The Last of Wyoming

August 6 and 7 Falls Campground on Highway 26 west of Dubois, breezy, in the low 70’s

view from loop B in Falls CampgroundIt’s breezy at the moment, and the vertical mountain cliffs north of the campground are a bit clearer than they were when we woke this morning.  Smoke from the fires in Montana and Idaho are finding their way toward us again and dimming the brilliance of the sunshine. I am sitting in the shade by the unlit campfire while Mo splits kindling for tonight.  Tee shirt and shorts are the order of the day.  The sun is warm but the breeze is just chilly enough that the shade feels wonderful. 

Day 16 (54)When planning this trip, I hoped to find something along the way between Thermopolis and the tourist busy part of the highway around Jackson Hole.  Streets and Trips led to this Shoshone FS campground and we took our chances without a reservation.  Then I read RV Sue’s account of her time both here, and at the Brooks Lake campgrounds five miles north, and I knew the choice would be a good one.

It has been a peaceful stop, even with the daytime sound of traffic moving west toward Yellowstone and the Tetons.  The rally at Sturgis is now in progress, so the roar of motorcycles has dimmed to just an occasional rumble.  After our hot evening in Thermopolis, (yes, I still have to write about Thermopolis, the Bighorn Mountains, the Medicine Wheel, Buffalo, and the Little Bighorn Battleground!) even the A loop seems uncrowded to us.  The plans were adjusted a bit yesterday so that we could stay here two nights and have a full day to enjoy the last of the Wyoming mountains.

Map Thermopolis to Falls CampgroundYesterday was a short trip, only 155 miles or so between Thermopolis and this park, with a Wal-Mart stop at Riverton in between.  Some parts of Wyoming are simply breathtaking, but other parts seem like long stretches of a landscape only a geologist could love.  When we reached Dubois, the mountains again lifted to the west.  This part of the west gives full meaning to what John McPhee described so well in “Basin and Range”.

west of Dubois, WyomingI thought of RV Sue in the laundromat, telling her great stories at the only place where you can get any kind of internet.  We haven’t had a decent signal in several days now.  We don’t even have a cell phone signal here and in the park in Thermopolis, the phones wouldn’t work at all and the MiFi struggled along with a single bar. 

settling into the electric loop A at Falls CampgroundWe decided that even though loop B was completely empty yesterday, we wanted electricity, and so entered loop A hoping for two sites together.  Two sites appeared, and just in time, since the two rigs following us were hoping as well.  I think this loop filled up last night, but when we went walking in loop B it was still empty.

brother and sisterNancy and Roger and Mo and I are still enjoying or tandem travels. This is new for us, since we usually travel alone, but it has been working out just perfectly.  Mo and I are somewhat the tour guides, with the responsibility of planning the routes, looking for gas, choosing the overnights, deciding how far we can go in a day.  Whenever I ask Nancy or Roger if they have a preference, their answer is invariably, “Whatever you two want is fine with us”.  Talk about easy!!

campfire at Falls CampgroundWe have been sharing our evening meals, with most of them a joint effort, and now and then we do the big camp breakfast complete with hash browns and toast.  Tonight is steak night, and I’ll bring the salad, Nancy does the Texas toast and we each cook our steaks.  Roger even has a pair of titanium sticks for cooking marshmallows.  They don’t get hot at all over the fire and I have some of those huge camp marshmallows left over from who knows when.  I don’t even like marshmallows, but still love to do the campfire thing.  

dogs playing in the Big Horn River at Falls CampgroundWe walked around the campground last night, took pictures of the waterfall, and spent a lot of time laughing at the dogs while they played in the Wind River that winds through the campground.  Jeremy really enjoyed this spot as well, since it was open and spacious enough that I could let him run around outside on his own.  He is really so good about it, but every once in awhile he decides that he is NOT ready to go in and will go under the rig and laugh at me.

Brooks Lake on a smoky dayToday we decided  to take a leisurely drive (five miles of very washboard road) up to Brooks Lake for some kayaking and hopefully to hear more stories about the mama grizzly and her two cubs that have been hanging out there.  Mama is gone it seems, at least the camp host Richard hasn’t seen them in a couple of weeks.  We also discovered to our dismay that in order to launch our kayaks in Wyoming, we are required to have a Wyoming boat sticker and an additional invasive species sticker for each boat.  A bit too expensive for one afternoon of kayaking. 

Brooks Lake on a smoky dayInstead we parked at the boat launch area and wandered off toward Jade Lakes and enjoyed the part of the trail that borders Brooks Lake. We thought better of hiking the four miles round trip to the top since we were in our kayak sandals with the dogs and  had no bear spray and no water. It was a pretty walk, and at the time we didn’t know that mama bear wasn’t around, so we were a little nervous now and then as we approached buffalo berry thickets. 

campfire at Falls Campground the perfect marshmallowIt feels great to slow down a bit, and this will be our last day in cool, timbered mountains.  Mo built great campfires, surprising that they are allowed in this kind of fire season, but the fire circles at this campground are especially nice, with strong iron grates, and a space beneath the fire box to store kindling.

Jake and Jeremy really like each otherIt  has been wonderful to have enough space to let Jeremy outside to explore the campsite and play with Jackson, his new found best buddy.  Jackson loves the kitty and will lick Jeremy’s ears and follow him everywhere he goes.  Abby isn’t as affectionate with Jeremy, and since Jeremy grew up with dogs, he misses that interaction.  He often snuggles up to Abby and she looks at us saying, “really?!” 

Tomorrow we will again have internet access, television, and probably traffic.  Twin Falls is next on the list.

Jeremy loves it when he can explore camp

The Delights of Traveling Close

Melody in the Wocus Cut Something wonderful happens when summer finally arrives.  The family is nearby, the porch is inviting, the kayaks are waiting, the flowers are blooming.  Ahhh.  It takes a long time for summer to actually show up in this part of Oregon, but when it does, it is worth the wait.  While most of the country swelters and much of the west in on fire, here the mornings are still cool, the nights chilly enough for a comforter, and the daytime temperatures are in the mid 70’s.  That is a Rocky Point summer.

how are you supposed to get your mouth around this? My daughter was blessed with a three day weekend and if you remember how life is when you are all working full time, it takes a couple of days to catch up on chores at home.  The three day weekend gave her a chance to play, and this time their version of play was a night at the Casa del Sol (our little cabin by the house), with burgers on the grill, marshmallows in the wood stove, and a morning on the water with mom. Somehow busy-ness gets in the way of recreation, and I have only had my grandkids out in the kayaks a few times.  I love seeing the look on Hillary’s (who is changing her name to Axel but I still am not “there” yet) face when she gets on the water.  She loves it.  Melody kept exclaiming, “This is amazing, Mom, this is amazing!”.  Grandson Elric chose to hang out at home in the cabin with dad and when Melody, Hillary, and I returned we were treated to a great late brunch cooked up by the son-in-law and grandson.

Axel on Cyrstal CreekGood things do come to an end, and the kids headed back to town.  Of course, for Mo and I it didn’t matter that it was Sunday night.  Mo wandered off to a place we have wanted to camp for a few years and never remember.  She called me and said, “Why don’t you meet me and Abby out here at Eagle Ridge, and maybe bring some supper?”  Great plan again!

evening kayak on Shoalwater Bay The last time we were at Eagle Ridge we still had the sailboat, and the winds were challenging as usual on these mountain lakes.  Once again I remembered why we decided kayaking was easier than sailing!  It is a lot easier to launch a kayak than a sailboat and even with all the paddling, it is a lot less work. Eagle Ridge is a Klamath county campground about half way between town and Rocky Point, maybe ten miles from home for us.  There are a few primitive sites, no charge, no dump, no amenities except a great view of Shoalwater Bay, a launching dock, and sites right on the water.

  The road to the park is about 4 miles of rough gravel and dirt, with not a few bumps, but the MoHo handled it just fine.  No one else on the road to kick up gravel to worry about.  Except for a couple of fishermen in the early evening, we had the place to ourselves. 

Eagle Ridge and Shoalwater Bay Shoalwater Bay is on Klamath Lake proper, and the native algae that our lake has made famous was in evidence.  Great kayaking, but probably not something to swim in.  It is perfectly safe, but green.  I think there is a Blue-Green algae company that is still making a good profit from Klamath Lake.  I guess it is the reason our lake is so gorgeous and not surrounded by development.  John C Fremont, back in 1857, said this lake wasn’t fit for a horse to drink. The algae is supported by all the natural phosphorus in the lake because of all the volcanic ash from Mt Mazama (Crater Lake) deposited several thousand years ago.  The ambient phosphorus load is a big point of discussion about our lake, especially when trying to determine how much phosphorus is coming from the agricultural lands on the Sprague River which feeds the lake.

If you want to see incredibly clear blue water, just head up the hill to Crater Lake.  Merikay and Craig are hiking there this week and have some really gorgeous photos of all that blue clarity.  Notice, however, that all that clarity doesn’t do much for the water birds.  On the other hand, here on Klamath Lake, water birds are everywhere.  My favorite, and in my opinion the greatest of all, are the American white pelicans.  They winter in Mexico and South America, but every year in March they return to Klamath Lake and the first pelican is the sign that spring is coming, much like the first crocus. They have a 9 foot wing span, and fly in formation much like fighter jets.  I suppose it is my favorite part of kayaking around here, coming upon a raft of pelicans and watching them fly.  I especially love the black wing tips that don’t show until they are airborne. I don’t often put in a slide show, but I do think this one is worth the band width.  Check out the pelicans that we found on our paddle.

sunset over Shoalwater Bay from Eagle Ridge Park campfire at Eagle Ridge Park, all to ourselves We watched the sunset over the bay, and found enough old driftwood to built a nice campfire on the beach in front of the MoHo. I heard recently that Oregon is the only state in the west that doesn’t currently have any large active forest fires.  Notice all that green grass and moist vegetation.  Of course, it won’t be like that later in the summer, but for now having a campfire was delightful.

The night was silent except for the lake breezes and dark until the moon rose.  Not a soul around, and just four miles from the highway.  Nice.

the morning pelican paradeMorning came slowly with Eagle Ridge directly east of us, and the dew was thick on the windows.  We even had to turn on the furnace for a few minutes with morning tea as we watched the day lighten.  Deciding that breakfast back home would be nice, we drove the few miles back to Rocky Point and cooked up a nice Sunday breakfast (even though it was Monday) watched the news, and got ready for our day, much refreshed and renewed by our little side trip.

The flowers are starting to bloom more and more, and I am enjoying the gardens now that the heavy labor of May cleanup has dissipated a bit.  We had another load of juniper delivered, and it is piled high in the MoHo shed, so the big job of splitting and stacking has begun. July is about good weather and having fun, but it is also about getting in the firewood, spraying the deer repellant, and mowing the lawns. 

DSC_0026We keep driving to Grants Pass, thinking that someday when we are “old”, we will settle over there out of the snow into a better growing season.  I looked around last week at this beautiful place and said, “No”.  Let’s just stay here till we have to go into a home somewhere.  Worst case scenario, we have to pay someone to help now and then with the hard stuff.  But every time I drive to town, or over the mountain to the “other side”, and then return I feel my breath quicken at the sight of that murky lake below in the sunlight.  I am thrilled by the birds, the silence, the clear sunny skies, the forest.  It is home.  I guess that is why we have a motorhome after all, we can leave in the winter, we can travel if we want to, but we have home right here.  I don’t want to give it up, even for a growing season that would let me have more flowers.

A parting thought here, one that came to me last week as we were traveling home from Oroville:

picnic at Eagle Ridge July 11 2004sailing at Eagle Ridge, July 11 2004 Sometimes, when riding in the MoHo, memories wash over me in waves.  Maybe it is the vibration, maybe the changing scenery flying by.  Somehow the complexity of my life flows by me like the trees rushing past, ephemeral, hard to catch, hard to track.  I was once known for my phenomenal memory, spitting out dates like “Oh that was on a Tuesday in 1987”.  Memories used to be like individual stories, with a beginning and an end, solid and real and separate.  Lately, as life gets more and more full, and the memories begin to stack up, they are becoming more fluid, overlapping each other and flowing by in complex scenes, just as rich, but somehow with more flow. I wonder if that is what the old folks in the rocking chair on the porch are experiencing, that magical, colorful flow. I like it. 

 sailing at Eagle Ridge in July of 2004

South to California

morning sunlight at the KOA Hitch Itch.  Full timers get it, folks with an RV parked in the shed get it too. The past couple of weeks have been focused on work and home chores, and we both knew we wanted to get in another local camping trip before we head for Colorado at the end of the month.  Medicine Lake comes to mind first, a favorite high mountain destination, but we thought there might still be snow there this early.  Then fate stepped in with an invitation to a retirement party in Davis, California for a colleague.  We thought about it a bit and finally came up with a plan.  Oroville!
site 34 at the Feather Falls KOA There is a big lake there, nice campgrounds, my best friend and her husband are right there, and it is just a two hour drive to Davis so I could go to the party.  Calling the State Recreation Area phone number for reservations, we were shocked to find that electric hookup sites (no sewer) at the Bidwell Canyon Campground cost $45.00, plus the reservation fee.  Geez.  California parks are too dang expensive.  So I looked around a bit and came up with the KOA RV Park that is adjacent to the Feather Falls Casino and for $37.00 got a nice site with full hookups, free WiFi, cable TV and a heated swimming pool.  Hmmm, not such a bad idea.  We figured that we could go to the lake for kayaking without paying that crazy price.
morning relaxation in the shade of the oak tree Sunday morning we decided to drive to Grants Pass to check out another possible MoHo property and then travel south on I-5, a route we rarely travel between Medford and Weed.  The day was gorgeous and cool, with a bit of cloud cover and the drive was perfect.  I always smile when bloggers post the photos of amazing Mt Shasta, and decided that I didn’t need to stop once again to take one more picture of “the mountain”. 
The trip was wonderful and as always it feels so freeing to be in the MoHo on the road.  I said to Mo, “It isn’t just going somewhere that I love, it is the movement, the feeling of being on the road, the scenery sliding by, the skies ever changing”.   I guess I like that hum and vibration somehow.  Sounds completely silly to me when I write it, and yet I do know the feeling.  Bet others do too.
When we arrived at the KOA we were pleasantly surprised, but not before a moment or two of confusion.  You see, there are two casinos in Oroville, and I thought we were somehow going to the one that is on the road to Maryruth’s house.  Instead, the GPS kept trying to send me south of town to a completely different area.  Turns out we really DID have the reservation south of town and not on Maryruth’s road at the Gold Country Casino. 
great idea, a holding pen for your dog while you swimOnce settled in, we discovered what I think is the best KOA we have ever seen.  I often avoid these parks because they seem expensive and crowded.  This one won a Presidents Award of some kind and I can see why.  The sites were absolutely, perfectly level concrete pads, surrounded by large lawns, with a wide parking area along the road in front of your site for the toad.  There were picnic tables and plenty of shade under our very own lovely oak tree.  There were even two dump outlets on the site, one in front and one in back which we so appreciated.  So many parks are set up for just 5th wheels and pickup trucks and the dump is completely out of reach of a motorhome.
The grounds were beautifully manicured, the swimming pool clean and heated, with an adjacent holding pen for your dog, the hot tub fresh and hot, and the clubhouse cool and roomy.  The store and office had a great supply of anything you might need.  With the KOA club card, which ended up paying for itself after all the freebies, got us 20 bucks in free casino money in addition to the 10 bucks we got with our site.  We were also informed that a simple phone call would bring the casino shuttle right to our camp site on demand.  Right to the site!  Ha! The funniest part of this story is that in the four days we were in Oroville, we never managed to get up to the casino and our coupons went unused.
thermolite forebay track 02 launch site at the ForeBay Aquatic Center new OrovilleOn Monday, we decided to explore the Thermolito  Forebay area, a part of the huge Oroville Dam complex of water management systems.  The forebay was a perfect place for kayaking since there are no motorized boats allowed.  It’s really nice not to have to compete with jet skiis and bit boat wakes and noise.  I really love the MotionX GPS app for my iPhone, mentioned by Rick recently, and have used it now for several kayak paddles.  It is fun to see just how fast we have paddled, how many miles we have covered and where we have been on the map.  It even links photos to the sites and then I can upload the track to Facebook or send it via email.  Just tickles me no end.  Of course, another quirk of GPS is the excellence of X and Y and the complete goofiness of the Z factor, elevation.  We discovered to our surprise that on our nice little lake the elevation changed by 30 feet while we were out there.  Too funny. 
sunny day at the Thermolito Forebay near OrovilleI have had a few questions from readers regarding how hard it is to get in and out of the kayak so I made a quick video of the process, just for laughs.  I am still trying to figure out how to get the video to embed without any luck, so may just add the YouTube URL in case you want to see it.  If I can do it, anyone can!

Maryruth and Gerald came out to our little shady campsite that evening and we all went up to the Feather Falls Brewery where we were able to use the other coupons that gave us a discount on food.  After dinner when we thought about playing the slots we all thought better of it and just went back to the campsite instead.  Tuesday was our day to visit at their home, to see all the beautiful garden work that Gerald has done, and enjoy some of Maryruth’s legendary cooking. 
Sue and Maryruth in Maryruth's lovely yardMaryruth and Gerald at home in Oroville Often Oroville can be unbearably hot, and just the week before we were there the temperatures were in the triple digits.  For us, instead, we had beautiful skies, not a speck of smog or haze, and temperatures in the mid to high 80’s.  Couldn’t have been more perfect. 
On Wednesday Maryruth took us out to her sister’s houseboat for an afternoon on the water with lots of good food and drink.  The shuttle picks up passengers at the marina and takes you right to your boat, and even let us bring the dog. We settled in with sunscreen, comfy chairs, and good conversation with a view of the water all around us. Abby and I both even managed a good swim.  Mo was a bit concerned about getting her back on the deck of the houseboat, but in nothing flat, with a little encouragement, Abby learned how to climb that ladder right back up on the boat.
DSC_0011DSC_0009 Thursday morning we decided to explore some other areas for kayaking, including the Afterbay and the Diversion Pool.  The big lake itself it fine for kayaking as well, but not nearly as interesting.  The last time we were there we encountered a lot of wind and boats, and there is a large area of houseboats near the launch that require navigating through before you get to some more open water. 
I left Mo in the shade of the oak tree mid morning to go meet my friends in Davis.  There are so many people that I know from California, and it was so good to see everyone.  Dean Burkett, who had a position in Chico like my position in Oroville had also come to detail and map for me while I was there and we developed a great friendship. 
the three suesIMG_2530 When I had my retirement party two years ago, Dean gave up a 22 year tradition of attending a rendezvous to come to my party instead. You can bet I wasn’t about to miss his retirement send off! I also got to spend quality time with the other two “Sue’s”. We are all a rather interesting phenomenon in California, all GS-12 managers, all in California, and all named Sue.  In a career choice that at one time didn’t have many women, this is particularly funny.  We called ourselves “the three Sues,” Sierra Sue (me), Coastal Sue in Arcata, and Valley Sue in Davis.  Plus we all have kayaks!  The three sues kayak trip is still in the works, but we keep talking about it. I still sometimes get emails meant for one of the other sue’s and they get mine.  It IS a funny thing.
very early morning light on the Feather River I stayed much to late and arrived back home to the KOA far too late for Mo and I to attempt to gamble away our coupons as originally planned.  Instead we got a few hours sleep before taking off the next morning by 6:30 AM.  After all, I had a quilt class in Merrill, at the Tater Patch and couldn’t miss it.  It was the final class in a group of three that I have attended.  We decided to leave early enough to take the back route home, via Highway 70 along the Feather River, north to Lake Almanor and Susanville, and then on to Merrill.  It was a gorgeous drive over a road I haven’t seen for more than 40 years and I loved every minute of it. 
We arrived in Merrill just a few minutes before my class started, unhooked the baby car so Mo could go on home, and I managed to finish the series without falling asleep at the machine.  Let me tell you I was one tired puppy when I pulled into the driveway in Rocky Point that evening, glad to be home and completely satisfied with what turned out to be a really great week.
Next up: an amazing kayak on Shoalwater Bay and camping at Eagle Ridge just ten miles from home!

Over the Mountain

paddling into a small back bay on Emigrant Lake  Isn’t that somehow a metaphor for life in general? One mountain after another to climb, sometimes in search of entertainment, or warmer weather, or cooler weather, or to find what isn’t on this side that may be on the other side, to cross summits that seem insurmountable, and then suddenly there we are, over the mountain.  I’m old enough to remember that old song “The Bear Went Over the Mountain”, and I have been over many of them, both physically, spiritually, and metaphorically. It’s a climb, but the other side of the mountain usually has great treasures and rewards.  I am thinking of Sherry and David as I write this, climbing their own huge mountain, right there in Florida where there are supposedly none to climb.

  We went over the mountain last week, and even as lovely as the world is Emigrant Lake near the RV Campgroundaround Rocky Point, there was stuff on the other side that we wanted to experience.  For once it wasn’t just a much needed trip to Costco that drew us over the pass.  Not far west of Medford is the small historic town of Jacksonville, Oregon.  Jacksonville stands completely on its own merits, with lots of cute little shops on the picturesque streets, and neighborhoods full of cute little Victorian cottages and Craftsman bungalows.  If I chose to live on “the other side” I would choose Jacksonville, except of course everyone else has had the same idea, and I can’t possibly afford anything remotely near Jacksonville.  Beside, Josephine County and Grants Pass have the lowest tax rates in Oregon, much less than Jackson County and the Medford/Jacksonville world.  Someday we will move to the other side of the mountain for good, but in the mean time I appreciate every single minute of my mountain home. Snow, winter, mosquitoes and long treks to town notwithstanding.

waiting for the show at the Britt  In addition to its lovely setting, Jacksonville is home to the Britt Festival, this year celebrating 50 seasons of concerts under the stars.  The shows run from June through early October every year and the lineups are often legendary. The music is eclectic with all sorts of genres represented and Mo and I try to waiting for the show at the Brittsee at least one show a year.  Often we choose blankets on the grass where we follow the tradition of a picnic pack filled with wine, cheese, crackers, and grapes.  This year we decided to see Melissa Etheridge, a crazy rocker lady I have always loved and Mo didn’t much care about. It was a great show and I had a great time and Mo even enjoyed Melissa’s incredible musical talent on the 12 string guitar and piano.  The audience was mostly on their feet during the last 1/4 of the show.

Of course, Jacksonville is maybe 90 minutes away from home, but what better chance to spend a little time in the MoHo.  We thought it would be a lot more fun to go home to the rig than drive over the mountain after wine and music so we planned a couple of days at Emigrant Lake just east of Ashland and not far from Jacksonville.  Paul and Nina reviewed this great Jackson County Park a few weeks ago in April when the crowds were still nowhere to be found.  When we thought of the idea, it was already too late to make a reservation so we decided to take our chances. 

MO2 Leader Dave Smith with MO1 Leader Thor Thorsen Klamath crew The week beforehand was a long and crazy one, with a full fledged field review in progress for my survey.  I worked long days with Chris and the crew and then on Thursday Dave Smith, the regional leader in California (and my old boss) came up to visit with the Oregon crew.  It’s probably too complicated to explain all this, but there is a huge reorganization going on and the Klamath Falls office is to become part of a completely different region, one headed by Dave in California instead of the leader in Portland.  It is an administrative and technical nightmare coming up, supposedly put in place to save money, but no one has a clue how that will actually happen.  All to begin on October 1. 

southern end of Emigrant Lake near Ashland Oregon But back to the trip to Britt.  I had the review going so Mo had to do all the loading and hooking up and packing since I was gone long hours.  Then, on Friday, I begged off the last day of the review because I had a quilt class…clear down at Tater Patch in Merrill (about 1/2 hour south of Klamath Falls).  Now this is a really big deal because I had to prepay for the class months ago, before the review was scheduled and long before we had tickets for the Britt.  No skipping this one!  The class fills up right away and the waiting list is long.  I had my three months of waiting and was really looking forward to it.

heron on Emigrant Lake Confusion set in as we tried to figure out just how to manage being in three places at once.  Finally settled on a scheme, and I drove the Tracker and kayaks to Klamath and then to Merrill early in the morning, and Mo left for Emigrant Lake with the MoHo and the animals early enough in the day to get a site.  Or so we thought.  When I finished my class at 4pm, a message from Mo said the park was full, it was in the high 90’s so boondocking with the animals was out of the question, and she was settling in to Pear Tree RV Resort along the interstate…with full hookups, lots of pavement, and freeway noise.  Hmmm. The park served its purpose, but was so unexciting that I neglected to even take a single photo while we were there.

Now leaving Merrill at 4 meant I had just two hours to get to over the mountain to Ashland, find Mo and the RV park, change clothes, and then get to Britt by 7.  Whew!  It was one of those crazy kind of days that I remember from having teenagers who often had to be in two cities (Spokane and Coeur D Alene, and we lived in the middle) on the same day for different things. I am definitely out of practice for that kind of thing!

Somehow it all came together and we managed to be everywhere we needed to be when we had to.  After the show we meandered along Old Stage Road right back to our little waiting home and I slept like a rock in spite of the freeway noise.  The next morning we left the cat safely in the air conditioned MoHo and drove the few miles east to Emigrant Lake with the kayaks.  Ahhhhhh……..

paddling north toward the campground on Emigrant Lake The lake is one that is easily visible from the interstate when driving from California into Ashland, and I have seen it for years and never actually driven down to look at it up close.  In this part of the state, most of the lakes are reservoirs, but the water was still high enough that we didn’t have that ugly reservoir brown ring to look at.  We found a free launch site at the southwestern edge of the lake, and while a bit muddy, the launch was simple.  The lake was lovely, and that was actually a surprise to both of us.  We had glassy water in the beginning, but a slight breeze came up, just enough to keep us cool and blow away any bugs.

We paddled along the southern grassy end of the lake and then north to the campground so well reviewed by Nina.  On this day however, every site was full with most sites already reserved for the following weekend and some even for the weekdays.  We left the kayaks at the beach and walked the campground, checking out the various sites and the views and decided that a weekday visit might be fun and would give us a chance to check out the eastern arm of the lake that we didn’t feel like doing this time.

By the time we got back to the rig it was mid afternoon and the temperatures were hitting the high 90’s.  The park had a swimming pool, spa, club house and all sorts of other amenities, but the cool depths of the shady RV felt awfully good to us and we just settled in for naps and a movie and an easy supper.  I didn’t even have any knitting or a computer with me and had to really relax.  It is amazing to me just how relaxing it is to get away like this, as much as we enjoy our home and our space there, somehow cozying up in the MoHo is so different.  No chores, no schedule, nothing at all that we have to do except kick back.  ahhhhh……again.

sites at Emigrant Lake CampgroundWe took our own sweet time getting back on the road Sunday morning, leaving the MoHo on the northern side of Medford while we ambled up to Grants Pass for another look at property.  Still hoping for that perfect site to build an RV shed and store the MoHo in the winter.  While we haven’t found anything yet to fit the bill perfectly, we have a ton of fun exploring all the nooks and crannies of the small southern Oregon town.  By the time we got home on late Sunday afternoon we felt as though we had actually “been away”.

southern end of Emigrant Lake near Ashland OregonAnother week of work for me ahead, with quilting homework in the evenings, a day-long quilt class on Friday, and then we will head south into California next week for another nice little camping trip at Lake Oroville with friends and fun and kayaks.

I wrote most of this post last Sunday, and it is already Thursday afternoon and this blog is still waiting for photos.  I can hear Mo outside mowing while I am in here plunking around on the computer.  Sometimes I just have to get away from numbers and spreadsheets and maps and data and refresh my brain with a little bit of memory making.  So in go the photos and with the push of the “publish” button, up goes another memory.

My blogging mentor comes to Rocky Point!

Laurie and Odel_35I am reasonably certain that just about anyone dropping in to read my blog already reads Laurie and Odel’s blog, Semi-True Tales of our Life on the Road. I read Laurie’s blog long before I knew there was such a thing as an RV blogging community, and when we met in person in 2010, Laurie gave me a ton of pointers on how to do a blog, and where to find some of the other bloggers I might like to read.  My “stretch” format for this blog was stolen almost directly from Laurie, with her permission and help of course.

Laurie and Odel taking off in the kayaks for the first timeOur paths have crossed a few times, and it was with great delight that I discovered they planned to be here on Saturday before leaving Oregon for the season on their way back to California. I spoke to the weather gods, who teased me with early morning freezing fog before bringing on a gorgeous, wind free, sunny day in the mid-60’s. Perfect kayaking weather!  Especially for someone not familiar with that unsteady feeling when you get in a kayak for the first time.

Laurie and Odel are getting comfortable after just a few minutes out on the water“Just like a bicycle”, I told Odel.  Watching that first wiggle as Odel got used to the boat reminded me of my first time after we bought the kayaks.  I remember thinking, “OMIGOSH, I will never be able to do this”. Within minutes, Odel was racing along like a pro, although the exceedingly calm waters without a lick of current were probably a bit helpful. I was so busy worrying about Odel in that first few moments that I have no clue how Laurie did as Mo helped her first launch.  I am pretty sure it was flawless, though, because I heard no splashes or exclamations in the background and when I finally looked up, Laurie was racing along even faster than Odel.

Odel said it was hard to get romantic in a tippy kayakWe spent a couple of hours meandering down to Harriman Springs, laughing and talking and enjoying every minute of the gorgeous sunshine and bluebird skies. Turns out it was opening day for duck hunting season and we were entertained by men in camouflage  and boats that looked like some sort of grass hut plying the waters out to the main part of Klamath Lake where they could shoot. Lucky for us, there was no shooting in Pelican Bay or down Harriman Creek, and the white pelicans just meandered around as if everything was just fine.  Surprisingly, we didn’t see many ducks, and from what they said, neither did the hunters!

time for a cool one after a great kayakAfter our kayak, we walked the short distance to the Rocky Point restaurant, still quiet enough in the early afternoon that we snagged the perfect windowside table for our refreshments.  The laughing and conversation continued until we all realized that our late lunch/early supper plans were turning into much later than originally thought. We drove back to the house with hungry bellies. Before long Mo had the baby BBQ going and I had a Copper River salmon filet on a plank with a new homemade citrus rub I decided to try.  Our guests brought some great Chardonnay to flesh out the meal. Dessert was a big adventure, since I decided to try the new “thing” that seems to be going around food circles recently.  Fresh strawberries with a good 18 year old balsamic vinegar over vanilla ice cream.  The real kicker to this recipe is the call for fresh black pepper.  Yes, that is pepper!  I was chicken to put it on, but in a flash Odel had that pepper shaker out and was peppering the ice cream with abandon. 

His bravery inspired the rest of us, and amazingly, it was really good!  Mo, who is the least adventurous eater among us, opted for chocolate on her vanilla. I offered my little bit of leftovers in my bowl (yeah I am still dieting and only ate a tiny bit!) to Mo, who smiled and said, “I’ll bet Abby will like this.” Abby of course, thought it was great, pepper and all.

Laurie and Odel_103CaptureHere is a map of where we kayaked today.

A few more photos of our visit are linked here.

Happy October Everyone!