Sunday, May 31, 2009

Valley of the Rogue State Park – MOC Rally

After our week at Lake Siskiyou, not everyone could continue on, but 21 trailers from our Montana Rally (MOC) headed to the Valley of the Rogue State Park in Oregon. We picked up some additional people at Valley of the Rogue, because not everyone was able to get reservations for Lake Siskiyou.

We were only staying in the area for three nights, which was good thing as the temperatures were in the mid-90s. On a hot day what could be better than a jet boat trip on a river. Our MOC group got together and went down the Rogue River to Hellgate. Hellgate is where the Rogue begins to narrow into a canyon. The trip was 36 miles long and took a couple of hours. The driver of the boat would spin, turn or jump wakes of other boats periodically to get everyone in the boat wet. Being wet and going 60 MPH on the river can certainly cool you off. NO ONE COMPLAINED about being wet!

The above picture was taken by the Hellgate Jet Boat Excursion people. The large group in the back half of the boat is 27 of our 44 MOC people.

On the second day at Rogue River State Park, Kathy and 7 other people from the group went on a tour of Fire Mountain Gems. This is an internet company that is to beaders what is to readers. (Kathy shops here often!)

I spent most of the day installing a battery monitor with the help of John Shepphird from our MOC group. John had not only recently installed a battery monitor in his trailer, but is one of those people that can fix anything. A battery monitor allows you to know how much power each light bulb or appliance is using and how much power is left in your batteries. This isn’t very important when plugged into shore power as we are now, but is VERY important when boondocking or dry camping as in Quartzsite.

Valley of the Rogue State Park is bordered on the south by the Rogue River and on the north by I-5. It is has many grassy meadows and mature trees. Even though the temperature was in the mid-90s we did see several birds both in the state park and while on the river:

Bird list:

Osprey (several in many locations along the river)

Song Sparrow

American Raven

Common Crow

Western King Bird

Great Blue Heron

Belted Kingfisher

Bald Eagle

Common Merganser

Canada Geese

Cliff Swallow


Bullocks Oriole

The next stop on our MOC Progressive Rally is Coos Bay on the Oregon Coast where the daytime high is literally 32 degrees cooler than the daytime high at Rogue River.


Slideshow from our Jet Boat Trip

Thursday, May 28, 2009

MOC Lake Siskiyou Rally Part 2

After the 3 day weekend hoards left and it was so QUIET!

Lake Siskiyou is a very nice setting with Mt. Shasta just across the lake, but when full the sites are too close together. Of course, this past weekend was FULL. The weather was fantastic low 80s during the day, so there were a lot of day use people as well as the people camping for the weekend. We had all of the usual holiday weekend stuff, kids running and bicycling all over the place. Every other site had to have their own personal campfire starting at 6 PM, even if it was still in the high 70s and still light out. The REAL problem of the weekend was a Harley Club. Half of the group was tent camping at the top of the campground and the other half were in cabins down by the lake.  None of these people ever walk and Harleys are always noisy. They must have made 1,000 trips a day up or down the road running through the campground. Fortunately they all left about 7 AM on Monday morning and it was quiet after that.


Along with checking out the microbrewery, invading a local Mexican restaurant with 48 for dinner, and visiting a REAL GOOD sandwich place called Billy Goats Tavern twice, we did manage to do a little birding. I think we saw what would be expected for the area. Sorry no pictures, I am still too new with the new camera to getting bird pictures. Not to mention they were up at the top of all of the tall pines! Even with a zoom, it didn’t matter! The Bird list includes: Western Tanager, Warbling Vireo, Dark-eyed Junco, American Robin, Stellar’s Jay, White-breasted Nuthatch, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Green Heron, Great-blue Heron, Great Egrets, Western-wood Peewee and an unidentifiable Empidonax flycatcher.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

MOC Lake Siskiyou Rally Part 1

This year is the 5th annual Montana Owners.Com (MOC) Memorial Day Weekend Rally at Lake Siskiyou near the town of Mount Shasta California. The town and Lake Siskiyou are at about 4,000 feet on the slope of Mt Shasta. We have a total of 33 Montana trailers, 66 people and I would guess about 25 – 30 dogs in attendance. We are all located in the same loop of the campground, but there are other people here as well that no doubt feel over run by Montana Owners.

These Rallies are a chance to reunite with friends that we saw while in Quartzsite and to meet in real time friends that we have just written to over the Internet in the Montana Owners Forum.

Although the “Official” start of the rally is Friday evening at 6 PM, about a third of the group arrived on Wednesday (including us), another third arrived on Thursday and the final third have been coming in throughout the day. I would have loved to get pictures off all of the trailers together, but there are just too many trees to get more than a couple trailers at a time.

One of the many advantages to being retired and fulltimer RVers is that we can arrive 3 days before and leave 3 days after a 3 day weekend. As you can imagine this really reduces the amount of traffic we have to deal with during these long weekends.

Another great advantage is you visit places during the week when they are less busy and people have time to just chat. This afternoon we had one of those special encounters. As anyone who has read our blog for very long knows we collect Microbrews, we seek them out as we travel to try the local beers.

Today we visited the Mt. Shasta Brewing Company in the town of Weed California. Weed is about 10 miles from Lake Siskiyou and is named after Abner Weed who opened one of the first lumber mills in 1897 and then built a railroad to his mill. I know this being California, you may have thought it was named after a different kind of weed.

While visiting the Mt. Shasta Brewing Company, Kathy struck a conversation with a lady sitting near us and the only other person at the tasting room at the time and we found out that she (Barbara) and her husband are the owners and founders of the Mt. Shasta Brewing Company. She gave us a firsthand account of how they converted an abandoned Creamery, a hazards waste site, in to an award winning microbrew. Barbara went on to tell us how they had a Federal case filed against them for producing Weed Amber Ale and putting bottle caps on it that said “Buy Legal Weed”. The Amber Ale is named after the town founder Abner Weed. Barbara and her husband did win the case, but it is a unique experience for any new startup business to be taken to Federal court.

Slide show MOC Lake Siskiyou Rally Part 1

Kathy adds:

Barbara was a neat lady! They didn't know a thing about making beer when they bought the Old Creamery! Fortunately, you can hire a Brew Master and she lets her husband check "Quality Control"! :) We told her we were on a reconnaissance trip to check out "things to do and see in the area" for our RV Club. Her eyes lit up and said, "Do call before you come so that we have enough staff! But yes, we have plenty of room!!" 

While enjoying the sampler of their brews, you can enjoy watching the brewery in action! They were doing something with the hops when we were there! All of a sudden there was this hoppy aroma!  We both love hoppy beers, so it wasn't an unpleasant fragrance!

link to brewery:

Little did they know when the bought the property there were all kinds of "hazardous waste" to be removed and certified safe by the State of California BEFORE they could start brewing. However, their hard work has proven out well by getting first and second place awards from the Western Region competitions of microbrews! They had food to eat while you sampled munchies food to keep the blood alcohol in check! But they prefer to focus on the ales and not as a restaurant. What a tasty field trip! :)

I had told her we were a group of 33 Montana Fifth Wheel Owners, staying down at Lake Siskiyou. Explaining that we were on a "Progressive Rally" up to Oregon, checking out local areas. Funny thing is, she was envious of us! She said, "Man, if we could sell this place, that's the first thing I would want to do, go off in our RV and travel!!"  

I had to laugh! One of Grant's dreams for an alternate career opportunity 20 years ago was to open the "Coyote Creek Brewery" near IBM in San Jose!  But then IBM closed their plant and that was end of that idea!

On our way back to camp, it made me really enjoy this life style! We've gone to several places on the off hours and you can really kibbutz with the proprietors and get to know people that do something entirely different than our life style in our "work lives". From the bus driver on our trip from Skagway to the Yukon, who memorized everybody's name, quoted Robert Service and did standup comedy, too! He really was trying to get a job ON the ships!  Or the lady in Nevada that told us about her life in Alaska as a gold miner! This little bitty lady, half of my size, could drive a big earth mover?! Every day is an adventure!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kathy Update, New Photographer added to blog staff and Monterey California

Kathy Update

Kathy had a bit of a setback. Since the surgery she has had no pain. Even while she was in the hospital, she never even eeded aspirin. Early Monday morning of last week she was awaken by a pain similar to what she had back in January. Fortunately, the surgeon was able to see her Monday afternoon. He said that the pain and the area it was in is not uncommon after having a gallbladder removed and that it should pass in a few days. “Apply a heating pad and it should relieve it!” He also said that if it gets worse or continues beyond a week that they would do an ultrasound; so far so good. We are planning to leave here on Tuesday 19th.

Our first stop will be Lake Siskiyou near the town on Mt. Shasta, California for the Annual Montana Owner’s.Com Forum Members Memorial Day Weekend Rally. We will get to see many of the people we were with back in January at Quartzsite and meet MOC members that were not able to come to Quartzsite. After being in one spot for almost 7 weeks we are anxious to get back on the road and continue our adventure.

 New Photographer added to blog staff

Almost every one of the literally thousands of pictures that have appeared in our blog and the attached slideshows were taken by Kathy. There have only been a very few occasions when she has allowed me to borrow her camera to take an occasional picture. She decided to give me my birthday present a month early and bought me a camera of my own (This may be to stop me from asking to borrow hers). So starting with this blog entry some of the pictures will be Kathy’s and others will be mine. I don’t plan on designating which is which as I do the blog so, to help you know which is which, here are some guidelines. If the picture you see looks like one of the many great pictures Kathy has taken in the past, then it is one of Kathy’s pictures. If however you see a picture that is spectacular, that you say to yourself “this picture should be on a calendar”, that is one of mine. LOL

Monterey California

Monterey is like a second hometown to us. In the 30 years we lived in San Jose we made at least monthly trips to Monterey. When we got our small 17 foot travel trailer we went to Monterey almost every weekend. Since Kathy was feeling better and I wanted to try out my new camera, we went to Monterey for the first time in almost two years. We visited many of our old haunts in Monterey and Pacific Grove. We walked Cannery Row and the bike path to Lover’s Point. We watched the waves and the birds a Point Pinos.(Spanish for Pines.) We also took a nostalgic visit to Fishermen’s Warf where we departed from on many Whale Watching and pelagic birding trips. This was by far the most walking that we had done since before Kathy had her surgery in January. When we were done all three of us were tired and sore. Raider got into the truck for the ride home and passed out. He did not want to go for his usual evening walk when we got back to the trailer. Monterey was spectacular as always!

See the slide show of our visit to Monterey