Monday, January 26, 2015

Why we spend a winter on the Oregon coast

Family and friends frequently ask us one question...why would we ever want to spend a winter on the Oregon coast?  The video I made from my flying tripod yesterday should be an adequate answer to the question.

Winter weather north of Coos Bay and inland can be rather dismal during winter months with more overcast and rain than we would like.  Even though the south coast of Oregon averages a little more than 70 inches of rain a year, long periods of clear and warm days are frequent.  In fact, winter weather in Port Orford is often better than during the summer months that feature frequent strong afternoon winds.

Daily temperatures in the winter range from the 40's at night to the mid to upper 50's during the day.  During the summer months about ten degrees can be added to these numbers.  Freezing night time temperatures are rare and seldom last for more than a few days at a time. 

We love the occasional powerful Pacific storm that creates fantastic massive coastal waves and drenches Port Orford with daily rainfall that would be the envy of most California residents.  The clear and fresh air after a storm is very refreshing.

I hope to get some aerial photos and videos outside the local area soon.............

Friday, January 23, 2015

My turn for a quick post

Last night Juanita sat down and put together a short blog entry about her activities.  Tonight it's my turn.

A panorama photo from my Phantom Quadcopter taken about 320 feet above our current home park in Port Orford, Oregon

A very fine mid January break in the weather has allowed me to put the DJI Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter back in the air.  There has been very little wind and skies have been partly cloudy to clear for most of the week.  Summer-like weather is in the forecast, so a lot more flying is in my future.

I took the following video this evening from 400 feet over the RV park.  Because I was pointed right into the setting sun, land in the foreground is quite dark with a only few lights of town and the brighter surface of Garrison Lake visible.  If you watch the video in full screen mode, you can see the rocks of Orford Reef to the right of the video and Pacific Ocean surf just beyond Garrison Lake.  The sunset flight was my 50th and I am finally feeling somewhat secure putting the little flying machine in the air.

Everything is going well since our return from California and Arizona.  We have managed to replace most of the items that were lost in the luggage theft in Redding and have returned to the usual daily routine in Port Orford.

I had my first complete medical checkup in over nine years last week with mostly good results.  The doctor advised that the very slight out of normal range issues can be resolved by a reversal in age or the loss of some excess weight.  Since my geezer body can't return to past glory, I have embarked on a program to achieve the second recommendation.

We are beginning to make plans to get away from the coast for a little while around May 1.  Although we haven't completely settled on a destination yet, McCall, Idaho or Rapid City, South Dakota have risen to the top of the possibility list.  We'll make the final decision sometime next month and secure reservations for the excursion.

With great winter weather ahead, we should have some activities to report again soon.....................

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Quilt Update

Juanita here.  This will be brief.  I finished up a couple of quilts late last year that were intended as gifts.  One for my sister and one for my granddaughter.  Also a small Christmas ornament project which I didn't start until about the 19th of December. Crazy, right?  Anyway, just wanted to show off a little.

The quilt for my sister is a variation on a log cabin and I named it Gail's Log Cabin. This was small enough for me to quilt on my own machine.

The quilt for my granddaughter is a project that really started about maybe 2 and 1/2 years ago when I found some fabric I really liked at a little quilt store up in Long Beach, Washington called Boardwalk Quilts.  I purchased 5 fat quarters.  I then proceeded to supplement those with about 12-15 additional fabrics.  I wanted it to be "scrappy" and I think it definitely is that. It is a big quilt, measuring about 72 wide by 92 long so I enlisted a very good Long-Arm Quilter here in Port Orford to do that quilting for me.  I was able to give it to Livie in person at Christmas. That is what makes all the effort worthwhile.

Those Christmas ornaments were a last minute little project I found on YouTube and were a lot of fun.  I played around with different buttons, beads and charms for embellishment.  I want to try to make a few more later this year.

Here is Gail's quilt being shown at a small quilt show up in Bandon.

I quilted this one myself.

This is Livie's quilt. Very scrappy with lots of pretty fabrics.

The Christmas ornaments. My fav is the one with the ladybug. I'll be on the lookout this year for special buttons and charms to embellish these.  Fun stuff and they are really a lot easier than they look!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2 Holidays, 2850 miles,167 gallons of fuel...and lots of fun

We're back in Oregon!

I had hoped to get some photos or videos processed to make a good complete blog about our Holiday activities, but we have been busy ever since our return to Port Orford Tuesday afternoon.  Also, after miles and miles of travel and visits with family and friends, we needed a little rest.

Well, the photos didn't get done, but I figured I could tell you about the past two weeks and put up images later...something to look forward to...right?

We secured our rolling home in Oregon and drove off to the south early on the 23rd for a previously planned four day visit to family members in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Despite a couple of detours due to storm damage just before our journey began, we had an easy 480 mile  drive along the Coast Highway to our California destination.  Except for occasional fog in low areas, the weather was fantastic.

The highway between Port Orford and the SF Area provides some of the most stunning scenery in the West.  We always enjoy seeing these familiar sights.  Just south of the Oregon/California state line we spotted several very large herds of elk.  Each herd consisted of dozens of cow elk carefully monitored by a huge bull.  A couple of these herds were grazing right alongside the highway, but our usually alert hounds missed them all.

We checked into our hotel in Dublin, CA too late to visit our daughter, Amy, and her family that evening and just fell into bed after a quick and somewhat unsatisfying meal.

The hounds got us up bright and early to do their business outside and for morning feeding and we were soon on our way to visit old neighborhood friends in Castro Valley.   I spent some time with Tom and Vicky a couple of years ago, but it has been a good number of years since Juanita has been able to visit with these good folks.

After visiting our old neighbors we headed over to see our daughter, Amy, her husband, Mike, and the grandkids, Olivia and Michael.  The two teenagers were full of energy as usual, although Michael had broken an arm during a recent soccer game.  We ate far too much good food, watched some fun movies on TV, had a lot of good conversation and laughs and had to end our visit far too soon.

On Christmas day and back with the family, we were joined by our son, Nic, who was able to spend a little time with us before heading off for visits with his friends.  He is a busy guy.

On Friday we traveled to nearby Alameda to see Juanita's 93 year old Mom...she is also a Juanita!  We visited for a couple of hours until Alan, one of Juanita's two brothers, arrived.  Because Friday was our last day in the SF Area, we didn't stay much longer and made our way back to the kid's house for a nice quiet evening.

During our visit to California I noticed that diesel fuel prices were about the same as when we began our full time travel experience in early 2006.  Never being a person to miss an opportunity, I made contact with our friends Steve and Karen, who have a nice large home in Mesa, Arizona.  When asked if they would like a couple of visitors for a few days, they advised that a guest room would be available.  I know they are always eager to see Juanita and our two Beagles, but as for me, meh!  OK, I'm just kidding...I hope!

So, on Saturday the 27th we continued the drive south.  We're nothing if not flexible.  We encountered very heavy traffic along Interstate 5, which is sometimes well maintained, but otherwise full of suspension destroying holes, cracks and ridges.  I sometimes think that California government officials want to mangle every vehicle on the road in order to save the planet.  Good luck with that.

We arrived late in the day at our next hotel destination in San Bernardino and again fell onto mattresses after another lousy road trip meal.  We still haven't figured out how to get a decent quick evening meal when tired and dusty from a long day on the road.

Our departure from San Bernardino began well before daylight until we encountered direct in the windshield sun.  Even my great aviator sunglasses were challenged by the bright light.  In this instance a sunny day of travel didn't rise to our usual delight.

After a very easy transit of Phoenix, we arrived at our Mesa destination in early afternoon.  We received a wild greeting.  No, not from Steve and Karen, but from their two Beagles, Callie and Maddie.  Joined by our two crazy hounds, the house was instantly swirling with flying furry bodies and loud barks and howls.  Wow, what a show.

The several days we expected to stay in Arizona expanded to seven, and we had a fine old time visiting with Steve and Karen and their furry buddies.  While in the area, we also met up with full time travel friends of many years, Barb and Dave, in their new to them park model in Mesa.  We also visited with San Tan Valley winter visitors Phyllis and Jim.

One of Juanita's favorite activities during our three winters in Arizona was thrift store shopping with Karen.  Well, she did that...and more.  She managed to pick up a good load of nearly new clothing for next to nothing...the whole purpose of the activity.

While Juanita and Karen were playing around at local stores, Steve and I managed to watch just about every bowl game on TV.  The only one we missed was the Kohler/American Standard/Eljer Toilet Bowl game.  Oh wait, I don't think that one exists yet.  Well, give it time.  Along with all of our friends in Oregon, I was happy to see the University of Oregon team reach the championship game next week.

The only rain storm of our two week trip passed through the Phoenix area quickly and caused us no problems whatsoever.  The Superstition Mountains were completely snow covered right after the cold storm, providing a rare and brief desert sight.

By the end of the week we began to miss Oregon coast green.  Our journey back to the north began on Sunday the 4th with hotel stops in Tehachapi and Redding, California before arriving back in Port Orford on Tuesday.  The trip was (mostly) uneventful, except for a brief moment of inattention on my part.

When loading and unloading the truck at hotels or while stopping in rest areas, we NEVER leave the vehicle completely unattended.  Well...almost never.  While packing our bags for departure from the last overnight stop in Redding, I went back to the room very briefly to pick up a few more bags.  Well, a few minutes was enough.

We continued on to Port Orford completely oblivious to the fact that three of our bags had been removed from the truck at the hotel parking lot in Redding.  The happiness of home return was soon dashed by the realization that we had lost all of our toiletries, a lot of clothing and a small bag of high end dog food and medication for Luna.

Although the dollar amount of the loss was not high, the sense of violation was extreme.  We shopped at Amazon on Tuesday night to replace shirts, socks and other clothing items and made a quick run to the nearest Walmart in North Bend to pick up other necessary replacement items on Wednesday.  We are still remembering lost items that will have to be replaced in time.

Despite the end of journey issue, we had a fine time with family and friends.  Travel weather was perfect, fuel prices were acceptable, our furry friends behaved themselves, the four LaQuinta Inns were comfortable and we have gotten the itch to head out onto the highway in early spring...this time with our fifth wheel trailer in tow.  We'll let you know about our plans as soon as we decide on a destination...or two.

Juanita will soon post photos of her beautiful quilts that were given as gifts and I will get some photos and maybe a video together as well.

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