Saturday, March 24, 2018

Road Trip!

1300 miles, 27 hours of driving, 130 gallons of gas......that is what it took us to get from Klamath Falls to Salt Lake City and back to Oregon in just three days. Forrest and I went on a road trip to Salt Lake City to empty out the storage unit they have had for the past two years containing what little they did keep before going on the road. 
Most of the stuff was Forrest’s hunting equipment and tools. Throw in a bed, a couple of mounted animals, a TV and a bunch of sentimental items and you have a 10 x 10 area crammed full of stuff. When Somer’s work offered to pay for this trip as well as the U-Haul rental we jumped on it and headed to Salt Lake before they changed their mind! It was 12 hours there and 12 hours back with 2 nights in a hotel. Although it was a long way and a lot of driving, it was nice to spend the time with Forrest. 
The first day we drove almost 10 hours and arrived in Wendover Nevada about 5:30pm. Just in time to hit the buffet and do a little gambling. The buffet was average at best and the gambling was not very kind to me. Although my belly was full I still had a bad feeling in my stomach from the money I dropped into some of the machines.

The next morning we drove the remaining two hours to Salt Lake and went directly to a U-Haul place. They recommend a 20’ truck to empty our a 10’x10’ storage unit but we did not want a truck and settled on a 12’x6’ enclosed trailer in the hopes that we could fit everything in the trailer, bed of the truck and back seat of the truck.   
Of course it started raining right as we arrived at the storage unit but it was light enough not to deter us. We tackled the two heaviest items first; a 900# gun safe and a 400# tool chest. The tool chest was on wheels so we were able to roll it right up to the trailer where we lifted one side in and then lifted the other end in and rolled it in place. The gun safe was a little more challenging as it had no wheels. For that we tipped it on edge and slipped a blanket under it then Forrest pulled the blanket while I pushed from the back side 1 foot at a time. We eventually made it to the trailer.Tthere was no way we were going to lift it in so we slowly tipped it into the trailer on its side and slid it into place. The rest of the load went pretty well as we loaded everything around those two items. 
Of course we ran into snow on the way back, just what you want while towing a U-Haul trailer for 12 hours.
Fun winter driving conditions

Nice to have that chore crossed off our list and move onto other projects. Somer has been busy sanding a lot of the pine for refinishing and Forrest and I have been sheetrocking, taping and mudding the area upstairs where we took out the closet.

Did I mention I hate mudding?
But our biggest and most complicated project was moving a large shed that extended onto the neighbor’s property by about 3 feet. The neighbors want to finish the fence around their property so we set about bracing the heck out of it to hold it together while we move it.
All braced up and ready to move!
Next up was cutting each of the 10 posts sunk into the ground and creating some skids for it to slide on when we pulled it.
Digging out and cutting the posts

The property  line hit about 3' in on the shed on this side

And only a few inches on this side
After digging out, cutting all the posts, bracing it and putting it on skids it was time to try and move it. We put a strap around two of the posts and used a come along attached to a tree for one side.

And another strap on two more posts for the other side and moved it inch by inch checking each of the posts to make sure they were following along like they should. A hour or so later we had it moved over enough to make the neighbors happy!
Easy does it!

While all this is fun, it is not fun enough so one day Forrest and I went out fishing on the infamous Klamath River. This part of Oregon is known for its trout fishing with some absolute giants roaming some of the area rivers.

Although we did not catch any giants we had a great day. Total we caught 16 fish. The weather was beautiful and it was great to get out fishing again, it had been too long. 
Fun day on the river!

Forrest with one in the net!
We have also been shooting our bows almost every day in preparation for the upcoming turkey season. Forrest has a turkey tag for here in Oregon while Barb and I plan on getting out when we return to SD in a couple of weeks.  
Bring on the turkeys!
Although Barb's birthday was a couple of weeks ago we really did not get a chance to properly celebrate it as we were busy moving the kids in and then she flew to Minnesota. So to make up for it we had a celebration this past week. We found both ribeyes and king crab legs on sale at Fred Meyer and did it up right!
Barb and Lily getting their party on!
Remember last post where we set up the trail camera to try and capture some of the local deer on camera? Well we did end up getting a couple on that camera location but it ends up we did not need to have it as far away from the house as we thought as we had a herd of 9 within feet of the house the other day. 

Right outside the back window!
I did move the trail camera however and was able to capture a rare photo of these creatures wandering the property! 
On one of our escapades into town Barb and I stopped by the Klamath Falls Brewery where we shared a flight of beer. My favorite was the Hard Hat Hefeweizen while Barb's was the Backroad Vanilla Porter.
Time has been flying by. Hard to believe it has already been three weeks and we only have a week  left!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Spring in Oregon

This was the highway we had to take to get to the airport
The transition from winter to spring varies from state to state. Our friends still in Arizona say it is getting hotter with highs going from the 70’s to the 80’s signaling the time to move north. We of course moved north a little sooner than that and are experiencing the spring transition that most of the states in the northern 1/3 of the country realize. What were snow showers last week have turned into rain showers this week. It is a mixed blessing, the warmer weather is melting the snow and feels good but along with it comes mud, and lots of it. Being from Wisconsin we are used to it. I recall donning the muck boots and slogging out to the horse barn or pasture with the ground oozing around your boots. A nuisance yes, but part of a welcome transition. I don’t mind it so much as you can put on your boots and take them off before you get into the house. That is a little harder when it comes to dogs. They have no sense of where and where not to step and really don’t take the time to wipe their feet when getting back in the rig. As a result I chase them around like a madman with a towel trying to wipe off their paws before they track up the entire rig. I am able to pick up Daisy and wipe hers off before I let her in but Dakota is an entirely different story. Oh well, hopefully it is very temporary.

A muddy mess on the way to the rig!

Dakota terrified to come near the trailer
With Forrest and Somer getting settled into their new house we have started one of the major projects on their list. Most A-frames have a cathedral ceiling with a loft space on the back half of the second level and that is how this house was originally built. The former owners, having 9 kids, put a floor across the cathedral ceiling part creating an additional room. Forrest and Somer want to return it to its original state and remove the floor creating that great open space again.
After looking at the original floor plans we went into action ripping down walls and tearing up carpet and subfloor. It was a dirty messy job but we got the majority of it completed in three days. Now comes the slow and tedious work or electrical, sheet rocking and painting.
Before (with a little trick photography)

After, all the walls are down, carpet is up!

Meanwhile Somer has been busy making their house into a home shopping for new appliances, beds and furniture. The only possessions they had was what they had with them in their trailer so they basically have to buy everything!

With Barb gone all week I again came to the realization that I am no cook. Having never lived on my own and being blessed with a great cook for a wife I never learned how to cook. I ran out of English muffins, ran out of pop tarts and even had a can of chili for breakfast before I evoked enough courage to fry up a couple eggs. How can something this easy turn out so horribly bad? All was going well until I tried to flip them. After that they did not look like anything that resembled over easy eggs. They would not have even passed for scrambled eggs! But I ate them all the same and survived another day.

Barb on the other had must be enjoying her vacation in Minnesota as she called and told me that they asked her to stay two more days so instead of coming home on Thursday she did not come home until Saturday. We all went to the airport and picked her up, did some shopping and lunch before heading home. Barb said she had a busy week in Minnesota rolling out a new system for the county and that some of the work may roll over into this week. The work could not come at a better time as we are getting ready to head back to South Dakota next month and start some project on the property!
Forrest and I did manage to get out for one play afternoon when we took a walk trying to find the back corners of his property. The back edge of their 11 acres is up a steep cliff so we spent a few hours exploring. We managed to find one of the corners but will have to return when the snow is all gone to look for the other.
Forrest checking his coordinates

Found the corner post!
We also put up a trail camera to see what kind of critters are in the area. No deer yet but lots of squirrels, jays, a coyote and a curious fox.
Coyote passing by

Steller's Jay

Jay and a Squirrel

Gray Fox

Sunday, March 4, 2018

We Are Not in Arizona Any More Daisy.......

I am reminded of this quote (or at least my version) as we drive north out of Arizona into Nevada, California and eventually Oregon. What were sunny days with temperatures in the 70’s were replaced with clouds, snow and lows at 10 degrees.  
Our first stop was a short 200 mile, 4 hour drive to Boulder Beach Campground in Lake Mead. We have been here several times before and each time for the same reason, not to enjoy the scenery (which is spectacular), nor was it to hike one of the many hiking trails in the area. Instead we were here to visit our friends Steve and Joan who are working for the park. These two are the first friends as met as fulltimers back in 2014. Since then we try to meet up whenever we are near each other. Our paths had not crossed since January of 2016 so it was nice to spend the day with them and catch up. They recently got an incredible new rig that you have to see to believe. As a bonus, Don and Ginny (another couple we had met through Steve and Joan) were also working for the park too so we got to catch up with them as well. Although it was only ½ a day it was nice to see them nonetheless.

Steve and Joan

Ginny and Don
Our site at Boulder Beach with Lake Mead in the background
Day two of our 4 day journey north turned out to be much longer than anticipated. We only planned on driving 4, 5 hours tops and then resting for the night but a quick look at the weather forecast showed us two snow storms headed our way a day apart. So what was to be 2 days travel turned into a one day 9 hour drive where we pulled into a truckstop just north of Reno just as the snow was starting to cover the roads.  The last 14 miles of this leg were white knuckled but we made it and tucked ourselves in for the night. It was a long day, everyone took turns driving and we were exhausted at the end of the day.
Even Daisy took her turn driving!
The next morning we waited until the sun was high enough to melt the snow on the roads before we started the last 5 hours of our journey to Klamath Falls. Although it had snowed the prior evening, the roads were clear and travel was going very good. The scenery in the was incredible with the pines and the snow covered ground.  All was going well until we hit a stretch where the trees sheltered the road from the sun. As luck would have it it was also a section with a mile long 6% downhill grade. Usually not a big deal but with what looked like slippery hard packed snow it was white knuckle time again.

We stopped to take a look at the road and see if it truly was as slippery as it looked. Yup….. it was. So with the truck in 4wd we crawled down the hill where the terrain opened up and the sun had melted the snow off the road and before we knew it we were in Klamath Falls!
Beautiful but slippery!
So why were we in such a hurry to leave the warm in Arizona and head to this frozen landscape? Well, our son Forrest, his wife Somer and daughter Lily were about to close on their new house in the area! After being on the road almost 2 years they finally found a spot that they wanted to settle down and call home. Ironically this little town is also where Barb spent several years in elementary school. What are the odds? Barb, born in California, moved to this town in Oregon and then to Wisconsin and our son and his family picking this town as their new home?  
We settled in at the Klamath Falls KOA just a few sites away from Forrest’s rig. A nice quiet park in the center of town. There are not a lot of choices of parks in town as the county parks are not open until April. At $32/night with full hook ups, showers and free Wi-Fi this park will do until we can move out to their new house.

 Dakota, Barb and I welcome the change and actually are enjoying the snow. Daisy….not so much.
Dakota loves the snow!
Klamath Falls is right in the middle of the Pacific Flyway waterfowl traveling to and from their wintering grounds. With the somewhat mild temperatures and all the water in the area some of the ducks don't even bother flying any further south and spend the winter right here at the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge.

There were ducks and geese of several varieties as well as swans and other shorebirds calling this area home. I added a new species to my list. The Greater White-Fronted Goose is a rarity in the Midwest but pretty common out in this area. Also known as "Specks" or Specklebelly" these are really cool birds and were intermixed with snow geese
Pintails and Mallards
Lots of Swans in the area as well

A couple of Specks coming in for a landing
Snows landing in the field
Drake Mallard and Pintail taking off
How many Snows in this flock?

More Specks coming in for a landing

Look how long their necks are!
Friday finally came and it was time to move into the new house! They have one problem....they sold most everything when they went fulltiming and what they did keep is in storage in Salt Lake City! So instead we rented a Skidsteer and cleared the driveway of snow and moved some rocks that will be in the way when we move the rigs over tomorrow.

Barb and Somer spent time inside doing some cleaning while Forrest and I cleared some limbs along the driveway and moved the rocks.....

They bought an A-frame house on 11 acres about 15 minutes outside of Klamath Falls. Close enough to town, school and work and far enough away to get to enjoy country living! No cell or internet service and so many tress that our dish does not pick up any satellites so we will be out of touch with the world while we are here. After a couple hours of pushing snow we got the driveway and parking area clear enough to park our rigs.

This is where our rig will be......

...and here she comes!
So this is our home for the next month. This morning we got up at 3:00am so we could drive 2 huors to Medford where I dropped Barb off at the airport for another trip back to Minnesota to help out her former employer, She will be gone 4 days but I am sure the time will go fast as Forrest and Somer have lots of projects to make this house their home so I am sure I will be busy!