Sept 16 - Oct 9 - Oregon Coast, Part 1
Funny thing happened when we returned home to the Reedsport area after 18 months on the road - it didn't feel like we were "on vacation" anymore. Our base while here was the 1000 Trails South Jetty RV Park, just south of Florence and about 20 miles north of Reedsport. Our membership lets us park up to three weeks at a given 1000 Trails park before we have to move out for a week. So we'll be bouncing around a bit while we're here.
As expected, there were lots of reunions - Judy reconnected with her harping friend Ruth Boddy in Reedsport (and has been playing her harp some since) and was able to attend a meeting of her PEO chapter. Luther Pierson from Indiana made a quick trip to the coast on a weekend off from a business trip to Idaho, and we spent several hours with him our first Saturday here, and he joined us for breakfast and church the next day. It was our first chance to meet the new pastor at United Presbyterian. Dr Bill Stevens is a bundle of almost-controlled energy. Us old Reedsport Presbyterians are going to have to work a little to keep up. And after enjoying a Sunday of visiting, Judy was recruited as church musician for the following two weeks - and enjoyed it immensely. She'll be doing three more weeks of piano duty when we return in mid-October.
We both had doctor appointments, and have both been pronounced officially still alive with no immediate prospects of any change in that status. We negotiated a bit with Dr Law, who agreed to give us a 6-month leeway on our "annual" visits, so we'll have more freedom to travel. Al's been heard humming "Don't fence me in".
We spent a ton of money on our motorhome - first to have new shock absorbers installed in hopes of smoothing out the ride a bit. For those of you interested, we went with Bilsteins. And while the rig was in the shop, we also had the oil changed to Mobil 1 Synthetic, so maybe we won't worry so much about forgetting the 3,000 mile oil change. Mobil 1 Synthetic is rated at 15,000 miles or 12 months, so we ought to be able to remember to change it about once a year.
We had dinner one evening with John & Valerie Smart - they've been contemplating moving full-time into their motorhome, but still need to sell their sticks-n-bricks house. John retired a few years ago as Reedsport Police Chief, and is currently working as the interim City Manager until the middle of December. Val is working part-time at the Discovery Center. Neat folks.
We had our bicycles serviced - after hanging off the back of the motorhome as we bounced around the country, they both needed new chains and some serious tuning. They work much better now. And we'll get used to riding them again, we're sure.
Dick & Kathy Ulrich, whom we met at Long Beach WA a few weeks ago, were at South Jetty for a few days, and we managed to have dinner with them one night. Al and Dick spent most of one afternoon in a futile attempt to stop a small water leak in our water intake system. The good news is we now have an impressive collection of not-quite-right plumbing components. And a somewhat smaller leak.
On Oct 6 we drove the motorhome to Springfield OR for our other major expenditure - a bunch of new electrical stuff. Our motorhome lacked an inverter that would enable us to run our 120v AC things from our batteries. And our on-board batteries had seen much better days. So we opted to install a 2,000 watt inverter and some new deep-cycle batteries. And while we were at it, we had a couple of solar panels installed on the roof to aid in keeping those batteries charged. We lived two nights in the parking lot of AMSolar while they did all the work. Some of the expense of the installation will be offset by an alternative energy system tax credit that we'll apply to our income taxes in the spring. Basically, the tax credit will cover the cost of the two solar panels and associated electronics. We get to pay for all the rest.
While the tech types were rewiring our coach, we drove north to Salem to visit with dear friend Dr Rick McLean. Rick's doing quite well, living in an assisted living facility just a short distance from daughter Vicki. We had lunch, and then we all visited Vicki's house, where Rick has an extensive garden out back. Vicki's into hedgehog rescue - she's currently caring for eight hedgehogs in various states of health. They are adorable and cute and quite fragile. We suspect Vicki may be the only hedgehog rescue person we'll ever know.
Upon leaving AM Solar, we drove back to the coast and parked at 1000 Trails Whalers Rest, just south of Newport. We can report that the ride is indeed much smoother with our new shock absorbers. And we can also report that the motorhome runs really well on the relatively inexpensive ($3.21/gal) gasoline we've been able to find. Even so, it's good to be relatively stationary and not be buying gas very often.
After a week in Newport, we'll return to South Jetty for another three weeks and a few more Gotta-Do's. We both need new eyeglasses, Al needs to get his hearing aids tweaked, and Judy has one more test the Dr wants to inflict. And then we'll be back on the road again.
There aren't a lot of pictures in our slideshow for these three weeks. We keep forgetting to take the camera with us. After all, we're not "on vacation". You'll find some of the pictures we did take here.