12/30/07: After leaving Laughlin we spent a couple of nights with friends Ann & Loydd in Quartzsite. They have a beautiful lot out at Rainbow Acres with a park model and spend most of the year there - thankful for the air conditioning! They are old friends from Magone and we always have a great to visit with them. We then continued on south to Yuma for a visit with some more friends from Magone and, again, a very good visit. Went to dinner with Gary and Nan one evening and then drove around looking at all the Christmas lights and ended up running into the light parade in the Yuma foothills - quite a sight to see!
From Yuma it was east to Gila Bend for three days followed by a "dash" to Texas. Left Gila Bend on the Saturday before Christmas and traveled daily until the day after Christmas when we landed near Del Rio at the Air Force campground on Lake Amistad. Nice place if the wind hadn't been blowing all the time.
It is a huge lake on the Rio Grande River that is supposed to be THE premier bass fishing lake in the country. Didn't give it a try because of the wind but enjoyed our stay and we needed a rest from five days of driving.
We are now in Hondo, TX at the Escapee park (Lone Star Corral) and will remain here for a week or ten days - at least until our mail catches up with us. Expect to have a great visit with friends here also.
12/16/08: We left Death Valley on the 11th and headed on over to Laughlin, Nevada where we made our donations to the casinos. Stayed three days at the Riverside Casino RV Park way back in the back. Very peaceful being away from the main drag. While there we took a day trip over to Oatman, Arizona. This is an old gold mining town dating back into the 1800's and most of the buildings there are nearly one hundred years old. Lots of gift (junk) shops and a few galleries with some very nice stuff. Good thing we don't have room for that sort of thing. The only thing missing the day we were there was the wild burros that normally wander the streets looking for handouts. Here are a couple of pictures of the main street (old Route 66):
12/8/07: We left Petaluma on the 5th and traveled over the mountains to Verdi, NV (just west of Reno). Good thing we came over when we did as it snowed heavy the following day. Only spent one night in the Boomtown parking lot and headed on south to Beatty, NV. Hadn't planned on going quite that far but forecast was calling for snow on the valley floor the next day so elected to continue far enough south to avoid the snow.
Came on into Death Valley yesterday and are camped at Stove Pipe Wells campground - nothing more than a large gravel parking lot with room for nearly 200 campers. Only about six in here at the moment. Had quite a storm last night with snow at higher elevations and lots of rain here in the valley.
Took a ride to Scotty's Castle yesterday afternoon and took the house tour. Quite a fascinating place. Today we took a 150 mile ride over Emigrant Pass with detours to Mosaic Canyon, Aguerebery Point and the Charcoal Kilns. Both of the latter points are above 6500 feet and we encountered up to 3-4 inches of snow at times.
12/2/07: Left Medford on Tuesday and traveled to Redding, CA where we had the trailer axles aligned because we were having some unusual tire wear on one tire. Alignment was not bad enough on any one axle but, perhaps, with all of them being slightly out it was enough to cause the wear. We now know alignment is fine so on we go. Alignment shop got us in a day earlier than expected so we continued on down the road to the Orland area where we camped at the Corps of Engineers campground at Black Butte Lake about eight miles west of Orland. Spent two nights there and then on to Petaluma, CA where we are camped at the Two Rock Coast Guard Training Center up in the hills above Petaluma.
While we were in Redding waiting for them to align the trailer we took a ride out to the Sundial Park. Beautiful park full of riding and hiking trails along the Sacramento River. Unfortunately, it was Tuesday and all of the attractions (museum and gardens) were closed. Still a nice place to visit.
Enjoying time here with family (aunt and two cousins) as well as friends from our Navy days.
11/24/07: After a week of poor crabbing in Winchester Bay we gave it up and headed on to Medford area for a visit with daughter and her family. I think we ended up with about 8 or 9 dungeness crabs in two weeks of crabbing - pretty dismal!
Daughter and family are doing great. We enjoyed a deep fried turkey with them on Thursday and, as usual, we all ate too much. Sure was good though! Grand daughter is growing up way too fast - just turned four and already 40 inches tall! Going to be like her dad at 6'8"! We cheated and had a little mini Christmas the day we arrived here so we could enjoy her opening a few gifts.
Took the truck in for a checkup Wednesday and driving home discovered the cruise control, exhaust brake and speedometer no longer function so it is back to the shop Monday morning. They had done some "minor" reprogramming of the computer to better control the engine temperature but I think they made a little bo-bo in the process.
Had planned to leave here Tuesday but looking at the weather we may decide to go Monday if they get the truck fixed early enough. Looks like snow over the Siskiyous on Tuesday and I would just as soon not be driving in it! Stopping in Redding to have the trailer axles aligned and then on to Santa Rosa area for a few days.
11/13/08: Before we left Madras we had a few days with friends from Pendleton and Kettle Falls. Both arrived at our house on Tuesday and stayed through the following weekend. Had a great time with them showing them the sights around Central Oregon including one day touring around the Camp Sherman area. While there I wanted to show them a beautiful sight where Jack Creek bubbles out of the side of a hill. Unfortunately, I forgot what road I had to take and I spent a considerable amount of time hearing "Len doesn't know Jack". We finally did find it but the ribbing continues to this day! Along the way we did come across a rather unusual sight which the ladies quickly decided must be the famed "Jack". See for yourself.
We spent a week in the Portland area visiting friends and family. Dinner at cousin Carol's and other family dinner gatherings at some local eateries. Picked up a small boat trailer that can easily be knocked down and hauled on the boat rack of the truck. Will now be able to use the new car for fishing as well as local touring. AND it really is looking like my predictions regarding overall fuel savings were indeed correct. Had we had just the truck AND we did all the same "running around" we would have spent over $230 more on fuel just in the last three weeks!
From Portland we traveled over to the Oregon coast and spent a week at South Beach State Park near Newport. Spent several hours crabbing on the pier under the bridge and caught a few dungeness and lots of red rock crabs. Crabbing seems to be a little on the slow side this year. Had two grand kids over for the long weekend and took them out to the marine science center and both of the light houses near Newport. The old lighthouse is supposedly haunted and the kids got a kick out of that. Plus the 110 step climb to the top of the still active Yaquina Head light was a thrill for them but my knees were rubber by the time I reached the top!
Left Newport this morning and continued on down the coast to Winchester Bay were we are going to remain camped right next to the crabbing pier for a week. Hopefully, a few more crabs will find their way to the pot! So far today only small ones that cannot be kept.
10/18/08: Have managed to get most everything done that we wanted to get done here at the house. The rest can be left until next year.
We have been thinking about getting a new vehicle to replace our 17 year old Dodge Caravan and we finally bit the bullet yesterday and bought a 2007 Toyota RAV4. Supposed to get 28 mpg so will take it south with us (Sylvia will follow me) and use it for all of our running around. Should save significantly on fuel costs.
Weather continues to get cooler and having hard winds and rain today.
10/2/07: Time to head south????? After cooking dinner in the slow cooker tonight, out black cat Kinkie crawled into the bottom of the cooker while it was still warm. Telling us something I think..........
Finished installing the new disc brakes on the trailer yesterday. Took five days to get it done but I think we will like them. Need to take it out for a test run tomorrow to ensure everything is working correctly. Not really too hard to convert a trailer if you have the tools to work with.
We had a nice visit with a couple we met on the road in North Dakota last year. They were passing though the area and we met for lunch in Sisters yesterday. After hearing of our adventure at Chickahominy they decided to detour and catch a few of the trout there. Also had a visit with Len's cousins while in Sisters.
9/21/07: Moved on to Chickahominy Reservoir today (after having a tire fixed on the trailer). Not a bad place out here in the middle of the desert but I sure would not want to be here in the heat of the summer. Beautiful day today and caught a few fish this evening. A 16 inch rainbow and two 14 inchers. Nice and fat too! Should taste great after smoking them! Will try to get a few more tomorrow!
9/20/07: We remained in Madras through Labor Day. The day after Labor Day found us back at Magone camped in the host site but not hosting. Three other long time Magone campers joined us and we all had a great time visiting, catching fish and just having fun. Fishing was quite good and we left with four large bags of trout fillets to smoke at a later date. Campground was rather busy with bow hunters but it seemed their luck was not so good - not one animal was brought into camp!
We left the lake Tuesday and spent the night in John Day where we had a new Dish Network HD-DVR installed. We have been having trouble with the old standard receiver so decided to upgrade. Having fun learning all the features of the new system now and have several movies recorded that need to be watched. Amazing how much video they can store!
From John Day we headed south to Burns for a brief stay at the Indian casino and a visit with some Magone friends who live here in the Burns area. Actually walked out of the casino ahead for a change! Not much but better than the alternative! We will be headed on west to the Riley area for a brief stop at Chickahonimy Reservoir tomorrow.
8/28/07: We had a wonderful two and a half months at Magone Lake this year. No serious issues, just good friends and fun. We left the end of July and returned to our house in Madras. The previous renters still had LOTS of junk piled around including six disabled vehicles. We expected we would end up footing the bill to get rid of all of it but were surprised when they spent the last few days of July carting it ALL off! There were several things in the house that had to be repaired or replaced but we are nearly done with everything now. My cousin and his family have moved in to house sit for us for about a year when we plan to put it on the market.
The week after we returned found us hitting the road again for a five day campout with several cousins on Len's Mother's side of the family. Nice few days at Cold Springs Campground just west of Sisters, Oregon. From there we headed south for another five days with our daughter and her family at Hyatt Lake near Ashland. Great time in both places - nice not being the host for a change! We returned to Madras and have been busy here for the last couple of weeks.
6/28/07: It has been a great month here at Magone. Memorial Day weekend was a fairly quiet one this year with about a third of the campsites unoccupied. As usual several of our "regulars" returned for visits and helped gather a firewood supply for the summer. All together we fell, bucked, split and stacked nearly nine cord this year. Thanks to all that helped!!!
The middle of June saw the arrival of the "Lebanon crowd" for the annual get together. Even the previous host Betty Jo stayed for a few days. What a great time we all have when they arrive - potlucks, turkey fry, fish fry - the food goes on for days! I will post a few photos of their visit on the Magone Lake website (www.magonelake.com).
Soon after the departure of the Lebanon gang even more friends/regulars arrived keeping us company and enhancing our job as hosts! Thanks to one and all.
Fishing has been pretty good so far this year - at least for those with boats. We see limits of nice 11-14 inch trout coming off of the lake daily. Even one 16 inch rainbow caught by a ten year old girl - was she ever proud of that one.
We have had some problems with critters getting into the trailer. I spent several days trying to locate and plug any entry points they may have. Hopefully, they are now trapped in the trailer and all I need to do is trap them one by one - caught a pack rat and two mice in the last day. Can't believe they build these trailers and leave holes where the darn critters can get in!!
We went out on a "critter cruise" with Tom & Mary one evening and spotted a nice four point bull elk just outside the campground. He even let us take a few flash photos of him before running away. Unfortunately, he was a little too far away to get a photo good enough to post.
5/21/07: We left the coast after only four days and headed back inland with a short stop in Lebanon hoping to get the boat rack but, unfortunately, it was not ready. Sooooo, we headed on to Sisters for a short visit with Len's cousins and then on to Magone where we are now set up and hosting or a few months.
Have been quite busy getting the campground and the new water system operational. Still not quite ready with the water but should be ready by Memorial Day weekend. Managed to get in some fishing and caught enough to smoke a large batch last week. Sure do taste good!
Had quite a few of the spring regulars here last week and over the weekend. Sure great seeing everyone again! Now we will see who shows up for the Holiday weekend. Even had some friends we met last year in Colorado stop by for a few days. They hosted in Arizona for last few years and we had stopped to see them there last spring. Great meeting new people on the road and then reconnecting later to catch up on where each other has been!
Woke up to snow on the ground this morning and ended up with nearly two inches in places before noon. Sure made the campground and the whole forest a pretty place. Still cold and wet though!
5/2/07: Spent nearly a week in Medford with daughter and her family. Had to cut the visit short when our house sitter called saying the septic was backing up into the house. Made a speed run back to Madras and had the tank pumped and all was well. Could have done it from afar but decided we had better go check things out a little closer. Only spent two nights there and then headed to the coast where we spend a few days just north of Newport at Beverly Beach State Park. Nice park but we were a looooonnnnng way from the beach - close to a mile walk. Did some crabbing and managed to catch a few but would have liked to had some more! Left the coast yesterday and returned to Lebanon where we are once again at Darlene's house while we wait for the boat rack for the boat to be finished sometime early (we hope) next week.
Here are a few photos taken at the coast and one of our place in Madras:
4/16/07: Great week with family in the Portland area. Had two visits with ophthalmologist for checkup on eyes and must return in about two months for a follow-up. Headed on down to Lebanon on Saturday where we are once again camped in Darlene's driveway. Great seeing old friends again.
Put some new tires on the rear of the truck this morning and then dropped the boat rack off for a new powder coat. It was beginning to look pretty bad with all the rust we picked up on the Gulf Coast this winter. Going to meet with another couple for lunch that come to Magone frequently - have not seen them in a couple of years so should be a nice lunch.
Will be leaving here Wednesday and heading for Medford and a visit with daughter and her family.
4/9/07: From the Carlsbad area we continued north and west to Albuquerque. Stayed at the Air Force Base for three nights. Took a day trip up the old Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe and then back down Interstate 25. Stopped at the old mining town of Madrid on the trail. The town had been abandoned twice and then in the 70s a group of hippies moved in and reclaimed the town. Today it consists of many small arts and crafts boutiques. Still nothing but old buildings and dirt streets (except for the main drag). Interesting little town.
From Albuquerque we continued on in a northwesterly direction to SE Utah. We had planned to stay a few days around Moab and take in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks but we found that Moab was having their annual "Spring Jeep Fling" (or something like that) and the place was packed with off-road people. Needless to say, we chose to continue onward. We did get sidelined one day in Monticello, Utah when we hit a blizzard south of Moab. It only lasted for a half an hour or so but we decided to just park it to be safe. Ended up with about 2-3 inches.
From Monticello we made a beeline for Salt Lake City while the weather was good. Spent two nights there and then on to Mountain Home, Idaho for a single night. Had planned to travel on to Unity Lake in Eastern Oregon for a couple of days but when we arrived we discovered the campground was closed! Even after checking the State Park web site AND calling ahead to make sure it was opened. So we continued on to the John Day area where we stayed for two days and had a great visit with friends.
Then it was on to Madras for a few days and dinner with friends again. Our peaceful little place in the country there has certainly changed! Our nearest neighbor used to be a half mile away. Now they are in our backyard. What was once 270 acres of open rangeland behind us is now two and a half acre lots. Here is a look at what it looks like today:
Four days in Madras and then it was on to Oregon City where we are currently sitting for a few days. Had a great morning to travel over the Cascade Mountains. Here are a couple photos of the snow capped mountains:
3/26/07: While in Carlsbad we took a day trip down to Carlsbad Caverns and took a hike in via the natural entrance. This entrance descends from the surface down to a depth of over 800 feet down a twisting and turning one mile long trail. Once inside we hiked throughout the Big Room section of the cavern, another one and a half mile of trails. We did not make it through the Kings Palace section this time (we had been through it back in 2002). Here are a few photos taken inside the cavern:
Here are some shots of the local flowers:
3/23/07: We stayed at Serendipity for a month and then moved on to Hondo (west of San Antonio) on March 9th. Had planned on doing a couple of small repairs/upgrades to the trailer while in Hondo buy our dear friend (and RV repairman) was having a good look at the trailer and pointed out that the underbelly lining was hanging down in one area more than it should. I took a closer look and found the area under the fresh water tank had sagged down below the frame. A call to the manufacturer confirmed this was not good! Walt and I then began to investigate further and discovered there was a large amount of water accumulated below the tank. Walt is small enough to get into areas where I cannot and he discovered the shower had a leak that resulted in the water running down through the floor and into the area of the water tank. The support for the water tank (a piece of 1/2 inch plywood) had become so saturated with water it bowed downward about 2-3 inches. Needless to say, the manufacture is paying for the repairs and we are once again on the road.
We had a wonderful time while in Hondo. Great seeing old friends again and over the last few years we have got to know many of the folks who have lots in the park and it is always good to see them again. Spent several evenings with Chris and Walt and even had an opportunity to get Al & Jeanie to the park and dinner with Chris & Walt. Made a trip to Bandera Wednesday night for dinner at the 11th Street Bar where you bring your own steak and grill it on their grill and for $2 you get a plate of veggies along with open air courtyard and live music! Chris and Walt joined us along with John and Barbara (who we met in Palacios) - great company and fun! Not a bad deal so if you are ever in Bandera on a Wednesday night.....
Also had an opportunity to connect with a young man from Oregon who is in the Air Force. Son of the local Sheriff where we host and he had just graduated from tech school last week so we picked him up for a night with us and dinner in the Hill Country. We felt it was quite an honor to have him with us for a few hours.
We left Hondo yesterday and traveled west to Sanderson, Texas and then on to Lakewood, New Mexico (north of Carlsbad) where we are staying at another Escapee park (The Ranch). Had quite a thunderstorm last night in Sanderson and I think it followed us here today. Not long after we got set up a nasty cell passed over and dumped golf ball sized hail on us. Had some minor damage to the trailer but nothing serious (that I have found yet). Still under severe weather alert status with tornados earlier in the day (north of here). Plan to stay here until the weather clears a little.
3/1/07: Been here at Serendipity Bay Resort for three week now. Our friends Al & Jeanie from Washington are also here plus we have met several other folks as well. One English couple (John & Barbara) who now live in Canada have been here for a couple of weeks and we have thoroughly enjoyed their company. Several evenings have been shared by all. We had a few folks over for a fish fry and John & Barbara had everyone over for a breakfast consisting of eggs in a bag. We were all quite impressed with the idea (and taste) of putting a couple of eggs in a bag with a few other items like bacon, cheese, peppers, onions, etc. and then sealing the bag and throwing it into a pot of boiling water. Turns out really good and hardly any cleanup!
Our weather has finically became tolerable with temperatures in the mid 70s and no rain to speak of for over ten days now! Quite enjoyable! Fishing has been slow - catching fish but nothing to brag about for several days. Caught several salt water catfish and some stingrays yesterday so still having fun.
We are somewhat disappointed with the RV park here this year. We had planned to stay at the same park we stayed last year but they have closed and we switched to Serendipity. Not a bad park but very crowded and hardly any room between sites. At the price they charge, we expect a little more. Needless to say, we probably will not return here. We plan to plan to stay here until next Friday and then on to the San Antonio area for a few days.
The area here is quite nice and the town of Palacios is fine. Here are a few photos of the park and Palacios:
2/14/07: Departed Quintana Beach on the ninth and continued west to the small town of Palacios, Texas. We have stayed here a couple of times in the past but at a different RV Park. Would have liked to have gone back to the old one (Bayside RV Park) but they have closed it down and plan to build condominiums there. So, we are staying at a different on (Serendipity Bay Resort) which is across the bay from the other one. Many of the same people from Bayside are also here. It is not a bad park but we would still prefer the other one.
Our friends Al & Jeanie from Washington joined us on Saturday. We all plan to stay here for a month before heading west. Al & Len went out on a fishing charter Sunday. Went on an old 1950s vintage U.S. Navy Torpedo Recovery Boat (TRB36) that saw service in Hawaii and Washington for many years. While it is not a fancy boat, it was comfortable to fish from. It is 70 feet long with a very large rear deck area. Here are a couple of photos: TRB36.JPG & TRB36_1.JPG I caught a small (about 20 inch) sand eel and a LARGE black drum (about 25 pounds and 40 plus inches). Here he is: Fish.JPG Only one other fish was caught on the boat - a small whiting. We had all had just about tired of fishing with nothing to show for it and it was getting cold so we all agreed it was time to return to the dock. I started to reel my line in and thought I had a snag and figured I would have to break my line. By now the boat was untied from (and drifting away from) the oil rig we were fishing at. Then the fight began! I was using a light pole with only 10 or 15 pound test line PLUS he was foul hooked in the dorsal fin - talk about a struggle. Took about twenty minutes to get him in the boat.
2/1/07: We departed Grand Isle on the 28th after nearly three months. Had a great send off dinner party Saturday at Butch & Betty's house. Several of their (and now ours) friends were also there. Great having one last gathering and a chance to say farewell to everyone. Really some great people living in Grand Isle.
Fishing was not the best the last few weeks. I think the cold weather had a lot to do with it. There were still a few being caught but no where near what it was like back in November. Perhaps Texas will be a little better!
The folks we met in North Dakota last fall (Ken & Joanne Parsons) arrived at Grand Isle a week before we left. Gave us a chance to get acquainted and swap a few RVing tales. They are from Eastern Oregon (La Grande), not far from Magone Lake so we expect to see them sometime this coming summer.
From Grand Isle we traveled northwest to Kinder and stayed two nights at the Indian casino there. Len did fairly well but Sylvia lost it as quick as he won it! From Kinder, it was on to the Texas Gulf Coast at Crystal Beach (just east of Galveston Island). Then it was on to Quintana Beach just south of Freeport where we will stay for about a week and a half. Hope to do some fishing here!
1/15/07: Already two weeks into the new year - WOW! We sent Jacob back to Oregon on the 6th after three weeks here in Louisiana. I think he really enjoyed himself while here. Could have caught a few more fish but we had fun trying regardless. Watching him bringing in a twenty pound redfish was more fun that actually catching one myself!
Our friends Al & Jeanie from Washington have been here with us since before Christmas. Al & Len have been devoting a large amount of time to fishing but have not had a lot of luck - just a load of fun trying. I think it is the weather that has slowed the fish down a little. Did manage to catch a small black tip shark last week (see Black Tip Shark.JPG). Have had a large infestation of Portuguese Man of War jellyfish (see Jellyfish1.JPG) the last few days - perhaps that is impacting the fishing. Walking on the beach there are literally thousands of them lying/dying in the sand.
Have had to local folks we have met over for a couple of cookouts. Seems we have been accepted by Grand Isle now. Even got a call to come and help put new netting over their butterfly dome last week. Sure glad we got to know the Chief of Police and a couple of the patrol officers. Got stopped at a roadblock last week where they were checking for insurance and I did not have my insurance card in the truck. Chief just said "show me later". Any other place I would have probably been towed.