What’s wrong with that picture anyway? We did arrive safely back home Monday night and had the camper disconnected and the truck unloaded by 9:30. Round trip mileage was 1749 miles and we only spent $614.98 on fuel. Yeah, just $600+ dollars, pumped into the fuel tank and burned out the tailpipe… And only 145 gallons of gas- what a deal!
We had a very nice vacation. After leaving last Wednesday and staying in Pendleton, Oregon for the night, we headed into the Columbia River Gorge for the scenic trip all the way out to the Pacific Coast at the mouth of the Columbia. Our destination was Fort Stevens State Park, http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_179.php, just a few miles south of Astoria.
Camp set up was well under way with the rest of the family by the time we arrived and our set up went smoothly too, after I discovered the poorly crimped wire terminal that prevented my new, electric top lift from working when I tried it in front of an audience. But I fixed that up quick and soon we were set up and relaxing with the rest of the family.
Most of our time was spent just visiting, drinking beer and eating good food every time the womenfolk thought it was time to fire up the cook stoves again, which seemed to start just about as soon as the dish washing from the previous meal was completed. The weather was much nicer than last year, cool and mostly dry, just raining on us a little the first morning. Last year we got drowned with rain and spent most of our time sitting under blue tarps, this year we just a little damp for a little while.
The dog and I did some walking through the forests on Fort Steven’s multitude of paved paths http://www.oregonstateparks.org/images/pdf/stevens_trail_guide.pdf and I bought a fishing license for some fishing. The first afternoon I was shutout at Coffenbury Lake. The BSU and I did venture back into Astoria to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum, http://crmm.org/#, which is a “must see” stop if you ever make it to that part of the country and we walked through a US Coast Guard lighthouse boat that sits, tied up next to the museum.
The second trip to Coffenbury Lake turned out much more productive and one of the brother-in-laws and I caught 8 rainbow trout over the course of an afternoon. I also caught 6 or 7 smallmouth bass but they were all babies, 3 or 4” long that went after my night crawlers with a tiny little vengeance. It turned out to be great fun and the trout went into a fry pan as part of that night’s dinner.
We pulled out of camp Sunday afternoon, headed into town and spent the night in the guest bedroom of one of the sister’s recently finished dream home. The brother-in-law retired from his job, took the classes and got his contractor’s license and oversaw the entire construction of their beautiful new home. It's a remarkable place with exposed beams and a full width porch that looks out over the Columbia River and smart features that shows the forethought that went into the planning before the first shovel was stuck into the dirt.
The trip home was relaxing and pleasant and we spent the night in the neat town of Baker, Oregon. We also stopped at the Cabelas in Boise so I could see the museum dedicated to Elmer Keith. Overall it is pretty interesting if underwhelming display and probably displays Keith in the simple and plain spoken manner that he would have approved of. I got out of there with just 2 new fishing lures and only 10 bucks spent and then we fired up the truck once again and came on home.
So, I’m back to work and my program hasn’t spiraled out of control during my absence. The technical expert’s last day on the program is today and that’s going to be a problem but he is leaving behind really good notes for the next guy so we should survive. Now I just need to get the yard mowed tonight so the neighbors don’t start complaining!