Monday, September 25, 2017

Day 52, Monday, September 25, 2017 - Oakridge RV Park, Oakridge, OR, Day 2

Salmon Creek
Monday, September 25, 2017 - Oakridge RV Park, Oakridge, OR, Day 2, 0 Miles, 1,143.4 Towing Miles For the Trip

I didn't plug in the electric heater when I went to bed since it was still 72°F in the trailer at 10:30. I sure cooled off overnight - down to 49°F outside. The trailer was at 56°F at 6:00AM, not quite enough to fire up the furnace that was set for 57°F. Comfortable for sleeping, but too cold to want to get out of bed & dressed! Unfortunately, it didn't warm up all that much until late afternoon - lots of clouds & no sun. I ran the electric heater on low most of the day.

I hung around the trailer doing the usual stuff, than went for a walk along the levee that runs between Salmon Creek & the campground. I took the camera to photograph a section of rapids, all the time  was listening to a strange repetitive pounding noise. As I got further down the levee, I found a well drilling rig. I've seen them on the road & parked, even set up for "drilling", but never saw one working. Now I know why they sometimes call them "pounders". For those that have never seen or heard one, here is a YouTube video of one at work. This must be for a community well since it has a 12" casing, much larger than any I've seen for a household well. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

The cell service here is good on both AT&T & Verizon, both showing 4G LTE. It is interesting that, when running a speed test AT&T is over twice the speed as Verizon, but last night I couldn't make a connection to WXXI, a Rochester NY station that airs one of my favorite music programs - Hearts of Space. A bit strange to most (I've described it as Yonnie meets Phillip Glass).  I like it, but am too much of a tightwad to pay for their service, so I have to listen to their broadcast each week. Again, AT&T would not connect using WXXI's app, while Verizon had no problems. I'm actually running both here since I'm less than 1/2 way through the Verizon allotment with only a week left. On top of that, the campground has pretty fast free WiFi.

Around 5:00 it got warm enough to sit outside & read for a bit. After that I went to the Matzatlan Mexican Restaurant for dinner. Very good chicken fajitas, and very fast service. Strangely enough, it was the only Mexican restaurant I've ever eaten in that was out of guacamole! Other than that, not enough sour cream & only one paper napkin (you need more with fajitas in flour tacos, at least I do), it was a good dinner at a reasonable price.

Until next time -

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Day 51, Sunday, September 24, 2017 - Oakridge RV Park, Oakridge, OR

Salt Creek Waterfall
Sunday, September 24, 2017 - Oakridge RV Park, Oakridge, OR, 131.1 Miles, 1,143.4 Towing Miles For the Trip

I headed out of the KOA around 10:00, driving up US 97 & OR 58. I have driven that section of US 97 before, on trips that either ended up in Klamath Falls, or headed west on OR 138, one of my favorite roads for waterfalls (and the Susan Falls BLM campground is also a favorite). I also drove by Collier Memorial State Park, a state park I enjoyed on past trips. I skipped all on this trip, and cut through the Cascades on OR 58, a new road for me. I stopped to photograph Diamond Peak across Odell Lake, and to photograph Oregon's second tallest waterfall ( the Salt Creek Falls) but didn't do the hike to the bottom. Sorry for the burnt out stream at the top of the falls - too much sunlight.

I quit for the day at the Oakridge RV Park, Site 11, a full hookup gravel site for $38.43 per night. I'm here for 3 nights. It is a small, typical commercial RV park with bathrooms, showers & a laundry, but no cable and no picnic table at the temporary sites.

The change in weather crossing to the west side of the Cascades is pretty amazing. When I left Klamath Falls it was in the low 40's, and here in Oakridge, everyone is walking around in "T" shirts & shorts at 75F. The change of altitude probably also has a lot to do with the increased temperatures - I went from 4099' at Klamath Falls to 1240' here in Oakridge. On the way I hit 5128' going over Willamette Pass. Evidently, the rain over the last couple of days has limited the smoke. While you can see a bit of haze, it is no worse than Fossil was when I was there, and this was one of the areas reported as "Unhealthy".

I drove to the local grocery store (Ray's Food Place), a surprisingly well stocked store for a town of only 3205. They also have a Mexican restaurant that the campground owner recommended that I may try tomorrow. Dinner tonight was fried chicken - a bit too greasy for my taste, very good baked macaroni & cheese, and fresh string beans.

Until next time -

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Day 48, Thursday, September 21, 2017 - Klamath Falls KOA, Klamath Falls, OR

Site 37

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - Klamath Falls KOA, Klamath Falls, OR, 101.6 Miles, 1,012.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

I'm not sure what happened to the Thursday post, but I discovered it was only a draft & not posted when I went to post today's (Saturday's) post, so it is going to be out of order.

It cooled down to 32°F last night, but the electric heater kept the trailer at 70°F all night. There were quite a few RVs & tents at the Goose Lake Campground last night. I'm not sure why, but during my morning walk I counted 11 campers.

After breakfast, I packed up the trailer & headed out. My Tacoma tire pressure alarm went off - I knew they were on the edge pressure wise, and the cold morning took one tire below 24PSI. I stopped at every gas station between Lakeview & Klamath Falls, and none had air. I finally found a station in Klamath Falls (The Washburn Fuel at 3320 Washburn Way for those interested) that not only had air, but it was free. On top of that, regular was $2.799 per gallon, the cheapest I've found in Oregon.

There are not a lot of choices in Klamath Falls for campgrounds, at least ones that are recommended in my campground guide, so I'm at a KOA for the first time on the trip. As I've said before, KOA's are more expensive than most, but like McDonalds, you pretty much know what your getting. I'm in site 37, a full hookup site with cable for $37.07 with my membership discount.

I stopped at a Fred Meyers & a Walmart to pick up a list of stuff that I haven't been able to find at the nearby small stores over the last couple of weeks. For some reason, I had my heart set on chicken thighs & legs for dinner, but what was available at Walmart didn't look all that appetizing. On the way back to the campground I saw a Jack in the Box, and never having been to one, thought they sold chicken. Well, they do, but only as sandwiches. So, dinner was a Crispy Chicken Club sandwich & Plank Onion Rings. A very messy sandwich, but pretty good.

Until next time -

Day 50, Saturday, September 23, 2017 - Klamath Falls KOA, Klamath Falls, OR, Day 3

A Scamp 16 Next Door
Saturday, September 23, 2017 - Klamath Falls KOA, Klamath Falls, OR, Day 3, 0 Miles, 1,012.3 Towing Miles For the Trip

Not to much to talk about today. I met someone that went to the University of Rochester (about 68 miles from home) and chatted about the upstate New York winters, but that was about it for the day. There is a 16' Scamp next door. I talked with the owners - they moved up from a 13'. Next to them is a pretty substantial tent camper pulled by a 3 wheel motorcycle. 

I tried to FaceTime with Don & Anne, but while we connected, they were driving through the Adirondacks, and I suspect their end of the connection was failing since I have 5 bars of AT&T signal here. They went to see a balloon festival, and probably their last camping trip in their Scamp 16.

Other than that, it was a quiet day. I did take a shower, again wishing the bathroom heater came on, but it didn't, and drying was a quick process! While warmer than yesterday, it is still cool, even in the sun.

Dinner was a grilled chicken patty & the rest of the yellow rice.

Until next time - 

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 -