Monday, October 3, 2016

Living Amongst 50 Strangers For 10 Days (Crab-a-Rang)

Newport to Winchester Bay, OR Sept 20 to Oct 3, 2016

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Did you ever read something, remember exactly what it said, then can never find what you read again? Makes it real hard to prove you’re not totally crazy when you get the dates of an event completely wrong. Which is what I did for this Crab-a-Rang thing. It actually started a couple of days later than I thought. So we showed up really, really early. But the surprise was, we weren’t the only ones.

So here’s the layout. “C” Dock is next to the crab dock making it the prime location so you won’t have to walk so far to check your crab traps.

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We luck out and one of the prime spots is available. They are all dry camping sites, but there is water and a dump station available for a fee. And if you’re nice to the camp host he might just give you coupons to cover the cost of the water and dump.

That’s us right there on the end with a great view of the crab dock and the harbor.

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For someone that does not like crowds, what have I gotten us into?

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Being right next to the Pacific Ocean it was a little cool in the mornings. This is one of my favorite pictures of Maggie keeping warm in front of Mr. Buddy.

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Always looking for an excuse to find a new brewery, I offer to take EJ to Coos Bay, OR to some sight seeing and shopping. And 7 Devils Brewing just happened to downtown where EJ was shopping.

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But before you start to think that RVing is all fun and games. Things break and and maintenance must go on.

For a week or so, maybe more, we had been locking the entrance door with the remote confidently assuming it was actually locking. Well it turns out it wasn’t really locking. One day after locking it with the remote, we tugged on the door handle and the door popped open. Well, being a good engineer, I conducted several more tests to assure repeatablility of the results. And it did.

After procrasting for several days worring about how to dismantle the door, I just did it. What I found was that the solenoid had frozen in the open position. Replacing it was fairly simple, but I used my only spare to do it. Finding a replacement solenoid to become the new spare was not so easy.

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Running around one day, another assumption was shattered. I had always assumed Oregon to have strong liberal leanings. So we were surprised to see as many Trump displays as we did.

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We found a wood sculpture shop and I was is heaven. All kinds of wood scraps were for sale.

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Back at Salmon Harbor on “C” Dock, every day, weather permitting, happy hour was held at 4PM. Now we like the idea of a happy hour. Adult beverages and comraderie, what’s not to like? Well, 4PM kinda cuts into the middle of the day and you end up rushing back from whatever you were doing so you don’t miss the big gathering.

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Diana Ruelens was the “organizer” of Crab-a-Rang and she did a good job of keeping the group pointed in the same direction, more or less.

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One of the activities at happy hour is to share any adventures you embarked on during your stay. One couple gushed about the  Smith River waterfalls so the next day we took off to find them.

Spectacular is not a word I would use in describing this natural formation. The falls were all of 2 foot high. But is was fun exploring the area and very soothing to sit beside the cool water.

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Hoping to continue exploring, we opted not to go back the way we came. This is one of Frank’s mantras, never go the same way twice.

We took the road less traveled, following the instructions of of our trusty GPS. Only once did we doubt the directions. Now and then, the GPS database takes a departure from reality and decides that the road you are on, isn’t located where you are. We decided to go with our gut and continue on the Forest Road we had chosen. After a mile or so, the GPS decided we were, after all, on the right road.

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We volunteered to be hosts for the a “Z” circle. This is where people sign up to visit the hosts for 45 minutes then move on to a different host. It was fun, but apparently nothing clicked and we were mostly ignored by the people we had invited into our RV for the duration of our stay.

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One day we were entertained by the Coast Guard. We found later a speeding boat had swamped one boat and destroyed another. The destroyed boat belonged to a Judge. Needless to say, it was not long before the owner of the speeding boat was apprehended and his boat impounded.

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EJ and took a tour of the Umpqua Light House.

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We even went back at dusk to take some more pictures.

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We attended more happy hours and listened to the stories. Open arms and comradery was preached, but it quickly became apparent that old friendships and groupings were quickly resumed.

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EJ and I really aren’t outgoing and it takes us a long time to make friends. But it doesn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves and having fun. And we did pick up some good tips from folks that have been full-timing for years.

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The potlucks were wonderful, as the variety of offerings was amazing.

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One morning we drove to the Elk Refuge near Winchester Bay and found a herd just laying around and taking it easy.

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Later in the day me and the girls decided to do the same thing.

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On our last dinner together, the weather wasn’t cooperating so the Salmon Bay community was rented. The opportunity was used to both celebrate Diana Reulens’ birthday and to thank her for all the work she did to put Crab-a-Rang together.

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To wrap up Crab-a-Rang it quickly became apparent the crabs weren’t cooperating with the crabbers. The crab dock was way too crowded and the crabs were way too few. Folks often only managed one keeper a day if they were lucky. Folks with boats fared a little better and folks that ventured away from the crab dock had better luck too. But some, after a weeks work this is all they had to show for it. I think I’ll stick with the convenience of store bought crab.

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So all in all it was an interesting experiement in inserting ourselves into a large group that had known each other for years. EJ and I are quite content with each others company and try to avoid crowds if possible. Many of the folks craved the constant social interactions of large groups, But we enjoy a smaller, more personal gatherings. Sigh, round pegs and square holes.

Until next time when we discuss the good and bad of letting others work on your RV.

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