Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Oregon Coastal rains to California Fall and sunny skies to the mountains and snow and back to desert warmth. November 15-December 7.

We have been a moving target the past few weeks.  When I last posted we were starting to migrate  a little south in search of some dryer weather. ( I think out of the nearly 30 days in Oregon,  there were only two days that there was no rain.)   First stop was a quick over night stop at private RV park in the Redwood Forest.  We tried to stay at one of the California State Parks, but at $35 a night with no hook ups, no sun, very wet and drippy, and because it was a tiny site we opted not to stay there.  Our next stop was at the Thousand Trails in Cloverdale near the heart of wine country.  Joel's mother is buried in Gerberville so we spent a day touring the area and locating her grave site.  Joel had not been there since the funeral in 1986.

We also drove through Healdsburg and Calistoga checking out the various stores and micro breweries.  Yes, there are a few micro breweries that compete with the wineries.   No, we didn't do any wine tasting.. $15-$25 per person is a little steep for my uneducated palate.  I will say, the country side was  beautiful in full fall colors.  All of the vineyards exhibited various shades of oranges and red.

We left Cloverdale and headed to Jason's in Portola, California, and arrived on Saturday before Thanksgiving.  Our lot is level and we were able to park the Airstream very easily. Joel and Jason rigged up 30 amp power so we could have heat.  Temperatures were expected to be in the 30's.  It was a good thing we got the power going, because temperatures fell to the teens at night and a high in the mid-20's during the day with snow.   We went through two 30# tanks of propane in five days.   Burrrr. The Airstream seem to fair well with no plumbing freezing.

My son Jeremy, cooked a beautiful turkey for Thanksgiving.  He had marinated it in buttermilk and some kind of hot sauce which sounds weird, but the Turkey turned out moist and delicious! We also had some additional guests in the back yard:

While in the area we made several trips into Verdi so Joel cold retrieved  his tools which he had stored in the Verdi house last Spring.  Needless to say, the rest of our travels were with a very full truck. ...and very poor MPG. :)

With temperature so cold, we cut our stay in Portola a little short and shelled out $$ for two nights at the Sparks Marina RV park, in Sparks.  The Sparks Marina RV Park is probably one of the nicest RV parks in the area and reasonably priced considering all the amenities. Joel and I stayed there when we were part of the Amazon Camperforce a few years ago.  It was still cold, but at least 10 degrees warmer, in the low 30's vs the mid to low 20's.

Next stop, Pacific Grove, California, staying at the Monterey Elks Club.  At this point my body went into shock with nice warm temperatures in the 70's.  Yes!! We had a nice visit with Mom and I was even able to catch up with my dear high school friends, Jennifer, Nell, and Marion and have an old fashioned "hen party".  Three days is not long enough, on the Peninsula but Joel was  anxious to get to Casa Grande to start unloading the truck and figure out where he is going to put everything.

On to Santa Ynez, California,  for a quick overnight of "driveway mooching" at Joel's sister and brother-in-law, Joanne and Chuck (thanks guys!), and then on to an overnight stop at the Thousand Trails in Palm Springs.  The TT in Palm Springs is huge with lots of activities, but not for us.  It is right on the highway, (very noisy and also there is a trail close by)  and the sites are close together.  Yes it was warm...but for me, that's about the only positive.

We arrived at the Escapee Park, Ro-Vers Roost in Casa Grande on Sunday.  The last few days have been 300 mile days, three times what Joel prefers to travel.  However, pulling the Airstream for 300 miles is much, much easier than driving the Beaver for 300 miles. It good to finally land in one place for a while  and we will be here for most of the season.  Joel has many projects he wants to complete, so he'll be quit busy.  First, he needs to figure out where he is going to put all of his "stuff".  The shop he built last year will be filled to the max.  I, and the Airstream may take a few short trips to get out of Joel's hair.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

More on Brookings, Oregon, November 15, 2015

Our last day at Brookings was spent exploring a few trails next to the campground.  One of the trails leads directly to the Harris Beach and the other one climbs up a short accent to Harris Butte which overlooks the beach and picnic/parking area.
 Looking north from the top of the butte

There is also and nice little trail that goes out to Chetco Point and offers views of Brookings and a nice rainbow:

 Chetco Cove
 A great panorama shot using my new Iphone 6.

The trail follows the rock island all the way out to the farthest point.

The clouds didn't quite part for the sunset, but the sun peaked through as it set.

Tomorrow we start heading farther south and hopefully a little dryer weather. I think I have had my fill of ocean views and beach walks to last me for a few least until I go see Mom in Pacific Grove, which will be in a few weeks.

Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor and more, November 14, 2015

The Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor is a 12 mile-long park along Highway 101 with lots of waysides and access to the Oregon Coast Trail. The park starts only a few miles north of Harris Beach Campground ( just north of Brookings) where we are staying.

Our fist stop was Thunder Rock Cove and Secret Beach. Its a short mile or so hike down to the beach and to Beach Falls.  We discovered, that it is best to go at low tide, and we were at mid-high tide so could not explore the beaches.

I'm not sure of the name of the creek that runs down to the beach, but it is beautiful
 and the Falls aren't too bad either!

Walking down the trail is like walking in a rain forest.  Everything is green and lush and.... wet.

We continued north to Caspian Point, high on the mountain with long vista views of the Pacific Ocean.  Looking south
 Looking north

It was really windy and cold at the top, so we didn't stay too long.  There is a trail, very steep trail, that goes down to some beautiful beaches, but what goes down must come up, and the "coming up" deterred us from exploring farther.

Continuing north we stopped at Arch Rock.  I was mesmerized as I watched the waves crash through the arch.  Its a good thing my camera is digital because if I was using film I would have gone through at least two or three rolls of film.

We traveled a little farther north and caught the Rogue River out of Gold Beach and followed the road east exploring  a few campgrounds in the area.  I saw a sign for the Myrtle Tree Trail.  Myrtlewood is a popular wood in Oregon for making bowls, jewelry, carvings etc. It is beautiful wood that polishes to a marble like finish.  I was curious about the trail so drove up to the trail head.   It turned out the trail ended at what may be the oldest and largest Myrtle Tree.

 The Myrtle Tree is very resilient as shown by this tree which has fallen, but the branches continued to grow.

Well, this is just a sampling of all the beautiful sites along this part of the coast.  Pretty impressive!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Brookings and Harris Beach State Park, November 13, 2015

We continued are meandering down the coast with a quick stop at Humbug Mountain, at Port Orfords, and a quick walk on the beach.  One thing I have noticed about the Oregon beaches is that there is always some drift wood.  It's really tempting to scavenge a few pieces for a few creative projects...another time perhaps.

Looking south:

We arrived at the Harris Beach State Park to discover only one loop was open and were able to  snag the last of the view sites.

The beach is a steep decent directly across form our campsite with lots of coves and rocks to explore.

The clouds parted slightly to provide a beautiful sunset visable from our windows.

North of Harris Beach is the Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor, a 12 mile long park along the highway, which beckons us to explore.  We caught a glimpse of some of the corridor on the way down and hope to explore it while in Brookings over the next few days.

Continuing down the Oregon Coast, Bandon and more, November 10-12, 2015

After leaving Eugene we headed back to the coast to  continue our meanderings south.  Our first stop was Honyeman State Park for a quick overnight.  Joel hadn't planned to stop here, mainly because in the past, his motor home wouldn't fit. I reminded him that we are now in a much smaller rig and should be able to fit.  Also, the park had hookups.  We discovered that the park had been updated and there were lots of spaces we could fit into.

The next morning we continued heading down the coast. Our final stop was Bullard Beach State Park outside of Bandon.  Out camp site was near the nature walk and close to the trailhead to the beach. We walked the trail to the beach to discover there are miles and miles of beach to explore. . 17 miles of white sandy beaches to be exact.

A nice afternoon walk on the beach near the beach loop in Bandon and lots of photos.

Face Rock:

We found some sea anemones in the tide pools.

Face Rock:

 I am finding this section of the coast line  much more interesting than the Tillamook Coast.  There are lots of rock islands and dramatic cliffs.

The high lite of our stay at Bandon was catching  up with Pacific Grove High Classmates, Vicki Osborn Falke and Dennis Falke.

With spent a wonderful afternoon reminiscing about high school.  Both Vicki and Dennis attended Pacific Grove Schools as did I.  In fact, Dennis and I attended the same elementary school, junior high and high school with many of the same teachers and lived within a block of each other.   Dennis and Joel are also Viet Nam Vets, so they were able to share stories... very  appropriate since it was Veterans Day.  The Falkes live in a beautiful area...very similar to the quiet sleepy fishing village Pacific Grove was while we were  growing up

On our way out of town, we stopped at the Face Rock Creamery.  Yummm.  We didn't try any ice cream, but did sample some of the cheese.  Yummm! I think it is much better than Tillamook.  Everything is hand made.  Our favorite was Pizza Cheddar.

Our next stop will be Brookings.  Joel and I visited Brookings in June as a side trip from Rogue Valley and I am looking forward to spending a little more time there.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Three Capes Scenic Loop, November 5, 2015, and back to the Portland area

The Three capes Scenic Loop was written up in the recent Tillamook CoasT Guide  having the most beautiful views of the Oregon Coast.  OK....Let's see.   So we headed out to see the sights and and see if the views really were truly the most beautiful views of the Oregon Coast.  I note that this is the Oregon Coast and there are some pretty dramatic views along the Big Sur Coast near where I grew up so Coastal views may not have the same Wow factor to me as to some other folks who have never seen dramatic coastal views.

We headed north out of Pacific City to our first stop at the lay Clay Myers  State Natural Area and explored Whalen Island.  Not bad, but I wouldn't call the views any better than what I've seen so far.  Miles and miles of beach and sand to walk on, and for Tara to explore. Easy walking for Joel.  No hills. :)

Continuing north, there were lots of views and pull outs along the way.   The next stop was Oceanside Beach State Recreation Site, with lots of nice white sandy beaches.  What was intriguing about this beach is that there is a a tunnel that goes through Maxwell Point and onto Tunnel Beach.

Myers Point and Oceanside Beach.  The little village reminded me of some of the villages in Europe.

The tunnel that goes through Myers Point to Tunnel Beach

 This is the exit on to Tunnel Beach
 Great views of three arches rocks from tunnel beach.

 Look closely at the trees on top.  The roots are totally exposed.  It looks like the trees are barely hanging on.
 Nice rock art near the entrance to the tunnel
 View of the rocks from Oceanside beach. Finally, a little sun!

We continued on to our next stop at Capes Meares.
 These views are more like the Big Sur Coast. Not too bad!
 The lighthouse at Cape Meares
 Another view of three arches rock
The Octopus Tree and Meares Cape. The tree has 16 trunks. No one knows why or what caused this.

So far the views have been beautiful, but I  can't say they are the most beautiful because there is more coast to see.

The next morning we planned to head out and do more exploring, but we discovered the batteries were not getting charged and were down to 9 volts....a big no no in the RV world. Batteries at full charge are usually at 13.5. Nine volts is way less than the 50% charge recommended.   Our 12 volt system powers the lights and heater and if the batteries get too low nothing works.   Joel called the dealer and was given a few things to check and nothing worked, so we hitched up and headed back to the dealer in Gladstone.  The main reason for sticking around the Portland/Oregon Coast was just in case something like this were to happen.

Fortunately, we were only a few hours drive from Gladstone and arrived at the dealer in time for them to check things out before they closed. The tech ran a few tests and determined the converter/charger had failed and needed to be replaced. I'm still not clear why it failed, but there was no question about replacing it  Also the heater had an addition issue; it was discovered that there was factory debris on the circuit board which was causing the heater to not work properly.

We had previously scheduled  an appointment to do a walk through some to address some  minor "fix-it" issues.  The dealer was able to address all the little problems while we were there, so we cancelled the appointment.  We spent two nights at the Airstream lot, just to make sure everything continued to work, which it did.  I must say at this point, I am ready to head south and find some dryer weather.  (I think I said that in my last post). It has rained everyday since we have been Oregon.

So, we hit the trail again, this time heading  towards Eugene to get a consultation from AM Solar and to catch up with Joel's brother and sister -in-law. Solar is in the future, but not right away, but we wanted to get an idea on what we might need and how much it will cost.  The jury is still out if we will have AM Solar complete the work or Joel will complete the work. $$$$$. Airstreams factory installed inverters and converter chargers are not that great, which is a disappointment as other components seem to be upper end

Next stop, as we meander down the coast, staying at a few State Parks, but the next non overnight stop will be Bandon. Let's see how the Bandon beaches compare to the Three Capes Scenic Loop:)