Thursday, July 31, 2003

Before dawn, George was watching the pond at Maratta Creek Camp. He did not have his glasses on, and he thought that a duck swam by, but could not see the duck's head. Later on George looked at the duck thru binoculars. It actualy was a large beaver and dove into the pond exposing its tail.

Here we see George looking at what he believes to be the beaver's home. What do you think? Does that look like a beaver home to you?

We are boondocked up on a mountain near Ariel, Washington, east of Woodland. We are on our way to see the backside of Mount Saint Helens, near the town of Cougar, Washington. We call the campsite where we are boondocked, Merwin Lake High Camp because Merwin Lake lies below.

When George chose Merwin Lake High Camp, everybody on the TiogaRV Team thought that he went crazy. This place is a favorite for every gun nut in the area. There are shell casings all over this place. Of course George is not concerned because he has Mr. Smith & Mr. Wesson on his Team. George thinks that this campsite is wonderful. What do you think? The TiogaRV Team thinks that this site is horrid.


Nite Camp Location Link


Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Our boondock site for today, and is at Maratta Creek, just west of Saint Helens National Monument. I am amazed that more RVs are not here (happy too). Our Maratta Creek camp is very close to our campsite yesterday, but much prettier.

Those of you who wonder how I find these boondock sites should know, that the only thing that I use to find them is curiousity. The entrance to the tiny dirt road to the pond in the pic above is disguised, and I did not find it until my early morning walk today.

George is at the closest that we will get to the big volcano. Mount Saint Helens at this point is 8 miles away. Does the sloping crater look a mile wide? During a lecture today at the Mount Saint Helens Visitors Center, they told us that the crater is one mile wide.



Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Looking at Mount Saint Helens' blown out face which occurred in the May, 1980 eruption. This pic was taken outside Ms. Tioga at the end of a lovely day. Do we seem close to this active volcano? Well, we are!! And, there is smoke belching from the crater, as well. We can only imagine what this exact spot where we are now was like at the moment of the volcanic blast at 8:32 Sunday morning, May 18, 1980.

I believe that I mentioned how hard it is to boondock in National Parks. Saint Helens is a National Monument, and it is a bit easier here. I found our present boondock site, called St. Helens Camp, by following a short Weyerhauser Timber Company road. It is really nice. I love to camp early in the afternoon, at least by 4pm. Otherwise, it gets difficult when I am tired.

Looking at the huge mud flow that came with the eruption. I know that it looks like a river, but it really is the 1980 mud flow.



Monday, July 28, 2003

This lovely park and lake are a perfect boondocking spot. However, a sign reads that the gates are locked at dusk and the park is closed! So, our plan is to stay here during the afternoon and evening. We will make dinner and eat. Then go for a wonderful evening walk around the lake. Shortly before dusk, we will scoot out and camp in town.

We decided not to scoot into Toledo. Instead, we continued down the road about 9 miles, and found "Camp Seven Elk." I kid you not. There are seven elk grazing about two hundred yards from Ms. Tioga. I thought that they were deer, but upon looking at them thru binoculars, I realized that these Antler People were three times the size of any deer that I ever saw. I found a pic of elk on the net to compare, and sure enough, these are actually elk near our Camp!

I was not able to take a pic of the elk, because it is a bit too dark.

Ms. Tioga, and all of the rest of the Tioga Gang, are just thrilled that George was able to complete the repairs on the moisture ruined cabover floor and the delaminated fiberglass. Frankly, Mr. Chips the computer was quoted as saying, "George's wood block plan won't work." Apparently Mr. Chips did not think George could fulfill this plan, especially when the little wood blocks began popping off.

As you may see, the job came out pretty good. The only item that we are concerned about is, whether the 3M High Strength 90 cement will hold up to Tioga's rattling around on dirt roads.

Do you think that the cement will hold up?


Nite Camp Location Link


Sunday, July 27, 2003

The pic below shows the problem that George is repairing. The forward portion of the cabover should be a straight line. As you may see, it is a curved line, with the lower portion in the center.

This happened because the inside support for the drooping laminate was subjected to long term water damage and delaminated from the fiberglass. That caused the cabover fiberglass to droop over the cab below.

George decided to bond wood blocks onto the fiberglass which was now hanging loose because it had no support. He would draw up these blocks to the proper position with a brand new cabover floor to replace the rotted floor that he removed. The problem was, to find a method of bonding that was strong enough. We tried one cement, and it was too weak and George had to remove all of the glue and try again. The 2nd time, we used a 3M contact cement. So far, it seems to be strong enough.

Here is a pic of the wood blocks, shown cemented in place. Tomorrow we will install the new cabover floor and bring the drooping laminate up to its proper position with screws.


Saturday, July 26, 2003

Within a few hundred feet of Ms. TiogaRV, are a few dozen different varieties of flowers. There is a spring coming from the wall alongside the road. I cannot see this spring, but I hear its gently falling water, as its' drops fall into a covered pool.

Just behind Ms. TiogaRV, are several lush berry bushes. Below is a pic of one of them, and me gorging myself with their fruit. Everytime that I return from a hike, my fingers are berry stained. They are delicious berries too.

The pic at right is one of the flowers. A whole bunch of them are growing next to the tiny spring. Isn't this a beautiful flower? I don't what it is called, buy I love it.



Friday, July 25, 2003

Right after we had our transmission repaired, we went to an RV company called Olingers to have all of our oil and lubrication needs taken care of. The service advisor mentioned that TiogaRV had a lot of structural damage in the cabover area, and he could see it by the way the laminate of the cabover drooped over the steel cab.

Last night, I dug into that damage. It is just awful. Below is a pic of a portion of the rotten material, after I removed most of it. What you see in the forward part of the pic below, is the outer layer of laminate. There is only 1/16" of laminate between us and the outside!

This same service adviser said that repairs would likely cost over $2,000 !! Luckily, I think that I will be able to repair it myself. I used to be a cabinet maker you know, working mostly with laminated cabinets. Below is a pic of the material purchased to do the repairs. It costs only $60.

At least we will be able to work here at Wild Turkey Camp in peace and solitude. Coincidentally, just as I typed the word "solitude", the first vehicle that I've seen on this mountain drove by. About five minutes later, it returned and went down the mountain.

Below is a pic of Wild Turkey Wood Shop, in full production around quitting time. Note the way George really works hard, at quitting time. Why is that?



Thursday, July 24, 2003

I am at the base of Mount Rainier, near the town of Paradise, WA. That name is no lie. There is so much beauty here, that it overwhelms me. No wonder this town is named Paradise! I have to shake myself to really look, and not become jaded by all of this wonder. Below is a pic of Mount Rainier. This will be as close as I will get to this volcano. Thru my binoculars, I am able to see tiny people walking on the glacier on the way to the top. I hear climbers talking to themselves, saying that they enjoyed camping over night at the summit. Incredible.

I am captivated by the flowers. Some are so common. I see them along roadways covered with dust. Yet they are gorgeous.

This one, whatever it is called, is a terrific flower. When I pick it, to put in the George cup, I see that each flower is really a dozen little flowers!

We made Nite Camp at Cougar Rock Camp, a few miles from Paradise, WA.

Nite Camp Location Link


Wednesday, July 23, 2003

This morning, we returned to Morton, Washington to wash clothes, and shop for food. Then we took off for Mount Rainier National Park. Now, I hope everybody will forgive me for this, but I am staying in a $paid$ campsite. Listen, you cannot boondock in a National Park. I have a mitigating claim, I am only paying $7.50/night. OK?

Below is a pic from just a few feet from our campsite. That Mount Rainier, sure is huge! Are you able to see Ms. Tioga over my right shoulder?

Tonight there is a ranger talk at 9pm. I always got a kick out of taking my boys to those things, when they were kids. I don't know about hiking around this park. It seems awfully large for that. The rivers inside the park look grey, and I wonder if that is because of the runoff from Mt. Rainier.


Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The TiogaRV gang decided to explore the mountain this morning. Since our human George was the only one with feet, we sent him up. When George returned, he said that it was beautiful up high. So we decided to spend a 2nd day on the mountain, and moved up 700 feet in elevation to Wild Turkey Camp (George saw a wild turkey up there).

Here is a pic that shows what we discovered at Wild Turkey Camp. Mount Rainier peaking over yonder mountain top. She is so BIG and so MAGNIFICENT!

This place is filled with flowers. We know that many consider daisies almost weeds. The TiogaRV gang believes that daisies are beautiful flowers. We do not know what the bell shaped flower is, so we named it "Violet Belles." Later today, one of our readers named Tony emailed us to let us know that the bell shaped flowers are called "Fox Gloves." Tony used to live in Oregon, and knows these flowers (misses them too, we expect). Thanks, Tony.

We are almost ashamed to tell you that we found loads and loads of berries, ripe and ready for the eating here at Wild Turkey Camp. We don't want you to be jealous of the TiogaRV gang. Well, maybe a little jealous :)

Nite Camp Location Link

Monday, July 21, 2003

This pic shows the amazing Ms. Tioga parked at Morton High Camp. That's George reading in his camp chair, or sleeping maybe, I cannot tell from here. Probably sleeping, knowing George. Just look at that hill that the Mighty Ms. Tioga climbed !!

In the world of RVs, Ms. Tioga is the mightiest RV of them all. Her engine is the strongest, for sure. Some say that Ms. Tioga is able to climb a vertical hill. What do you think? Can she climb a vertical hill?

We all spent the day at Morton High Camp, just horsing around. We all like to horse around. George did a little maintenance, like he always does. He caulked up some of Ms. Tioga's seams and joints. Ms. Tioga has to be ready for winter when it rains again. We can't afford to have rain leaking in.

Not one single soul drove by on this dirt road all last night, and all of today. We like that, not that we would not welcome company if it drove by. But, there is so much beauty in the solitude.

All of us have talked it over, and we could be happy living here at Morton High Camp. For the summer, anyway. We might not like Washington winters and hope to be around San Diego by the time the rains start again.


Saturday, July 19, 2003

We are at Camp Rainier on the Columbia River. The pic below shows the Lewis and Clark Bridge over the Columbia River at Rainier, Oregon.

Lewis & Clark Bridge over Columbia River.

The TiogaRV team have been dealing with a host of maintenance problems that could only be dealt with by spending a lot of $cash$. When our transmission was diagnosed as bad, and needing complete replacement, we became suspicious of the maintenance done by Tioga's former owner on the rest of the mechanical items. So we drove Tioga to Olinger's Travel Homes in Hillsboro, Oregon, and had every single oil and grease location emptied and refilled with new oil and new grease. It was a good thing too. Tioga's differential was filled with solidified oil that was black and had to be pumped out. We will pay much closer attention to maintenance from now on!!

Camping in this part of Oregon is very, very difficult. The towns are very small, and it is hard to find a side street to camp in without sticking out like a sore thumb. The forests are not National Forests, and are closed off to those wanting to camp. We were very lucky to find that in the town of Rainier, Oregon, there is parking (maybe city parking) on a gravel stretch near the Columbia River.

Gotta go now, and eat. I am starving because it is 9:30pm!!

Hey everybody, is Lance Armstrong going to win his Fifth straight Tour de France? I think so, and am predicting that Monday he will put the pedal to the metal and squeeze the life out of his chief competitor, Mr. Ullrich from Germany.


Friday, July 18, 2003

We are finally out from Reliable Transmission. They are wonderful people, and their manager, whose name is "Guy" treated us like family. Tioga has a completely rebuilt transmission. It was a good thing that we went to have our transmission checked too, because it was just ready to fall apart!! The TiogaRV gang recommends Reliable Transmission to anybody passing thru Hillsboro, Oregon.

We were very upset during all of this time. We lost our email address, and cannot get it back. That was very frustrating. Also, Mr. Dometic the refrigerator has been having some problems staying on all of the time. Today he went off twice, and right now our fridge temperature is a warm 49 degrees F. Mr. Dometic is trying so hard to cool down. We are all cheering him on, and we know that he will be back to his own cool self very soon.

Below is a pic of us, where we went to get ourselves together after leaving Reliable Transmission. Behind Tioga, is the hotel that George stayed at during the repairs. You know something, everybody? Sometimes things get rough. Thru it all, life is really wonderful. Only sometimes, it is very difficult to keep that "wonderful" part in perspective!!

In the morning, we will decide if we are going to take a run up to Ashford, Washington, to see Mount Ranier up close. We have heard that it is stunning. After that, we will journey down towards the Rogue River for our raft trip with elder son David.

Several weeks later, our newly rebuilt transmission would fail. And, Reliable Transmission would refuse to give us any info about how to exercise their warranty. Later we learned that there was actually nothing wrong with our transmission in the first place. Reliable Transmission had duped us into believing that the normal sludge found in a tranny showed that MsTioga's tranny was about to fail.


Tuesday, July 15, 2003

We are in Hillsboro, Oregon, about 20 miles west of Portland. We are here to have Ms. Tioga's transmission oil changed tomorrow morning. Hillsboro is a very friendly homey town. We found a street fair going on. Everybody smiles. It is wonderful. So many people from Hillsboro turn out, and this fair happens every Tuesday !! There were dozens of stands selling everything from berries to falafel.

We met a fellow named Joe Sticka who was displaying his 1941 Willys pickup truck. It was so beautiful, so restored. My Dad had a 1941 Willys sedan. Below is a pic of Joe's 1941 Willys.

Monday, July 14, 2003

George & MsTioga look at Mighty Mt. Hood from 46 miles away in Portland, Oregon, very close to the Columbia River. Even from this far away, Mount Hood is a commanding presence.

At left is our Camp Columbia. We did not find a place to camp near the Columbia River, so we chose this industrial neighborhood.

Places like Camp Columbia make good retreats in large urban centers, because the City Fathers want to protect their citizens against us RVers. Industrial neighborhoods seem to be overlooked, perhaps because nobody wants to camp there. And that, is where the TiogaRv crew likes to go.

Nite Camp Location Link


Sunday, July 13, 2003

Small snow people are all over this great mountain skiing. But the mountain is SO big, and the snow people are sooooooooo small, that you cannot see them. So George talked some of them into posing for a pic, so that you could be able to see them too!

Inside, the Timberline Lodge reminds us of a small version of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite. After eating a wonderful buffet breakfast, George relaxes by the huge fireplace.


Saturday, July 12, 2003

We are staying overnight in the parking lot of the Timberline Ski Lodge, about 1/2 way up Mount Hood. We are at 5,848 feet elevation. Mount Hood looks like a terrible volcano to us. They say that it is extinct!! Right now, Mt. Hood is covered over with clouds. Here is a pic below.

We are parked a few feet away from a wonderful overlook looking towards the Southeast. Here is a pic below of that scene.

Tomorrow morning, if the weather is clear, we hope to take a pic of the Most Terriblest Volcano in the World - The Mighty Mount Hood. It has several glaciers you know. Some of them are melting and form little creeks which tumble down the mountain.


Friday, July 11, 2003

Hi Everybody! This is Mr. Sony Mavica, the cameraman on the TiogaRV crew. I just had to take a pic of George. He said that he was going to read his book. Does it look like he is reading to you? Or snoozing?

A few days ago, I took a pic of a box at our Squaw Creek Campsite. Many people wrote in and guessed what the box was, and they were all wrong. It was a toilet, and who put it there, we do not know. Lovely place for a c..p though :)

Below is a pic of the Mighty Deschutes River. At this place, the Deschutes is on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

We looked and looked for a place to camp along the Deschutes. We found out that if you want to camp along the Deschutes, you had better be a duck.



Thursday, July 10, 2003

Below is a pic that Mr. Sony Mavica snapped, just after The Tioga Team left Metolius Overlook Camp. This shot shows the North Sister framed by trees. Just Beautiful.

Today was a good day. Our jack came in from FedEx, and Ponderosa Forge welded on the big foot pad and installed the jack back on Ms. Tioga. The factory did not do all the repairs that it should have on the jack. The gear box has some damage that was not repaired. But for now, it seems to be working well enough, but we will have to talk to the factory about this problem.

We had intended to spend the next few days near Sisters, Oregon, and meet with a fellow DataStorm user. But, the town was filling up with tourists for the Giant Quilt Exhibition, and we decided to move on. This quilt show is the largest in the United States!!

We drove to Redmond, Oregon, and here made contact with an Air Conditioning mechanic that was recommended to us. He will work on our A/C tomorrow morning.

Below is a pic from our campsite in Redmond, Oregon. This area is high desert, and the sunsets are spectacular. This pic includes a huge volcano. There are many, many volcanos that we have seen all over Oregon. Some look as big as Mt. Shasta !



Wednesday, July 09, 2003

We broke Squaw Creek Camp #2 this afternoon, on the advice of the Ice Cream Cone lady in Sisters. She said, "You have just got to see the Metolius River, It is so clear, and it is so deep." So, off we went looking for the Metolius River. Unfortunately, the government has made this area what they euphemistically call "The Metolius Natural Area." This means that natural camping is not allowed. Only parking in RV lots is allowed, next to a zillion RVs.

So, the TiogaRV gang took off up the mountain, opposite the river canyon. Would you believe that we found not one camper on this entire mountain?!

On the way here, we came across this breath taking view below of the Three Sisters. Wow!



Tuesday, July 08, 2003

This morning we went down to Ponderosa Forge and had Tioga's bent chassis repaired. While that work was being done, I asked them to also weld large steel foot pads onto the jacks. The new pads are made from 3/8" steel and are 10" x 14". The pads that came with the jacks are 6" x 8" and were so small that I had to put wood blocks under them to keep from sinking into the earth. These big pads work swell, and Mr. Levelers is beside himself with joy. The repaired jack is on its way from Indiana, overnite FedEx, and should be here tomorrow.

When we came back to our campsite, we tried to go to Squaw Creek Camp #1, but it just did not have IT! You know what I mean? The magic of Squaw Creek Camp #2.

Below is a pic of Squaw Creek, at Camp #2. Isn't it beautiful? We all love it so much :)



Monday, July 07, 2003

We are BACK at Squaw Creek Camp #2!! And we are darned happy to be here too.

Here is what happened. We had to find a place that would receive the repaired leveler jack that is being shipped to us from Indiana. We also had to find a shop that would fix our chassis that was bent when the leveler broke. It turns out that Ponderosa Forge in Sisters, Oregon will repair the chassis AND receive the leveler. The chassis will be repaired tomorrow morning, and the leveler probably will not arrive until Friday. So, we get to spend more time here at Squaw Creek until then :)

We went shopping, and one of the things that was purchased was a "Beef Brisquet Pot Roast." I have a special way of making a roast. I make it like a stew, in a little highly seasoned water and put in the oven covered and let it roast for a long, long, long time. Until the meat is almost ready to fall apart. My Mommy who died last August made it that way, and it was SO delicious.

A few days ago, I put a pic up of a box near our campsite. Did anybody figure out what it was?