Stay put or head south – That is the question

Completed my camp hosting job

I completed my camp hosting job on Sep 9 but decided to stay there a bit longer until the water ran out.  It was nice not having the daily chores and collecting money.  For a few days there was nobody in the campground, but the first weekend they filled up the park once again.  Of course it didn’t cost the campers any money and they did not have toilet paper in the bathrooms.  Also the handle to the water pump was removed so they had to supply their own water.  But the camping was FREE so that brought them in.

My original plans had changed (will get into that later) so I decided to check out the Clackamus River RV Park about 6 miles outside of Estacada, OR.  I drove down there and to my surprise I almost couldn’t get a site because it was totally full.  I told them I would be here at least one month and maybe two.  They were able to find me a spot in the back where another person won’t be coming in until Dec 1.  I signed up for a month and got moved in.

Changing residency

I am changing my state of residency from Texas to Oregon and I needed an address to begin the process.  Once I moved in I applied for Medicare Senior Advantage and Senior Advantage Plus through Kaiser Permanente.  I was enrolled in Kaiser Permanente in Southern California prior to beginning my full-time adventures, but had to cancel since I was on the road more then 6 months.

I was accepted by KP and received my card in time for my first appointment to renew all my prescriptions.

Why change residency?

I guess you asking why I am changing my residency.  Throughout my travels I have always knew that one day I would be wanting to settle down and not travel quite so much.  When I crossed into Oregon back in May I stayed at the Rogue River RV Park right on the Rogue River.  What a beautiful place!


I thought that is where I wanted to settle down.  However looking at property I realized it was way out of my price range.  Anything on a river in Oregon is usually VERY expensive.  So I stopped thinking of that for a while.

Then back in August I took a 2 day fly fishing course through The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches, OR.  Part of the course was to go fishing both days.  The first day was on the Swift River and the second day we fished on the Salmon River.  You take these little one lane back roads to get to the river.  All along the river are these beautiful homes out in a forest setting.  I thought that would be a great place to live so I googled “real estate Welches, OR”.  I came up with one site that showed a cabin located within the Mt Hood Resort Village.  It was small but perfect for me and right within my price range.  So on my day off I headed up there to check it out.

Liked what I saw

I liked it except for the fact that it was close to Highway 26 and there was substantial road noise.  This is a gated community and when I went in to get a pass code I picked up a flyer at the desk that told them about the cabins for sale.  Little did I know that this would change my life.  When I got back to Lake Harriet I read the flyer and decided to check it out further.

To make a long story short I put a deposit on a lot that is further back from the road (no road noise whatsoever).  Plus it was just a few hundred feet from the Salmon River.

Approved by lender TWICE

I put in an application to the lender and was approved not only once, but twice.  The original application was taken over the phone and the app was all screwed up.  They had it down that I was working full time for PGE (Portland General Electric – my camp host employer) and not just part time in the summer.  I didn’t see the original application until they sent me the approval.  

I brought it to their attention and they informed me that they would have to run the app again.  After much negotiation I finally got approved again.  I just had to come up with the down payment.  I cashed in my PGE 401k and my mutual fund and savings and just paid them the down payment last week.  

Now I am waiting for it to be built.  This is a single wide modular home built by Cavco in Woodburn, Or just about 63 miles away.  It probably won’t be ready for me to move into until after the first of the year.

Future Travel Plans

I don’t plan on living in my new home all the time.  I am still going to work in the summer at Lake Harriet for the next few years.  Plus I still intend to travel in the winter months of December and January/February.  Then plan to spend relaxing time in my new home the rest of the year.  I will still maintain my RV and store it at the Village when not using it.  So once I move in I will be a part-timer and not a full-timer.  

More to come on this later.  Just wanted to let everyone know what I have been up to.  

Grandson Eric to River Rafting

Grandson Arrives

I picked up my grandson Eric at the Portland International Airport at 3:15 Sunday afternoon. It sure was great seeing him and was really pleased he could spend some time with his Ole Grandfather to get an idea how I live. We stopped for dinner in Estacada at the Cazadero Restaurant where we had a great view of the Clackasmas River.

Then headed to the grocery store to pick up a few items for his breakfast and lunches. Then it was 31 miles to get back to the campground. He couldn’t believe the beautiful scenery that Oregon has. Eric is from Fort Worth where there are no hills let alone mountains, just flat land. So it was very different for him.

Old Log Cabin

The next morning after breakfast we took a drive to an old log cabin further up from the dam. I am not sure when this cabin was built but it was really falling apart. It appears someone was living there during the rainy season as it is covered with huge tarps. There was also lots of trash around the area. Maybe it was a old trappers cabin.



Long ride on a Dusty Road

Then I found a gravel road that kept going up and up. It soon turned into a one lane road with lots of growth. I don’t think this road had been traveled in some time.



I got these pics part way up on our adventure to the top at about 4100 feet. What a view!






Getting acquainted with Chica

Here are some pics of Eric getting to know Chica. What is funny is that he has a Chihuahua named Chico. How ironic!



Timothy Lake

On our final day I drove over to Timothy Lake. This pic was taken in the Hoodview Day Use area with Mt Hood in the background.


I also showed him the Pacific Crest Trail.



Past Mt Hood to the airport

Then we drove north on Hwy 26 and showed him some close-ups of Mt Hood. He took some pics while I did the driving. We stopped in Sandy, OR for lunch and then dropped him off at the airport.

It was a short but great time with my grandson. Now he knows how Grandpa lives. HA! I think he enjoyed himself and I invited him to come back next summer as I plan on being here then as well.

 Visit from Friends

Last Tuesday my friends Marti and Charlie stopped in for a couple of days. It was really good to see them and catch up on what they were doing since I last saw them last year in Washington. We took a walk up to the log cabin I had shown my grandson.

White Water Rafting

The next day Charlie and I went on a white water rafting trip down the Clackamas River.  I was able to reserve two spots on one of the rafts.  It was a very exciting trip.  Charlie had gone on another rafting trip, but it was my first time.  The rapids look much bigger when you are in them as compared to seeing them from the road.

I brought along my Go-Pro camera and was able to get great videos.  We were in a five man raft including our guide who was very knowledgable about the area.  Charlie was directly in back of me and the guy you see was with his wife.

It was a lot of fun, but very wet.

Hot, big and fast


This past weekend it was blazing hot. It was 100 – 105 degrees the whole weekend with hardly any wind to cool it down. Inside my rig it got up to 95 even with a fan running most of the day. Chica and I spent almost the entire day at the picnic table under the shade of my canopy.

The fire danger is also HIGH. There was not a very big snow fall this past winter and there wasn’t much rainfall this spring. The Forest Service is not allowing any campfires is dispersed camping areas, so the only place campers can have a campfire is in campgrounds in the fire rings.


It does cool down a bit at night but it is still too warm to sleep with any covers.

Up at the crack of dawn

I was awake at 6:00am on Saturday morning (believe it or not) and decided to get up and clean all the bathrooms before anyone else woke up. Then I went back to bed and slept for about an hour before finally getting up. I’m glad I got that out of the way before the heat set in.

Lots of Hummingbirds

I picked up a hummingbird feeder at True Value when I was in town and set it up under my canopy. I got quite a few birds the first day, but was shocked when I went out to check on it yesterday. It was empty! I filled it back up and sat there watching it and I must have gotten at least 10 – 15 hummingbirds eating out of it. They were flying everywhere.. Needless to say they went through another container. These guys are really hungry!  I haven’t been able to get any good pics yet so maybe next week.

Campground Full Again

Lake Harriet campground fills up every weekend so it does keep me very busy. Most of the campers leave on Sunday so I have to make sure their campfires are out. This weekend there is only one camper left over from the weekend so it will be pretty quiet around here for at least one day. This is also the last weekend before the holiday. Next weekend should be crazy with all reserved campsites full and people will probably fill the walk-in sites by Wednesday or Thursday.

Since I did not post this last week as originally planned it is now July 4th weekend. The campground has been full four days in a row. I thought it would be a very crazy loud weekend but many of the campers are just couples with a few singles here and there. No loud noise after 10pm. It sure makes my job easier. Lots of day use people but they have to leave at 10.

Grandson Arriving

I will pickup my grandson Eric at the Portland airport Sunday afternoon and he will spend a couple of days with me. He lives in Fort Worth, TX so this should be quite different for him. I am really looking forward to showing off my backyard here in the beautiful Mt Hood National Forest. He won’t be here long but hopefully I can squeeze a lot into that short time.

More Trophy’s

They will be stocking the lake with about 333 trophy rainbow trout sometime this week. Once they do that the fisherman will be out here in droves. I get quite a few camping in the park, but a lot come out here for the day and utilize the day use area. Many of them line the shores with their motorhomes, campers, etc. It can become a real zoo once they know the lake has been stocked. Some are even fishing right where they drop the fish off. They are catching them right and left. To me that seems unfair to the fish. At least let them have a chance to swim out into the lake and then use your fishing skills to catch them. Here is a pic of the truck stocking the lake.


James, James and Maggie

A couple of weeks ago I saw two hikers with their dog cooling off in the day use area. After talking with them for a bit I found out they were father and son out for a week long hike of the area. They had been dropped off at the campgrounds but it was too late to start on their hike. I told them we had a campsite available for the night. They grabbed it and decided to start on their hike early in the morning. The father told me he had diabetes. I took down an emergency phone number just in case nobody heard from them.

A week later they were back in the campground and took the same site for several days until their friend was scheduled to pick them up. Here are the pics of both James (father and son) and Maggie.   Maggie was huge but a big baby.



Dangerous Driving

Many of the roads in the area are one lane dirt or gravel forest roads. They are not dangerous roads except when people speed. On my way to Timothy Lake I spotted this car off the side of the road. They went too fast going into a curve and the car slid off the road. Luckily they were stopped by two trees or it could really have been disastrous. It is about 300 feet or more down to the river. Of course there are lots of trees to stop them before they got down that far. I got out to check to see if anyone was still in the car, but someone else had already checked and there was a note stating “no one inside”. I am sure this car will be totaled as the undercarriage was badly damaged and just towing it out would cause a lot of damage.

IMG_0953 IMG_0954 IMG_0955

More to come next week.

Pics of my Summer Home

I am still having problems with the new Photos application on my MAC so I decided to revert to the old IPhotos application. I couldn’t get the new Photos to upload the pics from my camera. Thankfully the old IPhotos has no problem.

Following are some pics of my campsite here at Lake Harriet. The first couple pics shows my view of the Oak Grove Fork of the Clacamas River. I love my backyard.


My chair where I sit every afternoon with Chica is on the right of this next pic. Not too shabby!


I have moved my rig further into the sun from this pic. My panels weren’t getting enough sun to keep the batteries charged.


This is the day use area with the lake in the background. The lake is much larger then it appears in this pic.


Chica is having a ball in the grass with the river running by.


This is Chica’s favorite spot for catching the afternoon sun.


Here is the narrow road that leads to our campground.


Lots of Fish

I am sure getting a lot of fish dinners. One camper gave me this beautiful Rainbow Trout, which I cooked up real nice. It was delicious. Another camper brought me dinner two different times and they were fried trout. Really good!


Timothy Lake

I drive up to Timothy Lake every Wednesday to take a nice long hot shower. They also have washers and dryers that I can use free. I also can use their Internet to check on email. This is the lodge and the duplex at Timothy Lake that the PGE employees can rent for a modest fee.



View of Mt Hood

After finishing up with business at Timothy Lake I took a ride across the dam and part way around the lake. From the Hoodview Day Use area there is a great view of Mt Hood. If you look close you can see a family of ducks enjoying the lake.


Found the Pacific Crest Trail

I kept going further and found the Pacific Crest Trail that stretches for 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada.



Then I crossed back over the dam and got this pic of the lake on one side and the river far down on the other side.



I hope this shows you a bit of what it looks like in my beautiful summer home. I will try to post more often now that I have the pics figured out.

Update on Lake Harriet but no pics

I am finally settled in at Lake Harriet for the summer. I have only moved my rig 3 times in the same campsite since I have been here. I was backed in when I first got here, but I didn’t have a good view of the river. I moved much closer on my second move and had a great view of the water coming around the curve in the river. But the trees blocked the direct sunlight on my solar panels. I couldn’t really tell until the rain finally stopped. It had rained up here for over a week so there wasn’t much sun to speak of anyway.

Then when the sun started shining again I got up on the roof to see if I was getting full sun. Only one panel was in the sun due to the tree branches in the way. I then decided to move it to it’s present spot where for a few hours a day I get full sun on my panels.

When it was raining I was forced to use my generator for an hour or two to keep my batteries charged up. Even then I never did get a full charge. When I moved to the last spot I checked my fuel level and it was just a bit over ¼ full. I had filled up in Estacada on the way up here, which is 31 miles down hill from my campsite. At this rate I would be buying gas all the time to keep my batteries charged. Hopefully this new setup will work for me without having to replenish gasoline.

Chica is getting used to this area and all it’s different smells. We go for walks in the afternoon around the campground. Most people are pretty good about keeping their dogs on leashes and of course I also have to follow the rules. On an occasional day when there are no campers in the campground I will let her off leash for a minute or two. She likes to run around but always stays close by. She is starting to see new people come into the campground every day and is getting better at barking at them.

I have a great support team that gets me anything I need. They are also good at delivering firewood when I get low and water every two weeks. I have a sewer at my campsite, but getting water from a manual hand-pump would be tough. My area manager comes by once a week to check on me.

I have use of the front-load washers and dryers on Wednesday at Timothy Lake about 10 miles from here (7 miles on gravel) so I usually run up there. I can also get a nice long hot shower as well. The main reason is to get on the PGE Intranet site. I cannot access it using Wi-Fi but have to get on at one of their computers. Then I can check out all payroll information, sign-up for medical, dental and vision care and 401K. I also take my own computer to download my email and check my accounts. However my phone doesn’t work there. Plus it is always nice to talk with the camp hosts around the Timothy Lake area and see how things are going with them.

I have to go into Gresham, OR for a Walmart stop to refill my prescriptions. That means driving to Estacada, then north to Sandy and northwest to Gresham. I drove through Sandy last week and it is a fairly big town with lots of big stores. They have a Fred Meyer store there. I am used to shopping there as I shopped at one in Washington last year. Most of the time I will just take a day and drive to Estacada to take care of my weekly business. I usually spend a few hours in the Estacada library where I was able to get a library card. I can also use their Wi-Fi to also download email and check Internet stuff.  I also try to get caught up on telephone calls and answering voice mail. They also have an Ace Hardware Store and a Harvest Market where I do most of my shopping. Just outside of the market is a spot where I can turn in my recyclables for credit to be used in the market. It is not a huge market, but have most everything I need and are very friendly.

It was very busy on Memorial Day weekend with all the campsites full with lots of families. This past week I only had a couple of campers, but it looks like every weekend from here on will be busy. All the reservations are full and the 4 walk-in sites usually fill up by Thursday. My day use are is usually full with a lot of families out for a picnic and lots of fisherman. Many of the people that come to this campground have been coming here since they were little kids. One guy told me was 58 and his family first brought him here when he was 7. He has returned every year since then. I get the same story from many people.

The fishing up here is fantastic. They stock it with trout almost every week and last week they stocked it with 2,000 legal trout and 125 trophy rainbow trout 16 inches or more. One of my campers had 3 trophy trout that he showed me. WOW were they beauties. I wish I had taken a pic.

While in Sandy I will pick up some fishing gear at Fred Meyer’s and get me a license and try my hand. I got a book at the library all about trout fishing and have been watching a lot of the guys fish off the shore. I can’t wait to cast my line and nab on of those trophy’s!

Sorry for no pics, but I have had problems with my Photo software and all the pics I took and uploaded are no longer there.  I will have to upload them again, but unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera with me into town.  So I will catch up next week.

My grandson is flying up here on July 5 and staying a couple of days.  I am really looking forward to that.

I promise to write more detail next week with lots of pics.  I hate not having Internet.

Home for the Summer

Lake Harriet

I made the trip from Salem, OR to Lake Harriet where I will be camphosting for the summer.  What a beautiful spot!  It is located in the Mt Hood National Forest.  I am parked right next to the Clackamah River.  The river flows into Lake Harriet where there is a dam controlled by the Portland General Electric Company (PGE).  PGE is the concessionaire for many of the campgrounds in the local area.

First couple of days very busy

My first day there was orientation at the Timothy Lake Lodge.  I had to drive a bit to get there including 7 miles on a gravel road.  There are many other camp hosts up here and many have been with the company for several years.  It was nice meeting everyone, but I will be darned if I can remember their names.  Most of the camp hosts are located around Timothy Lake.

The next day we car pooled over to another PGE site closer to Estacada where we were instructed on first aid.  It was very different then the first aid I was taught many years ago.  Things like snake bites and CPR.

Lake Harriet open for camping, but not open at the same time.

The campground isn’t supposed to open until May 15, but the weekend was so nice that campers started to move in earlier.  Since it is not officially open we cannot charge them so they got free camping for the weekend and until the 15th.

My campground was completely full.  I had been in orientation and first aid training for the two days since I have been here and no chance to clean any of the 3 pit toilets.  I also didn’t have any supplies so I had to make a run up to Timothy Lodge to pick up the supplies I would need in order to clean the toilets.  I couldn’t believe the entire campground was full including the Day Use area.  I got all the pit toilets cleaned up and will work on the campsites this week.

My home for the summer.

I took a couple of pics of my site.  It is spectacular.


I am right on the river.  It is so cool.






Chica enjoying the outdoors

Chica also likes our spot except for the chilly nights when she has to do here duties.  She does it very quickly and then back into her warm home.  I will get some pics of her on the next post. 

Back on the road

Left Oceanside

I saw my eye doctor for the last time for a while and got my medical for my new job so now I was ready to get out of Dodge.  I decided to wait until Sunday Apr 26 to leave.  I will be driving up the 5 so wanted to keep traffic to a minimum (HA!!) going thru LA.  It was still a rat race and only made it to Castaic where I called it quits.  I was tired, the wind was blowing and it was getting late so I pulled into the Valencia Village RV Park for the night.

I got up the next day with hopes of moving on but the wind was really blowing with gusts up to 35 mph.  I don’t know about you, but I hate driving in the wind, so I paid for another night.  Then I realized there is a Camping World not far away.  I had a rear vent cover blow off some where in my travels and was trying to replace the cover.  But on a 1992 rig that is just about impossible.  I couldn’t find anything on line.  Many of the components used on my rig are no longer being made.  I headed to Camping World to see what I could do.  While there I found out they could replace my rear bathroom vent with a fantastic fan.  They had one in stock so I paid for it and scheduled it to be replaced the following day.  That meant I would have to stay another day at the park as they couldn’t replace it until 3:00.

Chica was a hit at Camping World

The following day I drove the rig to Camping World and checked in.  I asked them if I could bring Chica into the customer waiting room.  Camping World is very dog friendly so she came in with me.  Immediately she was a big hit.  Many of the staff came in to see here.  At first she was a bit overwhelmed, but she finally got used to everyone.  Sorry but I didn’t think of taking pics.

It took a bit longer then I expected as they were very busy, but finally finished and now I have a really nice rear fan.  We headed back to the park and spent our last night there.  By the way this is a great park if anyone wants to visit Magic Mountain.  It is only a couple of miles away.

Elks Lodges

The next night we stopped at the Visalia Elks Lodge.  For $10 I had a great rib dinner and met lots of nice people.  Then it was on to the Lodi Elks.  I was invited to their Happy Hour and met a lot of fellow RV’ers.

My next stop was the Red Bluff Elks Lodge where I only spent one night.  I love the Elks Lodges since they usually have full hookups and only cost $15 – $20 per night.  They all have a nice bar and many nights I get a great dinner.


I was going to cross into Oregon and stay at the Ashland Elks Lodge.  Forget it!  They only offer parking in a parking lot with very little space.  I did see a red/white 24′ LD but there was no place to park.  I checked Allstays (great APP for locating campgrounds) and there wasn’t much around the Ashland area so it headed north to Medford.  

I found the Medford Elks Lodge and parked in front as I couldn’t see any RV’s.  They had a sign on the door that said the lodge had been closed down.  Not sure what that was all about but I needed a place to stay as it was getting late.  I decided to keep heading north and stop at the first RV park I could find.  I landed in Rogue River and the first park was full, but they suggested another park next door to them.  I really landed a gem.  It was $35 per night which is more then I usually like to pay, but she put me right on the Rogue River.

Didn’t want to leave

It is a really clean park with great showers.  We walked right out our door and the river was only ten feet away.  Chica loved looking at the Canadian geese that lived on the river.

The next morning I got up and paid for another day.  I needed to relax a bit as we had been driving every day.  The owner suggested going into town for breakfast and that sounded like a good idea. I had a great breakfast at the Cottage Cafe and it was really good.  


Chica guards our home

Since we were right on the river we saw many Canadian geese.  In the evening they would come out of the water and feed on the grass around our rig.  Of course Chica had to let them know who was boss.




Salem, OR

Our last stop before my summer home was an Elks Lodge in Salem, OR.  I stayed there for 2 nights to get organized before heading to the campground at Lake Harriet.  I called my employer to get last minute info about the next few days and instructions on getting to the campground.

Then it was honey do stuff.  I took Chica to PetSmart to get bathed and groomed and have her nails trimmed and I got a haircut.  Then I did a some major shopping for groceries.

Off to the campground

Today I am heading out to my new campground at Lake Harriet.  I will be passing through a small town called Estacada which will probably be where I will be doing my weekly shopping.  I am not sure what kind of cell phone or Internet service I will get at Lake Harriet so here’s hoping with my booster I can get connected.