Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bear Attacks Alfa

Not our Alfa! 

One of the features of the Alfa line, that I really like, is a compartment between the sink and stove, that holds a rather large waste basket. You can put trash into it  thru a smaller round hole, or for bulkier items, you can remove the larger Corian cover that is part of the countertop.

(I also use a small bag lined plastic pot to collect food wastes while I cook, but this is just tied off and dumped into the larger basket at the end of clean up.)

The waste basket can be accessed for emptying thru a locking door on the outside of the coach.

Given the strong, metal "critter proof" trash containers I have seen at campgrounds and parks, I have wondered about the security of that outside door.

Seems like my thoughts were not that far off.

The following was posted on the Alfa Yahoo Group.  The writer "Paul" is a new Alfa owner.

He wrote: "We're dry camping in the parking lot of the Big Sky Resort, in Big Sky, MT. This is on the west side of Yellowstone Park.

My wife and I awoke to a loud noise at 1:30 last night. I thought it sounded like our garbage door being ripped open, and sure enough there was a large black bear next to our rig, digging through our trash can which he purged from the trash compartment. It was a bit shocking to stare through our trash orifice in the counter top and see a large bear.

We were able to summon help from nearby and the bear was scared off long enough for me to exit the coach and pick up the trash. Moments later, after I was securely in the coach and the helper departed, the bear returned. He reared up on his back legs to sniff the trash compartment door again (which, amazingly, was not broken). I was relieved that he chose to walk away this time without ripping the door open again. I don't know how many forced entries the door clasp would tolerate. Of course, I had not placed the trash back in the compartment. Until I leave bear country the trash will live with us inside the coach.

Needless to say, we didn't sleep well last night...

Oh, and the scare lights didn't get their name for scaring bears. I think they just helped him see what he was eating better."

I think we will be sure to empty the trash each evening and keep the compartment very clean when we are in Bear Country!

Do you have a good bear story?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Weight Loss, Comment Answers

First: we did not get the brake work done that was estimated at $1700.  They said the brakes were OK, a bit glazed from being overheated, but if we wanted the squeak to go away they could redo the front brakes.  They have done other work for us, and although it was good work, they have seemed over priced. The squeaking did seem less when the brakes were cooler as we drove her home. It doesn't sound much different from a lot of trucks I have heard.
If we felt the brakes were any danger were would not hesitate to have the work done right away.

We will get a second opinion from Alfateers and a Freightliner service center as part of our fall annual services.

Second, my weight loss: the dietary changes I started this spring were always meant to be permanent, not just to lose some weight.  It always takes some effort and some time to make such changes to the norm.  I was a bit concerned about sliding back into old habits because we were on "vacation," but I did pretty well.  I did have one hamburger on the drive home, but after Hwy 1, I needed comfort!  Craig also grilled burgers once on the Weber, but I tried to keep mine smaller. 

Wine?  Yes I did have some, but again, less often and less in amount.  

Sandwiches?  Only on healthy whole wheat bread, only one per lunch, and only on long hike days.

We have been home for more than a week now and my morning weigh-in has stabilized once again.  I'm showing a four pound weight loss since the end of June. That is now a total of 34 pounds since January! I'm still ten over the top number in the charts for a woman my age and height, but I can live with that!  

I'm not counting anything or keeping a food journal for now.  I do weigh myself every morning, and if I see an increase I try to be a little bit careful with my choices. My primary goal is to keep it off and not fall back into old habits of overeating fats, sugar, and complex carbohydrates. There are so many good alternatives.  

An additional benefit, be it from weight loss, increased exercise, or eliminating many foods, is that my joints are much better.  I have cut back on my arthritis medication to every other day, and may try doing without it completely. 

Have a good day everyone.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sleep Tight Alfa

It is night in the forest
and all there are glad,
that the Alfa is back
safe on her pad.

The black tank is empty
the gray's good-smelling.
The Alfa's available
for forest driveway dwelling.

The traps are all set
in the coach and the bays,
waiting to catch
any creature who strays.

Peanut butter is smeared
for the mice and rat,
be they soft and small
or mean and fat.

Sleep tight big Alfa
and have a good dream,
of friends you have met
near mountain and stream.

We'll go out again soon
and you'll have your day,
to carry your family
far far away --

by Merikay and Craig

Monday, July 23, 2012

Another Monday

As I write this, a door man is installing a new door in the tandem garage.  I'm going to wait until next week to paint the exterior wall, big interior wall and the door, because I want to be sure I have enough paint for the painters to do the exterior area above the dining room windows.  They were supposed to do it the Saturday before we left, but it was too windy that day.  We have rescheduled it for this upcoming Saturday. I have two full gallons of the pink exterior color, and I think between the two jobs I might need more. Better it be my job that runs out.

The Alfa has been sitting over at the repair shop for a week.  We wanted the brakes checked, and since we weren't going anywhere were OK with the wait.  (Well I was OK with it, Craig was anxious to get the coach back because there are some things he wants still in it.)

They say the brakes are OK.  There has always been a squeak, but it is louder now. But according to the mechanic, they are not bad. The squeak is caused by having been overheated.  I'm sure our drive down Hwy 1 contribued.  A front brake job would run about $1700.  As long as it is not a safety issue we will wait for a while.  

Craig would like to take it somewhere else because he feels this shop overcharges for everything.

So, as soon as the door man is finished, we are off to bring our Alfa home.  (Update note: it was too late on Monday to go get her, so I guess it will happen on Tuesday.)

You may have notice an absence of pictures lately.  Two reasons.  First there is nothing notable to photograph, and second, my little camera has died.  I'm going to take it into a camera shop and have it looked at, but if it can't be fixed I'll get a new one.  What I want is small.  Craig can carry around his big heavy camera.  My pictures are just to help "tell the story".

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I haven't added to my Why-Why Not page for a long time.  The following thoughts will be copied there.

One of the reasons I want us to be full-timing for a couple of years is because I want to spend longer periods of time exploring the wonderful places our country has to offer.

I spent some time looking at the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park areas on the internet.  There is so much to do and see, I would want to take at least a month or more to do it.

I also looked at how far it is from our home in California, and the many great places there would be to stop and explore on the way.

Sure we could just drive there in a couple of days, blast thru the parks and see the highlights in a week or two, and drive back.  But what a waste!  How much better it would be to take an entire summer just exploring Wyoming and Idaho.

Same with Utah, Grand Canyon, Arizona.  Far to much to see in a just a few weeks.  I'd love to be there this fall and winter, but we have a bathroom to remodel.  Spring?  The third bathroom is on the must do list!

Craig says he would like to go to the Keys  in Florida for a month or more some winter. Considering how far it is from California, we would have to be full-timing to make it worthwhile.

We were just out for three weeks.  I would have loved to have headed North to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington instead of South back to the Bay area. 

Oh well, another time.  Another trip.

For now I pondering what to add to the four nights at Yosemite in September.  I don't want to go further South, as into the Death Valley, or East to Mammoth or Mono Lake because  I'm thinking possible going to Death Valley and the Eastern side of the Sierra's in January after a visit in San Diego for Christmas.

We've been to Lake Tahoe. Perhaps a few days in "Gold Country" would be nice. 

 I'm very open to suggestions.    

Friday, July 20, 2012

Good-by Mr. Moose

Craig is busily caulking the wood siding on the walls of the tandem garage in preparation for painting.  The new door will be installed next week, and then I can paint both it, the interior wall and the new exterior wall. We have never used this space for much.  It has been a place to put kindling wood and garden tools.

Hopefully after it has been cleaned out and painted it will be a plus to the property. 

After we gut the studio room, and convert it back to a bedroom, if I want a place to work, this might be it.  

One of the things I stored in there was the "master sculpture" for my "Huge Elephant" design. I created it as a special custom order some years back, and kept the master (as I have done for most special projects) so that if I ever got an order for another one it would be easier to make.  I have had two somewhat serious inquires over the years, but no new orders.

I am at a point that even if someone did want such a large piece, I'm not sure I would want to make it.  

So, as we worked in that garage yesterday, I took down the elephant master and loaded him into the van for a trip to the dump.  The large Moose has been sitting on a table, covered with a drop cloth since February of 2011. I have made a few feeble attempts to find him a new home, but have had no luck. 

I made the "executive decision" and loaded him in with the elephant form.  I felt a bit sad, but knew this had to be done.  I put a blanket over him so I wouldn't have to see him among the trash in the back of the van, or at the dump.  It was already 3:00 in the afternoon and I knew the dump closed at 4:00, so I didn't have time to change my mind. It felt a bit like taking a pet for that "last drive." 

Good-by Mr. Moose. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Looking Forward

I just edited my "about me" blurb on the side of the blog.  It had read "we hope to have the house ready for sale by fall of 2012." I am a realist.  I changed it to read "summer of 2013."  I hope I don't have to change it again next year, but if I do, I do.

As much as I enjoyed it, I know that the trip was just a vacation and not reality. I am eager to jump right in and get to work, but I have to take a deep breath and let Craig set the pace and priorities. He has already gotten a little painting done and made several calls to get pending jobs back on track.

Before we left, I was very close to going to the doctor and asking for some antidepressant drugs. The further we got from the house, the less I felt I needed them. 

While on the trip, I finished reading a book called "Spontaneous Happiness" recommended by Laura.  It emphasizes living in the "now" and not dwelling on the past or future.  That was easy on vacation.  If you are hiking you have to focus on the "now" or you will trip and break your neck. 

It is not so easy at home.
I have to learn patience.
I have to learn to wait.

I will stay focused on the positive.
I will not let the cloud of depression fall down around me again. 
I know I tend to dwell on the negative.  I will stop doing that!

I can make plans. I have always been OK with making changes to them.

I have taken the first steps towards organizing our next trip.  I have booked four night at a campground in Yosemite National Park for mid-September. This will be our first time in a non-electric site.

 I have been looking at the reservation site, and yesterday noticed there were only eight sites left for the date range I wanted.  This morning there was only one!Time to reserve or forget the trip.  

Last night I did some research on the driving route to Yosemite.  It seems that Hwy 140 has been widened a bit and is the "tour bus" route to the park.  The size limitation for the campground I choose is 40', so between these two I assume we can get there safely.

I found a neat application on Google Earth that lets you go to street view and visually drive a road.  I checked out parts of 140 and it doesn't look too bad.  After our Hwy 1 experience I'm a bit "road shy."

I have also ordered the 2013 Rand Mcnally Motor Carriers' Road Atlas Deluxe Edition.  Hopefully it will help keep us out of trouble!

Looks like the Alfa will be ready to come home tomorrow, so some stressful parking is coming up.

If I have to be anywhere other than in the Alfa for the month of August, I'm glad it is here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Nightmare Drive

The first day of our fourth week on the road did not go well.  The next place we wanted to go was Muir Woods. Since we have had such good luck with shorter drives, I decided it would be best to go only half of the 300 or so miles in one day.  We would only go as far as Fort Bragg.  (The town in CA, not the base in NC.)

Good plan.

What was not a good plan was the route I choose.  If you have ever been to the California coast you know the road along the coast is called Hwy 1.  It is beautiful, but narrow and winding. Definitely not the way for a 36' Class A motor home to go.

So, of course we did.

All I can say is the 23 miles from Hwy 101 west, over a mountain range, to the coast on Hwy 1 was a nightmare. A two lane road, no shoulder, many spots that were quite narrow. Turn after turn marked 20 mph, 15 mph, and even 10 mph.  Throw in a 6% grade from time to time,  fast moving oncoming traffic, and a few bicycles, and you have a white knuckle drive to rival any you can imagine. 

This picture is from the web,
 I was hanging on for dear life, not taking pictures!
Many of the curves were tighter than this and were
doubles or triples.
We did have one small mishap.

Nothing serious, just a little scrape along the bottom edge of the passenger side, but if Craig hadn't pulled to the right we might have had a "head-on" with the car that was  over the yellow line going around a tight curve!  

I really hope that driver had "full pants" because he was the one over the line and the scrape sure scared us, and now the Alfa has a new owie.

We made it to the coast, but the road did not improve very much.  The mountain and hairpin curves were replaced by more tight curves and sheer cliffs down to the ocean, areas with rock falls, and of course no shoulders. 

Because it was Sunday there was a lot of beach traffic and amazingly some of it was large pickups and huge fifth wheels. 

I was trying to be more "spontaneous" and planned to look for an RV park when we were ready to stop.  That was not a good plan for Hwy 1.  We missed at least one park that I had seen in Woodalls, and ended up at the more expensive alternative.  

When I was checking to see if they had a spot for us there was the driver of a large fifth wheel also in the office.  When he and the lady at the desk heard we had come down Hwy 1 from the North, they both said "it is almost impossible to drive a class A thru there."  I agreed.  They also said that we should not go any further south on Hwy 1, and to take Hwy 20 back to Hwy 101. It  also winds but it is slightly wider. If we wanted to go to Muir Woods we could leave the Alfa at a campground off 101 and drive back to the coast.

After we got set up, I drank a half bottle of wine and took a short nap!  We then had dinner and went out in search of a beach for an evening walk.  The weather was a bit blustery, and sunset was nothing to write about.

Monday morning my nerves were still a bit frazzled, but Hwy 20 was not nearly as bad as Hwy 1 had been.

If we were full-timers, we would have found a nice park to hunker down in for a few days to relax and recover.  Instead we cut our trip short and headed for home. We can regroup there. Even though we encountered some heavy traffic, the interstate was a welcome drive.

We were glad we did not have to deal with parking the Alfa on our home spot.  While we were on the trip the last part from the recent back end repair had come in so we were able to leave it at the service place in town.

Craig also wants them to check the brakes because one is squeaking quite loudly. We know air brakes sometimes squeak, but this is new and louder than before.

The awkward thing is that I only unloaded the most essential "stuff" from the Alfa. Now some of the "stuff" we need is not here! 

It's in the Alfa.

So ... now I'll spend the next few days doing chores around the house. 

Then I'll start thinking about our next trip!  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ferns, elk, more trees

From Craig: we started Sat July 14 by driving down to the Linda Bird Johnson Memorial Redwood Grove.  This may have been my favorite thing on our trip (Merikay's is Crater Lake).  The trees were less dense and had less undergrowth than other sites, allowing one to appreciate each tree for itself.  Plus the fog/mist was clearing overhead in the latter half of our walk, so that the sunlight through the trees produced many amazing scenes of the type that I think of as "shafts of gold from heaven".   #$%^*, I left the camera in the RV so you will just have to take our word for it!

Back to Merikay: Craig without a camera is like a pizza without cheese.  We drove back to the RV park to get it before going on with the day.  

Camera aboard, we retraced our steps and went to explore a park area called Fern Canyon which was at the end of an eight mile gravel park/beach road.  As we drove across three or four running streams without bridges, I once again wondered if our choice of an Accent was smart! But we made it without damage so I guess it was OK.

It was well worth the ride!  The fifty foot tall walls of the canyon along a winding stream are covered with many ferns and dripping with small waterfalls.  Some of the scenes from "The Lost World: Jurassic Park", BBC's "Walking with Dinosaurs", and "Dinosaurs Alive" were filmed here.  It really did feel like a prehistoric world, except for all the other tourists and the strategically placed wood planks in the steam bed! This is as much a "must see" as the big trees.

Speaking of which, here is another one we stopped to see.

Herds of elk make their home in the parks, meadows and front yards along Highway 101 in Del Norte county, California. Wherever they decide to graze cars full of tourists pull off the road to gawk and take pictures.  

We were among them.

We ended our third week of this trip with another nice evening visiting with our Alfa Gold neighbors.  

I could really get to like this. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Back to CA and marine influence

Today (Friday the 13th) we drove south from the Oregon Caves to Klamath, CA, on the ocean within the overall Redwoods National Park.  The Klamath are a Native American tribe that live in both states. After several days of 96 degrees near the end of the day, in Klamath the high today was about 65.  In the Bay Area we call this "marine influence".

Our new home is Mystic Forest RV park on US 101. What a difference! Civilization! Good Verizon signal and Internet access.

Shortly after starting out we found ourselves following an Alfa Gold coach.  When they pulled off into a rest stop after the CA border, we followed them in and found ourselves one of 3 adjacent Alfa RVs in the parking lot.  Not bad for a company that went out of business in '08...

We got to talking to the owners of the Gold and now they're parked next to us at Mystic Forest. We spent the evening with them and enjoyed gabbing like long lost friends.  RV people are so easy to be with!

We got settled in our site, and then went to see a nearby tourist trap called Trees of Mystery. First reaction was "what's the need for a commercial site about trees inside Redwoods National Park?" 

We will checkout some of the rest of the NP tomorrow.  I count this as research into "tourist gift shops." 

There were some good trees.

About halfway through their tourist walk we took a gondola-lift several hundred feet up the mountain.  Made us feel like we should have brought our skis.

We opted to walk back down.  I hadn't brought my poles with me, but they had a barrel of "loaner" natural walking sticks.  Good thing because the path was steep and slippery.  At one point I took a tumble but was not hurt.  Craig of course was right there with the camera.  

Redwoods are not new to us.  We have several growing on our land, but we have never seen the old growth coastal giants. We will be exploring more in the next few days.

Until then, things are looking up!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Oregon Caves National Monument

On Wednesday our slide was fixed by about two in the afternoon.  We were pleased with our repair experience and the cost was very reasonable.  We just hope that whatever caused that little part to fail will not recur.  As we prepared to leave the temperature was climbing.  By the time we arrived at the Country Hills RV park near Oregon Caves National Monument, the temperature was up to 99 F.  

The basement air conditioners in the Alfa have been working hard, and (knock on wood) have done a beautiful job of keeping us cool.

By sevenish it had cooled down enough for us to grill some dinner and eat outside.  We stayed out until the light began to fade and skeeters began to bite.

We checked the weather "point forecast" and it tells us the daytime temperature for the next couple of days will be 94 high, and the overnight lows may go as low as 52.  Good for sleeping with the windows open.

The Country Hills RV park is being expanded.  We are alone in a new section, and have one of the only two 50 amp spots.  We can see a few other RVs through the trees, but as night fell we felt we were secluded in a forested glen. As I sit here working on this post, there is a doe and her fawn just outside the window.

The tour of the Oregon Caves was as promised. About 90 minutes long, led by a ranger. Although I asked lots of questions about the effects of earthquakes and evidence of falling rocks, I felt pretty safe in these caves.  They have been carved thru limestone that has been transformed into marble.

Water continues to drip through and there are many different formations.

Some looked like liquid rock.

It was 44° F inside the cave.  Most of the  walkways thru the cave were cement sidewalks,  built by the CCC. We  climbed over 500 steps, both stone and metal,  but many had sturdy handrails so it was not hard to do.

We have only been to a few National Parks and Monuments, but we are  very impressed by the work done in the 30’s.  We have enjoyed the magnificance of the lodges at Yosemite, Mt. Hood, Crater Lake, and now the Oregon Caves.  They are all impressive examples of excellent craftsmanship and architectural expressions of the grandeur of natural materials. There has been a lot of restoration and preservation done over the years, and they remain national treasures.

The exterior of this one was some kind of cedar bark.

Even this little outbuilding had the same exterior.

We always enjoy going inside and imagining what it must have been like to be a rich tourist back in those days.

Another interesting day ...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

All RV Needs, Medford OR

Although we don’t have a lot of RV experience, we understand that there will be breakdowns.  Parts will fail, and repairs must be dealt with. Having something break on the RV and having to go to a RV repair place is much like being injured or getting suddenly sick and needing to go to an ER or Urgent Care center.   Everyone feels better if they've had time to ask someone’s opinion. A recommendation is always comforting.  Given that the service center we went to because someone at the RV park suggested it is too busy, we feel better because they recommend another shop

It seems there are a dozen RV repair or sales facilities in Medford Oregon, big and small.  Tonight (Tuesday) we are plugged in, in the parking lot of “All RV Needs” service and sales. 

This is a new shop.  The owner worked at a dealership (Courtesy) in Klamath Falls.  He fit us in this morning because the service writer from Courtesy called him on our behalf last week.  As we sat around waiting for news on the part that we need, I overheard the service writer estimating and booking a steady flow of customers for work two weeks out.  Rigs only break down when they are in use. 

The small broken part in the slide was found quickly by the service tech.  But it took most of the day to figure out how to order a replacement.  The FAX machines at All RV Needs and Alfateers in Fontana, CA both work with other FAX machines, but absolutely refuse to talk to each other.  Finally, Craig had Alfateers scan the necessary drawing and email it to us.  He then identified and ordered the needed part.  We're having it sent overnight and it should be here for the fix in the morning.  We hope.  We also had a new water filter ordered and that too should be here tomorrow. We called all over Medford for the brand and model of filter we needed. None were available. 

We are parked in the last spot on the lot that has a power connection.  We did have to drive across town to get a 50 amp extension cord. The shop would have loaned us a 20 amp, but we have wanted to buy an extra heavy cord anyway.  Now we have one if and when we need it in the future.

Today was the first really hot weather we have run into. The air conditioners seem to be cooling the rig down nicely, and tonight we will probably watch a movie.  We are done with pre-planned agendas, for this trip, and are going to try  inventing our course on the fly...


For Karen:  No, we did not go kayaking on Crater Lake.  There is no boat access.

Instead we were treated to a kayak experience by Sue and Mo on Klamath Lake. 

 I have never been kayaking before.

Yes, I meant to be in the plants!
How did I like it?  I liked the peace of the water and the surface view of the lake just fine.

  I did not find paddling very difficult, but unfortunately my fickle back could not stand the seated position in the kayak. I cannot sit on the floor or in many different types of chairs.  I am often surprised by the pain because standing, walking and sitting in other positions does not hurt in the same way.

We did go out for about a mile before I felt it was best to turn back.  Sue saw I was having problems and put it up to me to call the turn around.

I really wanted to go farther.  I really wanted to kayak.  

We may try it again someday.  I'm open to renting kayaks if Craig agrees that if I hurt we will not continue.  He is very good about that.

In the afternoon I was a bit restless.  Craig was working on some picture processing so I took a short walk by myself.  It is quite warm today.  High 80*s. I managed to do a two mile loop along the road. There is something about walking that has helped me find a very peaceful state of mind. I must remember that when we get back.

Sue and Mo invited us to have a wonderful Copper River Salmon dinner at their charming home.  We also met some of their friends and had a good time.  

Such a beautiful day.

Tuesday morning .... over to Medford to see the repair shop about the slide.  Oh Well we can't have everything go perfectly can we. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Practice doing nothing

Sunday was an excellent day of practicing doing nothing.  We moved all of 22 miles from the Crater Lake Resort to the Rocky Point Resort.  I think the drive took about 20 minutes.

Our space was tucked in under some very tall trees.  I couldn't get back far enough to capture the tops!

The "Big White Thing" doesn't look so big in this picture.

After checking in and getting settled, we spent most of the day sitting outside, reading and enjoying the peaceful setting.

We did have a couple of interesting visitors.

This little guy stopped by.

And this  critter gave the side of the Alfa a once over with his very long antenna. He was about three inches long and a very shiny black.

Dinner was a grilled pizza with homemade whole wheat crust, duck sausage, onions, and a bit of Trader Joe's Roquefort cheese.  Yummy!

Oh, and the temperature today was in the 80s.  Warm but with very low humidity so it was really pleasant.  

Love Oregon!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Crater Lake Area

I booked our spot at the Crater Lake Resort for a week. I wanted to have plenty of time to savor the most beautiful lake I will ever see!

When we set up here, our small slide seemed to stick and balk when we put it out. We decided to defer looking into the problem until after the 4th. We tried it again on Thursday, and since it had not magically healed itself, a call to Coach-Net was in order.

They found a repair place for us down in Klamath Falls.  Craig wasn't sure he liked the sound of "Eddie's RVs".  Although we made an appointment there for Tuesday, we also asked a local camper if he knew of a good shop. He suggested a place called Courtesy RV.

We wanted to pick up a few fresh veggies anyway, so we drove the car down to Klamath Falls to take a look at them both.

But first I wanted to stop at the nearby Logging Museum that was listed in the "Free Local Things To Do". Free is always good! I have found small one-subject museums can often be interesting, and it was. 

It is in an Oregon State Park, and had a self-guided walk around a large collection of old machinery used in the logging industry. The informational signs and the weather were both good, and it was fun to try to figure out what some of the machines did. 

Nothing mass produced about this stuff! Each was either a limited edition or a one of a kind. 

Our first stop in Klamath Falls was at Courtesy RV.  We talked to the service writer about the problem. Unfortunately they were booked solid for the next two weeks and couldn't help us.  We asked his opinion of Eddie's.

He hemmed and hawed a bit, not wanting to give us an opinion, but eventually he suggested it might not be a good place to go.

Given that he could not fit us in, we asked for a recommendation for another place. He put us in contact with a repair shop in Medford. 

So, once we get the slide in on Sunday, it will stay in until we can have it looked at on Tuesday. I can climb in and out of bed from the end. It's much easier now that I'm not so fat. 

On Friday we explored two little park areas, and later in the afternoon we went up to Crater Lake once again. 

We wanted to see the sunset and have dinner at the Lodge. We have eaten at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite and it was wonderful.  We hoped for the same at Crater Lake Lodge and were not disappointed!

Craig has had his eye on a wonderful Indian design Pendleton blanket we saw at the gift shop. We looked at all of them several times, at both gift shops. We also went on line to the Pendleton web site and saw they were the same price there. We were looking at it for a cover for the Alfa's couch. 

I liked one, Craig liked another, but we were both OK with the other's choice! We bought Craig's choice. 

Unfortunately when we got it home, we discovered a flaw and took it back on Saturday.

As we discussed the exchange with the clerk I noticed they had hung up one we had not seen the day before. 

It was perfect! Our first real decor element for the Alfa. I did buy some cheap rugs to start with, but now can keep an eye out for better ones that will go with the blanket colors.

We hiked Annie's Creek trail on Saturday, finishing off all trails open to us at Crater Lake.  

I will enjoy making a slide DVD for us of this spectacular place when we get home.

Next up ... Kayaking with blogger friends Sue and Mo at Rocky Point.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tuesday and, Wednesday, Crater Lake Area

Oh my, but the days are racing by!

On Tuesday we returned once again to Crater Lake National Park. Although we knew the Southeastern most section of the rim drive was closed, we hoped we could still get to one or more of the moderate hikes on the park map. Seems I've really gotten to like hiking! 

The trails we really wanted were closed, but the Garfield Peak trail was open much of the way. If you go all of the way to the top,  you reach the highest hiking point in the park. We were able to go about two miles before we reached a snowy blockade. A path was cut through, but on the advice of some returning hikers I opted to wait below while Craig went up beyond the snow. 

My view was pretty good. I didn't feel the need to go higher. As I waited for Craig to come back down, I watched as one gal (much younger than I) slipped and fell. Her companion had to help her the rest of the way down the snowy path. 

Craig rested after our hike, while I went off to find a restroom.  We then found a picnic table in the snow and had lunch. After that we went up to the lodge and enjoyed a ranger talk before returning to our RV park.

We plan on going back up to the lake on Friday or Saturday for one more look. Can't get too much of its beauty!

I found a book of hiking trails in the office of our campground. In it I found what seemed like a good hike for us to do on Wednesday. It was in the National Forest and it looked like the access wasn't far from our RV park. The hike was a bit longer than I wanted (10 miles) but it didn't look very hard.

Although I had both a printed map and written directions, we were still able to get a little lost looking for the trailhead! We saw a sign that said "Sevenmile Creek trailhead" at the first road we came to, and turned. It was a cinder road.  We drove six or so miles to its end, and found no trailhead. 

We tried a side rod, but it was very rough and more suitable for a Jeep than an Accent. After a short distance we turned around.

When we got back to the turnoff for the cinder road we saw there was another road right next to it. It was gravel, but smoother than the first. It was the right road and we found the trailhead. 

This trail was quite different from what we've become accustomed to in the National Park. It was not well marked and hadn't been maintained for a long time.

This view is of a more cleared section. 

The further up we went the more downed trees and deadfall we encountered.

At many points the trail became completely overgrown with small trees, and we had to guess which way to go.  

Is this the trail?  
Or does it go over there?

I didn't take a picture when we got to the point where we could no longer find the trail. Guessing which way to go is not a good practice when you are in a somewhat wild forest. 

So after about two and a half miles we decided to turn back.  At one point we thought we were going in the right direction when Craig checked it with the compass feature on his Android phone. Oops, we were going in the wrong direction!

I'm glad we turned around while we were still able to find the way we had come.

It was still a nice hike, but only about five miles round trip! 

I'm really not going to be satisfied with two miles on the treadmill when I get home!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Craig's Guest Blog: Crater Lake

From Craig: Merikay is letting me write a whole post!  

On Monday July 2 we went back to Crater Lake National Park, drove part-way around the lake, walked down to the boat dock, took the boat trip around the lake and then climbed back up and went home.

When you come from Fort Klamath as we did, you arrive at the lake at what's called Rim Village.  Merikay's previous post (below) shows some of the views from there on Sunday.

Monday we started driving around the West Rim Drive.  This image is one of the most-photographed views from near the start of the drive.  The island is called Wizard Island and the big rock behind it is called The Watchman.

Here's Wizard Island from further along the West Drive, looking back toward the East shore with a snow slope at lower right.  The far side wasn't that blue, but it's too hard to fix that without spoiling the color of the water.

Note that the top of Wizard Island has its own little volcanic bowl.  In some sense it's the descendant of the great volcano that blew up 7700 years ago to create Crater Lake.  (Very safe now they say :-)

We stopped at several other scenic stops along the West Rim Drive before we came to Cleetwood Cove from which the boat departs.  This is the only way down to the lake surface, and the trail switches back many times, providing many breathtaking views.  This one looks toward the south shore from high up on the trail. See the swirl of light color at the lower right?  That's pollen from pines and firs, floating on the water.

Further down the trail, this one looks down the East side of the lake.  The mountain in back may be Shasta.  You thought maybe I was a geographer?

One of the nicest things about Southeast Oregon is how healthy the trees look.

We got down to the boat dock, waited a while, and went aboard for a two hour trip around the lake.  It went counter-clockwise, first passing The Watchman, around the back of which we had just driven.

This one is on the southwest shore, below Rim Village.  It made the cut among 231 images because of the color contrast between the different slopes.

Further around the southern shore, this orange formation is called Pumice Castle. Somewhere along in here is a rock island called the Phantom Ship, but none of the images we got of it were good enough to burden you with yet another big image to download...

The northeast shore of Crater Lake (near the boat dock) is where water leaks out to keep the lake from filling and overflowing.  The rangers say no one knows where it goes.  We couldn't find a way to get an image of water leaking out underground.

After the boat docked, the walk up the trail was hard but the views were just as good as on the way down.  They differed only from the downhill views in how the sun lit them.  Here is Merikay being happy to have made it back up.

We drove back toward Rim Village, and our scenic turnouts looked outward away from the lake.  The plain here was in a patchy stage of snowmelt.  Behind it is a little Matterhorn-type peak which a ranger at the turnout said was "sharpened" by a glacier long ago.

Stay tuned for more adventures in the Crater Lake area...