As the sun sets on the month and the year, I am posting this photo of one of the sunsets we have enjoyed through the windshield of our coach here in our site at Buckskin Mountain State Park. It has been a good month for us here in Arizona, and we wish for everyone a successful finish of 2009.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
This is a Phainopepla, one of the birds we see daily in our corner of the park here at Buckskin Mountain State Park. Actually there are a number of birds we see on a daily basis, the most numerous and most vocal are the Great-tailed Grackles as they search the campsites for tidbits. The busiest and brightest bird would be a Vermilion Flycatcher that flitters out after insects all day long. Keeping a lower profile is another flycatcher a Black Phoebe. Possibly the prettiest are a pair of Gila Woodpeckers. And by evening a number of Eurasian Collared Doves roost in our Ficus trees.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
When I head up the trail each morning, I usually take a shovel with me. I use it to make improvements along the trail to water bars and culverts, but I get asked the darndest questions. Here are a few: “What are you digging for?” “Are you actually mining?” and “What are you mining for?” This one on my return trip ---“Did you bury a body up there?” And my favorite - - -“What is so special about that shovel that you carry it everywhere?”
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Last night as we were sitting down to dinner Jeanette noticed what she thought might be burros across the river. We grabbed our binoculars and sure enough there across the river on top of a ridge silhouetted against the sky were at least three wild burros. We knew they existed over there because a couple of weeks ago when we were exploring that side of the river, at Quail Hollow a BLM day-use park, we saw lots of hoof prints, trails, and manure. The burros are left over from earlier mining days, they now hide out and roam wild in the canyons and washes here along the Colorado River. Unfortunately, because of the distance and the fading light, I was not able to get a good enough photo last night to post.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I took this photo of a shy Black-throated Sparrow this morning, appearing to try and hide behind a rock. Every morning I take my camera with me to work on the trails. I justify taking some time to take some photos in that come next month I will be leading nature hikes and will need to know what I’m talking about. Since leaving Elkton last month, I have now added 10 more birds to Cascade Ramblings, 6 of which have been here in Buckskin Mountain State Park.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Yesterday I replaced a rotting step in the Lightning Bolt Trail. It developed into an all morning project by the time I found a replacement timber, rounded up a chain saw to cut it to the right length, got the chain saw running, found a drill and then a half inch bit to drill the timber to take the haft inch rebar, find some rebar. Then I had to lug everything up the trail, remove the rotting step, dig out the replacement area, and use a sledge to pound the rebar into place. I know it sounds boring, but I find it very rewarding. Shown here are the before (above), and after (below) pictures. Find out more about the Lightning Bolt Trail by clicking on the highlighted name.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Bitterbrush on the eastside of the Cascades in Oregon, but this plant in the desert is Brittlebush. My best guess is that someone misspelled in when it was made. Now, imagine ME correcting someone else’s spelling!! Possibly a first.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Most nights the temperatures here at Buckskin Mountain State Park drop to the forties or fifties, but this morning when we woke up it was sixty-one degrees outside! We continue to feel that we made the right decision to come south to Arizona earlier than usual this winter, particularly in light of the extremely cold weather that is happening back in Oregon. Here in the mornings we run the heaters a little to take off the chill, but once the sun comes out, the warmth streams through the windows, and by the middle of the day we have to open all the windows to keep the temperatures down in the coach.
Friday, December 11, 2009
My goal for the day was to work on replacing a culvert on the Buckskin Trail. The original culvert was only two feet in length and too short for the trail. Some one had tried to “make do” by covering over with boards, a metal sign, and 2x4s. I pried it all apart, cleaned out the trench and installed a three-foot replacement. All materials and tools have to be packed in on foot. I think its fun! Jeanette and Buster hiked up before lunch, so Jeanette was able to take the photo.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
After two days off to get caught up on laundry, groceries, and some sightseeing, it was back to work this morning. I was anxious to check out the trails to see how they had done after our rainstorm on Monday night. So far this year they have only had three inches of rain, and one inch of that fell in Monday night’s storm. I hiked all four trails this morning and found everything intact. I had spent the previous days before the storm fixing all the water bars and the whole system seems to have done its job. I also took along my GPS this morning to check some elevations and found out when I do all four trails I have almost 1,100 feet of climb
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Our method for escaping the cold of winter by traveling south to Arizona has been definitely validated the last few days with the reports of the extreme cold back in Oregon. With all the sub-freezing weather up there our sympathy goes out to our family and friends.
Our method for further escaping the cold of the early morning 40s here in the park is to stay in the coach until the sun warms up the outside to 50 – 60 degrees. This is the view through the front windshield of our coach of the morning sun hitting the cliffs across the Colorado River from our campsite.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Today marks the end of our first week of work in our volunteer positions at Buckskin Mountain State Park. I’ve hiked the trails for six straight mornings, and to tell the truth, my butt is starting to drag a little, which is a dangerous position in this land of sharp rocks and cacti! I’m not actually complaining. I’ve loved it. In fact each morning it has been hard to wait for daylight to get out on the trail. I only have to walk about two hundred yards from our doorstep to the trailhead. With shovel in hand I head out to clear water bars and look for erosion trouble spots. I’ve also kept an eye out for plant interpretive signs. Some are placed with the wrong plant (trail gremlins), some are placed where there is no plant, and some are just plain missing. We have a total of four trails in our system here and it’s been an enjoyable experience to hike their routes and come to understand the area better.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
This weekend a large group is camping here at Buckskin Mountain State Park with retro vehicles and trailers. Shown checking in at the Registration Station is a beautiful custom 1951 Ford pickup and teardrop trailer.
Here is Jeanette working her shift at the window of the Registration Station. Her hours are either 9:00 to 1:00 if she works in the morning, or 12:30 to 4:30 if she works in the afternoon. She likes these hours because if she works in the morning, hubby will have lunch ready for her, or if she works in the afternoon, hubby will be fixing dinner for her. Hubby works from 8:00 to 12:00.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Yesterday was our first day at “work” here in our role as Volunteers at Buckskin Mountain State Park. Jeanette trained for her job in the registration office. I went with the head Ranger to hike the trails to assess what needs to be done in my job of trail maintenance. At the end of the morning (we work four hours a day five days a week), Jeanette and I met back at the motor home for lunch. We were both excited to share how happy we were with our first day. She has lots to learn about reservations, passes, and fees. I will have lots of work to do with trail and plant identification signs and erosion control with water bars. It seems like such a good match for both of us, and we’re feeling very fortunate to have this opportunity at this park.
This is a photo of our digs. You can click on the photo for a larger size.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
On the domestic front ----- yesterday was the third day without DirectTV Satellite Service----aaaa---stay tuned.
Monday, November 30, 2009
There is a saying in the RV world, “home is were you park it”. Well, we parked it at Buckskin Mountain State Park today, where we expect to stay for the next four months. I’m shown here trying to relax this afternoon after loosing a battle with the blankety blank Satellite TV set-up. We think we are going to enjoy our stay anyway. It’s a beautiful park on a nice section of the Colorado River. High tempature today was probably 70. If you get a chance to stop by and see us, we are in site #68.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Made the short drive to Lake Havasu this morning where we are staying in Lake Havasu State Park where we worked as Volunteer Hosts last February. Great to see familiar places and visit with friends Scott & Judy Priebe, Volunteer Hosts. Tomorrow we move on to Buckskin Mountain State Park, just down river a ways, to set-up for our winter’s Volunteer jobs.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
We left the Orange Grove RV Park this morning expecting to stay tonight at the Calico Ghost Town near Barstow, but the weather was so poor and we were making good time, so we decided to drive on to Needles. The climb over Tehachapi Pass went fine; there were snowflakes, but no snow on the ground. In Barstow it was raining, so it was easy to choose to go on. When I stepped out of the motor home here at Desert View RV Resort in Needles this afternoon, I was engulfed in the soft warmth of the desert, ah, a good feeling. ----- Tomorrow we cross over into Arizona and drive to Lake Havasu State Park for a night or two.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Jeanette’s sons Sean and Tony, and Tony’s girl friend Maggie, who all live in Oakland, joined us for Thanksgiving Dinner in our Holiday Rambler here in Pleasanton. Serving a Thanksgiving Dinner for five people in an RV was a real challenge, but Jeanette proved it could be done, and very successfully.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Del Valle Regional Park. We enjoyed a picnic in the sun, and then took a stroll along the lake identifying birds and I tried to capture some of the park's beauty with my camera. We also scouted out the campground. It’s not a question of "if "we will return to this wonderful park, but simply a question of "when"!
Monday, November 23, 2009
The big event of the day yesterday here in Pleasanton was attending Richard & Mary Sites “Holiday Kickoff Open House”. On display were some of Mary’s Department 56 collection. A huge display of the “Christmas in the City” series filled the dinning room spilling over into the kitchen, and the “Holy Land” series filled in one end of the living room. Food and friends filled in the rest of the space.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
We made it here to the Alameda County Fairgrounds yesterday. Driving Highway 680 with the speeding traffic bumper-to-bumper five lanes wide always gives me the feeling of having joined a mass of lemmings rushing for the sea. The worst part however was the terrible road surface, cracks, potholes, and deteriorating pavement, gave us a cupboard-jarring ride. But, we made it, and the warm sunshine is wonderful. Twenty-eight dollars a night here for a site. We have now been in California for a week.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Derrick and Trembley Lakes. When we called to arrange a visit, he insisted on fixing us lunch himself. He provided everything for a Norwegian style lunch of open-faced sandwiches including smoked lox, and pickled herring. He has such a zest for life, and is involved in projects too numerous to attempt to list, but one of his latest is learning Norwegian!
Today we pull up stakes and head for the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton where we will stay through Thanksgiving.
Today we pull up stakes and head for the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton where we will stay through Thanksgiving.
Friday, November 20, 2009
We are staying two nights here. We have unhooked the car and today will be driving up to Grass Valley to visit with our friend Rudy Thompson.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
White-breasted Nuthatch, Black Phoebe, and Red Shouldered Hawk. Today we will be traveling on to Yuba City
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
We had to continue fleeing south ahead of the storm yesterday. We left Yreka in the morning as the rain was just threatening. High winds between Yreka and Weed made for some treacherous driving, the best I could do was only 45 miles an hour. Once we descended down to Dunsmuir we were out of the wind and driving was back to normal. We got gas and lunch in Anderson and then drove on to Red Bluff where I wanted to try camping at the Lake Red Bluff Recreation Area. Here we are in our eight-dollar site in the Sycamore Campground. The no-hook-up sites are actually sixteen dollars, but with a Senior Pass it's half price. We got in a great hike on the park trails just before the rain hit at 3:00. Looking at the road cams later I could see snow on the route we had just driven, in fact snow was reported as low as Dunsmuir.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Yreka RV Park as shown here, where we were happy to pay $38.50 for the night. Phew! Over the first hurdle on our southward migration for the winter.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
We have had a great three days staying in Salem. The repairs on our RV were all completed by Wagers Trailer Sales on Thursday; the cabling was set up to receive satellite TV in the bedroom, the loose wire was found to repair the left-hand mirror camera, and a leak was found and sealed that was causing rust to form and drip out at the wheel-well. So, the motor home is all set for out trip to Arizona. We have also got in some shopping for odds and ends, and in fact it has been kind of fun just to drive around our former hometown. The best part of our stay however, has been time spent with friends and reconnecting. We have met for lunches and dinners and gone for walks at River Front Park and Minto Brown Island Park. To my great disappointment I failed to have my camera with me on both of our walks. We will however have the good memories to carry with us.
Friday, November 13, 2009
In general I stay away from senior centers. Call me stubborn, or in denial, but that fact is I don’t much like the idea of getting old. So, imagine my surprise yesterday to find myself at the City of Salem Senior Center standing in the cheap lunch line! Jeanette and I were there to have lunch with friends at the table reserved for members of our Chemeketans hiking club. I tried to explain to strangers that we were not members, just guests. To our chagrin, no one even asked if we were old enough. I did notice that several hiking friends had gotten a lot older. As soon as we were finished eating, we got up and left. That’s another thing I hate about old people, they are so impatient.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
I have always felt that it’s important to make sure I get in some exercise every day. Most days now it includes taking our dog Buster for a walk. It’s important for him too, he seems easier to live with if he gets daily exercise, and he sleeps better. It definitely gets to be more of a challenge in the wintertime with the predominance of cold foggy wet rainy days. But, I’ve noticed if I am vigilant, that even on rainy days there is usually a break in the weather, a bright spot, and the sun comes out even though briefly. Today was such a day, solid rain all morning, but about noon the sun came out and dried up the streets and walkways, and so I took Buster out for our walk. It’s important for my sanity to keep looking for that bright spot, its usually there if I keep an eye out. Seems like that’s probably true with the rest of my life as well.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Brandborg Winery again this year in Elkton. Jeanette and I are shown here in our costumes as Wacky Tourists. It was a fun evening when adults got a chance to prove they are still young at heart. To see more photos of the evening check out Webshots.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Northwest Artisan Cheese Cellars. We drove to an unimaginably long list of customers, in an equally unimaginable variety of locations, to deliver, --- you guessed it, an unimaginable amount of cheese! We where in locations as diverse as the rural hills of Yamhill County to deep into the busy streets of downtown Portland, crisscrossed with modern suburbia of Washington County and country farms along the Columbia River. Thank goodness my son is very adept at using the map application in his i-phone. It was a long but very rewarding day.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
We worked again yesterday and today helping with the grape harvest at Anindor Vineyards. At this time of year in Elkton it’s a kind of “all hands on deck” kind of situation with everyone pitching in. I am shown here yesterday afternoon dumping a bucket of Pinot Noir grapes into a half-ton tote.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Late last night I got a call from a guy named Bob who said he had my camera. My wife Jeanette is a person that thrives on a challenge. She had jumped on my lost camera situation with all her vim and vigor. One of the things she did was post on the Lost & Found section of Craig’s List about a lost camera offering a reward. I met with Bob this morning, he handed over the camera, I handed over the cash. He had found it at the base of the pedestal on Mt. Pisgah, with the battery popped out, and no recorded photos. With a closer examination I realized that the data card was missing. Hoping it had popped out and would still be laying on the ground I made a trip to the top of Mt. Pisgah again. Thirty minutes of searching turned up no card. I got a new card at the camera store, so I am now back in the business of taking photos.
Monday, October 12, 2009
We went for a hike today at Buford Recreation Area, just south of Eugene. It was a great hike, the last of sunny days. We explored new trails, took lots of photos, and eventually got to the top of Mt Pisgah. While visiting with a fellow hiker with a nice black lab, I set down my camera on the memorial bronze pedestal and mistakenly walked away leaving the camera. A mile down the mountain I reached for my camera to take a photo and discovered no camera. We immediately turned around and raced back up the mountain to the summit. No camera. We hurried down the mountain to the headquarters, no camera.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Hairy Manzanita came to mind. It’s a shrub that we enjoy seeing when hiking, and it seems to do well with lots of sun in rocking areas. It turned out to be hard to find any one who stocked this plant, but finally found them at Wallace Hansens’s Northwest Native Pants in Salem.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Anindor Vineyards at the Elkton Vineyard of River's Edge Winery.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
There seems to have been a change in the weather, the summer temps are gone, snow has fallen in the high Cascades and in the highway passes. Pine needles have been falling like rain for the past several days here on the Metolius. We will be pulling out of Camp Sherman today for a couple of days in Salem/Dallas for various things and then on to Elkton on Friday afternoon. The Santiam Pass shows no snow this morning on the road cam, so it’s the day to head over. We feel like we have milked the last of summer out of a very pleasant stay in Central Oregon. Our timing seems perfect; all the sites in Black Butte RV Park were we have been staying will be taken starting tonight with hunters.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Camp Sherman is the hub of activity in the Metolius River Recreation Area, and the Camp Sherman Store is the very center of that hub. It is a must stop. We have been enjoying coffee and pastries, great sandwiches, groceries and fishing supplies this past week.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Black Butte RV Park on the Metolius River.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Metolius River for a week to enjoy its crystal clear waters, hike its scenic trails, and enjoy the great fall colors. There is probably no other area I have returned to so consistently in the past 40 years as the Metolius River. I have fly fished it clear waters, hiked, mt biked, and backpacked the river-side trails, camped in tents, campers, vans, trailers, and motor homes in every campground. It still captures my attention and casts a spell of awe with its beauty.