Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden-Portland OR (May 12, 2016)

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens is a gem in the city of Portland. If you want to get away to nature and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city this is the place to go. It’s located at 5801 SE 28th Street off Hwy 205 near Reed College. This place was recommended to me while I was dog-sitting for my son for a week. This is a 9 1/2 acre botanical garden that contains a collection of Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Shrubs, Trees and other plants. It has a spring-fed lake surrounding much of the garden, which attracts quite a bit of waterfowl (ducks, geese, etc) that nest and feed in this natural habitat. As a visitor, you will stroll past three small waterfalls, two bridges, fountains and wander along shaded paths to the lake. There are more than 2,500 Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and other plants, which have all been donated by volunteers, interested individuals or purchased with donated funds. There are also 94 different species and the oldest Rhododendron were planted in the 1800s.  Admission is very cheap at $4.00 for adults and children 12 and under are free. In the winter months (The day after Labor Day through February admission is free). On weekends, some areas may be off-limits due to special events. You can call ahead to find out.



The Grotto-Portland Oregon May 10, 2016

I made a stop at The Grotto off Hwy 205 in Portland Oregon. I had visited here last December around Christmas time and it was a really amazing place and very peaceful. Its a place where you can meditate, pray and find peace in a very hectic, stressful world. Because it was winter much of the vegetation was dormant other than a few of the beautiful trees and shrubs that were still in fall colors. At that time, I had told myself I needed to come back in the Spring when everything would be in bloom and so I did.

The Grotto is a National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother – A Roman Catholic outdoor shrine and sanctuary. The Grotto was constructed in 1924 – a cave carved out of the 110-foot basalt cliff with a statue of Mary holding Jesus’s crucified body.

The grounds cover 62 acres of pathways, forest, and upper-level botanical garden that sits above the cliff and has beautiful views.

January 1-5, 2016

IMG_86901Day 1 – The day arrived, January 1, 2016, the day I was to start my new life and journey for the coming year.  I had been working so hard and pretty much non-stop for the past month and a half. I kinda wanted to pinch myself that this was all real, I had really done it!

I was up bright and early at 7:30 A.M. I was so excited to get on the road. I jumped in my RV turned on the key……………nothing, it was dead, dead, dead. I could not believe it, the battery was dead……..Really!  As I sat there assessing the situation Alyse (my son’s girlfriend) and her friend Corrine were arriving home from work (They are nurses and had just finished a 12 hr shift). They were troopers and jumped right in to help me get this baby fired up. Out came the jumper cables which we attached to the batteries that were located towards the front portion of the RV……………. Now don’t laugh and don’t shake your head but this is what happened and it’s my experience and learning curve LOL. Now in a motorhome, there are two sets of batteries, one is the in-house batteries…..the batteries that run the lights, etc when you are not hooked up to landline electricity and a second set which is at the back of the RV near the engine which is the battery that starts the engine. Now I don’t know what happened to my common sense and thinking skills, maybe it was just too early in the morning LOL, but here we were trying to jump the in-house battery, which of course did not work. I knew Alyse and Corrine were tired from their long work night and they needed to get some sleep so I told Corrine to go on home and for Alyse to go to bed. I had recently purchased “Good Sam” road service so I called them and told them my battery was dead and needed them to send someone to get my motorhome going. After 45 minutes I received a call back that due to the holiday they could not find anyone to come. I thanked the lady, hung up and thought what the heck……….so a person can’t get roadside help on a holiday, what if I was stuck on the side of the road or in a rest stop somewhere……I was going to have to wait until the next day???? I continued to sit and think and assess what I needed to do. I texted my son, Bryce who had gone off for the weekend snowmobiling and told him my situation. It was then that he told me I was jumping the wrong battery…………. Really!  I decided to go to the store and buy a set of jumper cables and a battery charger. I first tried to jump the RV with my car, nope no luck. So I hooked up the battery charger and let it charge for a couple hours……………..SUCCESS, it worked, the RV started up. I was never so happy to hear the sound of an engine. I literally jumped for joy and clapped my hands! Hallajueuh I was going to finally hit the road 7 hrs later.  I did not care that it was late afternoon, this baby was running and I was going to get down the road even if it was only 4-5 hrs of drive time.

Now that I was on the road I was not stopping till I had to, so I be-bopped on down the highway until I needed to stop for fuel. I also needed propane, I had enough to last for a while but knew I was going to run out before too long.  I stopped at the gas station and got diesel and asked the attendant where their propane was……..sorry but we don’t have propane here you will need to go just up the road a bit. One of the things I really like about Oregon is that people can’t pump their own fuel, a gas attendant does it for you. Today I was happy about that cause it was cold. I went down the road a bit and pulled into the station with the propane, well being a bit lazy and not wanting to get out in the cold to go and ask for someone to come out and get propane for me, I hopped back on the freeway and kept on going deciding that I would be okay and get some propane later. I traveled for about 3 more hours (which put it about 7 PM) when I pulled into a small rest area about 25 miles from Roseburg. I was so excited I was sleeping my first night in my new home on the road!  Well during the night guess what? I ran out of propane so there was no heat and it was a bit cold…..BRRRRR!  It was 21 degrees and there was frost on the inside of my windows! I put on my winter coat, my warm sweatpants, and my gloves. I did not have an ice scraper so I decided a credit card would work, but as I was searching for my credit card I ran across my AARP card. I chuckled and thought this would be the appropriate card to use LOL. I proceeded to scrap my windows with my AARP so I could see where I was going. I could have sat there and waited quite a while for the defroster to do its job but I was a bit impatient. I was ready to get on the road and find myself some propane so I could get warmer

Day 2 –  January 2, 2016, went much better, I was able to get propane and warmed up. I made it over Grants Pass, The Siskiyou’s and Mt Shasta without any problem. One of my main worries with all the cold weather we were having was getting over the passes before another storm came in. When I checked the weather before leaving Portland it was to be clear and sunny for a few days.  It was a good time to head out and get to warmer weather.

The Siskiyou’s20160102_140219

Day 3 – I had crossed over Mt Shasta and Lake Shasta the prior evening and so I was not able to see the Lake which  I really wanted to see as I knew the Lake had been getting really low in recent years and the last time I was through here was about 6 years ago. So once I got over the pass I pulled into to a Chevron station that was open all night and a safe area. I pulled around behind the station and parked in a lighted area for the night. I did not want to travel another 52 miles to a rest stop and wanted to be close enough to Lake Shasta to backtrack in the morning to see and get pictures of the Lake.  I wasn’t sure if I would be able to stay parked here for the night or if I would be asked to leave, but I decided to take my chances, which worked out perfectly. I awoke this morning, fired up my motorhome and headed back the few miles to see the lake. I was just amazed and saddened by how low the lake was, the lowest it has ever been. Aside from the low water levels, it was just beautiful to see all the earthy tones of the soil that are now exposed.

Shasta Lake

After getting to see the Lake and getting pictures I continued on my way to Vacaville, California.

Day 4, 5 and 6 – I spent 3 days in Vacaville visiting a couple friends and seeing my brother and his fiancee. My brother was a great help in going over several things in my motorhome with me so that I felt more comfortable with where everything was and what I needed to keep an eye on and maintain. I had a great time hanging out with my friend Colleen, we had dinner at Tahoe Joe’s…………..the closest I was going to get to Tahoe this trip. It was a great atmosphere with a lot of Tahoe/Truckee photos, snowshoes, skis, and even a menu that reflected food choices of places in Tahoe as well as great tasting food, I soaked my aching, sore muscles in the hot tub which was great and much needed, made a trip to Camping World to browse with my granddaughters “Tigger” and did some fun photoshoots.

#Vacaville #traveling #RV #newlife #motorhome #friends #Lake-Shasta












My New Home


Well after leaving my job I knew my next big step was finding a home that I would be living in for at least a year.  The challenge was finding a used RV in my budget, had to be a diesel, was dependable, and something I could handle and manage. So my thought was finding something no bigger than 28 ft. I came to Portland to see my son over Thanksgiving and shop for an RV. He found this one on craigslist at a family-owned business in Estacada…. a 1993 Sun Voyager by Gulfstream with a Cummins Diesel and Allison transmission.  I liked it right away, but it was 34 feet! Is this something I could handle? it’s as big as a bus……… but I liked it, it was very nice inside, comfortable, roomy and had lots of storage. So the next thing I needed to do was to make sure it was dependable. I asked the owner if he was open to me getting an independent mechanic to look at it. He had no problem with that and actually encouraged it. They wanted their customers to feel comfortable and confident in what they were buying and knew what they were getting. I found a mechanic nearby and he only charged me $100.00 to check it out from top to bottom. Everything worked and was in good operating and running condition. They only had to replace a vent/fan that was broken.  During the few days, the mechanic had the RV and was checking it out I spent those days still looking and hunting for an RV. I wanted to be sure I was getting what I wanted and checking out my options. After a few days of checking craigslist for new listings, visiting a few RV dealers, and making phone calls to RV dealers I was not finding anything else. So I was very happy when I found that everything checked out on this RV and I was able to make an offer and seal the deal.