Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas week and a row boat

Well, we have started the much awaited Christmas week on the southern Oregon coast and just barely got past the weekend without the need of a row boat.

A late week and early weekend storm dumped 7.5" of rain on this little town and put most coastal rivers over their banks.  Several highway slumps and land slides along the coast highway, in addition to areas of high water, made travel difficult.  We didn't go far from home however, with only a short trip to Bandon and back on Friday.

Today was dry but overcast and still unseasonably warm.  More damp weather is forecast for the week ahead, but nothing looks travel restrictive in the area.

Juanita has been busy making fabric Christmas tree ornaments and has given a few to friends.  I would have helped out with keeping our two Beagles busy and exercised, but managed to injure some muscles in a sensitive part of my body requiring limited mobility for the best part of last week.

My dear wife ordered me to get the bodily damage checked out with a doctor on Friday.  I was assured by the medic that my injury wouldn't require serious intervention for healing, but he wasn't at all happy about some other issues and has requested tests to get me all sorted out.  I'll return to the good doc next month for a follow up.

Last week I joined several other members of the Port Orford Amateur Radio Club in the task of repairing the 2 meter repeater antenna mast that was damaged by the big November wind storm in town.  The antenna is located on top of the town's water tank and located in a place that my old body can't access.  I volunteered to document the repair activity and used my DJI Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter to provide a unique perspective.

I processed the video clips from the copter using Adobe Lightroom and Premiere Pro CC software and posted the results on YouTube.  At the end of the repair process, I made a couple of panorama rotations with the airborne camera showing most of Port Orford and ocean front.

We joined a group of local friends for a Christmas holiday meal on Saturday night.  Our husband and wife hosts both celebrated their birthdays that evening...we had a great time kidding Harry about his child bride with the same day and month of birth.

A busy holiday week lies ahead for our little family.  We'll tell you more about our activities in the next blog entry.

We want to wish all of our readers, family members and friends a very Merry Christmas.  Please stay safe everyone!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas lights at Shore Acres State Park

As promised several days ago, I have completed and posted the video about last night's visit to Shore Acres State Park for the annual Christmas light show.  We really lucked out!  Clear skies, no wind, a mild temperature and a bonus full moon made for a perfect evening at the ocean shore state park.

I can't even imagine the work that goes into setting up the 300,000 LED lights every year.  The show draws nearly 50,000 visitors during the month of December.  That's an amazing number considering the fact that weather on this part of the coast is often not fit for man or beast at this time of year.

Shore Acres is located on at an especially scenic section of the Oregon coastline near the small town of Charleston and west of Coos Bay.  It is about 65 miles from our home park location.  Spectacular flowers are featured in the park for most of the year.  Spring tulips,  rhododendrons and later roses provide a year long colorful display for shoreline visitors.

Nearby Cape Arago and the Simpson Reef with thousands of sea lions shouting from rocks provide for additional tourist enjoyment.  Shore Acres is also my favorite place to view and photograph huge Pacific waves hitting high rocky cliffs.  I hope to show this in future blogs this winter.

Friday was shopping day in Coos Bay and North Bend.  We took care of monthly purchases at Walmart and made special stops to pick up my favorite blend of Starbucks coffee (Komodo Dragon), get some RV cleaning products from Porter's RV and to score a couple of Dungeness crabs for Friday dinner.  Crab season just began on the Pacific Northwest coast on Monday.  Crab boat operators are already noticing a rapid decline during the first days of the season, which might not bode well for later availability or reasonable prices.  We might just have to buy crab tags and get our own from the Port Orford dock.

After a fine day, clouds are beginning to roll in ahead of the next series of storms due to hit the coast this week.  A new warning for 80 MPH winds has just been posted for Wednesday.  The storm is also expected to be very wet. 

We'll check back in with you soon and let you know if we have kept our heads above high water..........

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Just relaxin' in the rain

Except for one dry day this past Sunday, we have had pretty much daily rain since my last post.  Not that we're complaining.  We love the rain!

Having said that, the 7.32" of "moisture" that fell on Thanksgiving Day and Friday was a bit over the top, even for this part of the country.  Coastal vegetation and local wild critters are thriving in all the wet stuff however, and annual rainfall totals are approaching normal.

Temperatures have been fairly warm by late Fall standards.  We saw only one morning last week with frost on the pumpkin and other low temperatures have been in the upper 40's to low 50's.

The Thanksgiving meal at the RedFish Restaurant in Port Orford was outstanding...and my dear wife didn't have to cook or wash dishes.  All four courses were over the top, the service was exceptional and we loved watching the raging weather from our window side table.

Beautiful clear blue skies on Sunday just called out for a flight or two with my DJI Phantom 2 Vision aerial photography platform, so I took her outside to play.  I had a great time processing about 20 minutes of video into a short YouTube tour of our home RV park in Port Orford.

I still have some work to do on controlling the yaw motion of the flying machine but have made improvements with the video processing features using Adobe Premiere Pro CC.  This geezer is learning more all the time...almost enough to be dangerous.

We have spent the days around the holiday just relaxing, reading, quilting, walking the two active hounds and dealing with a few rolling home maintenance items.  The RV toilet I ordered online before the holiday arrived on Friday.  I just replaced the old unit with the same model and the installation was simple, quick and fairly inexpensive.

Just in time for the next full moon, Saturday is forecast to be clear and dry and a good opportunity to visit the annual Christmas light display at Shore Acres State Park near Charleston, Oregon.  I am planning to take my GoPro Hero 4 Silver camera along and might be able to share with you an interesting video of our excursion.

Check back with us on Sunday or Monday for the Christmas lights................

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Day 2014

We just wanted to take a moment to wish all of our family and friends a Happy Thanksgiving.

Despite cool, windy and very rainy weather today, we are comfortable in our warm and dry rolling home.  The two Beagles are hibernating in their living room beds, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is providing background music and entertainment and we are looking forward to joining friends for an evening meal at the RedFish Restaurant in Port Orford.

We are certainly thankful for all of the good friends we have made during our travels and all the fine people we have met through our travel journal and new blog.  My dear wife and I are always grateful for the opportunities offered by the RV travel lifestyle that we have chosen.

Have a great day everyone...and please stay safe!!

Added at 6 PM;

Our menu at the RedFish Restaurant this evening:

Thanksgiving Menu
Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup with Allspice Crème Fraiche
Mixed Greens, Candied Walnuts, Craisins, Veggie Chips, Cranberry Vinaigrette
Oven-roasted Turkey with Natural Gravy
Chorizo Dressing
Whipped Potatoes
Corn with Truffle Butter
Housemade Cranberry Sauce and Turkey Gravy
(your choice of one)
Pecan Tart
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Apple Crisp Tart


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Yep...still here

Some of our friends have been wondering if we are still here.  In a word...YEP!
We have been doing very little worth writing about but have most certainly kept ourselves busy.  Quilting has consumed most of Juanita's time away from the usual household duties and photography, reading and walking the hounds has taken most of my time aside from dumping holding tanks and other rolling home maintenance.

Several storms have passed by during the weeks between blog entries.  The most notable of those hit the area yesterday.  Since this one was not nearly as strong as the damaging storm a couple of weeks ago, I was able to make some video from the end of the dock.  This area was under water during the last big wind and rain storm.

Peak wind in Port Orford yesterday was only about 50 MPH with nearly 4" of rain on the gauge as of this morning.  We are staying high and dry and the dogs are just fine after a quick fight with towels.

Juanita has wanted to visit Port Orford's RedFish restaurant for several years now, but her efforts in that regard have been thwarted by yours truly.  Well, I couldn't get away with that forever and she got her chance last Sunday morning.

The view from here is hard to beat!

Obviously, my dear wife was happy at the RedFish

The RedFish is the premiere eating establishment in Port Orford and, in my opinion, the accolades are well earned.  The food is excellent, the service is hard to beat and the view is extraordinary.  We will join several folks from the park at the RedFish for a Thanksgiving evening meal.

During the big damaging storm a couple of weeks ago, it became evident that the amateur radio repeater in town needed power back up.  The power to the communications system was out for just over six hours at the peak of the storm.  Although emergency service from local hams wasn't needed during this event, we decided to add battery backup to the equipment shed.  We should have enough power from the added battery bank to last at least a week if necessary.  We will add solar just as soon as we get enough cash in the local radio club coffers.

                                                                                   Battery back up for repeater.

I have flown my DJI Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter only briefly between recent storms but hope for more during the next couple of days.  It seems that main street media outlets have gone to war with devices like mine in recent weeks and it is difficult to get through a day without reports of idiots flying "drones" near airports, crowded stadiums or apartment house windows.

The FAA has already established regulations for operating radio control aircraft in public spaces.  The vast majority of pilots of these aircraft operate responsibly.  You never read about them.  I'm not sure what has caused the recent media interest in such craft but find that interest disturbing at best.

These wonderful flying devices have already provided assistance in emergency situations, assisted real estate brokers by showcasing their properties, have been used for land surveys and have provided thousands of spectacular aerial videos and still photographs shown on YouTube and Vimeo.  It would be a real shame if a few morons ruin this resource for all the folks that operate these flying machines properly.

I haven't felt compelled to join the hundreds of salmon fishermen "combat" fishing on the nearby Sixes and Elk Rivers.  Hopefully, fishing pressure will abate somewhat in upcoming weeks and allow me a space along the bank of one or both of these rivers.  I really want to put one or two nice salmon away in the freezer for future meals.

I will check back in with you all again soon.................................


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Testing the new camera stabilizing system

After a series of rain and wind storms, weekend weather improved considerably and allowed me a little flight time with my DJI Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter.  It gave me a good opportunity to put the new Rotorpixel gimbal to the test at nearby Agate Beach.

Initial videos with the stock camera system included a good deal of roll and pitch movements that required considerable post processing.  Stabilizing the video with various programs created other issues that made them difficult to enjoy in my opinion.

Because of these problems I ordered a 2-axis gimbal from Rotorpixel in Canada.  I installed the new unit a couple of weeks ago, but only got in a very short test flight before the weather fell apart.  I was eager to give it a good test this past weekend.

The flights at Agate Beach gave me plenty of space to put the Phantom through various maneuvers to determine if the roll and pitch movements had been removed.  Success!

I had to make several adjustments between flights that removed a slight vibration from the camera.  These adjustments were easily made and cleared up the problem as far as I can tell.  I noticed some yaw movement in the video clips that can probably be avoided with more practice on the controls. Rotorpixel has a add-on kit for the third (yaw) axis available in the near future.  I will review my need for that addition when it's available.

Rain has returned to the south Oregon coast putting my flying machine back in the hanger.  I am hoping for more good weather between storms and want to take the Phantom to interesting places for flight videos and still photography.

In the meantime, recent rains have caused some flow in local small rivers and Chinook have begun their long awaited Fall run.  I will check out a few nearby hotspots on the Elk and Sixes Rivers soon. My dear wife would appreciate a couple more salmon in the freezer for winter meals.  So would I.

I'll check back in with a fishing and flying report soon.........................

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Big Port Orford storm

A big storm in Port Orford on Saturday made national news and, as usual, was somewhat overblown in the reports.  It was a very destructive event locally, but the wind and high waves did not cause an evacuation of the entire town.

The dolly dock and port area were evacuated for a time during the peak of the morning and early afternoon storm, but boat owners and port personnel were allowed back later to assess the damage and make repairs where possible.

The wind far exceeded forecast and, unfortunately, came during a very high tide.  I recorded a nearly 76 MPH gust on my hand held wind meter at a dock overlook downtown and peak winds of 93 MPH were seen at nearby Cape Blanco.

Hey, that's over hurricane strength!

The dock itself was overrun by nearly 30' waves on top of a 7.3' high tide.  Hallmark Fisheries at the end of the dock was washed into port waters and onto the nearby beach.  A 60' long section of the rock jetty was pretty much destroyed, the sewage pump and boat fuel systems were damaged, a good amount of dock equipment was washed away and Griff's On the Dock restaurant was badly damaged by the waves.  As a result, Curry County has made an emergency declaration request to the state.

Waves washing equipment from the dolly dock.  All sorts of debris ended up on Dock Beach.  The waterfalls on the right of the dock are from the waves washing up on the dock.  No boats were damaged.

Waves completely covered the rock jetty on the left of the dock.

Beach cleanup was well underway Sunday morning.

Fortunately, nobody was injured in the storm, but the town itself was not entirely free from damage.  One wall was blown out of an old empty law office and a patio removed from an old closed cafe.  An RV park located about a quarter mile away from our park was heavily damaged by falling trees, which destroyed two older model RV's.  One of the rigs hit by falling trees burst into flames and ultimately destroyed by the explosion of an oxygen bottle kept inside for medical purposes.  We felt and heard the explosion in our rolling home...the dogs were fairly upset by that as you can imagine.

Trees blown over the roadway at Madrone 101 RV Park.

This old residential type trailer was completely destroyed by falling trees.

A wall was blown out of this old empty law office in downtown Port Orford.

Damage at our park was limited to a limb that fell on the car of one of the residents.  The limb was partially supported by a power line preventing serious damage to the car.

An alder tree branch fell over a car in our park but caused little damage.  Tim and Cindy made short work of the branch with a chainsaw.

Dangerous conditions prevented me from taking more photographs during the peak of the storm.  I made one early attempt at driving to the dock, but the high velocity rocks from a nearby cliff, high storm waves, intense wind and blowing debris deterred the effort.  A fair degree of caution trumps newsworthy photos any day in my book!

In contrast to Saturday, the next day dawned bright and clear along the coast.  During the morning hours we made a short tour of the town and port to watch the clean up already underway.  Except for the damaged RV park and port area, very little evidence of the powerful storm remained.

Sylvie, one of Juanita's Facebook friends, visited us Sunday afternoon with one of Luna's daughters from her second (and last) litter.  She arrived with her family and another pooch that they recently rescued.  Luna and her "puppy" Molly Brown played around for a bit in the park dog enclosure.   The rescue dog, Mike, played along as well, but Abbey had very little tolerance for the canine festivities and soon demanded to be removed from the enclosure.  What a stick in the mud!

A cluster of Beagles!  Molly Brown is in the foreground with Abbey to the right background and Luna on the left.

Mother and daughter Beagles having a nice family roll-in on the wet grass.

We have received just over 8" of badly needed rain during the past week and more is on the way this week.  Local rivers are beginning to run and hillside grass is turning green.  Hopefully, the long dry conditions have been replaced by a wet cycle.  Only time will tell.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Happy days are here again!

As you can assume by the title, my dear wife has retrieved her sewing machine from the electric hospital and all is well again.  The tensioner...whatever that is...had to be replaced.  Juanita was also happy to find that her machine was still on warranty.  The repair cost nothing except mental anguish.

A series of small to moderate fall storms have arrived on the southwest coast of Oregon giving us much needed rain and completely breaking the fire season.  Rivers and creeks have yet to flow at any appreciable rate but might start after the week ahead.  A small storm is forecast for tonight and tomorrow with a much larger event due on Wednesday.

The camera stabilizing device for my quadcopter arrived several days ago.  I was able to install and make a brief test flight but nearly constant wind has kept me grounded since.  I hope to make and post  some interesting videos from my flying camera platform soon.

The Rotorpixel gimbal from Canada was easy to install and will add some stability to the Phantom's camera.

I used a new ground based video camera to make a short clip this week.  The GoPro Hero 4 camera is protected from weather and I plan to use it during winter storms when I can't use the quadcopter camera.

I have been on several fishing expeditions since writing the last blog.  I managed to catch a decent sized Coho Salmon from the Coquille River and landed two limits of large rainbow trout from nearby Bradley Lake.  I smoked all of the salmon and froze the trout for later baking or smoking as weather conditions allow.

 Another salmon from the Coquille.

 Bradley Lake is small but filled with trout.

                                                                We can't get enough smoked salmon!

It feels somewhat strange staying in Port Orford while all of our summer neighbors head out to various locations in warmer and dryer places.  The center section of the park was full just days ago but has only five rigs remaining as of this afternoon.

Obviously we have mixed feelings about staying here for the winter.  We will miss all of our winter friends in Arizona but look forward to remaining with all of our Port Orford buddies.  Juanita is always happy to be near a great quilt shop and I am looking forward to more fishing and winter storm photo opportunities.

Also, I have to say that, with all the craziness going on around the country, we are just as happy to stay in our small and somewhat remote coastal town.  I doubt that an ISIS terrorist would be able to find the place.  I would imagine that the risk of an ebola infection is minimal here as well.

We have a lot of indoor activities planned for the stormy week ahead and will get out for a little local travel as conditions allow.  We'll be back soon...................................

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A bummed out wife

So, when the dear wife is bummed out, everybody is bummed out.

Although the bummed outedness (is that even a word?) was only for a brief time, the occasion was unusual in our little household.  Horror of horrors, Juanita's wonderful sewing machine suddenly  began making a thread rats nest instead of nice neat stitches.  A trip to the sewing machine hospital in Coos Bay was put on the schedule...and, as luck would have it, I was not feeling all that well at the time.

Dear wife without a sewing machine is like a duck without paddle feet.  She has risen from her funk but is just a bit shiftless while waiting for parts to arrive and repairs to be made.  Worst of all, the machine might be in the shop for a while.

Juanita has borrowed a machine from another park guest but hasn't been able to make it work to her satisfaction.  Somehow, she'll make do and the world will be right again.

I managed to pull another nice Chinook salmon from the Coquille River and put it in the smoker after  twelve hours in a brine solution.  The resulting smoked fish was excellent and we even managed to put some in the freezer to enjoy later.

A nice load of Chinook salmon on the smoker.

The new gimbal that will stabilize the video camera on my DJI Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter shipped from Canada yesterday and will arrive sometime late next week.  I am eager to put higher quality video clips on the blog.  In the interim, I have been taking aerial photos of the area and practicing basic flying maneuvers to use when I can resume making videos.

Battle Rock and Port Orford

                                                                                       Visitor center in Port Orford.

Our summer (this year winter also) home.

I will join friends again early next week for another fishing expedition on the beautiful Coquille River.  The scenery along the river is enough to make even poor fishing day.  Hwy 101 bridge crosses river just to the east of Bandon.

A spectacular morning on the river.

Weather conditions in Port Orford have returned to warm and sunny after the one decent rain storm.  The current dry spell with daily high temperatures somewhat higher than usual in the low 80's shouldn't cause a return to high fire danger.  Mornings are cool and damp with dew enough to keep plant life moist.  I don't see any large rain events in the ten day forecast as yet.  That can always change however.

We are looking forward to spending the fall and winter months here and never know what to expect.  Last winter was very mild in the area with only half the usual rainfall of just over 70 inches.  I don't expect a repeat of that and hope to photograph big winter storms and the resulting huge ocean waves.

I'll let you know when Juanita gets that big smile back on her face.....................................


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

If vegetation could shout with joy.....

If vegetation could shout with joy, it would!

Until now, I would never consider writing a blog entry about water falling from the sky.  Spending an especially dry summer season amongst the evergreens, however, has changed my stance in that regard.

Today is the first day of Fall...and it is raining.  FINALLY!  In fact, if the forecast is to be believed, we will see over two inches of the wet stuff before the day ends and even more through Monday of next week.  Hopefully this moisture will end some or maybe all of the forest use restrictions that have been put in place to prevent wildfires.

Summers along the south Oregon coast are normally fairly dry, but the rainless season this year has followed an unusual dry winter and spring.  Hopefully, today will begin a period of recovery from the extraordinary dangerous dry conditions.  We'll see.

Even before we began hearing the pitter-patter of raindrops on our little rolling home this morning, we made the decision to forgo our annual pilgrimage to the Arizona desert this winter.  We plan to spend the winter season in Port Orford this year.

We have spent the last three winters in desert brown.  It was time to make a change.  We have stayed on the southern Oregon coast for two winter seasons previously.  This area is called the "banana belt" of the Pacific Northwest for good reason.  Although wet, with a normal annual rainfall of around 72 inches, winter temperatures are fairly moderate with day and night averages only about ten degrees lower than those of summer.

As strange as it might seem, I actually enjoy the strong Pacific storms that frequent the north coast during most winters.  The hurricane strength winds and torrential horizontal rain along the nearby headlands are exciting to watch.  Huge ocean waves blasting shoreline rocks and cliffs provide awesome photo opportunities that I have missed during the past three seasons.  Unless they fail to form, I won't miss them this year.

I finally managed to put some fine Chinook salmon meat on the table last Thursday.  Several hours of trolling on the Coquille River with my Port Orford friend Harry gave me the opportunity to land a very nice 28# female salmon.  The fish was obviously fresh from the ocean and was very tasty on the dinner plate that evening.  In fact, Juanita vacuum packed enough in the freezer for six more meals.

Several wind free days this week have allowed me to make more flights with the new DJI Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter that I have named Komodo after my favorite Starbucks coffee, Komodo Dragon.  I  made a few still photographs from the aerial platform during these flights.

These pioneer gravestones are located at Cape Blanco State Park near Port Orford.

I couldn't pass up photographing this Coast Guard rescue boat from a slight elevation view.  The boat is part of a museum at Port Orford Heads State Park.

I took a couple of still photos over the Port Orford Dolly Dock.  I will resume the recording of video clips of the area after I receive a 2-axis gimbal for my flying machine photo platform.

Port Orford Heads State Park rises just west of the dolly dock.  The haze over the ocean is from inland wildfires in Oregon and Northern California.

We are looking forward to the rainy days ahead.  Juanita is happily working away on her various quilting projects, the Beagles are quietly snoring away in their daybeds, and I am busy with assorted hobby projects.  With fresh water beginning to flow in local rivers, I will join Harry for another salmon fishing trip tomorrow morning.  Hopefully more fresh Chinook salmon will be added to the freezer.

More to come soon...........................

Morning update 9/24.....As of 7 AM PDT we have received 3.9" of rain in the current storm.  We exceeded the about that?  Time to go fishing!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Picky, Picky!!

Although I often use Internet review sites to preview eating houses, RV parks and other places of interest, I am finding them less reliable as time passes.  Many reviews rate important factors and give the establishments high scores only to downgrade the total rating for uncontrollable issues or elements not entirely relevant to the overall review.

That was certainly the case with reviews for Spinner's Seafood, Steak and Chop House in Gold Beach, Oregon.  We joined a small group of friends for a dinner to celebrate the birthday of one of the folks in our party and enjoyed an evening of fine food, excellent service and very good surroundings.

Although most reviews fittingly rated the restaurant highly with fine food and great service, many noted that the claimed ocean view was hindered by a nearer scene of a trailer park.  Now, since I live in a trailer, I can't say that I find most trailer park views offensive or distasteful.  Many are mostly functional, some are downright beautiful, and only a few are mind blowing trash pits.

The trailer park that was located between the restaurant and the Pacific Ocean view was of the functional variety, but was not visible from our table unless one rose from his or her chair to seek out the obstructing trailers.  The excellent food was entirely too enticing for that to happen.

My prime rib selection was cooked to perfection, tender, tasty and absolutely knocked my socks off.  A large slice of triple chocolate cake for dessert levitated me from the chair...priceless!

Picky people rating this restaurant, however, managed to reduce the overall score by one or two stars due to the mostly invisible trailers.  Tell me about the food folks!!  I don't even care if the restaurant overlooks an oil refinery if the stuff coming from the kitchen is over the top outstanding.

I recently saw an RV park review for one of the parks in Port Orford...not the one we are visiting however.  The  writer gave the establishment kudos only to state that they were bored to tears after only a four day visit and would never return.  The reviewer knocked two points off the overall score apparently for Port Orford's lack of off Broadway shows, theater complexes, a large number of fine dining establishments and a vibrant night life.  It's too bad that the reviewer could't appreciate the quiet atmosphere, quant little quirky town and spectacular views all around.  Fine...don't come back!

Putting aside the rant, we have had a very good couple of weeks in this boring little place.  Good long time friends and newbie full time RV'ers Steven and Linda paid us a visit.  We exchanged a couple of excellent BBQ meals, spent some quality time talking travel and Steven joined me with his DJI Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter for a couple of flying practice sessions.

Yesterday was another fishing day on the nearby Coquille River.  The fish weren't biting, however, and we were left with alternate dinner plans.  A good rain storm is sorely needed to draw Chinook salmon into the river system.  One such storm may be on the way for the middle of next week.

We have found another breakfast house in the area after dropping a couple of restaurants off our Sunday morning schedule for various offenses...mostly lousy service, nasty food and more dirt and grime than we find comfortable for such establishments.  The Greasy Spoon in Langlois is our newest breakfast venue.  Despite the name, the place is clean, the staff (often just one person) is efficient and the food is very good...and plentiful.

The Greasy Spoon in Langlois doesn't look like much, but is really a good place for breakfast.

Now that summer winds are calming a little, I have found more occasions to put my new DJI Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter to use.  While waiting for a 2-axis gimbal to arrive from its manufacturer in Toronto, I have mostly been taking still photos.

Steven took this photo of me flying my DJI quadcopter at nearby Humbug Mtn State Park

The quad camera is a fine 14 megapixel device that records video and still photographs to a 32 gigabyte micro SD card for download to my iMac computer for additional processing.  A couple of recent photos follow:

A panorama of Port Orford's dolly dock and beach

              The spectacular view from Port Orford

The weather had been spectacular here on the south coast of Oregon with daily high temperatures in the upper 60's to low 70's and over night low temperatures in the low 50's.  A high of 83 degrees surprised us a couple of days ago as did the low of 39.7 degrees this morning.  This is the coldest morning of the summer and a sign that the seasons are changing.

Morning on the Coquille River

We have more interesting activities planned in the near future and will be back soon......................

Monday, September 1, 2014

It all takes practice

The past week has been all about practice.  The lesson plan has included smoking beef brisket, flying drones, processing the video from my flying devices, and fishing for, and hopefully catching, Chinook salmon just beginning to arrive in the Coquille River from the Pacific.

Juanita has also been learning new things and has put together a very nice quilt, made a needle purse and created a "bingo card" that represents multiple colors and types of fabric on one small square.

I have been doing a lot of quadcopter flying practice this week as wind conditions allow.  To keep from plowing my very expensive Phantom 2 into Oregon dirt, I have been flying the less sophisticated Hubsan X4, which requires constant application of controls to maintain flight.  If this little flying machine has done so many times...little damage occurs, if any, and the device costs less than $50 if completely destroyed.

I have also flown the larger and more complex Phantom nearly a dozen times to practice the various control procedures and have made a video clip of one of the more interesting flights.  I have a long way to go before reaching an acceptable level of competence both flying the quad and putting together videos.  Practice...practice...practice!!

A beautiful piece of Angus beef brisket
begins a long smoke on the Green Mountain Grill Davy Crocket.

Linda and Steven, recently retired friends who have begun their full time RV experience, will arrive in Port Orford on Sept 8.  Linda made a special request for BBQ brisket and, since I think she might be a closet judge from TV's Pit Masters show, I felt the need to practice smoking a Texas brisket that would meet her very high standards.

The first attempt turned out very well on the "money end" but somewhat less so on the flat.  I think the flavor was right on and the bark (smoke ring) excellent...the flat needs a bit more time at a lower temperature however.  Practice...practice...practice!!

Sunrise at the dock on the beautiful Coquille River.

My good friend Harry has his boat ready to go after big Chinook salmon.

And off we go!

Past these beautiful sights along the river.

The Chinook salmon fall run is slowly beginning on the nearby Coquille River.  Yesterday I joined my boat owner friend Harry for our first attempt to put some of these tasty fish into the smoker and onto cedar BBQ planks.  Well, fishing is not necessarily catching.  Harry managed to land one relatively small (12#) fish.  I did little except pilot the boat, net his fish and watch the beautiful scenery pass by.

More fish will enter the river during the next two months and I will get ample opportunity to practice catching instead of the less satisfying fishing.  Practice...practice...practice!!

Juanita made this neat little needle purse.  This is the front....

And this is the back.

The inside hold all the needles.  Duh!

Juanita has been working on some new projects that have required her learning new techniques and methods.  She continues to create beautiful new quilts in addition to interesting smaller projects such as the needle purse above.
One side of the aforementioned "bingo card" made from a defunct old Port Orford T-shirt.

And the side with various colors and fabric types.  Don't ask me what this is all about.  Only Juanita knows and she didn't contribute to this entry.

Her latest quilt, which Juanita describes as a half log cabin design was her second, and most enjoyable, attempt at machine quilting.  How can I tell you might ask...I just look at the big grin on her face as she quilts away on her machine.

The back of her latest creation was quite colorful!

Juanita knows full well that making quilts is an evolving process that requires practice...practice....practice!!!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

When life gives you lemons............

Make lemonade!

Instead of a fishing expedition on the nearby Coquille River yesterday morning, I needed to make an appointment for repair of our Chevy 3500 4WD diesel truck.  Last week an inspection of unusual tire wear indicated an increasingly dysfunctional front wheel hub, which needed repair sometime soon.

So, in lieu of an attempt to put Chinook salmon on the dinner table, I took a ride to a Bandon repair shop to take care of the important issue with the truck.  I arrived bright and early at 8 AM, pulled the truck to the rack and watched as the repair guy readied the replacement hub.

Lemon attack!  The box was marked correctly...the part was for a Ford 4WD truck and a different year model at that.  I made the 25 mile drive back to our rolling home in Port Orford with a somewhat less than happy camper attitude.

Lemonade time improved my condition with the afternoon arrival of a Big Brown (UPS) package containing a DJI Phantom 2 Vision, the latest addition to an ever growing fleet of quadrocopters.  Wahoo!

Much to the delight of my dear wife, I spent the entire afternoon and evening unpacking, assembling, updating firmware on the flight computer and camera and viewing dozens of YouTube videos showing every aspect of quad flight.

Big Brown arrived with goodies

An early Christmas

The dreaded three words....
Some assembly required

Ready to go...if the wind ever quits!

This morning I completed the final flight preparation by calibrating the on board compass and I readied myself for first flight.  But, as luck would have it, the wind velocity picked up substantially, making such an attempt unwise, if not impossible.

Current quad fleet...l. to r.
Parrot AR 2.0
Hubsan X4
DJI Pantom 2 Vision

I saved the day by putting a rack of pork ribs on the Davy Crocket wood pellet BBQ to start the nearly 6 hour process of preparing the tasty meat for dinner.  The day will end with fabulous smoked ribs, baked beans and a nice green salad.  It doesn't get much better than this.

I will end this entry prior to posting a food porn photo of the ribs..............