Traveling on Highway 97 in Oregon

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

Sunday, November 5, 2023

11-05-2023 Another October to Celebrate

 November morning at Sunset House

October has come and gone and I am reminded that it is among the very best of times that Grants Pass has to offer.  Mo and I walked outside Saturday morning, thrilled at the gentle fog rolling up the valley below us, with only the tips of the trees on our beautiful Cathedral hills showing above the swirling mists.  The air was still a bit warm, with a low night temperature in the high 50s, maybe a bit unusual for early November.  An atmospheric river is headed our way rolling in the magical circles of radar images that portend flooding and inches of rain, bringing with it the freshness of shifting weather, breezes, and the warm front preceding the coming rain. 

The rains came a bit earlier this year, and with them what around here in the drier parts of Oregon the locals refer to as "green-up".  We love this time when at last the drip system is decommissioned and the reverse osmosis unit that makes our water palatable for the plants I love to grow settles into its easy wet season rhythm.  It is so refreshing to stop worrying about water, about how much salt we are using to run the system, and how much wastewater is running down the ditch.  It takes 2 gallons of raw water to produce a gallon of fresh water.  At 2.5 gpm for our well, and a 1700-gallon cistern to fill with "good" water, that is a lot of wastewater.  We have adjusted to the need to do this, it was a choice we made when we picked this very nearly perfect little spot of land with the view toward the coast range in the distance and Cathedral Hills a bit closer.  

In the early morning darkness at 7 a.m., the changing leaves of our oaks were brilliant, echoing the brilliance of the warm lights inside the house.  The coffee smelled good, Mattie did her morning thing pottying at the most distant spot she could find on the property and then patrolling the boundaries, smelling the rodents, the deer, and whatever else may have wandered through the yard during the previous night.

October was a month spent at home, enjoying some of the best that the Rogue Valley has to offer, and sharing special times and places with friends.  

My best friend of 60 years Maryruth
Maryruth's husband Gerald
Mo and Sue enjoying time with our friends

A dinner at a delightful gourmet restaurant out of town on the Rogue River, cooked by an excellent chef.  Except this time his meal was a bit strange and much less than perfect.  It must have been a strange glitch, since meals before and since have been reported by friends to have been fabulous.  Morrison's Lodge is historic, and a truly fun place to go for a great meal most of the time.  We shared it with Maryruth and Gerald.  Maryruth and I have now shared 60 years of life and friendship together.  Our "anniversary" is in October.

On the very first day of the month, Daughter Deborah invited us to share wine flights and wonderful hors d'oeuvres at the beautiful Hummingbird Estate winery where she is a member.  All of us love to drink wine and listen to music on the deck with the beautiful view. 

A few days later Mo and I visited downtown Grants Pass on a sunny Sunday afternoon to enjoy Art on the Rogue, an annual celebration of the arts, with a few streets closed off for chalk painting, food trucks, and music throughout the downtown part of the city.  

A permanent mural honoring the local tribes was added to the sidewalk in addition to the ephemeral chalk art.

The theme this year was blockbuster movies, some of which I didn't recognize, but it made for some great chalk paintings.

In early October the city is dotted with the brilliance of sweet gum trees, turning long before the oaks and maples begin their color change.  The warm day and brilliant sunshine brought out big crowds for the event.  A favorite local artist, Cate Battles, and her husband worked diligently on some additional permanent crosswalk murals which weren't yet finished when we visited.  I am so looking forward to seeing their creations brighten the historic G Street in our town.

During the first half of the month, Mo and I embarked on a major project.  We moved all the big roses that were languishing under the huge canopies and thick roots of our beautiful old oaks.  I love the shade those trees give to us, but the roses not so much.  This red rose is incredibly happy in the new spot, where there is a bit more sunshine and fewer roots to compete with. 

October is the month when all the summer flowers decide they can once again awaken to the cooler temperatures.  It is almost like a second spring each year when everything brightens and smiles at the cool nights and rain.

Even though it freezes here in the winter, I have never had to lift this dahlia which grows more than 7 feet tall every year.  During the heat of summer, she is faded and pale but when fall comes her colors shine and glow until the first hard frost.  This year that frost came just a few days ago, on Halloween.

Some garden stories here at Sunset House are simply strange.  See those two big pointy things that look like palm trees?  They are the "annual" dracaena that are added to flower pots at spring sales.  They refuse to be annual, lasting through winter after winter in their pots, getting ridiculously big.  I finally planted them in the ground and they just keep growing.  

A high point for October was the Eclipse on October 14th.  With our area located in the central line of visibility for the eclipse, there were festivals and activities from Coos Bay on the coast all the way to the Klamath Basin.  A local promoter took advantage of the event to organize a large gathering in the Wood River Valley not far from Crater Lake.  Eclipse Fest was well promoted, with food trucks and RV sites, workshops, and a concert on Saturday night.  

The excitement of the event drew in people from all over, including some very well-known RV personalities.  Chris and Cherie, famous for their Technomedia web presence traveled in their van all the way from Florida to attend.  Some of us who remember the blog world before the influencers took over remember that Chris and Cherie are great friends of Paul and Nina, of Wheelin It.  Nina has been in Southern France for the last 8 years but decided that the constellation of the eclipse, her good friends, and the chance to visit her beloved lighthouses on the Oregon Coast was enough.  She planned a road trip through our part of the world and lucky us, Sunset House was along her route.  Mo and I invited Nina to stay with us and were graced with her presence for an overnight stop.

We ate good food and talked a LOT about all sorts of things, including how to remember the magic of living and the magic of the world when things seem a bit dull and gray and difficult.  I will carry some of the morning conversations I had with Nina for a long time.  After she arrived, before our salmon dinner that I prepared, we took a drive through the beautiful Applegate Valley, stopping in to taste some wine and enjoy the beauty of the Applegate.  As many times as Nina has traveled through Oregon, she hadn't visited this particular area, so it was a delight to share it with her.  I was sad to see her go since Nina is an absolutely charming and entertaining guest with so much to share.  

Nina is a true dog lover, and Mattie adores her

Nina probably had more followers than any blogger I know and when I heard her statistics I was amazed.  Yet even Nina's great writing and photography cannot compete with the "influencers" the "YouTubers" and the "Instagram" people who have changed the online presence of RV writers and bloggers.  It was an eye-opening conversation.  Basically, blogging is pretty much dead.  Made me laugh, and I realized again that I will not quit, I love my blog books and my journals that are the result of this blog.  If blogging dies, so be it.  I don't really care, and as I sit here this morning writing on my blog about the death of blogging it makes me laugh even more.

After the excitement of Nina's visit and Eclipse Fest, Mo and I settled into our fall routine of yard maintenance in between rains.  Moving the roses did a number on my back and I managed to get a doctor's visit in time to make life a bit more bearable.  Back soreness isn't fun, but back spasms are crazy and I couldn't do much of anything except lie around in my chair.  Sleeping was impossible.  My doctor was amazing, and I am so lucky to have a good GP right here in town just five minutes away.  I even got an appointment within a week which is rare.  A stint of steroids, muscle relaxers, and a new thing for me called Celebrex did the trick and after a week of that regimen, I am again walking around and actually doing something.  

The end of the month was brightened by a beautiful and very different family celebration.  My grandson Axel married his devoted spouse Pycho on October 28.  The wedding was small, and the venue was perfect for a kid who basically grew up with my daughter Melody as a "theater kid".  Melody was very active in the Albany Civic Theater when she lived there in the 2000s and knew the right people to rent the theater for the wedding venue.

The kids did all the cooking, spending three days at Melody's house making Axel's amazing curry with separate meats for those who wanted them, tons of amazing appetizers, and a truly epic wedding cake that honored the couple's commitment to natural farming and good food.  They live in a small apartment that is filled to the brim with healthy growing things.  

The place was decorated with monstera leaves and elegant green cloths and napkins that matched the kid's hair perfectly.  Mo and I drove north early in the morning with Daughter Deborah to attend, and after four hours of fun and food turned around and drove the four hours back home again.  My back wouldn't let me spend the night in Melody's upstairs guest room.  It was a beautifully perfect day and I so treasured being part of it.  Axel and Py are so good for each other, and after three years together it is wonderful seeing my grandson bloom with the gift of someone who loves him exactly as he is, someone who is always in his corner. Everyone should be so lucky.

The ceremony on the ACT stage was a traditional hand-fasting ceremony with the silken rope intertwining their wrists for each of the directions with each vow they made.  Their vows were beautiful, with strong intentions spoken by each one for creating a good, solid marriage.  Of course, I cried.

The month ended with a cold Halloween, and any plans I might have had to drive over the Cascades to once again experience the evening on Pacific Terrace in my old Klamath Falls neighborhood fell by the wayside with the cold.  Instead, I drove just a mile to Maryruth's house where I could enjoy her busy neighborhood which is a popular haven for trick-or-treaters, and get my fix.

It was an evening filled with fun and laughter for all of us, with my friend Kristin and her family showing up at the door to make it nearly perfect.  

Maryruth made some incredible shrimp ceviche and artichoke baguette toasts to keep us fed, with a bit of hot buttered rum to top it off.  Good thing I only had a mile to get back home when it was over.  

Would it be a real blog of our life if I didn't post the puzzles that we did this month? In between all the other stuff, we still managed to keep a puzzle going on the table most of the time.  


  1. Beautiful blog post and like you I don't care if blogging dies! I am so envious that you ladies got to see Nina! Glad it's fall in your neck of the woods and that your water worries are over. And of course Mattie loves Nina! Keep on blogging Sue!

    1. It's always nice to share stuff with people who enjoy something other than 30 second videos and Instagram. So I will keep blogging. Remember when you were getting a bit burned out and I encouraged you to do the same? Keep blogging Janna!

  2. I am so bummed not making it to your place this summer. Much good visiting and vibes. Bummed to think that blogging is dead. Love the commitment ceremony. Fun Halloween, even I dressed up and partied. Seems October was a good month.

    1. I am sorry too, Gaelyn, but maybe next time. Just don't try for our world in July August or early September. May and October are perfect months. Yeah, when Nina started talking about I was sad too, but I knew she was right.

  3. You had a full month, notwithstanding back issues (*sigh*, doncha hate issues). Thanks for posting your October with us, especially all your "highs." Seeing the kids married had to be a high spot for you. Time is flying by, isn't it? Jimmy and I missed all-things-October by not being home, but we'll be home tomorrow, happily so. Might have to do some yard work (haha, just imagine!). We also had a wonderful month. Blogging is dead or dying? Probably, but, like you, I don't care. This is what we do. I present stories with each post. We tell how it goes with us. I will always read your blog, just as you read mine. If others care enough or want to know, they'll climb aboard the blog train and see for themselves how we roll. Love you, Sue!

    1. You had quite the full month as well to say the least!!  Yes, for sure, time does fly by.  Glad you are getting close to home if not there already.  I know how that yard stuff can build up after traeling and don't envy you.  I am glad we still blog, if for no one else but our good close friends as a way to keep up that is a bit easier than writing a letter long hand or even typing it.  Beside, who wants to writs half a dozen matching letters to the few remaining readers of the blog.  LOL Hugs to you both.

  4. I always look forward to your thoughtful comments. It is good to have friends who want to read about the everyday stuff. I have less ability to write longhand any more but at least I can still type, but as I said to Nickie, when it comes up life updates for the half dozen or so people who still read the blog, I would hate to type and send half a dozen matching updates. At least I do still send Christmas cards most of the time, but hand written letters? Not so much. So good to hear from you, and I will look forward to your October post. I have settled into the monthly updates mostly as a way of keeping up the record of our year for the year end blog book. I am imagining that my kids and grandkids might like to read them someday. They do look at them when they visit, and Mo and I love to get one out and review the year with a book in our lap rather than reading it on the internet. Besides, what if the internet goes away and google dies or kills blogger?!! Hugs to you, Sherry.

  5. From Liz Wicks: Sounds like a wonderful October! Thanks for sharing it. So glad you and Nina connected. I think I found her blog because of you many years ago. What really struck me is that she and one of my cousins (full blooded Dane as is Nina) bear an amazing resemblance.
    Your grandson is so fortunate to have you in his life. Looks like a most interesting, very personal wedding.
    Here in MN we are mowing, not raking leaves and preparing for snow. Sigh. I love the snow but not the ice.

    1. Nina is a true delight, Liz. I am glad you enjoyed my stories. Snow already? Our leaves have many more days before they all fall. I remember driving through Minnesota many years ago and being amazed at the acres and acres of mowed lawns surrounding the homes. Every yard had a person on a mower it seemed.

      Thanks for reading. You are among a precious few.

  6. What a great month, visits, food, drink, and a wedding!!! U encourage me to b more intentional in my writing/musing. Which format do u do yr blog books? I only did one, for the months in the RV... Which was 12 yrs ago now!!!! How time flies by.

    1. Hi Loree.  I an glad my early morning musings can encourage someone to enjoy theirs.  I do the Blog2 Print format, and have one for every year since 2010.  The ones prior to that weren't really that great but they at least are online so we can remember what we did.  I might have to rework them a bit and do another book for our first years of Rving.  They run from 120 to 180 bucks depending on the year.  My kids do love them as do Mo and I on a rainy day when we will pull one out for fun.  You never know how long the internet and google blogger is going to be around.  Things are changing at lightning speed in our world.  It wears me out!


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