Where Are We Now?
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Monday, August 1:
Wednesday, August 3:
We got up this morning and did some work and then headed out. We continued down Interstate 5 to the exit for Route 138 heading east. The road is right beside the North Umpqua River for several miles. We stopped frequently at pullouts and got out to view the river. It was really pretty. We saw some people trout fishing. Then at another pullout we saw a huge trout swimming down the river. Mac said it must have been at least 15 or 20 pounds; it looked very large from up where we were. Here's a link to one web site for this river: http://www.nps.gov/rivers/wsr-umpqua-north.html
For more photos of the river click here
After several miles the road doesnít run beside the river any longer. Then the road is climbing a lot of hills. But this road is better than the other roads across Oregon; not so many twist and turns in it. We pass Diamond Lake; it looks really large and pretty from the road. We then pass the entrance for Crater Lake; weíll be coming back to it tomorrow. We continue on to Highway 97 then head north to the rest area near Beaver Marsh.
This is where we are going to spend the night. In Oregon you can park in the rest areas for 12 hours. So that will be just about enough time for us to eat, sleep, etc.
Thursday, August 4:
This morning we got up and did a little work; after that we headed up to Crater Lake National Park. We entered the park at the north entrance from Route 138. The park ranger told us we could drive our RV all around Rim Drive but that Rim Village had no parking for large vehicles. It was good to hear that we could drive the RV around the rim of the lake. We were hesitant to park the RV and then drive the car around, so good news!
It is really an awesome sight to see. After entering the park we drove by Pumice Desert. This desert is a desert because of the pumice and ash is so deep that few plants could grow there.
I had assumed before I did any research on Crater Lake that it was a crater created from a meteorite; but I was very wrong. Mount Mazama, a great mountain stood here at about 12,000 feet tall. Over 7,000 years ago the volcano exploded with great fury. So much material came out of the volcano that a huge space was left empty beneath it. Without anything to support it the mountain collapsed into itself leaving behind a vast basin, or ďcalderaĒ. Over time, this basin filled with rain and snow to become Crater Lake. Itís one of the deepest and purest lakes in the world.
There are many pullover spots to view the lake. We stopped at one with enough room for the RV and had lunch there. What a view we had with our lunch. I threw a slice of carrot out to attract a chipmunk but a bird came over to investigate it instead. Mac got some great pictures of the bird and also of Crater Lake.
Here's our "gotta prove we were there" photo :-) Click Here for a LOT more photos of Crater Lake
It was a truly beautiful sight to see such blue water. We could have taken a tour boat ride around on the lake but the hill down to the lake was too steep for my knee. So we stayed up top on the road around the lake. We stopped at all the pullover spots to view the lake. It was a truly awesome sight. Here are links to the official websites: http://www.nps.gov/crla/home.htm
We drove all around the rim and passed up seeing Rim Village at this time. Weíll save that for our next visit and by then all the construction should be finished. We drove through the campground and saw the camping sites. They have bears in the park so each campsite has a large metal container to protect the camperís foodstuff from the bears.
At one of our stops along the rim we saw a man with a different looking cap on. As we got closer to him we saw that his cap had a solar panel on top of it. It powered a fan to cool his forehead. Later on Mac looked them up on the internet and found several kinds on ebay.
After visiting the park we took the south exit on Route 62 heading for Route 97. Weíre now heading back towards Reno. We were pretty wound-up today so we managed to drive all the way to Reno and arrived there about 1:00 in the morning. I really wanted to get there before the Friday rush of campers came in to town. It was really crowded at Boomtown when we got there. We later found out that Reno & Sparks are having ďHot August NightsĒ, an event that celebrates the music and cars of the 50s and 60s. Hereís a link to the website about it. http://www.hotaugustnights.net/
Friday, August 5 through August 12:
Not too much new or different than our previous stop here in the Reno area. We are just hanging out and weíre getting a lot of work done on the business side of life. We are also enjoying playing poker again. Mac loves to play the tournaments and I love video poker.
On Monday, the eighth, Mac bought us a TurboKool swamp cooler. He can tell you all about it, the whys and wherefores of why he chose it. Iím just pleased that it really does work. Weíve been very comfortable in our RV with it. The temperatures have been in the upper 80ís up to 94 degrees and we have been very comfortable using the swamp cooler.
Besides taking time to play in some poker tournaments I've really been bustin' my butt on the business. Things are going well, and we've even added an independent recruiter who is working with us from Florida. So, I have high hopes for the business to grow.
One key principal for small businesses is to increase profits you must grow. One person can usually make a good living for themselves, but by providing opportunity for others to profit an entrepreneur increases his/her own profits. I hope to write many tens-of-thousands of dollars in commission fees this year. I smile with every one I write because it's a win-win-win-win. The client is happy, the candidate is happy, the other recruiter is happy, and I'm happy!
OK, I'd better stop before I get on my soapbox and start telling you why capitalism is morally superior to socialism, communism, and whatever you'd call the system that a certain political party is working to create in this country.
That's right morally superior. Because each of us in the process has exchanged something of personal value for something else that we believe has greater value for us. We did this voluntarily, the government didn't have to take something away from me to give to anyone else. All four parties in the exchange have received something of greater value to themselves than what they gave up -- so we have created value (substitute "wealth" or "money" if you'd like).
Some people would have you believe that value is static, and that it must be sliced up and regulated so it is distributed in a "fair and equitable" way. Not so. Value can be created, that's how people prosper, and that's how the economy grows.
OK, I'm done. If you want more discussion email me, I don't want to "bog down the blog" :-)
Saturday, August 13
If you don't play poker, you may want to skip over this paragraph. After returning to Verdi, NV a couple of weeks ago I played in 2 or 3 tournaments at Boomtown Casino. I think I'm done playing tournaments there. I've played maybe 7 or 8 total times, made the final table 2x and have never placed in the money. I'm not sure exactly why, but I expect that I'm just not adapting well to the format. Now, normally I'd say that I should work harder and learn how to make the changes necessary to win there. But the thing is, their tournament is different form any other I've been in. Without going into too much detail the problem is they start you out short stacked from the first hand, $300 in tournament chips, 25 and 25 blinds, and it's unlimited rebuy the 1st hour. I just don't like it.
I also play the Peppermill tournaments in Reno (and sometimes the Eldorado too). I do better at the Peppermill it seems than anywhere. On Wednesday I was in the daily $30 buy-in, made the final table and we chopped it up 5 ways for $320 each. Last Night I was in the weekend $100 buy-in, 70 people, I made the final table and we chopped it up 10 ways for $700 each.
I've also been playing in the Ultimatebet.com Aruba tournaments. Last year I came one place away from winning a trip to Aruba with all expenses paid, and an entry into the $5000 buy-in WPT event. This year I've been playing for it but have not yet made a final table.
Saturday, August 13 Ė Monday, August 15:
Itís Monday morning and Iím sitting here updating the blog. Weíre parked in the Peppermill Casino parking lot; weíve been here several days now. Friday I had worked a lot on the business side of life, and then later in the afternoon had gone to the laundromat that I like. Itís a bit of a drive but I like it. It has big frontloading washers, itís clean inside and they keep it nice and cool. Doing the laundry is hot work and usually I work up quite a sweat doing it; but this place is air conditioned very well. Sometimes I get cold in there but Iíd rather be cool than too hot.
Later in the evening we went into the Peppermill and played some. Macís already written about his gambling so I wonít bore you with those details again. I played and didnít lose much at all. I think Iím starting to like the Peppermill.
On Saturday while Mac was getting the Crater Lake pictures sorted for uploading to the blog he mentioned to me that I had forgotten to mention the park we had lunch at on Wednesday August 3. See what I mean about getting overloaded on nature! We see so much at once that we canít keep it in our heads for long. I had even forgotten about the waterfall at Crater Lake. I think I need to buy myself a bigger memory chip!
So I will add a note here about the stop we made for lunch on August 3. We saw the sign for Whistlerís Bend, a Douglas County Park, and drove to it for our lunch stop. Itís a nice out of the way park. Since it was the middle of the week there werenít very many people there at all. When we arrived there was one other car with a mom and her 2 children. So we parked the RV under some trees in one of the parking areas. We had a great view of the North Umpqua River. After lunch we walked down to the waterís edge. It was so pretty and peaceful there. We had a very nice relaxing time for our lunch-stop but after a couple of hours relaxing we hit the road again. Right before we left some more cars arrived and they were going swimming. We watched some of the kids playing in the water. Boy, it sure looked like fun!
When we were driving out of the parking area there is a very steep hill to climb. To me it was a little scary wondering if our RV would make it pulling the toad. But we did manage to chug our way up the hill, it was just kind of slow going. We drove back to highway 138 and then saw all the beauty along the road there.
Now, I can get back to the present. Saturday was a good day to relax. I managed to read a book, take a nap and goof of on the internet during the day. That evening we went into the casino to play. I managed to break even or even a tiny bit ahead by the end of the night.
On Sunday I woke up very early. I made the coffee and drank a cup and Mac is STILL in bed! Iím now getting antsy so I decide Iíll go in the casino and play some. So I go in and play and have a very good morning of play. I hit several 4ís of a kind so Iím now up. The Peppermill has a promotion going on Sundays. At 1, 3 and 5 they draw 11 tickets out of a barrel at each of the drawings. Those lucky people whose ticket have been drawn get to spin a wheel and win anywhere from $100 to $10,000. I had several tickets in there but boo hoo my name wasnít drawn. But while we were sitting at a bank of video poker machines close to the promotion area I was playing nickel video poker and hit a royal flush! So I was a winner anyway, even without getting my name drawn!
So here it is Monday morning and Iíve been reading some other RVerís blog and it started me remembering this whole year of adventures that we have had. I think the first year, in our case, has been spent adjusting to the full-time lifestyle. The first few months were spent in Tampa, while I was still working and we were getting the RV ready to travel. Then we went to Key West for the winter, which was nice, but it still didnít feel like we were fulltime travelers.
Then finally we got to hit the road and travel to places that we had never been. At first it felt much like a vacation. But finally Iíve adjusted and my brain realizes that we can do anything we want, go anywhere we want to, take as much or as little time as we want. No schedules to keep, we can sleep in as late as we want, or get up as early as we want. We can stay up late or go to bed early. If I donít feel like working, guess what, it will keep for a few days. I donít have anyone breathing down my neck to get it done. (Mac may have a different opinion on that subject)
So, I think Iíve adjusted to it now. The anniversary of when we bought the RV and started this whole adventure is coming up soon. I can say that I have truly enjoyed this lifestyle and look forward to many more years of fulltime adventures.
Iíve started a list of things I want to get done when we get back to Florida. A lot has to do with sewing items for the RV. Remember I have my sewing machine with me but the foot pedal is in storage in Tampa. Having everything that we need with us actually with us will be one of the items that will improve this style of living. I then wonít have to put off doing things that I want to do in here; though when we get back to Florida we will probably have a lot of time to get things done in the RV while we wait out the winter.
Weíve also found that there are several items that we wonít need to bring with us when we hit the road again after winter. One is the table we bought and used in Key West; another is the cook stove that we bought and used down there too. We havenít used either item during our travels so far.
Tuesday, August 15 Ė Friday, August 19:
Weíre still in the Reno area. Weíre parked again in the Peppermill Casino parking lot. Weíve been to the Atlantis Casino and parked for a couple of nights and now we are back to Peppermill.
Weíve had some good luck these past few days. Mac and I went to the El Dorado Casino in downtown Reno on Tuesday evening so Mac could play in a poker tournament there. So I played video poker and I hit a royal flush on a quarter machine for $1,000. So I was a very happy camper! On Thursday night at the Peppermill Casino while Mac played in a tournament I played video poker and again hit a royal flush on a quarter machine for $1,000. Now I am a extremely happy camper!
As Mac has mentioned heís working hard on building the business side so he is really spending a lot of time working; which means I have to find ways to entertain myself when Iím not working too. So Iíve been to all the thrift stores looking for good stuff to sell on ebay and I have found several really nice items. Itís great to go shopping and find that kind of good stuff. I can sit and imagine what it will bring when I finally get to put it on ebay.
My mom also gave me a list of books that she would like to read and canít get at her local library, so Iíve been looking for those too. Iíve also found several good books for me to read and am getting some stored for the future when I wonít be able to find any or be able to go shopping. Several places that weíve been to donít have a thrift store or a used book store so Iíll be prepared now for those times. As Mac has mentioned before I read a lot especially since my knee keeps me from doing much walking. I can read a book a day, sometimes more. My record is three books in one day! I donít think Iíll ever break that record.
You may be thinking canít she find anything better to do than read a book. The RV is so much smaller than a house that it takes no time to clean it. Because of the arthritis in my knee, I canít ride a bike, go jogging or even for a nice walk. I donít have any hobbies such as knitting or crocheting so I read books. It keeps me out of Macís hair (or lack of hair) when heís working hard. I love reading books too. I read a lot of mysteries and suspense. I donít like horror or romance books. I also will occasionally read a ďrealĒ novel. I feel that you can learn something you didnít know before when reading a book. The authors do a lot of research for their books so there will usually be something to learn in the book.
Iíve been conducting an experiment doing the laundry for a few months now. Doing laundry in a Laundromat is different than doing it at your own home. At my home when I used bleach while washing I would run an extra rinse cycle so that it was thoroughly rinsed out. I canít do that at a Laundromat so Iíve been working on ways to whiten without using as much bleach. Bleach will wear clothes out quicker and I donít like the smell. I think Iíve found a way that works for me. Try it if you like.
The day that Iím going to do laundry I will sort the clothes, going over each item looking for spots that need pre-treating or spot removal. I also separate out all our underwear and white T-shirts; these I soak in Oxiclean for at least an hour, sometimes more. Then I examine the items to see if I need to hand scrub any spots before washing. I wring them out slightly and carry them to the laundry in a bucket. I then can wash these items in their own washer or even put in the washer with other items and it wonít hurt colors like bleach would. Mac has several white T-shirts that are older. I used to bleach them, and they were not bright white anymore. Iíve been using this method of soaking in Oxiclean and these T-shirts now seem whiter, the collars donít have the ring around the collar, and some of the old set-in stains have also been removed. Of course, there are some stains that nothing will remove like paint or liquid rubber roof material. But those stains are on his old work around the RV T-shirts. So now he has bright white T-shirts. I am very pleased with this method of cleaning our whites.
If you don't play poker, you may want to skip over the next few paragraphs.
Since the last update I've been playing in one live tournament a day. I've played six, and placed in two of them.
On the 14th at the Peppermill: No Limit, $30+3 with a single $30 rebuy. First buy in gets you 400TC (Tournament Chips) and the rebuy gets you 600TC. 11 players per table, 5 or 6 tables, 10 and 20 blinds
First hand I was in 5th or 6th position and called with 99. There were a couple other callers and the guy in the BB made it $120. I called and so did a guy on my left, everyone else folded. Flop comes 4c, 6c, 9d, giving me a set. The BB goes all in for 400TC total, I'm about as happy as a guy can get, and I call. The guy on my left calls too (humm, that worries me). BB turns over KK, I show my 999 :-) and man to my left shows two clubs. OK, so I had a set and a draw to a boat. I'm about a 67% favorite vs. 28% for the flush draw, and the KK is almost drawing dead. Life is good! Well, the turn was a blank, but the river was a club. I lost to the flush. BB with KK stormed off and didnít even rebuy. I did.
About 20 hands later, 2 callers and I had pocket 77 so I went all in for $425. Man on my left calls me, all others fold. He had AK off suit, and off to the races. I was about a 55% favorite. He beat me with a K on the flop. See ya!
On the 15th at the Peppermill: No Limit, $20+ 3 $13 add on, 1PM. Made good plays most of the day. Made the final table with an average stack, but given the size of blinds and antes it was somewhat short, about 9x the blinds.
300/600 with 50 ante. I was in the SB with A2s, two called, I called, and BB moved all in for about 1k more. One folded, the other moved all in.
At this point I'm thinking the BB didn't need to have much to make that move. One more round and he'd be broke, so with a few limpers against him he may even be on a stone cold bluff. At worst, he likely had a small pair, suited connectors, or a couple of paint cards like JK. So I figured the other guy who went all in didn't need much to make that move either. I thought worst case he had a medium pair, or maybe KQ or or AK and was trying to push me out so he could go heads up with the short stack.
I called. He had AK and I can't remember what the BB had. I was about 30% against the AK off suit. I got lucky and rivered him with a deuce.
Now I had the chip lead and made the most I could of it. I knocked out one or two people. Then I started losing. I was getting great cards 4 handed, TT, KK, ATs, AJs, but was getting beat by T8, 44, A4, etc. At least 3 bad beats in a row for big chunks of my chipstack. I found myself out in 4th place. Collected $145. OK, so now I understand why most of the small-time semi-pros want to chop it up. They see a 4x to 8x profit and want to lock it in.
On the 16th at the Peppermill: No Limit, $20+ 3 $13 add on, 1PM. Maybe 5 tables? Knocked out in 14th, no money
17th and 18th didn't place in the money. No need to bore you with the details ;-)
On the 19th at the Peppermill: No Limit, $100+10, freezeout (no rebuy) 7PM. I got very few hands all night long. Over and over I was looking at J4, 72, 63, 34, T4, etc. etc. etc. First hour I think I literally had 4 playable hands. I won with 3 of them. Same thing went on all night. I folded hand after hand but managed to win almost every hand I played. Made the final table. Doubled up on a bad beat against a good player. I went all in with A7s and he called me (from BB I think) with JJ. I was about 32% to win that one, and caught an A on the river.
We got down to 7 players and I had the chip leader and 2nd place on my left, so I couldn't get at the short stacks on my right unless I played back at them, re-raise over them, after the chip leaders folded. I did this once only, and knocked a guy out. Then I started getting awful hands again.
I wanted to attack the chip leaders, but needed some ammo! Finally when we were 4 handed I was short stack with about 1/2 my chips in the big blind, and everyone folded to the small blind. He went all in and I called with 53 off suit. I know, the hand sucks, but I was ready to gamble while I had enough chips for it to make a difference. Worst case, even if he had AA I had about a 18% chance. If he had a random hand (which was reasonable to assume) I had about 38%. He beat me with a heart flush (talk about overkill). I was out 4th and made $560. OK, poker update complete :-)
Cool bus we saw. They stopped over for a few days at the Peppermill on their way to Burning Man
On the way to South Mississippi
Sorry for the lack of updates lately. We were very busy with the business, and also enjoying our final days in Reno, NV. Had planned to leave this week, but Katrina changed our plans and we left a few days early.
Since Wednesday night we've been on the road driving from Reno, NV to Monroe, LA to pick up Chris' parents. 2250 miles in 3 1/2 days is more than we ever want to do again! They live at an RV resort North of Pass Christian, MS and evacuated to Hattiesburg, MS for Hurricane Katrina. Afterwards there was no electricity or water in Hattiesburg so they moved into a hotel in Monroe. We plan to pick them up tomorrow and drive down & see if they still have an RV.
Depending on what we find we'll decide what to do next. We do plan to keep the blog updated and will be providing satellite internet service to anyone nearby who wants to hook up. I'll give the address and GPS once we know where we'll be for sure.
Interim Update cont...
Will have a complete update and start September's blog in a week or so. We picked up Chris' folks and helped them salvage what we could from their place. Almost nothing left. They're with us now and we're helping them get reestablished here in TX.
Saturday, August 20 Ė Tuesday, August 30:
We donít have much new to report for the rest of the month of August. The Peppermill Casino had given us a coupon for a free night in the hotel so we took advantage of that. We thought it would be great to take a loooooong shower and to use the swimming pool, etc. When Mac went to check us into our room it wasnít ready so they asked that we come back in a couple of hours. When Mac went back the second time it still wasnít ready so they said that they would upgrade us for free to another room but when the clerk checked they didnít have one of those available so she said sheíd upgrade us to a suite for free. We gladly accepted their kind offer. The suite was great! It had a Jacuzzi in it, lots of walking around room in it and the shower even had a sauna in it. It was really nice. We enjoyed a nice long shower then climbed into the Jacuzzi and relaxed for awhile. It was really great!
Other than that the rest of August was about the same as the first part of the month. It was hot outside in the 90ís but we were very comfortable in our RV with the swamp cooler going. We are really quite pleased with it.
On the morning of Sunday August 28th I talked to my parents who live along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and they evacuated to Hattiesburg Miss. By Sunday night I was very much wishing that they had evacuated further away. But my dad is in his 80ís and heís getting too old and feeble to drive the distance or really to drive in an area that he doesnít know. He can drive down to the grocery store, the laundry and small drives like that but he really shouldnít be driving much at all. But they had to leave so they did.
We worried all day Monday while Katrina went through the Gulf Coast and saw on the news how bad it was. But we really had no idea how extremely bad it was in Miss. because all the news then concentrated on New Orleans with the levee breaking and the flooding that occurred there. We thought that we might need to leave Reno and go down to Miss and help out but we didnít want to be out of cell phone range until we heard from my parents. Tuesday night Mac found www.wlox.com, the TV station from Biloxi and they had helicopter video from a station in Jackson that showed the damage to the Miss. Gulf Coast. When we saw that video then we knew we were leaving Reno and heading to Miss.
So, Wednesday morning we started getting everything ready to go. We packed everything away for travel and went to dump the tanks, get fresh water, gas up, get propane, etc. Wednesday afternoon my dad called and left a message that they were safe, they were heading to Monroe LA because there was no electricity or water in Hattiesburg and could we please come help them.
We left that afternoon and headed out. We finally got to talk to them Wednesday evening after they arrived in Monroe. Their cell phone had kicked the bucket and thatís why they had to call us from a landline phone. We had tried to replace that cell phone for them before but they were used to it and didnít want a new one, now theyíll have to get a new one. We just thanked God that they were safe. They stayed in Monroe at a hotel until we could arrive and rescue them. Mac and I drove long hours to get down to Monroe as quick as we could and we finally arrived on Sunday morning. We drove through a lot of beautiful country that we plan on returning and seeing at a much slower pace.
We went to Wal-Mart and bought some more groceries and while there we filled up the RV with gas. We knew from there on down further south gas would be hard to find. Mac drove the RV with our car towed behind it and I drove my parentís car. We drove to Hattiesburg and parked at the Wal-Mart there to spend the night. Curfew is in effect along the coast from 6 to 6. We will drive down tomorrow to check out their place and see if it survived.
The drive from Monroe to Hattiesburg was interesting. We saw a lot of troop transports, trucks with supplies, electrical trucks, evacuees, etc. We spent the night in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Hattiesburg because of the curfew along the coast and it was late afternoon already. At the parking lot there were several volunteers spending the night too. We met several volunteers from Georgia who came down to help cut down the trees that were blown over or half fallen.
As you can see we've done a lot of free dry camping this month, 100% :-) and that dropped our average cost per night to $8.05.
Camping costs since 1/1/05
Fuel Costs are up (duh). We drove 1529 miles in August. Still showing low MPG, but we're using the generator an hour or two daily. Also driving a lot in mountain regions which really uses the fuel.
Fuel data since 4/1/05