I won! 002I won! I won!!  Amazing.  Those of you who rode along with me in the MoHo on the Coast 101 Quilt Run (my very first such experience), and wished me well, are in for some thank you’s.  I won a third prize gift certificate for $50 to spend at will at the sweet little quilt shop in Brookings.  I am happy to say that this was one of my favorite stores of the 14 that  I visited.  I had given up on winning anything except receipts for all the fabric I bought when this little card showed up in the mail yesterday.  Needless to say, I am tickled and already imagining and remembering all those gorgeous fabrics and the great ladies I met in the shop last month.

Carrizo Plain flowersLucky me, since we are heading back to Brookings on Sunday morning, and I told Mo that we would have to wait until store opening time on Monday before we travel south to California.  Once again we are going south, looking for sunshine and warmth.  According to the predictions, however, it might be warmer than Rocky Point but probably not much sunnier.  A big storm is dampening the west right now, and it spreads far and wide.

birthday snow_477Our plans have shifted back and forth several times, with thoughts of traveling far enough south to the Carizzo Plain to see the amazing wildflower show.  The image on the right is from the internet (I have no idea who to acknowledge here), but it is one I have seen repeatedly when searching for wildflower blooming times in the California springtime.  The Carizzo Plain and the Tremblor Mountains straddle the San Andreas Fault and are a long way from anywhere southeast of Paso Robles and southwest of Bakersfield.

I plugged the plan into Streets and Trips, counted the days, looked at the weather, and looked at the lack of rain and rethought the plan.  Wildflowers on the plain are an ephemeral thing, totally dependent on the timing of rainfall, and this year there has been very little.  Rumor has it there isn’t much blooming  yet. The Carizzo Plain will have to wait for another year. Of course, now that we have ten days to get away, it is raining.  Of course. 

we had no snow this winter, so I knew it would come in Marchclose to two feet of snow in the last 2 daysGas prices being what they are, and timing being what it is, I decided instead that it might be time to go see Pinnacles National Monument.  Merikay was there recently and took some great photos.  Mo was there many years ago when she lived near Half Moon Bay, but I have never seen it.  Several friends from soil survey have been involved in the soil mapping there as well.  I have read papers, and seen the results of research and study, but now I just want to walk and explore and experience what it has to offer. 

Being a national monument, we knew that Abby couldn’t go on the trails, so planned for a doggie day care in nearby Gilroy for the two days we plan to stay in the park.  The day care seems rather amazing, with no cages, just lots of beds and toys and other friendly dogs in a big doggie park kind of environment. 

The new office color is called cocoa rumJeremy is wishing the birds would hurry up and returnLast week I wasn’t working, but of course Mo and I had some big projects waiting for a non-working, non-traveling week.  We finished the painting project started last year at this time and completed our office, and mud room and back entry halls.

In the early mornings I worked on the baby blanket I am knitting for Mo’s new grand niece born just after her birthday and took one long afternoon to pull out the sewing machine.  When Maryruth and I had our girls weekend last fall, we bought fabric and patterns at the quilt shop in Chico, but of course Maryruth doesn’t quilt.  I am making this diamond lattice table runner for her. As simple as it looks, it still is a bit of a challenge for me as a newbie, but I am having so much fun with it.  It amazes me how all these little puzzle pieces actually turn into something.

been working on a baby blanket for a new grand niece coming to Mowinter days are perfect for quiltingThis week was a working week for me again, and Mo managed to finish painting her entire big bathroom while I plunked away on the computer.  It is Friday!!  I shut down NASIS for the last time this evening and won’t look at it again for ten days.  Poured myself a glass of wine and took a deep breath.  Tomorrow we will brave whatever the weather gods have in store for us over the Highway 140 pass to go to Medford for the day.  Our destination: the annual Cheese Festival at the Rogue Creamery and of course an opportunistic Costo Run as well.  Gotta stock up for our Sunday exit to sunny…er…rainy California.


Raining on the Oregon Coast–Really!?

wind blowing the tops of the waves at Gold BeachIt is exactly what we expected when we planned a trip north from Brookings for this week in mid February.  Why north when the possibilities for good weather were probably much better if we went south?  The MoHo is in Brookings, and for the last few trips our route has been south, heading for the California beaches, the California deserts, warm days, sunny skies.  But that is the key word, California, and we decided it might be nice to skip the traffic and people and explore our own magnificent coastline farther north than we have been together in the MoHo. 

The plan was for a leisurely amble north toward Astoria, fully expecting rain and storms.  There are huge groups of people who migrate to this coast specifically at this time of year to storm watch, and it is also time for the migrating gray whales to be moving north.  Imagine our surprise on Saturday afternoon when we arrived in Brookings to sunny skies and temperatures as high as 60 degrees!  There wasn’t a bit of fog except for a low bank on the horizon far west of the shoreline, and the bluebird skies were wonderful. 

morning sun at Harris BeachWhen we left Rocky Point, the sun was shining on the freshly fallen skiff of snow and over the pass we passed through some serious winter conditions with a bit of whiteout here and there.  In Medford it was cloudy and raining, in Grants Pass the hail and sleet were pounding hard on the roof and then we passed through intermittent rain and squalls and sunshine all the way to Hiouchi, where we habitually check to see if our “spot” is empty.  Usually it is taken, and we smiled remembering camping there along the little creek.  It is a great little campground just inland from Crescent City. 

With the MoHo stored in Brookings just a few minutes from Harris Beach, we have no need to stay anywhere else.  Harris Beach has become our first and last night destination of choice.  This time when we opened up the storage shed, all was perfect, no bad smells, no vandals cutting holes in the walls to ransack our rig, no mice shredding anything at all.  Even though we assume the MoHo is safe, we have learned the hard way that when she is away from us for a few weeks at a time, who knows what surprises might await us when we open that door.

A10 on the front row at Harris beach at daybreakWe drove immediately to the park where we scored another front row site with electric, water, and cable.  Other sites in this row were completely full since most of them have a tremendous view of the ocean.  Our view was not quite as dramatic, but we still could see the wide open sea from our back window.  In spite of the sun, the wind was chilly and even though we picked up some local firewood bundles, the wet grass and cold breezes kept us cozy and warm inside.

We set up the rig, and then ran back to town to buy enough groceries at Freddy’s to be sure that we would qualify for our ten cent off fuel cost the next morning when we planned to fill the empty MoHo.  Just down the street from Freddy’s (Fred Meyer Stores for those who aren’t Northwesterners), is the delightful little quilt shop I found our last time in Brookings.  I thought it might be nice to check in there that afternoon since the next day was Sunday and of course quilt shops probably wouldn’t be open.  Big surprise!

no fog this morning on the coastI had somehow managed to hit the first quilt shop in a list of 14 in the last weekend of the ongoing Quilt Run 101, stretching from Brookings all the way to Astoria.  I had Sunday and Monday to get my passport card stamped at each of the 14 shops to qualify for a fancy Janome quilting machine or one of many gift certificates.  Whoopie!  We had already decided that we would move fairly quickly through the southern  and mid coast where we have traveled before and slow down to explore the north coast, so the two day run wasn’t really much different than our original plan. 

We woke on Sunday morning once again to brilliant sunshine and no fog.  Winds coming from the north were cold, but I guess that is what keeps the fog away this time of year. Before we got back on the road, we enjoyed walking in the morning sunlight down toward the beach and were aghast at the level of the high tide.  The entire beach was almost completely inundated, something we haven’t seen before.  Texting back and forth with my daughter, I mentioned it and she immediately sent the following text message to me:

guess we don't need the sunglasses today “When the Moon, earth, and Sun are positioned in a straight line at new or full Moon, the tide producing forces of the Sun and Moon are added together giving extra low tides called “spring tides”.  These are the best tides for beach combing, clamming or visiting tidepools.  During the Moon’s first and last quarters, the Sun and Moon act at right angles to each other, and the result is a much reduced tidal range called a “neap tide”.  Mom, you are seeing mixed tides and the highest high tide is in the morning in the spring”

So did she touch type that whole thing into her phone or copy it over from somewhere else?!!

I can’t remember when we have driven this part of the coast in sunshine, and it felt like we were in a completely new world. The quilt shop run was great fun, especially for Mo doing the driving, since almost all the shops were right on the main highway and parking on this lovely Sunday was easy, many times we pulled the MoHo and Toad right up to the front of the shop. 

collecting for the fun of itAs a brand new quilter, I had so much fun seeing all the different styles of quilting and the different focus of each shop reflecting the owner’s artistic bent.  We made it all the way to Newport on that first day, visiting 8 of the 14 shops, and Mo had a nice day while I shopped, walking Abby in the sunshine in all the little towns.  In Florence, Mo was walking down the street and met a little girl who loved Abby and said, “Do you want me to go home and get my dog?”  Mo said no, but within minutes the little girl was back with her dog, a sweet little beagle, who loved Abby as well. Too bad Mo doesn’t carry the camera!

fog and rain across the bridge at NewportSouth Beach State Park, just south of Newport, is familiar to us, a place where the beach is some distance from the campground, but roomy and we knew there wouldn’t be a problem getting a site.  By the time we reached Newport, the sunny skies were just a memory and the normal gray clouds of the coast settled in around us.  Again, in spite of the lovely campsite with a great fire pit, our wood went unused.  The soup I had thawed went unused as well, since we thought it would be fun to go down to old town Newport for some obligatory coastal fish and chips.  It was surprisingly busy in spite of the rain, but we found a table at the Rogue (used to be brewery but they moved the brewing part across the river) and had halibut fish and chips for 13.95 market price.  It was a great little place, with fun people watching and a cozy vibe.  I topped off the perfect halibut with a Dead Guy Ale.  Gotta love those crafted brew names.

Abby likes to help of courseWe left on Monday morning with only 135 miles and six shops to visit between Newport and Astoria.  As we drove north through the rain, the landscape looked much more familiar, with mist and fog shrouding the green mountains around us.  Sometimes the ocean was visible through the fog, and other times we couldn’t see much.  I filled up the day with color, however, and Mo enjoyed hanging in the MoHo reading while I shopped.  A couple of times I was asked if I had a husband  waiting in the car. Nope! There were a few guys shopping with their wives, but others just rolled their eyes at the thought of a patient person waiting while they shopped for fabric.  I couldn’t help thinking of Rick and Paulette and all her shopping trips. 

We gassed up the rig at Costco near Warrenton and unhooked the tracker for the ten mile run to Astoria, where I visited the last two shops and turned in my completed card with just minutes to spare.  We will slow down and visit Astoria again in the next few days, since I was worn out with shopping and was definitely ready to settle in for the night.

collecting for the By the Sea hanging skinny quiltSite 87 in loop I at Fort Stevens state parkThe rain intensified as we backtracked to pick up the MoHo and drive to Fort Stevens State Park it was raining hard.  Paul and Nina had recommended loop N for nice open sites, but when we arrived, the only loops open in the huge campground were H and I.  H had two rigs and I had two rigs, so we picked a spot on the I loop right next to the showers, something we often avoid, but it didn’t matter since no one was there.  Worked out perfect for me and I made use of the shower at 3AM just steps from the door, but you already know that part of the story.

The next day we planned to explore Fort Stevens, and decide whether we want to stay here or move a short distance south to the Camp Rilea Family Camp. Tune in to find out!


It’s all about Red

new sofa_005At the moment, however, everything seems black and white and shades of gray with a little bit of brown and green thrown in here and there.  January is gone and February has returned, as it usually does every year.  In spite of my usual feelings about dreary February, this year seems different somehow.  Maybe because our winter has been so mild, or maybe because I seem to have surrounded myself with RED.

new sofa_003Mo was away for two weeks, doing her annual dog sitting for brother Dan near Portland and I kept myself busy with three weeks of soil survey work to make up for the last trip and filled in the spaces with knitting, sewing, quilting, and baking.  Even with the lack of snow, the temperatures still call for keeping the fire going and an occasional shoveling project to keep the driveway clear.  With Mo gone, I really hoped to be spared any big snowstorms since I don’t drive the tractor and wouldn’t have a clue how to plow our road.  Abby stayed with me for company and that soft little feeling of safety at night that seems to go along with having a dog by your side. She was good company. 

red sofa and loveseat make winder seem much less glumBack in December, we happened on a great sofa sale and the delivery happened while Mo was away.  Our old sofa (not THAT old actually) was big and sloppy, perfect for the huge living room we had back in the California mobile, but here in our cozy house it was just too massive.  Once again, Melody and Kevin were the happy recipients of our hand-me-downs and we filled the living room with a perfect brick red sofa and loveseat.  Still comfortable, but scaled more to our style, our bodies, and our room.  Kevin is thrilled to have the huge sofa with two recliners added to his living room, and now they have enough seating for all the dogs, cats, teenagers, and adults that hang out at their house.  I love the color of the sofa, not really red, but a brick color that is almost impossible to capture in a photo, and believe me I tried!

006On a Saturday weekend I drove the hour and fifteen minutes to the well known and fabulous quilt shop in Merrill, called the Tater Patch.  What a delight for the senses!  I picked up some red and pink and white fabric to go with what I already had and managed to find a heart quilt block on the internet.  I filled more gray days with brilliant fabric, following internet tutorials, and dropped in to the small neighborhood quilt shop as well for instruction and encouragement.  I even managed to hand quilt the hearts and just finished the binding yesterday after Mo returned home. When I tired of quilting, I picked up the sweater I am knitting for Deanna, making progress, but just  bit slower since I discovered playing with fabric and cutting it all up and sewing it all back together.  Nutty pastime!

the bakers and the cakeMore red.

On the previous Monday, daughter Melody had three days off in a row, an almost unheard of delight.  She cleaned house like crazy for two days and on the third day she piled into the car with my granddaughter and a LOT of baking supplies and headed for Rocky Point. We spent the day making an incredibly decadent cake she had seen on the internet last year called, “Lincoln’s Red Velvet Cream Cheese Cake”.  The cake is filled with an entire cheesecake between two layers of rich red velvet and frosted with cream cheese frosting decorated with white and milk chocolate.  Sinful!!  I cut a slice, cut another one for Jean the local quilting lady to thank her for her help, and sent the rest home to the previously mentioned houseful of big men, teenaged boys, and assorted others.  Good thing!  That cake could destroy a month of dieting in one day!  

red velvet cake_037More red.

Speaking of teenagers, my youngest grandson turned 13 last week.  Another day in town searching for just the right thing yielded a sporty athletic jacket that seemed to hit the spot.  How in the world do you have a clue what to give a boy turning 13 that isn’t a video game or money!  I was sure to include the gift receipt with the jacket, but it wasn’t needed. 

I’m happy to have Mo back home.  Somehow her way of having a regular routine keeps me happy in a way that I don’t manage myself.  I wander aimlessly, doing things at all different hours of the day and night, eating strange things at the wrong time, and waking up at four am to sew with no one else to consider.  Dogs and people like routine I think.  Abby and I are both happy to get up like normal humans around 6am, and eat dinner in the evening, and go to the hot tub at the same time most nights.

colorado plansI have been reading about folks traveling in Texas, at Quartzite, in the desert southwest, and down in Florida.  Much as I love the desert, those Florida beaches and crystalline rivers are calling me hard for next winter.  I really do hope we can be there.  In the mean time, we are planning a coast trip again, this time traveling north as far as we feel like going, and fully expecting rain and storms.  The Oregon Coast can be so gorgeous and dramatic during stormy whale season.  Should be fun, and we will leave the first of March. 

We are also planning the mid-summer trip to Colorado for Mo’s family reunion near her sister’s home in Denver and just got excited when we looked at the map and realized that we could leave via the northern route and finally get the MoHo to the Black Hills and fill in that South Dakota hole on our map.  Should be a fun trip.  Again, we don’t want to be gone for more than two weeks or so because this year for sure we are going to camp at some of the fabulous places right here in our own beautiful Oregon.  I still remember Laurie talking about the beauty of Joseph Oregon, and that is on the summer list as well.