Currently in Rocky Point, Oregon mostly cloudy, breezy, and 57 degrees F, with a chance of thunderstorms with snow? predicted for tonight.
So very glad that this forecast wasn’t around last week when we were on the Oregon coast, enjoying gorgeous sunny skies and nary a bit of fog. When we planned this trip last spring, our comment to our California friends was all about how gorgeous, warm, and fog free the coast usually is in early fall. We had no clue that a huge storm would blow through just a few days before our arrival, or that the predictions for continued rain and wind would be all wrong.
Long time blog readers have heard me mention Maryruth often, my lifetime friend. This month we are celebrating 50 years of friendship. It isn’t often that friends can stay close, much less even in touch with each other after so many years. Especially since we didn’t grow up together, or go to school together. Maryruth and I met over the neighborhood fence in 1963, both of us young mothers with babies. Even though life circumstances took us thousands of miles apart many times, we never lost each other. The friendship cemented in those early days has stood the test of time.
Congratulations to US!
Maryruth and her husband Gerald don’t have an RV, and haven’t been tent camping in some time either, so a yurt at an Oregon State Park was the perfect solution. Especially the great yurt at space C2 in Harris Beach State Park. The site is huge and just a step back from the front ocean view sites, but also boasts a very long, paved RV pad with electricity, water, and cable TV. The yurt also has electric, with a nice heater that came in handy on the cool coastal evenings. Good thing we had reservations, since the fall is high season for yurt camping on the Oregon coast.
Our friends drove from California to spend the night with us in Rocky Point before we caravanned over to the coast on a cool, cloudy afternoon. Of course, we had to stop on the way in at the Chetco Seafood Company for the best fish and chips ever. (Just proves that you can’t always tell how good something might be by the reviews).
Since they were driving their car and we didn’t have ours, we thought it might be a good idea to stop for supper with the MoHo so that Abby could wait ‘patiently’ while we ate rather than leaving her in the park. The restaurant has a big parking lot adjacent to the harbor where she can bark away and won’t bother anyone. Not such a great idea in a campground.
By the time we settled into our comfy site the clouds were lifting and the skies promised good weather for the next few days instead of the gloomy forecast on weatherunderground. Of course, as anyone knows, forecasting the weather on the Oregon coast is not an easy thing to do.
On our second day at the park, we decided to just lay low and enjoy the beach walks, the trails, and sitting in the campsite reading and visiting. We had a campfire every single night thanks to Mo packing up firewood in big bins that just barely fit inside the MoHo, but it was enough. Tuesday evening we finally made it to O’Holleran’s Steak House, an old Brookings institution. We had heard good things about their food and thought as many times as we have been to Brookings, we should at least say we had tried it out.
Dinner was ‘nice’, with the $31. price of the New York Steak special quite high for the ambience of the place. One of the nicest amenities was a note on the menu that said if you want to share a meal, there would be an extra $3.50 charge, which would include an extra plate, an extra potato, and bread, and vegetable. There was still only one salad for this price, but Mo and I shared our dinner and had more than enough salad, and since we can never eat a full restaurant meal, the sharing option was really nice. Maryruth and Gerald shared their New York Steak with Blue Cheese special as well. What a great idea.
The food was decent, the steak was good, but the restaurant itself doesn’t have the atmosphere that I associate with that kind of price. Although I must say that the service was impeccable. Glad we did it, won’t have to do it again.
That morning, as we walked around the park, I passed a great big 40 footer parked up on the front row. Something looked very familiar to me, and I told Mo that I was sure I must know whoever was in that rig. I kept looking and then thought…hmmmm….it is an Endeavor, now who do I know with an Endeavor?! But wait….I thought Nina and Paul were off to the east side of the Sierras on 395 already? Nope…I checked their website and lo and behold they were in Brookings.
After a few years adjusting to this blogging thing, I have learned that it isn’t exactly cool to just bop up to someone’s rig and bang on the door, so I sent Nina a note inviting her over to our fire. Within minutes she showed up with sweet Polly and we chatted up a storm. Of course, Nina and I couldn’t stay off blogging and traveling subjects and Maryruth and Gerald thought the conversation wasn’t all that exciting! Ha! Guess it is like the old days when I would have soil scientist friends to dinner and the spouses would roll their eyes at all the work talk.
Nina wanted to know about all the exciting things to do in Brookings since we come here so often. I looked at Mo, and couldn’t think of a thing. Geez. We love it here, but most of the time that is because we can do nothing. I wasn’t much good at local recommendations. When Nina asked what to do I said, “Go to Bandon?” Harris Beach is fabulous for just hanging in the campsite, relaxing, walking the beach and the trails and enjoying down time until the sunset shows up.
I followed my own advice and on Wednesday Maryruth and Gerald and I took their car up to Bandon to explore all the wonders of that sweet little town that, unlike Brookings, actually DOES have a cute downtown old town area. Mo thought it was nice to stay home with Abby since she has been to Bandon many times.
It was a perfect day for coastal driving, with gorgeous sunny skies and warm temperatures. Mo suggested that we stop in Port Orford and check out the boat lift, thinking Gerald might get a kick out of it. As many times as we have driven that part of the coast, I had never stopped at the lovely Visitor Center or been down to the docks to see the famous lift, one of only six in the world and only two in the US.
As luck would have it, there was a fishing boat coming into the dock while we were there, and we got to see the famous lift in action. We watched in fascination as the fishing boat was lifted up by a hook and just four ropes and dropped down easily on a big old wooden trailer.
There is much more to do in tiny Port Orford than I realized and I added the Lifeboat Station Museum to the list of future todo’s, in addition to going to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse, but on this day Bandon was waiting.
Our first stop in Bandon was Tony’s Crab Shack where I had fresh grilled halibut with cilantro lime, Maryruth had fresh steamed clams, and Gerald had a rock cod sandwich. So fresh, so good! YUM.
Back another block from the waterfront we found the Coastal Mist chocolate shop. As we walked through the door the rich, warm aroma of really good chocolate welcomed us into this beautiful little store full of the most amazing chocolate ever. Trained in Belgium, the owners are chocolate makers par excellence! I had never tasted “sipping chocolate”, and believe you me, it is nothing whatsoever like your everyday cup of hot chocolate. It was beyond incredible, and so rich and so decadent. Of course I came away with a little bag of solid gold/er chocolate truffles and a big chunk of pure Belgian chocolate.
After browsing a gorgeous gallery that almost tempted Maryruth to spend a half year’s salary on a clock, we ambled off to the new Face Rock Creamery, built to replace the old Bandon Creamery that had such a great Bandon history. Sold to the Tillamook Cheese company, the owners lost their rights to the Bandon Cheese name. Bandon Cheese is now made under contract by Tillamook Cheese somewhere in Wisconsin. Check out this website. Sheesh. We still like Bandon Cheese that we can buy at Fred Meyer, but it isn’t really Bandon Cheese.
Face Rock Cheese is wonderful, and the owner is the original Bandon cheesemaker’s son. I asked if there was any cheese that tasted like the old Bandon cheddar and the cashier laughed and said, “No, not yet, We haven’t been open long enough! Just leave it in the fridge for a few months and you’ll have it”.
Hoping for an ice cream dessert so touted by so many visitors, we decided instead that the money was better spent on cheese goodies. The ice cream is great, but it isn’t made by Face Rock, and we can get Umpqua ice cream any time.
Home after a great day, we cooked up a good supper of spaghetti and salad, eating one more time at the big picnic table with another roaring campfire. I think it was a perfect way to celebrate our “anniversary”.
On Thursday we had a leisurely departure from the park, driving through the brilliant light and dark shadows along the Smith River, past Jedediah Smith State Park, and home to the cottage in Grants Pass. The celebration wasn’t yet over. Maryruth and Gerald decided to stay in town for a couple of days to check out the area, see the cottage, visit with Deb (who is almost like a niece to Maryruth) and share some more great meals with us before they went back to California.
Grants Pass has a great downtown area, with historic buildings, some nice art installations, and several annual festivals. Saturday and Sunday was the annual “Art Along the Rogue” festival, a celebration of street art. I guess that street artists are a genre of their own, and I only saw them some time ago when visiting downtown Pasadena. I loved having such a cosmopolitan event right there in our second adopted home town. Both main streets were shut down to traffic so the artists could create these amazing images with chalk on asphalt. Ephemeral, beautiful, like a sand castle, they are created, we enjoy them, and they then disappear. I actually do wonder just how long they last after the traffic opens again.
Maryruth and Gerald left for home, and Deb, Mo and I wandered the town, discovering the fabulous Saturday market where I bought more goodies than I really wanted to carry. We then met up with our neighbors, Wes and Gayle who were also at the market, and wanted to come and see the cottage before they leave for their winter home in Arizona this week. We then ran into a bunch of folks from Rocky Point who were visiting the festival as well. So much social stuff! Geez, for someone who isn’t very social, this was a LOT of interaction.
When we got back to Rocky Point on Sunday afternoon, I was so very very glad to be home where I didn’t have to talk any more. Except for one little surprise. My sister Sal, who was a medical transcriptionist, lost her job to changing technology, and instead of sitting around moaning, decided to go to truck driving school and become a truck driver. I hadn’t seen her since Easter, and she was in Klamath Falls for just a quick turn around before getting back out on the road.
My baby sister, at 63 years young, is now a big rig driver! Sheesh! the girl has guts, always has. She is trying to get her tractor fixed up a bit with some girly stuff, and asked me to make a quilt for her that had LOTS OF COLOR!. So I did. I was glad to have the top finished at least to show her when I drove into town for our quickie visit.
So now, finally, it is Tuesday, and I really don’t have to talk any more. Once I hit the PUBLISH button for this blog, I don’t even have to write any more. I don’t have to do a dang thing! At least not today. Tomorrow it might be time to pull out the Halloween decorations, trim back the summer foliage for winter, wander around taking photos of the fall colors, and maybe catch up on the Homeland DVD’s that showed up in the mail yesterday.