We Planned our Path:
After leaving Lassen Volcanic National Park, we had four weeks to
get to Idaho where we would join fellow SOWERs at Hope House. Hope
House is a ministry in Marsing, Idaho. They house abused, abandoned,
neglected and disabled children and young adults. At a SOWERs
project, the men do construction and repairs, and the wives do
office work, painting and other crafts. SOWERs is a wonderful
ministry in that we get free hookups for the month and we only give
72 hours of labor in return. We work six hours a day, four days a
week for three weeks. We get off at 3:30pm daily, we're off Friday
to Sunday and we have the entire fourth week off as well. Its a
great time of giving, fellowship and visiting the local area.
With lots of time to travel we planned our path. Our first stop was
Redding, California where Pete's sister, Donnalee, lives during the
summer and fall. From Redding we planned to "Complete the 101". We
have traveled Highway 101 from San Diego to Vancouver Island except
for short stretch from Arcata, California to Florence, Oregon.
After completing the 101, we would get some RV service in Eugene,
Oregon, visit pickleball friends in Bend and mosey on over to
In Redding Ellen and Mandy enjoy a walk on the pedestrian bridge
over the Sacramento River.
This view to the West of the bridge shows two men in the raft
floating by slowly while fishing.
1) Pete took the morning off to golf with Donnalee. Ben, this time
Pete wore shoes! 2) Ellen joined Donnalee for a Christian retreat in
Zip line tours were part of the leisure time at the retreat.
Our week in Redding was HOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT! Parked at the Elks
Lodge, we ran the A/C all day until late in the evening, then
started again early in the morning. We were looking forward to
cooling down on the coast.
1) It was obviously cooler on Hwy 299 from Redding to Arcata. 2)
Arcata has a nice city center. It looks nice here without seeing
all the somewhat scary locals that stay all day in the park.
Heading north on the 101 we took the alternate route, the Newton B
Drury Scenic Parkway through the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
The California Coast shows you some great views whether at the beach
or in the forest.
Crescent City has some great history, having been hit twice by
tsunamis. The 1964 Good Friday Earthquake off Anchorage Alaska
spawned the tsunami that caused major damage to the city. Then in
2011 the Sendai Japan earthquake sent more tsunamis to the city. We
would have stopped to see more of the city but our friend Don was
waiting for us in Brookings, Oregon.
1) This is Portside RV Park in Brookings; a very well maintained
park close to the harbor. 2) This coastal view is nearby.
Brookings became way too cold for sun seeking RVers. so instead of
taking pictures, we planned our route inland. Don had come to the
coast, like us, to enjoy cooler weather, but this climate went too
far! Don headed inland to Grants Pass. We did want to "Complete
the 101", but that would have to wait for another day. Also Ellen
was noticing that her left eye had a blind spot and we wanted to get
to an eye doctor to have it examined.
We visited the Calvary Chapel of the Redwoods in Smith River for the
Sunday morning service and then got on the 199 northeast to Grants
The 199 is a beautiful drive with a great variety of landscaping.
The road varies from two narrow lanes and tight turns to four lanes.
There's Don, hobnobbing with the bears in Grants Pass. The city is
full of bears and murals, and more great features; too many to show
Don tried to get us into Moon Mountain RV Park but it was full. We
ended up at Rogue River Overnighters. As soon as we unloaded the
ScooterShip, Mandy jumps on board: "You're not going without me!".
Truly we felt that the Lord lead us here. We turned away from the
coast due to cold weather. We were turned away from Moon Mountain RV
Park outside the city. We ended up at the Overnighters. This park is
just three blocks from Dr. Jeffery Rinkoff's Retina Care Center.
Dr. Rinkoff is one of the top eye surgeons in Southern Oregon with
offices in Medford, Grants Pass and Mt. Shasta, California. Ellen
was diagnosed with a Macular Hole in her left eye. The cause is just
a result of maturity. To keep from losing sight, surgery is
necessary. Here is Ellen in the afternoon prior to heading to
Ashland Community Hospital where Dr. Rinkoff performs all his
The procedure called a Vitrectomy required micro surgery entering
the eye in three different locations. The macula is center back of
the retina. The hole creates the blind spot. The procedure removes
scar tissues, closes the hole and then a "gas bubble" is put into
the eye. The bubble holds the damaged area together so that natural
healing can occur.
The recovery is a long one. The first week required Ellen to remain
"face down" for 45 minutes of each waking hour.
1) This was the MotherShip's position for the first week, parked at
PearTree RV Park in Phoenix, Oregon. 2) This was Ellen's position
on the bed. We rented a body support system to provide a little bit
of comfort. Using this system Ellen could lay face down with her
back arched and knees bent. Uncomfortable, but tolerable. The
mirror on the floor allowed her to see the TV to relieve the
Mandy is a wonderful dog, but has never been the cuddler that
Melissa's Sam is. However, sensing Ellen's stress, Mandy never left
her side during the week!
Wherever Ellen went, Mandy was there and trying to get as close to
her as she could (even sitting on her bible).
She even seemed to try to match Ellen's positioning.
This never happened before, she is truly woman's best friend.
Even while Ellen put on a smiley face, Mandy knew she was still
After the first week, Ellen was allowed to be "vertical" during the
day. She still had to sleep on her side, never her back. If she
slept on her back the gas bubble would press against the front of
her eye and could cause blindness.
Our next Dr. visit would be in two weeks. As we needed RV service in
Eugene we headed north. We could not do this during the first week
as changing elevations would damage the eye. Even during this time
as we ascended, we would be required to stop if the pressure built
up in the eye. You would have to wait for the eye to acclimate to
the new elevation. Fortunately, this did not happen as we ascended
the mountains on the way to Roseburg.
1) Riverpark RV in Grants Pass. 2) On The River RV Park, Myrtle
RV appointments are harder to get than Dr. visits so we had to wait
another week. With a week to go before our RV stop in Eugene, we
stayed at Timber Valley Escapee Park in Sutherlin. We saw Pastor
Dale and Vicky at Roseburg Christian Fellowship on Sunday morning.
Dale was the pastor of our church in Atascadero until the early
90's. We have not seen them for 21 years. What a delight! We got
to visit with them three times.
A lesson we have learned many times living in the MotherShip. Our
planned route has been changed. "A man's heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps."
While we planned our path, we truly feel that the Lord took our
steps directly to Dr. Rinkoff and we thank Him for that.
Be blessed and we'll see you next week. For our praying friends: We
appreciate prayer for Ellen and for Pete to get new web design jobs
as the surgery will cost over 10,000 dollars out of pocket.
Love, Pete, Ellen and The New Cuddler, Mandy