Sunset Bay State Park and other Stuff

Sorry I haven’t been around to make my normal short, concise, posts, but Diane and I were off planet for a number of days enjoying the Oregon Coast from our perch at Sunset Bay State Park near Coos Bay. It’s near North Bend, too, and right next to Shore Acres State Park. Shore Acres is the park that has a botanical garden that volunteers decorate every year. Grant MaComie did a story on it not long ago and it’s a nice story about how it all came together. Knowing about this ahead of time, Diane booked another four days, in the same space (A-13) at Sunset Bay that we vacated last Monday. These four days are for the end of November when the lights are all up and blinking. The crews have already begun the task of stringing lights and they will be lit from Thanksgiving thru New Year’s Eve.

Actually, we were only gone for five days but who’s counting? Really. Just five days. We didn’t have cell service, no TV, no internet, no nuthin. We actually had to sit and talk to each other for long periods of time which was interesting and revealing to one of us. With all the distractions of our daily life on Earth we don’t seem to take time to visit like we should. I recommend such a trip like this for everyone. We were in a beautiful place and found that we really didn’t miss all those things that capture our attention for long periods of time.

We did miss Ziva, however. She’s our camper and loves getting away from the other dogs once in a while. As we packed to leave she knew we were leaving without her and did her absolute best to make sure we knew she knew and that she wasn’t a bit happy about it. It was really tough to leave her standing there, all alone in the driveway, as we pulled away from the house to leave.

OK, we didn’t really do that … she was in the house, but she knew we were leaving. I suspect that she slept most of the five days we were away. Truly, she does that when we’re home. She’s a dog. When not chasing something or barking at something, she sleeps.

Normally I jot little notes down on my next post about things I want to share. Kinda like an outline. But it’s not an outline, it’s just a list. To use this program I need the internet so I used the Notes app on my Ipad for the list. I just now tried to bring it up and got a brief glimpse of what I saved, then it just all disappeared. Like magic. Poof! So, now I’ll have to remember stuff to make it worth your time.

We left home at 1:30 pm on Thursday and arrived after 6:30 pm. It’s a long drive (277 miles) and I had to do it all alone because Diane doesn’t feel ready to drive the RV yet. So, we go slow. Making that more of a necessity was the windshield that was really, really a mess. Actually, it was only a problem when cars came at me causing all the dirt smeared on the window to refract the light to the point where I was just kinda guessing where the road was. Another reason for arriving during daylight. It would have been just fine if we could have left home around 9 am as planned, but that never seems to work out. I dislike having to park and hook everything up in the dark and told Diane that if we don’t leave by 9 am on this next trip, we will wait until the next day. Or, we just don’t go. Just before I could stomp my foot for emphasis, she agreed. We’ll see how that works out.

The next morning we got up really late and didn’t do much right away because it was really foggy crappy looking outside. So, we just lounged around and read our books. Later in the afternoon we launched the Toyota and took a trip up and down the road outside the park, then cruised in to Coos Bay to look around. Diane drives the Toyota so I had an opportunity to view the road with a critical eye and couldn’t help but be amazed that I had actually driven a 35.5′ motorhome around those windy turns without once dumping us into a ditch, or the ocean. It was humbling, let me tell ya.

Over the course of the next 4 days we did a lot of reading, watched one DVD movie that we’d both already seen (Dare Devil) and slept a lot. Once in a while we ate something. I can hear many of you thinking that “you watched Dare Devil twice! Really?” Well, yes we did. It was luck of the draw. We’ll never have to watch it again.

We made a few trips to Fred Meyer in Coos Bay, walked up and down their boardwalk for a while, saw a couple of really interesting sea-going vehicles,

and had lunch at Shark Bites. Diane had halibut fish and chips and I had my crab Louie. We both loved our meals. Each piece of Diane’s fish was about an inch thick and cooked to perfection. My Louie had at lease half a pound of Dungeness crab meat on it. Wonderful. The trip was now worth it.

We were able to spend our last day sitting on the beach watching the sun go down on Sunset Bay. Sadly, I failed to bring my phone/camera to capture the moment. Just believe me, it was really pretty. I’ll take pictures when we go back there the end of the month.

Perhaps the following photos will serve to tide you over till then. These are just shots taken around the park.

This is Simpson Reef. Way back ‘when’ the Simpson family owned all of this.

This is the bottom of a tree that apparently blew over a long time ago.

Just me and my lovely bride.

A different look at Simpson Reef in the distance. 

Then, while driving back to the park one day, we came across this and thought you’d enjoy it as much as we did.

The trip home was uneventful.We stopped at the DQ in Reedsport for lunch. Ate inside, then took our drinks and headed north up Highway 101 to Florence, the scene of our last visit to this area a few weeks ago.

One thing I didn’t get while at the beach was a good bowl of clam chowder. I really like that stuff. So, I rummaged around in a bunch of cupboards until I found a can and warmed it up. When it blew up and figured it was done. I was using the saucer as a cover and when it blew it flipped completely over. What fun.

Betty, our County Clerk, called this afternoon to find out if Diane is ready to go to work with the Counting Board tomorrow. I told her that I’m sure she was and that I was currently washing all her underwear to ensure she was properly dressed … then Diane snatched the phone right out of my hand before I had a chance to say goodbye. I thought that was kind of rude

I forgot to mention that I went golfing with the Peal Brothers before we left on our trip and again on the day after we returned. Diane thinks it’s good for me to golf with these guys. So do I.

It was pretty both times.

Detroit Lake State Park, Pacific Crest Trail, Sauvie Island, and Home Depot

We spent last week out of the country camping at Detroit State Park. That would be the reason you haven’t heard from us in a while. Our parking spot was close to the lake and gave us ideas about a family event next summer since all those sites are big enough for many tents.

Detroit Lake is known for good fishing, something neither Diane nor I do. Catching fish involves cleaning them, unless you give them away. We find it much easier to just lay around and watch others fish then go to the store when we want some for ourselves. It’s a beautiful place.

We took walks multiple times a day. Per the rules, all dogs had to be on a leash so we complied. I just didn’t hang on to Ziva’s all the time.

During one walk Ziva had a notion that she was some sort of water dog who liked ducks and was moving in on this one swimming away.

Once we talked some sense into her she got out of the water then walked briskly down the docks to a slip where the ducks were just sitting. Of course they bailed off and I honestly thought Ziva was going to follow them. But, apparently dog sense prevailed and she just watched them swim away. Odd that she liked the ducks because she didn’t give the numerous geese in the area a second glance.

There are nice trails like this all over the park.

After one long walk around the park lasting a couple of hours we returned and discovered that I left my keys in the RV door. I did that, of course, so I’d know where they were.

It rained almost the entire time we were there but that was OK. It was the first real rain we’d seen in almost 3 months. The dogs didn’t mind it either, but it kept us busy drying them off.

Went to Sisters one day to look around. It’s a neat little town. Almost like moving downtown Seaside from the beach to the high desert. Very touristy kind of place. On the way back we took a walk on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Since it was snowing we didn’t go more than a couple of miles up the trail before Ziva’s feet got too cold to continue. It was pretty chilly. Turns out she’s a warm weather dog. I had to carry her back to the car.

The area was burned off at some point in the past, not from recent forest fires. But, it gives you an idea how fire can decimate the environment and makes us appreciate those who fight the fires all the more.

On the way home we stopped at a Home Depot to buy baseboard material for our hall project. It was Diane’s idea, a good one, because we had the motor home with plenty of room to carry 20 foot lengths of material. As it turned out, we only got 8 foot lengths because that’s all they had of the kind Diane wanted. Still, it was nice to not have to figure a way to carry all that stuff home. Ziva and Ozzie enjoyed the shopping trip, too. Ziva even helped me tow the cart around the place.

OK, so Ozzie wasn’t so hot on riding in a cart but he had to. If Diane would have left him on his leash he would have stopped and peed on every display he encountered. We know that’s true.

Before leaving on our trip, my good friend and golf buddy, Doug, drove down to our back 40 to save some apples. He said his apples are all gone and the deer need some to eat. So, he picked a few.

Saturday we participated in a beach cleanup on Sauvie Island which is in the middle of the Columbia River between Portland and St. Helens. About half of the island is farmland and the other half is a wild life preserve. There is no mention in the history books about this beach where Diane signed us up to clean.

During the summer Collin’s Beach is a pretty popular place for the brave at heart. The link contains a photo of me that I didn’t want to use but Diane insisted.

After we cleaned up the litter we stopped at Kruger’s Farm for some fresh veggies. They have great prices on pretty much everything they grow. This sign in the store caught my attention and thought it would be a good way to end this.

The sign was there, but I didn’t see any chickens.

My 1,000th Post, or Why my fingers are tired

This is my 1,000th blog entry and I thought I should make it special. In what way, I don’t know, because I don’t consider any of my entries special. They’re just a bunch of words I string together in a manner that I’m still not sure I understand. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don’t. It’s a crap shoot. Still, I do it and I wonder why, perhaps like some of you may do. I’m not about offering advice for anything. I just share the mishaps I encounter during a current project that typically lead to some sort of injury to some of my favorite body parts. I constantly receive encouragement to keep writing leading me to believe that those folks enjoy reading about all those times I needed stitches. Or, maybe it’s because I have this one particular finger that’s had a total of 25 stitches for three different wounds over the course of the last 55 years. It’s true, and all three wounds were in close enough proximity that the resulting scars intersect. It’s evident that this finger, my left pointer, is poking around in the wrong places when it shouldn’t be.

Having people suggest that I keep producing this stuff makes me feel obligated to do so and also makes me suspect that I’m filling a need for them to be entertained. I’m OK with all of that. Sometimes I do stupid things on purpose just to see what happens. According to my wife, Diane, it’s not a proper way for a 73-year-old to conduct himself. Not healthy, either. But you know what? It’s kinda fun so I ‘spect I’ll keep going a while.

Last Friday I visited some of our Winnebago friends who came to spend a few days in St. Helens at the Elks Club. In case you don’t know, most Elks Clubs all over the US have hook ups for RVs and Camp Trailers that don’t cost much. No sewer in St. Helens, but there’s water and electricity for $15 a night. Plus, you’re parked next to a restaurant and bar that’s just a short walk away. Friday was pot luck night for the campers, however, so I represented me and Diane for the BBQ hamburger meal. Diane didn’t go.

Well, she went, actually. She went a lot because she and our daughter, Jennifer, spent the day together doing girl stuff which included lunch at a local restaurant. The food is generally good, as it was on Friday, I’m told, but both of them encountered some sort of bug that acted suspiciously like norovirus. Consequently, when the girls got home to their respective habitats, they went, and went, and went, without going anywhere except the bathroom. All the while that was going on I was sitting with our friends enjoying my hamburger, beans, and potato salad. I believe I got the better deal.

By the time I got home, Diane was much better but wouldn’t be full speed until Saturday. She communicated with the girls and the decision was made for all of them to come to our house for early dinner on Saturday. It, too, was a bit of pot luck which is always great because of the variety you get. For our part, Diane dug around in the refrigerator and found some hamburger that still smelled OK and decided to make meatloaf. For those who shun beef she went to either Safeway, or Fred Meyer’s, for some dead chicken parts they cook. I like their dead chicken. Actually, I like anyone’s dead chicken. It’s very tasty.

Now, I have to clarify here that I specify ‘dead’ chicken because we all know that there are many chickens out there that aren’t dead. Like those that live in our neighbor’s back yard. I need to make that point because I’m not a fan of live chickens but I’m not the kind of person who would go out of their way to make them more likable to my way of thinking without just cause. At this point in time the resident rooster is pushing the limit. Some of the hens are apparently special kinds because the feathers stick straight out from their scrawny necks looking as if someone has grabbed them by the feet, wrapped their hand around their neck, and apparently tried to stretch them a bit. Kinda like this …

Kinda weird, right? Now, the rooster of this little flock doesn’t have a robust crowing ability, as you might imagine. He crows in a feeble way like he’s on his last leg. So, that’s kinda like entertainment for me.

Our Winnebago Friend Gathering (WFG) this time of year is normally held at the fair grounds in Hood River. That plan was nixed when some idiot child tossed a firecracker in a ditch and started the Eagle Creek Fire and burned up over 30,000 acres of prime timber along the Columbia River. There was grave danger that the Multnomah Falls Lodge would burn but the fire fighters kept the flames away.The freeway, I-84, was closed and remains closed because of the fear of trees falling on the road once the rain starts. Because of that, the Winnebagos came our direction instead.

For our dinner, I chose to use our china, crystal, and silverware because it needs to be used. I set the table so I used pretty much all the silver so folks had enough tools to choose from for the items they were eating. No one complained and everyone had a good time.

You’ll notice that Diane isn’t in the photo. That’s because she rarely sits down during meals like this. Instead, she always up getting one thing or another like most hostesses I know. In the photo, left to right, are: Susan, Cliff, John, Less, Sophia, Terry, and Carolann. That’s me in the middle, with the big head.

This is everyone. I apologize for not getting a better photo of Diane, and I will surely hear about this one, but it’s what I got. I think she was sharing, during group discussion, how her day went on Friday. I love my wife. Mainly what we were doing in this formation, was watching the news of Hurricane Irma and how the weather was affecting folks in Florida. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Florida and Texas are drowning while Oregon and Washington burn.

Here’s a better photo of Diane …

It’s always fun to watch the news people during disastrous events like the floods because they encourage all the residents to evacuate then news teams go in and stand in the flood so they can get their pictures taken. It’s even more fun when the wind is blowing over 100 mph. Gotta wonder what motivates those people. Why do they feel the need to put their people in danger to show the masses what a stiff wind, filled with pelting rain, will do to unsuspecting people. Maybe it’s some sort of punishment for low performers. This only happens for water related events. Apparently the news people are smart enough to NOT show up at a forest fire and demonstrate the dangers related to them. Nope, that’s when they shift to one of those protest rallys that seem to pop up that don’t seem to have a valid point. The most recent one in Portland, today, was the Anti-White Nationalist Rally. I guess it was just a matter of time before something like that jumped out of the ground, huh? For those of you who don’t live in the Portland area, here’s a Protest Rally Schedule of events across the country that may interest you. If you attend any of them, we expect you to report back with information about what you learned at whatever rally you attend.

OK, now that I’ve actually put that rally list out there, I think, Really?! There’s a web site for protest rallys? I guess those folks who don’t have anything productive to do on any given day need guidance, and this is it.

Now it’s getting late. Ziva was happy when folks went home so she could reclaim her spot on the couch. She loved our visitors, but they were sitting on her couch.

Goofy dog.

Oh, ya! It rained Saturday night. Just enough to put a very slight green tinge on our brown yard. First rain in about 3 months.

I hope everyone had a safe weekend. Now, get back to work. I need my Social Security Check.

Thanks

The Air We Breath & The Demise of a Tree

Our normally excellent air in the Pacific Northwest has been polluted by all the forest fires burning throughout the state. There is ash raining down everywhere and breathing is at your own risk.

That isn’t a complaint – it’s a simple fact. Although the air in St. Helens is compromised, we are not dealing with the threat of evacuation due to fires as are many, many areas of the state. Last night fire fighters were close to losing the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge in the Columbia River Gorge due to a fire started by a 15-year-old child playing with fireworks. The lodge was saved but the fire remains un-contained as I write. In the blink of an eye this fire, named Eagle Creek, has consumed well over 10,000 acres of forest in the gorge and has caused closure of I-84, the main freeway artery from Portland through the gorge. Closure is from Troutdale to Hood River.

It’s a mess. I’d say visibility is less than a mile at our house.

Regarding the tree … it’s the tree that participated in our power outage during the last wind storm we had in December 2015.

Some more of it fell off the tree a week or so ago so the power company decided it was time for that tree to bite the big one and sent Asplundh over to take care of it. It was a two day job.

After cutting off, and grinding up all the limbs, they were about to haul it all away and dump it some place. I only begged and pleaded for a short time before the foreman decided that we could keep the residue which we intend to scatter all over the place around the house. Now we don’t have to buy bark dust.

Actually, I didn’t have to beg at all. They were glad to leave it for us.

 

It Rains in Other Places, too.

The news here at home is all about the havoc dished out by Hurricane Harvey and I understand. What I don’t understand is some of the dumb (from my perspective) questions reporters ask of officials involved with the recovery efforts. Like, “When do you expect the water to recede to a normal level?”

Really? Does he really think this official has that information? That’s just one, but it’s typical of the segment of CNN I watched.

I get it – huge areas of Texas, as well as neighboring states, have experienced devastating losses. It will take years for them to recover, but recover they will. But, it actually rains a lot in other places, too. Check the link. India is in the midst of a horrendous monsoon season. Last count was 1,200 dead in India and surround countries from flooding. I’ve not seen this reported on any of the TV channels I checked. I found it on BING news on my computer.

Let’s pray for them, also.

God Bless Texas & Oregon

Normally, when someone mentions Texas to me I tend to ask, “Do you know where the best part of Texas is?” When I get the expected, “No,” I tell them, “Smack dab in the middle because then, no matter which way you go, you’re leaving.”

That’s just a harmless dig at Texans, of course, but the same could be true for any place I ‘spect. Even Oregon.

Personally, I pray that the weather will turn off the rain in Texas so the flooding can recede and people can get about the business of recovering. It’s pretty devastating. An ideal situation would be if all that rain could be redirected to Oregon & Washington to help put out 22 forest fires burning in those states. The most significant is the Chetco Fire near Brookings, Oregon. Much of that town has been evacuated as the fire approaches after burning more than 125,000 acres of timber. Many of the other fires have consumed 10,000 to over 30,000 acres. Containment is difficult because of the remote locations and continuing heat.

Please keep all the folks displaced by both flooding and fires, as well as those who are battle the elements to contain the damage, in your prayers.

Thanks.

Eclipse Survivors, and Broken Body Parts

Just when Diane thought it was safe to go outside again, news of other Cate wives breaking bones started coming in. At this point in time we’re up to 4 – three arms and a foot, so far. Since Diane was the first to wreck herself, I suppose that kinda makes her a winner of sorts. Three of the breakee’s are wives to we three brothers and the fourth is the wife of a close cousin who is, essentially, a brother. Just before beginning this, I warned the one remaining sister-in-law about this apparently new tradition in our lives hoping that she might escape. All she needs to do is just sit quietly and have others wait on her hand and foot for the next 3 months and she should be safe. The problem with that, however, is that there’s no way she is going to sit quietly for any extended period. She’s just too busy. Getting waited on, I’m sure, she can manage for a long time. Hopefully she’ll see the danger in testing the tradition and be wary of everything.

Taking this a step further, and kind of stepping out on a very flimsy limb (literally), I’ve got to say that the Cate men must be more durable that the women who chose to share out name. Either more durable, or just not clumsy. No, that’s wrong. Can’t use clumsy because if I’m anything it’s clumsy. Really. Not a day goes by where I don’t add a nick or ding to my exterior, some of which require medical intervention to stop the bleeding and ensure I don’t acquire an incurable infection. You can ask Diane and she will totally agree with me. Yes, ask Diane, the one who broke her arm riding her bike.

I shouldn’t talk like that, I suspect, because the arm still bothers her. Mainly, I think, because her doctor told her to use it and to keep doing her PT exercises. She’s doing that. It won’t be long before she will be able to slug me full on with her left hand, but for now she must rely on her right one, holding her punches to ensure she doesn’t endure another injury in a vain attempt to dent this rock-hard body.

She doesn’t actually do that, of course. Just another lie. Also, the only part of me that’s rock hard is my head and she’d never hit me there because it might leave a mark.

On to more fun stuff, like the eclipse. It’s apparent that we survived since I’m sitting here but it was a close call. We got up early on the 21st and drove out to the south jetty of the Siuslaw River but figured we’d never be able to see anything because we could hardly see the road due to the seemingly ever-present coastal fog. For some reason we thought maybe it would go away, but it didn’t. So, we went east on Highway 126 out of Florence until we found a likely spot to park and watch the show. While getting set up a State Trooper stopped by to make sure we were OK and validated our choice for viewing the eclipse. We had Ziva, our dog, but forgot her leash — OK, I forgot her leash — and it was simply pure luck that the Trooper had one he’d found somewhere. He loaned it to us so we would be legal and asked that we just leave it hanging on the guard rail so he could pick it up later. We did that. Nice guy.

We sat there for the entire two-hour event and never once looked at the sun without using our eclipse glasses. Consequently, neither of us went blind. Ziva didn’t either because she’s smart enough to not look directly at the sun for any reason. Only people need to be told stuff like that. We were too far south to enjoy the totality zone, but it was still a good show.

All that made me tired so I’m going to bed now.