Thursday, December 13, 2018

I've moved

Yes, I have moved.  But not very far.  The street address remains the same but I am now on site 412 instead of 303.   I am on a ridge.  My door, side window and patio look west.   It is open space dotted with oak, manzanita, and granite rocks.   Because of all that open space, this is a great spot to see wildlife.  Already the Western Bluebirds check out the old bluebird house on the lot.   The roof is split and the babies will get wet.  But I will have time to replace it and let them become accustomed to it, before it is time for next building.   I can sit on my patio and watch the sunset over the hills leading the the San Joaquin Valley.    If I walk to the front of my lot I can watch sunrise.

Besides the great views, the site is larger, and there is more open space around me.  I had some great neighbors in the other loop, but this spot puts me closest to Mary and Elaine who I met years before I got a lot in this park.  In fact, I came here for their wedding back in 2006.  Actually, they are away far more than they are here.

Moving one's home, when you live in an RV is pretty simple.  But the lots have sheds on them and somehow mine managed to fill up.  I was appalled at how much was in it.  I had moved some things before we had a heavy rainfall and I discovered the shed on the new lot leaked.   Our volunteers have been putting new shingles on sheds this year, but hadn't gotten to my neighborhood yet.  But, they made it a priority and it is finished and the old shed is cleared out, as of this afternoon.   But the new shed is just a pile of plastic containers and misc.   Previous owners built a loft so I can store things I don't need often up there and have more space to move around in.  UH OH.  More space means more room for stuff.    I have to promise myself to keep it open.

Here are some of the views of my new home base.    As always, I am not here in the summers.  The site has shade, just not as deep a shade as the old site.

The bird bath uses a small solar fountain to keep the water moving slightly

view looking northwest in the late afternoon.

Volunteer crew showed up early in the morning to re-shingle the shed roof.

Western Scrub Jay with acorn.   

Covey of California Quail.   

Acorn Woodpecker.  They are pretty and fun to watch as they drill the acorns into trees.
 The only problem is they also use our sheds.  The crew found a lot of them poked under the
 old shingles and in the eaves.  Every time I open the shed door, some drop on me.

The final photo is not taken in Park Sierra.   Coming back after Thanksgiving, we drove by this orchard in Fresno.  It was a grey day and the leaves were  vibrant.   

Peach Orchard the day after Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Summer in the Northwest and Fall in the Eastern Sierras

I have been remiss in updating my blog.   I am going to try to do a quick summary to bring it up to date.

This summer I didn't work or volunteer as I usually do.  Instead I headed north to simply enjoy that part of the country.

My first stop was in the California Delta where Betty and Lance, good friends from Park of the Sierras were working for the summer.   It was there, when I went to put my hydrolic jacks down that I discovered that they would not work.   I already had an appointment at  my favorite mechanic, Oregon Light Truck and RV in White City, OR.

 Fires were burning near Redding so I went up the coast to avoid the smoke.  I cut inland  near Crescent City and general servicing was done July 1.  With everyone trying to get out of the area, the shop was swamped so I needed to go back for the jacks.   I returned to the  coast for cooler and clearer conditions.   Later I returned to get the jacks fixed.  Dave saved me a lot of money as he had a barely used pump from another rig and after checking it out, installed it in mine, where it works beautifully.

While the pump was being installed I flew to a family wedding in Southern California enjoying a beautiful outdoor wedding of Caddy and Bethany.

On the coast I revisited favorite spots.  Heceta Lighthouse, where I volunteered one summer, had some structural issues and visitors could not climb the spiral stairs.   But I did several other lighthouses.  I saw Adele who I worked with at Heceta.  She lives in Florence.  And I met up with some friends from Park of the Sierras who were visiting the area.

After picking up the motorhome I hightailed it north.  The air quality near Medford and White City was truly awful due to the fires.   In Eugene  I visited Yellowstone friends, Ana Maria and Ted.  If you go back to earlier posts on Ecuador you will know more about this great couple.     I stopped in Salem to see Janice and Gabby, RVing friends who go way back.  And then I headed to Washington where I spent five weeks in the Escapee park in Chimicum, near Pt. Townsend.  Saw RV friends from long ago there too.   Ann and David spend half the year on a spectacular piece of land, renting a site, overlooking the water.  The rest of the year they are in South Africa where he makes wine.  I saw Don and Robin, also part of that early Boomer group we connected with when we began full-timing, Linda and Howard who I met at the  Petaluma Elks park, and several members of my park in Coarsegold.  I did a lot of  socializing.  We ate out, we tasted wine, we rode the ferry to Whidbey Island, had high tea in Port Gamble.   Since Bill and John volunteer at the NW Maritime Center I took them up on the offer to use the coast guard simulator to try my hand on handling the waters of Puget Sound.   Kind of fun, but I will stick to driving a motorhome on land.

And shortly before heading south, Chris came up for a weekend.  We did an all day trip to Whidbey Island.  We almost got of the two ferry boats which runs between Pt Townsend and Whidbey lost operation of its rudder.   Eventually a huge tug boat was able to pull in out of the dock, allowing the other ferry to come pick us up.

I had a health scare and headed home.  Not to worry.  It turned out to be something very minor.  Because of fires,  I came back via the coast. route.   Photos along the Oregon and California Coast are a mix from the north and south trips.

Here are photos in California, along the Oregon Coast, and on the Olympic Peninsula.

"Shady Cove RV Park" in the Delta

The several whimsical gates and fences at Shady Cove are said to be made from tools
used in building the Golden Gate Bridge.

A motorhome hewn from one Redwood log.  This is on
display at the Humboldt Redwoods Visitor Center

A walk in the woods along Avenue of the Giants, Northern California

Oregon Coast

Hwy 101 north of Florence
Fog over Heceta Lighthouse.  I volunteered there the summer of 2005.  

You could not go up inside Heceta Head Lighthouse due to structural issues, but I did do the tour of Yaquina Bay Lighthouse.

Coquille River Lighthouse at Bandon.  Light was not operating when I was there

Beach pattern along Oregon coast.

I love the gorge at Union Creek along the Rogue River.   This spot, about 15 miles west of Crater Lake,  is formed where the river ran through lava tubes.  This was the first time I had ever seen kayaks on this exceptionally fast flowing water.  The launch was  fun to watch. 

I stayed at the Escapee Park in Chimicum for 5 weeks, using that as a base to explore the Olympic Peninsula.   Port Townsend is a delightful place to spend time.  One day I drove out to Sequim (Pronounced Squim).  That area has the right conditions for growing lavender.   I was a little late and many of the fields had been picked, but there were a few later varieties.

Lavender hanging to dry in a barn.

Found these two bald eagles on a side road near Sequim.

Chris and I took the early morning ferry from Pt Townsend to Whidbey Island

Langley harbor

Another day I went to the Olympic National Park.  This is Hurricane Ridge.  Thick fog as I started up the hill but I broke thru close to the top. 

After the ridge I went into the Hoh Rain Forest where the deep water was crystal clear.
 140" to 170" of rain falls each year here.  But the eastern side of the park gets far less and there was a wildfire south of Port Townsend.

David and Ann and a little libation overlooking the sound.

I have traveled all the roads that follow the route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  That includes a bit of rough 4-wheel stuff along the Missouri Breaks in Montana and over Lemhi Pass.  And I have visited the Mandan Villages where they spend their first winter, I was at the Arch in St. Louis when the reenactment of the expedition arrived back 200th anniversary of the Corp of Discovery's journey.  I've been to Cape Disappointment and the site  along the Natchez Trace where where Meriwether Lewis died.  And I had been to Fort Clatsop where the corp spent a wet and dreary winter.   But this year I returned on a day so foggy drops were falling from the tree needles like rain.   The story of the expedition has always captured my imagination.

Fort Clatsop where the Corp of Discovery (Lewis and Clark) spent a wet winter

Remains of old docks, on the trail at Fort Clatsop

 After the trip home, I left  my motorhome at Park of the Sierras and  I drove over Tioga Pass, through much of the burned area, to meet my friend Jackie near Bridgport on Hwy 395.    I got to know Jackie well in Yellowstone where we were both driver\guides and neighbors in the small employee RV park.   From North Carolina she has done plenty of travel in the west but never Hwy 395 which is one of my favorite haunts.

But first, I spent a night with Lynn and Mark.   Mark was the ranger who hired me to work at Bodie.  We manage to link up every couple of years.  They came to Yellowstone a couple times and of course I have visited them at their home, which is off the grid and surrounded by state wildlife refuge, off Hwy 395.  They have a narrow easement to drive into their spot.

I love the Eastern Sierras.  Of course I took Jackie to Bodie.  And as many times as I have been there, and three seasons there as a park aide, you would think I would not find any new things to photograph.  But I always do; a slightly different angle, different lighting.

Although I like this view, Jackie's interpretation was outstanding and I have encouraged her
to submit it for the 2019 Bodie Calendar.

I told Jackie we needed to be at Mono Lake before the sun came over the hills.  She was a good sport and went along with the super early rising.   And she told me it was worth it.

Of course we did Manzanar and Alabama Hills.   We also drove up to the Bristlecone Pines.

We went to the Alabama Hills early too.  Moon had not yet set and we watched the sun
light up the steep mountains from top to bottom.
Manzanar was one of the internment camps which housed people, the majority of them citizens
of the United States, during WWII

dining room

Cemetery, monument and one of the many chains of origami peace birds.

We had a great evening at Benton Hot Springs.  An old mining camp, today it has a B&B, campground (each site has its own soaking pool and I have done that in the past).  We stayed in the B&B, soaked under clear skies and relaxed.

one of the soaking pools

Lots of fun old junk

Loved play of light thru the clouds on the hills in the distance.  Old building in foreground is part of
the Benton Hot Springs complex, left from the mining days.     Lots of other stuff too, but one can't include it all in a blog.
driving on back roads to get to Benton