Monday, July 28, 2008

7/28/08 Hello from Newport, on the Oregon coast. We have been here for a few days and have been having nice weather, albeit quite a bit cooler than we were experiencing while we were inland. Today was a wonderfully sunny day so we drove out to Yaquina Head. This is a point of land about a mile long that sticks out into the ocean, just a mile or so north of Newport. It used to have two distinctive hills on it but one of them was quarried to get the material to build the original Pacific Coast highway many years ago. In 1996 artificial tidepools were made out of the old quarry and now there is lots of marine life there.
The views of the seafront were impressive all along the drive along the head.
There is also an impressive interpretive center with displays on the history of the lighthouse and some information on the marine life here. The actual lighthouse and a small building attached to it are still there, but the keepers houses and other buildings that used to be there have been removed. Right outside the lighthouse there was a huge colony of seabirds on a huge rock in the ocean, with a bald eagle sitting in a tree on the cliff overlooking it.
About a dozen gulls were constantly harassing the eagle because he was so close to their territory. Finally, he flew off. We didn't want to wait in line to climb up to the top of the lighthouse, so we took the hike up to the top of the hill overlooking it instead. There were great views from the top and we felt so self-righteous about climbing up there!

Cape Foulweather was our next destination, about 6 miles up coast. It was named by Captain James Cook, the English explorer, when he first spent a horrific day there in 1778.
Luckily for us, today the weather was fabulous, and we even saw a humpback whale in the water below the viewpoint. More wildlife was on offer at our next stop, Otter Rock and Devil's Punchbowl. Here an over-friendly squirrel came running along the fence right at Elaine, thinking that we were there to feed it, like all the other dumb tourists. She quickly departed, and after my incident in Africa with the monkey, so did I, but I did take a picture first.

On our way here, we stayed at the Elks Lodge in Corvallis, so that we could get up the next morning and go blueberry picking again. There are no RV sites at this lodge but they graciously allowed us to park in their parking lot, which isn't all that big. We even had an electric outlet to use nearby. There are LOTS of berry farms in the Corvallis area, and had our choice of about 8 kinds of blueberries to pick at Anderson's Farm, at $1.25 a pound. Later that day we set up our RV at the Newport Elks Lodge, where they have 8 RV sites with water and electricity for $12/night. We saved some berries for eating and made jam with the rest. Yum.
Yesterday we poked around Newport, down by the waterfront, and also attended a delightful movie at the Center for the Performing Arts. It was a documentary called Young@Heart about a chorus of senior citizens who became famous for singing rock and roll songs. The youngest person in the group was about 76 and the oldest was 92. They were delightful! We think this should be shown at Park Sierra at Friday Night at the Movies....
Today we moved from the Elks Lodge to the Eagles Club, which is only about 1/2 mile from the Elks but which costs only $5/night. Of course, we are again parked in a parking lot and only have an electric hookup. The people at these lodges and clubs are always so friendly and welcoming, and here on the Oregon coast where all the RV parks cost a fortune, they provide a great service! In a few days we will probably move south to Waldport where there is a Moose Club with RV sites, and where there is usually good crabbing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

7/22/08 Hello Blog Readers. My apologies for being so lax with postings lately. We have been busy visiting friends and having adventures. Also, we did not have internet access for four days. Today we are camped at the Elks Lodge in Salem, OR. Tonight we will be having dinner at Elaine's niece's home near the downtown. Suzanne and Tom have 2 little ones who have probably grown a lot since we saw them last year. Yesterday we visited Mike & Marilyn Harrison in Vancouver, WA to check on Marilyn's recovery from her July 8th surgery. She is looking fabulous and was doing well enough that we went to Appleby's for lunch and did a little shopping. Some of the shopping was at Trader Joe's, of course. Elaine and I also hit the IKEA store on our own on the way home and were blown away by the sheer size and volume of it. We hadn't been in one since 1989 when we went to Europe and were setting up our camper van, so we shopped in the one in Amsterdam. The best thing we bought was a serving of Swedish meatballs and a cup of coffee in their snackbar.
Prior to coming here, we had a great visit with our friends Ken & Janice Ryder, who have a lot near Cascadia State Park. It is full of trees so we had no satellite TV, no internet, and a great feeling of being out in the woods.

The first 2 days we were there, they took us to U-pick places where we picked delicious blueberries, cherries, raspberries and marionberries.

Of course, we probably ate nearly as many as we picked! Then we had to process all the berries when we got back to the rig.

Most of the blueberries ended up in the freezer, we canned some of the cherries and also made cherry chutney. The raspberries and marionberries are now all delicious jams.

Ken and Janice fixed a delicious dinner one night using three of their dutch ovens.

We tried to reciprocate in kind several other nights, so there was a lot of good eating and no dieting! We did manage to do the waterfall hike in Cascadia State Park just down the road from their lot and it was beautiful.
Our last blog was sent from Ed and Jolene Northup's in Central Oregon, and after we wrote that, we still had many happy days with them. The annual Quilt show in Sisters was one event that Ed opted out of, but which we three women greatly enjoyed. Sisters is a cute, small, touristy town with great shops and restaurants - also 15,000 people the day we were there!!

There were beautiful quilts hanging everywhere all over the town and we enjoyed them even though we are not quilters (Jolene is).

On the way back from Sisters, we stopped at an alpaca farm to see the new baby alpacas and look at the goods in their boutique. Jolene uses alpaca hair in some of the things that she weaves. The alpacas are such gentle animals and we saw them up much closer than when we were seeing them in South America.

Another day, Ed and Jolene drove us on a very scenic loop showing us all the sights in their area. We drove to Lake Billy Chinook, up into the Cascades, had lunch by the Metolius River at Camp Sherman, did a short hike along the river to see the springs coming out of the banks, and enjoyed walking around the fish hatchery.

On our last day with Ed and Jolene, we helped them clear some of the dead sage bushes and dried weeds and wood from the land around their buildings. Luckily, it was the coolest of the days we were there because it was a LOT of physical work. Good thing they do this fairly often because it is for fire protection.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

7/10/08 Currently we are located at the property of Ed & Jolene Northup at Terrebonne, OR, just north of Bend. What a fantastic place they have built here on their 5+ acres! Ed has a huge and well-equipped shop where he can build just about anything, they have a big garage and living space where they park their Airstream trailer, and upstairs there is a huge and splendid craft and living room where Jolene has at least 3 looms, a sewing machine, and assorted other equipment. Just a short hike away is a dramatic drop into the canyon where the Crooked River winds far below. (see picture below) There are the snow-capped mountains of the Cascade Range towering in the distance, with high desert vegetation such as sage, grasses, junipers, etc in the nearby fields. Several quail visit daily with at least 20 babies, and today we saw 7 of the male deer who roam around here in a pack. Today we four went for a beautiful hike in the area where they live, along the Deschutes River. We turned around just past the Steehead Falls. It was very scenic and the temperature was perfect. Tomorrow is supposed to get into the 90's, however. They are helping us with a few repairs and projects in our rig, and we are having enjoyable social times in the evenings.
Prior to this we parked in Bend at the Moose Lodge. Little did we know that the main events over the 4th of July would be in La Pine, about 25 miles south where Ron & Barb Bonham, and George and Judy Hilke, RoVing Rod friends were staying. So we drove down there in our car 2 days straight to join them for such diverse activities as breakfast at a local diner, garage sales, lawnmower races, a car show of restored old vehicles, a rodeo, and a BBQ at the La Pine Moose Lodge. We all also did a day trip to Prineville, to drive along the beautiful Crooked River area where there were many recreation sites for camping right on the river, and on up to the Prineville Reservoir. There is a chance that we all will be camping there at a later date in the BLM area and doing some fishing.
This area has so many attractions and recreational opportunities that we didn't know about before arriving here! Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we can see more of them. Below are a few pictures from the past few days. In prior posts, don't miss seeing some of our Africa pictures.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

7/1/08 Hooray, I have finally finished downloading to this blog some of the pictures from our recent Africa trip. These start in Zululand, South Africa, and end in Capetown. Sure hope you enjoy "traveling" with us.