Chica – My Baby Girl – In Memorium

Chica – February 25, 2013 – June 20, 2019

On June 20, 2019 I had to say goodbye to my precious Chica. She was the love of my life for over 6 years.  She found me in Mesa, AZ in February 25, 2013 and we were together until June 20, 2019 when I had to senT her to Doggie Heaven.

There were only a few days when we were ever apart.  When I traveled to Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales as well as a few trips to visit family in SO CA.  We traveled all of the West in our RV.  I showed her many of the wonders of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington.  We even traveled as far into Canada as Jasper.

She loved traveling in the RV and whenever we were driving she was always right on my lap. We went to places that were as warm as 115 degrees and as cold as -4 degrees.  She didn’t care where she was as long as she was with me.

Every summer we spent 4 months at Lake Harriet, OR where I was the camp host.  This was our fifth summer there.  Sh loved it there and would never stray out of my campsite.  She would lay in the sun and drink beer with me.  I can’t remember when it started but when I would take a swig out of the bottle, she in turn would lick the inside and get a taste of the beer.  This went on for many years.  It got to be that if I took two swigs in a row without sharing it with her she would definitely let me know.  That is true friendship.

Most of the time she never wore a collar and she would always stay right with me all of the time.  She was a great companion!!!!!

In 2017 she had surgery on both her back kneecaps, which had come out of the sockets.  From that point on I had to lift her up and down on the couch.  This past winter, she would wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety attacks and would want to get up on the couch and then get down immediately.  This would go on for about an hour.  I took her to our vet and she noticed that her front leg was not right.  She mentioned that this was a Neurology problem and recommended a specialist.  I took her to the specialist and she thought that she might have a neck problem which caused the leg problem.  However she quoted a price which was insurmountable.  It would take almost all the earnings I made during the summer and then she couldn’t reassure me that it could also be Cancer.  She was drawing blood from her for a test and she said her tongue turned purple, which is not normal.  I took her to my regular vet and had her do a chest X-ray.  Before she did the chest X-ray, she mentioned that she had a heart murmur.  She showed me the chest X-ray and it showed that she had an enlarged heart.  She probably had an enlarged heart due to loving me so much.

Then her leg began to get worse.  It got so she could not put any weight on it without falling over.  She could not pee or poop either as she would fall over.  Plus she always had her tail between her legs, which was not like Chica.  I decided that she had suffered enough and after loving and petting her for hours that night took her into the vet.  I think she must have known I was helping her as she was calm the whole time she was in the vet, which was not normal for her.

I will always love my Chica and always used to call her “My Little “GURL”.  I asked the vet for her ashes and I will bury them this spring with a beautiful yellow rose dedicated to her and our love.



Day 2 – Oxford to York

Heading to York via Oxford


We left London and headed north to Oxford where we made a stop to visit the town and the University.

It was really interesting to see so many old buildings of Oxford University.



This is a pic of downtown Oxford.  Lots of small shops and eateries.




Then back on the bus to travel to York.  York is a city founded by the Romans in the first century and a major wool trading center in the Middle Ages.  We stopped and toured the Gothic York Minster, renowned for it’s magnificent medieval stained glass windows.  These pics do not really do it justice.  They were also rebuilding some of the older portions.










This is a pic of the “Shambles”, one of York’s narrowest alleyways.  Lots of very cool shops were located here.


We spent the night at the York Marriot Hotel and then we were off tomorrow for Hadrians Wall and Edinburg, Scotland.


My Trip to the United Kingdom

A different type of traveling

While camp hosting last year I decided to go to a place that was on my wish list, so I went to Ireland.  This year my choice was the United Kingdom, where I visited England, Scotland and Wales.  I booked my trip through CIE Tours which was the same travel company that I used last year.  I will probably continue doing this every year as long as I continue working at my camp hosting job with PGE.

Day 1-2 – Portland to Heathrow Airport to Windsor

The plane took off at 5:45pm from Portland and I flew nonstop to Heathrow Airport outside of London, England and arrived about 11:15am.  It was a long flight, but I was able to nap a bit and watched a bunch of movies.

I booked an additional day at the beginning of the trip in order to adjust to the jet lag.  I am so glad I did that as I was very tired upon arrival.  I hoped in a cab and they drove me to the MacDonal Windsor Hotel in Windsor.  I was fortunate that I was able to check in upon arrival.  I took a short nap and then decided to check out Windsor.

It was raining, but that didn’t stop me from checking out this beautiful town.  The Windsor Castle where the Queen lives is right down the street from my hotel.  My tour won’t begin until 2:30 the next day so I was on my own for the rest of the day.  Lots of small shops with lots of souvenirs.

Day 2 – Windsor Castle

At 2:30 the group gathered to meet our Tour Director.  We walked across to the Windsor Castle the residence of the Queen.  The Queen was on vacation at the time so not at the castle.  Here is the entrance to Windsor Castle.  There were very long lines to get in at times, but we side-tracked all of them since we were a large group with CIE Tours.


A great pic of St George’s Chapel (except for my thumb in upper left HA!).  This is where Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were married. Unfortunately it was closed during our visit.


A nice view of this huge castle.  The Queen’s residence is at the far end.


One of the Queen’s Guards.  They never make a move.


The Queen’s Walkway.


This was taken from the entrance to our hotel showing the Windsor Castle at the end on the right.


Later in the day we met for the introduction of the tour and a Welcome Drink as well as a great dinner.  I also met many of the people on the tour.  They came from all parts of the world.

After dinner we had a short tour of Windsor by a local guide.  She was very informative, but my pics didn’t turn out good.

Tomorrow we are off to the city of York.

Lake Harriet Improvements

Many Improvements since last year

This is the new and improved Day Use area with the new boat ramp and trailer parking.


The weekends and holidays would get very busy with sometimes as many as 40 cars/trucks parked anywhere I could fit them in.


All new docks

PGE really went overboard and installed all new docks.  This was the one that replaced the old wooden dock.


Another view taken at sunset looking out at the lake.


This is the fishing dock.  This pic does not do it justice since it is much longer then it appears.  It goes a very long way along the lake.  It is very popular for fishing and very busy during weekends and holidays.


This is a view looking back at the Day Use area.


New bathrooms

This next pic shows the new bathrooms.  There is one in the Day Use area and one in the campgrounds for the campers.  They were much easier to maintain.


Campground Improvements

They also replaced all of the wooden picnic tables with cement tables and replaced all the fire pits as well.

Now there are only seven sites for me to maintain which makes my job easier, but the day use traffic has gone crazy so that makes up for it.

Future Plans

I just got an email from my boss asking me to return in 2019 for my 5th consecutive year.  Of course I said yes so will be going back again probably in May to September.  It is an adjustment for both myself and Chica, but we both enjoyed it last year.  Chica accepts it as her second home.




Lake Harriet

Fourth Season

This year started my fourth season as Camp Host at Lake Harriet Campground in the Mt Hood National Forest.  I guess you can say I really love this campground.  This past fall PGE (Portland General Electric) did a complete upgrade to the park.  This also included moving the host site for my previous space to a spot closer to the Day Use are.

This is a pic of my view of the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamah River.


My Home for four months

This is my campsite.  It was a bit warmer here as there weren’t many trees to block the sun.  Also there was usually a lot of wind blowing in from the lake.


Here is my cocktail table.


My personal boat landing

I was lucky that I had my own personal boat landing where I can lauch by dingy.


Lake Harriet

This is a pic of a portion of Lake Harriet.


More to come…

I will take more pics of the upgrade to the campgrounds including the new fishing and boat docks.


Jessica Bruders Interview

While in Quartzsite, AZ back in January 2014 I met Jessica Bruder.  She stopped by the Lazy Daze camp and wanted to interview those of us who had worked at Amazon. I had just finished up my third season working at the Fernley, NV fulfillment center.  She interviewed me and had her photographer take a few pictures.  She mentioned that she was writing an article for Harper’s Magazine.

She sent me a link to that article and sure enough I was in that article.  How very exciting!

Then last summer she wrote to tell me that she had written a book called Nomadland and was sending me a copy.  It was a compilation of all the interviews she had with many people who work on the road while traveling in their RVs.

Great read!

I read the book last summer while camp hosting.  I have camp hosted 5 out of the last 6 years in different camp grounds throughout the northwest,  The last 3 years I have been camp hosting at Lake Harriet located in the Mt Hood National Forest.  Since it is located in the boonies I have no cell service or TV so I read a lot.  

Nomadland was a terrific book and held my interest from start to finish.  It told many stories of people who have worked while traveling.  I really liked the fact that I knew many people in the book.

Book Reading in Portland

Back in October I wrote Jessica and mentioned that I lived close to Portland, OR.  She wrote back and mentioned that she was going to have a book reading in Portland that week.  I made plans to be there.  I even met up with some other folks who were going to the signing to have dinner.  All of us then walked a couple of blocks to the Powell Book Store and met up with Jessica.

Luckily we got there early so got seats close up, but many had to stand.  Here she is signing a book.


Her reading was very interesting with many questions from the audience.  I was sure glad I got to meet up with her again.

Nomadland makes a nice present

I bought the book on Amazon and had it sent to my sister.  I wanted her to read just what life on the road is all about.  I also had it delivered to a friend who just bought her first RV.  

For everyone else who has an RV or is interested in work camping I would suggest going on Amazon to purchase it.  It is a great book. 






Ireland Trip – Final days

Crossing the Shannon Estuary

On Thursday we left our hotel in Killarney climbed aboard our tour bus and headed north where we took a ferry across the Shannon Estuary.


Cliffs of Mother

After traveling through lots of farmlands we headed to the Cliffs of Moher.  These are awesome cliffs that rise 700′ high over the western coast of the Atlantic Ocean.  They are truly beautiful.




There was a castle built on the cliffs hundreds of years ago.


Then we traveled through more small towns and farmlands on our way to Bunratty.


Durty Nellie’s Pub

In Bunratty we pulled into the Bunratty Hotel where we spent the night.  Once I got settled in I headed to the Durty Nellie’s Pub just across the way.  This is a pub that has been there since 1625.  It is a great old wooden building with lots of little rooms everywhere.  This was on my list of the things to do while in Ireland.  I went in and had a pint of Guinness (naturally) and just relaxed for a bit.  Then went across the street to check out the Woolen Mills store.  Lots of great items but expensive.

Bunratty Castle Medieval Dinner Show

For dinner we were treated to  a Medieval Dinner Show at the Bunratty Castle.  It was a great dinner with lots of wine and good conversation.  Then we were entertained by a super bunch of singers dressed in Medieval attire.  I didn’t have my camera so you will have to just take my word that it was a very fun time.  Then it was back to the hotel to sleep it off. HA!

Connemara Marble Factory

Then next day we visited the Connemara Marble Factory in Moycullen on the outskirts of Galway.  It is a family owned Marble Factory that has been in the Joyce family for centuries.  They showed us the different types of marble all found in areas of Ireland.  Much of this marble is very old and extremely beautiful.  They also showed us how they cut it, drill it and form it into many pieces, many of them used in jewelry. We were also treated to lunch at their store across the street.




On to Galway

We then drove on to Galway and we were able to shop and eat lunch.  Lots of great shops here and very busy.


After Galway we made our way across to Dublin and our final destination.  We stayed in a different hotel.  A bunch of us got together in the hotel dining room where we had fun talking about our experience in Ireland and our homelands as well.  Then we started drinking wine, wine and more wine.  Nobody was up too late as many of us had to get up very early to head to the airport.

Saturday my flight took off at 7:30am to fly directly to Vancouver B.C. where I landed on Sunday.  Then I got on a short hop to Portland and headed home.  I was dead tired due to the 9 hour time difference.

My Tour

I booked my tour through CIETours and would highly recommend them to anyone interested in visiting Ireland, Britain, Scotland or Wales.  They were very attentive to detail and their drivers and tour directors were the best.  They have modern coaches that were very comfortable and we stayed at 4 star hotels at each stop.  I also got to meet a lot of wonderful people from all over the world.  It was a blast!

Ireland Trip – Wednesday Day 4

We awoke early and had breakfast in our hotel.  We will we coming back to this hotel for another night after todays adventure so I didn’t have to pack up.  We got on our tour bus and headed out.

We are in a very beautiful area of Ireland that is made up of mostly farmland and mountains and it is so green.  Our destination is a 100 mile drive around the Ring of Kerry where we took in breathing taking sites of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and the coastal views of beaches and cliffs.


Potato farmers homes

We passed some homes that the potato farmers owned during the famine.  They leased the land from rich land owners that charged them high rent.  Once the potato famine hit they could no longer afford to pay the land owners so many of them just up and left with their families and migrated to America.


Valencia Island

We crossed a small bridge to Valencia Island.  It is a quaint fishing village on the coast.  Lots of good fishing here.


Skellig Experience

Skellig Experience is two remote islands off the coast where Christian Monks made there home.  They wanted a place where they would not be disturbed.  They certainly found it out there.  Skellig Michael on the left was used in Star Wars VII.  



We paused to have lunch in a little town called Sneem.  Then it was back on the road.



Moll’s Gap

We climbed into the mountains at Moll’s Gap with it’s panoramic views.




The Ring of Kerry offered so much beautiful scenery.  It was really something to see.


We stopped at the side of the road to stretch our legs and see what the vendors offered.  Our guide had told us that this guy sold poteen.  Poteen is the equivalent to our moonshine.  They make it in the mountains and sell it in little bottles.

He also was selling jam and honey which he had on display.  I went up to this guy and got right to the point that I wanted to buy some poteen.  Since it is illegal to make he had it hidden under all the bags in the center of the table. HA!  He pulled a small bottle out that was wrapped in a bag and I bought it for 10 Euro.  The guy in blue also bought one and is holding it in his hand.  I will try it with my brother in law when I visit in October.


Crazy painted home

This person painted the faces of all the famous Irish people.  I wonder how long that paint lasts?


Here is another home once owned by a potato farmer.



Lots of Sheep

There were lots of sheep, mostly in the mountains, in this area.  The sheep in the next pic have a red dye on their coats.  Others had blue and some had green.  Since the sheep run everywhere in the mountains the dye is used to distinguish one farmer’s sheep from another.  Pretty clever!



We stopped at a sheep farm and were able to see a demonstration of the sheepdog herding a flock of sheep.  The dog works on the master’s commands.  He is always yelling at the dog and the dog obeys his every command.  It was really neat to see how one dog can round up a whole herd of sheep and drive them into a pen.




Back to Killarney

We then drove back to our hotel in Killarney where we were on our own for dinner.  I went down to a small diner where I had a nice seafood dinner.  Then it was off to a pub a couple doors down from the hotel.  I enjoyed watching the people and of course a couple of pints as well.


Ireland Trip – Tuesday Day 3

Update on the Day 2 post

I mentioned that after the “Welcome Drink” I had dinner in the hotel.  That was wrong.  Instead we were taken outside of Dublin where we went to dinner at the “Merry Ploughboys Pub”.  It is a huge pub that caters to tours .  They offer a great dinner/show with dinner, wine and a great desert.  The also have the Merry Ploughboys who provide some great entertainment.  They are four guys who play Irish ballads and folk music.  They also have several really good Irish dancers.  It was a blast.  Then we headed back to the hotel.

Left Dublin and headed south

Early Tuesday our tour headed south towards Cork.  We made a stop outside of Cashel to take some pics of the Rock of Cashel.  This next pic was probably a few miles away but I changed to my telephoto lenses to get it.


I would have loved to tour it but it was not in our itinerary.  It was just outside the small town of Cashel.


On to Cork

While investigating my ancestry I found out my great great grandfather John Moran came from County Cork.  Most of the Irish immigrants during the potato famine came from this area and got on the boat at Cobh.  The Titanic also stopped here to pick up travelers.


Blarney Castle to get the “Gift of Eloquence”

We then moved further south to the Blarney Castle in Blarney.  This is where you will find the Blarney Stone.  There were lots of people and it took over an hour to climb the spiral staircase to the top of Blarney Castle leading to the Blarney Stone.


The Blarney Stone is the section at the very top of the castle.  Once you started up the staircase there is no turning back since the staircase is so narrow.  Once at the top you have to lay on your back, grab the bars on the side and bend backward to kiss the stone.  You also have this guy holding you up.  It is the craziest thing I think I have ever done.  Once you kiss the stone you are sent forth with the “Gift of Eloquence”.  In other words you then have the “gift of gab”.  Ha! I thought I already had that.


Blarney Woolen Mills

Across from the Blarney Castle is the Blarney Woolen Mills.  They have really nice (and expensive) Irish made goods.  I bought a wool scarf that I can really make use of this winter.  But mostly just window shopped.

On to Killarney

Then we started getting into the mountains.  They are not real big mountains but very beautiful.


We traveled through lots of farmlands.  It was so beautiful.  They don’t have fences dividing the farms, but have hedgerows and rock walls.

Beautiful Lakes

The scenery in this area is very beautiful with many farms, mountains and lakes.




Arrived in Killarney

We arrived in Killarney where we stayed at the Killarney Towers Hotel.  We ate dinner at the hotel and I enjoyed a wonderful lamb dinner.  Yummie!!


Ireland Trip – Monday Day 2

Hop-on Hop-off Tour

We were furnished with a Hop-On Hop-Off voucher we could use so I did get back on the bus and headed to City Center.  Found the headquarters for the tour company and picked up my ticket and got on the Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Bus.  These tours are great as they tell you a great deal about the city and you can get off any time and then back on again.

Trinity College

Trinity College is the biggest college in Ireland.  I got off the bus here because I wanted to see the Book of Kells.  They are manuscripts that the Monks painted many years ago.  The colors are beautiful and still very bright.  I didn’t get any pics of the manuscripts, but before you leave you enter a huge room called the Long Room.  This is where they house thousands of old books.  It is really something to see.


Christ Church

I got back on the bus and a couple of stops down I got off at the Christ Church.  The Christ Church Cathedral (founded c. 1028)  is one of the top attractions in Dublin.



It has beautiful stained glass windows and very beautiful.  I took some pics of the windows but they did not do it justice.


Guiness Storehouse

The Guiness family produced Guiness Beer which is the main beer of choice in Ireland.  It is a very modern storehouse and tells the history of Guiness beer.  It is very interesting how it is made.  The top floor is called the Gravity Bar and it has great views of Dublin.  You can see the Croke Stadium in the middle of this next pic where I saw the Camogie Finals.


Another view of Dublin.


Here I am enjoying my first pint of Guinness beer.


Outside of the Guiness Storehouse are some of the cabs.  HA!


I opted for a motorized cab instead as I only had about an hour before the tour started from my hotel.

Cork Championship Team

When I got back to the hotel I sam the Cork team that won the championship.  They were also staying in the same hotel.  Naturally I had to pose with them and they were very nice in letting a old fart like me pose with them.  HA!!!!


Our Tour Begins

The CIE tour bus picked us up in front of the hotel.  There are 31 people on the bus made up mostly of couples, one single guy (me), and about 5 single women (all but one of them married).  Our bus driver introduced us to our tour guide as we headed out to tour Dublin.

We were taken to Dublin City Centre where we got off to see a park dedicated to Oscar Wilde the famous Irish writer.  They even had a statue of him on this rock.


There were also many art pieces like this with all the famous quotes from his writings.


They also pointed out his home as we passed it on the bus.


St Patrick’s Cathedral

Our next stop was St Patrick’s Cathedral where we got off for a quick photo shoot.  This was built in 1191 in honor of Ireland’s patron saint.  It was raining a bit but cleared up enough to get this next pic.


Dublin Castle

Then it was off to Dublin castle where we were given a guided tour of many of the rooms.  It was constructed in early thirteenth century on the site of a Viking settlement.  Dublin Castle served for centuries as the headquarters of English, and later British, administration in Ireland.  In 1922, following Ireland’s independence, Dublin Castle was handed over to the new Irish government.





Welcome Drink

Then it was back to the hotel where our group all met in the bar for a welcome drink.  CIE Tours picked up the tab and it was a great time to meet all my fellow travels.  After that we all went into the dining room and had a wonderful dinner (also included in our tour).

Then it was off to bed after getting everything charged up again for a very busy day tomorrow.