The Collector in Me…

I am a collector. It started very young. I don’t know what in my brain makes me a collector. I assume it is where my brother dropped me on my head at about 3 months old. Hehe In moving into an RV you have to find something to collect that is not going to take over the RV space and also your money since right now there is no money flowing in. EEK! Many years ago I started collecting magnets from new places I have visited. This continued on when I met Bill and so many of the magnets are things we have experienced together. When we moved into the RV our fridge was not magnetic and this made me very sad. I have dozens of magnets from all over the country and nowhere to put them. Fate being what it is we ended up having to replace the fridge; when we did so the new one is magnetic. Yippee.

I hauled out my box of magnets and started placing them up. There is a magnet from when Bill and I went to see Shrek the Musical. There are many magnets from our 3 week road trip from a few years ago. There are magnets from our adventure on the Spirit of Washington dinner train before it shut down, a magnet from a day at the Woodland Park Zoo for a good friends birthday. Many magnets. I decided since this is Bill and my first real fridge together that all of the magnets will be ones we have experienced together.

Our first new magnet since we got in the RV was Tillamook from the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

The second was Donald Duck but as the University of Oregon Duck since we truly experienced Eugene, OR while we were there.

The latest addition to our collection is the Olive Pit’s Olive You. Bill loves olives as you may have heard and Corning, California has been an experience in olives and the making of olive oil.

Lesson learned today: All olives are green. The ones that are black or “purple” are the fully ripe olives that are allowed to fully ripen on the tree. Many places say that for the highest amount of oil from an olive you want them to be at least 50%-60% purple before being picked.

Welcome to Olive City

Sunday morning we woke up to a very cold RV and a bit of snow on the ground. We spent the night in a Wal*Mart parking lot in Yreka, CA without hookups and discovered that our batteries are not  in as good shape as they could be. The power was out – which means no heat. We quickly decided that we needed to continue heading south.

We stopped at a state information area and I noticed a flyer for the Olive Pit in Corning CA. We had also heard about this place from some RVing friends. All kinds of olives, plain, stuffed and oils – it sounded like a place we had to visit.

Last night we went to the Olive Pit after getting the RV set up. The Olive Pit had to be an olive lover’s dream come true. They have an olive tasting bar that must contain over 40 of their almost 100 varieties. Everything from standard pitted green to the blue cheese and jalapeno stuffed. I tried a number (ok a large number) of olives and some of my favorites included the spicy blue cheese stuffed, the kosher dill, the Cajun, and the hickory smoked. In addition to the olives they have a good section of olive oils.

Today we continued our exploration of Olive City. We drove around and saw fields full of olive trees (and have to say the Farmville olive trees do look a lot like real olive trees).  Olive trees can start producing olives when they are just three years old and the oldest true in this area is 100 years (there is a 3,000 year old tree in Spain).

 Corning is the home of the Bell Carter Olive Company which is the largest producer of table olives in the country and second largest in the world. We drove by the plant and stopped in but unlike many of the smaller companies they did not have a tasting or store area.  Although they would sell flats of canned olives (nope don’t need 12 cans of plain olives).

We went by the Corning Olive Oil Company and walked past bins full of olives to get to the tasting room and store. Their garlic olive oil was excellent and a bottle has been added to the RV’s inventory. As we were walking out of the site I took a small raw olive from one of the bins. I wondered what olive tasted like before it was brined – well they are not at all good – must be the most bitter disgusting thing I have eaten in some time.

Our next stop on our olive tour was the Lucero Olive Oil Company. They were running the mill today so we could not go thru the whole factory – but we did get taken to the viewing area and had the whole process explained to us. Each of the bins (like in the photo above) holds about 1200 pounds of olive – and it takes about 16 pounds of olives to make a 500 ml bottle of oil. They have some excellent olive oils and one which we did not find anywhere else – chocolate. Yes chocolate. I did not really know what to expect – but it was excellent. They said it is nice over ice cream or in baked goods (we will let you know). In addition to the olive oil they also sell a nice little selection of specialty mustard (a jar of tequila jalapeno was purchased), balsamic vinegar (red apple was excellent), and tapenades (I can recommend the artichoke lemon)

After spending 24 hours in Corning – I do believe that it has earned the right to be known as the Olive City.

Happy Birthday to Me :-)

Today is my birthday. I had hoped to be with friends or further south today but as luck would have it we are still here in Eugene, Oregon. Although on the bright side we will be here ling enough to have our satellite installed so we can finally have TV again. I can’t say I really missed TV much but Bill and I had gotten into a habit of watching Modern Family each week and it makes us laugh and often makes us feel less bad about the tragedies that befall us because the “tragedies” on the show are so much more dramatic. LOL

I am looking forward to having TV back so I can watch more weather channel. In many ways this is a fascination of mine. I used to make fun of my dad because he would sit and watch the weather channel for hours at a time. Little did I know I would become almost as bad as he is about it. Heh Why do I watch the weather channel? Well I love knowing what the weather is like for my friends and family all over the country. I also like to keep up to date on how many layers I should wear tomorrow. I like being prepared and while I know the weather forecasts are pretty consistently wrong I like to think they might be right. Sounds kinda dumb when I put it that way but oh well.

So this morning we dropped the RV off at Camping World in Junction City, Oregon. The guys are going to pull off my old satellite which has a functionality of 50/50… sometimes it might work if the planets were in alignment… and having it replaced with a new Winegard Traveler Satellite which it is my understanding is the best you can get in it’s price range. I guess we will see.

When Bill and I went RV shopping we went with the knowledge that whatever RV you buy you are going to have to put money into it to fix whatever happens to be wrong with it. There is ALWAYS something wrong with it. I have read horror stories or RVs from others which somewhat prepared me for our adventure but as human’s tend to do they think, “Oh that won’t happen to me…” and alas it does. So we have had the RV for 2.5 months and so far we have a new fridge, and are getting a new satellite, with new awnings and a repaired hose soon to be on the way at our next stop. From stories I have read though we are still doing pretty good. Knock on Wood.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous Thanksgiving week. My birthday is going to be pretty quiet and I don’t mind a bit. Bill gave me a sweet card and we picked up some pretty flowers for me at Costco. Now we are going to head out to find something called “Divine Cupcakes” yum.

A New Fridge

The last week has been a little crazy. We finally had a repairman come in to replace the compressor on our fridge only to find out the fridge is dead and must be replaced… well there goes $1,000 out the window (literally)… sigh. We went shopping to see how long we would have to wait for a new fridge if we ordered it. The fridge in the RV is a cabinet style and so is not readily available in most stores. We stopped at an appliance store and nothing for at least a week; next we went to Lowe’s. They only have one type of cabinet fridge in stock. Good news it is on sale. Bad news it is back ordered for 2 weeks. Good news it is a Stainless Steel that is ALSO magnetic. More good news we can buy the floor model and it can be delivered Thursday. Bad news Thursday evening. So we go ahead and buy it.

The guys at RV Corral have never replaced a residential refrigerator in an RV before but it can’t be THAT much different than an RV fridge right? Well that actually was true for the most part. The fridge ended up being delivered early afternoon Thursday which was awesome. Since it was not raining the guys decided it would be best to rush the job and get it in while we still had clear skies. A window had to be removed so they could fork lift out the old fridge and then fork lift in the new one. Luckily because it is a residential there is no propane to be attached for cooling the unit. A few minor adjustments to the cabinet front to make it fit perfectly and it went right in. The guys were great and my heroes for FINALLY being able to have a working fridge. 10 weeks without a fridge was far more than I was hoping. The one thing I will say is I do not plan to work with Sears repairs for anything in the future if I can help it. They were the most useless bunch of yahoos I have ever had to deal with… the only exception being Pep Boys…

We finally moved out of the RV Corral’s parking lot and into a pretty little park here in Eugene. The weather has been forecasted for a lot of snow in the mountain passes and so we are hoping to wait it out. The weather is said to be warmer starting Thanksgiving so we figure we will head south after that. While here we are going to be having a new satellite dish installed for Direct TV so we can actually have TV again. I am so out of touch with anything going on. There could have been a zombie apocalypse and I wouldn’t know… well unless my weather radio would have mentioned it.

The best thing about having a new fridge, we are starting over from scratch. There was nothing in it. No old salad dressings you don’t like. No bottles of unidentifiable substances from your last party. Clean crisp fridge with only what I want in it. Excellent!

Home is where you park it

Last Friday we left the RV at the dealer in Eugene and went on a little road trip for a few days. We planned to spend a few days visiting the area from Tillamook to Florence and then return to Eugene. Since the refrigerator has been pulled out of the cabinet and hanging out in the middle of the living room until it gets fixed we were not able to take the RV so we planned on  spending a couple of nights in motels along the way.

We had a great time but Sunday afternoon it was time to head home – and there started the confusion for me.

For almost 20 years I lived in a stick build in Maple Valley that did not move from where it was built, even during an earthquake or  two. This was my home.  Well the kids grew up and times changed. The house in Maple Valley was no longer the right place – and although it took a few years and a lot of pain (and money fixing things) it sold over the summer. 

Leslie and I then moved into a room in the house that her brother was renting – and although it was not really home I soon realized that I still have the feeling of being home because I was in the general area of the Seattle eastside where I had lived for 21 years.  I still went to a number of the same places to shop, eat out, or go to the movies.  We flew to Colorado to purchase our RV and drove it home – to the Seattle area.

After a bit of moving it around – we got the RV parked in a nice RV park in Preston, Washington (Blue Sky RV Park) right off I-90 so we could really move into it.  The moving in took a number of weeks – and quickly the RV really started to feel like home. All my stuff (well not all my stuff – all the stuff that I wanted to keep and that fit) was in it and I would come home from work and feel like I was at home (although I always envisioned a working refrigerator).

And then we left the Seattle area. We stayed outside of Portland for a few days and then headed to Eugene.

When I came back to the RV Sunday night – it felt like I was home in many ways and yet home was not in the right place and that was strange.  And yet it is exactly what I want – I want not be in the same place all the time, I want to travel and experience and see all areas of the country.  I am starting to understand the saying “Home is where we park it”.