Saturday, July 11, 2020

My Wife is a Cow

This could very well be last ever blogs post. If I were you, It's been a good run and I have enjoyed my 57 years on this earth but it is time to move on. I would watch the news to see if there is a segment about a woman who killed her husband over the title of a blog post. I, on the other hand, will never see the segment as I will sadly….well, I’ll be dead. Then there will be a long televised trial where Barb will get a sympathetic jury who return a verdict in favor of her saying that a husband calling his wife a cow in a blog title is certainly a justifiable homicide. So remember me fondly,….. So, why is she a cow? More on that in a bit.

When we had last left you we were heading north along the Oregon coast and made a right turn on highway 20 starting our 3,365 mile journey towards Boston.
This is our first time on 20, a recommendation from our friends Jim and Diana who had worked at a light house in the area last year and had traveled the same route. We were not disappointed. 20 starts out in Newport Oregon and winds along the Yaquina River towards Corvallis. We did not get a lot of pictures but take our word for it, it is breathtaking. We spent a hot night in the Fred Meyer parking lot in Corvallis Oregon.
That next day we drove about 6 hours before stopping at a remote Yellow Pine Boise National Forest Campground. It was about 2:00pm and were ready to be done for the day. We found a nice quiet spot nestled amongst the pines. We set up camp and were ready to relax! We also broke out the hammock that our daughter Jessica had given us for Christmas.

Barb and the dogs went for a walk while I relaxed in the hammock and read a book. She was gone for about an hour and when she returned we sat there talking about the rest of our journey to Boston when Barb said “Let's carry on to Boise and stay in the Cabela’s parking lot.”
So off we went! Although the Cabela’s parking lot was not as nice as Yellow Pine we were a couple hours further down the road. The next night made up for it as we stayed in a great boondocking spot outside of Jackson Wyoming with a great view of the Tetons!
The drive outside Jackson east on 20 towards Dubois again provided amazing views as we reached elevations over 9,000 feet.
Still on 20, we drove across the flat lands of Wyoming. As we were driving along Barb was staring at the phone laughing. I figured she was on Facebook and found something funny but what she showed me was this….
You see, one of the things that she and Lily did was play with the filters on Snapchat and now she plays with it once in a while to see what new filters have arrived. Here are a few of her recent favorites.

While Barb was amusing herself laughing at the phone I continued to drive on Highway 20 through Casper, Douglas and eventually Lusk Wyoming. In Lusk we were about ½ way to Boston when we took a hard left and in a little over an hour later we were pulling into our driveway! We had enough of the travel chaos and canceled plans for a while and it is time to stop, regroup and see how the next few weeks play out before we decide where our next adventure will take us.

I could not let Barb have all the fun so I took a few pictures of myself as well. 

OMG, that is just wrong!

Our first few days back at home were filled with getting caught up with the friends we missed. First up was Jim and Brenda who, even though we are neighbors, we had not seen them in almost a year! The first order of business with Jim and Brenda was to have a beer tasting with them. Each of us had been collecting beers on our travels for just this occasion. Of course since everyone likes dark beers except me they had about ½ dozen dark beers to try while I had just one. 
As much as we were looking forward to seeing them for the beer tasting, there was one other reason we were happy to meet up with them. Since they were in Florida last winter they have been dragging around a case of Tony’s Clam Chowder for us! This case has been from Florida, west to Arizona, north to Washington and then east back to South Dakota where we finally crossed paths.
Next up was Dan and Bonnie who we met for burger night down at the Pringle Bar. It was great to see them and catch up. We have seen them several times since then including a night where we went to their house and had an awesome meal of ribs, corn on the cob, shrimp and sausage. It was so good we just kept eating and were uncomfortably stuffed when we left there. We took these lovely pictures of them when we were there.

Speaking of ribs, Chris and Holly traveled south from The Farm in North Dakota to take in the sights of the Black Hills for a few days with their new 43' fifth wheel.
They stayed one day with us where we had another fantastic rib dinner. We spent the day visiting, riding the 4 wheelers and Barb got her fill of kid time with Gavin, Chase and Calvin. Those three can keep you running and by the end of the day she was exhausted!
We did not get a lot of pictures of their visit so I stole this one from Holly’s Facebook page.
We did not spend a lot of time working on the house this past week. Instead we opted to work on fencing in our new property. Drilling holes, setting posts, running wire and pounding T posts. We got all the H posts set some of the lines run but still have about ¼ mile run on the west side to run wire and pound T posts.
Last but not least we had a visit from Fulltime RV friends Don and Ginny. They have been on the road for... I guess I don't know but it has been a long time and have no plans to stop. They are the ultimate volunteers spending their time volunteering from one place to another. 
The days have been hot, we have only been able to work 4-5 hours a day before it gets too hot outside. The nights, luckily, have been very cool with some rain storms mixed in. One day we got almost 2" of rain which willed in our pond which was totally dry just the day before. 
With a little over a week under our belt back here and we are now ready to start working on the house again. I think we are going to start with some T&G on the south wall as we really want to get that wall done so hopefully our next post will show the progress on that wall.

So, why am I risking life and limb by calling my wife a cow? Well, you can blame Snapchat. As soon as she showed me this Snapchat of her as our favorite breed, the Highlander, I just knew I had to use it!
But if she were to name the title for this post I sure she would have used:
 "My Husband is an a$$!" (She actually wrote that line)

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Plan G... or was it H?

The lonely cry of the fog horn at Cape Arago lulled us to sleep as we lay in our camper along the Oregon coast. Instead of heading east towards home we pointed the truck west. How could you not go to the coast when we were this close? After all, the coast was Barb’s old stomping grounds where she had many memories of camping as a child. 
Arago Lighthouse
Our first stop was her aunt and uncle’s house in Grant Pass (I forgot to take a picture). Her dad’s brother. She stops whenever she is in the area. Ron and Diana have a beautiful house right on the Rouge River. We visited with them for about a two hours and continued our journey west to the coast.

Each time we come to this area I can see Barb reminiscing as she tells me stories from her childhood. So much has changed since we were here last time in 2016. Her grandmother in Cave Junction passed away in the fall of 2016 at the age of 94 and just last year her stepmother passed away.

Our destination….Sunset Beach State Park Campground
Our site at Sunset Bay
This is the first time we have been able to stay in this particular campground since being on the road. All the other times we were in this area we have had our 5th wheel and just would not fit so we stayed at Bastendorff Beach County Park. But this time we had the pickup camper and could finally stay at Sunset Beach, the place where she and her family camped pretty much every year growing up. I too had stayed here one time in the past. The year was 1998 when we came out from Wisconsin to visit. I remember parts of it like it was yesterday. Hard to believe it was 22 years ago but looking at the pictures it is definitely believable! Barb’s dad, stepmother, and her brother Shorty were with us were on that trip. Sadly, they all are no longer with us but it was nice to relive the memories.  
Barb's dad and brother on our trip here in '98
I don’t remember what site we stayed in in ’98 but our sense of Deja’ vu made us believe it was very close to the site we were in this year. As we sat in our campsite we talked about the last time we were here and how the people next to us must have cringed when we pulled in, a group of 6 adults, 4 young kids and a dog. One thing I do remember about that trip is that it was not quiet!

So what did Barb and I do while we were here this time? Both days we went crabbing on the piers in town. Why? Cuz that is what you do when you camp here. That is what Barb has done everytime she has camped here for over 50 years. Crabbed at the same pier at the same spot on the pier for over 50 years. She says about the only thing that has changed are the docks. 
They used to be wooden slats where the water would slosh up between the boards. Now the piers are concrete. It is actually quite fun and a very relaxing day. We love walking the docks and looking at all the different boats. 
“They” say that the best time for crabbing is 2 hours before high tide and 2 hours after but we had luck all day long. We set our pots with bait… fish heads or chicken, throw them in and wait 15-20 minutes and pull them up. The majority of the crabs are too small but every 2nd or 3rd pull you will get a keeper. Day 1 we ended up with about a dozen. Day 2 only 4.
We had the piers pretty much to ourselves until prime time, those two hours surrounding high tide. Then the piers were filled with people, many with little kids. We could not help but think about the memories that they were making and would those small children return as adults with their kids and make the same memories…

At one point a strong wind came up and knocked over our chairs, which in turn knocked over our 5 gallon bucket containing our keeper crabs. You should have seen us scrambling to recover those crabs before they made it back into the water!
It is interesting to see how much the tide changes throughout the day. The piers actually float up and down with the tide throughout the day. Here is a comparison of the same post on the pier at different times of the day. See how much the water has risen?
Low tide, see all the barnacles on the piling?
Not quite high tide but a lot higher then the picture on the left!
The crab was delicious! We had plain crab and butter one day and the next Barb made some awesome crab cakes.
Of course no trip to the coast is complete without letting the dogs run on the beach. And oh, how they loved it! 
Day 3 of our coastal trip we moved up the coast to Yachats where had lunch and stopped by the Yachats Brewery
Our plan was to boondock at a pullout outside of Yachats. Once we got there it was nothing like was listed on so we went to Plan F. At least I think it was Plan F, we have had so many plans change on this trip, We lost track. Plan D was to head up to Tillamook, visit the cheese factory and then stay at the Blue Heron Winery which has free camping.   We were well on our way when we discovered it was closed until further notice. Well, that is not good, it is the only reason we were heading that far north! We had no Plan G..... until we saw this sign!
So on a whim we turned right to see where this road would lead us, more on that next time!
Don’t forget to check out Dino’s blog on our sidebar , he posted today!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Moving on in Oregon

Our time here at Forrest’s has come to an end. Although we don’t see our kids and grandchildren often enough, when we do see them at least it is for several weeks instead of just a day or two. If only one of our kids would move west..... (hint hint) we could see them more often. It is so hard having them on opposite sides of the country!

We had one big adventure this week. Or I should say Forrest and I did. We kayaked the Wood River outside of town from Kimball State Park to the Wood River Day Use Area. What was meant to be a fishing trip turned into more of an adventure kayak outing. 

Forrest and I left his truck downriver at Day Use Area and then Barb dropped us off at Kimball where we were to float fish our way down to the truck. With crystal clear water and a mountainous background the Wood starts off slowly as you lazily meander through the flat valley floor. 
Having never kayaked it before we did not know what to expect. It is the windiest (wind like curves, not wind like... you know the wind) river I have ever been on with switchbacks over 100 yards or so. 
We just let the slow current take us as we casted into the deeper eddies on the switchbacks. We were commenting on what an easy family float this was and he should bring Lily and Somer on it when we came around a switchback where another river dumped into it and things got a lot quicker. From that point on I don't think we fished or took a picture as we were too busy trying to avoid logs, rocks, sandbars and banks as the current swept us quickly downriver. I almost dumped it twice, once when I hit a submerged log in the middle of the river and again at a small sandbar. We had a blast, paddling through obstacles and around the switchbacks trying to avoid being slammed into the banks. A few times we played "bumper kayaks" trying to spin each other out like NASCAR drivers sometimes do on the track. 

Although we did not catch a fish, it was probably the best time I have ever had in the kayak. If you float it, don't take your inflatable and if you do, certainly don't want your skeg on. 

Meanwhile Barb and Lily geocached again. Lily loves the adventure of geocaches. It is so great that they are able to do that together.    

Since Somer has to work Sunday night she treated everyone to an early Father's Day dinner from their favorite sushi restaurant. They are not open to dine in so she got it and brought it home, It was awesome! She got  a variety of rolls that were all good but ranged from mild to mouth burning. Thanks Somer!

I had mentioned a project that we are working on here in our previous posts. We really enjoy having something to keep us busy here and Somer had just the project in mind for us! When this house was built it was a traditional A Frame with steel beams acting as the main support of the roofing and floor system. The previous owner had put wood beams across the ceiling of the living room to create another room up above. Somer and Forrest wanted to bring it back to the traditional A Frame with tall ceilings in the living room. During our visit in ’18 we gutted the upstairs loft area above the living room. In ’19 we took out the floor and opened up the living room. Now in ’20 we are finishing it up by opening the stairs, removing ½ of the beams as well as painting and staining! 
Original downstairs with full ceiling

Original upstairs with floor, walls and windows boarded up
In '18 and '19 it was all about demolition with not much finish work. This project had a lot of finish work. Now I know why my friend Kevin says he does not do remodels. First of all you are at the mercy of the person who built the house in the first place… hoping everything is square. Then you are at the mercy of your own skills. Do you know how hard it is to cut a straight line with a circular saw going up a wall? Or how about doing diagonal cuts down the stairs on both sides of the wall making sure that each side it exactly the same angle and height has the cut on the other side of the wall. Then there is the rerouting of the electrical wires that we did not know were in the wall. Thanks goodness we know a good electrician.

This is what the stair wall looked like before we started. That is a metal support beam above the octagon window going across the wall in the picture on the left. 

In the end it probably took twice as long as I thought. There were some days I would only get one or two boards up as I had to custom cut everything. I know Somer would look at it and think “That’s all you got done today?” I felt the same way some days. Somer and Barb stained, whitewashed the walls and cleaned the windows.... 

 In the end we are very happy with the way it turned out.

All done!
We ran a beam across the front wall of the living room as well
View from the loft
The only thing left is some more paint and cable railing. They want to do the stair treads someday as well. That might be next year’s project.  

We take a break now for a mini rant. It has to do with the bottle deposit program here in Oregon. I know it is in other states as well but no state we have ever lived in. It is bad enough that they charge you a $0.10 deposit on every bottle or can of soda, every water bottle, liquor bottle and it seems like everything else. So a case of water ends up costing you  $2.40 more than it would normally. No big deal, all you have to do is save each of these bottles and cans and take them to the recycling center in town. That is until you get to the recycling center. Where the line is like 5 miles long (well maybe not 5 miles but it is longer than you want to wait) every time we drive by. Most of the people in line have not showered in at least a week if not longer. As a result we did not return any of our bottles or cans for our deposits back. I am not sure if this is the case in other states but I doubt Oregon could care less as it has to be a great money maker for them! If someone were smart they would just set up somewhere we could take them and donate them to a charity or something. There very well could be, we did not spend a lot of time looking. Okay, rant over.

So, with our time here complete and the border not open, we have to decide which way to go. Will we go east? West? North or south? Or will we just go crazy? (Or in Barb's case "crazier"). Tune next week post to see which way we go!