Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fall in Elkton

We have been enjoying the mild temperatures and great fall colors since being back in Elkton. After the sub freezing temps at Collier State Park, lows in the 50s feels like a real luxury. The plan is to hang around Elkton until after the 15 of November when we will take off for California. Incidentally, ODOT has a new road cam on the east end of this Elk Creek Bridge, which is the junction of Highway 38 and 138.  Check it out here. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Escape from the Snow

Here is what Jeanette and I escaped from by leaving Collier Memorial State Park Yesterday! This photo by Thom Hoch at their campsite this morning in LaPine State Park, which is about the same elevation as Collier. Thom and his wife Dar are fellow RVers and we follow their bog, RV Sabbatical Journal.

We did make it home to Elkton this morning after some great service by the guys at Les Schwab Tires in Roseburg.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Almost Home

Today we attempted an escape to home in Elkton. The change in the weather to rain and snow prompted the park to close the Gift Shop.  This caused us to look a little closer at the weather forecast, concluding that today would be the best day to get over the Cascades before the upcoming snowstorms. This morning the road cam on Highway 138 near Diamond Lake showed no snow and a temp of 44 degrees.  By noon we were packed, unplugged, and pulling out of the campground. As we climbed the grade to Diamond Lake it started snowing, getting thicker and heavier by the minute, but all we could do was press on and get on down to lower elevations. We made it, and when we stopped for groceries in Roseburg I discovered a leaky valve stem on the right hand inner dual. Because it’s Sunday, Les Schwab is closed, so tonight we are parked in their parking lot here in Roseburg awaiting their morning opening.  It’s not a bad deal at all, we’re warm and cozy, had dinner and showers and are relaxing with computers and TV. When your home is on wheels I guess you’re always home.  

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sittin' by the Stove

A little too cold to sit outside this morning, so here I am with my butt planted firmly by the stove. I did leave the warm of the stove this afternoon to move the motor home back to the campground, as they were finished with the burn. With the change in weather, this may be where I’ll be spending my time.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Me & Ursula

With the campground closed as a precautionary measure due to the burn, business was really down at the Gift Shop today.  I guess the majority of our customers must come from the campground.  Anyway, it was so slow I ended up striking up a friendship with Ursula the Donation Bear.  She was sort of miffed due to lack of donations I think. It was probably one of the situations when it’s best not to say anything, just be there as a friend.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Camping in a Museum

One of the fun things about having an RV is camping in different locations.  It’s kind of exciting and interesting each time you set up in a new location and adjust and get acquainted with your surroundings. Today’s move added another element, our first time to camp inside a museum!  The logging museum here at Collier Memorial State Park is world famous, and because it is such a large scale it is located outside.  However, when they close and lock the gate tonight, we will be ----well, -- locked in a museum.  I wonder if there are any ghosts of loggers past? Perhaps a tired old cat skinner, who with bony hands, grabs the levers on the old D7, and causes it to rattle out across the parking lot. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Prudent Move

We found out this afternoon that we will have to move from our site in the campground tomorrow because on Thursday the Forest Service is going to conduct a burn on the meadow next to the campground. As you can see from the thick pine forest in the campground, moving is indeed the prudent thing to do. Although it’s called a “controlled burn”, I can recall a number of controlled burns that have gotten out of control.  We will move temporarily to the Logging Museum parking lot for Wednesday and Thursday nights, then back to our site on Friday.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Exploring the Area

Today was a day off for us here at Collier Memorial State Park, so we took advantage of the time off to explore some more sites in the area.  Our main objective was Jackson Kimball State Park where the photo was taken.  The park is the location of the headwaters of the Wood River, which springs out of the hillside cold and clear. There is also a small campground there. We also stopped at the Klamath Fish Hatchery on Crooked Creek. But our most impressive stop was a visit to the Winema National Forest’s Wood River Day Use Area.  The paved trails, inviting picnic benches, and scenic winding Wood River made us dream of returning with fly rod and picnic basket.  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Holding Down My Job

Jeanette and I have both been suffering from bad colds for over a week now, but we have still been able to get to the Gift Shop.  Here I am shown sitting out in front on the bench holding down my job. Each morning I open up, start the wood stove, and then sit outside in the sun and enjoy watching the birds and the squirrels. It’s a great job!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Douglas Squirrel

The Douglas Squirrel is by far the most vocal of all the squirrels here at Collier Memorial State Park.  Their high-pitched bark it is probably most often mistaken for a birdcall if not followed closely. Every morning when I open the Gift Shop I get a loud and long protest from this little guy in the pine tree by the front porch. I don’t know if he thinks it’s his cabin, or he doesn’t like me making a wood fire, but he is definitely not happy with my presence. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Scenic Commute

I have one of the most scenic commutes imaginable.  On work days, leaving our motor home, I walk a quarter of a mile through the pine forested campground to Spring Creek, turn and walk a half a mile up stream along its crystal clear waters, cross the wooden arch bridge, wind my way through the pioneer village and logging equipment of the museum a quarter of a mile to the gift shop. Along my route Steller’s Jays will have announced my appearance and Douglas Squirrels will have barked their shrill objections. I usually see some ducks on Spring Creek, Mallards and Mergansers, hear the yank yank of Nuthatches, and spot fleeing Chipmunks. The sun is just warming the world, the fresh air and exercise have sharpened my senses, and I feel like the luckiest guy in the world.  

Friday, October 8, 2010

More Trails

Wednesday we discovered yet another trail here at Collier State Park.  We arrived here the previous Wednesday, and in that week we have found almost a new trail every day. This is actually a section of the Williamson River Trail we didn’t know existed.  We discovered it quite by accident when we drove to the near by Williamson River Campground to explore, and then while hiking a trail there, realized it connected with Collier State Park. This photo taken at the park boundary is a mile from our campsite, so we can hike to the Williamson Campground from our doorstep in 2.3 miles, or if from the Collier Day-Use Area, add ½ mile more.    

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rainbow Trout

Yesterday was a day off for us, it was cold in the morning, but the afternoon warmed up and we went fishing in the Williamson River.  From August thru October this section of the Williamson is catch and release only.  Jeanette snapped this photo of the first, and smallest Rainbow I caught. I caught four up to 14 inches, which normally I would be happy with, but compared to the size of some of the monsters we saw surfacing, these were disappointingly small. (click on photo to enlarge)  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sweater Weather

Weather is cooler here in the mornings on the east side of the Cascades, so when we take Buster on a morning walk we put on his argyle sweater.  He is not as much interested in the sweater as he is in the squirrels.  

Monday, October 4, 2010

Squirrels of Collier

I’m enjoying watching four different species of squirrels on a daily basis here at Collier Memorial State Park. The Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel shown here has his checks stuffed with Ponderosa Pine cone seeds.  The seeds released from mature cones high in the trees, flutter to the ground looking like miniature helicopters, where they are scarffed up by Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels as well as the smaller Least Chipmunks, and carried off of to be stored in their underground burrows for winter use. Douglas Squirrels use a different approach to harvest.  They operate high up in the Ponderosas, leaping out on the limbs and chewing off tight green cones, which fall to the ground with a sold thud.  Then they scurry down to the ground and carefully pick up the cones one by one and pack them off to a hidden cache for storage. The large tailed Western Gray Squirrels are little more secretive, and so far I’ve only gotten some quick glances as they dash about.  All are a joy to watch as they go about their fall harvest.     

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cougar Update

Back in August while volunteering for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Jeanette and I transported some cougar kittens.  I posted a blog about it on August 25th.  We have often wondered how they are doing, and yesterday we found out through a report by KATU.  As you can see from the photo they are doing fine, and in fact they are on their way to a new permanent home Chick here for the link.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gift Shop

Here is Jeanette at work in the Gift Shop of the Logging Museum at Collier Memorial State Park.  It’s an authentic log cabin, originally a homesteaders cabin that was disassembled, moved, and reassembled here in the park. The Gift Shop is open daily from 9 to 4:30.  We have started to get into a routine, I open the museum in the morning and then Jeanette brings me lunch and finishes out the afternoon. We are sharing some of the days with another volunteer, so we will be working just Thursdays through Sundays.

Friday, October 1, 2010

On or Off Duty?

Notice the sign at our campground site that says, “Park Host Off Duty”.  Because we don’t work in the campground itself, but at the Gift Shop in the Logging Museum, I guess the sign will always say “Off Duty”.  I imagine some campers may wonder if we are ever “On Duty”. Despite appearances we were “On Duty” today with our first official day at the Gift Shop.  More photos and details will follow.