Mar 28, 2014

Mar 29 - A Few Days in the Seattle Area

We're in the Seattle area for a few days to spend some long overdue time with our son and daughter-in-law... JT and Kaytlyn. Mostly due to my knee-jerk dislike of big cities and congested traffic, we don't get up this way often enough. (Have I mentioned lately how much I like big cities and congestion??)

This super-duo is expecting our third grandchild (their first) in the next couple months. And we "ain't" going anywhere far until that little newborn is here and safe. With the big event drawing closer preparation activity has picked up considerably as boxes of new baby furniture are piling up and the previous "guest room" is being converted into a kids room. But no need to worry about where we'll sleep now that we have a truck camper that can serve as our "mobile apartment". Visiting friends and relatives that don't happen to have a 40' long level bushouse parking pad next to their house has become much easier.

And after a spectacular string of really nice Spring days over the last week or two, we're back to a more normal PNW March pattern. It's important to remember that rain is a key necessary element to the environment of this part of the USA.

Mar 20, 2014

Mar 20 - Sabbatical II Progress Update

In the Pacific Northwest. March 20

Finally, a long overdue update to this sad neglected blog. Over three weeks this time so here's a shot at bringing the record up-to-date.

Bushouse: Friday March 7th we moved the bushouse from Portland to Timber Valley SKP Co-op Park in Sutherlin Oregon, which will become our Northwestern homebase for the foreseeable future. For those unfamiliar with the SKP co-op park concept, it's basically a membership park whereby members have rights to a specific lot until such time as they decide to terminate their membership and turn the lot back over to the park. The park then finds a new member from the active waiting list. For travelers like Dar and I, this is an ideal and low-cost means to keep a year-round homebase while continuing to travel and explore. The membership fee (about $10k or $11k at this time... varies by park) is returned to you when you terminate your membership. So the only real cost is the lost interest on the membership fee (and we all know how much that is these days...) and an annual maintenance fee that keeps the park (roads, infrastructure, clubhouse, etc) in good operating order. The annual maintenance at Timber Valley is a little over $1000/year. We're number 6 on the active waiting list at this time... which we think will net us a membership by sometime this summer. Until that time we're renting on a monthly basis. For the foreseeable future and until this Sabbatical II thing settles out a bit, we're going to keep the bushouse as our primary "home".

Truck and Camper. To the chagrin of the subdivision's HOA, the truck and camper have been parked at our daughter and SIL's home since the 13th. The plan is to take it to the Seattle area for a few days later this month when we will spend some time with our son and DIL. They're expecting a new baby about June 1 and are in the process of converting the "guest room" into a "babies room". Thus we have no quarters when we visit and plan to use the TC as our mobile apartment... if, that is, I can fit it through a very narrow space between some landscaping and their house. For this upcoming visit, if we can't get it into the desired spot alongside their house, we may have to camp on the street. Wonder what the authorities will say about that? (Those people from Wisconsin... always causing problems.) It's always an adventure.

Another camper? (Well, here they go again!) Since we took delivery of the Northstar Arrow camper in September we've both been bothered by something -- it's really too big for the way we're planning to use it. Mounted on the truck, it's almost as high as the bushouse, something that was particularly noticeable when they were parked next to each other at the RV park in Portland. As we post-audited our process it became clear we lost sight of the main objective -- nimbleness -- and got caught up in the hubbub of features and benefits. The Northstar is a great unit for going camping but we're planning to travel with it... get off the beaten track... go places no man has ever been before. Well, maybe that's an overstatement, but you get the general idea. And what am I leading up to? We're in the process of getting another, but much smaller, truck camper. In about 6 weeks we should have a Four Wheel Camper "Hawk model" mounted on the back of our truck. The Northstar will be put on the block for sale and we'll have more adapting and adjusting to do. Regardless, we both feel much better about this decision. And, we're both looking forward to getting out into the Cascades, the Canadian Rockies, spending time on Vancouver Island, and heading to Alaska about a year from now.

Besides all that, we've been splitting our time between Portland and Sutherlin the past few weeks. As the weather improves so has my spirits. And we've been doing a little local exploring too.  But more on that in a later post.

Beyond Branson; Pondering Future Travel

This past Tuesday, we moved from Branson to a very nice Corps of Engineer’s Park on Wappapello Lake.  We’re in the Redman Creek CG. This fac...