Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Friday, 28 August 2015

It's All Downhill from Here

Steamboat Lake to Cañon City, Colorado

We spent three nights at the Steamboat Lake State Park, 25 miles north of Steamboat Springs. We went into a store called "Go Ask Alice" in Steamboat Springs. The proprietor was friendly, but said said that he stopped selling nicotine juice for electronic cigarettes after recreational pot was legalized in Colorado. On the way out I asked him if he wanted me to turn the "closed" sign on the door around and he thanked me.

But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it raining fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mountain high-
-John Denver

 I tried trout fishing for a couple of hours. I used Powerbait with a cheesehook and, later, a spoon. With a refrigerator still full of rockfish, I was relieved not to have to kill any more fish.

It's a lovely park. The campground was only about half full because Colorado schools went back into session a week ago.

We've been on the road or on the boat almost five months and we're both feeling a little travel fatigue and a strange yearning to return home for the winter.

 Here he lies where he long'd to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
  And the hunter home from the hill.
- Robert Louis Stevenson

We cross the Rockies again, towing the Honda. The V-10 in the RV drops down to first gear at times and winds up to about 6,000 RPM. So far we're returning home without much vehicular damage other than another broken windshield on the Honda from a passing rock truck.

Colorado has a lot of empty roads and meadows at 10,000 feet and above.

I never get tired of windshield photos. We'll probably be somewhere in Oklahoma this time tomorrow

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Moving East

Wendover, Nevada and Vernal, Utah

We stop again in Wendover on the Nevada/Utah border to see my brother. We have several meals together: breakfast in the Red Garter Casino, a barbecue he makes for us and I cook my rockfish royale for one evening meal.

Wendover is on the edge of the Bonneville Salt Flats and Great Salt Lake. I take a walk with David and his dog at 6:30 AM up on Three Mile Mountain. It's an interesting place with many caverns that were gouged out when this high altitude place was sea bottom.

There's a lot to see in Wendover, including casinos, the abandoned air base where Col. Tibbets trained with his B-29, later named the Enola Gay after his mom....They have tennis courts, but we fail to take advantage this time.

A shot of one of the roads going to Wendover...

and the road out of Wendover.

We move on to stay for three nights in Vernal, Utah. The most interesting thing we did here was take a lonely desert hike up to the Moonshine Arch.

We carried water, sandwiches and a selfie stick out to the arch.

One day in Vernal, we drove 40 miles onto an isolated plateau and down a steep geological "hole" to a US Government fish hatchery miles from anywhere. They release about 2,000,000 trout a year into rivers, lakes and streams....This is my favorite government agency...hands second place is SEAL team six...

Our third day trip in Vernal is out to the McCormick Ranch to climb a rocky cliff and see the Indian petroglyphs.

We've seen more impressive petroglyphs, but never a more challenging climb to see them. I drop a fiver in the contribution box and thumbtack one of Mrs. Phred's cards in the sign-in shed.

Mrs Phred at the trout hatchery creek...

Moonshine Arch near Vernal.

Phred takes a selfie at Moonshine Arch.

Next stop...Steamboat Lake State Park in NW Colorado.

Friday, 14 August 2015

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Coos Bay, Oregon Coast

We're at my favorite spot on the Oregon Coast. This is where I saw the red Coast Guard helicopter rescue diver pluck four dead bodies out of the water. Their boat overturned crossing the bar. The orange life jackets and the boat washed up on the beach, but the bodies kept floating offshore.
One thought struck me
As an ice cube swallowed
that falls near the heart
And just lays there coldly burning
Into fear itself: 
‘When you die
You're part of the furniture.’
Then I whispered
Covered his face
And left
-Ronberge (anno tercio)

I go out again with Captain Bill on a 6 AM, five hour, rockfish hunt. He has a high tech fish finder with a 100 foot conical range that tells him the number of fish and their sizes. It seems a little unfair to the fish, but I limit out on seven big black rockfish in a couple of hours. I borrowed a lingcod jig from a garrulous old submariner (my age) who I have been pumping for sub stories on the way out. I use the jig to catch a ling that fillets out to three pounds or four meals. The rockfish each yield two fillets that weigh a pound total, a good weight for dinner for two. We've eaten them twice so far...they have they consistency of halibut and a hint of swordfish flavor.

I find a magic place on my walk today. It's on a cliff that allows access to a deserted beach by lowering yourself with a rope anchored to a tree. I'll make breakfast sandwiches and coffee and take Mrs. Phred to see it in the morning.

Mrs. Phred on the beach. We've been here four nights, which is something of a personal record for being in one place. The white line keeps me asking what's up the road?

Strange things grow on our planet and in the ocean. I'm sorry I forgot my wetsuit. The swimming looks great except for the 55 degree water temperature.

Down the road is a colony of several thousand barking seals.

Crabs are very big along the coast. I buy Mrs. Phred a Crab Louie for here lunch in Winchester Bay today. Next October they will have a community college shooting massacre here that will leave ten dead.

This is the right lower jaw of a 60 foot humpback whale that washed up on the beach near the Umpqua Lighthouse in 1991. We're heading inland in the morning to an RV park about midway between Crater Lake and the whitewater rafting in Bend.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Siletz River, Oregon

 The Terror of Highway 101

We're heading down Highway 101 on the Oregon Coast one more time. After Packwood, Washington, we spent three days in upper northwest Oregon at Fort Stevens State Park, then two days at the Jetty Fishermen's RV park. Just now we're finishing three nights at the Coyote Rock RV Park on the Siletz River. If you stay at Coyote Rock, make sure they give you a spot on the river.

 He wore black denim trousers and motorcycle boots
And a black leather jacket with an eagle on the back
He had a hopped-up 'cicle that took off like a gun
That fool was the terror of Highway 101

Well, he never washed his face and he never combed his hair
He had axle grease imbedded underneath his fingernails
On the muscle of his arm was a red tattoo
A picture of a heart saying "Mother, I love you"
-Vaughn Monroe

Personally, when I had my Harley, I had a chicken sewed into the back of my black leather jacket rather than an eagle and a naked brain painted on my helmet....  Anyway, We went fishing again out of Depoe Bay and I caught some rock fish and a decent ling cod.. I'm cooking some of the ling cod tonight. First I marinated a chunk in white wine and salt. I'm covering it with breadcrumbs and then adding a mix of mayonnaise, sour cream and minced green onions. It's all topped off with paprika for appearance.

 The Jetty Fisherman's RV Park is at the mouth of Nehalem Bay. The tide rips in an out and crabbing is very popular. In the morning I walked along the railroad tracks and back for several miles. It's a beautiful spot to camp.

 Mrs. Phred and I booked a fishing trip out of Depoe Bay near the Siletz River. Our boat had a total of six fishing people. We didn't catch as many fish as we might have because Mrs. Phred got seasick. I have another trip booked out of Charleston, Oregon on the 12th by myself at 6 AM.

 This is one of the famous Tillomook cows. Tillomook makes great ice cream and cheese. If you go there see the Tillomook cheese factory and the huge air museum in the WWII blimp hangar...I treated myself to a half gallon of Tillomook ice cream and now I must pay the calorie counting price...Black and white cows make the best ice cream...

At the Jetty RV Park they rent crab traps and cook your crabs. Nice if you have your own kayaks and don't have to rent a boat....but the tides rip in and out....

Mary Lou, poor girl, she pleaded and she begged him not to leave
She said "I've got a feeling if you ride tonight I'll grieve"
But her tears were she'd in vain and her every word was lost
In the rumble of an engine and the smoke from his exhaust

Then he took off like the Devil and there was fire in his eyes! He
Said "I'll go a thousand miles before the sun can rise." But he hit a screamin' diesel
That was California-bound" And when they cleared the wreckage, all
They found

Was his black denim trousers and motorcycle boots
And a black leather jacket with an eagle on the back
But they couldn't find the 'cicle that took off like a gun
And they never found the terror of High way 1 oh 1

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Billy the Mountain

Mount Ranier, Washington

 So we picked up the car at the Seattle Jet-N-Park and drove 3 hours back to Ephrata to pick up the RV. It's all agriculture there and they are spraying rainbows on my morning walks.

Billy the mountain
Billy the mountain
A regular picturesque
Postcardy mountain
Residing between lovely
Rosamond and gorman
With his stunning wife ethel
A tree, a tree.
Billy was a mountain
Ethel was a tree growing off of his shoulder
Billy was a mountain
Billy was a mountain
Ethel was a tree growing off of his shoulder
Ethel was a tree growing off of his shoulder
( hey, hey, hey! )
Billy had two big
Caves for eyes
With a cliff for a jaw
That would go up or down
And whenever it did
He'd puff out some dust
And hack up a boulder, hack.
Hack up a boulder, hack, hack.
Hack up a boulder, hack, hack.
Hack up a boulder.
-Frank Zappa

We drive to Packwood and take the 3 hour drive up into Mount Ranier.

Packwood is a funky little place with lots of wood carvings, saloons and a public library..

In the morning, big elk wander around Packwood eating grass. The volunteer fire department has planted some pretty flowers. I zap myself on the electric fence that they use to keep the elk away.

 After Packwood we drive to Fort Stevens State Park on the north tip of Oregon. We meet Jil and Tom in Astoria for breakfast.

Jil and Tom are in their new camper truck.

"It's off to Las Vegas to check out the lounges,
Pull a few handles and drink a few beers, oh Ethel,
Ethel, my darling, you know that I love you,
I'm glad we could have a vacation this year,
Oh neat-o, glad we could have a vacation this year."

They left that night, crunchin' across the Mojave Desert,
their voices echoing thru the canyons of your minds...
"Ethel, wanna get a cuppa cawfee? Howard Johnson's, ahhh
there's a Howard Johnson's! ... Wanna eat some clams? ...
                                                                   -Frank Zappa-