks bring them from the north, it is Redland Oregon. There are Tree farms, huge ones, for 100's of miles around in this area. It was amazing the trees were in all sorts of stages of developement. At any rate, we found the Plaque where the very first Geocache was placed as well as it's subsiquent cache. The first one was in a five gallon Bucket and the subsiquent one is now an Amo can, cabled to a tree. For more information on what I am talking about, go to http://www.geocaching.com/ for information about Geocaching. It is a great 'Hide and Seek' out doors activity.


After we found the 'Mother cache', we proceeded to the Columnbia River Gorge. This was a breathtaking drive along Highway 84 which travels east from Portland. It is amazing how, over the milenia, the Gorge has been cut by this river. There are several spots along the 'Historic Columbia River Highway' where you can pull off to the side of the road and check out this natural border between Oregon and Washington.


Todays adventures will include more Geocaching, so we can check out Portland some, as well as a return to the Air portion of the Evergreen Air and Space museum.


The attachements today include a picture of Carol and I at the location of the initial Geocache and a video from the Columbia River gorge. Enjoy! - Eric -

video