From Summer to Fall

We sort of let the summer slip away while taking care of other matters.  We also wanted to take Bertha out once and to check on the mechanical work we’ve had done on the truck before our next extended trip which will be coming up soon.  So on the very last day of summer, in a light drizzling rain, we headed south down Hoods Canal and then southwest through Raymond and North Bend to Long Beach, WA. for an adventure in familiar places.

Pacific Holiday, Long Beach, WA

We lost the wet weather somewhere near Hoodsport, WA and were greeted with sunshine at the ocean where Elaine really enjoyed her walk on the beach.  After breakfast and a stop at the Long Beach bakery to purchase cinnamon rolls for breakfast tomorrow we toured the peninsula up as far as Ocean Park and then went in search of fresh crab in Chinook. After cleaning the crab, eating lunch, and another beach walk we headed back into town to check out the Long Beach Farmers Market where we purchased fresh feta, and vegetables.  (Note for friends and family — LindaLook was vacant but still looks cared for.)

The Long Beach Farmers Market

The next day we went to the Ilwaco Saturday Market where Elaine found a few small things and Gordon enjoyed sunshine and talking with some of woodwork vendors.  From there we headed on down to Astoria/Warren to obtain fuel and supplies so that we could head south the next day.

The Ilwaco Saturday Market

South to Neskowin, OR with a couple of stops on the way.

First Rockaway Beach where we stopped to stretch our legs, shop, and check out the steam train that was in town.

The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

And then a health food, translation – ice cream, lunch at The Tillamook Cheese Company.  (Elaine took this picture before it was all gone.)

Tillamook Ice Cream

On through Hebo to Neskowin where we will spend a few nights in our nice quiet pull-thru site

Neskowin Creek RV

A great day of sight-seeing begins with a walk on the beach.

Neskowin Beach

Then a drive down the coast.  I have often meant to stop and take a picture of these rocks and trees at the mouth of the Siletz river but never did until this trip.

Siletz Bay

And a little further down the road I decided to stop at a place that I remember from childhood.  This was the first stop at the aptly named Cape Foulweather that we haven’t been rained on!  And another great picture.

Cape Foulweather

We also spent a day just shopping in Lincoln City before heading back north to Copalis where we hoped to spend a couple of days just being bums.

Copalis Beach Resort

It was nice when we arrived but soon turned to cold wet rain so we decided to cut it short 1 day and head home where the weather was supposed to be nice.  Except for the very beginning and end of the trip we had exceptionally warm dry days. We had a great time on our short 8 night adventure to places we have been many times before.  We did see some new things on the way including the new Astoria Mo’s Restaurant. (just as good as the rest)

Keeping the shiny side up, your Random Rover Gordon

It won’t be very long until we are off on a new adventure.

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Hosting at Rasar State Park

4/24/17

Off again.  Left this AM for a volunteer stint at Rasar State Park. The first leg of 40 miles took us to the Port Townsend ferry dock where we had a reservation and were the first “Big Rig” in line.

In Line at the Port Angeles Ferry Terminal

We got the front row on the ferry “Skagit” for the ride across to Whidbey Island.  Bertha seamed stoic about her very first boat ride but the sky was blue, the water smooth, and Elaine and I enjoyed the crossing from the cab of the truck.

View From The Drivers Seat

Second Leg, up Whidbey Island across the bridge at Deception Pass onto Fidalgo Island and on to the Camping World at Burlington to pick up out new mattress. Old mattress out and new one in we headed back westward to Bayview State Park and set up camp. We plan to do a little sight-seeing tomorrow and then on Wednesday will proceed on to Rasar State Park

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Bayview State Park

4/25/17

Did the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and all I can say is: “Wow, why have we waited so long?  Actually it was a wintry day chilly, windy, and cloudy but none of that put any damper on the display.  I skipped taking pictures of the fields of tulips, those are available on the web, done by some very gifted photographers, and yes they are so brilliantly colored that they look like they were painted into the scene with millions of gallons of very expensive paint. We also shopped La Conner, WA where we found interesting craft and art items including The Wood Merchant where finely crafted wooden items from pins, bracelets, bowls, boxes, carvings, intarsia, inlay and furniture abound.

One of many tulip Gardens

4/26/17

We are off to Rasar State Park, 30 road miles up the Skagit river on scenic Washington Highway 20.  Unfortunately the new concrete pad at our site had not been poured due to rainy weather so we are temporarily on another site.  Sort of dark and dismal way under the trees but we will make do.

First Site at Rasar

We moved to what will actually be our site when they get it done. At least we have sunshine and we are in the group camp area.  That is a plus.

Second Spot at Rasar

Finally they will be pouring concrete so we have moved again.

Third spot!

When we weren’t busy being camp hosts:

We hunted mushrooms

Oyster Mushrooms with Conk below
Oyster Mushrooms

I cleaned and sautéed a few pounds of oyster mushrooms most of which we ate right away with a few still in our freezer.  It was very late in the season but still in nice shape and very tasty.

Fresh Oyster Mushrooms
Fresh Picked

We did a lot of sight-seeing

Mtn and stream near Baker Lake
On the way to Baker Lake
Thunderbird Totem at Newhalem
Thunderbird Totem at Newhalem
Suspension Bridge Across the Skagit River at Newhalem
Suspension Bridge Across the Skagit River

Carved a few more spoons

Wooden Spoons
More Spoons

We also explored all the nearby towns – Translation shopping and eating out.

They poured the concrete but we still had to wait two full weeks before moving onto it but we are finally settled in with only a couple of weeks to go.  Have to admit it is a beautiful sight with large concrete patio on the edge of the forest.

Fourth and final site for our 5 week gig hosting here.

6/01/17

Finished with our camp hosting here.  Met some great people and got to know the Skagit Valley area but it is time to hit the road.  Next stop Cashmere, WA over the mountains on WA Hwy 20.

There Is Still Snow In The Pass
E&G In Winthrop
Cashmere County Fairgrounds

It was a very nice days drive.  We saw lots of snow in the pass, but the roads were clear.  Took a long break along the way shopping Winthrop, a quaint tourist town.  And shorter breaks for lunch and finally a fruit stand and market where we resisted all except for some fresh asparagus.  Spent most  of the day traveling 221 miles at our pace.

Rocky Reach Dam
Leavenworth, WA

We spent 3 nights allowing us time to tour Rocky Reach Dam, explore Wenatchee, shop Leavenworth, and catch up some old friends that we had not seen for 35 plus years.  We were to early for the area’s fruit crops, but found some great local produce.

6/04/17

177 miles southwest to Randall, WA

Cascade Peaks, RV

We only spent one night here.  It has been many years since we stayed at this park and then it was under different management.  Appears to be  a bit run down, though it is still nice.

6/05/17

One more night for this trip and only 52 miles from home we drove 156 miles to Brinnon, WA so that we could go to the Whitney Gardens, famous for their rhododendrons.

 

Dosewallips State Park

We had a great trip with new and old adventures. Dosewallips is as nice as ever and the gardens were interesting.

Keeping the shiny side up,

Your random rover

A Little Dancing – A Little Sight Seeing

A new year and a big tickling urge to go somewhere.  Some friends had mentioned going to the Port Townsend Elks to dance and taking their coach to spend the night.  It sounded like a great new adventure especially when there was going to be a west coast swing lesson involved.  Off we went. One day early so we could spend a whole day taking in the sights and shopping at historic Port Townsend.

Our Site at the PT Elks Park
Our Site at the PT Elks Park

After we got settled in and did a little foray to Eden Saw, a must stop for any woodworker, Henery’s Hardware, a modern hardware with that old-fashioned feel that has almost everything, and a thrift store or two we went for the fish and chips dinner (very good) at the Elks Lodge. We enjoyed the next day of shopping and walking the town and had dinner in Bertha before going dancing.  A pretty good time.

The next morning we were off to Ft Flagler and Marrowstone Island.

A Beautiful Site at Ft Flagler
A Beautiful Site at Ft Flagler

The views from the back window were amazing!

Port Townsend
Port Townsend

We spent the first 2 nights just across the water.

Sunset
Sunset

Doesn’t get any better than this!

Of course a bit of beach combing was on the list.
Of course a bit of beach combing was on the list.
Whidbey Island Ferry
Whidbey Island Ferry

The next day we took the Ferry over and spent the day exploring / shopping the Island.

Looking at the Cascade Mountains
Looking at the Cascade Mountains

This is where we ate lunch in the middle of our sight-seeing.  It was a great day and another great trip (well maybe a smidgen too short).

We plan to be out and about for the month of May and have big plans for next winter, but in the mean time it is work, work, work on the new homestead.

Keep smiling, Your Random Rover,

Gordon

 

A Short Trip To Get Away From All The Work!

It was our 41st Anniversary so we decided it was time to get away for  a few days,  revisit some old haunts, reconnoiter a few places we had never explored, walk on some sand, pick a few mushrooms, but mainly just relax.  The weather was neither all bad or all good it was September/October on the Washington coast.

Our site at Pacific Holiday -- Long Beach, WA
Our site at Pacific Holiday — Long Beach, WA

The drive down to Long Beach was pleasant along well-known scenery and well-traveled roads. We got great cinnamon rolls at the Long Beach Bakery walked the beaches, took a drive through Cape Disappointment State Park where we camp hosted a number of years ago, did a little shopping in Oregon, and just relaxed.

On The Beach
On The Beach

We took some walks on the beach. (E takes more beach walks than G does) These pelicans and seagulls acted like they owned the place, imagine that.

What kind of mushrooms are these?
What kind of mushrooms are these?

We did some shopping at Ocean Shores and Astoria on the really wet and rainy days. (The Astoria Sunday Market is definitely worth seeing for great produce, baked goods, and crafts.)  But we also found time for mushroom hunting which was fun but not productive.  I have not been able to ID these guys but they are certainly different.

Some Slippery Jacks
Some Slippery Jacks

And found many Slippery Jacks, which are supposed to be good,but with all the very wet weather, I could not bring myself to trying the slimy things, yuck!

Elaine in the wind and rain
Elaine in the wind and rain

It was wet, cold, and windy but I got my sweetie and she is smiling because she is on the beach.  Life is good.

Grayland Beach SP
Grayland Beach SP

Moved to our next stop, Grayland Beach State Park, just a few miles north of Long Beach but 70 or 80 miles drive because of the bay in between. We made a number of trips to Westport, WA, just north of the park.

Westport Lighthouse
Westport Lighthouse

Mr Snail thinks this is his beach.

Mr. Snail thinks this is his beach

many sand dollars
What will we ever do with all these sand dollars?

In addition to the snail we found sand dollars.  We also saw many mushrooms but they were not in good condition for eating.

Sunrise Resorts Copalis Beach
Sunrise Resorts Copalis Beach

From Grayland we again headed north through Aberdeen and Hoquim to Copalis.

Gordon Finds Boletes!
Gordon Finds Boletes!

One of the worlds great gourmet treats.  I found a few pounds of these marvelous King Boletus in perfect condition, so of course had to collect, cook some, and dry the rest.  Will enjoy these guys for a while.

Amanita
Amanita

The very poisonous Amanitas were in abundance.  Fun to look at but don’t mess with them! We enjoyed a few days here walking the beaches and shopping in Ocean Shores.

Bogacheil State Park
Bogacheil State Park

From Copalis north to our last stop a little way south of Forks.

More beaches to enjoy!
More beaches to enjoy!
This tree is barely hanging on
This tree is barely hanging on

And a day hiking the Hoh Valley

A Natural Arch
A Natural Arch
Awesome scenery everywhere we looked
Awesome scenery everywhere we looked
Looking UP
Looking Up
And Down
And Down

It was a crisply chilly but bright and beautiful day at the Hoh Rainforest.

Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach

On our last day we went to Rialto Beach west of Forks, WA for one more dose of sunshine and surf.

I have been remiss, I did not realize that I never published this post from September / October 2016 and it is already mid February 2017!

Busy keeping the shiny side up, your Random Rover,

Gordon

A Deck For Our New Home

I must admit that I have not posted much lately.  Seems that this moving stuff is not as exciting as I remember it to be and it seems to eat all of our time and energy but we are making progress.

Lots to do, lots to do.  Never have I had a to-do list like I have now.  This move, since we are doing all ourselves, involves more than any of our myriad of previous moves.  65 + years and I still take on mammoth projects.  Well growing older still beats any of the alternatives and it does not mean that we necessarily grow wiser or even grow up as we age.  If I had started out as a fine red wine I would be awesome by now or maybe vinegar.  🙂  So the long and short of it is that in the midst of emptying boxes, hanging pictures, sorting out the feeds for the television and internet, putting up shelves, towel bars, pot-racks, utensil holders, etc. I built a 13′ X 34′ deck with continuous steps.

Ordered materials from our local Home Depot, concrete supports, treated lumber, thousands of screws, brackets and composite decking.  When the materials came I ran out of excuses and had to quit procrastinating.

Materials
Materials

Of course it all starts with lots of planning but when the materials arrive on site you know it is time to get to work.

The beginnings of the framing.
The beginnings of the framing.
A Large Part of the Framing
A Large Part of the Framing

It is coming along, not as fast as I would like. but it is getting there.

Deck and Steps Done!!
Deck and Steps Done!!
And Another View
And Another View

Time to move on to building the front porch which should be a much smaller and faster project.  After that it will be time to do the final grading and then mount the facing on the bottom risers.  Elaine and I are pleased with the results.  The continuous stairs were time-consuming but they allowed us not to have a railing.

Of course there is still lots to organize and do in the house so we will be busy for a while. (Not as fast as we once were.)

Our pole building contractor has begun, so soon we should have a shop and garage.  We can hardly wait.

I have been busier than a one-armed paper hanger and it feels great!!

Your Random Rover,

Gordon

Handcarved wooden spoons

Wooden Spoons

Handcarved wooden spoons
Some of the Spoons I have carved in the last year.

I enjoy carving wooden spoons for people to use everyday.  Each spoon is unique as the natural patterns in the wood itself dictate much of the final form.  When I want a particular style of spoon I have to find a piece that will allow me to make the shape and then I must work with the intrinsic grain patterns to expose it.  Most of the time I simply let the wood tell me what to do.  It is all very hard to explain.  For me there is a distinct pleasure that only comes from using a hand crafted tool.  It is similar to, but somehow different from the pleasure of its creation.

Most of the people who know that I carve wooden spoons have seen me carving them in one campground or another.  Then there are others that have seen them and can’t believe that I really carve them myself with hand tools. Well the simple truth is that I am a woodworker and I have an internal need to be doing something with my hands much of the time. That can be a problem when you spend a lot of your time traveling in an RV. Not much room for tools. Sporadic opportunities to purchase supplies. Well you get the picture.

A few years ago Elaine and I chanced upon a bird carving museum and school somewhere near Bar Harbor, Maine and I saw this wood carving kit of knives that looked to be of good quality at a reasonable price. I purchased the kit and a block of basswood with directions for carving a loon.  I carved the loon, and then from another piece of wood an armadillo, an old sea-captain, an owl and some other critters and they were “OK” and the carving part filled the time.  Then one day I decided to carve a spoon and I was hooked. 50 or a 100(?) spoons later I am still carving them. Nothing fancy just utilitarian spoons.

A tree limb
A Vine Maple Limb

I typically start with a piece of firewood, a material that I can find in almost any campground.  Some of my spoons start as scrap from my wood shop, some from driftwood, some donated, and occasionally I will buy it either because I really like the piece or scrounging isn’t keeping up with demand.  First, I use a hatchet to split the limb through the center. The very center must be removed or the wood will crack as it dries.

Some Simple Tools
Some Simple Tools

Depending on my whim, the piece of wood, and the spoon that I am making I may proceed to rough out the spoon with the hatchet. Next I will pare off waste with the saw and chisel and finally with roughing and bent knives.

Left Overs - Kindling
Left Overs – Kindling

In about an hour I have very nice pile of stuff.

Roughed Out Spoon Top
Roughed Out Spoon Top

Oh! And the beginnings of a spoon or sometimes, a smaller piece of firewood.

Roughed Out Spoon Bottom
Roughed Out Spoon Bottom

This one looks just fine. It should clean up nicely.

Completely Roughed Out
Completely Roughed Out

So I scooped out the bowl and then hand scraped it smooth which took the better part of an hour.

2 Views of a Finished Spoon
2 Views of a Finished Spoon

Then a little more careful knife-work, a little of hand scraping on the exterior, and last a bit of sanding.  Another hour gone, but I have a new spoon!

The only thing left is a protective finish.  I generally use food grade walnut oil as it soaks in well and “dries” as opposed to mineral oil which both evaporates and is washed out with normal dish washing.  There is no perfect solution to the problem.  If you use the spoon its finish will have to be renewed from time to time.

Hope you enjoyed your short course in spoon carving,

Your Random Rover,

Gordon

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Our Little Tiny Tree
Our Little Tiny Tree

Hard to believe but this is our 3rd Christmas out camping.  The two previous ones both were on the gulf coast of Texas. One a couple of years ago and the other 16?? years ago.

We are posting at this time to express our wish for everyone to have a great Christmas season with family and friends near and hope that the new year brings wonderful things.

It is extremely unlikely that we will be in our new home before mid January and maybe not then but some progress is being made and Bertha continues to keep us warm and dry.

Unfortunately, as we did not expect to be “homeless” this long, many of our friend’s addresses are locked away in storage and unavailable making it impossible to send many of the cards we would liked to have sent.  If you did not get your usual seasonal missive it was not because you were forgotten.

If you would like our new address, send a comment (with your email address in case we don’t have it) and we will reply.

Your random rovers in Sequim Washington,

Elaine and Gordon