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.


Jeran Went Shopping !!

Yesterday, Diane and I took Jeran shopping for shoes. He’s going to be 17 on Tuesday the 11th and we figured it was about time he had some. Oh, he’s had lots of shoes over the years but they don’t last long because his feet just kept growing. Considering that he’s around 6’3″ you would think he’d have fairly large feet, but he only wears a 10 1/2.  Go figure. His older brother, Cedric, has him beat with shoe size and he’s a bit shorter.

You’d think taking Jeran shopping, for anything, would be a big deal, but it is. He hasn’t liked shopping, for anything, for a long time. That’s apparently changed. Or, maybe it was the lunch stop at Olive Garden that swayed his decision. We tried to convince him that Home Town Buffet was the best place ever, but he fixated on Olive Garden. That turned out very nicely because I had the absolute best shrimp carbonara ever. Jeran had cheese raviolis and Diane just had soup and salad. In addition, we devoured 12 bread sticks and 6 glasses of raspberry ice tea. It was a terrific lunch.

On the way to Portland we stopped at Fred Meyer just for fun to check out their shoes so Jeran would have a reference point in case we couldn’t find anything at DSW. With my help, it took about 3 minutes to find some perfectly suitable shoes at Freddie’s, but we couldn’t leave right away because Diane was stuck in another part of the store. Finally she finished whatever she was doing and we were on our way.

Lunch was first, or course, since it was … well … lunchtime. It just made sense. We chose the Olive Garden in Hillsboro because we knew where it was. After spending about 30 seconds with the menu, all of us were ready to order. I just had to get a ruling on the chicken & shrimp carbonara to see if I could get the shrimp & shrimp carbonara. Out waitress, Misha, said sure since there was actually a menu item for shrimp carbonara. I know, I usually get chicken because it’s one of my favorite animals to ingest, but shrimp win the day when available.

After the meal, we headed for DSW and the dreaded shopping. This is the store. It’s located in a small strip mall right next to Jack & Wynette’s favorite Asian food restaurant. We at there with them once, and I was awesome. Terrific folks own and operate it.

This is the women’s side of the store. Diane is back there someplace looking at the free shoes. Instead, she found a pair that we had to pay for. She reported that they are extremely comfortable so it’s worth it that she has comfortable kicks.

These are the men’s shelves. Based on our astute observations, Jeran and I determined that they apparently sell more women’s shoes than men’s. That was OK, by us. That’s Jeran in the white hoody, checking his phone for something. He wouldn’t tell me what, so I figured it must have been one of his girl friends. He’ll deny that, but I bet it’s true.

This is what Jeran used to look like. He’s the one on the left. With him are his older sister, Lydia, who recently turned 18, and Cedric, who is currently serving his country aboard the USS Nimitz CVN-68. As you may have guessed, they are all much taller, now. It’s true.

When he was in the seventh grade, Jeran had some emotional problems that required an unusual amount of surgery, counseling, and patience to resolve.

Thankfully, he had good doctors who were able to restore his boyish good looks allowing him to go back to school where he is currently in the 11th grade. That’s what he tells you if you ask what grade he’s in. Not, “I’m a junior,” but “I’m in the 11th grade.” Here’s what he looks like now. He’s the only child wearing glasses. Lydia has connects and Cedric will never need glasses. He’s got 20-10 vision. The transformation is amazing, don’t you think?

While shopping Jeran was fixated on the price tags, not the shoes so I had to talk to him about that. I explained that we were there to get him some good, comfortable shoes and he wasn’t to concern himself with price. He asked how much he could spend and I told him $700. I knew he wouldn’t believe me, but it worked to get him actually looking at the shoes and he picked out a couple pair of very nice shoes … one for casual, one for dress.

He got these for dress …

                                               and these for casual …Quite spiffy choices, we thought.

I got new shows, too, and a new belt. Now my pants won’t fall off.

On the way home we stopped at Freddies again to pick up Diane’s ring. She left it to be appraised and thought it might be a good idea to get it back. She left Jeran and me in the truck, with the windows up, and it was sunny out. It didn’t take long for it to heat up inside to the point where Jeran started removing his clothes. I had to remove one layer, too. We thought maybe she did this on purpose for some reason, but we hadn’t done anything wrong. Then I noticed the keys hanging in the ignition. Jeran was sitting in front so he turned the ignition on so we could roll down our windows. In that manner we kept the police from arresting Diane for leaving her children in a hot car while she shopped.

Today we went to church the brought Diane’s Mom, Jean, back home as we always do on Sunday. We watched movies and ate popcorn. I share this photo so you can see the laser-like focus Ziva had on every bite Mom took. Ziva knew that if she stared long enough, she’d get a kernel or two. She got more than that and eventually convinced the other two dogs to join in on the guilt trip. It’s quite effective.

That’s all I have for today. Hope everyone had a great Palm Sunday.



Sempre Fi my Brothers & Sisters

Today we took a trip to Camp Pendleton to forage for food as we were apparently running low.

I accompanied Diane into the commissary, and followed her around for a while until she suggested that I go get a haircut. Boy did I trick her because I got every single one of them cut, not just one.

Photo on 4-2-14 at 7.59 PMThat’s a Marine haircut that I got in a Marine barber shop for $8 in 8 minutes. Maybe less. Although I retired from the Navy, and I’ve always heard about the rivalry between the two services, I’ve always considered them to be my brothers and sisters. They are all warriors and I totally respect their dedication and integrity. So, I got a haircut to honor them, and the sweater I’m wearing in the photo above has a Marine emblem on the back.

When I was done I drove carefully back to the commissary and stopped by the spot closest to the exit door and waited for that person to appear and move their car. All the people lined up behind me got a little testy, but I didn’t mind. I just put my blinker on and waited. It didn’t take more than 30 minutes or so.

Inside, it didn’t take me long to find Diane because she wore her new hat … the one she bought at Hearst Castle. I have a photo of her wearing it, somewhere, but can’t find it right now so I’ll just share this one of my right foot that I took on our way “home” from Mission Viejo …

IMG_0265I think it’s a very dramatic shot of an undramatic foot wearing a festive sneaker, and little fake socks. Notice how the shadow eliminates the need for anyone to be struck with awe by the skinny stick-like leg. I think I’m going to blow this one up, have it framed and give it to Diane for our anniversary. She bought the sneaker for me for this trip. She said I can have the other one when we get home. Can’t wait for that! Neither can Diane because my left sock gets really dirty and people stare at me in public.

They did that before I started wearing just one shoe, though, so that’s really not reason enough to yearn for my left shoe.

After returning from our shopping spree I made a couple of trips from the car with the food that will last us for a few days. Hopefully.

It was chilly, too chilly to sit on the beach, so Diane put on her sweat suit and sat on the deck, facing the setting sun, reading her book. Me? I stayed in the safety of our room and tried to take a nap, but Diane had the living room window wide open and I was cold. I suppose I could have put some long pants and a long-sleeved shirt on, but they were in the other room. I didn’t want to make any sudden moves that might distract Diane so I just toughed it out on the couch. I did, however, sneak into the bathroom and got my towel so I could cover up my little legs. There was a breeze blowing across my exposed elbow so I installed one of the couch pillows on top of my elbow and it helped a little. I actually nodded off for a short time. About 8 minutes, like I did at the barbershop.

After Diane finished her book she came back inside and started waiting on me, something I thought was overdue. That’s an out-and-out lie, of course. She waits on me all the time. She promised to do that the day we got married … you know …. “… love, honor, obey, and wait on …” and she hasn’t disappointed me. Fortunately, we wrote our own vows and that part wasn’t in mine. Well, it was, but I forgot to say it during the ceremony. She didn’t. Therefore, she’s really kind of obligated to cater to my every whim, even the whims I don’t remember having. I’m sure she’ll deny this, but that’s OK as long as she keeps waiting on me.

Now, having said all that, I’m going to start looking for resources on the internet so I can learn how to take care of myself. I’m sure that’s in my future, like, as early as tomorrow. Perhaps even a little later this evening unless go to bed before she reads this.

I know, I could edit all that out, but I don’t do that. Once it’s visible on my computer, it’s a done deal and I have to live with that. Like saying something really dumb in public … you just can’t take that stuff back, ya know?

I need another glass of water, and I’m going to go get it myself. For practice.

Then I’m going to quit.



Shoe Litter, and Snow Balls

I just received a comment from a young lady, Miss Lou, who has a very entertaining blog. She also likes shoes. I was going to send her the link for my entry where I gathered up all of the shoes from around the house so I could vacuum, as directed.

Instead, to commemorate this entry, my 550th, I thought I’d just touch on that subject one more time. Besides, I can’t find the entry. It would take too long.

So, here’s the photos I took of that memorable day …

These are my shoes I returned to the bedroom. You might recognize the old brown Nike Airs from yesterday. Though the new shoes are very comfortable, I’ve had these things for so long they just cling to my feet.


And, here’s a week’s worth of Diane’s shoe litter. I took all of these to the bedroom, too, but not in one trip. I thought about stuffing them into her shoe closet to see if she would notice, but a sudden burst of clarity overcame me causing me to simply leave them like this.


Yes, she has a shoe closet. It’s cedar-lined, and accessible quickly from any point in the house in case of a shoe emergency. That’s it, at the end of the hall.DSC_8697

Inside you’ll notice that the top four shelves are pretty neat, then the organization descends into chaos. The reason, I think, is because the top four shelves are for shoes that don’t get worn as often as those on the bottom three shelves, and the floor.DSC_8698

Every once in a while she will dig into the closet to find something appropriate for whatever she’s got on, and toss me a question, like, “have you seen those cute little shoes with the mosaic things on top, that tie in the back? I think they’re brown.”

Though she will deny it, this is code for, “Jerrie, please look around and see if you can find those cute little shoes … and don’t stop until you do.” I promptly get on it  because I’m a good married man, and, if I don’t, I’ll likely forget which is not a good idea because that’s like ignoring the code.

Not too long ago I would have simply answered, “No,” and gone about my business. Since learning the code, life is a lot less stressful.

Yesterday, Jennifer and Lydia appeared for a brief visit after which we retired to the snow-covered front yard to conduct a minimal search for the hat Gilligan buried the day before. After discovering that the snow had thawed enough to make outstanding snowballs, the search was called off and the battle was on. Lydia cheated and ran all the way around the house and got into their car in the driveway, but Jennifer stuck it out and took a beating. In retaliation, she buried the pullover that she was bringing to me because her mother didn’t think it was a good idea for me to be running around in the snow in a T-shirt. Had I known she was delivering the pullover to me, I would have delayed my attack. Instead, I paid the price.

Then I went after Lydia in the car. She wasn’t quick enough to lock the door so I was able to flush her out and started lobbing bombs onto her over the car. It wasn’t very successful, but I had her mightily worried for a while.

Oh. Diane went to the doctor today and learned she has bronchitis. She got new meds to ensure she’s healthy enough to fly to Hawaii with me next week. If not, guess I’ll have to leave her home. Hate to do that but, you know, the tickets are paid for.