Thursday, December 31, 2015

Two Springs and Many Hops - November and December 2015

We spent the last two months of 2015 back at Two Springs RV Resort. We enjoy it: easy living without having to move frequently, a dog yard for the dogs plus room for their pen. The Verizon coverage is not as good as we would hope for and the park wifi - well, it's fine until people start getting there and using it.

It's a little sad: some of the sites are for sale due to the health of their owners and some of the usual people either aren't here this year or will not be back. Several lots are for sale, some even with fifth-wheels included. We were able to buy an umbrella table and chairs from one couple and mom bought their golf cart.

She had resisted buying a cart for the last few years but now we are both glad that she has it. It makes carting clothes up to the laundry room and back so much easier.

The weather was enjoyable for sitting out on the patio through November and the first part of December. And we made new friends who enjoy some of the same things we do, i.e. good beer and wine.

We met twotravelers through RVillage. Like us they are full-timers. Originally from San Antonio they now summer in McMinnville Oregon and winter in the desert.

We enjoyed several fine sunsets together.

Our first outing together was to the annual Hops and Props Festival at the Palm Springs Air Museum.

Until then, we had no idea that there were so many fine breweries in the area.

We also did an evening touring the Palm Springs Happy Hour scene.

Here we are at the ever-popular Wang's in the Desert.

From Wang's we went to Lulu's California Bistro and finished up at Rio Azul. It was a night of M's for the two female members of our party: we had Mai Tais at Wang's, Mojitos at Lulu's and of course Margaritas at Rio Azul. Note to remember: Rio Azul served their house Margaritas with the rims garnished with a sugar/salt/red chili powder mixture.

We introduce twotravelers to the Indio Tamale Festival, which should become an annual event for us.

The beer selection unfortunately was pretty sad.

We took a dozen tamales home from Bennet's and enjoyed them together at Mom's house a week or so later.

We spent an afternoon at an RV show in Indio followed by a stop at the new La Quinta BrewingCo Ttaproom in Old Town La Quinta.

I saw one RV I would have traded for: a Newmar Ventana 3636. Two baths, fireplace, and of course discontinued. Ah well we're not ready to upgrade yet anyway.

And that was the day the first of the winter storms started rolling through.

We had planned to hike at the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve but like last December it was just too cold. So instead we went out for some more great local brews.

This is at Babe's Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse in La Quinta. 

I can vouch for the Nitro Koffi Porter.

And then on to what I think we all agree is our favorite:

Coachella Valley Brewing in Thousand Palms. They have some wonderful IPAs including Monument on Fire IPA made with Hatch Chilis. Don't knock it until you've tried it! I have previously been more of a porter/stout person but I am developing a taste for IPA's.

Before we left Palm Springs we finally visited Dillon's Burgers and Beer, a roadhouse on the outskirts of Desert Hot Springs.

Signs over bar include "Hang Overs Installed and Serviced" 

This is the restroom soap dispenser.

 I believe that it probably is the oldest . . .

Things learned at Dillon's: Hangar 24 Triple IPA. So good. 

Now lest you think that all we did was eat, drink, and be merry: we did also make our annual pilgrimage to Joshua Tree, again glad to introduce Ken and Cathy to a new place.

We found some different areas this trip, including an old catch basin.

 A rock that some said looked like the head of a duck.

Keys View:

Tom points out the San Andreas fault to Ken.

The Jumping Cholla Garden:

Then there were the holidays. We all did the park Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas Eve gift exchange. The latter went on approximately forever and we may skip it next year. 

On December 29th was the park's annual Christmas Golf Cart Parade. I helped mom decorate her cart and I decorated my bicycle to ride behind.

The parade was made a lot more fun with the addition of adult beverages. And as we started lining up around 4:30 but didn't leave until dark there was a lot of time for the use of the adult beverages.

Next year: Teddy will stay home as it was a bit much for her. And I will ride with mom instead of on the bicycle. The parade was much to slow for a bike as they had to keep stopping to talk to people.

I have to share this vintage trailer ornament that Jamie and Catherine sent us. It's not just for Christmas.

We'll be back at Two Springs for February and March. Fingers are crossed for warmer weather and more days without wind.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Autumn in Oregon

Oh, the places we've been.

But then sometimes the wandering life is less exciting. Sometimes we spend a couple of months working for a living in which case the blog is put aside. October and November turned out to be a couple of those months. It's hard to spend extra hours at the computer editing pictures and writing blog entries after writing code all day.

So I  have read books and worked on another few projects in my spare time.

As those on Facebook may have heard there will soon be a new family member. I am using her impending arrival (due January 19th) for an excuse to knit. The soon-to-be parents are our son Jamie and daughter-in-law Catherine.

We were presented with this book back in June as an annoucement.

We relocated back to Oregon on September 21st. Our first night was at Farewell Bend State Recreation area on the Snake River north of Ontario. We had driven by the park before but never stayed there.

We had a pretty site overlooking the river.

Then onward for a few days and back to the Umatilla Marina RV Park. This will most likely continue to be an annual spot as we attend the Northwest Cardigan Fanciers regional specialty each year.

One of the best parts of staying here: the sunsets over the Columbia.

Another plus that we discovered by accident when visiting a local laundromat:

Fiesta Foods in Hermiston. For those like us who enjoy Hispanic cuisine this was a great find. I highly recommend the market.

Then over the border to Columbia Park in Richland Washington for the shows.

This is what dog show camping looks like.

GCH C-Myste Baledwr Free to Disagree HT

Pilot's old friend Dixie Rae took the end of his leash and was awarded Best Veteran in Sweepstakes.

You can see more show pictures here. Many Alice grandkids and great-grandkids were among the winners, as well as a couple of Huxley's grandkids.

After the show weekend we spent one more night back in Umatilla and this happened:

One year almost to the day from the previous failure our slide started making popping noises and not extending and retracting evenly. We opted to contact Thor and not to risk putting it out again until we could get it repaired. Tom says that it takes three sasquatches to put it in manually if it gets stuck out, and as I believe them to be mythical beasts I did not think it in our best interest to tempt fate.

We don't think that La Mesa RV did the greatest job on the repair last year. They didn't even put all of the screws back into the braces.

Several e-mails to the factory later and Thor was good to us. An appointment was scheduled with Carrier RV in Eugene for a repair and upgrade from a two-track to a three-track system at no charge to us. There was some time required to get the parts from Schwintek to Carrier and for the shop time to be scheduled so we lived another three weeks in a skinny house.

So we decided to hang around western Oregon for a while.

The Columbia River Gorge, heading west on I-84.

We spent a few days back at Portland Woodburn RV Park and then headed down to the Rogue Valley.  This time rather than staying out at the stick house we opted for a lovely setting on the Rogue River at Valley of the Rogue State Park.

We enjoyed the beginning of fall colors though the park was very dry.

The dogs enjoyed being at Valley of the Rogue with its good walking trails.

Especially our number one river lover Dora.

The only detriments for walking: start thistle and goats head thistle (puncture vine). These did not make Huxley happy.

We had a good reason for our trip back to the Rogue Valley. We needed to see some puppies at Spyrock in Grants Pass!

The sire of is our breeding, and I co-own him with Trenton Sponsler in California.  Morgan is Kady's nephew.

GCH C-Myste Baledwr SN Getting Away with It

The dam of the litter is Huxley's granddaughter Naveen so it was a family affair.

October 1st, the day before we left Woodburn for Southern Oregon was the day of the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg.  Our return trip north led us through Roseburg just as President Obama's helicopter was landing for his visit on October 9th.

We were fortunate to get through just before traffic was stopped.

I'm not going off onto a political anti-gun rant here and now but I will say that many things about our current gun culture upset me. 

Back to Woodburn and fall colors and the first days of morning fog. It was Jamie and Catherine who talked us into going back. You see the RV park is just behind the Woodburn Outlet Mall where we could meet and go baby shopping.

Sunset at the park.

Signs in the laundry room. Someone there understands dogs.

After shopping we took an evening drive east in the Willamette Valley out to the town of Mt Angel.

Where we enjoyed a delicious German dinner at the Glockenspiel Restaurant. Side note: I played a real glockenspiel in high school marching band. That was many years ago.

I wonder if there are any old pictures around?

While in Woodburn waiting for the slide repair we decided to have the annual service done on the house's engine.  We made an appointment at the nearest Freightliner shop.  We used the day to visit a couple of Applied Solutions clients, returning in the early afternoon when it should have been time to pick it up.  But guess what.

They were out of the correct fuel filter. Someone had to drive to Portland to pick up more. Then they got stuck in rush hour traffic.

The job that should have taken an hour or two had us in the shop for 10.5 hours. On the plus side, they gave us a substantial discount in hope of us giving them another chance next  year.

We missed the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta this  year, but did get to see one balloon while we were in Woodburn.

One afternoon we visited this store in Portland: Clever Cycles.

We had been trying to decide what to do about bicycles. We couldn't come up with an easy way to carry our Terratrikes: neither lifting them up to the top of the jeep nor putting them behind on a giant rack seemed like a viable option. They will remain in Molalla.

Instead, we now have two Brompton folding bikes. They fit easily into the jeep.

Finally it was time to take the house to Carrier RV in Eugene.  We spent Sunday and Monday nights in their yard as our slide was repaired and a new (better) satellite dish was installed. 

We had to leave during the day on Monday and Tuesday but were able to work at one of our client's places nearby: Norwest Safety. We appreciated their hospitality and repaid it with several weeks of program changes  (see "working for a living" above).  

Leaving the shop, we spent a couple of nights at Armitage Park (Lane County park) just north of Eugene.

Pretty sites, a trail along the McKenzie River and even an off leash dog park.

A huge off leash dog park.

 Dora checks out the gate to the nature trail.

 Huxley ad Kady exploring.

Leaving Eugene, a few more days  at Valley of the Rogue. Switched some stuff in and out of storage, setup forwarding from the PO box. 

Or at least we tried to set up forwarding. We have used a single PO box for both business and personal mail, but it was originally rented in the business name. The US Post Office in their infinite wisdom will forward the business mail to the new address but not the personal mail.  Why? So we are laboriously changing our address one thing at a time.

And finally now we have flown south for the winter.