Home at Last and Travel Plans

Current Location: Grants Pass, Oregon 30 degrees with icy fog

We are home.  We have been living in our new home for just over a month now.  Time has a funny way of shifting about, and it feels like we have been here forever, and yet it also feels like only a moment.  I still find myself reaching on the wrong side for the toilet paper, or sliding my hand up the wrong wall to find the light switch.  A few days ago I stomped near the base of the toilet to flush it.  Yes, RVr’s will recognize that one.

We spent much time in the Moho parked here on the property from March through September, but we lived pretty much full time there from mid September until November 7th, the date that our furniture arrived from Klamath Falls. We still have the apartments in Klamath Falls, but wanted to be here for the ending details of the build. Finally, after two and a half years of moving around, fixing up places, selling places, moving stuff from one home to another as we made the shifts, all of everything we have is here, in one place.  It feels a bit strange. 

I somehow completely lost time and inclination to blog the building process.  I photographed extensively, and my calendar is jammed with deadlines, appointments, contractor schedules and such.  I will always have the opportunity to go back and look at the progress and the completion, but no way could I even begin to keep up with writing about it as it was happening.

The last six weeks was much different than the first few months.  Instead of big exciting progress, the work moved forward in what often seemed like tiny increments.  All I can say is, if you ever build a home, it is most important to be right there.  I can’t count how many times a knock on the door of the MoHo meant one sub or another needed a small question answered, questions that Gary might not have really known how to answer without speaking with us.  Being 2.5 hours and 130 miles away at the apartment wasn’t really an option.

While some of the details were a bit tedious, there were also big moments that were absolutely thrilling.  The day the granite was delivered and installed was one I won’t forget.  Our choice turned out to be perfect, even more beautiful than we imagined once it was installed.  The perfection of craftsmanship and fit was amazing to us.  I don’t know how they do that!

Seeing the paint colors for the interior and exterior materialize into reality after studying and choosing colors for a year was nerve-wracking.  What if we had picked colors that didn’t work?  We agonized for a few days over the accent color on the upper exterior walls before finally deciding. 

Later, a neighbor asked how I managed to match the bark of the madrone trees with that color.  Huh?  A complete accident, but a lucky one.  We really love our colors.  I thought I was matching the red clay dirt all around the house.  The red was also a nod to the sweet little cottage that stood where this beautiful home is placed.  Once of the best decisions we made was to bring in several loads of decomposed granite to cover the sticky red clay that is on this property.  That clay stained everything in its path, including the sidewalk, and the workers always had special shoes around for working here.  Everyone is very happy that we no longer have to worry about the clay.  We will landscape more next year and add some soil and shrubs, but for now at least it is all nice and clean.

The interior color is Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter.  The color is all over Pinterest and HGTV.  I succumbed to current style and was really worried that after all our warm earth tones of years past it might be really hard to get used to “gray”. 

It turned out to be our perfect choice, and all the reviews that say the color goes well with warm and cool, and enhances furniture and floors to perfection isn’t an overstatement.  It never looks the same, and each wall and room somehow glows differently. 

Another exciting and surprisingly stressful time was when the hardwood was installed.  Jared, the incredible artist that does this work is also a guitarist, and we went to see his show last week.  His craftsmanship was amazing to watch, but when I first saw all the dark knots in the wood I was appalled. 

The sample was different, with very few knots.  We basically freaked out, called Gary and the flooring people, and for a few days all was a bit of a kerfuffle.  In the end, we were able to hand pick the best boards and set the rest aside.  Thanks to Lipperts for great customer service.  I am used to the knots now, and feel much like others have said, it gives the floor character.

Vinyl went in with more incredible craftsmanship by Ted, who also installed our carpets.  I am so very grateful for the soft touch of vinyl flooring in the bathrooms and glad we didn’t succumb to the trend to tile everything.  After three months of ceramic tile floors at the Running Y I knew I didn’t want that in my own home.  Too dang hard and cold! 

Painters came and went several times to touch up and repair tiny flaws until I can honestly say that the paint inside and out is very nearly perfect.  Joel, the detail oriented, meticulous wood worker, spent many days perfecting the trims both inside and out.  The best moment came when the three of us, Joel, Mo, and I, figured out how to design the arch across the front porch.  It was our idea, but Joel completed it to perfection.

We had great fun with the cement contractor, who took time to install some of our antique Batchelder tiles in the sidewalk, and even showed us how to press some of our Oregon coast stones into the back step. 

Jared, the wood guy, was also the tile master who installed the Batchelder’s to perfection in the foyer.  Mo and I installed the tiles in front of the fireplace, a reasonably simple job, but we hope to have Jared return next year when we are ready to complete the backsplash in the kitchen with more tiles. It will be a big project that we decided to put on the back burner rather than have it hold up completion of the house.

Cupboards were the biggest hassle, with several frustrating moments.  Paying as much as we did for custom cabinetry meant we expected things to be perfect.  They are now perfect, but it wasn’t without repeated visits by the cupboard guys and lots of intervention by Gary. 

What stands out most during the last few weeks of the build was the dedicated work by the builder, and most of all his foreman, Gary.  We were incredibly lucky to have chosen the builder we did.  Everywhere we look is evidence of the commitment to high quality and paying attention to what we needed and wanted.  Gary was always there to intercede with subcontractors on our behalf to be sure that everything was attended to properly.  Dave and Gary have an employee, Levi, and we aren’t exactly sure of his official title, but Levi was a constant presence.  He handled so many miscellaneous jobs, doing all the little things that needed attention, from digging holes for drains to cleanups day after day, to installing the door knobs and so many other details. 

Gary and Dave Adams went through the house with us on the last day, checking off every single detail, making sure all was perfect.  When Gary handed Mo the keys officially, it was an exciting moment.  On time exactly, November 1, as promised way back in March before the cottage was demolished.  And on budget as well, with no surprises with the final invoice.  I am curious how often people have such a great experience with a contractor.  Ours was superb, thanks to Mo’s great choice of a builder.

After our furniture was delivered, we emptied the motorhome and I spent some time getting her all spiffed up in the inside while Mo spiffed up the outside.  In early November the world was still sunny and warm in the afternoons.  We had stored much of our furniture in the RV shed, and decided to move all our packed boxes from the move into the garage, so we had a full garage, a full RV shed, and a very nice, clean, spare new home to work with.  The beds were set up, the furniture in place, everything we needed was here, so it was not too difficult to work a box at a time, deciding exactly where the contents should be placed and which contents were ready for the Goodwill bin.

The packed shed and garage seemed like an impossible project.  There was so much STUFF.  We had the older furniture from the little cabin at Mo’s home in Rocky Point, the older furniture that we had used in the Cottage, many things that we had stored from my house on Painter Street and moved to Rocky Point and then moved here to the RV shed two years ago.

It was just a matter of doing it, of starting what seemed like an impossible project.  We decided to cram everything we could on one side of the garage, and keep only one car inside.  With that, we hoped that there would be enough room to get the MoHo safely parked inside the RV shed.  It was amazing to watch, to realize that things weren’t as bad as we thought, and last week not only did we get the MoHo back in her big safe building, but we got BOTH cars inside the garage!  I took many boxes to various donation sites, and this week have learned that with a bit of effort and work, many items can be sold through the Facebook Marketplace. 

With our beautiful new home, and all its great angles and windows, there is less room for furniture, and we both have had to let go of a few loved old pieces because there just isn’t room for them.  Both of us want to keep the new house looking like everything in it is put there on purpose.  No jamming stuff somewhere just because we can’t let go of it.  I put things on Craigslist and Facebook, and Facebook by far has been the most successful.  The nice thing about Facebook is that I can look at a buyer’s profile before I let them come anywhere near the house. It has worked incredibly well and we are paring down.

I had no idea I would have time to actually decorate for Christmas, thinking that it would be impossible to get everything moved, settled, unpacked and still decorate.  It hasn’t been a problem at all. Especially with the help of my grandson Matthew, who lives across the street, helping to get lights on the high gables of the house.  The ladders weren’t tall enough so he climbed up to the roof and did it all from there. 

He has also been a big help preparing things to put on Craigslist, and even blew all the leaves off the roof and out of the gutters for us.

Even after only 2 weeks in the house we had Thanksgiving for the family here. Daughter Melody has moved to Eugene with her family, and they came south for the day, just a 2 hour drive.  Daughter Deborah lives just an hour away and with Matthew across the street, they joined us as well.  It was a lovely Thanksgiving with only 9 people.  Perfect for the table of six and three on the new counter.  The “kids” all love the swivel stools so didn’t mind at all being relegated to what amounted to the kid table, even though they aren’t really kids any more ranging from 18 to 34 years old.  LOL

I managed to finish a gift quilt that will go out in the mail this week, dove into my card making supplies to begin making some Christmas cards, and look, I am actually writing a blog!

Mo and I are excited about getting on the road again, and have plans to leave for our desert sojourn sometime in late winter. Just yesterday we decided to take the very long way south, following our old route west to Brookings and traveling south along the coast to Southern California.  We will then hang for a time at Catalina Spa to check out the new remodels and hope that our pools are as wonderful as ever.  I am hoping for some time in Anza Borrego before we go for some white hot nothing on Ogilby Road near Yuma and on to Tucson to visit friends and do some hiking in the Catalina’s.

We also have plans for a week in Cancun, thanks to daughter Deanna’s offer of a week at their timeshare condo on the beach there.  Air miles are a great thing, so it will be a nice vacation for us.  Other plans are in the works, and I think we will return to our old schedule of heading out somewhere in the MoHo at least once a month. It has been two years since we have been able to do that.

One more very exciting bit of travel won’t include Mo.  I am taking my daughter Deanna to Italy for the one mother child trip that I am trying to do for each kid in my old age.  I took Melody to Eastern Europe, Deborah chose the famous Blues Cruise to the Caribbean, and now Deanna and I have chosen Italy.  It is the first trip I will do on my own, doing the planning without a tour group. We will be spending three weeks, mostly in Florence and on the Amalfi coast beginning late September. I have to thank Erin for all her inspiration on that level since she is probably the most accomplished traveler that I know. 

Life is good.  The house is warm and comfy, everything is clean and organized in ways that haven’t been possible for a long time.  Those close to me will know how much I love that part.  Life is beginning to settle down and the routines of everyday living are filling the space with love and beauty.  I am so so so lucky.

We had a fabulous July, but first a House Update

Current Location: Running Y Resort, Klamath Falls, Oregon 

Mattie is completely unconcerned about thunder and lightning in Grants Pass.  Alert, but totally relaxed.

As I wrote last time, we knew that July had much in store for us.  Almost every single day was full, with tight schedules that made us often ask, “What are we doing next?  Where are we heading next?  Which house will be in on x date?”  Every minute was truly wonderful, and if we breathed a sigh of relief at the end of the month, it was only to catch some air and some down time.

Checking out the house at dusk with interior construction lighting on

I decided to write about each visit and adventure individually, to give each one the full credit it deserves, but wanted to get all the house update stuff done first, to clear my mind of that ongoing process so that I can relax and enjoy the great memories we made last month.

Here is Gary Duckworth, our job foreman, always busy checking the details

July 17 It was exciting to return to Grants Pass after a week away, partially because we knew Jimmy and Nickie were coming, but also because we knew that the A Team was returning to begin putting up the siding. 

The interior was a surprise as well, with all the drywall completed, and the tray ceiling at last actually recognizable.

Gary spent quite a bit of time with us working out the details for our trim choices for the windows and doors, and deciding on what kind of crown molding would look best in the tray ceiling.

It was wonderful walking around in the house and seeing it with defined spaces, feeling the rooms more clearly, and enjoying the lightness.  With just the framing up, it was darker than I had imagined it would be with all the windows, but once the drywall was on, it changed everything.  Light!  It is so wonderfully light!

We spent a couple of days with Jimmy and Nicky, (I will be writing this post shortly) and returned to Grants Pass on Thursday to find that the A-Team really was there, and the siding was going on.  Exciting to watch that happen.  While they were working, the drywall contractor was completing the taping of the interior drywall.

I didn’t manage to get a photo of that guy walking around on his bucket.  I remember drywall tapers using stilts, but this guy just jumped up on his bucket and managed to rock and roll it around to do the 9 foot ceilings and high places.  That was rather amazing to watch.

By the end of the week, we were beginning to get a better picture of how the house will look when it is finished, with the siding and framing in place.  Gary also brought some samples of baseboard styles and we weren’t thrilled with the standard OG 3.5 inch stuff that is in modern houses.  We instead decided on a 5 inch flat topped baseboard that is more in keeping with the Craftsman feel of the house.

Made me really happy, reminding me of the house on Painter Street that was built in 1942 and had that same kind of baseboard.

Just for fun, here is an old photo from the Painter Street house baseboard and trim

We also made decisions on doors, deciding that a “minimal” upgrade to the Shaker doors that we originally wanted but weren’t included in the original bid was worth it. So far, our only actual change orders have been for the doors and for the upgraded baseboards.

July 26 After a week at the Running Y, where we enjoyed a visit from Jeanne (I will write this post very soon), we returned to Grants Pass again to find exciting new changes.  The siding and trim were almost completed and ready for paint.

Gary did a fabulous job designing the gable treatments, and something we hadn’t even thought of were the custom attic vents.  Later that day, driving around town checking out new houses, we saw several examples of store bought vents, squares, rectangles, circles, and octagons. 

The custom vents under the gable treatments are a great touch, another reason we so appreciate our builders. 

Gary also had a mock-up ready for us for the porch columns, and brought the box of our chosen rock facing that will cover the pillars to see how it would look with the planned column treatments.  We talked about different ways to trim the front porch upper cross beams, which will be stained rather than painted.

We drew out the proposed cement walkway that will meander from the garage and driveway around toward the front porch entrance, painting the dirt with blue paint and talking about how much Gary planned to raise the ground level with solid fill so that we will have only 3 steps and 4 risers at the main entry.

Mo and I will use the garage entrance most, and there is no step there except for a small lip from garage to laundry room,  perfect for us.  No steps, and all one level!

We had a great time with Maryruth and Gerald (another story to get posted soon) and returned once again to the Running Y on the last day of the month.  We were definitely ready for that few days of down time, especially since the temperatures in Grants Pass during that week reached 114 degrees.  Klamath Falls was in the triple digits as well, highly unusual for the Klamath Basin, but we stayed cool and comfortable in the air conditioned villa, and I took daily morning walks on the pathway before it was too hot.  I would check pavement in the evening, and if I couldn’t walk barefoot on it, I wouldn’t take Mattie, so mornings were the only time we could get out.

August 7 Every time we return to the house build, it gets more exciting.  It was actually a little bit scary, because we knew that the interior and exterior painting was going on in earnest.  We spent a long time deciding on colors, and knew we had to live with our decisions.  No going back once all that paint is on!.  I was really nervous driving up the road, praying that it was OK.

Surprise.  We loved it.  Or maybe not such a surprise because we spent a lot of time trying to match the color of the RV shed and choosing the interior paint with much reading and sample approval.

Funniest moment was standing in front of the house and seeing that the east wall of the house wasn’t anything at all like the south wall of the adjacent RV shed. (See the apparent difference in the above photo. )“Well shoot, it doesn’t match, but I guess that is OK”.  But then the next morning, with the rising sun on both eastern walls of each building, it was a perfect match!  Light and angle makes all the difference.  We noticed the same effect from the west side during different times of day. 

Deciding on a garage door was also a process.  There are only 2 colors that are standard, white and brown, otherwise the door can be overpainted with the house body color.  That isn’t really a good option because the exterior paint doesn’t wear nearly as well as the baked coating that comes standard on the door.  We were thrilled with the look of the door with the roof color.  We also were amazed at the quietness of the door itself.  You can barely hear it going up or down! 

I was a bit concerned about our choice of Revere Pewter, a Benjamin Moore color, for the interior.  I searched and researched, and really wanted to try a warm gray.  But after years of warm earth tones in our homes, moving to gray was a big shift.  When I first walked in, I loved it, then I wasn’t sure, and then I loved it again.  The color is like a chameleon, shifting and changing with the different kinds of light in the different rooms. 

The subs all love it too, even the ones who say they don’t like gray.  Gary told of us a house they did where everything was gray, and it looked so cold and clinical.  Gary loves our gray and so do we.  It is soft and warm and will look great when the wood floors are in.

Another little glitch happened when the vinyl we had chosen for the bathrooms and laundry room was suddenly discontinued. 

The one on the left was discontinued.  The new vinyl looks a little bit like our antique tiles on the right.

We spent some time at Lipperts, the flooring provider, and found something even better.  The first choice was an almost white that would have been similar to the marble surfaces that are in the bathrooms,  Instead, we found a diagonally placed stone pattern that includes grays, beiges, the blue-gray-green that is in our carpet, and the brown of the wood floor.  It looks much like the tiles that we are installing in the entry way, and even though it won’t be nearby, it will carry the theme throughout.  It will also be great for that main laundry room entry which I expect to catch most of the outside dirt.

Because the painter bid for only one trim color and only one interior body color, Mo and I decided to paint the upper interior of the tray ceiling ourselves.  We chose a shade of warm gray that is just a bit darker than the walls.  The separation of the two colors with the white crown molding will emphasize the architecture of the tray well. 

Gary spent a lot of time with us this week, helping with decisions, working out the details of our custom closet packages, and helping with the final decision of the exterior accent color and which gables would be painted the deep brick color that we finally chose.  When we return, we will see how it all comes together. 

We chose the deep brick on the left rather than the clay color on the right for the accent

Gary says we are doing great, that we are making quick choices and the build is going well and is on schedule.  Still, it is hard to not get impatient as we wait for each process to complete.  Cupboards are in the works, but the templates for the granite can’t be made until the cupboards are actually installed.  It is all so integrated, with each step forward required many steps completed prior to that next step.  We are amazed and impressed at Gary’s ability to keep everything moving forward and on track.  Lots of stories about private building contractors aren’t nearly so positive.

We are on schedule for a November 1 estimated completion date.  Let’s hope that everything keeps moving forward as well as it has so far.

May 15 2017 Manifesting a Dream

Current Location:  Grants Pass, Oregon. Mostly cloudy, damp, and 57 degrees F

A drive on the back roads along the Oregon Coast can yield some great views

Back a few decades, when I was a bit of a New Age thinker, I believed the mantra, “You Create Your Own Reality”.  I still believe it, but in a bit of a different way than I did then.  Still, there is nothing quite like watching an ephemeral dream materialize into something physical. 

Staking out the house location on March 22

We are watching 5 years of dreaming and planning become real.  It is an incredible process.  Some weeks crawl by, and others fly past us with barely time to catch our breath.  Last I wrote, we watched the little red cottage disappear into a pile of sticks, and now block by block, board by board, we are watching our new home grow from the ground up. 

Footings poured and foundation set by April 22

Fill added for the garage floor base

We are here every other week, for 7 or 8 days, returning to Klamath Falls for my 5 day alternate work weeks.  We are here enough of the time to see progress as the weeks pass.  Life has been dominated by Grants Pass house thoughts, meetings with the builder, with the foreman, with the flooring people.

I have worked at gathering all our nursery storage into small groups of plants so that we can keep them watered while we are away.  Many of the plants have been with me since I lived in Idaho before 2002, many others are from Mo’s property at Rocky Point.  We brought what we could manage, hoping to keep our little nursery alive until time to plant at the new house next fall or spring.

We made the final choice on our interior paint, after a trip to Benjamin Moore in Medford (no Ben Moore store in Grants Pass).  I succumbed to the gray trend, deciding on a warm gray color called Revere Pewter, guaranteed to reflect nicely on the interior walls without turning blue or green or pink, to feel warm rather than cool, and to set off the White Dove woodwork.  I bought a small jar of test paint for a piece of drywall and now we haul that around, along with a few of our antique tiles, while spending a considerable amount of time with the salesperson at the local Lippert’s Flooring store.  Hardwood has been selected.  I love the style and color, but have to say that even more exciting to me is the silky feel of the slightly distressed solid oak wide plank flooring.  I stand on the sample barefoot and imagine walking into the kitchen in the early morning sunshine on the velvety solid floor.

Mo and I spent some time this week cleaning her stash of Batchelder tile, deciding on the design for the tile area in the foyer.  The tiles are from the 30’s, the height of the Craftsman era in Pasadena where they were fired, and we are excited to have places in the new home where we can use them.

All the little details that we have attended to are minor compared to watching the really big stuff happen.  In mid-April, the major excavation began, and when we returned for our Grants Pass week on April 24, footings were poured, foundation blocks were set, and the footprint of the house was at last visible. By the end of the week, we could see just how high the floor would be above the ground on the western side of the house where the land drops in what seemed like a gentle slope until it was actually surveyed.  The elevation of the living room will put our view above the neighbors house to the west, and give us enough height to see over the trees to the north to the mountains in the distance.

During that week as well, the septic system was hooked up and the RV dump station became operable.  Very handy!

On the right, an image of the layout for the antique tiles on the foyer floor

By the time we returned on May 7 all the ditches for the utilities were filled in and the ground had been somewhat smoothed out and most of the dirt piles leveled.

We are going for a softer coastal palette in the new house, influenced a bit by Joanna Gaines I would imagine

On last Monday morning, as we were having our morning coffee around 6:30 AM, a row of pickups started lining up along the road next to the property.

We wondered who those guys were having coffee and shooting the breeze so early in the morning. Turns out it was the framing crew, getting ready to set the huge floor joists and begin getting the house ready for framing.

There were 6 of them, and according to Gary, this is his “A team” framing crew. I asked if he has a B or a C team, and he said yes, but it was worth waiting for the A team because they get things done so quickly and so well.

We watched those guys work together like a well oiled machine with every gear in synch all day long, and by 3 in the afternoon, the floor joists were all in and we could see even better how this house will look. Even though we have the MoHo, and we have a swing and chairs sitting outside, we didn’t want to bother the crew, so spent the day in the RV shed while they worked. It feels a bit strange to be at our home with all the people running around, so we lay low when they are here. The exciting time comes when the crew leaves and we get to walk around and check everything out.

Floor joists installed on May 8

There are days like that one, and then there are days when nothing happens at all. It is all about scheduling. Mo and I have been dealing with some serious hitch itch, without any MoHo travels away from home since we returned from California in January. I think that is the longest time we have spent without getting away.

If you arrive at noon on a Tuesday in May, you just might get a front row site with no reservation

This week we pulled in the slide, unplugged the rig, and headed west to Brookings for a much needed beach respite. We laughed a lot about the delight of not having to pack or unpack a single thing, a pleasure that full-timer’s know well. Just rolled down the road, landed at the park, and opened up the slide again. It was great to not have to worry about packing the right charging cords, the laptop, or food and clothes. Everything was already right here with us.

The beach cooperated with magically clear and sunny weather most of the time, even if it was a bit cool. We tried a new place down in Harbor, The Sporthaven Marina, for fish and chips.  I had Baja fish tacos that were delightful, and we started our meal with fried zuchinni done in spears rather than slices. Yummy. The view of the harbor was wonderful, and the cool breeze was muted by the glass walls that protected the sunny patio. Curious, a little research on the internet showed that the lovely glass enclosed, sail covered patio where we had our great meal is a new addition to the restaurant, and a fine one for sure. Check it out the next time you are in the Brookings area.

Mattie loves to scout trails over the rocks for us

All three of us were so happy to be once again walking the beach, finding pretty rocks and enjoying the sand. Mattie loves to tear around in soft sand. She met a couple of doggie friends who actually let her play. Mattie can get a bit excited with new dogs, and even though she isn’t aggressive, she can be a bit of a pain until she settles down.

Mo built a nice campfire for us and we managed to sit outside for a time at least until the chill winds drove us indoors. What a great moon there was that night!

The next day we decided to do some exploring with the Tracker, traveling first on the road that parallels Highway 101 a couple of miles east and goes north from Brookings to Pistol River. It was a bit cool for the native rhododendrons to be in bloom, but some of the domestic plants on local homesteads were as big as trees and in full brilliant glory. Gorgeous.

We then took the road that follows the Pistol River, where most of the land is privately owned and access is limited. We drove on up the road, climbing higher into the mountains. The road was steep and narrow, and the river far below. Using the Gazetteer was helpful, but the road ended without warning with a very large no trespassing sign. The wildflowers were gorgeous in the big clear cuts, and if there is any place in the world that a clear cut is acceptable, it is the Oregon Coast range, where most of the timber has already been cut, there isn’t any old growth left, and it might as well be used for tree farming. Regeneration is natural and incredibly fast in this climate. It is also kind of nice to be able to see a bit.

A picnic in the sun sitting on the back of the Tracker was perfect, if still a bit chilly. Checking out the map, we decided to find another back road to explore, searching for Hunter Creek Road, just a couple of miles south of Gold Beach. I had to check in with the Forest Service office to be sure that we could actually drive the road. There were yellow “no trespassing” signs everywhere. The rangers assured me that it was a main forest access road and I could drive it, but the lands on either side of the road were privately owned by timber companies, and they didn’t want anyone trespassing. Again, no way to access Hunter Creek, and most importantly, they don’t want anyone picking their very valuable mushrooms.

This is what happens often when a state decides that it cannot manage its lands, and sells them to private interests. The lands are no longer accessible to the public, of course. It is no longer public land. Don’t get me started. States want all that federal land so they can sell it back and make money on it, and the people who eventually will own the land will shut it down, fence it, and post no trespassing signs everywhere. Keeping public land public is a particularly hot issue for me as an RVr, and a boondocker, a hiker and a lover of wild lands. OK off the soapbox.

A few miles up we found a high bridge with a gorgeous set of cliffs, waterfalls, and deep pools far below. A couple of young women and their big dog were enjoying the sunny weather. That dog smelled us way up on the bridge, and started coming our way. Scared the daylights out of me. I felt like I was being hunted by a wild animal. I got to the car quickly, as Mo talked him down. He barked, but thank goodness didn’t attack, and finally his owners called to him. I have no idea what kind of dog he was, but he was definitely scary looking! Bet those women don’t have any problems at all with people hassling them!

The day ended with another big campfire, a yummy dinner, and of course, marshmallows and chocolate. I don’t need graham crackers, just stuff little pieces of chocolate in the hot marshmallow and it gets all melty and gooey. Wish I could eat more than two! Mo doesn’t eat them at all, but we still have to buy a whole bag of marshmallows. Good thing they only cost a buck and a half, because by the time we do it again, they are all hard and dry and we have to buy more.

When we packed up and left on Thursday morning, the rain was coming in earnest, after a windy rainy night at the beach. It was perfect timing, with the drive home uneventful in spite of the rain.

It was important for us to get back on Thursday because it was “door and window day”. Gary wanted to finalize the window choices because they need to be ordered for the next phase of building. It is amazing how much scheduling is involved in this entire process, getting supplies and subcontractors set up in the right sequence. We spent a couple of hours in Gary’s office going over window and door choices and finalizing the order. Other subjects came up of course, aka how high above the bathtub should the window sill be; which direction should the tub face for the best view; when do we need to meet with the cabinet maker; what kind of rock for the Craftsman porch pillars, and so many more little details.

Once again, we awakened yesterday morning very early to a crew of guys unloading pipe for the under plumbing, the parts of the plumbing that are beneath the floor. The upper stuff will come later when the house is closer to being finished. This time a crew of 4 had all the plumbing, sewer pipes, hot and cold water pipes, all ready and finished by 2 PM. Once again Mo and I walked the property trying to see just where each toilet was placed, and trying to imagine how it was going to look. It is hard not to be impatient even when things are moving this quickly.

Under-plumbing finished on May 12

The rest of the day was quiet here, and after another meeting with the carpet people, Mo and I took off exploring the Rogue River, following some hints about where we might be able to put in our kayaks. About 7 miles from town is Whitehorse County Park, with a great boat launch into a wide part of the river. We were told it is only a 4 hour lazy kayak to Robertson Bridge, but that water looked like a bit too much for us this time of year at least. We will wait and check it out in the fall.

We drove on west to check out the park and launch at Robertson Bridge where the river looked big and wide and a bit less intimidating. Returning east along Riverbanks Road we checked out another lovely launch at Griffin Park, another county park with RV camping with hookups. Lots to check out when we get a bit of free time and when the high water of spring settles down into lower summertime flows.

This morning, at 7AM the heating and cooling truck showed up. What? Seems as though his job was to install the dryer vent, and he had that job finished in about an hour at the most. Mo and I did a few yard chores around home before taking another little break to attend the annual Rogue Valley Piecemaker’s Quilt Show at the fairgrounds. It was a lovely show, with about 150 quilts and I got to meet a few of the ladies that may eventually be cohorts if I decide to join the quilt guild here in Grants Pass.

We then took time to visit the Rogue Roasters, just south of downtown Grants Pass before the river bridge, for organic, fair trade, locally roasted coffee in a great old building that looked like it once was a tire shop. Best cappuccino I have had in a long time.

We brought the tractor back from the apartments this week, since snow plowing season is hopefully over.  Mo is very happy to have her tractor back so she can work on smoothing out some of the messy piles of rock and debris scattered about.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Two of my girls and their kids are coming from their homes to spend the morning with us having brunch at the Taprock Northwest Grill. We did this once before, three years ago, but at that time had no clue that the builder who built that great building was going to be the builder doing our house. I’m really looking forward to the day with my family enjoying a lovely meal overlooking the beautiful Rogue River.

Tomorrow afternoon we will once again return to Klamath Falls and the apartments on Old Fort Road. Our long weeks in Grants Pass are wonderful, except for the minor detail of laundry. We no longer have a washer and dryer here with the cottage gone, and with most of our work here being outdoors, by the end of the week we definitely have a pile of dirty stuff to haul home for washing.

When we return toward the end of May, it will be time for framing. Once again the A team will take over and we will watch the full form of our home take shape. Shortly after that will come the roof trusses, and then the bones of the house will be set.