Old Diary

Do you ever forget to breathe?


Breathing is good. I’m told I should do it at least once or twice an hour! ūüôā

IN September when I went to visit the cardiologist for the first time he asked if I’m ever short of breathe. ¬†And when I’m doing things that has not been a problem.

But I have always been able to block out distractions and focus on whatever was only mind at the time and I have realized since talking with the Cardiologist that sometimes I’m too busy to breathe.

Do you know what I mean? ¬†I’m so caught up in what I’m thinking that I don’t think to breathe and then I kind of have to take a couple big ‘uns to get caught up.

The fact of the matter is, there are times, and things, that ARE more interesting than JUST breathing. ¬†But you can’t get away without breathing just because you find something else more interesting.

I guess that’s part of the reason we have decided to use our time here in Grenada to get caught up on little things.

Defining Natural

I have talked before about the way our belongings seemed to find natural places to live in¬†Journey¬†but that now in¬†Serendipity¬†we have been having a hard time finding equally natural places for our belongings. ¬† What constitutes a feeling of naturalness? ¬†Like breathing which is a natural thing to do, but sometimes I forget to do it, knowing where to look for things, for your belongings, isn’t as natural a thing as we might think.

Too often things that 'look' natural are, in fact, not natural -- they are highly manipulated to APPEAR natural.

Too often things that ‘look’ natural are, in fact, not natural — they are highly manipulated to APPEAR natural.

Remember the last time you couldn’t find something you wanted, and all the places you looked in search of it? ¬†Why did you look in all those places? ¬†Was it because your brain thought any or all of them might have been the natural place to find that lost object? ¬†Or was your brain retracing your steps? ¬†Or were you pondering the inconsistencies of your own behavior.

With Peg and I living in a 40 foot coach when someone loses something it seems inevitable that we both go searching for it. My dear wife will ask me, “did you put it here?” ¬†And sometimes I’ll reply (not really curtly, but I’m sure sometimes it feels as if I’m being curt) “No, I’d never put it there.” ¬† And I wouldn’t — but evidently she would have! ūüôā

Our roadside cabinets

Our roadside cabinets

salad bowl

salad bowl

On the roadside of the coach we have 5 overhead storage cabinets that run the length of the roadside front slide. ¬† The three rear cabinets quickly became our pantry. ¬†Directly opposite the ‘kitchen’ it was the perfect place to store most of our staples. ¬†But… The front two cabinets…. Aiyyyyyyy….. those have never made sense for anything. ¬†We have a large salad bowl in there. ¬†Extendable RodsThen there are our spring-loaded refrigerator bars. ¬†A Flashlight. ¬†PlastiMAG LIGHTc nesting storage containers (that fit inside the salad bowl). ¬†A scale for measuring recipe quantities, and an entire litany of other¬†miscellaneous items that bear no relationship to each other whatsoever, including one of my cameras, and a walk-around lens.

It’s time for me to play that time honored game: ¬†Three of these things belong together….

I am determined to find some rhyme or reason behind this!

I realized the day that I tackled the basement storage that I probably have 5 or 6 boxes with various electrical cords, extension cords, power strips, etc. ¬†I don’t need all those, but I haven’t wanted to throw any of them away until I was sure that I had at least one of each of those I use regularly (and two of some of the ones I use a lot). ¬† Now — don’t ask my why I have 5 or 6 boxes with them — it would have made a lot more sense to put them all into ONE box — except, of course, for the fact that I didn’t realize I HAD 5 or 6 boxes of them! ¬†ARGH.

left_handed_people_are_always_rightOrganization is no more a ‘natural’ thing than is a computer program ever ‘intuitive.’ ¬† We each bring our private quirks to organization and what may make perfect sense to one is ridiculous to someone else. ¬†I’m left-handed. ¬†I have been in a state of war with right-handers my entire life. ¬†From those folding auditorium desks on the wrong side, to being corrected for ‘writing upside down’ I have rarely found a truce between myself and those who would compel me to behave in ways totally ‘un-natural’ for me.

The bottom line in all of this is that There’s No Right Way to RV. ¬†What’s natural to me, isn’t natural for you. ¬†Just because we found instant organization in¬†Journey¬†doesn’t mean that it will happen the same way with¬†Serendipity ‚Ästin fact, it has NOT happened. There’s nothing wrong with that. ¬†It’s OK. ¬†In fact, it’s OK in the same way that it’s OK to realize that just because you’re RV’ing you don’t have to try to see the entire U.S. in your first year, or visit all the family members in the first year; or even visit all the family members at all — it’s OK to let¬†them¬†come to visit you.

I guess I have done this same dance even before we went mobile. ¬†If I’m honest with myself the topic of being better organized is something I have struggled with all my life. ¬†I don’t like categorizing things and as a result organization has never been easy — nothing seems to¬†need¬†to be in any particular category. ¬†I’m a photographer — there are no (or not very many) true blacks or true whites; the world is composed of grays — admixtures of black and white, shades¬†and tones, saturation and hue — and don’t try to force me to see your colors in your way. ¬†I’ll go six months or six years and be perfectly happy — and all of a sudden I get the urge to shake up my world and get better organized. ¬†And I do. ¬†And from each shake up I change; I morph into someone I never was before.

Perhaps that’s why we wanted to live this mobile lifestyle. ¬†To be free to change. ¬†To be free to think new and different thoughts. ¬†To say, “this organization worked just fine until now — but NOW I want a different organization, a different take on things, a different outlook, a different prospect.”

Perhaps, sometimes I just forget to breathe.  And when I remember, just perhaps, I do it differently than before.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Old Diary, RV Living

Hang Out, Fold In


Our revised closet. Ignore the rod up above — we plan no longer to use it. Instead we have more than enough shelf storage and about a third of what’s in there will go bye bye when we turn in our USFS clothing.

It’s the end of the weekend as I write this and nothing happened as planned. ¬†Yesterday I had planned to work on the basement, but visitors changed¬†that plan. ¬†I put the basement off till today and before I started I ran down to Driftwood II to check on the couple who are leaving — arrange a time to pick up gear from them, check in the volunteers who remain to insure that all the necessary chores are being taken care of and just schmooze a little with these folks. ¬†Our South Zone caretaker is going to take a host gig at Horsfall Beach — he was there while I was so we talked about the mechanics of when and where to change keys and gear for him too.

I was on my way back him when the phone rang — it was the same caretaker I had just left. ¬†It seems he thought he had been aware of a camper going into the shower before we started talking and an hour later he’d never seen the camper exit the shower and no one was responding inside the shower. ¬†Now, entering a locked shower is something with specifically proscribed steps ¬†and there must be at least two staff present. ¬†In the first place I wasn’t really thinking of being ‘on the clock’ so I never brought my keys with me and that meant a quick trip back home to pickup the right set of keys and then the — to me — nerve wracking of standing on the other side of the door from an unknown set of circumstances. ¬†I could never be a cop. ¬†And I realized then and there that this was not something I want to be in a position of doing. ¬†It turned out that the host was mistaken — there was NO ONE in that shower and all turned out well. ¬†But I learned a good lesson for myself — and it will reflect on what future volunteer gigs we take. ¬†I’m just not comfortable with that situation.

As it is there have been all sort so precautions taken to prevent the APPEARANCE of wrongdoing. ¬†The showers have no way place in which someone on the backside of the shower wall — in the pipe chase — can see into the showers — but the Forest Service has had crevices filled with foam just to guarantee to the public that no one can/could observe them while showering. ¬†I suppose this is a part of living in a modern society. ¬†But I’m a simple guy who doesn’t do things like that and it sometimes amazes me the extent to which government must go to make the public happy.

Another host had dumpsters overflowing and we made a trip our SUV down to Reedsport to pick up a truck with which we could carry ¬†some garbage cans to the campground. ¬†while there we had a nice chat with the couple there. ¬†It looks like they’ll be coming back next year, and they are finding their own ways to make campers comfortable and make the campground a special place. ¬†People like this are worth their weight in gold!

In between the two I did get a chance to do some work on the basement.  The new storage tubs will work out fine but the deciding what goes in which and where in the basement each container should ride is just beginning.

By the time we returned home it was 6:30 and the sun was beginning to fall below the tops of the trees.  No mid afternoon aperitif.  But beef stew for dinner.

Sometimes the other volunteers feel badly about interrupting our weekend off. ¬†But it doesn’t bother me. ¬†For one thing I figure it’s part of the job — I’m the interface between Forest Service and Volunteers. ¬†Most of them have learned that their first call for maintenance issues is to paid staff — so they do respect our days off. ¬†But the other side of the story is that we are just like them. ¬†I would not want to be left out there in the forest to flounder and I don’t want them to feel that way either. ¬†There may be moments when the phone rings that I want to ignore it, but I’m never sorry when I have, and I’m always glad for the final outcome. ¬†If you can’t be — you shouldn’t be volunteering. ¬†We’re here to help. ¬†And sometimes people don’t need help on a schedule.

This week is the week that Da Boss is on vacation. ¬†It will be interesting to see how the week goes. ¬†I know there are confidential events scheduled in the first couple days — so the volunteer territory might change while she’s gone — but there is one thing sure here — everything¬†is in a state of flux at all times.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Ambassador PLQ, Journey DL, Old Diary

Exploring Our Basement (part 1)

Uh Ohhhhh….. This sounds like a really boring post.

Well, it might be — depending on your love of order in the universe — or at least order in OUR universe! ¬†I’m calling this part 1 because we haven’t finished, and I’m not sure when we¬†shall finish…¬†But I get ahead of myself.

Having completed our new lounge TV mounting today was a good day to tackle our basement — or to at least get familiar with it. ¬†Journey came with typical 2002 Winnebago storage bays — little ones distributed along both sides of the coach.

The Ambassador has multiple bays too but they are laid out differently and not all allow for actual ‘storage’ — some are more for specific purposes. ¬†There’s a battery bay that isn’t conducive to storing other items. ¬†There’s an electrical relay bay that doesn’t exactly have a flat floor on which you could PUT anything. ¬†The Shore Power bay is small and not much larger than the items that belong there. ¬†And finally the wastewater bay is small with only minimal space. ¬†We’ll have to find a way of storing our drain tube in some plastic tub when the time comes for sure!

What we did address was the primary storage area.  In Journey, if we added up all our storage compartments we had about 70 cu ft of storage.  Now we have about 99 cu ft of storage just in the primary storage bays, plus we have more storage in the coach itself.

When we arrived in Oregon we immediately ‘grew’ some of our stored items into a shed provided by the Forest Service for volunteer use. ¬†And when it came time to trade¬†Journey¬†we took the easy course of putting a bunch of stuff into that same shed. ¬†Since then — now coming up on 2 months — the basement storage has been mostly empty and the storage shed has been most full. ¬†With us thinking about moving (at some point in time) I have been wanting to ¬†see how much storage space we would have when we head on down the road.

After a delightfully SWEET breakfast of purchased strawberry-cheese popovers it was off to storage we go. ¬†It took a good part of the day and more than a little razzing from the L.E.O’s about what we were hiding in our basement but I got most of the stuff out of the storage shed, have almost everything into the storage bays that is going there — but it’s not all nicely OR neatly stowed.

Winegard G2

With a separate tripod base, the Winegard G2 looks like it’s going to be our next choice…. maybe…

Part of my reason for wanting to see the available storage ¬†is an upcoming choice about satellite TV. ¬†Whenever we leave here we are back to not having a satellite antenna. ¬†We liked the idea of the Winegard Traveler antenna that we had installed but we did find that there were quite a few instances of parking in campsites with obstructed views to the satellites and with our fancy self-positioning satellite antenna we still couldn’t get a signal. ¬†I have been considering the possibility of getting a portable one — IF WE HAVE ROOM IN THE BASEMENT TO STORE IT! ¬†And it looks like we will.

Well, that’s about it for today. ¬†Tomorrow it’s back to the grind. ¬†We’re refreshed and we finally feel as if we’ve had a truly productive weekend. ¬†Don’t ask about part II of this discussion. ¬†That may depend on how long it takes to get around to another basement organizing session!

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Old Diary

Why Should 5 Inches Make So Much Difference?

Winnebago Cabinets

These are the cabinets we had in Journey

Just to assure those¬†naughty ones out there¬†¬†— we’re talking about RV storage here. ¬†I don’t know why 5 inches of cabinet depth should make so much difference; but it does.

We’ve had the Ambassador for 1 month. ¬†I have done almost nothing about organizing cabinets2014040210295824. You may not recall, but at the time we made the change I commented on the idea that for some reason the cabinets in¬†Journey¬†seemed to make immediate sense as far as what to store where. ¬†And also that the Ambassador did not seem quite such an obvious choice. ¬†After spending a little time Saturday moving most of our library into lower storage locations — out of an upper cabinet into a lower drawer — I turned my attention to the lounge/kitchen.

It seems that the Winnebago had cabinets that were 11″ deep. ¬†On the curbside the Ambassador has cabinets 16″ deep and on the roadside they are another 4″ deeper still. ¬†Peggy’s ¬†5’2″ . ¬†As it is she’ can’t read the digits on the thermostat because it sits too high on the wall. ¬†And when it comes to putting things into the cabinets an extra 5″ or 9″ make a significant difference to short arms.

All you fulltimers know that stowing gear in overhead cabinets is a balancing act; harmonizing ease of access with security during transport. ¬†To be truthful — I’m still flummoxed. We had been considering moving our dinnerware from above the kitchen sink into another cabinet. ¬†The problem being that whether we turn things one way or the other nothing fits efficiently.

I can see the possibility of keeping pantry items on the deeper side. ¬†That’s doable. ¬†I’m the one into those cabinets mostly and I have longer arms.

I guess it’s going to play out the way it did with¬†Journey, trying one location after another until we find the one that works best.

We we had that first apartment of ours in Chicago we had 2 drawers beneath the sink ¬†for storage and a small built-in with three shelves about 24″ wide and 8″ deep. ¬†That seemed a lot of storage when we had nothing to store. ¬†Today it seems absurdly tiny. ¬†Even in the RV we have more storage than we did in those days.

Our grand-daughter is off in Chicago searching for apartments. ¬†Maybe that’s why we’re thinking about storage and cabinets and setting up house. ¬†I hope she finds a place. ¬†She has 20 days before she has to leave the small studio apartment she’s been in for the last three years. ¬†We are awaiting a report — hopefully a positive one.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

P.S.: ¬†24 hours later we stopped off at the Coos Bay Walmart (We tried the local Ace and True Value hardwares) and bought some of these:storage shelves ¬†They seem to do what we need doing. ¬†By dividing the vertical height of most of the lounge storage cabinets we have solved the dilemma of what short items to put in what tall spaces and how not to waste the space. ¬†The depth of the storage shelves is about the same as the depth of the cabinets. ¬† We now have a better solution for cooking pots and for most of the stuff stored in those lounge cabinets. ¬†I won’t say I’m ‘happy’ now — but we definitely have a good start. ¬†They are flimsy things — not as nice as the built in shelves in¬†Journey¬†but they will last a while and perhaps at some point we might make a more substantial version — for now they are a light weight solution in a heavier RV. ¬†Good, good, good.

Old Diary

Another Day Off and a Short Week

Monday is a Federal Holiday so we’re off again.

Thursday we meet Kathryn and Melanie in Portland for a 4 day visit.

So that means this week we work… all of… Tuesday and Wednesday….

The following week the ladies don’t leave until Monday, so we’re still off on Monday. ¬†Another 4 day work week.

Oh how can we bear it?

I thought I’d share the other two loves of my life, our daughter and our grand daughter:

Now who wouldn’t want to spend time with those lovely ladies!

I’m not exactly sure what we’ll do while they’re in town. ¬†Often when we travel together we have an agenda but this time, not so much. ¬†I know the ladies will want to see more of the Oregon Coast, and we don’t get tired of that either. ¬†We’ll try out some food trucks in Portland, go to a big bookstore there, have a few meals out and enjoy the local seafood/cuisine, and certainly show them around our digs here, and in the location to which we’ll be moving. ¬†But mostly we’ll chill I suspect. We have a lot of catching up to do.

I haven’t been taking pictures lately. ¬†Just too busy. ¬†Ironically we have been stopping along the road to just LOOK at the scenery a little more. ¬†When we got here we were pushing to learn our caretaker job. ¬†Then when we found out about the Coordinator opening we were sort of pushing to GET that job. And most recently we have been pushing to dig ourselves out of the hole we got into by OBTAINING the job. ¬†This is kind of the first time since we’ve been out here that life is actually starting to slow down and take on some semblance of a ‘normal’ schedule.

We have sort of settled into regular 9 till noon office time. ¬†Sometimes we’re still there at 1:00 or 2:00 — but I’m pretty adamant about getting out around 2:00 at the latest. ¬†Even once we leave we sometimes have a stop to make on the way home. ¬†Yesterday we left the office at 1:30 and never made the 15 mile return trip to¬†Journey¬†until after 3:00 p.m. ¬† You see something and you stop; or you want to ask a question of a volunteer and ‚Ķ a 1 minute question turns into a 45 minute gabfest — or in the case of one of our volunteers, a complaint session.

The forest service is looking for an honest 20 hours a week from us. ¬†No one has ever said we aren’t working hard enough; and Lord knows we honestly put in a lot more than that because we choose to; call it pride of accomplishment or whatever you want. ¬†But, if we work three to 5 hours a day IN the office and take care of our volunteer visits when we leave we are well over that 20 hours without even trying hard.

I can see that once we get some of the development work out of the way this will be a reasonably easy pace to maintain. It may not sound like it, but it will be.

1229013761The jobs like revising Operating Manuals aren’t going to be that hard — just a lot of photocopying — once we decide how to revise them and simplify them. ¬†I discovered that we have a comb binder. ¬† Yeah — I was snooping around in the warehouse and there it was. ¬†Almost unused. I have been considering converting our looseleaf manuals to comb bound products. ¬†Still thinking on that. ¬†No one takes the pages out and the multiple fingers help prevent pages from falling out for a longer time than three bigger holes do. ¬†We have several large sections that are interchangeable ¬†and rather than put the manuals into a 3″ or 4″ diameter three ring binder it might be a better idea to produce a 1″ host manual with procedures and maps and forms, as well as a separate 1 ” manual with all the MSDS data and power tool manuals and other miscellaneous stuff that rarely get looked at. ¬†The latter are hardly every revised, but the operations manual will always be in a state of flux. ¬†And, 3″ binders don’t last long, they just get abused and disaligned.

Minimalism, Old Diary

Trip Planning Library

20130914-194133.jpgWith all the attention to where we’re going I’ve been remiss about telling you about little changes/improvements in¬†Journey.

Our route planning library has been strewn helter-skelter around Journey ¬†until now. ¬†It dawned on me the other day that the two cabinets above my cockpit are just about the right size to house all our route planning info with a little room left over for bird and plant books. ¬†So, between other projects I took some time to make the move and perhaps be able to find what I’m looking for when I’m looking for it.

Job well done, Peter (he says, patting himself on the back) ūüôā

Minimalism, Old Diary

Giving In To The Centuries Old Camping Tradition


Our new steering wheel table at night

There is no longer practiced tradition among campers ‚Äď even in the days before they were called ‘campers’ ‚Äď than people watching. ¬†We’ve been doing a lot of people watching since we arrived.

It’s amazing how many people walk past your campsite when there are only 38 campsites in the campgrounds! ¬†If they are like us, we take at least two all-around-the-campground walks a day — sometimes more. ¬†We’re putting on at this campground at least 1 1/2 miles for each walk. ¬†That’s not a lot of mileage but you have to bear in mind that it’s also UP and DOWN walking — Highland Ridge is thus called for a very good reason — it’s up on a ridge and there’s enough vertical diversity to keep life interesting.

There’s an unspoken rule of sorts about sitting outside your RV. ¬†Face your chairs toward the road and it’s a signal you’re willing to communicate. ¬†Face your chairs away from the road and you’re telling others you don’t want to be bothered.



I thought I’d show you our new steering wheel table. ¬†The shot at the left shows the table as it sits on the steering wheel. ¬†The shot above shows it as we use it — a place to keep our table lamp and once we start our job as Camp Hosts we’ll keep our printer on the table with the lamp on top of that.

Tomorrow we shadow the departing Camp Hosts even though they don’t leave until Wednesday morning. ¬†Sunday is the busiest day of the week and we’ll be learning what we do, and what we don’t do. ¬†After all, we are hosts — not enforcers. ¬†That’s what the Park Rangers are for. ¬†Monday I get checked out on the Golf Cart. ¬†The Corps is big in safety and safety training is a big part of their ‘thing.’ ¬†Which is good. ¬†I’m all for safety training.

I don’t know how you are about planned changes. ¬†We’ve been known to cruise past the house we were going to buy; or cruise past the new company we were going to work for — and we’re going it again here. ¬†WE make sure we walk past our new campsite — noting little details like where the sewer hookup is, and where the Internet hookup is, or whether there’s room enough for our screen room (which by the way we have not set up since we’ve been here). ¬†It’s fun looking forward to things — like where we’re going to be living for the next 6 weeks. ¬†Even if it’s only 1/2 mile down the road. ¬†For those of you paying attention this is not our shortest move… We once moved only about 200 yards (At Thomson Causeway when we moved from site 125 to 65 out on the point.)

I’ve been thinking about the difference between staying in a place for two weeks and staying for 8 weeks.

I have said this before but we don’t view our life as fulltime RV’ers as a vacation. ¬†There are many things you tend to do on ‘vacation’ that we don’t do. ¬†Ever. ¬†We aren’t big on places or events where there are hordes of people — so we rarely do the ‘touristy’ places. ¬†We are¬†sort of looking for a possible future permanent location so we treat each new location from the standpoint of what would it be like to actually LIVE here. ¬†We snoop around a little bit on our two weeks stays but to be truthful we are less interested in all the cute little places than what the weather, humidity, social climate is like.

Being in a place for as long as 8 weeks means our prime directive can be viewed differently. ¬†we aren’t in as much of a hurry to see what the area is like. ¬†The first week here — before we heard about the Camp Host position we were going every day. ¬†Since then we’ve slowed down. ¬†We have a while and we can think about other things. ¬†I don’t know what the next 6 weeks will be like but we still have places to go and people to see.


I spent most of the morning and into the afternoon working on my reorganizing. ¬†UGH! ¬†I thought I did a good job last year but I’m realizing I scarcely touched the subject. ¬†Today the ugly truth was realizing how many of the same things I brought along even though we had downsized a couple times now. ¬†Just by way of example I have two fishing tackle boxes that I use as parts storage — including such things as COMPUTER CORDS. ¬†I’m finding that I bought along multiple copies of many different cords and I have stored them in various different places in the coach. Much of the day was spend coming across a cord, then realizing I have the same thing in another place, and then going to find those other cords in other places — putting them with like items and then figuring out whether I had an appropriately sized container to put all the like items for longterm storage. ¬†It’s a slow go. ¬†I threw away a bunch of duplicates; I have more to go. ¬†But I feel good about each step forward. ¬†This is going to take longer than I thought. ¬†In the end I hope I’ll know where things are, and where they belong.

So, that’s it for today.

I’ll talk with you tomorrow.