May 31, 2022 May Play Days

Mattie in the high mountains on our day of exploring

Sometimes a month simply flies by because so much is happening. Other times a month merely slips by with everyday life, and I have to review calendars, photos, Google TimeLine, and anything else I can come up with to figure out, “What in the world did we do this month?” Mo and I are sitting at our desks in the office, drinking Sunday morning coffee and looking forward to daughter Deborah visiting later for omelets and conversation. It is raining. Hard. It has been raining for two full days now. I stepped outside at 6 and reveled in the dampness, the birds singing, everything wet and green the way outsiders picture the “real” Oregon. It is beautiful and so refreshing. After years of drought and the lower part of our non–irrigated property turning brown in early May, it is a wonder to still have green grass growing in early June.


When we both look back over May, what comes to mind most is mowing, weeding, raking, hauling, and more mowing. We brought up other activities as we were talking, but somehow the pleasure of the green yard and all the growing things seems to supersede anything else at the moment.


Yes, the deer are always trying to figure out how to eat whatever is growing on our property.  Sometimes I can stay ahead of them with Deer-Out, other times they win.

We began our month with a rather exciting kerfuffle. Home from our most recent trip to Silver Falls, we parked the rig in the yard for a few days so Mo could wash it and I could get the interior cleaned up. Once it was clean, I did the typical backing maneuver we use to put the MoHo safely in her shed. Mo had the door open. I am backing watching her in the mirrors to get the rig lined up perfectly. I can’t see much in the camera at this moment. The inside of the RV shed is dark, and the sun usually reflects so that I can only see Mo in the mirrors. She carefully directs me in, just far enough to let me miss the mirrors and far enough right that I miss the kayaks hanging on the wall.

CRUNCH>!!!

 

WTH happened? I holler, and Mo says it must be the air conditioner. We both look at the RV Shed door, raised as usual but just not as high as usual. Neither of us saw it. So much for the fancy double domed skylight over the shower. At least it wasn’t the air conditioner. So, in addition to mowing, Mo spent much of the month obtaining the replacement, removing the old skylight, and replacing it. The only good thing about the entire process is that the rig was in the shed with plenty of room for her to work in a sheltered space.


While Mo spent her days dealing with the skylight, I dinked around in the yard for a few hours each day. I do love dinking in the yard. We knew that getting the drip system that we installed last year up to speed again was a priority. But with the heavy rains we had all month, at least the gardens weren’t drying out with the usual spring desiccation that happens almost instantly as winter ends. We have fresh gravel to spread in the areas of the yard covered with decomposed granite to bury the red clay that would destroy everything if exposed. That rock pile has been around for a few weeks and is still waiting. We will get it done eventually. The DG gets thin over time, and with limited water, we need to have areas of the property that aren’t dirty but don’t require water.


Happily, the sprinklers are now working, almost 100 percent updated, and joy of all joys, the well seems to be recharging at a fantastic rate. I have a geology mindset that groundwater will recharge quickly with good rains, but our deep bedrock groundwater aquifer will take decades to recharge after a long drought cycle. With only 2.5 GPM, this matters. Hence the areas of our property are either unirrigated or covered with gravel. Yes, there is a lot of green in the good parts, and I have a postage stamp green lawn that my eco-conscious grandchild chides me about.


But back to May. Looking at the calendar, I suddenly remember Cinco de Mayo. A holiday that I have never really celebrated, and I have read that it isn’t even celebrated much in Mexico. But what better excuse to have friends over for Mexican food and margaritas?


Mother’s Day was simple and sweet.  I received beautiful flowers from each of my daughters and Deborah treated Mo and I and her son Matthew to lunch at Red Robin.  She asked if I wanted to go somewhere nicer, but no, I was in the mood for a fat blue cheese burger and no fancy crowds.  It was a lovely afternoon.

Mo and I fiddled with my puzzle addiction and went to the Downton Abbey movie in between mowing and hauling debris. It was fun for me as an old DA fan who has watched the entire series. I could see how it would be utterly dull for someone who didn’t care about the people in the movie. Mo didn’t know any of them, and a lot of the film is spent with long stills of large groups of faces of people the fans know and love. It was a reunion of sorts. Mo slept through most of it.

Maryruth and I
went to the Farmer’s Market, thrilled by the gorgeous displays of early spring produce and coming home with huge fat radishes and fresh strawberries.

I enjoyed a great book group meeting in our founder’s front yard, complete with California poppies on the table. Sarah was so tickled that she could actually pick the poppies because, in California, where she lived before her move here, it was illegal to do so. The poppies are growing like crazy at our place after years of babying the one plant that made it through our home construction. They finally took over the rocky slope of fill that supports the RV shed.


Everything is later this year. Blooms are showing up at least 3 to 4 weeks later than usual, and I have lots of photos to remind me of that. Obsessively I cruise through my yard photos of the previous years, wondering when the roses will show or when the rhodies will bloom.


I decided that May truly is the best month here in Grants Pass. The rhodies are in full bloom, the magnificent iris are everywhere, the pink dogwoods are still blooming, and the leaves on the trees are still bright green without that dark olive color that takes over when the heat comes. I love May, and it is my favorite month. Mo says, “You said that about October last year too. You are fickle.” Maybe so.


Toward the end of the month, we actually did something unrelated to the yard. We loaded up the kayaks for a day trip to our old world near Rocky Point. Long-time readers have undoubtedly seen a bazillion photos of Recreation Creek and Malone Springs, but here we are again, kayaking in our favorite place to kayak. Even better than Florida. There isn’t as much wildlife compared to verdant, rich Florida, but there are no alligators, and we don’t have to drive 6,000 miles to kayak here.

We ended our lovely day of kayaking with a visit with good friends from our Rocky Point days.  Mata and Jim Rust have lived there for decades and know all the ins and outs of that small, somewhat tightly knit community.  It was wonderful to sit on the porch with a good glass of wine enjoying their magnificent view and great conversation.  We hadn’t seen Mata and Jim since they visited us at our Rogue River boondock site a couple of years ago.

Memorial Day is a big deal in Grants Pass. For 62 years, a non-profit foundation has put on a huge celebration called “Boatnik.” The big draw is the boat races on the Rogue River, but the parade and the fireworks are also big draws. I had plans to go to the fireworks, but at ten at night, with cold weather and clouds, we decided to stay home for the Friday night festivities. Saturday morning, it dawned cold and rainy, and once again, we decided to skip the fun hometown Memorial Day parade. I just couldn’t get excited about sitting in the rain. A friend who went said it didn’t actually rain, but the parade was so long that after two hours, she finally gave up and took her kids to the carnival. Once again, we talked about going to the second night of fireworks on Sunday night. Instead, we listened to them from our balcony with tiny flashes of light over the river showing through the big, fully leafed oak trees to the north of the property. We are so lucky that Mattie could care less about fireworks and barely notices them.


Finally, on Monday, we decided that we really wanted to at least attend some of the festivities. The weather had turned nicely with some gorgeous blue skies and puffy whites. We drove to Riverside Park, and I reveled in the very best benefit of all from my disability. That blue parking tag gets us through all the gates and closed roads to the handicapped parking zone right at the park’s edge. From where we parked the car, it was about 100 yards to the midway and all the delightful carnival noises of happy kids. I celebrated with my favorite fair food, a giant, perfectly lightly crisped corn dog.


Walking to the river’s edge, we could barely hear the choir singing for the Memorial Day Ceremony. Still, I did manage to stand in a perfect place to take a video of the flag being unfurled over the Caveman Bridge as the Star-Spangled Banner sounded over the loudspeakers. I cried like I used to when I was a kid in school in the mornings before class when they played the anthem and raised the flag. Sometimes that old memory of patriotism and love for my country will surface. There were no politics to think about on that gorgeous Monday in the park.


The big event we came to see was the flyover of the fighter jets from Klamath Falls, doing their rounds over southern Oregon all the way to Gold Beach and back, flying low over the Rogue River here in Grants Pass. I stood in an area along the river, hoping for a great shot. There was a zoom, loud and instantaneous. Only one plane flew over, and it was much too fast for me to catch it, even in a video. A bit of a disappointment, actually. Others said there were two planes over Medford, and some said there were two over Grants Pass, but others said only one. Either way, it was fun to be there. Maybe next time, instead of being right in the park, we will attempt to be on a bridge. There are three that cross the river in this town.


That was the end of May, but we began the month of June with an exploration that we had talked about for a long time. Readers and friends know how much we love the Applegate Valley, filled with farms and wineries and gorgeous views. One of the views from the valley is of the magnificent mountains to the west and south, part of the Siskiyous. Few roads penetrate those mountains, but a few weeks ago, Mo said, “We need to explore the mountains above the Applegate.” Instead of simply saying, “We sure do!” I put it on the calendar, and June 1 was the day.


I did a bit of research, traveled the roads as best I could with google maps, and figured out a route for us to attempt to get to a high point in the range closest to the Applegate Valley .Our goal was the Whiskey Ridge Viewpoint, technically in California just south of the state line. Once we left the main road through the Applegate and headed up Thompson Creek, the road turned narrow and twisty. Turning onto FS Road 1035, we began our ascent to the high country. I was so happy that I had researched and downloaded our route and the maps for offline viewing. I printed a map, and we took the Oregon Gazetteer but would have needed an actual quad sheet to actually be able to navigate that road and all the side roads. With the offline google map, we had no trouble knowing exactly where we were and exactly which turn we needed to take to get to our destination.


It was a gorgeous day, with lots of sun and some clouds. We made it as far as the Whiskey Peak Trailhead, but just a few hundred yards beyond that point, we were stopped by snow deep enough that we didn’t feel like tackling it in the Tracker. Maybe another day. The wildflowers were beautiful at that elevation and I saw two that we had never seen before. The first photo is Calochortus tolmei, sometimes called white cats ears.  The second is a flower familiar to many of my California friends, but not to me, Silene hookeri, Hooker’s Indian Pink, although a few of those friends had to guess at the exact variety.  We all know it is impossible to key out a flower with a photo.


The fun part of this ride for me was the quiet. Mo drove much of the way, and I spent long moments in mental solitude reminiscing about all the wild mountain dirt roads I navigated as part of my work as a soil scientist in many backcountry mountains for soil survey. I had enough time to mentally attempt to figure out just how many dirt roads like this one I had driven over my career and came up with something like 300,000 miles over 30 years. As Mo drove down that mountain, it was like a crazy deja vu where every road I had traveled in every survey in four states rolled by in my mind. I remembered enjoyable times when I would tease my grandsons by driving as fast down those dirt roads backward as I could go forward.

As we continued back down the mountain, there were a few overlooks where it was possible to see Mt Shasta to the east and Mt McLoughlin to the north, both at the same time, with Applegate Lake, the source of the beautiful Applegate River, a tributary of the Rogue.


It was a precious day in the mountains, with gorgeous views into the Red Butte Wilderness just south of the Oregon border. Even though it was actually June, I still think of it as a fitting end to the play days of May.

07-17-2021 Fun times in Early July


Early July began with record breaking temperatures for Southern Oregon, and for much of the west.  For us, the 116 degree temperatures moderated a bit to a livable 100 degrees.  Amazing how good that feels even when the thermometer hits 100 several days in a row.  So far, a couple of weeks into the month we haven’t experienced those awful 100 teens plus days since that first week.  I hope we don’t get them again.  In addition, in spite of the seriously hot weather and afternoon winds, we don’t have any fires locally.  The biggest fire in the country right now is the Bootleg Fire, northeast of Kamath Falls, but the smoke is heading east and here in Grants Pass the skies are a gorgeous clear blue.

Going to the Lavender Festival inspired me and on the first day of the month I decided I should cut the lavender.  The bees weren’t happy with me. They seem to love lavender more than just about anything in the yard, except for the bird bath which they have taken over completely as their very own summer water fountain.  I try to be sure it is full every day.  Bees need water and these are very sweet friendly honey bees that buzz around like crazy but never bother me.

A photo from my little shop in Wallace, Idaho

I decided it was time to make a wreath.  I used to make so many of them when I was making a living growing and selling crafted dried flowers on the show circuit and in my little shop in Wallace, Idaho.  After I let that business go to once again make my living digging holes in the dirt, I never made another wreath until now.  I tried a small wreath of lavender.  It took four full large bushes of fully blooming lavender to finish that wreath.  Hanging it on the door, I delighted in the fragrance, if not the tiny little lavender flowers that shed all over the porch every time I open and close the front door.  Who knows how long it will last or how long it will keep shedding.

July 4th this year was a treat.  Especially after our nothing celebration last year because of Covid and everyone feeling much safer just staying at home.  This year I asked Daughter Melody if we could come to her house for the day.  She was thrilled, and even gave up the annual Fourth of July party that she traditionally shares with her Albany friends.  Daughter Deb was going too, and decided to drive her own car since we had a bunch of “stuff” in our car.  Grandson Matthew was going to go but at the last minute he had to opt out due to concerns with the couple that he helps to caretake.  He had no one at the house to help and couldn’t leave Karen alone with the blood pressure and heart rate issues she was having.  Next year we will celebrate minus Melody, but with a local picnic maybe Matthew will be able to participate.  So hard to get everyone in the same place anymore.

The drive north on the Fourth was easy, just 3 hours to Melody’s house in the car.  We opted to leave the MoHo at home since there really isn’t any place to park it at Melody’s house.  Daughter Melody and Robert did a great job fixing up the guest bedroom with a cooling gel mattress pad, new comfy sheets and pillows, and a big fan in the window.  Such a nice retreat it was for us.

By the time we arrived just after 11, Deborah was already there helping Melody lay out the huge feast of goodies she had prepared for the family.  Somehow the giant tray of veggies and dip went by the wayside as we all gobbled up Robert’s traditional deviled eggs.  No longer just for Easter, Robert’s eggs are a tradition whenever we all get together.  Deborah made a delicious guacamole which kept me quite happy. 

Grandkids,  Axel and Xavier, with Axel’s sweetie, Pi, showed up by early afternoon. Axel and Pi are “new” even though they have known each other for over two years.  At 28 years old, it is a good thing that Axel now at last has a solid, good relationship to enjoy.

My grandson Xavier was looking wonderful as well, putting on some weight and working at a job he loves. He is working in telephone sales for Cricket.  Indoors, air conditioning, no heavy lifting, and plenty of percs and benefits.  He likes it a LOT better than working in the produce department at Fred Meyer, which was the job he had before COVID required that he not work in that unsafe environment.  Type 1 Diabetes is nothing to fool with, and he couldn’t risk being exposed to COVID. The entire family is fully vaccinated now and it is such a relief to worry a bit less about exposure to the virus at last.

The day was simple and easy with lots of talking and visiting.  Melody and the kids and I walked the two blocks to the city park and the river.  Pioneer Park is a popular place on the fourth and many families were camping and enjoying picnics at the big tables in the shade.  Mattie went completely crazy with all the excitement of the river, the kids, and all the people. I did not manage to take a single photo of the excitement.  It was hot and we were all quite happy to return to the cool living room for the rest of the afternoon.

Somehow we didn’t manage time for games, and by 3:30 Robert fired up the grill for supper by 5.  It was amazing watching him manage all the different requests from each guest.  Robert cooked filet mignon steaks, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken legs, and four racks of ribs.  Everything turned out perfectly, well almost.  Some of us thought the ribs were a bit too done, but the kids loved them and took all the leftovers home.  Not a thing went to waste….then again I am sure much went to our waists!

After dinner we visited some more. The kids left around 7 since they didn’t want to drive back to Albany after dark.  It’s only a 20 minute drive or so for them, but with holiday crazies running around on the highway between Brownsville and Albany they thought it would be better to lay low in their own apartment for the evening.

The five of us ate some more goodies and waited until about 9 to gather up our chairs and walk down to the park once again for the fireworks.

The show was put on by the Brownsville Fire Department and they did a spectacular job.  I have seen shows in much bigger cities that weren’t as wonderful as this show.  It was also good to know that the fire department was making sure that everyone was safe and no stray sparks were unattended.  I loved every minute of it.

The next morning we had a wonderful breakfast with bagels and Deborah’s egg bake casserole and more visiting before Deborah left for home and Mo and I headed south toward our next adventure.

July 5 Visiting Wildlife Safari in Winston

I think I went to Wildlife Safari a very long time ago, when Melody lived in Medford.  All I remember is being with Melody and her mother-in-law, Donna, and Axel who was just a little one.  I remember the cheetahs behind the fence and how much Axel loved cheetahs.  Mo had never been to the Wildlife Safari.  It isn’t far from Grants Pass, maybe 80 miles or so, and is a popular place to take out of town guests.  Crater Lake, the Coast, Wildlife Safari, and the Hellgate Jetboats on the Rogue are the go to activities for company. Pretty sure Crater Lake and the Coast win hands down.  We have talked about going the Safari a few times, and yesterday when I mentioned it again, Mo said, why not tomorrow on our way home from Brownsville.

In spite of the mid day hour, the heat, and the holiday, we decided to give it a try.  We were happy to learn that even though dogs are not allowed in your car when traveling through the park, there are nice kennels provided for them to be safely housed during your visit.  The kennels are free if you bring your own lock, but they will provide a padlock that you can keep for $5.  Not bad to keep Mattie cool and safe while we explored.  We decided to do the walkable portion of the park first.  The area isn’t too big to walk in a short time and the gardens and shade trees are lovely.  Most of the animals were lounging in the shade, too hot to move around much, and often hidden in their dark lairs so we weren’t able to see all of them.  The tortoise was slowly meandering around his enclosure with a leaf in his mouth.  Such fascinating creatures!  The lions were pacing near the feeding area, but too far from the viewing platform to see them very well.  The wolves from South America were completely zonked in the heat, very little movement from them.

The rest of the area is geared to families and kids, with a couple of eating establishments for snack food, and some exhibits geared to kids enjoyment.  I think we stayed maybe an hour at most before getting in line for the slow meander in our car around the wild animal area where most animals roam freely and humans must remain in their cars. 

Some of the animals from Africa, who seemed to be immune to the intense heat, were roaming about.  Several were eating in the shade shelters which made photography a bit difficult, but as we rounded a curve to the area where feeding cups could be purchased, the emus, rheas, and several varieties of young deer were milling about begging for food from people in their cars.  A lovely rhea poked his head in our window and looked rather disgusted that we had no food for him.

As we approached the cheetah area, there wasn’t a cheetah in sight, but there was a big jam up of cars.  People were instructed at the beginning of the tour to stay to the right to let people pass if they wished, but many folks had no clue about how to do that.  Drivers of cars full of young kids parked in the middle of the road, with no room on either side for passing. 

We finally meandered along with the rest, but not without a few impatient exclamations from Mo and from me now and then.  It was hot and many of the animals were not to be seen.  We missed the rhino, the cheetahs, the yaks, and the hippos.  Actually, we didn’t miss the hippos completely because as we passed I am pretty sure that two large gray rocks were actually hippos.

We enjoyed the Safari somewhat, but I think the most excitement came from Mattie when I picked her up from the kennel.

07-08 Driving up to Recreation Creek and Malone Springs.

With the heat in triple digits for days on end, Mo and I wondered when we might have a chance to get our butts in the boats again.  We scheduled a day trip to Rocky Point for a nice early morning kayak after I looked at the temperatures and decided Thursday was the only day that it was to be less than 100 degrees in the Basin.  We planned to leave early, and I packed a tuna sandwich lunch for us and we were in the truck by 7.  When we travel, the kayaks are lifted on top of the Tracker and tied down.  Requires quite a bit of effort, climbing up and down on a step to reach the straps, and getting all safely balanced and secured.  We decided that for a simple day trip we could take the pickup.  Loading the kayaks is considerably easier with the pickup.  They still have to be lifted, but not nearly as high, and strapping them down is much simpler.

The route to Malone Springs, a few miles north of Rocky Point, is easy, and requires traveling from Grants Pass toward Medford, turning east near Central Point and traveling Highway 140 over the High Lakes Pass toward the east slope of the Cascades.  Malone Springs is about half way between the Rocky Point boat launch and the northern terminus of Crystal Creek at Crystal Springs.  We have kayaked the entire length of the canoe trail from end to end and through the marsh many times.  This time, however, we decided to put in at Malone Springs and kayak south toward Rocky Point.  We haven’t been in the kayaks since last year, and both of us were just a little bit apprehensive about our ability to get back out of the kayaks at the end of our paddle.  We decided on paddling south for just and hour before turning around to be sure we didn’t do more than we could manage.

I was worried about my left shoulder which has been acting up lately with either arthritis or bursitis, legs with muscle atrophy which may or may not hold up when I try to rise from the boat, and now a silly trigger thumb that has been giving me a bit of trouble.  Mo had been dealing with knee and ankle issues.  It was time to get back in practice and see just how much we could manage.  We also wanted to paddle in a place that didn’t have too many people around to witness our attempts at exiting our kayaks.

Nothing to worry about in the least.  I was thrilled to be on the water again after so long.  The morning was marred a bit by smoky skies from a large fire to the east of the Klamath Basin.  Our views were up close, with the distant mountains of Crater Lake and Harriman Peak completely obscured by the smoke.  Still, the wocus were blooming, although this late in the season there were only a few blossoms.  The creek level was quite low, but not so much that we had any difficulty paddling, and the section of the creek that we followed wasn’t terribly weedy. 

The water was clear and we were completely alone for the entire route, up and back.  We turned around after an hour and 15 minutes to paddle upstream.  As often happens on Recreation Creek, a slight breeze from the south made paddling against the gently current nearly effortless and the return trip was a bit shorter than the trip downriver.  The views were limited by smoke and in the distance where we usually see the rim of Crater Lake to the north and Mt. Harriman to the south, we only saw murky skies.  Birds were few and far between as well, except for the red winged blackbirds, many little brown twittery birds, a kingfisher and one great blue heron. 

The canoe trail sign is very high above the water, indicating how low the water level is this year already.  Often those signs are only a foot or two above the water level.

After all that time alone, I was exclaiming to Mo how lucky we were to have the creek to ourselves on this gorgeous summer day when suddenly ten kayaks rounded a curve and entered the Malone Springs area.  We looked at each other, wondering if they planned to lunch there, and wondered when we would have the nerve to try to get out of the kayaks with ten people observing!  The young woman who was guiding the group said they were leaving, and began loading all their kayaks onto a big trailer.  Whew.  Mo and I paddled around a bit in the spring waiting for everyone to leave.  Along comes another kayaker, with a young lab puppy, and she kindly agreed to wait until we could get Mattie out of the boat.

We had nothing to worry about.  I decided to exit my boat on the side opposite the shoreline in knee deep water.  It was perfect.  I didn’t even have to roll into the water as I did last summer to get out of the boat.  The knee deep water did a great job of giving me the extra boost I need to rise from a sitting position.  Mo tried the same maneuver and did just fine.  We are now much more comfortable with our planned kayak day with family during the first week in August. No matter how understanding folks might be about our ungainly attempts to exit the kayaks, it is much nicer to not have to look silly in front of everyone.

After loading up the boats we settled in to the nearby picnic table for our packed picnic lunch.  Malone Springs is known for having hordes of mosquitoes and yet with the heat and drought this year there were very few around to bother us.

We returned to Grants Pass, happy that we could do a simple day trip to find good kayak waters.  Of course, being in the outdoors triggered the need to check for possible reservations available at any of the many campgrounds in the Cascades, or even perhaps farther east.  We try to be sure to get at least one trip away in the MoHo each month and July was passing quickly.  Lo and Behold…everything was blocked out and reserved every place I looked, except suddenly an opening appeared at a campground we have visited in the past and loved.  The reservation was open for three days beginning on the 12th, giving us just two days to make the decision to go.

But that is for the next story….

Fabulous Friends Fabulous Days Fabulous Fun

Continued from this post:

As I wrote yesterday, Jeanne (my friend from Vermont) arrived on Monday, Labor Day, a very short time after Phil and Joanne left for Eugene.  I haven’t seen Jeanne since her wedding last year, when I traveled to Vermont to participate in one of the most wonderful weddings I have ever experienced.Jeanne at Rocky Point (2 of 4)

Jeanne has many friends in Klamath Falls, and it gets pretty crazy when she visits trying to fit everyone in.  Most of her friends are high energy, very physical folks.  Big time bikers, runners, hikers, and white water boaters.  Just like Jeanne.  Thank goodness I have a couple of decades on them as an excuse for not being able to keep up, not wanting to, actually.  I’ll settle for a flat water paddle and a long walk any day!

Jeanne at Rocky Point (1 of 4) Still, Jeanne made sure she had time for us, spending a couple of days and a night in the cabin.  After a nice walk in the neighborhood, we settled in at home for some of Jeanne’s favorite ribs.  I don’t think I have made them since the last time she visited, but I am sure glad that was her request.  Got the recipe from a local Rocky Point resident famous for his cooking.  Something about a few hours braising in pineapple juice and seasonings before they go on the grill with sticky sweet gooey sauce makes them fall off the bone tender and so tasty.  Yum.

Once again we pulled out the dominoes.  Jeanne and Alan found out while visiting us a couple of years ago that our domino game was one they actually liked, but  forgot how to play it.  Alan, now her sweet husband, actually bought her a set after they left here last visit.  Hopefully this time she will remember.

Jeanne and Sue heading north toward Crystal Spring The next morning dawned the most gorgeous, smoke free, bluebird sky day we have seen in weeks.  By nine Jeanne and I were on the water, launching at Malone Spring and traveling north to Crystal Spring.  

the sandhill cranes take off for usmalone spring to crystal spring The canoe trail is within the boundary of the Upper Klamath NWR, and parallels the steep eastern flank of the Cascade Mountains.  As you can see, it winds through the marsh, with lots of meanders.  The water is crystal clear, but filled with plants and fish and birds abound. 

Rocky Point to Malone Spring In this photo, from a larger perspective, you can see the upper part of the canoe trail in relation to our place in Rocky Point, in addition to Pelican Bay where we kayaked with Phil and Joanne, and the spring run to Harriman Springs where we took Judy and Phil and Joanne as well.  It is nice to have options based on how much time we have and how many miles our guests wish to paddle.  The run with Jeanne, (and the same run later with Jimmy and Nickie) is about 8 miles round trip.

crater lake I would have loved to linger at the spring, but we had only 4 hours to make the round trip because Jeanne’s friends were picking her up for another adventure.  Hiking down to the water of Crater Lake for an icy swim and the long steep hike back up were next on the list. I begged off this one, even though invited since I wasn’t sure my recently rebuilt innards could handle the climb back up the long steep trail.

After Jeanne left, Mo and I had a day to get the new wood stove moved into the apartments, finish up a few details, and buy groceries for the next round of guests.

I was so excited to have Nickie and Jimmy (The Intrepid Decrepit Travelers) send a text message saying they were heading our way and would we be home.  I had already practiced a couple of days of food, so I just did it all again for our new company.  Good thing we all like salmon!  The End of the Day (3 of 7)

They arrived on Thursday afternoon, and didn’t take long to arrange Tergel in the shop driveway, get her leveled with the slides out and join us for more make it yourself wraps and fruit.  I have found this to be a great way to do lunch for a bunch, laying out spreads, hummus, cheeses, veggies and several kinds of tortillas for everyone to put together their favorite.  Takes a lot of the pressure off!  

Mo took a break from our guests to try to catch up on getting the lawns mowed while the three of us took Mattie for a nice long walk along Rocky Point road while we chatted and got caught up on all the recent doings.  I was really impressed with Jimmy’s recovery and his strength walking after such recent knee surgery.  Way to go, Jimmy!

We had so much fun with dinner and conversation I completely forgot to take photos.  Guess that is a good sign. 

The next morning we were again up early to get out on the creek before the warm temperatures took over.  Sadly, the bluebird skies had disappeared and smoke from the California fires was once again muting the horizon and the distant mountains.Nickie and Jimmy on Recreation Creek (1 of 1)

Still it was beautiful out on the water.  Jimmy and Nickie have a tandem Sea Eagle, but opted instead to try our hard side boats.  It was just at the point of being a bit too long, but everyone did fine and instead of having to rush off when we reached Crystal Spring, we had the luxury of lolling around above the beautiful springs before taking our time going back downriver.

Nickie wants a photo of the wocus (1 of 3) The current is almost negligible, just enough to feel it a bit as you are paddling upstream, but not enough to really get you moving downstream.  Nature was good to us on this day because the afternoon winds never appeared.  Good thing there isn’t much current!  Mattie is new to kayaking, and this was only her third time out.  She is just a bit nervous.  For who knows what reason, she decided to jump right out of the boat into the water.  It was COLD, and I think she was quite happy that Mo was able to haul her back in within seconds.  She didn’t try it again.

at Crystal Spring (1 of 1) While floating around the spring, my phone rang.  What??  I didn’t even remember that it was on and certainly didn’t expect to have a signal. Sure enough my friend Marti, from Idaho, was calling trying to figure out how to get to Rocky Point.  I told her we would be there in a couple of hours and that hopefully she could relax on the porch till we arrived.

The End of the Day (2 of 7) When we got home, Marti was waiting patiently enjoying a book and the shady porch with her dog, Rueben.  Rueben was a very excitable dog, and we had no idea how he and Mattie would get along, but they were just fine, if a tad rambunctious. I offered the cabin to Marti and Rueben, and Jimmy and Nickie decided it was nap time in Tergel!

Understand, Marti is a river rat from way back, guiding on the Rogue River in years past, and running the Grand Canyon and so many others I have no idea about.  Still, I had offered to take her out in our lake kayaks, but after so many trips I felt a bit worn out.  The look of disappointment in Marti’s eyes when I started to beg off another kayak trip was enough to get me back in my boat once again that day for a second paddle down to Harriman Spring.

Marti on Pelican Bay (6 of 10) I got a good deal of paddling in during that week, for sure, and I loved it.

We had planned to go out to supper, down the road once again to the local resort, but everyone was so relaxed, and there was so much food left over that we decided to eat at home.  I marinated and broiled some chicken and made another fresh salad to go with all the rest of the goodies.  We feasted, laughed and talked until everyone just plumb gave out and meandered off to bed.

Saturday morning dawned smoky and warm, and I think Nickie and Jimmy were not happy about having to return to Nevada City and the huge Butte Fire smoke that was affecting their area.  Still, everyone was up early, sharing coffee and fruit before they buttoned up Tergel,  hooked up Smartie and headed down the road toward California and Marti continued her Oregon travels heading toward the coast.  The End of the Day (7 of 7)

This last photo might just give an idea of how much fun we have with these great friends of ours that we never would have known if not for RVing and blogging about it.

I think this may have been the busiest week I have experienced with company since my family reunion back in 2007.  It was so much fun to see everyone, but I must say next time I hope all our visitors won’t have to schedule during the same week.