Traveling on Highway 97 in Oregon

Traveling on Highway 97 in Oregon
Traveling on Highway 97 in Oregon

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 19 to 23 A Short Week at Newport and South Beach State Park Oregon

Current Location: Old Fort Road apartment Klamath Falls Oregon

Tuesday April 19

It's a wonderful day to be driving north on I-5. Traffic is light, no rain for the moment, soft sunshine on leaves that are still in that springtime stage of lime green gorgeousness. Mo is doing most of the driving, giving me time to play around with the new phone. I switched to Verizon from AT&T and so far am incredibly impressed with my reception, at least in my part of Oregon. I was able to talk to my daughter all the way around Klamath Lake and over High Lakes Pass.  No more cut off goodbyes!

We left around 10:30 this morning from Grants Pass. The last few days have been really warm with temperatures almost to 90 in Grants Pass yesterday. It felt wonderful after the long cold winter and chilly spring we've had. It's supposed to get up to at least 68 degrees in Newport today and then it'll start cooling down again but the predictions for rain are only about 20%. We couldn't ask for much better on the Oregon coast especially in Newport, a bit farther north than our usual haunt in Brookings.

Looks like our route north was a LOT longer than our route south

We decided to try out a different route this time, thinking the drive straight north to Corvallis and west to Newport would be a bit repetitive. Instead, we decided to get off the Interstate new Drain, and take the Territorial Highway through Eugene and on north to intercept Highway 20 toward the west, entering Newport from the northern edge. We were winding and wandering all over the place from the Territorial Highway first to the Applegate Trail and then around on some other back roads until we hit 99 northwest of Vaneta. All the leaves are bursting with spring, and both the wild and domestic dogwoods are especially beautiful.

We thought it might be fun to take a different route to see something new, but realize that were on most of these roads when we did our covered bridges trip in 2012. Although it was a nice break from the interstate, we decided that we won’t take this route back home. It is a simple thing to buzz over from Newport to the freeway at Corvallis and head south on I-5 getting us home in a lot less time.

We stopped in Philomath, west of Corvallis, with a hot dog craving, but we were not successful. Philomath is a really cute little Oregon town but there are not many places to eat. I did find a small donut shop where I asked directions and discovered some good pastries, soups and salads, but that wasn’t right for our mood and we continued west. We didn’t spend much time walking around the town, since it was over 80 degrees when we stopped. With the air on in the MoHo we had no clue it was that warm out.

While driving along, we entertained ourselves trying to figure out what the difference was between a wine cellar and a winery. We did know that a vineyard is where they grow the grapes, and that most wineries don’t grow their own grapes. Then we saw a sign for a wine cellar and that question entered the mix. I had a good time saying “OK GOOGLE” what is the difference…etc. In no time we had the answers.

It took a bit more than five hours to get from Grants Pass to Newport, where just a mile or so east of town, the bright warm sunshine turned to chilly fog. Ahh, the beach.

The family wagons were all close to each other near the trail to the beach, with reservations handled well by brother Dan, who often spends time at South Beach.

Mo’s youngest brother Don and wife Wynn.  Double camera from the Galaxy Note 5

Mo’s next younger brother Dan and wife ChereMo’s oldest younger brother Roger and wife Nancy

Each family was responsible for a single dinner, with the option of spending a night eating out in Newport. It was unanimous when someone suggested this first night was a great time for fish and chips. Dan and Chere knew a great place in the small old town of Nye Beach, on the west side of Highway 101. In all the times Mo and I have visited Newport, we never discovered Nye Beach. Not only are there some sweet little shops there, the beach is wide and dog friendly and our supper at the Chowder Bowl was wonderful. Fish and chips and chowder were good but I had the special, chipotle shrimp tacos!  ohmygoodness!!!  Heaven in a tortilla for sure.

Wednesday April 20

“Well I'm tired tonight and as usual when I'm tired I have a hard time writing so I'm wondering if I'll have his herd of time talking as I do trying to write put him tired. But most said you're better make a list you better make no what did you say mom said you better make your notes tonight so you don't forget what you did today”

Did you understand that? Me either, but it is what was transcribed by my handy phone assistant as I attempted to verbally write the blog.

We had a great day today. It began early with a beach walk on a cloudy but windless morning. As much as we love Harris Beach and Brookings, the sandy beach at South Beach is long and unbroken by the wild Oregon sea stacks that make the views so spectacular. I love being able to walk long and steady on firm sand without having to turn around until I feel like it. Lots more photos are here.

Mattie had a great time running wildly in the sand. Just south of the trail to the beach, the southern boundary of the state park is marked and we no longer have to keep her on a leash. She bounded and ran, but still really isn’t too happy about the waves if they get too close. She can swim, but really isn’t interested in it.

After our walk, we spent some quality time relaxing and reading at our site until the rest of the crew returned from their town shopping excursion. A kayak afternoon was planned with Mo’s brother Don, and we had researched local kayak locations, deciding on the gentle inland waters of Beaver Creek, about five miles south of the state park.

The put-in was easy, with a nice boat launch and a gentle incline into the silky water. There is a bit of tide current, but it is light, and the current of the stream is light as well, so you can kayak both upstream and downstream without a lot of effort.

We saw some great blue herons, some river otters, and a mama duck with a brood of a dozen babies. We saw a single eagle. I didn’t pack a camera, and used the phone for the photos that I took. It is great for landscapes, but I had a terrible time trying to catch the birds as they flew in the screen.

I think if you click on any of the photos for a larger image, it will take you to my smugmug gallery and you can see the rest of the photos for the kayak trip.

I thought about Direction of our Dreams Sherry a lot on the trip, realizing that she would have kayaked that river in at least twice the time that we spent. Instead, we did and up and down thing, without a lot of time for dawdling. It was my night for dinner, and I was feeling a little stressed.

There was absolutely no reason to feel stressed because everybody is just easy to please they're not hard to please at all. I had marinated the chicken and made the salad before we left for the kayak, and everything turned out just fine. Best part about taking over one full meal is that I won’t have to cook again! Chere brought a watermelon and Wynn brought a raspberry cake that was yummy. Perfect preamble for lots of laughter as we sat around the fire.

Thursday April 21

While Mo and I were walking and the women were shopping yesterday, Dan and Don and Roger went crabbing. They were out several hours, but our planned crab salad dinner was postponed in favor of my chicken because they didn’t get any crabs big enough to keep.

Mo and I began our day once again on the beach, only this time the sun was shining and the skies were gorgeous. There was no wind to speak of, which seems unheard of on the coast, and I was grateful. We did notice that Mattie was a little bit less wild and crazy on the beach than she was the first day out. She only ran wildly half of the time instead of 100% of the time. We also found some fun things on the beach to look at. There was a truly amazing log that was covered with some kind of shells, each one hanging individually from a long string. They were waving in the wind and sounded like a shell windchime as they bumped against each other.

By 10:30 it was time to go out with Don and Dan to see if we would have better luck at crabbing than they had the day before.

We haven’t been crabbing before, and I was looking forward to seeing what it was like.

We were really lucky because the sun was shining when we left, and even though it was a bit chilly for me, we didn't have rain or bad weather. It was my first time out crabbing. It was interesting, but I don't think I'll ever have to do it again. The little crabs when they're caught or all crawly and wild and look kind of scary. The guys have to get them out of the rings without getting pinched. The worst part of the whole thing was the bait. Normally they use turkey legs which isn't too bad. The other options are fish heads which the seals eat. The disturbing option was mink. I had no idea that meant little actual frozen mink bodies. That was extremely creepy. However the crabs really seem to like the mink which eventually became unfrozen and we're even more disgusting than you could possibly imagine. The gulls were also incredibly interested in both the crabs we threw back and the bait as well.  Funny, I had never seen crabs actually swimming in the water.  Creepy.

It is the same reason I don’t really like fishing, the bait thing! Even fishing for trout with spinners and no bait requires actually killing the fish, which I couldn’t do very well. I'm not very good when it comes to fishing or crabbing or hunting. Totally hypocritical I know because I do eat meat and I love fish.

Still, I was very happy to have had the experience of going crabbing at least once in my life. We got lots of crabs, but they were all too small. Dinner once again was not crab salad, but some rather fantastic tacos made by Brother Don’s wife Wynn.

We had been so very lucky with no rain, but as we all gathered at Don’s place for dinner the rain started pouring down. Mo and I realized that we hadn’t put the covers on the kayaks, and for once we were really happy to have lots of brother help around to take the kayaks down, get the covers on, and hoist them back on top of the Tracker.

Friday April 22

Our last full day at the beach was again supposed to be a rainy one. The women had planned a trip north to the Outlet Mall at Lincoln City. I originally opted out, with mall shopping not big on my list of favorite things to do. But with the predicted rain, I thought better of my choice to stay home and by 9:30 we were on the road north.

It turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day, with brilliant sunshine and blue skies. I changed my mind about mall shopping when I discovered that there was a Harry and David store (one of my favorites originally from Medford) and a Chico’s. I introduced the women to Chico’s, which they loved, and I think before the day ended I had as many packages as anyone. So much for not liking mall shopping!

When we got back home, with plans for relaxing before dinner bike ride, I was greeted by a very unhappy Mo. Seems as though something had happened in the MoHo and there was water everywhere. All the towels and rugs were spread all over the picnic table and her brothers were attempting to find out why water was pouring out from underneath the rig.

Turns out it was something easy. They had worked on our kitchen faucet, turning off the main water, and then when the water was turned back on, a faucet was open and flooded the bathroom sink and overflowed under the rig. In the process, it filled up the black tank which was also completely full. We unhooked, drove down to the dump, and after dumping all the tanks, everything seemed to be just fine. No more mishaps, in the MoHo at least. We did have a very big carload of wet stuff to haul home to Grants Pass for a full day of laundry when we got there.

Dinner was great, with chicken on the grill and a fabulous salad from Chere and Dan. The campfire was once again ringing with fun and laughter. As you can see, Mattie is a cold blooded little thing, with her southern California puppy roots showing every time there is a chill in the air.  We had to be sure she didn’t catch her fur on fire!

The next morning, Don offered to make omelettes with the leftovers from the tacos, and for the first time on the trip, we had to retreat to the shelter of Don’s awning as the rain started to come down in earnest. Couldn’t have asked for better timing, and we didn’t complain at all about having to drive home in the rain. It isn’t often that April yields up 4 sunny days in a row on the Oregon Coast.

Now, as I have finally completed the translation process from verbally dictated posts to something written, I have decided that maybe that whole process isn’t worth the effort. Reading, I can see that I seem to write a LOT better than I talk! LOL Maybe something in the writing causes me to think more clearly. That might be why I have always kept a journal, a way to keep my thoughts in order. My off the cuff speaking thoughts are really crazy and very repetitive! So much for that. Next blog post will go back to my usual method of typing as I think rather than depending on the phone to figure it out.

Mid April: Taking a Break with a trip to the Coast

Current Location: Old Fort Road Apartment in Klamath Falls

Spring time in the Klamath Basin is completely unpredictable. I guess it is like that in many places, but still hard to imagine 80 degrees and snow in the same 24 hour time frame. The last couple of days have been frigid, with morning temps down to 24 degrees F. Cold. The weather people aren’t doing too well with the predictions this year, with dire forecasts for rain and snow that come and go and then repeatedly get bumped up 24 hours or so, often not showing up at all. Today we had snow and rain and thunderstorms predicted all day, and the skies are right now gorgeous, with big puffy whites blowing overhead and not a speck of either snow or rain.

Just over two weeks ago, the Rocky Point house officially went on the market. Zillow shows a good amount of traffic, and we have had a few showings with some possible interest.  It is somewhat exciting, and still a bit like standing in front of a slot machine, or buying a lottery ticket. We could get a buyer any minute or next week, or next year. Good thing we don’t really have to worry about selling as quickly as possible.

Of course, the sooner it sells, the sooner we can move forward on the Grants Pass house. In the mean time, we are trying to schedule our lives such that we can have a bit of fun and some relaxation now and then in the midst of mowing lawns. Yes, once again it seems our summer will be spent doing lots of mowing, with only three places to keep up instead of four, that is still two too many!Family at South Beach State Park (from the left)  Dan, Wynn, Don, Mo, Chere, Nancy, and Roger.

I am not sure if we would have taken time out of all the fixing, selling, mowing, and packing to go on a trip without a bit of a boost, but that boost came along with a family trip planned for the Oregon Coast. We were not about to miss out on that one, with Mo’s three brothers and their wives converging on South Beach State Park for a few days of camping and crabbing.

I love the long expanse of unbroken sand at South Beach State Park

We managed to sandwich our beach time in the middle of Rocky Point time and Grants Pass time. We returned here to the apartment on Monday afternoon and it is all a blur. The few days relaxing at the beach were almost lost in the shuffle.

Before we left I got a new phone, finally deciding that I would try out an Android, after having iPhones for many years. It has been interesting, fun, and a bit challenging. Still, I really like my new Samsung Galaxy Note 5, especially the stylus, and the “voice to text” part. Instead of Siri, I now have “OK Google”, not quite the same, but it seems to do the trick. This blog post comes to you by way of that nifty little voice thing, and I definitely have to thank Take to the Highway, Suzanne, for the tip. She read a goofy email from me that said sorry, I am typing on the iPhone, and proceeded to teach me about Siri. Why did I avoid Siri all these years?!?!

This time, while we were traveling, during the day I would open an email to myself and proceed to talk about what was happening, about my day. Some of the translations were seriously funny, but hopefully as I continue to work on this post and edit my emails accordingly, I’ll eliminate anything that makes no sense.

My favorite was “having dinner at Donna’s Dance Place”, which was supposed to have been “having dinner at Dan’s place”. Mo and I entertained ourselves for some time reading back the transcribed posts. Good for a great laugh at least. I decided that learning new technology is good for an old brain, will it keep me young?

We left the apartment on Saturday the 16th after checking out my daughter Melody’s brand new to her 2014 Subaru! Finally, she will be able to navigate snowy roads without worry. I am tickled for her. It was a week for new cars I think with grandchild Axel purchasing a nifty 2014 Ford Focus. One less worry for me. At 23 years old, it is a first big step and I am a proud grandma.

After a couple of days mowing and yard work and making the house pretty for showings, we drove to Grants Pass where we discovered that three weeks was much too long to be away from the lawn and the pasture.

Warm spring rains really make that grass grow fast. We spent the rest of the day mowing, and were ready for our builder to show up with his plans for the new house.

By the next morning, when we left for the beach, we were definitely ready for a break.

FYI, this is a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 photo.  I am very impressed with that little camera.

Once again, the weather gods were with us. The predictions were dire for the coast, with the entire week inundated by rain and weather watches. It never happened! We had a few cloudy skies, but the rain held off until the following Saturday morning as we packed up the rigs and returned home.

Next Post: Playing at the beach, kayaking, and crabbinf in Newport