Saturday, August 27, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Friday evening after a rather hectic and somewhat maddening week my grandson and I left and drove up to Gold Bar to our trailer in the woods. We had planned to stay and come back early Sunday morning as there is a picnic that I must attend with my wife in our condo complex. We enjoyed a peaceful Friday night, he with his friends in the park and me visiting friends and then reading a good book as I waited for him to return.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
In the Northwood Manufacturing plant parking lot sat my dirt covered, bug stained Silverado with what appeared to be a flat right rear tire. To say I wasn’t impressed would be an understatement, but there it was. Having never changed a tire on this truck I turned to the trusty manual but eventually called my contact at our Chevrolet dealer for assistance. After a certain amount of struggle in pretty hot weather I completed the task. I was covered with dirt, dust, sweat and sunburn. The parking lot had to be 85 degrees and the pavement was much hotter. And me in shorts and a t-shirt. I washed up in Northwood’s restroom, said my goodbyes and head home to the trailer to rehydrate.
Once I had some liquid we went out seeking someone to repair our tire. I have worked with Les Schwab in the past as a part of my business so we found the local store and drove in. We went and found a waiting room full of people with all kinds of problems. Thinking it would take forever we settled in after giving all our info and the keys to the attendant.
Within 15 minutes I saw my truck pulled up to the front of the building as a young man went to work to resolve my issue. He took the tire to the shop, fixed it and brought it back. After jacking the truck up, he removed my spare, reinstalled my original tire including the hubcap, put the spare away and locked it and for good measure he picked up all the tools put them in the bag, put them and the jack back where they belong. Culprit….rock….Cost…..NOTHING. Say what? Someone from out of state with a truck that doesn’t have Les Schwab tires on it gets this kind of service. I am in awe of these guys.
If you can’t buy tires from me, but tires from these guys.
We plan to be up early tomorrow to begin our 349 mile trip back to Gold Bar, Washington. I am hoping we can pull it off in one day. This should be interesting. If I don’t post tomorrow it will be because we made it and don’t have wireless. If I post, we’ll be in a trailer park somewhere in route.
As stated before, all the pics will come when we get home. Be safe out there.
It is Monday afternoon and we have just returned from our tour of Northwood Manufacturing, makers of Arctic Fox and our Nash trailer. It was a very interesting tour and not at all what I expected. I was really surprised when they said we could take pictures during the tour. It not like I plan to build an RV any time soon.
We started at the beginning with a frame that they design and manufacturer in a plant next door to their assembly plant. Heavy duty axles and well constructed framing combine with closed and insulated holding tank areas as well as room for heater ducting. Water pipes, wiring and insulation close out the under floor compartment. Next we went to the area where they build the floor for the units. Thick marine grade plywood is applied to wooden frame that is then bolted down to the frame, a lot of bolts. There is insulation and a vapor barrier under the flooring.
Next we walk by rows of windows stacked on movable shelves. They showed us the construction of a slider as well as cut away sections of the laminated walls with installation. We then moved into the cabinet shop where the precut lumber is assembled into finish cabinets to go in trailers which haven’t even been started. The production process requires that some items be ready before the unit arrives at the station. The next stop takes us to a trailer with no walls or roof but it has a frame, floor and a bunch of cabinets installed. The shower, sink, potty and other items are installed at this location and heating, wiring and plumbing are beginning to take shape.
Final wiring is done before the unit moves to the next position in the line. The walls get installed. In the larger aluminum framed units the walls are custom cut. All the opens are cut by a CNC machine. All the trim work is done via the computer. The end walls go on before the new fiberglass nose and aft covers are installed. Lots of chalking is going into the unit as it works its way down this line. Some workers are screwing and bolting components together. At this point we dropped by the counter top manufacturing station. A lot of is routing going on here.
Next we stop by the mill shop. Here all the wood is cut to size for all of the different stations along the process. Floor frame, wall parts, as well as cabinet are cut here, marked and distributed, again for vehicles in future production. One of my favorite parts of the tour was watching a young lady putting together the frame for the wooden walls in the under 26’ trailers. While she has a jig, she was amazingly fast with the stapler as she put all the pieces together. The interior treatment is installed on the frame and the whole thing I bolted to the trailer floor. The front and rear pieces are installed as well as the roof truss’. Yep, real roof truss’ that you can actually walk on. The insulation is installed in the walls and the roof. Then the rubber roof is installed. The rubber roof extends past the top edge by a couple of inches giving maximum protection for leaks. Then the outer wall lamination is glued and stapled to the interior wall. Then enters a guy with a router to cut all the appropriate holes in the sides. He is very fast and efficient as he cuts all the holes down the side of the wall.
The wall is finish stapled to the side of the trailer and the trim is installed to hide everything. Gutters are installed, doors, lights, windows and all the other accessories called for on the production sheet. Then the unit moves to the chalking department where a fellow on scaffolding moves around the trailer chalking everything. In the meantime, inspector is looking the whole rig over for imperfections from missed chalking to any detail that appears amiss. The trailer now moves out to the Predelivery Department where additional tests are done to make certain that the trailer, camper or fifth wheeler leaves the factory with no leaks either from the inside or the outside in.
I came away very impressed until I got to the parking lot……to be continued
Hot Lake Springs
As you turn off Highway 203 onto a gravel road leading to the Hot Lake Springs RV Park you notice a large building to your left that has a huge neon sign on top that states “Hot Lake Springs”. Our hosts at the RV park made certain that we were aware that the Bed & Breakfest, Spa, Foundry and Museum was having a Grand Opening the very weekend we were visiting the La Grande area. After our Saturday morning trip to Pendleton we returned, had lunch and went over the Grand Opening.
There is a very hot spring (200 degree water) right next to the complex. In the early morning hours steam can be seen rising off the water surface. Apparently a long time ago, before the west was settle, Native Americans would visit the site for its’ soothing, restorative powers. It somehow was consider neutral ground among the many Indian tribes that visited. In 1812 if was first discovered by white men during William Price Hunt’s expedition and the springs became a regular stop on the Oregon Trail.
In the 1850’s homesteaders, Fitzgerald and Newhard settled the site and Newhard built the first building. Called “Town Under One Roof” and the building housed the post office, blacksmith shop, dance hall, barber shop, drug store, garden shop and bath houses. It became a viable trading post in the wilderness.
Along comes the transcontinental railway in 1884 and the history of this site was changed forever. Hot Springs became not only a layover point for travelers but a destination resort and health spa.
Newhard’s original building was torn down in 1903 by the new leases of the property, Dr. Nithorn and ‘Bear’ Cook. They erected a modern hotel and building at the site finished in 1908 with the completion of the brick portion of the building and boasting 105 rooms.
A Dr. Phy purchased the property in 1917 and established it as a resort complete with a modern hospital. It gained a reputation as the “Mayo Clinic of the West”. Thousands of visitors came to be treated by the state of the art medical facility and sanatorium. Hot Springs became a very popular destination.
Sudden illness struck Dr. Phy down and he passed away. His passing combined with the Great Depression of the 1930’s led to a slow decline of this once sought after resort. A fire in 1934 destroyed the wooden structures of the resort. After that the facility was used for World War II pilots training, nurse training, nursing home, restaurant and country western nightclub.
Over the next 70 years the property slowly decayed and became a blight on the landscape. Birds and animals took over the site. The roof began to leak and the interior was a shambles. Bypassed in 1951 by Highway 30, the resort was auctioned off by the Sheriff in 1996. The roof began to leak and the interior was a shambles. Windows and doors were missing. Fixtures, mouldings and anything else of value were taken by vandals. Demolition appear to be the only thing left for the old resort.
Five different owners had plans to restore the resort and all failed to produce anything but a dream. It would have been a huge task to say the least. A 100,000 square foot three story building with no roof, holes in the floors, no working water or electrical systems. It was a complete wreck and everyone figured anyone who purchased it was likely nuts. The task would be immense and require someone with the ability to see the potential instead of the decaying remains.
Enter the Manuel Family, from Joesph, Oregon. These folks saw the potential in the derelict ruins and set about with a plan to restore the resort both as a bed and breakfast and a museum. They dreamed and looked into the future to what they thought it could be.
David Manuel is a sculpturer who is fairly well known for his historically accurate depictions of the old west in both paintings and bronze. He and his wife Lee, are strong believers in the historical benefit of Hot Lake Springs as well as the use as a full resort. So they moved their family and foundry to the site and began the long process of bring back the old resort with the help of a lot of the La Grande community as well as volunteers.
While not complete the resort is now open and accepting visitors. We cruised the grounds and were amazed at some of the before and after pictures. They have had to install electrical, plumbing and fire protection, much of it on the outside of the interior lath and plaster walls. Many walls are still in need of repair.
You enter the new lobby with a small electrical fire burning and a check in desk. The lower floor comprises an Italian restaurant, gift shop, theater, a spa, as well as other hotel facilities. On the second floor is where David Manuel has his library and there are some guest rooms. On the third floor are more guest rooms and rooms that they have left as they were when the third floor was a hospital. There is an exercise room with really old exercise equipment that you lay on and the equipment does all the work. One room has been left as it was when the Manuel’s purchased the place. I cannot see how they saw what they saw after seeing all the pictures and the undeveloped room.
There are 22 rooms and 15 private baths. Some share bathrooms and others have a bathroom down the hall. All of the rooms are decorated in a different motif. Some have been redone with the original furnishings so visitors can enjoy a piece of history. The restoration is still in progress and will no doubt continue for several years.
It is a wonderful thing when someone takes on a project such as this and takes the time to learn the history of the place and then take the time to impart it to the people who come to visit. I am sure the Native Americans and settlers that traded at this spot in the early days could have never envisioned the history that would follow.
I’ll post some of the pictures I took after we get home.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
All I have to say is, "WOW". What a fantastic trip this turned out to be. I am sorry to say that we are still dealing with a very slow Wifi and I can't download pictures. Hopefully I'll be able to finish the post before I lose the signal.
We left La Grande after filling the tank at around 7:00 am this morning. Hopping I 84 we headed off towards Baker City. Just before Baker City we turned off the freeway on to 86 which took us to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. This National Oregon Trail History Center is chuck full of information regarding the early emigrants that made the trip from Independence, MO to Oregon and beyond. Plus we got our $10.00 senior Federal Parks Pass. We spent over an hour walking through the displays and listening to the tales of what went on from the journals of those who experienced it. A short drive away is a point along the highway that allows you to walk 180 feet to the site of the original Oregon Trail. What you can see the ruts created by the many wagon trains that followed the trail. There are roughly three hundred spots left across the nation where you can still see the original Oregon Trail.
Once we left the Interpretive Center we ended up driving on up to Richland and then Halfway. Along the way we pasted fields of grain waving in the breeze as the temperature began to increase. Cattle grazed on the hillsides as we pasted by farm after farm. Some look to be doing well, others, not so much.
Outside of Halfway we turned west on 39. This highway is impassable during the winter months and there was still snow on some of the higher elevations. It is a slow, twisting road that leads up the mountain site to our next stop, Hells Canyon Overlook. This is an amazing view and finding out that it all started roughly 300 million years ago. It is the single deepest river (the Snake river) gorge in the U.S. reaching depths of 7,993 feet over the 215,000 acres that it stretches up and down the Oregon/Idaho border. It is amazing to stand above and look down on 300 million years of mother natures handiwork.
From there we continued along 39 until it joins up with I 82. 39 stretches nearly 50 miles and is difficult, slow driving at lower than normal speeds. You are constantly on your toes looking for downhill vehicles that are cutting the blind corners. It is very slow driving and I suspect is part of the reason why it is recommended that you take at least two days to drive the route
We hit Joseph and spent some time wandering around the streets. Had a nice big ice cream cone and Mia found a quilt shop that where she could spend some money. We left Joseph and headed back towards La Grande passing through Enterprise, Elgin, and Imbler. All are obviously supporting the surrounding farms and cattle ranches.
We thoroughly enjoyed the trip and wished we had spent a little more time in Joseph.
I took 154 pictures of all kinds of stuff but the Wi-Fi is still not operating well so I am stuck until we get home.
It reached 90 degrees today and felt so good after the crummy summer we have experienced in Seattle.
Tomorrow is my visit to Northwood Manufacturing and Mia wants to go to the Quilt stores in La Grande as well as walk the historical homes of the city.
Tuesday we plan to head out early. We have kind of decided to try and make the 344 mile run to Gold Bar, via Zillah, Washington in one day. This should be fun. I am thinking I might let Mia try to drive the rig down the freeway and see how she does.
Be safe out there.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
It was 6:30 am Saturday morning and it was really hard to blog with no wireless connection. We had a relatively uneventful night. We spent some time talking and listening to the owners of the park as well as other guests who seem to come from everywhere. The folks on one side of us are here from Utah with their kids. A retired couple on the other side of us have Texas plates and say they have been on the road fulltime for eight years. He is interested in setting up a blog so I told him to come over one night and I would show him how easy it is. Another couple is here with their grandchildren and live fairly close in Hermiston.
I have tried several times to log into the wireless connection provided by the park with no success. I suspect that I am too far from the originating spot of the signal. So I will do the next best thing. Create a word document with all the notes. Including the image numbers and when I am done, I’ll walk over by the office and sit down and down load the whole thing.
We planned to go back to Pendleton today. With no trailer, Mia will drive today and I, with camera in hand, will try to take some pictures of the area as we travel through. With her at the wheel the first course of action was to drive back over the passes that we came over yesterday. Our granddaughter and daughter in law have a mountain named after them that we never knew existed until yesterday when it sucked nearly all of the fuel out of my truck as we made our way over the long, steep grade.
I stated earlier, we were on the way to Pendleton and one of the primairy reasons was to visit the Pendleton Woolen Mill to see if I could find a nice shirt. Apparently they think they have nice shirts because they are too expensive for me. While I thought wool would be a good idea I came to the conclusion, maybe not. After trying on several shirts, I found wool to not be a comfortable item against my skin. It brought back visions of the days in the Navy under a wool blanket…Yeck.
We drove around Pendleton and you guess it…Mia found two Quilt Shops. Actually, one was a real fabric store with quilting among other things and the second one was quilting other peoples blankets and other items. Not a lot of fabric or anything else in the second store. But both seem to have purpose so if you’re ever in Pendleton drop by. I'll send the storefront pictures later.
They have big tile boots on the street just like the pigs in Pike Place Market another picture I will load when we get home. I might just edit these posts instead of starting new.
We left Pendleton and relived the harrowing experience back over the mountian to La Grande and lunch in our trailer. As I type this it is very warm outside. Somewhere in the mid 80’s but it is a dry heat with a minor breeze blowing so when you are shaded it isn’t too bad.
We went to the reopening, Grand Opening of the Hot Lakes Springs, bed-breakfest, museum, foundry, and just plain fun place. I’ll blog about and give you the history and pictures of this place after I get home and have a better wireless connection for loading pictures. Somehow I have to convince the wife that I need my own internet connection/hotspot. I finally went outside and got a connection and while I took over 150 pictures today, there is absolutely no way I am sitting here on battery power long enough to download them to the blog.
Tomorrow, the scenic bypass that should take us most of the day.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
We finally got packed and made a couple of stops on the road out of town but we were still able to get on the road by 10:30 am. As stated before, Voodoo Donuts was the first stop. Unfortunately we couldn't go to the original store downtown due to the 26' trailer we were towing behind us. This picture shows you the exterior of the hole in the wall donut shop that has become very popular. We purchased fritters, maple bars with bacon and the voodoo doll with the pretzel stuck in his chest. We devoured the voodoo doll in the truck while still sitting in the parking lot. We have saved the rest for later.
Mia is very intently attempting to pick out her choice of donut.
So here we are at the RV park enjoying some relatively nice breezes across very hot pavement. We have a nice grassy spot outside with a table and we are set up for the night. Tomorrow we pull up stakes and head for La Grande.
Hope you all had a grand day. Be safe.
One thing is for sure, retirement will make this process a whole lot easier.