Friday, April 19, 2019

Day 40 - Corvallis, OR

There isn’t a lot of choice here in Corvallis. We are at the Benton Oaks RV Park which is at the Fairground. We are in one of their “overflow” spaces for now which mean water and power for ~$30/day. It seems kinda high for what you get but it’s cheaper than Anaheim. The camp host said we should be able to move to a full hookup site tomorrow. Quite a few people are here for OSU baseball this afternoon and are leaving tomorrow.

At least in the overflow sights there aren’t any oak trees overhead dropping acorns on the roof. The drive here was uneventful and the only potential stress was the 13’ 3” underpass on 63rd Ave about a 1/4 mile from the campground. The gps said 13’ 3”, the sign on the road said 13’ 4” and the sign on the railroad trestle said 13’ 6”. Needless to say, we fit. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Day 39 - McMinnville, OR - HH

It was a short, two-hour drive to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum which allows free RV parking for up to two nights. They asked us to park at the back of the lot. There were some school buses doing some training in the lot. But it’s a pretty big lot.

We had stopped here before with the Ural and it was around 100°F. Today, it’s a very comfortable 70°F. The displays have changed some since 2015 but the major pieces such as the Spruce Goose and the SR-71 are the same. The two Urals that were part of a WWII display are gone as is the WWII display.

There are three large buildings that are part of the museum plus a fourth building with an indoor water park. One of the buildings has an IMAX theatre and I watched Fighter Pilot. A movie about fighter pilot training at Nellis AFB.

This is the Spruce Goose. An wooden, amphibious plane made by Howard Hughes and only made one short flight. It used to be in Long Beach next to the Queen Mary but was disassembled and moved here. Some of the original craftsmen that originally built the plane participated in its reassembly.

The space museum not only had spacecraft and rocket engines but also some planes that were part of the space program such as this engineering model of the X-15, a supersonic experimental plane. It’s on the “space” side as the X-15 altitude record is 354,200 ft which is considered as space.

Both sides of the museum were very well done though admission is kind of steep at $27. There is no requirement to purchase admission in exchange for the free RV parking but I was looking forward to visiting here again.

This is the SR-71. The supersonic spy plane. I saw one on the ground at Edwards Air Force Base where it was being refueled between missions. This was back in the mid-70s when it was still being used. We were told that it used so much fuel getting off the ground that it needed to be refueled soon after takeoff. It has two J58 turbojet engines each generating 32,500 lbs of thrust burning 8,000 gallons of fuel per hour.

BTW, used the Instant Pot to make brown rice (22 min) and the induction burner for salmon in garlic and brown butter. Used only 4% of the batteries. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Day 38 - Seaside, OR - TT

We finally have a non-rainy day so here is a shot of our campsite at Seaside RV Resort, which is another Thousand Trails park. The site is pretty long as I can park the truck behind the trailer as well. The indoor pool also has a kid’s jacuzzi in addition to the adult one though the jets don’t work very well in either one. And, there is a dry sauna that is pretty nice. The park is not crowded at least not where we are. There are two sides to the park, north and south, and we are on the less popular south side. The swimming pool and 50-amp power make the north campground more popular.

We are checking out tomorrow and headed for another Harvest Host site. So I completed some chores today getting ready for dry camping such as draining the tanks and filling the fresh water tank. After the Harvest Host overnight, we will be heading into Corvallis for a week. And will be at least two nights in their overflow area. All of the parks in Oregon seem to be full of long-term residents who are there for the winter. And the Benton Oaks RV Park in Corvallis  isn’t any different. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Day 37 - Seaside, OR - TT

This morning, we met up with Chris G who contacted us through the website. They are on their way to Alaska this summer and had some questions. There is a lot of information online and some FB groups dedicated to travel to Alaska this Summer. But, many people seem to over glamorize their trip in an attempt to turn it into an adventure. We answered them and suggested stops along the way, things to see and places to go. They have a relatively new 40’ diesel pusher and they’re towing a Jeep. A pretty good combination. After several hours of talking we told them to feel free and contact us anytime and definitely when they get to Fairbanks.

Other than that, it was a slow, no-picture day. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Day 36 - Seaside, OR - TT

Late morning, back in Cannon Beach. This candy shop had a smashed penny machine so it was a “must stop” for Bridget. They were packaging marionberry salt water taffy with free samples. After the sample, I bought some as it was very tasty. Bridget is now in a yarn shop so I tracked down a place to get some coffee. It’s 48°F and drizzling so the wooden stools in the bakery are comfortable enough.

While Bridget was shopping at a fabric store, I wandered back to Haystack Rock. We were parked at the south end of town. Not very many people compared to yesterday. Lots of people with dogs wandering around and a small percentage of them refuse to clean up after them…

This was a digital zoom of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. It was quite a ways out on this foggy afternoon. It is about halfway between the towns of Seaside and Cannon Beach a short ways offshore. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Day 35 - Seaside, OR - TT

It was a slow three hour drive from Newport to Seaside. Not really that far but a lot of small towns and slow cars gawking at the ocean. We are at another Thousand Trails campground for another four nights. I believe that this puts us at 52 nights within their system. I think we got our money’s worth.

After setting up, we headed down to Cannon Beach, which is around ten miles south of Seaside. The picture on the left is the rather famous Haystack Rock. Or at least I think it is.

This is the view to the north. It is around low tide again so the waves were quite a ways out. It was windy and, in my opinion, cold and wet. Parking was a little crowded but that’s partly because we have a 20’ truck. We had the two dogs so we didn’t explore town today. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Day 34 - Newport, OR - TT

Today, we wandered around the harbor area in Newport. This is the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center. Admission was $5 but it was a very nice, well done museum. It turns out that the staff person at the desk used to live in Fairbanks and worked at the university. They full-timed in an RV and are thinking about getting an Airstream and continue on. The building has a large venue area upstairs and a new theatre downstairs.

This is just a small part of the fishing fleet based here in Newport. We were parked along the road facing this view while we were at the museum and having a wonderful lunch at Clearwater Restaurant down the road overlooking the sea lion dock. Lunch was clam chowder and a Cobb salad with dungeness crab. Delicious lunch. I don’t think I need to make dinner today.

We also went to the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. It was only in operation for one year before it was shut down in favor of the much brighter Yaquina Head Lighthouse that we visited yesterday. What is surprising is that the buildings here have been preserved unlike the Yaquina Head buildings. The signs mention several times that the Yaquina Head light has a “first order Fresnel lens”. Which results in a more focused beam. I guess I need to do some research and see what that means.

This prop was in front of the Maritime museum without descriptive signage. But it makes for a good picture.

The Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport has a lot of Art Deco styling cues on the concrete supports. It is almost 2/3 of a mile long and was completed in 1936. Wikipedia says that there are Art Moderne elements on the bridge but I’m not sure what the difference is between the two styles. They didn’t cover that in school.

This is the inside of the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center. Tomorrow, we leave Newport and head north for Seaside. A small town north of Cannon Beach where there is another Thousand Trails campground. So far, we’ve stayed 48 nights in TT or Encore parks making the average nightly fee a bargain. I think we’ve dropped to under $10/night...

Friday, April 12, 2019

Day 33 - Newport, OR - TT

The weather guessers were right. It stopped raining last night and there was even a bit of sunshine breaking through the clouds this morning as evidenced by our roof-mounted sunshine detectors. (See image below).

Around noon, we went to Moolack Beach about six miles north of Newport. Bridget read that it was a good place to find agates. It was pretty close to low tide (12:57 pm) as you can see in the pictures. The lighthouse to the south is the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. I have no idea how to pronounce that name. I believe the lighthouse is on tomorrow’s itinerary. No agates were found.

BTW, at the listed low tide time, the tide seemed to be coming back in. Maybe the times listed are PST, not PDT. The website I looked at didn’t say one way or another.

We ended up heading into the Yaquina Head Lighthouse aka Cape Foulweather Lighthouse. The lighthouse property is managed by BLM so no entrance fee with my senior National Park Pass. They have a very nice interpretive center and it’s about a third of a mile walk to the lighthouse with some fabulous views. You could drive to the lighthouse but it was a fabulous day for a walk.

The inside of the lighthouse is closed on Fri, Sat, and Sun. Seems odd but since the tours are staffed by volunteers, they probably want the weekends off. When the tours are offered, you can climb the steps. This is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon. Since the lighthouse is now fully automated, the 100-year old residences were removed before such things were considered historical. Most of the building material was brought in by ship directly to the site as there was only a rough path from Newport.

At the base of the lighthouse, there were quite a few seals/sea lions. I don’t know which. In the previous picture, you can see them to the left and below the lighthouse. There were quite a few but they were not very vocal. Maybe saving their energy for the weekend crowd. The tide was still pretty low and there were some tide pools but I opted not to go down to the beach.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Day 32 - Newport, OR - TT

It was raining this morning and has continued to rain for most of the day. My only activity was to enjoy the indoor pool and jacuzzi. I went mid-afternoon and was the only one there. Pretty nice…

We’ve been able to keep the RV warm using just the electric heater that we picked up at Walmart (I think). The propane furnace rarely comes on which helps with our propane use. One new concern is whether we should get a dehumidifier. The inside of the windows have moisture on them. Especially after cooking.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Day 31 - Newport, OR - TT

It was a short drive from the Emerson Vineyard to Whalers Rest RV Park just south of Newport, OR. It is another Thousand Trails (TT) park and we will be here for four nights. And, like the other TT parks, it is more campground than RV park. Lots of trees and with all the rain, a lot of mud. Our site is pretty well tucked into the trees.

The rain is supposed to let up on Friday (only Friday) so Bridget has some outdoor activities planned. The pool and jacuzzi are indoors so I will be checking that out. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Day 30 - Monmouth, OR - HH

Today’s stop was Emerson Vineyard, another Harvest Host stop. It alternated between rain, sometimes heavy, and sunshine all day today. But once we arrived at our stop, it has been mostly scattered clouds. They had a good selection of wine and a white port. Since we will be spending Easter with family, we picked up a couple of bottles including the port.

The box labels make great posters but, unfortunately, they only had one poster available and it wasn’t the one Bridget was looking for. This place is nowhere near any highway so it is very quiet and peaceful and we are able to enjoy a nice view out of the rear picture window.

The tasting room had quite a few barrels in addition to tables, chairs and couches. They host musical events inside the tasting room during the winter and outside during warmer weather. We are really enjoying the Harvest Host stays and are already looking forward to our next stay in a week.

This is where we are parked behind a building. You can see our view from the back window which is facing east. The sun is high enough to hit the solar panels and we are already back up to 100% charge even with all the rain. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Day 29 - Phoenix, OR

As you can see, we are not escaping the rain today. Or tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next. Actually, I think that there is rain for the next week or so. I took the truck in to get the oil changed as it has been over 5k miles. I took it to Castrol Premium Lube Express. Courteous, prompt service. And they included running the truck through the car wash. Even though it's raining, we had gone through a swarm of bees back in Menifee.

There is a pool and a jacuzzi at this park but it looks like it hasn't been cleaned in a while. Maybe due to all the rain they've been having. Anyway, I didn't really feel inclined to try out the jacuzzi in the rain. This evening, we are going back to our friend's home. It has been great to see them again.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Day 28 - Phoenix, OR

Our stop for today is the Pear Tree RV Resort in Phoenix, OR. We stopped here to visit with some long-time friends from back in my student days in Fairbanks. They live in Medford which is a short drive north of the RV park. I had called several places in the area and this was the only one with any space. It seems that the parks are filled with long term snowbirds who didn't want to go any further south. Since the California border is only about twenty miles away, I guess I can see why some wouldn't want to venture further south.

It was raining for much of the drive especially while traversing the Shasta-Trinity mountains. We passed Shasta Lake which is usually very empty but today, the water level was almost "full". According to the graph, the lake is only about 16' from full. The light green line is last years data so I guess "full" at this time of year is normal.

Nothing else interesting on the drive except you can see new leaves just starting to come out on some of the trees

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Day 27 - Corning, CA

A relatively short driving day. And even though we had to go through Sacramento, traffic wasn’t bad at all. We stayed on I-5 all the way. Our free stop is at the Olive Pit. They have about ten RV parking slots just north of the store and allow you to stay overnight. The only negative is that you can’t put out the slide so the interior of the RV is a bit cramped. Especially with two dogs.

They have a small cafe with burgers and breakfast in addition to the store selling all things olive. The heavy overcast probably means that the batteries won’t be fully charged again but when we stopped, they were back up to 90% from 74% this morning. Partly from the truck but mostly from the sun. It does receive some charge from the truck alternator but it’s such a long run that it’s more of a maintenance charge. 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Day 26 - Lodi, CA - HH

Besides driving out this morning to get diesel and a visit to Walmart, we spent the day here at the winery. It has been a pretty solid overcast and raining since mid-morning but is starting to clear up. The batteries were at 74% and with the rain, it seemed like a good opportunity to use the new converter. After checking with the winery staff, I pulled out one of the 2KW generators and plugged in the converter. After only forty-five minutes of running, the generator brought the bank up to 90%. With the stock converter, this would’ve taken hours. Charge rate was almost 70 amps initially and by the end of 45 minutes, it had dropped to 60 amps.

By late afternoon, the sun started peeking through the clouds. We visited the tasting room and came out with a couple of bottles including a dessert wine. Something that I hadn’t heard of before. This is another shot of the field that we are set up in. Plenty of room for others. They mentioned that they are real fans of Harvest Hosts and gave us a 10% discount on the wine. This is in addition to the free dry camping. A very relaxing stay especially nice after the non-relaxing environment of the last couple of weeks. 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Day 25 - Lodi, CA - HH

Today felt like a longish driving probably due to the crazy traffic on I-5. Truck and trailer traffic was 55-60 mph and the cars were 70-80+. Cars would stream by in tightly packed lines of about 40 cars at a time. Pretty crazy.

This morning, we stopped by to visit with Tom and Lori RV Life as they were still at the Bear Mountain RV Park. They were the one who recommended the park in Bakersfield. I would definitely stop by there again. The price was right and it was clean and quiet.

We are at Jessie’s Grove Winery, a Harvest Host participant. They gave us the gate code to the truck entrance and had us go to this huge grassy field behind the winery. We are planning to stay for a couple of nights as they have a lot of things to do here. We arrived just a few minutes before closing so we will go visit tomorrow morning.

This is the view out of the rear window of the trailer. It faces to the west so the trees back there should provide some shade from the sun. I suspect that our awning will be getting some use here. We had it out for almost the entire time that we were in Menifee and it was nice to have. Since the refrigerator side of the trailer faces south, the awning helps the freezer stay cold. The absorption refrigerator works but isn’t like a compressor style refrigerator.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Day 24 - Escaped L.A. - Bakersfield, CA

We were successful in escaping the craziness of Los Angeles traffic today. We left around 10 and there was a fair amount of stop-and-go in Riverside and San Bernardino. Once we topped Cañon Pass, we stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Victorville. Two of my cousins had mentioned this location so it seemed like a good idea. Parking was a challenge as the back parking lot was packed. And there was a lot of reserved parking for vanpool vehicles. Comfort food at its best...

Our destination for tonight was the Bear Mountain RV Park in Bakersfield, CA. We usually stayed at the Orangegrove RV Park but decided to try this place. It was recommended by Tom and Lori RV Life as they have stayed here multiple times while visiting family. It is about half the price of the other place though it doesn't have the "amenities" such as a pool and orange trees. But for the price, I'll take it.

For the next couple of days, we will be trying to hit some Harvest Hosts locations. There seems to be a number of places in the area between Stockton and Sacramento. If you haven't heard of Harvest Hosts before, it is a network of wineries, farms, museums and now golf courses that allow RVs to park for free. Usually, you patronize their business. If you want to sign up, please use my affiliate link.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Day 23 -

Since Palm Springs, we've put over a thousand miles on the truck. This was mostly on the freeways of the Los Angeles basin. Of course, those in Orange County or Riverside County don't consider themselves part of Los Angeles but to me, it's all the same. The highway surface is bumpy especially with H-rated tires on an unloaded truck. On just about every trip, traffic has been backed up. Though today, there wasn't a traffic jam due to the flowering hillsides. In fact, the brilliant orange poppies seem to be on the decline and there were just a handful of cars parked near the hills. I don't have any pictures as I was driving.

I went ahead and started to get things packed up as the weather guessers are saying some rain tomorrow morning. Putting things away wet is just asking for trouble. Plus, the wind was picking up probably due to the wet weather moving into the area.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Day 22 - Menifee, CA - TT

It’s 85°F today and this seems to be the place to be right now. They opened the family pool today so the adult pool is now an enjoyable place to hang out. Nice and quiet.

Bridget rode her bike around the park several times but there is just too much traffic on the regular roads for an enjoyable ride. Especially if you aren't used to riding in traffic. At least in my opinion. I know that I used to ride all over the Los Angeles area on my bicycle but it feels different now. Too many drivers either not paying attention or acting out their street racing video games.

This evening, we are going to my cousin's home again for dinner. One of the cousins had mentioned how difficult it was to make oxtail stew while I was telling them about the Instant Pot. I had just made a batch last week just before leaving the Orangeland RV park in Anaheim. I checked the local Stater Bros. grocery store and they had quite a selection of oxtails. So I'm making a batch in the Instant Pot right now. 1½ hours of cooking time seems better than the normal six to eight hours.