Wednesday, October 17, 2018

10/17 Emigrant Lake Recreation Area, Southern Oregon

I am staying at this very pleasant campgrounds for a few days as I work my way south to Napa, California, to visit family.  I've been here a couple of times before because it is a nice place not too far off of I-5, which is the major north-south freeway from California to Washington state.   

The drive from Eugene to Medford, near Emigrant Lake, goes through forested mountains surrounding Mt Shasta and Grants Pass, so maybe a bit of snow in winter, but it is a very pretty drive.  

 Emigrant Lake is usually full of water.  (It has also been mostly full of smoke for the past year because this is one of the hardest hit fire areas, but that is another story.)  Right now, the fires are mostly out, but the lake is almost dry, the water from the past year having been pumped out for agricultural uses.  It will fill up again in the winter, but here is the overflow area--not much to overflow right now!

The row of RVs is usually on the shore of the lake. 

There is a second row of camping spots behind this row and about 20' higher, so all sites have very good views. 

Just a large puddle right now!  

It's a very long drive down the boat ramp to the lake.  And really, the only boats I saw in the last few days were a couple of canoes and a rowing team practicing.  You can see where the lakeshore normally is by the lack of vegetation. 

There is one car way down at the bottom. 

There are actually two campgrounds on this lake and a water slide.  My campground has paved sites and full hookups, but the other one is dry camping only, meaning to water or electric hookups.  It is closed for the season, as is the water slide. 

I used my telephoto lens to take this photo of my rig in the distance. There are about 30 sites full hookup sites, and the camphosts told me that even if it is only 50% full, this is the busiest they have been all summer, due to the smoke conditions.  They even closed the water park most of the summer because smoke levels were hazardous here. 

Another photo of my campsite on the upper level.  Good cell service, and hence good internet access here, plus an easy satellite signal--all things I value!

My reservation in the upper loop ended today, so I decided to try one of the lower sites that had a better view of the lake.  I claimed this site and then headed to town to get some groceries.  This was taken in very late afternoon, so very long shadows.  

I had noticed on my way in here a few days ago that there was a rowing club boathouse and stacks of boats parked on the other end of the lake.  They are very long, but not much more than 15" wide.  Here is a crew practicing.  Note that the person in the rear is not rowing.  Instead, she is calling out instructions to the rowers, who all looked pretty young.  There is a college in town, so I assume this is a college group. 

And the guy in this little boat had some sort of megaphone that he used to give them directions.  The rowing boat looks at least 50' long, I am guessing.

Almost sunset, so time to head home from my short walk. 

Most campers this time of year are older retirees, with a few younger people on long vacations tossed in.  That makes for a very quiet group.  

Saturday, October 13, 2018

10/12 Not Much to Post These Days

I am still in Oregon, but catching up with doctor's appointments and tests, so have not been traveling much, hence no postings lately.  Also, just taking it easy.  

One issue with full-timing is staying somewhere long enough to take care of medical issues.  For ordinary sore throats and colds and such, I just stop into a local urgent care center. I also have an internist who handles my basic things in Ohio, an orthopedic surgeon near where my son lives in northern California who did carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand a few years ago and trigger finger releases on my left hand. 

Since I am a kidney stone former and have been having some symptoms of kidney stones lately, I need to see a urologist soon.  I had a lithotripsy treatment from one in northern California a few years ago, but was unhappy with him, so I think I will see one here in Oregon when I come back in a couple of weeks. And I really need to see an ophthalmologist, so finding one is on my list.  

The older I get, the more specialists and more appointments, unfortunately!  

One thing I do is to carry around copies of all lab test results so I don't have to needlessly repeat things.  And because I live and travel alone, I keep a one-page document in my purse and in a prominent place in my motorhome that lists my medical contacts and the phone numbers of my kids, plus a list of medications I take and a brief medical history.  That is in case I pass out of something and 911 is called.  It is also handy to give to new doctors if I have to go to urgent care or an emergency room. 

I will be heading south to northern California to visit with family soon, so will do some postings then. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

10/3 Thomas Condon Paleontology Center, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Amazing.  I went over a week without posting because I had nothing to post, and now I have too much to post!

Anyway, here the second part of October 3rd.  My big stop this day was the visitor center which is named after the person who did most of the collecting here in the 1800s and who was the first State Geologist in Oregon. (Unlike John Day, he came to Oregon later in the century and so did not get robbed of his belongings and clothing by the natives.)

I have been to a lot of museums and visitor centers in my six years of travel, but I was really impressed by this one and learned a lot I did not know about this area.  First, there are three parts to this national monument that are widely separated.  That is because the monument encompasses three unique fossil areas.  The main one where the visitor center is located is called the Sheep Rock Unit. 

Oregon has some unique fossil collecting areas because of the number of volcanoes and eruptions of ash that covered and protected the plants and animals that lived between 54 million and 20 million years ago.  

Not a huge museum, but big enough and nicely done. 

The view from the patio shows some of the areas which are still being explored today.  Only about 3% of the fossils here have been found, so there is still lots of digging by students and researchers. 

This shows you where the various layers are located.  You can see how large an area these cover. 

The oldest area is the Clarno nut beds.  After volcanic ash became saturated with water, it was common to have lahars, which are mud slides that pick up and carry trees and plants. At the bottom of a mud slide, fossil hunters have found concentrated areas of early trees and plants.  Some examples of these early trees and plants are shown in the photo two slides below. 

The next era was the Hancock Quarry, about 40 million years ago. 

There were some strange-looking mammals back then, including some that looked like rhinos and other animals that live in wet and hot areas now. 

More recently, at about 33 million years ago, was the Bridge Creek Flora area.

The Turtle Cove period was about 29 million years ago.

And the Kimberly era was about 24 million years ago.

And the Haystack Valley era was only 20 million years ago.

I could have spent more time, but I was worried about getting a camping spot for the night.  I will come back here maybe next spring or summer.


Thursday, October 4, 2018

10/3 Drive from Columbia River to Dayville OR

I'm going to end up with three posts for October 3 because I took a lot of photos today and don't want to overwhelm you with an extremely long post.  

I found this drive interesting because it was not what I expected and because I found the variety of land and plants I drove through in less than 140 miles very interesting.  Most of eastern Oregon looks like this, dry, flat grasslands, burned brown from the heat this time of year:

 Most of the grassland is planted and farmed.  I liked this old farmhouse.

Some places have gently rolling hills. 

Fantastic highway, by the way.  Hardly any vehicles and recently paved so smooth and very easy to drive on. 

Oocasionally you will see a large grain storage facility. 

So, I was surprised when I ran into some trees along the way.  These were hunkered down in the shade on this small valley. 

But as I kept driving, I realized I had climbed from about 400 feet above see level at the Columbia River to 2,500 feet above sea level.  And the higher I got, the more trees I saw. 

At this point, I was at about 4,000 feet so I saw a lot of Ponderosa Pine.  Makes me think of Hoss Cartwright and to sing the old TV song. 

Over the pass and headed downhill.   Things are looking more like high desert. 

As you head south, you get into a lot of volcanic areas.  Most of these hills and cliffs are made of hardened ash, not volcanic flows.  And we are now entering a very pretty canyon, which is part of the John Day Fossil National Monument. 

We are following the John Day River, which is the same river LePage Campground is located where I camped a couple of weeks ago, but it is much shallower and full of rocks here, so no jet boats. 

I stopped at a pull-over as I exited the canyon so I could take some photos of the river and the monument sign.  
By the way, if you are wondering who the heck John Day was, here is part of the story.   He was a fur trapper in 1812 who was attacked by Indians along the Columbia River near where the John Day River is today.  They stole everything he owned, including the clothes he was wearing.  However, there are other stories about him, true or untrue, but they ended up naming a river, a dam, two towns, a national monument, and a lot of other things in this area after him!  

Anyway, he must have been quite a character.