Monday, July 24, 2017

Table For 50

It was an interesting weekend.  I was exceedingly thankful that the parking space I coveted at the end of the row was NOT available when I arrived.  Why?  It turned out that was the location of a huge gathering of family and friends who took over the entire back of the park, including every picnic table they could steal.

For every meal there were 50 or more adults and children present, with the accompanying loud noise.  That was nothing compared to their Friday and Saturday games played at the top of everyone's lungs.   Throwing water balloons brought out more squeals than a pig farm.  SO THANKFUL I had to park up front.  When I was asked if I would mind trading spaces, I declined.  We had a good laugh.

To escape the weekenders, I was up early headed for the Ilwaco Market and my favorite picture taking subject, the red fish factory.  Yeah, I forgot my camera.  It's okay though, in a few short weeks, I'll be back.
Most all of the people who sell here also go to Sunday Market in Astoria.  Here however, it's not near as crowded, so you get a good chance to check out their wares and start up a conversation.  Shy as I am, I always try to do that ... after all, I don't know them, so it's easier.  Most are happy to talk and pass the time.  That also allows me to play with their puppies, a pastime I love.
Having walked by the Smoked Salmon Chowder trailer every time I've been here over the past five years, I finally decided to give it a try.  A small bowl, which is really huge, was only $4, along with a piece of toasted garlic bread for $1.  
I had a little trouble spotting the salmon, since most of the pink stuff was really carrot.  It didn't TASTE like salmon at all, but was rather a pretty good plain chowder, full of potatoes, celery and carrots.  The toast was delicious, except for those burned pieces of garlic.  It's hard to make a toasted slab of bread in a hurry.  All in all, worth the cost.  He's also at the bottom of the Astoria Sunday Market if you're starving.
Never Enough Bags, an easy-up big seller, had some of the best handbags I've seen, not to mention the perfect name.  They are made from fabulous fabrics and are full of pockets, zippered and slip-in, heavy enough for hauling all my junk around, yet light for the shoulder.  I LOVE IT!!  At $35, I don't think she is charging enough.  I might mention that the NEXT time I see her, since I already purchased mine.
As most of you know, I'm not a GALLERY person.  If it's in a gallery, it's too expensive.  I usually don't even go in to look.  It makes me feel bad to take up their time when I know I have no intention of buying.  I could buy a horse for one picture.  

On the wharf is Marie Powell Gallery.  As businesses have closed down, people are trying to revamp the boat dock area.  Marie has moved to a nice building and set up her artwork for sale.  She carves wood blocks, paints them and transfers the images to paper, as well as creating other types of prints.  Her work is amazing, with multiple layers of color and patterns.  Most of it is ocean related, not a good fit with Cowboy.

A local artist, Marie has other works in her gallery, also made by local people.  This is one of the most amazing baskets I've ever seen.  She gathers rope that has drifted to shore from fishing boats, cleaning it before making these creations.  All the baskets still have crustaceans on them, some including line weights and intact knots.  If you're ever in Ilwaco, you just HAVE to stop in.  No, they are not cheap.

You're right, I bought this one after pleading bankruptcy.  She made me a deal I couldn't refuse.  Marie also has a section of SALE items because she says everyone can't afford originals (no kidding), and even though these ARE originals, she puts some out at much lower prices.  Check it out!!
Even if you're not interested in the market, it's a very nice walk along the Port of Ilwaco.  Buy a pie, or some non-salmon chowder, or maybe some vegetables for later to help support the people here.  They could use it.
This morning I'm an early bird, probably waking everyone up as I head back to Seaside for a couple of weeks.  That will give me a chance to head South to the quilt stores, and maybe escape the mosquitos.

Mosquito counter ... 12 - 1 that finally quit itching

Sunday, July 23, 2017

$12,000 Chaps

Off on a little shopping spree at the local antique stores, I spotted this beautifully carved sign.  It's new, just completed by a local artist and installed two days ago.  It says Ocean Park 7 miles.  The other side says Long Beach.  I LOVE that they use local talent.
Along the way I stopped at some geocaches that eluded me last year.  I found one after cheating and reading that the coordinates were about 45 feet off.  After clomping through the bushes looking for the BIG tree (they were all big) and getting even more mosquito bites, I finally located the box.

With that I required sustenance.  This is the Corral Drive-in, on the North side of Long Beach.  GREAT burgers!!  Yeah, it's kind of another dive, one I probably wouldn't stop at if I hadn't heard about it first.
If you like ooey, gooey, juicy, drippy delicious burgers, this is the place for you.   It was a five napkin burger, bacon and cheese hit of the day!!  I ate every single bite.  
Next up ... Ocean Park where I stopped in at Long Beach Peninsula Trading.  It's huge and stacked to the brim, a lot of which is not for sale.  It seems Margaret, or Judy or whatever her name was, decided to keep all the good stuff behind glass with lock and key.  

Not long into my visit I spotted a pair of goatskin hair chaps wadded up on the bottom shelf (pronounced shaps ... I know, everyone says it differently, but take it from an old cowgirl, it's SHAPS).  I'd love to have a pair hanging on the wall in the Arizona house.  Funny, when she took them out and looked at the price, SHE almost fell over backwards.  It was NOT a typo - $12,000.00.  Not really an antique pair, they were a modern version you can purchase new for $300.  No pictures allowed, so here's one from the net.  Had they been worn by Will Rogers or even Roy Rogers, I might have looked twice.
Thank you I said nicely, but your price is out of this world and over the moon.   There's no way you're going to sell these.  She stated it was in her handwriting, but she just wrote down what the owner told her.  Too bad I heard her speaking to a woman in the back about how she accumulated all of her "treasures", meaning SHE was the owner.  I told her if they were actually antique, I would only pay up to $500.  Thank you and goodbye.  She made a beeline for her computer to check my price.  I drove away.  

I made a quick run through two more antique stores ... more like junk stores really ... and came up with this $12 wooden horse and .....................
this gate for my walkway at the Lost Horse Ranch.  Check out the handle ... it's a horse shoe.  A pony shoe actually, but no matter ... it's perfect.
Of course I was really on the hunt for a wine bottle opener.  I hit up three Thrift shops and found nothing.  Since I was already in Ocean Park, I stopped in at Jacks.  You can find anything at Jacks.  Sure enough, there was the 7" cheesecake pan I needed, the small pizza peel, silicone pot holders for cast iron handles (because the cloth ones catch fire, personal experience speaking here) and of course the bottle opener.  
Just because I haven't seen this little gadget before ... have you?? ... I bought it.  It's a pot gorilla  Who knew?  I'm hoping this helps with my cooking skills.  Every time I cook pasta, it boils over because the lid won't stay at an angle.  Attach this little red beauty to the edge of your pot and VOILA!!  Your lid can never close, letting the water make a gooey mess of your stove.  I know, it's cheesy ... but you have to admit it's also very cute!!!
Already thinking about breakfast, I headed back on the East side of the peninsula and stopped at Baileys Bakery in Nahcotta.  I've heard great things about their pastries.
Wasn't I surprised to find hardly any had been made that morning.  I settled for some scones, a delicious peach (buy this one) and a blackberry (do NOT buy this one).  They were okay, but to be honest, I can make better.  Shocker, right??  The peach really was good with my morning coffee.
Much better was THIS ... did I show you before? ... a beautiful tiger paw from the Bakery in Long Beach.  Are you getting hungry yet???
Since it's Sunday, I'm headed back to Astoria for the market.  I really don't need anything, it's just an excuse to go back to the Thousand Trails park in Seaside and check on my new Quilting Friends parking space.  They are scheduled to leave tomorrow and hopefully I will slip right in to their empty space for a two week stay.  

Mosquito Counter ... 10

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Vacuum Review and Footprints

Meet my Dirt Devil REACH 24v lithium battery vacuum.  I admit I'm terribly spoiled by the Dyson cordless that I purchased several years ago.  It's the best one ever, with great suction, attachments and a handy dandy holder/charger.  After not that much use, it has a loose connection somewhere, making it not want to run continuously ... as in three seconds and it quits.  At that price ($300) I'm not throwing it away ... I will have it repaired.  In the meantime, with a dog that sheds like a black lab in Yuma, I have to have something.

After searching online for several hours, I finally found another cordless that didn't cost an arm, a leg and five fingers.  I went to every store within an hour's drive, but couldn't find it.  Finally at a place that I knew would accept shipments, I ordered this one from Amazon.

So here goes .... it's lightweight, has a great brush head and picked up an entire cup's worth of fine dirt and dog hair in a flash.  I even had to empty it before finishing the job.  There's definitely not as much suction power on the first setting.  But here's the deal ... hit the ON button again and it roars to life on maximum power, even picking up little rocks.  Of course the battery won't last long on that setting, but the little blue lights on front tell you just how much life you have left.

It didn't really take long to charge up ... it comes partially charged so you can have the immediately satisfaction of knowing it works.  It's even about the same size as a Dyson.  It worked great on the tile floor as well as the carpet and rugs.  This is not for a whole house, but perfect for my motorhome, only because you will have to dump the canister constantly.  The only down side I see is there's no way to hang it on the wall for charging.  I had to prop it on this cabinet.  When the job was complete, I had to find somewhere to store it.  

All and all, definitely worth the $129 I paid for it, $140 including tax with free shipping.  I actually think there is another model (same vacuum) but with a "holder" of sorts that you hang on the wall to keep it from falling over.  I went cheap ... no holder.  There are several models available with long cords.  I hate cords.   This one worked perfectly in my rig, cleaning everything on one charge.  Maybe I can order the holder as an accessory.
With housekeeping out of the way, I wandered back to the bird refuge on the North end of the peninsula.  The sky was pretty spectacular, but kept spitting at me the entire time I was there.  No it wasn't the birds ... it was rain drops.
It's sad when there's nothing to photograph so you resort to dead tree stumps!!
I did find more tracks in the sand ... these from a raccoon looking for tasty morsels at the water's edge.  Too bad the water was half a mile out.  That's when it dawned on me.  High water brings the birds and fish to the edge of the beach.  That's when the coyotes and critters are out hunting.  They aren't dummies ... why go all the way out and get their feet muddy?
I was hanging out at the wrong time of day.  I reached for my phone to check my tide charts, just as I remembered I left it on the table at home.  My next trip out will be at high tide.

Here's a few more tracks from the guy flying below.  These blue herons are huge and leave 5-6 inch tracks in the sand.

Breakfast is served.  This once tracked his food for several feet, being SO stealthy, then BAM!!  He hit that little fish, brought him up and swallowed all in one quick second.
He might have been after one of these guys.  Can you see the little crab under the wood?  There was a nice looking log on the beach (maybe 12 inches long) that I rolled over.  The little crab ran back under for cover.  I rolled it again and he quickly scurried back under, trying not to be a bird snack.  I left him to his cover as the water began to return.
The weekenders have returned to Long Beach.  Amazingly, there are many vacant spaces in the "trailer" section, but the camping part is full to the brim.  Thank goodness they are all at the FAR end of the park.  I just can't help it ... fifteen kids riding around on their bikes screaming at the top of their lungs (with absolutely no parental supervision) makes me crazy.  Apparently that's why they come here ... they just park their butt in a chair and drink, leaving the kids to their own devices.

I have to say the new Management here is considerably better than before.  I saw them admonish kids for their noise and actually chase down one of the parents who FORGOT to pay at the front gate.  Six smoky fires caused me to close the rig up tight at 6:00, but that's okay ... it kept the noise out too.

Tomorrow ... $12,000 for a pair of chaps!!!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Tracking Coyotes

I wonder why so many of my adventures take me down narrow one way roads?  I couldn't stand it.  Cleaning is not my thing.  I headed out to Leadbetter Point State Park in spite of the bear warnings.  If it's early in the year, don't take any food with you.  No use making yourself appetizing.
Sticking out into Willapa Bay at the very end of the Long Beach Peninsula is a bird refuge full of interesting creatures.  It's a short hike ... take mosquito spray.  I've never found mosquitos here before, but this year they are HUGE and there are LOTS of them!!  
Actually they were only bad on the way down the forest trail.  In a hundred yards, you arrive at the waters edge where they disappeared.  Except for those two that kept following me ... which are now dead dead dead!!!
I went fairly early, hoping to catch Miss Coyote.  As you can see above, about 9:30 the water was coming back in.  Here's the half mile long beach I wanted to walk, looking for treasures and critters.  This section is usually full of clam shells, but none were to be found this day other than broken bits.
That's when I spotted the tracks.  Coyote tracks ... and they were FRESH!  Keeping a close eye on my back for dangerous things like bears and people, I began following them.  
Here is where she came OUT of the trees.  See that dark sand in the middle?  The wet sand fell from the top when she stepped down, right where her tracks in the sand begin.  It happens that this is right next to a sign ... the same one she passed by last year.  Animals have their territories and tend to follow the same trails.
More fresh tracks.  See the light sand in the prints?  She has disturbed the wet top layer down to the dry sand below.  She was just by here this morning.  
I followed her down the beach.  Occasionally she made her way closer to the water on the hard pack sand, then wandered back up the hill, jumped up a little incline and went back into the trees.  How cool is that!!  
I figured to stick around and see if she came back.  Hiding in the trees, I fended off an elderly gentleman who wanted to yell at me from 50 yards away.  I tried to melt into the sand.  He continued talking as he passed by.  I gave him directions for the walk-around (bad Nancy) hoping he wouldn't return to the beach.  How are you going to see anything if you don't be quiet???
I was rewarded with lots of Blue Heron sightings as about six of them wandered the water's edge, occasionally dipping their head into the water for little fish.  
Pretty soon they would squawk really loud and take off, flying to another spot just down the beach.
At long last I gave up.  There would be no coyote pictures on this day.  I did find a HUGE print on the way back, but it was a dog.  Coyote prints come in pairs, like the picture above.  These were all spaced far apart.  Not cougar or mountain lion since THEIR two front toes are not even .... kind of like your middle finger, one sticks forward of the other.  Their claws don't show either, since they are retractable like a kitty cat. You can also draw an imaginary X through the middle of a dog's print.  Can you see it?   Lucky for me, I saw no bear tracks.  
I figured the least I could do was show SOME kind of coyote pictures, so here's a few I took last year from this exact same spot.
Isn't she a beauty?  Back in my part of the world, they are much darker and scroungier looking.  These guys are red and gorgeous, not to mention fat!!
I'm not giving up ... I'll go back.  Surely I'll run across more critters to photograph!!
One thing about all these parks, you have to have a Discovery Pass, which isn't even available at every park.  Although I have parked here before with NO pass, I would recommend going to Cape Disappointment State Park and picking one up.  A $90 ticket is no fun.

If you remember, last year I got stung by the Park dispenser machine when I punched the button for a DAY pass and got hit with a $30 charge on my credit card for a YEAR'S pass.  I left it in my Jeep.  It happens that I actually found it yesterday and it is good until the END of the month one year later (August for me).  I can do lots of park hopping on that $30 hit!!

Mosquito Bite Counter .... 7

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hanging With The Skeeters

I'm happy to say that the little town of Mariposa was saved from the fire when they took every brigade they had and surrounded the eastern side.  Unfortunately, the fire is now heading toward the little gold mining town of Coulterville.  Hoping they have time to set backfires and keep it in check.

Although there is a burn ban in Washington and Oregon, it wouldn't have mattered last night.  It rained like I've never seen or heard!!  Water came down so hard every two hours I would almost get to sleep before it roared overhead dumping gallons and gallons keeping me awake!!  The mosquitos loved it!!  They are up to 1/2 inch size, having dined on me continuous since I got here.  I heard something about a hot spoon??  Is that correct?  Because so far it hasn't done a thing for the huge itchy bumps on my legs!!

Checking out this place didn't help.  There is a big mosquito nursery in the back yard.  What is this you might ask?  It's a little red house with a large porch all around I've been drooling over since I first came here.  It's just down the street from Thousand Trails.  Wouldn't you know, with the ink still wet on the Arizona house, a FOR SALE sign went up as I was driving by.
I called them immediately just to ask the price.  $204,000 and you KNOW you want to see it!!  Yes I do.  It's the cutest little thing ever.  An old time 1930's kitchen with gingham curtains instead of cupboards.  
Three bedrooms, 1-1/2 baths, the walls are just what you would expect ... wood.  So are the floors!  Pretty tiny bedrooms with no closets (in those days you had wardrobes), but an addition that added space for a master bedroom (maybe 10x16) and a real bathroom to match, along with room for a washer and dryer. It even has an upladder.  Not upstairs ... you have to climb the ladder nailed to the wall.

I'm sure the addition is in good condition, but the piers under the porch were all wonky, so I'm sure the main house piers are the same.  It appears to be on high ground, but everything else on the three lot parcel was covered in swamp loving plants ... a mosquito nursery to be exact.  Yes I LOVE it ... just my kind of old house ... but I'm not making an offer.  Houses in Arizona require much less maintenance than here, not to mention the $100 a month for sewer and water alone, even when you are gone.
On Tuesday I went to visit Carol and Dave Krajcar who own a couple of lots in a local RV park.  Carol has been a reader of my blog and both helped me out when I was looking for a parking space up this direction last year.  How wonderful to meet people along the way and have someone to see when I get here.  We had a great visit in their park model that has everything you could ask for.  

Carol and I talked Instant Pot ... she has the same one I do ... and how often she uses it.  Makes me wish I had brought mine with me.  We're hoping to get together again when I return in two weeks.

I also got a great lesson on drones.  Dave recently bought one and posted some video on Facebook.  That's just the coolest thing I've ever seen!!  He watches where it's going on an iPad he attached to the control.  It all comes in a suitcase built especially for that model.  What a cool hobby!

I made a quick run back to Astoria to check out the quilt shop.  It was a tad foggy until I got on the bridge, when the sun came out and you could actually see.
On the way back there was the usual bridge construction flagmen.  I'm pretty sure this is a permanent construction zone.  The bridge will be maintained forever, meaning flagmen forever.  On weekends, they do get days off ... so if you want to travel and not get stuck on that slanted corner where you can feel the bridge move, go on Saturday or Sunday.
I really didn't find anything at the quilt store and the cutesy antique shop next door moved away, but down at the far end is ANOTHER store with lots of decorating "stuff".  Nothing I was interested in ... ocean doesn't equate to cowboy very well ... but I did find these letters for my Lost Horse Ranch in Arizona.
Back home, I decided to crack open that bottle of Pear Wine and see if it was as good as I had last year.  Alas, you need a wine bottle opener.  Apparently I was so excited in the Arizona house I took BOTH of mine inside and left them there.  There was no wine in the house this day.  An opener is on my list, although I fear it will take a trip back to Astoria (maybe even further) to find one.
I'm getting nervous about all this rain ... as you know, I've had a few mysterious leaks here and there.  Dan checked out everything on the roof but water has a way of appearing out of nowhere.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed ... which means I'm not looking!!!

Since my new vacuum actually arrived yesterday (to my surprise) I'll be spending the day cleaning and writing up a review.  I'll let you know how it goes!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Trials Of Thousand Trails

It's a love-hate relationship.  I bought into Thousand Trails Campgrounds a few years ago.  Got a great deal that allows me to stay 365 days a year for my dues of around $500.  Stay about 20 days and the rest of the year it's free.  That was BEFORE they began allowing the public to stay at these once membership only campgrounds.  Now it's hard to find a spot, no matter where you go.

After an early morning departure from Seaside (no traffic to speak of), I arrived to find no one here.  The gate having been broken early last year, has never been repaired.  I could have just driven right on in, but I waited up front and pushed the button on the speaker/com until someone finally answered.

It seems the management was fired, along with most of the employees, a couple of months ago.  I'm here to tell you that's not a bad thing.  Management in this park has been horrible.  Maybe now it will improve.

The biggest problem here is that whoever designed it didn't know what they were going.  There is one electrical box with plugins for two rigs ... meaning one gets 50 amp (whoever arrives first) and one gets 30.   Those are the even numbered sites, which allow the connections to be made on the correct side of your rig.  If you get an odd numbered site, your electrical connection will be on one side while your water and sewer are about 89 feet away on the opposite side of your rig.  Cool, right?

Having checked it out the night before ... yes, I drove all the way up here to see who was leaving the morning I would arrive ... I parked my rig at the end and waited, like a vulture looking for roadkill.  After an hour, I finally casually walked by and asked if this trailer indeed would be leaving.  Yup ... in about two hours.  Okay then .... do you mind if I just park by this cabin?  I promise I won't eat your little kids.

This is a primo site, with all the connections on the right side and lots of room for the puppies to run right outside the door.  I have noticed an abundance of mosquitos this year.  So far two have sucked the blood right out of me. About the size of their Alaska brothers, they fly much faster, so are harder to kill.  Kind of like that huge spider I found in my bathroom sink yesterday!!  Talk about smashed to smithereens ......
I immediately noticed these people come in and set up camp.  How cute is this!!  It's a teardrop pulled by their little car (with a turbo he said) which he had specially painted to match.  I'm not sure where they keep their clothes since the queen size bed goes from wall to wall.
Here's the back.  The section pulled out has a portable gas stove with the fridge (ice chest) on the bottom right.  It's really pretty cute with loads of storage space.  Course there's no bathroom and no kitchen sink, but still ... it's cute as a button.
First stop ... the post office so I could be sure they still accepted General Delivery.  I ordered that vacuum from Amazon as you suggested.  If I'm really lucky, it will arrive today!!  Who ever thought I'd be happy to get a vacuum???

Second stop, Scoopers.  If you haven't been here, put it on your list.  It's the biggest candy and ice cream store in the state I think.  Notice the new CONCRETE parking lot.  Last year the locals complained so much they finally replaced the chuckholes with cement.
Note to self:  I think I did this last year too .... do NOT buy TWO scoops, even if it is only $5.00.  One scoop is about the size of a large coffee cup.  That's snickers on the top with rocky road on the bottom.  By the time I got to the rocky road, I was not only full to the brim, but I couldn't even taste it my mouth was so frozen.  I'm sorry to say I even threw away a little bit.  I've never done that in my LIFE!!  Next time ONE SCOOP!!!
My plan for today was to head to Oysterville and hit the beaches in search of those coyotes I found last year.  If I remember right, there was only one bear sighting.  THIS year there have been MANY sightings, including these two guys.  YIKES!!
Talk about someone I don't want to meet on the trail ... these guys would be it.  I'm thinking maybe I should wait until my return in mid August when they won't be quite so hungry.
In other news, this is what my hometown looks like from the Campus Parkway exit off Hwy 99.  There is a huge fire near Lake McClure that is burning West, North and South in the foothills, taking everything with it.  They are currently evacuating the towns of Mariposa (the fire is at the back of the fairgrounds) and Coulterville for those who know the area.  Almost 20,000 acres big thus far, it won't reach my house, but it has taken out many others.  Even with all the rain, California is on fire again.
Assuming my vacuum delivery arrives today, I have no plans other than to clean this dirty rig.  I'm about as good at that here as I am at home, but I'm going to give it a shot.  Want to come help????