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Showing posts from September, 2011

Sep 30 - Portland Area

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It's been days since my last post and it's time to update the journal. We're still here in the Portland/Vancouver area visiting family and will be for about another week. Our main focus has been the two hombres (aka the Grandsons) but we're also trying to fit in some visits with friends from the old days. While here we get to attend birthday bashes and other extended-family events and get-togethers.

Then there are the occasional local explorations like the one last weekend where Grandson Ryan and I made an assault on Beacon Rock about a half hour up the Columbia River Gorge. This over 800 foot tall monolith is the hardened lava plug of an ancient volcanic vent... the rest of it eroded away long ago. Named Beacon Rock by the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery, it's a landmark of note that's hard for me to ignore. And by the way, both the 6 and 60 year old explorers completed the climb with energy to spare.

The weather is changing too, from the normal quiet dry…

Brief Kid-Watch Update

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We've been on the job now for over a week... full time too. These two little guys both wear us down and lift us up... at the same time. How is that possible?  It's exhausting work but there's no where we'd rather be or anything we'd rather be doing.





Haven't had much "online" time, or time to write... opting instead for time with these two.
We think they're worth it.

New Specs for the Bus-House

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or.....
"I Can See Clearly Now"
Here's the scoop on our windshield. I had previously written about my crack problem and some valiant attempts to extend the windshield's life after it finally succumbed to a fifth rock impact during it's short life. But all my efforts subsequently failed. It was over. Time to throw in the towel. So officially... for the books, our average windshield life is 37,000 miles and just shy of 5 years. We saw a lot of the country through that glass during its time.

But you know how averages can leave one with an altered understanding of reality. And as we once again head down the road, in just a few weeks, I'll be extra vigilant and not a little fearful lest a rock-spewing gravel truck merges ahead of us... dramatically and quickly lowering that average. Oh no... say it ain't so Joe!

 With replacement inevitable, I called our insurance agent... who had me call the insurance company's claims office... who had me call the …

Roll On, Columbia...

Well, we're here. Firmly "rv-parked" in Portland, just west of the airport on the north side of town... not far from the mighty Columbia River, and a little-longer-than-expected drive to our daughter, son-in-law, and grandkid's home, optimistically a little less than a half hour away.

We got in just after noon yesterday, Friday, after an incredibly scenic drive down the Columbia Gorge. We've done this drive dozens of times during our years living in the Northwest and it still seem fresh and new and full of new discoveries today. Due to high-pressure, heat (mid 90's for a few days), and some wild fires up in the mountains, visibility was a little restricted and the haze made photography less than ideal. But it's just spectacular regardless.

First order of business was to fill the diesel tank. After filling the side of a paper grocery store bag with cipherin' and stickin' my finger in the air for an estimate of wind speed and direction, I took a cha…

Lolo Pass Road

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The day after Labor Day, Tuesday the 6th, we broke camp at Square Dance Center near Lolo, MT., and pointed the bus-house nose on a westerly and uphill course following US-12 toward the Idaho border. This is precisely the path taken by Lewis and Clark back in 1805, and a route we'd taken a few years ago -- albeit in the opposite direction. It's one of our favorite scenic drives so it's no wonder neither of us spent much time considering alternate routes over the mountains. This is the one we'll do now, again, and, hopefully, many more times in the future.


The skies were clear but visibility was hampered by smoke from a number of fires in the surrounding hills. Persistent high pressure and low winds prevent the yuck from moving much so the day wasn't a good one for photos. Dar managed but the results certainly weren't great.



I don't want to duplicate what I wrote after our previous trip through here (May 2008) so I'll just say we, once again, thoroughly …

Fire!

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The topic of RV fires has been on my mind the past few months. You may remember that we have good friends who lost their motorhome to fire last September.  This past June popular online bloggers Ed and Marilyn had a fire that totaled their 5th wheel as they were toting it through Missouri. Last winter, a number of RVers reported that someone's RV burned to the ground out in the desert around Quartzsite. And in the past few days, near Yosemite National Park, a motorhome caught fire, set the surrounding hillside on fire, and blackened thousands of acres.

A couple years ago we drove through a campground, just checking it out, and found a completely burnt out chassis of a 5th wheel, surrounded by yellow police tape, sitting on a campsite while neighboring campers carried on normally... a strange and eerie sight to say the least. We never heard more about that one.

While the chance of having a fire in any RV is probably small, it's certainly statistically greater than a fire in a f…

No-Labor Labor Day

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We're camped at the Square Dance Center and Campground just a couple miles west of Lolo, MT. We stayed here back in May of 2008 during our eastward quest for the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery expedition. Despite the fact that neither Dar nor I are square dancers, they apparently feel we're OK people anyway and welcome us with open arms. It's one of the nicest campgrounds in the area and one we like because it's more like "camping" than "rv parking". We're "kicking back" and doing no labor whatsoever today... just reading, writing, playing with photos, or whatever else we feel like doing.

The campground is right on the banks of Lolo Creek, which flows down from Lolo Pass and the Bitterroot Mountains about 20 miles to the west. In 1804, the L&C boys established a camp they called Travelers Rest near here, and then followed Lolo Creek up and into the Bitterroots on their way west. I'd like to think they walked right throug…

Movin' On Down the Road

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This will be another quick update, as we're getting ready to hit the road again in the morning.

We left Gillette on Friday morning about 9am. With Bozeman MT in our sights, and since it was looking like a good driving day, I thought we'd be able to complete the 380 miles with plenty of reserve energy left to enjoy dinner with my brother... a denizen of the fine city of Bozeman. We made good time and the drive was quite agreeable until we turned due west near Billings... and ran smack dab into a 30 - 40 mph gusty headwind. I had drawn the straw to drive this leg and by the time we made Bozeman, some three hours later... well, lets just say it was time to relax.


Update on the windshield crack I attempted to stop the other day:  The cross-scoring of the crack with a glass cutter idea failed completely. As we drove against that strong headwind today we could see the crack growing as the big sheet of glass held back the almost 100 mph combined wind speed. At this point we're re…