Nick Russell

Aug 272015
 

When it comes to kite flying, the wind is your friend, unless you’re in a flat out hurricane. There are different models of kites that will fly in almost 0 wind conditions, and others that perform great in winds over 30 miles per hour.



But that’s not the case when you’re an RVer. When you’re driving or towing a high profile vehicle as big as a billboard, the wind is definitely not your friend. It can make for some real white knuckle driving. More than once we’ve been beaten up by the wind, and more than once our first motorhome, a Pace Arrow Vision, was blown from one lane to another in strong winds. We quickly learned to stay off the road when it got too windy.

You can’t always trust the weather reports, either. Here on the Oregon coast we have been on the beach with our kites when the weather said we are having 10-15 mile per hour winds and there wasn’t enough breeze to ruffle your hair. And we’ve hit the road when the weatherman said it was going to be nice for traveling, and found ourselves holding on tight as the wind hit us broadside.

A unit like this WeatherFlow wind meter can be invaluable for both kite flyers and RVers. It works in most smart phones and will tell you what the exact winds are where you are. I use it all the time.

Wind meter

So what can you do to keep safe in the wind? Stay off the road if it’s too windy. There is no place you have to be that’s worth traveling in bad weather to get to.

A couple of years ago we had the nice folks at Redlands Truck & RV Performance Center in Redlands, California install a Safe-T-Plus steering control device on our Winnebago diesel pusher. It really helps when driving in the wind and when those big eighteen wheelers go flying past on the highway. It’s an investment in your safety that I highly recommend.

But just because you’re not on the road doesn’t mean you can ignore the wind. More than once we’ve seen RV awnings suffer this fate. If you’re going to be away from your RV, make sure your awning is securely anchored to the ground, or put it up every time. It only takes seconds for the wind to do hundreds of dollars worth of damage.

Torn trailer awning small

We were supposed to be able to pick up the new issue from the freight dock in Astoria on Tuesday, then it got changed to Wednesday, and now it’s “maybe” today or tomorrow. We know they arrived in Portland on Monday, but they seem to have gone missing since then. This isn’t the first time this has happened and it’s one hassle we won’t miss when we make the switch to an all digital edition.



It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of my friend Ken Rossignol’s Pirate Trials: Famous Murderous Pirates Book Series: THE LIVES AND ADVENTURES of FAMOUS and SUNDRY PIRATES. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Pirate Trials book 3

Thought For The Day – You get credit for what you finish, not what you start.

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Back To Seaside

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 262015
 

Our three weeks at the Long Beach Thousand Trails ended yesterday and we moved about 35 miles south back to Seaside, which is one of our favorite parks in the entire Thousand Trails system.



We had one of the nicest sites at Long Beach, where most RV sites are very tight and their weird utility setup has even numbered sites connecting normally, but odd numbered sites are parked in such a way that the electric cable, water and sewer hoses are on the passenger side and you have to run everything under your RV to reach them. and because we were on the outside edge of the campground we had this view instead of other RVs parked just across from us.

Long Beach field small

Which is probably why, starting Monday afternoon, people were coming by to ask what time we would be leaving the next morning because they wanted to move to our site. And yesterday morning I had more people stopping to ask when I would be leaving. I was having flashbacks to my first marriage. And my second!

I wasn’t getting in the middle of that and just said we’d be leaving about 10 a.m. It was actually about 9:30 when we left the campground and I don’t know who won the race to our old site. We stopped at the Texaco, which had easy big rig access, and filled our tank at $2.99 a gallon for diesel.

All the while I was telling myself that I could drive over the Astoria-Megler Bridge. Terry does it. Nancy Kissack does it. And they’re girls! If they can do it, I sure can, too. I used to jump out of airplanes and stand in the open doors of Huey helicopters. How hard could it be do drive over a bridge? I couldn’t tell you, because Terry drove.

Crossing bridge small

At least I didn’t snivel, and I even kept my eyes open to take pictures of some of the many boats salmon fishing on the Columbia River.

Salmon fishing boats small

Salmon fishing boats 2 small

This is the busy marina in Astoria, Oregon taken from the bridge.

Astoria marina small

For years Astoria was a busy fishing town, and seafood canneries lined the waterfront. Today many of those old buildings have been converted to restaurants, shops, and hotels.

Cannery Pier small

It took us about 45 minutes to get to Seaside, and though the park was busy, Terry quickly found us a very nice site in the north campground. It’s a nicely landscaped back-in, full hookup with 50 amp electric, and is right across from the swimming pool. We have a clear view of the sky for our rooftop satellite TV dish and good 4G Verizon service.

Winnie Seaside second trip small

The only drawback is that there is a fifth wheel parked next to us with a whole passel of noisy kids. Even at 9 p.m. they were making so much noise inside the trailer that we could hear them in our motorhome with the doors and windows closed and the TV on. Yeah, I know, I’ve become a grouchy old fart. What’s your point?



Thought For The Day – If it’s the thought that counts, I should probably be in jail.

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Aug 252015
 

We love exploring America’s back roads and small towns and finding overlooked gems that the tourist brochures never cover. In a series of weekly blog posts we will be sharing some of America’s lesser-known small town museums, historic sites, and oddball attractions, on a state-by-state basis. We don’t have room to cover each and every attraction in every state, but hope to give you some ideas for places to see in your travels.



Canterbury: At Canterbury Shaker Village, visitors can tour historic buildings and learn about the Shakers who lived here and watch skilled artisans create traditional Shaker-style products.

Derry: The Robert Frost Farm was home to Robert Frost and his family from 1900-1911. The simple two-story white clapboard farmhouse has been restored and is typical of New England in the 1880s.

Robert Frost Derry

Enfield: From 1793 to 1923, a thriving Shaker religious community lived in Enfield. Today the Enfield Shaker Museum preserves their homes and buildings and displays items from the people who lived here.

Exeter: Visitors can discover the stories behind America’s revolutionary past at the American Independence Museum. Among the museum’s collection of documents chronicling the nation’s founding is an original Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration of Independence and early drafts of the U.S. Constitution, American furnishings, ceramics, silver, textiles and military artifacts.

Independene Museum Exeter

Franconia: The New England Ski Museum tells the history of skiing in the New England region. The museum displays hundreds of skis, ski clothing, movies and videos of skiing, photographs, and other artifacts.

Franklin: The Daniel Webster Birthplace State Historic Site affords a view of the early years of Daniel Webster, one of our country’s most respected orators and statesmen, and provides a glimpse of 1700s farm life in the infant years of the United States.

Daniel Webster

Hillsboro: The home where former president Franklin Pierce grew up has been restored and is open for tours.

Franklin Pierce

Manchester: Immigrants working in the textile mills of Manchester established the first credit union in the United States in 1908. America’s Credit Union Museum tells the story of the institution that helped working people save their money and acquire credit to improve their lives and their children’s futures.

Manchester: The Lawrence L. Lee Scouting Museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the Boy Scouts of America and has an excellent research library about all things Scouting.

Scouting Museum

Manchester: The Millyard Museum, housed in historic Mill No. 3, tells the story of Manchester and the people who have lived and worked here. The story starts with the Native Americans who fished at Amoskeag Falls 11,000 years ago, continues through the early farmers and craftsmen, to the thousands of workers who made the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company the world’s largest manufacturer of cotton textiles.

Millyard

Moultonborough: For over 25 years, the Loon Preservation Committee has worked to preserve loons and their habitats in New Hampshire through research, management and educational activities. Displays, exhibits, award-winning videos, and interpretive talks introduce visitors to the wonders of New Hampshire’s environment and wildlife.

Mount Washington: The Mount Washington Cog Railway takes passengers on a three hour round trip to the top of the highest peak in the northeastern United States.

Cog

Portsmouth: Albacore Park is the site of a world-famous submarine, the Portsmouth-built USS Albacore, and of a memorial garden honoring those who lost their lives while serving aboard American submarines. Now a museum and open for tours, the USS Albacore helped form the roots of our country’s modern undersea fleet.

Albacore

Portsmouth: The John Paul Jones House, the boarding house where celebrated naval hero John Paul Jones lived in 1777, is now a museum and open for tours.

John Paul Jones

Portsmouth: Strawbery Banke Museum is a ten acre complex of historic buildings that formed the nucleus of the seaport town of Portsmouth in the 18th century. Costumed interpreters tell visitors the history of the old waterfront neighborhood and demonstrate Colonial skills.

Strawberry

Rye: The White Island Lighthouse Station is one of New England’s great historic landmarks. This shining tower protected northeastern mariners from crashing into its rocky shores. It is also New Hampshire’s only offshore lighthouse.

White Island

Salem: America’s Stonehenge, a hilltop strewn with strange rock walls and chambers erected by unknown ancients, has baffled scientists and historians for years.

Stonehenge

Stewartstown: The Poore Family Homestead Historic Farm Museum is a historic homestead documenting one family’s life from the 1830s to the 1980s. The house, barn and outbuildings are all in original condition and reflect their use over the years.

Poore

Tamworth: Two Doctor Remicks, father and son, served the community for 100 years. Now their homes and offices make up the Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm, with two homes, a pair of doctor’s offices, and displays of medical equipment.

Wolfeboro: The New Hampshire Boat Museum features many of the finest examples of vintage mahogany and antique boats, including Garwood, Chris-Craft, Century, Dodge, Penn Yan, Lyman and Hacker. The museum’s collection includes runabouts, race-boats, canoes, guide boats, and sailboats.



Wolfeboro: The Wright Museum tells the story of American life from 1939 to 1945 on the home front during World War II.

Wright Museum

Thought For The Day – I’m not lazy, I just really enjoy doing nothing.

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Aug 242015
 

The Washington State International Kite Festival ended yesterday and it’s amazing what a difference a day makes!



This was the scene earlier in the week.

Busy sky

And this was yesterday, after most of the crowd cleared out.

Almost empty beach small

I went down to the beach and spent a couple of hours with Lolly Hadzicki from Revolution Kites. As there had been all week, a bunch of people were standing around wanting to test fly a Rev, and Lolly was giving them a quick lesson on the basics and letting them take the lines. While Revs can perform all kinds of complicated maneuvers, it’s amazing how quickly most people can pick up the basics of launching, turning, and landing when an expert like Lolly teaches them. I even pitched in and helped some folks while she was busy with others.

A group of experienced fliers were putting their Revs through their paces nearby. Someday I want to be half as good as these guys.

Two Rev circle small

Of course, it wasn’t all about Revs. There were still a few beautiful kites aloft, like this one.

Dragon fly small

Our friend Nancy Kissack’s travels have coincided with ours for much of the summer and we have hanging out together. Nancy is also a Rev kite flier and a lot of fun. I don’t think she ever has a bad day. If you have not read Nancy’s blog, Kissack Adventures, you really should. I never miss a day. She’s also a great photographer and includes a lot of pictures every day.

Nancy is heading south today, and Miss Terry wanted to make her a special going away dinner. So while I was off playing, Terry was home working. And what a dinner it was! Delicious homemade lasagna, garlic bread, and salad for the ladies. I ate way too much! but I always do when Terry’s cooking. Travel safe, Nancy. We enjoyed our time together and look forward to seeing you again in Arizona in a few months.

After all of our debate and heartache about phasing out the printed edition of the Gypsy Journal, Terry and I have been very pleased with the reaction so far. A lot of people have already switched to our digital edition.

Somebody asked if you have to be online all the time to read the digital edition, since internet connectivity can be a problem for some RVers at times. No, you can log onto the internet, click the link to open the paper, it takes a minute or less to download, and then you can save it to your computer to read offline at your leisure. And the digital edition remains online forever, so you can always go back and download it again anytime you want to. We have a few digital subscribers who just can’t handle reading on an electronic device, so they print it out to have the best of both worlds, print and digital.



Congratulations to Del Alden, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Mountain Angel, by Suzie O’Connell. We had 88 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

Thought For The Day – Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

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Aug 232015
 

Terry and I want to thank everybody for their comments and e-mail input about the switch to an all digital Gypsy Journal. As expected, we had a few subscribers who were not happy with the decision, but after seeing our sample of the latest issue, several print subscribers said to switch them to digital now instead of waiting.



Yesterday started out dead calm, and when our friend Nancy Kissack came back from the kite festival about noon she said nothing was flying. But we were meeting with Lolly Hadzicki from Revolution Kites, so Terry and I headed out anyway.

We must have timed it right, because by the time we got there the breeze was starting to pick up. There was a big crowd, both in the vendor area and on the beach.

Crowd at beach small

These big plastic balls that kids can get into and roll about like human bumper cars are very popular. They need to make them in adult size! Can’t you just see me and Greg White with a pair of these? I’m already built in the proper shape.

Bumper ball small

BumperBalls small

As the wind increased, more and more kites were taking to the air.

Duotone small

Blue Flyers small

Pretty soon the sky was filled with kites, but it didn’t last long because the wind kept getting stronger. A good wind is great for kite flying, but past a certain point it gets too hard to control most kites.

Here is an exception. It’s a custom Revolution made by Eliot Shook of Flying Smiles Kites. The lattice design allows lots of air to flow though so the kite can fly in high wind.

Shook Rev small

Lolly had her own Shook with her and let us take it for a test fly. Wow. Just wow! I’ve never flown a kite as smooth and responsive. I need to write some more books to afford a couple of these.

Terry flying Shook small

Nick Flying Shook small

We spent some time talking with Lolly and a couple of more experienced Rev flyers, as well as some folks who stopped by to ask questions. When they were invited to try a Rev on a test flight, most were immediately hooked. We know what that’s all about!

Finally the wind got to be too much and the temperature was dropping. The kites were all coming back down, so we called it a day about 4:30 and headed back to the campground.



The evening news out of Portland said that the smoke from all of the wildfires burning in the region is going to be reaching the coast today, and by yesterday evening we were already starting to see it. All of the dust and smoke did make for a remarkable sunset, though.

Sunset small

Today is your last day to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Mountain Angel, the first book in my friend Suzie O’Connell’s popular Northstar Romances series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.

Mountain-Angel_thumb.jpg

Thought For The Day – Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

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The Time Has Come

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 222015
 

After months of discussion, exploring possible alternatives, debate, and heartache, we have come to the difficult decision to phase out the printed edition of the Gypsy Journal. As we have shared with our readers in the last few months, rising printing, and especially mailing, costs have reached the point that we are making less than four cents for every printed issue we send out.



Actually, that figure is just based upon the cost of printing the paper, getting it shipped to us from our printer, and paying for envelopes and postage. It does not include the cost of fuel to pick up the paper from the shipping company or to take the stuffed envelopes to the post office or any of our other expenses. Factor that in and we are losing money. Obviously, no company can afford to do that indefinitely.

As a result, starting with this issue, we will no longer be accepting new or renewal subscriptions to the printed version of the paper. Only for our digital issue. We will continue to publish the printed issue until sometime next year to fulfill the bulk of our printed subscriptions. When the time comes to discontinue the printed edition, any remaining subscriptions will be transitioned to our digital edition, or we will issue a prorated refund on any issues still left on a subscription, at the customer’s preference.

We know this will disappoint some of our subscribers, just as it disappoints us. And we know that we will lose some readers, which we deeply regret. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life in the newspaper business – more and more daily, weekly, and specialty newspapers are folding every year.

To clarify, we ARE NOT going out of business! We will continue to publish our digital edition, and as the transition goes along we will be improving it with all color photos and live links to the places we visit. Here is a link to our new digital edition, which was sent to our digital subscribers yesterday. Give it a look and let me know what you think.

If you are a print subscriber and would like to switch now, please e-mail me at editor@gypsyjournal.net.  We appreciate your support in the past and look forward to continuing to share our travels and more of this wonderful country of ours with you for a long, long time.

*****

On another note, I reported the other day that our Splendide2100XC washer/dryer combination had not been drying well and had reached a point where when it entered the drying cycle, all of the lights would start flashing and it would stop working. Terry tried a self-cleaning procedure one of our readers had shared with her a while back, and I wanted to give you an update. It worked perfectly.

Here are the steps to follow:

1. Empty the washer.

2. Set dryer time to off.

3. Set wash cycle to #11 and add a cup of bleach on the first cycle only.

4. Press and release Start button.

5. When water stops entering the drum, push and hold the Start button until the green lights come on and then go off, then release the button.

6. Press and release the Start button again and more water will begin filling the drum.

7. When water stops entering drum, push and hold the Start button until green lights come on and go off, then release the button.

8. Move the selector to cycle #2

9. Press and release the Extra Rinse button

10. Press and release the Start button and allow the machine to run through its cycle. The water level should be at ½ to 3/4 of the drum.

11. When the washer stops, clean the lint out of the drum and repeat the procedure two more times, for a total of three cycles. Each cycle takes approximately one hour and 45 minutes. It is recommended to do this every three months to prevent future lint buildup.

We were surprised how much lint was hiding between the inner and outer drum that came loose and was deposited inside the drum to be easily removed, and how well the dryer is working now. Even after cleaning both ends of the dryer vent first there was still no air flow out of the vent on the side of our motorhome before Terry did the self-cleaning. Now it is blowing hard enough to keep the louvers wide open. I’m not sure if this will work on all Splendide models, but it’s worth a try and a lot cheaper than a service call from an RV technician.



Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Mountain Angel, the first book in my friend Suzie O’Connell’s popular Northstar Romances series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Mountain-Angel_thumb.jpg

Thought For The Day – I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one.

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All Washed Up

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 212015
 

After months of nursing it along, last summer the Splendide washer/dryer combo that came with our motorhome when it was built in 2002 gave up the ghost and we went to RV Parts Nation in Elkhart, Indiana and replaced it with the newest model Splendide2100XC.



The new one has more bells and whistles than the original one did, and until the last few days it has worked fine, but with the last two or three loads of laundry Terry has done, it has not dried completely. In fact, it would just stop working and all of the lights would start flashing at once.

This can be a sign that lint has built up in the vent hose, which is easy to clean out with this vent cleaning system.

Lint cleaner

But after trying that with no success, it was time to go to Plan B. I wasn’t sure what Plan B was, but that’s okay, Miss Terry had it handled. This model does not come with the traditional lint trap that the older unit had, and apparently it can build up in the outer drum cylinder and cause problems.

A while back somebody sent her a step-by-step self-cleaning process, which is supposed to be repeated three times, and even though Terry is methodical about cleaning things, and uses vinegar in every load, we were amazed at how much lint came out the first time around. Hopefully this will solve the problem for a while.

Yesterday we went back to the kite festival for a while. There wasn’t much wind, and not nearly as many kites in the air as on previous days. Some folks were trying to get this colorful one up. It reminded me of those strips of paper with candy dots on them they sold when I was a kid.

Candy strip kite small

We got to meet Lolly Hadzicki, one of the owners of Revolution Kite Company, and had a nice visit with her. She’s a real sweetheart and invited us to stop and tour their operation in Poway, California whenever we’re in the area. We always enjoy factory tours so we’re looking forward to it.

Lolly Hadzicki small

Terry really liked this custom Rev that somebody launched in a brief wind gust. I think she loves kite flying as much as I do, if not more.

Spiral Rev small

Hopefully the wind will be back today because I’m going through kite withdrawals.



Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Mountain Angel, the first book in my friend Suzie O’Connell’s popular Northstar Romances series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Mountain-Angel_thumb.jpg

Before I close for today, I want to thank everybody who purchased my new book, Big Lake Reckoning, and posted links on Facebook. It’s already climbing up the charts and I appreciate your support.

Big Lake Reckoning

Thought For The Day – At my funeral, everyone gets a stun gun. The last one standing gets all of my stuff.

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It’s Alive!

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 202015
 

Not every day can be all fun and games. As much as we love kites and kite flying, we didn’t go to the kite festival yesterday. We had some other things on our agenda.



Cleo Collette has been a Gypsy Journal subscriber for almost as long as we’ve been in business. She was a fulltime RVer who eventually hung up the keys, and now she lives in Ocean Park, on the north end of the Long Beach Peninsula. Terry and Cleo have been e-mail friends forever and on every trip here they have talked about getting together, but for one reason or another it did not work out. Yesterday they had a lunch date and finally get to meet face to face.

While Terry was gone I worked on reformatting the digital edition of the Gypsy Journal and made a few telephone calls. Then Nancy Kissack came over to talk kites for a while, which is always more fun than working.

Later on my third proofreader called to tell me she had finished my new book, Big Lake Reckoning. It’s always amazing that even after two previous proof readings, she still found some glaring errors. That’s why I take the time to have things gone over again and again before I publish a book.

Big Lake Reckoning

I got the changes done, formatted the book, and about 5:30 I hit publish. A little after 8 p.m. it was live on Amazon. It should be available on Nook, iTunes, Kobo, and other e-book retailers sometime today.

This is the eighth book in my Big Lake mystery series, and my eighteenth book total. If I could get them out of my head and into the computer faster, I’d have double that many out.

Today we plan to go back to the kite festival for a while and if the wind is good, we may get some flying time in. I think I deserve it. And even if I don’t, I’m going to do it anyway. If you don’t tell, neither will I. Lolly Hadzicki, one of the owners of Revolution Kite Company will be there and we have talked several times by e-mail and on Facebook. I’m looking forward to meeting her in person.



It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Mountain Angel, the first book in my friend Suzie O’Connell’s popular Northstar Romances series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Mountain-Angel_thumb.jpg

Thought For The Day – I meant to procrastinate today, but I never got around to it.

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Rules? What Rules?

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 192015
 

What part of “Burn Ban In Effect” don’t people understand? Some folks in overflow here at the Long Beach Thousand Trails preserve had a barbecue or something going yesterday and there was a big patch of burned grass about 10×10 feet next to their rig Monday. Yesterday afternoon they had the barbecue going again, along with a campfire! I reported it to the rangers. I’d prefer they don’t burn the whole place down, including my RV. I like this campground a lot, but the rangers never seem to be out checking things out and making sure any rules are enforced.



Who says you have to have the biggest rig in the campground? Not these folks! I’m afraid if I were up there I’d go sleepwalking and break my neck.

Toyota camper small

Yesterday, Terry, Nancy Kissack, and I went back to the beach to spend some more time at the kite festival. I just can’t get enough of watching these giant kites, that can cost thousands of dollars, floating in the sky.

Giant kite small

Octopus small

We had a lot of fun watching the Rokkaku kite battles, in which flyers try to knock their opponents’ kites out of the sky. These simple 48 inch kites are made out of Tyvek and the owners decorate them to match their own style.

Kites fighting small

Frog small

This is Ronda Brewer, owner of Phantom Star Kites. They produce kits to construct your own Rokkaku kite. She made most of the kites in yesterday’s battle.

Ronda Brewer Taz small

These three Revolution kites are called Vickies, as in Victoria’s Secrets. They don’t have any center fabric, only the thin strips of fabric on the frames. Somebody told me one of the fellows who has one has a dollar bill tucked into one. I wonder where he spends his Friday nights?

Victoria Revs small

What do you think of my new look? This is a Columbia Sportswear neck gaiter with built in SPF 50 UV protection. After my bout with skin cancer last year and the painful chemical treatment required, I’m trying very hard to avoid a repeat performance. Maybe I’ll use this picture on the back of my books.

Nick in gaiter small

By the time we were done at the festival for the day our stomachs were grumbling, and Chinese food sounded good to all of us. So, after a quick potty stop at the campground, we drove into Astoria for dinner at Golden Luck. It was as good as always and I suspect we’ll make it back again while we’re in the area.



Both going and coming, we had to stop for a flagman on the bridge, way up on the high part. I’m not sure if that was because we actually needed to stop, or if it was simply because the flagman wanted to see if he could make the fat neurotic guy snivel. Whatever the reason, it worked.

Thought For The Day – I burned 3,000 calories yesterday. That’s the last time I take a nap with brownies in the oven.

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Something In The Air

 Posted by at 12:42 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 182015
 

There is something in the air here at Long Beach, Washington that is putting a smile on everybody’s lips, and there is laughter everywhere you go.



It’s kites! Hundreds and hundreds of colorful kites.

Sky full of kites small

 

Big kites, small kites, kites that go so fast that they make the air buzz, and kites that float lazily in the sky, moving gently on the air currents.

Circle kite small

It’s the Washington State International Kite Festival, and I’m as excited as a kid on Christmas morning!

These colorful arches are called kite trains, and you are looking at over one thousand small handmade kites, all attached together. That’s a lot of kites!

Kite trains small

Terry and I went down to the beach yesterday afternoon to get registered for the kite festival, stopping along the way to check out the vendor stalls selling everything from T-shirts to beach chairs to snacks and kites. Lots and lots of kites. You can buy a $10 kiddie kite or a $400 quad line Revolution kite, whatever your budget and skill level can handle.

Vendor booths small

Once we had our official wristbands, we wandered around for a while taking pictures and watching all of the action. And eventually we made our way to the roped off field where the Revolution kites were flying. These are our favorites and what we have been flying all summer.

Revs playing small

Terry really liked the color scheme and design on this custom-made Rev. Hey baby, all it takes is money! You’re already getting the skills to handle it.

Basketweave Rev small

Kite flyers are all great people, and we visited with some of the Rev flyers, watching their technique and trying to absorb some of their knowledge by osmosis. I also got to meet Wayne Dowler and Joanna Chen, two of my online friends from the KiteLife website. It’s always nice to put faces with the names of people. Over the last year or so Wayne has been a great mentor, and given me a ton of tips and pointers. Who knows? Before the week is out, we may even get our Revs out there and fly with the big kids!



We’ll be back out on the beach again today, watching all the fun, Rokkaku kite battles, in which individual flyers, and then teams, compete to knock their opponents’ kites out of the sky or cut through their lines to set them free to fly away.

We left the beach a little before 5 p.m. and drove north to Ocean Park to visit Jack’s County Store, which is a requirement when we are in this area. Jack’s is sort of a general store, where you can buy anything from groceries to RV supplies, along with tools, toys, and hard to find things like antique and reproduction Aladdin lamps. We spent a couple of hours wandering the aisles, and like we do every time we go there, we found a few things we couldn’t live without.

Jacks Country Store

Back at the campground, Nancy Kissack came over to visit for a bit and talk kites. She loves flying as much as Miss Terry and I do. It’s going to be a busy week and all three of us are geared for fun!

Thought For The Day – No matter how hard life gets, go to bed thankful that you have one.

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