March 19-Apr 21 - We're Fulltimers!
It's been five weeks since we moved "full time" into our motorhome and drove it away from the house. But it's just now starting to seem like we're really starting to get into our new lifestyle. We've been running a lot of errands, and we've been spending a lot of time getting organized. Here's a fairly boring summary. Click any of these photos to see a bigger version of the image.
Our first "stop" was the Winchester Bay RV Resort, just 3 miles from home, and we were there three weeks. Most of that time was spent organizing the stuff that we wanted to keep with us. We also had to finish cleaning out the house and make contact with folks we probably won't see for a while. It was a busy time, mildly stressful, and with way too little time for playing tourist. But there were lots of neat things, too. We were awaked almost every morning by this very vocal chickadee, who'd chosen the hedge next to the motorhome as his preferred singing spot. While we would have preferred a somewhat later wakeup call, it was a gentle one. It took about 2 1/2 weeks to finally get the last of the "stuff" out of the garage and donated, disposed of or hauled to the RV before we turned over all the remaining keys and garage door openers to the realtors. There were lots of people who wanted to say "goodbye" before we wandered away, and we managed to sell the Dodge Van about four days before the absolute deadline.
We managed to find a couple of evenings to watch the sunset from the Umpqua Lighthouse - neat lighthouse, good sunsets. We ate out way more than we needed to, and a lot less than we wanted to. We toured the Umpqua Discovery Center, something we never do often enough, and even managed to take in a movie or two - including a big screen showing of one of our favorites, The Princess Bride, in the magnificent, mostly restored 1920's style Egyptian Theater in Coos Bay. First time we'd been in the theater since it was deactivated as a commercial tri-plex a couple of years ago.
On Easter Monday, we woke to a horrendous storm that seemed to stop instantaneously when it was time to unhook everything and head out. By the time we were ready to roll, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful spring day. We headed north up the Oregon Coast, with stops for propane, gasoline and a delightful lunch parked along the highway next to the ocean (and an essential stop at the Tillamook Dairy for ice cream). We arrived at the Thousand Trails park in Seaside around 4pm, our first stay at a Thousand Trails since joining last fall.
Astoria is Judy's home town, and besides being the oldest city in the northwest, it's mostly vertical, situated on the banks of the Columbia River. From time to time, parts of the town seek a lower level, so we wanted to see the latest edition of the Astoria Landslide. Just a block off the main road,the amount of movement is spectacular. Fortunately, it's been a slow movement, giving the city workers plenty of time to adapt by replacing the waterlines and cutting the trees. Since they can prove the slide resulted from the torrential rains of last November/December, the feds will pay 75% of repairs, a great relief for the town. Last we heard, there have been no dwellings damaged, but some folks across the street from the slide were moving out while we were there. And hopefully, so were some of the folks who live just above it.
After viewing the slide, we had a minor encounter with an aging but very sturdy GMC Suburban. The young lady driving somehow missed seeing us in the intersection. Spent most of the rest of the day making sure there was no damage that would make our car undriveable. But still - the repair estimate to fix those little dents and scrapes was almost $2200. The young lady's insurance will cover it all. We'll get it fixed down the road when we can hole up for a couple of weeks. Maybe Las Vegas. There are worse places to hole up.
We came to Astoria to touch base with Judy's brother John and Starrlette, as well as with Chuck and Jan Wolfe and their "girls" Nellie and Sophie, the Golden Labs. We had a couple of fine dinners (try the Uniontown Cafe sometime), and even found time between rain storms to go to the beach a couple of times, although in both cases, it started raining as soon as we got there, forcing us to take refuge in a couple of very good fudge shops. Judging by the lovely bronze shine, we suspect a lot of folks find good luck rubbing the nose of Lewis & Clark's companion dog. The statue's at the tournaround in Seaside. Dog was an essential part of the meat diet of the native Americans in the area, and on more that one occasion, Lewis & Clark had to buy dog meat to feed the expedition members. The natives just didn't understand why they didn't eat the dog they'd brought with them. Not sure if that minor culture gap was ever bridged. While in the Astoria area, we found time to stop at the restored Fort Clatsop, and can report that the fort is once again complete. It had burned to the ground about 18 months ago. We find it interesting that the Lewis & Clark folks built the original fort in about 4 days. The first reproduction was built in a single weekend by volunteers about 50 years ago. This government-contracted rebuild took a year and a half. With power tools.
From the Astoria area, it was an easy jaunt to Portland for the weekend to spend as much time as we could with Ira and Anna. Ira's work schedule precluded as much time as we all would have preferred, but we squoze in as much as we could. Plus much good food, a movie, and a little shopping.
From Portland, south to Eugene for more "See Ya Laters" and some new motorhome furniture. We had dinner (twice) with Judy's sister Joanna, and spent some time with sister Jan and Denny, recently retired and getting involved in their new "RV" - a 30' sailboat. If you're anywhere around Puget Sound this summer, watch for the "Photo Finish". It'll be dragging the dinghy "Snapshot". Say "Hi" for us. While in Eugene, we took the motorhome to Junction City, the RV Capital of the western US, to get our custom-ordered electric reclining loveseat. It replaced the uncomfortable couch/hide-a-bed with a very comfortable dual-recliner. All the comforts of home in our roving home.
Motorhomes and sailboats have much in common, including the inflated costs of things that would cost a lot less if you bought it for your home. Plus, you don't just move in a piece of furniture - you have to have it "installed". We know we've bought cars that cost less than that loveseat. But it's exactly what we needed for sitting around and reading or watching TV. Not that we've yet had much time for that.
While in Eugene, we managed to see a play - "Stones in His Pockets", presented by the Willamette Repertory Theater. Curious production of a little play about the effects of a movie film crew on a small town in Ireland. Maybe if there had been more than just two actors playing all the parts . . . .
We're big fans of the comic strip "Stone Soup", created in Eugene by Jan Eliot. We discovered and managed to see her gallery showing of original comic strip art. We didn't actually buy any, but we did look at and enjoy over 40 original comic strips with a retail value in excess of $15,000. There's money in helping people laugh . . .
Last stop - the Medford-Ashland OR area, where we'll be seeing some plays before heading south the end of the week. Our visit would be a little shorter than we'd planned, and a little emptier. We'd hoped to be able to visit a few more times with our friend Betty Ann Dibb, but BA had other places she needed to be, and passed away a week before our arrival. Remarkable how you can become "lifelong" friends with somebody in just a few short years.
That's the nutshell version of our first five weeks in a motorhome. Our adventure is just beginning. And we miss you all already.