Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We have moved the blog for this Circumnavigation of the USA

For the next year we will be circumnavigating the USA and I have opened up a travelpod blog for this.

Travelpod blog link is here

Sample of Around USA
Not our actual route tho
During the past 3 years, I have not been totally satisfied with Google Blogger for two main reasons.

1) Despite the fact that Google wants me to set my location for each blog entry, I have not been able to figure out how to show that on the actual blog post.

2)  Google forced me to have comments move to its Google + page which is too much trouble to handle and not everyone has a google Plus account for commentaries.

Two of my long time model railroading freinds have used TravelPod blogging service for their recent trips across the USA.

I also like the fact that I can build an email list of those folks who want to get email updates of new posts. Easy to do.

Both of the above Google blog issues are handled with this blogging software.  two main things I don't like about this software is that I have to write too much for the pictures to be included in the body of the blog post. Otherwise they sit at the bottom of each post.  Not the end of the world but not everyone knows to click on the picture to enlarge it.  I will work on this.  The other thing I haven't been able to figure out is how to add tags.  Not the end of the world.  And I can still post to Facebook for folks.

That said, I have moved over to travelpod for our USA circumnavigation.  All the other links work just fine.
I still might post from time to time here.  we will see.

The new travel blog can be found here.

We do dress up occasionally
Blessings from the road


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Day 24 - A blessing, a meeting and the long walk

Finally getting things situated here.  Insurance, vehicle registrations, packing, unpacking, passports renewed, and yes, eating lots of strawberries. LOTS.
Expansion Hall rededication
We also rededicated the Expansion Hall here at Ananda Laurelwood last evening to renew the energy, and open it up to new uses.  I still have my office (in that back corner in photo above).

Love the reflection in the window
 Then we get up real early for weekly leadership meeting online through Google Hangouts with folks in other geographic locations.  Usually we attend remotely via our iPad but this week I got to be here in person with some of the folks.

Today I saw this really cool Chevy.  I don't know much about classic cars but do know this one is a favorite.
 After depositing our quarterly tax payments at the post office, I stopped by our storage locker to check on things.  It is always interesting because, despite the close proximity of the locker to the entrance of the facility, I have to walk way down to the back end punch in the security codes and then walk all the way back down to the front end again to reach our locker.
 Sure enough.  Our household furniture is still there.  Dry and safe.  I was even able to find the box with camera gear boxes in it so I can now sell some extra camera gear.  Didn't find the Blu Ray DVD player because it is way in the back, I think and wasn't about to haul everything out right now.  Oh well.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Day 25 - Nature's Bounty

I love farmer's markets.  Every where we travel, we look for possible markets to support and purchase fresh local foods.  Sometimes the timing works out.
Asparagus from Eastern Washington
Beaverton Farmer's Market is one of the best, especially this time of year.  I brought my new Olympus camera with me to shoot some photos.
Local Beets
Huge it is and well attended.  I forgot to take photos of the booths because it was so busy and crowded.
I just tried to shoot photos of some groupings of wonderful fruits and veggies.
Asparagus Tamale.  Yes it is!  and yummy to boot
And some flowers too.
Flowers for sale
Then I got distracted and here it is Friday and tomorrow is Farmer's market so we do it all over again. Like Ground Hog Day, or The Edge of Tomorrow without guns.
The first of 3 flats we have eaten in the past week
heh, heh.......

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Oh My, What Sweet Lips You Have!

Some random thoughts and photos from past week since I haven't posted in a while.

We have been here in Laurelwood for a week now.  Visiting friends and serving here and there.  Most of you regular readers know our home address is now here at Ananda Laurelwood where education and community is most important.  Not all "Laurelwoodians" live on the property as we do.

The gentlemen farmers
 We visited our long time good friends, Dambara and Manisha, who live just down the street.  Having moved up to Oregon last summer at the same time we did, they bought an acreage and have become "gentlemen farmers".  Last week they bought some Llamas so we went over to meet the new arrivals.
My what soft lips you have!
 I have never before feed a llama.  They have such soft lips.  What fun to sit outside and catch up on happenings the past year while we have been traveling.  Sraddha also is doing more photography.  Mostly with iPhone and she has a great eye.  Better than me.  I am trying to coax her into shooting with our new Olympus camera which is light weight.
Since we were last here, some new folks have come on the scene.  Elizabeth and Ty are from Portland area and she and Sraddha have bonded over the beautification of Ananda Laurelwood so they are planning all kinds of fun projects.
A little garden right outside the cafe
We usually return to the RV after morning meditation to have our coffee and breakfast, but do take some meals in the Green Hill Cafe which serves a delightful fresh vegetarian fare.
Green Hill Cafe lunch time
 One of our other long time friends, Janakidevi, has a vision for a "Yogananda Garden" in the wild areas up on the hill behind where we reside.  This morning we went for a walk with her, bushwacking through the fields and along the dirt road up to the top of the hill to look at possible places for trails and beautiful resting spots for visitors.  I snapped a few pix along the way.
Walking amidst the brambles
She wants to have a large statue of Paramhansa Yogananda created and installed up on the crest of the highest point.  No spring chicken, she envisions this parklike environment where now is mostly brambles.  Admirable.
View from top of hill looking out west towards coastal range
As we were walking around I couldn't help take in the breathtaking beauty all around us.  This planet has a guiding force of grace and beauty everywhere.  If only we can tap into that energy.
beautiful flowers
While up at the crest I shot this short video on my iPhone scanning the vista while she discusses her vision.  sound is not  very good but we will post more later on.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Day 14 - Ananda Laurelwood..Home Sweet Home.... for little while

Miles Driven - 117
Total Miles - 1082
Nehalem Bay State Park to Ananda Laurelwood, Gaston, Oregon

After breakfast, we packed up, dumped the wastes, headed off across the coast range to our "home from home".  I say this because Ananda Laurelwood is where we hope to someday settle down and is the reason we moved out of our home in northern California.  Well not the only reason but it is why we have made our change of address and also moved our household goods up to Oregon into long term storage whilst we roam around the USA.
Our home at Home!!
We will be here in the Portland area for about 5 weeks, commencing our eastward journey east after the Fourth of July weekend to attend a family reunion in Sandpoint, Idaho. In the meantime, we have a lot to do to prepare.  RV and Jeep registration in Oregon, my new Oregon driver's license, a couple of repairs and installs on the RV, etc. We have a to do list of about 30 different things.  We started today with the smog checks of RV and Jeep in Hillsboro before heading out to Laurelwood.  Passsed!
The Big Pines Shelter us from view.  No one even notices us.
In addition, of course, we want to reconnect with many of our friends in the area, and maybe even a few good meals. We have already started to visit.
Beth's Garden in distance.  Blue shack is Chicken Coop
The time will rapidly pass so we actually might have to get a little bit organized.  Forsooth.  Just as I am getting used to letting each come, I will need to figure out which "to do" needs to be done in which order and what is the priorities.  And to be still and calm during this whole process.

Julien's big Solar collector project.  Last incarnation was a satellite dish
 Fortunately I have my partner and many friends, some of which we have already seen.  Off to see what mail and packages greet us today.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Days 10-13 - One Day a Desert Rat, the next Day a Beach Bum

Miles Driven - None in RV  some in Jeep
Total Miles - 975
Still on Oregon Coast - heh, heh

One day we are in the last day of 8 months in dry desert, the next day we are on the beach,  Well, to be precise, 2 days later, but, when you are on the beach, hey, you lose track so easily. Know what I mean?

 One day
Painted Hills In John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon
 Next Day

Manzanita Beach in Oregon

Well, er, uh, ok, no excuses, like being a beach bum.  Perhaps that is why I haven't written in several days.  Sometimes you just need to take a little break which we have here at Nehalem Bay State park on the Oregon Coast.
We actually did something the other day.  We walked the 2 miles to downtown Manzanita and went geocaching.  Remember, I found my very first geocache last week at the Gordon House in Silverton when I wasn't even looking.  So I downloaded the app and, and opened it up to see if anything nearby.

Second GeoCache
Yep, there was one.  A little hunting, we discovered it behind some bushes in front of a home on main street.  Tee-hee.

One thing about the Oregon coast is how favorable the climate is for plants and flowers.  We admire some of the local gardens as we walked around town.
Admiring local garden
 Back home at the "Rancho del Williams", (aka CharLi, aka the RV), We cooked up some grub from local seafood shop.
I love "See Food"  when I see it, I eat it!
Only minutes from the beach I monitored the sunset possibilities, and dashed out to find a good place to watch.  Much of this time of the year is clouded in with fog banks so you have to shoot these when you can. 
El Rancho del Williams
I found a nice little dune which gave off some reflection of suns rays and spent a good 45 minutes watching the sunset and taking photos.  I ruined the shots from regular camera but managed to get a couple with the iPhone.  Never leave home without it.

Today we drove to Cannon Beach about 20 miles north.  We ate some lunch at local places, I had pizza and she had fish & chips.
 We walked out onto the beach near Haystack Rock in hopes of seeing some Puffins.  It is breeding time for many birds.  Unfortunately the tide was in so we couldn't get too close.  I got no useable photos except from iPhone (see droopy camera there).  Through Sraddha's scope, we could see some puffins and Murres, and Pelagic Comorants on the rock.
We headed back south along highway 101. Interesting to note the cloud bank seems to hang permanently over Cannon Beach this time of year, while Manzanita and Nehalem Bay is usually sunny. (Editors note that tonight the clouds moved back in so no sunset.)
looking south towards Manzanita Beach.  Note fog bank further south 
This few days of R&R have been fun.  We spent the mornings walking and also researching and making some reservations for next winters trip to Florida.  Have some fun places booked. It gets crowded down there so wanted to make sure we have some places to stay during peak season.  Mid December through March 2 is now booked.  The rest, we will wing it.

 If you have read this far, I will let you in on a big secret......Promise not to tell anyone? We get to spend my 65th birthday next January in......
wait for it.......

The Florida Keys!!  Woo Hoo

Off to Ananda Laurelwood for a few weeks.  So I won't post daily but hope to put up some photos and some fun things.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Day 11 - Coast Ho with a kinky cable!

Miles Driven - 146
Total Miles - 975
Silver Falls Sate Park to Nehalem Bay State Park on Oregon Coast

The adventure continues.  Did you know that, in California, we used to get our Christmas trees from this area in Oregon.  We drove through miles and miles of farms like this en route to Silverton, Oregon.
We had just left 8 months of being in dry, desert like conditions, to now feeling the soft, moist, soothing air caressing our skin.  mmmmmmm.
Christmas Tree Farms
Upon arriving at David Gortner's home yesterday, in Silverton, we noticed our Jeep brakes were smoking hot.  What is happening here.  We were parked on a downgrade so could not disconnect.  Had been noticing the brake lights remain on the jeep when we stopped earlier and have been doing this for a while. Something is not quite right.

We had our coffee and visit.  Was fun to catch up with David, but the brake issue was in the back of my mind. Just to let you know that we were able to disconnect down on the bottom of his street before driving onto public roads.  Sraddha set up to follow me in Mr. Toad.
The culprit- a kinky cable.  Please excuse the desert dust.  
We then headed to South Salem to shop at Trader Joe's and refuel at a Safeway gas station.  I got on my cell phone, did some research, ended up speaking with the tech support guy for the braking system installed in our rig and did some troubleshooting.  Turns out not an electronic problem. Whew. However, the cable that runs from under the drivers seat to the brake peddle appears to have a little kink in it, so consequently it is sticking a little bit when the actuator initiates during braking of RV and doesn't allow the cable to completely release.  We hope our brake drums are not destroyed.  Will take in for check in Portland.

Sraddha drove the jeep independently without issue all the way to the coast and will drive it back to Laurelwood next week where we will take it into a brake specialist to examine the brake system and fix as needed.
Short Coastal Pine trees lined the drive into the park
I have an appointment in two weeks down in Salem with a dealer who will install a new cable which, hopefully will fix the issue.
our campsite for the weekend.
We will be in Laurelwood for next 5 weeks before heading inland and wanted to be on the beach for a few days so we headed to the coast. By the end of the day, when we arrived, we were ready to be done with the daily adventure.
I did manage to capture the last sun of the day on the beach with iPhone.
May not blog too much over the weekend.  We will see.  Stay tuned!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Day 10 North - A Water fall

We stayed our first night on west side of Cascades at Silver Falls State Park east of Salem.
North Falls from Overlook

This park is known for its 10 waterfalls spread out through the largest state park in Oregon.  
North Falls from other side down the trail
You can hike along the 9 mile trail to see all 10 falls if you have the time.  I hope to return someday to do that.
I got up early in the morning and, after morning tea, drove over to North falls trailhead. The trail leads down UNDER the falls and all around to the other side.
Underneath with mist
I should have brought my earplugs as the roar of the falls was echoed throughout the underside.
Sitting in the back of the cave like area looking out under the fall.
Hiking back up I noticed some beautiful trees with moss growing on limbs.  A true rain forest.
Nearby in the campground, behind our site I walked amidst deep vegetation. We left Silver Falls State Park vowing to return for a longer stay and hikes its trails.  We drove to Silverton through Christmas Tree Farms, to see and former colleague from Ananda Village, David Gortner who lives in the area with his author wife, Lennie Martin.

Then we decided to drive to the coast.  Which is another adventure story.  Stay tuned

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day 9 - Mountains, Rain, the DMV and my first Geocache.

Miles Driven - 176
Total Miles - 829
Ochoco Pass to Silver Falls Sate Park, Oregon

The DMV.  I wish this word didn't send shivers down my spine. Would prefer sending good energy up my spine. That said we have had an interesting saga in our move up to Oregon.

We just discovered two weeks ago that the registration for our Subaru which was left in Oregon, still does not have the license plates.  We had submitted the registration paperwork over 3 months ago, when Sraddha visited Laurelwood.  Come to find out the bank info was left off the form and another co-owner, not named Sraddha or Kent is on the registration.

What the heck is happening here? They also misplaced the file and another name is on the registration in process.  A phone call to DMV and now a visit to Prineville DMV has moved along the process. We now have temporary (60 day) permit to drive the Subaru when we return next week, however not the registration which could take another 4-6 weeks.  Not good since we want to sell the Subaru.  Arghh.

This also makes us gun-shy to transfer the RV registration now which we need to initiate upon return next week.

Rainforest outside our back door here in Silver Falls State Park
Anyway we continued west from Prineville over the Cascades through a driving rainstorm.  The mountains were socked in so no good photos.

North falls from overlook
Overnight we move from camping in deserts for past 8 months to camping in a rain forest. What a difference a day makes!
Trees to the left of North Falls overlook.
We settled into Silver Falls State Park east of Salem, unhooking in pouring rain. Can you say "wet in 30 seconds"?  Later in day we drove to Silverton to see the Gordon House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built after his death.  It was recently moved, yes torn down and moved to its present location.
Gordon House in Silverton, OR
Kent finding his first geocache
Amazing design and color fit so well with greenery around it. While walking around through the tall grass to get a good photo (the one above). I stumbled onto my first Geocache. "What is this?"  It was an old ammo box just like I had read about.  Like a little kid at Christmas, I opened it up to see what was inside.  Having just read about geocaching in  fun book about maps, I was curious about the whole phenomenon.

 Apparently someone hides a, hopefully, watertight container, often a tupperware type, somewhere which contains a small notebook or log and sometimes trinkets or various things.  They then record and publish its GPS location, then others look for it.  Seems a bit strange but I already can see the allure.  So I recorded my "handle" which I made up on the spot, in the log, then downloaded the app and created my account to then record the "find".  Actually fun and Sraddha was laughing the whole time.

Sraddha twisted her knee yesterday on the hike in Blue Basin so we didn't hike the falls trail this afternoon.