Sailing on Starshine

Vessel Name: Starshine
Vessel Make/Model: Outbound 44
Hailing Port: San Francisco, CA
Crew: Pat and Melodie Williams
About: We have been "working the plan" since 2004 when Pat began taking sailing lessons. That lead to a few sailing vacations on sailboats. Melodie took some classes too. We purchased our boat in 2011.
15 October 2016 | Marina San Carlos, Sonora Mexico
12 June 2016 | Marina San Carlos
12 June 2016 | Santa Rosalia
08 May 2016 | Puerto Escondido
29 April 2016 | Isla San Francisco
19 April 2016 | Halfway Across the Southern Sea of Cortez
19 April 2016 | Marina Palmira
08 April 2016 | Marina El Cid
28 March 2016 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
09 March 2016 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
28 February 2016 | Marina Barra de Navidad
19 February 2016 | Manzanillo
15 February 2016 | Ensenada Carrizal
05 February 2016 | Tenacatita Bay
18 January 2016 | Tenacatita Bay
18 January 2016 | Tenacatita Bay
09 January 2016 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
31 December 2015 | Paradise Village Marina
23 December 2015 | Farmer's Market Lat Cruz
23 December 2015 | La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
Recent Blog Posts
24 October 2017 | Oakland, CA

Where have we been?

I have been neglecting our blog since early September. I wrote an update but made the classic mistake of not saving my work. You have seen me make this mistake in the past, but it appears I have not learned my lesson! So here it goes again, post # 2……

04 September 2017 | South Lake Tahoe CA

Snakes to the Lake

Today is Labor Day, September 4, 2017.

04 September 2017 | Culver OR

Solar Eclipse

Today is Monday August 21 and we saw the Solar Eclipse this morning!

04 September 2017 | Culver OR

Solar Eclipse

Today is Monday August 21 and we saw the Solar Eclipse this morning!

04 September 2017 | Redmond Oregon

Idaho Loop Glacier/Yellowstone/Grand Teton

Today is Tuesday August 15 and we are camping in Haystack Campground, a US Forest Service facility just south of Madras OR. We had spent a week back in July scoping out various sites in eastern Oregon, but we ended up here. It is a nice facility and the spots aren’t stacked on top of each other. Our [...]

17 July 2017 | Polson Montana

Arizona to Montana

Today is Sunday July 16, 2017.

Where have we been?

24 October 2017 | Oakland, CA
Pat
I have been neglecting our blog since early September. I wrote an update but made the classic mistake of not saving my work. You have seen me make this mistake in the past, but it appears I have not learned my lesson! So here it goes again, post # 2……

In early September I few to Poland and Melodie flew to Milwaukee. Melodie spent time with her family and I met my friend Arnstein for a motorcycle tour around Eastern Europe. I arrived in Krakow Poland a few days ahead of meeting up with Arnstein. I used the time to recover from the jet lag and see some of old town Krakow. We picked up the motorcycles and began our two week ride. In the end we rode about 2400 miles. We were within 150 kilometers of our 4000 KM allotment. The bikes ran well and we had no mechanical issues. We visited seven countries in all, six on the motorcycles and Norway during an 18 hour layover on the trip home. We started in Poland and rode through Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and the Czech Republic.

We visited many historical sites focused on WWII. We ate lots of local food. We stayed in small hotels on the outskirts of towns (mostly). Not many people spoke English outside of the tourist areas, but we made due. Europe was very clean, no litter and people keep their homes free from misc lawn debris. The weather was unseasonably cool and we got rained on a few times. My rain gear worked well so it wasn’t too bad. Overall it was a great trip and I really enjoyed seeing the countryside off the tourist routes.

Melodie and I met back up in the Bay Area and made our way in the camper back to Arizona. We are storing the camper near my parent’s house over the winter. We took about a week to winterize the camper and get it and the truck put away.

We were just about ready to drive back to Mexico when I learned our storage space rent had increased once again. We almost moved our stuff out of California last year, but didn’t. This 15% increase was just too much. So we drove our Acura back to the Bay Area. We are renting a U-Haul and moving our stuff to Arizona. Why Arizona? Well we use my parent’s house as a base for logistics and the rent there is half what it is in the Bay Area.

We hope to return to Starshine by the first week in November.

That’s all for now.

Snakes to the Lake

04 September 2017 | South Lake Tahoe CA
Pat and Melodie
Today is Labor Day, September 4, 2017.

A busy two weeks since the Eclipse.

We left Culver Oregon and began to make our way to Livermore CA. We made an early departure to beat the traffic and found the roads busy, but traffic was moving. We dumped our waste tanks in Bend OR at a Chevron Station and only paid $5. These RV businesses really try to rip you off (they wanted $20 at the KOA). You just have to be diligent. We arrived in Lava Beds National Monument and found the wildfire smoke was very thick. You could only see a mile or two. We had a quiet afternoon and a thunderstorm passed through late in the evening.

We left the next morning and when we were at the intersection of Hill Rd and HWY 161 the Google Map car drove by. I’ve been checking, but I haven’t seen our camper at the intersection yet on Google Earth.
Just after turning south on HWY 97 from 161 (hour north of Weed CA) we experienced a flat tire. We both heard the pop, but Melodie recognized it as an emergency more so than me. I pulled over and you could hear the air rushing out of the front/right tire. I had stopped on gravel, so I quickly backed up 25 feet onto some pavement before the tire was completely flat. I changed the tire and we were back on the road in about 40 minutes. We got the flat repaired in Redding CA. It only took an hour and it was free (I buy a lot of tires at America’s Tire / Discount Tire). We ate burritos while we waited.

Back on the road we continued south, stopping at the Colusa County Fairgrounds. It was 100 degrees out and we wanted hook ups to run the A/C. We arrived and the place was deserted. I asked a passerby for directions and he pointed toward and open gate. We found a spot and plugged in, no one else was there. In the morning we stopped by the office to pay our fee and they thanked us for actually coming in. I guess some people just drive away.

We arrived in Livermore and got the Cobra ready. We stayed at my friend Bill’s place that night and met up with the Bay Area Cobra Club in the morning.

About 15 Cobra’s met up in Livermore on Friday Aug 25 and we caravanned up to the Kmart lot in Antioch at HWY 4 and 160. We met another 10 cars and the group made our way toward Rancho Cordova for lunch. It was good to see old friends from our “old life”. After lunch at the food trucks we continued up to South Lake Tahoe via HWY 50. In years past we’ve taken very scenic routes to Tahoe, HWY 88, 4, and 120. But due to construction we stuck to HWY 50. We arrived early, so we gathered near the pool and got the party started. We all chip in and volunteers put on a self-catered meal. Pulled pork sliders and BBQ Chicken.

On Saturday the group drove to the North Shore and we had ourselves a miniature golf tournament. It was fun and it’s a group activity which is more the point than the activity itself. We had lunch in Tahoe City at The Bridge Tender. Golf was a group activity, but for lunch people broke off into smaller groups of 2-3 couples. We went to Café Fiore for dinner, it’s more than we usually pay but it was delicious.

On Sunday the group drove to Truckee and we played Bocce. Melodie and I play Bocce on the beach in Mexico, the rules are VERY loose. This time two of the couples play on Bocce leagues. Again, good times with great people. A nice way to spend the day. We drove back to South Shore and I took a nap before dinner. You may have noticed but much of the Cobra Club activities revolve around eating!

On Monday we were one of the last people to leave the hotel. With temperatures in the Valley expected to be around 100, everyone wanted to beat the heat. Many people chose to take HWY 88 back to the bay, but we returned on HWY 50 so we could stop in Cameron Park.

We stopped in Cameron Park and spend the night with our friends Keith and Dana. We had a really nice visit, tasting wine at some nearby wineries in the Amador area.

We also got the chance to visit with friends Phil and Desley in Brentwood.

The next chapter is more travel for each of us. Melodie is returning to Milwaukee and will stay at her family home. I am flying to Poland for a two week motorcycle trip with my friend Arnstein. I fly tomorrow and take a day to arrive in Krakow Poland. We will be visiting Poland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovakia and Lichtenstein. I’ll be on a Honda NTV700 and Arnstein will be on a Suzuki 900. The theme will be Historic WWII places. Our longest planned day is 450 KM, about 280 miles. I think I’m all set, looking forward to another adventure!

Solar Eclipse

04 September 2017 | Culver OR
Pat and Melodie
Today is Monday August 21 and we saw the Solar Eclipse this morning!
We’ve stayed in this camp site for 8 days now. We haven’t been out on the highway since Tuesday, so we don’t know if they traffic is as terrible as they say.

On Tuesday 8/16 we drove over to Smith Rock State Park and when for a walk there. It’s another volcanic area and was neat to see. It’s a popular spot for rock climbing and we saw many people climbing up the rocky cliffs.

The week was quiet. We had limited Internet. I got a chance to complete many projects on the camper. I installed a new roof vent in the bathroom. I replaced two inoperative light fixtures on the exterior. I cleaned and waxed the front of the camper. And I cleaned a few odds and ends. I find it’s always easier to buy the replacement parts than it is to install them. Anyway, the camper list is really short right now.

We stayed in our campsite for the eclipse this morning. It was spectacular! We had the solar glasses and got to watch as it got progressively darker and cooler. We were in the Path of Totality and got about 1 minute 40 seconds of totality. There was a 360 sunset, we saw stars and a planet, and Mount Jefferson to the west got dark. We saw the leaves make crescent shaped shadows (photo). The crickets started chirping and the geese were honking. It was a successful viewing.

This afternoon we put the camper back on the truck (only 20 minutes this time!). We drove a mile and half to the KOA nearby to dump our waste tank and get propane. They wanted $20 to dump, so we only bought propane. Tomorrow we will head south, most likely staying at Lava Beds NM again. Then we land in the Bay Area for the annual Snakes to the Lake Cobra Run! Yeah! Looking forward to seeing friends we haven’t seen in a year.

Solar Eclipse

04 September 2017 | Culver OR
Pat and Melodie
Today is Monday August 21 and we saw the Solar Eclipse this morning!
We’ve stayed in this camp site for 8 days now. We haven’t been out on the highway since Tuesday, so we don’t know if they traffic is as terrible as they say.

On Tuesday 8/16 we drove over to Smith Rock State Park and when for a walk there. It’s another volcanic area and was neat to see. It’s a popular spot for rock climbing and we saw many people climbing up the rocky cliffs.

The week was quiet. We had limited Internet. I got a chance to complete many projects on the camper. I installed a new roof vent in the bathroom. I replaced two inoperative light fixtures on the exterior. I cleaned and waxed the front of the camper. And I cleaned a few odds and ends. I find it’s always easier to buy the replacement parts than it is to install them. Anyway, the camper list is really short right now.

We stayed in our campsite for the eclipse this morning. It was spectacular! We had the solar glasses and got to watch as it got progressively darker and cooler. We were in the Path of Totality and got about 1 minute 40 seconds of totality. There was a 360 sunset, we saw stars and a planet, and Mount Jefferson to the west got dark. We saw the leaves make crescent shaped shadows (photo). The crickets started chirping and the geese were honking. It was a successful viewing.

This afternoon we put the camper back on the truck (only 20 minutes this time!). We drove a mile and half to the KOA nearby to dump our waste tank and get propane. They wanted $20 to dump, so we only bought propane. Tomorrow we will head south, most likely staying at Lava Beds NM again. Then we land in the Bay Area for the annual Snakes to the Lake Cobra Run! Yeah! Looking forward to seeing friends we haven’t seen in a year.

Idaho Loop Glacier/Yellowstone/Grand Teton

04 September 2017 | Redmond Oregon
Pat and Melodie
Today is Tuesday August 15 and we are camping in Haystack Campground, a US Forest Service facility just south of Madras OR. We had spent a week back in July scoping out various sites in eastern Oregon, but we ended up here. It is a nice facility and the spots aren’t stacked on top of each other.

Our last blog had us crossing Idaho on our way to Glacier NP. We made it to West Glacier and got ourselves a camp site in Apgar Campground inside the park. We stayed in West Glacier for two nights, taking the free shuttle up to Logan Pass on the “Going to the Sun Road”. Our second day there we hiked up to Avalanche Lake and got the photo attached to this blog post. The park was very busy and we spent a lot of time waiting on the shuttle buses to ferry us around. Still, not having to drive and being about to look around without any concerns about traffic was really nice.

After West Glacier we made our way around the south tip of the park and stopped at the Isaak Walton Hotel in Essex MT. The hotel was completed when they built the Great Northern Railroad from Chicago to Seattle. Some of the rooms are converted rail cars and engines. Lots of old photos and maps are on display. We spent the night at the Summit Campground, another USFS site. It was also time to change the oil on the truck. We were glad the campsite was paved. I’m getting good at changing the oil on the Dodge, but it takes 3 gallons of oil! BTW, we’ve driven over 10,000 miles on this trip so far.

We made it to the east side of Glacier NP and stopped at Two Medicine where we also stayed for two nights. We hiked along the lake on both sides, but did not complete a loop of the lake. We continued up to Many Glacier and did walk around the lake there. We also took a tour of the classic hotel there. We could see a couple of glaciers still present, but many of the glaciers have since disappeared. There were once 120 glaciers in the park, but only about 20 remain. They expect them all to be gone by 2030. During our hike from the east side (we also took the shuttle up the east side of the Going to the Sun Road) we got to see a family of mountain goats. They were grazing only 20-30 feet from the trail.

We left Glacier NP and made our way to Great Falls MT. It was a chance to see some museums, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the Charles M Russel Museum. Russel specialized in cowboy art and completed his works in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That night we stayed in the Walmart parking lot, across the street from an oil refinery. By far the worst spot we’ve stayed (boy did it stink!). The following day we completed many chores, washed the truck/camper, got propane, I got a hair cut and we got diesel. Then we were off toward Yellowstone.

We stopped in Bozeman MT to visit the Museum of the Rockies. They have the largest T-Rex skull ever discovered. We stayed in a BLM campground south of town and really liked it. We moved to a second BLM spot just north of Yellowstone, along the Yellowstone River. We stayed there two nights and I fixed a leaking exhaust gasket on our generator and lubricated the slide out on the camper (our dinette and refrigerator move about 20” to give us more room inside the camper).

Our week long stay in Yellowstone began from the historic north entrance. We stayed in 4 different campsites inside the park: Mammoth, Tower, Norris, and Lake Lewis. They assign you spots at Yellowstone, no circling the campground looking for an opening. It’s basically, here’s a spot, you get B15, take it or leave it. It got so bad that people were waking campers up in the morning to ask if they were leaving. Most campgrounds we got there early (around 7:00 am) and immediately got a site. At Norris Campground we waited 2 hours (we were #6 in line) to get assigned a spot. They do take reservations, but they fill immediately when they come available six months in advance.
We liked Yellowstone for the wildlife and seismic activity, but did not care for all the crowds and traffic. We got to see huge herds of bison, elk, mule deer, and a black bear. Melodie got to see some wolves, I only saw a black shape that was supposed to be a wolf (ok if you say so).

We continued south to Grand Teton NP. Again they assign you your spot and we were stacked right on the site next to us. The skies were clear and we got spectacular views of the mountains. The next day the smoke from the wild fires in British Colombia obscured the views. We went on some short hikes around the park. We visited a fish hatchery just north of Jackson WY. They grow Cutthroat Trout for stocking purposes. We also stopped at the farmer’s market in the town square in Jackson. This square is famous for the elk antler arches at each corner of the square. Jackson is a very expensive place, judging by the $3 donuts I understand why.

We left Grand Teton and headed for Craters of the Moon National Monument. Along the way we saw signs for the EBR-1 Museum. We had to google it, but found it is the first nuclear reactor to generate usable elasticity. Back in 1951 the reactor came on line and produced enough to light four light bulbs. The reactor stayed on line a breeder reactor, producing Uranium 239, making more fuel than it consumed. The facility is very well preserved and it was neat to see.

We were searching for a spot to stay and Melodie suggested the USAF base in Boise. It’s actually an Air National Guard base that shares the airfield with the civilian aviation. The have a small seven spot RV “park” and we got a spot with full hook ups for only $15/night. It was kinda fun to turn on the TV and watch reruns of the Star Trek series. It was a marathon, Original, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine (we never watched this one) Voyager, and Enterprise. We watched it two nights in a row and two of the shows had Part I and Part II episodes. It was very nostalgic. Also nostalgic for me was our dinner in the base dining facility. For $8/person we had a choice of ham or chicken, a starch and vegetables. All served on a melamine tray (just like on Navy ships in the 1980’s).

We stayed in Boise for two nights, later the next day we “crossed our track” (a sailing term) in Ontario OR where we had driven almost a month to the day. We stopped near La Grange OR and visited the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. We stayed in an OR State Park NW of La Grange that night.

Lastly we returned to Portland to visit my brother Chris and his wife Carrie. Their new sailboat Darma Girl had arrive and we got a chance to take a tour. The boat was on the hard, still getting some work done since being shipped across country from Florida where they purchase her. She’s a beautiful 1982 Tatoosh 42.

That takes us up to August 15 and Haystack Lake Campground. Look to our next blog entry for our stay here and our viewing of the Solar Eclipse 2017.

Arizona to Montana

17 July 2017 | Polson Montana
Pat and Melodie
Today is Sunday July 16, 2017.

Melodie and I have been making our way across the western US over the last few weeks. We began to make our way to California beginning on June 1. We took the scenic route through southern Utah, canyon country, and stopping in Zion and Pinnacles National Park.

After attending to a few doctor visits (all routine) we had a chance to visit with family and friends. Melodie flew back to Milwaukee and I hung out at my sister Cheri's in Oakland CA for a week. We made a quick trip down to Santa Cruz to see our friends Bill and Charlene. Unfortunately, we did not have time to see everyone. Please don't take offense if we didn't get a chance to see you.

On June 30 we left the Bay Area and began our trek toward Oregon. Our plan was to head north out of Tahoe and make our way to Crater Lake in Oregon. We did head north, but from Placerville, after seeing our friends Keith and Dana in Cameron Park. We looped west of Tahoe on HWY 49 and then took the grand volcanic tour. We stopped at Lassen National Park where most of the road was closed due to snow. We also stopped at Lava Beds National Monument. We spent three days at Lava Beds over the 4th of July weekend. What a great place! We hiked into several lava tubes. These caves are not lighted and you must use flashlights (bring a spare or two as well) as they are VERY DARK...not a bit of light once past the entrance. Hiking up to the Schonchin fire look-out built in 1942 gave us a great view of many of the lava flows on the landscape. The volunteer lookout explained what he does. It was interesting to learn/see that they put glass insulators on the cot legs and on the legs of a little stool. When lightening is nearby the lookout squats on the stool. We had a special treat during an evening Ranger Program when they brought out 3 telescopes. We were able to look at the details on the moon and Jupiter with its moons and could even see the bands on Jupiter.

We've seen many National Parks and Monuments so far this summer while stopping along the way if something looks interesting. For example, we stopped at Klamath Wildlife Refuge. There was one overlook in particular where you could hear nothing but birds and frogs and insects; getting just a glimpse of what the countryside used to be like. We traveled on the Volcanic Legacy Scenic By-way. We stopped at Crater Lake, but did not camp there. There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground and half of the road around Crater Lake was still closed due to snow. We saw the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and took a few hikes through lava flows. One was through huge masses of obsidian. It seemed like a different planet. We travel up through Oregon; staying on BLM land often. One especially nice place was right on the Deschutes River in a valley between Volcanic hills. We visited my brother Chris and his wife in Portland OR.

After Portland we spent a week checking out central and eastern Oregon. On August 21, 2017 there will be a total eclipse of the sun. They are expecting HUGE crowds to come and Madras Oregon will be an epicenter for viewing. Mostly because of the possibility for clear weather, rural country side and it's near the path of the max eclipse. After checking things out in Eastern Oregon we think we've found a spot.

We visited the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument with some spectacularly colored hills. The drive near there was enjoyable, with nice valleys through cliffs of volcanic rock. Once our eclipse research was complete we began working our way east toward Glacier National Park. We found out that Idaho has great little camp sites next to rivers, mostly for the fisherman we think. Anyway, we got a great spot next to the Little Salmon River in Pollack ID. We both woke up during the night thinking "what is that running? Then we remembered it was the river, and not the a/c, refrigerator, etc.

We crossed Idaho and are now in Montana. This is my (Pat's) first time in the state of Montana. It's really beautiful. There are just over 1 million people in Montana, I think that's one reason we like it. It was nice to see the historic Lewis and Clark sights along the way. I did not realize they traveled this far north in 1805-1806. We've been making a point to push the schedule and see the little roadside attractions. We toured a historic Forest Service compound from the 1920's that was used until the 1970's. Cool stuff! Today we took a self-guided driving tour (stay in your car for safety) through the US Fish and Wildlife preserve for Bison and other animals. We saw lots of Bison; some were huge and there were also many calves. We also saw some elk, deer and pronghorn antelope. There were reports of bighorn sheep, but we didn't see any.

We find our internet is only good when we pass through towns and we have no service at our campsites. We are doing well following our USFS and BLM camping model. Most of the places we stop are free. The challenge is to be among the vacationers and not the "urban campers". We have found several sites strewn with trash, obviously used by homeless and they left a big mess. We really like the quiet, deserted spots, especially along a river or stream. We even camped in a spot and were visited by four wild horses...The ranger had told us where a band of 50 had been hanging out lately. They came fairly close to us, but were very wary. We find we are eating in a lot more. In Mexico we eat out all the time. It's good and it's cheap. Not so, here in the good ol' US of A. So lots of sandwiches roadside in the camper and always breakfast to ourselves. We did go out to lunch the other day and treated ourselves to fresh baked pie!

I was not intending on keeping the blog going over the summer. But I was surprised to hear from so many that they read our blog. So I hope you have enjoyed hearing about our travels so far. We have so many good photos, but we only get to post one with each blog.
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