Life

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing"
- Helen Keller

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tale of a trail



Once again its time to let the photos speak for themselves.














Favorite photo of the day.



Seven miles later, a beer and a lawn chair, it doesn't get any better than this.

Happy Trails........................

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lake Siskiyou, Mt. Shasta CA & Rally stuff



Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Shasta in the background
Our site
Today we moved down I-5 to a park recommended to us by a friend Becky, who has camped lots of places in this area. We are at the Lake Siskiyou Camp-Resort. This a big summer resort, 110 RV sites, 250 tent sites and various cabins and even a couple houses for rent. There is a little store and restaurant but of course the store is on limited hours and the grill is closed for the season. The good part of being off season is there aren’t very many people here so it is very quiet.  Our site is huge and has a nice forest view. We are only here 2 nights but it will be a great place to just relax.


 As we were setting up we were visited by a doe, a young buck and two fawns that still had their spots. They seem to be use to humans, we almost wondered if campers had been feeding them since later they came back to our site. Feeding wildlife is something I really have a problem with, I think we are doing a disservice to our animal friends, so they won’t be getting anything from us. It is fun to see them. I also got a good shot of one of the many chatting squirrels and a steller’s jay. The steller’s jay is a noisy fella but they sure are pretty. I think we will enjoy these couple days.
Stellar's Jay

Evelyn asked about the rally and what we learned. Now that I am a little more rested I thought I’d share a little. Many RVers know about the RV-Dreams website and about its authors Howard and Linda Payne. They began full timing 7 years ago with no previous experience. They decided that part of this journey was to share it with others and they share most everything including financials. If you are considering joining this full time journey their website and these rallies are a valuable resource. They cover lots of areas, for us the ones that we really learned a lot at were the ones on insurance, tire safety and weight consideration, and John got to talk with the guys from AM Solar about a solar set up for our rig. We are looking at adding solar in the spring. We got weighed again and found out we are fine in all areas. We did this a couple years ago but had trouble finding all the numbers they needed and so our numbers weren’t quite right. That sure made John feel better.
Our first visitors

The other two things that I really enjoyed was an open house through the attendees rigs. It was great to see how each of us had personalized our space and everyone shared modifications they had made to make things work better. We found some great ways to add shelves and other storage helpers. The other activity was a day at Guaranty RV in Junction City. They are a large RV dealer that was one of the sponsors for the rally. They had a very interesting seminar for us where they went through a lot of maintenance issues with RVs, discussed batteries and the thing that I learned is what a black tank looks like that makes you understand how important keeping water in the tank is. We knew to do this but now I understand why.

In the afternoon we had a chance to look at their extensive stock of RVs. They have a lot just for 5th Wheels, one for trailers and one for drivables. We went to the 5th wheel lot and went through several new DRV Mobile Suites & Lifestyle (new line). They were all bigger than our rig. What I found is I am very happy with our rig. It may be small but I think it is better built than what we saw. The cabinetry is something I think Excel does better  and overall it just has a more solid feel. I am also happy with the size, we talked about going a little bigger but now I think I am content with our smaller size. 

Howard and Linda are great people and I think the best part of the rally is how they provide all this in such a fun environment. This was one of their smaller rallies, about 70 people, which I think was an advantage. This group became a community and that is a beautiful thing. If you ever have a chance to attend I think you’d enjoy it. I am not particularly a rally person but his one was a delight.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A catch up blog



View of Mt Thiesen from the Diamond Lake Bike Trail
The trail
Diamond Lake;
The bike trail around Diamond Lake in Oregon is beautiful, one of the best we have ever been on. It is 11 miles around and we actually went around twice. Highly recommended.

Dinner with Terry and Lu. Didn’t get to spend time at Crater Lake together but got to have dinner in Harrisburg. Such fun and some good laughs, definitely not long enough.

RV-Dreams Rally: A fun and totally exhausting week. I actually took only a few photos. Sometimes I don’t want to live behind the lens and just experience life and that is how I felt this week. I learned so much, met lots of great people. If you are considering the full time RV life these are excellent rallies to go to. Wish we had gone to this one before we even bought the RV. If you are in the checking it out mode I encourage you to go to www.rv-dreams.com website and consider attending a rally.

Heading to California: We are sad to be leaving Oregon as we have absolutely fallen love with Oregon. Are original plan was to take Hwy 101 down the coast but when I asked Alan at Canyon Creek we found out there is no good way to get from the 101 to our park without really going out of our way so we are traveling down the I-5. It is better than we thought, a pretty stretch of interstate here in Oregon. My guess is it will get busier as we get into Califorina.
Rogue River along the bike trail

Valley of the Rogue State Park in Oregon is where we are for a couple nights. It is a very nice park. On the plus side, nice sites and a bike trail. On the minus side, too close to the I-5 so lots of road noise (although it quiets down at night). Tomorrow we are heading to Lake Siskiyou RV Park in California, a friend of ours (thanks Becky) recommended it. Then to Redding to visit with RV friends Sheryl and Jeff. Finally on to Canyon Creek and our camp hosting job for the winter. 
A view towards I-5 from the bike trail

Its going to take me awhile to catch up on my blogger friends adventures but I hope you all have been safe and well.
Happy Trails...............................

Friday, September 14, 2012

Crater Lake



I’m not sure what to say except WOW. This is a beautiful and amazing place. Today we did the driving tour and drove the rim drive all the way along the lake. We did stop and get a stamp for my Parks Passport and bought a couple books at the gift shop. We stopped at many of the overlooks and just took our time. Today I think I will let the photos do the talking. I did change the header and put in a panoramic of Crater Lake that I took today too. Hope you enjoy.







Happy Trails...................

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bend, Oregon

The view out my window on our drive south
This may have actually been an intentional burn,

Monday we left Plymouth for Bend. It was a nice drive but as we got closer we noticed a lot of smoke again. There is a large wildfire west of Sisters and you could see the smoke clinging to the hills. There also seemed to be some intentional burning going on in a few fields along the way. The smoke started getting to me a little even in the Plymouth area when I was running. I knew it was time to find a Walgreens and get a new inhaler so we did that in Redmond.

We are staying at a park right in Bend called Scandia RV Park. It is ok but seems very pricey for what you get. The park is fairly tight like most RV parks. They have a couple laundry areas . The one in our loop only had 2 washer/dryers and one of the dryers was out of order. The good thing is it is only $1.25 for both washer and dryer. The last place we did laundry at it was $2.50 each. There also is a Wendy’s at the end of our loop which came in handy for a late night frosty, and one night we even had burgers.
River in downtown Bend


We did enjoy Bend, it is an incredibly bike friendly town, with bike lanes on most roads and plenty of trails too, even though we didn’t get the bikes out. This town has at least 7 microbreweries, so we were off on a quest. Tuesday we visited 10 Barrels Brewing. Nice pub with great patio seating. Both the beer and food were excellent. Then we found an outlet mall just past our park that had an Eddie Bauer Store. I just happen to have a $5 off coupon in my inbox so we had to do some shopping. We love their T-shirts, men’s and woman’s, both short and long sleeved. Today the long sleeved ones were just $10, and knowing our work camping will be a slightly cooler area this year we each picked up a couple. I also found a couple short sleeved on clearance. Yahoo!!.
John enjoying the patio at Bend Brewing

John and Rockin' Tom


Thursday we headed to the downtown area to check out a couple more breweries. We started with Bend Brewing, and as we were parking we found out the farmer’s market was setting up, how lucky could we get. I am really getting spoiled by all this fresh produce. Bend brewing also has an excellent selection of beer and John particularly enjoyed their stout (nitro) that had a coffee kick. We shared an appetizer and then checked out the market. 
Janie & Donna

We had gotten a message that Excel friends of ours Rockin’ Tom and his wife Donna were going to take a little vacation from their work camping spot in Portland and come to a B & B just outside Bend. They called and we met up for a drink at the Alehouse, this is not a microbrewery but has many of the area craft brews on tap so we got to try something different yet again. After a nice visit we bid farewell and John and I went to another microbrewery right across the street: Deschutes Brewing. Now it was also time for dinner. We really do try to time this all out so we don’t overindulge, making sure we eat and take our time, so I hope you don’t picture us staggering down the street. Today may have sounded like a lot but we made it last almost all day.  

We finished up by returning to the farmer’s market and getting our produce. I was surprised how much was gone since we first browsed the booths. I still got most of what I was looking for. The downtown area of Bend is beautiful, nice shops, lots of restaurants as well as the brewpubs. We could definitely spend some time here.

We did check one other RV park out, Crown Villa resort. It got great reviews online but looked a little pricer than where we are (but not much). It is a gorgeous park, reminded us a little of the one we just stayed at in Deer Park WA. Incredibly long sites, good spacing and lots of trees. If we were to stay longer here like a month or so I think this is where we would stay. It is definitely an RV resort not a campground but I think it is a well done one.
Diamond Lake

Today we headed to Diamond Lake, just north of Crater Lake. We are at the park with hook-ups. There is one right across the street without hook-ups. Many of those sites  are right on the lake, they would be great if we were set up to boondock........someday maybe. Friends will be arriving today too, we hope. They are having some maintenance work done in Eugene and it didn’t get completed yesterday so it depends on whether or not they get out of there at a decent time today. We are looking forward to seeing them again. We met Lu and Terry about a year ago in Bayfield WI and they stopped and visited us in Coffeyville. Should be a great time. Diamond lake is beautiful and I can’t wait to see Crater Lake. There is a lot to do here and my guess is we won’t get it all done but that’s ok, we’ll just have to come back.

Happy trails..........................

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A week flies by......

Good-bye Spokane RV resort, can you believe how long these sites are!


Our site at Plymouth Park
Well, finally passed or month without going over our usage limit. Good thing I have a smart phone so we were still able to get emails and check Facebook. We moved to a COE park in southern Washington in the tri-city area. Most of the COE parks in this area actually closed September 4th, seems a little early to me but we were able to get into a w/e site at Plymouth park. Nice little park along the Columbia River. This area is mainly open plains but down by the river there are trees so we have some nice shade. The sites are almost all the pull through type that are pullovers and I think would be a little tight for many rigs but people seem to make them work. 
Columbia-Crest Winery

We’ve had a pretty easy going week. Thursday we visited the Columbia -Crest Winery that is about 20 miles away. It is the largest winery in Washington and we have bought some of their wine even back in Iowa so it was fun to visit and do a wine tasting here. The grounds are beautiful and after our tasting we sat outside with a nice glass of their Amitage, a red blend, and enjoyed a beautiful spot.

Saturday morning we headed into Pasco to a farmer’s market. This one is much larger than the one we went to in Spokane. I am getting really spoiled by all the fresh produce we have had lately. Today we bought lots of berries, nectarines, apples, potatoes, peppers and zucchini. Mmmmmmm

A special little treat this week, we found out Howard and Linda of RV-Dreams are camped about 30 miles from here. We are going to a rally they are having in Harrisburg Oregon in a little over a week. I checked in with Howard and we went over Saturday evening to just visit for a short time. We knew they had a big travel day today so we tried to keep it short. The website and journal they maintain were very instrumental in our decision to full time, we have learned a great deal from them. We are excited that we finally get to go to a rally. Its never lined up with our travel before so when our plans changed a little we were able to make it work. Yea!!
Pond on winery grounds, beautiful picnic spot



Tomorrow we take off again, we will spend a couple days in Bend OR, and the Thursday will be off to Diamond Lake near Crater Lake NP. So many of our blogger friends have talked about the beauty of Crater Lake that we are anxious to see it, as an added bonus we will be seeing our friends Lu and Terry too! Should be a great week and then it will be off to the Rally.

Winery grounds
One thing I haven’t mentioned is we have accepted a work camping position in Northern California for the winter at a campground called Canyon Creek. It is about 30 miles from Napa along the Putah creek. I think it is a Coast to Coast campground. We do know it is kind of isolated, no over the air TV and from some reviews it sounds like limited cell signal. We have decided we are going to make it work. We have talked about getting satellite tv and this may put us over the edge on that decision. If we can’t get an internet signal we may be heading in town once a week to do all our internet stuff.  It does sound like a nice campground in a quiet mountain setting and that really appeals to us. In the spring we plan on returning to the NW, working our way up the coast and up to Bellingham to visit John’s brother. That’s a long way off so I’ll think about that much later.
Flowers on winery grounds

Happy Trail.............................

Monday, September 3, 2012

Short on minutes

Just a short post to my fellow bloggers. This month we have really eaten up the minutes on our aircard. Soon we will be moving to a new situation with 20G a month but for right now we have to stay in our 5G range. We have wi-fi at this park but it can be painfully slow and sometimes only parts of pages load. Such are the trials on the road (lol). I'm trying to keep up with reading and I may get another post done tonight and if I stay up late enough it may actually get get posted (just have to wait until all the other users go to sleep). We leave this park tomorrow and are headed to a COE park in Plymouth WA so that will be the end of wi-fi. You may not here from me here or in comments until after the 7th but know I'm trying to keep up by reading some on my phone. Until then....
Happy Trails..........................

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Beautiful Cruise on Lake Pend Oreilles

The boat for the cruise.
We arrived in Deer Park, WA just north of Spokane. This is a lovely spot that is outside the city. The longer we are on the road the more I appreciate being away from the city. Its nice to go visit for a short time but I’d rather stay in a more rural setting. The Spokane RV Resort (not in Spokane the city) is where we are staying and it is a resort. The sites are huge, even the largest rigs would fit here. It has a nice pool and hot tub area and it sits on a golf course and offers a discount on golf. I haven’t had a chance to take any photos of the area but I’ll try to get that done tomorrow since I think it will be a day of just hanging out. This is a little more than we like to pay for a site but what the heck.
Happy for 28 years!

John checking out the wheel house

John and I are celebrating our anniversary, actually today. Twenty eight years went by pretty fast. We knew we want to do something special so when we arrived I asked for suggestions at the office. The gal on duty gave me a brochure for a cruise on Lake Pend Oreille about an hour NE of here in Idaho at Sand Point. They have a dinner cruise on the lake on Thursday for $40. That sounded reasonable for a 2 1/2 hour cruise and eagle watching complete with dinner, so signed up. The drive to Sandpoint was a beautiful one along the Priest River to Lake Pend Oreille. The drive is along US-2 and the scenery is amazing. The cruise goes out of the City Beach Marina. City Beach is a wonderful park right downtown Sandpoint. It has a large beach, tennis courts, basketball courts, picnic areas and the marina. There is a small RV park as you enter the area but the sites are very small and tight together.
Eagle drying his wings

Moon rise
The cruise began at 5:30. We sat on the upper deck just behind the wheel house which afforded us time with Captain Ron.  John spent some time in the wheel house asking him lots of questions. He was a wealth of info on the history of the lake and how it was formed. It is a huge lake. Once underway they served appetizers and drinks (drinks and gratuity are not included in the price). It wasn’t too long before we were near an area where there is a breeding pair of eagles. We spotted one that was drying out its wings. They also had us watching for the moon rise, the moon is all but full and the next night was the official “blue moon”. The moon when it did rise was spectacular and it would be hard to tell that it wasn’t officially the full moon, sure looked full to us. I took lots of photos and thought they turned out all right for being on a boat where your never completely still. The dinner was served and it was excellent. A pasta restaurant in town does the catering. Soon we moved to another island where we were able to view another breeding bald eagle pair. This time we spotted both of them in the trees, how cool. Since it was starting to get darker it was difficult to get a real clear photo but I did ok. They also took us by a castle that is being built by some guy out of Spokane. They think it will take 8 more years to complete. Weird thing to spend your money on but I guess when you have unlimited funds you have to spend it on something. As we headed back we were able to watch the moon continue to rise as the sun was setting. What a great anniversary gift to each other.
Castle anyone?

The second eagle pair

Today we went into Spokane for some biking and site seeing. I think I’ll save that and post again tomorrow. We actually have a freeze warning out for tonight. I love these warm days and cool nights, makes for great sleeping.
Happy Trails.............................

Once in a blue moon.......