Portland, Oregon is a profusion of greens and a mass of flowers. For a high desert, rock and juniper dweller, it is a bombardment of color. The senses are assaulted by sweet smells (at least away from the road), refreshing sights and, well, the sound of traffic. Okay, but the plant life is incredible when you are used to the sparse vegetation of dry land. The high price of this beauty is the lack of sunshine. For about 5 minutes a day, the sun graced us with her presence. The rest of the time was completely overcast, with drizzles common when it wasn’t actually raining.
We were glad to get out of the city several times. It seems there is actually sunshine in Oregon, after all. Every time we drove out to go for a day hike, or an overnight in Washington, I was amazed at the number and size of the trees on both sides of the interstate. Then there were the rivers and the coast. So much water in Oregon. So many trees. I hated to go back to the city, but at least I kept snapshots and videos in my head, of the mountains and trees and streams.
El Nino’s birthday arrived while we were in Portland, and we celebrated at Red Robin. I had not been there before and was pleased with the selection of hamburgers. The onion rings were pretty good, too. What was really fun, though, was discovering Italian cream soda, mmm. The relatives insisted on us sampling numerous restaurants in the city. The problem with eating out is that nowadays we are having digestive issues with many processed foods. When we’re eating healthy most of the time, we don’t have much of a problem with the occasional meal out. But when meal after meal is eaten at restaurants, our bodies start to protest. A few times we had to politely but firmly decline the invitation.
|yp on google play|
We have previously used various websites to locate Catholic churches and Mass times while adventuring. Currently, with our smartphones, on this most recent road trip to parts previously unknown, we have made good use of the YP (yellow pages) app and the pre-loaded maps app on the iPhone4. Although, in a couple of instances we have been steered wrong, these two apps have helped us find churches, post offices, homes of friends and relatives, rv parks, campgrounds, grocery stores, and more.
|maps from apple|
I shudder to recall the days when Google maps always had to be backed up with a paper street map and a cell phone to call and get directions. I still laugh about my friend’s couchsurfers, who never did find the Grand Canyon, because their smartphones sent them off on a more direct route – as the crow flies, rather than as the car drives. I now laugh at myself, when I get frustrated at the phone for leading me to an empty warehouse instead of the post office, but I am learning to pull over, re-calibrate and enter different info when that happens. It also helps to drive around a bit and have a young’un who’s pretty good with reading maps and navigating. And smartphones.
We haven’t gotten lost yet, but I can tell you, we have unintentionally taken some scenic drives and did arrive late for Mass once. We haven’t missed Mass on Sunday, though. I usually check YP on Friday, map out the route to the church, then call the number provided to check Mass times.
|Our Lady of the Valley, La Jara, Colorado|
I still carry a road atlas and some state maps for general route planning and reference, but to find local stuff along the way, the YP app and the maps app have been invaluable and saved an enormous amount of time and frustration. I highly recommend checking your smartphone or tablet and trying out similar apps which may be available to you, as you plan your next pilgrimage.
Winter has rolled in to Colorado and my winter clothes are all in Arizona. We have the heater on in the trailer day and night. We’re not moving on for another few weeks – What to do?
To tell the truth, we did keep a few winter items with us “just in case”. Not that I seriously thought we would need them. My problem this entire last year. I kept out 1 pair of long johns, my London Fog raincoat with liner and a fleece sweater. I have several summer scarves that can serve for neck warmers and one pair of glove-liner gloves. We also kept the boy’s down jacket.
Since we’re living in the trailer, we have most of our clothes in the closet. We each keep one suitcase under the bed and that is where we kept the coats – until 2 weeks ago. Now we are very glad to have them. Even though we will be spending most of the winter in warmer climes, we will be back for a few weeks. So next stop at the Arizona stix and brix, we’ll be picking up some more long johns, a couple winter hats, gloves, scarves and snow boots! Where will we put them when we don’t need them? In the suitcases, of course. If we decide to take air or rail transport and need our suitcases, we will just leave the extras in the trailer closet.
And when we’re in winter weather and don’t need the summer clothes? You’ve got it – we’ll keep the suitcases packed.
So, while the guys are away, toughing out the late spring snow and cold in Colorado, I’m getting ready for a couple of stealth camping trips. (Shhh…) The first order of business is getting the new (to me) camping trailer set up for adventure.
|The new tiny home|
In considering what to christen her, I feel I must take into account my former gypsy domiciles. The back of “Big Red” served me well for many a foray into the wilderness and she is still the puller of my camping castles. Her first charge was “Noah’s Ark”, the oversize cab-over camper I lived in with my 3 now grown children, their 2 dogs, 1 cat and hamster, when we were traveling prior to settling down in Arizona. “The Egg” was our next small camping trailer, named by my youngest son, after our dear friend’s favorite camper. “The Egg” was traded in for our current model, which is a bit roomier and has a toilet and shower – a big plus for any extended travels. I guess I will have to keep “rolling it around in my head”, as my grandma used to say, as the appropriate name has not yet presented itself.
Back to getting the trailer ready, it looks like she’s gonna need two new tires. I was hoping for just one, but upon closer examination, both of them look pretty worn and primed for a blow-out. At least the spare is new… I have yet to give the inside a good cleaning and inspect all the plumbing and electrical, but as soon as I have the tires on, she’ll be good enough for local camping trips. At least it’s a step up from a tent or the back of the truck.
Looks like the tires will have to wait at least a couple of weeks. I guess I’ll go for some day hikes instead. White Horse Lake is close by, and is uncrowded as yet. The trails are great for getting back into shape after several years of not much hiking. I’ll post some pics and info on that soon.
Until then…Happy Trailers!