Salem Area Fun Stuff©

Ya know…this verbal diarrhea from the left over the recent violence in Charlottesville has just got to stop. The guy that drove into the crowd should be tried for Murder 1 and executed…like tomorrow. Setting his actions aside as they were clearly not planned or organized by the rally people…the biggest problem with the left and media is that the right wing folks weren’t engaging in protected free speech according to the leftists…they’re racists and need to be shouted down. ‘Round these parts…as I said the other day…we don’t support the alt right folks who believe that Caucasians are a superior race any more than we support the far left wing who demand discrimination against anybody not brown for Affirmative Action or those who think the US government should pay “reparations to all” Americans of African descent just because.

Despite the fondest wishes of the left…we cannot and should not whitewash history and cleanse all remembrances of the Civil War or slavery. As I said the other day…the Civil War was largely not about slavery but about states rights…and no matter what you believe about the causes of the it both sides were fighting for what they believed was right. A memorial to Robert E. Lee…or to the Confederate dead like the one the leftist protestors destroyed in Durham NC later on with no arrests made…is just as “right” and “an important part of our heritage” to folks in the South as the memorial to President Lincoln on the National Mall or the hundreds of streets named Martin Luther King Boulevard around the country is to those in the north and on the other side politically. A memorial to Confederate dead is just that…a memorial to brave young men who died for a cause they believe was right…just like the statue below is a memorial to the brave young men who died for a cause they believe was right.

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Here’s another memorial that’s just as right from another point of view…it’s the Hiroshima Peace Memorial dedicated to those Japanese citizens…the vast majority of which were non-combatant civilians…killed in the attack on that city in August 1945.

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War memorials are largely that…memorials for the fallen who gave all in defense of their cause. One can debate the moral rightness of any cause…that’s easy…but why the hell can’t we let all sides honor their dead, have free speech, and not start a riot over it.

As best as I can figure…and again I’m setting aside the guy who drove into the crowd as he was clearly 100% wrong…the original rally was to protest the renaming of Robert E. Lee Park and the removal of a statue of the man…the park is a memorial to the dead in the Confederate cause. The counter protestors…the alt-left as the President called them…showed up itching for a fight…so naturally they got one. Both sides are wrong for the violence…but both sides have a guaranteed right under the Constitution to speak whatever they want no matter whether the other side likes it or not.

Now the media is all up in arms because the President…rightfully…blamed both sides for the violence…but that’s not acceptable to the left echo chamber…anybody further to the right than the leftists is automatically a bigoted racist and…at least as far as the left is concerned…that conclusion is settled science just like every other cause they support.

I wish all this crap would go away so I wouldn’t have to keep blathering about It…it’s irritated Connie so bad she’s unfollowed a dozen folks on twitter over it.

After our somewhat underwhelming trip over to the 3 Capes Scenic Drive…although we did get some nice moody/foggy photos…we were ready for something with a little more pizazz. So we headed out early Monday morning to the Columbia River Gorge about 90 minutes north for a hike up to Triple Falls. Actually…this trail has a total of 7 waterfalls on it…we visited 2, passed 2 others that were not accessible due to some rock slides and trail collapses last winter, and passed on the ones farther upstream. As it was we did a round trip hike of about 4.1 miles and 720 or so feet of elevation gain…it was almost all up on the way out and down on the way back…to get to the other 3 falls would have been another 4 miles and another 800 feet of elevation gain. We didn’t figure we were up for that so just settled for seeing Triple Falls and the Middle Oneonta Falls…Upper Oneonta Falls was inaccessible due to the rockfalls and the Lower Oneonta Falls is accessible through a connecting trail but would have added a mile to our hike and we were too tired to go over there.

Middle Oneonta Falls…that’s the one I’m sticking with but there’s some disagreement on various websites and with the USGS on which falls on Oneonta Creek are which name…I’m basing my selection on looking at the photos on the web…with 3 of the 5 places I looked agreeing with me. Amiright? Who knows…but that’s my story and Ima sticking to it. Anyways…it’s a 65 foot single drop on a side trail off of the main trail up to Triple Falls…it was only 1/10 of a mile down and then back up…but it was also about 90 feet down and then back up so Neil actually did a little more elevation gain than Connie did.

The Columbia River Gorge is bounded on the Oregon side by a pretty much sheer ridge ranging from 600 to 2000 feet in height…most of the waterfalls on the gorge are on the Oregon side and are located in side canyons…there’s a rim on the Washington side as well but it’s farther back from the river and not as dramatic a rise…most of the far fewer waterfalls on that side require considerable hiking to view and all of the famous falls are on the Oregon side. The first half mile is pretty easy hiking…it’s got a grade on it but it’s a pretty good trail. One previous review complained that it was too rocky…which it would be if you’re wearing flip-flops like a goodly number of people we saw were.

Looking out from a viewpoint at the Columbia River looking downstream…just before we turned away and headed up Oneonta Gorge.

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Once you make the turn off of the side of the main ridge bordering the Columbia and turn up into Oneonta Gorge it got more rocky but was still not bad. About 1.2 miles into the 2 mile outbound hike…Neil headed down the side trail to Middle Oneonta Falls and Connie waited for him at the trail junction. Once he got back 20 minutes or so later…we continued our climb and ran into what we would call the bad section of the trail. The grade remains about the same…about a 7% average but with sections from slightly downhill up to about 11% or 12%…however there’s a section about 250 yards long where the trail is basically gone and buried under a rock slide. On that section…you’re walking across piled up tennis ball to softball sized rocks and the footing is much worse. We figured that section would be way worse on the way down…but it turned out to be not as bad as we thought it would be. Bad enough though.

Bridge over Oneonta Creek at the Middle Falls…Connie would not have gone across this…open grating bridge deck and about 80 feet down to the creek.

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Middle Oneonta Falls…the first one is pretty much straight out of the camera and the second one I cleaned up a bit to bring out some details in the foreground and rocks.

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We arrived at the top about 1.5 hours after we started out…it just seemed longer.

Guess why it’s named Triple Falls? Go ahead…I’ll wait.

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Slightly wider view showing the bridge over the creek upstream of the falls…we could have walked there as it’s only about a quarter mile around…but you can’t see the falls from the bridge as it’s upstream. Note the log on the rock between the middle and right hand drop.

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Closer shot of the log below the bridge…it’s about 8 or 10 feet from the edge where it’s a 64 foot drop as the falls is 64 feet tall. The rocks were clearly wet…and the slope of the one jut below the log is probably 30%.

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And then there these 4…well…idiots would probably be the best term. Four of those millennial snowflakes I’ve mentioned previously…we know that because they got back down to the parking lot while we were having lunch…and they were the idiots parked the farthest into the travel lane as noted below. The chick in the white dress was the driver.

The two guys…well, they’re pretty stupid for sitting right there on the edge of the drop…note the steep slope just below the feet of the one with the black pants. Then there were the two chicks…the one walking on the wet log is wearing flip-flops and is just a slight slip from ending up at the bottom of the falls. The other one is wearing a white dress…and black velvet Ugg boots…I’m pretty sure they’re even less appropriate footwear than the flip-flops are.

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After getting our photos and having a snack we headed back down. Normally Neil lets Connie lead on hikes so she can set the pace she likes…but going downhill she was concerned about tripping due to her lack of depth perception so he stayed in front and told her about bad spots and helped her with the bigger steps down. It only took us about an hour or so going back down and we were really glad after seeing the large numbers of hikers heading up as we came down that we started early. The trail sign says that dogs are allowed on a leash…and we only saw 2 or 3 of the dozen dogs that past us that were not leashed. Strangely enough…almost all of the unleashed pooches were obviously snowflake millennials who decided the rules just didn’t apply to them.

Connie sez…the photographer in action.

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Here’s the elevation profile of our overall hike…that little dip at about 1.2 miles is where Neil did the side hike down to Middle Oneonta Falls.

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Arriving back at the trailhead parking lot…we discovered that all 8 or 9 spots were full (as opposed to only one other besides us when we arrived)…and that there were at least another 2 dozen cars parked in various non or sorta existent parking spots along the side of the road…it’s a narrow road but most of the ones parked this way didn’t bother getting out of the traffic lanes. We had lunch…leftover Lemon-lime-fennel-cilantro chicken from the other night turned into wraps…and then headed back westward for home with 2 scheduled stops and 1 unscheduled stop. The unscheduled one was first…when we passed Multnomah Falls Neil spotted a car pulling out so grabbed that spot and he got a some photos of that waterfall.

Both falls…Multnomah Falls has an upper drop of 542 feet and the lower one is 78. The bridge just above the lower drop is about 50 yards from this viewpoint but was a quarter mile hike up a bazillion switchbacks to get to…Neil’s feet were asking him just what the heck he was doing. Connie…well, she stayed in Big Red for this one.

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Closeup of the lower falls.

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The upper falls taken from the bridge…it was really windy and the water was blowing sideways.

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Here are a couple of videos we took today…if they don’t open in a separate window click Back to return here…or right click and choose to open in a new window or new tab.

Middle Oneonta Falls

Triple Falls

Next we headed for Smokehouse Provision BBQ in Vancouver WA just across the river from Portlandia. A few weeks back…Connie happened across an article from Southern Living that listed the…according to them…best BBQ bucket list place to eat in each state and as it turns out we’re going to be in the right location for several of them this summer. Alabama’s entry is Dreamland BBQ in Tuscaloosa…and since we’ve eaten there and know it’s outstanding…and since we really like BBQ…we put all 50 of them in our Places and Eats spreadsheet to visit as our travel schedule allows. Smokehouse Provision actually gives us a twofer…we get to check off both OR and WA on the list. The OR entry is Storrs Smokehouse in Newberg…Storrs is owned by the same guy that owns Smokehouse Provision in WA…so obviously it’s the same BBQ…and we don’t feel too badly about crossing both of them off the list. Besides…Storrs was closed today.

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Next stop was Fred Meyer’s to fill up Big Red with fuel…we took on almost 88 gallons…and then we headed home for showers, BBQ, and brews.

Dinner review…pretty darned outstanding. Really well smoked pulled pork with a whole lot of smoky flavor. Potato salad was also excellent…fingerling potatoes with pulled pork in them and a vinegar and mayo dressing. The baked beans were the best BBQ joint baked beans we’ve had in a long time…usually the beans are almost an afterthought and aren’t really smoky or flavorful. These were spicy and had both pulled pork and smoked sausage in them. We polished off everything but a quarter cup or so of the pulled pork…we shared a single full meal with 2 sides…we’ll make pulled pork soup later in the week out of it. We knew when we walked in…just from the smell…that it would be good though.

Tuesday we headed off for the Oregon State Capitol building and the Willamette Valley Cheese Company. Oregon became a state on Valentines Day Feb 14, 1859 but didn’t learn of it until St. Paddy’s day the following month Mar 17, 1859. The news had to come cross country by courier/horse/whatever and then up the coast via steamer, inland on the Columbia River to Oregon City and then overland south to the then territorial capitol at Salem.

The Capitol Building was built in 1938…it’s the third one. The first was the territorial capital which burned back in the 1800s. The second was on this same site but burned in the early 1930s and was replaced by the current building.

The Rotunda…it’s round on the outside but square on the inside…we’ve never seen a square rotunda in any other capitol building.

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Sculpture outside the entrance.

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Rotunda ceiling.

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Two of the 3 murals at the corners of the rotunda…they’re sorta strange looking as they wrap around the corner. The photos Connie took of the other two didn’t work out.

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State seal…many references to Oregon history here. The heart shape just inside the stars commemorates the Feb 14 acceptance into the union and the 32 stars the fact that Oregon was the 32nd state.  Other references include western expansion, mining and farming tools, mountains, and British and American vessels.

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Senate chamber followed by House chamber. They only meet here for votes and infrequent debates…which just as in other assembly chambers are intended as political points rather than an attempt to woo others to your way of thinking.

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North exterior of the building which is the front.

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Next it was off to the cheese company…we sampled and bought and…well, it’s cheese. We passed on the raw milk product as we prefer our dairy pasteurized for safety. Then it was home for lunch, getting our grill propane cylinder refilled, roasting garlic, and steak on the barbie for dinner.

So…we’ve been here in the Willamette Valley awhile so I figured I should tell ya about it. The valley is about 150 miles long along the Willamette River which runs north until emptying into the Columbia River. Bordered by the Oregon Coastal Mountain Range, the Calapooya Mountains to the south and the Cascades Range to the east…it contains the 3 largest cities in Oregon…Salem, Portlandia, and Eugene…as well as being the home of about 70% of the state population and almost all of the wineries.

Today’s activity was a visit to the Ankeny NWR just south of Salem in the southern portion of the valley. Because we were planning on a 1.5 mile hike along the boardwalk…we wanted to be there early for bird feeding time so we got up early, had coffee and a granola bar and headed off…arriving at our first stop in the refuge where the hike was located jut a bit after 0700. We headed off south about 1/4 mile then meandered westward a half mile through the swampy areas along the boardwalk then north, east, and south along the edges of a section of fields back to Big Red. It was a great day to be on a walk in the woods…60s, sun just coming up so the light was excellent for photos and no ‘skeeters to be found. There were some sort of lil’ bugs buzzing around…but they didn’t bite and weren’t bothering us so we left ‘em alone as well.

Following the hike we continued driving clockwise around the refuge stopping at another 3 or 4 places to look for wildlife. We got done and headed back to the rig arriving about 1000 and took a nap for a couple of hours before getting up and doing all of the preparatory stuff for tomorrow’s transit day.

Luckily there were observation blinds at a couple of our stops both along the hike and the remainder of the refuge…that makes it easier to get bird photos since they don’t know you’re there. Unfortunately…most of the birds we saw were out a couple of hundred yards…so even with the long bird lens they were still smaller than we would have liked. Still though…we got a few new species for us…and ya gotta take what ya can get we always say.

Connie got some really great shots as we walked along the boardwalk and peered out from the blind on the hike…I especially like the ones of the marsh with the reflection in them…quite nice.

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Meanwhile…Neil was concentrating on the birds with the bird lens…although it’s a zoom with a minimum focal length of 75mm which is just a bit more than a “normal” SLR lens…it’s too big and heavy to bother taking many closeup photos with it so he primarily looks for things way out there.

Female belted kingfisher…you can tell it’s the female because of the orange belt band in addition to the blue-gray chest patch…we can’t recall ever seeing a female before.

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Cinnamon Teal.

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Dunlin…both this and the teal above are new for us.

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Another shot of the female belted kingfisher…she kept flying off and coming back to this snag. Neil was irritated that she never came over nearer the blind so he could get better photos.

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Great blue heron…but way out there.

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Couple of great white egrets…again pretty far out there.

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Neil shot a couple of interesting looking leaves/seedpods/whatever they are…he thought they looked cool with the lighting the way it was.

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We almost stepped on this slug.

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Closeup of the slug with Connie’s boot in the shot for scale…this is the largest slug we’ve ever seen. Those folks on the TV show Alone would have made a full meal out of this bad boy.

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Another Cinnamon Teal.

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Neil really liked these two reflected birds shots.

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Barn swallows (or maybe cliff swallows, hard to tell which one). Those lil’ suckers are devilishly hard to get in focus.

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Sparrow of some variety.

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Another Great Blue Heron and then a shot of him flying off when Neil tried to get a better angle.

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And finally…just as we got back to the campground. Look…up in the sky…it’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s Superman!

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Just a couple interesting things today…this post is already pretty long.

The liberals at the TV station must have had a slow news day.

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More pano gone wrong.

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Busted…definitely busted.

Busted

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 3 Comments

Transit to Salem OR and Fun Stuff©

I saw on the news yesterday the terrible situation in Charlottesville VA…the city recently renamed a city park from Robert E. Lee Park to something more politically correct/acceptable to the left and the removal of a statue of General Lee in the park is currently the subject of a court battle. The left naturally wants to eliminate all traces, remembrances, and vestiges of the Civil War…and the right wants to not do that. Never mind that the Civil War really wasn’t about slavery at all but more about states rights vs Lincoln’s desire to preserve the union as a single country…the minds of progressives are made up and the evilness of the southern point of view is settled science according to them. Anyway…there was a scheduled rally by pro Robert E. Lee Park and statue folks and naturally a counter protest by those on the other side. One thing led to another, there was some violence between the two groups, and eventually a nutcase drove into the crowd of counter protestors killing one and injuring more…the perpetrator is under arrest.

‘Round these parts…we do not support the objectives of the original rally…which was to be attended by white supremacists, KKK members and various even further right than the Tea Party individuals. We do support the maintaining of history and not trying to rewrite it to ignore the things you don’t like. Like it or not…the Civil War is a part of the history of the United States and those in the South who fought mostly for states rights deserve not to have their ancestors heritage wiped from the history books. Slavery would have died out anyway since it’s not profitable and the Industrial Revolution was getting revved up in the mid to late 1800s.

One’s got to wonder why those on the left who demand free speech are only interested in protecting speech they like. Freedom of speech means that anyone…even conservatives…gets to say and think what they want. Those on the left tend to ignore and want to shout down anyone who espouses a belief differently from theirs. The English writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall (who wrote a biography of Voltaire…which was actually a pseudonym for Francois-Marie Arouet…under the pseudonym Stephen G. Tallentyre) said it best…”I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” when she was describing Voltaire’s thinking. Both liberals and conservatives need to remember that…and both liberals and conservatives need to recognize that you don’t get to kill the other side just because they believe something different than you do. While the counter protestors are entitled to their free speech as well…it’s hard to blame what happened solely on the original protestors…and blaming it on the the White House as the mayor there did is simply ludicrous.

Charlottesville VA yesterday was a travesty of both humanity and democracy.

Anyways…after our hikes on Tuesday we spent Wednesday getting ready to travel to our next stop in Salem, OR. This was one of the 3 places we did not already have reservations for when we left North Fort Myers in the spring but we thought we had a good plan. Sure…there’s the total solar eclipse on August 21 but there’s a nice Elks Lodge in Salem that doesn’t take reservations. So…we had a total of 4 backups, two in Salem and two a bit farther north and out of the totality zone and figured that since we would be there the week before and leaving to head further north on Thursday before the eclipse on Monday we would be fine.

Well…not so much. We called the Elks Lodge Wednesday and asked about spaces…and Billy just laughed at us. They’ve been completely full for 2 weeks and nobody has left…he figured they just came early. No problem we thought…we’ll just go to one of the backups. Nope…all full, none of them had a full week available although our 2nd choice did have the Thursday and Friday nights but nothing for the last 5. So…we pulled up http://rvparkreviews.com and started looking . Found a great place with the last 5 nights of availability for our week in Salem…Emerald Valley RV in Jefferson OR just south of Salem. It’s right off of the freeway but behind a big berm so the road noise really isn’t too bad at all.

Remember I said that we had 3 places with no reservations yet…we now have reservations for the other two as well. We were going to stay overnight at a Fam Camp in Little Rock AR on the way east…Neil thought it was a dumb selection for an over night as it’s 25 miles from the freeway and doesn’t take reservations but he was going along with Connie. So we’re spending that night at the KOA in Little Rock just off of I-40 and then continuing on after our stop in Jackson MS to Foley where we’ll be at the Anchors Aweigh RV just near the Foley Elks Lodge…which we would have gotten a reservation at but they closed and sold their campground.

So early Thursday morning we got underway for the 160 mile trip up to Salem…didn’t stop at all on the road except for one bio-break to drain out the morning coffee. Arrived shortly after 1230 and quickly got pulled into site 100 at Premier RV Resorts of Salem. I guess it was resort-ey…but the sites are really short and tight there so we were really glad to be moving on after two days. The bright spot was the very large hedge of blackberry bushes all the way around the park…we picked a pint and a half of them and had both blackberry shortcake biscuits for breakfast as well as made blackberry crisp for dessert a couple of nights. Really yummy.

We scouted around after our arrival and found the Westside Tap House just about 3 miles away…with 45 beers on tap. No food…but we had eaten lunch late and there was Odd Moe’s Pizza right next door. Westside has beers from both WA and OR as well as a few northern CA ones but nothing really much farther away than that…and they’re quite willing to give you a sample of anything you want to taste. Since this is OR…most of the brews are pretty hoppy with the IPAs being even worse than back on the east coast…typically an IPA back there has an IBU rating (how much bitterness it’s got from hops) in the 50-60 range…Westside had 8 that were well into the 100s in IBU. We tried 8 or 10 of the stouts and porters before we picked the 4 we actually had a pint of…2 each. We ended up trying a Wee Heavy Scotch Ale from Lost Coast Brewery, Salted Caramel Porter from Cascade Lakes Brewing, Papa Noel’s Moonlight Reserve from Alameda Brewing Co, and Prince Charlie’s Wee Heavy Strong Scotch Ale from Santiam Brewing. All were pretty decent although a bit more hops than we would have preferred. Here’s a couple of beer type facts I should pass along. First…a porter is a very dark brown beer that was originally brewed as a meal for the porters who loaded ships over in Europe…and hence that style became known as a porter. Stouts are like porters but even heavier and creamier. IPA stands for India Pale Ale…and was invented for the British colonials over in India. Since it’s hot there…the breweries in England made a light, pale brew that would not be too heavy in the hot humid Indian subcontinent. Since it had to be shipped around the cape of Africa unrefrigerated via a months long voyage…they needed to preserve the beer. Hops was originally added to beer because the bitterness of the hops preserves the beer…and since they needed a whole lot of hops for both the length and heat of the voyage the India Pale Ale or IPA was born.

We stopped by Odd Moe’s to pick up a to go order of Garlic Cheese Bread…basically a white pizza…ordered it online from the Tap House and ate it when we got home. We thought about getting a pizza but were still pretty full from lunch so the bread really was enough…and quite tasty as well.

Friday…we headed out early for our scheduled Fun Stuff© trip…the 3 Capes Scenic Drive. This starts at Pacific City OR and drives to a total of 3 capes along the coast heading north…Cape Kwanda on the south end, Cape Lookout in the middle and Cape Meares on the north end. The weather at Salem was supposed to be clear and a high of about 90…but we forgot about the marine layer and the likelihood of different weather 50 miles west on the coast…and when we got to Pacific City it was only about 58 degrees and 90 percent humidity…and it was foggy so the visibility was basically non existent. We figured it would be the 3 Capes Non Scenic Drive for us.

Capes Kwanda and Lookout were almost a complete bust although we did get a few photos…anybody can take a great photo of the cape headlands on a bright sunny day…but ya gotta be good to get one on a cloudy murky day. We decided that the mist and lack of visibility would give our photos some character. Cape Meares was a bit better…the sun actually are out for a few minutes between fog banks passing by.

Capes Kwanda and Meares both project out from the coast westward into the Pacific…Lookout only goes west a couple miles then turns northward along the coast with a narrow entry into Netarts Bay on it’s northern end.

Looking SW towards the inside of Cape Lookout across Netarts Bay…the tide is ebbing but not quite to low tide yet.

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Couple of guys fishing just to the right of the photo above…the tide was probably running 3.5 to 4 knots there.

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Apparently…the Octopus Tree is famous…we never heard of it though. It’s located at Cape Meares inland a couple hundred yards from the coast. 

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Three Arches Rocks located just offshore and south of Cape Meares.

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Looking south through the fog banks. The wispy tendrils of fog give it a spooky, moody character. My favorite photo of the day.

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All flowers courtesy of Connie…Neil only occasionally takes flower photos.

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You can see how close to shore Three Arches Rocks are.

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Looking northward from just below the Cape Meares Lighthouse. Built in 1890…placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993…and turned off by the Coast Guard on June 25, 2014 as it’s no longer considered necessary for safe navigation along the coast of Oregon.

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And this is why they’re called Three Arches Rocks…the sea has worn holes through them.

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Cape Meares Lighthouse.

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Closeup of the lens…the light has an octagonal Fresnel Lens with alternating clear and red glass panes so it flashed red/white with a visibility of 21 nautical miles (24 statue miles or 39 kilometers for our non seafaring and non US friends)

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Connie’s artsy-fartsy shot of Three Arches Rocks through the greenery outside the lighthouse.

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And while I was sitting here writing this…”there came a roar and a thunder man had never heard” (stolen from the The Royal Guardsmen single Snoopy and the Red Baron)…Neil immediately recognized it as a helo and looked out the window to see one about 100 yards away and 100 feet high. It landed just behind the RV park office…followed shortly by another one. Apparently they belong to the owner of the park…he must be feeelthy rich if he’s got enough money to afford the maintenance on two helicopters.

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Bad Ass of the Week…anybody that visits Finland in the winter apparently.

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Ok, interesting stuff found on the net this week.

Kinda brings a tear to your eye…don’t it.

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More small town police report.

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Neil’s sister sent us this t-shirt…sorry I had to clean it up a bit to maintain my PG-13 rating…although I imagine any offspring today over the age of about 8 can identify what it originally said.

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I guess they didn’t look hard enough.

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Oh…the irony.

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And finally…I’m pretty sure it’s not that bad.

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Tomorrow we’re off on the first of 3 Fun Stuff© days…first a day trip up to the Columbia River Gorge and a hike to Upper, Middle, and Lower Oneonta Falls as well as Triple Falls, then a trip to the Oregon State Capitol building and finally a visit to a couple of local National Wildlife Refuges.

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 1 Comment

Canyonville OR Fun Stuff©

After our arrival on Thursday and trip to Elk Creek Falls on Friday we mostly vegetated for the weekend although we did have to modify our original Monday plan for Crater Lake National Park. There’s a fire on the west side of the lake with the smoke blowing to the east…directly across the lake. As of Sunday afternoon the area around the visitor center which is about 7 o’clock on the drive around the almost circular lake was issued a category 1 evacuation order…which means get ready to leave. With that in effect…and about 1/4 of the drive around the lake having the road closed as the fire boundary was the road from about 8 to 10 o’clock…add in the lack of visibility over the lake and the 7-8 hours of driving we would have had…and well, we decided to punt Crater Lake for this trip. Maybe next time. We also cancelled the Rogue River Gorge visit as it was to be on the way to Crater Lake and although it’s not being affected by the Crater Lake fire there is another one south and west of the gorge so there was some smoke there and it would still have been a 4-5 hour drive.

Instead…Connie planned a visit to two falls north and east of Canyonville…Yakso Falls first and then Susan Creek Falls. We passed on the supposedly more famous Toketee Falls…the tour guide says they’re the best but from the photos we looked at the two we picked were just as scenic…and more importantly less popular and we like those kinds of hikes better. Although the total drop of Toketee is more…113 versus about 80-90…Toketee has an upper 28 foot drop and a lower 85 foot drop and the upper one isn’t really visible from the trail so height wise they’re about the same. The only advantage Toketee really has is it’s more of a straight drop through the air and our choices are more the down the rocks type…both are fine but we don’t really prefer either and the crowd at the more well known Toketee…along with the additional 30 or so miles of driving each way…made the difference for us.

So off we went…originally the GPS wanted us to go up the freeway to Roseburg and then east…but about halfway to Roseburg she told us there was a faster way…so naturally we took it…it obviously was…well let’s call it a less traveled road and be generous…but we figured the view would be better than the freeway anyway. Eventually we reconnected with the originally route to the falls paralleling the North Umpqua River…and on into the Umpqua National Forest. There…the road got even skinnier and degraded to a dirt/gravel road the last 7 miles to the Lake in the Woods Campground where the trailhead was. We saw precisely zero cars and zero people the last 15 miles into the campground, on the hike, and the 15 miles back out.

After parking we changed into hiking boots, gathered up water, cameras, tripod, food, and hiking sticks and set off on the 1.5 mile round trip 125 foot up and back hike. It was cool, shady, and as previously noted completely empty of people…and unfortunately wildlife as well. We did hear some sort of bird up on the side of the cliff partway in but couldn’t spot him. Like many of the waterfalls in this area of Oregon…there is a river running through a fairly wide gorge downhill with many narrower side gorges off of it…with a waterfall at the dead end of the side gorge…so you’re hiking into and back out of a dead end gorge. Pretty nice hike…luckily most of the uphill was on the way out…on a well maintained and obviously pretty well used…although not today…trail.

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After the photos and a snack we headed back to the car and then to our second scheduled stop for the day…which was when we discovered a slight navigational problem. Although we had downloaded the location of the second falls on Apple Maps…that app didn’t have the Forest Service road on it so could not find a route…and we didn’t know the coordinates of the second fall so we couldn’t put them into our Garmin app which did have the Forest Service road. Undeterred…we just decided to head back towards the town of Glide and we would eventually get cell signal again. On the way we took these shots at one of those “Falling Rocks’ signs you frequently see on the roadside in mountain terrain…I guess they’re just going to leave the rocks on the road permanently since it’s a low traffic road. I guess after you support all of the freeloaders they have out here on the Left Coast there isn’t much money left for road repairs.

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We stopped and had ice cream for lunch…it was from the Umpqua Creamery and was really, really good…obviously not the lo cal/lo fat stuff. Mountain Blueberry Revel it was…and it was tasty. After that we headed off for our second hike…Susan Creek Falls…again off of the North Umpqua River.

Susan Creek Falls hike was (a) a lot warmer as it was up into the 80s by then, (b) less shady as it wasn’t really as far into the woods, and (c) much more crowded. On the way out…0.95 miles and 80 feet…it was really about a half mile hike tops but it had been made accessible for wheelchairs so it had way more switchbacks than it needed…we saw a dozen couples coming out and when we got there there were 6 or 8 local high schoolers there. They messed up the photos with their presence but luckily left within a few minutes after we arrived and we were alone the remainder of our time there. On the way out we only saw 2 couples and we stopped and talked to the second for a few minutes about RV full timing…they’re currently about half timing but the wife wasn’t ready to give up the house. They were staying at an RV park just outside the entrance to Crater Lake National Park and confirmed our decision to skip it…too much smoke so the blue of the lake wasn’t visible at all…a bust from a photo point of view.

We got some great shots at Susan Creek Falls though.

There’s Neil up on the top left getting his tripod setup…luckily the kids left a few minutes later and we had the place to ourselves.

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A shot from where he was standing in the photo above…the kids were still here at this time but out of the frame.

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Close-up of the small overflow from the main falls pool.

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Connie got all the wildlife shots here while Neil was doing the bracketed tripod mounted ones of the falls…she moved around and spotted things to take shots of other than the waterfalls which is what she typically does.

We hiked back to the car and were pretty well done in by the time we got there…was up into the low 90s by this time and we headed home. We did stop by the hardware stores looking for some BR3020 circuit breakers but we’re still looking for them.

Interesting things found on the net.

I guess he didn’t have AFLAC!!

AFLAC

I’m not sure whether this is poor design…or absolute genius design.

PoorDesignOrGenius

Here’s a guy looking for a partner…but he doesn’t want any weirdos.

NoWierdosPlease

The cow dragon.

TheCowDragon

More small town police blotter stuff.

MoreSmallTownNews

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

More PRC Fun Stuff© and Transit to OR

Or maybe I should call it the DPRC for Democratic People’s Republic of California…the socialist government here in the state is only outdone by the even more socialist city governments in Berkeley CA…and possibly Seattle and Portland as well.

Saturday the temperature got up to 106F and it’s going up to 114-116 Tuesday and Wednesday…way too hot for us. Fortunately once we move to Canyonville OR on Thursday it will *only* be in the mid 90s. Neil was out grilling some chicken for dinner this afternoon…it’s hot but better than warming up the house as both of our A/C units can barely keep us below 90F inside in the late afternoon…anyways he aimed his infrared meat thermometer at the side of the rig in the sun and it measured 152F on the side…no wonder the A/C units are having a hard time keeping up. 

Neil and Connie’s human kid told us he was proud of Neil for accepting transgender people…and that all qualified citizens should be able to serve in the military…that’s not quite what he thinks so let me reiterate his position a little more clearly. This isn’t a political rant…my last post was characterized as such…just a clear statement of what he perceives the realities are. I’ll keep it brief…if you want a more detailed explanation let me know in the comments and I’ll have him write a guest post.

There is no such thing as transgender…you’re either male or female from birth and that can’t be changed…ever. However…you’re free to have sex with whoever you want to…male, female, he don’t care as long as you don’t try to do him unless you’re a female and Connie has passed on or something…he’s off the market.

Women in the military…he’s perfectly fine with that…all citizens should have the equal opportunity. But let’s not forget that men are men and women are women…and despite the fondest wishes of progressives…they’ll never be the same. Men are generally stronger and have more endurance…and a lot of job codes in the military require significant amounts of both. Women in combat units…that’s another story…it’s a terrible idea and will just get more soldiers (men and women) killed. The vast majority of women do not and cannot meet the physical standards required for combat…an infantryman carries 60 pounds of equipment and is expected to be able to walk 20 miles a day with it and pick up a 200 pound wounded comrade if necessary.. The physical standards for women have been reduced to the point that they can’t meet necessary requirements…it’s not their fault but physiology.

The military exists to kill people and break things in the execution of national leadership’s policy…not as an institution for social change…it should have been left that way.

Ok…explanation over…let’s get on with Fun Stuff©.

Our original plan for Friday was to drive up to Lava Beds National Monument but on the way back home after going to the falls the other day we got to talking about it…and frankly wondered whether the Fun/Effort ratio was high enough (i.e., more than 1.0) to make the trip worthwhile. It’s like 150 miles from here and with the curvy roads figured to be a 3.5 hour drive each way…say 7 hours on the road and about $90 in diesel. Both the time and fuel are worth it if the payoff is good…but then we looked at what there was to do. There’s a lot of volcanic lava landscape…but then we’ll see that at Lassen Volcanic National Park…and there’s a bunch of what they call lava tubes but what most people would call caves. We’re not really that into caves…and then there was the possibility that we might have to violate the law to go into them. There are bats in the caves…and bats are subject to this disease known as White-nose Fungus…it’s transmitted by spores that get carried into caves on your boots. The national monument web page says that if you’ve got boots or climbing gear that “have been in other caves in the past 10 years” you can’t wear them legally into the tubes/caves in the national monument. We were in Mammoth Cave in Kentucky a couple years back…and back then we went through a cleaning process both into and out of the cave to kill any fungus spores that were on our boots…and according to the guidelines at Mammoth Cave that made our boots decontaminated as we left.

We don’t know whether the guidance/rules/regulations have changed…or whether Lava Beds just has different ones…or whether it’s a matter of interpretation. However…given the relative lack of Fun Stuff© once we got there and the time and fuel cost to go there…not to mention the 105+ degree predicted temperatures…we gave up and scratched Lava Beds of the list.

So we decided to head down to Lassen Volcanic National Park instead…turns out that the road through the park that was closed last week is now open…so our plan was to head south and stop by the visitor center at the SW entrance of the park, drive up the road to the NW entrance and then come home…about 120 miles total. Accordingly…we hit the road right about 0700 in order to beat the heat and the crowds.

Connie took at look at the GPS directions…and says to him…”Hey, I got a great idea. Instead of going down I-5 another 15 miles let’s take this other route cross country. It’s only 1 minute longer than the I-5 route…and it’s 15 miles shorter so we’ll save fuel.”

Well…he sort of thought that maybe they shoulda considered that since it was 15 miles shorter and a minute longer…that maybe it was because you couldn’t go as fast on the roads…but since she’s the DLETC…and he didn’t have a really good reason to overrule her…that he would just follow her directions.

Let me refer you at this point to the 1989 Indiana Jones movie…The Last Crusade. If you’ll recall…they were looking for the Holy Grail (the chalice with the wine in it from The Last Supper) and the Nazis got there first. The head Nazi met the Knight in the gray chain mail with the red on white cross on his chest…obviously a reference to the Knights Templar…who invited him to choose a cup from the hundreds of varied ones displayed. The Nazi looked around and grabbed the ornate golden one…drank the water from the font which would supposedly make him immortal…and well, he aged into a 200 year old man then a skeleton then dust in about 10 seconds. The knight stood there…looked at the pile of dust…looked at Indy and his party and said “He chose…poorly.” You can click on that link to see it for yourself.

Perfect quote for Neil’s decision on going her way. Sure…it was 15 miles shorter but very quickly turned into almost a goat track through cow and rock land…and while the road was paved…it wasn’t well paved and was…well, let’s say quite bumpy. They bounced the phone running the GPS app off of the holder a half dozen times before she gave up and held it. Finally…30 or so miles later…we got back onto the road we woulda been on if we had just went another 15 miles down I-5.

We got to the park, showed our pass, picked up a map and headed to the visitor center…got there 15 minutes before it opened. Watched the movie…which was according to the web site only available at the museum at the NW entrance and our original plan was to get it on the way out…and it was pretty crappy as National Park movies go…usually they’re a lot better.

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We then headed off on our drive through the park…about 30 road miles in total up to 8,500 feet and back down to the NW entrance.

Lassen Peak…Maidu Indian name Kohm Yah-ah-nee or Snow Mountain…is a cinder cone volcano…don’t worry, I’ll ‘splain this in a minute, ya know it’s comin’…and is 10,457 feet high. Lassen Volcanic National Park actually contains all 4 kinds of volcanoes. It actually sits on top of the original volcano in these parts…which was about 10 or 15 times as big around as Lassen Peak is. That ancient volcano collapsed and has 4 remnants left in the park…the original Brokeoff Volcano was the park’s only composite volcano…or strato-volcano.

Composite or strato-volcanoes…as I discussed in my last post about Mount Shasta…are built up in layers from a vent. They’re typically composed of buildups from multiple vents as Shasta…and Ranier to the north…are so that they eventually look like a single mountain even though they were built up from multiple vents.

Plug dome volcanoes like Lassen Peak…are built up from a single vent but one that has lava that is too thick to flow great distances…so they just build themselves up over time.

Shield volcanoes like Mount Harkeness in the park are broad rounded volcanoes built up by repeated flows of very fluid lava that can spread out over large distances. Essentially they’re like a plug dome except they’re generally lower and more rounded as the thinner lava can’t pile up as high.

Finally…there’s the cinder cone volcano…which doesn’t have any lava flows at all…lava being molten rock that flows out of the vent and then hardens. Instead…cinder cones are formed from ejected rock, cinders, and ash rather than ejected lava.

I’m not sure why only composite ones have strato in the name as all of them are pretty much built up in layers…but then I’m a bear and not a volcanologist and wikipedia didn’t have any better explanation.

The age of the volcanoes in the park range from Mount Harkness which started forming about 600,000 years ago…to Brokeoff Mountain which is the remnant of the Brokeoff volcano and is 250,000 to 300,000 years old…to the relatively recent Cinder Cone volcano which formed around 1650.

There’s a trail to the top of Lassen Peak…it’s only about 2.5 miles each way but it’s also about 2,000 feet up and then back down…we skipped it. Our first stop was Sulphur Works which is the only easily accessible thermal area in the park…Bumpass Hell is supposedly better but it’s a bit of a hike and starts at 7,000 feet or so…and it was closed anyway. Sulphur was mined here before the park was formed. It was hot and stinky…hydrogen sulfide which is rotten egg smell gas.

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Next up was the overlook for Brokeoff Mountain and Conard Mountain which are 2 of the 4 remaining pieces of the originally much larger Brokeoff Volcano. The other two remnants are supposedly visible behind the overlook…but we couldn’t pick ‘em out of all the other mountains.

Brokeoff Mountain

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One of the leftover rocks from Brokeoff Volcano…this one is semi truck sized.

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And Conard Mountain…about 3.5 miles SE of Brokeoff mountain…the original volcano was a bout 9 miles in diameter from looking at the map locations of the 4 remnants.

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Our first real view of Lassen Peak itself…the trail to the top starts just beyond those trees on the right side…although it’s still 4 or 5 miles to the parking area by road at this point. 

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As you can see…you probably had a clue already as the road has only been open since yesterday…we ran into a bit of snow. The roads were mostly dry. First photo is the snowbank next to the road…probably 8 or 9 feet high. Second is Lake Helen just across the road from the snowbank…it’s mostly still frozen and snow covered. This is the latest opening of this road in park records…they’ve been clearing snow for 4 months. Article on the opening.

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Looking out towards King’s Creek…it’s just out of sight below the snowbank. Connie took these while Neil hiked the couple of hundred yards to see the creek itself. We passed on the falls…it was only a 2.5 mile round trip hike…but again it was 900 feet down and then back up and we were over 7,500 feet.

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Another shot of Lassen Peak…taken from the Devastated Area parking lot. The Devastated area was essentially denuded by a lahar which is a landslide of mud, melted snow, and volcanic ejecta back about 100 years ago. There was a small steam explosion on May 19, 1917 and a much larger one 3 days later on May 22…the second one sent mud downhill into what is now known as the Devastated Area then back up and over a 1,000 foot higher pass behind it.

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Next stop was the Chaos Jumbles and Crags…this is another extinct volcano that about 300 years ago had a cold rock slide of unknown origin…it resulted in a huge pile of rocks. Part of the effect was damming the Manzanita Creek and resulting creation of Manzanita Lake.

Looking towards the remnants of Chaos Crags…about 1.5 miles away.

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And the other direction towards Manzanita Lake…again about 1.25 miles away. The 100 mile an hour rock slide buried this portion of the park with up to 150 feet of these rocks.

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Our final stop was at Manzanita Lake…looking for reflections in the water of Lassen. We thought it would only be a couple hundred yards walk so didn’t change into hiking boots or take the water…another instance of “He chose…poorly.” I guess. Ended up hiking most of a mile around the lake and got a couple nice shots. Neil left Connie at the end of the lake and walked back to the car then picked her up…the end of the lake was right next to the entrance station which was also our exit point from the park.

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And from a little farther around the lake.

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With that our trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park was done. We exited the park onto CA-44…the same road we came in from Reno on…and 45 minutes or so later were back in Redding. Stopped by the Home Depot for a couple of water parts and the Walmart to get tortillas for dinner…we had leftover grilled flank steak with lime in tortillas and leftover black beans and rice from the night before.

The weekend arrives…and we’re resting after a busy 3 days of Fun Stuff©. Mass and that was about it…it was really hot so we stayed home.

Monday we set off for a trip over to Shasta Dam…it is on the Sacramento River and creates Shasta Lake which is the largest lake in California. The dam itself claims to be the “second largest dam by mass in the United States…I never heard of classifying a dam by mass but I guess they wanted to get into the record books somehow. It’s 602 feet high so it’s only the eighth tallest in the US, contains 6.5 million yards of concrete, and is 3,460 feet long. It’s an arch-gravity dam primarily intended for flood control and provision of irrigation water to California’s Central Valley…with hydroelectric power generation as a secondary consideration. It was constructed in the between 1937 and 1945.

It was built in a much different manner than most dams. Typically a diversion channel is dug and a cofferdam used to reroute the river around the dam site and the entire dam is constructed…then the cofferdam is remove and the diversion channel filled in so the lake fills. Shasta was instead built in 2 parts…first the end thirds were constructed almost entirely on the existing banks of the river. While they were being constructed the original railroad line along the river was rerouted up onto the ridge. A tower was constructed on the west side of the river in what would eventually become the lake with cables running from it to various points on the eastern ridge…concrete loads were mixed on the eastern ridge and pulled over to where they were needed. When both of those were complete…an existing railway tunnel around the site of the dam was deepened to 75 feet deep and used as the diversion tunnel while the center spillway portion of the dam was built…when it was done the tunnel was filled back to it’s original floor and plugged with 400 feet of concrete and the lake filled. Kind of an interesting way to go about the construction.

This osprey was perched on her nest right outside the dam visitor center.

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Looking out from the visitor center…the center spillway section was the last constructed piece and is roughly where the original river course was…the left and right sides were built on the banks of the existing river.

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Looking downstream from about the center of the right half of the dam as you look at it…Neil went on the dam tour which started as a walk from the visitor center about 2/3 of a mile over to the right hand of the dam and then out to the elevator tower which is on the left side of the spillway. 

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Looking down from the center of the spillway…the pipes on the rig lead to the power house from the base of the dam…they’re about 18 feet inside diameter and the intake end is under about 500 feet of lake water…it enters at a pressure of about 200 psi and flows into the water turbines at the bottom of the vertical generator shafts.

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Looking up from the bottom of the spillway after our 483 feet down elevator ride…the dam (like all dams) leaks continuously and the concrete in it isn’t expected to be fully cured until 2045.

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The tops of the generators in the power building…the shiny shafts in the middle of them are about 30 inches in diameter and turn at 120 rpm so they’re pretty slow as generators go…AC power flows from here to the transformer building next door and then to the transmission station you can see on the left side of the looking downriver photo above.

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Monday evening into Tuesday we had some issues. First was the temperature…112F which resulted in the circuit breaker for our living room A/C unit tripping on over current. We weren’t actually pulling too much…but the heat in the basement where our electrical panel is lowered the set point and the unit itself was working at maximum capacity. Add in a lower than normal voltage situation in the park which increased the unit current draw a bit and we kept resetting the breaker to keep it running. It tripped a couple times Monday but it was late enough in the day that we didn’t get too hot inside. Tuesday was worse though…it was even hotter and after tripping the breaker 4 times in an hour in the early afternoon hours Neil swapped it out for a spare he had on hand and we got the A/C running again. Thought we were home free after that…until the campground lost power 15 minutes later about 1500.

With not much information coming from the campground…we headed off to have a beer at the local tavern and came back to the rig about 1830…only to find that a transformer had blown and it would be 6-10 hours for replacement. It was 103 inside the rig by then so off we went to a local hotel for the evening.

Got back early Wednesday morning…the transformer had finally been replaced by about 0530 or so and we got our A/C units back on and managed to hold the temperature down through the day.

Thursday we transited the 211 miles to our next stop…Seven Feathers RV Resort in Canyonville OR. A mile to the freeway from Mountain Gate, 209 miles straight up I-5, and another mile to the campground. We arrived about 1300, got checked in and then parked and got the A/C on immediately…luckily it was only 106 or so in Canyonville and will be down into the 90s most of the week we’re due to be here. Once we cooled down and had a shower we took the free shuttle over to the casino…we needed beer and dinner which we got…and also to register for our free Player’s Card for the casino. Neil has no interest in gambling…but the card gets us another 10% off our camping bill…and they include $5 in free play money for the slot machines which will keep Connie amused for hours.

Friday we headed over to the Elk Creek Falls about 90 miles from here…40 as the crow flies but the road is one of those really twisty/curvy mountain roads with no railings and steep drop-offs. We got to the falls about 1130 and hiked the quarter of a mile over to the viewpoint where we got some excellent photos of what turned out to be a pretty nice waterfall.

Elk Creek Falls is a 4 cascade waterfall dropping about 190 feet overall with the lowest one being the tallest single cascade at about 80 feet. You can only see the bottom 3 of the cascades from the viewpoint.

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We stopped by the small town of Powers OR for lunch at the Powers Tavern and Cafe…had a couple of cheeseburgers, fries, and a beer…at least the beer was good. Lunch was definitely not one of the better things they do there…the fries were simultaneously over-browned, all stuck together into a gluey mass, and as limp as cooked spaghetti. The burger wasn’t much better…it tasted like it was boiled instead of grilled. Afterwards we headed home.

Bad Ass of the week…you might be a bad ass but few can match this guy.

BadAssOfTheWeek

Interesting stuff found on the net.

Eh, maybe not.

EhMaybeNot

Maybe she’s got something there.

SeizeTheMoment

Gotta love those small town police logs.

SmallTownPoliceLog

The hottest things in the universe…yeah I know the font on the last one is different but I had to make it family friendly.

HottestThingInTheUniverse

Again with the small town police logs…oh dear me.

OhDearMe

Dolphin-speak.

WhatDolphinsSay

And finally…you can always trust Old Abe.

TrustHonestAbe

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Northern PRC Fun Stuff

We headed off today for our first Fun Stuff© day in the PRC (Peoples Republic of California). The day’s destination was Dunsmuir CA to start off with a visit to Hedge Creek Falls…this entailed a hike of about 3/4 of a mile and 200 or so feet down and then back up on the return trip to the parking lot. Then we would continue up the road to Mount Shasta City…stop at the visitor center to get some information…and visit Mount Shasta itself.

Before that though…I just need to give progressives a beatdown. As ya know…our President tweeted yesterday that transgenders aren’t allowed any more in the military…and naturally, despite the fact that the Pentagon has stated that no directives have been given to them and they don’t change policy based on a tweet…the progressives are all up in arms and the twitterverse is ablaze with hatred of all things Trump. Now never mind that there’s no such thing as transgender except in the minds of ignorant, politically correct millennial morons…you can’t turn a woman into a man…or a man into a woman for that matter…anymore than you can change a human into a cephalopod. That just don’t make a lick o’ sense. You can’t change genetics…I like silk stockings and garter belts as much as the next boar does…but if I put one on it doesn’t make me a sow…just a cross-dresser. And never mind that we should allow all citizens to serve in the military…I’m all for that but the same ignorant, politically correct millennial morons want to make all branches and all job specialties open to men, women, and whatever’s…including combat. Now I’ve not seen combat…but Neil was in the Navy and there are a whole lot of things on a submarine that simply take brute strength…loading stores, moving weapons, pulling in heavy, wet mooring lines to name a few…and ground combat has even more. Those folks routinely carry 60 pounds of equipment while hiking 20 miles a day and in the event of a firefight might have to pick up a 220 pound wounded soldier and carry them to a corpsman. The fact is that most women simply can’t do that job…or walk 20 miles a day with 60 pounds of equipment. Some surely can…but most can’t. Heck…even a decent percentage of men can’t do that but at least the possibility of working out to gain muscle mass and thus be able to do their job.

The aforementioned morons though…aren’t interested in this…they’re more interested in the military being an agent of social change rather than what militaries have been formed for millennia to do…kill people and break things in the execution of national policy. What really needs to happen is there should be a minimum physical requirement to enter the military and it needs to be the same for both men and women. Then each job specialty needs to be rated as to what physical requirements you need in order to be a combat infantry soldier, a tank mechanic, or a radio operator…and again the requirement is the same no matter whether the soldier is male or female. Women that can carry 150 pound toolboxes and pick up 200 pound tank cleats can be tank mechanics…if they can’t then they should be excluded from that job. It’s as simple as that.

I’ve been following several forum threads regarding the success or not of women in various branches of the military with differing physical requirements…and it’s simply amazing how many of these ignorant, politically correct millennial morons with zero military experience are telling us how easy it would be for women to be in front line ground combat units. Pffft.

Ok, rant over…sorry about that but ignorant, politically correct millennial morons need to learn what the actual purpose of a military force is.

Dunsmuir is about 50 miles north along I-5…it’s essentially a long curvy climb up from the 500 foot elevation in Redding where we’re parked to 4,000 or so in Mount Shasta City just north of Dunsmuir. We arrived at the parking lot about 0915 and quickly set off…the outbound leg was easy as it’s all downhill and into a gradually cooling gorge due to the evaporation of some of the water as it flows over the falls. Hedge Creek Falls is about 40 feet or so tall at the main drop then a bit downstream there are several other 3-5 foot drops as the gorge deepens…we couldn’t get to any of these but did have some nice shots of the main drop…including some from in back of the falls. They have cut away a large cavern behind the falls so Neil climbed around the edge of the falls and took shots from both outside and inside.

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One from inside the cavern you can see behind the falls in the first shot.

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And one from the other side outside of the falls.

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We hiked back up the hill and headed off to our second destination of the day…Mount Shasta.

Mount Shasta is a 14,161 foot tall compound strato-volcano…don’t worry…I’ll ‘splain what that means in a minute. It’s only been known as Mount Shasta since 1850 when the California legislature settled on that name…before hand it was known as Sasty, Saste, Sastise, Shasty, Shasté, Shaste, Shasti, Tshasti, Chasta, Chaste, Chasti, and Chaste. The current Shasta name most probably comes from the early Spanish maps of the California area…Spanish place names typically ended in a. Before the Spanish maps…the name probably goes back to the the Sastise Indian tribe that inhabited it’s southern flanks.

As you’ll see in then picture below…Shasta appears to have two volcanic cone peaks…the taller main peak and the shorter Shastina peak at 12,330 feet. However…thats incorrect. Shasta is what is known as a strato-volcano which means it was built up in layers and further as a compound strato-volcano since it is actually made up of 4 volcanic cones with a fifth cone known as Red Fir Cone being a remnant of a previous compound strato-volcano that collapsed before the start of the current mountain. The entire visible mountain is less than 200,000 years old and the lower visible Shastina peak is only about 9,700 years old. From the air you can see all 4 of the volcanic cone craters that form the current mountain as well as the remnants of the Red Fir Cone crater.

Shasta last erupted about 200 years ago in approximately 1780…and although dormant at the moment is not extinct and will eventually erupt again…as it has 10 or 11 times over the last 3,400 years. Eruptions of volcanoes in the High Sierra mountains typically go on for years…for instance Mount Lassen about 50 miles SE from Shasta erupted from 1914 to 1921 with 170 explosive eruptions in the first year of that period. We’re just glad it didn’t erupt while we were up there.

There are no trails to the summit…you can climb it but it’s all cross country climbing…with the closest parking area located at Bunny Flat at about 5 miles away and 7,000 feet below the summit…so it would be a considerable hike…about half of the 8,000 climbers that attempt it annually reach the summit. The good news is that…assuming you reach the summit, and that it’s winter, and that you brought your skis along…you can ski the 8.500 feet vertical drop down from the top that’s available most years.

We were only able to get up as far as Bunny Flat on the road…the road beyond there up to Panther Meadow is still closed due to snow…but it only goes another mile or two past Bunny Flat.

Taken from the road about 3/4 of the way up to Bunny Flat…the lower Shastina Peak is on the left side and the higher Shasta Peak is hidden in the right side of those clouds…like most mountains Shasta tends to make it’s own weather. It’s well known as generating what is known as lenticular clouds. Lenticular clouds look like stationary disks around the top of a peak but they’re actually forming continuously on one side, being blown to the other side and then evaporating…the stationary look is just an optical illusion. There weren’t any today…so Neil grabbed the second photo from Pinterest on the internet so ya can see what they would have looked like if they had been there

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Pano taken from the Bunny Flats parking lot…again the lower Shastina is on the left and the higher Shasta a to the right

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This is looking Southeast from the Bunny Flat area…this part of the PRC is really a lot more mountainous than we thought it was.

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Thursday morning we set off on another half day trip to McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park about 45 miles east of the Mountain Gate RV. It’s named for the falls it contains…Burney Falls which is…naturally…on Burney Creek and drops 129 feet to a 20 foot deep 48 degree Fahrenheit pool…that’s practically beer drinking temperature so ya definitely don’t wanna be swimmin’ in it.

The water in Burney Creek comes from snow melt up on Burney Mountain about 15 miles away…but it takes a strange path to get there. Rather than running down a creek bed the melt disappears into an underground aquifer that surfaces in the headwater pool for the creek about 3/4 of a mile upstream from the falls…well, actually only part of the aquifer is forced to the surface there and the rest continues underground along the top of a non-porous rock layer. So…what you get is both surface flow over the two main falls and seepage from the still underground portion of the aquifer. The area behind the falls is the primary nesting location for the Black Swift…we saw a couple of these but (a) we didn’t have the bird lens along and (b) they were flying way too damned fast to actually get a picture of one…so here’s a shot Neil found on the internet for ya…credit to the Slater Museum in the UK.

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Anyways…some shots of the falls.

This one is taken from the viewpoint just at the parking lot. We then headed off on the 1.3 mile 200 foot drop and regain Falls Loop Trail Hike. For reference…after this shot we walked to the right a little then down a series of switchbacks to the viewpoint just across from the two main drops…then continued another 300 yards or so downstream to the right before crossing the creek then heading back up another series of switchbacks on the far side of the gorge that got us to the top of the falls just out of view to the right in this shot. We then continued away from the water a bit to another bridge that crosses the creek upstream of the falls about 100 yards to the left of this shot before returning to the parking lot.

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HDR shot of the falls from a secondary viewpoint 2/3 of the way down the switchbacks. You can see the two main drops just to right of center (the tallest ones)…everything else is just the aquifer shooting out of the rock face between the porous aquifer layer and the non-porous layer just below it…as you can see the non-porous layer is about 30-40 feet below ground. This is actually a pretty cool waterfall…definitely one of the better ones we’ve seen lately. 

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Closeup view of the aquifer coming out…the rightmost main fall is on the left side of the shot. You can’t really see any openings where the aquifer comes out…it’s just a bunch of fractured rock that’s passable by the water in the aquifer.

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Taken from the closest viewpoint at the bottom of the falls…it was at least 25 degrees F cooler than it was at the top and the humidity was approaching 100%. Looking up into the sun to the left you could see the mist floating away.

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We really think these little ripples over rocks to show the flow are cool…Neil used a tripod and a shutter speed of 3 or 4 seconds to get both the flowing water and the flowers across the way.

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Closeup of one of the two main falls.

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Looking back from the base of the bridge downstream towards the falls…you can see how steep the gorge is…it’s lined with volcanic rocks like the ones in your bbq grill only bigger.

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Connie and Neil took a photo for a couple of kids back at the main pool and for a couple of folks our age at the bridge downstream…they returned the favor. The main pool is just out of sight around the bend on the far right.

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Once we crossed the creek and made our way up the switchbacks on the way back…a nice shot from the side of the falls through the trees.

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I put this one in just to show ya’ll the trouble we go through to get these photos for ya…way on the lower left there’s a person in blue who is standing at the lowest/closest viewpoint. Upwards just to right and below center the person in red is standing at the middle viewpoint. Look straight up and a little to the left from the red shirt about 2/3 of the way to the top of the frame you can just make out the entry pay station roof…total of 200 feet from the lowest viewpoint up to the parking lot. I just wanted ya’ll to fully appreciate the efforts we go through on your behalf. 

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We got more Fun Stuff© coming up of course…but Ima gonna go ahead and post this before it gets too many photos in it.

Interesting Stuff found on the net this week…

Meanwhile…in Alaska.

MeanwhileInAlaska

This kid is definitely going places.

KidIsGoingPlaces

Musta been a slow news day in Wales.

SlowNewsDayInWales

The Bus Knight…I put in the red lines over the 4-letter words to keep it PG.

TheBusKnight

Police in the small town of Lynnfield MA are happy to help.

HappyToHelp

And finally…wrinkles well earned.

WrinklesWellEarned

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 2 Comments

Fun Stuff© ‘Round Reno NV and Transit to the PRC

Ya know…I been wonderin’ for a buncho years now jus’ what kinda bear I am. I’m sort of the color of a cinnamon grizzly but definitely don’t really look like a grizzly. I reviewed every known bear type and really can’t figure out which one I’m descended from. Based on recent things I’ve done tho’…I’m thinking I’m descended from the prehistoric cat-bear. But I digress…more on my lineage a bit later.

Thursday we set off for a day trip over to Virginia City, NV…which as many of you probably remember was the site of the Comstock Lode in 1859…this was the first major silver…and gold…deposit discovered in the US…quite a bonanza of silver and gold were pulled out of the ground around the city. It’s been pretty much preserved as a tourist trap/old west town…pretty cool albeit not quite as cool as Dawson City in the Yukon was.

We headed south on our 40 or so minute drive…the first part was down I-80/I-580 then we exited onto NV-342 and summited over Geiger Summit at 6,789 feet…a sequential summit elevation.

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After summiting we got back down to only about 6,200 feet as we entered into Virginia City…we parked Big Red along the side of the main drag as it was still early enough that parking was available. We wandered around town for a couple of hours and got some pretty neat pictures of the Old West Stuff.

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Ya’ll should recognize this map…well, maybe not all of ya’ll but only those of a certain age. It’s the map that was displayed during the theme song for the TV show Bonanza from 1959-1973. That’s Pa and Hoss on the left and Adam and Little Joe on the right. Their fictional ranch named “The Ponderosa” was situated on the north end of Lake Tahoe in the Virginia City area. After the show ended there was a tourist attraction centered around the show down near the lake but it’s not defunct. Neil’s mom visited it back in the early 70s when she came out to visit her sister Rose but it’s no longer open to the public. Dun da da lun da da lun da da lun da da lada lada lon don…go ahead, say that last part real fast out loud.

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The chandelier in the old Crystal Saloon that is now the visitor center for the town.

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Friday we did laundry and then met our friends Frank and Gail Mascari for dinner…Frank is the Exalted Ruler (head honcho) at our Elks Lodge #2742 down in Fort Myers. They we’re in Reno for the annual Elks convention which was over but they were staying the weekend to see Virginia City and Lake Tahoe. We had a very nice 3 hours or so visiting…had a brew at the bar and then dinner at the seafood buffet. The only drawback was the parking garage…it had a vertical clearance of 7 feet and Big Red is 6 foot 8 inches tall…so we cleared the ceiling by a whole 4 inches. Getting into the garage wasn’t too bad…not crowded and we parked up on level 8 of 9. Getting out at 1930 was a whole ‘nuther thing though…a constant stream of cars going up hunting for a space and us trying to get down…we had to back and jack several times to get around the corners and all the idiots that saw somebody getting into a car and just blocked traffic for 5 minutes until they moved…making sure they properly blocked anybody else from either getting into the space or getting down the ramp. What a zoo.

Saturday was a planned trip down to and ‘round Lake Tahoe…which is supposed to be pretty cool. This where the cat-bear thing comes in. As you may know…or maybe not, I have no idea what you do and don’t know…a lot of folks have either a dog or a cat for a pet. Dogs are subordinate to their pack leader and have owners. Cats…well, they consider themselves superior to mere humans and what they have is staff to do their bidding.

I realized that said trip down to Lake Tahoe from Reno…which sits at an elevation of just 4,300 feet or so…would require a trip over the top of Rose Mountain Pass…which tops out at 8,911 feet above sea level. At that point…I realized that I should just dispatch my minions…Connie and Neil…to do the trip and bring me back some photos for the blog. When they agreed…I just figured they were my staff…and that makes me basically a cat I reckon…but then a conundrum arose. I’m clearly a bear and not a cat…take a look at the masthead on the blog and you’ll almost certainly agree with me. So the only thing I can figger is that way back in the prehistoric dinosaur days past…there musta been something known as a cat-bear that had a lot of the characteristics of both a cat and a bear and hence the predilection for staff came down through the millennia to me. Either that…or there was some strange mating goin’ on back then between saber tooth cats and prehistoric bears. I dunno…but since my mama bear never mated with a cat it musta been way before I was a gleam in my daddy’s eye.

I gotta tell ya though…Connie and Neil pretty much thought that Lake Tahoe was a bust. There were way, way, way too many peoples running around down there. They did get a good brew and some lunch at the Brewery at Lake Tahoe…but beyond a few pictures that…mostly…had to be snapped on the move as there just wasn’t any room to pull Big Red over and park.

Here’s a shot of Neil sitting at lunch…Connie took this when he wasn’t looking.

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Yeah…it really is that blue.

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We got back after about 6 hours…much longer than we anticipated but the traffic…especially around the west side of the lake where we were after lunch…was awful. Numerous traffic jams and about 3x as many cars on the roads as they would really take and just about no parking at all available.

All in all…pretty much of a bust as we couldn’t really park anywhere and the crowds were crazy.

Sunday was Mass and getting ready to go…although Neil did grill a pork loin and some corn on the cob and grilled mushrooms with balsamic vinegar, basil pesto, and parmesan cheese to go with the pork.

Monday we got up early, packed, hitched, and were on the road by about 0915. Shortly afterwards…we entered the PRC…otherwise known as the People’s Republic of California…the land of granola because everything that isn’t a fruit or a nut is a flake.

As we crossed the border from Nevada…in the first mile there were 8 signs with rules of either things we had to do or things we weren’t allowed to do…starting with “$1,000 fine for animal abandonment” We traversed across US-395 and CA-44 through Lassen Volcanic National Park…and the nanny state was in full force. There were way too many recommendations to slow down for curves that weren’t actually very curvy and signs to slow for grades that weren’t actually very significant grade…but all the truck and agricultural inspection stations were closed…guess that’s what happens when you basically have a bankrupt state due to all the socialism and give away programs that they’ve instituted.

We arrived at Mountain Gate RV in Redding CA about 1400 and got setup in site 76…nice level full hookup site with satellite visibility. We’ll be here for 10 days…it will be in the low 100s almost every day we’re here.

More Fun Stuff© to follow.

Interesting things found on the net this week.

This one wasn’t actually found on the net but at a gift shop in Virginia City…they wouldn’t let us take a photo though…but I’ll describe it for you. It was a pair of 8×10 signs you could post on the wall.

Democrat…because it’s easier than getting a job.

Republican…because not everybody can be on welfare.

Lots of truth in those statement Ima thinking.

It finally happened…hell has frozen over.

ItFinallyHappened

I would be worried.

IWouldWorry

I wonder how fast that roller coaster was going.

HowFastWasTheRollerCoasterGoing

Don’t leave your children unattended at Whole Paycheck…aka Whole Foods.

BonelessSkinlessChildrenThighs

For the Doctor Who fans amongst you.

ShowerNotADalek

And finally…you think your city’s potholes are bad.

BadPotholes

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 4 Comments

Transit to Sparks NV

Just a quick post to let ya’ll know our progress.

Tuesday morning we departed Salt Lake City and headed west on I-80…for our scheduled 230 mile trip to our overnight stop in Elko NV. Neil had some sort of stomach thing most of the day and when we got to Ironhorse RV in Elko he felt so bad that Connie went in and checked us in. Luckily we had a nice pull through site 38 right next to the office and since we were traveling again the next day setup was minimal. Front jacks down, slides out, power connected and we were done.

We took a nap and by about 1730 he was feeling better so we had leftover chicken carne asada from the night before…we got some home made (well, store-made but at least not factory made) tortillas from Lee Market in SLC and they were really tasty.

Wednesday we got up, had coffee and oatmeal, pulled in the slides and up the jacks and headed out for our 292 mile transit over to Sparks NV which is a suburb of Reno. Luckily Neil felt better so it was just a long day of driving. We stopped for potty breaks and at a T/A truck stop for lunch at the Taco Bell and arrived in Sparks about 1400. We had a short detour of a subdivision as our GPS tried to take us through the neighborhood to the back of the RV park…a nice lady who lived in the neighborhood sent us on our correct way and we quickly got checked in to our site 357. Neil showed them his retired Navy ID card and we got 20 percent off…saved 48 bucks for our 5 night stay…which was enough to pay for dinner.

We quickly got setup and then headed over to the Flowing Tide Pub IV about a half mile away…we had really great Mammoth Brewing Company Double Nut Brown which was actually a porter and not a brown…but we drank it anyway. Connie had Ahi Tuna and Neil some Pot Stickers and then we came home. We actually still have more carne asada chicken leftover but Connie didn’t want to eat it 3 days in a row so we saved it for tomorrow.

Early to bed was our mantra for the day as we were tuckered out.

Interesting things found on the net.

Just a reminder.

JusTAReminderThe Jesus dog.

JesusDog

Meanwhile…in Wales.

MeanwhileInWales

That’s it for today…Fun Stuff© tomorrow.

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment