Monday, June 27, 2011

Another Good One

Saw a terrific motto yesterday. It was a bumper sticker.

If anything's left over when we're gone, we miscalculated.

Another one we say recently:

Stop inheritance disagreements between children --
Spend the money.

And still another one we saw yesterday...

Homeless with a 40' shopping cart

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Overnight With Innovative RV AV Experts

Last April, when we bought Mona, we had a new TracStar In-Motion Satellite installed. We wanted to leave the portable DirecTV satellite dish behind. The "always elusive" satellite signal would be received with a push of the button. Because it was "in motion" the signal would nearly always be close by and readily available.

That was not always the case however... Most often we do receive a very good satellite signal.  However, when parked in certain situations, the signal might not be accessible. This doesn't happen often -- but it does happen.  In those cases we should be able to access cable tv in campgrounds where it might be offered, but we don't.  We can't get reception via the antenna either.  We don't know why. Unknowing amateurs that we are, we must rely on the advice and guidance of strangers most times.

Because we had a few hours to spare this week, we stopped in at Innovative Coachworks in Junction City to see if they could make whatever adjustments were needed or give us a quick lesson in what we might be doing wrong.
Innovative Coachworks RV AV Experts
Corner of 3rd and Ivy in Junction City, Oregon

Matt Rossiter, the owner of Innovative Coachworks, offered to help us out if we'd bring the coach by his business location in Junction City. 
Matt Rossiter owns the business.
Nice fellow. Family business. He and his wife are parents of triplets!

Matt proved to be very courteous and knowlegable, offering to coach us through the maze.  He reminded us that our television sets were "pre-hd" sets though. We talked at length about the options available to us.  In the end, we opted to have Innovative Coachworks install a new television system in the "head banger" area. That's the front space over the dashboard. 
Parked for the night in the service yard of Innovative Coachworks

As a courtesy, Matt offered to take his truck down the street to pick-up our new Stressless recliner while Dave (also of Innovative Coachworks) began work on removing the old tv and working on the wiring. In getting the electronics work done, we were missing an appointment to get the chair we'd already selected.
Dave, on the left and Matt, on the right, are brothers.

"Now how does this work again?"

What a mess!  This is the empty "head banger" box.

The project wasn't finished at the end of the workday so Dave wired a tv set for us to watch while we stayed overnight in the locked service yard of Innovative Coachworks.   We call it the prison yard because we're locked in surrounded by chain link with barbed wire on top.  That night, Wayne enjoyed tv from his new Stressless recliner.
This is how we looked at the end of the day.

Lexie, on the other hand, was nervous all day and well into the evening. The new chair would take some getting used to.  Strange people and voices seem to cause her a lot of anxiety.  She and I went to bed early to be ready for the work to be completed the next day.

The Fight Continues: Ekornes Stressless Recliner To The Rescue!

Relax The Back

Our checking account continues to lose weight as we find yet another back-in-the-saddle, sciatica- fighting, high priced apparatus for Wayne's back.  Norwegian furniture maker, Ekornes, has a Euro-style recliner that, according to our research, is among the leading back supporting chairs.  It is a Stressless recliner.

Wayne's chair has been added to the coach. It came from Countryside Interiors here in Junction City. He chose upgraded leather and it came with a matching adjustable ottoman and detachable swinging arm table.  The wood base matched the coach's wood trim interior. 

Ekornes Stressless Recliner.

Wayne and Lexie relaxing
Needless to say, he likes the chair. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fighting Sciatica With A New Mattress

Wayne's back has begun hurting again. Wanting to avoid the horrible sciatica pain suffered last December and January, we're attacking the problem before it gets worse.  He's been religious in exercising since the first 'bout with sciatica and we try to get in a little walking every day too.  Still, I fear the sciatica is going to get the upper hand...

Today we splurged for a Tempurpedic mattress.  Gulp.

The process was lengthy but thorough -- we spent well over two hours in the furniture store. If one mattress felt good, he tried another to see if it felt better. He lay on his back and both sides. He lay in one position for long periods.  The wonderfully knowledgeable sales lady encouraged us to stay as long as we liked. Finally the perfect mattress was chosen. 

We didn't stop there -- we're not taking any chances with this sciatica pain. 

We bought four new pillows; two regular sleeping pillows, a side sleeping pillow for Wayne and another one to fit between his knees when he's on his side. 

There'll barely be room enough for me in the bed now.  The new mattress was delivered and the old one taken away this afternoon.  I hope we sleep tonight.  (Lexie woke us up jumping onto the bed at 5 a.m.)

Late afternoon we returned to another furniture store.  This one sells Ekorne Stressless Recliners. Tomorrow we'll have them remove one of the two sofas from our coach and replace it with the new recliner and ottoman. 

If the new sitting and sleeping arrangement doesn't help Wayne's back, perhaps the weight reduction from his pocket will... Ha Ha.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Coos Bay Weekend

Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston make up a region known as Oregon's Adventure Coast. We left the county campground Friday morning and took Oregon Highway 126 west first through the coastal mountain passes and then through Siuslaw  National Forest to US 101 at Florence.  The temperature here on the coast is cooler but the sun is shining and it is in the high 60's..

The Conde B. McCullouch Memorial Bridge dominates the skyline in North Bend. It is a one-mile long cantilevered bridge and is 150 feet high to allow large logging ships to pass below. It was built in 1936 and was, at that time, one of the most expensive, and the longest bridge in Oregon.  The bridge is the official symbol of North Bend, Oregon.
Conde B. McCullouch Memorial Bridge (approaching).
Yes, I know it's out of focus.

Going south from North Bend we began seeing the huge sand dunes that are part of the Siuslaw National Forest. These dunes are the largest expanse of coastal dunes in North America. They tower some 500 feet above sea level. The dunes create an abundance of recreational activities as can be seen in the photo below. We did not ride the dunes.
That tiny dot on top of the dune is a dune buggy thing.
The black line is a power line between the road and the dunes

Coos Bay is the largest city on the Oregon Coast and that's where we have a campground reservation for the next three nights.  We awoke Saturday morning to an ever increasing cloudy sky and it wasn't long before a day-long mist began.  Gee I'm tired of rain.

We began our day outing going south from the campground. Our first stop was to see the coastal lighthouse and inlet at the South Clough National Estuarine Reserve -- the various habitats of Coos estuary.  This is over 4,700 acres.

There is a coastal lighthouse in this picture. Not sure, but it might be Cape Arago Lighthouse.

Our next stop was at Shore Acres State Park perched on a scenic bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Shore Acres began as the private estate of pioneer lumber magnate and shipbuilder, Louis Simpson. His beautiful mansion was destroyed by fire in 1921 and it's replacement was lost in the Depression. The property was purchased by the State of Oregon in 1942 for use as a park. 

The park has a rugged and pristine seashore. We could hear the loud barking of California Sea Lions on the rocks below.
From Shore Acres State Park.

Also from Shore Acres State Park.

When Louis Simpson began development of Shore Acres, he installed a beautiful five acre formal garden, bringing trees, shrubs and flowering plants from around the world aboard his fleet of sailing ships. The gardens area remain and are beautifully manicured. They contrast dramatically with rugged coastline just a few hundred feet away.

Leaving Shore Acres, we headed to Cape Arago State Park where the highway would end about 15 miles south of Coos Bay.  This cape boasts access to viewing sites for off-shore colonies of sea lions and seals.  We were in for a great treat.
A big ole crow kept an eye on us.

You can't see them in this photo but there were thousands of sea lions and seals on the rocky reef.
Just below the largest "hump" of rock near the center of the photo, there is a circular area of sand. Inside that circle of sand, the brown pile that looks like rocks is actually a big bunch of sea lions.

Michael is a volunteer with a group who eagerly explain the "goings on" out on the rocks.
Their telescopes are placed and focused for novices, like us, to see the seals and sea lions.

Leaving the Simpson Reef, we drove as far south as the road would take us.  We never did see the Cape Arago Lighthouse.  No surprise in that this was all we could see of the Pacific Ocean itself at the road's end. 

Yes, there it is. The Pacific Ocean.
Beautiful, eh?  What! You can't see it?

University of Oregon at Eugene

On Thursday before the Fathers Day Weekend, we took a drive around Eugene to see the University of Oregon campus.
Autzen Stadium, where football is played, is off the main campus.

Front of the stadium.

Autzen Field
The temperature is near perfect today -- in the 70's with sunshine and we enjoyed it. 

DJ and Tom caught up with us today and will stay at Armitage County Park Campground  in the site across from us. We all will pull out Friday morning. We're  going west to the Oregon coast; Tom and DJ will go north on Highway 101  -- we will go south to Coos Bay where we have reservations for three nights near the bay.
Armitage County Park (Lane) Campground
DJ and Tom are the farthest coach on the left.
We're on the right just beyond the fifth wheel.
Tom built a nice campfire Thursday evening and we met a neighboring couple -- Kathy and Emerson, who have eleven years of full-time RV experience.  Nice folks and they have a little poodle, Fanci.  Sorry I didn't get a photo of them but we hope to meet up with them again.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ahhh! No More Campground Laundries!

This is my new Splendide All-In-One Washer / Dryer. Ain't she a honey?  My friend, Janis, saw they were on sale at Camping World and, knowing we were thinking of adding one, told me about it without delay. 

Oregon's absolutely marvelous "no sales tax" position made this purchase a "no brainer" and we snapped onto this sale -- having it installed at Camping World in Junction City.

But Weight! We're Overweight!

Don't worry. The new machine will wash clothes for overweight people too!

The morning we were scheduled to have the Splendide installed, we had the coach weighed. We're not talking about one of those "quickie" freight-hauling scale jobs. Oh no.  This weight check was done with precision scales individually measuring the weight of the coach on each of the four wheels.

Great news! Overall, the coach's weight is well below the load capacity.
Really good news! The front of the coach is underweight.
Bad news!  The rear of the coach is overweight by more than the front is underweight.
Really bad news!  Wayne's side of the rear of the coach is heaviest.  Those who know the Wayner know that he is a lifetime "clothes horse" and can hardly manage to part with a piece of fabric. Yes, his clothes habit was the original reason we did not have a washer/dryer installed.  He needed more clothes space.

So now we've added another 150 pounds of equipment to an already big rear end!

Nothing to do now but have a campsite yard sale.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Willamette Valley: Grass Seed Capitol of the World!

The west coast production facility of Monaco Coach is at Coburg, Oregon.  As Monaco owners (and lovers) we're excited and hope to take one of the daily tours! (Country Coach was here too -- until the recession killed them -- they are trying now to resuscitate.)

You know what else? Oregon has no sales tax!  Retiree delight!

More great news!  Oregon requires that all gasoline be "pumped" for customers!

Want more?  Oregon mandates that all the state's coastal land be accessible to the general public. That good for visitors who want to see the Pacific up close.

And even more news:  Harrisburg, Oregon is the grass seed capitol of the whole world!  Somehow, that does NOT excite me.

There's a well-known and respected RV repair facility at Junction City. There are some things on Mona that we'd like to change.  Cosmetic stuff mostly. Carpet to tile -- sofa to recliner, etc.  And the ever present ice dispenser problem should be checked.    We didn't do any of that.  We did decide to have a washer/dryer installed though.  It was on sale and without sales tax (thanks Oregon), it was just too good to pass up. The coach was pre-plumbed for laundry, but at first, we didn't mind doing it at the campground laundries -- all at once.  Lately, however, campground laundries have become a drag.  I'm glad we did it.

The first two nights were spent at River Bend RV Resort in Harrisburg. Thirty minutes after we pulled in, the rain came.  Cats and Dogs rain.  What's worse, the next day we found ourselves smack in the middle of a huge Country Coach / Prevost "Friendship" Rally.  It was somewhat less than "friendly" for us, being Monaco owners,  We relocated.  

Allow me to share some of the photos taken at River Bend as we were leaving.

Large, fairly nice facility. 
It's been taken over by the bank though and it has the appearance of being "not quite finished".

See that nice field of grass seed on the right?
Those are the only remaining campsites to be filled.  Believe me, they're going to be filled for the rally.
More Prevosts and more Country Coaches. 
The rest of us were "chopped liver"

This was parked beside us.  Yes, it has a veranda.
The wall drops down and outward to make the deck.
Three sliding glass doors open onto the veranda.

Still more Prevosts and Country Coaches...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hellgate Canyon

Galice is the name of a community beyond Hellgate Canyon.

Hellgate. Such a fitting name. With 250' deep jagged rock canyon walls this section of the Rogue River truly is hellish. Hellgate Recreation Area is 27 miles of rapids. 

Hellgate Recreation Area the Rogue River begins relatively wide and slow, moving through agricultural fields, foothills, and a lot of private property interspersed with public land. Downstream, the downriver the canyon gets progressively deeper and rockier and civilization is far away even though a road is always within a quarter mile of the river's edge.

These people are at least 250 feet below where I'm standing to take the picture.
We gave some thought to taking one of the jetboat rides along the river, but learned that most boat occupants on the boats get wet and it's just too cool for me to go along with that. We opted to see the canyon from the warm and dry rocky cliffs above.

Looking upstream.

This park has a lovely campground but the tree limbs are too low to allow us to maneuver Mona into it. 
Indian Mary Park is part of the Josephine County park system.  It's located along the banks of the Rogue River, and is the smallest Indian Reservation ever created.  In 1855, a local Indian, Umpqua Joe, warned white settlers in the area of a pending massacre. Thanks to Joe's warning the settlers were able to thwart the Indians attacks. Joe stayed on the land and operated a ferry for local miners until his death in 1886. His daughter, Indian Mary, continued to operate the ferry after Joe's death. The land has changed hands several times and was purchased by Josephine County in 1958 to be converted into what is now known as Indian Mary Park.

Returning from Hellgate Canyon, we stopped in at Grants Pass.
I liked this sign but I don't like some Oregonians. I did not like the young woman who screamed an obscenity at us because we have an Auburn tag. Are all Oregon Duck fans such poor losers?  Hope not.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rogue River

The Rogue River empties into the Pacific Ocean Estuary in Gold Beach, Oregon. A small city (more like a town or community) along the river is also named Rogue River. That's where Bridgegate RV Park is located even though it's address is listed as Grants Pass. Our campsite is right alongside the river; so near, in fact that I could throw a biscuit out the window into it.  Snow melt and spring rains have been plentiful so the river is high and fast moving and it is mesmerizing to watch. The campground is remarkably clean and nice and we are enjoying our time here.
That's us in the middle alongside the Rogue River.

The area is full of geese and no one feeds them, but they don't leave.  This is just one of the families.
 Their poop is bigger than Lexie's. Campground management cleans this area every single day.

Our thorough exploration of Rogue River City resulted in these photographs:
I don't know what's with the rooster in this mural.
The bridge is arched with cable supports.  It's real pretty.  Campground is about 1/2 mile downstream.
And you thought the Bee Gees were from Australia.

I've not seen any real bears, just a few of this kind 'round Rogue River

Dressed for success.

We came upon a nice riverside park with a pedestrian bridge where we took Lexie for a long walk. The Rogue River is among the nation's top rivers for "mild to moderate" and "moderate to wet" rafting and  businesses offering those services are plentiful. The Rogue River, it turns out, is also unique in that it provides an increasingly rare clean running river for the Chinook salmon to spawn.
Taken from the pedestrian bridge.  The Rogue River.
The Rogue River is one of the best "chain of life" rivers in the state of Oregon.  Federal law protects some 38 miles of the Rogue River as being a "wild and scenic" river.  The salmon spawn (lay eggs) in gravel beds with about 3" of water covering them. Those spawning areas are very good in the Grants Pass area of Rogue River. The threat of humans walking on the gravel beds when water is low is a danger to the survival of the salmon. 
Life size sculpture of a Chinook salmon.
Life size sculpture of a wayner.
Salmon are anadromous fish -- they survive in both salt and fresh water. The Chinook salmon who spawn in the Rogue River are wild fish -- not from hatcheries.  Indeed, their genes are wild.  Biologist estimate that anywhere between 30,000 and 120,000 Chinook salmon spawn along the Rogue each year.

When the Chinook salmon eggs hatch, the baby salmon slowly make their way downstream, eating tiny aquatic insects and growing to be 1" to 3" long.  When the young salmon reach the mouth of the river (the estuary) they go on out into the ocean where they will live 2 to 4 years.  Then the young salmon make their way back upstream to spawn their own eggs.

For every 1,000 eggs laid, approximately one adult salmon will survive to spawn. To return upriver, the salmon will navigate 70 rapids, conquer the 15' high Rainie Falls and high velocity canyons along the Rogue River.
Reading all about it.