She doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does she??!!

The jack repair was the culmination of a series of measures we have been taking over the past 2 months which also included the installation of 6 new tires ($600 per tire), replacement of the front axle track bar in Redding and re-alignment of the front end at West Coast Frame in Sacramento…

Oregon: home to a pristine coastline, clear blue mountain lakes, an extensive pine forest, the Tillamook cheese company, a plethora of great wineries producing the best Pinot Noir to be found anywhere, the Beavers, the Ducks and our personal favorite…Quality Coach Service in Eugene which is owned by Robert and Amber Arndell…

Yep! You guessed it!!!  The old UAV demanded a little more attention.  I really do believe this thing is female.  In reality, we have been taking care of potential problems in preparation for a run back to Alaska next spring and have been repairing or replacing those things which could present us with an unforgiving situation on the Alaska Highway.  This stop was to rebuild the 2 rear jacks which started to get a bit quirky about 3 years ago and finally reached the point where I no longer wanted to pry them up occasionally with a shovel.  We could have saved about $400 if we had been willing to remove and re-install them ourselves after they had been rebuilt but one look at my mechanic convinced me to part with the extra cash for a professional job…

Daren, their wizard of all things steering related, provided me a tour of our undercarriage on the “olde guy chair” which is fully equipped with wheels and a 55-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.  They go to great lengths to hide this thing when Cal-OSHA shows up for surprise inspections since it is not equipped with either a roll bar or seat belt.

This leg of our journey into the northwest began with a relatively short stay with our relatively short relatives, the Zimmermans, at their antebellum home, estate and winery in the rolling hills of Grass Valley, California...

We were both very lucky to not be arrested for stalking as we prowled the streets of Grass Valley revving the engine and leering at a group of young hotties in their early sixties.

Despite all the back breaking labor and forced servitude, we did manage to finagle a little time in the cellar for some barrel tasting…

This masterpiece can be found in front of the local newspaper office and, if you look closely, you will see a bunch of neatly rolled newspapers in the dog house.  And to think, folks just never believed me when, as a newsboy, I told my customers to check their dog’s house if they couldn’t find their morning paper.  And to this day people still don’t believe a word I say!  Damn dogs!!!

We are now comfortably nestled at the Elks Lodge in Independence, Oregon on the banks of the Willamette River enjoying all of the festivities associated with the celebration of Independence Day in Small Town, America.  The local parade attracts visitors from the surrounding hamlets as well as nearby Salem and features a number of luminaries who took some time from their day jobs to drop in for a visit…

Our first stop in Oregon was Grants Pass, named for Union General U.S. Grant when news reached Oregon of his victory at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

As we have travelled throughout America, we have enjoyed the artistic creations which a number of cities have adopted as an expression of who they are and what they represent.  Painted horses graze along the streets of Rochester, painted fish school throughout New Orleans, painted groundhogs burrow through Punxsutawney and in Grants Pass…

We hope that all of you out there had a safe and wonderful 4th of July and, as for us, we’ll be heading out of here in the morning for Beaverton, some 50 miles away, and then into that vast wasteland called Washington to the north.  See y’all next time.  Hugs, C&K

At least this town hasn‘t gone completely to the dogs…

  Independence                                                                 July 6, 2012

Although it was a bit rustic, we found our accommodations quite comfortable so long as we were quiet and moved slowly so as not to frighten the family of skunks sharing our habitat.

The weather during our stay was pretty warm and dry so Jerry took the opportunity to drag his 1931 Ford hot rod out of the barn and the two of us headed off to town to “cruise chicks and suck face”…

We always manage to arrive here during some part of the wine producing process that requires we be in the vineyard before sunrise working throughout the day and into the night with naught to eat save a few stale crackers and a closely monitored water ration.  At days end we are occasionally allowed in the “big house” to serve gourmet dinners to their fellow moguls and one percenters…

In prior years we have always been able to park our RV on their estate but a new zoning ordinance banning vehicles in running condition resulted in our storing our home in town and living in the Zimmerman’s newly acquired visitor and servant quarters…

The celebration of Independence Day in Independence, Oregon, features a 30-minute grand finale comparable those found in much larger cities and a wee bit better than the one in San Diego, California, which lasted only 15 seconds this year …