Monday, November 30, 2015

Sticking Close To "Home"

As you have noticed, I have not been writing on this blog very much lately.  The fact that we have been sticking pretty close to Port Orford, Oregon is one good reason.  The other is that we haven't been doing much beyond the usual day to day activities that keep body and soul together.

Fall weather here has been fairly normal with a total of about 8.5" of rain in the month of November. We just had five straight nights of colder than normal temperatures with low readings of just under 30 degrees.  The first night of the cold temps was also fairly damp and the resulting ice on our elevated deck nearly killed me when I first walked the dogs early in the morning.  I was only saved by crashing into the side of our trailer door.  That left a mark!

I took my DJI Phantom 3 Pro quadcopter out to Cape Blanco on Saturday morning for a little exercise.  The weather was absolutely beautiful with no wind and bright clear skies.  I flew through four battery packs and put in over an hour in the air, resulting in 45 minutes of raw video of spectacular scenery.  I was able to boil the total video into the following 4:10 minute clip on YouTube.





Juanita is doing quite well with her chemotherapy treatments and had her second two day outpatient session two weeks ago.  On the Wednesday immediately following the chemo she felt just fine and thought that the second treatment would be followed by few side effects.  Wrong!  By Thursday morning she was suffering many of the side effects listed in the "textbook" and not feeling well at all.

In addition to terrible fatigue...she described it as having all of her blood drained...she had no appetite, her taste buds were shot and she was meaner than a rattlesnake caught in a buffalo stampede.  I found out about the last when I tried to force her to eat, drink and go back to bed.  This caregiver is a tough old dude, however, and I got past the chemo induced anger to get the job done.

By Saturday she was pretty much back to her good old self and life was good.  Juanita had to generally stay out of public places all of last week due to a suppressed immune system but is completely back in the pink as of today.

We enjoyed our small version of Thanksgiving by putting an eight pound turkey breast on the wood pellet grill and joining it with all the usual stuff for a fine dinner.  I also baked a sourdough gingerbread cake with lemon sauce for dessert.  Awesome!!

Juanita will join all of her local quilting friends for a quilt club Christmas party tomorrow and we hope to join friends for seasonal activities for the next couple of weeks before the next chemo session in the middle of December.  

A week of rain is forecast, so we plan to stay low and slow until the storms pass through the area.  Regardless of the weather, we spend a good amount of time outdoors and don't mind the wet stuff all that much.  In fact, the two Beagle girls just love playing with their drying towels after walks in the rain.  

I'll check back in with you all again soon.  Everyone please stay safe during your holiday travels.....

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hospitals are no fun!

Well, we have been missing from blogworld for a while now, but we have had a lot on our table.  We have saved all sorts of interesting adventures for this blog post and it will be somewhat longer than usual.

When I last checked in, we were anticipating the immediate beginning of Juanita's chemotherapy treatment.  Well, not so fast folks.  We had a fairly extended wait to get a second opinion from wifey's Arizona oncologist, who initially didn't have all the latest information to work from.  Once she had all the details, she fully agreed with the oncologist in Coos Bay, who had also gone out to get one more opinion from another oncologist.  Since we had three independent sources on board for the proposed treatment, we felt confident enough to proceed with everything.

Juanita had an 8 AM appointment on Oct 19 to have the infusion port surgically implanted in her upper right chest.  The appointment was changed twice that day and we ended up checking in at the short stay facility at Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay at 1 PM.  As usual for such medical issues, she didn't move into the operating room until 3:30 PM.  The surgeon arrived in the waiting room about 45 minutes later to report a successful implant and told me Juanita would be ready to go in about an hour...not!!

It appears that my dear wife is very sensitive to anesthesia.  The brief encounter with a moderate dose of the stuff left her terribly nauseous for several hours and made her the last patient to escape the short stay ward at the hospital at nearly 8 PM.  Since she had been fasting prior to the surgery and had nothing to eat or drink afterwards, she was really needing something comforting to eat.  What is better than ice cream?  While on the way back to Port Orford,  I stopped by DQ in Bandon and picked up a cup of the frozen stuff.  She was happy with that and actually slept for the remainder of the drive home.

We made the 105 mile drive to Roseburg on Sunday to drop our two Beagles Abbey and Luna off with their breeder, who very kindly offered to care for them while Juanita spends a week in the hospital to receive her first series of chemo treatments.  They were going to have a good week at doggie camp in Medford.

Juanita checked into Bay Area Hospital at 8 AM on Monday morning with bags full of comfortable lounging clothes, several iDevices and one of her beautiful quilts.  She was assigned a rather comfortable (for a hospital) private room on the 4th floor of the new hospital wing.  Despite the cause of her visit, it was apparent that she would be fairly comfortable.




By 10 AM, she was hooked up to IV saline solution and prepped to receive her first infusion of four to take place during the week.  We knew the game was on when two nurses showed up in "spacesuits" to connect the first chemical bag to the ever present IV tree.  Let the juices flow!

Other than a considerable amount of pain when the newly installed port was accessed the first time, Juanita had very few effects from the first infusion.  About an hour into the process she experienced an "odd" sensation in both hands.  The capable nurse staff kept a close eye on the situation and the sensation soon passed.  We were amazed, in fact, that the process seemed to have little effect on her.

The first treatment was very slow and lasted just a little more than five hours.  During the process, wifey ordered a good meal from the fairly extensive menu, talked with a few family members on the phone and tapped away on Facebook.  Like any first rate hotel, the hospital had excellent Wifi.

While Juanita was having her first treatment, I passed time reading my Kindle, keeping friends and family posted on Facebook and continuously helping my dear wife unhook and reconnect the power cables from the IV tree for the frequent (every 20 minutes or so) trips to and from the small bathroom.  A constant IV drip puts a lot of fluid through the system and we soon realized that this was going to be our exercise for the week.

Because the chemo was removing a large number of cancer cells from Juanita's blood, fluids in and fluids out had to be closely monitored.  I made a mistake the first day of throwing away one of her empty water bottles and was firmly reminded by a nurse that they had to be counted at the end of each day to confirm that the in/out process was going well.  Oh well, my bad!




Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday went pretty much the same, with only minor differences to mark each passing day.  I usually arrived at about 9 AM each morning and left at about 5 PM in the afternoon to avoid the nighttime drive back to Port Orford.  I really don't like driving the two lane coast highway at night.  Too many drivers have no idea that high beam headlights cause issues with opposing drivers.  I must have seen all of them during my only night drive south on Tuesday night.  Juanita made sure that I didn't repeat that departure schedule.

My dear wife did very well during the entire process.  Her only emotional crash came early Tuesday morning and was probably caused by the drugs.  Unfortunately, Tuesday was my only down day and it took both of us a few hours to pick ourselves up for the rest of the adventure.  We did.

The 4th chemo infusion was fairly light and finished by noon.  Not long after one of the fine nurses entered the room with two beautiful root beer floats so we could toast the completion of the treatment cycle.  Although we were happy to reach this point in the process, it was necessary for wifey to spend 24 more hours in the hospital for observation and continued saline drip.




Friday was happy dance day....after an injection of Neulasta to keep Juanita's white blood cell count from crashing during the following week, we packed up and made our fast escape...in a wheel chair of course.  We were free!

All in all the experience was better than I expected.  Juanita's doctor, the nurses and the hospital staff were all first rate and the facilities were clean, modern and comfortable.  Even at that, we are happy that we shouldn't need to revisit the place until my dear wife gets the port surgically removed after the treatment ends.

Additional chemotherapy treatments will be scheduled every 28 days and will consist of two days of outpatient infusion at a cancer center located near the hospital in Coos Bay.  Juanita needs to have blood tests run every Monday at Southern Coos Hospital in Bandon.  We have been told to expect up to five more cycles or fewer if anticipated results occur at an earlier time.  We would be very happy to see fewer cycles as you can imagine.

Before departure from the hospital we were given a book with all sorts of side effects listed that might come up sooner or later in the process.  These side effects are shown from probable to rare and require various responses from us if they arise.  While kicking back and relaxing on Sunday, one of these issues became evident...Juanita had developed a more and more frequent dry cough and I took her temperature to see if we had a problem.  We were told to report anything over 100.5.  She was showing a 101.8.  We made a call to the doctors office and, hearing nothing in a half hour or so, decided to make the drive to the emergency room at Southern Coos Hospital in Bandon.

Juanita was checked in and immediately had two blood tests, an x-ray of her lungs and other fluids taken for lab analysis.  Four hours later all the lab reports came back clean and the elevated temperature had subsided.  The high number was probably related to the mix of meds in her system and not caused by an infection.  The oncologist on call in Coos Bay cleared our departure and we arrived at home early enough for a decent dinner.

Monday was pick-up-the-hounds day in Medford.  The round trip was nearly 400 miles and made for a very long day.  We were happy, however, to have our little therapy Beagles back with us.  Luna was immediately doing her usual clown dog act, but Abbey (part cat we think) pouted for hours before letting us know she was happy to see us again.  Weird dog!




We needed to make one more trip to Coos Bay yesterday and had a short (three minutes!) visit with Juanita's surgeon for a post-op check up.  We did a little shopping while we were in town and returned to Port Orford to stay a while...we hope.

As of this evening, Juanita has experienced no side effects other than the brief episode on Sunday.  She is in good spirits and confident that the treatment will take care of her issues.  In fact, she has already noticed that a lymph node that has been very noticeable on the right side of her neck for three years is completely gone.  Even the nurses couldn't find it.  Yahoo!!

We are looking forward to a week of quiet, rest and fun times with our two furry companions and will check back in with you soon.............

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Changes

Howdy everyone!  It has been a long time since my last post, but I have been holding up long enough to get clarity on our future plans.

In the meantime we have been very busy with all the usual activities.  Juanita has been quilting up a storm and I have started chasing down Chinook salmon on the nearby Coquille River.  I have also been busy with my trusty Nikon camera and put together another video with the Gopro Hero.



Dredging the port


We have had visits from more long time travel friends and a couple of our blog readers have dropped by or spent time with us in the RV park.  I expect several more friends will stop in on their way to winter locations.  Which brings me to another subject.......

We have made a change in plans to spend the winter in Tucson, AZ, and will instead stay in Port Orford for a second winter.  As many of you are already aware through Juanita's Facebook page, a recent CT scan indicated that my dear wife needs to begin a series of chemotherapy treatments to prevent an enlarged lymph node from possibly impairing liver function at some point in the future.

We have been aware for several years since Juanita was diagnosed with CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia) that chemo would be needed to treat one or more issues at some time in the future.  Well, that time has come.  She feels just fine and is good spirits, but we both realize that we need to take preemptive action while she is otherwise healthy.

I can assure all of you that this is not a life threatening issue and that Juanita's prognosis is a good one for the long term.  She is eager to get this latest life adventure behind her and asks only for the good thoughts and prayers from her many friends.  I will be with her every step of the way.............

As mentioned earlier, the Chinook salmon season has begun on local rivers and I have already started chasing down the big fish.  I landed a 19# salmon on Friday, so you can easily imagine what was on the menu that evening.  Yummmmmmmmm!

I enjoy trolling along the Coquille River whether or not the salmon are biting and took the Nikon along to show you why.






During our day long boating trips, we often see Osprey, Eagles, sea lions, harbor seals and even the occasional deer along the shoreline.  Although not shown in the two photos, we are also accompanied by dozens of other fishermen and need to use extreme caution not to cause a disruption in the otherwise orderly fishing boat circulation.  Some old fishermen apparently think they own the river and are quite verbal if crossed.

At any rate, we are looking forward to another nice winter on the beautiful Oregon coast and hopeful that Juanita can spend her time between monthly treatments enjoying the good life.  Her message to friends has been, "don't worry about me....I am in good hands."

Yes, she is!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Summer vacation is over - back in Port Orford, OR again





Aerial panorama of Port Orford from my DJI Phantom 3 Pro quadcopter


After a couple of months in Long Beach, Washington and a week in Winchester Bay, Oregon, we returned to our "Western home" in Port Orford several weeks ago.  Our early summer vacation is over.


Our "home" park...Port Orford RV Village


                                                                                   Port Orford from the north


Immediately following our return we put in some volunteer time at the Cape Blanco Country Music Festival.  Juanita and I were stationed at the entrance to one of the festival campgrounds, although the word "campground" is not very descriptive of the dusty, miserable field that we directed people into.  We spent our entire time fielding complaints and talking visitors down from anger and high drama.

Juanita has spent some quality time with her quilting friends in town and I have taken advantage of the beautiful summer weather to make some photos and videos with my DJI Phantom 3 Pro quadcopter.  I just posted this video on YouTube last evening...






A few long time friends have visited during the past few weeks.  Full time RV traveler Judy, along with her daughter and a couple of grandkids, joined us for lunch at the Crazy Norwegian's last week and Texan visitors Mike and Sandy visited for several hours Saturday afternoon.  After some good conversation in the RV park, we gave the Texas tourists a quick view of Port Orford and had another fine meal at the Crazy Norwegian's.  Hey, what can I say, we like that place!


Mike took a good photo of us with our furry companions at a nearby ocean overlook........




The weather has been fantastic since our return with daily high temperatures mostly in the upper 60's and nighttime low temperatures in the mid to upper 50's.  The wind has been fairly light for this time of year, except for a couple of days when high inland temperatures have drawn stronger gusts to the coastline.  We had a couple of fairly warm days here as well with a high of 85 degrees.  That's somewhat unusual for the area, but it does happen from time to time.

We will be very active in days and weeks to come.  Juanita has several quilts under construction and plans to attend a class at the local quilt store beginning later this month.  I will make more videos and photos from my flying machines and look forward to the upcoming salmon season, which should begin on the nearby Coquille River late this month or in early September.

We'll check back in with you all again soon.............................


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Forgot To Tell You...We Are Back In Oregon

Time sure flies when we're having fun!  We are 225 miles south of Long Beach, Washington now and will be moving another 75 miles down the road tomorrow.

July 4th in beach towns is always interesting, to say the least, but this year topped anything we have ever seen.  Because fireworks were banned in all inland areas and the high temperatures persisting everywhere except on the coast, most everyone in Washington came to Long Beach to celebrate the holiday.  And boy, did they ever party hardy!

From noon to midnight on the 4th, the entire 27 mile beach on the Long Island Peninsula was a wall of fire with an aerial display that would rival the efforts of any city in the country.  Loud explosions and huge bursts of crackling colors lasted for the entire 12 hour period, even when their full impact couldn't be seen during daylight hours.

Local restaurants and super markets ran out of food, especially bread, buns, hot dogs and all the stuff that people use while having a great time outdoors.  Safety rules along the beach such as a ban on campfires, no overnight camping, speeding violations and the use of illegal fireworks were ignored, much to the dismay of local officials.  I understand that a meeting is in the works to avoid a repeat of the mayhem in future years.  In my opinion...good luck with that!  I'm sure commercial interests were thrilled.

Before we left Andersen's RV Park, a couple of outstanding sunsets allowed me the opportunity to get  several good aerial photos with my DJI Phantom 3 Pro quadcopter.  All these photos are created with five images taken in rapid succession, each with different exposure values, and merged into a single HDR image in Adobe Lightroom.





We left Long Beach on July 7th and stopped for two nights 150 miles to the south in Newport, Oregon.  While there, we rested up from the holiday uproar and enjoyed a few of the local sights.  I also put my quadcopter into the air and got a very nice sunset photo over the Yaquina Bay Bridge to the west of the RV park.   This is another merged HDR image.



As you can see, I am having way too much fun with this photo platform!

On the 9th of the month, we traveled another 75 miles and pulled into one of our favorite parks on the Oregon coast...Winchester Bay RV Resort.  This place is roomy and located on a piece of land with water on three sides.  Our space is slightly elevated, giving us a fabulous 360 degree view.

I have never seen a park of this size get so much attention from staff members.  All grass is watered nightly (yes, they have plenty of water), the lawns are mowed every Wednesday, the facilities are always immaculate, and a host cleans every site immediately upon the departure of each guest.  We even saw a host cleaning the inside of a covered utility station this morning.

Because this is peak season in the park, our weekly rate was $260 for a large interior pull through space including all the usual amenities.  We have really enjoyed our week in Winchester Bay!

As you can imagine, I have managed to get in a good deal of flying time with still photography my main effort.  I have gained a huge appreciation for the quality of images that can be attained from a very small camera fastened to a 3-axis gimbal on the belly of the quadcopter.

A few photos of our park location follow:






And, in the following photo, our home on wheels can be seen at center right:



I also managed to photograph a spectacular sunset over the Umpqua River:




Tomorrow we will make the short drive down to our West Coast home park in Port Orford.  Even though we have had an excellent time in other places, we have really missed our friends and all the activities around that little Southern Oregon Coast village.

I am looking forward to some fishing with friends and Juanita is eager to return to all of her quilting buddies in town.  We have both volunteered to work at the Cape Blanco Country Music Festival at the end of the month and will be able to keep our two little Beagles with us as we attend the gate of an event campground.

I also have a couple of aerial photo and video projects planned for our four months in Port Orford and will most certainly share them with you on the blog once they are completed.

Until then..........................................



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Getting behind

OK, I have really gotten behind on the blog.  I guess we are just having way too much fun here.

A few family members and friends are beginning to arrive in the Long Beach area and even more are on the way just after the 4th of July holiday.

Juanita's sister and brother-in-law visited from their home in Hoodsport, WA.  Joining them at our rolling home, Juanita's Australian sister-in-law and her brother fit us in during a short visit to the Pacific Northwest.

We met up with travel friends Bill and Diane for a shopping excursion and quilt shop tour of Astoria, OR yesterday, finding a good burrito shop to cover our lunch time appetites.  Bill and Diane will be in the Long Beach area for a couple of weeks, and we are looking forward to hanging out with them a bit.

Old travel buddies John and Ann showed up in Long Beach a couple of days ago.  We had a great conversation and excellent lunch with them today at the Lost Roo in Long Beach.  More RV friends will join in the festivities just after the holiday weekend and we have extended our visit to Long Beach to meet up with Steven and Linda on the day of their arrival.

We took the two Beagles out for a good sniff and hunt excursion to nearby Cape Disappointment State Park last Saturday and enjoyed the walk out to the North Head Lighthouse...one of two old lighthouses in the park.  Since my aerial photo equipment is not allowed in Washington State Parks, I made a video of our walk with my GoPro Hero 4 Silver camera.




I have also taken my trusty Nikon out for some local photo sessions.  A beautiful bald eagle has been hanging out at the beach near the park and made a decent flyby on one of my treks along the beach.




A golden sunrise through the grass covered dunes was well worth the early hour walk with the camera.




Who knows when this old piece of driftwood arrived.....




I have also put my latest addition to the Pierce family aerial photography fleet into the air over twenty times and have taken a few photos in and around the RV park.  Now that I have broken in a couple of batteries for the new flying machine, I plan on flying beyond the local area and making more videos of interesting subjects.  





I also took a couple of photos with my Nikon looking across the Columbia River from the Chinook County Park just south of here.





After a month or more of cool overcast weather conditions, the sun has finally arrived and the temperature today has managed to reach a balmy 68 degrees...the highest temperature we have seen during our visit.  If the forecast can be believed, we can expect more of the same before our departure on July 7.  We can only hope.

Juanita has been very busy with needle and thread and will follow my comments with details and photos shortly...........

Ok...Hi, Juanita here to add to and finish up this blog.  Since we've been here I have started and completed two small quilts.  The first one up was for my Mom's next door neighbor who was recently blessed with the birth of a beautiful baby girl.  I made this from a Layer Cake. (Sorry, that's a quilting term.) For those who are not quilters, a Layer Cake is a package of coordinated fabrics pre-cut into 10 inch squares, and they usually come 40 squares to a pack.  I took 20 of these squares and cut them into 2.5 inch strips, re-assembled a mix of these strips into sets for four.  Then I cut these units into more strips and reassembled them again.  Now I had 20 - 8 inch squares, each square consisting of 16 - 2 inch squares.  Sounds silly when I write it out this way, but thats just what we crazy quilters do. Cutting fabric into little pieces and finding new ways to sew them all back together. 

At this point, I made a trip to the local quilt store, much to their delight, to purchase sashing, binding, backing fabric and a piece of flannel to use in place of regular batting. The use of the flannel made it very easy to quilt because, unlike batting, the flannel will not bunch up or get all weird inside the quilt. This helped speed up the process because very minimal quilting was necessary.  So I got it all put together and here are a couple of images of the baby quilt.





That polka dot binding fabric (you see there on the edge) is also the backing fabric.  I love polka dots.





So, my mother was happy with this and the new parents liked it as well.  

Just a quick note about quilt #2.  It is a quilt I am entering in the Port Orford 4th of July quilt show challenge so I can't show it off yet.  After the Fourth, I will post some photos. Its a fun little quilt, very bright, and I hope its the "star" of the show, but who knows.

I've been thinking lately it would be nice to have a small, simple machine to use as a portable when I go to classes, or just to take with me to the Rec Room at the park now and then.  So my bigger machine can stay in its special place on my sewing table at home.  I recently discovered a good size thrift store in town and as I was browsing around one day I came across this.




This little beauty is now mine.  Of course I will be removing the machine from the cabinet. Then once I get back down to Port Orford I have a friend who I hope will be able to get it in prime running condition once again. I'll just give you one more photo so you can see the scroll work.





Isn't she pretty!!  I can't wait to get her working again. 

So now you know what I do to entertain myself while Gordon is playing with his flying machines and cameras.

We will post again soon, I hope.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Staying Busy

The sun finally came out...yesterday!  And then, not so much today.  Oh well.

The park was packed solid for the Memorial Day holiday weekend and forty mile Long Beach Peninsula yard/garage sale.   We joined the bargain hunting pack on Sunday and picked up a few pieces that needed a new home.  Most of our purchases were items for our friends, but Juanita found an antique quilt that was in pretty rough shape and needs a lot of TLC.   I managed to leave everything in the yard or garage.

Fedex arrived on Wednesday with a nice new flying machine to add to my ever growing fleet (this is Juanita, the editor:  "ever growing fleet"...I don't think so!) of quadcopters.  I have already made five flights with the DJI Phantom 3 Professional, which is an amazingly stable platform for both videos and still photos.

My previous Phantom 2 Vision is stabilized by up to only 12 GPS satellites, whereas the new quad can access more than 20 at times.  That, in addition to a new visual/sonar near ground positioning system, makes for an almost tripod like aerial stability.  The short video below shows some of that solid performance at the beginning, which appears to be a still photo.





Because two additional batteries are on back order, I am flying on only one, and dropping it to a break in level of 50% at that.  As soon as additional batteries arrive in a week or two, I'll expand my range and  get some interesting views in the local area.

I also took a few still photos with the new camera.  The first one is a fun dronie at our little space at Andersen's RV Park and the second consists of five shots bracketed and processed into a single HDR photo.  The new camera is able to capture single, multiple, bracketed, time lapse and long exposure photos and will require a lot of practice to get things right.



Dronie!



Five shot HDR


Good long time friends Mike and Charlie Harris visited with us briefly earlier this week.  We haven't seen these two good people for many years after meeting them originally in early 2007.  After trading stories in our rolling home for a while, we adjourned for a great lunch at the Lost Roo restaurant in Long Beach.  Good company, great food...we couldn't ask for more.

Yesterday we drove down to Ilwaco for the weekly farmers market.  There was very little produce available, but we loaded up on other stuff...again mostly for friends and family.





At the marketplace in Ilwaco...the Lady Washington was in port.


Despite the almost constant overcast, we are enjoying our visit to Long Beach.  The upcoming July 4 holiday is still ahead before we head south, and we are looking forward to more fun activities on the Washington coast.



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bring back the sun!

Howdy everyone!

Well, we have been in Long Beach, WA for nearly two weeks now and the sun has all but disappeared.  Don't get me wrong.  We are enjoying our visit very much but would dearly love to get a little vitamin D.

As usual, Juanita is quilting her little hands off and I am doing pretty much what I always do.  Reading, exercising the two Beagles, maintaining RV systems, flying quadcopters and a kite, processing photos and videos,  bitching about political events and watching people come and go are the activities that generally consume much of my time these days.  Retirement is sure tough!

Things are fairly quiet at Andersen's RV Park, but I expect things to pick up soon with the Memorial Day holiday ahead.  Party time!  There will be a 40 mile long garage sale over the weekend in addition to all the usual holiday activities, and I expect a lot of people watching opportunities for entertainment purposes of course.

The weather here started out pretty decent but has fallen into a real rut of daily overcast with light to heavy mist at times.  The ten day forecast calls for the same with the exception of "partly cloudy" conditions tomorrow.  You would think that NOAA could use the word "Sun" somewhere in their forecasts, but I guess that's too much to ask.

The temperature range has fluctuated between 52 degrees in the morning to a balmy (haha) 54-58 in the afternoon before the unseen sun sets.  OK, I'll admit to getting a bit snarky here, but I'm a big fan of the big bright shinny orb that usually occupies a place in the sky, and I become very grumpy when I don't get my way.

I managed to find a short break in the mist and clouds and put the DJI Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter in the air to capture a quick video of the area around the park.  Upper level wind caused some video shudder, but I managed to put something together regardless.




We will make a day trip into Oregon tomorrow and do some shopping in Astoria and Warrenton.  Hey, we might even see the sun for a few minutes!

We'll be back soon............



Friday, May 8, 2015

Beachin'!!!

An uneventful drive of 158 miles brought us north from Newport, Oregon on Wednesday and left us on the edge of a beautiful loooooooonnnnnnnngggggggggg drivable beach in Long Beach, Washington.  The place is aptly named.



A short trail takes us from rig to the beach.


We pulled in at Andersen's RV Park soon after 1 PM and did the basic set up on our rolling home in short order.  On Wednesday we put out all the utilities, set up the DISH satellite antenna and mounted the Davis Vantage Vue weather station on the roof ladder.  On Thursday we completed the outdoor set up process by putting up our deck and steps, putting the Green Mountain Grill Davy Crockett BBQ together and getting the amateur radio antenna put in place and my station on the air.

We have previously visited Andersen's for a couple of one week long periods but will stay for two months this time.  The park is essentially a very large gravel parking lot with rows of back in spaces on each side.  Wide grass strips are located to the rear of each lot and the spaces are separated by narrow cedar bark filled areas.  The sites are quite close together but the grass strip and area of natural vegetation at the back makes the space feel larger.



Another view of Andersen's RV Park.


The park has all the usual amenities and the hosts are very friendly and knowledgeable about the area.  All facilities are a bit long in the tooth but very clean and adequate for our needs.  The park layout seems to facilitate friendly interaction between the guests and just about everyone that passes has something to say, even if to just say hello.



View to the southwest of the park.


The weather since our arrival has been fantastic with moderate temperatures and only light wind.  Partly cloudy conditions Wednesday and Yesterday gave way to clear skies today.  

The wind was light enough this morning to allow me some flying time with the DJI Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter, and I took a series of photos to show a little of our home for the next two months.



Come to Daddy!



Grabbing my aerial photo platform from the sky.


Juanita got her quilting station going today and already has two projects on the agenda.  She is making a real quick baby quilt for a neighbor of her Mom in California and has started on a quilt to enter in the July 4th contest in Port Orford, Oregon.  She will ship that quilt to a friend who will handle the entry.

Our little furry buddies just love the beach and surrounding area.  They spend a lot of time outside, proving again that tired Beagles are good Beagles.

We will check back in with you all as soon as events justify another blog entry...................



Andersen's RV Park in Long Beach, WA


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

We like it...the Beagles do too!

Several very fine days have passed since our arrival in Newport, Oregon, and we are ready to move along again.

The first two days were very windy, which was just fine with me.  I didn't feel like I was missing anything outdoors while watching NASCAR races on TV.  Yesterday and today, however, have been absolutely beautiful...just perfect for spending quality time along the central coast of Oregon.

Of course any "tour" wouldn't be complete until Juanita checked out the two quilt shops in town.  She  found only a couple of items she couldn't do without and I considered myself lucky with that outcome.

We visited the Yaquina Head Lighthouse area yesterday afternoon and enjoyed the fantastic views and interesting wildlife.  While watching whales offshore, a flock of pelicans passed by almost close enough to touch.  A pair of peregrine falcons defended their cliffside nest with loud screeches and sea lions played in the surf.  We couldn't have asked for more.




Juanita and the "girls" at Yaquina Head



Today we took a drive up to Otter Crest, Depoe Bay and Boiler Bay.  Large waves were pounding coastal rocks and creating quite a show for tourists at the many viewpoints along the highway.



Devil's Punchbowl at Otter Crest



Our diets were cast aside for a day so we could enjoy a lunch at my favorite eatery along the coast.  I have been visiting Gracie's Sea Hag since my college days at Oregon State in the 1960's and seldom pass through the area without ordering up a bowl or a cup of chowder followed by a basket of salmon fish and chips.  I will pay the price by cutting back for the next few days, but it was well worth it.




A fairly heavy surf along the coast today.


Our two furry friends have enjoyed their Newport area visit as well, with all sorts of new aromas and interesting stuff to sample from the ground level banquet table.  I don't really want to know what they find to eat, but they find it quite palatable.



Fantastic view across Boiler Bay


We will put another 150 miles behind us tomorrow and stop in Long Beach, Washington for a two month visit.  I'll check back in with you after getting set up at the beachside RV park.

Friday, May 1, 2015

So long Port Orford...Hello Newport

Well, it has been a while since the wheels have rolled on our little roving home.  In fact, we arrived in Port Orford on May 1 of last year.

Despite the fact that it has been an entire year since we have packed and prepared the fifth wheel trailer for travel,  our mental check lists were fully operative and we didn't seem to pass up any necessary tasks.  It went far smoother than I expected.

We left Port Orford at a rather civilized time at just past 9 AM and arrived at the Port Of Newport RV Park at 1PM after  an easy and uneventful drive up the Oregon coast.  The 147 mile drive was well within our usual maximum daily range and we got everything set up and fully operating in very short order.



All set up in Newport, Oregon



The weather was almost perfect for the short drive, except for a stout headwind of about 25-30 MPH. The wind speed continued to increase after our arrival in Newport and I was nearly blown off my feet during the last outing with our two furry friends.

We have previously visited this park, which is essentially a large parking lot with long spaces located between narrow planted strips of native coastal vegetation.  Interior roads and spaces are all paved and we have all the usual RV park stuff including decent cable TV and marginal WiFi.  We will remain for five nights before moving another 150 miles north to Long Beach, Washington.

My expectation that hauling the big heavy trailer down the road after a long layoff would be uncomfortable at the very least was unrealized.  Well, at least I didn't run over or hit anything!  Traffic was light and I fell back into the towing routine instantly.  It felt like I had done this just last week.

We plan to spend time checking out the sights in the area and I will be back in a day or two with photos and, if the wind would ever stop blowing, possibly a nice aerial video.  We'll see............

Monday, April 20, 2015

Where there's smoke, there's fire......

I will honestly admit that my biggest fear about living in an RV is fire.  Although a fairly small incident, that fear was realized for us today.

Several weeks ago the circuit breaker for the microwave/convection oven in our rolling home tripped to the off position and couldn't be reset.  Thinking at the time that we might have a problem with the oven, I moved the power cord to a different outlet in the kitchen.  The oven worked just fine.

Since the problem occurred on a dedicated circuit, I thought that the issue would probably be easy to resolve.  Well, not so fast Bubba.

Nothing seemed to remedy the problem, so I purchased a new circuit breaker.  It wasn't the breaker.

It was time to call out Dandy Don, the local RV repair dude.  All kidding aside, he is a very experienced fellow.  Don arrived this morning and proceeded to systematically check out each and every ac branch in our rig.

He immediately found four loose neutral connections at the main box, but continued his search, knowing very well that these problems tend to cascade within an electrical system.  He managed to isolate the problem to the single line for the oven and checked out the possibility that someone put a screw into the power line when constructing the trailer.

He found nothing else that caused any concern and reconnected the power for final check out.  Well, after about a minute the breaker tripped again.  It was at that point that we all began to smell burning plastic.  Don saw a little smoke coming from a low wall junction box under the kitchen sink and I went outside to look under the long slide on the utility side of our trailer.

Dense black smoke and flames were rolling out from under the kitchen slide...looks like we found the short circuit!  The fire was still small and easily extinguished, having burned only the plastic junction box, rubber boot and some undercoat material on the bottom of the slide.

Don picked up a few repair items at the local hardware store and made the final repair quickly.  A final system check gave us confidence that all was well...finally.

Left as it was, this could have been a real disaster when we began travels late next week.  The hard short circuit and fire was caused when Don moved the ac line from the power outlet to the junction box.  Movement of our RV our even putting the slide in or out could very well have caused that fire down the road when we weren't keeping a close eye on everything.  This was a timely repair for sure.

As noted, we are making preparations for upcoming travel.  Although our destination is only 300 miles up the road from Port Orford, we are looking forward to getting back under way.  For a number of reasons we have stayed in one location for a year, and it's time to move on for a while.

Juanita has been storing away inside items while I proceeded to rearrange and store everything in our three basement areas.  I pulled out the ground rod for our ham radio system today and stored the Traeger wood pellet grill in a space provided by park owners Tim and Cindy.  The Green Mountain Davy Crockett pellet grill will accompany us on our journey.

I have also been making exterior cosmetic repairs, with some success in places and not so much in others.  Most of the vinyl decals on our rig are beginning to fade, split and peel and will need to be removed soon.  I plan to begin that process after we return to Port Orford in several months.  Needless to say, I am not looking forward to that particular exercise.

Because of our busy schedule I haven't had an opportunity to put together photographs or videos.  Hopefully I will have plenty of time for that after we arrive in Long Beach, WA.

If events provide additional fodder for the blog, you will hear from us before we head north.  If not, we'll see y'all down the road........................................

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

We're still around....I think!

OK, I know.  It has been far too long since I have posted to the blog.  We have really been busy doing mostly nothing worth writing about.  There have been a few highlights during the past several weeks, however, so here I am.

The big news of the day is that my dear wifey has officially reached the golden years and was able to drop very expensive health care for the much more affordable Medicare and supplemental insurance. We will celebrate with a nice dinner this evening at Edgewaters in Bandon.

While attending her monthly meeting at the Quilters Corner yesterday, Juanita was presented with a nice gift that I had purchased at the shop the previous day.  She was completely surprised and I got a lot of positive reviews as a wonderful husband from the ladies in the group.

We enjoyed a short visit by two long time travel friends last Thursday.  Tom and Ruth were able to spend a couple of hours with us on their way out to Tennessee.  They were fortunate to pass through the area just prior to a big spring storm that hit the area this weekend.

The cold storm brought 3.26" of rain to the park and, finally, a little snow to the mountains of Oregon and California.  Better late than never I guess.

Back at the beginning of the year I set out a goal to lose 20# before seeing my doctor again in April.  The scale revealed that I accomplished that and a little more yesterday morning.  I'm not doing anything special in this effort, other than pushing myself away from the plate sooner rather than later. It works!

I won't give weekly or even monthly updates about my weight reduction program but will certainly let you know when I reach my next goal.  I expect to drop 20# more by my birthday in September and, hopefully, another 15# by the end of the year.  If I do all that, I will be too buff to believe.  Well, I can always dream anyway!

We are starting to make travel preparations and will be leaving Port Orford on May 1.  After spending a few days in Newport, Oregon, we are scheduled to arrive in Long Beach, Washington on May 6 for a two month visit.  While there, we look forward to seeing old friends, visiting interesting new places and seeing a couple of Juanita's relatives who live in the area.

During a break in the weather several days ago, I took the Gopro Hero camera out for some exercise at nearby Cape Blanco State Park.  It took several hours to process the video clips, but I am slowly getting more comfortable with Adobe's Premiere Pro proccessing system.  I hope to get a few more aerial videos soon as well.





I hope to get a couple more blog posts made before our departure, but no promises.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Nine years!!!!!!

Nine years ago today we drove away from our jobs, a stick home, our friends and our family to join the full time RV'er lifestyle.  We have no regrets whatsoever!  Note:  Juanita has missed seeing the grandkids grow up however......

Our friends and family members were all busy leading their own lives, our jobs were a big pain in the butt and our stick home was an anchor.  Now, we travel when the urge arises, or stick around in places we enjoy for as long as we like.

The first four years were like an extended vacation...we moved around a lot.  For various reasons, the past five years have been much more relaxed.  Although we haven't made any plans to plant ourselves in any specific location at this point, we enjoy spending long periods of time in special places.




Two travelers in a very special place indeed!


Places we have visited over the years of travel have been spectacular beyond belief...the life long friends that we have made during this journey have been the icing on the cake.

I can't even list the huge number of friends that we have made over the years but should note a few that were special during this time.  Jim and Jan were the first full timers that we met on the road at City Of Rocks State Park in New Mexico.  We formed an instant and close bond with Roger and Pat at the McCall RV Resort in Idaho during the early summer of 2006.

RV classmates of 2006, Barb and Dave took us on our first geocaching adventure in Arizona in January of 2007.  We will never forget that excursion and these two intrepid travelers.   Mike and Sandy introduced us to warm (if not for a "rare" snowstorm) Texas hospitality, Will and Karen let two strangers camp next to their big red barn in Illinois and became great long term friends and Ed and Marilyn were good neighbors in Texas and hosted many afternoon sessions of laughter and companionship.

Dave and Toni keep us laughing, Steve and Karen have been awesome hosts (with beagle benefits) in both Idaho and Arizona, RV park owners Tim and Cindy are almost family in Oregon and Harry and Gayanne have become Oregon fishing buddies.

Canadians Wolfgang and Christine have forged with us a long lasting cross-border friendship, Steven and Linda add to our photographic and culinary interests and we took special pleasure in following friends Paul and Mary from their full time beginnings to current some-of-the-time RV adventures.  And who could forget our dear friend Randy...he introduced us to "The Red Green Show" and keeps his stick on the ice to this day.

Because this blog entry is already getting out of hand, I have left many fine people off the list.  I will probably be severely excoriated for doing so.  All of you, however, are not and never will be forgotten.

I need to mention that we have met dozens of people in the virtual travel world of the Internet.  Although we have laid eyes on only a few of you over the years, we value the friendship of our journal and blog readers more than you will ever know.

We realize that this journey will end sometime but have made no specific plans for that eventuality.  New places and more friends lie ahead.  After all, we live on wheels!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Ready for some fishing!

Since my last entry I hauled myself down to the local hardware store to pick up an annual Oregon fishing license.  It is a bit pricy for non-residents at $106, but I usually catch enough fish to justify the cost during our time in the state.

I joined my local friend Harry on his boat for a quiet morning fishing trip to nearby Bradley Lake.  Bradley is only a 30 acre body of water, but it contains a good population of trout and bass.  The small lake is completely surrounded by private property and can only be accessed for fishermen by boat.

Fishing for the first hour was very slow and we tried trolling at different depths to attract a fish or two to our lines.  My friend Jim landed the first trout.  It was the usual size for recently planted fish at about 8" in length.

Soon after that my pole nearly bent double and line began to sing as it pulled rapidly from the spool.  Since I was using only light tackle, I played the fish very carefully and it was obvious that I had something very special on the line.

It took about 10 minutes to land the fish, which turned out to be the largest rainbow trout that I have caught for a long time.  The fish weighed just over 6# and looked like a small salmon.  My gentle handling of the fish was justified when the lure easily fell from the trouts jaws immediately after being netted.  Now, that is luck!



Nice fish!!


I put the fish in brine last night and will smoke it this morning after a couple of hours on the drying rack.  The fillets look like salmon and I can't wait to see how it all turned out.



The fillets look like salmon


We caught more of the smaller trout before leaving the lake in early afternoon.  It was most certainly a good result for my first fishing expedition of 2015. 

The western sky gave the appearance of an excellent sunset in development on Thursday evening, so we drove to Paradise Point beach with the hounds...and my Gopro camera of course.  The potential of a spectacular sunset was fulfilled and I spent the remainder of the evening putting together another video on YouTube.







After I complete the process of smoking the fish today, Juanita will put together a smoked meat loaf for this evenings pot luck dinner at the RV park.  The theme of the pot luck is "meat loaf madness", and I'm sure there will be several tasty dishes on hand.  It's good that we have two smoker/BBQ's to handle all of our outdoor cooking activities.

I still need to get my Nikon out for some photo exercise soon.  I know, I keep promising and never deliver....................................