Sunday, June 30, 2013

Beautiful days in Port Orford

Odometer  35647 miles
Trip meter  0

Yesterday and today have been just beautiful on the Southern Oregon coast, the sun shone, the fog stayed off the coast, and the temperature was warm.  The sky here has a deep blue color that I have not seen elsewhere, not a trace of smoke, or smog.

Joan and I decided to take a short drive to Bandon, approximately 25 miles up the coast.
We really like the oldtown section of Bandon down by the marina, and have visited here many times over the years.

The streets on this Friday afternoon were not very busy and we enjoyed the ability to cruise in and out of the many little boutique shops.

One of our  favorites over the years has been this sweet shop on the corner of 1st and Chicago streets.

Peanut butter fudge, chocolate mint, lemon bars, rocky road, licorice, and lots of cranberry everythings.

They offer free samples of everything, so you can try before you buy- but be careful their ploy works well- we hardly ever leave without a purchase.

Another reason for our trip was to see the new Face Rock Creamery in Old Town on highway 101.

Between the years 1936 to 2000 Bandon was the home of the Bandon Cheese Factory, the sole survivor of many cheese manufacturers over the years that have called Bandon home.  The Bandon Cheese Factory was purchased by a larger rival in 2000 and closed down.  In 2011 the city took steps to entice a cheese maker back to Bandon resulting in the new Face Rock Creamery.  The Head Cheese Maker recruited is none other than the original Maker from the Bandon Cheese Factory, Brad Sinko.  Mr. Sinko has been working with Beecher's Handmade Cheese since the closing of the Bandon Cheese Factory, his sheep and cow's milk cheese called Flagsheep Cheese recently won best of show out of 1700 entries at the 2012 American Cheese Competition.  Getting him to return to Bandon to a small start-up creamery is a very big deal.
We can testify that the cheese made here is excellent!

On our way out of town, we checked out some second hand shops where Jeff was able to get a good deal on a used fly reel.  Now armed with a copy of Fly Fishing for Dummies by Peter Kaminsky, one of dad's old bamboo poles and a good used Pfluger reel- well who couldn't succeed in becomming a reasonably decent fly fisher?

The home inspection report on our prospective house purchase came by e-mail this moring at 5 AM!  (No- I wasn't up to receive it- I was just looking at the date stamp on the file)  Talk about dedication, Absolute Home Inspection never ceases to impress.  We spent some time this morning making a list of items that really need attention and deciding on whether we needed the owner to assist with the cost.  We had a quick meeting with our real estate agent and then returned to the RV park for a pot luck dinner with our all our neighbors.  The Park owners Tim and Cindy provided the buns and hot dogs and we all brought a side dish or dessert.  Great fun and good conversations.

We wrapped up the day with a medium long walk and some practice with the fly rod and some flyline (no hook) in the street in front of our RV.  This fly fishing thing is a little harder to master than I initially thought.  
I was really glad I had no hook on the line!

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Home Near The Lake

Odometer- 35647
Trip meter-  at rest

Welcome from Port Orford, Oregon...
We have been assured that new signs are being printed and soon the sign at the city limits will look like this.

Here is a sneek peak at the coastal home that we negotiating to buy here in Port Orford.

No home is perfect and this one is no exception.  We had a whole home inspection performed by Absolute Home Inspection out of Coos Bay and should have the report by the first of next week.

We had to give up our original goal of living on the lakefront, but not by much- we have a deeded lake access right across the road from the house!

This house was the best fit for all our requirements- a remodeling pallete for Joan to finess into shape,

A large garage/ shop for Jeff.

 Large south facing windows.

small size and efficient layout, room for guests, and very importantly for us- room for a motorhome dock for our #1 home on wheels.

Of course, Jeff is busy with Google Sketchup drawing out floor plans

 And exterior models-  This free program from Google is very powerful and extremely addictive- once you get started- it's hard to quit!
Joan and I are really enjoying the walks that we can take around here.  Very little traffic and lots of roads and trails.  Last night we walked from our RV park down to Battle Rock Park at the south edge of town, and back home again- a distance of 3.2 miles.  Awesome!

Battle Rock is named for the battle fought here in 1851 between the Naitive American Qua-to-mah warriors and a group of 9 Europeans deposited here to form a settlement.  The Europeans took refuge on the large sea mount seen at the far right of this photo.  The Europeans eventually slipped away on the seashore in the dead of night.  Lucky for us the port was eventually established as a town in 1856.  The oldest Townsite on the Oregon Coast.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Homeport Port Orford

Odometer  35647
Trip Meter 0

Port Orford, OR

Well it has been just a few days over 1 year ago that Joan and I first moved into our motorhome "full time".  Those of you who have followed this blog know that we have thrived on the closeness, and the exciting life that RVing allows.

All that not withstanding, we still want to have a physical house as our Oregon homeport.  Not because we want to hang up the keys yet- but for these reasons:
  • We really like this small community of Port Orford.  It has a great small town feeling, the people all seem very friendly, It has TWO hardware stores and two building centers- how cool is that?
  • I t has a great big lake right in town- and who doesn't want to live on a lake?
  • It's on the OCEAN!!  Walks on the beach, agate hunting (and finding), waves crashing on rocks
  • The weather is great- I hear you laughing- but it's true the temperature is mild and Port Orford has an average of 197 sunny days-and no snow!
  • The real estate is reasonably priced because it hasn't been "discovered" yet.  The Big Sur of the Oregon coast.  (Now that you know- It's okay if you let the secret out.)
There are lots more intangibles but if I had to list them, you wouldn't understand- suffice to say when we do finally hang up the keys, this is where we'll want to be.

We had money from the sale of our home in Medford that we have saved for this investment.  If we wait until we want to quit the road, the real estate prices will have inflated to where we could not get back into the market.  We sold our house at the bottom of the market- we needed to buy one at the bottom to make it work.

We will still be taking extended trips in our home on wheels, heading south in the the very inclement months of the winter- circling around this grand country of ours, seeing the sights, learning the history, meeting the people.

Today we stayed close to town to be on hand for some of the last paperwork details on the offer- acceptance of the home sale.  That meant we had several hours to head to the beach- and we did.

The weather has been rainy over all of southern Oregon and we have been out of the motorhome for walks and shopping during the breaks in the rain- but today (Wed the 26th) the rain was gone and although the sun did not quite break through the clouds, the temperature was very pleasant and the normal coast winds had  calmed to a slight breeze.

We drove west down 9th street in town, which turns into Agate Beach Road and ends at Tseriadun State Park on the beach, where we parked and walked a very short trail through the dunes and onto the beach.
We grinned at each other, as we realized that there were no parking meters to feed here- none for more than  50 miles in any direction!  We paid the princely sum of $6 to park and go to the beach in Fort Myers, Florida.  Gotta love Oregon!

They call this agate beach because- well- it has lots of agates!  We picked through the gravel for over an hour, and came away with our pockets filled with agates and shiny rocks of all sorts- it was addictive!

 We had to keep one eye on the surf at all times, as the recent storms had kicked up the swells to epic proportions, and the waves were hitting the beach with a thunderous roar.  It looked like a winter beach, with a very steep slope into the water.  Later this summer the beach will have a very gradual incline and the ocean will be depositing a lot of sand- only to haul it all away again next winter.

We left the beach at about 3PM and decided to try out a new coffee house in town called "One Lump or Two"  The little shop made an excellent peanutbutter mocha and we browsed the books, curios, and art while we chatted with the owner.  Jeff's eye landed on a used copy of "Fly Fishing for Dummies", and Joan bought it.  My dad was an avid fly fisherman, and when he died he left us boys his fly rods.  I  never made time to go out fly fishing with him while he was alive, and I still don't know the first thing about it.  So now I get to teach myself from a book.  Choices we make.

We closed out the day with dinner at home, and a LONG walk around the back roads and streets near us.  TV, blogging, and popcorn- I tell you, our lives are so busy!

Tomorrow we meet the home inspector at our prospective new residence.  Karl from Absolute Home Inspection in Coos Bay did the inspection on the home we almost bought last Fall, and we were impressed enough to call him again on this one.  (the last home was okay- the fatal flaw was that the lot was too small for a motorhome garage becuse the road right-of-way was a lot wider than anyone could have guessed.)

I'll fill you in on the new digs tomorrow.  Until then we remain--

Your Traveling Friends

Joan and Jeff

Monday, June 24, 2013

Back to the Coast!

Odometer  35647
Trip 191 miles

June 18th
Our stay in Medford allowed us time to sneak in a trip to Salem last Tuesday and Wednesday, to see Jeff's family again, and to continue north to Lake Oswego and see our dear friends Marla and Kermit.  We drove to Salem in our car.

The weather on the way up was pretty wet- however the next two days were just cloudy and a lot drier.   My brother Thane and his wife Kathy made us welcome again- this time in their spare bedroom.  We realized that it was the first time in a year that we had slept anywhere other than our own bed in our motorhome.
Jeff was able to spend some time with his 92 year old mom who has an apartment in Salem, and enjoys the ability to live for the most part on her own.  Thane showed us his latest purchase, a military surplus 2-1/2 ton truck that he purchased at Fort Lewis, WA and drove home last week.  Thane uses his spare time to recondition the vehicles and to turn them for a profit.

June 19th
Marla started out as Joan's boss at the Audiology Clinic at Southern Oregon ESD and ended up being a life-long friend.

Today (Wednesday) we drove to Lake Oswego to re-conect with Marla and Kermit.  We got to see their newly renovated townhome and even got a driving tour of the area in, and around Lake Oswego.  After a wonderful afternoon of conversation, a sumptuous meal, and some very fine wine we said goodbye for now, and drove back to Salem for the night.  We had so much fun we hope this will be a regularly scheduled stop for us.

Thursday we drove back to Medford and our lovely home on wheels.

June 22nd
We wanted to be back in Medford for a memorial "celebration of life" for our friend Paulette Davis, who died unexpectedly last winter while we were traveling.  Friends of the family hosted a very nice rememberance, and served food and drink at their home on Old Military Road- just outside of Jacksonville.
A wonderful rememberance for a very dear friend, and a pleasant afternoon with a great group of my Adroit friends.

June 23rd
Packing up again-  we are out of practice, and grouchy- bird poo and mud on the patio rug - we have to  wash and dry it before stowing, all the window sun screens have to come down and get rolled and stowed, the tire covers get collected, folded and stowed in their zipper case, chairs folded and stowed, gas grill cleaned and stowed- then all the items we got out on the inside of the MH have to be put back and secured-well, you get the idea.  Don't get me wrong, we are excited about the going, just getting used to being in one place for a while... and Medford, well it's home.

We rolled out of Lakewood RV Park at our early start time (10AM) and headed west.  Fuel stop at Fred Meyer in Grants Pass and then down US 199- one of my favorite roads in the world.  The Smith River canyon should be one of the wonders of the world.

We stopped along the river for lunch and I was mesmerized by the clarity of the water- I could see myself standing out there in my waders with a flyrod ( This may be a strange fantasy- I don't even own any fishing gear)

The river has 2 stages- it's in it's low flow quiet stage in the summer.  Winter rains will fill the banks to a raging torrent of frothy blue water.

After lunch we continued down 199 to Hiouchi, CA where we enter into the Redwoods.
 These giant sentinals dwarf our bus on this foggy, slighly rainy afternoon.

Joan and I hiked through a grove, in a light misting rain.  As much as we drive through this area we hardly ever stop.  Today we have the time to stop and marvel at these towering giants.

US highway 199 ends at Crescent City, CA where you can go either north or south on  US101 the Pacific Coast Highway.  We took a short-cut down Cal 197 North Bank Road, which follows the river from Hiouchi to the tiny town of Smith River, CA on the coast.  Cal 197  allows us to bypass Crescent City and short cut to the Oregon border at Brookings.

We stopped again at Meyers Beach for a quick stretch and snapped a few photos on this wind swept overlook

The clouds and rain could not diminish the awesome beauty of this place with it's sandy beaches and towereing sea mounds (rocks)

Okay- it looks a little better on a sunny day- but hey! this is pretty awesome too.

We pulled into the Port Orford RV Village and were greeted by the owners Tim and Cindy who showed us to our spot and assisted in getting us positioned just right.  We were here 2 weeks ago and loved the friendly people and beautifully landscaped park.

After hooking up the utilities, we pulled on windbreakers and set out for a walk.  Joan had a house she wanted to see on Dee Terrace which wasn't far from here. When we got to the house, it wasn't what we wanted, and a light rain started to fall, so we hustled back to the RV.  Time to turn on the heat and make dinner.

After dinner we took the car out in a light misting rain and drove along the lakeshore checking out the  realestate.

Tomorrow the hunt starts in earnest!

Your Traveling Friends,

Joan and Jeff

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cruising with the Classics in the Medford Cruise 2013

Odometer 35456 miles
Trip meter 0 miles

Medford, OR

Well... the Medford Cruise was fun!
The car ran and drove like a dream.  Joan and I picked it up at Mark's garage and drove it the mile or so down to Hawthorne Park for the show and shine.  (again we forgot the picture for the blog- aak!)  It would have been a good one too.  We had two lawn chairs, an easel made out of a camera tripod and some home-made fixin's, our 24"x 24" information poster, a cooler with our lunch, a couple wide brim hats, strapped on or tucked into the car as we rolled down to the park.  And the car ran like it was brand new!  I was really stoked!

We show the car with the engine cover off because everyone wants to know:
           1.  Where the motor is?- right there on the right quarter
           2.  How big the motor is?- 300 cubic centimeters
           3.  How fast can it go?- book says 52, my best is about 48 (flat no wind)

The car always draws a crowd, and this boiling hot saturday was no exception.  It certainly is a hit with the kids, and some of the older folks can actually remember a time when they crawled the streets

While roaming around the show we saw this beautifully restored VW Microbus.  

 Our family had a 1959 Deluxe version which was like this one with the exception of the openable front windows and ours had rear corner window where this one does not-  close enough though to bring back fond memories.
How appropriate to have examples of these two German cars, both rear engine, air cooled, extremely light weight and very cool.  VW, like BMW was struggling after the war to build a low cost people mover- only thank goodness the VW Transporters, Kombis and Microbuses, could haul about 7 more people than an Isetta!  We'd have had to have 3 Isettas to get the family from A to B.

Joan and I were invited up to the McNeil's home, north of Grants Pass yesterday and we had a great afternoon drinking cool beverages and catching up on the last 4 months worth of news.  Jim and Sara visited us in Texas last winter when they came down in January.

Sara treated us to her signature dish of spagetti pie, and garden fresh salad for dinner and it was so good we ate until it hurt to move!  Then she brought out strawberry/ rubarb crisp with vanilla ice cream.  Wow!
Jim built a bonfire in the fire ring in the back yard and we talked and laughed until dark.  Good fun!

Monday we spent the day working on our finances and budget, and gathered the documentation we need to get the Isetta insurance settled.  We realized that when we sold the car last summer, we cancelled the insurance.  Then when the buyer wanted us to take it back, we forgot to get the insurance re-instated.  State Farm wouldn't just re-issue the policy without an appraisal, so we shopped the internet and found that Hagerty Insurance would give us a binder right away, but we would have to follow up with all the documentation soon.

Some highlights of our budget.  For the last 7 and 1/2 months:
Not much surprise here, but our three biggest expenses were:

Fuel (gas and diesel) $6,200 (10,000 miles on the motor home- and 6,586 miles on the car)
That works out to $1.21/ mile in the motorhome and  16.5 cents per mile in the car for fuel.

RV space rent $6,999 or an average of $30.56 per night (remember the Keys were $64.51 per night for       a whole month)  Without the month in the Keys it comes to a more reasonable $25/ night.

Groceries came out to $4,470 an average of $600/ mo.

We ate out only 85 times or about 12% of our meals and our total was $1500.00 which averages out to $17/ meal ($8.50 apiece)

Motorhome maintenace was the only other category  that was over 2 % of our budget, and we had a $2300.00 expenditure to catch up on the serivices and get us back on the Freightliner recommended maintenance schedule again.  Well worth the peace of mind knowing everything that carries you down the road is in tip top condition.  We've learned that this is a very good, solid, well made bus.

Tomorrow we leave the bus in Medford and will be driving to Salem to visit friends and family, before pulling up stakes and moving to Port Orford again to resume our hunt for a home base.

Your Traveling Friends

Joan and Jeff

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

1958 BMW Isetta

Trip miles - none

I apologize, my photographer is on vacation so there are no new pictures today.  I'll suppliment with some "file photos"

Yesterday Joan and I helped my good buddy Mark put metal roof and sides on his previously cloth covered carport structure.  Mark works 5 AM to 12:30 PM so Joan and I got an early start moving the big items out of the structure and removing and folding the roof and sidewall tarps.  Mark already had the metal siding salvaged from a construction remodel that Jeff arranged a year or more ago, so all we had to do is clean it up and install.  Joan and I had about 3 panels installed by the time Mark got home, and it only took about 3 hours for the 3 of us to finish the project.  By 3:30 we were sipping cold beverages and admiring our handiwork.
Part of the reason for all this activity is so we could re-arrange Mark's garage and get our BMW Isetta out of it's covered trailer and into the garage for some maintenace.

We thought we had the car sold last year, before we left for our trip in November, but the deal fell through at the last minute and Mark offered to store it for us.

The stated reason for the buyer changing his mind was that he was convinced there was a serious problem with the engine.  Our fault, we were so busy we didn't make time to get the carburator jets cleaned, and the engine really did run rough- but the buyer said he knew all about the Bing carb and he'd clean it himself.

After all that, I was now fretting a little bit, thinking he maybe he was right.  Well Mark helped me clean the carb today, and the car runs like a top!  We had time so I got Mark to help me flush the brake fluid with some new, and bleed the brakes.  Tomorrow we'll wax and buff it up.   Saturday we will put it on display and hopefully find a new buyer at the Medford Cruise Show and Shine for classic cars this weekend in Hawthorne park.

I bought the Isetta used in 1968, from a professor at OSU where I was a student.  The car was sitting in a farmers field near Lewisburg just north of Corvallis.  I would see it everytime I would take the crew bus to forestry labs in OSU's McDonald Forest.  Finally I rode out there on my bicycle and knocked on the door of the farmhouse.  The elderly lady that answered the door told me they didn't own the car, they were just storing it for friends.  She said several mechanics had been out to see if they could get it running and had given up- so it just sits there.  I got the prof's name and went to visit him in the OSU School of Pharmacy.  After several days of negotiating, I bought the car for $100 and my promise never to cut the car up or "make a go-cart out of it".  I think in the last 45 years I have fulfilled that promise.

What was wrong with the car?  First off, someone had tried to patch the carburetor float and it was so heavy with brass and solder that it sank instead of floating, and secondly the hydraulic brakes were in need of a rebuild.  I fixed the carb with a cork float I made out of a thermos cork (remember those?)   The local Studebaker dealer in Corvallis (remember those?) ordered in new hydraulic brake slave cyllinder for me.  I don't remember why I ended up there- I think that I found a sympathetic ear, and he took pity on me.

I had the car running down the streets of Corvallis in about a weeks time.  I was very lucky that the previous owner (who bought it new in Spokane) took good care of it and everything was intact.

During one of my National Guard annual trainings in the Seattle area I discovered Fred Terbeck's (not sure of the spelling?) Aurora Motors- a used car lot sporting a fleet of Isetta's!  I ran into the sales office a asked "where can I get parts for an Isetta?"  "Why- right here young man!"  he answered.
I bought drive couplings and a shiny new brass carburetor float- the only two things I really needed at the time.

Several years later, I discovered the HMI Club started by Marilyn Felling. ( HMI stood for Heinkel, Messerschmidt, Isetta - 3 tiny German cars she was interested in) Car and Driver or Road and Track- I don't remember which, did an article on her.  Marilyn was a visionary, who crossed the US buying up new Isetta parts from BMW dealers who were getting rid of them when BMW dropped the Isetta line.  She stored massive amounts of parts, and sold them at reasonable prices to those of us restoring cars.

The Isetta is credited with saving BMW from going bankrupt right after WWII.  The factories were heavily damaged, raw materials were scarce, and the German people needed a very inexpensive car that they could afford to buy.  BMW liscensed the design from ISO of Italy who was already making  Isettas for Italians.
BMW tweaked the design and used one of their sturdy motorcycle engines in their version of the car, giving it a 13 hp four cycle engine that would run for 50 miles on one gallon of regular gas. (gas in Germany was VERY expensive at this time).  The BMW version of the car became THE Isetta to have, and they were imported to the US starting in 1957.  The US in 1957 was not into small cars, and the Isettas did not sell well.  Towards the end of their run, at some dealerships, Isettas were being offered free to purchasers of new Cadillacs.  Isettas found a small cult following and just over 8,500 were sold here in the US. before BMW pulled the plug on that line.

By 1962 Germany had recovered to the point that citizens could afford more car, and the demand was for a full sized car once more.  BMW dropped the Isetta like a hot rock, and within a couple of years, they had washed their hands of everything Isetta.  Dealers sold (or dumped) their parts inventory for pennies on the dollar, which is where Marilyn (the "Isetta Lady") came in.

Our car has changed hands in the family a couple times, and in 1984 when I was transferred to Dallas, TX my dad took the car and made it a restoration project.  Dad did a body-off restoration, lovingly cleaning and rebuilding all the major parts, including adding hand-applied undercoat to the frame and under-body areas.  The only part we have never touched is the engine.  With only 22,000 miles on it the engine is still running great.

Joan and I, along with Dad while he was alive, took the car to nearly every Medford Cruise, and more often than not, we won a recognition prize for our efforts.  What Fun!  There were only 2 years out of the 25 years we've been showing that there was another Isetta entered in the Cruise, and that was a beautiful Red Isetta owned by Jim Boice.  Sadly, Jim's car was sold to someone out of the area, and never returned.

Although the Isetta has been with me ( or a family member) for 45 years, I am now ready to let it go to another enthusiast, who will cherish it as much as I have loved having it.  Since Joan and I have started traveling, we have seen the wisdom in de-cluttering our lives.  While we are traveling the open road in our RV, we have everything we need to live and love life to the fullest.  The rest of the things we own, are becoming a burden of extra weight that must be stored and maintained.  We are in a new chapter, and a minimialist way of life.

If you love microcars and have a spare $23,000 we should talk a deal on this very sweet ride...

Your Traveling Friends,

Jeff and Joan

Monday, June 10, 2013


Odometer  35456 miles
Trip meter  261 miles from Salem to Port Orford, OR
Trip meter  185 miles from Port Orford to Medford, OR

Thursday June 6th

Frustrated with our lack of progress finding a home we both liked and could afford for a homebase in Port Orford, we decided to take a break and travel to Medford to re-connect with all of our friends there.  The trip takes about 5 hours for us, stopping to take pictures and to eat lunch along the way.

 We chose the beach route down highway 101 from Port Orford through Gold Beach, and Brookings, past the California state line.
We didn't dally very long  at Myers Beach, or in Brookings, but they are a couple of our favorite places along the way.

After crossing over into California we drove only a few miles before turning east onto State Route 197 North Bank Road.  197 follows the Smith River upstream to where it joins the Redwood Highway (US 199) at Hiouchi, California and the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.  I could not say accurately how many times Joan and I have driven this road to and from,the coast but it is surely more than 100 by now.  In all those times I have never tired of the awesome scenery- I could easily drive it 100 more times and be perfectly happy.

I was so sure I already had photos of the magnificent redwoods, I didn't take any on this trip through- only to find out- if I have any, I can't find them- Grrr.  I promise to take and post some photos of these stately giants on our next trip- probably less than 2 weeks from now.

We did stop along the Smith River canyon as we headed up US 199.  The water tumbles through the rocky canyon with almost no agricultural land along the way, the water is one of the clearest streams I have ever seen.  The water has no algae in it at all.

The Smith looks so inviting, you just want to jump in- but beware it is as COLD as ice until late summer.  We'll pass on the swim for now.

This morning Joan had called around to find an RV park with a reasonable rate for a month long stay in the Medford area.  We couldn't find a phone number for one of the parks in Gold Hill that we like, so we exited the freeway and pulled in, only to find out that the last monthly space had been rented earlier in the week.  Our plan B was to check into the  Lakewood RV Park in White City.  This Park is about $150 a month more expensive, but comes with more amenities (like 50 amp power) and being closer to Medford, will probably save us in commuting expenses also.  The monthly rates here range from a low of $300 to over $800, depending on proximity to Medford and whether it is on the Rogue River or not.

All in all the Lakewood Park is very nice and although it is not near the river it is only about 7 miles out of downtown Medford.

Friday June 7th

We drove out to Adroit Construction's main office in Ashland where Jeff used to work, and walked the halls of the building generally disrupting work wherever we went.  My former co-workers are all treasured friends and we had such a great time relating the events of the last 7 months on the road, and catching up with the local and personal news from each.  Pat Hawes and Travis Christian have been faithful readers of our blogs, and were well versed in our travels.  Both have been very supportive in my efforts to detail our adventures in pictures and words.  Bob Mayers, one of the owners of Adroit, also took time to greet us and shared connections between his explorations and ours. Bob insisted on storing one of our cars in an enclosed shop building- at no charge-while we were traveling, greatly reducing my anxiety as I was making last minute arrangements to leave last fall.  Wonderful people- all!

My successor as Safety Director, Josh Johnson, took Joan and me to lunch at a local cafe and we shared the trials and tribulations of the safety profession.  Watching Josh as he juggled the stresses of time and responsibility-reminded me of how wondrful it felt to shift that weight to him last fall.
 I love retirement!

We retrieved our stored auto and Joan took off in one direction to do some shopping, while I drove over to my good friend Doug McKee's project at the campus of Southern Oregon University.  Doug is one of two Superintendents building out an addition to the campus that will house and feed 700 additional students this Fall. This has been a flash-track job that had to be completed in 18 months.  Not only did they do it- they are going to finish early!

I got a personal tour of the nearly finished dorms and the dining hall by Steve Lawrence- Adroit's other owner!  I felt like a VIP!  First Bob, now Steve, takes time out of his busy day to show off the nearly finished project.

I finally found Doug after chasing all over the project site to find him, he was back in his office as I said goodbye to Steve.  Doug and I have shared a lot over the 20 years we've known each other.  Joan and I will be seeing a lot more of him and his wife, Kathy, in the next few days and weeks.

Saturday June 8th

Here's Joan after a fruitless day of  looking at properties in and around the area.
We made a list of 15 properties we wanted to check on, and spent most of Saturday driving to each and checking them out.

We took the Suzuki X-90 with the T-tops off and drove our "convertible" until noon. (see the car in photo #3 above)  We stopped at the Rogue River Cottage Restaurant in Rogue River for a very pleasant lunch at their shaded outdoor tables.  I had a half a turkey sandwich with a bowl of clam chowder, and Joan had green salad and a half a grilled cheese sandwich- both excellent!  After lunch the temps were such that we re-installed the T-tops and turned on the air conditioning, before starting out for the 2nd half of our list.

One of the properties we considered for a while is this single-wide mobile home on 2 acres on Table Rock Road.  The house is situated between Upper and Lower Table Rocks (large flat-topped mesas north of town)
Although the house is nothing and would have to be scrapped, the property has a 24 gallon a minute well, electrical power, and a septic system already in place.

Check out the vistas.  This view of Lower Table Rock is from the side yard.

Down side is that it sits on the corner of two main roads, and we'd need to build a house or buy a manufactured home, and build a shop/ garage.  After running the numbers, and really considering the locale, we decided we'd skip this one.

Regrouping Saturday evening back at our rolling home, we both admitted that we had not found anything that excites us like the properties in Port Orford.

Sunday June 9th

We spent Sunday sight seeing, window shopping and visiting friends.  We visited Jeff's aunt Elizabeth and uncle Pat Patterson who own a cottage at the Rogue Valley Manor retirement community in Medford.   The Manor as it is known to the locals, has been a frequent work site for Jeff and other Adroit Construction employees over the years, so we knew our way around the grounds quite well.  Both Pat and "Bets" are doing very well at 95 and 94 years old, and we had a wonderful time telling travel stories and talking about the old days!

Jeff first met his aunt and uncle and cousins when they drove west from their home in Massachusetts to visit the Smiths where we were living in Warland, Montana, back in the 50's, so we have long shared history.  Pat and Bets are also readers of our blog and haven't missed an issue yet- thanks!

Tomorrow we want to resurrect another of our stored automobiles- this one is the 1958 BMW Isetta that is currently stored at Mark and Carolyn's house in an enclosed trailer.  We thought we had it sold last summer, but that deal fell through and we were out of time to put it back on the market.

We will get it out and scrub it up, with the idea of showing it at the Medford Cruise- our huge local car show and shine, this coming weekend.  We'd like to sell it locally to cut down on the hassels of shipping and such.

Your Traveling Friends

Joan and Jeff

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Port Orford

Odometer 35040 miles
Trip 148 miles

We like Prineville and the central part of Oregon a lot, so we had to convince ourselves that we would come back soon, in order to get motivated enough to get on the road this morning. 

We were thrilled to see the Cascade Range again and Joan snapped this windshield photo of the Three Sisters.
It was our normal late morning start, which meant by the time we got to Sisters on highway 20 we were getting hungry for lunch.  We pulled over at a McDonalds and had our favorite road food, their Southwest Salad with crispy chicken strips.

Hwy 22 splits off from 20 at the Santiam Junction west of Sisters and heads down to Salem.

As we approached Detroit Lake the vegetation became very dense on both sides of the road- we were on high alert for deer, but luckily saw none.

Detroit Lake is actually a man-made reservoir that generates hydroelectric power, and provides a fantastic playground for Salemites.  These vistas brought back a lot of good memories that date back to the late 70's when we lived and worked in Salem, and we hung out here whenever we could get away from work and other obligations.

Ah!  There's nothing like a great place to mooch-dock!  My brother Thane and his wife Kathy always have the driveway cleared for us to stay a few nights when we hit Salem.  Joan and I got a chance to see most of the family again after 7 months on the road.  First on the list was my 92 year old mother who lives in a retirement community near Thane and Kathy.  Mom is not what you'd call aging gracefully, but she is in relatively good health, and humor.

We really wnated to see our new grand nephew, born to our niece and her husband.  Karon and Todd now have a very precocious 2 year old daughter, Kylie and a 4 month old son Tayvin born while we were in Mississippi last winter.  Everyone thinks their daughter is gifted, but Todd and Karon may have more reason than most to think that.  Kylie is a very bright and intelligent 2 year old who can hold a running conversation with the adults.  She is sunny and impish with a quick and hearty laugh.

Sunday June 3rd
On our way down the Interstate 5 to Southern Oregon, we were detoured to niece Adrienne and husband Reuben's house in Albany to be part of the build team for their online order patio cover.

Joan and I had a great time with the project.  I especially like that it came with no instructions!  Real men can relate to this- a perfect project- as we would not have referred to them anyway!

By mid afternoon we had the cover erected and Reuben was busy cooking ribs on the BBQ grill.  We had such a good time that we stayed one more night at Thane and Kathy's before heading out on Monday for Southern Oregon.

Monday June 3rd

We got on the road by 9:30 and headed south on I-5 (again) from Salem.  By the time we got to Sutherlin we were hungry so we pulled off and parked in the street across from Burger King.  We cheated and ran across the street for two Whopper Juniors ($1.29 each) and took them to the MH and fixed lunch around our entree.

As we were talking over lunch we both admitted to the other that we really wanted to go directly to Port Orford before getting to Medford.  We want to have a homeport there on Garrison Lake if at all possible, and want to get the hunt started earlier this time than we did last summer.

We arrived in Port Orford at a little after 3PM and checked into the Port Orford Village RV park (a Passport America park!) and the owners Cindy and Tim made us feel at home right away.  4PM is Social Hour here and I was set-up and ready for some intoxicating beverage, so I strolled down to the clubhouse with my cool beverage, while Joan took a nap.  The thing about RV parks is that you are never a stranger, and this was no exception.  Within a few minutes I had met Lynn and Bill- homeport Pahrump, Gene and Claudia- Oregonians, and George and Juanita- our neighbors and long time fulltimers.  As I was relating my new found friends to Joan, she remarked "do George and Juanita have a beagle named Abby?"  I was astonished and told her - yes!  Joan said she'd been reading their blog Seeing the USA in our Chevrolet, for some time now.

Tuesday June 4th

Our favorite realtor, Marilyn Overbeck of Sixes River Land Company, was ready to show us property, so we met at her office at 9AM and she toured us through 5 properties all on Garrison Lake.

After the touring the 2nd property it was nearing noon, so Marilyn took us to Griff's On The Dock, a local seafood restaurant, where we all enjoyed a delicious lunch.  Our first choice was Crazy Norwegians, also a great seafood eatery of local renoun, but they are not on their summer schedule yet and they were closed today.

Of the properties we saw, two are real contenders for our future homeport.

We will go home tonight and do some serious talking to see if one will draw an offer from us to buy.

Your Traveling Friends

Joan and Jeff