Thursday, July 30, 2009


A foggy walk on Beverly Beach We awoke to cool, thick fog yesterday morning – what a treat!  We hung around for another visit from Lance, the RV repairman (the refrigerator appears to be healthy once again), then took off down Hwy 101 to explore the coastline south of here. 

With our Oregon State Parks volunteer parking permit (a great perk from our volunteer job), we are able to park free at any Oregon State Park.  Since the entire coastline of Oregon is public land, the drive along Hwy 101 is lined with state park lands: viewpoints, recreation areas, campgrounds and day use areas.  When we reached an area of slightly less fog, we pulled into Beverly Beach State Park and took off on a nice stroll.

Back at the car a few hours later, a woman sitting at the picnic table directly in front of Jules hopped up and asked “Are you Laurie?”.  Hmmmm… she didn’t look familiar at all, but DID seem friendly.  Her next question was directed to Odel: “And are you Odel?”

Odel, Day, and DavidThat was our introduction to Day and David, a warm, enthusiastic couple who recognized us from our blog!  Day and David, who moved to Salem, Oregon, from Minnesota a few years ago, were escaping the high inland temperatures with a trip to the coast.  They had discovered our blog through the RV-Dreams community, so also “know” Howard and Linda, Joann and Doug – and probably many other mutual – virtual - friends through all of our travel blogs. 

What a fun and funny interlude.  We’ve met other blog readers before, either by prearrangement through email or when they happened to be nearby and specifically searched us out.  Yesterday was a first for us, though – pure coincidence, and very welcome.  Thanks, Day and David, for your big hello.

We awoke to fog again this morning, so I hopped up out of bed early.  I had a project in mind!

The Pie Box Frozen Pie, ready to bake. Baked Pie, ready to eat

When we drove from Hood River to Lincoln City, stopping for fresh vegetables and berries along the way, I also picked up an irresistible frozen Marionberry pie.  I dreamed of warming Scoopy on a cold morning by baking the pie in our propane oven – last used months ago!  My vision-of-sugarplums came true this morning.  We’ll be picking up some Tillamook ice cream when we’re out today (visiting the town of Tillamook, as a matter of fact) to top it off.  

I wish Day and David were here to eat it with us!  :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


We skedaddled out of Hood River a couple hours in front of the worst of the heat. 

Heading west through the Columbia River GorgeWhen we heard the weatherman report an “excessive heat warning” for all of western Oregon beginning at noon on Monday, we decided we would be on the road heading for the coast by 9 am Monday morning.  We beat our ETD by an hour, pulling out of our site and locking the gate behind us at 8 am. It was already too warm.  Cool ocean breezes, here we come!

By 9:30 am, we were on the west side of Portland, watching Scoopy’s thermometer rise, into the 80’s and on into the 90’s.  Overhead digital signs on I-84 and I-205 warned of a smog alert, followed by a plea to “Limit Your Driving”.  Usually vibrant Portland looked hazy, hot and droopy.

About halfway to our destination, driving through the rolling farm and dairy lands, we made a stop at a roadside produce stand to pickup local blueberries, cherries, squash – and a frozen Marionberry pie.  Visions of cold mornings, warmed by a berry pie baking in the propane oven, danced in my head. (What was I thinking??)

Site 26B at the Lincoln City Elks RV parkLincoln City, 10 miles… the temperature was still in the upper 80’s.  Lincoln City, 5 miles: still in the upper 80’s!  Cresting the last small ridge, we hit Hwy 101, and laughed giddily as we called off the declining temperatures.  Eighty-three!  Eighty!  Seventy-seven!  SEVENTY-TWO!  YIPPEE!

By 12:30, we were setting up our new home in site 26B, at the end of the row at the Lincoln City Elks RV Park (click here to read our review and see additional photos).  Unlimited space out our door, lots of trees and grass, a table for Luna’s crate, water and (unreliable) 30 amp electricity at our site.  No sewer, which means we have to watch the water use, but they have shower houses – a big help for water conservation.

During the last few days – maybe the last week – of our stay in Hood River, with daytime highs around 90, we noticed our refrigerator struggling to stay cold… cold as defined by our refrigerator thermometer, between 34 and 38 degrees.  The temperature often read 44 to 46, even when we hadn’t been standing around holding the doors open while we communed with our tastebuds.  Odel fretted over it for several days and put feelers out to several Norcold service centers to troubleshoot the problem.  We hoped the cooler ambient air temperatures we expected in Lincoln City would help, buying time to determine our next move.

Breakers on the beach at Lincoln CityOdel’s first phone call went to Rick, the repairman who replaced the cooling unit in our refrigerator last winter.  He is far from us, in Tucson, but is very responsive and helpful.  Rick listened to our latest observations and the report from our refrigerator thermometer, then said we might need a new circuit board.  He recommended that Odel call Dinosaur Electronics in – and I kid you not – Lincoln City, Oregon!

Soon we were on the way to Dinosaur, housed in a rambling home up a dirt road in heavy forest.  The family-run business consists of a couple sparkly-eyed mad-scientist-type males and several large, strong, plain, friendly females.  Although they don’t do repairs there (they invent, manufacture, and sell to distributors), we picked up a few more pointers and, best of all, the name and number for Lance, a local mobile RV repairman recommended by the interesting Dinosaur family.

Our next call went out to Lance.  He scheduled a visit with us later in the afternoon, so we took off for a walk on the beach.  Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!  Sand, surf, and a cooling breeze – the drowsy dream of summer.  We had a nice long beach walk, just in time to receive Lance’s call saying he was 30 minutes away.

Peppers and Squash

By 6:30, Lance had diagnosed our problem, made a few helpful adjustments, and said he’d have the correct part to finally solve the problem in a day or two.  We fired up the grill and loaded it with the fresh vegetables we snagged on our drive over, followed by Odel’s famous chicken thighs (leaving the skin ON, sprinkle thighs generously on both sides with Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper and Salt, then grill to perfection).  Wine, dinner, and a wee bit of reading… I was in bed around 9:30, enjoying the cool breeze blowing across my face when – poof - it was morning.  :)

Morning sunshine on the creek bordering the park.

7:00 am.  Time for the thermometer trifecta.  The temperature in our hallway (the warmest part of the RV): 68 degrees!  The temperature outdoors: 59 degrees!  The temperature in the refrigerator: 30 degrees!  Odel was humming like a happy bee.

The Lincoln City Elks Lodge RV parking is not at the lodge, but at their own green, grassy, park south of town, about the size of a small county park.  After we dressed in LONG PANTS and LONG SLEEVES, we took a peaceful morning stroll.  This little branch of the Siletz River forms one boundary of the park – it looked so placid and cool as the sun came over the ridge.

Odel is out gabbing with the neighbors as I write. Guess I’ll check all the thermometers, then go see what’s cookin’.  :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Thanks to my temporary library card, I have devoured 20+ books here in Hood River.  For FREE!  I’m now current on the entire Alexander McCall Smith series (No. #1 Ladies Detective Agency), read most of Fannie Flagg’s novels, and several more of Anita Shreve’s.  Even Odel got in the act, checking out Robert Parker’s Spenser mysteries to read during the slow weekday shifts in the visitor center. 

While Odel was in Memphis and I was lonely, I checked out CD audio books to enjoy when I wanted to hear a human voice saying something intelligent and entertaining. When he returend, I checked out the Cultural Pass for Maryhill Art Museum, which got us – and a randomly selected couple we met in the parking lot of the museum (he had a ponytail, the deciding factor) – into the museum for free. 

What a great book!Each time I visited the library, the free use computers, set up at long tables in a lovely, large, light room, were all in use.  I was saddened when the little library had to reduce it’s hours by about 25% while we were here.  SUPPORT YOUR PUBLIC LIBRARY, those of you lucky enough to have one!

Flyaway (photo courtesy of was my favorite read.  I know that several of you are birders – you HAVE to read this book!  We are NOT birders, and probably most of our readers are not – you, too, HAVE to read this book!  Suzie Gilbert is hilarious, a WONDERFUL writer and observer of nature.  She not only writes about rehabbing injured and recovering wild birds, but about her two parrots (Rosanna, you will die laughing!). It’s a book you will want to share with all your friends – if you can bear to part with it. 

We’re leaving tomorrow!  My library books go back today, one of many chores on the “to do before we leave” list – along with vacuum, buy fresh cherries, return our volunteer vests, radio and bicycles, pack away all the stuff that has found a temporary home on horizontal surfaces. 

It hit the mid-90’s here yesterday, and our low last night was 67.  Today is more of the same; tomorrow and beyond will be around 100 degrees.  We’re heading to the coast, where it is foggy and cool, with highs in the 60’s.  Long pants!  Sweatshirts!  Foods cooked in the gas oven!  Chilly walks on the beach!  That’s the essence of hitch-itch: glamorizing what you don’t have.  :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009


As we move further into July, our weather has turned steadily warmer.  We’ve spent a good deal of time dreaming up cooling excursions – and my photos today reflect that focus.

Pasta with shrimp at Indian CreekIts been a week of visitors.  Gloria and Tom, now traveling through Oregon, were our neighbors in Sacramento last May.  After sightseeing around Hood River last Wednesday, they stopped for a visit. We had dinner at Divots restaurant at Indian Creek Golf Course, looking across the manicured golf course to snowy, looming, Mt. Hood.  We had fun catching up with their travels since May - not so much ours, since we’ve be mostly stationary.

On Saturday, our friends from Canby, Richard and Marlene, loaded their three young grandsons into their motorhome and came over to spend the weekend.  A couple hours after they departed on Sunday, my long time friends Becky and Jewel arrived from Sacramento to spend a couple days.  Jewel drove home yesterday, and I dropped Becky at the airport at 4 pm.  Today, life is back to “normal”.

Becky and Jewel take a break at the lavender farm with Mt. Adams in the background. Becky and Jewel hadn’t been to Hood River or the Columbia Gorge before, so I was in full tour guide mode.  We started at Panorama Point with its stunning views of Mt. Hood and the fruit orchards spread in the valley south of Hood River, then rolled along the “Fruit Loop”, the scenic drive through the nearby orchards and tiny agricultural towns. 

The lavender farm is a MUST stop, with even more flowers blooming now than a few weeks ago when my parents visited.  Both Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams were in full view, and Becky took the same 40+ photographs that I have taken from all points of the farm.  It’s irresistible!

The afternoon was hot, hot, hot, and we all retired to our respective abodes for naps and showers, then we were back out to dinner at Divots restaurant at the golf course.  Besides the great view and good food, the chairs at Divots are well upholstered and super comfortable – a great place to sit and catch up with old (or new) friends.

The Columbia River boils through the release gates at Bonneville DamOdel and I had not yet made it to Bonneville Dam (though we had been to the fish hatchery).  When Tuesday promised to be another hot day, Jewel, Becky and I charted a day on the water, beginning at the dam, which had been highly recommended by Gloria and Tom.  Watching the Columbia churn through the release gates was mesmerizing on a hot morning!  We learned the history of the dam from a ranger, and got a peek at the generators in the powerhouse. 

Have you ever wondered what would be the world’s most boring job (I used to do this back when I was working)?  I thought it might be toll collector at a toll bridge, but I’ve changed my mind: fish counter!  We spent about 10 minutes waiting for fish to swim past the viewing windows as they came up the fish ladders, peering through the windows for about 60 seconds, then scanning the room and the other visitors until the cries of one of the vacationing families alerted us as another fish swam past in the hazy water. 

Well, there is a person who has the job of staring at the window and pushing a button each time a fish passes by.  About six different kinds of fish swim past, so the excitement would be determining which button to push.  Chinook?  Smelt?  Steelhead?  Push.  Wait.  Don’t look away…. keep looking, looking… oh, push again.  I wouldn’t last a day.

Viewing the Columbia Gorge from the sternwheeler.

After our tour of the dam, we had just enough time left for a picnic in the shade of the big trees at the historic Bonneville fish hatchery.  Bellies filled, we zipped over to the sturgeon and trout ponds – more lovely, cool water – then headed to Cascade Locks to board the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler. 

We took the 2 hour excursion, the same ride Odel and I had taken in June with the Oregon State Park volunteers.  Becky and Jewel enjoyed it was thoroughly as Odel and I had, listening to the captain narrate points of current and historical interest while we watched the windsurfers, the birds, the shoreline.  It’s a relaxing interlude in a day of “touristing”, and we recommend it if you visit the gorge.

Back home for showers, then we were off to dinner at Dixie’s Southern Grub – yes, AGAIN!  :)

Jewel had driven to Hood River, and she took off early on Wednesday morning.  I worked the morning shift in the visitor center; when Odel took over (30 minutes early, nice guy that he is), I picked Becky up and we spent the afternoon meandering through the green west end of the gorge on the way to her 5:30 flight out of the Portland airport. 

Mossy boulders along the creek.My favorite short hike, to Wahclella Falls, was first on the agenda – a two mile walk through a humid, green, mossy canyon to a beautiful waterfall at the canyon’s end.  After Becky took all the photos she could handle, we had enough time to sit creek side, absorbing the water’s sounds, watching swallows dart and dippers dip while we soaked up the ambiance of the gorge.

Near Multnomah Falls, we picked up the historic highway so we could visit Vista House on Crown Point.  With Becky, I took time to examine the exhibits, photos of building and opening of Vista House in 1918.  Becky was busy with her camera again; the expansive views of the gorge are tantalizing.  I’m sure she and I have identical shots from each of the places we visited in the past three days!

Now our guests are gone, and hot, hot, hot weather is on the way (102 forecast for Monday).  Also on the way is the next host for our trail!  A few days ago, Ranger Matt mentioned to Odel that the next host would like to arrive earlier if possible… would we like to leave early? 

Heck, yes!  It’s a great volunteer job, but we are so ready to see new sights and hunt up some cooler weather.  Most of our friends who have traveled the coast this summer have complained about the cold and fog, so that’s where we will be heading on Tuesday.  :)  Yippee!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


We received a surprising email recently, from Semi-True Tales of our Life on the Road was one of 20 blogs to win an award in the category of "Best RV and Caravan Blogs".

I am more of a blog writer than a blog reader. I subscribe to a small number of blogs, mostly those of close personal friends, expanding my reading when we are stationary and/or in an area with high speed internet access (not here!). I was not (and still am not) familar with TripBase and don't know how they found us - but it was fun to read their congratulatory email. If you want to learn more about TripBase and the other blogs they honored in the RV category, you can click on the icon added to the top left of the blog.

Kinda' fun! What we enjoy the most, though, are the comments and emails we get from readers who liked a particular story, or photo - or like to follow our travels while they daydeam about travels of their own. Thanks to TripBase for the recognition, and to all of our readers for your all kind comments!

Friday, July 17, 2009


Lots of action on our trail this weekend, starting today with the International Skateboard Competition’s grand slalom event down the big hill on the east end of the trail.

Laying out the skateboard course.Early yesterday evening, I fired up the Gator and headed out to blow debris off the trail. I planned to give the east slope a little special attention for the competition today – skateboarders really hate the sharp, small, gray rocks that blend so well with the color of the asphalt.

As I came through the tunnel and headed down the hill, I found the race organizers observing the track they had constructed with little orange cones. Their faces lit up when I showed up with the blower! They had just finished chalking the positions of the cones and were ready to pick ‘em up, planning to return at 6 am to reset the course. They were thrilled that I planned to make a double pass on the course to sweep it as clean as possible.

As I started slowly down the center of the trail, this was the scene: a lizard-thin, 30-something skateboarder with his head wrapped in a t-shirt (protection against the blazing sunshine) and smoking a cigarette rolled down the hill in front of me, picking up cones and stacking them in front of him on the skateboard. Every so often, when he couldn’t reach high enough to stack another cone, he would lift the stack off the board and set it to the side of the trail.

As the other guys walked down the hill, they picked up the stacks of cones, and we all got to the bottom of the hill at the same time. Once the cones and skateboarders were gone, I made another couple of passes, then headed home on the mostly shaded trail, enjoying the views and long shadows.

Trailside view of the basalt cliffs.Did I mention the recent cougar sightings? In the last week, a cougar has been spotted crossing the trail twice, once in the morning and once around 5:30 pm. No chance of seeing the cougar when driving the gator, though – unless he or she is totally DEAF!

It would be difficult to imagine a better volunteer job than this one. The hours are easy, and reasonably flexible (other than staffing the visitor center 10 am to 2 pm); the rangers are friendly, appreciative, and helpful; the visitors are interesting and energetic. We have a fabulous site, we are close to an enjoyable town in a beautiful setting, and only an hour’s drive – all of it gorgeous – to an unusually interesting major city.

In spite of ALL that, we have “hitch itch” – we are itching to get going! We plan to spend the rest of the summer traveling in the Pacific Northwest, but the desire to get moving has spilled over into planning for next year – and it looks like we might do the big eastern loop.

We’ve spent the majority of our travel time west of the Mississippi – neither of us has been to the northeast or the southeast. Assuming no unexpected health problems, family emergencies, or huge increases in fuel prices, we’re getting excited about visiting places we’ve never been, seeing sights so different from those in the western US. The atlas is getting a workout these days. :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Wahclella Falls in the Columbia River Gorge

It’s Tuesday evening, the end of our weekend – back to work tomorrow.  It is deep dusk outside, with just a hint of light silhouetting the mountains to the west.  Odel is snoozing, Luna is bathing industriously, and I want to get our latest waterfall photos on the blog before I head to bed. 

We headed out just before 10 am yesterday for a full day: a trip to Trader Joes, to Petsmart, and to Costco, preceded by two hikes and three waterfalls.  The sky was overcast, even here in Hood River – and a few light drops of rain smeared the windshield as we approached our first hike, Wahclella Falls (exit 40 from I-84, then south to the trailhead).  Acting as if we were native Oregonians, we put on our rain jackets and headed off up the trail.

We’re glad we did!  I raved recently about Punchbowl Falls – Wahclella is every bit as beautiful (Odel liked it even better).  The hike was gorgeous, a bit over 2 miles round-trip, quite easy, with bridges to cross and creek side gardens to admire.  It was a wonderful beginning to our day.

Our next hike was further west in the gorge, Latourell Falls.  We had stopped at the lower falls (visible from the Historic Columbia River Highway) when my parents visited last month, but hadn’t hiked the two mile loop that includes the upper falls.  We made up for that yesterday.

Lower Latourell Falls (left) and upper Latourell Falls (right)

The lower, easily accessible falls is quite high and impressive.  The unmarked trail to the upper falls (no sign to indicate that another falls exists) climbs steadily, weaving through an impressive forest of huge trees with few views out to the Gorge.  It was warm and incredibly humid – I had sweat popping out of every pore by the time we arrived at the upper falls.  Standing in the cooling spray was a nice reward. 

Although beautiful, neither the trail nor the falls impressed us as much as Wahclella Falls or Punchbowl Falls – but the location of Latourell Falls, close to famous and overrun Multnomah Falls, attracts way more visitors. 

By the time we left Latourell, it was 1:30 and we hadn’t had lunch yet.  We found Trader Joe’s, zipped through our shopping (mostly stocking up on wine), then gratefully took a table in the neighboring Panera Bread shop for lunch. 

Luna sleeping in the sun on her favorite rock I would have been happy to skip Petsmart, but Luna was counting on us for her favorite dry food – and it was between Trader Joe’s and Costco, so that was the next stop.  On to Costco, which was jammed!  By the time we were done there, I couldn’t wait to get home.

After we dragged in all of our purchases, I heated up a stew I had made on Sunday.  It felt very, very good to be sitting down at home!

This morning, we read (on their blog, Living Our Dream) the bad news our friends (and temporary neighbors) Joann and Doug had received about the results of Doug’s recent PSA test – it has doubled, a very troubling result.  We immediately walked over to their rig to get the lowdown.  They were considering several travel options, but a final decision has to wait until they can talk to Doug’s doctors – so it was a frustrating day of indecision for them.  They pulled out of our gate in the early afternoon, heading along the course they had previously charted.  Their spot looked mighty empty this evening.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Punchbowl Falls on the Eagle Creek TrailEven on a “work” day, we have plenty of time to get out and hike if we are so inclined.  Yesterday afternoon, we hiked one of the gorge’s premier hikes – and I forgot the camera!  I do that very rarely, and when I do, we often see something unusual .  I was afraid yesterday would be the day we saw a cougar, or Sasquatch – but no, just a couple of fantastic waterfalls.  :) 

Located in a cool, deep, fern- and tree-lined canyon, Punchbowl Falls isn’t particularly tall, but it IS particularly beautiful.  The waters pour straight down into a deep, round pool from an erosion-carved rock bowl.  The fact that the falls are only two miles from the trailhead, on a gently sloping and incredibly engineered trail, makes it one of the most visited – and most photographed – falls in the gorge.

Since I didn’t have any of my own photos to show you, I searched around on the web to find one that didn’t appear to have fees or copyrights associated with it.   This picture is actually a poster (and available for sale if you are so inclined).

The back of the Styx II album from 1973

The beautiful falls was also the inspiration for the artwork on the back cover of an album from 1973 – Styx II.  This image came from

The trail to Punchbowl Falls (and beyond – it ends at a lake 13 miles from the trailhead) starts just off I-84 at Eagle Creek Campground, the very first US Forest Service campground in the US, built in 1915.  The trail itself is a marvel: in two spots, it has been blasted out of sheer basalt cliffs.  Cables affixed to the cliff side as handrails provide psychological support as you travel the 2-3 foot wide pathway, averting your eyes from the sheer drop to the river blow.

We liked the hike and the views so much that we might do it again before we leave – and I’ll remember the camera next time!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


JoAnn and Doug come to visit us.

Yes, we have neighbors, our friends JoAnn and Doug and their famous poodle Fillmore.  We’ve been looking forward to their arrival for several days, and I am watching them set up their home as I type. 

After they picked out their spot on our “estate”, our first order of business was to finalize a dinner plan.   JoAnn and Doug love southern food and had read our accounts of Dixie’s Southern Grub on our blog – it took no persuading to come to agreement on our destination.  We’ll take them on a little drive around Hood River, pointing out the scenic spots, the downtown, and the grocery stores, then sit down over crayfish cakes, catfish, fried chicken, greens and grits and catch up on their travels along the coast.  It is always fun to have friends come by!

Homestead at the Conboy Lake NWR Since yesterday was a day off, we hopped out of bed, grabbed a map, and decided to drive the Mt. Adams Scenic Loop drive, across the river in Washington.  Mt. Adams is 1,000 feet or so taller than Mt. Hood, and we frequently see its snow covered peak to the north when we are out and about in Hood River. Yesterday, though, we weren’t destined to get any good photos.

It was a very cool and blustery day when we started out, with low clouds hanging over the gorge and the western mountain peaks.  No sign of either Mt. Hood or Mt. Adams.  We crossed the Hood River bridge to Bingen, Washington, and headed north directly towards Mt. Adams.  All we could see was its base, with patches of snow on the low flanks.

Cattails and water plants along a small watercourse.

Even with the low clouds, the drive was beautiful, bisecting the length of a narrow agricultural valley checkered with orchards and farms.  Where the valley ended and the road began a climb to the flanks of Mt. Adams, the scenic tour loop turned to the east, heading towards the dryer ground east of the Cascades. 

By the time we reached Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge, we were in sunshine.  We ate our lunch in the car, out of the wind, then set off on the only hike in the NWR, an easy two mile loop.  An occasional view of Mt. Adams emerging from the clouds had to compete with nearer sights of interest: an old homestead built of hand-hewn logs, a cattail choked creek with colorful birds flitting in all directions, sunshine filtering through the forest to the tiny wildflowers blooming there.

Willard Springs, end of the trail

Our hike ended at Willard Springs, burbling out from under a small pile of rocks buried in green shrubs and water plants – much more easily heard than seen.  Here we met the only two hikers we saw the entire day, an older couple who lives in the area and hikes to the springs frequently.  They were sitting on a mat of long, dry, brown leaves that they identified as daffodil leaves, the only sign left of a long-gone homestead.

The area bordering the spring was cleared of trees; it was easy to picture an early homesteader choosing and clearing a home site between the spring and the forest.  We sat for awhile in the sunshine, listening to the spring, the birds, and the wind in the treetops.  It seemed idyllic to me – and a far cry from the life of a homesteader!

Looking west into the Gorge from the Hood River bridge.

The rest of our loop passed large ranches and tiny towns, travelled down, up, and down again through canyons cut by rivers from dark basalt.  The last several miles paralleled the Klickitat River, running full and fast to its junction with the Columbia.  At Lyle, we were back in the Gorge, where we turned west to Hood River.  I took this photo as we crossed the Hood River bridge back to Oregon.

Our “weekends” as volunteers seem rather similar to our weekends back in our working days: one day for fun – a car trip, a long hike, sightseeing and relaxation – and another day to catch up on all that other stuff that needs doing: laundry (did it this morning), meal planning and grocery shopping (this morning), catching up on email and writing a blog post (my afternoon), comparing insurance quotes for the coming year (Odel’s afternoon).  Some sweeping, dusting, and shaking of rugs thrown in, too.  Even the smallest of homes and least structured of lives need standard maintenance!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Happy 4th!

Our seventh Independence Day on the road, and the first time we are WORKING!  Let’s not use that word… and in fact, it is volunteerism, not work.  :)

We’ve been here almost 5 weeks and have settled into an easy routine.  We do our volunteer work Wednesday through Sunday – staffing the visitor center, riding our bikes or walking the trail, trail maintenance – then head off to explore on Monday and Tuesday, our days off.  With each “weekend” exploration, as our knowledge of the area increases, we become more capable volunteers, able to answer more of our visitors’ questions.

As summer progresses, we are meeting more visitors from outside the Hood River area, folks visiting the gorge on vacation.  “Where can I pick cherries?”  “Where can we ride our mountain bikes?”  “Where can I buy a Forest Pass?”  “Where can we take a longer ride?”  “How can I get to Panorama Point?”  It’s fun to share information and every time I can help someone, I wish I knew more!

Light up the sky.

Twenty-seven days out of the 30 in June were windy, from breezy to a gale.  Our high temperatures occasionally reached the low 80’s.

Our first 4 days of July have been dead calm.  No chance of wind sports on the river – which is a huge disappointment to many of the visitors to the gorge over this holiday.  No wind means HOT weather - or is it the other way around?  Our highs have been in the low to mid 90’s – hurray for our 50 amp electric hookup, and for our new electric awning.  We’ve been able to do a lot of grilling and relaxing in the shade of the awning, both activities usually curtailed by the winds. 

On the trail, the calm winds mean more people, the folks who would usually be out on the water, tearing back and forth through the choppy waves.  Now they are on the trail, bright in tight lycra, pushing themselves at top speed.  Whew – those kids!

Our plans for the holiday?  Marlene and Richard Dopp are coming to visit from Canby, bringing their bikes for a ride on the trail.  We’ll get to visit after we close the visitor center, and hope to find a Hood River restaurant open for dinner later. 

Happy Independence Day, all!