kevin_standlee: (Conrunner Kevin)
Nothing going on here today to speak of, so here's another photo of the overbuilt power lines near Mehama that we think are evocative of Girl Genius-like sparky stuff.

Power Lines to Nowhwere )

Remember that the full-sized power transmission lines to the left in the distance are what was used to feed into the (now removed) substation to pump it up to a million volts AC.
kevin_standlee: (Let's Split)
I wrote yesterday about how Lisa's siblings had the giant redwood tree completely removed, rather than just topped and trimmed the way Lisa suggested they do. (Lisa says the family had been topping the tree every 20-25 years; it was originally planted by her great-grandfather.) That entry has one of the better photos I've taken, showing the tree a few days before it was removed. Today I tried to recreate the angle and shot. I don't have it quite right, and do get a really comparable shot I need to spend time cropping the photos, but I did get some that area close.

Here's one of the decent comparison shots )

More photos in the Flickr set, which will get larger as I process more of the photos we took over the past couple of days, assuming I can get over the heartache some of these photos are causing us.
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
Lisa and I had a vast number of errands to complete on Monday. In retrospect, not only am I very relieved that we started in the Lake Oswego area rather than backtracking from Stayton/Sublimity, but I rather wish we might have stayed a little further north the night before, possibly at the HIX in the NW Industrial Area of Portland.

Kevin & Lisa's Tax-Free Tour of Oregon )

Finally, around 4 PM, we got to Submlimity, where we checked in to the hotel. We didn't unpack, however, but simply confirmed that we had the hotel room, turned up the air conditioning because we knew we were going to need it later, and headed on to Mehama.

Return to Mehama )

I took a whole lot of photos of Mehama, and will try to take more on Tuesday on our way out, but there isn't enough bandwidth on the wi-fi here for me to want to try to upload them all. Maybe if we have a better connection at Klamath Falls Tuesday night, I'll get the photos online at Flickr.

Due to roadwork over OR-58, we've decided to take the slightly longer-and-slower (nine miles according to Google Maps) route over OR-22/US-20 through Bend. This will, however, make it possible for Lisa to possibly have a better chat with her father if her sister will allow it.


Jul. 10th, 2012 12:57 am
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
Some of you will recall the giant redwood tree that loomed over the old family house in Mehama and that hung like a Sword of Damocles over Lisa's trailer when it was parked in front of the old house. Today I got to see for the first time what it looks like a year later after having been mostly cut down by order of Lisa's brother.

Before and After Photos )

Because we were there so late in the day before we started taking photos, I couldn't exactly match the spot where I took the photo a year ago because the sun would have blinded the camera. We expect to drive through Mehama on our way out on Tuesday and we will try to see if we can recreate close to the exact angle and distance relative to the building so we can do a true before and after of the Mehama Giant.
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
Our original travel plans for this period included driving from Seattle to Sublimity, Oregon (the nearest motel to Lisa's father's home in Mehama), renting a large U-Haul trailer there, then driving back to Camping World in Wilsonville on Monday to collect the new RV refrigerator we've ordered from them there before going to Salem for errands and then out to Mehama to get the last of Lisa's stuff.

Plans Change for the Better )

The change of hotel and travel plans means that we have a fair bit more time tomorrow, and Lisa is cautiously optimistic that we'll be able to get everything packed into the trailer in Mehama on Monday.

On the Move

Sep. 2nd, 2011 03:08 pm
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
Although I set off a flurry of messages earlier today, I'm now heading north on the first leg of Moving Daze Round 2, and for the next few days may be relatively difficult to contact. I'll check in when I'm in places with connections, but if you don't hear from me as quickly as usual, don't be too concerned.

Kuma Bear reports that Lisa seems to have all of the packing at Mehama under control, so all we have to do tomorrow is get the rental truck and load it. With luck, we'll be done by tomorrow evening and will therefore be able to set off south early and not get into a hole the way we did in Round 1.

Moving Out

Aug. 24th, 2011 11:36 pm
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
This morning, we went into Salem and picked up the rental truck, it being the largest truck that I can drive on a personal driving license that Budget rents. We then went back to Mehama and spent most of the day until after dark (Lisa rigged up lights so we could work after dark), stopping only for meals and brief rest breaks, and succeeded in moving nearly everything except some loose bits that don't fit in the boxes we have handy into the truck. That's not everything that has to go, but it is the largest piece.

Lisa had spent much of the past couple of months putting everything she could into "bankers boxes" and that made a very big difference today, as I can move four boxes at a time from the storage container into the truck by trundling it up the loading ramp on the hand-cart. (With Lisa guiding me, I managed to get the truck backed up close enough that the ramp lands inside the container, so it's relatively easy to roll stuff from the container into the truck.) I didn't keep track of the boxes or take pictures, but it's a lot.

Tomorrow we have to see if we can find boxes big enough for the stuff too big for banker's boxes, load other things that were not in the container, get some very heavy and large things like the engine hoist into the utility trailer that I will tow behind the rental truck, and move everything that won't fit in either the truck or trailer into the cargo container, because Lisa is taking for granted that if it is not in the container or in the truck or trailer, then it's gone forever as she expects her brother and sister to throw everything else away. She keeps beating herself up over what a mess she's leaving the old house, but I keep telling her that her brother has brought it upon himself by forcing Lisa out so quickly. You don't live somewhere for twenty years and then suddenly up and leave in a few weeks easily.

Besides all of that, of course Lisa has to finish securing the travel trailer for moving, as she'll be pulling it behind her truck. She's rigged one of her CB radios in the moving van so that we can convoy more easily. If all goes well, we'll be pulling out of here sometime late tomorrow afternoon. We'd like to get as far as Klamath Falls, but I'm checking out hotels in Chemult as well, just in case. It's at least five or six hours from Mehama to K-Falls, especially as we can't exceed 55 MPH while towing even on the freeway, Lisa wouldn't want to go any faster even if she could, and I'll be surprised if I can maintain even that speed over OR-58, especially after Oakridge.
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
Because of the time it took to get the laundry done, we didn't leave Klamath Falls until after Noon. Including a fuel and lunch stop at Chemult and a couple other short rest stops along the way, we took around six hours to get to Mehama. We'll be here either two or three nights, preferably only two. We pick up the rental truck tomorrow at Noon in Salem and have the rest of tomorrow and whatever it takes on Thursday to pack it. If all does as planned, we'll pull out of Mehama (Lisa pulling the trailer behind her Big Orange Van and me pulling a small utility trailer behind the rental truck) sometime on late Thursday afternoon, with the plan being to get to Fernley late Friday.

This will be my final overnight trip to Mehama after many years of visiting and living part-time here. There are both good and bad memories here. We may be back again for short visits (or at least to retrieve anything that won't fit in the vehicles on this trip), but those stays will either be single-day or involve staying in a hotel in Salem. While Lisa has wanted to move for a while, having to pull up roots roughly a year earlier than she expected to have to do so is very painful for her.

Cashing In

Aug. 11th, 2011 01:22 pm
kevin_standlee: (No Naked Visitors)
Lisa and I will end up needing to spend at least one hotel night on the road during the shuffling back and forth between Reno/Fernley and Mehama. On the way from Reno to Mehama the day after Worldcon, we hope to get as far as Klamath Falls. I'm considering using some of that pile of Priority Club points I've earned there at K-Falls, since I don't need to earn any more this year; I'm already Platinumized through the end of next year.

Driving south, we'll be in convoy, with me driving the 24-foot rental truck with a couple of tons (literally, according to our calculations) of stuff in it and Lisa pulling the trailer with the Big Orange Van. She's done some test pulls of the trailer, and it seems to be moving properly. The brakes work, which is good. We'd hoped to get the trailer up to Camping World for a brake/bearing service just in case, but they're backed up badly and wouldn't be able to get to it before Lisa has to leave for Reno this weekend. We probably won't need a hotel night on the way south, since we should be able to stop somewhere (either a rest area or an RV park) in the K-Falls area and sleep in the trailer before continuing on to Fernley.

The schedule is still pretty tight, though. Lots of things have to happen and not slip.
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
Today, Lisa had the Big Orange Van hauled up to her mechanic in Clackamas (near Portland) and talked to him about the repairs it needs. She also bought from him parts she needs to get the Little Orange Pickup running again. Very soon now, she needs to get the pickup up to the mechanic so he can do some work on it that Lisa doesn't have the facilities to do. Ideally, the mechanic might be able to get the BOV running by Friday, in which case Lisa could drive her pickup to Clackamas, collect the van, then a few days later drive the BOV back to Clackamas and tow the pickup back to Mehama. But things may not go quite as cleanly as that.

This evening, while Lisa was dealing with vehicles in Portland, I got out the push mower (it having not rained for two whole days, I figured I'd better strike before it started raining again) and trimmed back the path between the two sides of the property. I could only mow for about five minutes at a time before having to empty the bag. The grass grows high here, and it grows quickly this time of year.
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
Today's headline task was to use the rebuilt utility trailer to haul scrap metal, including four old engine blocks, to the Marion County Waste Transfer/Recycle Center. They accept scrap metal for free. So this morning I drove my van over to near the site of yesterday's Towing Travails and backed it into place. Lisa cranked the trailer down on the tow hitch and plugged in the connector. The running lights didn't work.

Are there ANY easy jobs around here? )

Unexpectedly heavy rain began to fall as we headed back toward Mehama, which washed out plans to do some more mowing and get the Big Orange Van unloaded in preparation for having it towed to Portland for repairs. As usual, nothing happens quickly around here. But it's good to get that utility trailer moving again, because I expect this won't be the last trip we make with stuff for the recycle facility, or even possibly more trash beyond the capacity of the dumpster here.
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
(Lots of photos in this post, behind the cut tags.)

Lisa's Big Orange Van has not run for more than three years and needs to be towed on a flatbed up to her mechanic in Portland. However, the place where it was sitting was not going to be easy for a flatbed tow vehicle to access, so we needed to tow it on its own wheels across the property over to the rear gate near her trailer. The original plan was to use the Small Orange Pickup, and Lisa had moved the little pickup over to in front of the new storage container a couple of days ago. This morning, she went out to start the pickup and found that it wouldn't start.

From there, things got complicated )

Using my van in ways for which it is not designed )

Lisa said that she wasn't worried about me over-pulling, because the worst that would happen would have been that the tow strap broke and she would have maybe had to hit the brakes on the Big Van. That wasn't a problem. The real problem is that I needed a lot more weight in the back of my van and much heavier-lugged tires. But we made it happen, barely.

We did not accomplish as much as we might have hoped today, but we're now staged for the next step in the process: getting the trailer's tow vehicle on the road to repair.


Jun. 10th, 2011 10:53 am
kevin_standlee: (Let's Split)
This week has been very busy. The weather relented somewhat, which made it possible to move forward on various weather-delayed projects like the burn pile and mowing (we mowed a lot of grass yesterday evening). But the big event was the Cargo Container.

The Old Garage Site Transformed )

Initially, this container will be temporary storage for Lisa's things as she consolidates them from various places on the property. After she moves out, then it will be a new storage shed for Lisa's father, who paid for the gravel and container with the approval of Lisa's brother.
kevin_standlee: (Wildlife)
Yesterday over lunch, I heard a metallic clanging sound from outside the trailer. "What's that?" I asked.

Lisa said, "Oh, it's just that crazy woodpecker again."

I grabbed my camera )

More photos in this series over on Flickr.

Why the woodpecker has been banging its head on a metal sign, we cannot figure out.
kevin_standlee: (Let's Split)
As I mentioned a few days ago, Lisa cleared the site of the old demolished garage in preparation for getting a storage container. Yesterday, it finally stayed dry enough that we could try setting the pile of wood debris on fire. After work, I checked to confirm that it was a burn day, donned my coveralls, got out the tools, and went with Lisa to commit burning.

Burn pile, baby, burn; caution: lots of photos )

The full set of photos are over on Flickr. I'm happy to have gotten this task out of the way. It's one of many things that needed doing while I was here.
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
We were in no particular hurry to get going this morning, and took the opportunity to sleep in, so we didn't get away from Seaside until almost Noon. We had several errands in the Portland area: dropping off a laserdisc player to be repaired, checking out possible microphones to add to the Tsuki Systems kit, stopping by to say hello to [ profile] scott_sanford, and finally going out to the northeast side of town to check out cargo containers.

Checking Out Big Metal Boxes )

We didn't get back to Mehama until around 8 PM. I have a really large blister on my right heel, even with bandages protecting the area. I like walking, but I may have overdone it a bit on this trip. That's unfortunate, because I have a lot of work left to do here if the weather will just stay dry for a few more days.


Jun. 1st, 2011 09:42 pm
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
We bought the wrong kind of RV batteries yesterday and had to take them back to Salem this afternoon. It continues to be too wet to get many of the things we need to get done on this property. Worse, it's soaking the pile of wood that we were going to burn so that we're going to need several days of dry weather so that the pile will dry out sufficiently to burn before we can light it off.


May. 31st, 2011 08:00 pm
kevin_standlee: (Let's Split)
It was too wet to get any work around the property done today. However, we did take two old batteries in to Salem to the battery-recycling place and took the opportunity to buy two new deep-cycle RV batteries for the trailer as part of the get-the-trailer-roadworthy again project. By the time we got back to Mehama, it was pouring rain, and Lisa said we can wait for tomorrow to install the new batteries.

Besides the about-to-be-retired RV batteries on the trailer, Lisa says that there are several other old car or RV batteries around the property here. As our time permits, we plan to take them into Salem for proper disposal and recycling.
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
We made the round trip to Wilsonville with the other three tires today. (Lisa got a second jack so that we could have two wheels off the ground simultaneously, and we installed the two new tires on the rear axle.) Just a few minutes after we got home, however, a massive thunderstorm hit Mehama. I don't mean the usual Oregon rain, but really nasty, noisy stuff with thunderclaps so close that I thought the church across the street had been hit.

Here's what it looked like )

We're hunkered down inside hoping the storm will subside before it gets dark so we can install the new tired on the forward axle and so Lisa can install the new breakaway switch. As we started the get-the-trailer-roadworthy project by taking off wheels, Lisa wanted to check the trailer brakes, and pulled the breakaway plug. Nothing happened. This is bad, of course, since the brakes should automatically engage when this happens. Lisa eventually determined that the brakes were okay, but the switch itself had broken. While we were at Camping World yesterday, she asked for a new switch, and the guy behind the counter handed us what was handy — more cheap Chinese junk. While we were waiting around to pay for the tires, Lisa found a better quality (metal instead of plastic) American-made switch, and we had them swap it into the order. It's only a few dollars (this isn't a terribly expensive part, particularly when you consider the stakes involved), and we'd rather pay for top quality for parts on which you may be betting your life or home.
kevin_standlee: (Cheryl)
Yesterday evening after work, Lisa and I drove to Stayton to do grocery shopping. We needed to completely restock her father's fridge as she'd done a big cleaning, throwing out expired stuff. We therefore first drove to his house to unload his groceries. We bustled back and forth unloading things for a while, after which I said I'd drive the van around-the-houses to the other side of the property where Lisa's trailer is. Lisa said she'd walk and took [ profile] travelswithkuma with her.

I closed up the back of the van and got into the driver's seat. I heard a clunk from the back. "Darn it," I thought, "I didn't properly re-stack the empty boxes in the back of the van, and they've fallen over." Then I heard a plaintive mewing emanating from the rear compartment. One of the neighborhood cats had jumped into the back of the van while Lisa and I were unloading it, possibly attracted by the scent of a package of ground bison we'd bought at the grocery store.

I couldn't see the cat back there, but I could hear it. I got out and walked to the back of the van and opened the rear doors. The cat stared back at me and jumped into the front seat. "Get out of there, you darn cat!" I called, but it wouldn't budge. I then open the passenger door and stepped back. The cat launched itself out of the van and high-tailed it to the bushes, where it stopped, hunkered down, and glared at me. I rolled my eyes, made sure there were no other critters in the van, buttoned everything up, and drove over to the trailer.

Lisa would have beaten me to the trailer even ordinarily, but she asked what kept me. I explained the encounter with the orange tabby and she said she was glad she'd taken Kuma Bear with her. Fortunately, the cat had not figured out how to get at the food it could smell in the boxes and bags we'd brought home, so there was no harm done.

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