Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 Recap.....2016 Preview, as far as we can tell

Regardless of the several kinks here and there, I think 2015 will go down in the books as an excellent year.

Our (sometimes) rolling villa spent 9 1/2 months parked in a nice RV space in Port Orford, Oregon with a little moving around in late spring to early summer.  Stopping here and there along the way, we pulled our beast 300 miles north to Long Beach, Washington, returning to Port Orford just in time to do our volunteer time at the Cape Blanco Music Festival during the first week of August.

The highlight...or low point...of that journey was the 4th of July period of total mayhem in Long Beach.  The hot inland weather and fire restrictions put the bulk of Washington resident celebration right outside our RV along 27 miles of ocean beach.  It looked and sounded like war and our two little Beagles were nearly crazed by the constant explosions.

Otherwise we enjoyed all the beach walks, fine coastal restaurants, beautiful views, new friends and a different place for rest and relaxation.  A good number of our past travel buddies showed up for short visits and we met a good number of good people that remain in contact to this day.

While in Long Beach I purchased a new quadcopter to replace the two earlier versions that started me out in the interesting hobby of photographing our world from an aerial view.  Now with 70 flights on the log, I have become very confident of my ability to keep the craft in the air and pointed in the right direction.  I am happy with the better than average on board camera quality and have made some nice still images and videos while flying this wonderful piece of technology and certainly look forward to doing a lot more of the same.

Aerial photo stitched from nine photos taken 398 feet above our rolling home in Port Orford

Our stay in Port Orford has been very comfortable as you can imagine.  We obviously like it here and would be parked in another place otherwise.  Port Orford is a quirky little town with a fairly slow paced lifestyle and residents that don't take any interest in stepping on our toes for any reason.  Politically right of center, but with a small number of self proclaimed progressives, residents here seem to accept opinions other than their own with grace and cordiality....although sometime fairly exuberant in opposition.  We can handle that.

With only a couple of acceptable restaurants and cafes in the area, the place is devoid of any fast food establishment and, what sidewalks there are, roll up by seven in the evening.  There is only one food market with high prices and somewhat limited supplies and a small co-op grocery with the usual organic products and other interesting items.  The single service station in town has all fuel priced at 60 to 70 cents above the cost of fuel just 22 miles up the road in Bandon.  Whatever!!!

Juanita loves the great quilt store in town.  Because of her enjoyment of quilting and my amateur radio hobby, we have made a lot of local friends, who open up other fun possibilities for us.  One of my ham operator friends owns a small fishing boat giving me the opportunity to land some nice trout from nearby lakes and tasty Chinook salmon from the Coquille River located north of Port Orford.  Juanita has joined the quilting club and we both belong to the local amateur radio club.  Although we plan further travels in the future, it looks like we have put down some roots here.  Only time will tell if this becomes permanent.

During the past year my health remained fairly decent, but as noted in several past blog entries, Juanita had a bit of a setback with her ongoing leukemia.  She had an infusion port implanted and began a series of chemotherapy treatments in October and has completed part three of the monthly infusions as of mid December.  Although the chemo side effects have been quite uncomfortable for short periods of time following the treatments, she has handled the process very well and with continued good humor.  I'm not sure I could do the same.

The results of a CT scan scheduled tomorrow will determine the treatment program ahead for the next few months.  Depending on her progress, she could have from one to three more treatments ahead.  Obviously we are hoping for only one and I would be surprised if she has more to get through.  Juanita is otherwise healthy though, and has progressed very well as evidenced by stellar weekly blood tests.  We are confident of a good outcome in 2016.

Our two little Beagle buddies Abbey and Luna continue to be very active hounds and require lots of ground sniffing walks daily.  They are our clowns in fur suits and constantly keep us laughing.

Since my dear wife has had to put up with all the recent medical activity, I have taken on most of the chores that kept her running.  Leaving her mostly with fun stuff, I now do all of the grocery shopping, laundry and most cooking and dish washing.  As a result of this process I have found a new hobby...baking and cooking with sourdough.

I found an excellent and very active sourdough culture from San Francisco that has produced wonderful buttermilk biscuits, pancakes,  streusel coffee cake with dried cranberries, pita bread and gingerbread cake.  During the learning process I have had only two huge fails...not bad for a newbie!

The weather in Port Orford in 2015 was an interesting mix of extremes.  Last winter, spring and summer was warmer and drier than usual but December brought the entire year rainfall up to normal range with over 33 inches of the wet stuff in one month.  The summer months were very windy with very little rainfall.  It looks like we have gone back into a normal cycle of alternate rainy and dry periods, but only time will tell.

As for the upcoming year, 2016 promises to be interesting to say the least.  We are hoping, of course, for an early year end to Juanita's treatments and would like to take a little trip with our fifth wheel trailer home in late spring.  I have considered several travel destinations but think eastern Washington State around the Columbia and Snake rivers is at the top of the list at this point.  We have previously spent very little time in this part of the country.

We plan on spending the summer and fall in Port Orford and might move down to Arizona for the winter.  None of our travels for 2016 are carved in stone, however, and we could end up any place at any time.  A family member will graduate from high school in June, so I imagine that a trip to the SF Bay area of California is in our future for that time.

Juanita has a bunch of quilts under construction to one degree or another and has many more in her head for future efforts.  The last salmon season on the Coquille River was downright crappy and I am hoping for better this coming fall.  Before that time, I will be putting both my ground based and aerial cameras to work and hope to post some interesting photos and videos as a result.  Of course we look forward to visits from many of our good friends that will pass through Oregon during the summer and fall.

We wish all of our family and friends a healthy and happy 2016!!!!!!!!!!!!

Port Orford, Oregon