Thursday, May 28, 2020

Last Days in Oregon

Portland, Oregon:  It's true.  After 10 weeks of sheltering-in-place, it's finally time to move on.  I wish I could say that I'm off to roam around the country freely again but that's not the case in this current pandemic situation... not yet!  This week I will be making a very long drive to a new (and free!) shelter-in-place location on family land in Northern Minnesota.

I have a bunch of errands to run this week in preparation for my long drive east to the Midwest.  Number 1 on the list - espresso beans!

Having lived in the Midwest for 7 years, I have a pretty good heads-up on the coffee situation over there.  In short, it stinks.  Yes, I know in big cities like Minneapolis and Chicago you can find great coffee, but for the most part the Midwest is a coffee wasteland.  J and I have figured out that the quickest and most accurate way to judge a Midwestern barista is by their quizzical look when we order an espresso shot.  "You just want espresso?  No water or milk in that?"

Yes, we are West Coast coffee snobs 

My second pre-departure errand included a trip to the tire shop to have 3 brand new tires installed on the travel trailer.  Last week while retrieving something from underneath, I discovered that the inner treads of my tires were completely bald.  Good thing I saw this before embarking on a 1600 mile solo road trip!  For anyone who is looking, the Les Schwab in Wilsonville, Oregon has really convenient pull-through lanes for RVs and they were pleasant to deal with.

For the past 10 weeks I have been riding out the pandemic at Pheasant Ridge RV Resort in Wilsonville, Oregon.  I wasn't originally planning to be here, but after having my state park stay cut short with less than 24 hours notice on March 22, and then having the following two months of Oregon coast reservations unceremoniously cancelled on me - well, I feel grateful to have gotten a spot here and thankful that they have remained opened throughout this whole situation.  I know many full-timers were left scrambling for options when the pandemic first hit.

This park is very clean with lovely landscaping and paved level mostly pull-through sites.  They have a very nice laundry room (thankfully open during the pandemic) and a pool which was closed.  

I stayed in the upper level of the park in site #111.  I've had a decent WiFi signal here, and enjoyed having a few trees around me for shade when the temperatures suddenly rocketed into the 80's this week.  My 10 week stay has been mostly quiet.

Friday, May 22, 2020

My RV Life: Week 72

511 Days on the Road

Portland, Oregon:  It's starting to look like the Covid-19 Spring will soon turn into the Covid-19 Summer.  I hope everyone is holding up this week as we take those first cautious steps out into public life again.  I know each of us has to decide for ourselves how much we will isolate as the pandemic wears on.  As for me, I think it will be a long time before things go back to normal.  Certainly it will be as long as it takes for J to return from Saudi Arabia - that looks like it could still be months away.  

Here's what life in the RV looked like this week.

Checking out the new neighbors

Keeping us Oregon-ized

First post-quarantine lunch out - patio seating is my new search filter

Hot pepper love

He likes this spot

... and this spot

Friday, May 15, 2020

I Spoke Too Soon

It turns out that the warmth and sunshine returning to Oregon was short lived.  We got about three glorious days of 70's and 80's and now the rain is back.  I begrudgingly pulled my little space heater back out from under the bed storage this morning.

Rain, rain go away

At least this little robin is having a good day

Continuing on with the stay-at-home cocktail making project I've been working on, Mr. Lebovitz posted up a new recipe this week called the White Lady.  Since I was drawn to last week's Aperol Spritz because it sounded light and summery, this new cocktail seems sufficiently hard and cool enough to match the grey and dismal mood outside.  Lebovitz makes a lot of his recipes using gin.  I'm not really a fan of gin, but it appears to be having a revival lately especially at the new craft distilleries popping up all over the place.  Maybe the craft brewery market has finally gotten over saturated?

There are so many choices when it comes to gin.  I really had no idea what I wanted, but the girl at the store recommended Tanqueray No. Ten when I told her I was not a fan. I think it was a good choice because I didn't get the usual piney taste that seems to accompany most gin drinks.  I also didn't have the lemon that the recipe called for, so I made my drink with a lime instead. 

The cocktail does feel cold and moody, but it's also very strong.  I like it, but clearly a slow sipping, no more than one kind of drink for me.  The lime worked well in it.  I think if I were to make the drink again I would add a small amount of simple syrup and a sugar rim.  That would probably make it perfect for me.

The White Lady

1 ounce gin
1 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce lime juice

Add all three to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Add to a chilled glass with a lime garnish.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

My RV Life: Week 71

504 Days on the Road

Portland, Oregon:  Another week of social distancing in my little home on wheels.  I wish we could just skip ahead to 2021 already.  That would be nice except for the fact that I have a big international trip planned for the end of the year.  I haven't made a decision about whether to cancel or not yet.  I will probably have to make a choice by the end of August.
Here's what life in the RV looked like this week.

Grocery shopping pandemic style

Lilly is not too sure about this mask business

You're welcome

Happy 48th Birthday to me

Spotted a friendly little rock on my afternoon walk

Delivery star of the week - Portland Juice Co.

My favorite back window visitor

Thursday, May 7, 2020

My RV Life: Week 70

497 Days on the Road

Portland, Oregon: It's day 45 of Oregon's stay-at-home order. I've been losing track of which day of the week it is. At one point I was sure it was Tuesday when it was actually Friday.

Here's a look at what life in the RV looked like this week - spoiler alert - I did a whole bunch of nothing. Really. Absolutely nothing worth sharing this week. Instead, I think I'll share some pictures from our February trip down to Los Algodones, Mexico. Like most visitors to Los Algodones, we went there for the purpose of checking out some of the optical and dental tourism on offer. We ended up spending an entire day exploring the friendly little border town and had a great time. We ate a really nice Mexican lunch at Los Molcas and Jason had his teeth cleaned, picked up 2 new sets of prescription glasses, and had an hour long massage. All in all, a very successful day.

From truck parking to Mexico - 4 minutes. No border checks going in, just walk across 

Checking out the wall from the Mexican side 

Street view, Los Algodones 

According to Google, there are over 350 practicing dentists in this little town 

Los Molcas - Free taco any time 

Taco al Pastor at Los Molcas 

Our whole lunch - the fresh tortillas were amazing 

We found some pretty little courtyards hidden off the main drag 

Back home after a long day of exploring in Mexico 

Happy Hour 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

A Midweek Check-In

Portland, Oregon:  Now that May is here it looks like warm weather might finally be working it's way back to Oregon.  I'm sure I'm not the only one happy to be saying goodbye to the back end of April.  What a head-spinner it's been!  We are going on day 40 of Oregon's stay at home order and I have to admit that I'm finding it more and more difficult to keep myself busy in lock-down.

In my search for stay-at-home entertainment, I recently discovered professional chef and author David Lebovitz's personal blog.  He has been posting some fun looking cocktail recipes in conjunction with the release of his new book Drinking French.  Since I'm not ready to jump on the popular sourdough bread starter bandwagon just yet, it looks like I may have found myself an alternative boredom-buster project.

The first cocktail I decided to try is the Aperol Spritz.  It's a bitter / sweet orange concoction that Parisians like to drink in the summertime.  David says he prefers to make his with Campari to make it more bitter, but I stuck with the original Aperol for this one.  I also used a blood orange flavored Sanpellegrino rather than plain soda water.  It turned out very good - a little bitter, slightly sweet.  I can see this drink becoming a regular on the RV happy hour menu.

Aperol Spritz

2 ounces Aperol
3 ounces Prosecco
a splash of blood orange Sanpellegrino (or other soda water)
orange slices

Fill a glass with ice.  Add Aperol and Prosecco.  Fill the rest of the glass with Sanpellegrino and add an orange slice.  Makes 1 drink.

Friday, May 1, 2020

My RV Life: The Pandemic Edition

489 Days on the Road

Portland, Oregon:  Hopefully everyone is staying healthy and sane this week.  It's been a mostly grey and rainy one here, but I guess that makes it easier to stay home in these pandemic times.  Like everyone else, I'm trying to find balance in our world turned completely upside down.  If everything had gone as planned I'd be enjoying some artfully made cappuccinos and early morning walks on the beach with my honey and the dogs.  Obviously, that won't be happening any time soon.  The coffee shops are closed, the entire coastline is shut down to visitors, and my honey is currently locked down indefinitely in Saudi Arabia.  It's astounding how quickly our world has changed.

Here's what life in the RV looked like this week.

Homemade t-shirt mask - attempt #1

Full face shields deployed at the gas pump yesterday

At least one of us can get a haircut during this pandemic

Lucky to be sheltering in this place 

A rare sunny day

Takeout star of the week - Vegetarian Nashville Hot from Native Foods Cafe

Sign of the times