Settling In…

Warning: I usually write about the highlights of living on the road. Today, however, I am sharing some lowlights… the normal day to day reality of living in an RV and being retired. So, spoiler alert, this post may make you yawn.

We take 3 days to settle in at Camp Blanco RV Park, our favorite place to stay in Port Orford. There are no frills here, no bathrooms, no parties… Just 25 spaces for full-time and visiting RVers. William, the host, and Jeff, the owner, are 2 of the friendliest and most helpful people you will ever meet.

Across the street is a laundromat and car wash with a high bay for washing RVs. Next door to Busy Bubbles is a Dollar General store that opened last spring. It’s clean and well- maintained and carries a wide variety of merchandise at low prices including food items with the exception of fresh meats and produce.

When you live in a small town you learn to make do with the available albeit limited resources. For us, that’s exactly the charm of Port Orford. We like this challenge of less choices. Down the street from us is a grocery store, Ray’s Place which I like to call Ray’s Palace because the prices are high. Locals call it Raper Ray’s for the same reason.

So for now, we only need these 3 resources to help us move in.

We’ve been on the road since March 12th and the RV needs a major cleaning inside and a bath on the outside, not to mention the car and tow dolly. Cleaning and reorganizing are our priorities, and oh, did I forgot to mention eating some fish and chips from the Crazy Norwegian? Upon arriving on a Monday, however, the Crazy Norwegian is closed. Some priorities will have to wait until tomorrow then.

Later, in the middle of the night when Jeff takes our dogs out to relieve themselves, Jeff wakes me up to tell me he can hear the ocean waves and see every star in the Milky Way.

Everyday at noon a siren announces the midday hour. But today, April 17th, the sirens issue a special call for volunteer firemen. The 3rd type of siren blast is a tsunami warning. (The RV Park information sheet explains all this.)

Visiting the ocean will be our reward for completing all our chores and we hope will keep us focused and motivated. But I’ve got to be honest. Traveling takes its toll and we are just plain tired.

Being on the road wreaks havoc in an RV. Dust gets into all the nooks and crannies and it doesn’t help having a dog who sheds piles of fur every time we sweep. Jeff and I start cleaning out the fridge and storage cabinets. The cabinets are stuffed with towels, blankets, and pillows that now need to be washed. The tchotchkes are packed away in a bin and need to be unpacked. Basically the whole RV has to be rearranged.

We start preparing a major grocery shopping list and TO DO LIST of everything we need and have to do from Amazon orders to laundry to vacuuming all the nooks and crannies. It’s also a good time to assess the needs of the RV. We have light fixtures to replace, a door jam to fix, a new TV antenna and an awning damaged by high winds to replace. Speaking of high winds, we lost our outside door mat in San Jacinto to the Santa Ana winds and our collapsible outdoor recycling bin when we visited Zion National Park. We think it sailed through the air and landed in the Virgin River where the water currents carried it somewhere. If you’re ever in this area and a green collapsible bin washes up, it’s ours. Sorry about that…

And the outdoor storage bins need to be cleaned, washed out and reorganized. This also allows us to sort through “stuff” and decide whether we should still keep it or dump it.

Jeff makes a run to Dollar General for necessary staples and food items to tide us over until we drive into Coos Bay for a proper grocery shopping.

For a late lunch, Jeff picks up a fish and chips carry-out from the Crazy Norwegian which we gobble down and then lick our fingers off for every last morsel.

With satisfied tummies, these 2 happy campers take the rest of the day off to read, stream, watch some TV and relax. We are retired after all!

On Wednesday, the 18th, we finish vacuuming and wiping down the inside of the RV from top to bottom on hands and knees… Oh what a feeling!

We wash bedding and blankets at Busy Bubbles and I meet a man from Connecticut who moved here 20 years ago. Actually he lives in Sixes, 5 miles north of Port Orford. People enjoy sharing their story about visiting this area and then deciding to stay. And I always pick up some new info on local history. Today I learn that Highway 101 was a stagecoach route and towns grew up along the way because the average distance a stagecoach could travel in a day was 25 miles. That’s why you only have to go 25 miles north or south to get to the next town. For example, Gold Beach is 25 miles south and Bandon is 25 miles north. Coos Bay is another 25 miles north of Bandon.

Only 2 types of people live in Port Orford… those who love living here and those who are trying to escape. By my book so far, the lovers outnumber the wannabe escapees.

Thursday, the 19th, we travel 50 miles to Coos Bay to buy groceries at Fred Meyer. Kroger owns Fred Meyer so we are counting on good prices. Our other option is to shop at the Walmart Supercenter, 4 miles away.

Before we head into the “city”, however, we reward ourselves for all our semi-hard work cleaning, organizing, prioritizing, and rearranging. We drive to the scenic viewpoint overlooking the Port.

And there it is… a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean and the Port that always leaves us amazed and inspired.

I’ve already lost track of Friday, but Saturday we go across the street to Busy Bubbles and wash our clothes.

Today I meet a man from eastern Oregon who moved to Port Orford 11 years ago. He does not own a car or a bike. He just walks everywhere. I’m not sure what he does to travel to other towns on the coast. Maybe he has friends drive him or is it possible he never leaves? He used to work at the local Circle K. I learn from him that meth addiction is a problem here. He shares stories of how he has watched the decline and deterioration of some of his customers. Now, however, he works at one of the art galleries in town helping the owner design and manage websites on the side. Maybe that’s how art galleries survive here, a sideline.

The owner of Busy Bubbles pops in later. I remember him from last year and he is still trying to sell his business. He is an example of the 2nd type of person living in Port Orford. He hates it here and desperately wants to move to Corpus Christi, Texas.

Sometime during the past 5 days I add up our monthly expenses. Jeff and I are trying to stay within our budget and we have never kept track of what we spend on the road. Traveling guzzles gas and overnight full hook-up parking can cost anywhere between $25-$50. Buying groceries costs more too because tourist areas charge more and RV parks on the backroads are not located near major grocery chains. Plus, we  tend to grab a quick bite out more often when we are on the road. And spending time with family and friends has to be added in to the budget. I have to factor in an airline ticket to Ohio, not to mention our 6 grandkids, 5 sons and their families. Once we have a good idea of what we spend, we can plan better for the future. Full-time RVing is still a learning experience for us.

And there you have it… the low-down, the let-down, the behind-the-scenes of our scenic adventures. So, stretch your arms and legs and get ready for tomorrow’s beach walk.

Klamath Falls to Port Orford

No Direct Route to the Coast

As the crow flies, Port Orford is only about 145 miles away from Klamath Falls. But there is no easy way to drive across the hilly forests and wandering streams to the southern coast of Oregon.

There are only 2 choices. Either head south into California and connect with U.S. Route 101 North or head north toward Roseburg and take Highway 42 to Bandon and connect with Route 101 South. We choose the latter, more familiar roads.

But here’s what we wake up to in Klamath Falls…

Once again our Garmin named Gremlin does not want us to take  Highway 140. And once again we defy her orders and travel a scenic route along Upper Klamath Lake…

and through the Rogue River National Forest…

So now we drive through snowy icy roads wondering if we will need tire chains and have to turn back.

So far so good. We descend slowly from an elevation over 5,000 feet and reassure each other that the snow will end on lower ground. And voila!

At Central Point we enter Interstate 5 North, the one and only Interstate in Oregon.

But in southern Oregon this major thoroughfare is so beautiful.

As we pass through Grants Pass we get pounded with a sudden deluge of rain and sleet.

Just south of Winston we exit the freeway in Dillard and take a familiar shortcut to Highway 42 West. Two years ago we spent the summer in Remote, Oregon off of 42.

We notice new hillsides that have been scalped for logging as we pass through Tenmile and Camas Valley.

We pass the Remote Outpost where we stayed for 3 months in 2016. After we left the RV Park passed hands to new ownership.

Continuing on 42 West we drive through Bridge, Myrtle Point, and Coquille where we plan on taking 42 S, a 17 mile spur road to Highway 101 in Bandon.

Once again Gremlin argues with our proposed route on 42 to the coastal highway and we ignore her for better or worse. After all, we have been across this stretch several times by car in the past 2 years. But I will admit that I am SO glad when, at last, we turn south on 101 in Bandon. In an RV 42 S is a narrow 2-lane road with exciting curves around each bend. The RV shakes from side to side as we hug the Coquille River. I try to concentrate on and enjoy the idyllic scenery of grazing baby lambs and quaint farmhouses set amongst green pastures. Still, I reiterate, I am so happy when we are on a route approved of by the Gremlin lady.

Bandon is a little less than 30 miles north of Port Orford.

Fields of blooming yellow gorse are everywhere, but when I take a picture the green leaves distort the vibrancy of the flowers.

As we leave Coos County and cross into Curry County we pass through the town of Langlois then Denmark then Sixes…

And, through the raindrops, Jeff declares, “We are home.”

Our Oregon Trail

The Road Less Traveled

The map below highlights our proposed route to Klamath Falls, Oregon:

From downtown  Winnemucca to U.S. 95 North…

The street sign above coincidentally reflects the Garmin’s opinion of our route. But more on that after I share a few pictures of Nevada’s landscape as we drive through the middle of nowhere from U.S. 95 to State Route 104 West.

Now is where the malarkey sets in. The Garmin, we call her Gremlin, does not like our choice of taking Route 140 West just south of Denio.

For some reason, Gremlin does not want us to take 140 through the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge.

We take it anyway. It’s a scenic drive and more of a direct route west. Too bad the RV windshield isn’t cleaner. Can you tell which pictures I took from my opened window?

After crossing into Oregon we understand why Gremlin wants us to avoid 140 West. (Look, Ma! No casinos at this state line.)

We encounter a stretch of road that is an 8% decline down a narrow passage with no guard rails.

The pictures above just don’t capture the height and width, though. But soon we level out and breathe again.

Jeff’s driving skills and comfort levels sure have been tested on this trip west from Colorado!

We know we are in Oregon because it starts getting greener.

A dirt devil crosses the road.

Adel, Oregon to Lakeview…

The scenery is becoming  lush and green.

And there are traces of the remaining snow.

We still have about 100 miles to Klamath Falls where we spend the night at a KOA Campground.

A long day and an adventure on scenic Route 140… Happy campers!

A Great Day On The Road

Interstate 80 West

The Pony Express RV Resort in Salt Lake City is beautiful but we have to leave as we are already one day behind schedule. Port Orford, Oregon is waiting for us.

But before we take off I need to show you some of the niceties here.

Each site has a paved pad, a grassy area, picnic table, and a flowering pear tree.

There are several fenced in dog areas, soccer nets, a giant chess game, and access to an over 50 mile running/walking/biking path.

This RV Park is appropriately named a Resort. Most of the RVs here are new and in impeccable condition. Our 2015 Forest River Georgetown Motorhome almost pales in comparison, especially with our shorn off awning.

Today is just a straight shot west on Interstate 80 from Salt Lake City to Winnemucca, Nevada.

We cross the southern tip of the Great Salt Lake and notice this magnificent building.

A quick search on Google identifies this edifice as Saltair, aka The SaltAir, Saltair Resort, and Saltair Pavillion.

According to, the building is a resort located on the southern shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, about 15 miles from Salt Lake City.

In 1893 the Mormon Church and the Salt Lake-Los Angeles Railway jointly owned and built the first Saltair. The resort was a family place providing a safe and wholesome atmosphere supervised by Church leaders. Saltair was a popular and appropriate spot to take a date in those days.  A young Mormon couple could conveniently take a train from Salt Lake City and spend the evening dancing, chaperoned by trusted members of the community.

Besides a dating and dancing venue, Saltair was one of the first amusement parks, the western counterpart to Coney Island in New York.

In 1906 the Mormon Church sold the resort. Then a fire destroyed the pavilion in 1925. Prominent Mormon investors built a new resort but the advent of motion pictures and radio and the interruption of the Great Depression competed with Saltair’s popularity. It’s huge new dance floor, however, recreated the resort into a dance palace featuring the likes of Glenn Miller and other traveling bands.

More fires, receding lake waters, the Second World War, and other entertainment options closer to home forced the resort to close in 1958. Arson destroyed the second Saltair pavilion in 1970 but in 1981 a third Saltair was constructed a mile west of the original. But once again the resort could not compete with other larger venues more conveniently located, until several music industry investors purchased the building in 2005 to hold music concerts of popular acts and it has now evolved into the Great Saltair.

The Great Salt Lake…

The Morton Salt Refinery… I wasn’t quick enough to get a good shot of the iconic logo so I circled it in the picture below.

More salt piles…

The Great Salt Lake Desert…

All along the drive you can see where people have stopped to spell messages in the sand with rocks and beer bottles.

Then this sculpture pops up.

I later find out this concrete “trunk” supporting 6 spheres coated with natural rock and minerals native to Utah is called Metaphor: The Tree of Utah. It was created in the 1980s by Karl Momen, a Swedish artist, who while traveling across the salt flats had a vision of a tree. In 1986 he donated the sculpture to the state of Utah and returned to Sweden. (

So, there you go. Who would have thunk it?

The Nevada border… Out of a desolate landscape casinos emerge and then disappear again.

Continuing west on Interstate 80…

At the end of the day we pull into the Winnemucca RV Park.

Tomorrow we depart Interstate 80, head north on I-95, and then continue west on Highway 140.

Should We Go or Should We Stay?

April 12th

The weather forecast does not look good. A snow storm, Xanto, is making its way across the high plains bringing blizzards, cold temperatures, and high winds with it. If we travel today we will be heading right into its path.

Jeff calls ahead to the place in Salt Lake City where we plan to spend the night. The blizzard is hitting there right now. And the winds in Rawlins are already shaking the parked RV.

We decide to stay put for one more day and hunker down for a cold night.

Meanwhile Jeff waits in between wind gusts to climb onto the roof of the RV and cut off the raveled awning over the slide-out. While up there he discovers a broken bracket. We don’t plan on replacing the awning any time soon.

April 13th

We wake up to a dusting of snow covering the ground and vehicles. The water in the hose is frozen and the water pump is not working properly. Outside the temperature is only in the mid 20s. It is Friday the 13th, after all.

But we need to continue west on Interstate 80 to Salt Lake City.

Five minutes after joining the traffic on the interstate the clouds explode.

But less than 10 minutes later the weather has tamed back down again.

So for the next few hours we take it slow and steady, one mile at a time, rolling on the highway toward the border of Utah.

But as we approach the state line…

…The weather can’t make up its mind what it wants to do.

This is what greets us in Salt Lake City:

Then we arrive at our destination…

And all is beautiful again.

High Winds

Heading Out of Denver, Colorado

Today’s destination is Rawlins, Wyoming about 250 miles away. We plan to take Interstate 25 North into Wyoming where we will catch Interstate 80 West.

As we leave Denver, the winds pick up and continue to increase as Jeff white knuckles the steering wheel. Then we hear an all too familiar flapping and thudding. The awning over the main slide- out is twisted and unraveling AGAIN.  Jeff can see it billowing out like a parachute with each gust of wind. (This happened in April of 2016 traveling west on Interstate 90 in Minnesota. We were forced to stop at an RV dealership in South Dakota to cut the canvas awning off from the roller. And then we later replaced it.)

We pass under high wind warning signs the closer we get to Fort Collins.

And then we are warned that Interstate 25 is closed to high profile vehicles across the border into Wyoming. That would be us and that is exactly where we are headed. We need to take I-25 for only 9 miles across the state line to connect with I-80 West.

Fortunately there is an alternative route that will take us to Interstate 80 via Laramie, Wyoming.

But we don’t see the warning sign again and we are a little over 50 miles from the border. We have to make a decision soon because the alternate route, U. S. Highway 287 is approaching too.

We get lucky a second time. There is a rest area and Colorado information center near Fort Collins. The dogs and I make a pit stop and Jeff talks to the person inside the information center. According to the weather service the ban of high profile vehicles is still in effect. This area of the high plains is infamous for high wind gusts that blow vehicles over and/or off the road. U.S. 287 will offer more protection with its surrounding hills. (We hope!)

So the decision is made. But it still isn’t easy navigating the wind on this 2 lane highway. Every time a truck passes by in the opposite direction our RV gets pushed sideways. Jeff does an amazing job keeping our vehicle upright and on the road.

Meanwhile I capture the scenery as we leave the state of Colorado.

It certainly doesn’t look windy or dangerous in these pictures, but inside the RV we feel each gust and hear the flapping from the twisted awning outside.

We cross into Wyoming.

Laramie and the junction to I-80 is 24 miles away. But as we merge onto the Interstate and head toward Rawlins, where we plan to spend the night, we pass under another warning sign.

Tomorrow’s forecast is not very encouraging. And the dark clouds are rolling in.

We arrive safely guided by our loveable totem pothead, hehe 😉

at the Red Desert Rose Campground in Rawlins, Wyoming.

Tomorrow is a new day with new decisions on the horizon. Today we learned 3 big lessons:

  1. Heading east before May is not a good idea.
  2. The high plains are always vulnerable to high winds.
  3. Replace the awning over an RV slide if, AND ONLY IF, traveling across the high plains is avoided.

Catching Up With Family

Jernigan Land

Friday, march 23rd

After setting up the RV at the “Campbell Campground RV Resort”, (Thank you Mike and Patty for letting us park in your driveway for 17 days!) we notice how gritty the car and RV are. I mean they are covered in soot from the salted, snowy roads of Interstate 70. It’s disgusting to even grab the door handles.

We pop in to see David. Then we make a quick run to the grocery store before stopping in to say Hi 👋 to Andy, Daisy, Emjay, Jasley, Jace, and Eliska. It gets crazy in Jernigan Land because we want to spend time with everyone at once, and even though David and Andy live only 10-15 minutes apart, we have to make plans around busy schedules.

We scheduled our visit around the grandchildren’s Spring Break and spend time playing tag at the school’s 3 playgrounds, a short walk from home. Of course I take videos of the girls’ climbing stunts. But Jace prefers to pose and smile.

While Daisy and Andy go out on a movie date, Jeff and I stay with the kids. Uncle David sends us with the movie Jumanji, but the kids are too active to sit still and watch a movie. They would rather be outside running around or inside jumping around and playing lava monster, a variation of tag where your feet cannot touch the floor.

One morning we wake up to a winter wonderland.

But by afternoon the snow is all gone, so typical of Denver weather.

Patty and I take some “us” time and she gets a pedicure while I get a manicure.

David, Jeff, and I watch The Shape Of Water, this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture. We all agree the cinematography is beautiful; the scenes are color-enhanced in teals, greens, and reds. The acting is good. The early 1960’s setting is authentic. But the movie itself leaves us wondering why it won the Oscar.

Jasley and Emjay return to school after Spring Break but the twins’ have an extra week off because their preschool teachers have 5 days of inservice.

While I am visiting my family in Ohio, Jeff goes with Andy and the kiddos to the Denver Zoo and Lollipop Park, an indoor children’s amusement park. Of course, most of the time he just plays with them outside or at the school playground.

Patty and Mike fly to Orlando for a getaway and Jeff spends time with David, watching the first season of Westworld, some mixed martial arts fights, going out to lunch, and cooking dinner.

Kelly Land aka Ollie and Reagan Land

Wednesday, March 28th

I fly out to Columbus, Ohio to visit with Brian, Jen, Oliver, Reagan, and Jen’s family. Reagan is almost 6 months old now and OMJeepers how she has grown… almost crawling, almost sitting up, and always quick to smile.

Oliver’s 3rd Birthday takes place at Piccadilly, an indoor play area and cafe. Brian and I decorate a cake, well I just offer moral support after researching how to “draw” Daniel Tiger’s face.

Family and friends gather and play and eat. Oliver is so happy to see Ben and Lola from his former Day Care. He and Ben fall to the floor hugging each other.

Brian and Jen request no presents but of course the family can’t resist… a bike, puzzles, a basketball hoop, dress-up clothes, a soccer ball, a set of carpenter tools, and clothes…

Jen and Brian have a new stone patio. They’ve been waiting a long time to start remodeling their house.

The steps to the kitchen door have been removed and a new door will be installed where the bay window now stands. You can see the steps are already there.

Make sure you notice the absence of gumballs lying on the ground. The tree above is covered with these nasty little prickly things. I spend several hours picking up all that have fallen. Unfortunately the next day the ground is covered again. When my son John visited in January he also attacked the gumballs.

Speaking of John, he is now living in a cottage in the countryside of Ireland, not far from the Atlantic Ocean. Outside his humble abode cows and lambs stop over for a visit.

And my other son, Andy, has just moved to London. After a glorious day walking the countryside with his dog, who has just arrived from Minneapolis, Andy wakes up the next morning and has to rush Dewey in a cab to a veterinary hospital. It’s touch and go for several days but Dewey pulls through and returns home to “Dad.” Stay healthy Dewey, you gave us all a big scare.

Jen’s Mom and I go out to lunch. Oliver calls her Mawga and I am Grammy L, or sometimes just L.

The twins arrive… 2 girls!… Leah and Lydia. Congratulations, Julie and Brad and big brother Caleb. We visit them in the hospital and of course I leave my phone back at the house so I don’t have any pictures. Julie is Jen’s sister.

Meanwhile, Oliver enjoys putting puzzles together, reading books, sliding down his tumbling mats, singing, playing basketball, and playing with his new Duplo LEGO horse ranch set. He and I take our horses and riders around the house yelling, “Neigh!”, only stopping to give the horses water and hay. Oliver also serves me up some apple soup with the tiny shovel from the building block set.

Oh, did I forget to mention that he also likes to eat?

Faelan celebrates his 10th Birthday on April 7th.

We spend my last day at a dance competition. Jen’s other sister, Jess, owns a dance studio and has several students participating.  Then Brian takes us to his office. Later, after Oliver and Reagan, well actually all of us wake up from naps, the family goes swimming.

My plane leaves at 7 AM the next morning.

Back in Colorado

Monday, April 9th

I arrive in Denver before 10 AM. We move the RV to Cherry Creek Park for our last 2 nights so we can dump the black tank and do laundry.

Jeff, David, and I go out to dinner at Famous Dave’s BBQ.

Our last evening we spend with the kids. Jeff and Eliska make macaroni and cheese.

Jace plays with his cars, watches cartoons, and plays on his Kindle.

Then Jeff and I take Jasley and Emjay to Skate City which is reserved for Emjay’s middle school. The girls take off so fast, it’s really hard to get a focused picture of them.

They skate for 2 hours, stopping only to grab some nachos, a hot dog, chips, and sodas. Jasley falls asleep in the car ride home. Emjay’s eyes are all red and watery from the air rushing at her as she whizzes across the skating rink. Both girls agree they will be sore tomorrow.

Speaking about tomorrow,  we hit the road again as we head to Port Orford, Oregon.

Bye Everyone, we love you! Thank you for all the good times.