Sorry it has taken so long to start this blog. I have had no good WiFi connection on the road until now to get this set up plus some nights I had no amenities – I was in a steel tent “roughing it” as it were. I will post each day that I already have done as I go through and edit them, then I plan to get current… and hopefully stay caught up.
Well, today is the first real day of my new adventure… my new life… my new journey. I write this as I am sitting in the camper for the first night in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It is exciting, yet a bit strange, to be doing this.
I no longer have a house, nor do I have many personal possessions any more. I went from having enough stuff to fill a 2200 sf house, to what I am able to fit into a small camper and the back of my Ford Explorer. It is actually quite a feeling to be so free – kinda like that first time you go commando to someplace like the grocery store. As I told Meghan the other day, “…no, I am not dying so that is not why I am getting rid of stuff!”. This all probably sounds rather pathetic or horrible to some, but it is a re-birth.
I say that this is the first “real day” because everything up until this was in preparation for this big life change. The last six months have been, shall we say, trying and tedious to say the least. So many decisions, and not able to plan anything out to any degree since there were so many variables for each thing I had to take care of in a deliberate and careful order (and those who know me know what I feel about planning much). Thanks to good friends and family I was able to keep my sanity (debatable, I know), and staying focused and resolute is how I was able to get to the point I am now at. It has not been easy to say the least, but I made it.
As I left my house for the final time Friday morning I really did not think much about what was actually happening… leaving the place I spent the last 16 years of my life… a place I have always loved from as far back as I can remember. Colorado will always be a special place to me and be in my heart forever. Many good memories happened there, and they greatly outnumber a few I do my best to forget. I made many new friends there and many will always stay with me no matter the distance.
Today I left my daughter Meghan’s house in Spearfish, SD after a great visit. I got to her new apartment (a very nice, brand new place) on Friday and we got to hang for a few days and do some things. One of those things was I bought a new bike and we went for a ride. It was a lot of fun, but my body is in less than ideal shape so I will be riding and exercising quite a bit more. Yesterday we went to Badlands National Park, then got to see the exterior of the Minuteman Missile Silo National Monument. A real “man” moment.
I went north up US 85 through western South Dakota into North Dakota. I arrived here at TRNP at sunset. From what I could see in the waning light was quite beautiful and spectacular. I hope to be up early in the morning to get out and do a hike before it gets too hot. Drove right past a herd of buffalo as I was going into the campground. At the house in Bailey I just left the sun would dip denied the mountain around 5pm or so; seeing a sunset around 7:30 or 8:00 was awesome and I have not seen that in quite a while. My new gig is on the Washington coast so I will get to see it every night now.
I would be an even bigger slacker if I did not thank those who have supported and been there for me the last few months:
My daughters Angie, Chelsea, and Meghan, and granddaughters Alexis, Abby, and Emery for being the wonderful people that they are. They live their lives on their own terms, and of that I am extremely proud and happy.
All of my family and friends for always being supportive, even when I did dumb shit that I probably should not have done. This goes double for my parents. I know I have been a pain in the ass at times, and I apologize for those times, but hey… I turned out okay because of you!
Thanks also go to my parents for letting me borrow the Scotty camper to undertake this adventure. This has made things much easier and gives me a chance to test the waters before I buy a trailer or RV of my own. I just wish people would quit asking me about the camper all the damn time. It is getting old!
A quick note concerning the maps I have inserted into the blog… please click on “View larger Map” if you want more details on the routes I have taken. Most of the maps I had to shrink so much the details are lost.
If you want to read more of my adventures getting to Washington, I have dated and numbered each post so you can read in order the blogs of my travels.
It has been quite busy lately wrapping up business stuff with my parents’ estate but I almost (finally) have it all taken care of. I believe there are only two more things to finish and it will be completed. It’s been a learning experience but I am glad it is about done.
My oldest granddaughter has moved up here to the Seattle last week so it has been fun hanging with her and her boyfriend for the past few days. They are here at my house for now and their new place should be ready any time to move into. Seattle will be a big change from the Midwest for them but they are ready for it.
They made a run to Seattle to check on some things so I stayed home and took care of a few business things and ran some errands. While out and about I thought Thai food sounded good so that was late lunch today. My chopstick skills are getting better and want to buy my own chopsticks to keep up the practice at home.
I recently backed a Kickstarter project for an improved version of a travel pillow that everyone raves about called Trtl Pillow. The new Trtl Pillow Plus I bought is supposed to be even better than its highly-rated predecessor. I have not received it yet but hope to get it in the next few weeks. Those old-school “fuzzy-bagel-looking neck pillows” just do not work for me in an airplane seat. This is definitely a new way of thinking about travel pillows and I bought it only after seeing all the great reviews all over the internet (so you know it must be true…unless it’s an Amazon review).
I am trying to enjoy my remaining time off while I can since I’ll be headed back to work soon. I’d like to go someplace but not sure where or even when at the moment. Staying home and saving money isn’t a bad thing either. I want to experience Alaska, Iceland, or even Scandinavia in the wintertime – I just have to do it. You never know…I may do them all! I’m not sure how soon it’ll be but I do want to do that. If I had a chance I’d even go to Antarctica or the Arctic and see what that’s like. No, I don’t like snow but there are things you just have to do and that’s one of those things.
I got the water drained out of the Scotty tank and lines a few weeks ago and put RV anti-freeze in the drains. I hope to get the cover on maybe tomorrow and it will be put away for the season. I was hoping to get it out again but I don’t think it will happen this year unless I dry-camp. There was too much going on this year to do more trips in it than what I did unfortunately. This coming year will bring new opportunities to travel and get out on the road more often. At least I got to get it out on the road when I went to California.
I am thinking about getting a robot vacuum. My house would be a great candidate for it and with an open floor-plan and laminate floors it gets dusty/dirty fast even being careful. A robo-vac would be so nice to keep ahead of the bits of leaves and grass while I am gone to work. Meghan has one and she could not get by without it – her hands would be grafted onto her broom if she didn’t have it. With her pets it is a huge time-saver.
Been getting quite a few things done over the past week or so that I have been home. It’s good to be back but it was good to see family. We busted our asses every day we were there, and that was after driving four days to get there and I took five getting home. It is all we did – no real time to visit with anyone. Needless to say I was ready for some downtime but many things still have to get done. (And needless to say driving that distance without the trailer was a long trip; it made me think about driving all the way to Maine from here pulling the trailer. It will be a long journey. EACH WAY.)
We had a good time though, and it really feels like we made a lot of progress.
I sat on my couch all the live long day yesterday. I watched movies and the first two seasons of Seinfeld. It was my down day after two and a half weeks on the go and dammit I needed a break. I deserved it and I was gonna be selfish. It was awesome but there’s always that remorse of taking a day for yourself and thinking it was wasted.
I got a few business calls made and a few errands ran today. I then cooked up breakfast burritos for the week. I made some burrito-size ones and some small ones like taquitos. I am going to fry them to crispy on the outside. I am curious to see how that turns out.
I then made some spaghetti sauce from canned tomato sauce and it turned out pretty good. The recipe called for canned tomatoes but all I had was three cans of the sauce form of the fruit. I put it together and then tweaked and added green peppers here and more onions there, parmesan cheese, garlic powder everywhere. I put it on top of some penne pasta and it has turned out very good – like a chunky vegetable arrabbiata sauce that thickened on the plate. Wonderful mouth feel and texture. I actually cut up some grilled burgers from last night and put them in the pot too. It adds a nice, interesting smokiness to the sauce. I have plenty to freeze so I have maybe 10 days of meals in the freezer now. It’s a decent selection too.
Next time I make pasta sauce I would like to do it from complete scratch – cooking and reducing the tomatoes myself and then adding in the spices and such. I usually buy Classico and doctor it a little, but this batch I just made turned out so good I need to make more from the ground up. I hope I can repeat this recipe and can it in jars in my InstantPot. That’s my goal this year – make and can my own pasta sauce.
I like cooking and I like good food so having leftovers to freeze for later and not buying frozen meals at the store is healthier and something fun to do. Problem is, I don’t get to enjoy cooking as much since I have so much frozen when I cook. Not a bad problem to have, I guess!
What I have been doing is keeping a variety in the freezer. I will eat a couple of meals of leftovers and to the back of the rotation it goes in the freezer, and then when I am on the last serving or two I will cook up another dish. I can keep plenty of good food in the house and supplement with some fresh things from the store as needed or for a change.
Looks like I’ll be going back to work soon. I had a few places I went to, and wanted to do more, but we’ll have to see how things unfold. It will be good to replenish the bank account but I am really enjoying the time off after what we have been through. There’s a few other moving parts as well and I don’t know how it’s all going to align yet and won’t know for a month or two.
I have gotten to go a lot of places this year so I still shouldn’t complain. I mentioned this earlier in another post, but I have been places since then. My California trip and the Kansas trip I just got back from on top of Montana, Europe, and the numerous trips to KS to see my dad.
It’s looking quite like a trip to Seattle later in the week but we’ll see what’s going on when the time comes. I’m thinking while I am in Seattle a trip to Dick’s Drive-In would be a good thing to do.Having the time off tends to spoil a person and
I need to get a winter coat and a new rain jacket. I am a big fan of Outdoor Research rain jackets if you want a reasonably priced, quality item that lasts. Their down puffy “jackets” are really good as well from what I am told. I need to go to their store if I get there this week and have time so I can try a few things on and see what extras they feature in person. I gotta go find some new pants and shirts too.
I think it’s time for a little style change-up for my wardrobe. I’ll see where it’s going but I have the desire to do something just a little different. I really like the look and fit of my 501s, but I really like the functionality of cargo pants on top of the comfort. Levi’s have gotten so overpriced and the quality has gone downhill – fewer belt loops and what feels like thinner material.
It won’t be THAT drastic so everyone calm the heck down. I’m pretty sure my family needn’t worry about me going into a “Goth phase”, or even pondering becoming a Furry. “Never say never” they say…whomever “they” are. I can safely say that I will never have either one of those things happening with me…although one would be more likely than the other. Bwahahahaha.
Anyway, that is about all for now.
Today I started heading home from Meghan’s house. I chose to wait because of the weather – snow and rain on at least two of the three mountain passes I have to cross and today is supposed to be drier for the two I am mostly concerned with.
It’s been a bit of a bittersweet day. I am ready to get home, but ironically it was two years ago today that I was driving home this very same route through Montana and got the news my mom had died. I had just checked into my room in Missoula late at night when the call came.
Perhaps this is why I did not sleep worth a damn last night. Lying in bed trying to go to sleep I realized that today was “that” day and I will be in the same spot on the same day exactly two years later. Meghan had been working on some entries in my mom’s genealogy stuff last night before bed and she did not sleep either. Between these things and what we had to do this past week it all finally caught up with me. A bit of a rough morning but it’s okay.
I was hoping to push all the way home but I left very late morning (not in THAT big of a hurry) and had a leisurely start to the day. I got to Ellensburg and had earlier booked a queen suite at the Best Western Plus (was the cheapest they had…) and I gotta say that I have stayed in a few of these hotels now and they are consistently nice, clean and well-run. I recommend this chain along with Holiday Inn Express so you KNOW that means I know what I am talking about. Hahaha. This hotel has, get this, a 24 hour pool, warm (!) tub, and the breakfast room is open for juices, coffee, and fresh fruits all night plus breakfast in the morning. Hell of a bargain for the price. And, just like Holiday Inn Express…fresh-baked cookies in the lobby.
I really think I am through with the cheap hotel chains now. I am treating myself a little better when I am out on the road. I am going to stay with the American classics we all grew up knowing and staying in. Sure, it may be a few more dollars but I think it is money well-spent to have a very nice room when you are being a road warrior. I still tend to get carried away with trying to “get someplace” but am getting better at slowing the pace down. I still need to work on it more though!
I am starting this post in Montana, sitting at the dining room table getting ready to eat some breakfast. Meghan, Addy and I have just returned from a week in KS. The long and arduous process of going through things in the house and getting business matters in order was the purpose of our trip.
I had an afternoon appointment on Monday before I left two weeks ago and I decided to go ahead and leave after that to get a jump on getting on the road. With such a late start it ended up being two shorter days of driving instead of one really long one. That was nice for a change and much easier – so much better that I will just do that from now on.
I got to Coeur d’Alene and unfortunately the hotel I stayed in turned out to be crappy. I was more than happy to get out of there and will time my trip to stay someplace outside of that city going forward. This is the third different hotel I have used there and all three have been bad.
The trip to Meghan’s house went well. It is a l-o-n-g drive on I-90 across Montana from the Idaho border. I have done the drive several times and have stopped at several places to see things so there’s not much left to see for me to stop at now. It’s not NEARLY as bad as the drive from Ellensburg, WA through Spokane though.
We got up the next day (Wednesday) and left somewhat early – destination Denver. Speaking of horrible drives, the drive from Livingston, MT to Denver is a real yawner. It’s good to be able to drive 75-80 MPH to get through it faster. It is still a long and boring drive even at those speeds.
We got to our hotel in Denver and were ready to sleep. It was a long day – about 12 hours of being in the truck – and the three of us were done for the day. Addy did very good during the long day traveling and didn’t complain until the last 15 minutes. The hotel was nice and was a welcome sight after my experience in C d’A.
Thursday was the final push to KS – another boring drive and an extraordinarily windy one this trip. I have made that drive many, many times over the decades, sometimes three or four times a year. I have stopped in many places along the way so there’s no need to stop much other than food, fuel and leg-stretching. And the Cozy Inn in Salina, KS, which I have blogged about before. Since I usually fly I always take the time to stop at the Cozy when I drive back to buy a sack of burgers. Yes, they were delicious as always.
We got to KS late afternoon. We stopped at the house and I stayed while Meghan went on in to Chelsea’s house. The next day, the task of going through my parents’ things began.
It is a difficult thing to do, going through the stuff and the memories, but it all has to be done. Going through the possessions is tough, but not nearly as tough as settling the financial affairs and taking ownership of the house and the things to be kept.
Between me, my sister, my three daughters and a cousin or two we spent the best part of an entire week taking care of a lot of things and there’s more to do. We did get a lot done but there’s still more to do. For me, living a somewhat minimalist lifestyle the last six+ years means it’s quite a task to go through all of the things my parents accumulated over both their lifetimes. I have brought home some things that mean something to me as well as papers and other stuff I need to sort at home since I have more time to do that there.
We left KS Thursday morning to begin the long drive home through all of the same scenery (or lack thereof). We drove to Denver and left midday on Friday so we could visit with a couple of people, deciding in advance that for Addy’s comfort we would break it up between Denver and their house by staying the night in Casper, WY. We ended up in a Holiday Inn Express and it is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in – no issues at all with anything. This may be my new go-to hotel chain.
This brings me full-circle back to the dinner table I started this post on. I plan on starting the solo portion of the trip in the next few days and get this last two days of driving over and done with. I will have been gone over two weeks by the time I get back home. I have a ballot to fill out for this very important election along with other personal business to attend to. I need to go to work and talk about a few things with them and check on my potential timeline to return to work. The weather is looking a bit iffy so I am not exactly sure how long I will be staying after just now checking the radar.
So far it has been a great trip, albeit under less-than-ideal circumstances given what we were going there to do. Addy did exceptionally well traveling and it has been a long time since Meghan and I had a road trip together.
That’s all the news there is for now. I don’t know if there will be anything else to write about for the remainder of the trip so we’ll see what happens.
Please note: I do not post anything on my blog until after I have returned home. It’s just something I do for my privacy.
It’s time to change the blog up a little bit so on top of the theme changes you will get notifications about posts.
On top of the changes to the format I deleted a few pictures early this morning and need to edit some posts to remove the blanks. That’s the reason for the notifications that you are receiving.
Just an update to make you aware and also so you are not wondering “what is he doing now?”.
I am officially off work for a while now…let the time off begin! I am not really sure how long it will last since I may have the chance to go in to work extra and get a few more paychecks in the bank. Extra money is never a bad thing. At least I don’t think so.
I have a lot of things on the to-do list for my time off. I am trying to get finished unpacking – I cleaned out my storage unit today and got some of the storage tubs emptied out and things put away. I have about seven of the tubs left and they will take some time to put away so it’s good to have the time off to finish that up. I am more than ready to have this done so I can do other stuff.
I have been able to get rid of some things and I am sure there will be more stuff to thin out. Some things I have not seen for a while so obviously I don’t miss it while stored so out it goes. I donated my motorcycle riding gear since I am not riding anymore. I have donated a few boxes of stuff already and started to fill another one. I am finding places to put things I am keeping and have recycled many cardboard boxes in the process.
I need to get a few things done in the yard. Luckily the bees got rid of many of the plums that had fallen on the ground. The feral rabbits have started working on the apples on the ground and I imagine the bees will hit those as they start to rot. If I am still in this house this time next year I’ll get them as they ripen or fall to keep the yard clear.
I have some more traveling that I want to do during my time off so I am definitely looking forward to doing that. I have one trip lined up, another I am in the process of figuring out, and maybe another depending on my additional work schedule. You’ll have to check back to see where I end up. I might even have to check back myself to see where I end up!
The weather lately has been cool but very nice…the proverbial calm before the storm and should stay nice this coming week. There have been the typical rains for the time of year but we have been enjoying sun and short-sleeve weather lately so it has been very pleasant. With the cooler weather coming on it means I need to get the trailer winterized. I could still take it out to “dry camp” without using the water system, or I could even use it wet once I got someplace warmer and re-winterize when I get back. But for now, though, the cover is going back on it after I clear out the water system.
I need to get started on breakfast and get some more organizing done. Hopefully today will be a day to kick back after I get that and the trailer taken care of.
Enjoy your day!
It has been a busy week this last week between moving all last weekend and work. I have been getting things put away from moving this week and need to go clean out my storage unit in the next few weeks. I get stuff put away in the house, only to have bring more things from storage to find a place for.
It is odd that I can now start getting rid of cardboard boxes that I have had things stored in. Most of it was in plastic storage tubs but some was in boxes and some was in milk crates I had. With moving so much the last 6 ½ years I never really had room or time to settle in very much and unpack. I’m looking at not making a major move any more so I’m able to live a little more of a “normal” existence and get things unpacked and gone through.
I have already started going through some things from storage and have things I will get rid of – haven’t used the stuff in a long time so no real need to keep it. It will free up some more space too. Luckily I have a small basement to put things in so the plastic tubs will be refilled and put there with things I want to keep as they are emptied. My old motorcycle clothes and good helmet (not in the wreck) will be donated (except for my well-worn old-school leather jacket – no way that’s being gotten rid of).
A neighbor came over the other day and said that some other neighbors knew I was moving and they had some furniture if I needed/wanted some. I’ll be going to look at that stuff Sunday and probably bring some things home. I just might have a new (to me) couch, recliner, table and chairs and not sure what else. It was really very nice of them to offer the stuff to me since I have never even met these people until yesterday. These are the kind of neighbors I have where I live.
It’s odd (at least for me) to be acquiring things again after getting rid of so many things since before I moved from Colorado. It’s new again to me to be becoming stationary and “established” someplace. I guess it will have to happen at some point anyhoo so this is as good of a time and place as any.
Tonight I watched a movie called “Crossing Borders“. I really enjoyed this documentary and the interactions between the students in the movie – four Moroccan and four American – were very interesting. They spent a week traveling in Morocco and learned a lot about not only themselves and each other but also about the preconceived perceptions of each other and their cultures. The magic of travel.
Been a long and tiring day today so I am off to bed. Sleep well, World.
It has been very busy this weekend. I moved to a new place. Yes, I moved. Again.
I am now living in a bigger house. I spent Friday night, yesterday, and a few hours this morning moving and cleaning the old house. I got it all done with some kick-back time afterwards but I still need to put some things away. It was an easy move – the house next door.
It is over twice the size of the tiny house I just moved out of. The yard is huge and really nice with a raised garden bed, apple, plum and cherry trees. I have a fireplace/wood stove and plenty of room to stretch my arms. There’s a nice patio with Adirondack chair and double Adirondack chair. The front porch is big enough to just hang out on if I want shade.
So yeah…I am rather excited to be in a much bigger place for many reasons. I have great neighbors in a nice little neighborhood. I have fruit trees and can plant a garden in a raised bed. Since I just bought a blender those apples will get put to good use – I just might try my hand at making some pies. I’ll probably have to just get the apples and freeze them for now. I have a lot of stuff to put away before I cook like that.
Next year I can plant some tomatoes, beans, and peas in the raised bed. On a whim I planted a couple of tomato cores into a ceramic pot a couple of weeks ago and they are actually growing. I have room to bring it inside so I am curious to see how it will do in a southern window. I still have a strawberry plant that’s alive but I am not hopeful on that one.
I don’t plan on moving again for a while. This new place is a nice size and even has enough room to bring all my stuff from the storage unit and save a few $$. I got a few things out of there yesterday but still have some things to get. I want to get what I already have organized before I bring more in.
I am tired so I am off to bed. See you next time.
This was my last night camping so I decided to have a campfire. Oh what the heck. I have not had a fire mesmerize me in a while and it was nice. Staring at a fire is one of those magical things. I can get totally lost in thought watching a campfire. I contemplated many things in between those blanks staring at that fire tonight as one is prone to do with a fire.
Having the trailer sure makes it easy to go and see places and do things much the way I did when I would tent camp. I still travel with few frills, stay in primitive campgrounds…simple, inexpensive and very enjoyable travel with no plans. I spend the money to go more often and buy very few souvenirs when I am out. I am not cheap…I just don’t buy stuff like that and I never really have.
Last night I decided to just head on home and it ended up being a good thing. I had a lot of things to take care of – washing the salty film off of the truck and trailer, laundry, some cooking, and working on some other things around the house. I wanted to avoid traffic but heading up 101 into Oregon I got caught in the weekly US101 Boat and RV Show – a parade of slow-moving rubberneckers who refuse to pull over to let people by. I actually ended up biting the bullet and came back through Portland. I ended up being able to avoid most of the traffic going through McMinnville. It was still faster but the traffic was not as bad this time.
This has been a nice adventure and it was badly-needed. I could really tell last week that I was ready to hit the road and realized Monday that I really needed to get away more than I thought. By the end of the work day I couldn’t get home fast enough to wrap things up to go. I have been able to relax and see some new places. I finally got to see Crater Lake – something I have wanted to see since I was a kid.
See you next time!
My next destination ended up being Lassen Volcanic National Park. I drove until I found a USFS campground called Hat Creek that was close to Lassen and decided to stop. It was only $16 so I am sure it was cheaper than the ones in Lassen. Besides, I had water (hot and cold), heat, and food so I had what I needed to get by.
It was a restless night’s sleep for some reason. I have been having trouble sleeping lately and this nonsense needs to stop. However I got up raring to go, had a quick breakfast and some tea, and went to check out the volcano.
I got to Lassen and it is a beautiful and expansive park I definitely want to come back to this one and spend a few days exploring. Like Mount St.Helens, it is a large, imposing behemoth of a mountain.
I was only there for a short time because it is a bit farther south than I had originally planned to go so it was a special trip to get there. I thought since I was in the area I would check it out. I do need to turn the corner and start heading towards home.
I debated the next leg of the trip and ended up heading toward the coast. I did not really want to go up the interstate again and sure would like to avoid Portland if at all possible. And I will make it possible.
I ended up driving some two-lane roads CA 44 and CA 299) that were beautiful drives through small towns with $4/gallon gas and sprawling forests. On the west side of Redding I drove through an area that turned out to be the location of the massive Carr Fire from a few months back. The devastation was incredible. Everything was burnt – cars, trucks, houses, equipment…it was unbelievable to see destruction of such magnitude. Seeing it on the news, internet, or newspapers does not really show it.
I opted to go to Arcata instead of Eureka to save a little time. I have now been on all of US101 from Arcata, CA north. I was a little concerned when I got to Arcata, though. The wind was howling off of the Pacific and I was concerned about the trailer getting blown over. Once you are committed to go this way there are not a lot of options without a lot of backtracking so I stayed the course and it all worked out fine.
Along the way north on US101 I drove through the southern part of Redwoods National Park. I had gone to the part of the park near Crescent City last year so this was new territory for me and is my fifth National Park on this adventure, and fourth in just the last two days.
It may sound a little rushed to you, but I have seen what I wanted to see and will go back to see things in greater depth in the future. The concentration camp was really only something to see once, but the rest I want to explore more. I just don’t have time to spend two to three days in each place on this current adventure.
I have stopped for the night in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park just outside of Crescent City, CA. It is well off the highway and is very nice. There are massive redwood stumps bigger than my trailer in the spot behind me. It is $35 a night but there is a hot shower, water to fill up your tank, and it is a beautiful, quiet place. Still a bit spendy, though I bet the private campgrounds are $75-100 or more.
One drawback about my site is that it is right by the bathroom…as in the path runs right next to my trailer. As in a foot from it. Luckily it has not been a parade, but I bet it will be in the morning (so will the dump station). I will probably try to get out early in the morning to beat the Sunday rush and get at least halfway home or more. Then I can make the final push on home Monday morning unless I make it all in one day. I DO have another day, though…
I’m looking at the maps to figure out my next move. I have Monday off so it is a 6-day weekend for me. I don’t do what I used to do back in the day – drive and get in late the night before I gotta go back to work (or even drive an all-nighter straight TO work!). I’ll hopefully get in mid-day Monday to have time to take care of mail and anything else that has popped up while I have been away.
See you tomorrow!
Slept like a rock last night and ready for the day after a nice, long hot shower. Time to head out of the KOA.
“Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it” – George Santayana
My first destination was not very far so I got a leisurely start to Tulelake, CA. I’m headed to see WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument Tule Lake Unit. This is the second one of these I have been to (the other was Hart Mountain in WY). They are not only quite sobering, but embarrassing and shameful. There are two parts to this historic site but I only visited one of them this time – Camp Tule Lake. I drove past Segregation Camp on my way out of town and will come back another time to see that.
I began my visit by stopping at the fairgrounds office, which has a small visitor center (for the camp) in it along with a museum containing local history about the camp, battles with native peoples and farming. Outside they have one of the housing buildings and a guard tower on display. That’s a pretty somber thing to see.
While looking at the buildings I met a guy working on the fairgrounds on the other side of the fence. He was telling me that they are expecting over 500 immigrant farmworkers to come in to dig up all the strawberry plants in the fields around the area so they house them in buildings on the fairgrounds. They ship them off and transplant them elsewhere to grow the fruit. The season is too short here to keep them going and I guess it gets bad in winter and kills the plants so they transplant them.
He was telling me that there are not enough people to hire locals and it is only for a month or so. Either they don’t want to work or it is not worth quitting other jobs to do that for only a month.
I then drove over to Camp Tule Lake to see it but it was closed off and I had to look from a distance. They offer tours of the compound in summer but they are done for the season.
I found it interesting that the Japanese prisoners (and later German and Italian POWs) were used as slave labor to farm since the local men were over fighting the war and crops needed to be tended to by someone. All I knew of was the other immoral and disgusting behavior behind this rounding up of human beings for simply being “different”.
Just down the road is Lava Beds National Monument, my next stop.
This whole area is desert-like with scrubby brush and grasses and some trees. In the Monument there are sprawling lava fields and lava tube caves you can go in. So that’s what I did.
I went into a cave called “Catacombs” and it was eerie. I got inside and turned off my lights. It was way beyond dark inside. I didn’t go very far in because I came up to a spot that had a pile of rock from a collapsed section of the ceiling of the tube. I decided that was not for me and turned around. On the way out the ranger at the gate told me that they have found over 800 of these caves and 13 or 14 new ones this year alone.
Next I went over to the Petroglyphs section of the Monument. I looked and there does not appear to be many of the petroglyphs left with the weathering that is attributed to draining Tule Lake down to gain more farmland. They say it has uncovered more ground the blows around and erodes the soft rock they are carved in. Not really much carving to see from where I was.
I left to head further south into CA. It was strange to be going down the road and seeing highway signs for Reno and Winnemucca, NV and San Francisco. I really haven’t driven that far but it ends up I am only a few hours from Reno.
That’s all for this post. More tomorrow!
Yesterday morning I took off on the first day of my latest adventure. As usual, I’ll be delaying these posts for my privacy.
I got out of the house at a decent time yesterday morning. After a few errands I hit the road and headed south. Along the way I had the usual questions about the trailer from people when I stopped. I also got a thumb’s up from someone on the highway. It tends to turn a few heads for some reason.
I thought Denver traffic was bad but then I came to Seattle. Seattle traffic sucks. And then…there is Portland traffic. Jeezus…how the hell do you people deal with it? It sucks no matter the time of day. Do all of you drive at the same time?!?! And fix that damn bottleneck where I-5 narrows down from three lanes to two as you are getting into downtown from the north.
I was almost out of downtown and then there was the sound of crunching metal – like a large beer can being squished. I saw it happen two lanes over from me. A lady, perhaps she missed her turn or was texting, hit the divider where the highway splits. I saw the car bounce and the brake lights flashing when she hit. Airbag deployed. SURPRISE!!!
I got off I-5 at Eugene and headed SE along highway 58. It is a beautiful drive and is worth the trip off the interstate. I ended up getting to Cascara campground in Fall Creek State Park near Lowell. OR around 5 or so. I had a relaxing, leisurely evening. It was a nice park and there were only three or four sites taken. They had no water due to well issues so if you are headed there make plans for that.
The campground is right on the lakeshore and direct access to the beach. Well…kinda:
The stairs in that picture actually lead down to the swim beach and what you see in the distance should all be under water up to the gravel beach seen between the railings. It is late in the year so runoff has slowed to a trickle, but the other part of the equation is the Corps of Engineers is working on the dam so they had to let a bunch of water out. There was NO water in sight from the campground and the meadow you see in the picture has been there only since June. It was still a beautiful place to look at and a nice campground to stay in.
I woke up at my usual 5:00 A.M. and had a nice mellow morning before I hit the road again. The drive down 58 and then highway 62 was so beautiful, but then I was totally awestruck by what I saw next.
Crater Lake National Park.
Man…what a beautiful place. A steep, gorgeous drive to the top of the crater and along the rim then back down the other side. That first view of the lake was simply stunning. It is so much bigger than what I ever imagined and the water was incredibly blue. As you can see by the pictures it was a beautiful day and it ended tip being perfect up on top. Another achievement on my bucket list!
I had thought about staying in the Mazama campground but didn’t. I did not like the campground or the prices being charged so I went on south, but I will definitely be back to explore more. There is a lot to see and do in the area and I want to take a boat over to Wizard Island. The area reminds me of Colorado in many ways and the drive all the way down here to Klamath Falls was beautiful.
I ended up in a KOA which happened to be in town but it was all that is around that was habitable. But, it IS close to shopping and I needed to get supplies anyhoo and am taking advantage of the water, electricity and the shower as well. Now that I have water in the tank I am fully self-contained and will probably dry (primitive) camp the next few nights and not stay in a KOA or similar campgrounds until my last night (to use a dump station). They are nice (so are the utilities and showers) every great once in a while but not really a place I like to stay very often. I did not bring my generator but am getting by fine without it. Next time I will but I am not really missing it too bad. I did not even have any cell service from about 3:30 yesterday afternoon until about 10:30 this morning and I lived to tell the tale.
I really prefer to stay in a Forest Service campground because they are primitive. I have always liked staying in them (as far as developed campgrounds) and I think they are the most fun and cheap. I have propane for heat and hot water and cooking, and it is a whole lot cheaper. Hauling water adds weight and drops my gas mileage a little, but I am getting an average over 12 MPG! Even not pulling the trailer I get about 16-17 so I am happy with that, especially with all the hills I have been climbing.
One thing I did when I got here was re-organize some of the previous re-organization I did in the Spring. Last night I just saw how it wasn’t going to be fully practical in everyday use so I moved a few things into a completely different spot and I think I’m getting close to finding the right combination. I need to get some more bins to organize my kitchen supplies better. I have one bin but it just isn’t enough. Perhaps I can create a divider with compartments that I can put together inside the dinette bench to better organize the stuff in there. I have thought about buying a Dremel tool set and that just might be handy for that project.
I am a little disappointed that during packing I forgot to load my guitar. I was wanting to work on some song ideas with it but I guess I can get by doing some work with instruments in Garage Band on my laptop.
So far I have had great weather and beautiful surroundings. I hope the weather holds out for just a few more days. If I stopped now I’d be happy with this adventure but there’s more. If you are looking for a great drive this is definitely one to not miss.
Tomorrow I’ll be headed off to another place so check back! For now I am off to have another local blackberry (Marionberry) hard cider – Made Marion – by 2Towns Ciderhouse. If you can find it it is worth a taste!