My wife Peggy and I are preparing to hit the road fulltime in our new RV. That means that our home of the past ten years in Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley is now on the market for sale. This post on my blog is designed to give potential buyers an in-depth look at our five acre property and house. For buyers from outside the region, I have also included information on recreational and cultural opportunities in the area.
If you are looking for an affordable home that features forests, rivers, lakes, and wildlife, this may be for you. The house is ideal for a mountain retreat. It backs up to over a million acres of national forest. The beautiful Applegate River is located out front. Our living room, patio, and sunroom all provide gorgeous views of the Siskiyou Mountains. Fast internet makes this house ideal for remote work.
I’ve divided this post into three sections: 1) Property, 2) The house and out-buildings and 3) The surrounding region.
FIRST: THE PROPERTY
We live on five wooded acres that include white oaks, Ponderosa pine, red cedar, Douglas fir, big leaf maple, madrones and manzanita. There are hillsides, flat areas, and a canyon with blackberries where wildlife likes to hang out. We also co-own property with our neighbors on the Applegate River directly across the road from our land. The upper section of our property borders on the Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest.
There are two access roads: One directly from Upper Applegate Road; the other from a neighborhood shared road. While GPS brings people to our direct access, lower road, it is fairly steep. We recommend that visitors use the shared road. Turn left at the mile 13 marker on the Upper Applegate highway, drive up the road, turn right at the top and drive down the road just past the pole barn and turn right on our upper driveway. It will bring you directly to our house.
Given that our property backs up to the National Forest, wildlife is abundant. Deer live on the property, as do squirrels. Raccoons, fox, a skunk, and possums come by to visit and occasionally set up housekeeping. We’ve even seen a bobcat a couple of times. Bear come down off the mountain on occasion. Coyotes and cougars live in the area but are rarely seen. Bird life is abundant. There is even a bald eagle family in the area.
SECOND: THE HOUSE
The home is a modern three bedroom, two bath, 1500 square foot manufactured house that sits on a cement block foundation. It has a living room, family room, kitchen (with a skylight), dining nook, breakfast counter, three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and a laundry room. We have modified one of the bedrooms to serve as an office with a built-in wood desk, file cabinets, drawers, and book cases. (It can still be used as a bedroom or craft room.) Each of the bedrooms has a closet with the master bedroom having a walk in closet. There is also a coat closet. The house has a peaked ceiling and the living room has a modern, open floor plan with the kitchen and the dining nook, all of which give the house a larger feel than its 1500 square feet would suggest.
The house comes with central heating and air conditioning, a heat pump and an attic fan. It also has an energy star rating reflecting how well it is built. Combined with energy efficient appliances, this means our monthly bill for our all-electric house averages out to $109 per month over the year. The water heater was replaced last year. The refrigerator, washer and dryer, stove, microwave, and dishwasher will remain with the house. All of the appliances except the stove have been replaced in the last five years.
Starlink Internet provides the house with fast internet service which, as the Starlink site says, “enables video calls, online gaming, streaming, and other high data rate activities that historically have not been possible with satellite internet. Users can expect to see download speeds between 100 Mb/s and 200 Mb/s and latency as low as 20ms in most locations.” Arrangements will need to be made to transfer the service but the satellite dish, router, and modem are already in place. Combined with the separate office, the house is ideal for working from home.
A patio, cedar deck and a 140 square foot sunroom are located in front of the house. A covered porch is located at the side door entry next to our parking area. There is ample parking for vehicles and an RV as well. There are three sheds on the property: What we call our garden shed, a tool shed, and our pump house, which also includes good storage space. The total space for tools and storage between the three sheds is 250 square feet. Each shed includes metal shelving units that we are leaving. The pump house has a loft and the tool shed a work bench. An attractive pole barn sits on the upper property.
Water is provided by a well which includes a 2,000 gallon storage tank. Sewer and waste water are handled by a two tank septic system with a leach field.
We have painted the house and added new carpets in the past two years. We added Leaf-Filter gutter covers this past year, which eliminates the need to clean the house gutters. We have also replaced the HVAC’s duct system under the house.
THIRD: THE REGION
Scenic, recreational, and cultural opportunities abound in the region.
Whether you are a hiker, runner, backpacker, bicyclist, kayaker, boater, whitewater rafter, downhill or cross country skier, snow boarder, fisherman, hunter, or even paraglider— you will find opportunities to pursue your sport within a few minutes to just over an hour from our house.
Or maybe your idea of recreation includes wine and/or beer tasting. The Applegate Valley is one of Oregon’s premier wine growing regions with some 20 vineyards available to visit. A number of brewpubs exist in Medford and Ashland as is typical of the Northwest. Both Jacksonville and Ashland are delightful walking towns. Jacksonville is a quaint historic, goldrush town. It also features the summer outdoor Britt Festival that attracts nationally renowned performers. Ashland is home to the Southern Oregon University and the world famous Ashland Shakespeare Festival. A variety of restaurants are found in Jacksonville, Medford, Ashland and other surrounding communities.
Medford, which is 45 minutes away, serves as the regional shopping center for Southern Oregon. In addition to stores to meet all of your shopping needs, it has two major hospitals and the Rogue Valley-Medford International Airport with direct flights to Portland, Seattle, the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Denver.
Farther afield, Crater National Park, the Redwoods National Park and the beautiful Oregon Coast can all be reached in a 3-4 hour drive.
Peggy and I hope you have found this overview of our home, property, and region valuable. We are located at 13975 Upper Applegate Road, Jacksonville, Oregon. For details on our property and costs and/or to schedule a visit please contact our realtor Kelly Quaid (541-941-8056) or Olivia Garrison (458-212-4460) at Ramsey Reality in Ruch or Jacksonville, Oregon.
This is the last post from our not-so-recent trip to the North Coast of California last November. Tempus Fugit. Indeed. My posts have been so rare lately they are close to being put on the endangered species list. But more on that later. MacKerricher State Park begins 3 miles north of Fort Bragg, California and continues for 9 miles up the coast. It features a wide variety of habitats ranging from sandy beaches to rocky headlands. There are tide pools, wetlands, a fresh water lake, and even a sea-glass beach. The ocean took an ugly dump and ground the glass up into attractive baubles that people like to collect. Our daughter-in-law Cammie used to turn sea glass she gathered in Alaska into beautiful jewelry.
We were at the park for a couple of hours and only walked a mile or two along the 9 mile beach. We were impressed, however. The area deserves much more of our time. I’ll let the photos that Peggy and I took speak for it. I included some of the these in an earlier post.
As you may recall, Peggy and I are preparing to hit the road full-time in mid to late March. That’s one reason why my posts have been so few and far between. But there is more. We are also selling our house and moving East. Our daughter has an empty apartment in Virginia that we will be using for our base as we travel North America. She and her husband Clay have been lobbying for years that we should move closer to them. The apartment is small, however. We are using it as a reason to seriously downsize. It’s called donate, give away and toss. If we haven’t touched something in a couple of years, it goes. (Books and heirlooms are the exception— and even they are subject to scrutiny.) A moving pod sits outside our backdoor to collect what remains. In a few weeks it will arrive on our kid’s doorstep. We’ll take three months to get there.
We will miss our cozy home with its great views and entertaining wildlife. No doubt about it. Living out in the woods had always been a dream of mine. But it is time to move on. I turn 79 in a couple of weeks. While not necessarily old (from my perspective), it is definitely not young. My sense of humor on doing all of the work involved in maintaining five acres isn’t what it once was. And, there are more serious reminders of our age: the passing of family members and friends.
My sister died a couple of weeks ago, leaving me with a thousand happy memories and a large blank spot. She was my first baby sitter and forever friend. While we didn’t see each other often, we were always close. You may recall the posts I did on our annual pumpkin carving contests. They started in the late 90s and went on for 15 years. And you may also remember my blog on Nancy Jo and the Attack of the Graveyard Ghost, a prank my brother Marshall and I played on her when we were kids. Marsh passed away couple of years ago while staying in his RV at our house. I was with him when he died. I am now the last living member of our family. It’s a strange feeling.
A number of friends have passed on as well over the past few years. I attended a memorial/life celebration in Sacramento last weekend for one of my early backpacking Trekkers, Don Augustine. I first met Don in 1981 when he went on a hundred mile trek I was leading through the Sierras. It was a tough year with lots of snow still on the ground. I was kicking footsteps in it over a steep pass leading into the Granite Chief Wilderness when he hustled up to where I was working and offered to help. He would continue to offer a hand whenever needed for the next 40 years as both a trekker and as a volunteer. His generosity was close to legendary. His specialty was encouraging newbies as they struggled to meet the challenges of long distance backpacking and bicycling. I told a story about it to the some 200 people who had gathered to wish Don goodbye.
At the time, I had gone to Alaska as the Executive Director of the Alaska Lung Association. Don and a couple of other good friends had come up to join me on a backpacking trek I was leading across the Alaska Range. We had a particularly difficult young woman along who was always last getting into camp and whined a lot. It was the unpleasant job of our trail sweep/rear guard to walk with her and bring her in. I took my turn and by the end of the day my patience was running thin. That’s when she threw her pack on the ground and declared, “I am not going another step. I am camping right here!” I responded, “Do you see that hill crest? “Yes,” she pouted. It was maybe a quarter of a mile away. “The Trekkers are setting up camp on the other side. We can be there in 15 minutes.” “I don’t care,” she answered. “Okay,” I said, “pull out your whistle.” (We required that all of our trekkers carry one.) “I have to hike over the hill and check on the group. I saw a grizzly bear about a mile back. If you see him heading your way, blow loudly on your whistle three times and I’ll come back.” She was up in a flash, had thrown her pack on, and was leading me over the hill at a hefty pace.
I took Don aside in camp and asked if he couldn’t use a bit of his magic on the young woman. “I’ve got you covered, Curt,” he said. “I’ve got candy.” He reached into his pack and pulled out a gallon ziplock filled to the brim. (There were reasons why Don always had the heaviest pack in the group.) And Don was right. On being introduced to Don’s ziplock and his charm, the girl’s attitude improved immensely and she started hiking faster to keep up with him and his candy. It was a much better solution than my making up grizzly bear stories.
It’s always hard to lose a family member or friend, and even more so when he or she has been close. It is like closing a chapter in your life— the laughter and good times, the tears, the adventures and so much more. But it is also an important reminder that life is short, whether you are 79 or 29. Life should be lived to the fullest whatever your age. Peggy and I believe this totally. That’s why we moved to Oregon and that’s why we are now moving on now, doing what we love to do, wandering to our hearts content. Until it is time to do something else.
We will be sharing our adventures on this blog. As always, you are invited to join us. We hope you do.
My next post on Friday will be different: It will serve as a detailed description of our house, property and the surrounding region for those who may be interested in having their own ‘home in the woods.’ –Curt and Peggy
I laughed when I read the information sign posted up on Pomo Bluff in Fort Bragg. Sailors, fisherman, and other boaters of yore making their way out of Noyo Harbor would go out on the overlook to check how the Pacific Ocean was behaving. It could be calm and welcoming or it could be ferocious and dangerous. Checking was an opportunity to chicken out, to remember there was a cold beer that required quaffing at the local pub. Thus the name. Modern technology and weather forecasting have reduced the need to do a visual check.
We wandered around on the Bluff, admiring the ocean, checking out ice plants, watching rowdy crows, and wondering who owned the mansion hidden behind a tall fence.
Our daughter Tasha, her husband, Clay, and their two sons, Ethan and Cody, joined us for Christmas. We met them in Medford at the airport in a rip-roaring snow storm at 9:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve. With visability occasionally dropping to a few feet and the road disappearing under the snow, it was a long drive to our home in the mountains 30 miles away. Everyone agreed I had earned the stiff shot of rum I poured for myself immediately on arrival. And the second.
The visit was all play after that. We hadn’t been home for more than 30 minutes when our neighbors Bryan, Margaret and William with 10 or so relatives showed up on our doorstep to sing Cristmas Carols. Peggy raided our cookie stash to reward them, which was a good thing since she had baked enough to last a month and Tasha was eager to bake more, a mother-daughter tradition.
Two days later, I took Bryan and his family on a snow walk over the trail I had built in the National Forest behind our house. When I got back, Peggy, Ethan and Tasha were missing. That’s when I looked up the road and saw the snowball.
Since our other grandson, Cody, had missed out on creating the snowball, Peggy took him out on our deck to build a snowman.
My fun was recording the action, getting in a snowball fight, and taking photos of the snow. We had over a foot by the time the storm was finished.
We woke up this morning to this view out our window. Our White Christmas had arrived. Peggy and I decided we had to share it with you. Hope this day finds you, your family and friends having a Happy Holiday. Curt and Peggy
With Christmas a mere three days away, it’s time for my annual Christmas post. (Shamelessly borrowed from the weird Christmas cards and letters I create for family and friends— plus past posts.)
Have you heard? There are some glitches in the Christmaspresent supply chain this year!
They started with us. Our kids are coming to join us for the holidays, which means we have been pressed for time. We decided to send Old Tom the Cat out to buy presents. What could possibly go wrong?
Meanwhile, more serious trouble is brewing at the North Pole. Blitzen was plying his red-nosed friend with eggnog and rum to make his red nose shine brighter when suddenly Rudolph had a coughing fit. Blitzen leapt six-feet away, donned his face mask and whipped out his vaccination card, waving it around like people use crosses to scare away vampires. (Does that work?) Millions of children were depending on his flying companions and him to deliver Santa and his bag of gifts to their roofs. This was no time for risks!
Santa was even more worried. He might lose his guide. The last time that happened on a foggy night, he had depended on GPS and ended up on Mars. He decided on a back-up plan…
Even that didn’t resolve Santa’s concerns. Rudette and Rudolph are quite close. They even share the same stall and who knows what else. When one gets sick; the other is likely to as well. Santa decided to be 100% safe. He would recruit a back up to the back up. He searched the Northlands far and wide for someone to guide his sleigh. And got lucky…
So rest assured kids, Santa and his eight reindeer plus someone with a shiny nose will deliver your presents this year. In Santa’s immortal words:
HO! HO! HO!
Oh yeah, and Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night… Plus a Happy and Healthy 2022!
It’s not hard for Peggy and me to imagine a life of wandering. After all, we full-timed it for four years in our two Pleasure Way vans, Xanadu and Quivera. The first time we took a year off from work and travelled in Xanadu. The second time, we celebrated Peggy’s retirement with three years of exploring North America in Quivera. We are veterans of the open road, you might say, with a quarter of million miles crisscrossing the continent behind us.
But wandering with a trailer is a totally different kettle of fish, a virgin experience as our friend Leslie Lake would say. She also likes to note that virgin experiences are few and far between at our age and should be treasured.
I tend to agree but had serious second thoughts when Peggy and I mistakenly turned into a tiny parking lot yesterday and had to turn the trailer around while dodging parked cars. It quickly ramped up from virgin experience to Halloween nightmare. “Turn the other way!” my faithful traveling companion yelled at me from safely outside the truck as I was backing up. “No, the other way!” she yelled. Hmmm. After two or three times of that, pardon my French, I was beginning to wonder how many frigging ways a trailer can turn. And yes, I am well aware that the truck goes one direction and the trailer the other when you are backing up.
Aside from a very steep learning curve, we are really enjoying our new, tiny home and pickup. I decided to share a few photos of the Imagine 17 MKE. We haven’t named her yet, but the truck’s name is Iorik (pronounced Yorik). If you aren’t familiar with Iorik, he was the large, armored polar bear in the book/movie, The Golden Compass.
If you live out in the boondocks, like Peggy and I do, communication can be something of a challenge. Our only solution has been to reach up into the sky and hope that the sky gods are listening. As a result, our house is starting to look like a military installation out in the Nevada desert.
This past summer I was becoming increasingly irritated at the service we received from Hughes. Slow to start with, it was getting worse. Several of our neighbors had switched to Viasat and argued it was much better. I did my research and was prepared to make the leap. That’s when Clay suggested that I check out Elon Musk’s Starlink. If it served our area, I might be able to sign up as a Beta tester. It promised internet services at speeds several times faster than either Hughes or Viasat at a similar cost. Plus it included unlimited data. I went online and discovered that our latitude was one of the first to be served. So I signed up, made a deposit, and waited.
A few weeks ago, a large box showed up on our doorstep. Unlike Hughes and Dish, who sent technicians out, I would be on my own with Starlink. I was a wee bit nervous. As you may recall, things mechanical and I don’t get along. It isn’t that I can’t do them. Owning a house in the woods for 11 years has certainly taught me that; its just that I prefer to do other things like writing, photography, cooking, traveling, reading, watching movies, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, pulling star thistle and scrubbing out toilets— you get the picture. People like Clay and my friend Tom, on the other hand, take great joy in fixing things. When Tom comes to visit, he brings a tool box with high hopes of finding something. Clay insists that I have a list for him. Even Peggy gets a gleam in her eyes when she is holding a power tool.
Before the box arrived, our first chore was to download an app to our iPhone and wander around the yard with the camera on and the phone pointed toward the sky to find the best, obstruction-free place to set the satellite. Did I mention we live in the boondocks, in a forest, with lots and lots of trees. South was fine. It’s where our other satellite dishes are pointed. The Starlink dish, however, likes north. Heres what our north looks like:
The app was not happy. It kept telling me to move to another location until I ran out of locations. I talked with my friends Bryan, who lives up the hill from where we live, and Jeff, who lives down the hill. Both had received Starlink dishes a couple of weeks before we got ours. Both told me that the app had told them the same thing. They had ended up placing their dishes in the least obstructed locations they could find. I decided to do the same thing:
And I found this. Call it a window of opportunity. A small window. To take advantage, I would have to place our dish up on the roof.
Now—to backtrack a little— I opened the box. The dish came with a stand, a hundred foot long ethernet cable, a modem and a router. It was designed to be placed on the ground. It even came all plugged together, almost idiot proof. All I would need to do was drill a hole in the side of our house, which was scary enough, but was something I could handle, or sic Peggy on.
It was drilling holes in the roof that I found disturbing. They can be injurious to your house. Water can seep through and and do all sorts of nasty damage. Some people might also question the wisdom of a 78 year-old wandering around on a roof. They are probably the same people who questioned my wisdom in celebrating my 75th birthday by backpacking 750 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, much of it by myself. No, I was not worried about being up on the roof. Try perching on a narrow trail by yourself with a thousand foot drop below you in a strong wind with a forest fire rapidly approaching.
I did what any modern fix-it person does and went looking for YouTube videos. There were plenty, of course. The secret was simply find the roof studs for screwing the mount into and seal the hell out of the holes. Okay, I could handle that. I bought extra outdoor sealant just in case. But I also opted for back up if needed. I called Joel, a roofer and really nice guy who had replaced a skylight for us. He quickly volunteered. He’s also waiting for a Starlink dish. And I checked in with Bryan, our uphill neighbor, who had already installed his Starlink dish on the side of his house and is quite handy. And then I waited again. Starlink had sent us everything we needed for the ground version, but it had another package for roof installation.
It arrived a few days ago and included a roof volcano mount, six large screws and (lo and behold) a tar-based super sticky sealant and directions how to use it. Elon Musk leaves little to chance. Okay, I said to myself— “Self, you can do this.” I gathered all of the tools I would need, loaded them into a garden apron Peggy loaned me, and up I went, like Santa sans reindeer. Peggy held the ladder and did whatever worrying that needed to be done. I am pleased to say that my mounting effort was a success. At least so far. Next, I affixed the cable along our eaves and came to my last scary task, drilling a large hole in the side of our house.
This drill exactly matched the size of the hole I had to create, but my first problem was that I needed to drill smaller holes before the large bit would enter the siding. Whatever. Except the sky was darkening, the wind picking up, and a possible downpour about to erupt. I drilled my smaller holes and quickly realized that my bits weren’t long enough to make it through the wall. Even the big bit. Measurements were called for as to where we would need to drill from the other side. Peggy demanded her turn with the drill and eventually, we had holes on both sides that would accommodate the cord. A wire that I had adapted for the purpose showed our two holes were exactly aligned. Exciting huh? Well, it was for us. Believe me.
Here’s the ironic part. Just as I was finishing up, a Fed-Ex truck drove down our road. It delivered another package from Starlink. It included everything I needed to drill the hole in our wall. At least I was able to use the patches it sent to cover the holes and the silicon sealant.
This and That is a good title for today’s post. When you have taken a break from blogging, like I have, things accumulate. I thought I would do a little catching up today.
You know it’s October when the local bucks start testing their mettle with each other over who gets to snuggle up with the local does. These two decided to put on a performance in our backyard. They didn’t do any damage to each other, at least when Peggy and I were watching, but it seemed like a great way to poke out an eye. This morning we watched a doe cross our deck followed by three bucks: a spike, a forked horn, and a three pointer. I wondered what the doe was thinking. Was it, “Wow, look at me and all the guys tagging along.” Or was it, “Damn, I wish those idiots would go somewhere else.” I suspect it was the latter. While mating season is a true passion for the bucks, it’s more like being worn down for the does. At least that’s my assumption after watching them frolic for ten years. Maybe if the bucks had to help take care of the babies…
Several months ago my friend Linda from the blog, Lagniappe, mailed me a fascinating country cloth piece that she had picked up in Liberia, West Africa where we had both lived— me in the mid-60s and Linda in the early 70s. I put it out to admire for a while and then decided it would make a great quilt. Fortunately, Peggy is quite talented when it comes to putting quilts together. The results are quite gorgeous. Many thanks for your generous gift, Linda. And thank you Peggy. It will live on our bed in the trailer.
On our last trip to the Oregon Coast we stayed in a KOA at the base of the Alsea Bridge in the town of Waldport. Peggy and I took a number of photos of the bridge plus we walked across it, admiring the sand at low tide on our journey south and seals on our journey north. I’ve been meaning to do a post on it ever since Peggy and I went kayaking in the area.
Early in September, Peggy and I went to my 60th High School Reunion in Placerville, Ca. Not surprisingly, there were a lot of old folks there.
On Friday, we said a sad goodbye to our small RV, Quivera. We had had numerous adventures in her including making our way across the US several times, going to Alaska twice, and Burning Man at least five times. We retraced my 10,000 mile Bike Trek around North America in her with Peggy driving the whole time so I could take photos and make notes. Last summer, we hightailed it across the nation at the height of the pandemic so Peggy could attend a 70th birthday party organized by our kids on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Three summers ago, Peggy used her as a backup vehicle for me as I did my 750 mile backpack trek down the PCT to celebrate my 75th. Quivera has found a great new home with Terry and her dog Benny in Ashland, Oregon, however. And has many more adventures ahead. As do we. Grin.
This is one my occasional blogs I am posting as I have taken a break from blogging over the summer. Next up, I will do a post on the impressive Alsea Bridge across Alsea Bay in Waldport. Let me just say here, Oregon takes its bridges seriously. After that I’ll touch on what Peggy and I have decided over the summer. It will include our being on the road much more exploring North America. Change is in the wind.