Ireland Trip – Sunday Day 1

Why Ireland?

I have been a member of for several years and have been working on my family tree.  It is not an easy project but one that I am avidly pursuing.  I decided to have my DNA tested so I spent the $99 and sent away for the kit.  My results came back that I was 35% Irish and 33% English with East and West European making up the balance.  It has been a long goal of mine to travel to Ireland.  

I decided to take the plunge and started checking out travel tours.  I wanted to take a guided tour to be able to find out as much as I could about the Republic of Ireland.  I didn’t feel that driving there would work for two reasons.  One – I have never driven on the left-hand side of the road and I don’t know anything about Ireland.  I wanted to learn.

I checked many tour companies and finally decided on CIE Tours and went ahead and booked the trip.  How exciting!!!

Long Flights

I flew from Portland International to Chicago O’Hare.  That in itself is a long flight but nothing compared to Dublin.  I watched every episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” that they had.  That is a very funny show.

I arrived in Dublin about 7:30am and was able to locate the shuttle bus.  While waiting for the bus to leave I sat with some other people who were going on different Ireland tours.  I met a couple from Seattle who were in the same MG car club as my parents (GOF West).  They showed me the pics of their MG’s and I told them all about my folks MG’s.  It sure is a small world.

Can’t check in yet

We got to the hotel but couldn’t check in until 2:00pm so rather then just wait around the hotel I got directions on where I could meet the city bus.  The hotel locked up my suitcase in a room for me so I didn’t have to drag it around.

I only had to walk a few blocks to meet the bus going into Dublin city center.  I wanted to meet a Hop-On Hop-off bus and see some sites.  I noticed many people getting on the bus as we were headed downtown, in fact the bus is packed and it was a double-decker.  Then all at once everyone got off.  Not sure where they were going I thought I would find out so I too got of the bus and followed the crowd.

It turned out they were going to the Irish Camogie Championship tournament at the Croke Stadium.  Before I checked that out I asked a cop if the Hop-on Hop-off buses run on Sunday.  He told me they didn’t (which was not true) so I decided to buy a ticket and check out the Camogie games.  

Camogie is almost the same thing as men’s hurling, but only played by women.  The Croke Stadium it was played in is the 4th largest soccer stadium in Europe holding over 80,000 people.  There was not that many people watching these games though.  It was sprinkling and I left my camera back at the hotel and my cell phone needed charging so I was not able to get any pics.  I did get a program so I included a pic of that.  Dublin lost the championship in the junior women’s  round, but Cork won the middle women’s round.


Later I got back to my hotel and was able to check in.  Our tour didn’t start until 2:00pm the following day.  I ate a nice dinner in the hotel dining room and hit the sack early after getting my two cameras, iPhone, and computer charged up. 






Great Summer

Lake Harriet Camp Host again

This was the third year I have been the Camp Host at Lake Harriet campground in the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon.


This was my third year hear and I am beginning to see a lot of the same people who come here year after year.  Many of them have become my friends and some of them I meet with after leaving Lake Harriet.

I love this campground as it is not real big (only 11 campsites) and is rather easy to take care of.  It is also on Lake Harriet.  The only problem I have with it is that there is no outside communication such as cell phone and Internet.  I do have a landline provided by my employer PGE for emergency use, but have to drive about 26 miles before I can connect to my cell phone.

Chica is very used to this campground as well.  She stays in my campsite and never wanders off.  She loves just lying in the sun.


No pack rats but…….

I didn’t have a pack rat problem this year.  I kept checking under my home but no evidence of any pack rats this year.  But I did have a problem with mice.  I think they were getting into the cab somehow as that is where they seemed to be coming from.  Sometimes I would wake up at night and turn on a dim light and they would scamper off.  I know Chica could smell them, but they didn’t seem to make any difference to her.  

I also noticed them when my vitamin D capsule would be gone in the morning.  I take medication at night and in the morning as well.  I would take my evening pills and leave the morning pills in a small container to remind me to take them in the morning.  I noticed that my vitamin D capsule was always missing.  At first I thought I just forgot to put it out, but then realized that something was taking it.  

I got some traps and set them up around my pill dish.  I would wake up and nothing was in the trap and the capsule was gone.  Then I had to get creative with the trap.  I put up a barrier all around the pill dish leaving only one entry/exit available for that critter.  AHA!  In the middle of the night I had a loud bang.  I got up and sure enough I got him.  Here is a pic of the creature with my vitamin D capsule in his mouth.


Then I started using peanut butter on the trap.  Mice LOVE peanut butter!  I got another one the following night, reset the trap and got another one 20 minutes later.  This was getting easy.  Then I found out why I was getting them.  I found some chocolate lying around that I didn’t know was there.  I got rid of the chocolate and after killing 7 mice, I finally put a halt to them coming into my rig.

Clearing out of camp

I worked through Labor Day and then I had help the following day (Sep 5) clearing out all the signage, unsold firewood and my cleaning supplies and small shed.  I then started working on getting out of there.  It took me most of the afternoon and I didn’t leave until around 3:00.  

The last two years I have stored my RV in a gated storage facility in Estacada about 31 miles from the campground.  I was going to store it there again this year and talked to the manager about saving me a place.  He said he might have to block my rig in since he was also having another rig stored there as well.  I did not like that idea at all.

One of my campers who I got to know quite well offered to let me store my rig on his property (2 acres) for the entire winter for nothing.  He lived in Gresham which is about 20 miles further than Estacada.  What a deal!  He said I come come and go anytime I wanted, so I took him up on his offer.  I drove the rig there and we got it all settled in to it’s winter home.  I will take a pic of it the next time I am out there.  

Left early…

I was scheduled to work until 9/17 but I asked my boss if they wouldn’t mind if I left on the 5th if I got everything done at the campground.  They stopped taking reservations on Labor Day, but campers can come in every year after the campground season closes and camp for free.  There is no gate and we still get a lot of fishermen and hunters in the fall.  My boss had no problem with me leaving early so I was out of there on the 5th.  

I had to leave early because I had scheduled my next trip starting Saturday the 9th.  This trip was going to be different from past trips since I would not be traveling via RV.  Instead I would be flying.  I booked a trip to Ireland and was leaving from Portland on Saturday.  This is a trip I always wanted to take, but hadn’t even thought about it until the summer.  Between my part time job in the winter and spring and my summer camp host job, I had saved enough to cover the trip.  So I was off to Ireland.  I will cover this trip in my next blog.  


Alive and well

Sorry to those who are wondering what happened to my blog posts.  I have been busy working a part time job, but am now getting ready to begin my camp host position.  I am working for the 3rd year at Lake Harriet in Oregon.

I have not been traveling at all since I left Lake Harriet last September.  I parked my rig and am living in my new home in Welches, OR.  This has been a crazy winter.  Lots and lots of snow and rain.  We have not had a day in the 70’s for over 200 days.  Yesterday we had a day in the 80’s.  What a switch.

I will be posting more once I get back in my RV.

By the way, China is doing well and looking forward to our summer at Lake Harriet.

Back Home in Welches

Completed camp hosting

I finished my camp hosting job on Sept 12 and drove down to Estacada, OR where I store my rig.  All the camp hosts got together on the 11th for our going away party.  Lots of great food and gifts from my employer PGE (Portland General Electric).  This was my second year hosting for them and they are a great company to work for.  I will definitely return for a third year in 2017 if they will have me.

Great summer

I had a great summer this year.  Since it was my second summer season I knew how things worked and what to expect.  What was really nice was seeing so many people return that I met last year.  Plus I met a lot of new folks as well.

My good friends Christy and Jim stopped in for a night on their return from vacationing in Bend.  They also cooked me a great dinner.  I always have a great time with them and looking forward to seeing them soon.  They also camped the Labor Day weekend.  What fun!!

Visited friends at Columbia River

When I heard Jim, and Gayle and Jeanne were in Portland I drove up to the Columbia River to meet them.  It was good seeing some of my good RV friends again.  We all had a good talk and walked around a portion of the Columbia River.  I got this pic of Jim, Gayle and Sophie.


All the way from Portland – on a bike!

One family had a reservation for a campsite at Lake Harriet.  The daughter Jessica, her husband Elvis and baby Kai all arrived in the usual manner by driving here.  However her mom Mary and Dad Fred had a different idea.  They rode their bicycle all the way from Portland to Lake Harriet.  The nearest town to Lake Harriet is Estacada and that is 31 miles away.  Portland is MUCH further.  Here is a great pick of them prior to them leaving and returning to Portland.


Lots of fish

Just before Labor Day they stocked the lake with 2,000 regular and 550 trophy size rainbow trout.  This is a pic of the fishing hitting the water.


Naturally this brought out a lot of people.  This is a few the day they stocked it.  Later in the week you couldn’t even find an open spot to cast out as it was so crowded.


Chica staying warm

This is a pic of Chica staying nice and warm.  She loves her banky.  She had dental work down last fall and they had to remove her bottom front teeth since they were loose.  The vet told me that her tongue would stick out.  Chichuachua’s are notorious for having bad teeth.  She doesn’t seem to mind though.


Fog rolled in

One day the fog rolled in for the only time this summer.  It was very scenic.  I took several pics of it.


A pic out my window.  You can see the fog just starting to roll in on the river.


This is a pic showing a portion of the campground.


Another view towards the campground entrance.


A neat shot looking toward the lake.


I was able to get a pic of a Great Blue Heron on a stump from the dock.



Another shot from my window showing my back yard for the summer.  What a great life.


I was able to get another shot of the heron.  It had a huge wing span and was really something to see when it flew.  There were actually two of them at the lake.


My new window

When I moved into my new home I decided that a stained glass window would look great.  I wanted it to depict Mt Hood.  I looked online and found Chuck Franklin Glass Studio in Portland and gave them a call.  They were in business many years and did all the windows for the McCormick and Schmick’s restaurants all over the country.  I told Becky what I wanted and she came up with several designs.  Once I selected the design she came out and took the measurements and showed me the glass she would be using.  Much of the glass was vintage glass dating back to the 1980’s.

In July she and her husband Arther delivered and installed my window.  They did a terrific job and I really love it.  Unfortunately the colors don’t look as good in the pics as in person.





Great Internet!!!

I now have a great internet connection.  I reduced my Verizon data plan to the minimum and signed up for Wave Cable Internet data plan.  It gives me 400GB for only $39.95  I was paying $100 for 12GB with Verizon.  I love this company.

I will try posting more often now that I have an Internet connection.


Back to Lake Harriet

Back to Lake Harriet

Well her I am back at Lake Harriet campgrounds for the summer.  It was bittersweet leaving my home after only living there for 5 weeks.  I was disappointed when I had to leave, but once I got done to my camp host site in Lake Harriet Campgrounds all that changed.


I still have the same site this year overlooking the river and it didn’t take me long to set up my easy chair right on the bank of the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamus River.  DSC_0063

Chica and I sit out here almost every night, just watching the river go by.  We also see a lot of ducks floating in every direction.

The weather was quite different this year than last.  For one thing we got a lot more rain in May and June.  That kept a lot of the campers away, but once the temperature hit 100 in Portland they came out in droves.  The rain has backed off now that we are into July so a lot more campers.  This park fills up every weekend.

Waterfalls around Lake Harriet

I decided to take some pics of the waterfalls around the lake.  They are just small waterfalls but very calming if you are near them.  It doesn’t look like we will have a repeat of the drought that we had last year.  There are lots of flowers in bloom everywhere.




Reading Email

I have to drive 5.5 miles to the Ripplebrook Store in order to read my email.  It is a nice quiet drive through the woods.  I usually make this trip on Sundays or when I am expecting a certain email.  I always take Chica with me and she calmly sits on the bench next to me just watching the cars and people go by.  My computer always recognizes the Wi-Fi almost immediately, but it takes my phone a while.  I am not sure why that happens.

I still can’t make a phone call from there but at least I can get on line and check email, bank and credit card accounts.






My New Home

Wet winter sets record

This winter set the record for the most rainfall in the Portland area.  Wouldn’t you know it.   There was one day it even snowed a bit but not enough to accumulate. All this time I have been staying at the Clackamus River RV Park.  I stayed nice and dry while indoors in my Lazy Daze.

Move in day

All the time I am waiting for my new modular home to be built, delivered and set-up.  They completed it on February 8 and it was delivered to the site, but I had to wait until the set-up was completed and the deck that was added to the side was built. Then I could move in.  It took them longer to build the deck due to the rainy weather.

On March 24th I signed my life away.  HA! Then I moved in on March 25.  The only funiture I had in there was the bed as they had already delivered and set it up.  I received a new couch and chair on Sat. March 26.  Then things started to trickle in that I had ordered.

I have been very busy shopping for my new home.  I have lived in my RV almost 6 years and didn’t have anything when I moved in.  I didn’t want to have to move things back and forth from home to RV and then back to home each time I went on the road.  So I have been buying everything new for my new home such as bedding, dishes, cookware, silverware, etc.  Here is a pic of my new abode.


Assembly Line

I feel like I have been working on an assembly  line for the last few weeks.  It has been something new each day.  I found a nice end table that would go great in my living room at Fred Meyer.  It took the better part of a day to assemble it.  Trying to figure out the instructions for some of these assemble pieces is a nightmare.  But I didn’t do too badly and everything turned out OK.  Chica really enjoys this spot.  Before I got the table I had the bear lamp on the floor.  That bear is almost the same size as Chica.  One day I spotted her when she went up and licked the bear on the mouth.   HA! 


The next item I purchased was a bar stool that I will use for sitting at my bar to eat and check my computer.  It was also not an easy assembly however I was able to muster through it.


Barbecue Assembly

My next item was an outdoor barbecue.  I will never buy another barbecue unless it is assembled and delivered.  This thing took all day.  It was a hassle just getting it out of the box!  With a lot of patience and assembling and reassembling I finally finished it off.  Then I got my tank filled and it fired up the first time I tried it.  I am really enjoying my barbecue.

Small Table and two chairs

The final item I had to assemble was a small table and two chairs.  It is the perfect size for my new bay window.  It took most of the day but not as bad as I though it would be.  Chica’s table is right next to mine. She is really getting used to her new home and loves to take walks down to the river.


Still RVing

Just because I now have a new home doesn’t mean I will stop RVing.  I will be camp hosting for 3 months in the summer starting in  May.  I will be at Lake Harriet in Oregon where I worked last summer.  I was really glad that PGE called me back again.  It will help to make the house payments.  YUK!!!

I am also planning on traveling to Quartzsite next winter for a month to meet up with all my friends who I haven’t seen in some time.  


Lots of rain

I look at the 10 day weather forecast each day and it is now getting to where  I seen nothing but rain and/or showers.  Fortunately a lot of the rain comes in the middle of the night so we do have some clear days.  I went on one of these days to take some pics of the area I am in.

This is a pic of my campsite which is up against the forest.


This has been my home since leaving the campground back in September. I was going to move up to Mt Hood Villages, but decided that Clackamus River RV Park was closer to town and much cheaper.  Yes my rig is slightly slanted to the right but that is to allow rain water to run off and not build up around my A/C unit.

Looking down on the campground.


A couple of huge logs that I found.


This is the forest directly above the campground.


Farther up the hill.  To the right is the little town of Estacada about 6 miles down the road.  To the left about 25 miles is the Lake Harriet Campground where I worked last summer.  This is the first time I have stayed in a 31 mile radius for almost the entire year.  Welches is only about 30 miles from here.


New weather forecast

I just checked the weather forecast this morning and it only shows rain 2 out of the next 10 days.  HOORAY!!  It sure is nice seeing the sun again.

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.

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.