Getting Closer

Getting Closer
Getting Closer

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 3 “Bird Lady of Blogland” Visits Rocky Point

Current Location: Rocky Point, Oregon  74 Degrees F and Mostly Sunny

back yard conversation (1 of 1)-14 Mo and I have been lucky enough to meet some delightful people as we travel around in the MoHo.  Most readers know about the infamous meet and greets of people who have known each other only through the internet, and the extended family of RV bloggers who read and comment on each other’s blogs over the years.

back yard conversation (1 of 1) For people like the two of us, somewhat solitary and not especially socially inclined, the people that we have met in this way have been an incredible treasure, and some have become life long friends.  Judy, Travels with Emma, is one of those.  We have enjoyed each other’s company in the past out on the road.  It was great to have her volunteering here in Oregon, close enough that she could manage a short visit.

smoke from the Stout Fire and California fires converge on Rocky PointSmoky skies at Rocky Point

Mo and I drive that road between Rocky Point and Brookings often, so much so that we are almost immune to the narrow curving highway and its steep drop-offs.  It is a four hour drive, a little less than 200 miles, and most of the time, the scenery is gorgeous.  Not so much this time for Judy, with smoke from both the California and Oregon fires converging in the Rogue Valley, and coming over the crest of the Cascades to settle into the Klamath Basin as well. 

Judy kayaks Recreation Creek (1 of 1)-2 In spite of the smoke, when Judy arrived mid-day, after a bit of visiting and a few snacks, we loaded up the kayaks and headed down the road to the public boat launch at Rocky Point.  Even though there were some towering thunderheads overhead, the skies were quiet, and no sign of thunder or lightning frightened us away from the glassy, still waters.

Mattie on Recreation Creek (1 of 1)-3 It was a perfect day for Judy’s second foray into a kayak, nice and still, no wind, no current.  I was impressed with her ability to slip into the kayak easily, (well almost easily), and do a pretty good job of keeping up with us.  We wandered around Recreation Creek a bit before deciding to paddle south into the Harriman Creek spring run so Judy could see the incredibly clear water.  Recreation Creek (2 of 2)

Even though some rather fat drops of rain fell on us, it wasn’t enough to dampen our spirits or get us wet.  Judy on Recreation Creek (1 of 1)-7

It was Mattie’s first trip out in the kayak, and she wore her new little vest with pride and did great.  She stood up most of the time, watching where the boat was headed, often turning around to Mo to be sure that everything was all right. 

Mattie on Recreation Creek (1 of 1)-4I so loved being back on the creek, on the bay, in the boat once again.  I have really missed our times kayaking this year and hope that in the next few months before winter we don’t wait so long between paddling days.

Back home in the late afternoon, I finished up the ribs, making sure I did some “naked” ones for Judy and some gooey sticky ones for us and with some roasted potatoes and a salad.  It was the first time that we had introduced Mattie and Emma and the two did just great. 

Mattie meets Emma (1 of 1) I was amazed at how gentle Emma was with little Mattie, getting down to her level and so gently putting her paw on her to subdue her.  Mattie would have none of that, however, and because Emma was so good with her, she was all smartie pants hot stuff, thinking how tough she was. It was great fun watching them tussle around.

back yard conversation (1 of 1)-7 Judy seemed to enjoy the cabin, although the extensive booklet of instructions that Mo left for the composting toilet were a bit much.  We told her, “Just turn the crank, Judy”.  I guess it worked fine, since I never did notice Judy sneaking outside to the old outhouse.

After breakfast the next day, Judy and Emma and I headed east through Klamath Falls toward the Tulelake and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuges.  It would have been a beautiful drive if not for the smoke, and I spent a lot of time telling Judy what she would be seeing if the skies weren’t so murky.

birds at Tulelake (14 of 50) I’ll let Judy tell you about our day, but the best part for me was Judy’s excitement when she saw the birds.  “Oh, I am back in my element”, she exclaimed when we pulled off Stateline Road at the first sighting of birds in the marsh.  It was great fun for me to view the refuge through Judy’s eyes, and as usual, when I am with Judy, I learned so much.birds at Tulelake (13 of 50)

birds at Tulelake (47 of 50)Loved seeing the mama grebe feeding her babies

After a long day exploring, we arrived home late afternoon and settled in a bit before I built a taco supper for the three (five) of us to share at the picnic table.  We have lots of places to sit around the property, but often find that we end up in the same place most of the time.  It was fun having Judy here, because we sat around in some different chairs, and ate at the picnic table instead of on the porch table.  Silly how you can get in a rut sometimes.

After breakfast Judy headed back to the coast, and Mo and I slipped back into work/chore mode.  Tomorrow we will be going again to Grants Pass and the Cottage.  We try to get there at least every ten days or so to be sure things are OK, and keep the little patch of lawn watered.  cottage acre  (7 of 12)The “Cottage” in Grants Pass

Our other projects are coming along, bit by bit.  My house on Painter Street is waiting for the appraisal and the closing and with the buyer renting from me until that time, Mo and I no longer have to maintain that property.

painting has started for the exterior (5 of 5)The Old Fort Road Apartments in Klamath Falls

Mo’s apartments in Klamath Falls are coming along as well, with the exterior painting and repair nearly finished, and the interior of the apartment Mo and I plan to use all freshly painted.  Daughter Melody with grandson Xavier, and granddaughter Axel are well settled in their two apartments, and Mo and I plan to spend time there this winter when we aren’t here in Rocky Point or out traveling.  It is smaller, easier to maintain, less snow to plow, and yes, cable internet…unlimited bandwidth.  You have no idea how much I am looking forward to that!

House at Rocky Point Lumix (4 of 7)The “Big House” at Rocky Point

Then again, with more than a decade of treasured time here at the Big House in Rocky Point, there will be a bit of nostalgia of course when it comes time to actually downsize and leave it behind.  That is for a future time, however, and for now we are enjoying having this place to share with family and good friends now and then.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

July 28 2015 Taking a Break at Waldo Lake

Current Location: Rocky Point, Oregon

Current Temperature: 97 degrees F

Waldo Lake Camping-053 I am NOT complaining about the heat.  It is warmer than I can remember here in Rocky Point, but at the moment the WunderMap shows temperatures ranging from 106 to 109 in the Grants Pass area.  That is NOT “feels like” weather, that is the real temperature.  The Rogue Valley of Oregon is even hotter than notoriously hot Redding, California!  Go figure.

In addition to being almost ten degrees cooler here in the trees at Rocky Point, the house is even cooler yet.  I just returned from taking Mattie for a walk, a very hot walk, and when I walked into the house it felt as if we had air conditioning.  So grateful for a well insulated, well built, cool and comfortable home.  No air conditioning needed.

waldo lake Insulation was the last thing on my mind on Tuesday morning when we packed up the MoHo and headed north to spend a bit of time in the mountains.  Yes, I know, we live in the mountains, but camping at a lake at more than 5,000 feet elevation surrounded by mountain hemlock is a lot different than hanging out at home.

the turn toward Waldo comes up quickly after the summitOur destination was the incredible Waldo Lake, Gem of the Cascades. Waldo isn’t far from where we live, and is just a short 13 miles north of the Highway 58 route that we often travel on the way to Eugene.  However, as beautiful as it is, the reputation for heavy mosquito infestations keep us from camping there more often.  According to the website, Waldo campgrounds are barely habitable until after mid-August and into September, and then the snow can fly as early as late September.

We found that out the hard way the last time we camped at Waldo, during the latter part of July back in 2010.  It was a wonderful, albeit short stay, and both of us still laugh about the heavy clouds of mosquitoes surrounding us as we attempted to enjoy the beautiful lake.  I wrote about that visit here.

The most wonderful aspect of Waldo Lake is its protection from gasoline engines.  Only electric motors are allowed on this lake.  The water is incredibly pure and crystal clear.  Because it is a snow fed lake, and is surrounded by rhyolite and pumice, there is nothing to contribute to the growth of algae or murky water.  It is wonderful to be near such a large beautiful lake without the sounds of jet skies and motorboats.  Obviously, it is a very popular kayaking and sailing lake.  There are so many places where fast boats are allowed, I am grateful that there are a few places like this for those of us who like the quieter pursuits.

 

Waldo Lake view from the amphitheater at North Waldo CampgroundThe  beauty of the place is so enticing, we decided that since we needed to travel once again to Eugene, we should go a day early and make an attempt at warding off the mosquitoes long enough to at least enjoy the lake for a little bit.  I am not yet at my 90 day mark for healing from my surgery, the magic day when my lifting limit increases from a maximum of 5 pounds to 20 pounds.  Mo refused to even think about taking the kayaks until I got the Ok from my surgeon. 

I couldn’t imagine being at Waldo without my kayak, but it turned out to be one of the most memorable overnight camps we have ever spent. 

site 38 at the North Waldo Campground Arriving late morning to a quiet campground with many open sites, we were amazed to discover that there was not a single mosquito in sight, nary a one, nowhere.  We set up camp, parked in a nice open breezy site to ward off the supposedly ever present little beasts, and opened the doors to fresh mountain bug free air.

A few days before our visit, a cold front slipped through this part of Oregon, and I remember seeing temperatures in the high 30’s on the east side of the Cascades.  Maybe the little stinkers decided to go south.

Our afternoon was filled with fresh, cool air, and skies so blue they looked almost electric.  I pulled out the no nitrates/ no sulfates, whatever uncured bacon we found at Costco last week, sliced some fat tomatoes and we feasted on luscious sandwiches piled up with our fresh garden lettuce.

Waldo Lake Camping-018 We decided that it was time to hike the Shoreline Trail.  Not all of it, of course, but as much as we could manage in an afternoon.  I knew that the Taylor Burn had decimated much of the land north of the lake, and that we probably wouldn’t make it all the way west to where the trees were still intact.

Waldo Lake Camping-020 Still, it was a great hike, in perfect temperatures, with gorgeous views of the lake that would have been otherwise hidden by the deep hemlock forest if not for the burn. 

Waldo Lake Camping-044 There are many ponds tucked among the rolling slopes above the lake, and the trail is never really too steep or rocky to be enjoyable. 

The wildflowers were sparse on the eastern edge, but as we walked west, and the landscape showed a bit more moisture, we saw more and more flowers blooming among the old burned stumps from the fire in 1996 that burned more than 10,000 of forest on the northern edge of the lake. Waldo Lake Camping-028 Waldo Lake Camping-030 Fireweed and pussytoes were the most prolific flowers, but there were a few others tucked away, and many sedges along the ponds.

Waldo Lake Camping-027 Shrubs were dominated by willow and a few mountain ash with bright orange berries, and the regenerating trees were mostly mountain hemlock and red fir or subalpine fir.

Waldo Lake Camping-043 It was Mattie’s first real hike, and she managed to keep up with us fairly well.  Watching her trot along with those short little legs made me realize that she had to go at least six steps for every one of ours.  Here and there, among the snags, we found old ponds and standing water.  Good enough for Mattie, although something in the 4 inch deep water scared her back out of it after taking a drink.

Waldo Lake Camping-050 In less than 3 miles, we found a side trail leading down toward the shore and enjoyed a beautiful break in the crystal clear cool waters.  Mattie is still learning to go into the water, and it was exciting to work with her and get her to actually retrieve a stick in belly deep water. 

Waldo Lake Camping-061 Fun for us and cooling for her before we began the trek back home. The hike was 5.7 miles, and on the way home, Mattie saw a strip of snag shade across the trail and decided to instantly flop down and rest.  That is when I knew that maybe we shouldn’t try to take her on more than a six mile hike on a sunny day in the mountains.

Waldo Lake near the swimming areaAfter we got back to camp and rested a bit, it was time to go back beyond the boat launch to the swimming area.  I so love swimming in crystal clear water with a clean sandy bottom.  But oh!  that water was COLD.  I managed to jump in and swim a bit, and then after warming on the nearby rock, I jumped in again and swam part way across the narrow channel to one of the islands. 

I was probably in the water a total of ten minutes at the most.  Wish I had a photo to prove it, but we didn’t bring the camera along for our swim.

Waldo Lake Camping-098 Back again at camp, Mo built a fabulous campfire and I heated up some leftovers I had planned for dinner before pulling out the marshmallows.  I have no idea why I do that, I don’t even really like the marshmallows, I just like to roast them.

Finally, as evening progressed, the little no seeum’s found us and we decided to retreat into the motorhome. 

Waldo Lake Camping-107 The next morning, while it was still early, we walked the opposite direction on the Shoreline Trail toward Islet Campground where we had stayed in 2010.  It is only about a mile and a half between campgrounds along the trail.  Still, even early in the morning, there wasn’t a single mosquito to bother us and the no see um’s were nowhere to be found either.

Waldo Lake Camping-124 A lovely breeze accompanied us as we hiked out on the Islet Peninsula where we tried to hike five years ago and were run off by mosquitoes.  I have no idea why there were none on this most magical trip.  I have no idea if they will hatch again before the fall frosts. 

When we turned around to walk back through Islet Campground, we checked out our previous campsite, and then saw two little dogs that looked an awful lot like Mattie.  Walking by, the two women who belonged to the dogs came over and asked if Mattie could be off leash and play. 

Waldo Lake Camping-130 What a time the three of them had!  Their dogs were also Rat Terrier mixes rescued from a shelter.  The women told us about a place near Portland along I-84 that is a 1,000 acre dog park.  I guess we will have to find it someday.

By the time we got back to camp and ready to pack up, Mattie was in her perfect travel dog mode.  She loves the motorhome, and always settles right down when we leave, usually in my lap or Mo’s depending on who is driving.  As the day progresses, she will retreat to her bed on the floor, but she is never a problem while we are moving along.  How lucky we are to have chosen a dog who likes being in the car or truck or MoHo especially!

Waldo Lake Camping-133Waldo Lake Camping-134If you would like to see the rest of the photos of our time at Waldo Lake, a link to my SmugMug Gallery is here.

  On Wednesday, we left the campground by ten and were in the parking lot at the Eugene Valley River Mall before noon.  In plenty of time for my doctor visit.  The temps were already getting hot, and we turned on the generator and the air, with plans to settle in for the afternoon.

Waldo Lake Camping-054 UhOh.  The generator rumbled to life and then within a few minutes, it rumbled right back into silence.  No generator.  Mo tried a few things, but while she was messing with it, I was calling local RV parks!  In plenty of time for my appointment with exactly one minute to spare, we managed to relocate to the Eugene Kamping World RV Park in Coburg, full hookups, TV and air conditioning!  The price was fine at $33 bucks and some change.  Armitage was nearby, but neither of us wanted to try to get in or find it.  This was quick and easy and served our purpose just fine.

Later that evening, after my successful three month surgery checkup, we drove back to the east side of Eugene to have dinner with Phil and Joanne, friends of mine since 1977, that are now friends of ours. 

It was the first time we had been to their new home, and Joanne had a great meal waiting for us.  Their son Michael and his sweetie joined us for pre dinner snacks.  It was great fun seeing him, and finding out that he is to be a new daddy in January.

Dinner at Phil and Joannes (1 of 6) I tried to get photos, but the new camera didn’t do quite what I expected, so these photos are a bit strange, but I wanted to put them here anyway, in honor of the lovely grilled salmon with homegrown basil pesto, quinoa and mushroom pilaf, and wonderful salad.  Joanne made a blackberry cobbler for us as well, a gluten free/vegan recipe that she was trying out.  It was interesting.  Sorry Joanne, I probably won’t be going gluten free any time soon. 

Dinner at Phil and Joannes (6 of 6) We left Eugene the next morning, grateful to be heading back over the crest of the Cascades as the record breaking heat wave was to hit the Willamette Valley and Eugene. 

In the next few days we are expecting exciting company from Harris Beach/Brookings, so I am grateful that the heat wave is predicted to dissipate a bit.

In the mean time, the Blue Moon is set to rise over the lake at 8:32 PM and I plan to be there to enjoy it!

(Later:  seems as though the Blue Moon was not mine to see.  Dark and loud, but dry thunderstorms rumbled over our evening skies last night, and the power went down as well, but not a drop of rain)