Sunday, September 28, 2008

Maybe It Was A Bear

That last post probably confused everyone. I was in the middle of a camper heater project, if you remember back to when we first bought the camper, we had to get a few things fixed that were not installed correctly at the factory. One was a switch located on Linda’s side of the bed that would turn on the heater, in the morning, when it was cold, while she was still in bed. Pre heating the camper prior to leaving the warm cozy covers is a very luxurious thing and something we really wanted in the new camper. The switch never worked, and even though I had taken it into R & R RV, they never fixed it. I even have a repair receipt that states that it was fixed. Glad I didn’t have to pay for that.

I had been messaging a fellow NATCOA member, who owned the same style camper, and he was comparing his wiring to what I was missing. Being fluent in blogger and not so good at posting on the Truck Camper website, I directed him (Paul) to our blog and posted my comments there. It worked and Paul was able to give me information on how to fix the switch. Now when Linda gets up at 4:00 AM to make my coffee, cook me breakfast, and put another log on the fire, the camper will be nice and warm.

There is something about waking up and having coffee while you look out the camper window and see the cool clear water of a river flowing by, or maybe the sun coming up over a glass smooth lake with the Selkirk range in the background. I can’t say what my favorite view has been. I remember the red rock vista of Escalante Utah where the blue sky met the red rock spires. Then that reminds me of the BLM campground in Moab area where we looked out at the Colorado River that drifted by a 300 foot sandstone cliff separated only by the green of the Tamarisk bush. I can’t forget the view of the Palouse from the Huckleberry Mountain road side pull off when we camped up on Skyline Drive in Mary Minerva McCroskey Park. How about the view from our campsite at the RV Park on Vancouver Island when we came back from fishing with John and Loretta at Port Hardy, that was a stellar view of the inland passage. There have been so many views and vistas, places where we could sit and enjoy each other’s company and share our love for each other, our dogs and the wonderful life we have built.

We are camped up the Coeur d’Alene River this weekend at the Teddy Creek area. We actually got the best site in this area and were able to find some good wood to supplement the dry stuff we brought with us. Our fire the first night lasted until about 8:00 PM, or should I say we lasted until that time and then we called it a night. Linda took the dog for a late walk as I cleaned the kitchen. We kept in contact via the radios so she would not be so nervous. About ten minutes into her walk she radioed back that there was something up there and they were heading back in a hurry. I turned all the lights on and went out to meet the intrepid duo. Linda said it was probably a deer, but she was not taking any chances. We went to bed and read; Linda fell asleep first, again. I had to tug to get the book from her grip so she could sleep comfortably.

We slept the entire night with only one brief trip to the bathroom, where we took to opportunity to add a blanket to the bed. I woke up at dawn and looked across the river. Still groggy, I thought I saw a bear coming down to the water. I watched it without my glasses and I was sure it moved. Getting up to get my glasses I woke Linda and we jumped out of bed to spot the critter. We looked, but there was nothing. We jumped back into bed and fired the, newly repaired, on switch for the furnace and heated our home.

The furnace worked wonderfully, but we have to work on the getting up sequence. We shouldn’t jump out of bed in the cold and jump back into bed, then fire up the furnace. We have never had that luxury so it will take practice, and I really thought I saw a bear!

Linda and Kobi went for a walk while I blogged. When they came back Kobi was a mess. Linda said that little pup hit every mud puddle around, and there are some huge ones! Kobi was in one of his massive puppy circle moods and he was ripping it up back at camp. Linda said that on their walk she saw some bear scat that was real fresh, like early this morning fresh! Maybe that animal last night was a bear, and maybe I wasn’t dreaming when I woke up and spotted a bear across the river.

We sat around the fire and I got my fishing gear together. The three of us walked up river to an area we have camped sever times before. It is one of my favorite camp spots due to the way the river runs past. You camp on a rock beach, which is why Linda does not like it, and the river comes down and makes a turn up against a large rock face that sits directly across from the site. There is a nice pool at the bottom of the riffle and your view down river is of the green banks of the Cd’A. I fished the riffle and the hole, only getting one fish. It was a nice sized Cut, with a vivid red swash down its belly.

As we hiked back to camp we picked up some more wood that was in an unused camp site. We are becoming great wood scavengers and with the wood we brought from home we have no worries about having morning fires and early fires at camp.

Back at the camper I made tostadas for lunch while Linda started her home work. When I finished I walked down river and fished for a while. Linda remained in camp and she and Kobi finished their home work. Kobi’s home work is to go into the bushes around the camp site and pull out everything he can find that has been hidden for years there. Bottles, cans, sticks, paper, cardboard, anything that he can carry or drag comes out for Linda’s approval. When the Bennett’s leave a campsite, we leave it clean.

When I returned from fishing we all went for a walk which took us around the Teddy Creek peninsula. We returned to our home and I made dinner while Linda read and Kobi searched. It grew dark and with the departure of the sun the temperature dropped. I think we made it to about 8:00 PM again, before we crated the dog and went in to bed. Tonight was shower night so Linda cleaned up first and I showered shaved and hit the sack. It’s a great feeling to go to bed clean and tired.

Linda and Kobi headed out side early Sunday morning. They made a great fire, Linda doing the making, Kobi doing the searching. Within about ten minutes Kobi had found a tennis ball of all things. So the rest of the morning Linda read by the fire and tossed the ball, I stayed in the camper and blogged with my coffee. This has grown to be our morning routine. It relaxes us and rejuvenates our souls so we are ready to face the coming week.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Paul and the Bad Bed Switch

Hi Paul, here is what I have. The first picture is from under the refrigerator. Double click on the picture and it will get bigger.

Like yours the two blue wires come out of the heater and are spliced, they both go to the one brown wire. They connect inside to the black and white wires within the brown one. There also are red and yellow wired coming out of the heater, I don’t know what the do.

The next picture is of the connections in the thermostat. Shows a red and brown wire going out the back through the wall.

In the next photo showing the back of the wall, the two wires come out (They look red in the picture)they then drop down and split and are connected to the black and white wires in the brown covered wire, (shown in the final picture) this is the wire that runs to the heater unit.
Note in this picture there is a wire that has a brown cover but is not hooked up. I tested this wire and it is connected to the switch by the bed. So it looks like they did not hook it up at all. The switch doesn’t work because it is not connected.
With the switch wire ending up right at the back of the thermostat, where would you think it should be spliced into the system?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Priest Picts

If you are ever wondering just why Linda and I go out every weekend and explore the area around us, this will answer some of your questions. Today we saw a tree that was covered with shoes. Have you ever visited a tree that is covered with hundreds of old worn out shoes? Then if you never have, you should, and if you have visited this Cedar tree covered in history, you understand the fruits of weekend exploration.

Staying at home and relaxing on weekends is fine, but if we had been ones to take that path we would have never visited the Freemont Street Bridge Troll, in Freemont, WA, and in that same regard, the Priest Lake Shoe Tree .
Exploring and visiting oddities of the region sometimes comes with another past time, Geocaching. We visited the Shoe Tree because there is a cache hidden near within fifty yards of the shoe depository. This humorous site is one of the byproducts of getting out and looking for caches. On the way to find the tree we also found a cache called, Bigs Flat Tire Blues Cache (song not included). Both caches were easy to find, and the area’s leading to them were as beautiful as they come.

Driving back from the big tree we passed a couple road signs and I had to take a couple pictures for this blog. Our Saturday drive ended at the little store at Nordman where we bought a couple ice cream cookies. I looked back in the blog and noticed that about every time we go out Geocaching, riding bikes or exploring we usually end up having ice cream somewhere. Just another wonderful byproduct of weekend exploration I guess.

Prior to the morning excursion, we had driven over to Jim and Pam Headley’s trailer and found them both down at the docks. Jim had gone fishing early that morning and caught six real nice lake trout. When we arrived he had them all cleaned and was getting them packed up for freezing. We sat and talked a little while, Jim and Pam were up at Priest to wash down the trailer, we left after a few minutes so that they could get started.

When we returned from caching and ice cream I drove over to the Headley’s and watched them clean their trailer. When we returned from caching and ice cream I drove over to the Headley’s and watched them clean their trailer. It was a bit more work then I really wanted to watch so I drove back to the camper and the three of us watched the moon come up. It took about forty shots of the sunset and moon rise. There was a solo sail boat out on the water, but I couldn’t get a clean shot of it.
We went to bed and read for a while, but sleep always comes fast up where it so still, cool and quiet.

We got up and went to the Chimney Rock Café with Jim and Pam. It was a real nice breakfast! After the food, we went to the Headley’s and took a boat ride to the upper lake. There was a lot of boat traffic on the thoroughfare and when we were on Upper Priest, two sea planes landed on the water. The ride was very beautiful and we really enjoyed it. Kobi stayed in the front of the boat and kept his head down, I think he could have done without the boat ride, be we sure liked it. We returned to the dock, jumped into the Jeep and drove back to camp. We packed up quickly and drove home.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Checking on the Cache

The first vehicle went by at 4:30 AM. I was awake, but didn’t want to get up that early! I went back to sleep and Linda stirred about 5:30 AM. We got up and checked the thermometer, it read 34 degrees. I clicked on the heater and started water for tea and coffee. Our plan was to get up early and drive over the pass to Jordan Camp. Once there we would hike the mile and a half up the North Fork of the Cd’A River to where I had hid a geocache back in 2002.

We got dressed and were about to brush our teeth when I noticed that the flame on the burner had gone out. We finally ran out of propane on the first tank of the summer and all I had to do was go out and turn the empty off and the full front tank on. Out of the camper I charged, I turned the valve off on the empty one and then opened the full tank. Inside Linda was trying to start the burner but it wouldn’t ignite. I returned to the tank compartment and switched the lines; my thought was that if the back tank was working a minute ago then hooking the front tank to the line from the rear tank would do the trick. Nope, nothing, nada, the gas was just not getting into the camper. Then I pulled the front tank out of the compartment and tested it to see if gas came out when I opened the valve. No gas, the tank was heavy, but no gas escaped the tank. All I could figure was the valve was bad on the full tank and we were up a creek.

No time to goof around with the tanks so we loaded the Jeep up and took off; I would deal with the tank problem when we returned. We wanted to get on the road early in hopes of seeing some game. The road to Jordan Camp was very good, as dirt roads go. It was a little rough at the very end, about a mile before you get to the North Fork.

We drove up past the camp to an area that over looked the valley. There were about four established camps in the grounds, but no one was around. It is the opening weekend of bow hunting season and the first open day of bear and grouse season. Most of the campers were probably out searching for that allusive kill. We drove into the camp area and used the restroom and then drove back across the bridge and parked.

The object of the hike was to check on my geocache so we hit the trail. Within 45 minutes we had crossed three small streams, passed by two camps located across the river, and almost stepped in numerous piles of bear scat. Huckleberries were still available on the bushes surrounding the trail and it looked like the bears had been taking full advantage of the ease of picking. We walked and talked loudly as we moved along the trail. We put Kobi on the leash because we still don’t know how he would react to us coming across some game.

We approached the location of the cache and I spotted a coyote watching us from across the river. He was on the bank, ears up, looking at us. Linda made a comment about how nice his coat looked and how healthy he seemed. It stood there for a minute and disappeared into the brush. I climbed up to the cash and checked it out. It was fun reading the comments, but it was especially nice to read my notes. I had checked on the cache before and each time wrote a brief snippet about the visit. Baka had been present on each prior check up and when I made my note this time I explained that Kobi was our new dog and Baka would be missed. When I climbed down from the hiding place, Linda asked about it and questioned me about what I had written. I told her and we hugged and cried a bit. Strange how a dog like Baka can hang in your heart. We talked about that we will most likely feel the same way about Kobi someday. We just have to give him a chance to grow up and prove himself. We love the little oddball, but Baka is still “Our Dog.”

The hike back was quick and uneventful. We drove over the pass, I let Linda out of the Jeep to run back to camp when we were six miles out. I gathered wood for the camp fire as we drove back, checking on Bug about every fifteen minutes. She was happy I was checking, I would not have it any other way.

As soon as I got back to camp I split the wood and when Linda arrived I took off and drove to Prichard to get the gas bottle filled. I was only gone about an hour so it didn’t hurt my day. At the store I was able to catch up on all the hunting news. Only one deer shot and hung in the Prichard freezer on the opening day, usually there are two elk hanging. A small bear was hit by a car out in front of the fire station, it made a mess and the birds are having a hay day. Let’s see, two wolfs have been spotted just up on the ridge north of town, one is brown the other is black. I talked and listened to the local hunting chat. You could feel their excitement; this is probably the season they look forward to the most.

Back at camp we built a fire and fixed dinner. I fixed pasta with red sauce and then added Italian turkey sausage. We ate and then took Kobi for a walk when we returned we sat by the fire till bed time. We both took showers and went to bed and read, I fell asleep in about five minutes.

Early Sunday Linda got up and ran and then built a big morning fire. I think this is one of her favorite things. She reads and drinks her tea while I sleep. After a bit I got up and made breakfast for both of us. We ate, packed up and drove home. Everything that we had planned for the weekend had been accomplished, I’ll post that my cache is in good condition wen we get home, Linda will start Monday off prepared for the week.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day, Bell Bay

The Labor Day weekend came upon us very quickly this year. That weekend signals a change for us. Linda is back to work on Tuesday, the weather usually changes from hot to cool, and we start camping in different areas each time we take an adventure in the camper. After Labor Day, many of the forest service campgrounds are closed for the season, including Bells Bay, so we just find other spots to set up and camp. This is made easier due to the calming of the crowds. People just don’t camp as much after the Labor Day weekend, and we take advantage of the quiet.

This weekend we had our final reservations at Bells Bay. The camp hosts, John and Roseanne, will be closing the place after Monday. They plan to camp host again, but will be doing so somewhere on the Oregon coast. With them gone and the friendly reservation system no longer allowed, it might be hit and miss when it comes to getting spot #13 or any spot at all.
The Sutherlands rolled the dice and because of their efforts were able to secure a spot at the Bells Bay campground for the weekend. They arrived at the campground and set up at about 11:00 AM. We were a bit later leaving Cd’A at about 3:00 PM. We were in no hurry; we just wanted to let the stress of the week drift away.

We met John and Loretta and talked for a while, and then Linda and I went to the camper and made a dinner from a recipe Emily & Alex gave me. The creation tasted super fresh. We ate over at the Sutherlands camp site; the tostada creation was a big hit. John and I made plans to go fishing early in the morning so we turned in at about 9:00 PM.

The next morning John and I hooked up his boat and headed to the boat launch where we set our sights on catching some Bass or Pike. Once on the water we set a course up the Cd’A River to Anderson Lake. We fished the north side first and I got three hits, then we went to the south bank and fished that area. It wasn’t our day and we were skunked. I just know I need to put in more fishing time, you can’t expect big fish to jump in your boat the first time out. It would have been nice to catch one though.

We returned to the boat launch, a bit wet, but safe. While we were on Anderson Lake the wind came up and we had to bounce our way out of the river mouth and across to the take out.
The evening meal was a family gathering. Julie and Jack Dolan/Green dropped in to visit and added to the pack that Beth and Bill brought up from the boat dock. Bill’s daughter and her two friends joined all the old folks around the fire and we had a very enjoyable time. Surprisingly, once everyone left, the camp was very quiet and we got a great night’s sleep.

On Sunday Linda and I drove around and found several Geocaches. We enjoyed the day together and had lunch at the Round Lake boat launch. There are so many areas that can be explored, you just have to get out and drive, hike or bike.

When we returned to camp Heather and Mandolyn joined us for dinner. We fixed a Dutch oven pasta dish; Heather brought a strawberry cream pie. Heather brought her dog, Amie, and she and Kobi chased and played. After dinner we talked for a bit and then our guests had to leave to drive down to St. Maries where they were going to celebrate Lumberjack Days by watching the big fireworks. Linda and I stayed in camp and read. We were asleep by 10:00 PM.