Sunday, August 27, 2017

Shasta Dam, HOT Weather, Naked Ladies & TV

Citrus Heights, CA

Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake California

On our way back to Citrus Heights on Thursday, we took a side road over to Shasta Dam…not for a tour, but just to show Marcia what it looks like.

Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake California

I have not seen so much water in Shasta Lake for I don’t know how long…it felt good to see it full again.

Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake California

This is the place where I attribute my “fear of heights” to.  Back in the mid-1990’s my children’s mother’s family was having a “family reunion” near Shasta.  It was August 1993 if I remember…because I was named the Interim Library Director while I was away on this trip as the previous Director was….how does one say this nicely…given the chance to find employment elsewhere.  Anyway, as ALL my previous wife’s family and I were visiting Shasta Dam, we were looking down over the spillway…and one of my nieces jumped up onto the top of the railing to look over, and in my mind, I saw her going over…and since I was right there, I grabbed the seat of her pants and pulled her back…and her mother was not too happy with me.  Ever since then I have had an extreme fear of heights…can’t look down out of a hotel room window which is a dozen or more floors up (I can look out, just not down).  Can not look down from the Golden Gate Bridge (I had no problem doing so before this), and I have a HUGE problem flying in a plane.  Had nightmares of her flying off the dam for many years after the event.  And I NEVER did get a thanks from the parent, although we did come to an understanding when I said, “Perhaps I should have just let things take their natural course…” (which, for those who know me, I could have never done).

Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake California

A look of Shasta Lake…lots and lots of water behind the dam!  Too bad there was so much smoke in the air.

Homemade motorhome

Just had to show a picture of this Motorhome which we saw at the Pilot Gas Station south of Corning California…A porch, on a old Winny Chassis.  I don’t think he drives it much on the freeway, but they do seem to live in it around the area. 

Sister's Backyard, Citrus Heights, CA

Made it back to the Sacramento Area just in time to see the Naked Ladies, enjoy the 105+ degree weather, celebrate both Sandy and Arny’s birthdays (day apart from each other…mom and dad no longer have children who are ‘in their 50’s’ anymore, and enough time to install a new TV and a new Controller in the Solar Panel.

Belladonna Lily (Naked Lady), Citrus Heights, CaThe “Naked Ladies” are a type of plant that grow outside my sister’s house near our RV door, and in other places in their backyard.  The Belladonna Lily (Naked Lady), Citrus Heights, CaBelladonna Lily is called the “Naked Lady” because the stem is leafless, tall, and pretty flowers on top.  In the spring there is a very leafy plant…which seems to die off, then in late summer, this large stem grows, and then the flower blooms out.  They are very pretty, and all of theirs are a lavender color but other varieties include orange, pink, red and yellow.  Marcia saw some orange ones up along the coast of Oregon, but we did not get pictures of them.

New SuperSonic 12v, 24" TV

Our main living area TV gave out on us while up in Oregon….not unexpected as it was acting up since we left Florida.  Got a ‘SuperSonic’ 12volt TV, although for some reason it did not come with a 12v plug, just the 110 converter plug…but that will be easy to take care of.  A 24” HD-LED TV for $135, and we really like it.  Smaller, lighter, and for $10 more I got a wall mount so that we can adjust it to our liking.  The board behind it was not painted behind the TV, so I also painted that board…still have another coat which is why the hooks have take over them.  Also installed some eye hooks to strap the TV down while we travel with bungee cords. Once I get the plug, we will be able to watch a little TV without turning the generator on…nice for when we are in rest areas, Walmart parking lots, Cracker Barrels, etc….especially when strong storms are in the area as we faced in Arkansas earlier this spring.   As for the Solar Controller…so far I really like it.  Will write up it once we boondock again.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Different Look at Eclipse

From Huntley Park Oregon to McCloud California

Smoke in Medford Area from Chetco Bar Fire   Smoke in Medford Area from Chetco Bar Fire
Smoke in Medford Area from Chetco Bar Fire    Smoke in Medford Area from Chetco Bar Fire

Yes, this is taken on Eclipse Day…no, it is not the MOON blocking out the sun, it is the SMOKE.  We did watch the Eclipse from Huntley Park Oregon, then proceeded over to Myrtle Creek…then to Medford…then to Talent where we stayed the night in a Rest Area.  ALL of these pictures taken above were taken between Myrtle Creek and the California border yesterday and today.  The bottom right picture was taken as we were leaving Harry and David in Medford…about 6:45 pm.  NEVER seen the smoke so thick, and this smoke is being attributed to the fire near Brookings, called the Chetco Bar Fire.

Chetco Bar Fire

When you stay in an area for a month, and then a MAJOR fire takes place in that area, the connection you made sucks your emotions into what is going on.  You have met nice people in the past month…the hosts at Alfred Loeb State Park, the checkers at Fred Meyer in Brookings, or at McKay’s Market in Gold Beach, the workers at Indian Creek RV Park, the hosts at Huntley Park, and of course, D & D of Double D’s Cafe in Gold Beach and their entire family, most of whom we had the pleasure of meeting.  All of these people are being affected because they know people who have evacuated…and they probably know or know of the five families who have lost their homes so far…with many more threatened.  In the above map I have added, in RED, the various places we stayed at…along with the Fire Perimeter.  They listed the two levels of evacuations areas…level 2 is be prepared to leave, level 3 is get the heck out of there.

Oregon highway 42

It did not take us long on Oregon Highway 42 before we started to see the thick smoke.  We went north because they asked people not to drive down highway 101 toward Brookings…too much stuff going on down there.  By the time we got close to I-5, we could smell it.  We drove by On the River Golf & RV Park, a place we have stopped by many times before…they looked full to the brim, and the smoke was just too thick.  Didn’t even try our back-up plan in Myrtle Creek, Millsite RV Park, a city park, because the smoke was just too thick.  We went on to Medford to visit Harry and David…Sis LOVES Moose Munch, and since her and Arny both have birthdays next week, one day apart, we had to pick up “stuff”.  (I can see her licking her chops already…)  After the shopping spree, we headed to Talent where there was suppose to be a RV Resort through Passport America, which looked promising on paper…but it ended up being a HUGE DUMP…one of the worse we have seen…and it was also full…and we did not want to stay there even if they had sites open…yes, it was that bad.  And how do they even come to think they are a resort????  So we stayed at a Oregon Rest Area….along with many other people, most of whom were Californians headed back home after the full eclipse.

I-5 north of Medford, 5:30 pm Eclipse Day 2017

There was a wreck about 5 miles before Medford.  Marcia and I were counting the California plates as they went by us…4 out of 5 vehicles were California plates, with occasional Arizona and other states in the mix, and about 1 out of 5 were Oregon plates.  So it is safe to say…some Californian did something stupid and caused a wreck.  By the time we got up to it, an hour later, it was gone, so it is just a “educated guess”… 

McCloud RV Resort, McCloud CA

So this morning we had our coffee, a quick breakfast and off to McCloud California to one of our favorite RV parks in NorCal…McCloud RV Resort which we have been to 3 or 4 times now.  We DON’T like the prices necessarily, and they have some strict rules about their grass…which keeps the grass in such good condition I guess.  But it is not as hot as other Northern California areas, has lots of shade (although we lose our shade around 1 and it isn’t back until 5), and it is very peaceful.

McCloud RV Resort, McCloud CA

Of course, there are jerks who like to park their trucks on another person’s site…but I won’t go into that…nor the nine attempts to back into his site…yes NINE.   Now on the other side of his trailer he has three chairs, lots of other camping stuff, along with his park provided table…and there is room to back his truck up more, but heck…he would probably hit the fence or his awning, so it is much easier just using a chunk of our site.  And then there is the bigger jerk who let both his dogs off leash, and when I spotted them, I did not take Bubba or Skruffy their way...but they both made it over our way.  His Shepherd got a bit noisy, which then gets Skruffy going, and frankly, I was ready to give it a hit in the noise had it become aggressive.  The guy says, "Sorry, did not know it got out...", and just then the Shepherd comes running over.  I had seen them, and I knew he knew they were out, so I just said, "You know, that is why they make leashes."  He did not look at me, he just got his dogs and walked away.  GRRRR!!!

McCloud RV Resort, McCloud CA    McCloud RV Resort, McCloud CA
McCloud RV Resort, McCloud CA

But the park is just a lovely place, and we are here for two nights.  Yesterday’s drive was twice as long as it needed to be…it is only 120 miles from Huntley to the Rest Area…but that route is on a paved, National Forest road which is not recommended for RVs.  Had we gone through Crescent City, it would have been a 160 mile trip…but as it was, due to the fire, we drove over 240 miles.  And once we hit I-5, the traffic was a a crawl numerous times due to traffic and wrecks.  So two days to regain our sanity is in order…then we will head the 4+ hours back to my sister’s house…with a stop at a Truck/RV wash on the way back to Sacramento, one which we have used in the past…and after all the dust and dirt we accumulated these past seven weeks, it needs it.  As for us…the long showers we had this afternoon felt real nice…the 94 degree weather, well, that did not last very long.

2017 Eclipse

And YES, we did watch the eclipse, or at least I tried to get some pictures of it.  This is the best one I got, about 9:55 am, 20 minutes before our 95% coverage.  No matter what, the sun was too bright for the eyes, and our camera did not do so well capturing it.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Boat Races, Fire Evacuations Changes Our Plans

Huntley Park, Gold Beach Oregon

Huntley Park, Gold Beach Lower Rogue Challenge Hydroplane Boat Race

Unbeknown to us, we had the #1 Huntley RV Park view of the “Gold Beach Lower Rogue Challenge Hydroplane Boat Race” today.  The Cal-Ore River Racers (CORRA) series made its yearly stop in Gold Beach for the Whitewater Hydroplane race on the Rogue River, a 4-1/2 laps event starting from the Old Mill site (the Boondocking site I had alluded to in an earlier post) Huntley Park, Live Band for a Company BBQto Lobster Creek (where we visited the National Forest campground and reported on in that earlier post), and finishing at Huntley Park which also serves as the pit area for the race.  Oh boy, sounds like a nice, quiet, peaceful Sunday…what could top that?  Well, perhaps the company picnic party on Saturday with a live band playing for about six hours between 11 am and 7 pm…

Huntley Park, Gold Beach Lower Rogue Challenge Hydroplane Boat Race

But this boat race…well, that’s a big event!  Must draw what, 2 to 3 thousand people…considering there is no “cover charge” to watch the event outside of the $5 day use fee per car “if” they decide to pay it to use Huntley Park.  Well…think again…

Huntley Park, Gold Beach Lower Rogue Challenge Hydroplane Boat Race

This panoramic shot tells it all…maybe, just maybe…50 cars and trucks…maybe, just maybe, 100 people lining the shores…maybe, just maybe others along the route watching at the Lobster Creek Bridge, or at the boondocking site…but I doubt it.

Huntley Park, Gold Beach Lower Rogue Challenge Hydroplane Boat Race

This guy in the picture above apparently won the race…did not catch his name, nor his number, nor where he was from.  It wasn’t even close…

Huntley Park, Gold Beach Lower Rogue Challenge Hydroplane Boat Race

I got this shot of the winner (headed to the left) as he starts his victory lap around the Huntley Park Area while the third place boat has just finished the race.

Huntley Park, Gold Beach Lower Rogue Challenge Hydroplane Boat Race

The third place boat happened to pull up in the site next to us…and our neighbors hooked it up to their red truck and drove it away as they all left.  Not sure the connection, but they were from Oregon, and a few days ago one of the sons blew the motor/drive shaft in the boat he brought that was also a fast boat, but not a Hydroplane boat.

Of course, PICTURES say a thousand words…but only VIDEO will give you the BUZZ of these little contraptions as they buzz up and down the river!  The above video is 25 seconds long, and you can hear the BUZZ and the barking in the background is none other than Skruffy, voicing her opinion on all that BUZZZZZZZ.

Chetco Bar Fire, Brookings Oregon

Our plans have changes…there is a fire right where we were headed back to, Loeb State Park.  This fire was small and miles away when we left Loeb State Park three weeks ago.  Well, a few days ago it “jumped” the Chetco River, something the fire officials thought would not happen.  Now the fire is out of control because the winds these past few days have been high, swirling, and well, just what the fire ordered.

Chetco Bar Fire, Brookings Oregon, Twitter Picture

Found this picture on twitter from the Fred Meyer where we have done our shopping in Brookings, and as recently as this past Wednesday.  The smoke, the ash, so thick it blocks out the sun!  Loeb State Park was evacuated on Friday, and now the evacuations are starting just at the city limits of eastern Brookings.  Currently, as of 6 pm Sunday night, highway 101 is still open, BUT they are asking everyone to stay away due to traffic, smoke, ash, etc.  They may shut it down from time to time over the next few days.  Emergency crews are pouring in from all over the place.

Coos Bay Boondocking Mills Casino 2015

So off to Coos Bay we head tomorrow.  Called Indian Creek RV park where we planned to stay for two day starting tomorrow, and asked if they were getting calls from people due to the fire…yes they were.  So we gave up our reservation, and we will drive up to Coos Bay tomorrow and stay in the boondocking area of the Mill Casino as we have done in the past (picture above is from 2015), or head over to I-5 and stay in the Myrtle Creek area, we should be back in the Sacramento area sometime Thursday…a few weeks ahead of schedule.

Osprey with fish, Huntley Park

Remember that picture of a Osprey carrying a fish I had been trying to get?  Well, yesterday I got one..not as clear as I wanted, but I still got one.  Tomorrow the Eclipse will be around 95% in this area, we should see it if the wind continues and the fog does not come in, and we should be on the road by 11:00.  My ears are still buzzing from the boats, but the park is back to its pre-weekend quietness.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Solar Power, Sea Lions, Set-Netting

Huntley Park, Gold Beach Oregon

Go Power! portable Solar Panel

Have had more inquiries into our Solar Setup in this campground than ever before.  So I figured that others who are not here ‘might’ be interested too.  As I have mentioned before, we have the Go Power! GP-PSK-120 120W Portable Folding Solar Kit with 10 Amp Solar Controller purchased through Amazon.  They have two portable versions, 80W and 120W.  The nice thing is that the controller, which is needed so you don’t over charge your batteries, is built into the back of the Go Power! portable Solar Panelportable units.  All I do is set it up and hook to the batteries, and make sure it is “on”.  There are many options to connect to the batteries…either through ring terminals, clamps, and there is a trailer connector for those who find that easier.  We use the clamps, as shown to the right.  I did use the terminal rings, but I found it hard to keep the connector clean even though they come with a cover.  I ‘could’ tie down the cover each and every time I travel, but that is just a pain compared to using this clips. 

Go Power! portable Solar Panel

This is the “controller”, which is attached to the back of the solar panel.  It is simple in its use, but the newer models have an even better controller on them, and you can buy the newer controller to replace this one…which we are going to do.  The orange button is the on and off, and also used in selecting the type of battery you have…sealed, gel or flooded.  You need to have it on, with the red light in upper right corner lit, for things to work.  That part of this controller is fine…but the lights to the left…the Temp (temperature) light, the “PV” light, and the Batt (battery) light are the problems…they New controller Go Power! portable Solar Panelare HARD to see.  I don’t know if you can tell that the PV and the Batt are both “green” in this picture…imagine trying to see that outside, while the panel is pointed into the sun. The NEW controller, shown to the right, is a better controller, and provides much more information, including voltage, and current battery level, and percentage of battery capacity.  It is also much easier to see, according to the reviews.

Go Power! portable Solar Panel

To replace, you simply unscrew the four connecting screws for the red and black wires, remove from the solar panel (it is glued), glue on the new one, and connect the red and black wires.  We have been able to run on our batteries and the solar for the past three days, although tonight we ran the generator for 90 minutes to charge everything up to a higher level.  All the while we power two computers, two kindles, two cell phones and the aircard, besides the “stuff” that runs on electricity in the motorhome such as the refrigerator (propane but also needs 12 volt), the carbon monoxide sensor, the propane sensor, the toilet, and the lights as we need them.  So far our batteries have remained at or above 12.2 volts.

Sea Lion, Rogue River, Huntley Park, Gold Beach Oregon

Took a walk up the river to where many people go swimming…but I beat the swimming crowd, except for the three sea lions out in the river.  I was told the day before that sea lions were seen along the river by a local…so I am taking his word on them being sea lions and not harbor seals.  I was not expecting to see them, but I heard the splashing and well, there were three of them.  Below you can see two of them together…never could get all three in the same picture.

Sea Lion, Rogue River, Huntley Park, Gold Beach Oregon

As I got to the swimming area, I came across some set-net fishermen. (below)

Rogue River, Huntley Park, Gold Beach Oregon

Of course, last year in Alaska when Skruffy got sick, we took her to the Soldotna Animal Hospital and Dr. Meezie Hermansen saved Skruffy’s life.  Meezie is a Vet by choice, she is a fisherman…a set-net fisherman…by birth.  Rogue River, Huntley Park, Gold Beach OregonShe still commercial fishes for a month each year…only a month because that is how long Alaska will allow the commercial set net fisherman to fish.  However, Oregon does not allow set-net or gillnet fishing…and that is when I saw the patch on this guy’s arm (picture right).  The group is counting fish in the river, working for the Oregon Wildlife Department.  They catch, measure, weigh and release.  As I watched, two different jet boat tours came by, stopped to watch, and asked how the “fishing” was going.  They said they were doing good in the morning, but the last six tries did not catch very much.  In fact, during the two attempts I witnessed, they only caught one Steelhead.

Rogue River, Huntley Park, Gold Beach Oregon

They gather the net up into the boat with one end “set” upon land (in the hands of one or two people), head up stream letting out the net, work their way over to the other side still letting out net, work their way back down stream letting out more net, and then head back to land still letting out net.  (In the picture above, they are headed back to land to the pickup truck.)  Once there, they attach the end of the net to the truck’s tow ball, and it drives up the bank about 20 yards.  They unhook, and then the truck backs up to the spot where the boat took off from and they attach that end to the truck, and it runs parallel to the river for about 20 yards.  After that, everything is done by hand, pulling in the net, trying to capture the fish.  Once captured, but still in the water close to shore, the fishery biologist (I am assuming he is a biologist) weighs and measures and lets them go.  I enjoyed watching the process…thinking about our “Favorite Vet”, and how she does this out in the rough seas of the Cook Inlet, Pacific Ocean, in Alaska, sometimes in very extreme weather conditions. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Chances Are…You RV Long Enough, You’ll Do Something Stupid

Huntley Park, Gold Beach Oregon

Osprey at Huntley Park

We made the move two sites down…and low and behold, I can see the nest right out my window.  But you all don’t want to hear about Osprey, you want to know what the heck Dave did that was SO STUPID.  Well, I’ll get to that…

Huntley Park

Since we were moving, and since I did something REAL stupid, we decided to drive back to Brookings to go to Fred Meyer, before coming back and pulling into our new spot, two spots down from where we were.  We use to be where the second trailer in this shot, which I took this morning, is located.  That trailer is the son of the restaurant owners, and runs the restaurant during the week…they operate it during the weekend, along with their daughter who is located four trailers away in this picture.  “D & D” are the third trailer.

Watercraft, Rogue River, Huntley Park    Watercraft, Rogue River, Huntley Park

It sure looks like it is going to be a “boys and their toys” type of weekend.  Jet ski, fast boat…all have come into the park for what appears to be the last weekend of summer before school starts up.  The park is getting very busy.

Camp Host, Huntley Park 

This is the nice lady camp host…she was out and about a lot today.  Had a chance to talk to her for a bit…she said that on top of everything, a large business end of summer party is going to take place on Saturday.  The park is so busy this coming weekend, she opened the group area where the wedding took place last weekend to normal campers for this weekend.  She said they typically fill up just once or twice each year…this weekend is going to be one of them.

Rogue River Jet Boat, Huntley Park
Ok, time for the “STUPID” story….  Our generator works real good most of the time…but every now and then it acts like it is running out of gas.  In fact, D & D’s daughter's generator did run out of gas yesterday and it acted just like ours does.  Problem is, we are not out of gas while they were.  So I figure our problem “might” be a bit of water in the gas, which the generator is more reactive to than our engine is.  So I decided to add some of our Lucas Fuel Treatment to our gas tank.  Lucas Gas TreatmentOf course, it would help if I really put it in the gas tank, and not in the fresh water outlet.  WHAT?  Did Dave just say what I thought he said?  Yes, in some sort of “STUPOR”, I opened the fresh water outlet, which is right above the gas tank outlet, and proceeded to pour about two, perhaps less, ounces of Lucas Gas Additive right into our fresh water tank.  I stopped only because it did not pour in right…that is when I realized what I was doing.  OH CRAP!  I have attempted, in the past, to fill up the fresh water with fuel before on more than one occasion.  But as soon as I open the outer door, I have always realized I did not have the right door open, and then opened the gas door instead and proceeded to fuel up.  I still don’t know why I did not stop myself this time…just a brain fart I guess.

Rogue River Jet Boat, Huntley Park

Since we had been five days into boondocking, our fresh water tank was only 1/3 full.  We were dumping in the morning…we always use bottled water to drink, but typically use the fresh water for doggie water and for coffee in the morning.  So on Wednesday, while at the dump station, we emptied all the water we could.  We drove to Brookings for a Fred Meyer trip, where I knew we could purchase two 2.5 gallon containers of spring water.  I added that water to our fresh water tank, along with some bleach, and drove back to Gold Beach’s dump station (after spending megabucks at Fred Meyer to stock up our pantry and freezer of course).  About 6 miles out of Gold Beach there is construction going on, and we had to stop for about 5 minutes…so I turned on our pump and turned on our water faucet real low to start draining it into our grey tank.  When we got to the dump station in Gold Beach, I also ran water in the shower and the bathroom sink until everything came to a trickle.  Back at Huntley, I filled the tank to point that it overflowed.  We are still giving the dogs bottled water, and still making coffee with bottled water…and will do so until we get to Loeb State Park in a week.  In the mean time, we will empty the fresh water tank one more time…and the GOOF will be history.

Rogue River, Huntley Park

There are a few advantages with our new site at Huntley Park, besides being able to see the Osprey out my window.  We get about 2 more hours of sunlight each day for the solar power…we get shade mid-day for the RV, and our bench is in the shade for much of the day with this great view.  Of course, the nature of the park being busy has cut down one our likability factor…but the type of great neighbors we have has made that change easier to deal with.  It did get up to 91 degrees today…for about an hour…then the cool sea breeze kicked in and it dropped back into the lower 80’s.  It is 10 pm, and 66 degrees right now…the perfect weather conditions.