10-31-2020 A Colorful Halloween

Remember to click on the photos for a larger version. 

Halloween has always been a favorite holiday of mine.  It was especially sweet when I lived in Klamath Falls very close to the historic neighborhood on Pacific Terrace.  Every year throngs of people from all over the city would flock to the wide parkway lined with decorated historic homes.  We would get trick or treaters at our house, but the most fun was going with kids and family on “the terrace” to people watch and see all the kids and eat popcorn from the house with the outdoor popcorn machine and watch movies projected on garage walls.  It was a great time for me and for my grandkids who later grew up in that house on The Terrace.

Halloween on Pacific Terrace in Klamath Falls

Here at Sunset House, we live on a somewhat narrow rural road, with very few children around us.  Most folks in our open neighborhood are older, and many are retired.  We also have no sidewalks, and in the three years that we have lived in Sunset House we have never had a single Trick-or-Treater come to our door.  Most years I do a lot of decorating, both indoors and out.  Somehow this year I just couldn’t get in the mood.  I put up some “fall” decorations, lights and pumpkins, but left the Halloween stuff I have collected over the years in the big orange bins that I store in the mezzanine in the RV shed.  Ah, well…what can I say.  This year has been so demanding in so many ways and so mentally exhausting. 

Still, yesterday I felt like Mo and I needed something to add a bit of cheer and variety to our days.  How about a picnic?!  On the previous day and on many others I pass our beautiful Riverside Park on the way to various errands.  I often think, “Why don’t we take Mattie walking in the park more often?”  Even from the car the brilliant colors of all the beautiful mature trees in the lovely park caught my eye.  Time for a picnic and a walk along the river.

We planned to go on Saturday afternoon at 3.  The time was rather specific because from my previous day passing the park I could see that the colors were most brilliant in the late afternoon light.  Before 3 was too flat and after 4 the light would be too low in the sky to illuminate the leaves. I packed an egg salad sandwich picnic (our traditional picnic favorite for the last 18years) and we packed up the dog and drove the 2 miles from our home to the park.

I also wanted Mo to see the brilliant color of all the street trees that line both main streets of downtown Grants Pass. Sixth  and Seventh Streets are one way thoroughfares that link the southern and northern parts of the city and the color right now is gorgeous.  I am more often the errand runner in town, and knew that Mo probably hadn’t had an opportunity to see the town street trees.

As we approached the park, I suggested that we drive the town streets before going to the park.  I had seen on the news that Grants Pass was due for a truck parade, said to begin at 3:30 pm, and I thought it might be smart to drive through town before the hoop-la began.  Oops. 

Turning north past the park on 7th street, we were suddenly right in the midst of the big truck parade.  You all know which ones I mean, but I am not going to talk about that part.  Neither of us would have chosen on purpose to get caught in the middle of this parade, but somehow there we were.

My liberal friends will be aghast and my conservative friends will cheer, but we actually got a big kick out of the whole thing.  It was loud and the trucks did spew a lot of diesel, but in general most drivers were polite, and were simply excited by their cause.  I saw no guns, although many of the trucks did have gun bumper stickers. I was thrilled to see that there was not a single confederate flag anywhere. I would have never chosen to participate in this parade, but simply wanted to see the downtown trees.  I will be glad when all this is over, to say the least.

I thought about how parade deprived we are in this stupid COVID year.  Grants Pass usually has at least half a dozen parades and many amazing events throughout the year that have all been cancelled.  I love parades and I found myself laughing out loud. 

Then the best part came as we approached the main business section where we discovered throngs of kids and families trick-or-treating along the sidewalks.  Business owners (the ones that are still open) were passing out safe treats in safe ways to the kids. 

It was so encouraging to see them having fun in their costumes as they walked along the streets. It was a great alternative to door to door trick-or-treating that has been discouraged in Grants Pass this year.

It was a gorgeous, blue sky day with temperatures around 70 degrees, much warmer than the icy Halloween nights my kids grew up with in Idaho and even on Pacific Terrace.  The street trees in town were amazing.  Many of them much taller than I ever noticed in their summer green cloaks.

When we got to the park, all was quiet, as most of the big flag draped trucks were continuing around the city loop.  We parked and then walked along the river to find a perfect picnic table with a view for our late lunch/early supper. 

Riverside Park is truly a treasure, and the mighty Rogue River was deceptively quiet on this lovely fall day.  We thought once again that someday we might launch at the park and try this quiet part of the river in our kayaks.

Whomever is responsible for this beautiful city park should be commended.  The plantings are wonderful, and among the big giants there are new plantings to take over when needed. 

There were several varieties of oaks, maples, and sweet gums in addition to some beautiful old redwoods, pines, and firs.  The expansive lawns allow for lots of play area and the playground for the kids now has a new spray park that was added this year. The ducks, geese, and pigeons were as happy as ever to hang around the picnic areas hoping for treats.

Mattie was thrilled with the entire day, especially the parade part.  She sat in the middle of the Tracker console watching everything intently.  She never barked, but she was very excited about the whole thing. 

Of course, kids and ducks in the park were exciting to her as well, and she loved every minute. It was a surprisingly lovely afternoon and left both of us in a happy place.

50 years gone, let’s celebrate at the coast

Currently in Rocky Point, Oregon mostly cloudy, breezy, and 57 degrees F, with a chance of thunderstorms with snow? predicted for tonight.

Sue and Maryruth at the waterfall along 199 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 Gerald 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).

C2 at Harris Beach State Park 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. 

time to relax at Harris Beach State Park 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.

Gerald at Harris Beach State Park 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.

It is Paul and Nina!! at Harris Beach State ParkiAfter 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.Harris Beach State Park

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.

Gerald and Maryruth at Port Orford 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. 

the boat hoist at Port Orford 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. 

coast trip with Maryruth-096

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.  

lunch at Tony's Crab Shack 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.

sipping chocolate at Coastal Mist 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 FactoryFace 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.

Art along the Rogue-002Home 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.Art along the Rogue-033

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.10-05-2013 Art on the Rogue

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.

Sally and Sam and the truck-001Sally and Sam and the truck-012 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.