Back on Track

Good afternoon, my friends. Today we find ourselves about 100 miles from yesterday's overnight spot. The wind has died down some, but boy, oh boy. What a storm blew through last night! We had lightning and thunder so loud that it shook the RV! And there were high winds and hail and lots of rain. All I can say is that we were cozy inside the RV, and we did not stray from our home on wheels until daybreak. 

The kitties are taking it all in stride. After we'd all had dinner last night, they settled into their usual favorite traveling spots. Smitty was on his window hammock.

Sadie channels her Greta Garbo at this time of day. She wants to be alone in the evenings. She was snoozed out comfortably on the bed.

We had only a short distance to go today, and so we were threading the needle between check-out time and check-in time.When it was an appropriate time to leave, we headed on down the dusty trail. Instead of dust, we found the remains of various hail storms that blew through from time to time. 

And I would be remiss, my friends, if I didn't warn you that we're traveling through a Tsunami Hazard Zone today. You might want to put on your life jacket or else blow up your life raft. Safety first, my friends. One can never be too careful. 

Our drive today looked pretty much like you see below...a two-lane roadway with tall trees on both sides.

When there was a break in the trees, we could see the dunes from the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Mike and I often bring our ATV's over here in the summertime and ride. It's great fun. It's also possible to rent ATV's and other OHV's from businesses in the area. I only mention this if you're feeling adventurous for your next trip to Oregon.

Just north of North Bend, we crossed over this bridge that spans Coos Bay.

This is what The Google tells me about this bridge: It's a cantilever bridge that spans the Coos Bay on U.S. Route 101 near North Bend, Oregon. When completed in 1936 it was named the North Bend Bridge. In 1947 it was renamed in honor of Conde B. McCullough who died May 5, 1946. This and 10 other major bridges on the Oregon Coast Highway were designed under his supervision. It replaced ferries that had formerly crossed the bay. The bridge is outstanding for its attention to form and detail, and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its design and cultural and economic importance. And if, like me, you don't know what it means to be a "cantilever bridge," you can read all about it right here. And I'll just say that I read all about it, and I still don't understand it.

So here we go...

Up and over.

Whoo! Hoo! What a gas! (Follow me for more exciting and harrowing adventures.)

Okay, well that was one of the more exciting parts of the day. Up next, I wanted you to see this gigantic pile of sawdust one encounters just north of Coos Bay, Oregon. If this doesn't convince you that Coos Bay is a lumber mill town, then I don't know what will. It even smells like sawdust as you drive by. (Sorry for the reflections from the windshield. They can't be avoided.)

While we were stopped at a traffic signal, I snapped this image of the Tioga building. The architecture is so interestingly dated in appearance. Check out the outdoor fire escape. 

Well, anything like that has me inquiring of The Google, as you well know. Here's what The Google told me:

The Tioga Hotel building is reported to be the tallest building on the Oregon Coast. The building is nine stories high and 110 feet above the street at its highest point. Construction was first started in 1925, but attempts to complete it were disrupted by first the Great Depression and later by World War II. The building was finally finished in 1948. The Tioga is considered one of the most historically significant buildings in downtown Coos Bay. It is one of nine buildings in the downtown core listed on the National Historic Register. It is also reported to be haunted. It's now in use as an apartment building, and those that reside here have claimed they have been followed around the basement by a tall shadowy apparition. Voices and disembodied footsteps have also been reported on various levels of the building. You can read this article about Tioga: Haunted Temple of Coos Bay right here.

Okay, well that was interesting. Driving on, we passed by acres of cranberry bogs. There is also an Oceanspray processing facility nearby. Oregon's commercially cultivated cranberries account for approximately 7 percent of U.S. production, and the cranberry ranks twenty-third among Oregon's top fifty agricultural commodities. 

From 2006 to 2008, Oregon growers harvested between forty and forty-nine million pounds of berries per year. Cranberry cultivation in Oregon uses approximately 27,000 acres along the southern coast, in southern Coos and northern Curry counties.  If you're interested, you can read about Oregon's cranberry industry right here

So it was a short drive today. We find ourselves at a private RV park in Port Orford. I was amused by this happy little flower fence, made from painted hub caps.

There were a few more to the left of the image above. I love the frog.


Spring is coming, my friends. Once the daffodils arrive, winter must concede. We're going to live to see another vernal equinox. Yay us!

Okay, so tomorrow we'll be driving a little farther. We'll go a little more than 200 miles until we reach Fortuna, California. We'll be at the northern end of the redwood forest, and so it should be a beautiful drive. For now, I started some soup in the slow cooker upon our arrival here today, and I'm going to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. I might even pick up my slow-stitching and get to work on that. It'll be the first time in a couple of days, and I'm Jonesing for it.


Plan C

Good afternoon, my friends. Well, a lot has changed since I wrote last time. I believe I told you we'd changed our plans after learning about a big Snowpocalypse headed toward the Siskiyou Summit. Well, we've changed our plans again. After watching the weather forecast for the local area last night, we realized snow would be dumping into literally all the mountain ranges surrounding us. We had to leave home this morning or risk having problems getting over the coastal mountains. We went into panic packing mode, and we drove away from the Three Cats Ranch this morning. We find ourselves in Winchester Bay, Oregon, as I'm writing. With our early departure, I hope you didn't miss the bus. 

It rained most of the way down. When I had a chance, I captured some barns along the way. If you haven't traveled with us before, then you should know right from the get-go that we're going to see a lot of barns on driving days. Here are a few I captured as we sped by. I don't have much to say about these, so I'll just let you look.

As we drove along, we could see snow at some of the higher elevations. We were very glad we weren't in the middle of it. In fact, snow was falling as we left home, but it was too warm to stick.

After turning off I-5 just south of Eugene, we traveled Hwy 38 (I think) to Reedsport, Oregon, and our final destination. Along the way, the snow was at our level in some places. Fortunately, the road was clear.

It was about a four-hour drive to our final destination. When we arrived, some Canada geese met us at the gate, blocking our way. Fortunately, they moved off to the right, allowing us to pass.

Even though it rained most of the way, it was dry when we arrived, and we were able to set up without getting wet. It's terribly windy and cold, however, and so it's pretty outside, but only from the interior of the RV.

Robin Redbreast snoopervised while we set up.

The kitties were good travelers, as usual. We gave them their greet and treats, water, and dry food. We'd also picked up some wheatgrass for them to enjoy. They like a little nibble when they're confined to the indoors.

We've been parked for a couple of hours now. We've had some lunch, and we've all had naps. Mike has the Star Link set up, and this blog post is brought to you by our very own Star Link internet connection. Pretty cool. It will only work if it has a clear view of the sky. Otherwise, we will have to rely on our cell phones or else park wi-fi. It's also our way of getting television. Mike is happily watching his Formula One racing, and Sadie has parked herself on his lap. It's very cold, and so we're enjoying hot buttered rums to warm up our innards. Life is good.

So even though we left home a day early (Plan C), we'll be back to our original change of plans (Plan B) tomorrow. We'll drive just 86 miles south to Port Orford, Oregon, tomorrow, and then we'll cross into Northern California the next day. We're hopeful we won't see any snow along the way.

I hope y'all are comfortably ensconced in your chairs with your seatbelts fastened. Since I'm a day ahead of myself with this post, I probably won't blog again until Saturday. With our drive so short tomorrow, I'm going to be putting dinner in the slow cooker upon our arrival in Port Orford, and we'll take some time to chill after flying out the door so fast this morning. The trip is only just getting started. There will be a lot more to see from here on.


Final Preparations

Good morning, my friends. We're on whatever counts as the opposite of the home stretch. Home stretch usually means the time before reaching the end. How does one turn that around and make it a stretch toward the beginning? Just now I checked in with The Google. The Google tells me I can substitute "opening chapter." Okay, so opening chapter it is. We're not quite to the first page, though. Think of this as the dedication.

We've had to reroute our trip already. As it turns out, it's going to snow like mad at the Siskiyou Summit on Saturday...the precise day we were planning to drive through there. Sigh. I'm starting to think we should never plan to drive south through the Siskiyous. It's okay though because we're going to head over to the Oregon coast, and then down Hwy 101 all the way until our first sight-seeing stop in Petaluma, California. That means we'll be driving through Redwood National Park, and that is always a treat. Just you wait and see. So here's the final trip...unless we change it again...which could happen.

Also, I've been watching the weather forecast for Sausalito, California, which is where the Point Bonita Lighthouse is. So far, it shows cloudy, but no rain. Fingers crossed for the forecast to hold.

Packing in earnest started yesterday. I've gone through all three freezers and pulled out certain soups and other leftovers along with certain cuts of meat I might cook up along the way. We'll both celebrate birthdays and our 49th wedding anniversary while we're traveling. It just so happens one of the cuts of meat in our freezer was a small prime rib. Also, I have some frozen gravy leftover from something else...can't remember what. So for a celebratory dinner, we'll do up a prime rib. Camping: that's how we do it.

So let's talk about what's been going on since the last time we talked. For one thing, I got my custom orthotics refurbished. I could swear I heard my feet squeal with delight when I put them into my shoes. Yesterday I got my last pedicure until June. Aside from that, it's been cooking and packing with a little sewing time thrown in. The Tiny Hearts are finished. Day 25 was pretty simple with just buttonhole stitch and some randomly-spaced cross stitches.

Day 26 was cast-on stitch, straight stitches, French knots and back stitches. Cast-on stitch is my most difficult stitch, although I've discovered it's fairly forgiving when you're stitching a flower like this. I had some gaps in the center, and I just took more stitches to fill them in.

Day 27 was to finish the border of this one. The center was stitched earlier. The border is back stitch and French knots. It was supposed to be stitched with bullion stitches all around, but I was afraid I wouldn't survive such an endeavor. After stitching about half a dozen of them, I took them all out and did French knots instead. It's supposed to be fun, right?

And that was the last of them. Here they all are:

I'll turn this into a wall-hanging eventually. Probably that will have to wait until we get home, but it's possible I could finish it before we leave.

On the cooking front, I made these little Muffin-Tin Quiches with Smoked Cheddar & Potato. Here's how they looked straight from the oven. The green stuff is chopped spinach.

I kept two out. The rest were wrapped individually and frozen. We had the two I kept out for breakfast the next day. They were wrapped up in a paper towel and microwaved, and those were very tasty. That will make a nice breakfast for driving days. We had them with the From-the-Freezer Blueberry-Cinnamon Muffins to complete the meal.

On the dinner menu this past week, I tried again on the Toad in the Hole dish. You might remember when I made this a few months ago. I used the wrong size and shape of a pan, and it didn't look very good when it was finished. The Yorkshire Pudding wasn't right at all. Since the dish held promise, I chalked that half-fail up to user error and tried again with the right cast-iron skillet. That made all the difference. I believe the Yorkshire pudding requires the near-vertical sides of the skillet to have something to hold onto during its rise.

It was served up with onion gravy, and that was a tasty dish. The Yorkshire Pudding was much better than on the first try.

When I made it the first time, I was testing the recipe for America's Test Kitchens. I note that it is a published recipe now. They made just a few changes, and so my second try was from the final published recipe. You can find it right here. If you can't open that recipe, please feel free to email me, and I'll be happy to share it. (I can even share it while we're traveling.)

The kitties are chagrined to find themselves confined to the house until we leave. It's boring when there's nothing to kill.

It hardly matters since we've seen some snow. It's too warm for any accumulation, but we did get a little on Monday.

We decided to let them out for a few minutes, knowing they wouldn't go far with snow on the ground. The mini iris are looking very optimistic with their frosting of snow.

On the sewing front, I decided to go ahead and make March's RSC block. Even though I don't know what the color of the month will be yet, I figure at some point we'll do yellow, and I'll do the right color then. For now, I'm claiming yellow for March's block. I decided to make this one look like Smitty. He was there to offer himself up as a handsome model. He was there for guidance as well. 

Sadie added her two cents too. How could I go wrong?

I found a mottled gray fat quarter in my stash. Smitty's block needed green eyes, a pink nose, white peets, and a striped tail.

Here are the three cats I have for this quilt so far. Sadie's block is on the right. Hers has a Manx tail.

After so much helping, Sadie needed a nap.

Finally, I've been making progress on the Kittens block.

I decided to move my hoop lower to encompass the bottom of the piece, and that's where I'll be stitching this morning.

Realizing I'd have this finished pretty soon, I decided to make up the first block for this new project, Grandpa's Bridges from Primrose Lane. There are 12 blocks, each featuring a covered bridge. Here's the first one:

I was glad I did this because it reminded me I needed to take a ruler along to help with placement of these designs that are printed on Sticky Fabri-Solvy. Also, I needed some scissors to clip away any extraneous markings from the pattern. You can see I've cut a swatch in the upper left corner that included some stuff I wouldn't be stitching. When the piece is completed, I'll wash it to remove the Sticky Fabri-Solvy, and it works best if any excess is cut away first.

With Friday being March 1st, I think I'll claim finishing this block as my goal for March's

I'll link up when the party starts on Friday. 

You might remember when I made the Appalachian Memories quilt. Grandpa's Bridges is from the same designer.

And that brings us up to date. Today and tomorrow will be nothing but packing (NBP), and so I won't blog again until we get on down the road. Port Orford, Oregon, will be our first overnight stop. Probably I'll write again on Saturday, and then I'll be mostly back to my daily blogging schedule. It's as good a time as any to remind you that I can only blog if I have internet good enough to upload pictures. If I miss a day or two here or there, you'll know it's because I'm lacking connectivity. 

So I hope y'all are packed up and ready to go because Friday morning, we ride. Like I always tell the kitties when we take off in the morning, I'll see you on the other side.