Saturday, August 25, 2018

Change in Weather and Routines

The oppressive smoke and heat that has plagued the whole state for weeks has finally changed to cooler more reasonable temperatures and clearer skies. And today started a change in routine with using our new van as a second vehicle.  It's smaller size lends itself to be parked in the drive way and be used on a daily basis. Today we started what may be a new routine. While Jeanette took the car to pickle ball, I took Buster to the near by Brush College City Park.  There are several advantages to this plan.  Buster is a real creature of habit, and because we have taken him on enough morning bird walks through the years that this is now his daily expected routine.  We find that every one's day goes best when Busters expectations are met. This morning worked out great, Buster got to leave the house on an adventure, we went to the park, I got to look for birds, and he got to check out the smells and squirrels. I'm also hoping taking him for a ride in the van everyday will help with his newly developed travel anxiety.  Below are some of the friends we met at the park this morning.

American Crows

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Trip in Review

Our maiden voyage in our Roadtrek Zion produced mixed results.  We enjoyed the cool weather of the coast and the van proved to be a handy vehicle to drive, park and live in for three days and nights.  The electrical system continued to impress us, we were able run the micro-wave, vent fan, lights, furnace, and charge my laptop and our phones, and by the last morning we even discovered we could also run our electric heater, all without being hooked up to electricity.

But we did have a few hiccups. The on-demand water heater did not produce any hot water.  Absence of manuals for not only the water heater, but the TV and DVD player lead to frustration. And then our dog Buster has developed an increasing anxiety while riding in a vehicle.

The bright spot for us was stopping at Waxmyrtle Campground on the Silcoos River to camp with our friend Glenn.  It's always a relaxing experience to spend time on the trails, and enjoy the great variety of wildlife in this bit of paradise in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

 Glenn & Jeanette on the Lagoon Loop Trail

A male Wood Duck objects to our presence 

Saffron-winged Meadowhawk Dragonfly

Monday, August 20, 2018

First Adventure

This is our first night's parking spot at Boiler Bay State Wayside in our new-to-us Roadtrek Zion.  We left yesterday morning to escape the heat of the Willamette Valley for a few days to enjoy some cool temps along the Central Oregon Coast.  A combination of fog and smoke hide our ocean view here, but the cooler temperature makes up for it.

We picked up the Zion from Johnson RV in Sandy on Thursday, trading in our 2014 Leisure Travel Van for this 2017 Roadtrek Zion. There are a myriad of reasons we traded, but one big one that we are really enjoying is complete independence with electricity.  This starts with powerful long lasting 400 amp lithium batteries. The batteries are kept charged by 300 watts of solar panels, or a second engine driven alternator, A 2000 watt inverter changes the direct current of the batteries to alternating current which powers all our electrical needs including micro-wave and air-conditioning. In simple terms we do not have to hook up to what is called shore power to charge our batteries or run our appliances. In other words we do not need a campsite with hook-ups.

We will be meandering along the coast line, birding as we go, parking where we want, enjoying the temperatures and the views, with no dependency on campgrounds or hook-ups.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Oh What A Relief It Is!!!

We finally picked up our RV today, it's been in the body shop in Klamath Falls since our encounter with a deer on Highway 97 on June 28th.  We had no idea how dependent we were on the RV, and addicted we were to the freedom of the RV life style.  We are relieved beyond measure to have it back.

After receiving a call yesterday afternoon at home in Salem to let us know that our RV was finished, we rented a car and drove down to Klamath Falls this morning.  Our eyes we pealed to the side of the road as we drove down Highway 97.  No deer were seen, but there was evidence of at least 3 other impacts that had taken place recently.

We are set up this afternoon in the campground at Collier Memorial State Park,  where we are in site B-29, the only empty site when we got here shortly after lunch time.  With every mile we drive, and every system we use in getting camp set up our confidence continues to build, and the worry and concern fall away layer by layer.

Tomorrow we make a fresh start up the death corridor of Highway 97, and over the Willamette Pass to home.  Stay tuned for our next surprise.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Summer Beauties

Despite this being the dog days of summer and that forest trails are devoid of beautiful blossoming flowers,  there is still color to be found in fruiting berries.  This beautiful red berry is on a Hooker's Fairy Bell plant, one that I noticed this morning during a dog/bird walk at Darrow Bar, a Willamette Green Way Access Point, just a couple of miles north of where we live in Salemtowne. Hooker's Fairy Bell has another close look alike called Smith's Fair Lantern.  They are easy to tell apart when the flowers are in bloom, as the flowers on the Smith have long straight pedals, as opposed to the Hooker's have curved "hooker's hips." With the flowers long gone I was stumped as to which plant I had here and had to do more research. As is turns out, Hooker's has small hairs on the top and edges of the leaf and stem, only noticeable if you get an up close look. The berries of this Hooker's Fairy Bell are considered possibly poisonous, so it's best to just enjoy their beauty.