Thursday, May 18, 2017

Things I have missed in a "Sticks 'n Bricks"

That's RV-speak for a house.  I have said many times that the comfort of living in a motorhome has been top-notch ..... but there are a few things I miss:

1.  Space for my kids to gather.

2.  Long showers .... although when we're hooked up in a campground, we can shower as long as we want.  It's just that most of the time, we're not in a campground and the tank levels become all-important.

3.  Security in bad weather.  We've had our share of leaks and frozen slides this past winter.  [Review: Slides are those portions of a motorhome that (when parked) expand out for more space so we don't have to climb over the bed to reach the closet.]  During the ice storms that besieged us in recent months, the slides literally froze open with a thick layer of ice on top.  This is not good when it's time to drive to the all-necessary dump station.  (See #2, no pun intended)

4.  Hard ice cream.  Our freezer is sufficient, but not ideal.  And all soft ice cream should (in my opinion) come directly, and exclusively, from Dairy Queen.

5.  Decorating.  Presently I cannot buy a piece of art, or pottery, or any of a million knickknacks that women, in general, tend to fill their homes with.  (This actually has been a good thing.)

6.  Unlimited water drainage.  I miss not having to dump the used dish water into the toilet to keep the other tank from getting too full.  Again, it's all about the tanks.  Getting water is easy.  Getting rid of it, not so much.

7.  Being able to use my blow dryer, vacuum cleaner, toaster, electric fry pan, etc., WITHOUT first turning off the space heaters.  (We have a perfectly good furnace but it uses propane which must be refilled via driving to some place that sells it.  So we use electric space heaters quite a bit.)  I have notes attached to most of these appliances to remind me.  The notes do not work.  We are always reflipping the breaker and restarting Husband's computer, preceded by a loud "Darn-it!" from Yours Truly.

8.  Air conditioning.  Yeah, we have that too.  But it's a little noisy and we seldom turn it on. The point was to not BE where it's hot, which has proven to be more complicated than it sounds.

9.  My washer and dryer.  I have gained intimate familiarity with too many laundromats.  PLUS the "fun" of hauling my basket of dirty clothes across a very public parking lot in a town where I know people.  (The miserably few non-handicap parking spaces close to the laundromat door are almost always full.)

10.  My treadmill.

What I DON'T miss:

1.  Yardwork.

2.  Large spaces to clean, including multiple bathrooms.

3.  Yardwork.

4.  A garage.  I had a rude reminder last winter about having to scrape frost off car windows. T'was a lesson in empathy for chronic garage-less-ness.

5.   Cable/satellite TV.  This one surprised me.  I discovered that as long as I have Wifi, I'm happy.

6.  A dishwasher.  Not kidding.

7.  Stairs and/or having to walk more than a dozen steps to anything indoors.

8.  A large closet.  Still not kidding.

9.  All the stuff.

10.  Yardwork.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The other side o' the fence

I figured you all needed a breather after my last few rapid-fire posts from our trip ..... hence the quiet spell.

So what's new?

I don't know if I have formally announced here in The Blog that we will be building our next home in, and moving to, central Oregon.  In the desert.  Where the deer and the rattlesnakes play.  It's a bit of a change for this Pacific NW webfoot.

Last fall we purchased five acres in an area called the Crooked River Ranch, a few miles north of Redmond.  Other than my two college years in Idaho, this will be my first experience of living more than 20 miles from where I grew up.  T'is time.

The Husband is giddy with the expected sunshine, close proximity of multiple fishing holes, and the relatively inexpensive membership to a nearby golf club.  I am simply happy about the change.  And the privacy that acreage affords.  And our view ....

(Meet our new neighbors, the Three Sisters mountains.  We call them, "The Girls".)
..... and our firm plan of natural and very minimal landscaping -- meaning -- never maintaining a lawn again.  Ever.

We will be three hours from our previous home and our business, which is now mostly run by Capable 2nd Son .... and three hours from many wonderful longtime friends.  We plan to return monthly to assist Capable Son in the functioning of said business, and to see our other kids, and of course, the Grands.  Plus to fulfill responsibilities in this lovely building....

If you fall into the categories of #1-Family or, #2-Wonderful Friends ..... just know that we will have guest rooms.  And we will expect visits.

One of our motivations for this move is to make a place for the Grands to create memories.  We have plans for hikes, camping, building forts, exploring the canyons.  And Husband is SURE that they will want to learn fly fishing ..... We hope to play pickle ball and swim the local ranch pool.  And we plan to finally set up our kiln and pottery wheel properly.

No, we have not broken ground yet which means it is all still in the surreal stage.  We have our house plans and are still deciding how much dirt must be moved from one place to another to create a level pad for the house.  It all takes time .... blah, blah, blah.

So what about the Beast?  When we move into the new house, it will go up for sale and hopefully there will be some money left over to buy a small trailer for future travel.  If not, we'll dig out the tent and camping gear.

Anyway, we have no plans for more big trips in the Beast.  Just back and forth over the coming months, from the business to the new house as it emerges from the sand and sagebrush.

By the way, we are thinking of naming it, so I will be accepting submissions for ideas.  (Favorite Daughter -- that's your cue. )

They say the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  Well, we've spent enough time in the desert side of this "fence" to know it definitely isn't greener.  Which is fine by me 'cause I will not have to mow it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Didn't leave my heart in San Fran

Calistoga, CA, was another little stroke of luck since, again, we had no idea what kind of town it would be before we got there.  Like in Mariposa (see previous post), we parked in the fairgrounds which often host RV parks.  It was about 3/4 of a mile from yet another charming main street. The abundance of antique stores there set it above Mariposa, in my very biased opinion.  I spent an hour or so by myself exploring and wishing I had space in our motorhome to put that charming old steamer trunk I found in one of the shops, that reminded me of the trunk in our basement where our Christmas decorations were kept when I was a child.

Yeah I know.   This looks like the beginning of my last post.
Husband was off in search of a do-it-yourself, non-automatic-type carwash because the motorcycle always gets filthy as it rides atop its lift on the back of the motorhome, especially in the rain.  He cannot stand a dirty vehicle so we frequent many carwashes in our travels.  (I cannot emphasize *many* enough.  I now habitually watch for them in every town we go through.)  But this time it was a 20 mile quest to the next town to find one ....   Obsessive?  You decide.

Our plan was not to spend much time in Calistoga but to leave the motorhome there while we did a three-day motorcycle trip (with three days of mashed helmet-hair) over to and down the California coast.

So the next morning we packed a few clothes and left on the bike, heading west.

First stop -- Bodega Bay where we HAD to search out this infamous old school:

  The angle of the above shot didn't do it, so I got this next shot as we rode away.  It SHOULD look familiar to you all.

  And just for fun (and a hint):

A few more pics from my phone as we rode south.  (No packing the camera equipment when traveling on the bike.)

We shared a Reuben sandwich while sitting on the water's edge, looking out at San Francisco's skyline across the bay from the inviting community of Sausalito, which is on the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Because of all the rain this winter, there was a lot of road damage so via a detour up steep and narrow side streets, we then made our way to the famous bridge that is definitely not golden.

Google informed me that the bridge was named after the channel (called the Golden Gate) which separates the bay from the ocean.  The color red, or orange as they call it ... (it's red) ... is so that it stands out nicely against the background scenery.   Which it does.   I found this picture on the web, to illustrate the point.

I remember from the last time we drove across it there was a toll, but this time the booth was closed and empty and cars just sailed past both ways.  Score! .... or so we thought.  Several days after we returned home in Oregon, a bill for $7.50 along with a fuzzy photo of us from the rear, arrived in the mail.  This is how they collect the toll from us non-locals who don't have an online bridge-crossing account.  Oh well.

I am not particularly a fan of San Francisco, which presents itself on the other end of the bridge.  It's expensive and crowded (and liberal) and the traffic was a little unnerving.  And we've seen it already.  So we got through it and its endless over-priced row houses as fast as we could and continued south.  We spent the night in a hotel in Half Moon Bay where we had one of the best Italian meals ever.  (This coastal town was fine although I wouldn't call it charming .... but a name like that belongs in a romance novel or in a song title.)

The next morning we went as far south as we could on Hwy 1 until it ended at a washed out bridge.  Husband wanted to make it to Big Sur where the motorcycling is supposed to be spectacular.  But not this year.  That road will be closed for a while.

Then back up to Carmel-by-the-Sea to stroll past the many high-end, trendy shops where most folks (like me) just go to gawk at the price tags.   We gave up looking for Pebble Beach, the famous too-expensive-for-normal-people golf course that Husband wanted to see, because we got a bit lost in an overly hilly neighborhood.   (Off the main thoroughfares, this state abounds in steep and narrow side streets which, when on a bike with a clutch, is not fun for the nervous passenger on the back.)

But how cute is this??

In Carmel-by-the-Sea.  Every town needs a tea room, right?
(Side Note:  Clint Eastwood was once the mayor there.  Ya gotta wonder about crowd control at the town council meetings.)

We spent the second night in Monterey then headed back north along the coast (purposely avoiding San Francisco this time), and through more winding detours (more road closures) that took us up over forested mountains, back to Bodega Bay, and finally to Calistoga and our little home.

The next morning it was time to go north back to Oregon.

Just like six (or seven?) weeks prior on our trip down, we again had to study the road conditions through the Siskiyous.  Winter was not over yet.  We planned to spend some time in central Oregon so we drove all day up 97 through Klamath Falls and continuing north into the snowy darkness.  As always, Husband was at the wheel, and as always I was navigating.  This time I was using both my phone and iPad, monitoring our location, the road cams, weather reports, elevation changes, etc.  Multi-ton motorhomes and slick, icy roads are not a good mix.  Fortunately, inspite of the thickly falling flakes, nothing was sticking to the road and we finally landed in the Walmart parking lot in Redmond, Oregon, where this adventure ends ......

and a new one begins.