Friday, September 22, 2017

Day 49, Friday, September 22, 2017 - Klamath Falls KOA, Klamath Falls, OR, Day 2

Friday, September 22, 2017 - Klamath Falls KOA, Klamath Falls, OR, Day 2, 0 Miles, 1,012.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

Another cool night. I did get to sleep with my new blanket! After breakfast I did some bills, read some forums & web pages, then headed into town to try to find a couple of items I missed yesterday. I now have new throw rugs. I know many Casita owners complain about the carpeted floors, but those of us that have vinyl inevitably add rugs! Of course the advantage of a throw rug is you can take it outside to shake it out.

I talked with my son Kyle in Oswego - Escape sent me a check, so I guess I helped sell another trailer! They have a referral deal that if your name is given when a new trailer is purchased, they send you $100.00 Canadian. So far I've sold 4 of them!

That was about it for the day. A bit too cool to sit outside, although towards the end of the day the sun came out. I had a large turkey sub for lunch, so dinner was just cheese & crackers.

Until next time -

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Day 47, Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - Goose Lake State Park, Lakeview, OR, Day 3

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - Goose Lake State Park, Lakeview, OR, Day 3, 0 Miles, 910.7 Towing Miles For the Trip

Another dreary day. While I did a couple of loops around the campground, I didn't walk to the lake - the clouds looked like they would start raining any minute, and going for a long walk would insure it would happen. As it was, it never did start to rain, at least until after lunch when a light rain began to fall.

I spent most of the day sitting in the trailer reading. 50°F outside, which was the high for the day, but the electric heater is keeping the trailer warm. A Casita pulled into the park, but after making the loop (the wrong way on the one way loop), headed back out. A couple more vans, cars & RVs did the same (but in the right direction); maybe they think it won't be raining further down the road!

No leaks under the sink so far. I put all the pans back in storage, so if it is going to start again, it will now.

Rain all afternoon. It is down to 47°F at 3:00, and while the trailer is cosy at 70°F, I felt cold enough for me to make a mug of tea during the afternoon.

Dinner was a Barber's Cordon Bleu Chicken frozen meal with Zatarains Yellow Rice.

Until next time -

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Day 46, Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - Goose Lake State Park, Lakeview, OR, Day 2

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - Goose Lake State Park, Lakeview, OR, Day 2, 0 Miles, 910.7 Towing Miles For the Trip

The first really lousy day of the trip. Only 47°F at noon and very heavy skies that spit rain every hour or so. A good day for sitting inside the trailer, although I did walk around the campground loop a couple of times (only got caught by rain once). Other than the two campground host RVs, there are only 2 others in the campground. The electric heater does a good job of keeping the trailer at 70°F, even with the limited 20 amp pedestal connection. I did shut off the AC to the water heater, and have been running it on propane.

I read some forums, the Syracuse Post Standard newspaper, and listened to Oregon NPR on the iPhone. There is a strong Verizon 4G LTE signal in the campground, and even with an amplifier, no AT&T. If I want to make any phone calls, I'll have to head into Lakeview where there is an AT&T tower.

I am going nuts trying to find a leak under the sink. While I have great respect for Escape's quality, everyone can have a problem. The leak is intermittent - I can go for days where there won't be a single drip, then suddenly there will be a couple of ounces of water in a large frying pan stored under the sink. At other times, it misses the frying pan & soaks the shelf. So far I've been keeping track of whether it can be from spilled water leaking through the sink edge (no), the drain (no) or one of the feed lines to the faucet (maybe). I wrapped paper towels around each of the supply fittings, hoping I'd find one of them wet, which would ID the leak, but for the last couple of days the towels stay dry (and, no signs of a leak). Today I tightened all the fittings - we will see if that makes any difference.

The campground has a couple of flocks of quail running around. Fun to watch, but not the day to sit outside taking photos. One of the limitations of the new awning type of windows available on the new Escape trailers is the screens are fairly permanent. You don't notice them looking out all that much, but using the trailer as a blind & photographing from inside doesn't work. With the older sliding window on the 17, I could slide the screen and window out of the way. I still prefer the new windows - you can leave them open in a light rain, something I couldn't do with the older style windows.

I made a couple of steak tacos for lunch, a meal I usually skip, but just sitting around the trailer gets boring.

Dinner was an Amy's Spinach Pizza. While I love most of the Amy's brand meals, this goes under the only OK list.

Until next time -

Monday, September 18, 2017

Day 45, Monday, September 18, 2017 - Goose Lake State Park, Lakeview, OR

Site 40, Goose Lake State Park
Monday, September 18, 2017 - Goose Lake State Park, Lakeview, OR, 132.1 Miles, 910.7 Towing Miles For the Trip

It was a warm night, only getting down to the mid 50's. After breakfast. I packed up the trailer & headed south. Most of the drive was on US 395, a road I have driven in all three of the western states. I stopped gas in a small station & bought $20.00 worth at $4.75 per gallon! Of course just 30 miles down the road it was $3.09 at Lakeview, OR.

Goose Lake State Park is about 16 miles south of Lakeview, OR, right on the border with California. A mostly empty park that closes at the end of the month. All the sites have water & electric (20 amp) and there is a bathroom with hot showers not too far from my site - 40. $22.00 per night. I signed up for three nights, set up the trailer, then packed my laundry into a laundry basket & headed to Lakeview and the only laundromat in town.

Not the nicest laundromat I've been in, and over half the machines had "Out of Order" signs on them, but a pair that worked got the job done. After laundry, I went looking for a barber shop. I found one that had a sign on the door - "gone hunting". There was a beauty parlor next door & I asked if they knew of another barber shop. They said no, but they cut men's hair, so I finally got a #3 buzz cut (#4 on the beard).

Back at the campground I got to try the hot shower (there is only one) to get rid of the itchy haircut left overs. While getting a clipper only buzz cut is easier & more consistent going from barber to barber, it leaves far more short pieces of hair that require a shower unless you want to sleep with stabbing hairs for the next week. The shower was nice & hot (and free), but the bathroom is unheated, so getting dry was quick.

While I'm only about 800' higher than yesterday, it is much cooler. Right now (6:00PM), it is down to 51°F. There has been light rain off & on during the drive & here at the campground. I fired up the electric heater for the first time - I had to turn it off when microwaving the stew since both running together drew 22 amps.

Dinner was left over stew. As usual, it was better on the second day than the first.

Until next time -

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Day 44, Sunday, September 17, 2017 - Chickahominy Reservoir BLM Campground, Hines, OR

Site 6, Chickahominy Reservoir
Sunday, September 17, 2017 - Chickahominy Reservoir BLM Campground, Hines, OR, 99.7 Miles, 778.6 Towing Miles For the Trip

I stopped in Hines for gas & then drove 1 1/2 miles northeast to the Burns Safeway. Filled up the freezer with stuff, and bought beef cubes for stew.

While the identification of the campground says Hines, OR, it is actually 24 miles west on US 20. Mostly empty pull through sites in two sections. I'm in section A, site 6. Another $4.00 with Senior Pass Dry site (although I decided to pay cash, and only had a five dollar bill, so that is what I paid). Vault toilets and no water spigots either at the sites or around the campground. There is a closed fish cleaning station that has a faucet on the outside that is labled fresh water, but I didn't find it until after I set up the trailer. I should have filled up at Page Springs, but forgot. I believe I have enough for the night. A bit windy, and very open (ie no trees) site. Fairly level - I didn't unhook or put down the stabilizer jacks since I'm only staying one night. I did use the Anderson leveler to add 1/2" to the driver's side of the trailer.

There is a good AT&T signal using the amplifier, and Verizon is showing 2 bars of 4GLTE without the amp, 3-4 with. I'm posting this with the AT&T Mobley while listening to KLCC, one of the Oregon NPR stations that covers Bend. I thought about heading to Bend since it is only a little over 100 miles west (the general direction I'm heading) but even here at the reservoir the smoke coming from the west is much thicker than it was at Page Springs. The radio says hazardous conditions through tonight; I don't think I'll take the chance for tomorrow. I'll probably continue as planned & head for Goose Lake State Park, which is southwest of here. They are a first come park with 20 amp power, water, and hot showers.

Well, I lied about the stabilizers. I started the stew outside, but the wind was bad enough that the Coleman stove wouldn't keep lit (I had to look up the usage of lit vs lighted because the choice always bothers me, & the consensus is you can use either) at low flame levels. That is unusual since it runs at a fairly high pressure, and wind rarely bothers it. Anyhow, after browning the meat I moved inside the trailer. At least the greasy/messy part was outdoors, and the trailer smells wonderful! . While working inside, the trailer was rocking enough that I was concerned that it might wake me up, so I lowered the stabilizers. Little or no rocking anymore!

So, the stew is bubbling away on the stove & I'm sitting outside in the sun reading.

If it isn't obvious, dinner was stew!  I have enough left over for tomorrow & a batch for the freezer.

Until next time -

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Day 43, Saturday, September 16, 2017 - Page Springs BLM Campground, Frenchglen, OR, Day 7

Saturday, September 16, 2017 - Page Springs BLM Campground, Frenchglen, OR, Day 7, 0 Miles, 678.9 Towing Miles For the Trip

Another cool night - down to 32°F towards morning. When I packed for the trip I decided to throw in a full sized blanket, and rather than take one out of the closet (I have a full sized bed at home), I dug one out of a storage bin that was at least 20 years old. Bad idea! It looks like a microfiber blanket, but was made years before microfibers were available. It is a cloth mesh with fuzzy felt like material attached to both sides. Nice & warm, however the years have taken their toll. Large chunks of the surface material are flaking off. I've been cleaning up red fluff every morning for the last couple of days. This morning I gave up & tossed the blanket. I have a couple of my Viet Nam era poncho liners that are just a bit smaller than a full sized blanket that I used to replace it. We will see how they compare tonight!

During my morning walk around the campground I found three sites where people have already left. Most of the good sites still have RVs in them. Those that are staying for the weekend move from the poorer sites to the better ones as people leave.

AT&T let me down this morning - no connection using the Mobley, even with the amplifier, at least for data. My phone worked fine for a connection to my son in Oswego. I switched to my Verizon Jetpack and had no problems listening to my favorite Phoenix NPR station.

Since I'm heading out tomorrow, I packed up the entrance rug, and started putting stuff away. It is amazing how much "stuff" gets set out where it is more convenient while parked for a week that needs to be stored for travel!

I went for a walk along the river trail & took some more thistle photos. I'm not sure what fascinates me about them, but the symmetry is interesting and the way back lighting makes them glow.

Before taking down the hummingbird feeder, I got a few images. They didn't come around for the first 4 days, but there are at least two females that now visit.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After that it was back to the trailer to process the photos & take a shower. I hope I have enough water left. It looks like it - all I need (after the shower) is enough to do the dishes and flush the toilet a few times overnight. I'll probably add some water to the fresh water tank on the way out of the campground. I'm not sure where I'm staying tomorrow, but there is another BLM campground without hookups along the way.

Dinner was the "T" bone steak & mashed potatoes.

Until next time -

Friday, September 15, 2017

Day 42, Friday, September 15, 2017 - Page Springs BLM Campground, Frenchglen, OR, Day 6

An ALiner Truck Camper
Friday, September 15, 2017 - Page Springs BLM Campground, Frenchglen, OR, Day 6, 0 Miles, 678.9 Towing Miles For the Trip

Last night on my walk around the campground I saw a RV that I've never seen before. Since I've stayed in over 800 campgrounds, this is unusual, as was the RV. It is an ALiner truck camper. According to the owner, they only made them for two years - the company still makes hard sided pop ups. A neat looking rig that provides plenty of height, more than most truck campers. I also took a photo of more of the local deer herd on the way back to the trailer. By the way, the campground is full. A couple asked me about the Host site, and since there isn't one at the campground (host, that is) and people have been camping in the site, I suggested that they use it. The utilities are all locked, so it is a dry site, not that it makes much of a difference to them since they are tenters.

The real weather finally caught up with my Accuweather app. A little after dawn it was 33°F outside. Since it looked like it would be getting cold overnight, I set the furnace for 57°F before going to bed. The furnace came on around 10:00. A bit of a "new furnace" stink since it was the first time I used it, but it kept the trailer at 57°F all night. Since it only ran a few minutes at a time, I suspect it could provide far more heat if I wanted it. I switched to jeans & a jacket for my morning walk around the campground since it was still 49°F at 9:00AM.

I didn't do much during the day. I did wipe/scrape the bugs off the front of the trailer, did some reading on the computer, the iPad & Kindle, and sat outside in the sun when the clouds moved away. Too cold & windy to sit in the shade. I ran the battery down in the Kindle so it wouldn't open. At first I thought it died, but after plugging it into the charger it revived. While I was waiting, I ran the Kindle app on my laptop for the first time. It opened with my Kindle library, a click in my current book (Jeffery Deaver's The Burial Hour) opened it to the page I was on in the Kindle. Just for kicks, I read a few pages, then started the Kindle app on my iPad. Same thing, opened with my library, downloaded the current book & opened it on the page I left off on the laptop. When i went back to the laptop (where the Kindle app was still open) it asked me if I wanted to continue where it was or jump to the new page I'd read to on the iPad. Pretty neat technology!

For the second night in a row, the campground is full, with trailers still coming it looking for a home. Lots of spaces this morning; goes to show why is it good to stop by 1:00 -2:00 in the afternoon!

The plan was for a thawed "T" bone steak for dinner, but is didn't cooperate - it is still frozen solid, so it will probably have to wait until tomorrow.

Now that it is dinner time, the steak is still half frozen, and, since it is somewhat cool out, I decided to try a pot pie in the trailer oven. So far, so good. While it was cooking I talked to my brother David on Nantucket Island. It has been a cool summer there, and the summer season is winding down. He is getting construction work, so at least they are still building on the island.

Until next time -

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Day 41, Thursday, September 14, 2017 - Page Springs BLM Campground, Frenchglen, OR, Day 5

The P Ranch Long Barn
Thursday, September 14, 2017 - Page Springs BLM Campground, Frenchglen, OR, Day 5, 0 Miles, 678.9 Towing Miles For the Trip

After breakfast I got ready to drive through the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Before I left I took a picture of some Hemlock plants. I had alway thought poisonous hemlock resembled one of the evergreens, but it is a stalky plant. They have signs identifying sections of Hemlock that are all over the campground.

The Center Patrol Road tees into the Steens Loop Road that runs to the campground (and over the mountain). They have CD's that explain around 20 stops along the road, but unfortunately, it goes from the north to the south, making it difficult to use when starting from the southern end of the road. I stopped at the P Ranch & photographed the long barn, and followed the road to Krumbo Road & out to the Krumbo Reservoir.

After that I drove to the town of Diamond (population 9) and tried to get to the Kiger Wild Mustang Viewing Area, but it was 12 miles of rough dirt road. While the Tacoma did fine on the road, there were many roads branching on all directions with no signs, so rather than drive 10 - 12 miles at 10MPH and discover that I was on the wrong road, I finally gave up & headed back to OR 205. By the way, I ran into another cattle drive, this time on Diamond Loop Road, again, in both directions. The last one was black cows heading east, this time it was brown cows heading west!

Since I was at least half way there, I headed to Hines to mail a couple of cards to the grandkids, get gas ($2.99 vs $3.69) and some food at the Thriftway and a stop at Rite Aid. On the way back I stopped at the narrows for a couple of bird photos. I couldn't identify it with my bird app, but it did lots of diving into the pond. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

It was dinner time when I got back to the trailer. Rather than cook anything, I had a couple of tuna fish sandwiches & chips. I suspect it will be a cool night - it is only 59°F now with a high today of 67°F with a bit of rain.

Until next time -

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Day 40, Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - Page Springs BLM Campground, Frenchglen, OR, Day 4,

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - Page Springs BLM Campground, Frenchglen, OR, Day 4, 0 Miles, 678.9 Towing Miles For the Trip

Last night a little before dinner one of the ladies I've chatted with over the last couple of days waved across the campground, and shouted something that I didn't understand. I waved back, and a bit later discovered that it must have been goodbye. Somewhat late to be leaving the campground, but at $4.00 per day, deciding to leave a day early isn't going to kill you. I do miss saying goodbye.

A bit cooler today - only in the mid 80's. there was enough of a breeze that sitting under the awning was comfortable. Not enough of a breeze to test the automatic awning closure - if it shakes too many times, it retracts all by itself. I still don't have the nerve to leave the campsite with it open - I don't trust the electronics that much!

I didn't do much at all other than some more reading (another one of Jeff Carson's books on the Kindle), and took the first shower in the new trailer. Much better than the 17. There is room enough that I can turn around without banging my elbows! You still need to spend time wiping down the bathroom after a shower, and it is smaller than any campground shower I've been in, so when they are available, I'll probably stick with the campground, but it works better than the 17.

The fly fisherman that wander by my campsite on the way to the river behind it don't seem to be returning with big smiles on their faces. There is a trail that leads to a wider section of the river that has enough clearance that it is castable. I suspect it is hot enough that it is difficult to get the trout to rise. There is a notice on the campground board to avoid overplaying the fish since they are currently heat stressed.

Dinner will be the last of the rice & a microwaved chicken burrito. The plan was to eat at the picnic table as usual, but just at the microwave beeped, it started to rain. The heaviest yet here at Page Springs. Nothing that you run from to get out of, but more than you want to sit around eating. For the last hour of so it had been raining off & on, with a bit of thunder & lightning.

Until next time -

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Day 39, Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - Page Springs BLM Campground, Frenchglen, OR, Day 3

The Milky Way & Clouds
Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - Page Springs BLM Campground, Frenchglen, OR, Day 3, 0 Miles, 678.9 Towing Miles For the Trip

Well, I guess I have to take my weather app with a grain of salt. It didn't go below 65°F last night & I put a blanket on the bed. Tossed it off in the middle of the night! I did go out a bit after dark to take a couple of star photos, but the clouds moved in so I only got a bit of the milky way.

We will see how the rest of the week goes. Very cloudy today with a light morning sprinkle - not enough to get out of my chair & into the trailer. I had pancakes & sausage for breakfast.

I didn't do anything else for the day, other than some reading - my local newspaper, The Post Standard on line, a real book - I finished John Lescroart's Dead Irish. I started book six of a series of 10 by Jeff Carson featuring a cop named David Wolf. Fast reads, but not too bad, and free with my Kindle Unlimited. I also paid some bills.

That was about it for the day. I did make a loop around the campground, and met a couple traveling in an Escape 15. They are looking at buying a 17, but wanted to check out the 21 - a dangerous thing to do when you are looking t new trailers!

Dinner will be a grilled chicken patty & left over rice.

Until next time -

Monday, September 11, 2017

Day 38, Monday, September 11, 2017 - Page Springs BLM Campground, Frenchglen, OR, Day 2 & Steens Mountain

Kiger Gorge, Steens Mountain

Monday, September 11, 2017 - Page Springs BLM Campground, Frenchglen, OR, Day 2 & Steens Mountain, 0 Miles, 678.9 Towing Miles For the Trip

It got cold last night! Down to 47°F. I'm not sure if it was the slight change in altitude from the narrows, or just weather, but I looked at my weather app & it looks like cold nights for most of the week.

After breakfast I decided to drive to the top of Steens Mountain. It is a good quality gravel road (although some serious washboarding) that has a 35MPH speed limit. My truck suspension was happy at 40MPH, so that is what I did when possible. Lots of dust, but 40MPH didn't make any more than those crawling along at 20MPH. I wish I could get out & suggest that they find the sweet spot for their suspension rather than shaking their teeth driving slow, but I couldn't.

I was hoping for some color at Jackman Park where there is a grove of Aspen, but it looks to be a bit early. Some color, but not much.

I took lots of photos, including the AT&T tower at the top of the mountain. I Facetimed my friend Anne from the top & for some reason, got a good signal! There were many propane tanks that are used by the cell & radio towers for power (although I didn't hear a generator running). I really wonder how they refill the tanks. They are up a very steep, rough road that is gated. I've never seen a 4 wheel drive propane delivery truck, but that is what it would take. I met a forest service truck on the way down, stopped and asked if they knew how the tanks got filled, but they didn't. Lots more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After getting back to the campground, I made a sausage & rice dinner, and watched the deer wander around the trailer.

Until next time -

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Day 37, Sunday, September 10, 2017 - Page Springs BLM Campground, Frenchglen, OR

Dried Thistles
Sunday, September 10, 2017 - Page Springs BLM Campground, Frenchglen, OR, 38.1 Miles, 678.9 Towing Miles For the Trip

A short drive to the Page Springs BLM campground. I half filled the fresh water tank since there are no hookups at Page Springs. I looped around the campground, and found fewer open sites than there were yesterday. I did find one that has a bit more sun than I would have liked, however that will be good for the solar panels. At $4.00 per night (with the Senior Card discount), it will improve my average campground cost. I signed up for a week in site 8, a very large site with a babbling brook behind it. There are nice vault toilets & fresh water spigots (with threaded nozzles) scattered around the campground. I'm glad I got here around 12:00 - at least three trailers pulled in behind me, and most ofthe sites left are better suited for truck campers of Class B vans. A few campground & site photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

With the amplifier, I have a great AT&T signal, and a good 4G LTE from Verizon, even without it. Still no FM stations, but a good XM Radio connection. I wonder if I'd do better with the amplified FM antenna I had in the 17B? It won't be easy to add one to the 21 because the antenna mounting bolt is also the antenna electrical connection, but If I find one I'll get it & hope I can modify things.

I now have to get back in the groove of dry camping. No air conditioning, but the Maxx Fan moves lots of air. It is currently 82°F both in & out of the trailer. I'll try to do most of the power hungry stuff while the sun is shining. That includes photo editing on the laptop, so I might be posting earlier than usual.

Dinner will be a grilled Bubba Burger & Broccoli.

Until next time -

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Day 36, Saturday, September 9, 2017 - The Narrows, Princeton, OR, Day 3

The Round Barn
Saturday, September 9, 2017 - The Narrows, Princeton, OR, Day 3, 0 Miles, 640.8 Towing Miles For the Trip

Happy birthday to me!

I ate breakfast at the Narrows Restaurant. Good hash browns, just an OK ham & cheese omelet, although there it was large enough that I left a bit behind.

After breakfast I headed south on OR 205 to explore more of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The first stop was at the Sod House Ranch. Lots of old barns & buildings, including the Long Barn.

Next stop was the Buena Vista Overlook. While I suspect there are ponds at the base of the overlook, this time of year it is a dry field with a small pond in the distance.

Continuing south on OR 205, I turned onto Diamond Lane, then Lava Bed Road, heading to see the Round Barn. On the way I met a cattle drive, most of which was on the road. I wove my way through the cattle, and continued on to the barn. An interesting structure. I met the same cattle drive on the way back, coming up behind them. It took a bit longer to get through them all but I did get a couple of pictures through the windshield (no way I was getting out of the truck!)

While I will be going through Frenchglen tomorrow on the way to Page Springs campground, I decided to check out the campground since I was already within 15 miles of it. A small Mercantile & the Frenchglen Hotel, a state heritage site. I drove the two miles beyond the hotel to the campground. Large sites, with about 4-5 empty ones. I hope more will move on tomorrow. At the hotel there was an excellent AT&T and Verizon signal. I didn't check at the campground, but it is close enough that I suspect it will be OK.

On the way back I stopped to take a photo of an interesting hillside. By the way, if I don't make it clear where some of the photo stops are, remember that I usually add coordinates to the EXIF data with the large photos.  An on line "Pic to Map" viewer will show the locations on Google Maps. The rest of today's photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After getting back to the campground I filled the gas tank (at $3.599 per gallon)

I'm still full from the 3 egg breakfast omelet, hash browns & sourdough toast, so I'm just having some cheese & crackers for dinner.

Until next time -

Friday, September 8, 2017

Day 35, Friday, September 8, 2017 - The Narrows, Princeton, OR, Day 2

Friday, September 8, 2017 - The Narrows, Princeton, OR, Day 2, 0 Miles, 640.8 Towing Miles For the Trip

Most of the smoke is gone. I hung around the trailer most of the day, then made a run to the Burns Safeway for some supplies. The plan is to head south on OR 205 and spend a couple of days dry camping at the Page Springs BLM campground starting Sunday, so I wanted to stock up. Of course I bought too much, but it all fit in the refrigerator or cabinets!

That was about it for the day. I've been doing a bit of on line reading as well as some on my Kindle.

Dinner was greasy fried chicken from Safeway.

Until next time -

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Day 34, Thursday, September 7, 2017 - The Narrows, Princeton, OR

AnIbis of Some Kind?
Thursday, September 7, 2017 - The Narrows, Princeton, OR, 99.1 Miles, 640.8 Towing Miles For the Trip

The smoke around John Day was suppose to clear up overnight, but it was at least as thick this morning as it was yesterday. It got worse as I drove south on US 395, but after driving over the ridge on 205 it started to clear, and here in the campground it isn't too bad at all. It was interesting as I got close to the Narrows Campground. The "Lake" on both sides of the road is fields full of cattle. The Malheur Wildlife Refuge would probably attract migrating birds it there was water, but this time of year (at least this year) it is dry.

After setting up the trailer I drove back to the refuge. There is a small section that OR 205 crosses between the two lakes that has a bit of water on each side. There was a group of serious birders wandering around so I stopped for some photos. Don't expect correct IDs for the birds, but there are a bunch more at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Pretty lousy IDs, but I never claimed to be a birder!

I'm in site 11, a full hook up + cable site for $27.22 per night. This is one of the few campgrounds in the US (Canada seems to be an exception) where the campground WiFi is faster than either AT&T or Verizon. Both are available, but even with the amplifier, on AT&T I'm only getting around -105dBm (-134dBm without the amp). Verizon is -91dBm 3G with the amp & - 110dBm without it.

The campground has individual bathrooms with showers ($2.00 for 4 minutes!) a laundry, and a restaurant. It needs all that - the nearest town is Burns, OR, about 26 miles away. I can't even get any FM stations.

Dinner was a microwaved Amy's Thai Pad Thai.

Until next time -

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Day 33, Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - Clyde Holliday SP, John Day, OR, Day 3

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - Clyde Holliday SP, John Day, OR, Day 3, 0 Miles, 541.7 Towing Miles For the Trip

A very relaxing day, most of which was spent outside reading. There was quite a bit of smoke in the campground; not quite enough to burn the eyes, but close. One advantage - it cut the sunlight enough that it was comfortable sitting without shade.

Around 3:00 I drove to John Day to fill the truck's gas tank. Gas has gone up to $2.999 per gallon. Back to the campground and more sitting around!

Dinner was left over tacos & an Alaskan Amber beer.

Until next time -

Day 32, Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - Clyde Holliday SP, John Day, OR, Day 2

Happy Hour
Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - Clyde Holliday SP, John Day, OR, Day 2, 0 Miles, 541.7 Towing Miles For the Trip

A busy day. I started by using the new oven to bake a blueberry pie. I wanted a test before I attempted to make one for a rally. I moved the 12" tile from the toaster oven to the trailer gas oven & it cracked in half while the oven warmed up. It still seemed to moderate the temperature - I didn't set the pie on fire like I did with the frozen pizza. All in all, it worked well, although a bit slower than the toaster oven. I did buy an oven thermometer & it ran about 25°F lower than the dial on the oven.

While the pie cooled I headed into John Day to do laundry. I almost had a mess - I'm in the habit of checking out the washer before I throw my clothes in - good thing, at least this time. There was a ball point pen cartridge in the washer with smears of ink on the sides. I used another pair, and warned folks about the ink - no paper towels available to clean it up. Other than that, the laundry went OK.

After putting the laundry away & making the bed, I headed to the bathroom. On the way there was a group of campers sitting around a picnic table. Since I can't eat a whole pie, I offered it up to the group. We had a great time testing the pie - it passed.

Next was a trip to the Painted Hills unit of the John Day Fossil Beds. It is a long haul from the campground - about 73 miles, and it got smokier every mile. At the Painted Hills the smoke was bad enough that my eyes burned. The photos were pretty bad, but I do have the ones from 2014. I stopped to photograph the "Sneaker Tree" on the way back to the campground.  Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I enjoyed clams, salad, freeze dried garlic, and a variety of wines with the group (many of which were retired teachers) until dark.

Dinner was going to be left over tacos, but after the clams, salad, and other snacks, there was no need to dig out the leftovers.

Until next time -

Monday, September 4, 2017

Day 31, Monday, September 4, 2017 - Clyde Holliday SP, John Day, OR

Cathedral Rock Along OR 19
Monday, September 4, 2017 - Clyde Holliday SP, John Day, OR, 93.5 Miles, 541.7 Towing Miles For the Trip

Moving day, and I just noticed that I've been on the road for a month! I packed up the trailer, hooked up, and headed down OR 19 & OR 26 to John Day. I'm at the Clyde Holliday State Park. It is first come, so I was a bit concerned that there would be a full park from the long weekend, but while they were full over Labor Day, close to half the park moved out today. As of 6:30 tonight, the hosts said there were still 9 empty sites. I'm in site 7, a large & shaded water & electric site for $24.00 per night. There is some road noise from OR 26 which is on the other side of the campground, but I suspect it will slow down by bedtime. The John Day river runs behind my site. I'll be here until Thursday morning.

I stopped for a photo of what I think is Cathedral Rock along OR 19.  The campground photo is at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After setting up, I headed to the Thriftway, a large grocery store. Of course I went overboard, but I did have a list of stuff I needed. And, of course, I bought lots of stuff not on the list! Gas next door was $2.929 per gallon, the least expensive I've seen in quite awhile.

There is a fair amount of smoke in the air, at least more than at Fossil. I just heard on the news that they closed I 84 near the Cascade Locks due to smoke, and some schools are staying closed or closing early due to the heat. It was only in the 80's here, but parts of Oregon are close to 100°F.

Back at the campground I sat out & read a bit, then started tacos for dinner. Not the most practical meal for one since the packets of taco seasoning are designed for a pound of meat (I know, I could do the seasoning from scratch, but I'm lazy). I managed to eat 4 of hard corn tacos, and will use the leftovers for dinner tomorrow.

Until next time -

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Day 30, Sunday, September 3, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 8

Sunday, September 3, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 8, 0 Miles, 448.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

The local FM station that I thought was country western is KFSL, really local, based in Fossil, and is a bit of everything. This morning it was all classical, then an Irish hour, now back to mixed drivel. I guess it is designed to appeal to all, but there are sections I could do without, although I'm sure there are those that dislike my preferences!

Around 11:00PM I headed to the Fossil Mercantile to park outside & use the AT&T service. I checked in the store, and they said it wasn't theirs - I don't know who set it up, but it let me call my son & some friends in Colorado.

David, one of my blog followers requested a photo of the table used with the "U" shaped dinette, so there are a couple on today's LakeshoreImages page.

In retrospect, I might have done better to chose a table support that made removal of the table possible since that would allow stretching out from the back section of the seating, but the main reason I wanted the Springfield pedestal was to be able to easily lower the table for travel. Since there is just me, I have plenty of room with the table in place. With the pedestal unlocked, the table can spin, making access to the distribution panel easier. As you can see, I use a couple of plastic bins as my pantry & store them under the side of the table I rarely use.

Dinner was a chicken sausage, beans & apple sauce.

Until next time -

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Day 29, Saturday, September 2, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 7

Moonrise 9/2

Saturday, September 2, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 7, 0 Miles, 448.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

Another day spend sitting around. I microwaved a Jimmy Dean biscuit, sausage & egg for breakfast. Good for a change, but not even up to McDonald's standards.

I did take a moonrise photo last night & tonight. Better color yesterday, but a better position & size tonight (although more smoke). Oh well, you take what you can get. Tonight's photo at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Since it is the last day for the billing period for my Jetpack, I downloaded the stuff I had been putting off in case I was getting close to going over the 20GB allotment. Not even close - I'm at 14GB. With the way Verizon keeps changing their plans, I may be able to change & save some money, but every time I stop at a store and ask what is available, then tell them what I have, they suggest keeping my current plan.

I finished Richard Layman's Island sitting outside in the shade of the trailer. It is hot, particularly in the sun. My outside thermometer (inside the propane tank cover) is reading 100°F at 3:00. While it isn't that bad in the shade, it is still too warm, even with a light breeze, to sit out in the sun. The AC is running set at 78°F, and is cycling on & off with a bit more on than off.

Dinner was an Amy's Broccoli & Cheddar Bake bowl & a salad.

Until next time -

Friday, September 1, 2017

Day 28, Friday, September 1, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 6

Friday, September 1, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 6, 0 Miles, 448.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

Another slow day. I drove to the center of town and stopped at the Fossil Mercantile for some breakfast stuff - I'm getting tired of cereal. As I walked through the aisles, my phone went nuts. It seems they have an AT&T Micro cell covering the store - while throughout the area I have "no service", in the store I have 5 bars!

I called the Chocorua KOA to make reservations for the "Spring Fling", a New England rally I attended with friends last May. While they have on line reservations, there was no way I could get two sites next to each other using the on line system. So, we will be in sites 45 & 47 May 17 - 20. Feel free to join us!

That was about it for the day. Lots of sitting around reading, and updating my end of the month accounting spreadsheet.

Until next time -

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Day 27, Thursday, August 31, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 5

New Upper Cabinet Lighting
Thursday, August 31, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 5, 0 Miles, 448.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

A long day, most of which was spent inside the trailer. I now have lights in all the overhead cabinets. I had Escape pre wire the cabinets (although they or I missed the front one) so it was much easier than when I did the 17. On the other hand, there are more cabinets, and at only a few days from my 73rd birthday, I don't bend as well as I did when I wired the 17. In any case, the job is done, even the front cabinet. I still have work there - the wiring for the XM Radio needs to be routed through holes on the cabinet corners rather than out the corner of the door as it is now. I can't believe that adding lights to 7 pre wired cabinets is a full day's work, but it was.

If you look at the photo, you will notice 2 different color temperatures for the lights. I used long strips left over from adding awning lights to the 17 for the longer cabinets, and a pre made 22" strip for the rest. All are on switches; while many use contact or other automatic switches, I like to be able to leave the cabinets open with the lights off to help control temperatures in them.

While all that was going on, my slow cooker made chicken & Anasazi Brothers Cliff Dweller Bean soup. While it was good, it makes far too much for one person. I will freeze one batch, and save the other for tomorrow.

Until next time -

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Day 26, Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 4

Visiting Deer
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 4, 0 Miles, 448.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

I didn't do much at all today. Most of it spent reading or listening to the radio. I did dig out some of the projects I have lined up for the trailer, but the only one I got done was mounting the XM Radio next to the bed. I'll probably start on the upper cabinet lighting tomorrow - all the parts are ready to go.

Last night a small herd of deer wandered through the campground. The seemed to be used to people since they didn't run off when I got out of my chair, opened the back door of the truck and got out the camera.

We now have 4 RVs in the campground - a Born Free Class C pulled into the site next to mine.

Dinner was a Bubba burger, Bush baked beans & snap peas.

Until next time -

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Day 25, Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil & Shaniko, OR, Day 3

Clarno Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil & Shaniko, OR, Day 3, 0 Miles, 448.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

Last night was another warm evening. I kept the AC running until 8:00 or so, until it cooled below the 78°F I had it set for.

After breakfast I headed to one of the John Day Fossil Bed sites at the national monument. There are 3 sites, 2 of which I visited in 2014. This time I stopped at the Clarno location along OR 218. I stopped along the way (and way back) for a couple of old building photos. I'm glad I didn't have the trailer; lots of hills & switchbacks. I photographed one of them, but it doesn't show up all that well. I will be taking OR 19 to get to my planned next stop, Clyde Holiday State Park, which, at least on the map looks just as hilly.
After a short half mile hike at the Clarno Unit, I headed on west to Shaniko. Shaniko is described as a ghost town, but there is plenty of people living there (at least for a ghost town - it even has a working US Post Office). Lots of old buildings and a Ice Cream parlor that served a great roast beef sandwich for lunch.

On the way back I stopped for another old building, as well as what I hope is an abandoned school in Antelope, OR, another small town along OR 218.

More photos of the park & Shaniko are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

By the way, I haven't mentioned it yet, but the Verizon connection here at Fossil is one of the fastest I've had on the trip. There is no AT&T service anywhere in the area. I'm thinking of getting a Verizon pre paid non data phone just to cover the many no AT&T areas I've found. I don't like having no phone service. It is good that there is strong Verizon coverage - the only radio station is country western, not one of my favorites. I still have XM Radio, but I do like to listen to a "live" connection, and most of XM Radio is anything but. With the 20GB per month of Verizon, I can listen to on line NPR stations, including WRVO, my hometown station, and the Phoenix classical & news stations - they are even in the right time zone!

After returning to the campground i sat out and finished reading Anita Shreve's The Stars Are Fire.

Since I had lunch, dinner was simple - cheese & crackers.

Until next time -

Monday, August 28, 2017

Day 24, Monday, August 28, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 2

The Fossil Museum
Monday, August 28, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 2, 0 Miles, 448.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

I took a couple of photos of the sunset - the smoke turns it into a red/orange ball.

I slept late this morning, then went for a short hike on a trail behind the campground. It provides a nice view of the fairgrounds, as well as the campground. I took a photo of the fairground from the top of the hill behind the trailer and stuck a panorama at the bottom of today's photos.

After that it was breakfast, some reading, both on line & on my Kindle. I have found one annoying thing about the Kindle - you don't have the "store" color book cover or jacket, so it is more difficult to remember if you have read a title by glancing at an on line photo of the book. Still, I have to admit is is more convenient than paperback or hardcover books. (Did I say that?)

After lunch I headed to the Fossil Museum. While typical of small town museums, I did see a couple of things I've never seen before, including a gas powered iron & an early "portable" radio, and instructions for shoeing oxen (they can't stand on 3 feet like a horse). There is a school house next door.

I decided to do last night's dishes when I got back to the trailer & couldn't find the Dawn dishwashing soap. Unfortunately, I finally found it in the back of the under sink cabinet where it rolled around for the drive to Fossil, on its side, and the top cracked open. Now the most difficult mess I've cleaned up in the trailer was a bottle of olive oil that fell out of an upper cabinet & landed open on the floor of the Escape 17. Took a full roll of paper towels to clean it up. Well, the spilled Dawn is a close second! A thin layer of soap covering most of the shelf as well as the bottoms of the pans stored there. A very little Dawn goes a long way. A partially dried layer takes a lot to remove. The kitchen sink water lines added to the thrill of toweling up the mess, although it only took 1/2 a roll. At least I have clean hands!

After that I did some more reading, then cooked a chicken & apple sausage along with a refrigerator peach cup for dinner, and found a way to bungee cord the bottle of Dawn in the under sink cabinet!

Until next time -

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Day 23, Sunday, August 27, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR

Stonehenge War Memorial, Maryhill, WA
Sunday, August 27, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, 130 Miles, 448.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

I headed south on US 97, a pretty drive through very dry rolling hills. I stopped at the Stonehenge War Memorial just outside of Maryhill, WA for a couple of photos. Not as nice a sky as the last time I was here, and there is graffiti on the side I wanted to take the photo from, but the wildflowers were in bloom. Lots of windmills along the way.  Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

The plan was to head to the Burns RV Park in Condon, OR, a county park that got good reviews on RV Park Reviews. Unfortunately, while it looked like a nice place, all the sites were booked until Tuesday. I got a bit nervous about finding a site for the upcoming Labor Day weekend since all the state parks I checked were booked solid, so I went to the only commercial park in town, the Condon RV & Mobile Home Park. While they had a couple of spaces, the place didn't ring my bell. So, I continued south and stopped in Fossil, OR. A very small town, but evidently, the home of the county fair. I'm in site 4 at the Wheeler County RV Park for the next 8 nights, full hookups for $18.75 per night. Clean bathrooms with showers, and only 2 other RVs in the park. Not much shade & it is 95°F outside, but the AC works!

I drove to the Fossil Mercantile, and discovered a good, although expensive, supply of groceries. I also stopped by the Fossil Museum, chatted with attendant & a guy towing a teardrop trailer. Since the museum was closing in 10 minutes (even though they were willing to stay open while I explored) I decided to stop back tomorrow.

Dinner was a microwaved Boston Market Chicken Parmesan dinner, the only one of their dinners I like. Not as good as when it it baked, but I didn't want to fire up either the gas or electric oven.

Until next time -

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Day 22, Saturday, August 26, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA, Day 4 & Mt Rainier

Mt Rainier & Reflection Lake
Saturday, August 26, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA, Day 4 & Mt Rainier, 0 Miles, 318.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

While the trailer didn't go anywhere, the truck did - about 230 miles. I decided to visit Mt Rainier. While I've been there a couple of times, it just didn't seem right to be this close without stopping by. I will say that a Saturday, the week before labor day is probably not the best time to visit. Many pull offs were full, as well as the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center parking lot. In fact, the on-the-road parking past the center was filled for at least a mile.

Still, I did stop for a few photographs even though there was no opportunity for a "T" shirt. Photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

This is the third time I stopped by the Reflection Lakes, and I guess you need to get there at dawn to get a calm surface. There are always enough surface ripples to blur the reflection.

On the way home I stopped to refill my grill propane tank, a 1 gallon bottle. I felt a bit guilty since the they had to get the guy from Subway to cover the cash register while the attendant went out to pump 1 gallon of propane - they probably lost as much hooking up & disconnecting the system.

Dinner was a Subway chicken sub & a Cobb salad.

Until next time -

Friday, August 25, 2017

Day 21, Friday, August 25, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA, Day 3

Friday, August 25, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA, Day 3, 0 Miles, 318.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

The project for the day was laundry, and making the bed. While I used to write about the difficulty of making the bed in the Escape 17, I believe making the bed in the 21 is even more difficult. I was able to reach over the entire bed in the 17, while you need to kneel on the bed to reach the head of the full size bed in the 21. Of course if you are kneeling on the bed, it is difficult to pull the sheets & blankets up. I now divide it in half lengthwise, and make it one side at a time, which works.

There is another Escape (a 19) in the campground for the night, a couple from Bellingham that are returning from watching the eclipse in Oregon. They are in one of the loops, which have more room between sites than the section I'm in. There are two loops that include sites 17 - 36, which I recommend over 1 - 16.

By the way, like all of the Washington State Parks, the bathrooms are spotless. They have individual showers in the nearest bathroom that require tokens, 2 for $1.00, which must be purchased at the entrance station, a long walk from the camping area.

That was about it for the day. I did quite a bit of reading, talked with neighbors, then called it a day.

Dinner was a sandwich of fried onions, orange peppers & left over steak, one of my favorites, along with snap peas and the rest of the Knorr Pasta Alfredo side.

Until next time -

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Day 20, Thursday, August 24, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA, Day 2

Thursday, August 24, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA, Day 2, 0 Miles, 318.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

I spent most of today driving around Yakima. First stop was to Allstate to pay my auto insurance bill & get new insurance identification cards. There is an advantage to a company that has offices in almost every town. Next was Walmart for some non food supplies & an ear of corn (which was excellent). Next to Toyota to get my truck's 25,000 check up. No oil change, but they rotate the tires. This is the last one that I get for free under Toyotacare. I guess I drive too much - it is for 2 years OR 25,000 miles, which ever comes first!

Next was to one of my banks. I have a back up credit card that has changed banks 3 times due to buyouts. The latest sent me email telling me they were going to send a new card. Of course it will be going to my house, where I don't plan to get to until May, 2018. I checked the local branch here in Yakima, and sure enough, my current card will be closed. They suggested waiting until the new card arrived in Oswego, then reporting it lost at a branch out here that I plan to stay near for a couple of days & have a new card issued.

After that it was back to the campground and dinner. A "T" bone steak, grilled corn on the cob, and Knorr Pasta Alfredo side.

It has finally cooled off enough to shut down the AC & fire up the Maxx fan. I much prefer the quiet! It is getting windy - the tents in the campground are dancing, and my trailer is rocking a bit.

Until next time -

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Day 19, Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA

Site 13
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA , 237.7 Miles, 318.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

The fresh blackberries on my cereal were great. I got an early start, and was out of the park at 8:15. Most of the drive was on US 2 & US 97. I drove by the bard I photographed a couple of days age - all the cattle were gone & I didn't stop. The trailer pulled OK on the hills & passes. The transmission temperatures climbed on the way up, but dropped quickly after the climb.

I pulled into the Yakima Sportsman State Park around 2:15 & headed to my reserved site (#13). Not much like a state park; more like a commercial trailer park with the trailers on top of each other. It is full hook ups - should be at $43.25 per night! I do remember Washington State Parks as being expensive since they charge an out-of-state fee, reservation fee, and pretty steep base prices.

After setting up the trailer I headed to Safeway to buy some supplies.

I ran the air conditioner for the first time - it was 92°F in the trailer after setting up. I ran it until dinner set at 70°F and it never kicked off. I believe the thermostat that comes with the new trailer (it operates both the furnace & the AC) actually shuts off the AC when it reaches temperature. I don't know if that will be more annoying than just leaving the fan running and cycling the compressor like the Escape 17 did, but it won't make much difference for sleeping, since I've always shut it off at bedtime. Of course I haven't tried to sleep in 90°F temperatures, so we will see. Right now at 7:15 it is down to 85°F outside & 80°F in the trailer since I shut the AC off for dinner.

Dinner was fried chicken legs & thighs and Honeycrisp apple sauce from Safeway. You never know what you are going to get, but this time both the chicken & their oatmeal cookies were very good. I bought a "T" bone steak for tomorrow.

Until next time -

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Day 18, Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - Bay View State Park, Burlington, WA

Site 42, Bay View State Park, WA
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - Bay View State Park, Burlington, WA, 66.5 Miles, 80.5 Towing Miles For the Trip

A very lonely night! No one moved into the campground so I was all alone in a 40 site campground. I even played my Navajo flute outdoors (I play so badly that I am only willing to play when no one else is listening).

I got a late start because I only had a short hop to Bay View State Park. Once I had internet & phone service, I called to see if they had sites, and there were lots of dry ones available. Unfortunately, I also called a bunch of parks in the Wenatchee area where I was planning to stay over the weekend, and there were no sites in any of them. I finally found a site in Yakima at the Sportsman State Park, a bit further than I wanted to drive, but at least it is in the direction I want to go. I can't wait until school starts & people stop camping (or at least fewer are looking for sites).

I'm in site 42, a dry site for $30.00. For those that don't like loud noises, you might look elsewhere - it seems my site (along with most of the park) is in the flight path of the local airport. Full size jets as well as small airplane traffic. At least it isn't constant...

Lots of ripe blackberries all over the park - I guess they will go well with my Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast. Speaking of food, dinner will be a grilled chicken patty.

I tried to update my signature pictures with today's campsite photo (until a better one comes along) but at I have an interesting problem - when I try to save the new signature photo, it gives me an "unexpected error". What ever the error is, it doesn't have anything to do with the picture - it won't let me delete the old image or save any changes in any of the fields. So, if you visit you will still see the 17B towed by a RAV4...

Until next time -

Day 17, Monday, August 21, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 5 & Eclipse

Not Total, But Pretty Neat!
Monday, August 21, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 5, 0 Miles, 14 Towing Miles For the Trip

I wasn't sure I'd even see the eclipse since the site is nestled in tall fir trees, however it was visible through some breaks in the trees. My neighbors gave me a pair of eclipse glasses, and I had already set the D700 up with my 80 - 400 lens, stacked with 10X & 6X neutral density filters. The combination of filters let me view the sun through the viewfinder or use live view to focus, and provided usable images.

There is an interesting effect when the eclipse is near total - it creates half moon shadows. If you look carefully, you can see them in the tree branch shadows on the ground and a little on the trailer. Photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

As soon as the eclipse finished, the neighbors packed up & headed out. Unless someone else moves in, there is just me & a tent camper in the Red Mountain campground. Actually, the tent campers left around 2:00 so now I'm here by myself.

I decided it was time to wax the bottom half of the trailer. Much easier than the top!

I also decided to try the oven for the first time cooking a frozen pizza (which, by the way still doesn't fit in my new 6 Cu Ft 2 door refrigerator without removing the door rack). Since frozen pizzas take up a significant part of the normal grocery store freezer section (and a good part of the American diet), you would think that the designer of the refrigerator would add the last 1/2" of depth necessary, but...

Back to the oven - 1st problem - lighting the pilot light is "interesting". 2nd problem - while you can set the temperature with a dial, there is no indicator as to when the oven reaches the set temperature. I need an oven thermometer. 3rd problem - don't follow the instructions for frozen pizza, ie cook it directly on the oven rack. Lots of smoke & a burned bottom long before the top was done. Eventually I managed to get about 1/2 the 12" pizza edible. Since that is all I usually eat, no problem, but next time I'm going to move my 12" tile from the electric toaster oven to the trailer's oven, and look for a 12" pizza pan.

After dinner I saw young woman driving loops every 15 minutes around the campground. She finally stopped to talk, and said she was looking for friends. Since there is no cell service, she couldn't call them, but since no one else way in the campground, she was worried. I gave her the news that there were two other campgrounds here at Silver Lake - the Red Mountain campground I'm in is about 1/2 mile from the main part of the park & sent her off to search for her friends. I suspect they will be there - the other campgrounds are closer to the lake and have a shower house ($.75 for 6 minutes). One is dry camping; I'm not sure of the others. Red Mountain was the only one that had sites left for the weekend when I made the reservations back in late June.

Until next time -

Day 16, Sunday, August 20, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 4

Sunday, August 20, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 4, 0 Miles, 14 Towing Miles For the Trip

A quiet Sunday. Most of the sites were reserved through today and almost everyone left. There are 2 other sites reserved until tomorrow, and for some reason, the three sites next to me must have extended their stay for another night. They didn't look like the types that would take advantage of a campground where the park rangers don't seem to visit or check. While not the ideal place for viewing the eclipse, it it better than some.

I have seen an interesting tactic at a couple of state parks - early in the morning a vehicle will drive through looking for an empty site that still has a checkout tag for the current day. Since most state parks have late checkouts of 2:00 - 3:00, they can get a half a day in the site without reserving. I've even seen a few set up tents for a short nap, than pack up by checkout time!

That is about all that was interesting today. I spent most of it reading & chasing the sun - it was only 51°F this morning, and only got into the 60's during the day.

Dinner was the rest of the chicken meatballs & spaghetti sauce (well I also added some actual spaghetti).

Until next time -

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Day 15, Saturday, August 19, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 3 & Mt Baker

Mt Shuksan From Picture Lake 
Saturday, August 19, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 3 & Mt Baker, 0 Miles, 14 Towing Miles For the Trip

There are still a number of empty (but reserved starting yesterday) sites here in the campground. I do have a new neighbor in a pop up. I had a late breakfast, again spent some time moving things around, then sat outside & read for a bit. I'm back to a real book - a Nick Petrie adventure novel (Burning Bright) that was recommended by Lee Child. Pretty good so far...

After a bit I decided there wasn't going to be direct sun on the front of the trailer, so I decided to wax it. It doesn't need it for the shine (the gel coat is about as shiny as possible) but a couple of coats of wax makes it easier to remove the bug splatter. I kept going around the trailer, doing the entire top half (except for the roof - the only "ladder" I have is my 18" high ice chest). While the trailer is only 4' longer than the 17, it sure feels bigger when you are waxing it!

By the time I finished it was 3:00 so I decided to head for the Mt Baker Ski Area & Artist's Point. I stopped at the Silver Fir Forest Service campground just before the road turned steep. As usual, it was full, or at least fully booked. It takes reservations & there were a few empty sites.

I took far too many photos at Picture Lake, then drove the rest of the way to Artist's Point. Very crowded. Most of the visitors seemed to be from India. Lots of snow on the ground - many improvised sleds (as well as some people that brought real ones) sliding down one of the hills near the parking lot. I sat in the parking lot and did some rough editing of the images, and put together today's page, hoping to be able to upload it at the cell tower. There is no Verizon signal here at the parking lot, so we'll see.

Well, it started out as a very slow 1X Verizon signal, but after taking 15 minutes to upload the photos, it switched to a 4G LTE signal so the individual pages loaded quickly.

Dinner will be a Bubba Burger & baked beans.

Until next time -

Day 14, Friday, August 18, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 2

Friday, August 18, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 2, 0 Miles, 14 Towing Miles For the Trip

A very quiet night - no creaking floors above, no traffic, no anything! Silver Lake Park not only does not have cell coverage, but it is at the end of at least 10 miles of narrow, hilly back roads with very little traffic. There is a lake, with a couple of campgrounds & cabins that is probably a bit noisier, but it is about a half mile from Red Mountain. Since most of the reservations are for today through Sunday, there are only about 6 campers in the campground this morning & all were quiet.

After a walk around the campground loop I made breakfast. It was nice to have enough counter space to leave out the coffee pot at the same time I used the toaster! By the way, the bed (A full size permanent mattress) was very comfortable, and my concern about feeling closed in by the bathroom wall wasn't a problem. It feels very open.

After breakfast I spent some time rearranging stuff, mounting the paper towel holder & spice rack, then headed to Walmart for some missing supplies & food. The nearest Walmart is 30 miles away in Bellingham, WA (although there are closer ones in Canada but I didn't want to cross the border again). I picked up lots of stuff, including a dinnerware tray that didn't fit in the drawer. I do have to remember to write down dimensions of stuff before I shop!

After putting things away back at the trailer I made spaghetti & meatballs (pre cooked chicken meatballs) for dinner, along with a couple of glasses of "The Seven Deadly Zins" zinfandel wine, then made a reasonably steady walk around the campground. Still lots of empty sites eve though the campground if full, but people are arriving every minute.

Again, I won't post this tonight, but if the day looks clear, I'll head for the Mt Baker Ski Are & Artist's Point for a few photos. There is a Verizon tower at the ski area so I should have a connection.

Until next time -

Friday, August 18, 2017

Day 13, Thursday, August 17, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA

The First Campground Photo of the New Escape 21
Thursday, August 17, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, 14 Miles, 14 Towing Miles For the Trip

Well, here it is the first day/night in the trailer & I can't tell anyone. Here at the Silver Lake campground there is no cell service, either AT&T or Verizon. I'll put the page together, and hope to post it tomorrow when I go shopping.

It was quite a day! To start with, I have one thing to point out about the Best Western/Rainbow Country Inn. They have the worst separation between floors of any motel I've been in. A beautiful building with a central atrium, indoor pool, free breakfast, etc, but you can hear every step someone in the room above makes. Not just jumping or dropping things; every step make the floor creak. 

Anyhow, the people above me didn't get up before me, so I just had to listen to them getting ready for bed the night before (I was up at 6:30AM, far too early for us retired folks. A quick shower, breakfast & check out then over to Escape for my orientation. It went well, and I was done (and the additions to the trailer were also done) by 9:45. 

Around 10:00 we headed towards the border. As usual, I managed to get in the slowest line. Somehow at grocery stores & borders that always happens to me. The trailer went through the commercial lane and even though I had a 45 minute wait, I beat the trailer to Bob's Burgers. We switched tow vehicles & I was off for my first stop - across the street to U-Haul. 

While it was much cooler than when I loaded the U-Haul in Oswego, it was still quite a job getting everything in the Escape 21. I didn't bother unpacking the boxes at U-Haul, just stuffed them in the trailer. A 14 mile drive to Silver Lake Park & the Red Mountain Campground, Site 4. I'll be here for 5 nights so I can skip the Eclipse madness. It is a water & electric site for $31.00 per night. I thought I saw showers on the campground map, but that must have been one of the other campgrounds in the park - there are 3 of them. All that is here is a rough outhouse. Glad I have the trailer! I'm also glad I have a reservation. The campground is full over the weekend, at least according to the tags on the site posts.

I spent most of the day unpacking & trying to find places for everything. The 21 is a much bigger trailer than the 17 (well obviously 4' longer) and is wider & taller, but somehow I still had a difficult time finding room for everything. I'm sure I'll adjust to the new storage locations as I settle into the trailer. Right now I'm just trying to make enough room to eat & sleep!

I'm shot - Dinner was a couple of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (actually homemade Oswego strawberry jam) and some chips. I didn't have the energy to dig out the grill, but I now have 8 empty storage boxes. I left them next to the dumpster in case someone else can use them.

Since there is no cell coverage within 10 - 15 miles, I suspect my postings will be a bit erratic over the next week or so.

Until Next Time- 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day 12, The Rainbow Country Inn, Chilliwack, BC

Parked at Escape Trailer Industries
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - The Rainbow Country Inn, Chilliwack, BC, 24 Miles, 3,307.8 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

I hung around the Windmill Inn until check out time at 11:00, then headed to Sumas to cross the border into Canada. The trailer was still parked at the Sumas U Haul, a good sign. No problems crossing the border or the drive to the Best Western of Chilliwack, AKA the Rainbow Inn. It is within walking distance of Escape Trailer Industries & I stopped by to check out the new facilities. The have a showroom with each of their 4 current trailers on display. I took a few photos of the inside of the 5.0TA. Check today's LakeshoreImages page.

After checking out the showroom I headed over to the motel & checked in. A nice room for $117.20 US ($140.00 Canadian). It does have a problem that lots of motels seem to have - very few available outlets for plugging your stuff, at least near the table or bed. I did find a few motels that had a multiple receptacle extension, including a couple of USB ports on a tabletop unit, but not here. Makes it difficult to use my iPhone as a radio without killing the battery.

Dinner was a chicken wrap at the Tim Horton's next door.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Day 11, Tuesday, August 15, 2017 -The Windmill Inn Motel, Lynden, WA Day 2

Downtown Lynden, WA
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 -The Windmill Inn Motel, Lynden, WA Day 2, 0 Miles, 3,283.8 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

While the Windmill Inn doesn't make the top 3 motels of the trip, it has the most comfortable bed. The room is pretty small; while there is a table, the only way to sit at it is on the bed. No where to put stuff in the bathroom - other than the toilet cover, the sink is the only flat surface & the lip is only about 1" wide. Still, it works.

I slept late, then headed to Safeway for some non refrigerated supplies for the trailer kitchen. After that I read a bunch of journals & forums, a bit of my latest book (on, horrors of horrors, a Kindle), then drove over to the Washington State Fair. I didn't take my Nikon, so the photos are all with my iPhone, but it looks much like the NY state fair, although there is more exhibits of student work, including a large Lego exhibit. Lots of booths selling just about everything, rides, and food and large tractors. Some Fair & more downtown Lynden photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After leaving the fair I continued down main street at the suggestion of the owner of the Windmill Inn to see the main part of town. Huge hanging baskets of flowers everywhere, windmills, and false front buildings.

Dinner was an early stop at Bob's Burgers for a grilled chicken & avocado sandwich. Larger than I could eat, but excellent.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, August 14, 2017

Day 10, Monday, August 14, 2017 -The Windmill Inn Motel, Lynden, WA

Diablo Lake, Cascades, WA
Monday, August 14, 2017 -The Windmill Inn Motel, Lynden, WA, 180.1 Miles, 3,283.8 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

A beautiful drive along WA 20. While I remember it from 1996 as a "hairy" road, it didn't seem bad at all this trip. Maybe I have more mountain roads under my belt! In any case, I stopped for a few photos along the way, including the first of snow. I believe the lake is Diablo Lake, but it could be Ross Lake - the signs at the overview seems to describe both, but the dam looks more like the one on Diablo Lake. In any case, a pretty green color that usually indicates it is glacier fed. I didn't see any glaciers, but I'll bet it is cold - the air temperature was down to 48°F as I went over the pass. A couple more photos on today's LakeshoreImages page.

After the Cascades, it was a flat drive to Sumas & Lynden, where I stopped for the day. I'm in the Windmill Inn Motel & Campground for 2 nights, after which I'll head to Canada, and the Best Western across from Escape Trailer Industries.

After checking into the motel I headed to Bellingham & the LSF Marine Supply to pick up a bottle of Meguiar's Marine Wax. While more expensive than their top automotive version and more difficult to find, I found it works better on fiberglass. Could be just my imagination, but that is what I have been using on the Escape 17 for the last couple of years & it looked new when I sold it.

Dinner was a southwest salad at McDonalds.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Day 9, Sunday, August 13, 2017 -The Virginian Motel, Winthrop, WA

A Barn Along US 97
Sunday, August 13, 2017 -The Virginian Motel, Winthrop, WA, 264.7 Miles, 3,113.7 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

The Motel Oasis Inn, Moses Lake goes on my recommended list (although I only plan on using motels for the immediate future). A great breakfast, complete with a waffle maker, a nice room, oversized pool, etc.

My original plan was to take I 90 to Ellensburg, then US 97 to Pateros, switch to WA 153 to start a run across WA 20. Unfortunately, there was an accident on I 90 West that closed it before Ellensburg. So, rather than getting to Winthrop too early to check in at the Virginian Motel, I decided to take an earlier exit on I 90 that would get me to US 2 and take US 97 south towards Ellensburg. I really didn't want to go to Ellensburg, but I did want to photograph a barn that is on US 97. The last time I was here there were no cattle; it is more interesting with them (although I could do without the truck, so in one of the images I photo shopped it out).After photographing the barn I turned around and headed back towards WA 20. One good thing - notice the smoke has pretty much disappeared!

After that it was back over most of the same roads until Wenatchee, where I got to explore a new section of US 97 (not really new, I drove it during the 2014 trip). I haven't taken WA 20 since a 1996 trip, so even though staying on US 2 would have been faster, I'm still ahead of schedule, so I'm heading through the Cascade mountains & an area of Washington with strange town names. First was Twisp; I'll hit Diablo, Corkindale & Concrete tomorrow.

I'm in room 37 at the Virginian Hotel, a "resort" that has rooms, cabins, etc. It is a nice room on the second floor for $87.85. No restaurant on the premises, so I'll have to head out later to find dinner. I included a photo of a Twisp sign & my building. More barn photos, Twisp & my motel building at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a Creamy Greens pizza at the East 20 Pizza & Beer. An excellent thin crust pizza & Alaskan Amber on tap - what more could you ask for?

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Day 8, Saturday, August 12, 2017 -The Motel Oasis Inn, Moses Lake, WA

Dry Falls, WA
Saturday, August 12, 2017 -The Motel Oasis Inn, Moses Lake, WA, 266.9 Miles, 2,849 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

I did enjoy my night at the Little River Motel, although while the bed in the back room was OK, if you plan to stay for any length of time I suggest adding a topper - there were some hard spots in the mattress.

I had already booked a room in Moses Lake, and planned to hang around the Little River Motel until 11:00 (check out time) but the smoke was bad enough that I left around 8:00, just after breakfast. That made my arrival time in Moses Lake far too early to check in (11:00AM). I forgot that there would be another time change between the two stops.

So, I decided to take a bit of a tour & punched Coulee City into the GPS. That added a couple of hours to the trip & let me see Dry Falls again. I stayed in the area on a 2014 trip, including a day at the city park and a couple of nights at the state park below the falls. It doesn't look and different, but I took a couple of photos anyway. They are a bit Smokey compared to the 2014 photos, but I included a panorama this time. The viewpoint still gives me a bit of disorientation standing at the end! The panorama is at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Speaking of smoke, it got very bad just across the Idaho border, then gradually cleared as I drove into Washington. It isn't gone, as obvious in the Dry Falls photos, but my eyes aren't watering.

I didn't stop at the Lenore Lake Caves along WA 17 on the way from Coulee City to Moses Lake - while interesting, they are not real caves & I already visited them last time. I don't remember WA 17 as being as rough last time, but is sure is lumpy now!

I'm in Room 107 at the Motel Oasis Inn, complete with a sofa & king size bed for $85.12. I still arrived earlier than check in time (around 1:00), but the let me in with no complaints. There is a fairly large pool outside my door - I may try to do some laps before dinner.

Dinner, well actually a late lunch, was a Subway chicken sub & my first of the trip Alaskan Amber beer.

Until Tomorrow -