We're in Seattle, parked in my friend Gordon Schaeffer's driveway (actually, he's in Bellvue, about 2 miles from Microsoft). Drove from outside of Salem, Oregon to Bellevue yesterday - about 250 miles.

When we last checked in, we were on the Oregon coast. We had a few more very nice days there. It's pretty, romantic, not too crowded, and lots to see and do. We went to a lighthouse built in the 1850's and still in operation. It's a tourist site now, and the lighthouse is automated. You can go up to the top, and it so happened that the Coast Guard was there doing their quarterly inspection. So, I started talking to them, and they ended up showing us all the automation equipment, talking about how there were only 8 certified Coast Guard lighthouse tenders on the whole West Coast, and we heard about going to lighthouse school. Seems like a good way to spend your years in the Coast Guard. Was a lot more interesting than the regular tourist part.

We then drove to Eugene. I haven't been here since I visited my brother when he was in grad school at U of O - around 1989. We spent 5 or 6 days in Eugene. I bought a new bicycle - my first since college - a rode some nice back roads. It's amazing that an $800 bike today is far better than the $3,000 bike of 20 years ago - far more responsive, lighter, comfortable, better handling and faster.

I also tracked down my brother Mike's old house from when he lived here with a former girlfriend. They bought a house together not too far from the University. I tried to remember where it was, and ended up driving past it. I finally found old phone books in the public library, and looked it up. I drove past it because it is now completely different looking. It used to be blue, now it's white. Some new columns were added in the front because they added a second floor!

I drove past Mike's old house again right after the library visit, and spoke to one of the owner's who happened to be in the front yard. Later, I went back with Cordula, and the woman who had been in front was in front again, with her husband. They invited us in (it's Eugene! Everyone is friendly!) and the changes were astonshing. The previous owners (right after Mike and Nora) has spent several years renovating the inside. It is incredible. The house was built in the 30's, and it has been completely restored and remodelled. It is beautiful, and the second floor completely fits into the architecture. THe current owner's have been there a little less than a year, and they have furnished it in keeping with the style. It is a total showcase with exquisite gardens and a wonderful new kitchen.

The couple are in their late 50's and were very nice. We spent about an hour talking to them, and agreed that if we move to Eugene, we would get together again.

LAtest adventure: our little Shasta the Sheltie is in heat again, about 2 months ahead of schedule. We think we discovered this before her brother mated with her again. Shasta was acting a little weird, and Cordula noticed some stuff, so we went to two different vets to get some tests. Cordula talked herself into thinking Shasta has a urinary tract infection, but once again, her super-duper reproductive biology has kicked in.

Bolo was going crazy with "passion" and we had to keep them in separate rooms, one outside, one inside, etc.

We spent two days trying to find a kennel or home for Bolo until Shasta's season ends (about 10 days total). No luck - everyone was full because of vacation time, and we were trying to do this on no notice.

While this was going on, we also visited the nearby Safari RV factory - which was kind of low tech and unremarkable. Eugene is RV central. There are at least 4 major RV manufacturers there, plus MArathon, which builds the million dollar bus conversions for rock starts, etc. (We checked out some of those in Eugene, too - wow! Las Vegas style to the max - I expected to see Tammy Wynette and Elvis).

After the tour, we heard about a company in the next town that did custom cabinetry and upgrades for RVs, and had a special computer desk. We went to visit, and ended up talking to one of the owners for quite some time. We expected a little garage shop, but it was actually a pretty good sized company with about 60 employees. He had a reputation with lots of RV owners and companys, and his work was quite nice. We ordered a desk to be installed, as well as some other minor modifications. Lo and behold - he and his wife loved dogs, had one, and he agreed to take Bolo for a week!

OK, so we got out of Eugene, with Bolo left behind. I'm driving down on Sunday with Gordon in his car to retrieve Bolo. Gordon went to U of O so welcomes the excuse to visit his alma mater (about 600 miles round trip).

I"ll spare you the saga of changing the light fixture over the table in the RV (there was a day down the drain), and also the 4 hours I spent in a rainy parking lot of an RV repair center fixing a broken RV sewage pipe (my fault - I cut over a curb intentionally in a small parking lot, and I forgot that it sticks out). On the other hand, the shop lent me a few tools I didn't have, had the parts in stock, let me work in their lot, and helped me out several times in the rain when I got stock - and only charged me $30.

Well, at least the pipe was broken for a good cause - as we were leaving a great state park with 10 waterfalls (Silver Falls State Park) - the largest park in Oregon where we had spent the night.

Other thoughts:

It's getting harder and harder to stay connected to the real world. I buy fewer and fewer newspapers, and care less and less about Silicon Valley. We're meeting more and more full timers (people who have sold their homes and live in their RVs) and they are getting younger and younger - but we are looking at places in Eugene, Seattle and more as possible relocation sites for us. You can buy an astonishing place in Eugene - 5,000 sq. ft on 10 acres for less than our current house, and still have enough left over to buy a beach house on the Oregon coast.

Even Seattle is still about 1/2 the price of Silicon Valley, with lower taxes, too.

Anyway, enough for now - we'll check in soon before we hit Canada, probably later next week.

- steve & cordula