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 forecast...how 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 crashes...it 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!!!!!