Saturday, July 22, 2017

Lincoln City Experiences

One of the reasons we bought our motorhome was to avoid summer in Texas. We loved the weather in spring, winter and fall, but July and August were not that much fun. The first few years we traveled our oldest son lived in San Francisco and our youngest son was in the Marine Corp stationed at Twentynine Palms, CA. We made a lot of trips up and down the California coast visiting our sons.

Twentynine Palms is about 150 miles east of Los Angeles and over 500 miles SSE of San Francisco. We made the trip from the Houston area to California at least once per year for several years and up and down the state of California a couple of times each year. When our youngest got out of the Marines he moved back to Texas and around that time our oldest also returned to Texas. Kathi and I had enough of California with the high prices and we agreed we had no reason to return there.

A view along US101 --The Pacific Coast Highway.
My sister and brother-in-law had been RVing longer than we had and they spent a lot of summertime boondocking in Oregon. In August of 2007, Kathi and I decided to join them on the Oregon Coast. They were boondocking in the Chinook Winds Casino parking lot in Lincoln city. We had never boondocked and were a little leery of trying that, so we moved into the Chinook Bend RV Park in the southern part of Lincoln City. We drove our Jeep to visit my sister at the casino.

A deer eating leaves off a tree at Chinook Bend RV Park
We returned to Lincoln city in 2008 and took the plunge boondocking at the Chinook Winds Casino parking lot. It was 60-65 degrees most of July and August and the wind blew off the ocean constantly. We had fun. The parking lot was not level and our front wheels were about a foot off the ground, but the windows were open and we had a blast.

In summer 2009, we returned to the Oregon Coast, but started our visit further south in the Coos Bay/North Bend Area. We boondocked at the Mill Casino in North Bend. North Bend is just to the north of Coos Bay and the bay itself borders three sides of North Bend. We usually refer to Coos Bay when we stayed at the Mill Casino. That summer we drifted along the coast north to the Three Rivers Casino in Florence and further north to the Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City. After a little time there, we ventured north to Tillamook, then into Washington. We visited Raymond, Rochester, Marysville and Chehalis in Washington. It was cooler in Oregon.

Picture through our windshield of RV's boondocking in the casino parking lot. The Mill Casino is in the background to the right.

One of our neighbors at Coos Bay.
In Summer of 2010 and 2011, we returned to the Oregon Coast and visited Coos Bay, Florence and Lincoln City. In the summertime from 2012 to 2014, we decided to go straight to Lincoln city, since we did not enjoy the casinos further south.

We spent most of 2015 and 2016 in Texas and Finally got back to Lincoln City July 6, 2017. We plan to stay until July 27th, then they will begin moving people out of the Chinook Winds Casino parking lot for re-striping. They are expecting a huge crowd to arrive in August to view the solar eclipse. We will definitely not be here. It has been fun boondocking here, but I think we will begin a slow drift back to Texas next week. It does not matter where we are, Kathi and I have fun together and enjoy each other. 

2017 picture of my view out the windshield at the Pacific Ocean behind the Chinook Winds Casino.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Deschutes National Forest

A few years ago, Kathi and I left Lincoln city on the Oregon coast with plans to spend the night at Walmart in Bend, OR. We had been boondocking for a while and I neglected to get diesel when we crossed I-5 moving east. We got into the Deschutes National Forest and the evergreen trees were fantastic. The winding roads through the mountains were a hoot and I was doing fine until I looked at the fuel gauge and it was on empty. Kathi never likes the winding roads, so she was already apprehensive and then I mentioned our fuel issue. We both realized no one in their right mind would put a truck stop in the middle of this national forest. The rest of the way up the mountain, around the bends and through the forest the air was filled with tension inside our motorhome.

Beautiful, snowy mountain views in the distance

We finally arrived at Bend, got some diesel, then found the Walmart store. We got parked and set up and opened our shades. Right outside our window was a sign that said, “NO RV Parking.” I showed the sign to Kathi and we both shook our heads. The tension still had not abated. Now it was worse. Before bringing our slide back in, Kathi found us a home further east and we left Bend, OR thinking we did not want to go that way again.

Great scenery

People forget.

July 5, 2017, we were leaving Burns, OR for our return to Lincoln City on the Oregon coast, again. I told Kathi we would be okay going through Bend, OR this time, because we filled up with diesel when we left Winnemucca, NV and had plenty of fuel to get us through the forest.

We left Burns early moving west on US 20 and got through Bend and Sisters in the middle of the day. Sisters, OR is a nice old tourist town on the eastern edge of the Deschutes National forest. Just west of Sisters traffic was blocked and not moving either direction. We pulled off on the side of the road and Kathi made us sandwiches for lunch. While we were eating the traffic cleared and we realized that the traffic delay was due to only one lane being open somewhere ahead. The lanes of traffic were alternating going past a construction area. We were fine, in no hurry and it was a beautiful day to be in the forest.

More forest views

We finally got past the construction area and entered the Deschutes National Forest. The forest was beautiful. We spent some time climbing, mountains, so going was slow, but that gave us more time to admire the trees. We past a sign that said, “6% DOWNGRADE NEXT 11 MILES.” No problem, I have gone downhill successfully many times before, so I was confident. We started down with my engine brake on and me keeping a manageable downhill speed. Then, we started getting curves around the mountains and bumps in the road. Obviously, the repair crews did not understand level, because each bump was at a patch in the road. Somewhere along that downhill run and a big bump in the road, one of the arms on my tow bar lost a connector. I spent a few downhill miles moving slower and assuring our Jeep did not pass us, especially into oncoming traffic. When I finally found a turnout, we discovered that keeping the Jeep behind us caused some bumper damage to the Jeep. Fortunately, I had a spare for the missing part and we were soon back on the road. I had to promise Kathi that was our last trip through Bend, OR and the Deschutes National Forest. I promise.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Continuing Northwest

We left the New Frontier RV Park in Winnemucca, NV early Friday morning, June 30, 2017. We had to drive to the pilot truck stop on the other end of town for diesel, then took US 95 north heading toward Burns, OR. The greenery on the side of the road was mostly shrubs and small grass and the terrain was rolling hills. US 95 is a two-lane road in excellent condition. There was minimal traffic and it made for pleasant driving. The land in this area is part of the Paiute-Shoshone Reservation of Ft. McDermitt, NV. Although the fort is in Nevada the reservation continues into Oregon.

Through the windshield picture on US 95

As we crossed into Oregon, the shrubbery went away and all the green we saw was just wild grasses, with no trees anywhere. After about 30 miles some scrub brush was added to the wild grass along the roadside. We saw several small herds of horses and a few cattle in the open range area. When we got to the intersection of US 95 and US 78, we took 78 northwest toward Burns, OR still moving toward the coast. Alongside US 78 we started adding trees to the mix of green growth. About 50 miles southeast of Burns, we started seeing irrigation and plush green grass, mostly for hay. I only remember one farm with crops, other than grass, but I could not identify the crop. We saw more and more farms that the hay was cut and ready for baling as we moved northeast.

Mountains get higher as we move north in Oregon
We got to the Burns RV Park in late afternoon and got a space under a tree that blocked our satellite reception for our TV. We also had a problem with our awning over our larger slideout. A gust of wind caught it when we were driving and did some damage to it, causing it not to extend or rewind properly when we moved the slideout out or in. I spent some time on a ladder and eventually resorted to a small hacksaw to cut away a rod attached to a gear on the roller that was causing us much trouble. The fabric is still torn, but I have it in workable condition, although it needs to be sewn before returning inland.

Am igloo like structure in Burns, OR

We did not want to travel on the Fourth of July weekend, so we ended up spending five nights in Burns. We ate one meal at the Apple Peddler restaurant and the rest of the time we ate at home. Burns is a tired old town and not much to see or do there. The biggest stores in town are farm and feed supply stores.

Thursday, July 5th, we moved further west on US 20. We got lost for a little while in Bend, OR, as there is no US 20 bypass. You have to wander through town and I got lost. Making a U-turn is most difficult driving an RV and pulling a Jeep, so when we found US 97 we got on it and found where it crossed US 20 to put us back on track.

We moved into the Life Northwest RV and Lodging in Harrisburg, OR. This is a nice RV park with paved spaces on the banks of the Willamette River. The property was purchased by the Life Bible Church a few years ago. We spent one night in Harrisburg and were ready to make it to the coast the next morning.

Next post: The Deschutes National Forest and arrival at Lincoln City.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Westward Ho!

We said goodbye to all our friends at Charlie’s Service Center after they resolved the last item on our list of issues. We got away a little before two o’clock the afternoon of Monday, June 26, 2017. Our motorhome looked great and our maintenance issues were behind us and we were ready for the road again.

We took I-15 south toward Salt Lake City, eased on to I-215 south, then I-80 west toward Wendover, UT and West Wendover, NV. The ride along the Salt Lake is always peaceful, because there is not much out that way. We saw a lot of salt, some salt processing plants, many salt marshes, some brown scrub brush and mountains in the distance on both sides of the highway. The greenery was sparse up close, but there was some green on the mountains.

Salt extraction near the Great Salt Lake

Piles of salt for processing

We stopped for two nights at the Wendover KOA. The first spot they gave us only had 30-amp service and we kept throwing the breaker. We finally called for a different spot and they moved us to one of the six 50-amp spaces they have in the park. They advertise that they have a lot of RV spaces available and that is true, but many of them have only 30-amp service with no water or sewer. They have about 30 full hook-up 30-amp spaces, and like I said only six full service 50-amp spaces. If you get there late in the afternoon in the summertime, those six sites are always booked.

We had a great time Tuesday at the Rainbow Casino. We left there about 9:00 pm with a little more money than we started with. It was a fun-filled day and we were exhausted when we got back into our RV.

Casino fun

We slept late Wednesday morning and got on the road again. The scenery was a little different west of Wendover. There was a little more green shrubbery and the mountains were nearer the highway. When we passed through Wells, NV we saw some yellow wildflowers for about thirty miles, then they disappeared again. The rest of the trip was browns and greens and few other colors. We started seeing more snow on mountains, but not snow caps. Only streaks of snow that will probably be gone in a few more summer weeks.

We stopped along the way at a Pilot Truck Center that had a Subway sandwich shop. Kathi went in and got sandwiches for us and we ate lunch in the Pilot parking lot. The food was tasty, but the buns were a bit stale. We needed the break and were ready to go when we finished eating. We arrived at the New Frontier RV about four in the afternoon and got electricity hooked up and spent the evening inside. Temperature was in the 90’s when we arrived and the low overnight was 47 degrees.

We went to bed early Wednesday night and awoke early Thursday and visited the Parker Model T Casino for a few hours, had a barbecue sandwich lunch at The Pig and returned home to rest and watch news in the afternoon.

The Pig
Friday morning, we continued our quest to the coast. We were both glad to be moving again. Kathi, as usual, was a great traveling companion. Fun, fun, fun.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Colorado Adventure

No, this is not our Colorado adventure. These adventures are for younger legs and bodies. Our nephew, David Clark lives in Colorado Springs and he invited his nephews, Justin and Austin Clark to come visit him for a week. They arrived in Colorado Springs early on Monday morning and departed on Friday. I got tired just looking at the pictures from their adventurous week.

Tour guide is in yellow, Dave is in Red an Justin and Austin are in front . Another couple they do not know are along for the ride.

It looks cool an refreshing

David runs his own business in Colorado Springs, Justin recently graduated from Texas State College and Austin just graduated from Liberty Hill High School and will be a U.S marine before the summer is over. David is an excellent host and tour manager for his friends and family. This adventure should be something for all of them to remember the rest of their lives.

Take a hike

Dave, Justin and Austin looking for more adventure.

They spent the week hiking, mountain climbing, mountain bike riding, horseback riding and river rafting. Justin took a lot of pictures and some of the river scenes were taken by the Whitewater touring company. I am sharing some of their pictures with you.

Getting ready for biking

Austin, enjoying life

Austin thumb's up, Dave showing battle scars

 Kathi and I are still at Charlie’s Service in Sunset, UT and it has been a busy week here trying to get the work completed on our Alfa motorhome. I will list just a few of the items that have been repaired or replaced since we have been here. We got a new toilet, new microwave, a new engine fan, a new alternator and a new water pump. Our washer/dryer is functional again and our propane furnace works. There were a few other maintenance items and most are complete. They will reinstall our rear-view mirror and finish waxing and caulking the motorhome on Monday. That will complete our maintenance work and we will be ready to travel to the next stop.

These are nice people to do business with and we have really enjoyed our stay here. Not only did we get our RV repairs done, we got a few needed repairs done to our Jeep, also. The staff are very pleasant and Gilberto spent a lot of time with us the last few weeks. At one time or another, everyone in the shop worked on our vehicles, getting us ready for the road.

Our next stop will be in West Wendover, NV where we will visit the Rainbow Casino for a day or so, then we will decide where to go next. We are thinking about summertime on the Oregon coast again. It would be nice to see my sister, Carol and her husband Lloyd, who are already on the coast.

We will stay flexible and we will see what happens. I am happy just to be with Kathi. Everything else is just extra fun in our lives.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day

Today is a day of remembrance for our fathers and a day of joy for we who are fathers. May it be a day of peace and happiness for all our families and our country. It is a beautiful, cool sunny day here and it has been a week with nice weather. It does seem to get a little warmer each day.

It was a good week for us at Charlie’s RV Service Center in Sunset, UT. Our new microwave/convection oven was installed, our washer/dryer works again and we got a new monitor for the camera that allows us to watch our Jeep as we travel. They also remounted the awning support I knocked loose from the side of the motorhome as we were leaving Dickinson. Our awning is now extended keeping out the morning sun. There are a few maintenance items remaining, but work is progressing nicely.

Hanging baskets of flowers in Clinton, UT. Just east of Sunset

 Jim, the auto mechanic that was off for a hand operation is back to work with limited use of his right hand. There is plenty of work to do, so Justin and Amanda are glad his operation went well and glad to have him back on the job.

There is plenty of RV work to do as several move in and a several go out each week. There are currently about 15 RV’s on the lot at various stages of the repair cycle.

First magpie I have seen in Utah.
We got a surprise visit from Butch and Debbie Schultz on Friday. They live on the Columbia River in Oregon and came to Utah with other family members and their motorhomes for some sightseeing. Debbie and Kathi keep up with each other on Facebook. It was great to see them, because it has been about four years since we last ran into them on the Oregon coast.

The snow is slowly melting off the mountains, but more flowers are sprouting up all over the area. There is so much traffic in the area it is difficult to stop and smell the roses, but we do when we can. We spend most of our days at home, in case we are needed to support Justin, Gilberto and Gilbert with RV repairs.

We ate lunch at Cracker Barrel on Saturday. Kathi had chicken and dumplings and I had a country fried steak. I even had enough left over for a late-afternoon snack.

Daisies at Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel art

More wall art

Kathi has done some of our laundry to assure the washer/dryer functions properly and it does. but today we need to go to the laundromat to wash sheets and towels. Too many have accumulated to make it feasible to wash in our small washer/dryer.

Our new microwave

Kathi and I are thinking about going to West Wendover, NV for our next stop, but we have not decided for sure. We talk about moving on to the Oregon coast, hovering on a mountain top or going back to the Houston area to be near doctors. We will probably continue to decide on a day-by-day basis. We are retired and happy wherever we reside.

Happy Father’s Day.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Update from Charlie's

We have been at Charlie’s Service Center in Sunset, UT as information was gathered to understand the scope of repairs and provide information to the insurance company.  Charlie’s business began as a muffler shop and expanded into auto repairs a few years later. They now work on cars, trucks and RV’s and there is plenty of work to keep them busy this time of the year. Justin and Mandy Dubose own the business and they stay busy trying to keep up with the business, taking care of their son, Austin and racing their dragster when local meets are held.

There are currently about 20 RV’s on the lot, some waiting for the owners to pick them up, some awaiting parts arrival and a few with work in progress. One of the auto mechanics is off work with a hand operation and Justin has been spending time with both cars and RV’s. Gilberto works with Justin on RV repairs and they both stay on the run. The shop is usually closed on weekends, but both were working part of Saturday to keep up with the volume of work.

We spent Sunday, June 4, 2017 at home watching snow melt on the mountains. The temperature was 92 degrees in the afternoon and I chose that day to refill our batteries with water. That was enough exercise for me and I was glad to get back inside with conditioned air.

Less and less snow each day

The insurance inspector came by on Tuesday and looked at all the repairs that need to be done, took pictures and turned in his report to the insurance carrier. They pulled our air conditioner so the inspector could see the work they had to do to make our propane furnace functional. It turned out the insurance would not cover that repair anyway. It got hot inside, but we got by using our fans. We are glad to get past the insurance hurdle.

Our Alfa at Charlie's

We expect the work to progress, now that they have all the information they need and we have agreed on a repair cost range. Of course, work progress depends on parts arrival. We appreciate Mandy and Justin working with the insurance company to get most of our maintenance issues covered. Kathi will be glad to get her washer/dryer and convection microwave back in operation. I may talk her into beans and cornbread soon.

Our nephew, David Clark has lived in Colorado Springs for a couple of years and his dad, Carl visited him this week. They have been having fun with some hiking, horseback riding and other manly ventures. Carl is my brother-in-law and just one year younger than I am. I am glad he feels like riding and hiking. I think they are having a good time.

My nephew, David

My bother-in-law, Carl

Our oldest son, AJ lives in Austin and sent us several pictures of the ROT (Republic of Texas) Rally that is going on there. There are herds of motorcycle riders in town to share a weekend of camaraderie and music fun. The ROT Rally is thought to be the loudest week of each year in Austin. I am glad I am not there, but I do like to see the motorcycles.

Motorcycles downtown Austin for ROT Rally
Another good week for us and soon we will have to decide where to go next. It may be a hard decision, but who cares. Wherever we are we will enjoy being alive.