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.