Saturday, June 29, 2013

Woo Hoo! Washington!

June 25- July 8, 2013 River's End RV Park, Chinook,WA
Wow! We really made it! We were so disappointed last year when we had to head back East prior to reaching our goal of the Pacific NW. It's the end of June and we have yet to experience hot & humid weather. I love it! People talk about how rainy it is in OR and WA. So far, it has been very pleasant. We may get rain and foggy weather in the morning, but it clears up to a beautiful sunny day by noon time. That's my kind of weather! Enough rain to keep vegetation lush and green, and no temps over 80°, so far.
We packed up in the pouring rain and left our PERFECT campsite at Armitage County Park. This is the first time in our 2 yrs of full timing, that we had to pack up in the rain. If we had waited an hour, things would have cleared up. We were both soaked and the truck was full of wet dog aroma! We got an earlier start than usual because we wanted to stop at AM Solar so they would check out Scott's Solar Power installation. AM Solar welcomed us and our dogs with coffee, tea and dog biscuits. The inspection took about 30-40 minutes. Scott passed with flying colors. And no charge for the inspection!

CAN YOU TELL WHAT TODAY'S CELEBRATION IS? INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY!!! "International Caps Lock Day was created in 2000 by Derek Arnold of Iowa. This holiday began as a parody. It was intended to poke fun at those individuals who unnecessarily capitalize letters, words, and phrases.The day became so popular with internet users that it is now celebrated twice a year—on June 28 and on October 22.
Hit your caps lock button and celebrate INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY!" (Info courtesy of Punchbowl
Kale ChipsI have read over and over of people making Kale Chips. I've been fearful of eating kale, thinking it was too strong a taste. My knitting friend from NJ, Shirley served kale at lunch one time. She simply moistened the leaves and put in the microwave for about 1 minute. I guess that softens it just a touch. So I guess I like kale but have not really used it. Finally tried Kale Chips since "everyone" seems to be raving about them and they are supposedly delicious and very good for you.
I bought kale while at the Eugene Saturday Farmer's Market. I am now totally hooked on kale chips!!! There are two methods of making. One is in the oven and the other is in the microwave. I chose the microwave because we don't use our oven in the RV and didn't want to pull out the toaster oven. The nuked recipe turned out great. It is a nuisance to make, but oh so worth it, especially since I don't have to share with Scott since he can take em or leave em.
You have to cut out the center stem from the leaves...ugh.
Then coat with olive oil. I just put a little oil in a bag and threw the leaves in and rubbed until coated. Scott suggested I try olive oil cooking spray. I may try that next time.
The leaves have to be laid out in a single layer...ugh. This allows only for small batches to made at a time. Another reason to use the microwave. In the oven it takes about 15 minutes. In the microwave it takes 3.5-4 minutes.
These leaves may not look crispy, but they are. You could make crumbs of them in your hand. That may be a good idea and add as a crunchy topping to salad! These kale chips are like potato can't eat just one, or can't have just one. Really delicious. Try it out!

Scott made soup on Wednesday, which was a gray rainy day. I love the flavor of the broth. The soup recipe is from a prepackaged bean & grain soup mix from Camas Country Mill, but you can substitute with split peas, lentils, etc.

Sue's Soup
1 medium onion, diced       
3 stalks celery, diced        
2 Tablespoons olive oil 
5 cups chicken broth                                        
1 sm. red potato, diced                                     
1 sweet potato, diced                                        
2 carrots     
1 pkg. Sue's Soup Mix or
Split beans, oat groats, wheat berries (or steel cut oatmeal) to equal 1.5 cups                                   
1 tsp. smoked paprika, 1 tsp. cumin, Salt & Pepper to taste

1 link kielbasa, cut into bite sized pieces

Saute onion & celery with olive oil in pot.
Add the rest of the ingredients except kielbasa to pot.
Bring to boil and simmer for 45 minutes. to 1 hr. until beans and grains are soft.
Add kielbasa the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
I have been going more and more out on my own, since Scott seems to just want to stay "at camp". On the dreary Wednesday that Scott made soup, I went out to find a hearty loaf of bread to go with the soup. This gave me a chance to explore the local area.
We are on Long Beach Peninsula in WA. The peninsula is above the red star which is where we are.

Funny how familiar places can be. Living in NJ, I was very near Long Beach Island.
The above map shows Long Beach Island.
Of course Long Beach in WA is a micro mini of Long Beach in NJ. Long Beach has a small area for about 5 different amusement rides as to Seaside Hts in NJ has (well had) a whole pier of rides prior to hurricane Sandy last year.
Before Hurricane Sandy at Seaside Hts, NJ

Before Hurricane Sandy at Seaside Hts, NJ
After Hurricane Sandy at Seaside Hts, NJ

After Hurricane Sandy at Seaside Hts, NJ

After Hurricane Sandy at Seaside Hts, NJ
Long Beach, WA is a cute little town, with lots of casual restaurants, t-shirt shops, and small boardwalk, etc. Nice little place to visit.
Oceanic RV Park, Long Beach, WA
My rating 1 out of 5
We did not stay at this "park". While walking in town, I saw this place. It was part of the public parking lot where I parked. The parking lot is paved, and the RV lot is gravel. The ONLY reason to stay here is if you want to be within walking distance of what's going on in town. I don't think it's worth it.
Ilwaco/Long Beach KOA, Ilwaco, WA 98624
My rating 2 out of 5
We did not stay here either. I did a drive through. Small KOA. All sites are grass. Very close together. The main loop through the park is dirt. It was like they just drove a truck around and around the grass to make a road. I was there on a rainy day and it was all mud. An RV could easily get stuck on the curve. Upon exiting, there were VERY low branches that would definitely have been caught in the roof as the RV passes by.

July 9-17, 2013 Port. Hudson RV Park, Port Townsend, WA
July 18-20, 2013 Elwha Dam RV Park, Port Angeles, WA
Neah Bay, WA
La Push, WA
Coeur d'Alene, ID

ID, MT, ND, SD, WY, then south for the Winter of 2013/214

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We've got Solar Power!

June 14 -24, 2013 Armitage County Park, Eugene, OR
The reason Scott didn't go to the Farmer's Market the other day was because he spent the weekend installing solar panels and all the wiring that goes along with it.
Unfortunately, I can't tell you much about it. I know we needed 2 extra batteries and of course the solar panels. I'm so proud of Scott for researching and being able to install this. We will be stopping by AM Solar in the morning for them to check out his work and make sure all is working properly.

AM Solar, Springfield, OR 97477
Our rating 5 out of 5
Although we did not have them install our solar, we did purchase the panels from them. They were very willing to share their expertise with Scott, which really gave Scott the confidence to do the install himself.
AM Solar came highly recommended from fellow RV bloggers. Of course, since they're booked until the end of the year, should be proof enough that they do great work.
An added bonus is they love dogs and gave us homemade, grain free biscuits for them!
We have really enjoyed our time here in Eugene. Armitage County Park is a beautiful park and if we are ever in this area again, we will definitely stay at this park. I like the feel of this area. Oregon is looking good for a contender for where we may settle, if we settle down.
Even though we aren't "camping", we still enjoy a campfire and making camp pies!
We've made not only dessert pies, but also our favorite, Ruebens!
There are many recipes on the WWW. Just search for camp pies, hobo pies, or pie irons.

Pie Iron Reubens

Rye bread
Deli sliced corned beef
Deli sliced swiss cheese
Thousand Island Dressing

Corned beef on rye. 
 The meat is only in the middle of the bread because the bread is larger than the pie iron.
Add Thousand Island Dressing on top of meat

Add sauerkraut

Swiss cheese

Melt butter on pie irons

Place sandwich in pie iron and squeeze shut.

Hold over fire and check for doneness after 5 minutes.

All done. Break off the burned part outside the main sandwich.

Give the burned excess to your dog. The don't mind burnt.

Enjoy. Want a bite?
Devin & Lyla have been enjoying the dog park. A great bunch of dogs.

Hawaiian Time, Eugene, OR
My rating 5 out of 5
I only tried one meal, but based on that one meal, I want to go back! First, I love rice and this meal comes with two scoops of white rice. Also a side of macaroni salad, which I really enjoyed. Then the main meat on a portion of the rice. I had the Honolulu Beef, which was a Korean-style marinade and made the beef really tasty.
Very casual restaurant.
June 25- July 8, 2013 River's End RV Park, Chinook,WA
July 9-17, 2013 Port. Hudson RV Park, Port Townsend, WA
Neah Bay, WA
La Push, WA
Coeur d'Alene, ID

WA, ID, MT, ND, SD, WY, then south for the Winter of 2013/214

Sunday, June 23, 2013

RV Park Review: Armitage County Park, Eugene, OR

June 14 -24, 2013 11 days
Our rating 5 out of 5 
Site #31 $31.00/night (including $10. reservation fee)
Sites: 5/5. Large grassy sites, most with shade, yet enough sky for satellite. Site was paved and level. Most sites are easy back in, but there are a few pull throughs, Site #15. being very nice and facing the large grassy field.

Hook ups: 5/5 FHU
Bathrooms: 3/5 Simple, cinder block, but clean.
Laundry: None
Pets: 5/5 Very pet friendly!!!!! A 2 acre dog park at the entrance of the park and within a 3 minute walk from our campsite. We were at the park at various times and all owners are very aware of their dog's behavior. Water and dog bags provided. Shade and picnic tables.
WiFi: 4.5/5 A county park with free WiFi??? Yes! And most of the time it worked very good. 
Verizon Internet: Spotty
Sprint Internet: Good 3G
Verizon cell: Good
AT&T cell: Good
Book Exchange: None
Activities: No scheduled activities, but great dog park within walking distance. The river also within walking distance.
Mail delivery accepted: No
Area/Town/Sights: Eugene is a nice town with lots of restaurants, big box stores,etc. all within 3-6 miles of campground. Lots of hiking and biking paths. 
June 25- July 8, 2013 River's End RV Park, Chinook,WA
July 9-17, 2013 Port. Hudson RV Park, Port Townsend, WA
Neah Bay, WA
La Push, WA
Coeur d'Alene, ID
September Yellowstone, SD

WA, ID, MT, ND, SD, WY, then south for the Winter of 2013/214

Black Sheep Gathering

June 14 -24, 2013 Armitage County Park, Eugene, OR
We haven't really taken advantage of the beautiful hiking in the area. We are simply enjoying our beautiful yard with shade trees and grass. Well, I'VE been enjoying our yard. Scott has been working for 2 1/2 days. More on that in tomorrow's post.
I went back to the Saturday Farmer's Market, alone, since Scott had work to do. Eugene is a micro mini city. It has the "cool" feel of a hip town. It's a very "green" town (no plastic bags allowed). Lots of dog parks around, many open patio restaurants allowing dogs, great coffee shops and bakeries.
This week at the Market, I again bought some sweets, pasty's, kale & romaine. Since Suzi, from Beluga Adventures, was not here this week, I was able to snag some peas also.

I've been wanting an herb garden and thinking I couldn't until we settled into a house again. But I'm attempting one while RV'ing, so I bought cilantro, rosemary and basil plants to start.
Yep, I bought a "topsy turvy". How could I resist? It was only $1.50!!! It's worth a try! Cilantro is on the bottom, rosemary on the left and basil on the right.
Also purchased some ground hazelnuts and marionberry jam.
Since Scott wasn't with me, I took the time to walk through the craft vendors section. So many talented people.
I bought a neat pin that is also a bud vase.
This is a piece of silverware that was cut. The handle is hollow, so can hold water and a bud in it. The back has a pin attached. Maybe I could put a sprig of one of my herbs in there for a lovely fragrance throughout the day.
Isn't this beaded flower beautiful? It has a clip on the back, so can be worn in your hair, or on a hat, or for me more likely as a shawl pin to hold the shawls I knit. I am determined to learn how to bead this. I want some in other colors. There is just not enough time to learn all the crafts I'd like to try. At least this craft doesn't take up much room or weigh much for RV crafting.
New Day Bakery, Saturday Farmer's Mkt., Eugene, OR
My rating 5 out of 5
I can only rate this on their baked goods I purchased at the Farmer's Mkt.
Almond danish: Fresh, soft, delicious.
Homemade oreo type cookie: Basically two chocolate crinkle cookies together with oreo type filling in between. Cookies were great, but just too sweet for me with the sweet filling.
Carrot cake sandwich cookies: Excellent. Two carrot cake cookies with filling in between. The cookies were soft with lots of texture, big chunks of walnuts. Yum!
Cousin Jacks Pasty Co., Saturday Farmer's Mkt., Eugene, OR
My rating 5 out of 5
From their website: "What's a pasty you say? 
Take the most delicious and fresh veggies, meats, cheeses or fruits, wrap with a flaky crust and bake! "
The flaky, slightly cheesy crust is absolutely delicious!
Pesto Lamb: Excellent
Broccoli & Cheese: Excellent
Steak & Ale: Fair. The steak with chewy and stringy.
Sausage roll: Excellent
Dana's Cheesecake Bakery, Saturday Farmer's Mkt., Eugene, OR
I only had one item, the Carrot cake. It was Excellent!!!!!
Belly Restaurant, Eugene, OR
My rating 1 out of 5
Any restaurant that serves foie gras will not be getting a good rating, nor my business.
I am not a fanatic about animal rights.  I do not agree with PETA'S fantatical thinking and demonstrations. I believe in animal rescue work. I believe there should be more laws against puppy mills. I believe farm animals should be raised & fed in a natural way without force feeding, or added chemicals to force quicker and larger growth. I believe their slaughter for meat should be as quick as possible.
What is foie gras? Foie gras means "fat liver" in French. Ducks and Geese are force fed to make their livers large and fatty. They not only suffer possible esophageal damage from the feeding tubes, but they can die from a fatty liver. According to the ASPCA, "The birds' livers become so enlarged…that according to documentation by veterinarians, the animals must experience unspeakable pain and suffering. Birds have literally exploded from these forced feedings. The results of necropsies on dead birds that have been force-fed reveal ruptured livers, throat damage, esophageal trauma, and food spilling from the dead animals' throats and out of their nostrils."
On the left: a foie gras liver. On the right: a normal liver.
(Photo courtesy PETA. Permission to use freely) 
This is all for an overpriced, unhealthy appetizer that anyone can do without.
Cama's Country Mill, Saturday Farmer's Mkt., Eugene, OR
My rating 5 out of 5
Their products are excellent and soooooo good for you. I may have to mail order from them when we use up what we purchased. This farm company grows their own grain and mills it also, so they have control of the finished product sold to the consumers.Tom's 3-grain cereal has cracked wheat, Scottish oats, and whole grain Teff. I slow cooked this just like oatmeal. Mmmm, mmmm good.

Whole grain Emmer flour: I was given a sample of chocolate cake made with this flour. Delish! I couldn't tell that this was whole grain. Emmer grain is a very high protein grain. 15% as to 9-10% protein in white flour.
I love these products and wish I was able to try more. 
The whole reason for us stopping in Eugene was because I wanted to attend the Black Sheep Gathering. No, it is not for all the misfits that are considered the Black Sheep of their family.  This is an event for sheep farmers, spinners, dyers, weavers, knitters, etc.
When I was still working, I used to listen to a lot of craft podcasts. I remember podcasters excitedly talking about going to Black Sheep Gathering. I hoped one day to attend. That was also when I was in NJ and far, far away from Oregon. I can now check this off my to do list.
BSG (Black Sheep Gathering), is a nice event, but small compared to other fiber related events I've gone to.
I've gone to Stitches East in CT, which is more about knitters & crocheters buying unique yarn and accessories. This is a large event and geared more to my interest as knitter. Admission is $10. per day. They have many great instructional classes you can register for.
I've gone to Vogue Knitting Live in NYC, which is also geared more for knitters, crocheters and knitting design. Admission is $20. per day (hey, you're in NYC!). I've taken a class here and it was great!
And, I've also gone to the New York State Sheep & Wool Fest in Rhinebeck. This is an event that if you had to bring hubby and even kids, they could find something to keep their interest while you look for yarn. Admission is $12. per day.
#1 rating: Of all the events, the NYS Sheep & Wool Fest is the best. It is HUGE! Lots and lots and lots of vendors. A lot of fair food, lots of viewing of all kinds of animals that are used to make fiber. There's also demonstrations about old world crafts, goat cheese making, etc.
#2 rating: Stitches East comes in 2nd. This strictly for yarn purchasing. You not only have beautiful one of a kind hand spun and dyed wool, but also major mills producing fiber made from bamboo, silk, milk, canine, cotton and more.
#3: Black Sheep was a nice event and is FREE. But it is not a large event. There were three buildings and I viewed all three within a couple of hours. There was only one food vendor, so don't go hoping for fair food. This event is more for people who spin their own yarn. You can buy raw fleece, that still needs to be cleaned and carded (tedious work). There were bags and bags and bags of fleece for sale.

Bags all marked with what breed of sheep, price per oz. etc.
Woman wearing the shawl is judging the quality of the fleece.

I went to BSG with a my Ipad Mini in hand and a list of yarns to purchase with the associated pattern. I did not want to be drawn in to buying just pretty, soft yarn and then have to figure out what to make with it. Well....that was the plan anyway.
I only bought 1 skein of yarn with a specific pattern in mind and it ends up, I purchased the wrong weight. Duh! So much for lists!
Here are my purchases.

Yarn Buddy: This is a yarn harder that you place your ball of yarn on the spindle. The round base turns as you unwind the yarn while knitting.

Isn't the Zebra wood beautiful?????
Check out Dave's other woodwork.
Dave Yocom's Wood Creations

Ram's horn

I'm always thinking of my dogs. It's difficult to resist something for them to enjoy.

And last, but not least, the yarn.

Yarn that is hand spun, hand dyed or even spun at a mill in small batches can be quite expensive. So it is not practical to make a whole sweater. It would be very expensive-well over $100., more like $150.-$200. for a sweater that you have to be very careful when you wash it to ensure it doesn't felt.
Top light blue yarn is actually a blue and white plied together. It is a wool, mohair and nylon blend. 236 yds$15.00
Middle white yan is angora rabbit and wool blend 165yds $25.00
Windsor Farms Rabbitry
Bottom blue yarn is another angora and wool blend hand kettle dyed 230yds $30.00
Right green yarn is alpaca 660yds $35.00
Not shown is a deep purple lace weight yarn 400yds for only $7.00. Why so cheap? I don't know.
Stay tuned for what I make with my additional stash.
The Sinner (Rizzoli & Isles, #3)The Sinner by Tess Gerritsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The author, Ms. Gerritsen, consistently puts out very good murder mystery with some medical drama mixed in.
This is my 4th book by this author and I still enjoy the characters of Rizzoli & Isles. I'm afraid to watch the show on TV for fear of my imagined character development, not being close to the TV characters.
Cloistered nuns and one or maybe two being murdered. A Jane Doe missing body parts, past love interests returning. All melded together into a great book that keeps us all interested.
June 25- July 8, 2013 River's End RV Park, Chinook,WA
July 9-17, 2013 Port. Hudson RV Park, Port Townsend, WA
Neah Bay, WA
La Push, WA
Coeur d'Alene, ID

WA, ID, MT, ND, SD, WY, then south for the Winter of 2013/214

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wood Fairies

June 14 -24, 2013 Armitage County Park, Eugene, OR
6/17/13 - Monday: A day of cleaning up and laundry. Yes, even living this idyllic life, there are still chores to do. For such a busy town, I could not find a laundromat close by. I drove about 10 miles and found an adequate, at best laundry. I prefer going to town laundromats instead of the RV parks, because there are usually large dryers. That's the worst part of doing laundry. The small dryers take forever to dry the clothes.
Also stopped at Walmart and picked up some more twine to finish my crocheted sun hat.
While cleaning the RV, I was checking the cabinets of what we can purge and I saw Creme De Menthe.
I must have had this for 20 years! Probably used it for a party drink back in my party hosting days and never used it again. But it's one of those things I have a difficult time throwing out. IF I ever need it for a baking recipe, I don't want to have to buy it again. So how long will I continue to keep it? I think I will have to look up some recipes with this ingredient in it and start making things with it or throw it out!
I think I'll have to try Grasshopper Pie. That sounds good.

6/19/13 - Wednesday: Our neighbors Suzi & Dave have left. I have no one to snoop at through our kitchen window any more! We did not spend much time with them because they were really here to visit their son who was graduating from college. Congrats to Jessie! I think he will be continuing his education in Colorado next. I hope all this work and cost lands him a great career.
What little time we spent with Suzi, Dave and their two great dogs, Sasha & Lewis, were really enjoyable. They are super easy to talk to and not overbearing. It was nice having them as neighbors and still having our own privacy. We hope to catch up with them in their home state of NY or maybe in FL this winter.
Devin & Lyla liked them also!
Lewis & Devin

Even laid back 9yr old Lyla got some action!

Our firewood pile grew! I think the wood fairy or something like that must have passed by. Actually it was Dave. He gave us their leftover wood. We had "gifted" (or gotten rid of) our wood to them while in NM. They returned the favor.
Are these the wood fairies? Or maybe Dave & Suzi in disguise?
Comment from Suzi: "Dave's been called many things in his life, but never a fairy!!!! "Sue
Gwen Slouchy Beret
I love this pattern. I love the results. I love this yarn. Magnolia yarn 70% merino wool 30% silk, by Classic Elite Yarns. It is so nice to be working with decent yarn again. I STILL have more of that damned red acrylic. I'm thinking dog collars for the rest of that yarn.

Didn't this beret turn out great!??  I thought one ball would be enough. It was, but barely! I made the hat a slightly smaller size since I have a small skull. (I was endearingly called "Pea Head", by my co-workers)This was to be a slouchy hat, but, I had to start decreasing early so not to run out of yarn. But I love how it turned out! Some hats I've made, I'm a little embarrassed to wear.  Slouch hats are not my style, although they are currently in style. This hat slouches very little. Just look how beautiful the design turned out. And this silky, soft, nicely sheened yarn was wonderful to work with and really gave this hat a beautiful glow.
Smellovision! Oh how I wish I could you let you experience the heavenly aroma coming from our Cobb grill! Scott bought a pork shoulder at the Eugene Saturday Farmer's Market and he bought some pork rub. The shoulder has been on the grill about 45 minutes and oh----my----gosh! It smells wonderful! I hope it will taste as good as it smells.
We tried to book an appointment for whole RV solar power with AM Solar, who came highly recommended from Wheeling It. Unfortunately for us, they are booked solid until DECEMBER!!! Good for them! Family run & honest business doing well. The estimate we got from them was over $8,000.!!! I was hoping for $5000. tops. When I get a chance, I'll post the estimate.
So Scott has decided to do the installation himself. It won't be "hard wired" (is that the right term) directly into our RV, but it will be close. Scott has been researching and losing sleep over trying to think of everything that needs to be done, in what order, etc. He started drilling holes (eeeeeek!) today. He was happy with his progress.
He bought 2/150 watt solar panels from AM Solar and 2 extra batteries from another business. He's getting an inverter or something like that shipped to AM Solar. Bits and pieces from here and there. Scott seems pretty confident he can do this. AM Solar said that if Scott finishes before we leave, they will check it out for him and make sure it's working correctly. What a great business.
June 25- July 8, 2013 River's End RV Park, Chinook,WA
July 9-17, 2013 Port. Hudson RV Park, Port Townsend, WA
Neah Bay, WA
La Push, WA
Coeur d'Alene, ID

WA, ID, MT, ND, SD, WY, then south for the Winter of 2013/214

Our Travels