Jan 28, 2008
Sorry that it has been so long since my
last entry. Kim and I have been keeping busy this past year traveling from
northwest Oregon to southern Oregon in March, then to southern California in
September and back to northwest Oregon in December. Covering a total of over
2,000 miles. We moved here to Hood River in January where we will remain through March.
It's really beautiful here in the
Columbia River Gorge. The air is fresh, the food is great and the people are
friendly. We got a bunch of snow recently and we just love it. Its all about
being prepared. I have found that those who are not prepared typically don't
like the snow, but I think it's kind of magical. Kim and instantly I
transform into little kids
when it snows.
It got rather cold here recently so I
placed two clamp on lights under the
holding tanks to keep the tanks from freezing, as I have done many times in
the past. I forgot, though, that I had
used the clamp lights for another use this summer in which I removed the 25
watt bulbs and replaced them with 40 watt. Needless to say, placing the
higher wattage bulbs in such close proximity to the plastic holding tanks
caused the tanks to partly melt. Both thanks then developed a small leak.
I am now left with the task of trying
to drain the tanks compleatly, without removing them, so I can sand down and seal the
bad spots. But first the weather has to cooperate as temperatures need to be
in the 70's for the fiberglass or plastic patch to cure properly. It will
likely be sometime in late February or early March before we see any 70
degree days though.
I have started upgrading some of the
lights on our utility trailer, camper and truck, to the brighter more
efficient LED's. These lights take less voltage to operate and are a bit
brighter too. I just converted over the
original sealed beam head lights on the truck to Super Bright White H-4 HID's. I had to make up
a new heavy duty wiring harness with two heavy duty 40 amp relays to
handle the additional power draw of the 55 watt bulbs.
I cant wait to hit the road again and
do some night driving. What made me decide to up grade my headlights was our
recent trip from Southern California to Northwestern Oregon: It was December
24 and Kim had her heart set on getting into Portland that night so she
could spend Christmas with our girls and their families. I too was anguses
to see the girls, but I also had reservations about driving this dangerous hwy
at night and in such bad
weather. Plus the additional holiday traffic was horrendous, to say the
At about Grants Pass I could see the
weather was about to change as a large storm cloud approached from the west. Then about an hour later, as darkness
fell, the rain started in. It started out heavy and remained heavy all the way
it just kept pouring and pouring. I-5 quickly became a lake and
with all the large trucks, sharp curves, narrow road, steep grades and
numerous construction zones, it was my worst nightmare come true. My better
judgment told me to pull off somewhere for the night and continue to
Portland the following morning, but Kim would not have it. So on we went.....
A total of four mountain passes still stood
between us and our destination. The worst of which was Canyon Creek Pass (Elv.
2,020 feet) a snake like narrow two lane road with four or five miles of
construction zones. Luckily we had already passed over the Siskiyou Summit
earlier that day, before this storm hit. Passing the summit there was still a lot of snow along the
road side from the previous storm a few days earlier, but the road bed was clear.
If it would not have been for Kim being
so hell bent on getting to Portland that night I would have pulled off the
road and crawled into my nice warm bed. During the trip I had real thoughts
that I might not make it. I had visions of the girls getting a call from the
police saying that I had crashed.
With my nose pressed tight against the
windshield in an attempt to make out the lines on the road I pressed on,
fighting to keep the truck on the road. At times, when the northbound lanes
became two, the trucks would pass and I would loose all vision for 8 or 10
seconds. At that time I had to keep my eyes on the side of the passing truck
and guest-a-mate where my lane should be.
Amazingly we made it into Portland with out
incident, I'm happy to say, but I will never drive in those kind of conditions ever again. With or
without HID headlights. I informed Kim that was the first and last time for
that type of adventure.
It's just not worth risking you life over.....
Feb 26, 2007
Kim and I drove over to
Carson Hot Springs
today, one of the nearby attractions we wanted to visit, and spent some time
soaking in one of the large claw foot tubs filled with hot mineral water.
After a 20 minute soak in the 125 degree water they wrap you in warm towels
while you lay on a cot in the rustic 1900's bath house. It was a very
relaxing experience and really refreshing for both us.
When you enter the bath house an
attendant begins filling a huge claw foot tub. He then offers you a drink of the hot mineral filled water that flows from the ground below the
bath house. The waters are said to heal and remedy many types of ailments.
With the mild infection I am attempting to clear up in mind, I thought it
may be worth a try so I took a couple of gulps. Haa... tastes kind of like
what I would imagine liquid propane would if it were heated up.
Kim opted not to drink the medicinal
juice of the earth, which carried the aroma of rusted metal and rotten eggs.
She, may very well have been the smart one in this venture. Time will tell.
I know that I might want to invest in some breath mints after this
Speaking of time, our time in the
Columbia River Gorge is nearing its end as we prepare to head to our next
destination in southeastern Oregon. With recent cold weather we are
expecting plenty of snow at our new location. The weather guy says
temperatures will beginning warming before we hit the road again, we are
keeping our fingers crossed that he is right. I have chains for both rigs,
but I think we might avoid having to use them. Although, we might have to
adjust our travel date by one or two days, one way or the other.
January 15, 2007
More snow recently fell, about three
inches total. It has been very cold here in the Columbia River Gorge,
averaging 25-30 degrees and it looks like the snow will be around for awhile
this time. The wind has been very light for the past week, but it is
expected to pick up tonight. We've been managing to stay warm by running the
gas heater as a supplement to our small electric cube heater, which
typically does a very good job.
I only had to brush the snow off our
satellite dish twice to get the signal back. Other than that the Hughes.net
service has been flawless. Cant beat having high speed internet every where
we go, we just love it.
I've been busy building some shelves in
the utility trailer we purchased in October. Now it will be much easier to
get at the things we need without having to unbury them first. Plus, we now
have more room for transporting materials as we travel from place to place,
which is a great way to help offset the cost of gas. Check out
It was with great regret that we had to
rearrange our schedule so that we could remain here in Oregon this summer.
We were forced to change our plans of traveling east in April due to a
sudden family illness. In mid December my wife's brother was found to have
lung cancer and Kim wanted to remain near by so she could visit him more
readily. There for awhile it didn't look like he would make it. He is
currently in pretty bad shape.
We have recently been asked to work as
assistant managers at a very nice private RV resort in southeastern Oregon
for the 2007 season. It is, actually, a one person job where Kim will be the
main worker and I will occasionally help out. I plan to find full or
part-time work at near by.
With both of us earning a wage it will
help us to more quickly build our savings so we can eventually purchase the
fifth wheel trailer we've been dreaming of. Nothing fancy; just a nice,
slightly used, late model 29-35 foot triple slide. I've found the price for
a good quality unit, that best fits our needs, will average
$20,000 to $30,000.
We have entered two drawings to win a
35 foot Fiver and truck and we're keeping our fingers crossed that one of
our tickets will be chosen. The drawings are in May.
Soon, near end of February, we'll be
hitting the road in route to our next destination in southeastern Oregon.
Our site is on the river in a semi wooded area, we will have photos posted in our album
later in March.
If you haven't already, be sure to take
a look at our new
"Happy Trails to all"
December 8, 2006
We do, or rather we did. Last week the
snow gods blessed us by dropping a total of four magical inches on us. Kim
and I were in heaven, it was really grate even if it was short lived. We're
hopping to see a bit more before we have to check out.
I'm currently building a large 7 foot
by 8 foot shelving unit for the location we are volunteering at. It's going
to take three men and a small boy to lift the unit up into place. I built it
extra heavy duty.
October 24, 2006
Woo.. its been a busy October for sure.
We had some trouble earlier this month setting up our Hughesnet internet
dish at a volunteer site on the north Oregon coast. We were scheduled to be
there October 9 through December 24, but the clear view of the southern sky was somewhat impaired by eight residential power lines and
four high tension lines, all of which interfered with our ability to lock on
to the satellite and peak the signal to a suitable strength. So, unfortunately,
we had to hit the road and find another
location to set up camp.
It was a learning experience which I
have placed in my been here, done that, wont make that mistake again folder.
Next time I will know not only to ask if the site has a clear view of the
southern sky, but also if there are any power lines or substations near by.
We felt sorry to have to leave so
abruptly, after only checking in a few days earlier, but the manager at the
site was very understanding and happy to learn of the problem with the power
lines affecting internet satellite reception. He said that it was a good
thing to know so he can inform future volunteers that may have internet
We left the coast the morning of
October 15 and headed into Portland to visit with our family and find a
nearby place to stay. We located a nice RV Park on the lower Sandy River in
Troutdale to spend a few days at while we reinvented our plans for the
coming months. Shortly after arriving at the park my sweet tooth started
acting up. It never fails to alert me when confectioners wares are within
range, 8 to 10 miles is average. My instinct quickly lead me a short ways up
the road to the town of Troutdale. Here I found a homemade candy shop that
contained some of the best most delectable chocolate covered nut clusters I
have ever tasted. Mmmm... Oh.. Yes...
Good thing we only planned to spend a
couple of days here or I might have had to enroll in Jenny Craig, or is that
roll into Jenny Craig. Either way it was lucky I was short on cash and could
only afford a handful of the wondrous morsels @ $14.00
We found a temporary volunteer
site near Portland where we will work through October 27, after which we'll be heading to the beautiful Columbia River Gorge for a
short stint at Cascade Locks.
We had a conference call with a
potential employer at Lake Tahoe earlier this month and hope to hear back
from them soon as to whether or not we were accepted for the position. We
also have a potential paid position at a National Park in California that
could start in March or April, and another potential in Washington at a
beautiful Park on the Snake River.
We have a situations wanted ad coming
out in the Jan/Feb issue of Workamper news that should provide us with many
more opportunities if needed.
September 5, 2006
Time is ticking away and it wont be
long before we are once again on the road to another location. We have been
doing some minor maintenance to the vehicles, oil changes, tune ups,
checking tires, cleaning battery terminals, etc. We will be spending the
winter months on the Oregon coast where temperatures remain mild.
There are two ducks, male and female,
that have befriended us. They come waddling up on our patio every night at
dusk. I've been feeding them bread and they have really taken a liking to
that. I plan on getting them some duck feed from a friend who raises foul. I
don't think too much bread is really good for them. I believe they are
training ducks that escaped from dog trainers recently.
August 15, 2006
Kim and I took our lawn chairs out into
a dark area of the Park, away from the light over our site, and watched the
meteor shower Saturday night. It was quite an impressive show. Its really
dark out here at night. We saw numerous falling stars, or rather dust
specks, remnants from the passing of comet Swift Tuttle. They say the comet
will come very close to earth in about 10 years or so. Hope its not too
We have less than six weeks left here
at the ponds and are getting excited to once again to hit the road and begin
our journey to a new location. The feeling of having a destination on our up
coming agenda is really awesome. I'm also looking forward to getting the
truck back out on the road and burning out the gunk.
We did like the fact that this position
was seven months in duration as it allowed us time to get filmier with the
area and experience all it has to offer. It also allowed us to develop
friendships with many of the Parks visitors. We still have a few places to
visit and things to do before we check out and hope to take care of that in
the coming weeks.
We definitely like the longer stints
and in the future will be looking for positions where we can workamp or
volunteer for at least 4 months at a time, preferably 6 months. I think six
months is the perfect time frame to spend at each location. It saves wear
and tear on the rig and tons of money on the gas bill by not having to run
to a new location every few months. Very important these days.
While browsing the Web recently I found
an interesting story about workamping on the Charlotte Observer newspaper
Web site. The article titled "Permanent Vacation" is about two individuals
who decided to sell their home and enter the life of fulltime RVing. Click
the link below to read the article.
July 15, 2006
The dear are beginning to appear near
our site most every evening now. See the photo below of a large doe and her
twin yearling fauns. One night I found them standing within 25 feet of our
back door. I startled them as I bolted for the camera though.
We also had some another unexpected
guests drop in recently -- literally drop in -- when a hot air balloon
carrying three people came in low at the east end of pond #2 just behind our
camper at 6:30 am (photos below). They were running low on fuel and had an
older lady on board who went on the trip for her birthday.
Luck would have it our grandson was
staying with us and he too had up close and personal opportunity to see the
huge balloon fly in and land. They offered Troy, our grandson, a short ride
but he declined because he was afraid of the noise and fire from the gas
burner. I cant blame him, I had reservations as well and maintained a safe
distances. Troy and Kim in photo bottom left (click on image
for larger view).
It was quite the morning wake up call.
June 30, 2006
Only three months left at our current
location, not that were counting. Kim and I have pretty much adopted this
Park as our home and have made a multitude of improvements throughout the
area including the clearing of downed trees that were felled by beavers.
View one of the beaver dens ] We will sure miss the Park, but are
looking forward to our new location on the Oregon coast. We will be heading
westward October 1, but are planning a slight detour along the way to fish
for fall Chinook salmon.
With the warmer weather more animals
are now showing up in the Park. This week we had three days in the upper
90's and one that reached 101 degrees. The humidity was a bit higher than
usual too, hope we don't see much more of that kind of weather. We don't
have an air-conditioned on the RV, but I went to Home Depoe (my favorite
store) and purchased a 5,000 BTU window air conditioner that I rigged up in
the crawl through window between the cab of the truck and the camper. It
works great! It keeps the camper very cool and I can easily remove it when
it's no longer needed. Best thing is -- it only cost $89.00. An RV roof air
conditioner would have cost us over $600.00, plus the cost of installation.
A rabbit joined me yesterday as I
unlocked the Park gate. He, or she, seemed curious and un afraid as it
hopped along the road just ahead of the truck. I unfortunately, once again,
I was without my camera so I don't have a photo of the little bugger, I'll get
him next time. He's a cute little fellow. I saw a pair of quail walking
along the access road also.
Last night, after closing the gate, I
returned to the RV and began checking a few things on the truck. It was dusk
when I decided to make one last scan of far tree line for dear before
heading in for the night. I was talking to myself saying something like,
"there have got to be some dear around here somewhere" as I stepped just
beyond the front of the truck and to my surprise saw a very large doe
standing near the back of the RV, not more than 30 feet away. I quickly went
to grab the camera, but my sudden movement spooked her and she bounded away.
I'll get her next time.
June 2, 2006
Hello everyone, hope you are well and
enjoying life. We have been busy little beavers cleaning up the Park and
making the area look more Park like. Years of neglect are slowly fading away
as the area is now beginning to take shape. It has been a very rewarding
experience not only because the improved view from our site and the kind
words and praise we have received from supervisors, county workers and
visitors, but just seeing the day to day deference our efforts have made
keeps us happy and satisfied.
We recently received a call from
Yosemite National Park in California asking if we would be interested in
working there next spring. We told them we would indeed be interested and
requested they send us more information on the position. Kim and I are
keeping our fingers crossed as this is an opportunity we did not believe
would arise for sometime.
May 11, 2006
Spring has arrived and with the warming
temperatures local wildlife activity has increased significantly, we are now
seeing deer in the Park and yesterday I spotted fresh beaver sign. We are
still waiting to see a live beaver, although we did see JR Beaver at a the
Oregon State Parks Rendezvous last month. JR is a Parks volunteer who wears
a beaver costume for Junior Ranger programs that are held in parks
throughout Oregon. Kim said she would love to do that, so don't be surprised
if you see a photo here of me being mauled by a 5'.8" furry creature. It's
just Kim paying me back for all my years of bearish behavior.
We saw two twin yearling fauns hanging
around near the Park gate these past few days. They are both very healthy
and quite large, nearly the size of a full grown doe. They are curious and
are not afraid of approaching a vehicle, which allows us a close up view. We
hope to have some photos soon.
Kim pulled some logs and debris from
the Ponds yesterday with the tractor and she's been transforming lots of
bushes (trees with numerous suckers) into trees. The suckers are really bad
and have never been trimmed from the numerous alder and cottonwood trees
that surround the ponds.
Hello everyone, I hope you are well and enjoying life, nature and being free
in a nation that offers so much but asks so little. We would like to
encourage everyone to take a moment of their time to think about our troops
overseas and wish them a safe and speedy return to their homes and
Kim and I have managed to keep busy this month. The rains are now beginning
to taper off and more sunny days and 65 to 70 degree weather are managing to
squeeze their way in. Windy days have also been fewer and we are seeing new
types of birds in the area every day. Kim spotted four Ospreys last weekend.
They were feasting on Rainbow trout that were planted for the recent kids
fishing event. We also have recently seen red tailed hawks,
mallards, geese and a pair of what I think were some type of falcon.
The kids fishing event last weekend was a lot of fun for local kids and
their families. Over 1,500 legal sized trout were planted along with 50
trophy size fish averaging 14 to 20 inches. A total of 60 kids registered
for the event and well over 120 persons fished the St. Louis Ponds on
Saturday, April 8. Most everyone caught fish and had a wonderful time even
though the weather was a bit unstable during the morning hours.
Daily visitation to the Park has increased dramatically this month, from 5
to 15 visitors per day in March to a daily average of 50 to 80 people.
We really like this area and are making many new friends, some of which are
regulars who have visited the Park for many years. We have also received
much phrase from many visitors about how nice the Park looks. Yesterday a
gentleman fishing at pond #3 told me that it is quite apparent that we like
our jobs because it shows in how nice and neat the Park has been.
It is nice to know that our work is appreciated, this makes us even more
determined and diligent to keep things ship shape. We have basically adopted
the area as our own back yard and treat it as such. I told my dad the other
day, its like owning our own property with out having to pay the taxes on
Kim managed to mow a bit of grass prior to the kids fishing event, but most
of the ground in the Park is still too wet and soft to run the tractor on.
There has been a large Blue Herron hanging around the Park, we spotted him
on the handicapped dock last week. We haven't seen any animals yet, just
lots of birds. But we have heard coyotes howling nearby these past few nights
as we stood around the campfire.
We are planning to build a small rustic fence along the back side of the
site using fallen limbs and small logs from around the area. We have also
placed some gravel near the utilities hookup area, which was mostly mud when
Our high speed satellite dish is working flawlessly and we really enjoy
having instant access to the internet and our e-mail. It's invaluable and
truly pays for itself in the long run. Its grate to be able to look up local
businesses, seeing we are not too filmier with the area. We are also able to
access listings of used 5th wheels so we can browse for our future unit.