Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Back in early 2011 when I first informed my friends and family that I was considering full timing in an RV once my Atlanta house sold, most expressed shock while others dismissed in disbelief.   All except for my brother Don.   Having been an RV owner himself for many years, his only “shock” was why it took me so long to finally come around to his way of thinking.  😉    Shortly after my declaration of intent, Don sent me a link to RV Trader for “a little Sprinter,” advertising a 2006 Itasca Navion.   For those who may not know, the Navion is the “sister” to the Winnebago View, made side by side on the same assembly line in Forest City, Iowa.  With the exception of the decals, they are identical.

When I found the “View Version” of the link he had sent for sale in rural Arkansas, Don went with me to do the inspection.   He would also make the drive with me again the following weekend to take delivery, and drive my Honda CRV back to Texas.   We stopped on the way back at Bob Sandlin State Park where he gave me an accelerated course in RV 101, from filling to dumping and everything in between.

Don still has “Old Bessie,” his original 1984 Itasca, but Bessie is getting a bit too “vintage” to make the long trek across Texas.   So it is with great delight that I bring you…..”Baby Bessie.”IMG_5982 IMG_5783

IMG_5736Ironic that it’s the exact same year and model of that link he emailed me back in April of 2011!

After a year of remodeling the “log house” in Texas, the “For Sale” sign went up in May with the “Sold!” sign soon to follow, whereby he signed over the painting, sanding, staining, landscaping duties to a new owner in July.  He flew out to Sebastapol, California to pick the Navion up a couple of weeks ago and made his way up to Oregon to join me at the Salmon Harbor Marina in Winchester Bay, and now he is having those all too familiar full timer mornings when you wake up and ask, “Where the heck am I?”  He got a really sweet deal, a little more than half what I paid for my 2008 back in 2012.   Of course, a few “issues” appeared on the shake down drive, but nothing he hasn’t been able to repair on the fly.

Repairing a squeaky heater motor required removal of the spare tire.

Repairing a squeaky heater motor required removal of the spare tire.

Beautiful Salmon Harbor Marina in Winchester Bay, OR.

Beautiful Salmon Harbor Marina in Winchester Bay, OR.

Boat with yellow flag is selling crab, while fresh albacore tuna is sold 3 boats down.

Boat with yellow flag is selling crab, while fresh albacore tuna is sold 3 boats down.

Winchester Bay has proven to be an idyllic meet-up spot.  Unlike the State Parks in the area, the marina is only about half full, and only $15 a night.   And the best part?   Hiking buddy Chris is here!   I haven’t seen him since February when we all went our separate ways in Anza Borrego.

Albacore tuna for sale on the dock.

Albacore tuna for sale on the dock.

Price is $2.50 per pound if you want it whole, $2.80 per pound "loined."

Price is $2.50 per pound if you want it whole, $2.80 per pound “loined.”

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Shirt reads “If you can read this, pull me back in the boat.”

We opt for "loined." Here is the carcass.

We opt for “loined.” Here is the carcass.

Don and Chris grilling the final product.

Don and Chris grilling the final product.

We forage the fishing docks in the marina sampling the smorgasbord of seafood from fresh albacore tuna loin from the “Kelly B.” to the Umpqua Triangle oysters grown in the aquaculture “triangle” between the Umpqua River and the Pacific.    But without a doubt, my favorite meal of all?   “Crab Night.”

Dungeness crab, all boys.

Dungeness crab, all boys.

Eight bucks apiece is a bargain. Cheapest I saw them along the coast was $9.99 a POUND. These are about two-pounders.

Eight bucks apiece is a bargain. Cheapest I saw them along the coast was $9.99 a POUND. These are about two-pounders.

Sleep Robber crabs are a delectable delight!

Sleep Robber crabs are a delectable delight! Buy here! Nice guys…

For what would turn out to be the best deal on Dungeness along the entire Oregon Coast, we walk across the marina to the “Sleep Robber” and buy four huge crabs for $8 apiece, not even sure we have the pots big enough to cook them.  Between the three of us, surely we have it covered.  The fishmonger on the Sleep Robber cleans them for us and splits them in half, making it easier to fit them in a pot.  He also gives us a bucket of fresh seawater from his pump beneath the surface as his recommended seasoning method.  “The sea water adds just the right amount of saltiness.  Don’t put anything else in there.  It’s perfect!”   “What about serving it?  Lemon?  Butter?”  “The only crab that needs lemon or butter is crab that’s not fresh. You won’t need it.”IMG_5772

Umpqua Triangle Oysters, grown in the "triangle" of the Umpqua River Jetty and the Pacific.

Umpqua Triangle Oysters, grown in the “triangle” of the Umpqua River Jetty and the Pacific.

Sampling the Triangle oysters. They are a little sweeter due to 20% fresh water from the Umpqua River, and grown by suspension, not on the bottom.

Sampling the Triangle oysters. They are a little sweeter due to 20% fresh water from the Umpqua River, and grown by suspension, not on the bottom.

It’s going to take two pots for the crabs, so Don takes half the crabs back to his rig, and I take the other half.   “Bring the seawater to a boil, drop them in for seventeen minutes, no more!” is the advice we are given. I set the iphone timer at seventeen and wait for the water to return to a boil before I hit “Go!”

By the time I start the water boiling, pea soup fog has rolled in engulfing the marina to the point that I can’t tell if the white out my windows is on the inside or outside.  I can barely make out the tops of the masts on the boats along the harbor.  The wind has picked up, and it’s downright blustery out there.   I wipe the steam from the window and see Chris coming across the parking lot wearing a coat and a knitted cap.  He is carrying a bowl of piping hot roasted potatoes.    Don is approaching from his rig wearing a hoodie sweatshirt, carrying his half of the boiling crabs fresh off the stove.  I have prepared a big tossed salad with fresh vegetables, corn on the cob, and garlic bread toasted on the grill to round out the menu.IMG_5746

Bring back up to a boil and cook for 17 minutes in sea water. Perfection!

Bring back up to a boil and cook for 17 minutes in sea water. Perfection!

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Chris, Don, and I enjoy a feast fit for a prisoner's Last Supper!

Chris, Don, and I enjoy a feast fit for a prisoner’s Last Supper!

Hoping not to bring along the smell of cracked crab as a souvenir of my summer along the coast, I take precautions in fashioning a paper tablecloth from Trader Joe’s paper bags.  We commence cracking, savoring each tasty morsel from what would surely be my “death row meal!” ordered as my Last Supper.  We remark how good it feels to be inside where it’s warm and cozy on such a cold, windy night during “the dog days of August!”

18 thoughts on “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

  1. OMG! What a special treat to have brother Don in the neighborhood. Glad he didn’t get a View – at least this way you can tell them apart. Time with your brother AND fresh Dungeness crab – what could be better?

  2. Wow, I am drooling! That looks like a fabulous meal! Glad to hear your brother sold his place. Someone must have wanted a disco dance floor, I am guessing.

  3. I don’t like the sound of pea soup and cold, blistery days. You are in the wrong state. We are exploring Minnesota’s Upper Peninsula with runs along Lake Superior and the weather is stunning. We’ve a couple of thunderstorms at night but the days have been dry. You should think of coming up here one summer – not too hot and fabulous state parks.

  4. Thank you for your travel updates. I enjoy reading them and living vicariously through you. We are looking forward to retirement and RV living in the coming years.

  5. When we were in Astoria, we were buying crab meat already cooked. It has spoiled us forever for crab purchased inland. That looks like such a good spot to park.

  6. Just Love It. Reminds me of buying Maine lobster from the boat and steaming them in the largest pot we could find in our rental by the beach. Ate them outside at the picnic table – what a blast!

  7. I woke up this morning and you were on my mind. Now I see the Don is there with you and you’re are having a feast. Fantastico! This summer I have been to Alaska and to Mesa Verde. Finally getting to some National parks and seeing some more wonders. I’m jealous that this is your full time job Suzanne. My busy work season is just beginning now. I’m starting the countdown until I can leave the dock! Love you! Nancy

  8. Great that you have Don in your fold now :)
    I, too, wake up saying, “Where the heck am I?”
    Soon will be headed back to my Texas cottage, my home for winter. If you and Don need a place to park when in East Texas, let me know.

  9. Seeing that crab really makes me jealous! Glad you & Don are enjoying them together. I absolutely LOVE crab. That’s one thing I didn’t have while in Alaska. Big mistake!

  10. Your description is as if I were there, right there with you! Love the story about your brother. Now to read on and catch up.

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