Drive around…

Working on the issues with the Saturn occurred throughout Aug, Sept, and into Oct. But mostly that was just an hour here, and hour there, then leave it alone for several days. The rest of the time I had fun visiting with friends and getting my colonoscopy over and done with. It was clear and they suggested I don’t need another one.

The issues with the car were recurrent trouble lights, with them coming on and going off. And then, at the beginning of October I noticed that my tags would expire in January. I needed tags for the car, needed to get them before I left town, and since my address is in Multnomah county near Portland, and because the state thinks I live here, I have to have a smog test done.

Since I expected to be in Mexico when the tags expired, I had to get any testing and repairs done now before I left town. And it would be much more convenient to get my tags early, so I’d not have to do it by mail. In Oregon, a DEQ test is good for 6 months so getting it done early is pretty common for travelers.


Initially, I only had the SES (Service Engine Soon) light on, and word was that’s not the end of the world and didn’t need to pull the car into a shop immediately. After receiving some advice about the car’s symptoms from the experts at SaturnFans Forum, I ended up buying a ECTS (Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor) and a thermostat. The ECTS is there in the next pic covered by the deep socket. I jacked up the car on the driver’s side, removed the antifreeze overflow tanks cap so only lost a couple tablespoons of antifreeze when I removed the ECTS.


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This and That…

While staying in Fairview, had the pleasure of going to a late lunch with Jackie and Madeline at Bumpers. It’s a pretty nice place and has these huge fish tanks that separate the dining area from the bar. Food is good, I really liked their fish and the very interesting fish sauce on the side they provide. Delish!

Anywho, here’s some pics from inside the place. Used my old iPhone for these shots. Admittedly, they’re not very good, but, they’re free so no complaining.

5005 5006 5007

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Adventures around Gresham, Oregon…

The following weekend, after enjoying the Blues Festival in the gorge, I went to the Gresham Saturday Market (GSM) at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) in Gresham. The GSM is a summertime event and has been around for years. And it’s where my friends and former neighbors make much of their yearly income, because they operate a booth where Kathy sells homemade dipping sauces from her grandmother’s recipes. The venue is very pretty there on the NW parking lot of the college. Lots of tall pines give welcome shade.

My ex wife and I both attended MHCC back in the ’70’s, she to get an office management type degree, me to get my ABA (Associate in Business Administration). To go along with my AAS (Associate in Applied Science – Electronics) degree. It was great fun going there. It was interesting going to college with my wife, and because we averaged 10 years older than most of the the student body, we got respect. I took 200 series Physics and Chemistry because I fully intended to get my electronics engineering degree someday. Along with any other science, computer programming, or technology course I could squeeze into my schedule. Had to work pretty hard. Lots of studying and homework. That damn required accounting though…two years of accounting classes and all I learned was that it’s so dry and boring. I got A’s and B’s but I’ll be damned if a year after I graduated I could have told you much of anything about that class.

But, I did learn some stuff that helped years later when I started my own Electrical, electronic design, and computer consulting business.

So, I have some friends that set up a booth up at the GSM and they collect my mail for me so I went up to visit and pick it up. While there, I wandered around campus and took some pictures.

And there the GSM is, across the street from where I parked. Lots of trees all around the venue.


This is a look back down Kane. When we first went to MHCC, the right side was an empty field with trees. The owner tried to sell the property for a fast food franchise on the corner of Kane and Stark but for some reason, many students opposed it. They occupied the property to prevent clearing the land. Huh? I never did understand their objections about that so I sort of stayed out of it. Yeah, there were some big beautiful pine trees, and open meadow that students took their lunch on, but really, the purposed fast food joint would have been handy. Though I loved our cafeteria, sometimes change can be fun and interesting. The owner was a good sport about the protests, maybe it was MHCC that owned it and they’re sensitive about community perceptions of their behavior? Anyway, the owner shelved the idea for a couple years until that particular group of students had moved on, and objections to development had faded, then they developed the land. Now it has a large theater, a bar and grill, a huge parking lot, and a Jack-in-the-Box on that parcel.

On the left side of the street in this picture is the MHCC campus.


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New RV Post (#2)…

Just finished and posted another new article in the blog’s Winnebago section.

Refer Fan Installation…

This one is about adding a fan to the Norcold refer to keep the cooling fins frost free.

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New RV post…

Just posted a plumbing post for those that follow my RV Repair section. Here’s the link: Installing an under sink water filter…

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Blues Festival…

The weekend after Margie and I went roaming around the west end of the Columbia River Gorge, there was going to be the Gorge Blues Festival.  So I bought us a couple tickets. The weather was dicey every day all the way up until the Saturday of the event. But we crossed the Bridge of the Gods, and for luck our fingers, then headed over to the venue in Stevenson, Washington around 1 pm. Turned out that we saw many fluffy white clouds scudding across the sky, but never worried about rain during the trip or at the festival. Did have to contend with a brisk wind most of the day though.

Just after crossing the BoftheGs we take a left on WA-14 heading towards the west, all the while being alongside the Columbia, and took a few pics of the countryside…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Asked Margie to drive for me so I could take pictures.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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New ‘Towing’ post…

Some of you follow the RV section of my blog and this is a note to let you know I’ve posted a nearly complete write up of what I did to get ready for towing a car, the mods necessary to the car, the costs, and equipment. Check it out here: Towing

On Edit:

One Blog feature has been (re)activated. For a few years there was no way to allow ‘Comments’ on Pages, like in the RV Repair section. Commenting was only allowed in posts. This had been an error it seems by WordPress but it persisted for years over many upgrades. The way I had structured my blog meant if a reader wanted to comment on a RV repair or info post, there wasn’t a convenient way to do it. But the comment feature on regular posts was unaffected. Just recently, WordPress reactivated that feature for pages and now, once again, readers can comment, even on older pages where the feature had disappeared in the past. I have to remember to turn on the feature now (previously, allowing comments was the default even on pages) and doubtless I’ll forget on occasion. But…a reader can comment anywhere they find the comment box and I’ll see it.

TL;DR: You can once again comment on individual pages in the RV repair sections, and others.

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My Saturn affords the kind of freedom I’ve been hoping for. I had only thought about not having a car periodically the last 10 years or so because I had the RV and got pretty good at finding ways of getting to whatever venue I was interested in visiting. There’s nearly always public transport, for instance. Taxis, shuttles, buses, trolleys, etc. I’m a big fan of public transportation.  And I almost always carried a bike so that helped. There were some constraints of course and I’d try to find RV parks that would allow easy bike access or have easy access and parking so I could drive my RV shopping. This necessitated that I plan my trips and I fell into a routine of keeping a list of things I needed, and needed to do, so when I did go shopping once every two weeks or so, I’d get enough, get the right stuff, and take care of things like getting a fill up or stop at a RV dealer for things I couldn’t find online or to check for items that are hard to describe.

But now, as the owner of a nice Saturn, I was suddenly finding out how much I’d missed the freedom of just grabbing the keys and driving wherever. So the first couple days I owned it, I made a few sorties around the local neighborhood.

Here was my first trip the day after I bought the car. Downtown Gresham. I use to hang out here a lot when I was running my own consulting business 12 years and more ago. I’d go stir crazy if I stayed in my office (at my house) too many hours so I’d often just drive to downtown Gresham from my home off Orient drive (just east of Gresham city center maybe 4 miles). Often strolling the streets, visiting a store or two, having a Mocha coffee or ice cream cone. It was nice. And I’d often walk down into the Gresham Main Street public park just to relax. Back 12 years ago, the Tsuru Island Japanese Garden had fallen on hard times and was a little worse for wear, so I was pleasantly surprised my visit in June 2016 to find it had been refurbished and was looking good again. And here’s my photo essay of that stroll.

IMG_0057 These are the real colors. It’s soothing to walk through this garden… IMG_0058

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Settled in at Fairview…

Settled in here at Portland/Fairview RV Park and soon had a regular bike route around the area to enjoy. I like being able to bike to the nearby Veteran’s Clinic, post office, Target, Stomping Grounds coffee shop, etc.

One of the places I found:


It doesn’t open until 11 AM the day I biked past but I’ll keep it on my list of places to try for later.

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On to Portland…

Dan and I spent the next couple days in Walla Walla visiting with our retired sister and the still working BIL. He works up at the old military base & Walla Walla Regional Airport as an all around maintenance guy. The airport has all these old WWII buildings so they’re cheap to rent for new businesses. I worked out there years ago at an electronics firm that designed and built frozen food weighing machines. While there at that company, they had a policy of teaching employees to fly, free, if they wanted. So I got flight training on their dime using that historic runway. Long before that, I’d gone out there once a week for over a year for USNR (US Naval Reserve) training as that’s where our meeting hall was. Might still be there. After each training session we’d all rush home, often we’d drag race through downtown Walla Walla. Lucky I never crashed, got a ticket, or blew up Dad’s engine. Almost always won those short races because my timing was good, Dad always had big engines, and those other drivers sucked.

In Walla Walla during those years, 1961-1964, there was no radio station in town that played Rock & Roll. It was all crap all the time, really snooze fest music. And a couple religious and Country/Western stations thrown in. We were too far for the average radio to pick up any Pasco station (50 miles away), which did play R&R. Though sometimes if the atmosphere was just right people could pick it up and the latest songs would be sung by the gurls to the rest of us the next day at HS. There was even a phone network for passing around the latest songs.

But we had at HS a kid (one year younger then me so…to me he was a kid) with a natural radio announcers voice, which all his friends and acquaintances, including me, were lobbying with him to use as a DJ at any local radio station. We didn’t care which one, just as long as he was the host. Finally he warmed up to the idea, after a couple years of his peers telling him he had a perfect radio voice, and went all in. Most of the student body was electrified when it got passed around school that he was going to become a radio announcer. Then our lobbying switched to the radio stations in town with a vengeance & it took a concerted grassroots effort on our part with teams of teenagers calling the stations asking why no R&R was played, while others visited the stations manager whenever they could and lobbied for our guy. And it was a struggle. The stations initially refused. “There will never be Rock & Roll in Walla Walla!” as one on air personality screamed after fielding 10’s of calls from our campaign group requesting popular songs during his call in request show. His stupid comments made the papers, outraging most parents with teenagers. Except for the religious freaks, as always, trying to block it, R&R was already widely accepted throughout most of the nation…but the radio stations in our town still objected and REFUSED to play it. Remember this was almost the MID SIXTIES. It’s not like R&R had just been invented. Occasionally you might hear a Elvis, or Ray Charles song on air but that was pretty much the extent of R&R on the radio in Walla Walla for those years.

Finally, one station, grudgingly, allowed our hero, Burl Barer (he even had a cool radio name – pronounced Burl BEAR), to host a one hour show featuring R&R from an approved play list. Damn it was good to finally have some of our own music. And Burl’s voice is so deep and rich we knew we’d launched a new city wide, state wide, maybe country wide, radio star. And that link above from Wikipedia about him proves we did! But just ONE FUK’IN HOUR PER WEEK?? Jeese. Anyway, teams of teenagers swamped the station with phone requests whenever Burl’s show ended. None of their other listeners were doing that. So they went to 2 hours per week. Then a couple hours a couple days per week. 8 pm to 10 pm. ‘Cus you kids should not have fun. It’s amazing how much the stations pushed back against it, or dragged their feet. Burl, his parents, and the station’s managers were concerned about him working at his age, what with school work and such, but he got air time, by popular demand. Other local radio station managers finally saw what was going on with this whole thing and Burl soon had two shows at different stations, eventually a weekend show. And on the other stations (except the religious or C&W) there would be the occasional R&R song played, sometimes a block of several, usually with a snotty introduction by an arrogant DJ apologizing and pandering to those opposed to ‘that music’.

Before R&R radio play time had become the norm, the whole town exploded in controversy about whether R&R was evil or not. Radio surveys, church’s used the pulpit to tell anyone who would listen R&R is bad, newspaper articles, hundreds of letters to the editor, radio station owners using their Bully Pulpit to lobby the city’s mayor to outlaw R&R!! Can you believe that? We even had teenage misguided Jeebus freaks at school telling the rest of us how evil that kind of music was. Gah! That did NOT go over well. It is JUST MUSIC. Which caused us to redouble our efforts. Eventually, and it took months, no, it took years, Walla Walla emerged from the dark ages and we got nearly full time R&R from a local station grudgingly changing their format. During the change over the station manager pissed and moaned about having to do it and repeatedly apologized profusely to the old timers and religious freaks. It started out playing R&R in the early morning hours only. Then eventually, after hundreds of complaints from teenagers, they played R&R from 8 to 10 pm, and several nights per week. Finally, we were making some headway. Also, the stations noticed their advertising revenue was trending up with more listeners. This was during the time when I’d occasionally turn on the car radio, hear only ‘How much is that doggie in the window’ type crappy ass’ed music, and switch it back off. Leaving it off for days at a time. There’s only so much Frank Sinatra I can stand, even to this day.

It was during the period when ‘our music’ was still only played an hour per week I was driving home from a Reserve training meeting (one night per week, on a Wednesday) that I’d occasionally stop at a pizza place on 4th street. And that’s the first time & place I heard the Beatles fully. Damn they were good. That pizza joint got a newer jukebox with 45 RPM records and since we had R&R on the radio an hour per week now, the owner took a chance and put R&R on his jukebox. He had to buy the box and sign up for the record service in Pasco though, because the business in town wouldn’t handle R&R. Holy crap, that place exploded with business from teenagers, but mostly gurls too young & immature for someone all grown up and in uniform like me. We’d call them bubblegummers (yes, I had a crew). I’ve often thought that those were probably the gurls that went on to be hippy gurls a few years later because they were so wild and reckless there in the pizza place. Oh, and the pizza was great too, and I mean great. But the music! Wow. I went from a casual listener to a fanatic overnight. The Beatles had like 3 songs on the box, the British invasion was already in full swing so there were several other British groups that most of us knew nothing about on there too, and a year later the owner told me he’d had to replace several of the records repeatedly because they got wore out being played so much. But he wasn’t complaining.

It was strange when I got out in the ‘real’ world to find out how far behind music trends those of us that grew up in Walla Walla were. We had no, or little, idea how great the music elsewhere had become. Sure there were some kids at WiHi who traveled and knew about it but they were the minority and could only share with a few as all our recording equipment back then was rather bulky, or not exactly mobile. Our record stores had not caught up for the most part either. And those with records brought in from outside were not about to share them as they would quickly ‘disappear’ or get scratched up if loaned out. This same kind of suppression of popular music also occurred with movies and dancing. Movies shown in Pasco would be advertised in the Walla Walla paper so we would know about them, but they would never come to our theater. It was an adventure getting people together to travel clear over to Pasco just to catch a movie they wouldn’t show in Walla Walla. Only ‘approved’ movies were shown there. Dancing at proms and the like was also strictly controlled. So when I saw the 1984 movie Foot Loose, (I’ve only watched it once, it’s too stupid to watch more than that), I recognized that same backwardness in my home town. Can you believe we had ignorant jackasses writing letters to the local paper editor, going to city council meetings screaming about how ‘that music’ was going to ruin out ‘Merican way of life and that it should be outlawed? And always on religious grounds. Wow. Such. Intense. Stupid. Probably the same people were still against Elvis and his style of music.

But I digress…Dan and I left Walla Walla heading for Portland and 30 minutes west of town there’s a turn off to the Tri-Cities (Pasco, Kennewick, Richland) where we spent most of our childhood. And some of our adulthood. It’s a longer route, but we took that route for memories. Here’s a picture of the New new Bridge off in the distance connecting Pasco (where we’re at at the moment), and Kennewick over on the south side of the Columbia. A couple miles further west is another bridge that when I went to college here in Pasco, we called the New bridge. We’re heading nearly due west in this picture. This is our old stomping grounds. In fact, when we were toddlers, we moved into a little cinder block house on this street a couple miles west of here.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is all build up and modernized now. Use to be a dump around here.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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