Sunday, July 29, 2012

There's a Strange Woman in My Bed

Another busy week; both at work and at play. Joan and I have met so many interesting people working in and around the campgrounds this summer. Last week we checked in a free-lance photographer who had just driven from his assignment in California to Oregon to pick up a 70's vintage motorcycle he bought on E-Bay. He had removed the wheels and had it inside his SUV. He and Joan started talking cameras and photography and before you know it he had his camera out and was sharing some tips with Joan as well as showing us some of the pics he had taken on his assignment. One of them was quite was a pic taken from a distance of 1/3 mile...of a famous movie star while he was working on a movie....wonder who it was? None other than Top Gun himself...Tom Cruise. Cool!

I've added another skill to my resume.....parking lot striper. Had occasion to clean and re-stripe the parking lot at one of our campground/trailheads. Not as hard as you might think to paint a straight line, but painting 25-30 can be a chore.

And for those of you who might be wondering about the fishing in you go. These were caught by some of our campers at one of the local lakes.

With another shortened work week we decided to take another road trip...this time to Crater Lake. Just shy of 300 miles from our current location the drive took about 6 hours...with a little time out for a picnic lunch.

As we drove in the north entrance to Crater Lake National Park the views started changing....

.... from high mountain forests....

..... to open meadows with snow still on the ground;

mountain peaks with snowy slopes.....

 ......and the bluest water we've seen in a long time.

And as for the strange woman sleeping in my bed.......well she's blonde, beautiful and a whole lot of fun.

Prior to our leaving Florida in March, Joan had used the same hair stylist (Hey Audrey) for over 30 years. Last Thursday all that changed. She got a new cut and a new color. I like it!

Our calendar is getting busy. Our friends Jim and Debbie will be arriving from Florida in a few weeks and we'll have 10 days of sight-seeing with them. Also it looks as though my ex-boss Richard and his wife Susan will be stopping by for a long weekend in September. And if we're real lucky, my parents are considering a cross-country trip east coast to west coast with a stop in Oregon. So if any of you have been thinking how much fun a vacation to Oregon could us and we'll check the calendar.

Happy Birthday Ryan 
We miss you. Maybe you can come out and visit with us one day!

Stay Tuned. More to Come.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Breaking News......Emily Peterson turns 14!

My beautiful granddaughter is growing up too fast! We miss you Emily and hope you have a great birthday!

Love you,

Nana and Steve

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Little of This and a Little of That

Another week in the books and we're still having a great time. It's hard to believe we've been here for 3 months and that we're over half way through the season already. The tentative timeline calls for us to finish here in early October.

Last weekend was the Sandy Mountain Festival, so we dropped in on Saturday, tried a little festival food and bought a few things made by local craftsmen. Joan picked up a small pocket wallet made out of duct tape and a hummingbird feeder made out of a wine bottle.

Our work week was busy with more and more campers coming out to the parks to enjoy the warmer temps and better weather. Besides filling in for camphosts on their days off, we've been working on repairing and painting aged and damaged facilities such as signs and gates.

While we were working one day we met a couple of older gentlemen on their Cushman scooters. Pretty cool.  The scooters harness a little over 40hp each and can run 60-70mph. When the guys started them they sounded just like their larger Harley counterparts. And when they left, they didn't waste anytime; zoom, vroom and they were gone!

We had the chance to play cards with a couple of our co-workers and we learned a new game: Fruit Salad. It was fun and quick to learn to play. Later they taught us a dice game called Farkle.

This past weekend Joan and I decided to take a little overnight motorcycle ride.  We left Saturday morning headed south. Just after lunch we turned off of Hwy 126 southeast of Detroit onto a little road that turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip; Hwy 242 also known as McKenzie Hwy.

This is a small 2 lane road that includes 22 miles of a historic highway. The road takes you up, up, up through the Willamette National Forest along multiple switchbacks and hairpin turns to a height of 5600' before entering into the Mount Washington Wilderness, then through Three Sisters Wilderness, across the Belknap Lava fields into the Deshutes National Forest and finally into the city of Sisters.

Along the way you can stop and walk onto the lava fields.

Or visit the Dee Wright Observatory located at McKenzie Pass. The observatory was built in 1935 by the CCC and is made completely out of lava rocks. From the observatory you have views of numerous snow capped mountains including North and Middle Sister Mountains, Little Brother, The Husband, Mt Washington, Mt Jefferson, 3 Finger Jack, Scott Moutain, Belknap Crater, Little Belknap, Mt Jefferson, Mt Washington and Mt Hood.

The temps had been cool all morning and only when we left the lava fields and made it into Sisters did it warm up enough that we could take off our jackets. We ended up spending the night in Redmond.

Early Sunday morning we took off north through Madras and into Maupin where we had a late breakfast. Then it was back towards Mt Hood and home. All in all we traveled a little over 350 miles and really enjoyed being back on the bikes for a while.

Our softball team has been playing for a couple of weeks now and our record is 5-2. It's really been fun playing again. A birthday shout out to 2 of my softball buddies from Florida; Kenny and Tom. Joan and I will miss the annual party. And finally, to Mary...."We'll try to be on time next week. We don't want you to worry".

Stayed Tuned...More to Come.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Out With The Old, In With The New

Hello All, my apologies for the delay in's been a long few weeks. Where should I begin???????

As more and more campgrounds are cleaned, cleared and opened some changes are being made. For one our schedule has changed so that we now have Saturdays and Sundays off; working Monday through Friday. Some would see that as good; but we have mixed feelings. We've enjoyed having a weekday off to avoid traffic and tourists as we visit many of the popular locations in and around northwest Oregon. But with Saturdays off we are able to take advantage of some local festivals and weekend events.

On workdays you never know what we might be doing; including sweeping the roofs of all the buildings in the campgrounds.

I'm still getting opportunities to improve my animal wrangling skills.First it was bats, now it's birds. This time it was a robin that flew into one of the campground restrooms. The robin had pretty much exhausted itself attempting to fly out a 'window' that was actually a pane of glass. Wearing my trusty gloves I was able to catch it and carry it outside where it took off and headed back to the safety of the trees.

The week of the holiday we were asked to travel to a small campground on Mt Hood called Alpine.

July 4th on Mt Hood

54 Degrees

On Wednesday the 4th we loaded up the truck and headed to an elevation of 6,000'. We arrived at Alpine to find snow in the campsites and drives packed as high as 6'. The temps were around 54 with the sun shining brightly and few clouds. Along with the maintenance supervisor we used the tractor, logging chains and chainsaws to clear as many campsites as possible. About halfway through the CG even the tractor was stymied as the drifts had turned into incredibly hard 6' thick slabs of ice that would not break up. We ended up returning a week later when the ice had melted a little more and finished opening up the remaining campsites.

We've made several trips up to the hot springs rebuilding some of the infrastructure that has been vandalized and/or deteriorated over the years. The hot springs here are basically two small openings in the ground about  3" to 4" wide producing several gallons of water a minute. Originally logs were split in half, hollowed out and used to channel the water to wooden tubs made from large cedar tree trunks. Vandals had come in and kicked over the handmade wooden framework that supported the wooden channels. We rebuilt the support posts and got the hot tubs back into action. With the buildings that house the tubs over 40 years old and not regularly maintained the privacy walls have been patched haphazardly using anything handy; rocks, duct tape, tree limbs, etc. Oh yeah, without nails or screws. Needless to say, privacy while soaking was more a myth than a reality. We ended up removing all of the jury-rigged repairs and rebuilding the privacy walls, including patching all of the mysterious peep holes that had appeared over the years. At least for the foreseeable future folks can now soak in private; if they want to. Many who come to the hot springs don't appear to worry about seeing or being seen au-natural.
Mt Hood from Larch Mountain

Our friend Teri from Seattle is now working on a project in Vancouver which is only a short drive from where we live. She visited last weekend and we traveled up to the Columbia Gorge to check out the view from Larch Mountain. We drove up to the parking area and took a short hike to an elevation of 4056' where we had a spectacular view or 5 of the highest peaks in the northwest. With the exception of a small stand of trees we had almost a 360 degree view. We could see Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens, Mt Adams, Mt Hood and Mt Jefferson.

While Teri was in town she and Joan decided to visit two gardens' the Portland Rose Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden. 

Eventually we all got hungry and decided to go out to dinner. I was tired and decided to get rid of the girls; so I took them to the chic dump.

Tad's is a well-known eatery in Troutdale; the current owners have owned it since the 1950's. It sits on the Sandy River and has seating that overlooks the water.

Our PC is 4 years old and had begun to show signs of its age; frayed power cord, a battery that would not hold a charge and frequent unexplained hiccups while surfing or emailing. Last week the screen began flickering anytime the PC or the lid was moved. As you're probably aware it's very difficult to use the PC when you can't see the screen. So out with the old, in with the new; we decided to go shopping. We found a bargain and picked up a new Dell PC. That's when the fun started as I needed to transfer all of our documents, pics and other data. For the last few days we've been fine tuning and personalizing the PC for ease of use. So please bear with us as we learn our way around the new PC.

Stayed Tuned. More to Come.