Crystal Creek Upper Klamath NWR

Crystal Creek Upper Klamath NWR
Crystal Creek Upper Klamath NWR

Thursday, August 1, 2019

08-01-2019 A Watery July Part 1

Current Location: Sunset House on a clear non-smoky day at 94 Degrees F

First of all, and most important, did you notice that Non-Smoky Day introduction?  It is August, and hot, and for once, the skies are crystal clear.  There is a fire about 30 miles north, just west of I-5, and the last few days have been smoky.  Thankfully, the fire isn’t growing as fast as it did initially, and is about 25 percent contained, and the smoke is blowing somewhere else at the moment.

Last year at this time we were buried in thick, dark smoke that never gave us a break for more than 2 months.  It was a horrendous summer, and when this fire started everyone in this area sighed deeply, thinking it had started again.  But the weather isn’t as brutal, and so far, things have been a lot better than last year, or the year before that and the one before that.  Who knows how long it will last, but for the moment, it is incredibly gorgeous.

I hope it stays that way, since my lifetime friend Maryruth and her husband Gerald will be here to take possession of their new home on August 19.  They are leaving the California foothills to escape the fires that have plagued them in Oroville with repeated evacuations and fear.  We do get fires here in the surrounding forest, but they were careful to buy in an area that has plenty of defensible space, in the city limits, rather than in the urban forest interface. 

I didn’t realize just how much of our month of July revolved around water until I started the final processing of my photos.  Unlike the Lumix camera, which I shoot in RAW format, I shot lots of Galaxy S9+ photos this month, mostly because of the aforementioned focus on water.  Lots of it.  The phone photos don’t take a lot of processing, and even though they look nice most of the time, there are certain subjects which really do need a camera to look good.  Especially closeups of birds on a bright day with lots of water reflections.  Still, I love not having to pack the camera for a simple lake kayak, and especially love not having to pack it on a river raft trip!

Even though the “water” I am talking about for the month of July has to do with lakes, rivers, and oceans, it was also a watery July because we don’t yet have automatic sprinklers at Sunset House and I spend at least an hour or two each day watering “stuff”.  With a low producing well, I have to be especially careful  and pay attention to how much I am using, how full the cistern is,  and how much water is being produced by the RO unit.

I love the quiet time outside with the hose, and hand watering like this gives me a chance to visit each plant, each area in person and make sure I have an intimate connection with what is happening as the hot, dry summer days progress. The morning light coming through the trees illuminating the flowers is especially lovely from the bedroom windows.

We started the month with a lovely little simple July Fourth celebration with Mo and I and daughter Deborah and Grandson Matthew.  Instead of driving somewhere to find a lake, we decided to take a ten minute trip to the edge of town and the Whitehorse County Park on the banks of the Rogue River. 

In the past, we have shared this holiday in many different ways, including days at home with Bocci ball on the lawn.  In dry summer Grants Pass, extensive lawns are non existent, at least at home, and we thought it might be fun to pack up food and drink and head for a park for a real picnic.  It was great fun, and so easy, except we forgot to bring the Bocci Ball game. 

So much grass to enjoy, all green and all watered and level.  I sent photos to Melody and we all got excited about planning our bigger family celebration for next year at Whitehorse Park, even deciding that we could probably all camp there easily.  The park wasn’t crowded at all, and a perfect place to simply hang out with family. 

The short walk from the park down to the river was overgrown with blackberries but once there we enjoyed watching the Hellgate jetboats going by, and getting our feet wet while we looked for rocks and let Mattie play.

Until I remembered that on July 2, next year, Mo and I will be embarking on a cruise around Scotland on Oceania’s Nautica.  Oops.  Guess we will have to celebrate the holiday early.  Not a problem for any of us since fireworks are no longer a requirement for a fun day. 

This photo is from a year ago at Applegate Lake when the water was quite a bit higher.

A few days later, with more gorgeous clear summer skies to inspire us, Mo and I decided to take the boats out for a day of kayaking.  Initially we thought we might try a section of the Rogue River nearby that seemed innocuous enough, but a bit more research led us to think hard side lake kayaks on the Rogue might not be very smart. 

Instead we headed south toward the Applegate Reservoir, about an hour and 15 minutes from home.  Unlike last year when we kayaked that lake a bit earlier in the year, the water level was down enough that launching wasn’t very enticing. 

We drove to the southern end of the lake, looking for the park we had seen from the water last year and found a nice picnic table and for a $5 fee parked in the shade.  There were some people around enjoying the sunshine and the water, but it was a long rocky walk to get into the river, clambering over boulders.  We have done worse, but somehow just couldn’t get excited about the whole thing.

We drove around the lake a bit, checking out some of the other launch sites, but with the water lower than last year, the steep brown banks weren’t the least bit enticing, and we decided the day wasn’t a total loss with the lovely picnic we had enjoyed.

We left the boats on the car and within a couple of days decided to make the trip over the mountains back to Rocky Point and our favorite launch site.  It only is about 90 minutes from here to the Rocky Point boat launch.  Not the 5 minutes it used to be for us when we lived there, but definitely worth doing for a beautiful day trip.

The water was still nice and high, and the launch at Rocky Point is so very easy.  We decided to paddle east toward Crystal Creek, thinking that with the high water it would be a great day to take the Wocus Cut back toward Recreation Creek and Rocky Point.

Navigating through the Wocus Cut, deeper than we have ever seen it.

We were right.  It was a lovely paddle, not too hot, not windy, and nice deep water.  The wocus plants were taller than I ever remember seeing them, and the bulrush “tules” were at least 10 feet tall.  A rich, luscious, verdant landscape.  We saw pelicans, an eagle or two, least terns, red winged blackbirds, Canada geese, unidentified ducks, gulls, and some little brown birds that I think were either catbirds or cowbirds.  Who knows, but they sure had a great call.

We paddled about 2 1/2 hours, and Mattie did quite well.  Often after 90 minutes or so she gets restless in the kayak and vocalizes a bit to let us know.  Something I forgot to mention: at the Rogue River she decided that water wasn’t so terrible after all and waded in up to her knees, something she has avoided at all costs in the past.  This time at Rocky Point, she also walked in up to her belly.  She is a great swimmer, but doesn’t like to do it much, so just getting her into the water is fun to see.

By the time we got off the water, it was lunch time and we headed back up the mountain to Fish Lake Resort for lunch on the patio with Mattie.  When we were there last month, we had the MoHo and did our own cooking, but those hamburgers looked really good.  The breezes coming of the lake were cool and lunch was delicious.  Funny thing, though, I asked for some kind of amber beer and they had nothing.  So she offered me a cider and what showed up on the table was something called hard seltzer, lime flavored.  Interesting drink, but I won’t be seeking it out anywhere.

It was just a few more days until our scheduled family trip once again to the northwestern part of Oregon, and we left the kayaks on the car so we would be ready.  In the mean time, however, daughter Deborah had planned a nice adventure for the four of us, Mo and I, Deb and Matthew, with a paddle raft trip on the Rogue River.

We were excited about this and looking forward to checking out the Rogue in a rubber boat that should be good enough to handle the rocks and the rapids.  Deb picked a rafting company that sounded good and had good reviews, and by 9:30 AM on Saturday morning of the 20th we were lined up with lots of other people for our day on the Rogue.

We had a 13 foot 8 inch rubber raft with four paddles, and they hauled us up to the launch point in an old bus.  Along the way, the driver (who was an old river guide) told us to “stay to the left at the first four islands and go to the right at the 5th one”.  He also mentioned that if you get caught in a tree, don’t grab the tree, or the boat will continue downriver and you will be hanging in the tree.  Ok then.  With that little bit of instruction, we launched our boat and piled in.

Now Mo and I have paddled kayaks and canoes, but I haven’t paddled a paddle boat for years, and Matt and Deborah have never paddled much at all.  A few days on a lake in our kayaks doesn’t really count much, as we discovered when we entered the strong, swift current of the Rogue River.

Within minutes we were at the first hard bend in the river, with strong current, rapids, and rocks to avoid, and yes, trees on the shoreline. Sure enough, we ended up right in the trees, with a cut off branch knocking Mo in her rib (yes it is probably broken) and another really big branch almost knocking me out of the boat by my head.  Deb was having visions of her decapitated mother left in the boat.  I managed to slide under the big branch scraping the underside of it with my thick life vest.  Thank goodness.  None of us were knocked out of the boat, but Matt lost his paddle, and Mo was hurting quite a bit.  Not a good way to start 18 miles of river!

I didn’t get too many photos while we were on the river, but I did get this shot of Deborah retrieving the lost paddle that flew by us quite a bit later in a shallow area.  She got it, but not without a bit of a mishap in the strong current and a busted baby finger trying to stay upright.

Taking advantage of a quiet spot as we approached Shady Cove to get a photo

We obviously didn’t know the river, and had a hard time counting islands.  Once we thought we had better go right because the rapids to the left looked too rough, but at the last minute decided to change our minds.  Not a good thing.  We got hung up on a really big rock and it took a LOT of crazy Matthew energy to get us unstuck.  Scary stuff.  The river was really too low in some places and we hung up on the bottom a couple more times before we finished.  Farther downriver things eased up a bit with deeper water and stronger current, and we finally had a few fun rolling rapids that were actually fun, the way rapids are supposed to be.

Another quiet fairly deep spot in the river for a bit of relaxation.

The funniest part of all, only in retrospect, was the constant battle between what each person thought should be done in the way of paddling.  Mo and I had our ideas, we were in the back of the boat, Matthew had his ideas, in the front of the boat, and Deb couldn’t figure out why things didn’t work right the way she expected when she paddled.  Every river paddle needs a boss, someone who knows the river to call the shots and tell people when to dig in and when to turn or stop. 

We stopped in Shady Cove for a break, and made the choice to get back on the river to finish the final 6 miles to the Dodge Bridge takeout, the place where Deborah had arranged for us to be picked up by the rafting company.  18 miles was a good run and it took us about 6 hours to do it.

Each of us had underestimated that river, expecting rolling class 1 and 2 rapids, but not expecting hang-ups,  and really big rocks and hard turns.  Sadly, others underestimated the river as well and just two days later a 54 year old doctor was rafting and fishing with his son, became entangled in an anchor rope for their raft, and died.  It happened near Shady Cove, where we rafted as well.  If we get on that river again, we will be more prepared.  However, we both decided that we will stick to lakes, slow big rivers,  small streams, and estuaries and probably leave the Mighty Rogue to others.

We were all darn hungry by the time we got off the river and really enjoyed dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, had some good laughs, and the river arguments about how to paddle slipped away as we remembered how much fun it had been to share the adventure. Later I made a google map of our route on the river with a few notations of where we ran into the tree and where we got hung up on the rocks.  Just for fun, check it out Rafting the Rogue

We ended our watery month of July with a lovely trip to Cannon Beach with family, but I’m getting rather long winded so I’ll save that for the next story. In the mean time, enjoy this watery photo that I took one evening from the hot tub as I watched the sunset.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

06-12-2019 Spontaneous Camping in the Cascades

Current Location:  Sunset House in Grants Pass with clear, sunny skies and 80 degrees F

One of the many reasons we chose to live in Grants Pass is how close it is to the Cascade lakes and mountains.  So many times as we travel back and forth over the High Lakes Pass on Highway 140 I think about the smell of the firs, the sound of a crackling campfire, and wish that we could take time to spend a few days camping instead of simply driving through. 

When we lived in Rocky Point, our home was in the middle of the forest, a quarter mile from Klamath Lake, and we enjoyed all that mountain air.  That air came with the mixed blessing of hordes of mosquitoes, fire danger all around us in late summer, tiny frogs by the dozens who loved to invade our hot tub, and deep winter snows.  Somehow, visiting the mountains is much more thrilling than actually living there, at least at this stage of life.

It was with great delight that we looked at each other, at the calendar, and said, “Let’s Go Camping”.  All we needed was a couple of days and a close location to escape in the MoHo.  Last year around this time we camped at Howard Prairie, a reservoir a bit more distant than the location we chose for this trip.  I checked the Bureau of Reclamation website for reservoir levels, and discovered that while both Howard Prairie and Hyatt Lake were full on May 31, by the middle of June the water levels were down to 51 percent.  Really?  We had a lot of water this year, lots of mountain snows.  Lake Shasta farther south is full to the brim for the first time in years, so neither of us could figure out the reason for emptying the reservoirs so early in the season. 

Hidden away in that data was a surprise.  Tiny Fish Lake, just west of the bigger and much more popular Lake of the Woods, was 97 percent full, and the Doe Point forest service campground seemed like a good place to check out this little lake. 

Mo and I have a memory of Fish Lake from 2003, when we climbed to the top of the nearby Mt McLoughlin, at nearly 10,000 feet, with an expansive view of both Lake of the Woods, and Fish Lake.  Lake of the Woods was bright blue, and Fish Lake was bright green. Mo and I had only known each other a few months, but this great and somewhat challenging hike set the tone for our friendship for the next 16 years.

It seems that the smaller lake is subject to non toxic but rather ugly algae blooms.  We hoped that this early in the season it would still be nice and clear. 

We arrived at the campground at the perfect time, just after 1PM on a Wednesday, when most people had checked out and check in time was officially after 2PM.  There were several sites open, and several sites that had signs saying they were available for one night only, and several reserved and occupied sites.  We drove around the loops a couple of times, checked out the nearby Fish Lake Campground, and decided on a nice quiet level spot toward the upper end of the Doe Point Campground.  Shade was important since there are no hookups at either of these campgrounds and we wanted to stay reasonably cool.

After settling in, I found the camp host, a very short and very talkative and quite nice guy who was very helpful.  He had lots to say about the reservation system, when and where we could park, and the park rules.  We were able to snag the spot for two nights, with no reservations coming up that would interfere with our plans or require us to move. 

Later, as we walked around the campground we discovered a few primo sites that are right on the lake, with a short dirt trail down to the water where we could keep the kayaks.  But that will be for next time, when I might opt for the reservation fee to be sure to get one of those sites. 

On that lovely, warm afternoon, it felt just perfect to be up in the firs, with plenty of space and no one else nearby.  That would change the next afternoon when a family moved in to the site below us, but on that first evening all was quiet.  Even after the people moved in later, with several campsites occupied for their extended family, the kids were all playing down at the lake and the elders gathered at a more distant site, which made us quite happy.

That first afternoon we wandered a bit, explored the campgrounds, did some hiking along the lake trail, and then we pulled out the Weber Q for some excellent chicken.  Why does everything always taste better in the mountains?!  Mo built a campfire with our well seasoned oak and madrone from a few years of tree trimming at Sunset House, and we settled in with a glass of wine and Mattie and our books to keep us entertained until bedtime.

The next morning was chilly, cool enough that Mo needed a jacket to take the dog out, and we waited until after 9 to take the kayaks down to the boat launch site.  That green water wasn’t terrible, and the launch site wasn’t difficult.  When we first got on the lake it was pretty windy, but once out past Doe Point the wind settled down and we had a great paddle to the far end of the lake where the dam is located. 

Fish Lake has a ten mph speed limit for boats, so it is great for kayaking.  Mattie is used to kayaking, and as usual after about 90 minutes she got a bit restless, but two hours was plenty of time to cruise the lake, check out the lakeside remote cabins, and enjoy the bird life.  We didn’t see the eagles and ospreys that we often see at other lakes, but there were lots of American white pelicans, egrets, ducks, and geese.  The fishermen were also bringing in limits of trout, so that little bit of an algae bloom must not have been too much of a problem.

Mt McLoughlin south facing side from Fish Lake

We enjoyed a nice lunch, and then decided it was time to explore a bit more.  As I said, we travel Highway 140 often, and Mo says repeatedly, “I wonder where that road goes?”.  We piled into the Tracker with the dog and headed back west on the highway to find those dirt roads we had always wanted to explore. 

Forest Road 2815 led us down to Little Butte Creek and a well used campsite along the water that looked very inviting except for the trash lying around.  I grabbed a bag and cleaned up the trash, and Mo and I decided that camping there would be a bit iffy, with its proximity to the highway and the possibility that it might be used fairly often by somewhat unsavory types. Not a smart place to boondock for a couple of older women.

We ambled up the road for a bit of distance before deciding that the trees and the mountains weren’t opening up for much of a view to make things interesting.  Driving back to the highway, we found another dirt road that begged exploring and found ourselves on the Heppsie Mountain Road.  I had never heard of Heppsie Mountain, and we decided to go up, and up and up some more to see what it might be like.  This road was a typical forest service haul road, with lots of branches going off in all directions.  We didn’t have the phone with us and even if we did I hadn’t downloaded Google Maps to use offline so had no map.  Right.  No map.  I really wished for a forest service map about then, but alas it was an unplanned foray into the mountains.

We turned around at what I was to later discover was actually Heppsie Mountain, an unremarkable summit that has no real view unless one travels farther west to the more open southern slopes that overlook the Cascade-Siskiyou Wilderness, an area that we explored a little bit last year when we were at Howard Prairie.

It might be interesting to keep in mind that these are areas that are all within a few miles of where we lived at Rocky Point and never ventured to explore.  Something about living in the mountains makes it a bit unnecessary to wander off like this, although we did it quite a bit on the east side of the summit, but not on the west side. 

Home again in the late afternoon for quickie naps, another great picnic supper, a campfire, a glass of wine, and another wonderful dark night with gorgeous, brilliant stars overhead.

The next morning we decided to leave the MoHo in her spot since we didn’t have to check out until 2 and make the short drive down the east side of the Cascade summit to Rocky Point and our old kayak haunt.  The only hard part was deciding which way to go, up Recreation Creek, over to Crystal Creek, launch at Malone Spring? It is all so familiar, and yet never the same. 

This time we decided to launch at Rocky Point, and since the water was higher on Klamath Lake and Pelican Bay than we have ever seen at this time of year, we headed south toward Harriman Creek and Harriman Spring.  Harriman Creek is usually crystal clear, but with the high water it wasn’t quite as perfect as we have seen it.  Also, there is a lot more development at Harriman Spring Resort, and instead of the crystal clear cold water with the rare Mare’s Eggs on the bottom, we saw only bright green algae.  That was a bit of a sad moment for me, since the springs along the west side of Klamath Lake at the base of the mountains are a treasure. 

The high water gave us the rare opportunity to paddle through the Pelican Bay Cut, right across what are sometimes open fields.  This time they were inundated with enough water that we were never more shallow than a foot or so and we wove our way through the wocus and carex toward the main channel that leads from Rocky Point out to Klamath Lake proper.

Mt McLoughlin east facing side from Pelican Bay

It was a gorgeous morning, a beautiful paddle, and it felt wonderful to be back in our old home turf or should I say home water.  After loading up the kayaks, we drove the short distance back to Harriman Springs Resort and opted for a beer sitting on the beautiful outdoor deck overlooking Harriman Spring where we had so recently paddled.

Mattie wasn’t old enough for a beer, but she did enjoy sitting on the patio and acting like a grownup.

It was a perfect 3 day, 2 night getaway, filled with the heady fragrance of firs and campfires, fresh air and blue skies. Fish Lake is so close to us, and it doesn’t seem nearly as crowded and busy as Lake of the Woods or Howard Prairie.  I will have to check the reservoir levels, but I am sure we will return again for a spur of the moment quickie campout that is just over an hour from home.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

06-30-2019 Small Town Times in Grants Pass Oregon

Current Location: Sunset House in Grants Pass on a clear summer day with temps in the 80’s

May is probably the most perfect month in Grants Pass, when the rhodies bloom

You probably noticed the giant gap in my writing between our return home from the cross country trip to Florida and our early May camping trip to Nehalem.  I know that I would notice in a year or two when I tried to find out what we were doing and there is nothing but empty space on the blog.  Ah well, I do have my calendars, both paper and Google, and the google calendar has a LOT of stuff in there. 

I always wanted a doublefile viburnum and here she is, growing great, even though bloomtime is short

I read that google calendar went down yesterday for a few hours.  Lucky for me I was busy elsewhere so avoided the complete panic that might have ensued.  Lately it is the only way I can begin to keep track of all the doctor, dentist, eye care, car repairs, hot tub installations with orientation, and other myriad appointments that seem to be filling up all our days.

We actually managed another camping trip in the midst of all this, just 2 nights at a local lake, but I will have to write about that one in a separate post.  This time I am going to try to recreate all the “stuff” that has kept us so busy for the last couple of months.

April was chilly and rainy, but it didn’t stop us from spending a lot of time and energy on cleaning up almost 3 months of winter and early spring debris in the yard.  I love our oaks, but they do drop a lot of “Stuff’.  We managed several dump loads and by Easter everything was clean and fresh and flowers were blooming. 

We also spent some time working with Jared, probably the most amazing tile setter around, who managed to install our antique tiles on the backsplash in the kitchen.  It was amazing to see the tiles go in, and Jared charged us quite a bit less than his original bid because we did all the arranging and planning ourselves and all he had to do was stick them to the wall.

I got to use some of my quilting experience and quilters might notice the repeating nine-patch design, including borders.  The most amazing part of the entire process is that those tiles fit exactly in the 18 inch space between the granite and the upper wall, no cutting required.  We also decided to follow the new trend of not grouting between the tiles. 

Love the look, and Jared was delighted that he didn’t have to try to wipe grout from all those carved intricate tiles. The backsplash really made a difference in the look of the kitchen.  One more thing checked off for completing our Sunset House.

No, it isn’t really curved like that, but I wanted a shot of the entire thing, and the distortion is from the panorama

Another addition to Sunset House that has been waiting for the right time is our hot tub.  We needed to have an additional deck built adjacent to the bedroom to accommodate the tub. We are lucky to have a good relationship with the subcontractors who worked on our house, and when we called Joel about building the deck, he found time in his very busy schedule to come and build it for us. 

We had the same luck with the painters, and Eric and Ian showed up in record time when the deck was completed to get it stained in time for the hot tub delivery.  The entire process went smoothly, and within a week from starting the deck, we had a hot tub bubbling just steps outside the bedroom door.  Ahhhhh…..we had a hot tub in Rocky Point, but when that house sold in late 2016 our hot tub evenings were no more. 

Nothing like a good soak before bed to ease old joints. The pink light is reflected from the sunset view that we have from the hot tub.  Stars are more rare this time of year since we don’t often stay up late enough to see them.

In the midst of house and yard projects, we enjoyed some good family times.  For some reason, Easter is the family holiday where almost everyone manages to make their way to Sunset House for our family time.  We invited the neighbors as well, and instead of our usual brunch we cooked a traditional ham dinner with a ham from our local butcher shop. 

Melody’s guy Robert made his famous deviled eggs again, and as the years go by, it has become a family tradition to enjoy Robert’s eggs with our family dinners, but definitely they are perfect for Easter.  The only hard part was keeping everyone from eating them before he could get the halves filled with his yummy, savory egg stuffing.  They are very popular here!

Jeanne from Vermont just happened to be here visiting on Mother’s Day weekend, and while our time together was short, it was precious.  Jeanne didn’t want to intrude, but I convinced her to stay around for Mother’s Day brunch. Deborah and Matthew shared the day with me this year, and instead of our usual outing for a Mother’s Day brunch in town, Deborah offered to make brunch for me right here at home.  She came over early on Sunday morning with her incredibly yummy eggs benedict casserole and enough hollandaise sauce to keep us all happy.  She also roasted some fresh asparagus with bacon and seasonings that was the best I ever had.  Yum.

After brunch, we sent Deb and grandson Matthew off to do some projects around his place and Mo and I wandered downtown to enjoy the 25th Annual Native American Arts Festival & Mothers Day Pow Wow at Riverside Park. We learned that this is an annual event and the largest native event in Southern Oregon. The biggest surprise was that in addition to traditional dancing and drumming, there were Aztec Dancers from the Bay Area that were incredibly good.  I hadn’t heard of Aztec Dancers before this and discovered that much like Tribal Belly Dancing, performed by people of many cultures, they are people who are dedicated to preserving the traditions and rituals of the pre-Hispanic culture through the expression of dance and ceremony. They perform at various special events throughout the year and regularly at powwows.

Three of the basic forms of Aztec dance were performed; ceremonial rituals, concheros (a rhythmic and slow dance performed to the music of armadillo shell guitars), and warrior dancers, which are very colorful and energetic. It was a new experience for us and incredibly entertaining.

Memorial Day doesn’t have quite the effect that it used to when we were working and treasured the long holiday weekend.  Now in retirement, we tend to avoid camping on those big holidays and lay low.  This year, however, we decided that it would be fun to check out our local Memorial Day Parade.  It was a perfect day, not too hot, and beautifully clear.  The parade was everything a small town Memorial Day parade should be, with bands, and kids, and flags, and lots of different kinds of displays to honor the military.  We took our folding chairs and parked them right on the sidewalk to watch the parade.  Arriving only an hour early got us great seats.  It was a fun day.

Just a few days later, on my Saturday morning foray to the Farmer’s Market I happened on the annual car show that is held in conjunction with our local Balloon Festival.  We had decided to skip the balloon fest, with no need to fight the crowds to see a few balloons.  Instead, when I saw how great the cars were at the downtown show, I went back home to get Mo and we wandered the streets together oohing and ahhing at all the great old cars.  These vintage bikes in the back of an old Ranchero were my favorite!

A couple of times we made our way 15 minutes south into the Applegate Valley to enjoy Friday night wine and wood fired pizzas with live music on the patio.  We love Schmidt Vineyards, not so much for their wine, which is Ok but not our most favorite, but the gardens and parklike atmosphere is just wonderful.  The wood fired pizzas are really great, too. Driving down the Applegate Valley in late afternoon so beautiful and this is one of our favorite places to be on a Friday evening.

One evening in June, as we were settling in I got a text message from Gayle and Wes, our friends who live in Arizona, letting us know that they were going to be in town the following Tuesday and were we going to be around.  I was so glad they let us know ahead of time because we had planned our camping trip for Tuesday and it was easy to postpone it and have a nice time visiting friends. 

This time they didn’t stay long enough for a meal, but I managed to put out some of my favorite little cheesy tartlet things that were a hit.

We also had some surprise visits from friends Maryruth and Gerald from California.  They decided that it was time to leave Oroville and the scary fires that have plagued the Sierra Nevada foothills for so many years.  Their home is in the midst of dry oak woodland, and they have been evacuated 3 times in the last 2 years.  After both of them living their entire lives in California, they have decided to come to Oregon.

I totally forgot to take photos because we were so busy trying to look at houses, but here is a photo from their visit last year when we drove over to Brookings

It was nice that they could stay with us when a house appeared on the market that they wanted to see.  The process was agonizing, with most properties being sold literally overnight, and we all were losing hope that they would find what they need and want.  Finally it is a done deal, and my lifetime friend of 56 years will be living just a mile away from me by the end of August.  Maryruth and I look at each other and shake our heads.  We had no idea that this would ever happen.  I am really looking forward to having them in town and happy that we all get along so well.

Another small town activity that I had read about in years past and never managed to attend was our local Grants Pass Porch Fest. In one of the nicer historic neighborhoods of town, people open up their porches to local musicians, the streets are closed down for walking, and there are food and craft vendors as well.  The music was typically folk and bluegrass type music, but there were also jazz and blues bands, vocalists, guitarists, and other kinds of musicians.  It was fun, although sometimes it was a bit disconcerting to be hearing 2 or 3 bands playing at once from different directions.  Again, it was a gorgeous day, cool enough for walking and yet warm in the sunshine. We enjoyed it thoroughly, the best of small town life and entertainment.

The photo above captures the feeling of that day, with old friends meeting each other and laughing, kids running around playing, and everyone having a great time listening to the music.

Somehow in the midst of all this activity, we managed to attend to an ongoing list of appointments for all sorts of things.  I went to Eugene to see my daughter, my friend Joanne, and to see my urologist checking up on my surgery from 2015.  Mo managed to get successful cataract surgery for both eyes, and we counted a total of 12 different appointments to get that process completed, including the pre and post op visits.  Sheesh.

Neither of us is “sick”, but the mechanics of things seem to be wearing out and time for some repairs. Between the two of us, knees, wrists, ankles, hips, and the like have kept us busy visiting all the various specialists.  I still can’t figure out why a wrist orthopedist is different than an ankle orthopedist, and from a knee doctor.  Sheesh!  Sp many appointments!  I think we are almost done for the time being, except for carpel tunnel surgery scheduled for Mo next month. We should be good to go after that for a few more miles I hope.

The apartments were a bit more charming before the EPA took out all the vegetation

In the midst of all the appointments, Mo decided that it was time to sell the apartments in Klamath Falls.  The EPA project is completed, the papers are signed and the property has been certified safe and good to go.  We thought it might take a bit of time to get it on the market and sold, but to our surprise is sold for cash in just 2 days.  Surely were happy about that, although we did have to pack up the last of our leftover stuff that was in Apartment B and bring it all home to Sunset House. 

Last Day at the Apartments

Last view up Old Fort Road from Apartment B

Finally we are completely through with moving.  It was a process that began in 2015 with the sale of my house in Klamath Falls, in 2016 with the sale of Mo’s house in Rocky Point, in 2017 with the demolition of the Cottage and building of Sunset House, and then finally this year with the sale of the apartments.  We now have only one home to manage.  Finally. 

As I sit here writing, I can see why I might have let the blog slip.  The days sort of run together until I actually look at the calendar and the photos and realize that we have been on the go much more than I realized.  Time to slow down and enjoy the summer. It’s a dog’s life for sure.