Scott's Casa Grande Wheelio travel blog

November Sunset at Brookings, OR

Entering the Napa Valley

The 1860 Bale Grist Mill

The Granary (storage building and meeting hall)

The Mill

Stacy, Ryan, and Bobby in Calistoga, CA

Geocaching at the Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga, CA

It's hard to believe that it has been 9 months since I posted a journal update so it really is time to catch up with us.

After leaving Bandon, OR, we returned to one of our favorite hosting spots on the southern Oregon coast. We spent October & November 2010 at the Crissey Field Visitor's Center in Brookings. Since we've been there before, I've only attached a photo of one of the many beautiful sunsets that we experienced while there. Our cousin, Carole, made her annual pilgrimage to visit us. This time she spent Thanksgiving with us in OR, then traveled back to Sacramento with us the first week of December.

As many of you know, we had planned to spend four months in the Sacramento area before heading out on a five-month trek in and around Southern California, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming before arriving at our next campground volunteer spot on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington in September 2011. Well, as usual, our travel plans fell through again. We are still in California!!!

Scotty started having trouble with his right shoulder last November while we were in Brookings. After living on excessive amounts of Motrin for several months, doctors finally determined that he needed surgery for a badly torn rotator cuff. Unfortunately, preparation for that surgery was delayed by other medical issues that resulted in a multitude of xrays, body scans, and lab work before his doctor could release him for the surgery. So we cancelled the trip and here we sat!

In the meantime, we got a call from fellow OR State Park volunteers, Kim & Else, asking if we could help out at a historic grist mill in the Napa Valley. The scheduled hosts had cancelled at the last minute and the ranger was looking for a replacement. We met with the ranger in March and agreed to spend April & May at the 150 year old Bale Grist Mill in Calistoga. What a great time we had. I handled tickets and ran the gift shop located in the attached granary while Scotty assisted the miller with bagging the product that we milled and tours of the waterwheel-powered mill. Besides enjoying the mill itself, we sampled a lot of new recipes made with the stone-ground flour and cornmeal that is produced and sold there. It is a beautiful spot that is, unfortunately, one of many sites on the proposed California State Parks closure list. Hopefully, it will be rescued by a local group. Check it out on the internet. It is a very cool place and it would be a shame if it closed after all the time and money spent on its restoration. We had so much fun there that we are now looking into volunteer spots at other mills. I've attached a few photos of the mill and a couple of family members that came to see us....we took our niece, Stacy, and her two boys on their first geocaching adventure.

Scotty's surgery was finally approved and took place on June 9th. He is now participating in physical therapy. We are both miserable with the heat here in the Sacramento Valley and, although we are still having a great time staying connected with friends and family in the area, we are anxiously waiting to be back on the Oregon coast. We will be heading north the end of July and plan to spend the next 2-3 years volunteering in Oregon & Washington State Parks.

Our complete itinerary is still up in the air, but our confirmed locations are listed below. If you happen to be in the vicinity, please get in touch.

Aug. 2011 - Cape Meares Lighthouse, Tillamook, OR

Sept. 2011 - Dosewallips State Park, Brinnon, WA (Olympic Peninsula)

Oct. & Nov. 2011 - Belfair State Park, Belfair, WA (Hood Canal)

Dec. 2011 thru Feb. 2012 - Millersylvania State Park, Tumwater, WA

Mar. & Apr. 2012 - Fort Stevens State Park, Warrenton, OR

May & June 2012 - Nehalem Bay State Park, Nehalem/Manzanita, OR

Until next time,


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