LL Stub Stewart State Park

Camping at LL Stub Stewart — August 31 and later

It was a close call, but we escaped from St. Helens without being stopped by the law. That was accomplished by taking the main roads instead of backroads like they apparently thought we would. And, that’s what we normally do.

Our desired destination was LL Stub Stewart State Park where we intend to hide for the next few days, then we’ll sneak our way back to our main domicile and get on with the daily struggle with the COVID pandemic.

I’m not taking the pandemic lightly which may be why our little neck of the woods is pretty much safe. We don’t go anywhere there are crowds, something we’ve done for years, so it’s ingrained in our behavior and druthers that we be left alone. When I do go out amongst the people, I find myself holding my breath whenever I pass someone. I don’t think about it, it just happens. As long as I don’t encounter a long line of people I should be OK.

Here at Stub Stewart it’s 70 degrees. I know that’s true because I looked at the thermometer I packed. It’s an indoor/outdoor thing that was laying around the house. It worked until I checked to see if it needed new batteries then it mysteriously quit. I figured it must have heard what I planned and decided it wanted new batteries. I was happy to oblige and it worked great. People should listen to their electronic doodads more often.

Diane and I are sitting on our roll-up patio just listening to the quiet. It’s very lovely.

It’s quiet at home, mostly, but somehow the quiet here is just a little bit different. Makes the trip worth while.

Driving over took a long time because every time we saw a car I got off the main road to avoid capture. There are a lot of cars on Highway 26 so there was a lot of hiding going on.

You’re probably wondering why we’re hiding, but I’m not going to tell you because that would make you complicit. Believe me, there’s nothing worse than being complicit. There isn’t enough olive oil on the planet to make the itch go away. So, I’m saving you from a lot of aggravation.

Just as we were leaving Scappoose, after adding fuel to the tank, we discussed whether or not we were hungry enough to visit the nearby Burger King or really dig deep and get something from McDonald’s. We decided that the trip would be short enough that we could do with an energy bar of some sort. I had some in my golf bag that are pretty old, but still good, but Diane had new ones so we each had one. It was just perfect and was something I could eat while dodging the police.

I’m getting hungry now. So is Diane. She said so. Apparently I’m eating a frozen TV dinner that fell out of the freezer when Diane was checking everything after I parked the rig. She caught it and said, “that’s your dinner” which is why I know that’s what she’s going to feed me. That’s OK because I like TV dinners. Alot. We were going to have steak for dinner but when Diane went shopping to stock the RV it was $15 a pound. She said I wasn’t worth $15 a pound for steak and didn’t buy any. That’s another reason I’m eating a TV dinner.

The Dish TV antenna zeroed right in on all the right channels for me because I knew exactly where to put it. We’re in the same spot as the last time we visited here and I put a big X on the grass where the antenna needed to go in case we ever returned. Makes things easier for Diane because her main objective for selecting a site is to ensure it has an unobstructed Southern view so the antenna can ‘see’ all the satellites it needs to ‘see’. Sometimes I have to drag my 76-year-old body up the ladder to the roof to make that happen (get an unobstructed view) which is getting trickier every day. She stays inside when I climb that ladder because she’s afraid I’ll fall and doesn’t want to see that happen. She just listens for a THUD which is her clue that 911 might be necessary. Before calling, however, she always goes out to see what the noise was. So far we’ve avoided the need for an ambulance. Except that time when Diane crashed her bike.

We brought the bikes this time so she can “get back on that horse,” if you know what I mean. She broke her wrist the last time she tried so is a little leary going down that road even thought it’s been two years. It was a very painful event for her. Not only because of the pain of the break, but also because it happened near a bunch of yurts and an entire herd of yurt people rushed over to see what happened. It was probably the most excitement they had all week. If she isn’t able to get the bike going, she knows what the training wheels will look like. I looked some up and showed them to her. Either that, or get her a different bike. Or a scooter. There is absolutely no pressure on her to ride again. I’d like her to try, but if it is difficult I’ll do whatever she wants to make it OK. That’s because I love her, and I’m just a little bit afraid of her when she gets mad at me. I’m not going to make her mad.

What I’m writing is pretty dumb stuff, I know. But the words are just flowing out of my fingers as I sit in my reclining lawn chair while Diane cooks.

It only takes 4 minutes to cook a TV dinner so I’m stopping now to wash my hands and be ready when it hits the table.

As she always does, Diane brought along a small carrot cake. We both really like carrot cake. I didn’t take a piece when she was cutting hers so was surprised to find this when I felt it was time:

Really, who cuts a round cake like that? Diane, obviously. She said she didn’t want all that frosting. I guess that makes sense, in a way.

—- pretend there was a delay here —-

Since that last entry we’ve been pretty busy. We both got a good night’s sleep, got up early, and drove to the Vernonia Golf Club to play golf with Doug. Yes, he drove all the way out there to meet us for a super round of golf. Actually, we drive out there sometimes for our regular weekly games. It only takes about an hour.

Sadly, he was disappointed about the “super” aspect of the game because he was the only one who attained that level. He had a 49. Together, Diane and I had a stunning 130, or something like that. That’s for 9 holes, people. But, we had a really good time. The weather was great and there was hardly anyone there but us so no pressure.

This is Diane and Doug looking for my ball in a wild patch of vegetation:

I helped and I actually found it. It was suspended about 3 inches off the ground in an especially tenuous bush.

I hit it from there just for fun. I normally toss bad hits like this back in the fairway, but this one looked like fun. So, I hit it and it worked out OK.

Here’s Diane at bat:

After golf Doug headed to Hillsboro to buy a new clothes washer and we went ‘home’ to our RV for lunch. On the way, we went past our section of the camp ground to the end of the road where there are no lights so the stars are really visible. At night. Oddly, there’s a sign on a gate going in to the last section that states “No Stargazing 7am to 9pm”. Kinda weird, don’t you think?

On the way back down the hill we turned in to a section of the park that opened on September 1st. Just wanted to look it over and confirm that it’s the section we camped in with the family when it first opened in 2007. Indeed it was and we found Les and Sophie and had a short chat with plans to connect on Wednesday after supper for a fireside visit.

As for lunch, I can’t remember what I ate, but it was good.

While laying in my chair, waiting for dinner to settle, I got to wondering where my phone was. I misplace it all the time and a search of the RV and the car revealed that I had done a stellar job of misplacing it this time.

Thankfully, Diane has this nifty app on her phone (Life360) that she uses to keep track of me and discovered it was still at the golf course. Apparently I left it in the golf cart they loaned me.

So, back we went to the course to see if we could retrieve it. When we got there, just before 6 pm, I approached a gentleman by the office who said, “Looking for a phone?” to which I answered, “Yes” and he led me into the building to get it off the counter. In all, the phone was officially missing from me for about 20 minutes, but it had been at the golf course for about 7 hours. It’s nice to know there are still honest people in the world.

Today, Wednesday, we drove to Banks to look around thinking we might find a thrift store. But, we didn’t. Banks is a really nice little town (2,500 pop) and it’s obvious that the residents like their town. It was pretty spiffy.

There was no thrift store but we enjoyed touring the small town, then returned ‘home’, ate lunch, then just laid around, avoiding the heat.

Lunch was delayed for a bit while we cleaned up the remnants of the microwave turntable which Diane took out and threw on the floor in a frenzy. That’s not true, of course. It was a total accident. She was removing the syrup she heated up for the waffles the the wire rack for use during the convection cooking periods caught on the turntable. On its way to the floor, the turntable hit the handle of the skillet I used to cook her eggs and the eggs were still in it. The skillet flipped up in the air, separated from the eggs and everything landed on the rug, side by side, just after the turn table landed and broke to smithereens. Diane immediately said “I can still eat the eggs” but I wouldn’t let her. She barely argued when I took them away from her. I was pretty sure she was kidding, but didn’t want to take a chance.

We were both barefoot, standing in a sea of minuscule pieces of glass shards and it took a couple of minutes for either of us to move.

After rolling up the rug that was in front of the stove, I cooked the replacement eggs and we ate. Sadly, I failed to take photos. You would have liked them.

After eating, then spent a great deal of time watching the 2nd part of a Hallmark movie we had recorded. What made it difficult was the hard drive I set up as the DVR for our Dish receiver was EOL. That is a valid acronym. Look it up. One of the choices will be End Of Life. Because of it’s advance age, and maybe because it had been on for a couple of months, the playback kept freezing at different spots so we finally just gave up and removed the drive from the system and watched regular TV. With commercials.

Actually, the hard drive was long past EOL. I salvaged it from an old Apple Time Machine that just quite working about six or seven years ago. As I do with most things that quit working, I tore it apart to see what made it tick. In the end I had a pile of a case not worth keeping, a bunch of electronic parts, and this 1TB hard drive that looked OK to me even though it was around 10 years old. That’s ancient for a hard drive.

Going on faith, I purchased a case for the drive that had a USB connection which I plugged in to my Dish receiver. When I did that, the Dish perked up and asked if I wanted to format the drive to serve as a DVR? Of course I pushed the Yes button. Doing that started the process of setting it up and when it was finished I was informed using it would add $10/month to my bill. That was expected, so OK.

That was a few years ago so I’m totally happy that it lasted as long as it did. I can get a replacement 1TB drive for about $60 and that’s my next project.

This afternoon, after supper, we drove all the way up the hill to Dairy Creek Campground East from Dairy Creek Campground West, to visit Les and Sophie. They are about 300 feet apart, but we drove. It’s up hill.

Now we’re home again and winding down for our last night in the park. Then it’s back to the real home for a couple of weeks before we will be forced to take off again. Next time it will be Fort Stevens State Park at the coast.

It’s a rough life.

Really.

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