Mar282017

Migratory Routes of the Pacific NW Snowbirds

The Pacific Northwest Snowbirds can choose between a number of routes as they travel back and forth to the warm overwintering grounds. In this blog I will discuss several of these routes.
But first my credentials: My wife and helpmate of fifty two years and I retired in May of 2004. We married off our daughter, sold our house and went on the road full time that summer. We purchased a used Alpine motor home in September of 2004. Since then we have traveled 119,548 miles on a total of 1170 travel days. If you are keeping track that is an average day’s drive of 102 miles. Some days were less than a mile because we were changing campsites within the same campground, however our maximum day’s drive ever was 345 miles. We officially recognize the 230 rule. That is 230 maximum miles and/or 2:30 in the afternoon; we get off the road and camp for the night. We have only exceeded that 68 times in over twelve years. Only 8 were over 300 miles. Most of these were on our annual trek north and south.
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Sep292016

A Quick Task! Chapter 1:

On Monday, September 26, 2016 Judy and I set out in Arcturus to accomplish a couple of housekeeping tasks. First was to dump the tanks, one of those disgusting but necessary jobs that must be done periodically. Robin Williams in his movie “RV” makes great sport of this simple task. But I digress, this task went smoothly and soon we arrived at our second destination. The Less Schwab store on Imbrie Drive where we had an appointment to exchange our dead 15 year old chassis batteries for a pair of new healthy ones. It was a little congested in the truck parking area, but Judy managed to wedge Arcturus between a Gulf war vintage 6×6 exchanging tires and a fully loaded log truck replacing two flats. The transplant went smoothly until it came time to test start the coach. I slid into the driver’s seat and inserted the key. First click activates the cylinder head heaters, wait for the “wait to start” blinking warning light to go out. Read More »

Sep292016

A Quick Task – Chapter 2:

I have a collection of cute sayings that I am likely to quote when the moment is right. I found several “right moments” on Monday last. The sayings that I repeated several times and still couldn’t find answers for were these:

“When you are absolutely certain that everything is exactly right, and it still doesn’t work then something that you are absolutely certain about is most certainly wrong.”

“Go to the last thing you changed and change it back.”

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Sep042016

This is Why I Volunteer:

Judy and I spent the month of July at Fort Yamhill State Heritage Site. When we first volunteered with the Oregon State Parks in 2013, Matt Heureter, park ranger, offered us a position. Immediately upon arrival Matt offered us the opportunity to take “Core Training” at Canby Oregon. With this training I really got pumped on the interpreting side of volunteering. With my background in band through grade school, high school and Coast Guard training, I got excited about the possibility of learning the Civil War bugle calls and incorporating them in my interpretation.
Well, long-story-short; I bought a bugle and I have used it at three different venues in the past four years. July 2016 started out with the “Fourth of July” celebrations and I dusted off my “Honor the Flag” presentation and offered the opportunity for several visitors that weekend to raise and lower the Fort Yamhill Flag. Because we are a heritage site we are flying a rather large 34 star “Period” flag from the time of the American Civil War. I have seen crusty old former “first sergeants” get choked up over handling the flag of our ancestors. It’s a neat feeling being part of their experience.
On July 30, 2013, I was rocked back on my heels. A Vietnam Veteran, about my age, battered hat and full facial hair, approached me as I was sweeping the parking lot and started to explain that I had done the “Honor the Flag” with him over the July 4th weekend. He went on to explain that it really hit home with him and his son, indicating the man standing beside him. He wanted to thank me and started to offer his hand. I caught a glimmer of metal in his palm as our hands met. Our hands rotated and a coin dropped into my palm.
I looked into his eyes and could see he was a little misty eyed. He started to explain that he had just “Coined” me because the flag ceremony had touched him so deeply. He continued to explain the honor he had just bestowed on me as we stood together examining the two inch diameter coin.
As I reflect on the events of our tour of duty at Fort Yamhill in July of 2016, I get a little choked up myself when I realize that: ”This is why I volunteer.”
BugleFlag

Jul112016

A Step Up

We have settled into Fort Yamhill State Heritage Site once again. We were here in 2013, and 2014 also. This park is about 20 miles west of Salem on highway 22 in the Grand Ronde valley. Once again Dr Dave Brauner and his archeology students from Oregon State University will be here looking for the history of this place. Read More »

Jun052016

Cleaning the Paint Brush:

I am currently finishing up a project where I am varnishing a small computer table that swings out over the Co-Pilot’s chair in our motor home.

Computer Table

Computer Table Project

I have decided to give it a three layer marine spar varnish treatment. When you paint it is tempting to wrap the brush in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Now I may look dumb, but I know better than to place a smelly brush in mama’s refrigerator. That means I must clean the brush after each use. The alternative is to buy cheap brushes and toss them. Right! But you see I am already using cheap brushes. I like a simple two inch pig bristle brush that costs under $2 at the hardware store. Let’s see, that is three coats times two sides, or six brushes, which adds up to nearly $12, almost as much as the quart of spar varnish. Read More »

Apr132016

A Little Help Loading Cat Trikes:

Our new Cat Trikes tip the scales at about 30 pounds. Now that is not bad, but they are awkward to load. I checked my inventory of steel tubing and discovered that I had a couple nice lengths of one inch steel tubing left over from building bicycles. I bent a nice radius curve near one end and mounted it down the center of the van as a monorail. Today I designed a trolley to fit the monorail and built it. It has screen slider rollers with fat O-rings for tires and hand bent aluminum frame. Read More »

Mar262016

Spring Break at Wings of History

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We are just now leaving the Wings of History compound heading for the Pacific Northwest for the summer. We spent 10 days camped inside our private gated community, so to speak. Here are some of the activities we enjoyed. Read More »

Mar082016

Flat Tire in Oceana:

Today was our second day out of Arizona. We arrived in Oceano, part of the so called five cities that includes Pismo Beach, Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and perhaps Nipomo and San Louis Obispo.When we started to make our port of call at the five cities Elks lodge we missed the entrance and wound up in a residential neighborhood. Before extracting our selves we developed a puncture in the left front tire. Cesar came to our rescue and patched the tire. Here is an action photo right here on our blog. Read More »

Feb242016

Bluegrass Festival Time in Arizona:

We have been cruising around southwest Arizona for the past four weeks attending three Bluegrass festivals and the Ajo fiddle contest. The past three days in Bullhead City have been the most awesome jamming opportunities of all. Here is a photo of the group we hosted last night at our campsite.
Tomorrow we will make our way to Lake Havasu City for the next festival in two weeks.
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Left to right around the circle, Barbra and Joe Magie, a bass player and guitarist that I missed their names, Mick and Fria on mandolin and dobro guitar. That is me standing and a fellow named Steve with his back to the camera. Our campfire is a propane heater and a LED lantern on the table.
Please let me know if there are still recipients out there who do not wish to receive e-mail with photos attached. This photo is 600 kb. I always trim them.
Gary