Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We had the first night of frost of the season this week! Unusually early for the time of the year (the 23th of October), we hear.
The sunrise was spectacular on this icy morning!

I was sure glad I put my pot of chrysanthemums inside the 'bay' so they didn't freeze.

The vineyards are turning colors, as well as the blueberry orchards we overlook at the back of the RV. 
They're turning a bright red!

There's still no rain, lets all knock on wood please, and James made good progress in Doug's backyard.
He's pouring concrete for some retaining walls and started to dig up the grass for the pathways.

On our walks around the campsite, Sadie and I noticed fall has rapidly emerged . 
This fun little bridge connects us with the village of Dayton on the other site, and makes for a picturesque view of the river now the trees are starting to turn.


Oregon's moisture makes for lots of 'green' all around.
Despite lots of moss and fungus in this little 'wild' apple tree it has quite some apples and these ferns are very happily growing on an old oak. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

We kept hearing mysterious popping sounds all through the day and night this week and finally found out that apparently the grapes are ripe around Dayton and they are using small 'canons' to deterr the birds that are trying to eat them!

First thing we did this week was setting up an appointment to get the truck repaired! We couldn’t take much more of this ding-dong-ing!
The truck shop close by in Amity can’t help us en sents us to Portland. I follow James in a car we borrow from Doug in which I, thank heavens, cannot hear the alarm and we drop it off to be worked on.
The good news turns out to be that the alarm is just a sensor gone wild and they show us how to turn the thing off (hallelujah!) but the bad news is that they find a leaking water pump which needs to be replaced. In addition to a tune up, oil change and new oil filter that sets us back, gulp…, $1500!
To make matters worse James computer crashes again (every year around Thanksgiving, what’s up with that?) Ca-ching! New hard drive please! There goes another $300!
It never rains but it pours they say and this sure is a soaker!
I decided to cheer myself up a bit and go to the pumpkin patch and farmers market next to the campground.
Looking at the riot of colors and wonderful fresh products sure brighten things up a little don’t you think? I would have taken a hay ride too but there was a whole grade school taking turns so I passed. Darn, I never have been on one!

Back at the ranch we decided to wash the RV (again) since the weather is beautiful these days and than proceeded to, finally, treat it with the sealer we pick up from Doug’s where UPS had delivered it by mistake 3 weeks ago.
While we were at it we polished the aluminum stairs on the back and attached the new storage skirt we got at Camping world to the front.

James started his work in Doug’s backyard this week. He layed out the new ‘plan’ with boards and started digging trenches for drainage pipes. Its hard work since the soil is very wet and basically heavy clay.

He started working on the new shed and the small greenhouse on the side of the house and made a lot of Home Depot, lumberyard and rock-yard runs.

I made a start at being trained by Doug’s office manager Katie to fill in for her when she goes on maternity leave somewhere around the 13th of December.
Since I only work in the mornings and we just sold our 2nd car (not so smart!), Doug is letting me borrow one of his cars, that’s up for sale anyways, to commute to work.
Something funny happened (yeh, they do too sometimes). Two spaces away from us a Dutch guy and his Mam pulled in with a 5th wheel. It turns out we lived about 30 miles away from each other in Holland! Small world huh!
He’s a dairy farmer and is trying to come to America and set up a farm. He’s looking at several properties around here and hopes to be able to buy one after getting his green card.

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's that time of the year that the 'Rogue' is finally giving up some of it's salmon and the fisherman were out in big numbers these days!

The beach was full of surprises each morning now the ocean got a little rougher and brought up all kinds of interesting treasures out of it’s depths. The turkey vultures clean everything up afterwards.!


Fall was in the air and we realized we had to start thinking about getting ready to leave Turtle Rock .
One after the other our workamping summer group was leaving. We had several farewell BBQ’s and campfire-last-evening-get-togethers and waved goodbye the next morning to whomever is leaving. The group that’s left behind got smaller and smaller until we were the only ones left.
We realized we only have about a week left to do some work on the RV before we head out again!
Fortunately we had some time on our hands since we finished working on 9/22 although James will continue wrapping up his groups until we leave. The extra hours he makes we’ll use to pay for electricity, propane and some groceries.
We worked hard on the RV. We scrubbed the whole roof on our hands and knees, getting rid of the grimey layer of oxidation and dirt. Since we were wet allready we didn't even stop for a little rain that started to fall halfway through! The result is a beautiful, sparkling white roof! We also did the 2 slide roofs.
James did again more caulking and put more rubber around various compartment doors.
He also put a solid panel in the front compartment under the hitch where there was previously a mesh
panel to give air to a generator. We have the generator in our truck so we rather have a watertight compartment where we now can store more ‘stuff’.

All that work makes you tired! (and put holes in your socks)

Unfortunately we couldn't de-oxidize and treat the roof and sides since UPS really screwed up on our order from campingworld. Our package should have arrived more than a week ago but is now sitting in Newburg at James' brothers house, to make a long story short. Since we were leaving in a day we’ll now just pick it up when we arrive there and will work on it in the coming weeks.
We’re taking all the wheels of the RV and spray-paint them black including the nuts (less rust and cheaper than replacing them with stainless) and while they’re off James has the tires balanced out.
After all that the rack of the truck looks really bad because it is so rusty so we take 3 days sanding and repainting that as well.

Taking out the 'studs' of the winter tires

In the midst of all this cleaning frenzy we also managed to sell our car to our neighbor’s daughter. We were thinking of selling it next spring but why wait when you have a buyer that has the money, especially in these difficult times?  I just don’t like to have to drive behind the truck and not be able to sit together and chat and point things out to each other.
I’m going to miss it, it was my first ‘new’ car ever, 10 years ago, and I’ve loved it, it was a great car!


And than one grey morning, how appropriate, we finally said our last goodbyes and took off for our new winter destination.
We found a campground close to Newberg, where James brother lives, in Dayton, OR.
Although it isn’t very far we decided to take 2 days to get there so we’re not rushed and will be able to enjoy the fabulous views of the ocean from the winding coastal road to Coosbay after which we will go inland over the hills of the Cascades to Roseburg where we hope to overnight at a Walmart. We’ve never stayed at a Walmart before so that will be interesting!

Everything goes smoothly, the sun breaks through and we’re excited to be on the road again!
All would have been perfect if not for one minor ‘hitch’ we encountered after leaving Coosbay. 
The alarm for the truck’s breaks came on and there’s nothing we can do to stop it from ding-donging for the rest of the 2 hours it takes us to get to our days destination! Off course we did a thorough testing of the breaks but they seemed to work absolutely fine so we just had to endure it until we find a repair shop that can look at it.
When we pulled up at WalMart both our ears are ringing and our nerves were a little frizzled from the constant noise!
Unfortunately our misfortune didn't end here because it turns out that this WalMart doesn’t allow overnight parking! Pfff,…so off we go again, luckily only for another 15 minutes or so to a Pilot truck station along the road further north, also a first for us!
There was plenty of space here and we really liked the convenience, and the price, of this place. Everything at your fingertips, food, gas, groceries, showers, coffee, even a bar!
The lot is well lit and we felt quite safe amidst all these truckers! Off course we were surrounded by trucks and they do make noise all night but we kept the windows closed and put our earplugs in and we slept just fine!
The next day we only had to drive about 120 miles. The break alarm came on again so we tried to muffle it with a towel and James even put in earplugs!

We reached the Willamette Wine Country RV Park at around 1 pm and chose a nice roomy site on the perimeter of the campground. There’s a big field behind us with an open view to the hills covered by vineyards and wineries.

The weather is gorgeous and after setting up camp we enjoy happy hour with a nice glass of wine in front of our RV, watching the sun set behind the hills.
We spent the next day checking out the neighborhood and locating the closest shops and grocery stores after which we drove the 15 minutes to Newberg in the evening and had dinner with Doug and Brenda.
It’s going to be so great to be able to see them whenever we want for the coming 3 months or so and spent the holidays together!