Saturday, August 25, 2012

An Indecent Proposal?

We've been burning the candle at both ends this week. Our workweek started early on Sunday as we were shifting days to allow us to take more time off with Jim and Debbie. The work week flew by filled with the various tasks it takes to maintain the campgrounds.
We hiked the 1.5 miles up to Bagby Hot Springs on Monday taking the 'mule' with us. The mule is a DR Hauler, motorized wheelbarrow used to move materials and supplies along the narrow trails in the forest. Our Operations Manager, Maintenance Supervisor and the Forest Service Administrator were scheduled to inspect Bagby and we needed to make sure it was in good shape before they visited.

Jim and Debbie were scheduled to land in Portland at 8:30 Wednesday night. We finished work early Wednesday afternoon and headed to Portland to pick up our car following the A/C repairs  and meet our friend Terri from Seattle for dinner. While we were at dinner we got a text from Jim updating us that their flight had been late leaving Florida; had arrived late in Denver; they quickly boarded their next flight only to have that plane end up with a mechanical problem; deplaned and boarded another plane that would be an hour late leaving Denver.

Care to Guess What Kind of Donut This Is?

So we stopped at Voodoo Donuts and picked up a few snacks for when they landed.

They eventually arrived in Portland at 10:02pm, then waited until 11:05 for their luggage. They had not had a chance to eat since leaving Florida 11 hours earlier so we stopped at Denny's on the way home. When we finally arrived home at 1am PST/4amEST they had been awake for almost 24 hours.

Jim, Debbie & Joan

We hit the ground running Thursday morning with a trip to the Columbia River Gorge, Vista House, Multanomah Falls and Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery. We followed that up Friday with a trip to Mt St Helen and Mt Rainier.

Saturday we slowed down a little and took a drive to Larch Mountain with its 360 degree view of the gorge and surrounding mountains. Then we drove home along some scenic back-roads that we've been exploring over the last few months. Saturday night was hot dogs over a campfire, before packing for a 4-day trip through southern Oregon and northern California. I'll write a little more about that next week.

Do you remember the 1993 movie Indecent Proposal starring Robert Redford? For those of you who may not, the plot was that a billionaire (Redford) offered a married couple $1million to spend one night with the wife. I ran into a situation that made me think of this movie earlier in the week. If you read the blog last week you remember the title was "What Next?" with the blog describing some of the financially impacting events that occurred during the week. That Friday the car's A/C compressor went out and had to be replaced. That Saturday the microwave/convection oven went out and we had to purchase a new unit for the RV. Well that trend continued into this week. After spending a little over $2000 the week before I had another potential $2000 decision to make. So the question to you readers is............

What would you do for $2000? Take off all your clothes and streak through a public place?  Join the Polar Bear Club and jump into a freezing/frozen pond? Stand in front of a packed stadium and sing the national anthem? How about what I had to do....

On Monday while eating lunch I got a severe pain from one of my teeth as I was drinking. It didn't take long to figure out I had lost a crown from one of my molars. I hadn't felt it as I chewed. I hadn't spit it out. And I had it when I started eating. That means I must have swallowed it. And what is the cost of a new crown. With the multiple visits to the dentist; costs of a temporary crown and permanent crown...close to $2000. Or I could choose Door #2...RECOVER the swallowed crown. EEEEEEWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!! Once we were home I started researching on the internet; specifically 'How long does it take to digest food' and 'How to recover a swallowed crown'. The answer to the first question is anywhere from 24 to 72 hours average; maybe as long as 5 days. The answer to the second question....well I think you know the answer to that one. I quickly assembled the necessary materials for the.......RECOVERY and began the vigil. I had to be ready anytime and anyplace to make the RECOVERY. Ever ready just like the Minute Men of the Revolutionary War; always prepared just like the Boy Scouts; Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night shall stay this carrier from his appointed rounds; that was me! Attempt #1 came the next day. Strike One. Yuck. Attempt #2 the next morning. Strike Two. Double Yuck. Attempt #3 a few hours later and Ding Ding Ding, We have a Winner; Houston the Eagle has landed. The third time was the charm. Yes ladies and gentlemen, only a mere 48 hours after losing the crown it was safe and sound in my sanitary-gloved hands. Then on Friday, my birthday, I visited the dentist and the wayward crown was sanitized to within an inch of its life before being restored to its rightful place. So far everything has been great. I can eat and drink without pain or discomfort.

So the question is......"Would you recover a lost crown for the right price?" 

Oh P.S. There has been one little cliche with the crown. Joan says now she can't tell whether I've burped or passed gas!

Stay Tuned. More to Come.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What Next?

With our friends Jim and Debbie scheduled to arrive this Wednesday we have been doing all that we can to get things work and at home. We're even changing our work days to allow us to put together a few more days off while they're here.

Thanks Dad
I received a package from home Thursday. My father has been creating stained glass items for close to 20 years. We have several of his pieces in the MH already including 3 lamps ( 1 custom made to match the interior of the MH), 3 sun-catchers that hang in the windows and a large 30" x 30" window with a custom design he made for our home several years ago. This hangs in the front windshield when we are parked. When I opened the package I found a new piece of artwork. My dad applied a design I created several years ago and created a piece of art out of FOSJ. It looks great hanging in our living room.

We got a confirmation from Amazon this week that we would begin work the week of October 28th in Fernly Nevada. Our job here should end during the first two weeks of October, giving us a couple weeks to relax and travel from Oregon to Nevada.

Returning from an employee outing last week we discovered an alternative scenic route along our path home. On Friday Joan decided we should explore it a little further. We rode around the back roads for several hours enjoying the varying scenery and different views of Mt Hood. Mid afternoon we pulled over to take a couple of pictures.

When we got back in the car we discovered we had a little problem; the car's air conditioner wasn't working; and the temps were in the high 90's. We headed back towards town and as soon as we had a cell signal we called the local dealership. We got an appointment and started the 60+ mile drive to their location......on the far side of Portland.....taking several of the main highways and stop and go traffic.......during Friday afternoon rush hour 97 degree temps......without A/ was it hot!

That Ain't a Florida Tag
Once at the dealership we got a loaner car and headed home. A short time later we got the bad news; the compressor needed to be replaced. The parts are ordered and we expect to pick the car up this Wednesday when we head into Portland to pick up Jim and Debbie at the airport.

Let's see.....hmmmmm......the red wire goes here and the
black wire goes there. Or is it the red wire goes there and

Saturday we were doing some odds and ends at home when Joan attempted to use the microwave to heat up some water to make sugar water for the hummingbird feeders. Note the key word.....'attempted'. The microwave worked for about 2 seconds before it went completely dead. Last week it had popped a breaker while cooking. I checked the breaker and it was OK. After checking the owners manual I tested the electric outlet and determined it was OK as well. That left only the microwave as the culprit. After a little research, talking with our warranty company and the local Campers World looking for options we decided to simply purchase a new microwave and install it ourselves. So the rest of Saturday was spent on a trip to Best Buy and installation of the new oven. It fits well, looks good and works great.

This week turned out to be one of the most expensive ones we've experienced since we started full-timing. Even so we are not deterred. We both believe it's not a matter of 'if' something will happen, but more 'when' something will happen. You can prepare yourself to handle the unexpected. We are having a blast and it's been worth every penny.

That all for now. The next two weeks should be really great with Jim and Debbie here. Stay Tuned. More to Come.

P.S.  I want to wish Steve a happy birthday.  The adventure has been exciting. Look forward to many more years. Love you!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Midnight Dumpster Diving

Another busy week in the Mt Hood National Forest this week. We welcomed an incoming camphost couple Jim and Sandy after saying good bye to a couple that left last week.

Oregon Trail Chiropractic Crackers Coed Softball Team
Wednesday and Thursday were the last two nights of our coed softball season. We finished the regular season 7-7....not too bad for a brand new team. On Saturday we competed in a double elimination tournament where we finished 1-2. Joan and I met a great group of folks playing for this team and we will miss interacting with them as much as we will miss the games.

Midweek we had a bit of a situation that could have turned out really bad. As we got ready to go to bed Thursday night Joan began to open and close all of the drawers and cabinets in the RV searching for something. At first I wasn't sure what was going on, then I noticed she was starting to get desperate. When I asked what she was looking for she responded "I can't find my sleeping pills." Red Alert, Code Blue, Aaaaaauuuuuuuugga, Dive, Dive! I knew right away this could be really bad. I immediately joined her in her search. After 15-20 minutes of checking, re-checking and even triple-checking some places we started talking about what she did during the day. After a few minutes of this discussion I suggested that she might have accidentally thrown them out in the garbage. "No way" said she, "I guess I'll just sit up all night." Using all my relationship skills, personal charm, wits and wisdom (honed to a razor sharp edge over the last 7 years of our relationship) I persuaded her to don her rubber  gloves and go dumpster diving. "I'll go with you and hold the flashlight" I volunteered. So, close to midnight, dressed in our finest PJ's we pulled on our shoes, unlocked the door and headed out to ....... the dumpster. Opening the lid we were able to spot the bag she had dumped earlier in the day. But she couldn't reach it. Stevie to the rescue and soon the bag was on the ground beside her. She tore open the bag, avoiding most of the months-old 'stuff' that she had cleaned out of the fridge earlier in the day. And soon, to her chagrin, the flashlight revealed a slightly dirty prescription bottle. The real garbage was returned to the dumpster, Joan was reunited with her little friends, and we both got a good nights' sleep.

Friday we went to the movies and saw the new Tommie Lee Jones movie 'Hope Springs'. We both enjoyed it. We also stopped by CW and picked up a couple things for the RV. Sunday we went to a post season party for our softball team and had a great day with our new friends.

That's all for now. Stay Tuned. More to Come.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gumby Anyone?

August......already......really? What happened to all the other months? Our time here in Oregon is really flying by; as are our work days. Monday is water day. Joan and I are responsible to deliver water to our camphosts located in campgrounds without running water. Additionally we resupply our camphosts with firewood. Several of our camphosts are selling 50-60 bundles of wood each weekend, so we're kept rather busy keeping them stocked.

On Tuesday we fill in as camphosts at Lazy Bend CG. Later that morning we embarked on a journey to single-handedly paint most of the signs in the forest (if you believe that I've got some ocean-front, mountain-top, riverside, timbered, lakefront pastureland I can sell you). 

What a job; first we sanded and sealed a wooden sign in front of the Ripplebrook Store.

Then we drove to 2 of our more remote CGs to paint their 'Gumby'. Ever wonder why they're called 'Gumby'? Think about it..... By the time we were done it was almost sundown. It takes quite a bit of time to paint all of those letters.

Wednesday was Bagby day. We checked in at four CG's along the way where the camphosts were taking a day off and everyone of them had campers that needed to be checked in. As soon as we arrived at Bagby I headed to the CG and Joan hiked the 1.5 mile trail up to the hot springs. One of the things Joan had to check on was a reported campfire that may have gotten out of control at a dispersed camping site just past the hot springs. I offered to hike up and check the fire, but she said she could handle it. After ensuring the campfire had been put out she finished the chores at the top and returned to the campground. I spent my time checking in campers, finishing the paint striping of the parking lot and greeting folks headed up to soak in the hot springs.

Thursday Joan had the day off while I filled in at several other campgrounds. She took advantage of the day and went out for a manicure/pedicure; her first since we left Florida in March. How do you like the hot pink?
Hubba Hubba!

Friday was the start of a 3-day weekend for us and we headed out early. First stop....a Triple D (Diners, Drive-ins & Dives) restaurant called Pine State Biscuits in Portland. There was a line out the door, but we got in after 5-10 minutes. Not bad...try it if you happen to be in town and looking for a little southern breakfast food. 

Then it was on to Mt Rainier. What an awe-inspiring sight. 

We drove through the park stopping numerous times to look and take pictures; pictures that do not do it justice. 

The route back included 75 miles along Forest Road 25 through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. We were 1 mile from the Columbia River Gorge when we spotted a herd of 50+ elk grazing in an undeveloped subdivision. We turned around and drove through, taking pictures of the elk less than 20' from the car.

Saturday turned out to be just like Florida....with the car thermometer showing 100 degrees. The RV started heating up so we bailed out to .... where else.... the mall.. Joan said that was a clear indicator we're officially RVers. First time we've visited a mall since March...nothing has changed...all the major stores are still there...along with all the early and pre-teens.

Shout out to DD....Happy Birthday Dave.

Also birthday wishes to Debbie and BNF Katie. Those birthdays appear to be hard on you.

What Gives?
Debbie Before

Debbie After
Katie Before

Katie After

More to come. Stay Tuned