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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Springfield, Oregon (The Simpsons)

Aloha Everyone,

This morning, J.J. and I passed through the town of Springfield, Oregon, which turns out to be basis for the fictional town of Springfield that Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson live in from The Simpson animated sitcom. I must admit that I am not too familiar with the show, but I do recognize some of the characters from designs on T- shirts, backpacks and lunch boxes sold in stores.

Here is one if the painted murals in the old Main Street.

Actually, it is a very charming, small-town Americana place and the people we met are gracious. The residents of Springfield, Oregon jokingly state that their motto is: "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man", which is the exact same motto of the fictional city of Springfield from the Simpsons. This was first discussed in a Simpson's episode which aired on February 18, 1996.

Vicki at the Visitor Information was more than helpful. She invited us to leave Honu in their parking lot and suggested for J.J. and I to take a stroll to their downtown area which was only short three blocks away.

From several restaurants Vicki suggested, J.J. and I chose to eat Thai food.

We ordered an appetizer dish of Tempura Shrimp. They were pleasantly arranged and served hot with sweet Thai sauces.

JJ ordered Thai Noodle soup that had roast pork and char-siu, fish dumplings, vegetables garnished with green onion on top of rice noodle.

My choice of Duck Soup was tasty but a little too heavy and salty for me. J.J. thought that my soup base was superior than his.

Today was a perfect day for being on the road for almost 3 1/2 hours. One of our friends wrote how he fondly recalls the time he spent in Oregon. He especially misses seafood and Christmas trees. So here is a photo we took for him.

So many Oregonians tell us that this is the best time to travel in Oregon. It 's not too hot, not too rainy and of course not too cold.

At one of the Rest Stop, I saw this beautiful tree wearing the Autumn color.

MaryAnn greeted us with big smile and ready to answer our questions about supermarkets and shopping centers nearby. She works as a manager at Deerwood Luxury RV Park where we are staying for the night. McKenzie River is nearby and tonight J.J. and I are pouring over the brochures Vicki gave us to decide which road to choose for tomorrow.

There is a small forest behind us. Maybe we will see some wild turkeys early tomorrow morning.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mike, the RV Repair Man

Aloha Everyone,

We had problem with the under-carriage of Honu. J.J. had cleverly devised a substitution until we could have it professionally repaired. (More on J.J.'s repair technique later).

Mike, the RV Repairman came over to work on Honu this morning.

After assessing the condition, Mike went away to have the replacement bracket re-fabricated at a welding shop and skillfully completed the job.

Mike's work place was the cement floor where Honu is parked. J.J. let Mike use the rubberized rug which we use for our kitchen area.

Mike's tools he needed to work on Honu fit within this tool box he brought out from his truck, of course the size is deceiving. When I tried to move it to take a better photo, its weight prevented me from even pushing it a little.  Mike laughed and said it probably weighs 20 pounds.

Here is what J.J. had used to temporarily mitigate the problem -- his shoe string. Mike voiced his surprise and told us that we are lucky that our water tank did not break.

We count our blessings and thankful for Mike's help.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Staying In Shape While Traveling

Aloha Everyone,

Some of you may remember that I used to walk 2 hours a day or approximately 6 miles before breakfast. That was in Hawaii when my life-style was set in a routine of walk, yoga, meditation. work and recreation.

One of the greatest joys of RV adventure is that my daily activities are no longer routine. It varies from day to day including where Honu will find a place to rest for the night. Some of it has to do with the weather. While we have been enjoying amazing, cool, crispy, sunny autumn days in Oregon, this will change as winter approaches. Even now, there are foggy mornings and cold overcast days. Over the past 4 months, J.J. and I have not always had perfect weather. We have been in snow storms, hail storms, tropical rain, gusty winds and desert heat exceeding 110 degrees. Weather and our daily activities are unpredictable and I often resort back to my meditation training of nothing is permanent, be flexible, be mindful and accept changes in life and be happy.

So with that  preamble that no two days are the same, here is what I did for my body and mind this morning.

First activity of the day and in the evening before we settle down to relax is for me to clean the floor of our RV home. I wear plastic cover and hold orange scented disinfecting wipe on my right hand and paper towel on my left hand. I basically fold myself forward to touch the floor and clean. Sometime I go into "downward dog" or "three legged downward dog" yoga asana to do this daily task. It serves two purposes. To keep the floor clean and for me to get my daily exercise even if it is raining outside. It amuses J.J. but then he leaves me alone to this interesting form of exercise.

This morning I stepped outside and did Kundalini Yoga Kriya for about 30 minutes followed by 9 minutes of meditation and onto 20 minutes of juggling. I then wore my ear plugs and played my favorite mantra music for my brisk walk. Today's walk was about 30 minutes followed by J.J. joining me for another 30 minutes. It is a wonderful way to keep your body and mind in balance.

J.J. also gets his exercise by keeping Honu in tip-top shape.This means he takes care of cleaning the exterior.  Upon arrival at our next destination, he has a list of things to do including connecting electricity, make sure that fresh water tank is full, empty the black and gray water tanks.To date, J.J. has lost over 10 pounds and really looks fit. He will be needing smaller size clothes to replace the ones that have become too large.

Here are some additional photos were taken this morning during my walk within the Riverpark RV Resort in Grants Pass.

My favorite sculpture, a flute player, is up in the tree gazing down at Honu. I was told that this was created by Mr. George, who owned this place before Dean & Donna, the current owners purchased it.

Than you Dean for suggesting that I take the sunset photo from the riverbank. Mahalo to Sharon for keeping my company on the phone while I waited for the right moment to take the shot.

Wishing you all a pleasant evening.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tashi Choling Center for Buddhist Studies

Aloha Everyone,

Some of you may be familiar with the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism: His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. We were quite surprised to find out that the Tashi Choling Center for Buddhist Studies was located just a few hours from our campsite.  The center is a place for a spiritual refuge and place to study Tibetan Buddhism. 

It took us two hours each way or 120 miles round trip on narrow, zigzag mountain road to visit this remote and isolated place. Through a heavy fog, we drove 14 miles on a gravel road encountering wild turkeys and a deer along the way. Suddenly when we turned to Nepal Road, we found ourselves in a large valley with Tibetan Temple Prayer Flags welcoming us into the temple ground.

I had telephoned ahead and obtained permission to walk around the temple ground. However J.J. and I did not see single person as we wandered around.  It was a bit strange to be the only ones there, yet very uplifting to be on a site where they chant sacred mantras and sit for meditation.

Tibetan Temple Flags are one of the sacred symbols celebrating creation and the path to enlightenment.

Sacred prayer wheels are filled with millions of copies of the sacred mantras.

Temple garden

We had several interesting animal encounters today. A llama was standing in the middle of the temple field looking aloof and detached. He looked at us with disdain.

Driving through a heavy fog, 4 female turkeys ran across the road.

We also saw a deer by the road side, but too shy to be photographed.  And J.J. had to shoo away a curious squirrel from Honu's warm engine.

Overall, today was a wonderful and spiritual day.

Aloha -- Cathi