12/13/09: Caught three more reds today (23", 28" & 29") and had to add another photo:
12/12/09: We left Hondo the day after Thanksgiving. Had a great Thanksgiving Day dinner at the park clubhouse. Several people volunteer to cook the meal and most everyone else volunteers to eat it! They charged three bucks a head for the meal and it would be hard to beat that.
Came down to Matagorda to the same RV park we stayed at last year. Getting here two months later has sure made a difference. Fishing is no where near what it was last year due to much colder temperatures. Been here for two weeks now and weather has been fit to go fishing about five days! Did manage to catch a few but certainly not the numbers of last year. Here is a sampling of the catch so far:
11/22/09: We arrived on our lot in Hondo, TX on November 8th. After leaving the Moab area we continued on southeast into New Mexico with stops in Farmington, Albuquerque, and Lakewood. While in Farmington we took a side trip to the Aztec Ruins National Monument. Very impressive structures they built nearly a thousand years ago! One section is still intact with original roof of wood! Here are a few photos:
Somewhere during the trip our water pump sprung a leak and filled the bottom of the trailer with water. Every time I stopped or went around a corner Sylvia would call on the radio and tell me water was coming out. Initially I figured we had picked up some water going through a rain storm but when it continued investigation discovered the water pump was leaking. Needless to say, this resulted some extensive work to dry everything out. Had to remove and replace the entire underbelly, insulation and water tank supports. Water had migrated to a point about 25 feet behind the water pump. Must have been a lot of water. Everything had to be replaced because mildew had started to form throughout. Been a busy two weeks! And to top it all off, when I was finishing up I put a screw into the fresh water tank so had to remove part of the new stuff and patch that - talk about stupid mistakes!
We plan to remain here through Thanksgiving Day and then head to Matagorda the day after. Expect to stay there a month.
11/1/09: From the Medford area we headed north (the wrong way!) to Lapine State Park. Had a doctors appointment on the 26th and received the all clear to resume normal activity. So, we began our "migration". Initially, it was east into Idaho and then south with stops near Juntura, OR, Glenns Ferry, ID and Hill AFB, UT. Couldn't seem to get away from the cold weather until today in Moab, UT. Nice weather here with temperature in the 60s made for a great day to drive out to Arches National Park for a short hike among the arches! Here are a few photos:
10/23/09: We sat in our driveway for four weeks waiting for me (Len) to recover. Actually went quite well. I had expected more side affects but am very happy with the outcome. Pathology reports indicate the cancer was indeed contained - VERY good news!
We left Madras ten days ago and traveled to Portland for a short visit with family and friends. From there it was south to the Medford area where we have been visiting daughter and her family. Will be leaving here on Sunday.
While sitting at our house I found a boat on Craig's list that is significantly better than my old one. Same length but much deeper hull. I will feel much safer when out in rough water. It is a 1997 Smokercraft Alaska Lite. Has a 20" transom and a 24" deep hull and came with an eight horse two stroke. Have not had it in the water yet but looking forward to getting it there!
9/18/09: Nearly a month since my last entry but it has been a busy one! Got tired of sitting in our driveway waiting for the surgery so headed to Magone Lake for some fishing and to take my mind off of everything that was going on. Had planned to stay until just before Labor Day but received news that dear friends from Hondo were coming up for a week so decided to stay an addition week and a half. Great week with them and it sure helped get through the final week before surgery on the 15th.
Doctor thinks the cancer was contained to the prostate but I am anxiously awaiting the final pathology report next week. Expect we will be staying here at the house for at least four weeks if not longer.
8/19/09: Had a PSA test done earlier this year that came back in with higher than normal readings so decided to visit a urologist. Ended up getting a prostate biopsy and, much to my surprise, it came back with cancer on both sides of my prostrate. We have surgery scheduled for September 22nd. Due to this unforeseen issue, we have had to revise our plans for this fall. Looks like we will be stuck here in Central Oregon through the end of October and will, most likely, take a more direct route to Texas than originally planned. Will have to see what the weather is doing when we depart.
8/2/09: Had a week a few miles east of Ashland at 5000 feet (Hyatt Reservoir). Great visit with daughter and her family. Oldest grand daughter spent a couple nights with us at the lake. Weather was very hot in the Medford area with temperature busting the 100 mark several days. Sure glad we were at higher elevation.
Helped son-in-law build a new front deck while there. Could only work in the morning due to the heat but the job got done. Looks pretty darn good too!
Returned to Madras last Monday. Had planned to return to Cold Springs but the weather forecast called for temperatures in the 100s all week so decided we would rather be plugged in rather than out in the woods with no air conditioning. Had a family get together in Sisters Friday. Cousins from across the state showed up for a great time - thanks for hosting it all Leslie!!
Son Mark is her for the week for his 20 year high school reunion. I think he is enjoying reconnecting with everyone. Great having him around also.
7/14/09: We left Magone the middle of June and spent three weeks at our house in Madras. Had some storm damage that still needed cleaned up but our house sitters had done a great job in getting the bulk of it cleaned up. Still had to replace the roof on the house though which took about six days to complete. This one should be the last one I will put on that house!
Also rebuilt the entire suspension on the trailer. Replaced all the shackle bolts and bushings and repacked all the wheel bearings. Lots of fun!!!
Finally took off last Tuesday and spent a week at Cold Springs campground near Sisters. Our son and his family came over for the weekend which made for a great weekend! Took a drive up into the forest southwest of Sisters and found some very scenic sights. Here are a couple of them:
Today we headed on south to Fall River near Sunriver. This is a very scenic waterway that just bubbles out of the ground about a half mile upstream from the campground. Plan to spend a week here and then on the Southern Oregon. Here is a view from our front door:
6/7/09: We have been here at Magone for nearly two weeks now. Fishing has been great for 9-11" rainbow trout. Lots of them have been in the smoker. Our friends Ton & Mary from Pendleton arrived about a week ago and we have been enjoying their company. And our friend Andy from Dallas, OR was here earlier and helped me gather plenty of firewood - THANKS ANDY!
Received word that we had some severe weather in Madras Thursday and lost a few trees. Made a trip over and discovered three large trees (a 50' poplar and two 40' maples) had been blown over (root ball and all). One had hit the corner of the barn but not to much damage, just a BIG mess to deal with. Neighbor indicated nearly two inches of rain and 60-70 MPH winds - very unusual for Central Oregon! Our house sitter's daughter and boyfriend are looking for firewood so, hopefully, they will get it cleaned up before we get back! Here are a couple of photos:
5/30/09: From Winnemucca, we headed on to Oregon entering about 70 miles east of Lakeview. Stopped at Goose Lake State Park just south of Lakeview for one night before heading on to the Medford area. Had planned to camp at Hyatt Lake but the weather had been rather cold so decided to stay in Talent near our daughter and her family. Great week with them as usual. From Talent it was on north to Lebanon and a week with son and his family. Again, a great week. Then on to Portland for eye doctor appointment and visit with sister and cousin. Landed back in Madras at our house for Memorial Day weekend.
Following the Holiday, we headed for Magone Lake. Many changes to the campground this year. All new picnic tables and all sites have been graded and/or filled to make them ADA accessible. Even added one new site in the main campground and one in the group area. Plus, they added five tent sites in the day use area - that is going to be interesting as they essentially took about half of the day use picnic area away!
5/2/09: Continued on north to Spanish Fork about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City. Spent two days there. Very nice town with two city operated RV parks. Didn't do much while there other than laundry. Here are a couple of photos of the area:
Continued on west to Wells, NV where we stayed one night before heading on to Winnemucca, NV. Had a little gamble and a good dinner at the Model T casino. Had a surprise today when I received an email from friends we had met in North Dakota a few years ago. They are camped down the road about 25 miles with a prospecting club. Met for lunch in town today.
One the wonders of modern technology, the satellite users group allows us to plot our location and he has his set up to notify him if anyone locates within a few miles of him. He saw us here and made the contact. Another great feature is a database of all reported positions over the last three years. A plot of our positions is shown on the following Google Earth screenshot:
Click to enlarge
Tomorrow we will be back in Oregon.
4/27/09: From Wellington we headed on north into Kansas where we had a great weekend with Len's Vietnam buddy. Once again he showed us around the area seeing new sights that even he had never taken the time to see. From a museum in Montezuma that was made possible by the estate of a couple from the area that traveled the world for fifty years. All kinds of stuff they had collected on their travels. Plus they have a guest exhibit area that changed every few weeks and currently has a kite display from China. From there we traveled east of Dodge City to Fort Larned, an old Sante Fe trail fort that is now a National Monument. Forgot to take the camera along to either place so no photos. Sorry!
From Kansas we headed west into Colorado. Spent two days in a small town of Blanca. Also toured old Fort Garland. Not as fancy as Fort Larned but still a lot of history there. From Blanca it was on to Pagosa Springs for four days. Connected up with a couple we had met at Rocky Mountain National Park five years ago. They introduced us to another couple from Washing that we will have to go and visit. Didn't get a chance to do much sightseeing as the weather was not that great and the snow level was not much higher than we were - about 7,000 feet.
From Pagosa Springs it was on into Utah yesterday. Took a ride out to the Needles Overlook yesterday afternoon and then up to Canyonlands National Park today. Very picturesque area around here. Unfortunately, there had been a light haze in the air so the photos have not turned out that great but will post a few below regardless.
4/14/09: After the Hog Festival we took a week and headed to Aransas Pass to see some old Navy friends and neighbors who were in the Rockport area doing some serious birding. They had drove down from Minneapolis and were staying several weeks. Great seeing them once again PLUS we convinced our friends from Hondo to come down for the weekend. All three of us (couples) had been neighbors back in the San Francisco area in the 1980-81 so it made for a great reunion. Walt and I even got in some good fishing while there. We stayed at a RV park that had once been a runway that ran out into Redfish Bay. They have a lighted pier at the end of the "runway" and the fish were plentiful. Just nothing big enough to keep!
After a week, we returned to Hondo for another week. Had a nice Easter dinner a day early with Chris & Walt plus a lady (Margaret) from the park and her grandson. Also made a trip up to Utopia for an afternoon with friends there.
Left Hondo Easter Sunday and traveled north on US 83 to the small town of Winters, TX were we stayed at a small city ran RV park in the heart of town. One night free and then $20 per night. Also found a campground (also ran by the city) on Winters Lake about six miles east of town and it appears the cost is even lower.
Spent two days in Winters then continued on north to a small county park just north of Wellington, TX. This spot was made famous by Bonnie & Clyde (and their gang) back in 1933 when they came flying down the road soon after the bridge had washed out and they went flying off into the river at high speed. They call it the The Red River Plunge of Bonnie & Clyde. We will do some exploring over the next couple of days.
3/29/09: Been enjoying the Texas weather the last week or so. Hosted a cookout last weekend and BBQ'd pork loin stuffed with shrimp and crab meat. Seemed to go over well with 13 people that were here. Then did a "redfish on the halfshell" this week. It is a fillet of redfish with the skin and scales still on. You place in on the grill and smother it with butter, lemon, garlic and other seasonings for an hour and a half (or so). Also went down well!
Yesterday (Saturday) we traveled west a few miles to the town of Sabinal where they had the annual Wild Hog Festival. They have the traditional booths with food and trinkets but the main event is the wild hog catching competition. They start with actual wild hogs caught around the area - feral hogs that have interbred with Russian boars and other varieties over the years. The first round is 3-5 year old kids and piglets. About a dozen kids in the arena and they release a dozen piglet for them to catch. What a hoot! Here is a short clip of them. Then they go up to the 6-10 year olds and slightly bigger pigs.
Then the competition begins! Teams of two people (men or women) have to catch a lone pig (the older the team, the bigger the pig), put it in a bag and drag it across a line in the arena. When they got to the larger people and pigs it got exciting with some ripped trousers and scraped skin. Here is a short clip of the ladies competition. And here is a clip from the heavyweight class.
3/19/09: Another busy week but we have now completed all of the upgrades to the lot for this spring. Perhaps next fall we will undertake additional upgrades. For now here is the "before and after".
We had great week with David & Sara. Weather was not the greatest with rain and cool temperatures but we did manage to get one day up into the Hill Country and a visit to the Texas Motorcycle Museum in Vanderpool. Australian fellow had put together a large (50-60 bikes) collection ranging from early 1900s up to the 60s. Some pretty interesting old machines.
3/9/09: It has been a busy week. The shed has been painted and all of the vegetation (except for one mountain laurel) has been removed along with the majority of the gravel. Next comes fresh gravel and a nice edging along the side and front of the lot. Latest photo.
Friends from Ontario (David & Sara) arrived for a visit today. The work here in the park will now take a short vacation while we enjoy their visit. Cooked a nice pork roast in the BBQ cooker this afternoon and had dinner with David & Sara, Walt & Chris and dear friend Margaret who lives here in the park.
3/6/09: Arrived here at the Escapee Park on Monday and took possession of lot #63 Tuesday morning. Lot was occupied by an elderly couple who had not been able to maintain it very well. Needless to say, it needs some TLC. We have managed to get it cleaned up some but still have a LOT of work to do but it mostly related to landscaping and painting the storage shed. Expect we will have it satisfactory in a couple of weeks. Here is a "before" photo and another after four days of TLC.
3/1/09: We left New Orleans on the 26th and traveled to Lake Charles where we stayed for three days. Last night we received notification that we have percolated to the top of the waiting list for a lot at the Hondo, Texas Escapee park so we are going directly there to complete the transaction. Expect to remain there for at least a month before heading on west.
2/24/09: Happy Mardi Gras! Ventured into the French Quarter today to see some the outrages costumes and behavior. Here are a few photos:
And here a few of the bare booby ones (without thumbnails for the bashful ones): Boobs1, Boobs2, Boobs3
2/22/09: A few more parades this week with the best one yet last night. Endymion is one of the premier night parades with beautifully lighted floats and LOADS of people (around 500,000 I heard last night). Unfortunately, I lost my phone sometime during the parade. Expecting the worst (someone finding it and placing calls to some exotic and expensive foreign land) I had it turned off as soon as we arrived back at camp. This morning a gentleman from Raceland (about 40 miles away) called and told it he had found it. He returned it an hour later and I am breathing a sigh of relief - no large bill and I don't have to buy a new phone!
Took a ride to Baton Rouge earlier in the week for a nice lunch with friends Kent & Jan. And then Wednesday it was down to Lafitte for lunch with Ron & Kay. Always nice to reconnect with friends we have met in our travels.
I took a few video clips at the dog parade last weekend and then again last night. You can see them here (caution, they are about 50MB files) Barkus.wmv & Endymion.wmv. Also here are a few more photos from yesterday:
2/15/09: A couple more parades today. First was the "Barkus" parade, a pet equivalent of the famed "Bacchus" parade that will roll next week. Here are a few photos:
And here are some from the King Arthur parade:
2/14/09: Glad we didn't go to any parades last night - it poured rain nearly all night. Did make it to a couple this morning here on the West Bank. Kind of local parades and no where near what the downtown parades are. At least it didn't rain. Here are a few photos for you:
2/11/09: We had to leave the military park after two weeks because we were in one of the "short term" spots and there were no longer term sites available. I had ordered a replacement modem for our satellite system and it had not arrived so we only moved about three miles to Rocky Bayou State Park. A very nice park and only $12 a night. Stayed there three days and then headed west to Gulfport for two night before heading on to New Orleans where we arrived this morning. Will stay here for two weeks and take in another Mardi Gras before heading for Texas again. Expect to return to Matagorda Bay around the first of March.
We did receive the replacement modem the day after we left the military park. Ended up sending it back because they had sent a reconditioned unit. I had ordered a NEW unit with the expectation it would indeed be a new unit with a full twelve month warranty. Ended up with a used unit and a ninety day warranty - certainly not worth the $150 it cost!
1/27/09: We moved east to Niceville, Florida where we are camping at the Maxwell-Gunter Recreation Area, actually located on Eglin AFB property but operated by Maxwell AFB. Nice park with lots of trees and located right on Choctawhatchee Bay. Only problem is the Mid-Bay Bridge passes right through the park producing considerable traffic noise.
Have toured the local area from Pensacola to Panama City in the last week. Very pretty area with emerald green water and white sand beaches. Lots of people in the area though. Today on our trip to Panama City we took the "scenic" route along the coast through Panama City Beach. I don't know where they get the "scenic" part of it because you just drive down between tall buildings on both sides of the street with an occasional glimps of the Gulf of Mexico. The Destin area is actually much more attractive.
1/21/09: Been here in Bay St. Louis for a month now. Been a good month and a
nice park but we have decided to move on east a little ways. Heading
for Niceville, Florida in the morning. Will spend at least two weeks
there and then decide where to go from there. Had a hard time deciding
whether to head back to Texas or east to Florida. One day it was
Texas, the next Florida. Mostly me (Len) couldn't make up my mind
whether to head back towards Oregon or keep going east.
Had a little excitement here Saturday night. We had just gotten into bed when we heard a loud bang - bang - bang - bang - bang followed by multiple sirens. We didn't go outside to see what was going on (figured it was safer to stay inside) but found out the next day there was a convict from a nearby county jail who had been transported to a medical facility and when they were returning him to a transport van and return to jail he broke free and jumped into a waiting car and speed off. Late Saturday evening a local officer stopped the car and then it speed off. They chased it down the road in front of the park here and shot at it attempting stop it. They got it stopped but the car ended up catching fire. Total of over 20 rounds were fired and the car was a total loss. Over 25 squad cars in the road. Road was closed for over 12 hours. The convict and his girlfriend (get away driver) are now both in jail. All this occurred about 100 yards down the road from the campground entrance. Little too close for me!
1/16/09: We are still at the Bay Hide Away RV Park. Weather has turned cold with tonight's temperature supposed to be in the low 20s! Pretty cold for Mississippi Gulf Coast! Even too cold to think about fishing! Better than the pouring rain last week!
We had a nice visit from friends from the 70s when we were stationed in New London, Connecticut. Dave and Vonnie now live in Covington, Kentucky and had a three day trip to one of the Biloxi casinos last week. Spent most of the day Friday with them. Great remembering those days with them.
We took a day trip over to the Gulf Shores, Alabama earlier this week looking for potential campground to move to. The State Park at Gulf Shores is quite nice but that whole area is very crowded. Not sure we would like it there. We also visited the Escapees park near Summerdale and found it to be more to our liking as the area is much less crowded. We may move over there in a few weeks. We returned via the Mobile Bay Ferry which cut of several miles of driving but we were sure lucky in our arrival. Ferry departed just after we boarded and it is a one and a half hour turn around - would have been a long wait for it to return. Bit of a shock at the toll - $20.50 one way for a car and two people!
1/1/09: HAPPY NEW YEAR! We begin 2009 at the Bay Hide Away RV Park near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The gracious owners of the park hosted a New Years Eve social around the fire in the campground pavilion. Great opportunity to meet other campers here in the park. Many are full time residents living here while working on construction projects in the area. Others, like us, are avid RVers. Today the owners again hosted a New Years Day "traditional" dinner of cabbage, collard greens, black eyed peas and various other delectable treats. Again, meeting fellow campers was the main objective.
Much to our surprise our friends from Matagorda, Texas showed up midway through the lunch. Somewhat of a shock as we did not know they were coming. Even Rita's email from yesterday did not mention the planned stop so I think they really wanted to surprise us. They sure did!