Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Extending our time in Corvallis

August 9-22, Corvallis, Oregon

covered bridge on sheep barn road 

After leaving Astoria, we had planned to stay in Corvallis five days before going to Bend for a one-month stay, Our good friends Ann and Don offered to let us “moochdock” in a driveway behind their home as we had done before going to the coast Thanks, Ann and Don, for your amazing hospitality and generosity!)

Water Lilies in Ann and Don's pond

A major reason for this layover was to have annual service done on our Freightliner chassis (twelve months or 15,000 miles). Vic had the service done at Freightliner in Salem, Oregon—the same place we took the motorhome last year before leaving on our first year journey. This service involves lubing many different areas of the chassis, replacing  oil and filters, and performing several safety checks to ensure everything is in working order. This annual service does not come cheap--$900—but Vic is always meticulous about having any recommended service done on a regular basis with all of our vehicles. Seeing a bare chassis at the Tiffin plant helped me understand the vital importance of taking good care of the frame that carries us everywhere.

chassis work

This past week Vic also made a trip to Camping World in Junction City to purchase MaxairII vent covers for the three overhead Fantastic fans in our motorhome. After a brief attempt to install them himself, he decided it was a job for the pros, so he made another trip back to Camping World. Just a few hours after he returned back to Corvallis with the motorhome, we had one of our first rains in several weeks. For the first time in our year of living in the Big EZ, we didn’t have to close the vents! This decision was a small but useful upgrade as we often worried about rain coming in if we left them open when we were not “home.”

vic on roofvic trying to install vent covers

One more motorhome enhancement showed up on the roof this week. Vic finally flew the OSU Beaver flag. He kept saying he was going to wait until football season, but now that the team is practicing, he gave in a little early. Plus he had a little pressure from our local Beaver fan friends who harassed him for only flying the American flag in Beaver town.

beaver flag

Another bonus during our stay here was the opportunity to help my friend Ann (where we are staying) prepare for a “meet the new grandbaby” party at her house. We were lucky to have already met baby Claire when she was about four weeks old at her home when we were in Southern California in late May, but she it was amazing to see how much she had changed in two and half months. I miss doing that kind of entertaining for a large group, but I am still not longing for a “stick house” of our own.  It was fun, however, to cook in a real kitchen again!

Our first five days here flew by too quickly, so we decided to take advantage of our flexible lifestyle and enjoy another week here before our next stop in Bend. Aside from being able to spend more time visiting with friends and enjoying the bounties of the Northwest, I especially wanted to spend more time with my son Jesse before leaving the valley. We have thoughts of someday settling in Bend when we transition from the full-timing lifestyle, so staying there a month to see how well we like it is something we thought it would be wise to do. We have also been a bit uncertain about our itinerary after Bend other than our definite plan to head back to Florida for the winter sometime in November, so we are not in a hurry to be heading back East anytime soon. If we were, I would have missed this fabulous lunch prepared for me by my dear friend Sue Lyn. This photo is taken at one of several little eating areas she has in her backyard. The menu was white gazpacho soup, mission figs with mascarpone cheese, field greens with sun gold cherry tomatoes, and artisan bread with chimichurri.  It seems like I have said this on almost every blog entry, but we feel so blessed to have such amazing friends.

lunch at sue lyns

The weather here was on the warm side last week with highs in the 90s a few days, but the evenings always cooled down to the 50s so we have had good sleeping weather. The past few days have been what I consider perfect weather with highs in the 70s. The cool mornings have motivated us to take some of our favorite walks with the dogs visiting old neighborhoods or walking through the Oregon State campus.

osu oak tree walk

pam and alpacas on sheep barn road

This past Sunday our friend Don, his daughter Molly, Vic, and I, along with our two dogs and their dog Charlie, took a short hike in MacDonald Forest up to Cronemiller Lake via the Calloway trail (by Peavy Arboretum) .Charlie and Rico just splashed around in the water, but Jetta did some swimming inspired by the lure of fetching a tennis ball. The bummer part is having to bathe all the dogs afterwards as they smell like pond water if we don’t.  Just before you get to the lake, there is an Oregon State logging competition area where we stopped for a photo op.

peavy walk2

On Monday, we took a nostalgic walk to a park near our old neighborhoods on Witham Hill. Vic and I did not know each other then when we lived less than a half mile apart in the late 80s, early 90s.  There is a large open area called Woodland Meadows that used to be next to the house where I lived when my boys were four and seven. That park was the setting for many fond memories with my kids ranging from kite flying, rocket launching, and even sledding on the rare snow days that occurred each winter. Now the open field is one of six dog parks in Corvallis. It was fun to see our dogs roam the open range on the hill that used to almost be our back yards twenty plus years ago.

woodland meadow with dogs

Another powerful memory for me in the meadows was meeting one of my best friends halfway out in the middle of the field. We would get in a good walk as we shared about the challenges of young motherhood. She died five years ago of a brain tumor. After her death, another friend and I released balloons out in this field in her honor. Life is sure unpredictable. Even at times when we think life is unchanging, it is not. Can you hear another one of my favorite quotations coming?  This time it is one from Deepak Chopra that my mom shared with me years ago:

We are travellers on a cosmic journey – star-dust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. But the expressions of life are ephemeral, momentary, transient. Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, once said: “This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds. To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance. A lifetime is like a flash of lightening in the sky, rushing by like a torrent down a steep mountain.”  We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment, but it is transient. It is a little parenthesis in eternity. If we share with caring, lightheartedness and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other. And then this moment will have been worthwhile.—Deepak Chopra,The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

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