Just another average sunset in paradise!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Answering a few questions


The main question people are asking is if Mexico is still on.  Definitely!  I arrived at my brother Rick's house last evening and will probably stay here for a while doing some minor (I hope) repairs on Dod.  My current plan is to hit the border around the first of November and be in Mazatlan or Puerto Vallarta for the holidays.


Someone asked about the chairs with the canopies.  They work great but I like the sun so I have only used the canopy for shade a couple of times.  The canopy does, however, make a great platform for holding all my shower supplies while I use the solar shower.  I checked on line and found the chairs for $60. each and said "No way!".  I finally found them at a building supply store in Pendleton, OR where they were on sale for $24. (also, no sales tax) and I bought two.  Later I found one on sale at a small market in Pierce, ID for $15.99.


As far as reading materials go, I have been stopping at every small thrift store I notice and stocking up on paperbacks at an average of  fifty cents each and now have a couple of months supply.  By the time I hit the border I hope to have 100 or more.  Then when in Mexico I will visit the larger marinas where they usually have a book exchange for cruisers where you can trade books one for one.


Even though I have not posted about it, I have managed to stay under $900. per month for August and September.  In July I went over by about $500. due to some purchases to equip Dod and also for some minor mechanical and service work on Dod.

I have been on the road for three months now and have traveled almost 4,000 miles.  That represents 400 gallons of gas at an average price of close to $4. per gallon.  I have about 1,400 miles ahead of me before reaching Mazatlan so the majority of my budget will continue to be fuel until I arrive there.  Once there I will only travel a few hundred miles each month and with gas selling for $3.00 per gallon I should feel rich!

My total campground expense for the three months is a grand total of $62. and I don't anticipate that going up  in Mexico.  I probably spend less than $30. per week on groceries and I have only had 7 restaurant meals while on the road (all breakfasts).  I have cut my smoking down from 10 packs per week (ugh!) to 5 packs per week (still too much).  Cigarettes in Mexico sell for about $2. per pack instead of the $5. a pack here in the U.S.  My alcohol expense has been running about $30. per week and almost all of that is for the purchase of my favorite drink which is scotch.  In Mexico the price of scotch is ridiculous due to the import tariffs and being the tightwad that I am, I refuse to pay $25.-$30. for the same bottle that would cost $10.-$15. here.  I will have to settle for tequila or rum or cerveza but that doesn't worry me.

Overall, I don't think I will have any problem living on $600. per month and easily on $900.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lazy Days

I am so far behind on posting that I probably will just do a summary for September and then try to keep up again.  The problem seems to be that even though I have access to free wi-fi, once I have breakfast and find a day camp I start reading or doing projects on Dod.  By the time I think about the internet it is usually late and I say manana.

I have been utilizing indian casinos while on or near the Oregon Coast.  They are all great with free slots if you join the players' clubs.  I actually am still ahead of the casinos after 20 days at four different casinos, it seems they are paying me to stay.  Heading south to a casino in Coos Bay tomorrow.

There are so many great day trips available up and down the coast that it is hard to decide where to go.  My favorite so far is DePoe Bay and I will post about it with photos soon (or later).

Dod is still going strong with "0" problems after 3,000 miles of travel.  I have decided that I will have to beef up the power system though while at my brother's house in Bakersfield.  I am thinking a minimum of two house batteries and 100 watts of solar.  My normal schedule is to read for about 1 hour after the sun sets and wake up with the dawn.  Right now that gives me 8-9 hours of sleep.  When the time changes and Winter shows up, it will be dark 14-15 hours daily and I need to find something to do for the 6-7 extra hours of darkness.

My brother asked me if I ever get lonely.  I had to think about it but the answer is definitely NO.  I do however get bored but not too often.  It usually only happens when I run out of books.  I counted yesterday and I have read 24 books since August 20th.  I am out right now so I will hit a few thrift stores on my way down the coast today.

Bye for now!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Paying for the night

It was easy to review my total expenses for campsites.  June - $17.  July - $9.  August had been totally free up till then so I decided to splurge and spend $15. for a site at the Barview Jetty county park.  It is right on the beach and among the amenities listed in my book were showers.  I hadn't used a regular shower since July.  The camp/solar shower works great but the real shower at the park was wonderful!  The cost was only $1.00 for 8 minutes which is more than enough time.  The water was the perfect temperature and it felt sooo good!  I took a second shower the next day before I left.

Jesse got to visit his first beach and wasn't too sure about all the water.  He really enjoyed running along the  beach and playing with other dogs but he wouldn't go near the surf.  One of the great walks we took was right along a jetty that had been build in 1914.  There is a river on one side and a tidal marsh on the other.

Jesse came up to this tidal stream and refused to cross with me.  I just kept walking and eventually he went for it and splashed across with 3 big jumps.  When he got to the other side he was very proud on himself and went for a long run to dry off.

The posts above are actually trees that were planted along the jetty almost one hundred years ago.  From the size of the trunks I would guess that they made it for 20 years or so.  Each of them is still rooted but the tops were all snapped off at about the same height.  Must  have been quite a storm!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Nothing good lasts forever

Thursday night about 9:00 p.m. four vehicles pulled into my secluded campsite!  It took them until almost midnight to set up 7 tents.  The next morning I counted 8 children and 6 adults scampering around the camp.  I still had the best campsite but as you can guess, it lost some of its ambiance.

Saturday morning two more vehicles showed up with an additional 6 people.  I could have stayed but I figured that any group who could put together a group of 20 friends and family deserved their own space.  I packed up and pulled out.  When I told them I was leaving they said "You don't have to go" but as I drove away, I watched the mad dash as they competed to move their tents into the prime location I had just left.

The detour continued to be4 beautiful.  I came around a bend and saw 50 or 60 cars parked in a lot along the highway.  As I rounded the next bend I had a great view of Mt. Rainier.

All of the spring flowers were in full bloom and it was exceptional.  See the snow still on the ground down below me?  Everyone said that summer still has not arrived at this elevation.  Dod made it over Chinook Pass with no problems whatsoever.

I decided that I might as well drive to the coast as I wanted to get to Oregon.  Four hours later, I was at the Astoria  Bridge.

The Oregon coast is just as beautiful as I had remembered.  All of the little beach towns have a personality all their own.  Dod is the perfect size to drive up and down the small streets and to park in regular parking spaces which made exploration easy.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


During this entire trip, I have only made two u-turns to check out a road that I passed.  The first u-turn resulted in the great hunting camp that we found in Oregon.  The second u-turn resulted in the beautiful camp where we are now.

After spending a forgettable night at Walmart in Yakima, WA we headed west toward some inexpensive National Forest Service campsites.  We were taking highway 12 from Yakima and about 2 miles into the drive there were roadside flashing signs warning of 2 hour delays on 12.  I stopped at the NFS office in Naches and was advised that there was a detour available that actually provided a more scenic route if I didn’t mind 35-45 mph speed limits.  Music to my ears; I love taking my time.

About 10 miles into the detour the highway started following the twists and turns of a beautiful river and I found myself wishing that I could find a turn off that would allow me to camp near the river.  Five miles later I passed a NFS sign for the Half Flat Campground.  I passed it by as I was looking for a free spot.  As I drove slowly by, I noticed several open areas right on the river.  I made a u-turn and went back to investigate.  Before you reach the gravel road that leads to the campground, you pass an area that has 6 primitive campsites right on the river.

We have the entire site to ourselves and there is a view of the river from each of Dod’s windows.  The highway is about 100 yards from our site but the river drowns (pun?) out 90% of the highway noise.  It also helps that this highway does not allow commercial traffic so that there is nothing louder going by than the occasional Harley.

Dod tucked away at the river

Jesse and I have been overextending just a little.  We started out walking about 3 miles a day and increased it to 4.  Yesterday, we did 2 miles in the morning and for some reason that evening we decided that an additional 5 miles would be good.  It was okay but definitely too much for one day.  Jesse gave up about a half mile short of where I did.  He just disappeared.  I walked to the end of the trail and he was nowhere to be found.  As I walked back down the trail, there he was just lying down in the shade looking much more comfortable than I felt.

As soon as we reached Dod, he took a few gulps of water and called it a night.  He barely moved from 6 p.m. last night until 6 a.m. this morning!  I have to admit, I didn’t move much either.  When we walked this morning I could feel it and when I started back toward camp after about a mile, Jesse was more than happy to lead the way.

It is beautiful, you are allowed to camp for 14 days and it is FREE!