I’m Listening

I’m listening to my lovely wife, Diane. She told me a couple days ago that I haven’t posted anything during the month of July. I checked and, by golly, she’s absolutely correct. I haven’t. I can only attribute this lack of posting to old age or, perhaps I’ve simply used up most of the words available to me in a given period of time. I’ve heard that’s a ‘thing’. Diane has a cousin who, when she’s at a loss for words, says “…I must have used up all my nouns.”

Considering the amount of time that’s passed I’m pretty sure I can’t possibly remember things in proper sequence, if I can remember things at all, so I’m just going to ramble and see what happens. That way I can be just as surprised as you when something profound sneaks out.

Let’s see … on July 15th Jerrie Anne Diane Cate celebrated her 8th birthday which means the school district has no choice but to allow her to attend 3rd grade when school resumes in September. She’s pretty stoked about that. Matter of fact, she actually cried when the school year ended because she likes school that much. Her older sisters love school, too, so it’s apparently a genetic ‘thing’ that comes from their mother’s side of the family. I guess it could be from Diane, too, but it’s surely not from me. I was perfectly OK when summer showed up and I was still wearing little boy clothing.

Shortly after Jerrie’s birthday we fired up the bus and returned to Paradise Cove for a few days of R&R, by ourselves. You may recall we took The Littles there in June for about a week. We had big plans to spend a lot of time in the hot tub but I don’t remember doing that even one time. Instead we spent our time either sitting on or walking along one beach or another, watching the waves. The high light of the sitting part was when we parked ourselves on a tall dune above the remains of the Peter Iredale which has been a fixture on the beach at Fort Stevens State Park my entire life. We were there to watch the sunset and saw some whales playing along the shore spouting a few times, showing us their tails, then disappearing. It was pretty special which is good because the sun went behind some clouds and there was no proper sunset. It just got dark and chilly. Be we had whales!

We returned from that trip on Monday and had a few days days to recover, we thought, until Diane discovered that we had reservations at Big Eddy County Park near Vernonia on Wednesday. This was another trip with The Littles because it’s a yearly Family Camp for Jennie’s and Daniel’s church. We’re always invited and we almost always go because it’s great fun. The Littles went last year for the first time and loved it. They got to spend days, literally, in the Nehalem River, and they made lots of new friends. The great thing about this is that the church rents the entire park so the kids can be free to go wherever they want with no fear of something bad happening. They just had to check in with their home camp on a regular basis so we knew where they were and they could not venture into the river without adult supervision. All we adults had to do was sit around our campfires talking and eating snacks. Once in a while kids would show up and we’d have a meal. The big deal with food culminated in a dessert social where I cut Jerrie a piece of very rich chocolate cake that was far too large. She savored every morsel but wound up giving it all back, plus, later that evening. I suspect it tasted much better the first time it passed her lips. She recovered nicely the next day and was able to spend lots of time with her friend Lilly.

The bigger Littles (Gilligan & Baylee) put dozens of miles on bikes, riding all over the park with their friends. Most of the bike riders were careful but we had to be wary of the smaller ones with training wheels. They weren’t overly concerned about who was in front of them as they pedaled around, talking to whoever was riding next to them. Diane was almost run over many times because she either didn’t hear the rattle of those training wheels or she thought they actually knew about the rules when encountering old people. Like, don’t run into them. They tend to tip over and break things. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

I exercised our small little BBQ for one meal by cooking hamburger and chicken patties. I don’t use it often, and only clean it when I do figuring that whatever bad things may have grown on it since the last use would surely be consumed during the warm-up phase. It’s worked so far and has provided us with some tasty hotdogs with a hint of steak and old hamburgers. They are a culinary treat. Now that we’re home I’m reminded that I need to remove the 4 chicken patties I left on the BBQ when I put it back in the RV. I have no valid reason for doing that. It just seemed to be OK at the time. I can already hear Diane calling my name, in large capital letters — “JEROLD BRADLEY CATE” — when she reads this.

In case you’re wondering about the danger of little kids playing in the Nehalem River, fear not. It’s not a big river. It’s more like a large creek. And there are always lots of people around lounging on a variety of different kinds of floating devices. It’s pretty safe.

That’s about it for this time. Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.

Beverly Beach State Park to St. Helens

We’re home, and I’m now able to use my handy-dandy keyboard instead of the fake one on my iPad screen. Although it worked OK, I much prefer the clickety-clack of a real keyboard.

We slept in this morning, again, like we’ve done all week. Once we were up and navigating, Diane made a very weak pot of coffee so I’ve been uncaffeinated all day. Even though I doctor my coffee with half & half & sugar, it just wasn’t quite right. She agreed with me and it’s OK to make a mistake once in a while. But I let her know that it better NEVER happen again. You believe that, right? Ya. Sure you do. You know me better than that.

We just mosied through the morning getting everything put away in preparation for the trip home. Diane takes care of everything inside the trailer, and I do the outside. The rule is that if anything inside the trailer breaks, it’s her fault. If anything outside the trailer breaks it’s because something inside the trailer was stowed in the wrong place. Not true, of course. I just have to get the trailer strapped to the truck, the bikes strapped to the back of the trailer, and Diane strapped in her seat. Then we go to the dump and empty the holding tanks. That’s one of the funnest parts of a trip. We left a little early so didn’t have to endure the unending line of people waiting for the slowest guy in the world to finish so the next slowest guy could take his place until it’s finally your turn and you find yourself taking your time, making you the slowest dump guy in the world. It’s a “thing”.

After the dump we jumped on Highway 101 North and drove non-stop to Warranton where we stopped at PetCo and got the dogs some more food. Then we took a short trek to Doogers which is located just before the Youngs Bay Bridge. We planned to eat our afternoon meal there as soon as we got in the truck for the trip so the anticipation built for almost 3.5 hours until we finally arrived. Diane had a tuna melt an I had halibut fish and chips. Both were very good. I ate all of mine but Diane couldn’t finish hers. It was a huge sandwich so I understand.

From Warranton we drove straight home, arriving somewhere between 5 and 7. I don’t know exactly when because I didn’t check the clock. I’m pretty sure I’m right, though. It took me a while to jockey the trailer back and forth to get it in just right spot before unhooking it so Diane could put the truck away. Then I rescued the bikes and put them away, also. Diane wanted to leave the trailer plugged in so she wouldn’t have to empty the refrigerator tonight, but it kept blowing the breaker. So, I just unplugged it and left the reefer on gas. That simplified things, a lot. After doing that I think I discovered the reason the breaker tripped … the trailer water heater was still on electric. That’ll eat up some juice.

Now my day is done, except for some photos …



There’s a whale in the middle of the photo about 200 feet off shore.


Beverly Beach is the long stretch of sand toward the top.


Beverly Beach looking south


Beverly Beach looking north. It was so crowded that we didn’t stay long.


Goodwill parking lot. Diane said, “See. I’m not the only one who parks this way.”


Remnants of an interesting tree in the park. Looks like some sort of critter, doesn’t it? You can see on top where the tree was removed, leaving just the roots.




Yes, we rode our bikes.


Diane sat on the beach and just watched the waves while I roamed around picking up brown rocks.


That’s the way back to Beverly Beach State Park, under Highway 101.


There was a big dog running around on the beach before we got there. Would have liked to seen it. 

A Vacation & Other Stuff

On September 8th we started working in earnest to get the old RV ready for a trip to the beach. The main focus was to run the water system through a cleansing process to ensure we wouldn’t catch some exotic disease from critters that seem to linger there. Though the RV is 36 years old, we can only verify that such a cleansing has never happened in the last six years that we’ve owned it. Prior to that, I suspect it was never done, either. Since we’ve been known to use the RV a number of times in the past, and have never suffered ill effects one may wonder why it was necessary that this task be performed prior to this next trip. The answer, of course, is that Diane determined it was necessary meaning nothing else was going to get done until the water streaming from the various exits of the system smelled totally like bleach. Therefore, we made it happen. Then we cleaned it, over and over until the offensive bleach odor (and taste) was removed. Let me tell you … adding the odor and taste of bleach is a snap. Getting rid of it, not so much. It took a while.

Part of the cleaning process included adding water to the grey and black water tanks then driving around a while so it would slosh around and make sure all interior surfaces received a cleansing rinse. Doing this was fun for me because it was the first time Diane rode with me while I drove the RV. All previous trips involved her driving the chase car, the one with air conditioning and a working radio, while I drove the RV which has neither. That’s not really too bad if it’s a cool day because the heater works great. So, having Diane with me was special.

Most of the sloshing voyage was on narrow back roads with lots of curves and bumps that put my rookie RV driving skills to the test and solidified Diane’s belief that we don’t need a tow car because she’s perfectly OK driving the chase car. However, we had already purchased a tow dolly for the PT so she was just out of luck. By ending the trip with a stint on a nice wide road her fears were soon forgotten.

Last Sunday morning, the 13th, the trip took on a serious note when Diane went took her Mom, Jean, to the store and left instructions for me to pack my underwear. So I did. It took me about 3 seconds then I went out and went to work getting the tow dolly connected to the RV and getting the PT secured. That took me about 20 minutes, something I was very proud of because I’d never done it before. All that remained was to get Diane home, crank up and head on down the road to see if it would fall off.

When Diane returned, that’s just what we did.

Eight miles down the road we stopped at Fred Meyer’s for gas because we had no idea how much was in the two tanks on the RV. The gas gauges don’t work very well. When I got out to unlock the gas tanks I was supremely gratified to see the PT still behind us. Since I hadn’t felt anything odd, or seen anything flying off the road behind me, I was pretty confident we still had it, but it was nice to eliminate that tiny little bit of doubt. Apparently I did an OK job of connecting all those chains and wires and had more confidence that it would stay put and follow us all the way to Cape Lookout State Park south of Tillamook.

The 2.67 hour trip went entirely as planned with the exception of where to dismantle the tow car lash up so I could back into our assigned spot. After driving around the park for a while, we came upon a turn around with a wide area that would allow me to stop and unstrap the PT so Diane could drive it. Though I can easily push the tow dolly around when it’s not connected to anything, I just can’t push if a mile which is about how far we were from our spot. So, I left it attached with the hope no one would get angry and start throwing stuff when I stopped in front of our spot to un hook it and push it out of the way so I could park. Thankfully, all went well even though the guy in the Flair next to us pulled up a chair to watch me do all of that. He said his favorite part was me attempting to get the rig level so we wouldn’t be sleeping with our heads downhill. It was the hardest thing I did all day. But I finally did it even though the parts of the inside of the RV I was using to check level are so not on the same plane as the beds. Discovering this anomaly proved to be the first step of successfully getting our heads at least level with our feet. Then I put the awning out and the RV adopted an obvious starboard list. Since that meant Diane’s bed (we have twins) leaned her into the wall, I called it good.

Oh ya. With the starboard list in effect, unless it was securely latched, the bathroom door would swing open and stay that way. Fortunately, if one were sitting down when that happened, it was fairly easy to grab the little knob on the door and pull it shut without allowing the folks in the trailer or RV next door to see anything important.

Cape Lookout State Park is a great place because the farthest spot in the back of the park is only about three blocks from the beach. Being back there isn’t a bad thing, we learned, because the closer one gets to the beach in the park, the denser the pack of mosquitoes becomes. Being closer, of course, conditions one to traverse the last 30 feet of solid mosquitoes with little or no pain after the 4th trip. Those in the back generally don’t make it more than 2 times before giving up and just staying close to the back of the park. It was OK.

Here we are being happy that we survived the Mosquito gauntlet …IMG_2272

We looked like this the entire time we were on the beach. The only difference is that sometimes Diane didn’t hide behind me.

Four days of no TV, no phone. Just us and the mosquitoes every time we left the rig, and leaving the rig on a fairly regular basis to walk the dogs. They insisted, according to Diane and I believe everything she tells me. When she tells me they want to go out, though I’ve not heard them exchange even one word, I believe her and take them out. I got pretty good at it.

The only casualty of this trip was when I lit the pilot light for the water heater. I got it lit the first time, then it went out when. So I lit another match and held the pilot button down a bit too long so that when I touched the match to the place where the pilot light lived, all that extra gas caught fire and blew out virtually every available hole on the water heater and burned off most of my eye brows and the last 1/4 inch of the hair on the left side of my head. The air around me immediately smelled like someone had just had a permanent. It was awesome. I couldn’t wait to get inside to share it with Diane. She wasn’t impressed. Turns out the frizzled ends brushed off quite easily. The ones that didn’t are on my eyebrows. I believe they are permanently curled, now, giving the appearance that I’ve had a bunch of pubic hairs transplanted mainly above my left eye. Since I only see it when looking in a mirror, which isn’t often, it doesn’t bother me. Diane was more comfortable with me wearing a hat low on my head whenever we took a walk. I think it’s sufficiently curly that I can use it to hold a little velcroed curtain over my eye when I sleep. Kinda dumb, but bet I could do it. If Diane lets me, I’ll take a photo.

One of the dogs loved the trip because she didn’t have to be on a leash any time we were on the beach.


The beach is over a mile long and, at this time of year, if there are 10 people visible, it’s crowded.


Looking south …


Looking north …


Alas, Thursday showed up signaling the end of this mini-vacation was near. Even so, we both felt as though these few days were much longer because we totally enjoyed ourselves and had a very relaxing time in one of the most beautiful places on earth. It was OK to be heading home.

First, however, we had to make it to Warranton for an afternoon soccer game between St. Helens and Astoria high schools. It was an uneventful trip because the rig ran really well with an exceptionally loud squeal from one, or both, of the belts on the engine. It didn’t bother me much, but Diane was totally embarrassed. As far as I was concerned, it just added to the authenticity of our 36 year hold ride. It wasn’t constant, but quit once we got up to speed. We understood the game was at 4 pm, figured it would take 2 hours to get there, left at 1 pm, made it in 1.5 hrs, and learned the game was really at 4:30. So, we were two hours early. The times are probably wrong, but that’s OK. The point is, we were early. The JV team won 10-2 and it could have been much, much worse. Lydia was moved from Keeper to Defender when the score was 7-1 so she got some field time which she also enjoys. Her team mates took turns filling in for her as the keeper. Most of the second half our girls spent playing keep away from the Astoria girls without attempting to score. It was like a drill they run all the time in practice. Varsity also won, 5-1.

After the games we headed home in the dark. Again, it was an uneventful trip. Everything worked just great. I had to take the PT off the trailer and put everything away before going to bed because I was being forced to go golfing Friday morning at 0830. I golfed better than I ever have. Part of the reason for that is because I started actually counting all my strokes instead of just guessing. Funny thing.

Another interesting thing we saw at the beach is this caterpillar. We seen hundreds of these things over the years, but none that had grey spikes.


Personally, I think it’s an alien. How about you?

Happy Birthday Jewel

It’s Friday and another beautiful Blue Hawaii day. Yesterday was spent mostly inside as Diane spent another day healing. We went out in the late afternoon seeking a retailer from whom we might purchase a heating pad. She said she wasn’t going another night without one. We wound up at Costco but they didn’t have heating pads so she got Salonpas patches instead.

It’s 0903 at the moment, and we’ve been up for a couple of hours. Diane’s perky and we’re waiting for Jewel to arrive so we can go exploring. It’s good to have a native guide when you explore.

We’re sitting on the lanai, there is barely a breeze, just enough to make the palm trees sway just a little. Birds are chirping and singing, and it’s so peaceful. We’ve seen a few golfers hitting their balls along the fairway on the other side of the lava flow on the makai side of the resort. There is evidence of vog in the distance, hazing out the land as it rises from the ocean up the flanks of Mauna Kea. Very restful. Sitting here, watching it all, I’m gaining confidence in my golfing abilities as some pretty terrible golfers sweep past in their festive garb. The course is very pretty, as are all golf courses on the island, and it’s flat. I’m tempted, but not enough to do it. I’m better off sitting here thinking about how well I could do out there. I’m sure the fantasy is far better than the reality.

We’ve been watching a boony cat walk by every morning, as if on rounds, and this morning we were outside before our lanai was on her schedule. I’m sure they don’t call them boony cats but on Guam they do. Feral is another word. This one was a friendly type of feral and just calmly walked by, stopped to look around, then calmly laid down to do some yoga. I went and got her a little milk on a saucer which she was very eager to sample. After a few token licks, she looked around again, bid us adieu, and walked off on her rounds. On either side of the lanai are planters surrounded by a brick border. The cat walked precisely on the bricks on departure. Very calm, very much a cat that works on Hawaii Time.

Around 0945 Jewel appeared at our front door to guide us on a trip around the north end of the island.  Diane already had a couple of stops planned in that area, but we got to see a few more, thanks to Jewel.

First stop was Pukoa Bay just a few miles north of our location. The area along both sides of the road that goes around the bay is filled with homes of all kinds. From very elaborate, to more common beach homes that have been here for ages. We found an access to the beach where we could park, then took a trek on the water’s edge. Not much sand there, but lots of lava. Very picturesque. Right away Jewel spotted a very large sea turtle sunning itself on the lava.

DSC_8945 DSC_8943

After walking around the point, we returned to the road and started back. This nice lady, Doris, was getting her mail and struck up a conversation, something not likely to happen in most other places. She’s almost 91 years old and spends 6.5 months here and the other 5.5 months in … gee … Albany, Oregon. Small world. She shared that her husband, Bill, was one of the first investors of Bill Bowerman, co-founder of Nike.


Doris was very talkative and a fan of my Ducks T-shirt. She said the money earned from her Nike stock all goes to charity … millions of $$$ a year. Obviously her husband did well. She also said that her kids weren’t getting it. Plus, half of everything else was going to charity when she kicked off. A really nifty lady and fun to talk with. And, she said she was on her normal morning walk when she saw Phil Knight.

From there we took the back road to Hapuna Beach to watch the waves. Jewel knows where all the best waves are …

DSC_8974I had to drag myself away from the beach because the waves are so mesmerizing. Each one is different and it’s hard to catch them when the light is just right. Just fascinating!

We continued a bit north, then east on Highway 19 to Waimea, home of the famous Parker Ranch. Jewel knew of a great place to eat lunch which was perfect because she had a hankering for bacon. So, what could be more appropriate than Hulu Sue’s Barbecue, or Fish And The Hog eatery. The names confused me a bit because Fish And The Hog was on the front window, but Hulu Sue’s was on the large window at the back of the restaurant.

Diane had a roasted vegetable and provolone sandwich while Jewel and I had their BLT 9 sandwich. It was totally awesome. I have to admit that I actually thought the menu choice was BLT 9 until Jewel and Diane pointed out that the number 9 was the price. That explains the odd looks I received from the cute waitress. OK, so I’m not well versed when it comes to fancy menus. That’s why I make sure I’m never alone when I do stuff like this.

Since it was Jewel’s birthday today, we got a piece of chocolate cake and three forks. It was a huge piece so there was plenty left over for Jewel to take home for John.

Diane had a stop at the Waipio Valley overlook, but the advertised one is a long trip around the valley. Jewel, however, led us to a less advertised overlook on our side of the valley. It’s on a dead-end road that was lined with vehicles for about the last 1/4 mile, or so, and there was no place to turn around until the end. So, we mosied down, turned around, and mosied back, never stopping. It was pretty voggy (volcano dust and fog) so pictures wouldn’t have turned out well, so we didn’t feel it was necessary to try. We did, however, get to see it. It’s a long way down, very green and very lush.

Too soon it was time to head back ‘home’. Along the way Jewel saw whales jumping out of the water just off shore, so we stopped to see if we could get a photo. We waited, and waited, but it never jumped again. We did, however, get to see its tale a couple of times.

DSC_9166We’re pretty sure that it started jumping again right after we left, but we didn’t look because we didn’t want to be disappointed. Still, we got to see the tail and that’s pretty cool in itself. We were happy.

We sadly said our goodbyes to Jewel, and watched her drive away … in the wrong direction. Soon she was headed back the correct way and, we trust, made it home OK. In Jewel’s defense, my exit instructions were very specific.

It was an incredible day and we feel blessed that Jewel chose to spend her birthday with us.


Kua Bay, Whales, Jewel, John, & Thai Food

Today was a good one. The sun was shining when we got up, really early at 0730, and it shined all day long. Diane woke up mostly normal, so we felt OK with a road trip to Kua Bay.

First, however, here’s what it looked like outside our back door before we left …


It’s only about 13.8 miles down the road from us toward Kona/Kailua, so it was a quick trip. Since Diane is feeling pretty good, she drove, of course, and I did my normal magnificent job of navigating. We arrived around 1000-ish and got one of the last 3 valid parking places.

Diane stayed at one of the two picnic tables located at the end of the path from the parking lot, before there’s a need to stumble over a bunch of lava rock to the beach. This is her walking that direction … the one in the very bright green hat …


It’s not a large beach, but it’s pretty pristine …

Image 2-19-14 at 8.09 PM

DSC_8755There weren’t very many people there, either. I had to weave through a few of the sun lovers to the north end of the beach to get this picture looking back toward where we arrived. There were some hardy folks farther out, but most of the adventurous ones were fairly close in, working the waves. DSC_8775This guy was just taking a run at the waves these tossing his little piece of wood on the sand, jump on it and slide into the wave. I think the object was to jump the wave, but I didn’t ever see him do that. Still, it was fun.

DSC_8795Then we settled into some serious whale watching and we weren’t disappointed. We saw a bunch of them playing around a few hundred yards off the bay. Spouts were popping up all over the place …

DSC_8835… then they began to play, swimming along just under the surface …

DSC_8853… showing a tail, here and there …

DSC_8829… they popping up to look around …

DSC_8860If we do nothing else on this trip, today made it all worthwhile. It was just awesome. Then these guys showed up and stood right in the way of everything I wanted to take pictures of, so we left in a huff. How rude, don’t you think?


We left Kua Bay with a sense of awe from seeing these huge animals showing off. The next destination was Safeway in Kailua so we could get some vittles for a meal or two. Or three. On the way I texted Jewel to see if she was anywhere close on the island. From the photos Jewel posts she gets around. Thankfully, she was home and responded right away. Turns out she tried to call us, but had a really old phone number. We cleared that up first thing after meeting in the Safeway parking lot.

It was lunchtime so we headed down to the waterfront to one of their favorite eateries, a Thai restaurant right on the water. We weren’t disappointed with the food, and we had a wonderful visit with Jewel and John. Since this is the first time we’ve met John we had to go through a process to determine whether or not John was the “right guy” for Jewel. It doesn’t matter that they’ve known each other for a really long time, it’s just something that has to be done. Ya know? Well, he passed muster with flying colors. One of the good guys.
DSC_8940The waitress took two photos but in both of them John was hiding out behind Jewel. I think it was his way of putting Jewel first. What a guy.

Back at the Safeway parking lot we went our separate ways after making a date with Jewel to meet at Kua Bay at 0900 tomorrow. Sadly, John has to work so can’t join us.

We found all kinds of things in Safeway that we didn’t know we needed. We should be good for the rest of our stay.

Once back at the room we donned our swimming suits and lounged by the pool, the one with the waterfall, for an hour or so. Nice way to end the day.

News at eleven …