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 than 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 we 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, you 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!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Looking Back.....

There is a time in everyone’s life when you start looking more to the past than the future. That time is probably different for everyone and it is definitely age driven, sometimes event driven. For Barb and I it started the day our youngest left the house. The year was 2005 and Forrest had moved from Wisconsin to Arizona to go to school. Jessica had already moved out and had too moved away to go to school in Salt Lake City. It was at that moment, in our quiet empty house, that we started looking back and although there were and still are plenty of things to look forward to, many of our thoughts were now looking back with memories of raising and missing our children. The good times we had, seeing them grow up and mature and eventually seeing them leave the nest. Happy, yet sad times all at once. 

This is one of our favorite pictures of the two of them; brother and sister side by side without a care in the world. God, how we miss those times.
We moved from that house with so many memories to start the next chapter in our lives. We already had a plan, we just needed to execute it. The plan was to save up as much as we could, sell everything we got and hit the road. The reason I bring this up is twofold; one is that there are a lot of people out there who are thinking about doing the same thing and probably having the same thoughts and doubts that we had. Can we afford it? Is this a mistake? Should we wait another 2 years, 4 years, 5 years? My answer to you is to do it as soon as you can. Life is too short to wait another year or three. Do it while you can. 

The second reason is that a former co-worker and friend of mine passed away unexpectedly last week at the age of 67. Way too young. He had worked 45 years at my former employer and had just retired in January of last year. I am not going to pretend that we were great friends, I had not talked to him since I left but he was someone I thought of frequently and respected a lot. He will be dearly missed by his friends and family. 

Too many people I know worked so hard all their lives and pass away while still working or shortly after retiring with unfulfilled dreams. I don’t know if this was the case in this instance, but my point is, if you have a dream you want to fulfill, do it as soon as you can. Don’t get caught in the trap… “if I wait 2 more years I will get $xxx more in my pension, 401k or social security.” Do it now while you are still healthy and able to, who knows what tomorrow will bring. 

We have been retired for over 6 years and although we have had some tight times, we have no regrets at all. We have seen a lot of wonderful places, made some great memories/friends and I think we see our kids more now than we would have had we kept working. 

Speaking of kids, this week was Barb’s turn to go fishing with Forrest. Barb's chance to out-fish me. The infamous comeback from me out-fishing her the previous week. And..... She (well neither of them actually) caught a fish so technically she cannot even out-fish me when I am not even there. They came back with every excuse in the book; Forrest had to show a house before they fished and that took an hour longer than expected, the river was running too fast, it rained, it hailed were among the excuses they laid out when they got home. None of it changes the fact that I can basically be home on the couch and she cannot out-fish me! Poor Barb.
Later that week we all went camping at Willow Lake in the wilderness between Klamath Falls and Medford. The campground has about 60 sites, most are small only fitting rigs under 30'. There were only a handful of campers there when we arrived on Wednesday afternoon. Little did we know how that would change come the weekend!
We practically had the campground to ourselves!
We took advantage of the nice weather to swim, play beanbag toss, checkers and maybe had a beer or three. 
Lily swimming with Mt. McLoughlin in the background
Somer and Forrest playing checkers 
Willow Lake itself is on the smaller side but boasts great fishing for rainbow trout, bass, perch and crappie. Our first full day there was great and Forrest and I spent the majority of the day kayaking around the lake throwing spoons, spinners as well as wet and dry flies. We managed to catch a few perch and bass but the rainbows proved to be elusive. 
Forrest trying to catch the big one!
A little bass
I paddled near a couple of fisherman who looked like they had fished the lake before and both said “Gotta use Powerbait, that’s all the rainbows bite on”. We did not have powerbait so we were content in throwing our spoons and flies. 

Lily got in on the action during one of our outings. Forrest just ties her kayak to the back of his and drags her around the lake. It is so cute seeing the two of them fishing together, making memories that would last a lifetime. She even caught a few fish but I was too far away to get any pictures. 

That night the rain came and stayed throughout the night and into the next day. It would go from hard rain to drizzling to a light mist throughout the day. During the hard rains we would all pack into the camper. It was surprisingly comfortable have 4 adults, 1 eight year old and 3 dogs in there. Lily and I would be up on the bed playing cards, Forrest and Somer at the table and Barb was usually cooking something. 

When it was just misting we would go back outside and go for walks. Except Daisy, she was content just to stay inside where it was warm and dry....
Daisy, all tucked in trying to stay warm
Barb went for a walk around the lake and got some great shots of the area.  

Come Friday night, the weekenders started showing up! It has been a long time since we have camped in a campground like this. I cannot actually remember the last time we stayed in an actual campground that was this packed. Now that I do put some thought into it... it was the winter before last when we were in Florida. 
Including us there are 10 campers in this picture
They had us packed in there like sardines with every kind of setup imaginable in sight. Travel trailers, pop ups, pick up campers and a lot of tents. Kids running everywhere, generators running and adults getting drunk and talking way too loud too late into the night. The rain did not even seem to deter them. Many had portable outdoor patios set up to stay dry. We packed up Saturday morning and headed back to Klamath leaving the weekenders to do their thing. 

With the announcement that the U.S./Canadian border being closed until at least late July our dream to go to Alaska this year is going to remain just that. At least for another year.  Instead we have implemented “Plan B”. What that entails still has totally yet to be determined but we know it involves the Oregon Coast, fishing in both Idaho and Montana before we head back home to South Dakota to regroup, repack and head off again. 

In the meantime we still have 10 or so days left here at Forrest’s to put some finishing touches on our remodeling project and getting as much quality time we can with Forrest, Somer and Lily! 

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Out-Fishing Barb Once Again!

2:46 Am. Or at least that is my guess. It’s a game I play with myself throughout the day and too often at night. I am trying to resist looking at the clock and hope to fall back asleep but it isn’t working. 15 minutes or so later I guess 3:03 am and pick up my IPad push the button. 3:08. I can usually guess within 5 minutes or so and this time I was right within that mark. I know it is stupid but it is the way my mind works sometimes. Well I am up now….may as well see what is going on in the world….

Forrest, Somer, Barb and I had gone out the night before. Lily was at a sleep over so we had the night to ourselves and thought it would be a good idea to go out and medicate my elbow. Well, I think I over medicated it which is why I was up in the middle of the night. 
We went to The Pikey  in downtown Klamath. Great burgers and beer. Barb found a new one she liked in the "Man-Go Fluff Yourself" Mango Milkshake IPA (hey, I can't help it, that is really what it is called!). It comes from the River Bend Brewery Company out of Bend Oregon. 

The bar had a live band which we listened to while playing pool. At Somer's suggestion we played for the dinner and bar tab. Little did Barb and I realize that Somer was a pool shark and we had been hustled! She must have felt bad for us as when we were not looking she paid all our tabs! We got back home after 10:00 which for those of you who know us is an extremely late night!

The week was filled with a mixture of working on the house project, shooting my bow and fishing. Yes, we went fishing! We fished the famous Williamson River. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the Williamson is known for their world-class sized rainbow trout. 
I wish I could tell you the picture above was a picture of me with one such trout but truth be told it is a picture some random guy on the internet who most closely resembled me. I mean this guy is the spitting image of me if you were to take off 30#’s and maybe 20 years…

Oh, I caught fish but they would fit in the palm of my hand. Had I used the two hand method shown above all you would have seen was my hands as the fish would have been completely covered up. Well at least I caught fish, as did Forrest. Barb on the other hand got skunked. Zero, zilch, nada, no fish for Barbie. Yet another example of how I out fished my wife like 6 or 8 to 0. Chalk one up for the superior fisherMAN!
Headed down the river!
 We tried both fly-fishing and spinner fishing and found that fly-fishing out of a kayak is quite challenging. We caught fish both methods but could only fly-fish where it was shallow enough to get out of the kayaks and cast. 
Forrest with a nice Rainbow
In the bow shooting department I have it all dialed in out to 60 yards and am ready for the moose hunt assuming they open the border in a few weeks and assuming everything goes well throughout the summer and I get to go. Forrest and I play a friendly competition when we shoot. We each pull a dollar out of our wallets, fold it so only George’s head is visible and pin it to the target.
We then step back to 40 yards and try to hit George between the eyes. I am at Forrest’s dollar while Forrest aims at mine. We alternate shooting arrows and whoever hits the bills wins. On my 4th arrow “wack” I put George out of his misery. One dollar in my pocket! Now I need to try to reclaim my dollar and two arrows later a second George finds its way into my pocket. I asked Forrest if he wants to see if we can assassinate any Lincolns or perhaps Franklins he has in his wallet? Chalk one up for the superior archerDAD! 
Thanks for the money Bud!
Our remodeling project is going well. I have most of my work done, now Barb and Somer move on to painting. Another week or so and we should have it wrapped up. 

Barb has introduced Lily to geocaching. Those two have been on a couple outings and have found numerous geocaches. One day they ended up at McDonald’s, another day at Baskin Robbins where they did not find any geocaches but did find a couple of sweet treats.

Lily with a geocache
Barb’s highlight of the week (literally) was that she was able to go get her hair cut and highlighted. It had been almost 11 months since her last one. She had 4”s or so taken off. I made the mistake of looking at our credit card statement and got a shock. Who knew that stylists charged like $50/inch! 

That pretty well sums of the week. The temps finally cooled down into the bearable range in fact the nights are awesome getting down into the 40’s! 

Hey... This is Barb and the editor of the blog. Jim is full of it! I did not even go fishing with them that day! I would have totally out-fished him!