Monday, October 29, 2007

Grass Valley, CA

Redwoods and Douglas Fir trees dominate much of the landscape.
We passed miles of these piers. Notice the lockable gate at left.

This was the place where they have cabins to rent and you have to cross a foot bridge to get there.
There are lots of pretty lakes.

We can’t get a satellite signal at our campground so we are posting this at a coffee house. We should be on the road again Wednesday. Saturday we took a 120 mile scenic drive. We took highway 49 north and east and came back on 89, 80 and 20. It was a great day. Our Miata is really at home on twisting mountain roads and it was a lot of fun to drive. We came across a place where you can rent cabins, but you have to walk across a foot bridge to get there. You park your car and grab an industrial version of a little red wagon and put your luggage in it to get across the river. While we were there we also noticed a mining claim posted. This is something we don’t usually see in Indiana. Before we left on the drive we went to a farmer’s market beside us at the campground we bought a loaf of garlic bread and some really good toasted French bread. They sliced French bread thin then put butter and garlic on it and toasted it. It is addictive!

Friday we visited DeMartini here in Grass Valley, CA. We bought our coach from their dealership in Wakarusa, IN. Their sales and service departments here in Grass Valley are at two different locations and both are quite crowded. They are having a new building constructed that will house both sales and service. We saw it from the road and it looks very nice.

Friday night we went to a model of the temple in the Old Testament. It was at the fairground right next to where our RV is parked. We walked to it in a minute. It is a full sized replica of the portable temple used in the desert after the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. It was informative to hear how they did the sacrifices and also how everything in the temple points to Christ. We just never know what we will see next!

Our neighbors include a man who lives in Mexico and is will be headed back shortly, a Canadian couple who are very nice to talk to. He has dual citizenship in the USA and Canada and has to go back to Canada every 6 months to keep his Canadian health care active. Often campgrounds have a host. This person is in charge when the office is closed and has various duties such as making sure campers have paid and so forth. Most campgrounds give us a paper to place in our windshield that had our checkout date written in marker. We are staying at the fairgrounds here in Grass Valley and they gave us a small round sticker that we put on a tail light. The host told us that it rains every day all winter here – no exceptions – and get this – it never rains all summer – no exceptions. Interesting. We are here before winter I guess because it hasn’t rained yet.

Our mattress is the standard variety and is getting a few lumps already so we called Monaco and they are upgrading us to a sleep number mattress for a very fair price. Monaco has been good to us. Yesterday at DeMartini, Lonnie a service manager warned us to deflate the mattress to 20 PSI while traveling in the mountains or the mattress could burst from the thin air. We have noticed plastic bags of food expand and pop or water bottles have more pressure at high altitudes, but hadn’t thought of the mattress.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Eureka and Ferndale, CA

Kim at the Samoa Cookhouse
This is one big chainsaw!
Here are some old chainsaws at the Samoa Cookhouse.
This is a pic of a big redwood. Notice all the horses on top of the log. The glare on the pic is from a window in the background.

This is the home of William Carson. He was a lumber baron who built this home in 1885. Kim and I have been looking to get a small home. Wonder if it's in our price range.
Yesterday we went to Eureka and Ferndale and had a good time. In Eureka we went to a Lumberjack restaurant called Samoa Cookhouse. It is an interesting place to see – and eat at. The restaurant has long tables and they just seat you next to other people. After Eureka we went to Ferndale. It is a nice little Victorian town that is worth a visit. We were walking down the sidewalk with our matching outfits (matching T-shirts, bibbed overalls and Christian Motorcyclists Association denim shirts). We were holding hands and just window shopping and a lady sitting outside a shop commented on how cute we looked together (we get a lot of that – honestly). She asked where we were from and we told her we had sold everything and were traveling for a year. She reached out and shook my hand. It turns out that she and her husband did that when he was 50 (so am I). They bought a big motorhome and within a few months they found out he had terminal cancer and he died. She said although they didn’t even have a year together in the motorhome, she will always cherish the memories. It is amazing how many people we meet that say they would love to do this, want one of our cards to follow along and sincerely wish us the best. Today we are leaving Fortuna, CA and headed south – we’re not exactly sure where – just south.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Northern California - Amazing!

Welcome to California!
Kim wanted to stop and see the black sand. She is like a little kid sometimes and quirky things excite her. I wouldn't have her any other way!
Lots of pretty coastline.
The power of the waves is just overwhelming.
In the foreground is a freshwater lagoon and just behind it is the ocean (where the waves are). Fresh water and salt water next to each other - interesting and unique.
Today (Oct 23rd) is our son Silas and my dad Bud’s birthday. Happy Birthday!

These are some photos of northern California. The people in Montana were great. The folks in Washington and Oregon were friendly and more relaxed than other places. So far our experience has been that California seems to have two kinds of people. The first kind is very friendly. They want to tell you about their state and all there is to see. They have a diverse state and they are proud of it and that is pretty neat. These people are great to be around. We have also met another type of people here. They are the panhandlers or professional askers of money. We haven’t had that on the trip until now. I have a big heart and it is hard for me to say no when they ask for money. I’m glad I spoke with a lady named Gale. She is a fellow RV’er who lives in CA. She explained that many of them make a very good living asking for money. She knew of a man who watched a panhandler all day and estimated he collected $750.00. She also told of a policeman who watched a man who was collecting at an intersection. When he got done he walked over to his Cadillac and drove away. She said many of the people have just burned themselves out on drugs and this is how they choose to live and that the money may very well go toward drugs. She also said that California is a very liberal state to draw welfare so it attracts people who want it. She has a friend who works at the welfare office and she sees people come in with the right paperwork and draw welfare and go out and get into their Mercedes. Yesterday morning at the campground we were at a young girl asked us for money to call her mom. As I was handing her two dollars she stuck out her hand for the bills and she had just rolled a joint and it was in her hand.

We are very appreciative of the beauty here and looking forward to seeing more of California. We’ve never been here before and plan to spend five weeks here. We’re also looking forward to seeing the kids next month in San Diego. We really miss them.


Redwoods are majestic and beautiful.
To the left is the type of needles on the top of the tree. To the right is the broader needles found on most of the tree. It is not unusual for redwoods to have their first limb at 100 to 150 feet above the ground.
Fallen redwoods are important in that many more plants and critters live on a fallen tree than a live one.
Drive thru service in this redwood.
There is a belt of redwoods that is approximatly 40 miles wide and stretches from lower Oregon to southern California.

Today we drove down the Avenue of the Giants. It is a 32 mile drive through the Redwood trees in northern California. Redwoods have bark that is thick – up to a foot thick and it is wet so forest fires don’t normally harm them – in fact the fires generally help the redwoods by getting rid of their competition for water and nutrients. Today we saw scars on the trees from fires and we saw a few redwoods that have been hollowed out in the trunk area by fires, but are still living. Redwoods can weigh up to 500 tons, and have reached 370 feet tall. The thick bark also helps shield them from insects. It takes a thousand tons (2 million gallons) of water to make a ton of tree. The average tree in the forest we were in is 400 to 600 years old.

The forest is damp and cool. The trees can live in three climates at once. The roots in the damp soil, the trunks in cool dry climate and the tree tops in sunny, desert like conditions. The needles are versatile in that if it is dry they can gather moisture from the fog and rain and yet a large tree can put up to 500 gallons of water into the air in a day. The needles on most of the trees branches are broad and flat so they can catch more available sunlight. However, needles near the top have tight, scale-like spikes which reduces evaporative surfaces for the dryer conditions found there. Redwood roots grow only a few feet down into the soil, but they can grow laterally 100 feet or more. They also can intertwine and graft onto one another, thus helping to hold each other up.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Leaving Brookings, Oregon for California

Here is a picture of me on "Easy Street". It didn't feel any different than any other street. I think we may have been misinformed all these years concerning "Easy Street".
Because the intersection is a "Y" there is no place for a stop sign, so this is a rubber flap that says "Stop" in the center of the lane. I had never seen anything like this. I wonder how this works in the snow?
Here's Kim in California along the Smith River ("A Wild and Scenic River").
More river pics.

We will be leaving Brookings, OR today for California. We are just six miles from the California line. Kim has a reservation at a campground for two days somewhere. I am somewhat oblivious to where we are going and that suits me just fine. I sometimes feel sorry for Kim because she makes a lot of the decisions, but I really don’t care where we go or what we do. I just love adventure and the looseness of how we are traveling. When we get where we are going, we will look around for two days and talk with our camping neighbors who will offer lots of good advice on what to see and do and where to shop and most important – where to eat. If there’s a lot to do, we’ll stay longer. Yesterday morning we traveled in the car north down some winding roads and then back south along highway 101 which is the road we brought into Brookings with the MH. Unfortunately the weather continued rainy, cloudy and about sixty degrees. We have met a great many people who said they live here because they just love the weather. They say in the winter they will get weather like I just described for three days and then sunshine for about three days. The good news is that the rain makes the plants and grass green. Kim and I are just a little late for the good weather and couple that with the fact that this weather we’ve been having is a month early. Anyway, we’ve been living in 55 - 60 degrees, rain and clouds for about 3 weeks and we’re ready for some sunshine. People say we won’t get it much along the coast though. We’d have to go inland a few miles.

Yesterday afternoon we went south to California with the car. We visited some redwood forests and once inland ten miles or so the weather cleared up. The trees are just HUGE. We’ll get some pictures later. I want to drive through the “Avenue of the Giants”. We will be traveling with the MH just a few hours today. Last night when we got home about 5 we washed the car, trailer and MH. It really needed it. We still have some chores, but not nearly as many as living in a house. We had a neighbor who stopped by and talked for about half the time. Many campgrounds don’t allow washing vehicles. Upon checking in, they give you a list of rules. Most are good in that they keep order and keep the noise down. A few parks don’t allow pets and we stayed at one that had a twenty pound pet limit. Some specify certain breeds they don’t allow. We have been at some that don’t want us to go to the trash bins because of the bears. We are to put our trash out between 9 & 10 AM and they come by with a pickup and gather it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Brookings, OR

This is Donald Christensen. He is 92 and we had a great talk today at McDonalds in Brookings, OR.
Fifty years old and flying a kite. I really enjoyed this. I've had the kite for 10 years and have only flown it about ten times. I hope to change that. It needs more use.
This is a stunt kite. I can do figure 8's and loop the loops and all kinds of neat tricks. I talked Kim into flying it but she said she didn't think she did very well. One of the neat things about it is that it is made of kite material - that's it. There are no spars to break. It is designed like my powered parachute and the wind keeps it open.
This is at the town of Port Orford. It is the only open water port on the Oregon coast and is one of six "dolly" ports in the world where recreational and commercial fishing boats are hoisted into and out of the water daily.
This is one of the beautiful Oregon shores we saw today. Hopefully we will go back and get pics tomorow if the weather clears.

Part of what we are doing is taking time – and that has its own rewards. Today we stopped at McDonalds in Brookings and met a very nice man. His name is Donald Christensen. He is 92 and we had a very nice conversation over lunch. He was born January 4th of 1915. We probably visited a half hour or so. Kim and I found him very interesting to talk to. It is a shame that people don’t take time to listen to people like this. He was a wealth of information – a walking history book. I really believe we enjoyed our visit as much as he did.

We saw some beautiful coast today but it was a bit rainy and foggy. We hope to take the car tomorrow and backtrack. There are 10 pull offs along the route and we plan to stop at them all. I had a good conversation with my mom and dad on the phone today and also with our son Ben, daughter Hannah and good friend Kevin Sommers. We haven’t had much phone service the last few days at our campground but today we moved to Brookings and we have service at the RV. Last night we were parked at the Winchester Bar RV Resort and the wind really rocked the coach! I awoke at 12:30 and Kim was in the kitchen making some tea. We looked over and our two neighbors were awake also. We went back to bed after about 20 minutes and fell asleep. I awoke at 2:30 and the wind was still. Last night a tornado touched down in Nappanee, IN. That is 20 minutes from where we lived. We got news today that our home church – Grace Community in Goshen called off church Sunday and encouraged all the people to show up in Nappanee and help with the storm damage. To us – THAT IS THE CHURCH! Jesus would rather have us out helping one another and showing our love than sitting comfortably when there is so much need. As our lead pastor Jim would say, “Great job Church!”

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Florence, Oregon

We had an old time photo taken today and chose to be gangsters. Kim looks the part, huh?
Kim and I at the beach with some pretty aggressive waves.
This is the view out our living room window. We have a beautiful location.
Here's another living room view. You can see the Jetty in the background. It goes clear to the right side of the pic in the distance.
Here's some more wild waves at the beach.

Today we went to Florence and shopped and had a good time. There are a lot of dunes around here. There are some where ATV’s and dune buggies are allowed and it looks like a pretty popular thing. Just down the road from our RV Park there are jetties. These are embankments often made up of huge rocks that extend out into the ocean to stop the waves from crashing into the bays. Sometimes they extend a mile or more. Some of the rocks weigh thousands of pounds. When you see the punishment the waves dole out, it is easy to see why the rocks need to be so big. Even so, they sometimes need to repair the jetties. It is calling for 100% chance of rain tomorrow. I have some chores to do around home and will probably read. We will probably go out exploring the towns even if it rains.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Winchester Bay, OR

Here's our RV spot for the next three days.
This is a floating restaurant we ate at. It is very close to the RV Park.
The front barge is the restaurant with about 5 tables and the rear barge is overflow seating with tables and chairs. To grow your seating capacity you just add a barge - cool.
Oops sideways - I got shrimp and Kim had fish and chips - and we took a lot of it home.
We took this pic from a walking path. Our rig is the third from the left. You can barely see the trailer colors.

We are in Winchester Bay at the Winchester Bay RV Resort. This is the prettiest RV Resort we’ve stayed in. It was only a 2 hour drive and we planned to stay two nights but have extended it to three already. We are on a bay looking out to the Pacific Ocean. It is just beautiful here. Tomorrow we plan to go to Florence. We’ve had so many people tell us we must go there. It is north along the coast. The neighbors here have been friendly and are telling us of things we need to see. Many of them are here for several months each summer / fall. We thought we’d head for California but there is a lot of beauty to see here. We’ll get there eventually.

Odds and Ends

Here are some more Crater Lake pictures.
I threw this snowball at Kim - well kind of at her feet. Whenever Marcie from 40 Miles North sees their shirt in a pic, she usually emails me. Let's see if she does. Check out their web page at Order lots of good music from them. They have a great Christmas CD called "Incarnation". Better yet, just buy one of everything thay have. You won't be dissapointed.
We think our timing was about right for the fall colors.
Kim got amused with this little guy. They come for food but it is best not to feed them so they don't become dependent on us (I read that last fall in Colorado just after I had fed one - oops).
This is ice on the road. Miata on ice - that was fun!
Trees on the top of the mountain become deformed looking because the wind blows almost constantly and the tree learns to stay in the blown position. Amazingly we had no wind when we were there. These trees are just bent.

Today we leave Roseburg, OR for the west coast. It should be less than a two hour drive. Once there, we will follow the Oregon coast to California and see the redwood trees. That should be exciting. I usually wake up around 3 AM and lie awake a half hour or so and pray for others. On the days we move I wake up and am too excited to go back to sleep right away, so I blog or read and then go back to bed after an hour or two. It is about 4 AM now.

Usually due to the size of our rig we are crowded into a 65 or 70 foot space. This site is over 100 feet long. We have our MH, trailer and room for the Miata in front or in back of the unit. Our rig is 63’ 2” long, 12’ 8” high and weighs in at over 41,000 pounds – trailer and all.

When we arrived here two days ago, I was out talking to my neighbor Mel from Texas and we heard a loud crash. Mel was traveling with two friends and one of them pulled his pickup truck out from under his 5th wheel camper and forgot to put the camper jacks down first. It really wrinkled the sides of his pickup bed. I really hated it for the guy. We haven’t forgotten anything yet, but it can happen.

Speaking of mishaps, when we were traveling to Crater Lake I put my camera on my lap and forgot about it when I got out for to get gas. It is Canon Elph about the size of a pack of cigarettes. It landed on the door threshold when I got out and I didn’t see it and closed the door on it. It is (was) a digital camera and it broke the LCD display. It still took pictures, but I had to get a new camera. I was two years old and had served me well. Wal-Mart had another Canon like it and of course it had better features for less than I paid for my old one. As a plus, it uses the same batteries, memory card and belt holster as my old one.

A few months ago I contacted a man named Bob who places pastors in campgrounds in the south in the winter. I was considering doing this a year from now. The campgrounds we have stayed at always have a few full time residents but most of the traffic is transient. The southern parks have a large number of people that stay for the winter in the same park. Some of these parks want a pastor to lead services, organize small groups and be there for people in sickness or the loss of a loved one. Bob called a week or so ago and asked if we would consider taking a campground in AZ this winter. Kim and I prayed about it and felt that we should take some time this winter to meet with Bob and others we will meet who are doing this and learn some things from them before we make a decision. God may change our plans. We may pull into a campground and stay for the winter. We will stay open for God’s leading in this.

We have had a problem with our rear air conditioner since we got the coach and because it is intermittent, no one has been able to fix it. When at Quality Coach Service (QCS) last week, they said they would just replace it with a new one on warranty. We have two air conditioner units that are also heat pumps. This makes it efficient in that we use the campground’s electricity to heat instead of using our two furnaces that burn LP gas. Both our air conditioner units are 13,500 BTU. There is one for the front (2/3rds of the coach) with 9 outlets in the ceiling and one in the rear (bedroom) with only 5 ceiling outlets. This summer in some extreme heat our front AC ran most of the time while the rear AC cycled on and off because it is so large for the small area. QCS was going to replace the rear 13,500 BTU unit with a 15,000 BTU unit they had in stock. I paid them to put the larger one in the front of the coach and to move the front one to the back. This seems to be a better match for the larger front area. The larger AC / heat pump should handle the needs of the front of the coach.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Crater Lake- The Journey

The light fog made the sun rays just beautiful. There are lots of pretty river outlooks - and we stopped at most of them.
Because of the winding road, we were constantly in and out of the sun and it made for a beautiful drive.
Diversity - The desert, trees and a snow covered mountain. Central Oregon is known for this.
This mountain was miles and miles away and it was so beautiful.
We drove with the top down so we could enjoy the scenery. There is a lot of looking up when traveling in the mountains. We kept the heater going and at one point it was almost full blast! the temperature wasn't as cold as it looks. It was about 60 degrees.

We can only post five pictures at a time on the blog so I thought I’d separate the lake from the journey there. Because of the altitude at the lake (about 7800 feet) it freezes virtually every night all year. The northern road sometimes gets closed mid September for the winter. We were very fortunate to be there in mid October and have a sixty degree day and all the roads open (and no rain). There was snow that had been plowed off the road and ice on the road in a few areas. The drive was just amazing. We have a wonderful National Park system. A tremendous amount of work has been done so we can see this beautiful scenery. The roads and outlooks are great. Something we learned from our boat pilot in Astoria, OR is that distance is deceiving on water. Crater Lake is 5 by 6 miles and while it is big, it doesn’t look that big. If you get in the Oregon area, you have to check out this area. We plan on resting today. Tomorrow we will head west for the Pacific Coast and then travel south to California. Last night we went out to eat with our new friends here in the campground and they gave us lots of good tips on what to see. I am looking forward to seeing the huge redwood trees. We've never been to California.

Crater Lake, OR

Yesterday we traveled in the car to Crater Lake. It was about a 250 mile round trip. The lake and its rugged surrounding re the prettiest area we’ve seen on the trip. The water is such a deep blue and there is a road all around the rim of the lake which is actually a volcano that collapsed.
Here’s some info I got from the Internet. Crater Lake has inspired people for hundreds of years. No place else on earth combines a deep, pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost two thousand feet high; two picturesque islands; and a violent volcanic past. It is a place of immeasurable beauty, and an outstanding outdoor laboratory and classroom.
Crater Lake is located in Southern Oregon on the crest of the Cascade Mountain range, 100 miles (160 km) east of the Pacific Ocean. It lies inside a caldera, or volcanic basin, created when the 12,000 foot (3,660 meter) high Mount Mazama collapsed 7,700 years ago following a large eruption.
Generous amounts of winter snow, averaging 533 inches (1,354 cm) per year, supply the lake with water. There are no inlets or outlets to the lake. Crater Lake, at 1,943 feet (592 meters) deep, is the seventh deepest lake in the world and the deepest in the United States. Evaporation and seepage prevent the lake from becoming any deeper.