Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Beginning our Journey - May 6 - June 15, 2008

The Popeye Express is a marvel of technological achievement; truly a rolling house which allows us to live & have experiences never before imagined. As with all technology, it breaks down. Fortunately, our maintenance this year consists of the mostly mundane, and because of her size, best done by people who understand the systems & have experience.

Dave & Brooke pictured above right after the Salmon Run

The visit to the dealer in Grass Valley CA was brief & allows a visit to Honey’s son & family. Pictured above, Dave & oldest daughter Brooke still sport red faces after their run.

The service date at the Monaco maintenance facility in Harrisburg OR followed shortly, but gave us time to travel up I-5 & stop at the Valley of the Rogue State Park in OR, just south of Grants Pass & north of Medford.

Popeye at the Valley of the Rogue

The high point of this stop is the Oregon Vortex: http://www.oregonvortex.com/. When we were almost a mile away, Lola, our GPS unit, displayed on her screen that we literally “flew” over her. It was a strange site to watch the screen speed up & show that we had not only arrived, but gone past our destination. Vortexes occur in many places, & possibly the infamous Bermuda Triangle may be one. What happens within a vortex area changes your perception. The laws of physics do not change, but only appear to. There is no known scientific explanation for the phenomena.

Heights appear to change when standing on a level platform, and you’d swear water & golf balls are rolling uphill. Using a level confirms that the objects are indeed going downhill, but when you put one end of a plank on a window sill with the other end on the ground and drop water onto it & watch it come back to you, it is a weird phenomenon to witness.

Bob looking "short" on a level platform at the Oregon Vortex

Our next stop is the Cummins maintenance facility in Coburg, just north of Eugene. Here we meet a charmer named Harley, a cat that loves to play. He has more toys than most kids & delights in sneaking around the back of the chair you are sitting in & tapping you with his foot so you will throw one of his toys. His “parents” are pretty cool people as well & are what is known as “full-timers,” meaning they live only in their coach. We all agree that staying in a stationery house can be pretty boring as compared to all the unique people we meet & places seen on almost a daily basis.

In Coburg, we top off our fuel; 106 gallons (we have a 150 gallon tank) & with the cash discount costs $520. Prices have since gone up. I guess this is the price of freedom.

Sunset at Camp Monaco, Harrisburg Oregon

The maintenance stop in Harrisburg should take one week. In reality it takes three & one half. This however affords the opportunity to meet really neat people: the couple from Las Vegas who have their 2 ½ year old grandson in tow & from whom Bob learns the value of calmness; the couple who live in a 45’ coach who are professional exhibition dancers & teachers & travel all over the country & abroad (http://http://www.gphurd.com/) aka the Dancing Gypsies, to mention but a few. Imagine living only in a coach & having all your costumes & dancing shoes!

The Manske family with Grandson Jake

We’ve met more people than we can possibly mention. All are fiercely independent & free thinking. These are people who know the meaning of action & go forth. These are people who can make decisions. These types of people are our heroes!

We leave Camp Monaco & arrive at Newport OR, roughly half way between Florence & Lincoln. Here it is sunny, windy & about 51 degrees outside. We enjoyed the same cool temperatures throughout our stay in Harrisburg, but had rain & clouds without the wind. We re-visited the puffins & other friends at the Oregon Coast Aquarium (http://www.aquarium.org/).

Puffins at The Oregon Acquarium

Historic Bridge, Newport Oregon

Wish we had more time for the coast. We love the historic bridges & lighthouses. Having spent so much time in Camp Monaco, we must move on. Tomorrow, Father’s Day, we move to Grand Ronde, then up to McMinnville, and this time next week will be in Anacortes WA. Hop in your rig & join us. It would be great to get a caravan going!

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