Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bend and Beyond

For the last 8 days we have been stationary in Bend, Oregon.

We like Bend but we LOVE the surrounding area.

We have always eyed Bend as a possible spot for a future home and so it was
good to spend a little more time here with an eye towards that.

Our consensus is that Bend is too expensive and too crowded for our taste.
Just up the road about 20 miles however is Redmond Oregon,
and we did find lots of nice areas there with future potential.

Traveling North and climbing in elevation means moving backwards in the
season and we moved from Spring in Napa to early spring in Bend.

This pair of Squirrils in the tree outside the Bus reminded us that
Spring is For Lovers.

The Deschutes River runs right thru Bend and with parks along both sides
it is a great recreational resource.  Last summer we saw hundreds of people floating
down the river in tubes one day.

The Tulips are in full bloom.

This whole region is volcanic and right in the center of town is a large cinder cone
left over from a prior eruption.

You can hike (or drive) to the top and are rewarded with a wonderful 360 degree
view of the area.   Looking west towards the Cascades (in the picture below) you
can see many of the current volcanos - Mt Baker, and Mt Hood are two.

We stayed at the Crown Villa RV Resort on the SE side of town.
It is a very nice park with large sites, lots of space between, plus a lot of
green space.  We enjoyed our stay here immensely.

With my leg brace it's hard to walk long distances so a couple of days I stayed 
back and worked while Kate went to town and walked around.

On those days we said Kate was playing "Ditch the Gimp"

Below is the office/laundry/rec hall complex at the RV Park.

Our space was right behind the Office.
All the driveways are brick pavers and very long and wide.

This morning it was time to move on as we are meeting Jim & Kristi in Walla Walla, Wa
for the Spring Wine Release Weekend.  Just like we did last year.

It is a 6hr drive to Walla Walla from Bend.
We decided to break it up into two 3hr legs as there is a nice State Campground
at the halfway point just outside of Mt Vernon Oregon

The ride from Bend is quite varied and beautiful.
I tried to snap a few photos with the iPhone as I drove to catch the variety.
The photos just don't do it justice.

We had Pine Forests and green valleys.

 Steep rocky canyons along rushing rivers.

Green Pastureland in wide valleys.

Thru it all the Doodles have their favorite spots.
Gracie always hangs on the back of a couch and watches the scenery.
Lucy makes a cozy nest and sleeps.

Our stop for the night is Clyde Holliday State Recreation Site.
Our site #9.  One of the nicest, right along the river
and good view of the satellites for TV.

It is early spring and all the trees leaves have that pale green color that is synonymous
with early spring

Right behind our site is the John Day River.

Turning around from the photo above I took this picture of the back of the bus
just so you could see how close we are to the water.

 In the summer when the hills turn brown (this is very dry country after all)
this park is a green oasis.

Right now the Forthysia are blooming and the Lilacs are just opening up
their flowers.   There are some Cherry Trees that have yet to flower.
I'd say another couple of weeks this place will be a riot of color.

This is a view down the road from our site.

Tomorrow we are off to Walla Walla Wine Country.
Along the way we are stopping at Cummins in Pendleton, Oregon 
for some routine minor engine maintenance.

See you there.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Rub a dub and Escape from Vegas

First off...  the knee is doing fine.
Thanks to everyone who asked.

I have to wear a brace now for 6 weeks while walking.
It just keeps the knee from bending while weight is on it - otherwise
the hard part is already over.

After the surgery I had to spend most of my time on the couch with the leg
elevated and iced for a week.

During this time - Gracie did not leave my side.
She sniffed my knee - knew it was injured somehow, and laid
right next to it - leaving only to eat, drink, or go outside.

As soon as she was back inside she would resume her post.

Before we left Las Vegas it was time for a Doodle wash.
I gave them a good brushing, combing, and then haircut.
Due to my knee I did not spend a lot of time trying to get it perfect..
Close was good enough.

Kate took them to a nearby pet store that had a self service dog wash with
these cool nozzles that mixed shampoo and water for you.
It was like a Doggy Power Washer!

Lucy in the tub...   just before the water started to flow.

Humm...  Are you sure its the same dog?

Gracie is ready for the dryer too!

Washed and blow dried - they are ready to go home.

This was a first for Kate.  I normally do all the grooming and we  give them a bath together.
I expected some funny stories out of this but it all went smoothly.

Then Sunday we left Vegas...   FINALLY!

We had been there 4 weeks.
Our original plan was one week.
It was good to be back on the road.

South of Vegas near the Ca/Nv border are these light towers that
intrigued us as we got closer...

Turns out they are part of a solar electric facility.

Unlike regular solar electric where light is converted to electricity however,
this plant concentrates light from about 350 mirrors - each the size of a garage door - onto
three towers.  These towers take the heat from the sun to create steam which powers
turbines like a conventional power plant.

This facility produces 400mw of power which is comparable to a normal power plant.

Sunday we stopped at the good old Orange Grove - hoping to get some of the last
oranges of the season but the party is over for this year.   This years fruit had set
and no more picking till next winter.

On Monday we drove about 3 hrs north to Chowchilla, Ca to
The Lakes Golf & RV Resort.
This was a very nice find.  Another well manicured park where the sites are
privately owned and leased out thru the mgmt company.

A free round of golf comes with the nights stay.
The lake views are free too.

Tuesday we stopped at Speedco in Ripon, Ca to get Oil and Fuel filter changes,
then continued on to Napa to hook up with Ron & Maxine.

We've been here for 4 days.

We visited the Berringer Winery - the gardens there alone are worth the visit.

One day we drove over to Sonoma - the next valley to the West of Napa Valley.
Sonoma has a much more laid back feel to it.
The spanish architecture is evident everywhere.

A lovely park surrounds the city hall.

We had lunch in a lovely garden behind one of the establishments.

Driving back to Napa - scenery typical of the area.

The Napa/Sonoma area is only about 45 minutes north of San Francisco.
Its a great place for food lovers and there are foods and wines
to suit every taste.

Today we are going to head north, and slowly start working our way up
to Walla Walla, Washington for the spring wine release weekend where we will
hook up with Jim & Kristi.

More to come along the trail.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Well we are still in Las Vegas.
Not exactly by choice mind you...

After getting my MRI and discussing with the Doc it was decided that the best
course of action was to get my knee operated on here in Las Vegas
 so that is what I did.

The surgery was relatively minor arthroscopic - minimally invasive - but 
it still takes you out of commission for a bit.

The surgery was performed this past Thursday.
No crutches are needed but I have this bionic leg brace
that I wear 24/7.

Right now it is locked at the knee so that I cannot bend my leg at all.
I think tomorrow (Monday) once I go for physical therapy they are going to unlock
it so that I can start bending and getting the knee loosened back up.

Today I took my first trip away from the Party Bus.
We walked to the corner and back...    Whoopie!

I think I have to wear it for the next 6 weeks - 
mainly to protect against side to side movement.

I can hobble around a bit but a couple of trips to the corner and back are about it for now.
It doesn't hurt too bad and sometimes actually feels better already than
it did before surgery.  The key is to keep it in motion as much as possible.

Tomorrow I will start my therapy and see how stiff the knee has become.

We plan on staying here for another week - allow me to build up some flexibility
in the knee.   Then next Sunday we should head out to Napa, Ca and hook
back up with Ron and Maxine for 4 days starting Tuesday.

There is nothing wrong with my wine glass holding hand!

In the meanwhile - we are in this nice Motorhome Resort.  It is located right under the 
approach/departure path of Las Vegas McCarran Airport so I've kept busy
tracking the in and outbound flights and getting some pictures of the 
more interesting aircraft.

McCarran is one very busy airport!

Southwest seems to be just about the largest carrier out of here.

Using a new app that friends Carl and Ken introduced me to, I've managed to
catch the daily Virgin Atlantic 747 from London.

Below are two shots of it departing

The next day the winds had changed and I caught it arriving.

Currently this is how I'm passing my free time.