November 2007 Archives

Awake: 6:42am Temp 40 sleep 6+38 sunny overnight @ Lodi, CA.

Kathy drives to downtown Lodi & visits the Urgent Care facility; her sinus condition is a little better but she’s wondering if another dose of antibiotics is necessary. Dr. Ghavami however, says “NO” & instead gave her an antihistamine nasal spray, then sent her on her way. While she was doing that, I prepped the bus for travel.

We leave the Lodi RV Park @ 11:51am; (8 mile road) west to I-5, north to I-80 to West Sacramento arriving @ 12:50pm.

Our new friend Randy B. took time out from his busy retirement schedule to check out this KOA campground, making sure it would be suitable & convenient enough for us to pay him & his wife, Mary Ann, a visit during our stay. Thanks Randy; Mary Ann & I were classmates from grade school thru high school in PA.

Today’s travel: 47 miles 59 min 7.9 gal used 6.0 mpg 47 avg speed.

Miky, the KOA office worker led us to our campsite, a long & skinny pull thru with trees on both sides. Basically it took an hr to get here & an hr of maneuvering so we could open all (4) slides without getting them too close to the trees.

When I call Randy, he invites us to their residence in Davis (9) miles to join them for dinner.

Meanwhile, K & I check out a brand new Super Wal-Mart just down the road from our campground; painted a different color than most on the outside & really large & clean.

We spend about (40) min with Mary Ann & Randy at their residence & meet their youngest son, Jan, who is temporarily living with them while working in Sacramento during the week. He commutes to Santa Rosa to be with his wife over the weekend. With little knowledge of Jan, he quickly reminds me of his father, Randy, who I am learning, is very meticulous, accurate & exacting about the work he does.

From here, Randy & Mary Ann take us to downtown Davis (15) min to rendezvous with their youngest daughter, Ann, who is in her senior yr @ U.C. Davis. From her apt in town, Ann rode her bike to Sophie’s Thai restaurant & joined us for dinner. We all shared our different choices of Thai food; interesting & tasty to our palates. We both took an instant liking to Ann, who is very lively, talkative, studious, meticulous, etc. We make sketchy plans for a gathering tomorrow.

Late movie: “The Seventh Veil” with James Mason, Ann Todd, Herbert Lom, Hugh McDermott, etc. Superb psychological drama of pianist Todd, left as ward to her neurotic cousin Mason. Psychiatrist Lom uses hypnosis to enable Todd to regain her professional & personal sanity. 1945. Don’t miss this one; Kathy nearly did.

Lights out: 12:27am

Awake: 7:47am Temp 43 sleep 7+09 high overcast overnight @ Lodi, CA.

Kathy does (2) loads of laundry & we both do some housecleaning & organizing this morning; we are expecting some distinguished guests this afternoon & want to look our best.

Mary Jo & Ed arrive @ 2:10pm for a tour & inspection of our home on wheels. M. J. had seen our home when visiting in PA in August & now she recognizes the changes. Kathy does a splendid job as tour guide & then we chat for nearly an hr before following them back to their homestead for the remainder of the afternoon & evening.

Back @ their place, Ed uncovers the classic 55 Chevy & he takes me for a ride. With a light chassis & 383 horsepower, this baby can scoot. It’s been awhile since my body was pressed against the seat from pure torque & acceleration but that Chevy could easily do it. It's not only a powerhouse but also a good looking head turner.

We return to find Kathy & Mary Jo playing a more advanced & challenging game of “Phase-10”; phases made up by Ed & Jenny. Mary Jo was the winner. Time now for Ed to dig deep into the pantry for more wine tasting choices; the count continues & (3) more bottles get their spoiled juices poured down the drain. Ed is convinced; he needs a wine cooler. The 4th bottle (1995) was good.

Dinner: Turkey noodle soup & a mixed salad; (homemade noodles from Nicktown).

We chat for awhile after dinner & then say our “thank you & goodbye to my Sister Mary Jo & husband Ed. We really enjoyed hanging out with them & spending time with the family. It was a fun & fruitful visit.

Late DVR movie: “A Touch of Blue” with Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, Elizabeth Hartman, etc. Sensitive drama of blind girl (Hartman) falling in love with black man (Poitier); well acted & not too sticky. 1965.

Lights out: 12:04am

Awake: 7:40 am Temp 40 sleep 5+26 sunny overnight @ Lodi, CA.

Grandson Matthew honors us again with a phone call from PA. He tells me about the visitors (Jason & Billie Anne) they had for Thanksgiving & how they had to leave early because Billie Anne got sick; he was very sad about that. Then he asked to talk to his Grandma & Matthew told her a similar story. Then Kathy & Melissa talk for a short time before Melissa has to supervise the boys playing “together.”

En route to Ed & Mary Jo’s homestead, little Andrew calls from PA. Kathy answers & the only thing Andrew said is: “G-daddy.” Then he became a bit shy, whispered something, & gave the phone to Melissa whereupon she & Kathy resumed their nice chat. Before arriving @ Ed & Mary Jo’s house, we grocery shop @ the Food for Less store & @ Safeway.

Then we spend about (2) hrs just sitting around the kitchen table talking with Mary Jo, Ed, Jenny, & Matt. Over the yrs, Ed has collected as gifts, bottles of wine; beginning in the 70’s. I was curious about how these collectables are holding up & so convinced Ed to open a few of the older yrs & have a wine tasting. 1st bottle, a 1979 Cabernet, the cork literally crumbled when trying to extract it & the red wine was not red. After a quick taste, the contents were poured down the kitchen drain. 2nd bottle, a 1984 Merlot; with jacket removed, the wine had already wetted the entire cork & the cork had to be spooned out & wine filtered; another drain victim. (4) bottles bad; Ed decided to pass over a few bottles & skip ahead to a 1999 bottle that was fit to drink. Tomorrow the tasting will continue.

Ed, Mary Jo, Jenny, Kathy & I attend the 5:30 vigil Mass @ Saint Anne’s church in downtown, Lodi. Afterward, Ed tours us thru his business office (5) min from the church. He & his partner’s offices are very clean, well organized & up-to-date with computer technology that Brian keeps a close eye on.

Back to the Ed & Mary Jo homestead for a dinner of: beef tips, white rice & green beans. Then more excitement added to our day: we (4) play over (2) hrs of the card game: “Phase 10.” Kathy was the winner by a phase. Not only was it a fun game but the abusive threats & conversation + the stiff competition along the way made for a “sit on the edge of your seat” kind of terror. There were moments that I barely realized: this is only a game!

We say our goodbyes to Jenny as she is leaving in the morning for Fresno, CA. We enjoyed her spunky & humorous personality, especially when playing card games.
Back to our bus @ 11:35pm
Lights out: 12:38am

Awake: 7:40am Temp 39 sleep 6+27 sunny overnight @ Lodi, CA.

Kathy is busy making soup from the turkey carcass of yesterday’s dinner, so I take time from my busy schedule & clean some of the water streaks off the exterior of our motor home caused by the Blue Beacon truck wash on Wednesday.

We visit Mary Jo & Jenny @ their place mid afternoon; both Ed & son Brian are either @ Ed’s office updating the company computers or they are finished with that & playing (18) holes of golf.
Meanwhile, K & I join Mary Jo & Jenny for nearly (2) hrs in playing the word game called: “Wordster.” It was fun & good exercise for our gray matter.

Ed & Brian return @ 5:00 pm after their competitive round of golf which ended shy of 18 holes by 3 due to darkness. Brian took care of Ed’s computer problem first. And now Brian is preparing to leave, planning to join a friend in Gilroy & then make their way back to San Diego. Chewy does not want to leave & seeks solace from anyone who will give it to him which is everyone since the whole family really likes him. After sad farewells, Brian & Chewy are on their way.

Today is Mary Jo’s birthday….so using (2) cars, the rest of us gather @ Strings Italian Café in town to celebrate this special occasion. K & I share an eggplant Parmesan dinner which was very good.

Upon returning to the Ed & Mary Jo home, Matt leaves to visit Valerie & Tristan for the evening. The rest of us spend too much time painfully looking @ my slide show on their big (42) inch screen. We leave & return to our bus by 11:20pm.

Watching Ed in his computer room upstairs trying to figure out how to load my camera’s memory stick on a DVD has inspired me to figure out how to show my slides on our (42) inch plasma TV. Newell upgraded one of our entertainment systems with a Marantz unit that I am still getting familiar with. By-golly, I finally got the combination right & the slide show works as it should. K & I review some of our slides from early 2007.

Lights out: 1:48am

“Happy Thanksgiving” you all. Awake: 6:33am Temp 39 sleep 7+06 sunny overnight @ Lodi, CA.

Nick calls from Seattle with a “Happy Thanksgiving” message. K & I share talk time; he tells us that Jerry knows a total of (30) words now; ½ Japanese, ½ English.

Kathy is busy this morning making a chocolate cream puff cake for dessert later.

We arrive @ Mary Jo & Ed’s homestead around 2:00pm. Everyone looks healthy; Jenny from Fresno, however, has a slight cold & announces that message to avoid close contact with us. Brian & his dog Chewbacca (Chewy) from San Diego are the best of buddies. Muscle man Matt, when he returns from working out @ the gym, wastes no time in flexing those biceps, triceps & the DeVinci version of the last supper tattooed on his left arm. Ed is looking very relaxed & cool sitting @ the kitchen table while Mary Jo has that concerned look about her as she checks the BIG turkey baking in the oven & other dishes for the Thanksgiving dinner. I take pictures of Brian & Matt as they reveal their colorful & meaningful tattoos on various parts of their bodies.

We find chairs to sit on & update ourselves on what’s been happening since we’ve been together last. Jenny continues working for the county of Fresno as a family & marriage therapist; working mostly with troubled children & adolescents.

Brian continues working in the computer field in San Diego; mostly solving software glitches with business clientele. He is also the # 1 man in keeping his dad’s (4) computers tuned up & working properly @ his business in Lodi.

Matt has returned to college & is working on a degree in correctional science to hopefully be a prison guard & later maybe a counselor.

By this time, my patience had worn out & I couldn’t take it any longer. I had to ask Ed if he would show me the latest classic car added to his collection: the indomitable 1955 Chevy; & what a beauty it is. Ed is very cautious & insightful when picking out these muscle cars; he opens the trunk, hood, driver’s door, etc.; everything inside, outside, all around the machine; it’s close to being right out of the showroom. Ed attends rallies & has quite the collection of trophies in his computer room. Hopefully we’ll have a ride in this beauty before we leave.

Boss of the kitchen, Lady Mary Jo suggests that instead of having traditional dessert after our Thanksgiving dinner, we all try a slice of her pumpkin pie & Kathy’s chocolate cream puff cake now & avoid stuffing ourselves with dessert after dinner. Stunned as we were just hearing such a wild idea, most of us went for it & both of the dishes were oh so yummy, tasty & terrific.

After some interesting discussions about all of these different work & study choices, the boss, Lady Mary Jo, begins to voice her concern about having enough table space for feeding (9) people, the largest group ever in their home for a dinner. Brian speaks up with an idea: “why not move the kitchen table into the dining room next to that table” he suggests to his mother. Mother Mary Jo shakes her head; “it won’t look good” she replies. But within (10) min, the discussion was settled, the table moved & really, it looked just fine.

Matt & his girlfriend, Valerie, & her (1) yr old son, Tristan, arrive around 6:15 for dinner. Mary Jo & Ed had met Valerie & Tristan before but Jenny, Brian, Kathy & I had not. We all had questions for Valerie; nice questions, most of the time. Some of them rather personal but nevertheless, she answered them more eloquently then we had expected. Later she admitted to us that she was “scared” about meeting so many & didn’t know what to expect. But, she was relieved & felt fine afterward. She is in school pursuing an RN profession. She takes very good care of Tristan & speaks well for herself; we do think Matt has found a keeper.

Matt led the Thanksgiving dinner prayer, then the food was quickly passed & our plates filled to overflowing; everything was very, very delicious. Lady Mary Jo was greatly relieved & smiling nicely. It was a big job for her & Jenny & we all voice our thanks & highly compliment Mary Jo especially for her dedicated labor of love.

We did have some more dessert maybe an hr after dinner…only because it was sooo good & Val had brought a frozen pumpkin cheesecake. Then Jenny begins to tell us some war stories of her therapy work with young children; extremely challenging profession she has chosen.

Little Tristan fell asleep in Matt’s arms & shortly after that, Matt took Valerie & Tristan back to their apartment in town. We say our goodbyes & “thank you” & leave Ed & Mary Jo’s house around 9:40pm. This gathering was a wonderful experience for us.

Late DVR movie: “The Bad & the Beautiful” with Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Dick Powell, Gloria Grahame, Barry Sullivan, Walter Pidgeon, etc. Captivating Hollywood story of ambitious producer (Douglas) told via relationships with actress Turner, writer Powell, director Sullivan. Solid, insightful, witty, with Lana’s best performance ever. (5) Oscars. 1952. Beautiful results came out of Douglas’ bad behavior; most definitely check it out.
Lights out: 1:13am

Awake: 6:34am Temp 37 sleep 6+32 sunny overnight @ Santa Rosa, CA.

After the sun rises, I get out the telescoping ladder & clean off the # (3) slide top. The (3) puddles of dew, now frozen, have melted enough for me to wipe it off with a soft rag.
Sunshine for the # (2) slide top has not penetrated the (4) frozen dew puddles yet, so after my small breakfast, it too has melted enough to use a soft rag.

We leave the Sonoma County Expo Center in Santa Rosa @ 9:07 am, following state road (12) eastbound. A good travel day with a slight wind from the north plus smooth roads get us off to a fine start; just before the town of Sonoma however, more trucks join the hwy with more single lane roads that are rather rough with few passing lanes & active construction; this approx (115) mile stretch makes it seem like a much further trip than it really is.

@ the intersection of I-5 & State road (12) we top off the Newell’s fuel tank @ Flying “J” with 136.5 gal @ $3.48 per gal. While sitting @ the pumps, Kathy spots a Blue Beacon Truck Wash just down the road. “Why don’t we……yes, good idea.”

Over (30) min waiting in line & another (35) min getting both vehicles pressure washed saved us a lot of time but not $$. The vehicles needed this to rid our rigs of the salt water spray from “the almost perfect storm” of (9) days ago.

There was a little confusion along the way when we ignored our Princess Pioneer GPS target & unknowingly passed up the campground; I scolded her for being so inaccurate, then apologized profusely for she was right on. Eventually we found our way into our destination campground @ 3:45pm.

Today’s travel: 124 miles 4+00 hrs 24 gal 5.2 mpg 31 mph avg speed.

Kathy has been suffering with a sinus condition ever since we were in Ocean Park, WA & both she & I are ready to do something about it. At Kathy’s request the campground manager makes a call to Urgent Care in Lodi to find out how late they are open…only ‘til 4:30. We have the address from Mary Jo. So after parking our bus & disconnecting our Suzuki, we hightail it downtown in time for Kathy to be a drop-in patient. Kathy was the last patient seen for the day; Doctor Ghavami gave her Levaquin, a strong antibiotic for her condition. We hope this will clear things soon.

Dinner: Tilapia fish, a (4) grain mixed rice, mixed salad & garlic bread toasted.

After dinner, Kathy begins making yams for dinner tomorrow while I check in with my Sister Mary Jo to let her know we are in town.

Late movie: “Cyrano de Bergerac” with Jose Ferrer, Mala Powers, William Prince, Morris Carnovsky, etc. Ferrer received an Oscar for portraying the tragic 17th-century wit, renowned for his nose but longing for love of a beautiful lady. 1950. This romantic classic is not for everyone, but for the few that are willing to be serious, feel the pain of deep devotion & love, it could be very rewarding.
Lights out:11:27pm

Awake: 4:13am Temp 42 sleep 4+41 sunny overnight @ Santa Rosa, CA.

Call & make reservations @ Las Vegas, Nevada for December 10th.

My Sister Mary Jo calls: we talk about Thanksgiving dinner plans @ their place in Lodi.

Late morning, we get brave & set out to restock our food cupboards by visiting Costco, Trader Jo’s, & Safeway stores; traffic was unbelievable. These people have to be starting their Christmas shopping early; it took us thrice as long to shop than normally. We return to our bus @ 2:35.

For over a month now, we have been complaining to each other about our hair; it’s too long & unmanageable. Kathy hinted about a hair cut while we were visiting & working for Katrina in Denver but, every time the subject came up, something more important would take its place. It was either the weather (too windy, too cold or raining) that would discourage our plan or something more important canceled the idea. We quit cutting hair inside our motor home; too messy.

Today’s plan is firm: get hair cut. I spent (35) min cutting Kathy’s hair; she spent (15) min cutting mine….outside in the sunshine. Now we are both happy campers again.

Dinner: Stuffed peppers, small grapes, sugar snap peas, toasted whole wheat garlic Jack bread.

Evening movie: “Cary Grant---A Class Apart.” A thorough biography of the movie actor, Cary Grant; from childbirth thru his early theater days, Hollywood, family life, retirement & death. Quite interesting; when we find a movie that stars Cary Grant, it’s usually worth our time in watching.

Katrina calls from Denver; she forgot to check on the anti-freeze plan for her car. Now her car is parked in her garage & she would like to find out what to look for when checking on this potential loss of anti-freeze. With Katrina using her flashlight, I begin to steer her under the hood & toward the radiator & anti-freeze reservoir for a direct check on fluid level. She interrupts our call & takes another call; it’s her roomy Stephanie who is on her way back to the condo & knows all about that stuff; hey, alright so I am off the hook for now. She thanks me; I wish her luck & a “Happy Thanksgiving” + a safe trip tomorrow. She will be flying to Seattle to have Thanksgiving with her (2) brothers, sister-in-law & young nephew.

Kathy’s left leg is bothering her tonight & her heating pad quit working. I know she depends on that heating pad frequently so I volunteer to take the switch apart & see what’s happening. Turns out, one of (3) wired connections has broken. To do the job right, I’ll need my soldering gun, flux & needle nose pliers. (25) min later, the connection is repaired, switch cover replaced & presto: heating pad is back in business. It’s nice to have a few tools to be able to fix these fixable items.

High temp=67 Lights out: 12:02am

Awake: 7:25am Temp 57 sleep 6+57 early light rain….then sunny overnight @ Santa Rosa, CA.

@ 8:45am, Grandson Matthew calls to talk 1st with his “G” Daddy & then to his Grandma. He wanted to talk on the phone and leaving a short message for his dad (working @ Indiana University of PA) was not enough; so we were glad that we were second on his list. He talked very excitedly about a running model train display he had seen in town and was a bit disappointed that he did not get to control it. Such fun to get a call from our grandson!

We sign up for another (2) days camping here in Santa Rosa, CA.

Late morning, we drive (15) min to the Charles Schulz Museum & Research Center in Santa Rosa. We spent a fascinating (3 +) hrs learning more about Schulz & his cartoon characters in Peanuts; Charlie Brown, Lucy, Pigpen, Snoopy & all the gang. Schulz obviously touched many lives through his work; in this museum, there are exhibits on the man, the characters & the items that they inspired.

We watched a few movies: the first one was a bio of Charles’ life: He was an only child, born in Minneapolis, MN. At just two days old, an uncle nicknamed him “Sparky” after the horse Spark Plug from the Barney Google comic strip; a name which stuck his whole life. Throughout his youth he and his father shared a Sunday morning ritual reading the funnies. Schulz always knew he wanted to be a cartoonist and was very proud when Ripley’s newspaper feature, Believe it or Not, published his drawing of the family dog in 1937. During his service in the military, Sparky would send letters to his family and friends with cartoon drawings on the envelopes.

Following his discharge in 1945, Schulz returned to St. Paul to pursue a cartooning career. Between 1947 and 1950, he drew a weekly comic panel for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and also sold seventeen comic gags to The Saturday Evening Post. After many rejection slips, Schulz finally realized his dream of creating a nationally-syndicated daily comic strip when Peanuts debuted in seven newspapers on October 2, 1950. He went on to receive many cartooning and writing awards; Peanuts has been translated into many different languages.

Japanese artist Yoshiteru Otani designed two major art installations for the Great Hall of the Schulz Museum. Measuring slightly larger than 17 x 22 feet, the tile mural, which covers the south wall of the Great Hall, and which really captured our attention, features an image of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown and is composed of 3,588 Peanuts comic strip images printed on individual 2- by 8-inch ceramic tiles.

Sparky built a home for Snoopy called: “Redwood Empire Ice Arena” across the street from the Museum; a huge indoor ice skating rink where Sparky & his buddies would compete in Ice Hockey tournaments; ice skating lessons & normal ice skating was also available for the general public.

Charles M. Schulz was well respected in the city of Santa Rosa for sure, & many other states & countries as well. We enjoyed this Museum very much.

Rush hr traffic was upon us now as we tore ourselves away from the Schulz facilities; but we figured we could squeeze in @ least (2 or 3) more wine tasting adventures before darkness sets in. Heading east on route (12), traffic moved along nicely & that was good for our 1st stop @ Blackstone wineries. An older gentleman with a German accent was our wine server; very polished, informative & well dressed. We did our customary $5.00 taste of (2) wines each, took notes & then high-tailed it to the next winery just minutes away.

2nd stop: The Saint Francis winery building looked more like a Spanish mission or Monestary; esp. with its bell tower capable of auto ringing as it hung proudly above the entrance to the tasting room. We could have easily spent more time here had it not been for their 5:00pm closing time. Now don’t get the idea that K & I are becoming wine connoisseurs with this interest in wine tasting; it’s merely trying to find wines of suitable taste & of suitable price. Kathy amazes me; without having a sensitive sniffer, she knows quickly what she likes or dislikes. For me, it’s more difficult. We return to our bus by 6:15pm.

Dinner: Leftover Italian sausage, pasta in marinara sauce, broccoli, stir fry & toasted whole grain bread.

Evening DVR movie: “Blazing Saddles” with Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, Slim Pickens, Mel Brooks, etc. Brooks 1st movie is a riotous Western spoof. None of Brooks’ later films have topped this one for sheer belly laughs.1974. Neither K nor I found this so-called riotous spoof a belly shaker; either we were all worn out from the Schulz Museum or that wine percentage was more than the standard 12%. But don’t take our word for it; if you’re a Mel Brooks fan & a Western fan, this could be the best yet!

Late evening, Katrina calls with questions about her Honda’s slightly leaking water pump. She was told this by a mechanic when having her car serviced; "how can I tell how much anti-freeze is leaking" she asks. I suggest that when she parks her car, let it idle for a few min, then back up enough to see if any liquid has dripped on the asphalt or concrete. She agreed to do that tomorrow when parking @ her school; then to let me know what you find out.

Lights out: 11:32pm

Awake: 6:40am Temp 51 sleep 5+58 fog…then overcast overnight @ Santa Rosa, CA.

Kathy does (2) loads of laundry.

Then we drive downtown to the visitors’ center again, pick up a map to do a self guided walking tour of Historic Railroad Square. When the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck, only (5) of Railroad Square’s buildings survived the devastation; what was rebuilt after the earthquake has stood the test of time & is a beautiful example of the commercial district as it was in the early 1900’s. (90 %) of the buildings we identified on our walking tour were being utilized as businesses. We found this tour very interesting.

Santa Rosa is 54 miles from San Francisco & most of Santa Rosa downtown was also demolished and has been rebuilt, restored, modernized. We continued our tour on foot to the downtown area, through the Mall, the Santa Rosa Plaza, Courtyard Square, etc. Visit
Barnes & Noble & the Treehoorn Book Store where we purchase a 2008 Movie Guide book. Walking back to our car, we discover the beautiful River Walk path going through the city & talk with a young lady who lives nearby; we knew nothing about this bike, walking trail. She told us she tries to walk several miles each day for exercise utilizing the river trail.

Now in the Suzuki, across town we find the eloquent & fashionable Victorian homes on MacDonald Street & drive slowly to admire their period architecture. During our admiration moments, daughter Melissa calls from PA & Kathy gives her a sneak preview of what we have been doing so far today.

Dinner: Pork chops from Knots in Miami, OK marinated in milk& garlic, brown rice, squash, (4) bean salad & small Thompson green grapes.

We discover Katrina’s earlier cell phone call & we both have some talk time about her Thanksgiving travel plans.

Late DVR movie: “Mrs. Miniver” with Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Dame May Whitty, Teresa Wright, Reginald Owen, Henry Travers, etc. A moving drama about middle-class English family learning to cope with war; winner of (6) Academy Awards. This film did much to rally American support for our British allies during WWII, though its depiction of English life was decidedly Hollywoodized. 1942. Great story; add it to your long list of excellent movies.
High temp=67 Lights out: 12:28am

Awake: 6:28am Temp 52 sleep 6+15 morning fog….then sunshine overnight @ Sonoma County Fairgrounds RV Park, Santa Rosa, CA.

Kathy goes veggie shopping @ the nearby Farmers Market; she returns (1.3) hrs later. She ran out of cash; after getting our printing press working & her wallet recharged, she returns to the market for another hr of shopping. Here is the list of fresh veggies & other miscellaneous items she placed into our refrigerator’s vegetable bin: spinach, Swiss chard, black/purple/red peppers, yams, persimmons, squash (3) kinds, grapes, Walla-Walla & red onions, fresh rosemary, mixed raisins, bread, balsamic vinegar /olive oil dipping sauce, tomato, baby squash, cheese & a purple cauliflower. I was impressed.

During her shopping time, I talk with my sister, Mary Jo, in Lodi, CA about the upcoming Thanksgiving plans @ their home. “We have reservations @ a nearby campground & are looking forward to a nice visit” I tell her.

Next, K & I take some time to scrutinize our brochures & pamphlets that we acquired @ the visitors center yesterday; studying the route & location of some nearby wineries in Santa Rosa & Sonoma for wine tasting.

1st stop: Kendall-Jackson; about (30) min north of our campground just off US-101. The tasting room was quite eloquent & loaded with wine accessories & different choices of bottled wine. For our $5.00 fee, we each had (2) different wine tastes from a printed list of white & red wines.

2nd stop: Russian River Valley winery in Sonoma County; this tasting room was rather small, plain & had a list of (8) wines to select from. There was no fee.

3rd stop: Rodney Strong Vineyards; near the town of Healdsburg. This tasting room was classy: had the usual wine accessories but also labeled clothing & labeled nicknack's plus a history of how the winery started & changes + significant growth throughout the years. We chose the $5.00 (2) different wines each for tasting. The self tour was most interesting & we were both impressed with the knowledge & servings our taster agent provided.

From here, we programmed our GPS for the town of Healdsburg where we stop & ask directions for a Catholic Church. “(1) block south, then turn right; @ the end of the block across the street you’ll see the church” the lady tells me.” Time now: 4:55pm. Looking @ the Mass schedule, there is a Saturday Mass @ 5:00pm. Good timing on our part. This 5:00pm Mass @ Saint John the Baptist Church had no music which we both thought was unusual. We return to our bus @ 6:20pm.

Dinner: Italian sausage from Johnston, PA; marinara sauce, whole wheat pasta, balsamic vinegar & dipping oil with whole wheat garlic Jack bread.

Late DVR movie: “Northwest Passage” with Spencer Tracy, Robert Young, Walter Brennan, Ruth Hussey, etc. Gritty, evocative filming & story about Rogers’ Rangers & their stoic leader (Tracy), enduring hardships & frustration while opening up new territory in Colonial America; Young & Brennan are greenhorns who learn hard knocks under taskmaster Tracy. The River-fording sequence is a knockout. 1940. Unbelievable filming challenge. Check it out.

Lights out: 12:42am

Awake: 6:40am Temp 55 sleep 7+26 sunny overnight @ Wal-Mart, Santa Rosa, CA.

We were joined overnight by (3) tractor trailers, (4) smaller RV’s, & a few automobiles. Kathy is still focused on getting more CA info for the area; so 1st thing this morning, the GPS gets programmed for a visitors center & the Valero Diesel station.

We spend too much time (wasted) trying to find that visitors center in our Suzuki; the closest we came: “Chamber of Commerce” sign with an arrow & the place was not to be found. Finally….we survey the Valero Diesel station checking for pull in parking, height clearance, pulling out & hooking up again. Back to our bus @ Wal-Mart for a breakfast muffin. Fortunately Kathy found a nearby campground with available space a mere (9) miles away. Where did they hide that campground last night!

Driving the motorhome, I follow Kathy in the Suzuki to the Valero station; a few cars blocked my pulling right in but about (8) min later, they cleared out. During my sitting time, I motioned to a fellow who was gassing his Bounder RV to double check my clearance before I pull all the way under the overhang. He climbs up his permanent ladder & gives the “thumbs up” signal.

(20) gallons of diesel for each credit card swipe, then the unit would automatically shut down. (3) different swipes for one card was the total limit unless you use another credit card. So (60) gal @ 3.60 per gal is good enough for now.

After hooking up the Suzuki in a nearby parking lot, we head back north on US-101 to Route-12 East to the Sonoma Fairgrounds RV Park arriving @ 10:28am. This campground is big rig friendly; sites are gravel with plenty of maneuvering space.

Today’s travel: 11 miles +51 mins 3 gal used 3.8 mpg 13 mph avg speed.

After driving the Suzuki down to the administration bldg to pay our camping fee, Kathy relays our frustration in trying to locate the official visitors’ center for Santa Rosa. Julie, the attendant, tells us where it is but does not have a physical address. So out in the parking lot, we make a cell phone call & get that address from a genuine person. Lady Garmin does a good job &, (20) min later, we have located the Santa Rosa Convention & Visitors Bureau & California Welcome Center in the restored 1904 train depot located in the downtown Historic Railroad Square. The former ticket office/telegraph room has been transformed into an interactive museum of children’s activities, incl a model train.

We load up with brochures & magazines for the regional area including the many wine touring opportunities.

Dinner: Chicken stir fry with brown rice, fresh green grapes & whole wheat toast.

Late DVR movie: “Bull Durham” with Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Trey Wilson, etc. Smart sassy film about minor-league North Carolina baseball team & its attentive, intelligent groupie (Sarandon) who feels it is her mission to live with one young player per season & help him mature. Costner is a hardened young veteran of the game whose job is to help one particular player….cocky, undisciplined, but talented pitcher Robbins; literate & funny. 1988. Good entertainment but not for children.

High temp=65 Lights out: 12:13am

Awake: 6:55am Temp 57 sleep 7+36 fog-rain overnight @ the Lucky (7) Casino, CA.

K & I each have a hot Kathy muffin for breakfast, then leave the Lucky (7) Casino @ 9:30am. It’s not a good travel day but we feel we gotta speed our southern pace to get out of this present & future fog & rain scenario that’s moving into the coastal region.

(25) miles down the road in Crescent City, we park off the main street & Kathy walks a block to the visitors center for more info on CA. “They only have info on the Redwood National Forest” Kathy tells me; so we continue thru the rain & fog.

When US-101 turns inland south of Crescent City, it follows a river thru the higher elevations; a lot of hairpin turns along with the fog & rain, keeps my attention on the road; however, seeing all of these tall & majestic redwood trees is truly a sight to behold.

Did you realize that the redwood trees grow from a seed the size of a tomato seed, yet it may weight (500) tons & stand taller than the Statue of Liberty. Kathy was so fascinated with seeing these monsters that she talked me into diverting off US-101 & driving the Newton B. Drury Scenic Pkwy thru the thicker & more abundant Redwoods. That hwy had even more hairpin turns, narrower road, & steeper hills then previously experienced. It was a beautiful & awesome tour but obviously the wrong day to do this; the greater the elevation, the heavier the fog with more rain.

Getting back on US-101 after that slowdown was like a vacation in my easy chair; now US-101 is a (4) lane hwy & smooth roads. Still casually looking for more CA tourist info, we take business (101) thru the town of Fortuna to no avail.

Somewhere south of Fortuna, we get ahead of the fog & drizzling rain; I ask Kathy to casually look ahead for a suitable campground for tonight. She looks thru our campground books, makes a few cell phone calls & comes up empty. So far, many of the campgrounds she called are either closed for the season or cannot accommodate our size rig.

North of Cloverdale, Kathy finds the River Rock Casino near Healdsburg; we agree that this should be an ok parking spot to spend the night. Now we’re traveling thru wine country. Vineyards everywhere; in the hills & in the valleys; sometimes as far as the eye can see.

Exiting off US-101 & driving thru the town of Healdsburg, more vineyards as we make our way to the casino. Something doesn’t look right; this is like the middle of farm country & they have a casino nearby? We make a left turn @ the River Rock Casino sign, start climbing up a winding steep hill, pass a booth that probably we should have stopped @ but did not want to & finally arrive @ a huge building under construction that most likely will be a casino soon. Here we see a young lady motioning us to pull in an area of temporary parking & obviously wanting to talk with us; looking around now, we see a small canvas casino tent next to a very small parking lot. The young lady asks our intentions: “we would like to spend some time here & park for the night” I tell her. She replies, “Well ah, it’ll be ok to visit our casino but we don’t allow overnight parking.”

So it’s back “on the road again” & continue south on US-101. Now we’re getting close to Santa Rosa & rush hr traffic. Going thru the Redwood scenic drive & over to the casino with no overnight parking has gotten my attention, esp looking at our fuel gauge. I had planned on fueling up @ Flying “J” in Lodi, CA but now?

Darkness is near, we have no plans for exiting for an overnight stop & that fuel gauge can’t be ignored. Kathy is cool but concerned; my eyes are concentrating on the stop & go rush hr accordion. “Should we focus on fuel or overnight parking” she asks me. “Both” I tell her.

Using Lady Garmin, our trusty GPS, she finds a Valero fuel station; we exit in the dark & carefully pull into the station with some planning to pull out without detaching our Suzuki. Kathy checks with the attendant inside the building; “no diesel” she reports, “but our sister station up the road does have diesel available.”

With the heavy traffic hr & darkness, I make a goof by crossing the hwy & going past the road that we should have taken; we end up in a shopping mall parking lot near the Target Store. Kathy suggests we spend the night here but will check with the night manager to make sure it’ll be ok. This time she reports something different: “no overnight parking allowed.” “That’s the bad news, would you like the good news” she asks with a smile. I take my time in answering that tough question but finally say: “yes, go ahead, make my day.” “There is a Wal-Mart just up the road that permits overnight parking.”

Phew, saved by Wal-Mart! The lower section of the huge parking lot had about (8) spots open just for us. I shut down the engine, lock the Suzuki & invite Kathy for dinner @ the Outback Restaurant, just across the parking lot where we each celebrate with a New Castle beer & share a filet steak dinner. What an adventurous day!

Today’s travel: 333 miles 8+21 hrs 62 gal used 5.4 mpg 39.9 mph avg speed.

Back in the bus, we both do some searching on Lady Garmin for that sister Valero diesel fueling station for tomorrow.

Travel high temp=65 Lights out: 11:14pm

Awake: 5:45am Temp 42 sleep 6+16 some clouds overnight @ Bandon, Oregon.

We each have a hot Kathy muffin, detach the Suzuki & drive a few miles into Old Town Bandon. Actually this old town is not so old; in 1936 a slash fire from a logging crew ignited some gorse & evergreen trees that spread toward the commercial district & destroyed the entire town (500 homes) save for (16) buildings. Obviously they rebuilt since then & their downtown is beautiful now & quite modern. Interestingly enough, the local high school survived the 1936 fire only to burn down in 1974.

We drove along the coast to the Coquille River & the lighthouse, which was decommissioned in 1936 & watch the ocean waves crashing against the rocks + talked with a few of the locals. We took the long way back to our bus along the coast line, stopping to view their well known “face rock.”

This area of Bandon is a big supplier of cranberries for Oregon; (95%) which is (5 %) of all the states. There are cranberry bogs all over the outskirts of the town. After spending close to (1.5) hrs around town, we leave the Bandon by the Sea RV Park @ 10:15am & continue driving south on US-101 to Port Orford.

We find parking on a wide side street & talk with a local young couple who are riding their bikes around town; we ask them what there is to see & do in Port Orford, “not much” they tell us. They continue, “however, the dock is the only open-water port on the Oregon Coast & is (1) of (6) ‘dolly’ ports in the world, where recreational & commercial fishing boats are hoisted into & out of the water daily and it’s within walking distance, just up the road.”

We’ve never seen anything like it; these boats all have wheels….until they are lowered into the sea. We are curious about a small café on the dock called Griffs Restaurant, seafood, Gifts-tackle-Museum. Once inside, I realized that hot muffin I ate was long gone & hunger was eminent & Kathy showed no resistance. We share a large bowl of clam chowder with freshly breaded & fried snapper fish. Gosh, it was great!

By coincidence, the back side of the menu had an e-mail letter printed from Ken & Ellie of the campground book-“Big Rigs-Best Bets” which we refer to often. They have listed Griffs as “(1) of their (9) favorite restaurants throughout the United States.”

We spend a little over 1.5 hrs total in Port Orford; besides seeing the port, we stroll around town taking a few pictures of a very old jail & an old Victorian home in town.

Our next stop was the town of Brookings. Our Oregon Coast Guide tells us that the Brookings Harbor has optimum parking sites for big motor homes & they are right on. Passing up on another harbor tour, we opt to walk over the Big Bridge of the Chetco River & amble through the main part of town; very clean & modern.

The sunshine feels good on my slightly balding head & Kathy has now shed her jacket as we admire all the heavy traffic along the main drag. After buying some postage stamps @ the local Post Office, I suggest that we return to our bus by way of the back streets to see more of the neighborhood homes. Naturally we still had to cross over that river so our return trek was slightly longer than expected; so we added another (2) hrs to our vitamin “D” time today.

Heading south again on US-101, our Oregon guidebook shows the “Lucky (7) Casino” just a few miles into California where overnight parking is allowed; that deal is for us. Their parking lot offered plenty of space when we arrive around 4:35pm & the lot remained fairly empty all evening & into the night. Speaking of night, the late evening sky showed signs of “rain” moving in from the west. I suggest to Kathy that separate couches are in vogue for the occasion.

Today’s travel: 91 miles 2+30 hrs 17 gal used 5.4 mpg 36.2 avg speed.

Dinner: Leftover pizza from Futanos @ Seaside, Oregon.

Early evening DVR movie: “The Caine Mutiny” with Humphrey Bogart, Jose Ferrer, Van Johnson, Robert Francis, May Wynn, Fred MacMurray, Lee Marvin, etc. WWII Naval officers Johnson & Francis mutiny against paranoid, unpopular Capt. Queeg (Bogart) & are court-martialed in this exciting adventure. 1954. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing a great one.
High travel temp= 60 Lights out: 11:19pm

Awake: 7:05am Temp 43 sleep 7+30 sunny overnight @ Newport, OR.

Dick calls early from Arizona: he wants a report on “the almost perfect storm” & I give it to him. He was actually envious & wished that he could have had our experience!

K & I talk it over, watch the weather channel, read the forecast for the next few days from NOAA & decide to leave the Outdoor Resorts of America in Newport, Oregon & head south on US-101 @ 11:40am. The weather & sky are beautiful in spite of what was forecasted from NOAA for today.

The town of Florence, (55) miles away is our 1st stop. We park our bus @ the Three Rivers Casino, detach the Suzuki & drive to Old Town & the waterfront; walk around in the sunshine, take some pictures, visit a few stores & top off the Suzuki’s fuel tank @ Fred Myers gas station (13.3 gal @ 2.99 per gallon). Then it’s back to the bus to continue our southbound travels.

Great viewing day as we travel along the coast; we make a few quick stops en route to take pictures of the coastal Oregon light houses. Our plan included an overnight stop @ Coos Bay but the sunshine was shining right into Kathy viewing eyeballs & that distracted her; I was so excited that we passed through (6) green lights in a row that I forgot to pay attention to our exit ramp. Before we knew it, we were on the south side of town during rush hr. We stop along the road to check our campground books for nearby casinos, etc turning up nothing close for an overnight stay; Kathy found an RV park further south on US-101; she calls & they can accommodate us for the night. We arrive @ the Bandon by the Sea RV Park @ 4:45pm. It’s big rig friendly & shortly we are settled in for the night.

Today’s travel: 130 miles 3+57 hrs 24 gal used 5.4 mpg 32.9 avg speed.

Dinner: Tilapia, brown rice & a mixed salad.

DVR movie: “Frenzy” with Jon Finch, Barry Foster, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Anna Massey, Alec McCowen, etc. Hitchcock n high gear, telling story of suave, London strangler (Foster) & innocent man (Finch) suspected of murder spree. All classic Hitchcock elements are here. 1972. The expert murder-mystery watcher, Kathy, highly recommends this one.
High travel temp=60 Lights out: 11:29pm

The Almost Perfect Storm! Kathy is close to being seasick; the rain is coming down in wild, windswept sheets; the waves are ferocious with swells of 10 ft or more; the sustained winds are 45-50 mph with gusts to 78 mph; the sporadic moving & swaying of this ship makes it difficult to stand still or walk & walking outside is next to impossible; the visibility is so bad, I can hardly see the land yacht across the way!

Who would have thought that such an ocean happening could be experienced on land? But it is so! We're currently camped at Newport, OR about 500 ft from the ocean with a great view of the angry sea. We were planning on continuing south on US-101 today, but when this fierce rainstorm moved in @ 4:50 am, we decided to ride out the storm right here. Fortunately, we retracted the slides last night in anticipation. I have never experienced a thing like this before. And I'm so glad we're not trying to drive; I think we would have been blown off the road.

The flag I was using as a wind direction indicator jutting up from a nearby condo suddenly disappeared; maybe the owner brought it down or it blew away. That same condo has (4) sky lights; (1) was covered with a blue tarp; I watched it loosen up & fly over the roof. Then the tar paper tore up to expose (4 or 5) boards over the sky light.
Behind us on the drivers’ side, a glass wind breaker for the patio camping site blew out & scattered small pieces of glass everywhere. .

The whole experience lasted over (9) hrs & was pretty exciting; we were happy to be inside & dry. Neither of us experienced anything like this, especially in a motor home. I was surprised that Kathy didn’t get sea sick from the many hrs of bus movement.

NOAA was a big help as we monitored the site on our laptop & had some idea of what to expect next.
I gave Ray a call in WA State to compare his storm stories with ours. He reports the whole area has been without electrical power since about 5:00am due to many trees blown down on electric lines.

@ 2:45pm the rain stopped, the wind subsided & I go outside to check the bus for any flying damage & the basement storage for any water leaks then report to Kathy: all is well & no leaks. Whew!

We didn’t get much accomplished today aside from being mesmerized by the storm. I did take some time out to plan for tomorrow pending the weather. NOAA has the rest of the week being rainy & windy.

Dinner: Fresh corn chowder with whole grain bread.

Zack returns our call from yesterday; we talk for over an hr about his current situation & future plans.

DVR movie: “A Woman’s face.” This was recorded early Sunday morning & the weather conditions (rain) must have blocked the last half; both audio & video was absent.

Today’s high=51 Lights out: 11:35pm

Awake: 6:49am Temp 48 sleep 7+20 heavy downpour wakes me up (3) hrs later….sunshine overnight @ Newport, Oregon.

Kathy does (2) loads of laundry.

Ray calls from Ocean Park, WA. He gives us a head’s up on a powerful Pacific storm forecasted for the Oregon coast early tomorrow morning; wind gusts as high as 75 mph & heavy rain. He suggests I take a look @ NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration). We’ll monitor NOAA & take heed if necessary.

Kathy tells me the campground store is having their winter sale on leftover items; 80% off. We check it out & find some good deals worthy of purchase. During our short buying spree, the strong storm alert was mentioned by a few of the campground personnel; we have the option of moving our motorhome farther back from the ocean in front of a protective wall if need be. Later, we notice that some of the coach owners did take up the protective wall offer.

Then Kathy tells me that Fred Myers has a good deal on asparagus & we should buy some. OK, Fred Myers is maybe (2) miles south; it was not a good deal. The asparagus from Mexico went bad fast & was not saleable.

Back @ the bus, we call Nick in Seattle & have a pleasant hr of conversation; they are quite pleased with how independent Jerry is becoming; to encourage his continued move toward independence they bought him a bed tent for sleeping.

Call & leave a message for Zack in Seattle.

Call my sister, Mary Jo; we discuss the Thanksgiving rendezvous @ their place.

Call & leave a message for Katrina in Denver. Later she returns our call & she’s NOT driving; she is actually home in her condo. The BIG red wall is finished with (3) coats of paint & has received many compliments. She also bought a coffee table & corner table that she & Kathy had looked at when we were last in Denver plus 4 bar stools for her counter. Her condo is beginning to look the way she would like it to. Her roommate, Leland, has moved out so she’ll be in search of another.

Dinner: filet steak, broccoli, baked potato & mixed salad.

Evening DVR movie: “The Hard Way” with Ida Lupino, Dennis Morgan, Joan Leslie, Jack Carson, etc. Intriguing but artificial story of strong-willed Lupino pushing younger sister Leslie into show business career. 1942. Very intense story; you can’t always trust your sister.

After the movie, I talk Kathy into shrinking the bus in the event the storm threats are for real; this means that we will each sleep on separate couches.

Lights out: 1:00am

Awake: 6:14am Temp 53 sleep 6+57 cloudy overnight @ Newport, OR.

Call Melissa in PA using the land line & (2) phones; have a wonderful conversation with Matthew for about (5) min. He spoke slowly & was very easy to understand. Our call was short as they were ready to go grocery shopping.

Call my sister, Corinne, in Lilly, PA; she will be flying to Los Angles in December for a Catholic Youth Conference.

Call Don & Josie in Ebensburg, PA; during their absence, strong winds messed up some of their gutters & now my brother is climbing up the high ladder to, hopefully, fix those water routers. Josie reports that her husband is getting to be quite the Mr. “Fix it” man since he semi-retired.

K & I walk around this campground for a little exercise & to see the different brands of motor homes parked here. We estimate there are (24) units out of the (252) sites available; obviously this is not the peak season for this campground.

Next, we hop in the Suzuki, drive to the old town of Newport called Nye Beach & ride around this historical section of town. In the 1890’s the “summer people” as tourists were called, began coming in large numbers. They came by train to Yaquina City to Newport’s Bayfront & finally by the boardwalk built by the city in 1891 to connect the Bayfront with Nye Beach. They too have a small turnaround close to the ocean where one can drive an automobile for a look see.

Then we visit the Yaquina Bay Bridge; a network of Oregon Coast bridges was built during the Depression’s “make work” program of the 1930’s, which signaled an end of the era when ferries served as a vital link to transportation along the coast. Below this bridge is the waterfront with all its fishing boats & seafood processors, eloquent shops, restaurants, etc. A lot of people traffic today down by the waterfront creating a small auto traffic slowdown. En route back to our bus, we make a quick grocery visit to Fred Myers.

K & I attend the 5:30 vigil Mass @ Sacred Heart Church in town. When we return to our bus, we call & have a nice chat with Melissa in PA since she had little time to talk earlier.

Evening entertainment: Watch “MGM Future movie shorts.” A sneak preview of some of their movies made in the 60’s; many of which we have yet to see.

Lights out: 11:22pm

Awake: 6:50am Temp 52 sleep 6+39 drizzle & windy overnight @ Lincoln, OR @ the Chinook Winds Casino Parking lot.

Only (2) other RV’s joined us overnight in this Truck parking area. We should have kept our slides retracted last night; now I have to climb up that ladder & wipe off any standing water before bringing in (2) slides.

We leave Lincoln City @ 9:25am with windshield wipers clearing our view; and what a view it was, especially riding the ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean before descending down close to sea level, about (5) miles before Newport….the beach & the sea were both awesome!

We arrive @ the Outdoor Resorts of America campground in Newport @ 10:15am. Sign in @ the gate & park within 500 ft of the ocean.

Today’s travel: 25 miles 1+02 time 5.4 gal used 4.6 mpg 24 mph avg speed.

Our good friends D & C let us use their campground site for a few days, otherwise we would have by-passed this beautiful place. The ocean view is so mesmerizing; just watching those big waves build up, tumble & crash is all so fascinating.

Call Dick in Goodyear, Arizona & gab for (30) min. Also give him a good report regarding his campsite & thank him & Christine for their thoughtfulness & generosity.

After that good call, I go outside & plug into his landline phone line; we will restrict ourselves to only local & calling card calls however.

Dinner: Tuna steak, pecan spinach, brown rice & a mixed salad.

Evening movie: we finish watching: “Suspect” with Cher, Dennis Quaid, Liam Neeson, John Mahoney, Philip Bosco, etc. Dedicated public defender (Cher) battles a nearly hopeless case, representing a deaf derelict accused of murder, with the unexpected help of one of her jurors (Quaid). 1987. Great performances, especially from Cher; if you can ignore the illegal implausibility’s, you’ll love it.

High travel temp=59 Lights out: 11:17pm

Awake: 6:39am Temp 49 sleep 7+53 overcast overnight @ Seaside behind the Cinema bldg.

I woke up earlier than 6:39, started the generator, turned on the heat & crawled back in bed for awhile. It got a little cooler than I expected. Last night we were joined by another RV’er & a tractor trailer in the parking lot.

Doug told us to come to their Rotary meeting @ noon time; but we decide to arrive @ 10:00am to help out with setting up the auction items or whatever. We knew no one when 1st arriving @ the Convention Center. Then a lady Rotarian by name of Mary told us that fellow Rotarians would be arriving soon with the auction items & “Yes, we could use your help” says Mary.

Our 1st assignment: cover the (10) rows of tables with plastic; no sooner were we finished with that & other Rotarians arrived with boxes of auction items. Kathy offered to help match by number, the item listed on the bidding sheets that Steve was placing on tables to the item description itself. My job, tape down the bid sheets with the description & place the auction item on the right side of the bid sheet. They were very organized with their routine having done many auctions before this one; but it still took close to (1.5) hrs to complete the job & these people did appreciate our help.

Doug, my sponsor, praised us both several times for helping them out; then asked us if we had parked behind the Cinema last night. We thanked him for the good tip. As Doug implied, lunch was in a box & it was complimentary to all of us. Maureen, the president, conducted a short meeting & then Doug introduced Kathy & me as guests & thanked us for our help. I brought a small flag from our Rotary Club of Northern Cambria County in PA to give to the President Maureen as a gesture of good will; she was very pleased to have it. She copied an address to mail an exchange memento to our Rotary Club. We ate about ½ of our lunch, thanked these guys for their hospitality & the lunch & left the meeting @ 12:35pm. They are anticipating some (300) guests @ the auction dinner tomorrow evening; I’m sure it will be a successful occasion.

We drive (5) min back to our bus; hook up the Suzuki & leave the exciting town of Seaside, OR @ 12:50pm; smooth but curvy roads & a few up & down small hills en route to the Tillamook Cheese Factory where we park in their large visitors lot @ 1:05pm.

We visited here in 2004 but the place is so interesting it deserves another look; the self tour begins with a movie describing how 10 small independent cheese factories got together to form the Tillamook County Creamery Assoc in 1909 to serve as a quality control organization. Today, the cooperative is owned and operated by approximately 130 family dairy farms. They are the very people who work the soil, milk the cows, and set the policies and direction. Profits from the cooperative go back to the farmer-owner to help keep their dairies economically sustainable. Their goal is to produce the highest quality milk and to use that milk to make natural, high-quality dairy products.

We observe some of the cheese making process & packaging & sample some different cheeses. We buy (2) 8 oz blocks of cheese, have a great tasting ice cream cone & then return to our bus. In the parking lot, we meet a Canadian family from Vancouver Island, BC who are camping along US-101 Hwy all the way to Los Angeles. Their kids are more or less being home schooled during this vacation John tells me.

More scenic viewing & curvy road travels to enjoy; arriving @ the Lincoln City Chinook Winds Casino Resort @ 5:32pm. All the RV parking area was taken up so we parked in the very empty truck staging area; went into the Casino, asked a security agent about parking for the night & after a few questions, agreed to an overnight stay. This place was busy with people gambling & in the attached convention center a billiard competition was going strong, many players from many states. In a separate room admissible by purchased ticket only, the professional women’s billiards competition was underway. The finals will be televised Sunday on ESPN.

Today’s travel: 91 miles 2+36 time 18 gal used 5.0 mpg 35 mph avg speed.

Dinner: our leftover box lunch from the Seaside Rotary Club.
Evening rain & distant thunderstorms give us smiles that we are cozy inside & parked on solid asphalt.

Evening satellite movie: “Escape” with Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor, Conrad Veidt, Nazimova, Felix Bressart, etc. Countess Shearer, mistress of Nazi general Veidt, helps Taylor get his mother (Nazimova) out of German concentration camp before WWII. 1940. A most interesting story; periods of heavy rain blanked out some of the more crucial moments however.
Lights out: 12:11am

Awake: 7:10am Temp 48 sleep 6+ 24 early morning rain overnight @ Long Beach, WA.

We wait around for the sunshine to dry up the roads before leaving Anderson’s RV Park @ 9:35am. Nice travel day going south on US-101 to the town of Seaside, OR, arriving @ the visitor’s center big rig parking lot @ 10:25. Kathy checked with the Chamber of Commerce nearby for permission to leave our bus parked while we spend most of the afternoon touring on foot; it was no problem.

We walk the famous Promenade both ways + some of the back streets through town. You couldn’t ask for a better day for self touring; seeing Lewis & Clark’s salt making furnace was something we missed during our 1st visit in 1970 about (6) months before we were married. This town has really changed & grown; quite impressive with a full time population of 6200 increasing to 30,000 when the summer tourists arrive. We estimate we walked over (8) miles all totaled today.

Our breakfast was only a Kathy muffin so we lunch @ Fultano’s Pizza Place a few blocks from the famous Seaside turnaround. We sure let the pizza makers know that a mere (3) days ago, we had their pizza @ Fultano’s in Astoria & today it was just as good.

After walking through a few stores, we return to the Chamber of Commerce bldg & ask Doug if overnight parking is allowed for our bus. “No,” he replies but he did recommend an overnight parking lot just up the road that consistently has RV’s & trucks that park all night. Next we ask when their Rotary meets; Doug’s eyes lit up. “Tomorrow,” he says. “And by the way, on Friday we’re having our annual auction, so if you’d like to come to the meeting, it’ll be short & we’ll have boxed lunches." He also mentioned that a bunch of them will be coming early to do the setting up for Friday’s auction. Doug agrees to sponsor us & asks us to be there by (12 noon).

With our Suzuki still hooked up, it takes maybe (10) min to travel north on Roosevelt Drive to (12th) Ave & the parking area behind the Cinema. From here, we disconnect the Suzuki, drive (8) miles south to Cannon Beach & do some more walking around in town. Not near as exciting as Seaside but there are quite a number of cars parked along the streets & many people are out & about on this wonderful sunny day. We did get a few pictures of the famous Haystack Rock before heading back up the road + we make a quick stop @ Safeway for milk along the way.

Doogers Seafood Cafe was too tempting to ignore; only a few blocks from Fultano’s, why not double our gourmet dining & let these people know we liked their Long Beach, WA café also. For dinner, K & I share a regular oyster meal. I enjoyed it but Kathy wasn’t too keen on the oysters.

We start watching DVR movie: “Suspect” but cut it short by an hr due to someone’s not paying attention.
Thinking the temp will be OK tonight, I run the generator a mere 1.3 hrs, but for the 1st time; use an extra blanket on our bed just in case.

Lights out: 12:46am

Awake: 6:45am Temp 41 sleep 6+33 bright red sky to the east this morning overnight @ Long Beach, WA.

This was the morning for phone calls: 1st neighbor Donna from Nicktown. We share talk time with Donna who brings us up to date on “what’s happening” back there: Barry is a new Grandfather, Bill M. had cataract surgery & now has 20/25 vision, & Theresa has decided to renovate her classic mansion.

Next caller was Larry in San Diego: the smoke from the S. D. fires did not affect them; they were in-between the smoke from the south fires & the north fires in Oxnard. I let Larry know that I found his small LED flashlight & will return it when we get together next time.

Then I call our good friend Dick C. from Goodyear, AZ who wrote an e-mail with a “respond quickly” tone; they would like to rendezvous in Vegas sometime in December. When he realizes we are going south from Long Beach, OR to California on US-101, he offers his available camping site in Newport to us for the weekend. A very nice gesture that we couldn’t refuse; we will stay in touch about meeting in Vegas sometime in Dec.

Oh my gosh, it’s early afternoon already; I call Ray & let him know we are on our way.

Again Ray greets us with a smile as we arrive; we hang out in the radio room for (40) min reminiscing about the ole days of Amateur Radio & how Ray was encouraging me to learn my Morse code, buy a transceiver & set up an antenna back in Memphis so we could have scheduled time for chit-chat that would cost little. I did the code, acquired the license & we did a lot of talking without using the phone (Kathy reminds me that we also did plenty of talking using the phone!). Times have changed now & the computer has vastly overridden the Amateur Radio popularity.

With all that radio talk, Ray questions whether my license is still current. “Of course” I tell him. “Why just (3) yrs ago I upgraded to General Class.” Ray suggests we use the computer & fine out. Sure enough, Ray was right to be inquisitive as my license has expired; however, they do give you (2) yrs to renew. Upgrading your license does not renew your license I found out.

In the meantime, Ray fixes Kathy up with another wireless computer in their living room & she checks her messages & writes more e-mail. She finally got to see the short video that Sallie sent showing off her bathroom redo that Kathy helped with; it really turned out nice. She also got to see a video of the CA fires sent by Mark. Our computer connection is too slow to download such videos.

Try as we might, using Ray’s computer, I could not renew my General license with the FCC that afternoon; mainly due to my operator error. Regardless of that frustration, our time spent with Ray & Sharon was most delightful. Sharon returned home as we were leaving so we bad farewell to both & thanked them for their hospitality & thoughtfulness. We perused Jack’s Country Store nearby, the state’s oldest mercantile featuring a wide assortment of everything from A-Z on our way back to our motor home.

7:45 pm Dinner: Pork chops with fried noodles & broccoli.

9:15 pm Kathy calls Zack in Seattle & talks for 50 min.

Late DVR movie: “Captains Courageous” with Freddie Bartholomew, Spencer Tracy, Lionel Barrymore, Melvyn Douglas, Mickey Rooney, etc. Spoiled rich-boy Bartholomew falls off cruise ship, rescued by Portuguese fisherman Tracy (who won Oscar for role). Boy learns to love seafaring on crusty Barrymore’s fishing vessel. 1937. Good story; difficult to understand some of the jargon the actors as Portuguese fishermen use.

Lights out: 12:46am

Awake: 6:40am Temp 40 sleep 7+04 sunny overnight @ Long Beach, WA.

I give Ray a call to let him know we’ll be visiting him after lunch. Meanwhile, Kathy does (2) loads of laundry & ironing while watching her morning TV programs. I watch the history channel until a phone call comes in from Lyle who has done some great work as a sleuth; he passes on the phone #’s of Kenny P. & Darrel K. (2) more ole pilot buddies from yesteryear.

I call Darrel & we do a mini catch up session of each other’s life since 1972. Darrel is (81), still hikes, bikes, travels in his motor homes & dances with his wife. Hopefully next yr, we’ll visit them personally.

After lunch, K & I drive about (7) miles to Ray & Sharon house. Walking out of his garage, Ray greets us with a smile. Last yr I rode with him to Gresham, OR when he purchased a small welder for home use; today he proudly shows his “One man band” as Sharon calls it, complete with acetylene & oxygen bottles & a wire feed system built right onto his hand truck; this guy is good.

Ray keeps his workshop, garage, storage shed & equipment very clean & organized. When we pulled our Suzuki into his driveway, he insisted that “we need to wash that car.” Ever since Ray married Sharon in 1971, he has been a notorious “keep those cars clean & nearly spotless kind of guy.” Well, no question about it, that Suzuki needed a good wash job & Ray + a little brush action from K & me, finished the job in less than (40) min.

Kenny P. calls as the Suzuki is drying & we talk for nearly an hr. Kenny’s health is not so good. He described his near death experience in Dec 2005 & how much the follow-up recovery has immobilized him. He is on oxygen 24/7 now. We shift gears for awhile & reminisce about the good ole times we had @ Pearson Air Park in Vancouver, WA during the late (60’s & early 70’s). I hope that Kenny hangs in there; I would like to pay him a visit next yr when we return to PDX.

Next, we drive Ray to his local bank so I can cash in (4) checks for cash. The amount was rather small but it’ll be awhile before we return to PA.

Then Ray shows us his newly built storage bldg close to his house; here he keeps his John Deere Tractor, lawn mower, air compressor, tools, etc; very nice layout.

When Sharon returns from grocery shopping, we all give her a hand in getting the bags inside their home. Then we spend some time upstairs in their lovely living room kibitzing & solving some of the itsy-bitsy problems of the world….& checking out Ray’s new flat screen computer.

We’re getting hungry so we drive both cars south to our campground, drop off our clean Suzuki, hop into the PT cruiser & continue a few more miles south for dinner @ the Doogers Seafood Restaurant where Kathy has a halibut dinner & I have an oyster dinner. All meals were very tasty. More kibitzing & then Ray delivers us back to our campground @ 7:45pm & they return to their comfortable abode near the ocean.

We watch DVR movie: “A Face in the Crowd” with Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, Anthony Franciosa, WalterMatthau, Lee Remick, etc. Story about homespun hobo (Griffith) discovered by Neal & promoted into successful & unscrupulous….TV star. Cast gives life to fascinating story. 1957. You’ve got to see it to believe it: mild mannered Griffith in a role like this; check it out!

Lights out: 12:12am

Awake: 5:33am Temp 50 sleep 6+09 foggy then partly cloudy overnight @ PDX.

After eating (1) healthy “Kathy” muffin each, we leave the Columbia River RV Park @ 10:31am. Marine Drive to I-5 north to Kelso-Longview to US-30 west to Astoria to US-101 to Long Beach, WA. Smooth roads prevail all the way with scenic valleys & a little drizzle en route through the higher elevations.

Shortly after crossing the famous Astoria bridge, a snazzy PT Cruiser parked alongside the road up ahead, catches our attention; I believe it might be my buddy Ray & he is our “follow me vehicle.” He takes us around the town of Long Beach in lieu of going through L.B. This was a time saver & we arrive @ Andersen’s RV Park in the north area of Long Beach @ 12:55pm. We greet Ray & thank him for his thoughtfulness. It’s a beautiful day here & this park & its location are perfect for our visit with Ray & Sharon.

Today’s travel: 116 miles 2+55 time 22 gal used 5.3 mpg 40 mph avg speed.

After checking in & expanding our home, Ray not only joins us inside for some chit-chat, but offers us a wine tasting opportunity with a bottle of white wine “Vouvray” from France. It was quite good. He also presented Kathy with the Northwest Garlic Festival Cookbook given from his wife, Sharon. Gosh, we should visit these people more often.

About (3) hrs later, Ray invites us for a ride in his PT Cruiser & a visit with Sharon, who is now closing up the realty business building for the day. Then we hop into Sharon’s Ford Edge & ride over to Astoria for a dinner of: pizza with salad @ Mr. Fultano’s Pizza Place. After some very good eating & gabbing, Ray drives us back to our motorhome; we plan to see them tomorrow.

Evening DVR movie: “Point Blank” with Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn, Carroll O’Connor, etc. Marvin, shot & left for dead by unfaithful wife & mobster boyfriend, gets revenge (2) yrs later. Taut thriller; ignored in 1967 but now regarded as a top film of the decade. Well, we feel this story was more for the younger crowd; too much killing & violence. You young kids out there will love it.

Just before turning out the lights, Kathy mentions that her throat is scratchy; then I remark that, “come to think of it, so is mine.” We take an Airborne tablet + (3) vitamin “A” tablets each.
Lights out: 11:36pm

Awake: 7:25am Temp 45 sleep 7+05 sunny overnight @ Portland, OR.

Lyle B. calls around 9:00am; he was my sponsor for the CAA meeting on Thursday. Very thoughtful guy, he looked up some phone #’s of my ole buddy pilots, Kenny P. & Bob R. He is still working on Darrel K. who is difficult to find because Darrel is full time in an RV unit. I thank Lyle & plan to keep in touch.

K & I have a small breakfast & then stop @ the Welcome Center for Oregon to load up on brochures & pamphlets on what to see & do while driving through Oregon. Next we visit the Rochelle & Dean family. Dean is working today.

(9 & ½) yr old Monica shows me her Girl Scout vest & handbooks; her progress on crocheting & cross stitching; her bedroom & organization, etc; a very talented young lady. Maggie, age (6), also shows me her closet & special things she likes. Then (4) yr ole Donavan shows me some of his favorite toys, his bedroom, etc.

After those exciting tours, we climb into Rochelle’s car, drive to the nearby Burgerville & have lunch. Like yesterday, K & I deem this lunch to be dinner: K has a grilled chicken salad & I have a fish salad. The kids like Burgerville, are well behaved & eat fairly well.

Back @ the Dean home, I show Monica the technical aspects of developing a paper airplane that flies a long distance without fuel. Maggie & Donavan each order a prototype during the production phase. Last yr when I did a similar demonstration, Monica’s airplane out flew my own superior model & I couldn’t explain why. This year however, Maggie decorated her plane with stick on foam stars; she attached those stars @ just the right weight & balance spot & her plane flew the best throughout the air show period. Amazing!

Meanwhile, Kathy & Rochelle sit on the concrete driveway & gab; not only being amused by the air show but also with Chaco, their new dog getting excited with so much outside activity. Kathy also assisted Monica in balancing & controlling the skateboard trial runs down the driveway.

After the active air show, the kids & I start something new with me throwing a spider rubber ball high into the air & they trying to catch it. One ball wasn’t enough so I try a rubber saucer & the spider ball @ the same time to double their fun. Luckily my underhand pitching arm is still in good shape because this sport outlasted our allotted time. These kids loved this challenging high in the sky stuff; even when on rare occasions, one of the flyers would land on the garage roof & have to be retrieved using a ladder. Then they stretched their short legs & arms while on the ladder trying to bring down the space junk. It was great fun; even for us.

Rochelle offers to let us take Monica & Maggie to 5:00pm Mass @ the nearby Saint John’s Church. Those girls both carried their own car seat & fastened them down in the back seat of our Suzuki. We were honored to have them with us & they were extremely good during Mass. Monica later told me that she is one of the rare kids in school that actually enjoys being @ Mass. Rochelle joins us in church about (10) min after starting time. She is in charge of selling “scrip” (a school fund raiser at Our Lady of Lourdes) & had gone there to do her duty. However, a friend of hers appeared & relieved Rochelle, allowing her to join us. We return to the Dean home, say our goodbyes with hugs & let them know how much we enjoyed hanging out with them & hopefully, we’ll be back next yr.

Melissa calls as we are about to leave the D & R Family. Kathy shortens the call until we are on the highway returning to our bus. @ the bus, we share talk time; Melissa has had a difficult week as Andrew seems to be trying to give up his nap but cannot comfortably make it through the day without it, getting very testy & disorganized by late afternoon & not sleeping through the night. Then there’s Matthew who is waking up several times during the night; Melissa thinks he is having bad dreams possibly due to the reading of “The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe,” which he really seems to enjoy but might find a little scary.

Mid evening; DVR movie with popcorn, a few mixed nuts & strips of cheese: “One Foot Into Heaven” with Fredric March, Martha Scott, Beulah Bondi, Gene Lockhart, Elisabeth Fraser, etc. Superior acting in honest, appealing story of minister & wife facing various problems as church life & (20th) century America clash. 1941, Very good story. Make room for this in your schedule.

Lights out: 11:24pm

Awake: 7:12am Temp 38 sleep 7+05 sunny overnight @ Portland, OR.

K & I cross over the bridge & meet Shirley & John for lunch @ Benny’s Rod & Custom Pizza Café in Vancouver. We have a lot to talk about & spend over (2) hrs doing it. We enjoy Shirley & John; they tell us stories like no one else could or would; and the most interesting part of all of this is: we believe them.

This Café was great; the portions are good size & the food delicious. So K & I deem this lunch to be dinner. Kathy had the (3) piece halibut with a mixed salad & I have a beef sandwich & a bowl of clam chowder. We say our goodbyes to John & Shirley for now & head north to the nearest Costco.

Using our memory stick, we plan to make prints from our latest family photos; however, the Costco digital machine was not up to our high standards. We couldn’t do any cropping or enhancing.

Just down the road is a Wal-Mart; here we find the digital machine that will do the job. It took some time but we did get the (5) prints that Kathy intended to have for her collage in our motor home.

Katrina calls while en-route to the movie theater to watch a movie with a friend. She reports that she & roommate Stephanie did get the BIG wall painted with (1) coat so far. It looks a little “blotchy,” but Katrina feels the 2nd coat will give her the desired look.

Satellite movie with popcorn: “Divorce, Italian Style” with Marcello Mastroianni, Daniela Rocca, Stefania Sandrelli, etc. Marcello can’t stomach wife Rocca, so he schemes to wed sexy young Sandrelli. Hilarious, flavorful comedy which earned an Oscar for its story & screenplay. The twist ending adds a perfect… & most ironic …touch. 1961. Sub-titles. This story was great & well acted.

Lights out: 12:20am

Awake: 6:42am Temp 49 sleep 6+47 sunny overnight @ Portland, OR.

Drive to Vancouver & attend the 8:45am children’s Mass @ Our Lady of Lourdes Church & School. We visit briefly with Rochelle & Donavon & give Monica a quick hug afterwards. The church was very full on this holy day of All Saints Day. We return to our bus for a late breakfast.

My buddy, Ray, calls from Ocean Park with a suggestion of another campground that we might be interested in when visiting; I check it out on line, give them a call & sign up; a good idea; thanks Ray.

I spend some time trying to figure out how I can continue getting some of my favorite instant coffee; for over (10) yrs now, every day I’ve been drinking (1) cup of Nescafe Excella Coffee from Japan adding just milk & drinking it cold. Nick has been very faithful in supplying this coffee when he visits his in-laws but I would like to have a back-up system. About (5) yrs ago when I contacted the USA distributor, the Excella version was not being imported into the USA. The Japanese web site is: any help out there?

@ 4:05pm, I drive some (40) miles one way, to the Aurora Airport & attend the Columbia Aviation Association meeting. My sponsor, Lyle, was the only guy I knew out of 60 plus members. Where are the rest of my ole buddies? Lyle was very good @ introducing me to some of the more frequent local flyers so we did some hangar flying after all. Dinner: (2) thick slices of corned beef with mashed potatoes, cabbage, & ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert. The speaker tonight was Larry D. He brought the crowd up-to-date on the future diesel powered Cessna aircraft for 2008. I hope to attend this meeting again next yr & maybe I’ll see a few more of the ole gang.

Late movie: “The Enchanted Cottage” with Dorothy McGuire, Robert Young, Herbert Marshall, Mildred Natwick, etc. A story about (2) misfits, a homely woman & a disfigured man, who find each other beautiful in the enchanted cottage. 1945. Some touching moments but the last 1/8 of the story was a little disappointing.

Lights out: 12:07am

Awake: 7:19am Temp 42 sleep 6+59 foggy, then sunny overnight @ Portland, OR.

I would like to attend Thursday’s aviation meeting @ the Aurora airport tomorrow but have no phone #’s of the members. Looking up names of some of my ole aviation buddies doesn’t help; finally I called the Aurora airport & Dave gave a phone # of Lyle B. the retired pilot who I sat next to (2) yrs ago; Lyle is 82 yr old & still flies his Bonanza. Way back in 1967, Lyle checked me out in a North American Navion airplane for my 1st real job in aviation. By phone, Lyle agreed to be my sponsor for tomorrow’s Columbia Aviation Association meeting.

Early afternoon, K & I drive across the Columbia River to Vancouver, WA & the local Wal-Mart. Here we stock up on our breakfast cereal, milk & a little fruit; but the big find was micro fiber for Melissa. Kathy has visited many Wal-Mart stores looking for this fabric. She talked with Kevin in PA to be sure to purchase the right thickness; a critical operation. Back to the bus @ 4:10pm.

Early dinner: leftover tilapia fish & chicken curry. Then we cross the “C” river again to visit the Dean & Rochelle family in Vancouver. Shirley, mother of Rochelle, arrives @ the Dean home the same time as we have. This is our 4th yr in a row to visit our Goddaughter, her siblings & parents. They are becoming part of our northwest “must see” people along with Shirley & John & a few other people when we are in Portland, OR.

Next: Dean, Rochelle, Monica (Goddaughter), dressed as Hermione, Maggie dressed as a Queen, & Donavon dressed as Darth Vader, & we go trick or treating in their local neighborhood. Shirley stays @ the Dean home to give out treats to the other local kids.

If the porch light was lit, that means get your basket or pumpkin ready. We haven’t seen this many Halloween kids in one neighborhood…ever. Donavon’s pumpkin was getting too heavy for him so he asked me to carry it; I was tempted but didn’t spill any into my pocket. This was great fun & these kids are so gentle & well behaved, we were honored to hang out with them. 1 hr +45 min & those pumpkins were plenty full. We stayed around for another (20) min sorting through the spoils, then it was bedtime for those young people. Katrina called from Denver as we were about to leave but I assured her we would call her back after we returned to our bus. Back to our bus by 9:00pm.

Kathy calls & has a nice chat with Katrina who is now back at her condo after following through with her plan to have Karina over for supper & take her trick-or-treating. Katrina & her roommate, Stephanie, have decided to paint one high angled wall in their living room tomorrow; Kathy wishes them “good painting.”

We watch a DVR movie: “Your Cheating Heart” with George Hamilton, Susan Oliver, Red Buttons, Arthur O’Connell, etc. One of Hamilton’s best roles, as legendary country-western singer Hank Williams, who couldn’t cope with fame on the ole opry circuit; songs dubbed by Hank Williams, Jr. 1964. Good show; based on a true story according to our sleuth work with Google.
Lights out: 11:55pm

Awake: 7:07am Temp 47 sleep 6+47 sunny overnight @ Portland, OR.

Call Katie & Bud M. mid morning & ask if they would like to have a couple of seniors visit before noon? “Come on over,” Katie says. We spend (2) hrs or more talking, reminiscing, looking @ pictures & photo albums, etc. A delightful visit! Bud, their son Terry, & I were in the aviation business together during the early 70’s; mostly by ourselves, we built a 100’ X 100’ clear span metal hangar building with a nice office @ the Pearson Air Park in Vancouver, WA. Our steel worker buddy & friend, Ray, after his working hrs, gave us valuable tips & assistance that kept us out of trouble. “Those were the days” my friend.

Next, a shopping we will go; Costco, east of the airport in Portland; then Safeway, further east off Sandy Blvd. Back @ the bus, we unload the groceries, walk around the campground in the mild weather & sunshine & ogle all the 5th wheel trailers & other motor homes. This campground is fairly full.

Dinner: Chicken curry with brown rice, a spinach salad & whole grain toast.

Talk with Nick in Seattle; little Jerry has a temp & was vocalizing his discomfort. Eriko loves her music in the VW.

Call Katrina to wish her a “Happy Birthday,” but she is not available; probably partying with her friends. Had Kathy remembered that Katrina had the day off of school (part of her week long Fall break), we would have called earlier.

We finish watching “Doctor Zhivago” with Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin, Tom Courtenay, Alec Guinness, Rod Steiger, etc. Sumptuous, sprawling epic from Boris Pasternak’s acclaimed novel: Sharif is charismatic as Russian poet/doctor, an orphan who marries aristocratic Chaplin but falls in love with politicized nurse Christie. Spans several decades, including WWI & Bolshevik Revolution with stiring crowd scenes, gorgeous romantic vistas & a powerful exodus sequence on train. 1965. If you’re not familiar with this story, get with it! It’s a chart topper.

Lights out: 12:20am (no typo)

Awake: 5:29am Temp 47 sleep 6+50 cloudy overnight @ Portland, Oregon.

Early morning, I try to catch up with our latest batch of mail that wasn’t scrutinized during our time in Issaquah. Then make a thorough check on our credit card receipts.

After e-mailing my buddy Ray in Ocean Park, he calls & we have a nice chat for nearly an hr; we cover many subjects.

By mid afternoon, we decide to go no place & just take the day off; doing things inside our home.

Dinner: Tilapia fish, brown rice, squash from cousin Flossy in PA & a mixed salad.

Evening time: look @ family photos on our family web site.

Late evening: watch ½ of DVR movie: “Dr. Zhivago.”

Lights out: 12:20am

Awake: 7:07am Temp 37 sleep 6+55 sunny overnight @ Issaquah, WA.

After retracting the remaining (2) slides & disconnecting the shore power, we leave the Issaquah RV Park @ 10:40am, head east on I-90, then southwest on US-18 to I-5 to Flying “J” for a fuel stop. We don’t need fuel now but looking ahead, Oregon has (2) Flying “J” stations & both are inconvenient for our travels. 115 gal @ $3.48 per gal.

With our cell phone, we are in touch with Bill & Debby M. who lead us off I-5 @ exit 111 to park our bus @ Hawks Prairie Casino parking lot for RV’s. Bill & Debby look tough; for the last year, they’ve been clearing brush, landscaping, & had a pole barn built on their property in the Olympia area. They offered to give us a tour & we accepted. They’re eager to start building their house but are caught in bureaucratic delays over the septic & water permits. Bill & Debbie were our good neighbors in Alaska & we haven’t seen them since Jan 2005, so it was really nice re-connecting.

A (20) min drive in the country brings us to B & D’s beautiful Pole Barn with a lean-to apt. attachment on one side; on the other side, a lean-to workshop. The barn has a very sturdy upper storage level as well. A few yrs ago, my good buddy, Ray, convinced Bill that the pole barn idea was a better way to go in lieu of an all metal building. Bill & Debby are well pleased & they should be.

Back to Hawks Prairie where we give D & B a cheap tour of our shrunken bus (slides retracted), then we all have an early dinner @ the H P restaurant & gab some more. Kathy has a ground round steak dinner with garlic mashed potatoes & salad & I have fried oysters with garlic mashed potatoes & soup.

During our exciting gab fest, I lost track of time & all of a sudden it dawned on me that darkness will soon to be upon us & we have 120 miles yet to travel. We thank B & D, wish them “happy traveling” with their motorhome as they are traveling tomorrow & we get back “on the road again.”

I would rather not pull into a campground in pitch darkness but, fortunately, we have been at this campground before & we did fine; arriving @ the Columbia River RV Park in Portland, OR @ 6:50pm.

Melissa calls from PA. Their return trip was uneventful. The boys actually slept ‘til 6 am on Sun, a record. How long will the time difference affect their sleep schedule?

K & I watch some of the 4th & last game of the World Series being played in Denver, a sweep for the Boston Red Sox. We looked for our friend, Gary, who was there as a guest of his son, but we didn’t see him. Then a satellite movie with popcorn: “Miracle Worker” with Barbara Stanwyck, David Manners, Sam Hardy, Beryl Mercer, etc. Stanwyck plays an evangelist whose splashy sermons become big business. Manners is a blind man who falls in love with her. 1931. Kathy reports: “It was OK.”

Lights out: 10:39pm


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