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July 1st

Vic headed off to get her hair done by John, one of the hang glider pilots, so I went to get supplies for a barbecue.

In the evening we had John, Johnny and Jason from the hang glider mob over, along with Vince who's met them all before. I burnt meat, and a good time seems to have been had by all. We used the AppleTV to look at the pictures from hang gliding at Hat Creek at the weekend. Not a bad use of technology, IMHO.

We put off soaking Tilly's foot until after they'd all left, so that she could run around without her lampshade on.

I spent the day pottering around the house keeping an eye on Tilly - she seems resigned to having her foot soaked, but isn't happy about having to wear her lampshade until the scab on top of her foot is dried out again. At least it looks like the swelling's going down a bit.

Vic took the Subaru out to get food for her brood, only to have the Check Engine light come on again. I disconnected the battery, checked all the fluid levels and suchlike and reconnected it. The light stayed off. Hmmm.

I got the electrickery bill, and we only generated an extra 27KWh with the solar panels, as the air conditioning's been on a fair bit.

At 10am, I took Tilly to the vet and dropped her off for her operation. I spent the rest of the day waiting for them to call me. They couldn't find anything, so we're left with her in a lampshade taking stronger antibiotics. And soaking the foot for 10 minutes, twice a day, in a mixture of epsom salts and some antibiotic they've given me.

On the way home we stopped at the SPCA so Vic could see that Tilly's still alive and kicking, and everyone could see what she's like when she's drugged and wearing a lampshade.

While Tilly let us bathe her foot in the evening after her prescribed half supper, I can see that being a struggle from now on. She finally settled down on her bed after figuring out that she couldn't get under our bed with the lampshade. Idiot dog.

I spent the day emailing a guy who's selling a bunch of paraweenie stuff, including a vario. We finally agreed on a price, so after I dropped Dad at SMF, I went into Sacramento and bought the thing. When I got home, several hours later, Tilly's foot had swelled up quite a bit, so we took her to see the vet. They decided the best thing to do was get her in in the morning to cut into her foot and take a look at it. She's still not bothered - we'll see how she feels after missing breakfast tomorrow.

We packed up the van and Tilly, left Hat Creek and headed home. Vic went with John in his truck, as the air conditioning's better (well, it works), and somehow we beat them home - I think it's because we only stopped the once :o)

As it was Dad's last night, we went to the only restaurant I know in the area that serves liver and onions.

We bummed around all day again, and in the evening, went to Hat Creek so Tilly could run around like a lunatic, and Vic could go hang gliding - she got around an hour and a half. John bodged his bent downtube with a tent pole to strengthen it, and flew too.

Paige had brought along a disc frisbee that Tilly loved, and we could fling a hell of a long way. We did that until it got dark, then headed back to the camp site to sit around the fire.

We bummed around all day, and some of the mob swam in the cold looking pond. In the evening, we ate early, then went to Hat Creek so Tilly could run around like a lunatic, and Vic could go hang gliding - she got around an hour and a half. When John was preflighting his glider, he found one of the downtubes was bent, which sucked. Especially as the spares we have for Vic's glider are about 3" too short :o(

Paige brought along a triangular frisbee that Tilly chased, then tried to chew, but it helped wear her out a little.

We packed everything up in the van, put the hang glider on John's truck and headed to Hat Creek. After a long assed drive to get there, we set up our camp, then headed out to the rim so that Vic and the guys could go hang gliding. We got to meet Paige, the local guru who moved there from Oakland to fly more, and he's a top geezer. There were several gliders there before us, and then a crapload of paragliders showed up, but Vic got 45 minutes, most of that above launch.

We took Tilly to the vet's so they could look at her gimpy foot. She wasn't in favour of that, and tried hiding under chairs, behind me and so on until the vet gave her a mild sedative, at which point she settled down completely. I asked for a gallon of that and a box of syringes, but never got them. Still, we ended up leaving her there for X-rays and poking, where they found a lump in her foot between her first two toes, as I'd expected. We went away with antibiotics in case of infection, and an anti-inflammatory to cut down the swelling. Strangely enough, Tilly seems happier with her foot now it's been looked at.

In the afternoon I heard from Sara at Stephan's Autohaus to say that they'd found no leaks, but tightened up the differential cover and a powered steering hose (even though ATF isn't gold like oil) and think they've fixed the leak. So we went and picked up the van - Dad got to drive the Subaru home in rush hour traffic - usually a joy.

I peered at the mild oil leak from the van, and it's not from the drain bolt or the filter that I can see, so we ran it to Stephan's Autohaus for them to look at. Stephan's said we can use his 1.8 turbo Syncro for the weekend if they can't fix it in short order, so I think that's the motivation they need to get it done quickly :o)

We met Vince for dinner, as we drove past his place on the way home and he was there. Seems he didn't go to the fly in at the weekend after all, as it was "too hot to fly". Fhag.

Vic was feeling a bit better, so we risked a trip to the Galleria, where we picked up a couple of things we really don't need :o)

In the evening, we watched Bolt, which Dad hasn't seen, and Tilly's obviously forgotten seeing.

We had planned on going to Prairie City to see some supermoto and YSR racing, but Vic was very sick during the night. Exorcist sick. Oh well. We basically spent the day inside hiding from the 110F heat, other than taking a look at the not at all dirty air filter on the van. That was a struggle to get off and back on again :o(

In the evening, we watched Knowing, which I found unsatisfying on many levels, but the peanut gallery enjoyed.

We took the van to Stephan's Autohaus for an oil change and general checking out. Seems it needs a new air filter and one reversing bulb. The rest of the day was taken up playing with Tilly, but I did replace the reversing light bulb.

In the evening Gwen came over to help us eat barbecued beast, and we watched Twilight.

We started the day by washing the van and rotating the wheels from front to back - the edges of the fronts were worn differently due to the adventurous cornering we'd been doing in the hills :o)

We took the trial cell phone back - the coverage was crap, and I didn't really want a cell phone anyway. While we were there, we wandered about looking at gadgets, but nothing major was bought.

In the evening, we all met up with Vince for dinner - he's off to the powered parachute fly in tomorrow.

I'd talked to Vince, and he's decided due to the low turnout until the weekend, and the weather, to put off going to the powered parachute fly in until Friday. As we were only going to see him there (he had transmission problems with his truck, or he'd have been at Arlington), we decided to head for home. We were only a few miles from The Oregon Vortex, so we stopped in there to have our perspectives challenged before heading home. We got home just in time to wake Tilly, who was asleep on the bed. She peered at us until we went to say hallo, then she hoped off the bed and was all wiggles. She's missed having somebody to play ball with. Vic got in from work while we were sorting out everything that's been stacking up while we've been away. In total we did just over 2500 miles in 15 days. The van's filthy, and needs a little TLC over the next few days :o)

After a good night's sleep for a change, we went into Grant's Pass for lunch. We then went on a jetboat ride on the Rogue River. The way downriver, you take it generally slowly and look at the surroundings - we saw herons, ospreys and bald eagles (first time I've seen them in the wild, and one flew right over the boat). We also had the flood points from 1964 and 1997 pointed out to us - a lot higher than today, that's for sure. On the way back, he nails it and the 82 person boat gets up to about 50mph... it can apparently do that in 6" of water, but he said the lowest we went through was probably 8 - 10".

After that, we headed back to our KOA site to just relax and take it easy for the evening.

Kerry left the camp site early to get back to work in time for a meeting, but Dad and I got up early too - it was bloody cold, and we were constantly getting woken up by people slamming their car doors having driven to the facilities over the road. After a surprisingly hot shower, we passed the 2000 mile mark while headed for Klamath Falls where we had a bagel. We were then on to Gold Hill to the KOA site there. We have sun, warmth, power hookups and WiFi :o)

We left Mosquito Ridge, Diamond Lake, and headed towards Crater Lake. We stopped to take a picture of Mount Thielsen, but the cloud was obscuring the jagged looking peak. Bloody weather. We cracked on to Crater Lake, and dragged our way up to the Rim Village, where we all loaded into Kerry's car and drove all the way around it. It's interesting to see the odd bits of very little growth when you consider that the caldera last erupted an estimated 7700 years ago. We came across a park ranger at one of the stops, and she was saying about how the ancient Indian legends have been generally correct - the Indians said the mountain fell into itself, and the early settlers didn't believe this. Geology has subsequently proved them right. They're trying to figure out how the fish got into the lake - they first thought the early settlers could have dumped them in, but the Indians have a legend of a giant fish in the lake, so now they're wondering if the Indians seeded the lake. We headed South from the lake, and ended up Mazama Village for the night, where we had to take an RV slot for the 2 cars, but got no hookups. We've also picked up a pasenger somewhere - Dad heard nibbling this morning, and I then saw a mouse run under the fridge while we were at the Rim Village. As we're now in bear country, we've taken all the food out of the van. Hopefully he'll take that as a hint and leave, or I'll have to poison him before he starts chewing electrical cables.

We got ourselves sorted out, then left Kerry's, following her to Diamond Lake. We found a great campsite near the lake, with a wonderful view of Mount Bailey, where she pitched her tent, and we set up the van. We then took her dog, Dodi, and walked to the local cafe for dinner. They were pretty busy, so we placed an order and wandered off for an hour. When we got back, we ate while talking to a couple of touring motorcyclists from Idaho. Upon heading out to go back to the campsite, however, we got eaten alive by mosquitoes. It was bad enough that we headed to bed early, and decided to move on in the morning.

We took a last walk around the stalls and static displays before leaving the Fly In behind and heading South again. We stopped at the Mount St Helens visitor park, and took in the lunar scenery that is the park, almost 30 years after the eruption. It's very interesting, and on the way back down we stopped at a couple of the view points to take yet more pictures of the valley, mountain, lava cap and stream. We then headed back to cousin Kerry's for dinner and to crash the night.

We spent the morning walking around the stalls and static displays at the Fly In, then the afternoon watching the air displays. These started with an RCAF F-18, which was a lot less entertaining than the US ones, and then a guy sang the national anthem while doing an aerobatic display. Seriously :o)

It seems they've been doing this for 41 years - amazing, I could have sworn we only got here yesterday.

We ended up fixing the venting on Kerry's clothes dryer, so we could dry our washing, then had a brief brunch before heading out again. This time we put our heads down, joined I-5 and drove over 300 miles to get to Arlington for the Fly In. We (luckily) got there just before the campground registration closed, and got all set up in time to take a wander around as it got dark. As we'll be here for a couple of nights, I started the fridge for the first time on propane (we've run it on 110V when we've had shore power), and it fired right up for once :o)

We headed South for a change, crossing the 1,000 mile mark, to see cousin Kerry in Corvallis (she's just got back from Hawaii, or we'd have seen her sooner). Oh, and her dog, Dodi. We went to lunch, then wandered around Corvallis and the Oregon State University campus where she works. After that, we went back to her place and ended up pulling weeds in the garden she hasn't seen for a month :o)

We made a later start this morning, and went to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museums - today was probably the shortest distance we've driven all trip. The Spruce Goose is big. Really big. You might think it's a long way around your 747 to preflight it, but that's just peanuts compared to the Spruce Goose. It totally dominates the hall, and you have no real idea how big it is other than it's looming over everything. I think I preferred the space museum side of things, personally. They have stuff like rocket engines and space suits, and it's all laid out well. They also have an X-15, probably my favourite plane of all time. We'd pre-booked to spend the night in the same KOA camp site, as it's quiet, has power and WiFi.

We started out early today, and managed to get to the Tillamook Air Museum not long after it opened. We then headed North through Garibaldi to Rockaway to ride the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad back to Garibaldi and back.

As we were passing through Tillamook again, we went through the Tillamook Cheese visitor centre. We then went through Salem (no, not that Salem) to the KOA campsite we'd selected for the night, getting there just as the host was leaving.

I try and take pictures of the van everywhere we stay, but I've been failing miserably this trip. So far. Hopefully that'll change. We've been seeing a lot of Vanagons on the trip, and waving to them. I've given up waving to people in Eurovans as they never wave back. It's interesting - I wonder if Ford Explorer owners wave to each other - "why yes, I also have a Ford Explorer, hello!".

Apparently today's some sort of holiday here in the US, so we got up and headed North, stopping in Reedsport for coffee / brunch. After that, we headed North again, stopping at the Sea Lion Caves to see, hear and smell the stinky mammals. Pressing on, we found no room at the Lincoln KOA, so we ended up at the Cape Lookout State Park, just South of Tillamook. We were really close to the beach, we could hear it, but not see it as there was a dune in the way. Walking around that, there wasn't much to see because of the mist. It's interesting that a "vacancy" sign at a KOA and a "no vacancy" sign at a state camp ground both mean nothing :o)

We again got up early, but stood around in the campsite for quite a while - I watched a wild elk walk right past the campsite while Dad was off having a shower. After about 500 miles from leaving home, we crossed the border into Oregon. We stopped at a prehistoric park, with a lot of life size model dinosaurs, and eventually settled in a KOA site just outside Bandon, where we have Wifi!!

We woke up early, then managed to doze until a decent hour. After packing everything up and leaving rent money in the day use envelope slot, we headed once again North. We passed through Mendocino, and had a breakfasty stop in Fort Bragg. After that we followed 1 until it joined 101, and after a bit we went off route to follow the Avenue of the Giants - a scenic route rather than the scenic, but still freeway 101. We'd decided it would be cool to camp on the beach, but the closest we could come was a parking lot by the beach, so we pressed on, eventually stopping for dinner in Orick, then we set up camp at the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, not that far South of the Oregon border. It's interesting, as the evening wore on, the cloud got lower until it obscured everything, then we called it a night.

After a few hours screwing around at home, Dad and I set up the van, then headed out to get a cell phone. We dropped in at the SPCA to pick up the GPS charger from the Subaru, and take Vic to lunch, then headed West. We dropped onto highway 128 through the Napa vineyards, and stopped off to see Old Faithful erupt a couple of times. We thought it would just go "bang" and throw water into the air, but it sprays water for over a minute. We also saw fainting goats (who refused to faint), llamas and 4 horned sheep. All one of them. We did the obligatory walk through the gift shop to get out, then headed onwards.

We were letting the GPS navigate, and just looking at the scenery. We'd told it we didn't much like freeways. So it refused to route us on the bit of route 128 that goes along highway 101 - look at our route on a map - after 101, we hit Stewart's Point Skaggs Springs Road - it's a crazy piece of road, wiggling it's way all the way to 1 on the coast. We'd talked about getting to Fort Bragg for the first night, but ended up stopping at a little campsite in the Gualala Point Regional Park.