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.

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

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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.

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

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

 

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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.

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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.

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

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

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The Queen’s Walkway.

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

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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.

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

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All new docks

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

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Another view taken at sunset looking out at the lake.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Here is my cocktail table.

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My personal boat landing

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

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Lake Harriet

This is a pic of a portion of Lake Harriet.

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More to come…

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

Nomadland

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Valencia Island

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

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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.  

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

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Moll’s Gap

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

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

Poteen

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.

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Crazy painted home

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

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Here is another home once owned by a potato farmer.

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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!

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Sheepdog 

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.

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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.