Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Song Has New Meaning ~ "Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt..."

That's how the old coal miners did it according to the song.  I'm startin' to feel like a modern gypsy version. Since Peter had nothin' left to rob this time, we just hung the thing on Hope and got ready to head on down the road.

The system that's supposed to diagnose things and tell ya what to fix didn't do its job. That left 'em  having to do it the old fashioned way, figure it out. The way I understand it was they go in and look for parts that are reading too low a voltage. That took us to the TPS (throttle position sensor) ... which from the way the thing was acting, was what we all suspected in the first place.

Now... if you're an ingenious mechanic who can diagnose those things the code readers fail to find, you can save a bundle buying your parts at Autozone and doin' the labor yourself. and that's where I get left out in the cold. I could look under there all day and still not have any idea what I was looking at. Too many wires, too much plumbing and too much computerized whizbang ee-lek-trawnic wizardry.

Nope, this is one place they got me. Grab him by the tender parts and Ska-WHEEZE! is the technique they use.

So, got the truck back so late today that it made no sense to try and move, so we spend our fourth nite, courtesy of Walmart. But she's hitched up now and we'll be hauling out early tomorrow morning.

Now, ya know? On occasion,  I'm a lil' self conscious 'bout this worn old rig. The delaminating fiberglass here and there, the cracks and dings... The bits and pieces strapped on and bolted on here and there to make a rig that works. She's worn but still serviceable.

But then, all I have to do is wait of the occasional neighbor to completely rearrange my opinion of the old rig...

What can I say? At some point ya just have to celebrate the Free Spirits that some folks are blessed with... and the easy way they have of riding through this vale of tears... I guess...

The tentative direction we'll be moving, come the dawn, has changed a bit. Rather than running east up the Columbia I've chosen to make a short run north, before cutting east at Hwy 12 and making for a night camp somewhere along the southern or eastern shoulders of Mt. Rainier.

The next few days will be spent slowly making our crossing of eastern Washington; moving across Idaho and on to the country somewhere around Missoula Montana.

With most of two months before we have to be in Sydney, there's no great rush. Only to get back to the mountains after our long slow visit from the California Desert to the Oregon Coast.

Hitched up and Ready to Roll

Monday, July 29, 2013

We Done Busted the Rules

Etiquette says... One Night At Walmart. Uh huh. And for all the times we've been patrons of the Night Stoppers of Walmart society... that's 'zactly what we done.

'Till now.

This night shall be our Third night, courtesy of Walmart. Parked it with a lame truck Saturday afternoon and received the clearance that we'd have no trouble, so we could get into the shop Monday morning.

Monday morning rolled around, right on schedule... the truck rolled into the Dealers yard, right on schedule... and right on schedule that @#%$ Murphy showed up.

Now, in amongst all the wires and hoses and confabulationary plumbing and hardware that constitutes the guts and structure of a modern diesel truck lives a thing called the ECM. That's engineer speak for engine control module.

Fabulous lil' boxes. They tell the engine how to run and when to do it in a fashion that makes these late model rigs run the old thumpers of my youth to gasping wrecks trying to keep up.

Uh Huh... right up until they don't. Now, in the old days when the side of your carburetor blew out, you could look in there under the hood and say; "Aw Hell! The side of the carburetor blew out!" The fix was simple. Bolt on a fresh one.

Now, you have to ask that ECM and it's lil' recording devices; "What ail's you son?" and 99.9% of the time it pops up a CODE that tells you 'zactly what's ailing. Uh HUH. Not 100% I said 99.9%

Any of you still wonderin' what % I stumble around in? You thought YOU were special? HA! I live with the sure and certain knowledge that I ain't no 1%er... I am a .1 %er... you see that lil' bitty POINT there in front of the 1 right?

Yup... that fancy ee-lek-trawnic whizbangin' gizmo under the seat... or wherever they hide it... refuses to tell anybody which part is the right part... to replace... It didn't record a dang thing.

The consequence being; "If it ain't broke... we can't fix it!"  arrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhhh!  ... and I'm not willing to roll out into the far flung wilds with a lame rig.

So we ride into our THIRD Walmart night...

Well Hell, at least they have craft beer for sale inside and no shortage of TP...

Life is a Beer... Goes down easy and frequently leaves you sitting on the porch looking stupid.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Why Keep Pushing Into the Wind?

What else are you gonna do?

Started a long time back with a fuel pump. Then the radiator, another fuel pump, a couple of tires eaten, front wheel rotors, alternator, torn trailer frame, blown clutch master cylinder, cracked spring mount on the trailer, water heater, furnace, dog with breast cancer, broken window frame, shattered roof vents, cooked slide switch, brake rotors and wheel bearings again, tie rod ends, bent axles, and more trashed tires...

There's been days of stretching out the near empty fuel tank, wondering if we were gonna find a camp for the night, watching the cash go out the door a lot faster than the end of the month approached. We've camped in the middle of the road... broken, and we've lain in camp losing weight because we were both too sick to travel into town for groceries.

... and I'm sure I've forgotten a few other potholes we've bounced through along the way. Life ain't easy for anyone, no matter what road you follow... 

So we're rolling down the road yesterday behind that, oh! The WINDSHIELD that got cracked by that texting bimbo in Utah! and the cummins up front stumbles... and stumbles again... ooooffffff...

Yeah, we'd decided that playing the endless musical campsite game at Fort Stevens had worn out its welcome so we figured to just go ahead and start our roll east. We took one last lil' stroll around the lake that sides the campground and then headed out...

*Washington in front and Oregon behind us*
We'd not yet cleared the Astoria City limits before the fun began.

So now, the repair bill grows and seems endless. Frustration invades and thoughts of wouldn't it be nice to have a "new" truck with fewer miles and some extra shiny bells and whistles, and maybe a fresher fiver? It can even get to the point of running numbers on mortgage calculators... "I can probably swing that. I won't have to stretch the truth THAT far to the banker to talk him into an RV home loan."

Then, while waiting through a Saturday evening in a friendly neighborhood Walmart... waiting for Monday to dawn so another mechanic can apply his magic bandage on this aging old Dodge of ours, I read Ara's essay on "You Can't Fix Stupid."

Thank you Ara! for the kick in the kiester that restores the focus on what I have... and what I lack.

Yeah, the truck is old and worn. It's a toss up which will fall over dead first, the truck or the fifth wheel. Yes our income continues to imitate the flight of a wounded goonie bird trying to land; wobbling, unstable and always sinking...

... at the same time our inglorious leaders save us by doubling the burden of their cancerous and incompetent government in new and ingenious ways.

Ah... things could be so much better... truly.

... and they could be so much worse.

I could be standing in a hardware store selling garden hose to some genius who intends to repair his propane line with it because it's $4.00 cheaper than the PROPANE line. Or 1000 lb test chain to the guy who intends to hang it on his brand new to him, $45,000 37 foot, 20,000 lb fifth wheel for safety chains... that he's pulling behind his brand new $50,000 dollar diesel pickup, because he "Don't want it hanging onto my Truck if it comes Loose! That's Crazy! and I'm not paying $35 dollars for those safety chains!"

I could be sitting in that line of traffic I recently endured in Portland, sucking up the fumes of that lovely green Prius in front of me, or the BMW beside it... commuting three hours a day to and from that hardware store... so I can finance the repetition of the circle.

I could be diagnosed with a non-operable cancer on my liver or be crippled up with arthritis.

I could be homeless. I could be friendless. I could be... I could be... I could be... so damned many could be's that I am not...

And here I am, a wanderer with his  Home on the Highway, free and clear, worn as it is... Wandering pretty much wherever he chooses...

Still, the melancholy of KNOWING how much finer this world could be but being totally impotent to coax others to know that revelation... is hard to accept. If people could only extract their heads from Federally coerced rectal defilade long enough to realize... There IS a better way! ~ and that it's NOT in pursuing the same weary propagandized circle...  If a worn old cowboy can see the light, so can an accountant, an office manager, a cop, a mechanic and an engineer. 

When the numbers and ideas you're being Fed don't add up, you have no option but to question the fella insisting that they do. "Trust Me" don't cut it any more.

The best that I can do is realize once in a while, that though my situation could be improved here and there... I am living pretty damn fine. As easy as I live should be considered a gift. How light is my workload... should be considered a gift. The friends I can number, though maybe not amazing in their volume are an immeasurable gift in their presence.

There IS a better way. What it is for you, I haven't a clue. The only thing I know, for sure and for certain is; If you give up and lay down, you'll never find it.

For me, that is the reason to Keep on Running into the Wind... each day that I find my way, I am LIVING my better way.

Just Sayin'

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Going East to Get West...

Been on the coast since... I can't remember now. Only that we hit the Coast at Fort Bragg in California... It's been a while. The slowest roll in a long long time.

But... it's time to strike back for where I come from, and where my heart will always remain... the High Rockies and the western rivers.

If we can find one more camp here'abouts for tonight... we'll start that roll tomorrow. Likely cut up into Washington to make our turn East... Just south of Mt. Rainier, and strike for Lolo Pass to cross into Montana.

We'll be moving with a lame tow vehicle. The intermittent gremlin in the electronics remains hidden. Only the occasional engine cough to let me know it's still there.

Lame or not, the high passes and the Rockies are calling me home... so I must go.

Here at our camp at Fort Stevens... there's old spirits calling to others I'm sure...

*Artillery Emplacement at Fort Stevens, Oregon*

*Coastal Gun Turret at Fort Stevens, Oregon*

*an Old Army Workhorse*
Montana... the northern part of home. My Home runs across the Arizona deserts through the High Country of Colorado... across the wide open spaces of Wyoming... to the Big Sky Country of Montana... Home.

We'll move steady for a few days, for the first time this season, across Washington and Idaho, and hold up in western Montana for a few weeks. Refilling whatever that part is that feeds on the High Lonesome and has gotten hungry on the coastal beaches.

Heading for Home

Friday, July 26, 2013

41 hours and Circles in the Dark

 Got up 'bout 5 in the A.M. and did my usual coffee, and surfing. Did the dog thing and then set about finishing up the loading to get moved from Tillamook to Nehalem. My 14 days at the airfield camp had expired the day before...
... luckily, they're not real fanatical 'bout keepin' track of such things. I'd likely have been better off to just push it a bit more.
 Anyhoo, got loaded and hitched and drug the rig further up the 101 to the Nehalem Bay State park, hoping for another 5 days care of the State of Oregon. 
Pulling into a place and the first thing you see is a "CAMPGROUND FULL" sign is not the best way to start off... Don't ever just take the signs word for it.
I didn't this time, and my luck was holding. They'd JUST had a cancellation so I managed to slip into an easy to get into backin'. Which gave me a few hours to take a nap before I needed to get rolling for Portland international Airport.
 Well, I was actually standing up to grab my keys when the phone rang. Guess what? uh huh... the plane was two hours late... before it even took off. Then it was a half hour faster, then back to two hours... :-/ I had the feeling right then this was gonna take a while. Being 85 miles away from the airport makes planning your arrival a lil' more difficult.
So... two hours later than the intended departure - I took off, figuring I can drink coffee and contemplate the universe anywhere. I knew my premonition was right on target when 'bout 15 miles into the run the engine coughed and the check engine light blinked on AGAIN. Same as a couple weeks back. Well, with oil pressure, Volts, fuel pressure and engine temperature all sitting where they were supposed to be I kept the pressure on the throttle and rolled on through the dark.
Twice more the engine coughed, the gauges all read good and proper... and that damned light kept glowing. 
and I got to the airport... EARLY. The run to take her there two weeks ago took most of 3 and a 1/2 hours to make a run the electronics said should take a bit over an hour and a half, because of traffic. That was mid day... This here was now 11:30 at night and traffic was thin ;) so now, I stacked my getting there early on top of the plane being late... so I tried to snooze in a waiting area... while the dogs grumped and squirmed in the back seat.
 Well the flight roared over us right on time for the delayed time... and we got back on the road 'bout 1:45 in the A.M. 
Buuuut... being as this Life is S'posed to be a fun deal  she'd heard 'bout a 24 hour Donut shop in Portland... a place called VooDoo Donuts... that we were supposed to HAVE to not miss. 
Its location was dutifully plugged into the smartphone and off we went. Luckily, it was actually a very short detour off our route to return to Nehalem.
 Well, downtown Portland in the middle of the night is a bit of a culture change for this old drifter :) and a bit of a challenge to park a wide butted one ton with a Power Cruiser sitting on her deck! I found a spot along the curb, in front of the open door to the PussyCat strip... ahem... Gentleman's Club...
We got our donuts and returned, weaving through the midnight revelers and panhandlers,  to the truck to start our roll. A girl well into her partying wanted to know alllll about my scooter. :) So... I explained what I knew while Heidi waited in the cab and She told me of all her bikes...
Finally I 'disengaged' and climbed into the cab. Had just fired up the balky diesel when three more women walked up all wide eyed at the big Red Bike on the deck of my truck... and right behind them a guy. Now... I don't mind folks liking my scooter. What can I say? I'll talk about it just about any time... but this was just plain "odd" for me! ;)
So... I shut the motor off, and we sit there for ten minutes talking to this guy and his ladies... well... it turns out that the "Guy" is Tres... one of the two fellas that Opened/Owns VooDoo Donuts! So we sit there at 2:30 in the morning in downtown Portland, parked in front of the Pussycat Club... eating our donuts with the dogs drooling over the back of the seat, talking to Tres, the baker of the Donuts, and his ladies. 
*VooDoo Donuts Tres and his Ladies*
And the Donuts were excellent! Just Sayin'. :)
At one point Tres stuck his head in the window with an expression like he'd had a great idea and asked Heidi; "Would you like some Tshirts?" to which she says; "Never turn down a Tshirt!" and he ran off back down the block to get us a pair!  
An odd little bit of color along this road...
Well, we finally got rolling... and drove out of Portland in the dark... to discover at a rather inopportune time... that buying fuel, diesel, in Oregon, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere... is unlikely to happen. :(
Running on fumes and a tailwind we rolled into Tillamook (I took the long way rather than the 20mph twisty scenic rout) about 4 in the morning... to nothing but shut down fuel pumps.
Tried, emphasized tried, to catch a snooze, sitting in the cab for 2 1/2 hours in a Fred Meyer parking lot, waiting for the pumps to open up. Finally with the dawn and fresh fuel we headed back to the rig at NeHalem Bay.
... To find that there was no room at the "Inn". Ended up after a weak try to get a 30' rig pushed through a keyhole into the last available too tight spot for another night... having to roll north. 
Pulled into Fort Stevens... to a "CAMPGROUND FULL" sign... but again, our timing was good and snagged a JUST Opened up site. Took a short nap to keep moving and finally CRASHED about 10:30... and today we have to "move" again... hoping another site Opens up... 
 Getting Ready to Turn NorthEast

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Scientific Reality of WORK... and the Emotional Requirement of Balance.

I haven't speeded up, and time ain't slowin' any. I keep getting up in the morning, doin' "my thing" slowly through the long hours of the day... and like the flash of lightning, another day is gone. It's just an always curious paradox. How can anything that moves so slow, go so fast? ;)

Two days ago I'd been sitting in front of the computer for too long. The work needs to get done. If you want to keep on goin' down the road you have to take care of business, but you'd better find a balance in the process or you'll hit a wall.

The body must be fed but the spirit also requires its own nutrition. Ignore either and the train jumps the rails.

So, in the interest of avoiding a wreck I climbed on the Raider and took an afternoon roll farther up the PCH. On toward Nehalem Bay, Manzanita, Garibaldi, Seaside, Cannon Beach...

*Hwy 101 Near Seaside, Oregon*

This is a road and a ride on my "bucket list". To ride it from The Mexican to the Canadian border and stay on the Pacific Coast Highway. Or, the other way 'round... ending in the southern desert. Ride it all, but cover it in one ride, not the short lil' sections I've been doing on day rides.

The PCH is most often two lanes that run from fresh and smooth asphalt to split and decaying pavement that can test your abilities on a scooter. At least if the tendency of your right hand is to test the limits of legality.

Little of the road is straight. It bends and winds through tunnels of trees until it climbs up over naked bluffs that tower above the ocean, past rocky headlands and down along miles of sandy beaches.

The scent of the ocean is always in the air. That fresh, fishy, tangy, salty taste in your nostrils that somehow speaks in words that can't be spoken.

There is also, for those seeking a "peaceful" place... an oddity. It is never still on the coast, it is never silent. There is a quiet of sorts. A peace of its own. But it is devoid of silence. The seamless low sound of the surf is perpetual. The waves coming in and then sliding back, receding into the sea. Like the breathing of a lover in the dark. As if the ocean is the lungs of the very land we live on, breathing on, unceasing.

It's the same language of the High Mountains... or the vast and open deserts.

It's a language that can't be taught, but all can know... if they open not only their minds to scientific reality ~ but their hearts to possibility.

I stumble along, finding bits of wisdom left by those that passed through before. Like shells on a beach.

An Unbalanced Wanderer Walkin' the High Wire Without a Net

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Confusion of Going Slow... at Blazing Speed...

The low mountains behind the aerodrome at Tillamook crawl slowly out of the dark each dawn. The quiet and still of the birth of a day remains a cherished time. Promise and hope are born with each sunrise.

Five days since I last posted here... an unusual absence for me. The words are usually spilling out in too long strings about this or that injustice or stupidity in an insane world. The beauty of the country I wander through. The joy of a thundering motorcycle.

But for five days, while an insane world writhes in its psychosis... here in this camp is mostly quiet.

Resting here, bivouacked just below the town, me and the dogs alone... the world around me has spun down to an idle.

Five days that have slipped past almost without notice. Five sunrises, five sunsets, five days gone racing past, five beers sipped slowly in the evening twilight...

All moving so slowly... and gone, as if in the blink of an eye.


I sit at the table all day, drinking coffee, chewing on the remains of a rapidly emptying pantry and refrigerator... working on the web site rebuilds, answering emails, occasional breaks to stretch my legs and swing the chuck-it until Buck quits and lays panting in the shade of a sapling pine.

I look up from my morning coffee and with the unexpected suddenness of a pheasant busting out of the brush beside a Colorado pasture... the day in its so slow passage... has, seemingly in mere minutes... just gone!

When I look back at what I've accomplished... after hours of labor, it seems so little... and yet... I shrug... and think; "So what? I did what I did. What I could do... the world keeps going along without me... why worry about it? Just keep on keeping on the way you always have."

This season of travel has been the slowest in our wandering since we stepped off in 2010. We've covered fewer miles and stayed in fewer camps for longer periods.

I've become more slow and easy in my going... while the hunger to go gets gets more urgent...

The paradox of this year is a confusion.

Do I keep on keeping on as I am? Do I change the "way" and move to making circles from a base camp? Do I just go until something unbidden knocks me onto a different path? Is there a purpose or just... the journey?

Maybe I'll hurry up and think on it some more.

Just Wondering Along

Friday, July 12, 2013

From Florence to Portland and Back to Tillamook

We hunted around here and there and finally decided that I'd brush up in Tillamook for the two weeks Heidi is going to be in Colorado taking care of her store.

That gave us three days to make the short move... even I should be able to do that... right?

Running from Three Rivers Casino toward Tillamook we decided we'd overnight at the Beverly Beach State Park just below Depoe Bay. That lil' spot is billed as the worlds smallest harbor.

While I can't vouch for that... I can say that it's the lil' hole you have to float a boat through, with heavy surf surging all over the rocks around you... that would get my attention long before the size of the harbor you'd be in once you made it through!

Looked to me that the thing was only maybe three times as wide as the boats moored at the docks! I'll stick to nice safe Motorcycles. :)

Beverly Beach was nice enough and combined with a "Feeling Puny" episode of mine, we elected to extended our overnight and make it a two night stop. I'm telling you, Oregon's gift of  ten days a month is spoiling this old boondocker! :)

I've been taking advantage of those sizzling hot showers too... Soaking under that hot stream is a joyous luxury for folks that have learned to stretch 50 gallons out for most of a week!

Beverly Beach State Park in Oregon

The camp is pretty darn big,. From our spot it was most of a 1/2 mile stroll down through the park to the beach itself. The camp road takes you down through the heavy forest to a trail that leads under this bridge on Hwy 101.

Yup... hot showers, Beautiful beaches and easy strolls through shady forest... It's a hard thing to live this rough.

The wind had come up strong when we walked down to the beach. A pretty standard pattern around here. If you want calm, get up early and do your walking as soon after sunrise as you can get your coffee drunk.

Para surfer at Beverly Beach

I don't know which is the most popular name, I've heard it called para surfing and kite surfing... but there were three or four guys doing whatever you call it when we came out from under the bridge...

Looked to me like a whole lot of work to get wet... I believe I'll just stick to finely brewed beer and wet myself from the inside out! ;)

The next day we continued our slow march up the coast, wiggled past the lil' sitchy-a-shun with the truck and landed at the Tillamook Airport RV Park... a big fancy name for a spot that is currently home to just me and a van camper with his pup.

It's more than us cheapskates have grown used to paying... but with decent signal here, and dang close to town... it'll work out real well for me to get some work done for the two weeks I'm bachin' it... I only have to find a way to sweet talk 'em into letting me stretch their 14 day limit a couple of days.

As you can see, it's terrible crowded ;) If they prove inflexible with the rules, I'll have to move a day or so before her return...

On the way to the Portland airport yesterday we made a stop at the Tillamook Forest Center. Back in the 30's they had a series of devastating fires run through this whole region. The upstart was that I guess all the homesteaders and even lumber companies abandoned their holdings because of the devastation and poor lumber prices.

The counties in the area got with the state and apparently some sort of a deal was worked out where the state would take over management of the land and pay to rehab the land with I forget how many million seedling trees; and then eventually share a portion of the lumber sales revenues with the counties to replace the lost "tax base".

Bottom line is, they're managing a healthy state forest... instead of being obstructed by the "greens" that prohibit proper management everywhere else...

Yup... they have a relatively healthy forest... and active logging going on in it to PROPERLY manage that forest. Curious, that a state can operate and not be stopped by the litigation of the misguided "greens" and have a healthy forest... but the Feds... possessing FAR MORE power... claim to be helpless in the face of the sierra club and their cronies... curious...

The displays in the forest center run down the aftermath of the fires and how they brought the land back to the health it sees today. It's really an interesting place and tickles the imagination of what can be achieved if you get the feds out of the way.

Moving on out of that forest and down into the country south of Portland we ran smack into URBAN CULTURE SHOCK! Whooooooeee! For a guy that's not been in any real Metropolis for better than a few months... the bumper to belly... stop and go for the last fifteen miles or so, getting to the airport... in the middle of the afternoon was not totally unexpected... but sure started a lot farther out than I contemplated.

Mt Hood view

We gained a  view of Mt. Hood... nearly as soon as we broke out of the mountains. Having this to look at softens the fact that the picture was taken sitting in bumper to butt traffic... moving... three miles an hour. ;)

 I guess they're working to loosen up the traffic... though I didn't see a whole lot of movement around this bridge under construction as we crawled across the river.

Ten years or so ago we attended a big Bead Show in the convention center. Those two big glass towers that you can see over this bit of traffic that was one of the Yellow sections between the Red sections of traffic notification on Heidi's GPS. I just let the clutch off... and if you look you can see the brake lights of the front cars. :)

Good thing when the map program said nearly two hours we allowed four... we made the 75+ miles in just over three! :) Oh yeah... Portland traffic is Sweet! :)

A bit of the Portland skyline... I cropped it down tight... or all it would be is CARS! Oh Lordy... then... when I dropped her at the Airport... and headed back out through the concrete maze... I made the mistake of actually following the GPS directions... and it Burped...

Directed me to take an exit from this road to that road and trapped me in a lane that took me off onto some lil side street. Well, twenty minutes later I FINALLY found my way back to the proper route an wiggled through traffic and back onto the open road leading into the mountains and back to the salvation of Tillamook!

Yeah... don't always trust GPS technology... get a lil' complacent and the suckers will ambush you! :)

The first day of bachin' it with the dogs I spent most of rebuilding another half dozen pages of the sites... and trying to capture photographs of a coupe WWII fighters flying around the museum...

The first one I think might be a P47 Thunderbolt but I could be wrong on that, something about the wing seems wrong... but the one below is unmistakeably a P51 Mustang. In its day maybe the finest Fighter airplane built.

P51 Mustang Tillamook Airport

The thing must be in pretty good shape... considering the pilot seemed to really enjoy getting it upside down a lot!

Early in the day I'd heard a plane taking off, the first of the day that I noticed. When I looked up from my work a Japanese Zero Fighter was zooming into the sky... but it sailed off so fast I couldn't scramble quick enough to capture it.

So with sunny skies keeping my batteries charged, plenty of coffee beans to keep me charged and plenty of work to keep me busy... the next couple of weeks should roll by with alarming speed!

Settled in Tillamook

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

An Unnecessary Education on the Value of Maintenance

Or at least, it SHOULD be unnecessary at this late stage of The Game.

So... when you get poor... and repairs eat up the money you've not yet made faster than you can make it... those things that can be postponed.... Guess What? They get... Post - Poned!

Uh huh. Maintenance falls pretty low on the priority scale.. Now generally... that doesn't really get your shorts in a quiver... unless of course you're sitting on an airplane... owned by a company in financial distress!

So, there you are, rich in visions... but poor in assets. As in... the truck your ass sets in.

Now... you're rolling into a lil' burg... and the truck goes BURP! WHEEZZZZEEEE UPUCKFLURPEEWHUMP! .... all over the space of 'bout 3 seconds...

It stumbles... and then... the CHECK ENGINE light illuminates and you say; awwwww CuuuuuuuRRRAPPPPPP!

Buuuuuuuut there's no place to pull off, so for a mile or three you keep movin, your eyes jumpin' all over the dash, trying to find something wrong...

It rolls on down the road until you can find a spot along the narrow way to pull over and check, all the while your liver is doin' a tap dance on your kidneys...

You look, and hunt and search only to find nothing wrong... or at least, nothing you can find with a look and a wish with the hood up on the side of the road waiting for some yuppie in a duramax to holler; GET A CHEVY!

Soooooo... you can holler back; So I can park the lump of GM fertilizer  LIKE A ROCK

Well, frustrated in your recon under the hood...  you roll on the 15 miles to your next camp... with the CHECK ENGINE light! making your shorts a bio waste hazard...

Buuuuuuuuut everything runs just like it should... alternator, fuel pressure, oil pressure, engine temp... outside air temp... the ONLY thing wrong is your pulse, that nasty smell spreading through the cab annnnnnd... the twisting squirming lump in your gut.

... and you park...

... you get camp set up... while thinking all the while about all the myriad of things that could trigger the EVIL CHECK ENGINE light...and how many zero's are gonna follow along behind the part number of that lil' jewel.

sooooo... you sit in your fading but not yet failed folding chair trying to find a shuttle to take herself to the Airport, 80 something miles away tomorrow afternoon so you can spend the next two weeks figuring your way out of the most recent hole that's opened up under your beer bottle...

... and then you think... well... maybe it could have been... The FUEL FILTER! That's overdue!... and you hunt up an Oil Can Henry's just down the road... 'cause changing the oil in camp is a nasty, greasy, menial job best left to those without the masculine beauty and sensual adonis traits of ethiopian bellied, bald headed onetime Cowboy, Bikers.

Now... you rob that poor motherless son Peter to pay Paul... one more time... only this time he had to take out a loan 'cause you already robbed him of the next two years tax returns... 

... and you go on down there to change the oil and the fuel filter... which... due to that pri-ohr-uh-ti-za-shun scandal mentioned above... hasn't been done since... oh well... never mind that...

So... you're sitting there in the cab and you hear this noise. It's the sound a minimum wage Oil Can Henry em-ploy-eeee makes when they find something some uncaring, useless Dodge mutilator has done to a fine machine.

He was uttering one of those Poh-Lit-I-cully impolite uses of a fellas name. Uh HUH... THAT fella. The one that some are terribly fearful of...

uh HUH... He'd found the AIR FILTER!

I didn't know they had a button for such things at just another variety of a lube shop. But they do. The echoes in that lil' building still have my ears ringin' from when he hit the EMERGENCY EVACUATION button...

Alert! RED ALERT! 
This machine is about to BLOW!
 Do not walk. Do not hesitate! Run for the exits.  



I would have taken a picture of  said Air Filter... but it was seized by armed  FEMA agents and passed on to Homeland Security to be investigated as a Home grown weapon of mass destruction.

To give you an idea of it's appearance... think of the sourest prude of a celibate old puckered up, double dipped, triple rectified Victorian 89 year old virginal Librarian you can think of; and take a picture of her the instant she bites into the most bitterest lemon you can find while flashing her a picture of a gangbanger with his jeans hanging half down his butt...

Uh Huh... that air filter was... uh... bad... :'( to put it into one word... Plumb Shameful. Well sue me! You can't PUT it in one word!

Well, now that abused, tortured and maligned GOOD TRUCK from DODGE is sitting out there in this new camp with clean oil, a fresh fuel filter... and no longer crying... aiiiirrrrrrrr.... i neeeeeeed aiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

The moral of this story is... Take care of your machinery, one way or the other... 'cause you just can't count on it having the guts to keep moving you like I wrung out of this'un.

Chastised and Hew-Milly-eighted

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Yesterdays and Tomorrows... Beaches and Airplanes

Day before yesterday, we took the dogs up to the Beach at the Washburn State Park... so Buck could have a run. He'd been cooped up on a leash around town and the casino for a few days.

For a dog that likes to swim in lakes and ponds... the ocean he DON'T like. Those waves just bully him... the wide open beach how-some-ever... he loves.

It doesn't take too awful long with a Frisbe or his chuck-it and he's workin' to catch his wind again...

Yesterday we climbed back on the Raider to tour over to Eugene by way of Hwy 126. You run along the Siuslaw River for miles and through the thick forest. Eventually you break out into farms and more open country. It is a beautiful ride through there.

There's no real part of Oregon that a fella couldn't force himself to live in without much work to it. The only work here would be... dealing with rain. ;)

We had two reasons for making the run, the first being Heidi wanted to see the Open air market downtown that's billed as one of the biggest in the country I guess?

There's a variety of scents for sure...

And I've decided, that Eugene, Oregon is where all the Old Hippies went to make their last stand. The Market is full of booths of Tie Dye, Jewelry, Photography, Yarn Crafts, and a big section of Farmers Market... that included a few bakery booths...

Ready to eat food booths... the scent of roasted coffee... All set up in a grassy, shaded downtown park area. A good spot for people watching... but... these days... a guy would likely get sued for publishing the WRONG pic. ;)

Then... she wanted to give Best Buy a chance to fix her Nexxus tablet... AGAIN. Less than a week after getting it back from the Manufacturer for a charging system repair... the thing locked up...

Best Buy tried... but they couldn't do it. SO.... I guess it's back to the manufacturer AGAIN... considering the cost of all the shipping she's had to do... discount prices are no Bargain... and likely we made an expensive mistake... NOT... buying that extended warranty the "Big Boxes" offer when you buy...

We've been at the Casino for a whole week already!

Heidi flies out of Portland on the evening of the 10th to go back for a couple of weeks to take care of store business in Colorado... so today we'll move up a ways toward there... and then tomorrow try and find a camp within airport shuttle range of Portland. I've got my eye on some NF sites just east of town a bit...

Anyhoo... it looks like maybe our coastal journey is coming close to have run it's course. :(

and ... Since I've got dog sitting duties... I need to find a place with good Cell... so I can work work work while she's gone...

Oh yeah... one lil' mercenary commercial blurb... if you look over in the right column... you'll see a new rotating banner... labled; "My Affiliate Sponsors". That banner will change each time you open the blog or one of the websites. Those Vendors are the companies that support My sites, when readers support them. If you have a need for something in one of those stores, or do in the future, I would appreciate it much, if you gave them a chance to fill your need. If you go to them via one of the links you'll find on this or my other sites... You not only fulfill your need, you support this site at no change in cost to you. Many Thanks!

Loadin' and Rollin'

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Fourth of July on the PCH.

The day dawned clear and calm. They've been doing that here, and when they are you need to get jumping... 'cause shortly, that Ocean wind will return.

The day before we'd gone out to the North Jetty... The wind was racing like it was trying to imitate Wyoming.

The Dunes along the North Jetty at Florence Oregon
The grass was bent over in the breeze and the sand was flying.

I could only get one pic... the sand had me being cautious.

Back in Bandon I'd gotten enough contamination in this Nikon, it started sticking.

Took me a couple hours of working with a can of  "Air" and careful cussing to get her loosened back up.

So now... I'm a bit leery of wind blown sand and grit. ;)

We took off about mid morning just going north, no real destination. That big Yamaha of mine ain't bullied by no Wind! We rolled through Yachats, Waldport and then Newport, buffeted by the breeze.

Along the way I pulled into a couple of widespots to remember the day.

Haceda Head Lighthouse in Oregon

The first was at a spot overlooking the most photographed lighthouse in Oregon. The one that sits on Haceda Head.

Just to the right of it sits the beach where, a couple of years back we'd seen hundreds, maybe a couple thousand even... of sea lions on a stormy morning in late October... I can't believe I didn't capture a decent picture of that...

...just imagine 75% of that small, gravelly beach... covered, shoulder to shoulder, nose to flipper with sea lions. Heavy surf rolling in. BIG waves. and Rafts of Sea lions, 20 and thirty in a bunch coming and going from their haul out beach.

The second spot was a ways farther up past a few of the glorious winding twisties of the PCH.

A short walk out a grassy trail, to a rocky beach. A few small tide pools amongst the rocks...

a rocky beach below Yachats Oregon

But down there by the water, that north wind was cool, even in my leathers... and isn't it curious how a cold wind seems to chase the morning coffee through you quicker?

So... needful of a "rest area" we climbed back on Sonja and rolled on to Newport for the blessed release of public Facilities... and a good lunch at a lil' cafe along the bay.

Then it was roll back south in time to get the dogs taken care of, so we could get into old town Florence early enough, to park the truck close enough, that it'd not take a four day hike to get to the boardwalk for the 4th of July Fireworks show.

We found a spot laying in the grass alongside the marina just a couple of hundred feet from the barge from where they launched the missles... they did a good job of it.

Then... it was walk back to the truck... and just sit in it for twenty minutes or so... rather than fight with the, oh... I don't know... ten thousand others? All trying to be the first one out of the lil' burg of Florence... after the fireworks.

Today... I think'll be another day of building more of "Shadow on the Mountain" the slowly coming 2nd story in the Ben Jensen series...

Tomorrow... is tentatively, putting Sonja in the wind again to Eugene... for what's been billed as a really Big, farmers market... We'll see what dawn looks like. ;)

Living Free, thanks to the Warriors Who Did the Work

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Casino Camping a New Trick for an Old Dog

Casino Camping, the way we're doing this week is a bit of a change for us. While we've used Wally World lots for years; as well as roadside wide spots ~ literally, spots along a two lane just wide enough to get the rig off far enough to not end up with an insurance claim! and quite a few rest areas, for Overnight Parking, we've never set up in one with the intention of laying up there for a week.

This spring is the slowest we've wandered... EVER.

In the past, running from Arizona to Washington by way of California and Oregon... that run has generally been made in two weeks or so... We thought we simply couldn't handle the cost of traveling along the coast...

Boy-O-boy was we wrong!

We left Arizona, diving off into the desert of Death Valley and on up through the Eastern Sierras back on about the 18th of March... and so far, some three and a half months later, we've only made it half way up the coast of Oregon!

And... we did it while digging our way through a major cost failure in Lincoln, California.

Our costs for our nights has been some of the lowest of our whole journey. All the way from $5 bucks down to ZEE-ROH.

Thass right... ZEE-ROH dollars in California! $2.50 in California! and now... here in Florence, Oregon... right on the coast... ZEE-ROH dollars!

Where always before, we'd mostly only managed to see $35 a night dry camping spots, $35 state parks in Cali... yadda yadda yadda... so we "raced" on through...

... we, now that we opened our eyes... or was that my mind??? we've discovered a whole slew of opportunities for the dinero challenged yonderer.

We've done this by stepping out of old habits, listening to small tips from readers and acquaintances along the way... and on many occasions... just wingin' it and letting our freed up instincts lead our noses.

So... here we are set up in the far fringe of the Three Rivers Casino parking lot.

Three Rivers Casino RV parking lot
 The parking lot is nothing special...

... but it's spacious and security is strong with patrols, lights and cameras...

This part of the world is not the place to just go rollin' into a campground the week of the 4th of July... thinkin' you'll have no troubles finding a spot...

Now... I'm not gonna blow sunshine up your skirts an' tell you that this is the most plush and luxurious of campsites... you wouldn't believe that anyway...

BUT... I am gonna tell you... that if I ran out there with a tape measure... we've got more room here... it's usually farther from our rig to the next...than it was in that truly beautiful State Park back at Honeyman! ;)

A real nice feature here, that we've done little of in the past, so it's kind of a fun change up... is having the casino up there to walk to.

Three Rivers Casino, Florence, Oregon

The first night we signed up our Players Club cards. That gave us $10 bucks each of "Free" money for the slots. Then we strolled over and had an excellent Monday night supper that stretched my belly and cost us all of $16 bucks plus a tip.

The next night we strolled back up... gave 'em our email address... and collected another $10bucks each of "Free" money on the cards. Ok... so you gotta put real cash in to use the "Free" money... but they reimburse you on the card as you play...

SO... big risk takers that we are... we stuck a Buck in... One... single... High Dollar... DOLLAR... each.

Now... shaking like poplar leaves in a typhoon from our desperate high cost gamble... we pushed our slot machine buttons... Heidi walks out with about $8 real money (a few cents less)... me a few cents more... of REAL money... Two REAL dollars invested. Yes sir! Big Time High Rollers! :)

Last night we walked up to the Aces bar in the casino where they were gonna have a couple of comedians perform.

Again, being the hold nuthin' back, wild and wooly, BIG spending High Rollers in the place... I bought a $4.50 beer... and Heidi Selected a glass of soda... that the bartender refused to charge me for...

'course me being the guy I am... and poor at cipherin' anyway... handed him six bucks. A five dollar bill and a single... cuz you know... 4.50 is more than five and he needed another buck for the 50 cents right?... ??? ... yeah I know... it had me cornfuzzled for a bit too! :) so... to cover that up I walked away and let him think I was just makin' a decent tip! :)

Well... bottom line... let's see... supper $16. gambling $2... cashout from gambling $17... cost of parking spot ZEE-ROH... this deal could work out for a grifter like me!

Cost of Three nights of "Casino Camping", eating out and entertainment... uh... carry the one... take away the seven... add up the threes... uhhhhhh.... a buck! ONE Freakin' Dollar! :)

***edit... hmmm. Like I said... my cipherin' seems to be a touch off lately :)... forgot the cost of that beer... sooooo... make that $5.50 for the three days so far ;) ... but you get the idea!

People, ya can't get any better than that! Aw, we'll go up and eat again I'm sure... maybe even twice! and... there's a small concert with an up and coming country singer Friday night, so another Beer is likely... The Three Rivers Casino won't get rich off of us by a long shot... but we'll sure try to respect their generosity a lil' bit. ;)

There's more than one way to get a job done. If your old ways ain't workin' snoop around and take a chance on something new.

Asphalt Camping for the Holiday

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Things Have Gotten a Bit Scattered 'Round Here...

So... Murphy won the last round. Apparently, he's had some experience with fellas tryin' to trap him.

He managed to slip the six pack out of the trap, polished off the brew and left the bottles stacked on the steps for me to trip over...

... then... just for an extra jab... Friday the bugger slaps that high dollar electronic heroin out of my hand so the screen shatters with a hundred cracks! arrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhh...

Soooooo... it took a bit to find/remember that there was insurance on the thing... and get a replacement on the way... 'course, there's still a deductible that has to be paid... so most of that comes out of this months diesel bill... the rest... Peter gets robbed again.

I wonder how Paul managed the position where HE is always the one to get paid?

So... we took a few walks over the weekend as our five days at Honeyman got used up and we waited on the new phone getting delivered to a spot we'd found in Florence...

I can't believe how FAST the days are flying this summer... Five Whole days in a gorgeous camp... just PFFFFFFFFFFTTT!

Between the camp and the Ocean are the sand dunes. Around here, the whole place is pretty much grown over dunes. Under the pines and firs is the sand... Somewhere along the line, the kids figured out that you could ski on the sand...

Watchin' the lil' guys trying to race was fun... but... Ahem!... there are simply... Nicer things to see along the beaches... :)

All around and through the camp, and all along this nearly rainforest woodland... are these trails... that go through ethereal tunnels of rhododendrons, ferns and thick timber. Your feet are almost soundless on the soft, needle padded trail... Though it's warm, in the shade it seems cool and gives a soul a feeling of sanctuary...

We even went over to the little lake that sits behind some of the dunes and rented a double kayak. It was formed when a dune blew in and choked off the outflow of the river to the sea...

Uh... word of warning... It is likely best, for many MANY couples, when renting Kayaks... to rent two SINGLES... rather than one Double... The person in front trying to go one way... Her way... while the guy in back struggles in a different direction... in HIS way... is unlikely to further peace and harmony in the tight confines of a rig on the road! ;)

We had a sunset one night that I captured some shots of...  the next day we walked around the old town area of Florence... All combined with the 4th of July coming up... to float old things in my head...

I built 'em into a video I'd put on FB... but blogger won't let me load that here... So... all I can do is the pics I'd built it with... and maybe the "poem"...


The scent of life

is never so sweet

 the colors so sharp

the taste so rich

as when a soldier stands on the edge of losing it ...

So many years later...

the scent of a flower...

the words of a song...

a soft word of love...

the sun dying in the sea...

sends rivers of tears down his cheeks

and dark regrets flood his soul.


Funny (as in funny strange) how such beautiful things can bring out the melancholy in a guy... and stir sad old memories...

Our five days available to us in the State Park ran out Monday morning. A while back Heidi lined up a flight back to Colorado to take care of some business with her store... so we're having to "Time" things, and line out a place for me and the dogs to brush up for the two weeks while she's gone...

... and she doesn't want to miss the last of the Oregon coast... or rush that... soooooo... we made a huge move to Three Rivers Casino in Florence... all of maybe 4 miles ;) to ride out Independence day holiday.

They'll let us stay here a whole week! Since we lacked reservations anywhere, with none available, full out boondocking being a tough go around here or anywhere on the coast really... and one of the heaviest "Use" holidays of the year coming up... this "free" spot is sweet!

I say "free"... 'cause we walked up to the casino for supper last night... and had some... their $7.99 "Monday Senior Discount" Special. ;) and then waddled back to the rig after eating WAAAAAAAAY to much in their buffet setup. :)

I don't know why it took me so long to find how easy it is to travel up and down this coastline on the cheap! ;) Between the casinos, the BLM, and now the State of Oregon... it's a sweet and easy trip for a thinly financed piker! :)

This has been our slowest, and maybe the finest start to a season yet. That signboard of towns across the continent caught our attention...

We weren't too far from Florence Arizona when we started north. For all those months ago, to see we've only covered 1200 and some miles... it's the slowest and best we've traveled.

Well... went back to our delivery spot and picked up the new phone yesterday... about 1/2 way through getting the danged thing to work... Something in it won't recognize the SD card. Says it does but then only sends "Insert SD card" error messages... EE-LEK-TRAWNICS... Technological Freakin' Heroin! ;)

So... asphalt boondocking in Florence till after the 4th... trying to get this stinkin' phone workin'... and then roll toward a camp nearer to Portland for herself to go take care of business... while I baby sit her dogs... and tap tap tap on this keyboard trying to dig out from under the stack of work that grows faster than I can check things off the bottom of the list.

Workin' Hard at Livin' Easy