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..............


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Just a few of my favorite things.........

We are about 2/3 of the way through a spectacular summer day here in Port Orford and I found myself thinking of a few of my favorite things.

My dear wife happily quilting away

I would be remiss if I began this blog without placing my dear wife at the top of the list!  I always could do that, but the results might be damaging to my continued well being.  Juanita has already put together several beautiful and interesting quilts this summer and has many more on the way.

Two quietly sleeping Beagle puppies are good to have around

No day can start out badly with our two joyful Beagles jumping up on the bed at zero dark thirty and beginning their day of play.  We thought we might have bitten off more than we could chew when adding Luna to the Abbey household in July of last year.  It has worked out better than we could ever imagine.  They can be a challenge at times...but what fun!

I love NASCAR!

Attending a live NASCAR race is an experience like no other.  The aroma of burning fuel and tires, the unbelievable roar of 43 screaming race cars (ear protection is a must) and the energy of the crowd can overwhelm the senses.  Although watching the races on TV is a poor substitute, I attempt to watch live, or at least record, every event.

Rolling home (Tiramisu) and sturdy tow vehicle (T-Rex)

It's not wrong to say, home is where the heart is.  This is our home, and we love it dearly.

      An old 1949 Farmall Cub 

I find old tractors totally fascinating and have seen many during our travels.  This one appeared at the Port Orford 4th of July parade. 

My Ham radio station

Ham radio has provided me with many hours of enjoyment.  I always enjoy talking with folks from all over...amateur radio takes this just one step further.  Through the hobby, I have met local hams in various parts of the country and have joined two in Mesa, AZ and another in Port Orford, OR...making many new friends in the process.

The Crazy Norwegian's in Port Orford

OK, I'll admit I have a real weakness for fish and chips and fish tacos.  It's hard to find any better than at the Crazy Norwegian's in Port Orford.  And they make fresh marionberry pie too!

 A WW II era B-17 bomber

Although made for war, a peaceful flyover of an old warbird is a real treat.  I can identify the thunderous roar of this old flying machine miles away.  This particular aircraft (the Sentimental Journey) is stationed at Falcon Field in Mesa, AZ.

The happy fisherman

Did I ever happen to mention that I like salmon fishing?  If so, I guess you were paying attention after all.  The large Chinook (King) salmon run will soon begin on the nearby Coquille River.  I'll bet you won't miss guessing where I'll be!

                                                          BBQ pork!

I have already written about my love of BBQ.  I never tire of the cooking and consumption of the end product of all my efforts.

Sunset over Battle Rock Beach

A quiet walk on Battle Rock Beach in Port Orford settles the mind and soothes the soul.  This just might be my favorite thing of all.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

First attempt at aerial photography

Yesterday evening the daily coast wind let up enough for me to take my Parrot AR 2.0 drone out for a test flight.  A few recent attempts in the RV park between wind gusts led to numerous crashes with no damage to the flying device.

Because the drone operates with an iOS my case my dear wife's iPad Mini...the range is not too impressive.  To extend the range to my satisfaction I purchased an Amped sr-10000 wifi range extender and, in order to increase flight stability, added a GPS Flight Recorder.

Fully equipped with all the above, I loaded dear wife and furry buddies Abbey and Luna into the truck and drove over to the largest open area in Port Orford, the ball park at Buffington Park.  A still air evening just before sunset proved perfect for my first arial photo session.

I was very happy with the range extender and found myself operating well within the wifi signal at 300 feet horizontal distance and 52 feet high.  I will try for more once I gain some confidence flying the device.  The FAA currently limits recreational unmanned drones to 400 feet in height, but I have no intention to fly higher at any rate.

I found a good YouTube video that taught me the rudiments of making a movie from the raw video clips from yesterday evening and uploaded the results to YouTube earlier today.  Although not perfect by any means, I am happy with the results and look forward to improving my skill as time passes.  There's always something new for old geezers to learn! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014


If for nothing else, the Oregon coast is known for berries.  We have already loaded up on fresh blueberries and blackberries...cranberries and maybe even huckleberries are coming soon.

Organic blueberry bushes at Jensen's Farm

At a U-pick price of $10 per 4# bucket, a short drive to Jensen's Organic blueberry farm is an annual item on our must do list.  With plentiful berries on the head high plants, we picked 16# in a little more than an hour.

Now this is a bunch of berries!

After cleaning obvious debris from the berries, we packed them into 2 cup portions in plastic bags and dropped them into our trusty deep chest freezer for later use as cereal toppings, muffins and possibly various desserts.

Himalayan blackberry bushes....

Are everywhere!

The Oregon coast is covered with mile after mile of Himalayan blackberry plants.  They are extremely prolific and are very difficult to eradicate around homes and from backcountry roads and trails.

These tasty berries are just now ripening in hotter places somewhat away from the ocean and just called out to be picked.  We hauled out our berry picking buckets and made the short drive to a "secret" place along the nearby Sixes River on Wednesday.

I can't say that picking blackberries is at the top of my list for fun things to do.  These particular plants are protected by millions of small very sharp thorns that find their way into clothing, skin and human flesh and, trust me, they are sharper than baby teeth in a beagle mouth.  Getting access to the best berries is not just an easy pick and grab.  

Additional challenges include hornet nests hidden in the bushes, hot sun in the narrow river valley and, worst of all, human and dog waste.  I know, way too much information, but people lacking toilet facilities are a scourge on the land.  Nuff said!

We dumped the berries from the picking buckets...

To the larger collection bucket

Our blackberry harvest ended up at just over a gallon after a couple of hours in the hot sun and we tossed the results of our efforts into the freezer with the blueberries.  I see some cobblers, crisps and pies in our future.

Huckleberries should be ripe at Cape Blanco soon.  They are much smaller than berries we have found in Idaho, Montana and along the Cassiar Highway in British Columbia, but a handful or two are enough for fine muffins.

The cranberry harvest begins along the Oregon coast sometime in October and we always end up with a bag or two that happen to just "fall off the truck" so to speak.  Actually, we get our cranberries from Cindy here in the park.  She has a lot of friends in the berry business.

Since I am writing about local delicacies, Chinook (King) salmon are beginning to push into the Coquille River in Bandon.  I will pick up a harvest tag this week and will soon be spending a lot of time trolling for the big boys.  Can't wait! 

Friday, August 8, 2014

There's nothing like REAL BBQ!

My BBQ kitchen in Port Orford

I can throw hamburgers, hot dogs, chops, steaks and other such delights over a fire anytime for a quick grilling, but real BBQ my friends is where it's at.

Hours and hours of pungent smoke permeating beef, pork or yardbird put all my senses on alert that a fantastic meal will follow.  My workstation for these delightful treats consist of a Traeger Lil'Tex Elite BBQ/smoker and the newer Green Mountain Grill Davy Crocket (mostly) portable BBQ.  Both use hardwood pellets to provide the requisite smoke and heat for the cooking process.  No propane gas or chemical starters are used to ignite or maintain the small flame pot in each cooker.

A current favorite pellet for recent BBQ

A blend of black oak, hickory and mesquite supplied in a  28# bag @ $15 each is my current favorite for long smoking cooks.  This Texas Blend is available at Sportsman's Warehouse stores and many other locations shown on the Green Mountain website.  

I especially like the dense light blue smoke and excellent aroma and taste provided by this blend...a lot of ash by product being the only downside.  I can go for a week of BBQs before needing to clean the ash from the fire pot with other blends.  Using the Texas Blend, I need to clean out the resulting ash after two burns.

Applying a good dose of Cow Camp to a Boston butt pork roast

A 9# Boston butt pork roast was the latest animal flesh to find its way into the GMG Davy Crocket.  I applied a good layer of a commercial rub (Cow Camp), covered the roast with plastic wrap and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.  Rising at 5 AM the next morning, I fired up the DC and began the almost 9 hours of aromatic smoke initially at 150F.

After three hours at 150F, I put the roast in an aluminum pan and raised the smoke temperature to 225F, spraying a mixture of apple juice and Worcestershire Sauce on the meat every hour until done.  At 190F, I removed the roast from the smoker, wrapped it tightly in aluminum foil and covered it with a beach towel or two to rest for a couple of hours.  Hey, we all need a rest after a hard cook!



And after

Pulling the pork...

Finally ready for pulled pork sandwiches with friends

The last stage of the process...pulling the my least favorite.  The roast is still extremely hot and can burn unprotected hands faster than you can say pulled pork.  The results, however, are well worth the effort and possible bodily damage.

I added just a skosh (a highly technical term for a little bit) of Blues Hog BBQ sauce and the centerpiece of a fantastic meal with good friends was ready to go.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Worked my butt off........................

Oops, I forgot...I don't have a butt to work off any more.  So much for being a geezer!

This big guitar sculpture stood at the entrance to the first Cape Blanco Country Music Festival held this past weekend just north of Port Orford, Oregon.  Between 15 and 18 thousand folks (depending on who you ask) spent three days and nights in the open fields just east of Cape Blanco State Park enjoying the sounds produced by 13 music groups.  I have to tell was windy, windy, windy!!! That is nothing unusual for this time of year on the coast however.  

A crowd begins to gather in front of the main stage.

The workstation for the three day event.

Now, I have to tell you in all honesty, my job sucked!  Two four hour long shifts and one eight hour shift (a bunch of a..h... volunteers from Port Orford failed to show up) pretty much destroyed my feet, knees and back...not to mention my  psyche.  And what am I ever to do with a damaged psyche??

Stinky, grimy country music fans spent $5 for ten minutes of shower time.  My duty was to sell and take tickets for the short, hot deluge of refreshing water and to sanitize the enclosure between every user.  Not fun!

The people, however, were a real hoot!  Many of you who know me well have been subjected to my not always appropriate sense of humor.  That people play was all that kept me sane at my work station.  Fortunately I didn't start any fights or cause much embarrassment, but I did have a good time messing with the folks. 

I won't give you all the details, but occasionally folks in the shower failed to lock the door, giving indication of an empty shower that needed cleaning.  The full monty wasn't an unusual eyes also need to recover from the trauma as you can well imagine.

My coworkers from the Port Orford Amateur Radio Club were subjected to the same harassment...not sure if they will work with me again.  Haha!

I took a little time off to check out some of the 22 food vendors and added a few pounds to my substantial girth with a fantastic tri-tip sandwich slathered with grilled onions, a wood fired pizza, a bucket of fresh donuts and a chocolate dipped peanut covered vanilla bar.  Trying to keep the pizza from blowing south in the strong wind, I burned the heck out of my mouth.  It is just now healing.

Some of the food vendors.

Well, it's now Thursday.  My feet, knees and back feel almost normal again...not that they don't hurt at least a little all the time.  That's another subject for a geezer rant....

Bi-Mart, the sponsor for this event, has already sold a huge number of tickets for a festival next year.  Will I be there?  Who knows.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A new beginning...................

Because we don't travel around as much as we did back at the beginning of our full time RV adventure, I have decided to end the MyTripJournal and make occasional blog entries on this site as the spirit moves me.  It might happen often...or not.

I intend to comment on issues that interest me at the moment, post occasional photos and let you know what we are up to if I think you might find our activities interesting.  Although I don't intend to offend anyone, I could possibly make a politically incorrect comment at times...I have no doubt that my views are not always mainstream, but such is life and we live in a country where disagreement is not only acceptable, but encouraged.

Many years ago I heard my parents and grandparents telling of life in more simple times.  Everything had changed for them, and they weren't at all reticent about telling me how things were better in days past.  Since I had no historical reference at the time, I didn't fully understand what they were telling me.

Well, I find myself in that place now.  Yes, I have become an old geezer.  And, as those before me, I see a better past.  Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is changing at light speed these days and I'm not entirely sure that we are progressing into a more enlightened time.

It seems to me that we have broken apart into ever smaller special interest groups that, when combined onto a political template, can become a force to be reckoned with.  The idea that if one is offended, we must all be offended, builds into great causes that, in my opinion, don't always advance our civilization.

The resulting change is rapidly moving us into unknown territory at a pace that I find almost impossible to absorb.  I don't hold to the view that we have a perfect society, but I honestly believe that changes through judicial activism and executive action can have a less than desirable outcome if not supported by the public at large.

I can only hope that our country is strong enough that we can restore a more gentle and considered progression to a better society.