CC’s 13th Birthday: Our Annual Contributor Appreciation Day — And How I’ve Been Spending My “Retirement”


It’s been a longstanding tradition to celebrate CC’s birthday by thanking our many contributors, without whom CC wouldn’t be what it is and most likely wouldn’t still be here. I almost gave up in the first year or so since I was doing it all solo, but then one by one new contributors stepped up from our growing base of readers. And what a huge and diverse group this came to be. I can’t begin to name them all here now, but you all know them by their many contributions. They span the globe and cover a seemingly endless range of topics that make up the large CC tent. Thank you all!

And that of course goes out to all you commenters that add so much to our posts. And even those that just read; speaking of, 2023 was a record year for CC in terms of readership, thanks to regulars, visitors from Google searches and a growing number that arrive via various referrers like Android Reader App.

Of course I also need to thank Rich Baron, who allowed me to “retire” this past summer from the daily heavy lifting. I have tried to take full advantage of that by hitting the road in the van; in fact I’m sitting looking out at the beach in Half Moon Bay CA. as I write this. If you’re interested in some travel pictures, here’s a little compilation of some of the highlights:

It started off this summer with two week-long stays at our place in Port Orford, which I had finished last January. It was very therapeutic to just be there after the death of our younger son in May, no work to do but just chilling out and coming to terms with our emotions.  Watching the waves roll in and out; the rhythm of life.

There were a number of excellent hikes in the Cascades this summer, topped off by my ascent of South Sister, the largest of the Three Sister volcanoes and the tallest peak in our area. It’s a 5,000′ ascent and not an easy one. I was a bit sore the next day.

In mid-September we headed for north-east Nevada, specifically to Lamoille Canyon, in the Ruby Mountain Wilderness. We stopped at our new favorite remote natural hot springs in Northern Nevada for an overnight stay and a long soak as the sun set. This hot “creek” bubbles out of the ground in the middle of a vast dry desert valley, runs for a mile or so and then dissipates back into the ground.

My old iPhone couldn’t do justice to the fall colors at Lamoille Canyon, so I’ll borrow this from the web. The aspens were just peaking.

On the second day we hiked up to Lamoille Lake, and since we were up for more, we decided to keep going, up to that notch in the mountains near the left.


It was a bit steep and rocky, especially for 12 year old LM. But at 10,500 feet elevation up there, and it afforded a superb view into the next canyon of the Ruby Mountains. There were four more lakes visible. We spent the next few days hiking the other two canyons at Lamoille. Absolutely splendid.

In November we headed for Tucson, to spend Thanksgiving with a dear old friend. We drove there Nevada and Utah, our second night spent in the desert east of the Great Barrier National Park. This is how we like to camp; we avoid campgrounds if at all possible.

We hit Bryce Canyon NP before exploring the Escalante/Grand Staircase National Monument.

We drove on back-country roads where possible in the Escalante area, tasking in the views like these “mushrooms”.

And what’s this?  Hmm.

Slot canyons galore.

We spent a wonderful week in Tucson, where it was 70 degrees and sunny. We hiked up Ventana Canyon but just couldn’t stop ourselves until we were well up into the mountains. A great view of Tucson was spread out below. I could see spending a couple of months there each winter.

Then in mid-January, Dimitry Struve (CC’s “dman”) wondered if I’d like to join him in the deserts of CA for a week or so. Given the ugly weather and nasty ice storm we were having in Oregon at the time, I was more than eager as long as I could actually make it out of town. The roads and highways had a two inch thick layer of rock-hard ice on them, thanks to Oregon’s CC-preserving no-salt policy. Good thing I had some chains for the Promaster; I had to drive 25 miles on them before I got out of the valley of ice.

We met up near Tecopa Hot Springs, CA, which is just east of Death Valley. Dimitry’s new young dog Riley managed to engage Little (old) Man in some puppy play, something he hasn’t done in some years.

We spent a couple of days there, hiking, soaking in the natural hot springs and just hanging out. Then we headed south to the Mojave Desert National Monument for more of the same, as well as a look at the historic restored train station at Kelso, where back in the steam engine days the trains stopped for water as well as for lunch and dinner. The interior is still very original.

There was even a bit of CC-related activity, as in this Lincoln parked in front of the former Roy’s Motel on a spur of old Route 66 in Amboy, CA.

We then cut across the Mojave and headed up CA route 395, to Lone Pine, on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. More specifically, the Alabama Hills, where there are amazing rock formations. The Promaster got a bit of an off-roading workout in getting to our campsite.

The Sierras, which rise some 10,000′ from the valley floor, make a spectacular backdrop. That’s Lone Pine Peak, and Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states is just off to the right. But the lack of snow in mid January was a bit startling, although there have been some good storms and snow in the weeks since then.

We then headed to Dimitry’s home in Santa Cruz, which is very close to Half Moon Bay, where Stephanie has been house-sitting some friends’ beach house with her mom, who celebrated her 97th birthday last week. We all went out for a walk, of course. And after a too short visit, I headed back to Eugene; Stephanie is here for a few more weeks. But that’s not the end yet.

I went to PO by myself last week to do some work, and then heard that some old friends were coming from LA and other locales to visit Stephanie and Dolores tomorrow (14th). And son Ted is here for a week, doing some work. So I decided to head down too, taking the scenic route. That included the very isolated Los Coast of California, which is totally bypassed by Hwy 1. It’s one of the more remarkable places and the driving on its endlessly twisting and diving road is fantastic, even if the Promaster isn’t exactly the ideal vehicle. I was wishing for my Peugeot 404, with which I first drove this stretch.

A typical Pacific fog rolled in, but the headlands are quite high, and the upper parts were above the fog so it looked quite a lot like being in a jet above a cloud layer.  It was epic, even if my camera doesn’t convey it properly.

I spent the night before last there at a BLM campground on the beach at the foot of the Mattole River. I was the only one there. I scavenged wood from the other campfire circles and made a rip-roaring fire and the dog and I just stared at the flames and embers until it was time to go to bed.

Yesterday’s drive from the Lost Coast and then down Hwy 1 to Half Moon Bay (in the Bay Area) involved more twirling of the steering wheel than I’ve probably ever done in one day. The hair pin curves up and down the rugged roads of the Lost Coast were tighter than even the hairiest Alpine passes, and numerous sections of the road had been washed out in the recent storms. In two spots I was actually wondering if I’d make it up the slippery bypasses and temporary fills.

Once back on Hwy 1, the endless curves don’t stop, but they’re not quite as tight and the road was in better condition. We stopped in the redwoods for a 5 mile hike before continuing on. It’s one of the slower 200 miles or so, but one of the all time most scenic ones.

And this is where I am now, back with Stephanie on the deck of our friends’ beach house in Half Moon Bay. And tomorrow we shall have a little party with old friends. Life is good; very good.


Thank you all again for making these past 13 years with CC so enjoyable. It’s especially gratifying to know that CC is in good hands all the way around without me. But you’re not totally rid of me yet; I’ve still got more to share here on these pages.