New Year’s Day 2014

We ended New Year’s Day reflecting and discovering in Long Beach, WA

Umpquah River Light

We made a tour of Pacific Northwest lighthouses. We visited the Umpquah River Light on it’s 119th birthday, December 31, 1894! Its glorious fresnel lens was manufactured by F. Barbier, Paris, in 1890.

Shoe Tree and Mad Burgers on CA Highway 36

We spent Christmas with family down in California. On the way back, we took Highway 36 from Red Bluff, CA, to the 101. About 10 miles west of Red Bluff, we found this tree growing shoes. Shoe Tree Highway 36 It’s our first shoe tree. Not one we’ll likely forget. Shoe Tree 2 I looked up the history. It seems people started leaving shoes for others as kind of a “leafy Salvation Army” about 14 years ago. What started with about 50 pairs has grown into… well, you count them. I gave up. RedSlippers Highway 36 is full of twists, rolls, hairpins, and sheer drop offs without guard rails. Slow down on the curves. Be sure to pack water, food, and toilet paper. Facilities are limited. Read that again and be warned. Whatever you do, plan to eat at the Mad River Burger Bar in Mad River. If you blink, you’ll miss it. Helpful hint: It’s right next to the post office. Also blinkable. Burger Bar They have great burgers and milkshakes! Mad Iver Here’s Mad Iver. GRIN! The burger bar is a camper parked beneath a metal pole roof. Facilities include porta-potties. Bring your hand-san. This one is for Darren Dust: Great Signs

Holiday Meals in the RV

We’ve experienced many changes from living in a house to living in an RV, but nothing tests one’s metal like preparing a holiday meal.

The first issue is scale. Our mini-kitchen has a mini stove, mini oven, and mini convection/microwave. We have next to nothing prep, stovetop, and cooking space. Worse, we discovered that our oven doesn’t maintain a consistent temperature. Hello. So, in addition to getting creative and organized about space, we had to think differently about cooking, baking, and roasting.

The next issue is scale. We used to hand raise our holiday turkey. We bought our chicks in the spring, raised them through the summer, and harvested them in November.

Isaiah feeds the new chicks.

They ran all over the ranch and got fat on bugs- especially grasshoppers.
Holy Cow Turkeys

Inevitably, we grew some very big birds. They ranged from 35-55 pounds. Our record turkey was 64 pounds-dressed! We had to use a commercial oven to roast it.

Turkey

This year, we bought a 10-lb turkey. Ivan cut it up into pieces, seared the meat, crammed it into a pressure cooker with an onion, tossed in some seasoning, and cooked the whole thing in less than an hour. My eyes twitched the whole time, but it turned out GREAT!

The next issue is scale. The stove top has three burners, but two pots barely fit on it simultaneously (Never three! Forgetaboutit!). I made stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, and caramel sauce in multiple stages (two food items at a time), by sliding pots back and forth over the burners. I used the microwave to make green beans.

We broke all the rules… we even used ready-made pie crusts and disposable pie pans.

The next issue is scale. Limited refrigerator space precluded us from making food ahead of time.

Our meal turned out great… but we had to be strategic to overcome limited counter, cooking, and storage space.