Monday, February 10, 2014

The Final Chapter

The final chapter has yet to be written, and despite the title here, this isn't it! But just as an update for those who have expressed interest and/or concern- YES, we did take the rig off the road and YES we did buy a home and a piece of land in Sequim, Washington. Full timing is definitely behind us at this point. The coach is parked out back, plugged into 50 amp service and full hookup, while we clean and get it ready for sale- a process that is nearly complete. EVERYTHING is in excellent working condition, and looking pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. Price and details will follow in the next few days, so if you or someone you know has any interest, that would be the time to let us know. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bright Star

 First day of crabbing in Sequim! It sure felt like the first crab hoop we pulled for today had a really BIG crab in it, but as it rose to the surface in the relatively clear cold water it looked empty! Just the empty dark bottom of a trap with no crab. And yet the chicken in the bait bag was also not visible which it should have been. Vas es loaf? as the Dutchman would say. The answer to all the questions was soon answered. The ENTIRE bottom of the crab hoop was covered by a gigantic sea star with 20 arms. We have never in all our years of crabbing come across something like this. It was a thing of mystery and beauty.


As it turned out we crabbed about three hours and brought home only a single 6 1/4 inch across the carapace male dungeness crab for the day. But it was a beautiful day and we talked to a bunch of locals who really had some good local knowledge for us regarding the fishing rights between what one business owner called the "Indians and the Cowboys." VERY INTERESTING STUFF!

Just another word about the dungeness crabs that we brought up on this day. Most of them had a deep purple color on the legs which we have not seen anywhere else. Very pretty. Just mostly not big enough to keep and eat.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Edelweiss and The Lonely Goat Herd

We spent most of the day two days ago humming tunes from The Sound of Music! Why? Because we made our first foray up to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains of Washington State. The ridge is only a few miles from Sequim where we are camped. The road to the peak of the ridge literally puts you at eye to eye level with the top of Mount Olympus. That will take your breath away. On Olympus and the adjacent peaks that make up the Olympic Mountains there are any number of glaciers. The vistas are magnificent. The meadows of the ridge peak are jam packed with black tailed deer and on a clear day (which this was) you can see many many miles in every direction- including Canada on the far side of the Straits of Juan de Fuca. We strolled trails along the ridge in wonderment breathing in the cool smell of the pines. We literally hummed a few tunes from Sound of Music and felt like we were "there" in person. I may have actually yodeled across the valleys to a lonely goat herd- only there was no goat herd and no answer was echoed back.

I will use a few stills from that day trip but not nearly all the shots as there will be another post that gets in to the subject in a bit more depth in the not too distant future.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Elk, Clams, and Bass

All right, already! I've been a computer lazy oaf since we landed in Lakeside, Oregon on the Ten Mile Lake near the little fishing village of Winchester Bay and a short ride north of Coos Bay. It's not that we haven't been busy. It's just that the things I thought I would be writing about this time of year simply are not happening this summer. Kinda strange. Like earlier in the season, not much in the way of a salmon run and still hardly any crabs to be caught unless you have a boat and can get off shore. I don't. So I can't. End of story. And the wind? Never stops for even a short while. Sand blasted on the beach when we go collecting kelp for our little craft projects, air blasted on the dock when we try crabbing, too windy to cast a line in to the surf. A tough gig on the coast so far this summer. But clamming has been OK, in fact we found a mess of Empire clams, better known elsewhere as "gapers" on the flats off the tip of, where else, Empire, Oregon a little known stretch between Coos Bay and Charleston, where the oyster farm is. They are big clams the size of your hand, give or take a bit; a might chewy but fine in chowder or cut in strips and deep fried. I just like digging them, even in the wind on a crisp cool day on the flats. They are usually arm-pit deep in mud or sand so when you do finally bring one up it feels quite rewarding.

When it has been just too windy to do much of anything else on the coast, we have headed inland, and driven along the Umpqua River until we come to a likely spot and then we get out and see if we can locate any of the Elk herd that frequents the area. Most times we do and they surely are beautiful animals. I like to photograph them. Admittedly I would also like to eat them, but hey! It's not hunting season and probably if it was, I wouldn't be able to locate them.

One day about a week ago we were sitting by our camp fire (a controlled fire in the pit despite the wind) and looking out over the lake. A whole host of guys with bass boasts pulled into camp, had some kind of a group meal by the boat house and then disappeared again. But early the next morning, and the next two days, they launched from the camp dock and headed out into Ten Mile Lake on what was a semi-pro bass fishing tournament. Each day at three o'clock they would come in with their "live bags" and weigh in up to five bass for the competition. Once weighed, each team took off again to release their fish in the areas where they had been caught. Normally on this lake a bass must be 12 inches to keep, but not more than 15 inches. For the tournament though, there was no up side limit because all the fish were being released alive anyhow. There were some beautiful fish brought in for weighing, and that was great, although just looking at those high tech bass boats was quite a treat in and of itself. None of this fold up on the side of your camper boats for these guys. Big bucks! (and no Chuck, my friend, I do NOT mean to say bulls this time).

Right now we are spending quite a bit of time each day on our kelp crafts. It's fun and it keeps us out of trouble and when people see what we are producing from what looks like seaweed rotting on the beach, they are a bit surprised. Me too actually.

Another week yet here and then on to Washington State. Looking forward to visiting with Derek and Karin and doing a bit of house hunting. Thinking the time is drawing nigh that Gundyville needs to have roots again instead of wheels. But we shall see what we shall see!

Slide show:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Our New Fishing/ World Ocean Cruising Boat

Great news! As our land yachting of the North American Continent winds down, a new opportunity has arisen. So before leaving Gold Beach on the rugged coast of Oregon, we decided to purchase our next toy: a ship large enough to be used for deep sea fishing, crab pot hauling and world class ocean cruising adventures. The deal was just toooooo good to pass up, so we decided to make the purchase after giving it much consideration. And the owner agreed to let us keep her in her current location so we didn't have to move it and pay for weatherization and winter storage rates. True, it will need a bit of TLC, but her structure appears to be fine and we are really excited to get going in the Spring.

Those of you who have fished and boated with us in the past, get ready for some fun in the sun on the high seas coming soon!!!  I think our virgin cruise will be the Alaskan Inside Passage.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Crazy Kelp!

As promised!

When we had a short stay here at Turtle Rock RV on the Oregon coast last year, we were both really "taken" with the art work of the owner hanging on the all in the registration office. The pieces looked like maybe leather, maybe birch bark, maybe something else. Wrong! They were made from dried pieces of kelp. they were beautiful. They were unusual. They were captivating. And we vowed we would come back here- especially if she would agree to show us how they were done. No problem- the artist/owner of the campground offers a class in this craft to anyone who requests it for the more-than-reasonable fee of ten bucks a piece. So this year we took that class and really had a wonderful learning experience and, just maybe, a "project" or hobby for life.

Within a week of taking her class, we had amassed large quantities of kelp (some fresh and wet- some old and dried)and began to prepare them for the creations that these material could become. What fun! People wondered what in the harry we were doing with all those goodies laid out all over our campsite, we showed then what we had done, and with that there were more and more people gathering on their own. And taking the class. An unexpected bounty from the sea. Boundless bounty from a boundless sea!

In our very first class, we both produced something we felt very proud to have created. Here, then, is a look at the collecting, the processing, the class, the process, the results- all with cations (in the slide show)....

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wind Surfer

A while back I mentioned that in the near future the International Wind Surfing Contest would be held just a few miles down the road (7 miles to be exact). Well, the day for the big event finally came, but the wind did not. And it didn't come the next day or the next day or the next day- and this in a place where the wind almost never stops blowing. We have tried to walk on this beach on days when our faces were sand-blasted really badly and we had to abandon the day's stroll. But finally, when all seemed lost, enough wind came up to get the surfers in the water, and the event was "back on..." I'd describe the wind on that day more like a whimper than a gang buster, so we didn't see the best competition that we might have otherwise, but it was still a good afternoon and we got some pretty decent pictures.

Looking back, I can tell you that Marilyn and I fell in love, with NO DOUBT, to the music of Roy Orbison. We have cd's of (I think) everything that Roy ever recorded, even dating back to the Traveling Wilburys. The Travelers, or the Wilburys, if you prefer, consisted of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison .... I'm guessing you didn't know there was a Beatle and a Stone at the launch of Roy Orbison's career, but yes indeed! And why is this important to talk about on a post about Wind Surfing? Well that is the title of one of Roy's most popular numbers ever. And if I'm being honest, which I strive to always be, the real reason I was so excited for this event to get off the ground, was because I wanted to tie it in with Old Roy and a music video of this catchy tune that I have always liked.

So here we go: some stills, a slide show from a single heat of the competition, and a video clip of Wind Surfer by Roy Orbison. Enjoy!


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Harvesting The Pacific

A lot of people are happy just to look out over the expanse of an ocean and listen to the sound of the waves on the coast. I like that too. But hunter/gatherer better describes how I like to appreciate the sea and its many and diversified resources.

Wind. You may not associate wind with the sea, but you should. The variation in temperature between the land and the sea creates a disturbance that creates a breeze- and some times a pretty darn good one. It makes opportunities for recreation like sailing, wind surfing, kite flying, kite surfing and other such activities possible. One of the top 5 places in the world to wind surf is at Pistol River, Oregon. That happens to be just a few miles down the beach from our Gold beach base. Not that I am going to wind surf, mind you- those days are pretty much long gone. But an international championship will be held there in just a matter of days and we plan, weather permitting, to attend the event and see what it's all about. Should be fun, and will make for something that I have never posted about before.

Found on the beach. depending on where you are and what kind of shoreline you have, there are a whole host of goodies you can find on the beach, from shells to sea glass to drift wood and maybe even a message in a bottle. The beaches here do not have much in the way of shells at all. Plenty of driftwood that we collect because either it is just plain beautiful or it will fit in our camp fire ring very nicely. No sea glass at all. Some fine gold, though. And at the high water mark, pieces of dried kelp that we will use to make "baskets" and the like in a class coming up real soon. More on that later.

Musseling, crabbing, clamming, all fun and we go as often as tide and time will allow. Fishing? Same thing- mostly from the dock or the jetty or a spit as we have no boat here that can go in these rough waters. But this week I made a deep sea trip with Five Stars Charters out of Gold Beach. On their charter trips, you set crab traps on the way out, fish all day out at sea, then pull the crab pots on the way back into port. If we catch plenty of crab, all on board have their crabs cooked for them back at the dock while the fish are being cleaned. On this trip, the crabbing, as it has been for us so far, was pretty bad. The sea temps are just too cold for the crabs to be close to shore right now. The fishing for Ling Cod was pretty good. The sea swell (the feature of the sea that can make you sea sick) was also very active and for the second year in a row fishing deep sea here I spent much of the day fighting hurling my cookies over the side. Fortunately I did not do that and managed to keep fishing. And for that effort I was rewarded with a limit of two ling cod (both about 12 pound fish) and a limit of black and blue rockfish. I caught a few other species that the season was closed on and they were returned to the water unharmed. It was a day when the fog and drizzle did NOT roll in, so we had a clear view of the shoreline and the sea rocks and stacks around us at all times. I hasten to add that the smell of those rocks from the abundance of sea lions and birds made for a not so great odor; in fact, if you were not gonna get sick from the sea swell, you might just do it from the smell of the local wildlife.But still, plenty of fish for the freezer at the end of the day and enough crab to take home as a treat for Marilyn who never met a crab she didn't like.

One further note: I briefly had to battle a Stellar sea lion who decided (though it doesn't happen often) to grab a ling cod on my fishing line and make it a meal of his own. For a minute there I thought I had a whopper of a fish. Turned out to be a big bad bull sea lion who came up to the surface with the fish and lure in his mouth, looked right at the boat, gave out a mighty roar or two, shook his head and spit out the lure, setting him (and me) free, but keeping the fish secured in his jaws. I am quite sure he sustained no injury from the contact, BUT I am just as sure that he was pissed off! Pardon the French!

You should notice there are absolutely no pictures anywhere from the actual deep sea fishing part of the trip this week. That is because I knew I had two choices: one- look through a view finder and puke my guts out, OR two- forget about taking pictures, look at the beautiful scenery and keep on fishing. It was, after all, a fairly simple choice to make.

It was a good week for harvesting the Pacific.

Wind surfers near Gold Beach

Captain setting crab traps at sunrise

a dungeness crab

a red rock crab

Slide Show:

Video Clip: Big Red Crabbing machine coming down the dock!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

About Bandon

Another windier than before day sent us on a drive north to see what we could see out and about up in Bandon, Oregon. Here, the Coquille River dumps into the Pacific and the layout of the delta is ripe for violent wind action and that is exactly what we got on our excursion. The weather created a truly inspired water-scape between the jetties and while the camera NEVER catches it the way the eye sees it you just might get the idea. The blue skies b-lie the effect but with the photos and the videos and the sounds of the wind- maybe!

The ocean was the main attraction to be sure. But the crab dock was pretty darn fancy, the town is just filled to the gills with taverns and places to grab a bite to eat and there are quite a few specialty shops that we poked in and out of. En route we stopped at a couple wood slab operations and a carver or two. Our friend Jude will be please to know that Bigfoot, alias Oregon Squatch can be found very easily in these here parts! And I took a couple infra red shots to prove it.

This post you get a few stills, a slide show and some video content...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Coasting- North

Another clear day with gentle but cool breezes sent us off up the coast this time to see what we could see. The mission was as it was for Coasting South- poke into all the nooks and crannies along the Oregon coast- only this time in a roughly 30 mile stretch from Gold Beach north towards Bandon. We had as always, some marvelous discoveries along the way, and we may have hit another 20 or so miles and gone all the way to Bandon but by mid afternoon the gentle breeze had become gusts to 40 mph. That's a lot of wind along the shoreline and when I tried to step out of the car to take a picture at Cape Blanco Lighthouse, I actually had a hard time opening the car door and a harder time getting out and then had to lean way into the wind to avoid getting swept off the bluff. I thought about being a rugged explorer and continuing on but decided it would be better to wrap things up right there and get back to the coach and the awnings and the tent we have set up. So far so good although we are in Day 2 of a big blow. Strange: you hope and pray for a clear day and then you get it and with it comes the wind and then you ALMOST hope and pray for the fog and drizzle to come back. I said ALMOST!

Along the way we stopped at one spot to talk to some fishermen and found out that it was FREE FISHING WEEKEND in Oregon- meaning that folks can fish where-ever they wish without the necessity of having a fishing license. It seems like a good promotion to get folks, especially kids, interested in the sport of fishing. To that end, Oregon Fish and Wildlife was holding a FREE FISHING DAY for kids under 10 at the salmon/trout hatchery on Elk River in Port Orford. Fishing for trout, including some enormous rainbows in the cement pond of the hatchery! You gotta love those odds, and sure enough the kids were hauling in the goods with a limit of three each under the guidance and watchful guides from the department. It was a fun experience. I think from the reaction of the volunteers we were the only non-parents to make a contribution to the program but we had as much fun as the kids did, got some swell photos, and, truth be told, Marilyn did try to get me registered for some free fishing. The warden said I didn't look like I was 10. To which Marilyn said , "No, but he acts like it sometimes and doesn't that count?"  Later he and I each agreed that we WERE 10 - about 6 and half times that is....

As an indication of just how isolated and inaccessible parts of this rugged coast can be, please watch for the thought-to-be-extinct brontosaurus picture we captured in this post's slide show!

And when it comes time to take a look at the boatyard we visited (Port Orford), please note that this is strictly a "dolly" yard. One of only 6 in the world! All boats are resting on dollies which are rolled to a lift and placed and retrieved from hoists on the dock. NO boats are left in the water either at the dock or on moorings- it simply is too rough and too rocky for that. There are a few pleasure boats about, but not many, as this is a place for serious fishermen and their commercial boats. Having said that, this is also the spot where we had our most favorite meal of all last summer- a tiny little hole in the wall shanty dead center on the dock called Griffs. We had lunch there again this trip and were not disappointed- the meal was excellent again. The seafood is cooked pretty much literally while it is still dripping wet with salt water- that's how fresh the product is. I had four oysters and a two piece fish and chips and Marilyn got a scallop plate. Put your thumb and your first two fingers together and touch them to your lips and blow a kiss in Italian style to understand how delicious it was.