Sunday, August 13, 2017

Back at the Oregon homestead

Well, our vacation has ended and, despite the good time had by man and beast, I think we are all happy to be back home in Port Orford.

The 975 mile drive from Island Park, Idaho to our little coastal village took only a few days that were mostly without incident.  Our first night on the return trip took us to Twin Falls in Idaho and back into lower elevation heat.  The skyline during the entire return to Oregon, and almost to the coast, was blown out by dense smoke from mostly distant wildfires.  The miles and miles of usually beautiful scenery were covered by a dense brown haze that dissipated only at the crest of the Oregon Coast Range east of Brookings.

Our second day on the road took us along one of my least favorite roads in the US, the eastern end of Highway 20 from Ontario to Burns in Oregon.  The roadway is in decent shape but consists of a constant twisting and turning along a river valley.  In the past we have hauled our fifth wheel trailer behind allowing us  the use of a tag along bathroom.  Let us just say that I was very uncomfortable after well over 140 miles of roadway with no facilities and after multiple morning cups of coffee.  I will readily admit that I killed some sparse roadside plant life during this portion of our travels.

We were greeted in Burns with a temperature of 102 and spent the night in a motel that might not have been infected by bed bugs.  At least I didn't see any.  The place was somewhat run down and the two Beagles were bothered by some aroma that I couldn't detect.....maybe a dead body in the room at some time in the past??  I sure hope not!

The peek-a-boo latch on the door was torn off, obviously by someone kicking in the door and the handle and lock combination was in bad shape.  A couple of bikers in the next room elevated the discomfort level, although wifey and Beagle girls slept through the loud bangs and bumps that lasted most of the night.  I didn't sleep quite as well.........

The third day of travel took us along the arrow straight portion of Highway 20 to Bend, where we turned south on Highway 97 and then west just north of Crater Lake.  We arrived in Central Point (near Medford) during mid afternoon to a balmy 106 degrees.  At this point we really missed the cool weather around Yellowstone and eastern Idaho.

During our overnight stop in Twin Falls, Idaho, I ordered and set up for Saturday pick up a 55" 4K Ultra High Definition TV at the Medford, Oregon Best Buy store.  While Juanita finished packing and preparing the girls for our last day on the road, I drove over to the store and made the pick up at the 10 AM opening time.  I secured the big heavy box just to the rear of the truck cab and returned to the motel to collect my passengers for the 175 mile drive to Port Orford.

We arrived at our little RV home late in the afternoon and happily inhaled the fresh clean Pacific air with a 63 degree temperature showing on my weather station.  Better!!!  I unpacked all of our luggage and we rested a little before a friend of mine arrived to help me take the big 97# boxed TV out of the back of the truck.

Our sixteen days of travel and 3500 miles of roadway had left all of us unscathed by insult or injury....that is, until I tried to shift the big box around in the back of the truck, without help and wearing my sandals.  I realized my bonehead move the instant the box suddenly lurched over the big toe on my left foot, crushing the digit and lifting about 2/3 of the nail from the flesh.  Will I ever learn??  Uh, probably not....................

Anyhow, a week has passed and we have returned to our daily routine.  Juanita is quilting, my friend and I managed to get the TV into the trailer and in place, and I have already scheduled my first of the season salmon fishing trip on the nearby Coquille River.  As for my tender toe, it is slowly healing but I think the toenail will fall off in time.  Oh well, it won't be the first time.

As for the TV, it is fantastic.  NASCAR races never looked so good........................................

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Out of the cooler and into the frying pan

We have had such a fine time in the high country around Yellowstone (the cooler) that it was difficult to drive back into the flatlands of Idaho (the frying pan) today.  We are facing 100+ degree temperatures for the drive back to Port Orford.  Ugh!

On Sunday we took a drive to one of our favorite Montana destinations, the little town of Ennis.  While driving along the Madison River, I stopped at a rest area and unleashed my flying machine to record some video of that beautiful area.  Unfortunately the sky conditions were not great because of smoke from distant wildfires.  I directed the camera for mostly ground shots, which minimized the bright washed out skies.  I also stopped just outside Ennis to complete the video record of the day drive.

Try to use the HD setting if you have the bandwidth

We picked up a little picnic lunch at a local Ennis eatery and found some shade under a tree to enjoy the nice meal.  Our original plan to continue on to Virginia City was set aside so we could drive back along the Madison River and over the old 1959 landslide at Earthquake Lake.  A thunderstorm interrupted any additional attempts to record aerial video, so I took a couple of still shots with my iPhone.

We returned to Yellowstone NP Monday morning to make a loop trip through the Hayden Valley where I was certain that we would find some of the park wildlife.  We weren't disappointed with the outcome and spotted large groups of bison and several young bull elk.  We also encountered the classic Yellowstone animal jams and marveled at the tourist idiocy on display.  One woman, in and out of the passenger seat of a pickup truck in front of us, seemed to have a death wish and was a good candidate for the Darwin Award.

Because the NPS and FAA have banned hobby flying for video purposes inside the park, I used a handheld stabilizer with my iPhone camera to record a little video of our excursion.

We returned to our little cabin in Island Park during mid afternoon so we could avoid the worst of the traffic in the park and rested up from the nice day drive.  Just at the end of a quiet meal we heard a knock on the door of the cabin and, fighting off two out of control hounds, opened up to find a long time (do I dare say old here?) travel friend standing with a big Cheshire Cat grin on his face.  I noted on Facebook that I seldom get got, but I did.  I knew our friends Mike and Sandy Mills were in some part of Montana, but had no idea that they would attempt to put a gotcha on me and pay a visit.  We later joined them at their rolling home at the nearby Valley View RV Park for some fun conversation and treats.  We enjoyed the brief visit and have promised to return the favor when they least expect it.  Payback!

Tuesday was our last day in the area and we decided to keep our travels fairly local after Juanita did some laundry.  After that task was completed we took a drive into Montana along a dusty dirt road and filmed the excursion with my quadcopter camera.  We stopped for a picnic lunch at Hidden Lake (well named) and I recorded a few more aerial clips at the beautiful location.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, we left Island Park this morning for the 275 mile drive to Twin Falls, Idaho.  The cool motel room was very welcome!  We drove to a nearby burrito joint for a take out dinner after a little rest and a couple of much needed showers.  The nachos and burritos were excellent.

Tomorrow we return to Pacific Daylight Time and will overnight in Burns, Oregon.  We have enjoyed previous trips along this route, but smoky skies promise to diminish the interesting views.  Oh well.

I expect to post again before our return to Port Orford on Saturday...............