Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On the road again

After a fun farewell last night we packed up and headed to La Grande to have a few things fixed on Shak3- noisy water pump ,flooring issue, and shower leak. What an incredibly beautiful drive along the Wallow River. ...We ended up getting right in at the Northwoods plant- they took great care us!! They finished up before 4 so we were going to camp out in their lot and head out in the am. 

We had an issue with our solar controller. Since leaving our spot on the prairie our solar regulator panel was not displaying. Bob and I got our voltmeter out and started testing the system to find out where the problem was- between the solar panels or the battery there was a faulty connection. We determined it was between the regulator and the batteries- but where exactly ??? We thought we found a black wire that might be it but we were not equipped to fix it. So we planned on calling our Northwoods contact and seeing if they could help in the morning. (We were having fun)

9/24- Tuesday 
 We woke up early and were quickly surrounded by all of the cars of the plant workers. Daren Coon at Northwood told us to come on over and they would take a look at it. His team had us all fixed up and on the road by 9 am!!

Now we were a day earlier than planned!! Yeah! We headed to John Day and the Clyde Holliday Oregon State Campground ----stunning scenery along 244 and 395....- we were there for lunch and got our favorite spot on the river.  The weather was blustery ( a cold front and rain was moving in) but we got a walk in along the John Day River before the real rain started. 

9/25- Wednesday
We woke up to a rainy cold morning - did our yoga - breakfast and hit the road towards La Pine. Another amazing drive ....we even had a few snow flakes at one point. The weather was very unsettled but we had a beautiful sunset from our campground in La Pine. 

An aside- we talked to our contact at Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge (our next volunteer position for October andNovember) we told her we would be arriving aroundOctober 5 or 6.  She mentioned that  she might not be there if they shut down the government - we had not even considered that. Oops! She said even if they were shut down she would show up and get us the keys!! Watch out we maybe running the refuge :)

9/26- Thursday
Woke to a frosty morning in La Pine- brrrr 23 degrees  but beautiful sunrise so things warmed up quickly. We got an early start towards Ashland. We took 97 to 138 towards Diamond Lake- the mountains were snow capped and we even saw a few areas along the road with snow. As we turned onto 62 the weather became sunny and things got warmer as we came into the Rogue Valley. We settled into our Ashland campground - Glenyan on highway 66 near Emigrant Lake.

We had time to say hello to our dear friend and neighbor, Joyce & then spent a wonderful evening swapping travel stories with our friends Ken & Debbie that just got back from an amazing Coast to Coast Walk across England in 21 days!! What inspirations!

9/27- Friday

We had a gorgeous morning so we took a bird walk on Emigrant Lake (right across the street from our campground) 

                                 Bob doing what he loves:)

We could have spent all day- we saw what we think was a juvenile Northern Goshawk (it was huge)

Love this little Oak Titmouse

Here is one of quite a few Black-throated Gray Warblers ( not easy to capture on my camera )

This Western Wood-Pewee was very busy catching insects

Gorgeous Red-tailed hawk

There were Blue-gray Gnatcatchers all around us- they have such a great attitude:)

Elegant Great Blue Heron

The Turkey Vultures were starting to gather for their migration to warmer temperatures

We came upon these shy Wood Ducks and I was able to catch a few in flight

A Red-tailed Hawk in a dive!

A bit blurry - but an interesting image of a shy female Belted Kingfisher

We even saw an Orange-crowned Warbler amongst the gnatcatchers

Everywhere we went we had flocks of Cedar Waxwings darting around - busy feeding and avoiding predators

!!Black Bear scat filled with acorns!!

What a morning!! We spent the rest of the day working on the house and doing errands. Town was so busy - it seems like it took twice as long as expected to get things done.

9/28- Saturday

We took an early morning walk in North Mountain Park and were blessed to see and hear all sorts of birds. We saw  quite a group of warblers, gold finches, accipiters and we heard 2 virginia rails!

Below are a few shots of American Goldfinch families feeding together

A mature White-crowned sparrow

A fluffed up juvenile Cedar Waxwing ( I think:))

A Black-throated Gray Warbler

Bear Creek flowing after the rain

Western Tanager female

A Black-capped Chickadee posing for me

While we were looking for the Virginia Rails we ran into this Common Yellowthroat

I love the Western Scrub Jays - especially in the fall when they come into their colors

We ran around all day taking care of errands and preparing for our next adventure. 

We had a fabulous dinner with our dear friends Vince & Candace- they even came over to check out Shak3. 

9/29- Sunday

A rainy day but we got a good hike in around Emigrant Lake without the binos. I love the autumn!

The details of getting ready for the next adventure seem endless and time flies by. We were very sorry to miss seeing our friend and inspiration - Otis. We will get together next time we are back in December ( hopefully we will be back around Otis's next birthday on December 6th)

We leave tomorrow for Parker Arizona via  Highway 395. We plan to camp at Goose Lake State Park on the boarder of Or & Ca- outside of Lakeview. It can be a great birding spot;)

9/30- Monday

We had a gorgeous ride on Highway 140 - the combination of Aspens that are starting to change with the blue skies and puffy clouds was spectacular.  We got to Goose Lake State Park and we were the only ones there except for the hosts!! We quickly got settled in so we could take a walk- the light was so beautiful. 

Yellow-rumpled Warblers were everywhere!!

A Red-breasted Sapsucker hiding in the leaves

A Western Wood-Pewee

A very blurry photo of a Lewis's Woodpecker

What a beautiful fall day for a walk. 

The Great Horned Owl did not seem to appreciate our intrusion

What was Goose Lake is now pretty much dried up with the exception of some pockets of water

The evidence of recent beaver activity was all around us

This is a photo of a Merlin taken with my iPhone through Bob's scope

We were so blessed to have this beautiful fall afternoon:)


By the way - yes the government shut down has closed the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge but..... We'll keep you posted........

Loving the journey,


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