Thursday, May 24, 2012

Omne Trium Perfectum IV ~ May 19-20, 2012

We're off and by the end of the first 36 hours we have a new understanding of the concept of adventure. We have the rig set up now to tow the Honda CRV. It will give us more flexibility to anchor somewhere and explore. Rod has hauled a trailer with the rig on his annual trek to Las Vegas for the NASCAR races, but towing a vehicle has a whole new set of ground rules.

It has something called a proportional brake that senses when the motorhome brakes are engaged and applies the Road Master brakes to Honda. Just outside of Laytonville a car in front of us decides to make an unannounced left turn ~ you know the kind: stop, start turn, signal, tail in your lane. Rod applied the brakes; the message to the Honda was slow down, but instead of that the brakes locked making it a momentary 4,500 pound anchor. We must have left a 100' of rubber on Highway 101 and a cloud of blue smoke that swallowed the car behind us. The parameters and settings were supposedly checked before we left Johnny Franklin's in Santa Rosa. Me thinks they muffed it. We pulled over at the next rest stop and re-adjusted the unit which sits on the floor of the driver side in the Honda with an arm attached to brake pedal. From there on no problems.

We pulled into our campsite at Emerald Forest north of McKinleyville and unhitched the Honda to drive down to our friends house for the evening. The minute we got on the Freeway it was "Houston we have a problem". Major vibration, sounded like a freight train. Being NASCAR fans we understand the concept of "flat spotted tires" when a car skids it scrapes off the rubber. Oh boy!

Fortunately Tom and Linda are good friends with Pat, the manager of the Les Schwab Store in McKinleyville. Linda called his house (this is Friday night) and left a message with this wife explaining the situation. On his day off he met us at the shop at 8am and had his guys to get us in first. Four new Honda tires $1,000 ~ friends and customer service ~ priceless.

On the road again by nine, destination Sublimity, near Salem, OR for Rod's Pop's 94th birthday party. We had expected to get in by mid afternoon, but that was not in the cards! We're just south of Cottage Grove, OR on Interstate 5 when we hear a loud rattle-clank, thwappa, thwappa. We pulled as far off the road as possible on the paved verge, which left about 2 feet to the slow lane. Scary! Big Rig drivers are the best, if they had room they moved over to the fast lane to pass us.

Problem: the inside dually tire had lost its tread, which was wrapped up in the wheel assembly and ripped the mud flap loose from it's outside mooring. Fortunately the core remained inflated. We called Good Sam, and it took about an hour before they could get a tow truck to us to change the tire. Nice kid did a great job and we were back on the road in a couple of hours. We pull into Sublimity about 11pm, set up and call it a day.

I went to get something out of the closet and everything spilled out onto the floor like a waterfall. The clothes rod brackets had given up the ghost somewhere along the way. Omne Trium Perfectum. At this point there was nothing to do but laugh and get a good night's sleep!

There's a Les Schwab Store just down the road from Pop's. They got us in first thing Monday morning and replaced two tires, rotated fronts to back and replaced the spare. $400 for 2 new rig tires ~ again customer service priceless.

Next stop the Narrows for a couple of days at Malheur and Harlan Lakes south of Burns, OR. We are enjoying being unplugged and using each day to the fullest. That said you may need to wait for the rest of the story, but I'm taking good notes and lots of photos. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hell of a Start ~ May 18-22, 2012

We've been on the road for 5 days now, most of the last three visiting with Rod's pop in Sublimity and friends in Hillsboro. No access to wi-fi except the local library, so once we get to our destination in Idaho I'll have tales to share that range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Oregon is in full bloom: iris, rhodies, wildflowers and seed farms with acres of white and yellow. We've stuck to back roads and blue highways, well worth the extra time it takes to get to a destination. Stormy with intermittent sunshine.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gone and Little Towed ~ May 17, 2012

Tomorrow morning we take off on our first major road trip of 2012. We have three weeks with only a few promises to keep. We're off to visit friends and family in Oregon and then to Boise, Idaho for Memorial Day weekend.

Idaho Golden Eagle

The majority of the trip, however, will fall under our favorite category of "Shall we turn right or left this morning?" Bill Bryson said it quite well.

Road Trip Freedom
“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel
is to be able to experience everyday things
as if for the first time,
to be in a position
in which almost nothing
is so familiar it is taken for granted.” 

Over the last 5 years we've taken our little motorhome, Gone, all around the Northwest, BC and Alberta. We've seen some amazing places, but the drawback was that without a car we couldn't explore. We want the freedom to anchor somewhere for a few days or a week and be able to check out the neighborhood. 

Enter Little Towed, our Honda CRV. We got her set up this week so that we can take her with us. It's going to be a learning curve, especially since we go from 25' to almost 40', from back in sites to pull through sites, from simply taking off to new checklists for hitching up and unhitching. We have a long run up Hwy 101 to our friends in McKinleyville and another long one from there to Pop's place in Sublimity, OR so we should be SOHUA (somewhat old hands upon arrival) by the time we get there. Life should be an adventure and who would know better than Mark Twain? 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
 by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Super Saturday ~ May 5, 2012

Today is of course Cinqo de Mayo. In Sonoma County there are a myriad of celebrations as well as the Human Race and the Wine Country Century bicycle tour. It's one of those weekends to stay off the roads and out of civilization. Delighted with the prospect of no promises to keep we split the day between working in the garden and reading on the front porch. Tonight will be grand for viewing the Super Moon. We'll get out the lawn chairs and maybe the spotting scope for a close up. 

This, however, is about a moon of a different kind. Earlier this week I made several batches of Cilantro Pesto and we were lucky enough to score some of our friend Nancy's outstanding sour dough pizza dough. Chef Boy outdid himself, this little puppy's just about ready for the oven. The combo includes cilantro pesto, red bell peppers, portobello mushrooms, green onions and shredded sharp provolone cheese. Oh Baby!

Tomorrow the top of the hill gang gather's here for a late afternoon BBQ to meet our new neighbors. We always do it pot luck and the list of goodies is impressive. We may need the Garden Way carts to get everyone home. Enjoy your weekend and be safe out there.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Twilight on Tamalpais ~ March 14, 1921

Once again I'm back to work on family genealogy. The thrill of the hunt, an archaeological dig and jigsaw puzzle all rolled into one. You never know what you'll find around the next corner. Sitting cross-legged on my studio floor I was looking through a small file cabinet for a specific photo. I got sidetracked by a manila folder filled with some ancient newspaper clippings. Among them was the following poem.

Twilight on Tamalpais

High upon a mountain, whose fingers touch the sky,
Whose pillared sides and giant trees saw men and nations die;
There, standing in the twilight, in Nature's fiery tone
I breathe the air of freedom and joy to be alone.

Below, there ride the straining ships ~ the greyhounds of the deep
Upon whose decks the silent crews their silent watches keep;
And in the middle distance, as greylike as a tomb,
As befits a dreary prison, is Alcatraz in the gloom.

Behold the distant ocean, the soundless, tossing sea
As silent as an ocean in any dream could be;
The stretches of the City, flung far across the Bay,
Whose myriad houses glow with light ~ the light that ends the day.

Alone to feel the silence, alone and all in peace,
The calm, still peace of even, as daily labors cease;
The passing breath of sunset, in lovely shades of red,
The peace and joy of living 'mid the splendors of the dead!

All I know is that it was written by Frank Livingstone, San Francisco, March 14, 1921. It was no doubt cut from the local newspaper by my grandmother or great grand mother.

Undated, photo/postcard of Mt. Tamalpais in same file

Anyone who has been up on the mountain will recognize the views and thoughts he describes. I could only smile at the similarity of my own journal entry written 91 years later (March 2012 blog: Just a Thought Series ~ December 10, 1970). It appears Mt. Tam holds magic for all who spend time in her embrace.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Great Bear Hunt ~ 2012

Rod and I were sitting on the front porch last Thursday enjoying the late afternoon ambiance when we heard bicycle tires on the gravel. We see two of our hilltop kidlets peddling like they were in lead of the Tour de California.

Now it's a given, as a kid, you are going to crash and burn at least once on a bicycle ~ the dreaded learning curve bites hard, especially on a gravel road. We watch helplessly as Maya goes down, hands outstretched to stop her fall. The tears and screams are swift and within 10 seconds three moms, a dad, Rod and I and four playmates are sprinting towards the commotion. Nothing serious, a little gravel burn, hurt pride and probably a few bruises. She recovers quickly and is off to home for a bandaid.

The four boys (Nolan, Evan, Alexander and Atticus) decide it's time to go on a bear hunt. Rod cuts walking sticks (for protection of course) to size for each of the team and off they go down into the pasture and the great unknown. A teenage neighbor has built a tree house near the property line and left the ladders there. One of the boys wants to climb but they discuss the fact it's not their tree house and they shouldn't climb the ladder. A black cat dashes out of nowhere into the brush and someone shouts "Panther". One of the boys was a little scared and said he'd feel better if Maya was along (she's the oldest). Maya, now recovered, sprints down to the outpost and joins the hunt.

I'm sitting on the retaining wall with two residents moms and a dad and the mom of two of Nolan's playmates, watching the adventure unfold and listening to them talk about Rod's connection to kids and the lessons they always learn. This time it's leadership, being brave, and making good decisions. It's all too cute and the mom's are sighing with delight that they have a few unbridled minutes of not having to be on point. Rent a Grandpa!

The group returns from the hunt and Nolan shouts "magic cart ride" and the boys head for the Garden Way cart and the compost pile. Rod stands it on end and they all hop in, stacked like cord wood, for the short ride to the "fort" at the base of our redwoods. Trouble on wheels!