Tour Hillsboro For Less Than $400

How’s the new elbow, KC?

Are your hands getting along, yet, or is it too early to tell?

Diane took me to my dermatologist today to visit the rash on my back. I know, that’s personal but I had to share that since KC hasn’t objected (yet) to my mention of her faulty elbow. Knowing this, now, you may be happy to learn that my dermatologist burned 13 holes in my face and at least that many in my back. She uses a little spray can of liquid nitrogen to burn those holes, and they hurt, in case you don’t know. Thankfully, there isn’t any skin left on my ears so she didn’t have to burn any holes there. Ears hurt the worst.

So, now, I have 20-30 more spots on my body that will never tan. If this keeps going, it’s going to be like freckles in reverse. Sometimes I think they should just dip me in liquid nitrogen, let thaw a bit, then send me home.

I’ll include a photo of the damage as soon as KC comes up with a photo of the guy she got her new elbow from.

After visiting the doc, at 1030, we went to Tom & Linda’s to deliver some Avon stuff, and to visit with Tom for a bit. They only live a few blocks from where the appointment was. Unfortunately, for us, Tom picked that day to have some blood work down so we missed him. We did get to visit with Kyle a bit, however, so all was not lost. Turns out we missed Tom by a whisker as we left and he returned. There will be another day.

IHOP got our attention for breakfast so we stopped and had some. Our morning yogurt was long gone. We both had the Senior 2+2+2 which was very good. Then we headed for Costco.

I think we went to get paper plates, napkins, and little cups for the church. When done, however, it cost us over $300 to exit the store. The large part of that was getting ink for our printers. One of us isn’t too frugal when it comes to printing ‘stuff’. I won’t say which one because I don’t want to get into trouble. Again.

From Costco we went to the Washington County Habitat For Humanity Restore Store, or the WCHFHRS, for short. We were looking for either a window, or a piece of plexiglas to fill the hole left by the storm window that suspiciously fell out of the right side of the living room window when Diane opened it a few years ago. Those things just can hold up to a 15 foot fall to the ground. Thinking it would no longer be needed, I compounded the problem by tossing the frame, into which a new piece of glass could have easily been inserted, into the metal bin at the dump. Smooth, huh?

The reason that’s important now is because of our new chairs, the ones we bought because company was coming over. Remember those? Well, Diane likes them so much that she’s moved from the old recliner couch to one of those chairs, and it’s right next to the window with the missing part. It’s drafty and cold and now needs to be fixed. As long as she was sitting by the wall, it was perfectly OK. I envision a visit to ACE tomorrow to rectify this.

We went from WCHFHRS to one of the many Goodwill stores, Diane’s favorite place to shop, that dot the greater Portland area. The one she chose is located just up the block from a BMW dealership. I sat in the vehicle and read my John Grisham book, “The Racketeer”, for a couple of hours while she cruised the isles. About 1640 I went in the store to cruise a bit myself but discovered that we were due at our next location at 1700, not 1730 as I previously believed. Diane was heading for the check out line so it turns out I showed up just in the nick of time to cart all her treasures to the vehicle. She was pleased.

Rick and Jody were next on the agenda. We had a plan to meet them at BJ’s Brewpub and Pizzararium in Hillsboro where three of us had hamburgers, and one didn’t. This was another visit to deliver Avon products, and to just visit prior to going home.

By the time we arrived, the dogs had been without us for 10 hours. In dog hours that’s about three days. Jennifer, bless her, agreed to visit the dogs this afternoon to assure them they hadn’t been abandoned, but I failed to ask her to turn on a light for them. So, when we got home, they were in a pitch black house, except for all the pretty blue and green lights on the front of all the electronic equipment scattered around the place. So, it’s really not pitch black – its pitch black blue and green.

They were fine and didn’t even get up until I opened the door for them. Normally Ozzie is yapping away as soon as the big garage door starts up, and doesn’t quit until he’s well into the yard, relieving himself. It’s funny to watch him bark and pee at the same time. I’ve tried that and it isn’t easy.

Now we’re home and we missed choir practice tonight. It was the first one, too. As expected, I got into trouble for that because I actually knew about it. Yesterday.

Shopping, Lunch, Satellite TV, and The Beach

This morning happened early, almost like normal, but a little bit later. I think it was 0700 when the dogs let their presence be known. Until then, they were quiet like little church mice. At least I think they were. I’ve never actually seen a church mouse so cannot accurately report that they are actually quiet. I suppose the fact that I’ve never heard one while in church would serve to convince me that they really are quiet. Either that, or they don’t really exist. That’s hard to believe, however, because mice are pretty much everywhere.

After walking the dogs, we returned to the Winnebago innards and they got their normal ration of pouch food, which pleased them a great deal. It always pleases them a great deal. From their perspective, they just don’t get pleased a great deal often enough. Once a day is the limit.

When we returned, Diane was vertical and moving so I figured it was going to be a pretty good day. We both had out normal yogurt and and fruit, then drank coffee until the pot was empty. It was a bit weak, but it was good. We were all off to a good start, and I didn’t even feel the need to take my normal morning nap.

One of the priorities for today was to get some sort of something I could use to lay on under the RV, to could work on the fuel pump problem, so we went shopping. As luck would have it, Diane drove directly to the Goodwill store at the fairly new shopping center, that also has a Costco, in Warrenton. We mosied around in there and found all kinds of really cute things we didn’t know we needed. I mean, they were REALLY cute things. Probably the cutest things I’ve ever seen. My contribution was a little package that had two hose clamps, which aren’t really cute, and an old, solid wood, not plywood, coffee table. I’m going to take it home and refinish it so it looks like new then I’m going to put it in front of the living room couch where there currently isn’t one. It’s going to look very nice, I bet. Right now we’re using it for our outside table under the awning by the RV since I forgot to get the little brown plastic fold up one from the garage.

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We returned to some happy dogs early afternoon and Diane set about making lunch. Today we had griddled steak, microwave mashed potatoes, and over baked corn on the cob. It was all exceptionally good, but the corn actually took first prize simply for the way Diane cooked it. “Oven baked corn on the cob?” you ask. “That’s true,” I respond. All you have to do is preheat your oven to 350 then toss the corn in for 25 minutes. The best part is, you don’t have to peel the corn first! It just goes in there just like you bought it from the store, unless you bought it already husked. Then, when your dinger goes off, or your phone barks at you, like Diane’s timer app, take the corn out of then oven and immediately run cold water on your hands for about 10 minutes, if you failed to use hot pads. Then, get a really sharp knife, and cut the large end off the ears, taking the first row of corn, if possible. Then just squeeze the little end like a tube of toothpaste and the cooked ear of corn will slowly emerge from the husks, minus most of those annoying little strings. It’s amazing! And it was done to perfection. So, good. I didn’t, by the way, take the corn out of the oven so I didn’t burn my hands. Diane did, and she used hot pads.

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After lunch, Diane made herself some tea and went to her chair under the awning, in the fresh air. It was raining off and on, but that’s OK. It was nice and fresh. And quiet. While she was relaxing, I went to work trying to line up the satellite antenna. I set it up yesterday and gave it a minor effort, but couldn’t get it to work. This time I got the zip code for the spot we’re in so I could properly aim the antenna, then made the necessary adjustments using a 1/2 inch box end wrench. In case you’re interested, the DirecTV settings for zip code 97121 are: azimuth 132, elevation 34, rotation 111. The hard part is setting the azimuth. In case you’ve had trouble with that in the past, perhaps you will benefit from my experience regarding this adjustment.

Once you set the elevation and rotation, take your best shot at aiming the antenna in the proper direction where you think it should be. Fortunately, for me, there is a compass glued to one leg of the stand Jack gave me, so I knew where 132 was. The trick with using a manual compass is that you first have to make sure the compass is aligned with the colored needle on the N. Then, if you have the right kind of compass, it will have markings all the way around it from 0 to 359 then back to 0.

When you figure out which way you need to point it, stand very still and point your left arm in that direction. It works best if you do this directly over the antenna so you can see how close you are to being correct. Remember, all you are trying to do is get close. It’s very possible that you might get lucky on the first aim and get a great signal.

Regarding the signal … there are satellite signal meters you can purchase that I understand help with the alignment, but I figure that would take the fun out of guessing and, perhaps, getting it right the first time.

Needless to say, I didn’t get it right the first time so had to make numerous trips from the receiver, to check the signal level, then back to the antenna to move it 1 or 2 degrees one way or another, then back to the receiver to check again. I did this about 15 times, I think, before I actually got a signal. Then, with a bit a tweaking, I got a really good signal and was watching Jeff Gianola on Channel 6 News, just like that! Way out here in Fort Stevens. Go figure.

Oh, another really important thing to remember when you’re setting up your antenna is to make sure the vertical part of the pipe, to which the antenna is bolted, is absolutely vertical. You can guess at this, too, if you wish, but most of them have a bubble level in the top of the vertical pipe that simplifies this step. When I was setting it up at home, I didn’t know it was there, so had all kinds of trouble getting it vertical with two little levels. So, that’s the first thing I did this time.

Here’s what it should look like when you’re finished …

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All the time I was going back and forth from the antenna to the receiver, Diane sat peacefully in her chair, not questioning me about how it was going. She just read her book and must have figured I was doing something useful.

On my last trip out I told her the news was on if she was interested which excited her no end. She just loves the news and ran right inside to watch it … and fiddle around with the DirecTV remote which she hasn’t used in a while. Since we have a DVR in the RV, she set Diane Sawyer to record, then we took the dogs to the beach down by the shipwrecked Peter Iredale. There are signs in Fort Stevens that actually have “Ship Wreck” on it, with an arrow pointing the way. Everyone in Oregon knows the ship’s name so it’s not needed on the signs an it saves the parks service a ton of money by not having to buy so much sign paint. Here’s what’s left of the wreck …

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When we got to the beach, Panzee was ready to run because there were dog tracks all over the place and so many new things to smell. Ozzie just sat on my arm, looking out the window during the trip, trying to look nonchalant, but I knew he was excited. He couldn’t fool me. He was, however, a little hesitant at first because he absolutely abhors leashes. He’s main this pretty plain every time we hook him up, but it’s a rule. He deals with it, in his fashion, like by laying down so Diane has to drag him along behind her which causes people to stare. Then she will pick him up, which is his real desire. He’s pretty little so he’s not very hard to drag. It just looks bad to some folks.

When we got down to the hard sand, we went north on the beach, away from the ship wreck that lures a lot people, where there was virtually no one around. Seeing this, we removed the leashes and just let them run. They had a terrific time, and got a lot of exercise. Ozzie got the most exercise, though, because he ran circles around Diane like he was in orbit, and just couldn’t break free of her gravitational pull. Finally, however, he did. Somewhere in his little body he found a booster rocket and chased after me and Panzee. It as fun to watch because he’s normally such a little recluse.

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I need to let you know that I won’t be able to publish this entry from this location. We have no phone signal. Funny, huh? We’re watching satellite TV in HD but can’t call home. When you get this, you’ll wonder why I’m sharing this because, obviously, it got sent if you’re reading it. It’s just something I needed to tell you.

Oh ya! Here’s something I learned today …

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Who knew?

Seaside, Oregon – Day 3

OK – right off the bat, the title is misleading. Sure, we woke up in Seaside, but didn’t stay long before heading north toward home. That’s probably misleading, too, but you can look at a map and figure out that St. Helens is kinda NE from Seaside. Going up Highway 101 one must go north to Astoria, East to Rainier, then south to St. Helens. It’s complicated. If we were crows it would be a much shorter trip but we aren’t so it wasn’t.

After packing everything into the Buick, we took one more walk up to the board walk to see how things were progressing. Ruth, our hostess, told us that she was the “T-Shirt Lady” for the upcoming volley ball event, that there were 126 nets installed,  and the number of teams registered to play was up to 1162. She figured it would be closer to 2000 since registration didn’t close until Friday. So, I grossly over estimated how many nets there were. But, it looked like hundreds to me. Either way, Seaside is going to be jumping this weekend. Seriously.

Ruth also changed their reader board to commemorate Grams’ 86th. Here’s proof …

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Oops … I was there, too …

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… and, this is Ruth with the girls …

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As I recall, from our previous visit to the Hillcrest Inn, Ruth and her husband, Don, met in the Marine Corps. She completed either 6 or 9 years (I can’t remember) and Don made it a career. We had some fun conversations during our first visit, but didn’t get to talk this trip.  Jay, whose image I failed to capture, helped us at check-in, as did Missy. They just make the experience better. Nice crew. A great place to stay.

OK – no more plugs – that’s it …

Here’s a picture of the Seaside turnaround, the end of the Lewis & Clark Trail.

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The bronze statues are rumored to be of Lewis & Clark staring off into the ocean discussing what they were going to have for dinner that night. Being terminally tired of eating fish and venison, the opted for Norma’s, only 1.5 blocks away, where they reportedly shared a Turkey of The Sea sandwich and bowl of clam chowder. That’s how old Norma’s is.

From Seaside we drove north about 6 miles to the nearest Goodwill store which Diane had her sites on. It’s in a new area of Warrenton that has been stripped of whatever used to grow there and developed into a growing mall area on both sides of Highway 101. Goodwill is on the east side of the road, just past Costco. We wandered around in Goodwill for an hour or so, and I was the only one who purchased anything. I got a bag of Nike golf balls for $5, and 18 pencils for $1.99. Seemed like a really good deal, to me.

Then it was lunchtime which brings me to what was vetoed as the potential title for today’s entry. Since we had already planned to visit Costco for their outrageously big and cheap hotdogs, and soda, the first thing that popped into my mind was Grandma Gets a Weiner. It was, although she laughed, deemed inappropriate so I didn’t use it. I suspect, however, I’ll earned a considerable amount of grief for even mentioning it. I did not, as you notice, take a picture of any of us eating lunch. They are really good, by the way. I normally get the Polish Dog, but went for the All Beef today. And a Pepsi. I was going to get vanilla yogurt and refill my cup with root beer so I could make a root beer float, but by the time I got to the counter, the yogurt machine was reportedly defunct. So, I went without.

Then we crossed the Youngs Bay Bridge, on which we had to stop because it was raised to allow a tall masted fishing boat go by. It didn’t take long. Here’s the view while we waited.

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Now, first glance may cause you to think the bridge you see in the distance is the one we’re on, but that isn’t the case. The distant one is the Astoria-Megler Bridge which links Oregon and Washington. If you follow that link you’ll discover that bridge is 4.1 miles long near the mouth of the Columbia River which is 1243 miles long and originates in British Columbia, Canada. One of the memorable things about the river is Buoy 10 which is at the mouth of the Columbia. If you want excitement, that’s the place to go. If you have a tendency to get sea-sick, stay away. I spent over 1/4 of a century in the US Navy and had the opportunity to ride some pretty rough seas, but Buoy 10 is the only place I ever got sea-sick. I was miserable, but I caught a nice Silver.

Once we gained access to the other side of Youngs Bay we took a right turn before heading in to Astoria proper. Instead, we weaved our way around the back side of the hill, on which Astoria resides, and made our way up to the Astoria Column, a significant landmark in Oregon. It has a continuous ribbon of artwork wrapped around it depicting the history of the area starting in 1792. It’s literally a work of art that you can climb. Inside, of course.

Here’s what it looked like, today …

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We have all visited it many, many times in the past, and have climbed the 164 steps to the tower but not today. I threatened to do it, leaving instructions to call 911 if I wasn’t back in 30 minutes. Then I just went around taking pictures of the view.

This is the Astoria-Megler Bridge going to Washington …

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This is the Youngs Bay Bridge looking toward Warrenton …

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After leaving the Astoria Column, we headed down the hilly streets of Astoria toward Highway 30 and home. The streets of the city rival those of San Francisco. Honest.

The trip home was uneventful and I didn’t watch any of it preferring, instead, to read my current book on my iPad. I’m reading The Witness which started out boring, but is turning into an interesting mystery.

Now it’s supper time and I must quit in order to ingest some of Diane’s very tasty beef stew in order to replace all the energy I’ve used here whacking away on my keyboard.

Cheers