After travels: repairs and mods

Hatchback struts fail

After 9 years, the hydraulic struts on the hatchback lift gate failed.  I never realized how heavy the hatchback is!  Luckily, in the pile of wood that a family was selling after their camping trip was a perfect stick for temporarily holding up the lift gate.

I ordered replacement struts on Amazon, watched a You-Tube on how to replace them, and, once home, replaced the struts in about 5 minutes!  I was very proud of myself.

Addition to my solar setup.

My solar setup works great in sunny places where I can charge both 12 volt batteries from the panel on my car.  But all the campsites I had in August were very shady - so much that I had to move the car during the day to sunny place so that at least one 12v battery (the AGM in the back of the car) would get charged.  I hope that the trailer battery would charge up overnight from the AGM battery.  But, while I had plenty of power in the trailer, the house battery kept discharging to dangerously low levels.  

So, my next plan is to augment my solar set up with a 50w panel wired directly to the trailer battery for those shady days.  Hopefully, I'll get enough charge(even in the shade) to keep the house battery safe while still having the fully charged AGM to meet my power needs.

Playing the tourist in Portland

Historic Columbia River Scenic Byway
I had forgotten what a beautiful drive this is!  Begun in the early 1900's, this old highway winds it's way along the south side of the Columbia River through the forest passing by numerous waterfalls and along the cliffs with great views of the river.  Lunch under the Bridge of the Gods, or continue on to Hood River to continue the drive around Mt Hood and visiting wineries and fruit stands along the 'fruit loop'.

Bridal Veil Falls

View from Crown Point

And, no trip to the Gorge is complete without a visit to Bonneville Dam and the massive fish hatchery. Visiting the giant sturgeon (the biggest over 70 years old and something like 450 pounds!) is a step backward in time - sturgeon have been around for about 400 million years.

Chapman Elementary School - Vaux Swifts
Along their annual migration, many thousands of Vaux Swifts take a break in Portland during September.  They bed down in the schools chimney every night by the thousands!  And thousands of Portlanders gather every night to watch them roost.  Bring a picnic, watch the kids sled down the hill on cardboard, wait for the thousands of swifts to gather and swarm around, then funnel down into the school's chimney.  Quite a sight.

August Travels

Waldo Lake - second deepest lake in Oregon!

And one of the clearest - you can see over 100 feet down into the water.  There are no inlets/outlets; the lake is fed entirely from rainfall and snowmelt.  It's truly a jewel.  Reservations are hard to come by - we wait by the computer and reserve at the earliest possible moment.  It was worth the wait, 4 days of perfect weather, paddling, evening campfires and beautiful sunsets with 4 longtime friends!

Lots of little coves for the boats

"How delightful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterwards" Spanish proverb

Sun through the trees behind one of our campsites

Beautiful end to a great day!

Fish lake recreation area near Klamath Falls

Next I traveled to Fish lake reservoir to meet up with a friend I met last winter in Arizona.  Fish lake reservoir was very low - a disappointment for paddling.  But we went to Klamath Marsh and spent several hours watching birds - White Pelicans, cormorants, ibis, herons, merganzers, mallards, etc.

Julia identifying birds
This guy was pretty casual about us invading his hunting area.

Crater Lake

I'm embarrassed to admit that in the 30+ years that I've lived in Oregon, this was my first visit to Crater lake!  Hiked a bit around the rim and took the 33 mile drive around the rim.  It's as blue as they advertise.  One of the deepest lakes in North America.

Gull Point FS Campground on the N end of Wickiup Reservoir

Next up was another reservoir with not a lot of water, but plenty of birds to watch.  Paddling in these low water reservoirs is a bit awkward due to the steep drop-offs way below the normal beaches; but the bird watching was pretty terrific even though it's a bit early for the big migrations.

Early morning fisherman

Over Labor Day Weekend, a friend drove over and camped with us so she could get in a few days of fishing.  Campfires, 'smores and lots of day touring around the Lava Lands Scenic area.  The High Desert Museum is good for a 1/2 day of entertainment and education.  The area around Bend and La Pine is chock full of volcanoes and neat volcano-related activities.  We walked about 4500 feet down into a Lava Tube, visited the Newberry Calderra, hiked through an Obsidian flow and the Lava Cast Forest (a forest was consumed by lava leaving cast images of the trees in lava).
Rebecca fishing on Crane Reservoir
Looking out the Lava River Cave - take LOTS of flashlights!

Hiking through the Obsidian Flow

Finally, the Sisters, Oregon Folk Music Festival!

This was the 19th year for the Folk Festival and it did not disappoint!   About 3500 people descend on the little town of Sisters for 3 days of music - an unusual aspect of this festival is the number of venues that open up all over town for musicians.  3 large tents and 4 or 5 smaller venues give this festival an intimate feel.  This years favorites include David Francey, Heather Maloney and Darlingside, Caravan of Thieves, Ruth Moody Band, Eric Bibb and SO many more!!

Camping on my friend Rainey's property outside of town is becoming a lovely tradition - a beautiful and peaceful break from the crowds and non-stop music in town.