Monday, October 30, 2017

Coalinga to Newberry Springs, CA

Today was a shorter drive than the two previous days.  That was a good thing.  It’s more uninteresting scenery on frequently rough roads.  The route was I5 to CA58 to I15 to I40.  I think next time we come through here we may cut over towards Wasco on CA46 instead of on CA58.  There are a lot of traffic lights on the west side of Bakersfield.  But then that increases the time spent on 99, which is also a horrible stretch of road.  Or maybe we’ll go somewhere else.

The most scenic part of the drive is in the Tehachapi Pass area.  It's about 22 miles of climbing to the top, going down the eastern side, the descent is gentle with no hair raising grades.


This is the site of the Tehachapi Loop.  It was built in the mid-1800s to get the trains up the considerable grades in the area.


We lucked out and got to see a train on the loop.  It’s a miserable picture, taken out of a dirty window on a moving RV, but it was so cool to see this.  One layer of the train is moving to the left, and the other to the right.  It’s the same train, doing the loop.


This is near Mojave, where the wind always blows.


Just past Kramer Junction at the intersection of US395 and CA58, there is new pavement.  This goes all the way to I15 and is a very nice surface.


We’re back at the Newberry Mountain RV park in Newberry Springs.  We like this park, despite its proximity to the freeway and the train tracks.  It’s easy on, easy off.  I would reiterate that the utilities are way in the back, it was another 25 foot sewer run because we did not want to take the truck off the RV.

Sunset tonight.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Redding to Coalinga, CA

Today's drive was straight down I5.  As I sit in my chair writing these words, I feel like someone has been hitting me with hammers.  With the exception of a short stretch of road near Stockton which was recently repaved; the freeway is breaking apart from Sacramento south.  There are deep holes in the pavement and the edges are crumbling in places.  The noise and banging is just debilitating.  I think next year we may go up over Santiam Pass and come south on a more eastern route.  Please make a note of this when trip planning in the future.

It's a very long, very uninteresting drive.  There's not much out here, so there aren't many places to stay.

We're staying at the Almond Tree RV Park, which I have previously reviewed.  The park is looking a little worse for wear.  The drought was tough on the grass.  It's still an ok place to stay, but is less visually appealing than it was.

Premier RV Resort – Redding, CA

How you feel about this RV park (it would be a stretch to call it a resort) will depend on the size of your rig.  When I called and asked for a 65 foot pull through they told me no problem.  What they did not say was that the site has trees on both sides that really need to be trimmed up.  As far as I am concerned, not trimming trees is a cardinal sin for an RV park.

They do have some new super sites, if you’re a 40 foot class A towing a vehicle, you really want to be in the super sites and not in the older part of the RV park.  The road is wider, as are the sites, and there are no tall trees.

Streets in the old part of the park are paved and very narrow.  Sites are paved and very narrow.  Water pressure is good, power is good.  We have four bars of Verizon 4G, but it’s fairly slow.  No data on restrooms, laundry or park wifi.  There are picnic tables at each site.  Utilities are at the back of the site.  We had to use 25 feet of sewer hose to hook it up.

I kind of hated this park, trees that rub my RV just set me off.

The only way I would come back to this park is if I had a super site.  The older part of the park is too small and narrow for us, and I hate the trees.  Forget satellite, too many leaves.  Right now I’m so aggravated about the tree branches touching us, I’m not sure I’d come back, period.


See all of the trees?


The Durango RV park, which is in Red Bluff looked pretty good.  It's south of Redding, but it's not that far. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Harrisburg, OR to Redding, CA

This is sort of a gruesome drive.  It was 335 miles, which is longer than we like to go.  Around Medford, there are four low passes, but they take time because we must control the speed downhill, and then climb up the hill.  The Siskiyou crossing is very tedious with long 6% descents and climbs.  As I have mentioned before, after Dunsmuir there is a lot of descending left to do.  There are some very sneaky corners and sharp unsigned descents.  Eternal vigilance must be maintained until one reaches Redding.

The first two hours were in the fog, really foggy.


Then the sun came out and it was better.  Here we have Mt. Shasta through the bug smeared windshield.


The southern migration has begun.  Tomorrow will be a longer day, but it will be flatter as we press on to Coalinga.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Maintenance is Over for Now

Greetings Earthlings!  The Fall Maintenance Cycle has drawn to a close, and happy we are about that.  The statement of work contracted due to a wrong part being sent from the awning company for a spring replacement.  Then it expanded due to us finding water had leaked in under the slide sweeps during the three days of epic rain in Seattle.  They will have to be replaced in the next maintenance cycle.  The other expansion of the SOW came when the replacement of the grey tank knife valve turned into a total replacement of both handles and the upstream Y fitting due to a crack.  That expansion was expensive, as it took three hours to do.  It’s all done now, we’re scheduled to return the last week in June for new slide sweeps and new slide toppers, and what ever else breaks in the interim.

Most of the days were cold and damp.  The Willamette Valley gets some amazing fogs this time of year.




One day the sun came out in the afternoon.  We’re looking up the river, that’s the RV park in the distance


Tomorrow we’re heading south, to where the weather is warmer and dryer.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

In Harrisburg

We’re in Harrisburg, OR.  It was not a terrible drive.  Sometimes that route can just be horrendous, but today was painless. 

Interesting sky, eh?


We’re here for motorhome maintenance  Hopefully it will not rain on us during the process.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

More Rain and Migrating South

We’re on storm number THREE!!!!!!!!  Yay!  It rained all last night, it rained most of today, and now it is pouring.  I am so hoping it won’t be pouring in the morning, that will suck so much.  Wet departures just put me in a bad mood for the entire day. 

There was some fall foliage to be seen in Issaquah.


Today the foothills were draped in clouds.


This was taken at about 1600 hours.  This is just the quintessential GPNW afternoon.  The air is full of water thrown up by the car tires, and from the rain.  It’s dark. The foothills are obscured by clouds.  The clouds were pretty much down on the ground.


This is our last night in Issaquah – tomorrow we begin the trek south.  Happy we are about that.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Atmospheric River of Water

It’s wet here!  It’s been raining since yesterday. There is a 5,000 mile atmospheric river of water coming towards the GPNW. You can read about it here at the Washington Post.  There is a picture of the river crossing the Pacific Ocean.  I’m not sure what those spikes are, I guess it’s where they stitched the images together. 

river of water

Anyway, we’ve had wind and as of this writing, we’re having rain of biblical proportions.  Tomorrow is supposed to be bad, Friday is supposed to be better.  Round two starts on Saturday and continues through Sunday; which is just PERFECT.  We’re planning on leaving on Sunday to head towards Harrisburg, OR for semi-annual maintenance. 

Jim is not yet 100%.  There is a question as to whether he’ll be able to attach the truck to the RV.  We may caravan to the RV park instead of towing the pick up.  I am thinking I don’t want to find out if we can hitch in the pouring rain.  The main thing is that we must get out of here!

Saturday we put all the tire covers and the grill and etc. away while they were dry.  Happy we are about that decision.  This is what lives in the tire covers.


There were several of these, and they all run really fast.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Return to West Seattle

Today was the penultimate good day.  Tuesday it starts raining, multiple systems will be moving through from the west.  Wednesday and Thursday promise to be gruesomely wet and windy.  More mall walking in our future. 

We went to the other end of Alki today.  It seemed like half of Seattle was there, celebrating the decent weather.  We started out walking through Jack Block Park.  It’s a nice park with good views of the city, the cranes and industrial stuff.  At one point this ramp was used to load rail cars on to barges.  Then they would barge elsewhere.  The other barge on the right appears to be used for gravel or sand.


Look how clear the water is.  We left West Seattle in 2006 and the water did not look like this.  It was murky and oily.  This is what can happen when various government agencies decide a thing needs to be done.  I’m going to miss clean water, now that the administration is repealing all of those horrible EPA regulations.


The city of Seattle. One of the stories the politicians told the populace when they were selling the idea of replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel, which would remove two lanes of traffic, is that the tunnel would “open up the city to the water.”  Examine the edge of the city, note that buildings spring up at the edge of the water.  There is not going to be any new water access, a complete load of poles was sold by the supporters of the tunnel.


We think an old dock is being removed here.  There’s no signage suggesting what might be occurring.


The state ferry system has had its problems lately.  Mid photo is a ferry in dry dock.  Two are down for repairs which just messes with the schedules something terrible.


That’s a Washington State Ferry on the left.  To the right, that blue and red striped boat is a bulk carrier.  She’s taking on grain at the grain terminal.  Behind the grain terminal, up the Queen Anne Hill, is an enclave of very wealthy people.  The grain terminal offends them.  About ten years or so ago they were agitating for art to be projected on to the terminal to make it more attractive.  They wanted the city to pay for it.  That idea got no where.


Dog heaven.  There is much smelly stuff on the beach for a dog to dig up and roll in.  Look at the wet sand clumped on his feet.


The water taxi.  I’m not sure why it’s not a ferry, but a taxi.  It’s a great thing.  People in West Seattle can take it in to Seattle for sporting events, restaurants, or even work.  It started out with a smaller boat that only ran in the summer, but now it’s part of the fleet and people use it for the commute.


The mountain (Mount Rainier) was sort of out today.  On a really clear day it’s a stunning sight from the I90 floating bridge.


So that was today.  Yesterday we put away the grill and some other stuff so that we wouldn’t have to do it in the rain.  Tomorrow is laundry and dumping the black tank.  Yay.

Friday, October 13, 2017

New Technology are Us

Greetings Earthlings!  It has been a few days of technology.  Jim’s laptop died some time ago, then the backup Dell he was using died.  Then my laptop entered the death spiral.  So, two new HPs were purchased.  Things have changed in the laptop world.  Spinning disk is on the way out, being replaced with solid state disk and backing up to the Cloud.  That’s all well and good if you don’t have data caps.  So, that’s what I’m being told about laptop storage.

The HP is not without its drawbacks.  The form factor has changed.  Look in the bottom left corner.  See how the lid wraps around and down?  That edge is really sharp.  If, like me, you sit in a recliner with the laptop on your thighs, it’s really painful.


I decided to go to the Microsoft store and see what they had.  There was a Dell, which was less uncomfortable so I bought that.  It was really expensive, but was on sale.  Try as I might, I could not bond with that laptop.  The touch pad is just atrocious.  Today it went back.  We were really expecting to have to argue, answer questions, have them haul it out of the box and inspect it and be generally aggravated.  Nope.  The kid took the bag at the front door, walked it back to the desk, refunded the money and wished us a nice day.  We were stunned.  They really mean it when they say bring it back within 30 days if you don’t like it.

It was weird, the Dell had the 6 point font in Open Live Writer.  The HP has it at 10 points.  I downloaded from the same site, but it downloaded differently.

So the PC odyssey is over, a piece of closed cell foam pipe wrap is providing enough cushion to save me from that sharp edge.

Yesterday Jim’s phone died.  The battery was done.  Look at the evolution of phone size.  The black shape on the left is the old phone.  In the middle is mine.  On the far right is the new Droid.  Apparently people live their lives on the phone, so they need a bigger screen.  It’s hard to hold. Verizon is so annoying.  After leading us to the $700 phone (!) they started telling us how the monthly payment could be lowered with the purchase of other items.  We got the hard sell on their version of Onstar (which bills monthly) and a tablet (which generates a line fee), I’m not sure how the savings were going to manifest.  We ended up with a phone that’s been on the market for 18 months and it’s good enough and a lot cheaper.


The camera is pretty good.  The next three are from the new phone.  This is a tiny crop of a hydrangea.


More fancy shoes at Nordstrom.  I can not even imagine…..


A Chihuly hanging at the Lincoln Center shopping area.


We’ve been doing a fair amount of walking in Bellevue.  We saw this at Macy’s.  It’s not even Halloween!


Other than this paltry offering, I have nothing of any real import to report. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

I need some Live Writer Help

The font when I am editing a post looks to be a 4 point or less font.  I can barely see it.  Does anyone know how to enlarge it during edit.  Help!


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Rain and a Walk in West Seattle

Yesterday was an irritable day.  It rained, it was windy and I spent the day glued to the couch wrestling with our new lap tops.  Then last night we had a line of thunder storms go through.  There was impressive thunder and lightning for about an hour.  It was the kind of rain that you have to holler over because it’s so loud.  At one point it took satellite reception out because the rain was so heavy.

I am very taken with this radar image.  The pink areas are snow.

rain storm

Today it was necessary to go somewhere.  We’re now tired of Bellevue, so we drove over to West Seattle.  This is terminal five.  It’s been empty for years.  At first they said the tenant had been moved to another terminal so they could install larger cranes.  Now it appears that there is no current tenant and there is push back on spending the money for modernization.  Some people have gone so far as to suggest that the Tacoma port should get the shipping traffic.   I suppose there is a desire to build condominiums there.  It is sad to see it abandoned.


We lived in West Seattle for ten years.  For the first 9.5 years we just loved it.  When I would crest the Admiral Hill and see this view, my blood pressure would drop and I could shrug off the day and be happy.  As traffic volumes grew, Jim’s commute grew longer and he began to chafe a little at how much time he spent in the car.  At that point I was telecommuting, so it was not a problem for me.  We decided to pull the plug and sell.  The neighbors had quit taking care of their yards, horse tails (a very invasive weed) were everywhere as were blackberries.  We made money on the house, and we were happy to find a rental on the east side.  Our other thought was that if we retired, we wanted to not be owning real estate. We closed in June 2006, which turned out to be the height of the housing boom before the collapse of the global economy.  The market has rebounded with a vengeance as have property taxes.  Our old house is currently paying $9,962 a year.  That would be burdensome for a retiree on a fixed income.


It was a glorious day.  We walked about a mile or so up the beach at Alki, and then stopped for lunch in a Vietnamese restaurant.  That’s the Space Needle on the right.  On the far right is a string of condos.  On the far left is the grain terminal.


This plant has a pretty blossom.


Look at the guy lower right in the photo.  See the round thing he’s riding?  It’s some off shoot of a Segway.  I would like to see him get on it without falling over.  It moves pretty quickly.


This house is 1,600 square feet with 2.5 baths.  It is on the water.  It’s listed for $2.67M.


It’s very nice inside, and they have a killer view.  In the summer they do get the setting sun, which can be brutal.

house 3

This is what they see at night.  It’s a stunning view.  It just seems like a lot of money for such a small house.

house 1

This is the taken from the West Seattle Bridge heading back to the east side.  This is the Duwamish waterway.  It’s an industrial part of town.  It’s highly polluted from years of people dumping everything in the water.


It was just a delightful day.  I think we’ll go back over there and walk from the other end of Alki.  It’s nice walking, it’s flat and there is a lot to look at.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Unbearable Windows 10

I’m on hour SIX configuring two, yes two, new laptops using the heinous Windows 10.  Jim had to go for a walk to escape the sounds of me grinding my teeth.

One thing that almost made me throw up was the discovery that Picasa is no longer stored in  They have it for Mac, but not Windows.  I found another place to go get it on the web.  Malwarebytes let it through, so I’m assuming my brand new pc is not infected.  So, hang on to this if you’re a Picasa fan and you think you’ll ever need another computer.  On the right side of the page is a pick for Windows, use that download method unless you actually know what Torrent is, which I don’t.

Updated 6/23/2018:  Scroll down when you get to this URL.  There is a big black page that says that you can't interact with the files, but you can.  Just scroll down and you will see this.


Picasa interacts differently with the Windows 10 file system than it did with 7 which is also making me crazy.  It has quit raining (again) maybe it’s time for a walk.

Updated 6/23/18:
I have found two more places with the Picasa installer.  Haven't tried either one, but for future reference here they are.
And a link. 

I think both of these links are pointing at the same downloader.
And a link.

Updated 3/15/19:   If you click on the second "and a link" it will take you to  The screen will say file type not supported.  Hit download anyway, it will download.  I don't know if it will be able to find picasa code or not.  I don't want to try it on this pc because I don't want to take any chances with my current software.  My password for Box (I downloaded and uploaded the loader to Box, in case it vanishes from here) is the round thing on the wall that I can see while typing.  Userid is my gmail account.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

More People

These three photos of apartments under construction are all of the same project.  We were in a part of Bellevue where we rarely go this afternoon and we saw this.  It’s enormous, they cover more ground than a city block.


Can you imagine what traffic is going to be like when all those people leave to go to work in the morning?  No streets have been built or widened.


Where do all of these people come from?  Seattle, Bellevue and Issaquah are all building apartments like there is no tomorrow.  Tucson is building like crazy.  Where do all of these people come from?  The birth rate is fairly flat, are they using 3-D printers to make people?


And here we have a frog riding a rhinoceros beetle.  I love the internet.