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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 least.

 

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 to Portland, 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.....

 

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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 adventure.

 

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.

 

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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 u-Ship for opportunities.

 

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 photo album.

 

"Happy Trails to all"

 

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December 8, 2006

 

Got Snow?

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.

 

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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 satellite dishes.

 

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 a pound.

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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 close.

 

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. http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/living/15147275.htm

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

Minto Park shore

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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 pulling snag from pond #3

 

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.

 

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April 14, 2006

 

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 families.......

 

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 it.

 

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.

 

Click for larger viewKim and I donated some gravel and a truck wheel which we used to built a nice fire pit near the host site. This area will be enjoyed not only by us, but also by all of the future hosts who volunteer at this site. Kim purchased some flowers and planted them along the edge of our cement pad and I brought in several Australian Pine trees, each about a foot tall. One I planted on the windward side of our site, the other two I placed into larger containers which I set on the patio. I plan to take these two, which I named Little Ever Greenies, with us as we travel. Until they get too big to handle that is.

 

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 we arrived.

 

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.

 

 

 

I will soon be manufacturing a mount on our camper to place the Hughes satellite dish. I'm thinking simple, effective and inexpensive, as is my typical frame of thought. (Direcway is now HughesNet). If you have any questions on this satellite dish service feel free to e-mail us with your inquiries.

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March 29, 2006

 

Winter is showing signs of letting go and spring is in the air as increasing numbers of anglers visit our Park in search of Rainbow trout. The anticipation of consistent 70 degree weather is something Kim and I are really looking forward to. The weather here hasn't really been all that bad, just a little cool when the wind is blowing. Overall I would say it has been moderately comfortable.

 

The cottonwood and alder trees are starting to grow some leaves, the area should start looking a lot greener in a couple of weeks. I bought two Australian Pine trees to plant on the south side of the host area this week. I'm hoping they will eventually provide a bit of a windbreak for the site, the wind blows really strong through here at times. Earlier this month we had several days with 40 to 50 mph gusts, and nearly lost our awning before adding second 10 pound cement block to each corner.

 

Everything has been going well here at St. Louis Park and we are getting more filmier with the area and the locals who visit the Park. We have found a Safeway to do our shopping at just two miles down the road in Woodburn, and a nice clean laundry mat in Keizer. Kim recently spotted a Hollywood Video while in Woodburn the other day so, on our days off when there's nothing on TV and the weather prevents us from having a campfire, we'll have options for alternative entertainment.

 

The grass is still a bit soggy around here, but it is better than it was last week. The trout stocking truck was here on the 21st to drop in one thousand 8-12 inch Rainbow trout. The truck got stuck in the mud while backing down to dump the fish. The Oregonian was here to photograph the stocking, but instead had to settle for a photo of the driver standing up on the truck. If you saw the photo in last weeks paper you might have noticed that the lower portion of the truck was not visible. The driver did eventually get the fish into the lake though, and a local farmer with a backhoe helped pull the truck from the mud.

 

Next week the ODFW is hosting a youth fishing event at our Park. They will have several other volunteers here to help young anglers learn how to fish. It should be a lot of fun. They will also provide fishing equipment and bait for those who do not have their own. 1,500 Rainbow trout will be stocked in the lake just prior to the event. We are looking forward to it and hope to have many photos and success stories from lots of young anglers.

 

Kim and I plan to attend next months Oregon State Parks Rendezvous in Salem. Numerous seminars are scheduled. We are signed up for several and are prepared to learn all that we can about volunteer opportunities with the Oregon State Parks division. Kim and I are also looking forward to meeting with volunteer coordinators, Park staff and those who have volunteered for the Parks division.


Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) semi-annual 2006 Host Rendezvous, April 23-27th!

 

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March 12, 2006

 

Getting settled in at St. Louis Ponds

     

 

Our new volunteer location is great, we really like all the ponds that surround us and each night is just as peaceful as the next. It's like living in a park. Kim and I really enjoy meeting and welcoming all of the visitors who come to the park each day, many bring their kids to fish. It is a great place for families. Seeing this is a large wetland surrounded by 7 ponds we are hoping the misquotes aren't too bad this summer, I've heard they can be a problem. We'll be at this site through September.

 

One of our grand sons, Troy (photo above), spent the night with us last week . He and I spent the following day picking up litter, preparing the fire pit for an evening weenie roast and casting a line in search of hungry rainbow trout. It's been in the low 40's at night and the park grass remains soggy from the late winter rains, but things should begin drying up later in April. A fair number of hearty anglers have been fishing for trout, even with the cold temps. Over 1,000 rainbows were planted on March 4. Some have experienced a fair to good catch of 8 to 11 inchers. The bass and other warm water fish should start biting later this spring.

 

Kim and I have been getting to know some of the regular visitors to the park and learning the best areas to fish. Our other duties include handing out park maps, refilling TP dispenser in the restroom and picking up litter around the ponds. We have some signage to put up this week. Cant mow the grass until things dry out. We also maintain a online log (pdf file) of our daily duties along with a vehicle inventory that is accessible by our supervisor in Portland via access code.

 

Day 3 of satellite internet access
We set up a Direcway satellite for our internet last week. After being without service for more than 10 days I'm like a kid at Christmas. The system seams to work quite well and its speed is nearly that of cable, which is what we are accustom to. So far this unit has performed well beyond my expatiations and once its set up you have an always on high speed connection. I will have more on this satellite system and how it works out as we continue using this wonderful technology to stay connected during our travels.

 

 

There was a dog trial event held this weekend in the dog training area of the park. It was quite fun watching the trainers run there dogs through the various courses where they retrieved both live and dead ducks.

 

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February 24, 2006

 

How time fly's when your having a fun adventure. It has been a positive and rewarding experience volunteering here at the Clackamas ODFW office this past month. As we excitedly, although with reservations, prepare to hit the road for our next destination we cant help thinking about the newly made friends we will leave behind. We hope to someday return to the Clackamas host location to stop in and say hi. Jennell Hoehne, Volunteer Coordinator, said they would be thrilled to have us back.

 

We went on a boat ride yesterday to help set up net pens in Clackamette Cove, just off the Clackamas River near Oregon City. Tens of thousands of spring salmon smolts will be placed into the pens, where they will live for two to three weeks prior to their release.

 

I have been busy checking the vehicles and getting things in order for the trip south. Kim is taking care of the laundry and reorganizing things in the camper. I noted one of the tires on the right rear of the truck is somewhat weather checked and am a bit concerned. My father, an ex truck driver, said a slight bit of weather checking on 10 ply tires should not affect the strength of the tire, just the same I plan to stop by Less Swab before hitting the freeway and have them take a look. These are fairly new tires, but I am currently right at the load limit for each rear tire (3,045 pounds) and prefer not to take any chances.

 

If all goes as planned we should have high speed satellite internet service up and running within a week after our arrival at the park. So there may be a short spell, Feb 27- Mar 10 where we don't have access to e-mail. I plan to have Directway install a portable dish on the utility pole at our site. Then when we leave the St Louis site I'll buy a tripod for the dish so we can set it up our self at future locations.

 

We will be renting a U Haul trailer Monday night to pull behind the Pathfinder for the firewood, patio table and chairs, fire ring, cinder blocks and other large items we plan on using at our next location. Most these items we are taking to St Louis Ponds will be donated to the site for future volunteers.

 

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February 7, 2006

We worked this morning until noon raking leaves. Then our daughter dropped by with the grandkids and we had lunch in the first sun we've seen in 45 days. It made for a great day and we cant wait to feel the sun again tomorrow. Our daughter said her youngest (Joey) told her that grandma went camping forever and added, he might not ever see her again. So she had to show him where we are now living, and that indeed grandma was camping, but not gone forever.

 

  

 

We experienced a small leak in one of our water line connections inside the RV and our holding tank was a little stubborn to drain last night, but everything is going pretty well and were enjoying our stay. The employees here are really nice and have quickly made us feel right at home. Tomorrow we will be helping serve a salmon soup lunch in the office for a fundraising event. Mummm... Then its off the fill the bird and squirrel feeders.

 

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February 3, 2006

 

Were here...
Our spot at the ODFW Clackamas Regional Office is great! Surrounded by large and small Doug fir trees and native plants. We have a nice cement pad with a picnic table, wood sun deck and washroom with a shower, washer and dryer and storage area. (Click on image for larger view).

There is a Fred Meyer store just two miles away and were only 20 minutes away from our daughters homes. It is quiet here for the most part, although sometimes during the evening hours there is some loud banging noises from the Safeway Distribution Center located next door. Nearby trains also blow their horns a few times each evening. We are slowly becoming accustom to the intermittent noise and its not bothering us too much.

 

Last nights wind storm blew down a lot of tree limbs around here and Kim and I have been busy picking them up all morning. Luckily the wind never reached the point where I would have needed to move the rig out from under the large trees, but I was prepared to do so if the necessary. The thin roofs of RVs don't stand up well to heavy limbs from above.

Up coming events:
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) semi-annual 2006 Host Rendezvous, April 23-27th!

 

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January 23, 2006

We are ready to go, for the most part. Everything is now in the camper and my numerous modifications have so far proved to be both functional and trouble free.

Kim and I have ordered some fitted sheets from Camping World along with a batwing TV antenna and a good quality tire gage. They should arrive in a day or two. The last modification will be to install the TV antenna, which I plan to mount off the back of the rig by attaching it to the ladder rack. That way I don't have to drill any holes in the roof. The way I have it planned I can just open the door to crank it up and make adjustments for reception. With this mounting location the antenna will be just below the roof line and protected from wind and low hanging tree limbs.

We received a nice e-mail from Jennell Hoehne, Volunteer Coordinator at the ODFW-Northwest Regional Office today. This is the location we will be volunteering at for the month of February. We sent her copies, as requested, of our 5 year driving records, drivers licenses and insurance papers for our vehicles. Read her e-mail

 

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January 18, 2006

We are now down to counting the days rather than the weeks. Only 13 days left till we fire up the truck and hit the road. We have sold almost everything we don't need and our daughter and her roommate are now moving their things into the house.

I purchased a large portable flood/spot light yesterday to use at volunteer and hosting locations. Its 3,000,000 candle power and recharges off both 12v and 110v. Its super bright!

I have been pretty much living in the RV while its parked next to the house. Kim has been sleeping in it since we sold our bed a few days ago. The last things we have to move into the RV is the VCR and my hand tools. We plan to load our Pathfinder with the things that we need to keep handy, but wont fit in the camper.  Basically using it as a portable storage area until we get the fiver. The rest of our things, mostly in storage tubs, that we need to keep for use in the 5th wheel will be stored in what is now our daughters garage.

 

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January 12, 2006

Well, the time is going by very fast now and soon Kim and I will be leaving our home of 22 years. We are both excited yet a bit scared of making the move into a this new lifestyle. I have our truck and camper fully outfitted and have added several amenities that we never had in the past, but will make our living arrangements a bit more comfortable until we get into our 5th wheel.

I have added a TV at the foot of the overhead bed, a larger TV near the dining table, a microwave oven, phone and internet cable connections, DVD/VCR player/burner, shelving and surge outlets for my computer, extra storage shelves for clothes and personal items, and a wireless doorbell. I have also added two 6 volt deep cycle batteries for those times when we may do a little boon docking.

Our kids are equally excited and proud of us for making the decision to pursue our dreams. We will all miss the close contact our family has enjoyed over the years. I'm sure that while we are apart we will become even closer, cherishing our occasional contact and times together even more.

We have now sold most all of our appliances and furnishings, I placed the few remaining items on www.craigslist.org last night and have already sold all but two, the vacuum cleaner and the entertainment center. The kids and the Goodwill will get the rest. We don't want to place anything into storage for any length of time and be locked into paying monthly fees if we can avoid it. Everyone I have talked with who has enter this lifestyle and placed their furniture and appliances into storage wound up selling everything, but only after paying hundreds of dollars in fees.

I myself have all of my clothes in the RV and have been staying in it for the past week while it remains parked in our driveway. Kim will be joining me sometime this week, as we get a feel for living in the rig fulltime and test out my recent upgrades.  While we are parked in the driveway I still have easy access to my power tools and can make any modifications I find necessary.

It has been raining now for 25 days straight and its getting pretty soggy around these parts. I kind of wish our first hosting job was in southern California where its been much dryer and in the mid to upper 70's. Eventually, as we become accustomed to life on the road we will begin to follow the sun as many Rver's do, but for now we are happy staying in Oregon near our family and friends.

 

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