2001 - 2002 Journal
Here it is the First of May 2001 and we are still sitting in our driveway. We have been here for six weeks now and still have things to work on. Seems like there are so many things that need to be taken care of with the camper and the new truck. The biggest job was installing a new generator in the fifth wheel as the old one was too large to fit on the new truck without hitting the fifth wheel when we turn sharp.
The weather has not been very cooperative with temperatures in the 20s at night and only into the 50s and 60s during the day. Did get a few nice days and grabbed a quick trip to the lake for a morning of fishing. Caught only two but had fun.
We made a short trip over to Portland to visit with Len's sisters. Also managed to grab a lunch with the old gang at Tektronix one day. Sylvia also caught a lunch with the gang at Seaswirl.
It has been a long time since I have touched this journal (it is now July 7th) so I will attempt to get it up to date quickly……..
May ended up being a pretty busy month for us. Len installed a new generator in the fifth Wheel. It is a propane powered unit so we no longer need to worry about carrying gasoline as we did for the old one. Plus it is installed in the fifth wheel versus in the back of the truck so there are no cords to run in between. We also installed an auxiliary (over/under) transmission on the truck to (hopefully) improve the fuel economy.
We made a week long trip to the Oregon Coast (Reedsport area) and spent some time crabbing and fishing (neither was very good). Did catch three legal Dungeness Crab and very much enjoyed them. Mark (our son) and Chase (grandson) came over and spent one night with us while there. They had planned to stay longer but Chase was a little bored with "camping" after one night in their tent. Also had a good friend from Corvallis (Len's best man at our wedding) spend two nights with us while there.
While there we received word from Len's mother's caregiver was having problems with her and we elected to move her to a secure Alzheimer's care facility. Fortunately, Len's sisters in Portland were able to locate a wonderful facility and we moved her in the day after Memorial Day.
The following day we headed for our favorite Lake (Magone) where we spent four weeks. Fishing was great (Len actually got tired of eating fish!). We saw a lot of old friends who make an annual pilgrimage to the lake as well as meeting several new people.
We had brought our big boat with us to make a few day trips to Unity Lake for some fishing but we only managed to make one trip with our dear friends Glenn & Rosie from John Day. The water level was so low the fishing was terrible and the local marine deputy thought there would only be one more week of usage from the boat ramp. We decided to take the boat home and park it in the barn! Perhaps next year will be better!
On one of our trips to town for supplies, we were lucky enough to see a cinnamon brown bear along the road. Unfortunately, we did not get the camera out quick enough. This was the first bear we have seen near Magone lake in all the years we have been coming here.
After four weeks at Magone we traveled about 80 miles to the northeast to Anthony Lake were we have been for two weeks. While here we have taken a few hikes into the mountains nearby for some spectacular views (see Anthony Lake, Crawfish Lake & Lakes Lookout).
These hikes have been short (less than a mile) but the altitude gain has been tremendous. Combined with an overall altitude of about 8000 feet where the air is rather thin, these are pretty tough hikes for those of us who are not in the best of shape. One hike was to the top of a nearby mountain top (8500 feet) where the Forest Service used to have a fire lookout tower (Lakes Lookout). While at the top of the mountain, Sylvia saw a mountain goat way down the side of the mountain below us. Unfortunately, Len was taking pictures in another direction and missed it!
Another hike was to Hoffer Lakes just above Anthony Lake. This is a beautiful hike that ascends up about 500 feet in half a mile following a small creek that is more like a constant waterfall. The lakes themselves sit at the base of a huge granite mountain.
While here we have made a couple of trips into Baker City for supplies and a visit with Len's cousin and his wife. They even came up to the campground last weekend for dinner and a very enjoyable evening around the campfire.
After two weeks at Anthony Lake we traveled southwest to Olive Lake (near Granite, Oregon) where we stayed for five days. There is no drinking water available at Olive Lake so we were limited to how long we could stay by how much water we took in with us. We stayed for five days but not because of water - the fishing (I should say catching) was not good at all - only one fish hooked and I didn't get it into the boat.
The Olive Lake area is very pretty and plenty of hiking available. We managed to get in two good hikes. One around the lake (about 2.5 miles) and one to the Upper Olive Lake Reservoir (about 2 miles round trip). Olive Lake and the upper reservoir was once used as a water storage area for the Freemont Power House that supplied electricity to the local mines and a few small towns around Granite. The power plant was in operation from 1908 to 1967. Shortly after they shut down someone dynamited the upper reservoir so it is now just a meadow but still very pretty.
After Olive Lake we returned to Magone Lake. Fishing (catching) has not been very good here either. I suspect it is the hot weather we had earlier that brought out the bugs that has fattened the fish and they are not hungry now.
We spent the evening in town (John Day) last night at a demolition derby. Fun watching the smashing of perfectly good cars.
After nearly three weeks at Magone we sadly departed for home on August 7th and headed for home where we once again camped in the driveway for a few days. Len bought an aluminum boat to carry on the top of the truck (when we get a rack built). After four days at home we headed to Mosier Oregon where we had an invitation to spend two nights at the Columbia River Gorge Resort while they tried to sell us a membership in their organization. They did not convince us it was a good enough deal for us.
After the two nights in Mosier we continued on to Portland where we spent three days visiting with Len's sisters and mothern before heading on to Albany to visit our son and his family for a few days.
We returned home on September 19th and commenced working on a cabover boat rack for the new truck (with the help of a very good friend who did all the hard work - welding).
On August 26th we attended a reunion of Len's workmates from the old Tektronix facility in Redmond. Was great seeing everyone again! The following day we headed to Fall River about 20 miles south of Bend where we plan to spend 1-2 weeks if fishing is good.
After nearly two weeks at Fall River, we headed on toward Medford on September 6th stopping for one night along the Rouge River at Farewell Bend Campground (near Prospect). The next day we continued on to the Medford area for a visit with our daughter and her husband.
After a weekend in Medford we headed east to one of our old favorite campgrounds on the headwaters of the Sprague River northeast of Klamath Falls. After fishing the evening we arrived and the following morning with no luck at all, we decided to leave at lunch time. While hooking up we turned on the TV to check how the stock market was doing and WHAT A SHOCK! The World Trade Center had been attacked! The very idea of someone wanting to massacre thousands of people is just beyond comprehension! Somehow we will get through this tragedy.
We did continue on down the road - as we all must - and are now near the small town of Frenchglen, Oregon. While traveling here we passed the Cycle Oregon people - literally thousands of bicycles on the road.
September 13, 2001 finds us still camped at Page Springs BLM camground near Frenchglen. Today we took a drive through the Steens Mountains National Back Country Byway. What a ride it is - about 60 miles of gravel and sometimes rocky road that takes you from Frenchglen to the -literally - top of the mountains (9700 feet). Spectacular views of ancient glacial canyons and valleys. Deer, antelope, sheep and birds galore populate the area.
After a few days in Frenchglen, we headed north and to Magone Lake once again where we once again enjoyed great fishing and great friendships.
After three weeks at Magone we departed on October 9th in a flurry of light snow! We traveled east stopping at Mountain Home Air Force Base for two days of restocking, laundry and rest. We then traveled to Jackpot, Nevada where we paid our Nevada taxes at the casinos. Also took in a show at Cactus Petes - Bobby Vee! And what a show it was!
On the way to Jackpot we took the scenic route 30 around Twin Falls. This road follows the Snake River for several miles and there is an area where huge springs burst from the canyon walls. What a pretty drive!
After Jackpot we continued east to the Tooele Army Depot just west of Salt Lake City where we spent two days. When we left we were told by the people that are in charge of the campground that we should not have been allowed on the base due to security restrictions. We have encountered a high level of security at all of the bases but had not expected any closures.
After Tooele we headed on to the Flaming Gorge area in Southwest Wyoming. We had planned to spend several days there but the weather forecast looked like there would be snow in the Rockies later in the week so we decided to get on over them while the weather was good. We made it to Cheyenne on October 16th.
We spent six days camped at Warren AFB. While there we toured the State Capital, Governor's Mansion and explored the town. Cheyenne is a really nice small town of about 50,000.
While there we bought some material and made drapes for the camper. Also fixed the roof that we damaged coming in the front gate to the base. They have several barricades places across the road that you have to weave in and out of to gain access and we ended up too close to a tree on one side and it ripped the roofing material. Also had a chance to get a few other things done that needed done.
From Cheyenne we headed on east on Interstate 80 to Sidney, Nebraska where we made a brief stop at the Cabella's store - what a store they have! Stuffed heads and whole animals all over the store. Several stuffed animals displayed in "natural" surroundings. Bought a seat for my boat and a small smoker to smoke some trout in.
From Sidney we traveled another 45 miles east on Interstate 80 and then turned south on US385 into Colorado. We stopped at an old battle ground southeast of Wray (Beecher's Island) and will spend 2-3 days here and smoke some fish! Hadn't been here an hour and a local farmer pulled in and welcomed us to the park. Seems the locals maintain it for us visitors and it is strictly donations that keep it going! Even have electric for one rig (us tonight).
From Beecher's Island we continued on south to US50 and turned east into Kansas. We stopped for the night at a wildlife refuge near Sryacuse. The following day we traveled on into Dodge City where we had a wonderful weekend with dear friends. They spent all of Saturday showing us around the Big Basin area where we saw a heard of buffalo (actually drove through them!) and toured the old Dalton Gang hideout in Meade.
We then headed south into Oklahoma where we stopped at a Corps of Engineers campground at Fort Supply Lake. Caught a few catfish and smoked some more trout from Oregon. Unfortunately, the catfish were not big enough to be worth keeping. Perhaps next time.
After Fort Supply, we traveled on to Oklahoma City where we camped at Tinker AFB and spent three days with some old friends from our Tektronix days. While there, we took a day to see the Oklahoma City Memorial and also a trip to the old town of Guthrie (which used to be the capital of Oklahoma).
Oologah, Oklahoma, about 30 miles northeast of Tulsa was our next stop. We stayed at a nice Corps of Engineers campground right on Oolagah Lake. Again, did not catch any fish but had fun trying.
Next came Fort Gibson Lake near Wagoner, Oklahoma. Here I put the boat in the water and spent a few hours on the lake looking at fish on the fish finder. Will keep trying through the weekend. Len bought a casting net to attempt to catch some bait fish. Had some fun learning how to throw the darn thing. Did manage to get a few shad for bait. Hopefully, we can use it to catch a few shrimp when we get to Grand Isle, LA.
A week at Fort Gibson Lake was enough with the fishing soooo slow. We then headed to Branson, MO. Had a flat tire on the trailer on the way and had to replace it as it was getting worn pretty bad.
Branson managed to keep us for only two days. There are a lot of shows and things to do here but none of it appeals to us. There are lots of shows in town but none of them really appeal to our liking and we can't see spending money just to say we saw a show in Branson. Might as well head on down the road.
Next stop was another Corps of Engineers Park near Heber Springs, Arkansas. We stayed here for nearly a week and enjoyed some great weather (a little cool at night but nice during the day). I did not do any fishing here but came close to buying a license when I saw a NICE German Brown landed by a young man from Memphis (see Brown Trout). What a thrill to see him fighting that fish! It was hooked in it's side so it was very difficult to land and took nearly an hour!
After Heber Springs we continued east to Memphis. The first day here we visited Graceland and enjoyed the tour. Quite a place and they have it done very nice. Also did a little Christmas shopping while in Memphis. Enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving Day touring downtown Memphis.
After Memphis we headed south into Mississippi and hooked up with the Natchex Trace Parkway about 60 miles Northeast of Jackson. Stayed there two nights to avoid the Thanksgiving weekend traffic on the Sunday. We then continued south down the "Trace" stopping near Vicksburg.
From Vicksburg we continued to the end of the Trace at Natchez were we sat out a rain storm that stuck around for three days. We then made a final push to Grand Isle, LA, where we met up with our friends (one couple from Minnesota and another from New Hampshire) we had met here two years ago - like a reunion seeing everyone again. Fishing is not as good as it was last year - at least not yet. We still keep trying to find the right spot for the big Red Fish but have not found it yet.
We spent three weeks at Grand Isle and managed to catch a few nice fish. Our friends from New Hampshire departed after a week and headed for Arizona where they are to be hosts at one of the State Parks. We were joined by another couple we know from Magone Lake and they were traveling with a couple from Colorado. In all we had four couples together for nearly a month with two weeks at Grand Isle followed by two weeks in New Orleans for the holidays. We all ventured out to the town of Lutcher and watched the bonfires on the levee Christmas Eve.
Early January found us back at Grand Isle with our friends from Minnesota. We were joined on several different occasions by a good cajun friend from Dulac, LA. We spent a lot of time in the marsh in the boat and managed to catch a few fish but sure was not as good as we would have liked. We remained at Grand Isle through the middle of February because most campgrounds located along our route out of Louisiana were filling up for Mardi Gras. We did get to a couple of Mardi Gras parades and filled three bags with beads and various other throws. What an experience. One day we may make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras but this year was not a year we would like to be in big crowds.
After Grand Isle we traveled to Morgan City for a couple of days and then on to Abbeville, LA (with a stop at the Tabasco factory and Avory Island). We found Abbeville and the surrounding area to be very interesting. Had some great seafood and local crawfish while there. Didn't think I would like the latter but found them to be very good - enough to go back a few days later for a few more pounds!
We found ourselves in Texas the last week of February where we visited our good friend Duane in Willis (just north of Houston). Got in one afternoon of fishing on Lake Conroe (three small catfish and three small yellow bass). The catfish tasted great!
We then continued west to Lake Georgetown just north of Austin where we spent a week. While there we both ended up with the flu bug. We then continued on south to the New Braunfels area where we spent six days at Canyon Lake. The entire time at Georgetown and at Canyon Lake say freezing temperatures nearly every night and quite cold days.
We then traveled west to Kerrville for four days where we were joined by our friends from Hondo (75 miles south of Kerrville). While in Kerrville we toured the Fredricksburg area and made a side trip to Luckenbach. Did some fishing in the Guadalupe River (nothing to brag about but a few tugs on the line).
After Kerrville we returned to Hondo with our friends and spent a week with them. While there we also got in some fishing at Lake Medina and at least caught enough for a meal! We then headed north west through the Texas Hill Country and spent the night at a small county park in Menard.
We then continued north to Lamesa (about 100 miles south of Amarillo) where we found a nice city park (with water and electric) that is free for four days. Stayed there for two days. Long enough to pick up two new traveling companions. Five week old kittens - one black with a kink in it's tail (Kinkie) and one tiger striped (Texie). At least that is the names for now. Both traveled well to Roswell, NM today by sleeping in Sylvia's lap the entire trip of 170 miles.
We toured the UFO museum today. Interesting and worth the stop.
After Roswell we continued on westward stopping along the way at the Smoky Bear Visitor Center and Museum in Capitan, NM. Interesting and educational for children. They have even buried the original Smoky Bear there as he was originally found as a small cub just a few miles from Capitan. We then continued on west to Magdaleno, a small town about 100 miles from the Arizona border on US60. While there we attended a local actors club production of a play written by the club about life here in Magdaleo in the 1930s. Quite enjoyable. We also took a day trip to the old ghost town of Kelly and then a ride to the top of Mount Baldy (10,500 feet) - a rough ride but well worth the trip for the tremendous views from the top!
From Magdaleno we continued on westward stopping for a night in the small town of Springerville, AZ before touring the Petrified National Forest National Park. The park contains some beautiful country and lots of petrified rocks. Even one entire petrified tree bridge (about 75 feet long) over a small dry wash.
The end of March (Easter weekend) finds us dry camped on the shore of Lake Powell in southern Utah. Very pretty area if you like the high mesas of the west. We spent a total of four days at Lake Powell and then continued west to Hurricane, UT for a couple of days. Once again there is a lot of pretty country with colorful hills and ridges virtually everywhere you look. Got into some really warm weather in Hurricane - mid 80s! Time to head north!
From Hurricane we headed west into Nevada stopping only twice - once at a roadside rest area and once in Hawthorne. We then continued on into California stopping for a night at Beale AFB and then on to Lake Sonoma via Clear Lake. We stayed at Lake Sonoma for four days and had a great visit with Len's Aunt, cousin and some old military friends.
Unfortunately, the stay at Lake Sonoma was not all good. Our old dog (Dover) was so sick one morning that she couldn't even carry her own weight. A quick visit to the vet revealed she was bleeding internally and the vet suspected a tumor had hemoraged. She was so old (12) and weak we decided to have her put to sleep rather than risky surgery. She had been a faithful companion for a long time and we will miss her dearly!
We also started having trouble with the truck transmission. It does not want to go into reverse. Forward gears are fine. I had installed an after market computer program to get a little more power and you have to take it out and re-install the original program before taking it to a Ford dealer. For some reason the programmer would not let me re-program it so I had to call the manufacture and have them send me a new programmer. We are attempting to make it to Southern Oregon before taking the truck to a dealer so we can visit with family while waiting for repairs. The heck of it is, the warranty ran out 2000 miles ago!!!!
We then headed up the California coast (US 101) to Southern Oregon and a visit with our daughter and her husband. While visiting with them we also had the truck repaired at Butler Ford in Ashland. They replaced the transmission under warranty (even though it had expired 2800 miles earlier). We had to pay $267 (10%) of the total - not a bad deal. Made us a believer in Ford trucks!
We then headed north for a visit with our son and his family in Albany then on to Portland for a visit with Len's sisters and Mother before returning to Madras.
After spending three weeks parked in the driveway at home we headed for Magone Lake on May 20th. We found the campground nearly deserted with only two other campers here. Even our favorite host is not here yet! Weather is pretty cool with rain and some snow. Managed to get the boat in the water and catch a limit of fish the first day here!
It is now June 9th 2002 and we have been here at Magone Lake for three weeks. This morning we woke up to 2 ½ inches of snow and a winter wonderland. Doesn’t do much for the fishing spirit but it is pretty! Our camp host (Betty Jo) had her annual potluck yesterday – cold and snowing for that too!
We made a short trip north last week to see some old friends who are building a house just south of Battle Mountain near Ukiah. Great place for a house with a view of a HUGE meadow from their future living room. Elk, deer and many other critters abound! We also scouted a couple of areas to camp for a few days along the North Fork of the John Day River. We plan to head that way later this week.
After a little more than three weeks at Magone Lake we departed on June 13 and headed north for about 70 miles. We found a nice place to camp right along the North Fork of the John Day River about 60 miles south of Pendleton. We spent two nights there, fished a little and had some friends from Ukiah over for dinner one evening and sat around the fire swapping stories. We then headed on to Portland for a three day stay and visit with family.
From Portland we headed on to the Oregon Coast at Astoria where we spent a night at Camp Rilea, an Oregon National Guard post. While there we visited the Fort Clatsop Memorial where Lewis and Clark spent the winter. Also stopped at Fort Stevens State Park for a look at the wreck of the Peter Iredale which washed ashore during a storm in 1906 – amazing there is still remains there.
From Astoria we headed north into Washington and the Long Beach Peninsula where we were guest of Sunrise Resorts while they tried to sell us a membership.
After Long Beach we returned to Oregon for a wedding at Spirit Mountain Casino in Grand Ronde. From there we returned home to Madras for a couple of days before returning to Magone Lake for another 3-4 weeks.
We left Magone in late July and headed for Southern Oregon where we met up with our daughter and son-in-law at Hyatt Reservoir for a week of great camping with his family. The lake had had an algae bloom and most of the trout had been killed so we did not do any fishing. As I understand, this lake is usually great for fishing. We then headed for the Northern California coast and commenced to drive north with a short stop in Brookings and then a week in Winchester Bay. Crabbing was great and we froze several pounds of good crag meat.
We then returned home and began the process of clearing out our house and getting it ready to rent. Amazing how much "stuff" one collects over the years. We had a huge yard sale the end of September and then hit the road with brief stops in Portland, Albany and Ashland to visit family before heading south.
After our "brief" stops in Portland and Albany we continued on to Ashland. Our stop in Ashland was anything but brief. We found another fifth wheel that we both like and made a deal. Our stay here in Ashland will be nearly two weeks by the time we take delivery and move everything to the new unit.
After taking delivery on October 16th, 2002, we spent two hectic days in the River City RV storage lot moving "stuff" and re-installing solar panels and generator. Most of the "stuff" found a place but I am sure it will move several times before it finds a place it really likes. Still have a lot of work to do to get things like we want them (shelves in the washer and dryer cabinet and some drawers in the kitchen pantry) but we are quite comfortable with it – and it pulls easily with the truck. I do notice the extra weight but the truck does quite well with it!
We left Medford after two days of "moving" and made it to Alturas, CA. From Alturas we continued on to Carson City, NV, Death Valley, Pahrump, NV and Quartzsite, AZ where we are staying in some dear friends yard for a couple of days.
Have had good luck with the truck and trailer. No real issues other than an overheated transmission dropping into Death Valley – no harm done though. Continuing to organize "stuff" and look for other items we can’t remember where they were put. Sooner or later we will get it all together!
The first week of November 2002 finds us in Southern Arizona. Had a touch of bad luck when the black water tank backed up on us in Quartzsite and I had to literally tear the drain pipe out to unclog it. Seems the previous owners did not know how to take care of a black water tank and things had solidified to the point nothing else could enter the tank. Talk about a "crappy" job!
We spent a week in Yuma while Len had three crowns installed in Mexico. A whole lot cheaper than at home – a quarter of the price! After that we traveled on to Gila Bend for a few days and then on to Benson, AZ where we spent a week exploring the local area.
From there we continued on east through Deming, NM and on into Texas. We started having trouble with the brakes on the trailer as we entered Texas and finally discovered three out of four magnets were defective. We made short stops in El Paso, Fort Stockton and Del Rio before an extended stop in Hondo with our good friend Walt and Chris. While there we repaired the brakes on the trailer and replaced the converter.
After Hondo we continued east to the little town of Navasota (NW of Houston) where we spent three days waiting for the rain to stop. From there we headed on into Willis, TX where we stayed with an old grade school pal of Len’s for a week. From there we continued on into Louisiana.
The middle of December 2002 found us back at Grand Isle for an extended stay. They are working on installing water and electric in the majority of the park here but there has only been two other campers here for the last week. It is very quite and peaceful. Fishing is fair and I am catching enough to feed us all we want to eat.
We ended the year at Grand Isle. Fishing never did get much better but still had a great time. The campground did get a little busy over the holidays but emptied out soon after New Years.