Sunday, May 13, 2012

Jay Feather Shake-Down Trip

Closing the door to pull out
of Baker City.  
Friday, May 11:
            Time to finally get the new trailer out on the road and figure everything out.  We are tired of reading the manual!  It seems to be filled with Warning Signs  - two to three per page in places!  Propane here, electrical warning there.  I can’t imagine that many things going wrong.  Better hope not!  Our destination is short – Phillips Lake and Union Creek Campground.  When Rick was taking a hike last week, he discovered trailers in the campground, so we know it is now open.  And it won’t kill us at $18 a night to get electricity and water – which we need to test all those systems out! 
            So….after a couple hours of packing upon my arrival home from my BMCC class (final session for spring term!) we take off around 12:45.  I was hoping for a Fed Ex package to arrive before we left, so I could get Mom’s Mother’s Day present into the mail, but no such luck.  It was suppose to arrive on Thursday!!!  Rick had spent the morning packing a few things and doing a test on the furnace, etc. 
            It is a beautiful day.  Absolutely clear and sunny, but the air is still brisk!  Should warm up into the 70’s by Saturday and Sunday, but it will be near freezing at night.  Yeah!  We have a furnace! 
C-5 Campsite at Union Creek.  
            Half hour drive to Union Creek and we pull through Loops B and C looking for a good spot.  We have plenty to choose from – maybe 8 other sites are occupied.  We finally decide on C-5 and get backed in.  We successfully use our new leveling jacks to correct the mild tilt to one side, and then finish the leveling front and back with tongue and hitch jack.  Rick gets us hooked up to the water and plugged in, so the refrigerator can automatically switch off the propane and to electric.  However, a few moments later, we realize the microwave doesn’t work, plus a few other things.  Power is weak.  We then realize there is a switch on the power pole you have to engage to actually get the power into the trailer!  Like a circuit breaker switch!  Once we did that – everything worked great! We make up the back bed – are basically just stacking the mattresses up at the rear of the front bed, and using the flat area as extended counter space!  You can move the table out of the way by placing it on top of the mattresses.   We forgot to bring the small TV tables as intended, so we end up setting up the big table later for dinner (The wind was cold outside!).  The main table is big, but necessary to have along if we are ever going to sleep on the dinette bed. 
            We are so glad we didn’t go with the Casita.  The opportunity to have someone else with us in this trailer is great – be it the kids, grandkids (????) or whatever!  Plus we just have such a bigger “feel” inside with the pull-outs.  We sacrificed a closet, but ended up with more shelf space.  The bathroom is MUCH nicer in this rig. 
One of two pans of shrimp!  
            A lazy afternoon.  Rick went in and read/napped, while I set up my chair in the sunshine and read/napped!  Eventually we both were chasing the sun beams around the campsite in late afternoon, visiting and talking. 
            Time to fire up the stove and try it out!  I could have used all three burners tonight, but I didn’t have that many pots or pans!  Menu is sautéed shrimp, fresh green beans, and stuffing!!  A pound and a half of raw shrimp, so we have plenty, but learn that you have to peel the “skin” off when you buy it that way!  Very messy, but it tasted good.  I burned the beans, but they still tasted good (not used to cooking them in water rather than steam) The stove ignites very easily…once we figured it out!  And the water was VERY hot when I went to do the dishes afterwards.  I put a towel out (the cover to the griddle since we don’t have a hand towel!) on top of the stove cover to dry the dishes.  Worked just fine!  We’ll use paper plates a lot, so dishes are mostly cooking and silverware. 
Rick enjoys our first dinner in the new trailer!  Shrimp!
            I have begun my list of things we forgot….or didn’t have in the “cooking bucket” for the tent trailer….cups, etc. that can go in the microwave, a corkscrew for the wine bottles (fortunately Tim Smith’s parents in the site next to us loaned us one!), a mini broom, the hand towels missing from the bucket, etc. etc. etc.   That’s what a shakedown trip is for!!  And to help me figure out where and how I want to store everything in the kitchen area.  With the microwave possibility, I might just end up purchasing some dishes, etc. that will stay here in this trailer, and keep the bucket armed and ready to go for tent trailer camping. 
            After dinner we took a walk down through A Loop – trying to find where we celebrated the Silver Bullet’s 50th birthday, and then through the tent sites and all along the lake past the picnic area and back to C Loop.  A beautiful evening out, although still a little windy.  Back to make a campfire and enjoy the warmth and mesmerizing effect of the flames for a couple hours before tucking ourselves in for the night. 
Sunset on the lake Friday night. 
            Important note – finally tested the new potty right before bed.  Such fun and it flushes so quickly and easily!  The queen bed is definitely a bigger “feel” than the mini double of the tent trailer….we can manage this size bed!  Rick has his super sleeping bag and I my lightweight one (don’t have a super), but I also brought my frog quilt from Margaret and a couple of fleece blankets, so I should be good.  (And I am!)  Rick sets the thermostat for around 50 and we hear the furnace kicking on several times during the night
Just after we turn off the lights we hear a chorus of coyotes howling across the lake, up in the hills.  Rick said he heard them again in the night.  . 

Saturday, May 12
            No clock by the bed, so I just keep turning over and going back to sleep until finally I have to use the bathroom.  It is 7am!  A good night’s sleep for me!  The sun is out, the air is definitely cool.  I wrap up in the frog quilt, turn the coffee maker on (I had it all ready to go!) and do my Bible study and a couple of drawings from yesterday.  Then it is time to catch up here and NOW IT IS TIME FOR BREAKFAST!  More later!!! 

Elkhorn Range from Bridge Creek. 
Lots of green and inlets of the lake. 
            Breakfast is fruit plus pancake roll-ups for Rick with peanut butter and I have a little yogurt and cereal.  Then some more lazy reading and working of puzzles…. By 11:45 we decide to grab a light lunch before we take off on the bikes to ride past Social Security Point and Mowich Loop and out to the end of Hudspeth Lane.  About 4.5 miles, the last part on the road, the first part on the Shoreline Trail.  Route includes a good uphill stretch out on the highway…which I managed to do without stopping and in third gear the whole time!!  Mostly we stopped often to check out various birds – mallards, geese, and osprey, plus swifts  woodpecker,  and red winged blackbirds.  Saw just a few wildflowers – some dandelion types and more grass widows.  In a couple of weeks the wild iris will be in full splendor!  But the grass is so green right now that the fields were beautiful.  Biggest obstacle was dodging all the pinecones in the trail. 
My bike is holding up the camera! Out on Hudspeth Lane
with Elkhorns in background. 
The osprey flew through just as I
clicked the picture! 
            Back to the trailer around 2:30 to try out the awning and then test the shower facility!!  The awning took us about three tries to figure all the kicks out, including…shut the main door first!  They don’t tell you that in the instructions, but it gets in the way! 
Success at putting up the awning!   
            While waiting for Rick to finish in the shower, I found a tick on my neck!  Aghh!!  Hate those things!  Rick declared me “clean “ after a thorough check!  Shower works great, the air conditioner works fine also.  (We were hot when we got done with the awning and our ride!  It didn’t stay on long, however.) 

Grass widows everywhere!
Red faced Rick ponders the fire. 
           Afternoon lazing around reading, etc. and enjoying the sunshine.    We thought about calling some of our Sumpter friends to join us for campfire, but then remembered they would have to pay to come in and we weren’t sure how long we would last tonight to stay up!  So around 4:30, Rick made our campfire so we would have some good coals for the turkey kielbasa dogs we have to cook up.  (Complete with sourdough pancake “roll-ups” for the buns), plus dilly beans, baked beans, and cut raw veggies with dip  Rick also tried to mix some of the green tomatillo salsa I made for him with regular salsa, but it was stil WAY too vinegary.  That batch of tomatillo was a disaster – won’t use that recipe again! 
            We took a walk again around the area after dinner – the campfire was in status quo mode enough to leave it for a bit safely.  A beautiful evening.  Back to enjoy the campfire a bit longer and then head into the trailer at 8:20 to play some games!!!  Yeah, Rick!  A round of Quiddler and then 4 rounds of Rummy.  I won Quiddler and Rick won rummy, so we both could go to bed happy!  J 
Do you see the
eye in the fire?
            It is warmer tonight and we decide not to run the furnace at all.  Cozy into our bed and read until probably 10p and lights out! 

Sunday morning, May 13 – It’s Mother’s Day! 
And THIS mother is hoping her youngest son is safe as he climbs to the summit of Mt. Jefferson this morning.  Hoping the snow froze up enough to make it an easy and safe climb.  Hoping we get a call by noon at the latest saying all went well!   Hoping and praying! 
I woke up earlier today and got up at 6:20a.  I will need to keep my watch on the light stand, so I at least know what time it is when I arise.  I don’t want to have to climb over Rick often….that’s the only downside to the sleeping arrangements.  There isn’t as much space for me to climb over or hold onto to step over him and then down.  I waited last night until I heard him get up and then went to the bathroom at the same time! 
            Anyway, I curled up in the couch area with my blankets and a hot cup of coffee and did my Bible Study.  Then ‘went to church’ by reading the bulk of the Revelant Magazine that had arrived last week.  An entry in this log, and breakfast to follow! 
            All we have left to try out is using the dump station!  That shall be our adventure for the day.  We have found we will have to be careful with the grey water levels - after our showers yesterday we were already 2/3 full, and we really haven’t run the water THAT much.  But…it’s a small trailer, which means smaller tanks! 
Read and enjoyed the sunshine today until about 9:30 when we started getting things ready to leave.  I rode the bike up the exit hill (a different route) to locate an alternate dump station, but just the one which we shall have to pull into from the opposite direction to get our hose to reach the drain.  We manage fine and can cross that off our “first time” list.  Did learn that rubber gloves would be handy to have – we just liberally applied sanitizer when done! 
Total trip about 40 miles round trip – we are NOT getting great mileage with the trailer, but we knew that would be the case.  Still could hope for an improvement!  Home in time to quickly empty trailer so we can back it across the street into Ryan’s driveway, unhook and be ready to drive out to the nursery in Keating for my annual Mother’s Day flower purchases! 
Not Union Creek, but the Wallowas were gorgeous driving to Keating!
 Just got a text from Luke that he is safely off the mountain.  It is 7:40pm - definitely took much longer than they planned.  He said he is utterly exhausted, but safe.  Whew!  But the text was the best present I could have received at this point!  

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