(captainblowdri file photo)
Well gang, my first summer in full fledged retirement has officially come to an end. What a cool summer vacation I had! As it turned out the maximum temperatures that I had to deal with was 81 degrees! So it was literally a very cool summer!!
I headed out of Yuma back on June 8th in my 38′ Fleetwood Expedition on a summer tour of the Pacific Northwest with my traveling companions, my brother Jimmy and his wife Edie, in their 40′ Fleetwood Revolution.
The first stop on the agenda was a week long stop in Fresno,CA to celebrate a milestone for our Mom. Back in June, specifically June 13th, we celebrated her 93rd birthday. There was a large gathering at my sister’s house of family for the celebration. In addition to my sister were all three of my brothers, my two sons, one wife and one girlfriend, and my two grandchildren, a few of my nephews and their families, as well as my cousin and his wife from Vallejo. It was a joyous celebration of life!
My nephew, Scott, made a very cool video of Mom’s life. For me it was very touching and emotional. The video incorporated some really old family pictures of all of us kids, my Dad and Mom, all the while accompanied with some really appropriate music for the video.
It was a celebration of life, longevity, of our heritage, and of our extremely humble beginnings!
Additionally while in Fresno, I met with my old college buddy of a thousand years, Steve Detjan, well honestly it was not really that long ago! However, I have known Steve since that extremely hot day in the gym during college registration in the summer 1969. It happened that Steve had knee replacement surgery on June 13th. So I got to visit him a couple of times, once the day of the surgery, and the next day during his recovery, as well.
From Fresno I headed northwest to a place called Duncan’s Mills, CA. This very small hamlet is located on the Russian River about 8 miles west of Guerneville, a northern extension of the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, and about 8 miles east of Bodega Bay. While hanging out in this area for a week, I visited two wineries, did a little wine tasting, and, oh yes, purchased a few bottles of wine from the Sabastapol area! The two wineries that took some of my money were; the Russian River Winery and Dutton Estates.
From Duncan’s Mills I headed up the California coast on US 101. Within a very short time I was driving my motorhome right up through the Giant Redwoods of northern California. The view was awesome, and awe inspiring to say the least!
The next landing place was Klamath, CA, in a little RV park right on the Klamath River. Klamath is about 20 miles south of Crescent City, CA. It was very quiet and peaceful along side the river. The highlight of the seven day stay was the last three days of that visit. Early one morning Jim and Edie called me to tell me to look out the front of my RV and just observe. Quite to my dismay, there was a Momma and young baby gray whale that had found their way into the river from the Pacific Ocean! Both were just frolicking in the river fro the last three days of my stay there.
From Klamath my summer journey continued north to Gold Beach, OR. This neat little hamlet is located at the juncture of the Rouge River and the Pacific Ocean. The highlight of the weeks stay here, and for that matter my whole summer, was the 104 mile Rogue River jet boat tour. That is 52 miles up the river and 52 miles back down river! The tour launched from the dock at 8am and returned at 3:30 pm, with a 90 min lunch break on the return down the river at a riverfront place called Agnes.
This stay encompassed the July 4th weekend. That weekend there were many neat and fun things to see and do. There was a hydroplane boat race on the river that was really cool to watch.
Additionally, I got my first glimpse of “Outlaw Go Kart” racing. These were not your regular little go karts, with lawn mower engines running slowly on a small dirt track!
See what I mean!
The July 4th weekend culminated with a really cool display of fireworks that was much bigger than I was expecting!
From Gold Beach I continued northward on US 101 all the way up to the northern coast of Oregon, to a little town called Rockaway Beach, OR. Rockaway Beach is about 75 miles west of Portland.OR. There wasn’t too much at Rockaway Beach. However, there were two very fine eating establishments in that coastal town, Beach Bites at Rockaway, and Upper Crust Pizza!
Additionally, the Tillamook Cheese Factory was only 21 miles back down south on US 101. The tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory was a really fun experience. The cheese is to die for!! But their ice cream was totally phenomenal!! Therefore, on that day I decided that I was not a diabetic!!!!! Did I say that their ice cream was fantastic?
After Rockaway Beach, I headed on up into the Washington coast, at Ocean Shores. That week was totally forgettable! It rained every day, all day long for 6 days! (there is an old Washington adage that goes something like this: If you can’t see Mt. Rainier, it is raining. If you can see Mt. Rainier, it is getting ready to rain!) I couldn’t see Mt. Rainier for six days!!
So it was time to pull up stakes, fire up the ol RV, and head to central eastern Oregon for some good weather. The spot in central Oregon chosen was La Pine, Oregon. It is a very small town just 24 miles south of Bend. I spent a 10 day period at La Pine where the day time temperature was in the mid 70’s and the nights were in the mid 30’s! Man, you just gotta love summer weather like that!!
At the end of the ten days at La Pine, I packed up the ol RV and headed back over to the coast of Oregon once again. This time I spent two weeks in an RV park at Lakeside,OR. Lakeside is about 15 miles north of Coos Bay. The weather there was simply magnificent with daytime highs in the low 70’s and nights in the mid 50’s.
While at Osprey Point RV Park at Lakeside I made a Saturday trip over to Cottage Grove for a night of sprint car, midgets, and late model races.
On the subsequent Saturday night I hit the local Coos Bay race track for some outstanding races, as well.
After my two week visit in Lakeside, I returned to La Pine, OR for another 3 week stay that lasted until Labor Day.
On Labor Day I packed up the ol RV and started my southerly trek back towards Yuma, AZ. However, I made a couple of pit stops along the way. The first pit stop was in Chico, CA. My week stay in Chico served two purposes. First and foremost, I went there to really, really work on my redneck! It just so happens that every year around Labor Day the Silver Dollar Speedway, located on property of the Butte County Fairgrounds puts on one whale of a four day sprint car show known as The Gold Cup Race of Champions.
In addition to watching some high caliber racing, one of my old Eastern Airlines/United Air Lines buddies lives in Chico. So I got to spend some quality time with both Tim Donohue and his wife Dorothy. We go way back! I first met Tim in 1980 when we both lived in this old two story commuter apartment in Woodhaven, NY. Oh the stories that surrounded this place! Someday I will have to write about the adventures of Woodhaven!
Also, I was hooking up at the race track with two very dear racing friends from the Bay Area, Dan and Bernie Clapp. So the visit to Chico served a multitude of purposes! The camaraderie with both Tim and Dorothy, as well as Dan and Bernie made Chico a great week!
The culmination of the event was the two day World of Outlaws show. It was fast and it was furious!
The last stop on the way home to Yuma was Fresno,CA. I pulled into my old home town for a four day visit with my Mom, my kids, my grandkids, and of course my old college buddy, Steve Detjan. Additionally, I had to pay a visit to my cardiologist as well.
On September 15th, a little over three months after I loaded up the ol RV for my northerly excursion, I rolled back into Yuma, AZ., I had come full circle!!
My first summer vacation in retirement has concluded!
It was good to be back home!
FOR NOW THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SIGNING OFF: ROGER, WILCO, OVER, AND OUT!