11-24 to 11-27-2020 Bandon Thanksgiving and a night at Harris Beach

Don’t forget that you can click on any photo if you wish to see if full resolution in my gallery

Site A47 had more privacy than we
expected

Between the time we made our reservation and our trip to the coast, COVID numbers began rising in Oregon and the governor once again shut down restaurants for indoor dining.  One of the reasons we chose Bandon over Brookings for this trip was to have an opportunity to spend some time in the little shops and restaurants that make Bandon so charming.  The weather forecast was for rain most of the week, so we wanted to have other things to do than walk the beach.

We traveled north via I-5 toward Roseburg and turned west toward the coast via Highway 42.  However, instead of following the Google Girl directions to stay on Highway 42 all the way to HWY 101 and then back south, we thought the quicker route along 42 S made more sense.  In hindsight, Google Girl sometimes gets it right and we don’t.  I spent most of the time hanging on while Mo navigated the very narrow, very winding road toward Bandon.  It was not fun for me, but I think it might have been for her.  She used to drive a TR7 among other sports cars.

Don’t try this route in a motorhome

It rained a bit along the way, but the afternoon was dry enough that we had time to enjoy a walk along the beach after we settled into our site.

The campground is about a mile from easy beach access at the Coquille River Lighthouse


We were a bit disappointed in the condition of the lighthouse

Adjacent to the town of Bandon, the Coquille River empties into the Pacific Ocean. The river extends inland a great distance and was a natural link to the virgin stands of timber in the area, but the bar at the mouth of the river, formed by the interaction of the river and ocean, was a major obstacle for ships entering the river. At times, only a few feet of water would cover the bar, but vessels still attempted to navigate the river in hopes of reaping the rewards that lay upstream. In 1880, Congress passed a bill funding the construction of a jetty on the south side of the river’s entrance that created a deep channel, resulting in a rapid rise in the number of ships entering the river.

A lighthouse at the entrance to Coquille River was the next logical step for improving navigation. Congress appropriated $50,000 for the project on March 3, 1891, but it would be four years before land was purchased, plans were solidified, and the construction crew was assembled.

In 1939, the Coast Guard assumed responsibility for Coquille River Lighthouse and decided it was no longer needed. An automated beacon was placed at the end of the south jetty, the dwelling was disassembled, and the lighthouse was abandoned. The lighthouse stood neglected for twenty-four years, until Bullards Beach State Park was created on the north side of the river. The grounds of the original eleven-acre light station were included in the park, and the park assumed responsibility for the lighthouse.

Over the years there have been several attempts at restoration, since park funding isn’t sufficient to maintain the old lighthouse.  In normal years, the lighthouse tower is open for visitation from May through September, however at the moment the old lighthouse looked quite sad.

The air smelled so incredibly fresh, and the surf was loud enough that we could hear it in camp across the dunes at least half a mile from the beach where we were camped. 

There were high tide and surf warnings posted for the next couple of days so one evening we drove through town in the dark to the south jetty where we could watch the huge noisy waves breaking over the jetty rocks.  Lots of warnings for “sneaker waves” kept me alert and when a big one came roaring in I immediately jumped back into the car.

It rained off and on that first night and the next morning dawned cloudy and wet. We settled into the MoHo for a cozy morning before driving the a mile south to Bandon to explore the small town.  The rain came and went all day, usually with a downpour at just the moment we would head for the car after visiting a shop.  About half the shops in town were open, with masks and social distancing, and we especially enjoyed the beautiful Second Street Gallery, Winter River Bookstore, and the Coastal Mist Chocolate Boutique, where we had two tiny cups of creamy drinking chocolate, to go of course. 

This photo is from last year when there was still inside service

The rain poured down as we ran to the car with our little cups of chocolate. I also purchased my first ever macaron (not a macaroon).  I wasn’t impressed, although I do think that maybe the high humidity at the ocean makes it hard to make a light crispy meringue cookie. Who knows.  I don’t have to try again.

We then meandered around the famous Cranberry Sweets.  The store has been in Bandon for more than 50 years and specializes in all sorts of cranberry confections.  I learned that more cranberries are grown around Bandon than anywhere else in the west. Although Bandon is referred to as “The Cranberry Capitol of the World”, more research informed me that most cranberries come from Wisconsin and Massachusetts. Five states grow almost all of the country’s supply of cranberries with Wisconsin producing more than half of all cranberries in the US.  Massachusetts harvests another third, and New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington produce most of the rest.  So much for “Cranberry Capitol”.

Still, the shop was charming and old fashioned, with lots of candies and confections behind the counters.  The hostess told me that they usually had lots of samples around the shop but due to COVID we had to settle for a little bag of free stuff. 

I decided it was time to get some fish and chips to go and tried out Tony’s Crab Shack where I was politely told that Tony didn’t fry ANYTHING, and perhaps I might like to try to fish tacos. Made with fresh caught crab and halibut, they were delicious.  Everything in town was take-out only, with all the restaurants closed for inside seating. We returned home in the pouring rain and it continued to rain all night long.  Funny how wonderful rain on the roof of a motorhome can sound, especially when accompanied by the roar of the ocean.  Great for a good night’s sleep!

The next morning was Thanksgiving, and we woke to beautiful clear skies.  I had precooked much of our dinner, and simply had to reheat the turkey, bake the sweet potato, mash the potatoes, cook a pot of Stove-Top stuffing, and open a jar of gravy.  It wasn’t gourmet, but was completely and totally delicious for the two of us and our socially distanced Thanksgiving dinner.

On our first day in camp I discovered the tsunami evacuation trail.  The path is narrow with signs leading to an area high on a heavily timbered hill behind the campground where people are instructed to assemble if the tsunami warning horns go off.  It would do no good to attempt to drive out of the campground in that situation since most of the highway is in the tsunami zone.

It was a lovely little trail, with moist moss, and lots of mushrooms in the duff under the trees. 

On this beautiful morning it was a perfect time to share the trail with Mo.  Mattie loved the trail and we enjoyed walking in a place where there were no dogs or people around.  Mattie gets so excited when she sees other dogs and always wants to “play”.  That entails lots of energy and training time, trying to get her to sit and calm down.  Walking around the campground can be challenging sometimes when all I want is a nice simple walk.  The trail was perfect for that.

It was surprising how full the campground was on this holiday weekend.  By the time Thursday rolled around, all sites were full and everyone seemed to be having a great time celebrating.  We even saw an outdoor TV broadcasting a football game. 

After our early afternoon dinner we went for another great beach walk, and were amazed that the weather was so perfect.  There was very little wind and the temps must have been in the 50’s.  Beautiful day. 

Home again to the MoHo where after many years of hearing about it, I actually figured out how to cast the phone to the TV with the included app on my Samsung phone.  We turned on Netflix on the phone, and with our unlimited Verizon plan we were able to watch movies and even live television on the big TV with the right apps.  My daughter Deanna told me about this capability a long time ago, but I never managed to figure it out until this trip. On a chilly evening having some TV was great entertainment.  The Verizon signal in the park was perfectly adequate to stream a movie.

Bullard’s Beach State Park has some beautiful picnic areas

On Friday morning we took our time with a lazy breakfast, a little bit of news, and some reading time before packing up.  Checkout time wasn’t until 1PM, and we only had a little over two hours to travel along the coast south toward Brookings and Harris Beach State Park.  I didn’t make a reservation for Harris Beach, thinking that winter on the coast would be open without a problem.  We planned to arrive around 2 in plenty of time to snag an open site before evening.  Things have changed in the camping world!  When we arrived the park was completely full except for one site, the only ADA site in the park, number 37 in the B loop.

I must say I was grateful for once to have my little blue disability card to hang from our windshield.  We settled in to enjoy our last evening on the beach and Mo built a nice big campfire.  Only problem with the campfire is that the ADA site has a very tall metal fire ring, I suppose so that it is safer.  It took a very long time to get that metal warm and I spent campfire time in LOTS of clothes and blankets trying to warm up.

One of our favorite holiday treats are the wonderful lights at Azalea Park in Brookings.  We knew that this year the big light show wasn’t happening, but the city of Brookings was attempting to do something at least and made arrangements for businesses that usually displayed their lights at Azalea Park to put lights up on both sides of Highway 101 and down into Harbor.  We hopped into the Tracker at dusk to go check out the show.  I must say that it was a bit of a bust.  There were a few nice lights near Fred Meyer, but the rest of them were scattered along the road with lots of space in between displays.  Oh well, at least they tried.  We heard the next morning that someone had stolen one of the big displays on the very first night of the show, the 4 piece Dragon.  So sad.  Maybe that is why so many businesses chose not to display their lights in the unprotected lots along the highway.  Eventually the dragon was recovered.

Here is a photo of the dragon from the park show last year

The next day we didn’t have to check out until 1PM and with no rush to get back home we enjoyed every last minute of park time.  I took Mattie around the campground, and walked out toward the overlook that has such a beautiful view of Harris Beach.  I felt no need to climb down to the water. 

There were so many people on the beach I was amazed.  More people and dogs running around on Harris Beach than we have ever seen even in summer.  I guess as many people have said, RVing is the great COVID escape and everyone and their dog or dogs is on the road and filling up the campgrounds.

We left in brilliant sunshine, driving as far as Cave Junction about 30 miles west of Grants Pass before we encountered the fog.  Grants Pass is often foggy in winter, sometimes without any lifting in the afternoon.  This was one of those days.  I always say, if we must have fog, we might as well have it at the beach.  It was nice to get home to our cozy house, the steamy hot tub, and TV without having to figure out the casting thing.  It was a great four days of ocean time, and a perfect way to handle a quiet Thanksgiving for just the two of us.

12-08-2020 Writing About November

It seems that as we travel through almost a year of COVID-19 life, I am lucky to get in one blog post a month.  It isn’t as if I don’t have time.  It has to do with inspiration.  Every day runs into the next, bleeds over from the previous day, moves slowly through time only to completely disappear into one long running sentence.

I realized a few days ago that I hadn’t even processed the photos that I took throughout the month to mark the changing of the seasons.  The leaves remained on our huge old oaks long into November, and now in early December there are still some clinging to the branches.  Sitting in the hot tub in the dark, we see one or two flutter down, illuminated by the nearby Christmas lights.  They look ever so much like lighted butterflies.  The next morning there are more on the ground, slowly littering the work that Mo completed the previous day.

Mo seems to be the one doing almost all the raking this year.  I have managed a bit here and there, and we travel together to the compost facility to empty the trailer, but raking times for me have been rare.  I try to make up for her extra effort with house chores but it isn’t much of a trade in my opinion.  Leaf raking really needs to be a two person operation. 

Early in the month we needed to make a quick trip to Portland to meet with the new neuromuscular specialist at Oregon Health Sciences University who will be taking over my case.  We are lucky that Mo’s brother Dan and his wife Chere live in the Portland area and are kind enough to let us stay at their home.  We arrived in time for dinner, which I provided as a way of saying thank you and spent a great evening visiting and laughing together. My visit at 8am the next morning went smoothly and the drive through morning traffic in downtown Portland wasn’t difficult.

In mid November, restaurants in Oregon were still open for inside dining with social distancing.  We decided to take a chance and made our annual trek to Applebee’s to enjoy Mo’s free dinner for veterans.  We wore masks, as did everyone else entering the restaurant, and the servers were all masked as well.  There were plexiglass barriers between booths and every other table was unoccupied.  I was a bit nervous at first, but it seemed safe enough.  We had a simple meal and enjoyed it thoroughly.  We don’t eat out all that often, but when we can’t, I notice how much I miss that small bit of entertainment.   It was a good day.

The weather was till nice enough mid month that we were able to plant the tree that the girls and I bought to mark my son’s passing last year.  We chose a beautiful sweet gum tree will honor his life. Deborah and Matthew were here to help Mo and I dig the hole and set the tree, but with COVID rampant in Oregon and Washington Deanna and Melody decided that they would stay home and stay safe.

(The funny part about this part of the story is that we actually planted the tree in late October and I somehow lost track of the day and the photos until now)

We originally planned a small Thanksgiving dinner celebration at daughter Melody and Robert’s new home, looking forward to her turn to host the big family dinner. Then COVID reared it’s ugly head in a more personal way, with Robert required to travel by plane to Texas for his work two weeks prior to the holiday.  All plans were put on hold.  There wasn’t time for Robert and Melody to quarantine before Thanksgiving Day.

Mattie LOVES Robert  and Melody and LOVES being at their home

Mattie has learned to be calm around the cats and they do great together

Instead, we made hasty plans for an early celebration on a Saturday before Robert left.  Mo and I drove the MoHo to Brownsville, where the city administrator was kind enough to let us park overnight in the city recreation parking lot, right in front of the “no overnight parking” sign.  Deborah came, but her son Matthew couldn’t make it at the last minute, so we had a lovely turkey dinner with just the five of us.  Melody, Robert, Deborah, Mo and me.  We enjoyed all the yummy traditional foods with an extra dose of sweetness because we knew we were lucky to have even this small celebration.

Wonderful table with Melody’s Spode China

We got a lot of laughs getting this photo is the big dining room mirror

Melody and Deborah enjoying the front porch on Sunday morning

Deb stayed in Melody’s guest room, and Mo and I returned to the MoHo where a sheriff was waiting for us in the pouring rain.  Somehow he hadn’t received the message that we were approved to stay there.  It was a little bit of a touchy moment, but he smiled and said all was good and we could stay.  The pouring rain kept us company throughout the night.  The next morning Mo and I joined everyone for a wonderful breakfast and some more visiting time before we returned home to Grants Pass. 

Once home again, we returned to our daily schedule of raking and hauling leaves, and Matthew and I started the annual Christmas lighting project. This year we opted for replacing our white icicle incandescent lights with old fashioned looking lights, modernized with LEDs. We replaced 13 strings of hundreds of lights with 8 strings of LED’s and according to the packaging, our power output was about 10 percent of what it had been in previous years.  It is a good investment and will help considerably on the power bill.

LED Christmas Lights 2020

Christmas Lights from 2018

I also decided to put up the Christmas Village even before Thanksgiving Day.  Usually it doesn’t go up until early December. Deborah stopped by for one of her Sunday visits at just the right moment, and was a great help with unpackaging  and placing all the little “stuff” that makes the village so charming. 

It started with just the village, but within a few days the house was filled with all our Christmas decor and the outside was sparkling with lights on all sides of the house.  It makes for a bit of cheeriness during the darkest time of year, both literally and figuratively.  I love Christmas lights and decorations, and it matters not that there will be no visitors this year, once again, COVID is keeping our family celebrations to a minimum.

Mo and I decided that rather than sit home for Thanksgiving, we would pack up ourselves, the dog, and our Thanksgiving dinner and head for the Coast.  We made reservations at Bandon, where the choices were slim. There are three loops at Bullard’s Beach State Park, and 2 are closed for the season.  We were lucky to get a spot on the inside of the loop, something we usually avoid. 

It was a great way to spend a few the holiday isolated in our MoHo  Next post will tell the story.

October and November

Current Location: Old Fort Road, Klamath Falls, Oregon, at 9 degrees F and cloudy.

1-11-03-2015 Hiking to the TowerOur new digs: closeup on the upper right is a view of the apartments from the tower trail.

I am sitting at the same desk as usual, but the view outside my window has changed.  Instead of the dark forest I am looking at open sky and the back side of Plum Hill in Klamath Falls. Life has finally shifted a bit, and Mo and I are now spending most of our time at our cozy apartment only 3 miles from town.  Yes, we still have the house at Rocky Point, decorated for Christmas, on the outside at least, and still comfortable for Rocky Point stays now and then.

Putting up the decorations (2 of 10) We also have our little cottage in Grants Pass, where we also spend time, working on the property, enjoying the little cottage and the green grass that pops up when the first fall rains come to the Rogue Valley.

Cottage before dirt leveling (34 of 40) It is all part of the transition from living in the woods, plowing snow, driving 45 minutes each way to the grocery store, and our plans for the future, living in mostly snow free Grants Pass.  We chose Grants Pass because of the lack of snow plowing and shoveling days, the proximity to the ocean, and the ability to travel north or south on I-5 when we want to soothe the hitch-itch that strikes often.  We are gypsies.  That travel bug is ingrained, and not likely to dissipate any time soon. 

Hiking to the tower with Melody and Mattie (1 of 1)-5View of Klamath Falls from the tower trail near the apartment

The apartment in Klamath Falls is an interim stop, at least that was the original plan.  At the moment, I feel so comfortable and cozy here, enjoying it so much that I don’t think I will ever want to leave it.  I love the Klamath Basin.  Here on Old Fort Road, we are at the edge of the high desert, with tall ponderosas and a few Doug firs around, but the hills are also covered with sage.  Love that smell, love that air, you all know I love the desert. 

Each of our places has its own special feeling.  Rocky Point for the huge cool forest in the summer, the beautiful refuge just a short walk from the house, the birds, the deer.  It is a wonderful place to live in many ways.  Grants Pass is wonderful in spring and fall, ten to twenty degrees warmer than either Rocky Point or Klamath Falls, with good shopping just minutes away, and yet a lovely rural feeling on our little piece of land that was once part of a walnut grove more than 100 years old. 

Old Fort Road is part of the magical basin, with views of Mt Shasta, the Klamath River, the dry winter air, and as stated before 10 to 20 degrees cooler than Grants Pass in the summer.  I am glad that at the moment I don’t have to choose any one of these places over the other.  Of course, the MoHo always waits as well, with the road to the desert, to the ocean, to other mountains always waiting for us.  It may be a bit complex at the moment, but it is so good and I feel incredibly lucky.  And thankful.

I keep waiting for life to settle in a bit, for things to slow down.  I have waited since mid October when we returned from Ireland, all through the month of November, and here, finally, on the last day of November, I have some time that isn’t allocated to anything else.  I can write.

I began this post as usual, with a visual cruise through my photos.  I have to admit I was a bit shocked to realize that I haven’t written a thing since we got back from Ireland, six weeks ago!  Geez. I do have some good reasons.   IMG_5337Just a couple of days after our return from Ireland, best friends Maryruth and Gerald drove up from California to spend a long weekend with us at Rocky Point.  Daughter Melody was starring in the musical Chicago, playing Velma Kelly, and they wanted to see the show.

Chicago the Musical (36 of 300)Chicago the Musical (226 of 300)The final performance of the show was amazing, and the reviews reflected what a wonderful job the Linkville Theater did with the staging, the casting, the dancing, and of course the music.  It was wonderful.  I was amazed at how a small community theater could put on a production as lavish and complex as Chicago.  Fabulous.  And not just because my daughter had a major role. Lower Klamath and Tulelake NWR (20 of 27) Lower Klamath and Tulelake NWR (22 of 27)We had a fabulous weekend, visiting the Lower Klamath Refuge where Judy volunteered this summer, enjoying the gorgeous skies and the birds. We shared good meals and lots of talking and laughing and fun.  It is so wonderful when friends can visit.  Next month we will go south to visit them and share in Maryruth’s mother’s 90th birthday celebration.  Elsie has been in my life since I was 18, and is like family to me.  Looking forward to seeing everyone at the big gathering.

Kayaking Pelican Bay (3 of 46) A few days later, Mo and I managed to get out on Pelican Bay for another gorgeous paddle.  With the fall migration in full force, there were so many birds out there.  Gorgeous skies and perfect weather are part of the Klamath Basin wonder in October.  Late September and October are the very best months to be here, in my opinion.  Nearly perfect, and no mosquitoes.

installing the cistern (13 of 17) We spent a few days in Grants Pass, for an exciting project on the property.  With a low GPM well, Mo decided that our solution would be to add a cistern, rather than taking the chance on a new well.  The cistern holds 1750 gallons, is filled automatically by the well pump, then the water is pumped from the cistern through the pressure tank to the cottage.  Now we can water the trees and small lawn during the summer without fear of drawing down the well too much.  Cottage before dirt leveling (15 of 40)

There are 27 trees on the .89 acre, several of them are gorgeous old oaks and a couple of pines and firs that are more than 100 years old.  Tree work was in order, and it turns out that the guy who ran the backhoe for the cistern installation was also an excellent arborist.  He did a great job on our trees, removing dead branches and making it much safer. He also removed 5 huge stumps that were still in place from tree removals prior to our purchase of the property.

moving with Don and Dan (17 of 19) Then it was time for the “big move”.  Late in the month, Mo’s brothers drove down to Rocky Point to help us with the heavy lifting.  Dan and Chere came from Beavercreek near Portland, and Don came all the way from Spokane.  I have no idea how we would have managed without them, short of hiring some expensive movers, which we promised both brothers that we would do when it comes time for the next move.

don dan and dogs We had fun in the midst of the moving stuff, and I did my best to cook good meals and make sure that both homes had food and beds for everyone, even though said beds were in transit.  Dan and Chere’s two dogs were especially helpful, making sure that everything done just right.  They also provided a bit of entertainment and company for Mattie, who has developed a great love for big dogs.  Most of the time, they know how to play with her and like Judy’s Emma, will lower themselves down to her level for playtime.  It is fun to watch.

Apartment A as we settle in (2 of 16) By November 1, our target date, almost everything we needed to be comfortable in the apartment was moved and we settled in. We spent five beautiful days doing the “nesting” thing, enjoying the sunshine, the smaller space, all the little things that can make moving to a new place fun and exciting.

Apartment A as we settle in (7 of 16) As the main cook, I was a bit concerned about my new kitchen.  Compared to Rocky Point, my current apartment kitchen is about the size of my big counter in RP!  I discovered that a small kitchen has some advantages:  I can reach all the drawers from one standing position, the floor is a quick wipe up rather than a major mopping event, and without a dishwasher, running a sink of soapy water as I cook keeps things in line.  I am actually enjoying it, although I still sometimes open four cupboards before I remember exactly where I have stored a particular item.

Another fun thing about the apartment is that we actually have two.  One for living, and the one next door for an extra guest bedroom, storage of “stuff” and best of all, an entire dining room and living room for my sewing, craft, and quilt room!  I can make a mess and don’t have to keep cleaning it all up mid project.  I do love that part.  In RP I did my sewing on the dining table which required lots of bringing out and putting away of stuff when meal times approached.

Hiking to the tower with Melody and Mattie (1 of 1)-3 With the early November sunny weather, I took some time to explore places to walk nearby.  Daughter Melody  and grandson Xavier live in another apartment in the complex and it is fun to walk down the path to her door and go for a spontaneous walk together. 

IMG_5359 Granddaughter Axel and her room mates also have an apartment here, and just last night Mo and I were invited to dinner at her place.  This family compound thing can be pretty nice at times.

Mo has had these apartments for years, and decided last year that property management companies and weird renters were no fun at all. Now it is an inside deal, everyone pays their rent on time and pitches in to keep the place looking nice.  It is a good place for us to be while we transition, and I get the benefit of being closer to my daughter and grandkids.  Mattie at Mills Beach (8 of 41) Mattie at Mills Beach (12 of 41)Mattie LOVES the beach!

At last, with the major chores of moving behind us, it was time for a quick trip to Brookings.  The MoHo was waiting patiently in Grants Pass and we needed a break.  Seems as though the only way to get a break from chores is to leave home where there are no chores! 

IMG_5373 We had a great three days, enjoying the clearest skies I have seen in a long time at the ocean.  Judy had mentioned that Harris Beach SP would be closed to camping this season, so we didn’t even bother checking.  We decided to stay at Beachfront RV Park, on the Harbor.sunset and sunrise at Beachcomber campground (11 of 12)

It was so much fun to listen to the surf all night, and to watch the waves right outside our front window.  One morning we drove up to check out Harris Beach, and were surprised to discover that the campground is still partially open, albeit without reservations.  As usual, the front view row was full.  We were glad that we did something different this time.

morning beach walk (2 of 16) I loved taking Mattie for walks right out the door to the beach.  It did rain on one day, but that was the day that we had scheduled some maintenance for the MoHo generator.  Seems as though the fuel pump gave out.  Brookings Harbor RV Repair had good reviews, and Mo decided that a trip to Brookings was worth it to get someone we could trust for the repair.  They did a great job and I would highly recommend them for this kind of work.

sunset at Harbor (17 of 23) With a few days of gorgeous beach time and quiet afternoons in the MoHo reading and napping, we were rejuvenated and ready to return to Grants Pass.  We hauled the tractor from Rocky Point to the cottage on our way to the beach, and Mo was ready to make an attempt to level the huge pile of dirt left behind from the cistern installation.

Cottage after dirt leveling (3 of 5) She made quick work of that pile and got most of it leveled and moved in just one day!  We raked  and moved a LOT of rocks, and then seeded the sticky red soil with a good fall mix, hoping that it will take before spring. 

Back to the apartments with a load of firewood from our stash in Rocky Point, and we settled in for the rest of the month.  I enjoyed cooking and sewing a bit, going for walks with Mattie, visiting with kids, and doing a little bit of shopping in town (takes 8 minutes to get to the main intersection of Klamath Falls!).  First snow at the Apartments (3 of 17)

The day before Thanksgiving, we got hit with the first snow and some really cold temperatures.  It is still white out here, and Mo was really smart to haul the tractor back from Grants Pass so that she could plow the apartment parking lot.  With just a tiny walk to shovel, we got the snow removal job done in record time.  One BIG benefit of not living in Rocky Point.

First snow at the Apartments (7 of 17) By Thanksgiving day, the skies were clear, and the temperatures were in the single digits.  It was a great day to travel over High Lakes Pass on Highway 140 to Shady Cove, where daughter Deborah  and her sweetie Bob hosted a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner for us, and for Melody’s family, and Bob’s parents, who live in Rocky Point. 

Mo, Melody and Robert, Deborah, and Bob carving the turkey All I had to do was bring the candied yams!  Such fun having daughters who take on the big family celebrations sometimes and being only a guest.  We had a lovely day, with sunny skies and a warm cozy home to enjoy. 

Front row: Sharon (Mo), Sue, Axel, Melody, Xavier Back row: Jack, Bob, Jean, Deborah, Robert and Mattie watching it all Instead of driving all the way back to Klamath Falls, Mo and I opted to take the short drive to the cottage and spent the night there before returning home to the apartment the next afternoon.  thanksgiving travels With a shortage of groceries in the Grants Pass fridge, we decided to go out for breakfast.  Sitting at the warm and cozy dining room at Elmer’s, with the sun pouring in through the windows, the fire crackling in the fireplace, and a fabulous breakfast, I felt that crazy happy feeling that comes without warning.  I do love that feeling so much, can’t make it happen, can’t really explain it, and it comes quite often ever since I first noticed it while hiking in Joshua Tree last winter. Later we actually managed a little bit of shopping on Black Friday, something I usually avoid like the plague.  However, most of the stores we visited mid morning in Grants Pass were not busy at all. First snow at the Apartments (2 of 17)

Home now, settled in and cozy with a nice fire going, office space all set up and comfortable, quilting and card making projects waiting in the apartment next door.  Life really IS good.

 

 

Raining in Brookings Oregon

surf at Harris Beach on a cloudy grayish dayOf course it is, it is doing something dramatic just about everywhere in the country right now and the southern Oregon coast is no exception, in spite of that “Banana Belt” description for our current location.  The National Weather Service is actually predicting the possibility of scattered snow showers down to sea level, and temperatures well below freezing tonight and tomorrow night “on the beaches”.  Whew!  Makes me happy for tank heaters and a nice little electric heater to keep things cozy inside.

After a couple of months hanging around home and Grants Pass, the second home, we decided to come to our third home, Harris Beach State Park.  We needed a change of scenery.  I suppose Mo needed a change of scenery, especially that daily view of fabric and sewing machine on the dining table.

home in site 23 at Harris BeachI am comfortably settled into the super comfy, super convenient new dinette with a view out the windows, watching the surf breaking over the black shadows of marine rock sea stacks below us on the beach.  It has rained all night, but the thick spruce above us makes the rain fall in spurts and fits as it sifts through the trees to the roof, random and not at the steady rhythm of raindrops in more open areas.

We have been entertaining ourselves with radio, tv, reading, computing, and for me, some knitting.  Resting, napping, and a few damp walks here and there have rounded out the schedule, or non schedule you might say.  Mo took Abby for a walk this morning but so far I am still in jammies…oops…it is no longer morning! 

Abby's favorite things, the beach and a ballWe arrived early on Saturday, a bit before the official 2pm check in time, and even a bit before the 1pm check out time.  As expected, the front row was full, the view row, all with cable hookups.  When we came over, we didn’t expect to get front row, but we were hoping for cable so Mo could at least watch her 49’rs game on Sunday.  Mo stopped at the dump to do a little pre-dump before we settled in and I drove the park looking for a spot.  Sure enough, a nice guy was hooking up his fiver in the front row and I asked if he was leaving

Yup, he was, and he said that by the time we got back with the MoHo three more folks had asked about the spot.  Lucky us!  A23 is probably our favorite site in this park, with ocean views, a bit of tree cover for protection, nice shrubs around to block public view of our table and firepit, and of course cable, water, and electric.  No sewer, but we can handle that for the four nights we plan to stay here.

a bird in the bushThat first day was gorgeous, and Mo unloaded the firewood for our planned campfire, but instead of cooking outdoors we wandered off to Harbor to the Chetco Café for our traditional fish and chips supper.  Love that place, so much that we didn’t even mind waiting another day to polish off the Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thanksgiving was as delightful as expected, with family gathered at Melody’s house to partake of the fabulous cooking of both daughters and a couple of Melody’s friends as well.  It was a good day and it was nice to go back home with a pack of leftover containers and no mess to clean up.

Thanksgiving_024Things around Melody’s house are up for some changes with Kevin heading south to Mountain View for his Google job this week and Melody in full Christmas mode at the jewelry store in the midst of rehearsals for her play.  Seems as though grandson Xavier is also trying out for “Grease” so things should just be hopping around there in the next couple of months.

Mo and I drove to Grants Pass and visited with Deb at the cottage overnight before pulling the MoHo out to enjoy the biggest reason for the Grants Pass property…just two hours to the beach.  The drive was beautiful and the change of scenery was divine.  Yes, we knew rain was coming, but that didn’t matter in the least.  Love coming to the ocean any time of year.

Abby play time at Harris BeachOn Sunday, even though it was cloudy, the rain held off long enough for us to get some good beach walking time and ball time with Abby.  Balls and beaches are her favorite thing, but it was a bit bittersweet as she seemed to be somewhat less energetic than before.  She loves it so much, but the years are catching up and she tires more easily.  Hard to watch our animals age.  I suppose it is hard for our kids to watch us age.  Better than the alternative, at least we are all still here.

On a last note….I have changed some plans for our three month travels.  Jeremy will be coming along after all.  My heart just can’t deal with abandoning my sweet cat after 17 years of loyalty, even if it is at my daughter’s home.  He is so needy and attached to us, and to Abby, and to our life together.  We decided we will just deal with whatever his age requires for the trip.  Jeremy is heading for Florida!  I know one person down there who will probably enjoy meeting him.  Karen and Al are serious cat people who have been through the “old cat thing”, and I hope that I can introduce them to Jeremy.

final days_006

Later:  The rain stopped, and cold notwithstanding, Mo got a great fire going tonight.

Sick of that photo!

In Rocky Point, OR: 26 degrees F and the high predicted today is sunny and 57 degrees?!

Friday morning sunrise on the Pacific.  Third full sea day November 2012 I have nothing exciting to write about, but I am sick and tired of looking at that last post with that face!  Needless to say, I am better, with just a few yellow and green patches here and there and a bit of a weird nose.  November is my least favorite month for outdoor photos, though, and I don’t have many that are worth putting up.  I suppose I could get out there and try for something, but all the leaves are gone, there isn’t any snow on the ground, and nothing seems to inspire me much.  Instead I’ll just pop in a shot of last November on our cruise for bit of text relief.

It is almost the end of November and just a few days ago, Mo motored around the yard with the mower.  She said technically she wasn’t “mowing” although that is what it looked like.  Instead, she was mulching up the bazillions of pine needles that come down every year and make spring raking a back breaking chore.  With no snow yet to speak of, that chore should be a bit easier this year when we return in April to the Rocky Point homestead.

Mo is mowing in November (1) I have been busy quilting, and sent sister Sal’s quilt off to her daughter in Corvallis.  She was supposed to make it home for Thanksgiving, but instead is holed up in a motel on the Iowa/Minnesota border, waiting once again for a truck repair.  Cold and no income while she is sitting.  Bummer.  The life of a trucker can be so frustrating when the truck doesn’t run.  Although with the weather back in that part of the country, I guess I am glad she isn’t on the road.  She has her gorgeous big German shepherd with her for company, and I am glad for that as well.

Daughter Deanna is safely home in Washington State for the holiday, something that doesn’t happen all that often.  Thanksgiving for her will include most of Keith’s family and at least one of their sons.  Makes me happy for her.  They will be back on the road again before Christmas, and I am dreaming of the chance for a visit with them here sometime around Christmas.  Then again, who knows, I may not see her again until we are both somewhere in Florida.  They deliver a lot of jet engines to Miami.

Tomorrow Mo and I will amble into Klamath Falls for Thanksgiving dinner at my daughter, Melody’s home.  Yippee!  I am often the Thanksgiving hostess, although last year I was cruising around Hawaii for the day.  This year Melody decided she was up for doing the holiday and since Daughter Deborah lives close enough now to share, she is heading to Melody’s tonight after work.  I hear rumors of lots of sister cooking with some drinking involved.  Ha!  They should have a lot of fun together.  Makes me happy.

Deanna and Keith's quilt ready for machine quiltingI have just two jobs.  Dressing and Gravy.  Melody and Kevin are making the turkey on his Big Green Egg.  Makes for a great turkey, but then there isn’t any gravy.  So I bought a turkey, will cook it today, keep the meat for sandwiches for Mo and I, and have lots of gravy to take to Melody’s tomorrow.  The girls have big lists of goodies, including a lot of our traditional favorites and some new things Deb is trying.  I am stress-free.  All I have to do is show up.  Wow, that is just soooo different, but kinda nice.

I even managed to finish Deanna and Keith’s quilt and get it down to Merrill to the machine quilter.  It is promised before Christmas and I can get the binding on in time to deliver it to Deanna before we head off to the southland.

trip map In exactly one month we will be heading out on our three month sojourn, and I will find out just how well all the planning worked.  Being on the road that time of year is a crap shoot, and the possibilities run the gamut.  Smooth sailing or crazy weather, either way it keeps us young and if we stay loose, it will be great.

In the midst of all the homey things I have been doing that involve a sewing machine, I neglected to wander around the internet enough to keep track of the comet Ison.  This morning I heard that it may just get blown up by the sun, but if it doesn’t then we should get a great comet show in December. 

comet On another very exciting note, my theater geek daughter, Melody, who acted with Albany Civic Theater, Corvallis Civic Theater, and the Linkville here in Klamath Falls, was just cast in the Sally Field role for Steel Magnolias.  Acting is Melody’s first love, but it sometimes is hard to do with a family, a full time job, and all the other requirements of daily living.  She thought long and hard about auditioning, especially since she works in a jewelry store and it is the Christmas season.  I pushed kinda hard, knowing how much acting means to her and she went for it.  Of course she was cast, my daughter is one amazing actress, something that was born in her, and something I knew by the time she was two.

Worst part about this whole thing is that the play is opening on January 15!  Yes…right in the middle of the part where we are somewhere in Texas.  For the first time, I will miss one of my daughter’s plays.  Filming or photographing a play is just a no-no, but rumor has it that someone is going to film it, with permission from the director, just for Melody’s mommy!  Is that great, or what! 

easter 010 On a final note, my son-in-law Kevin, Melody’s husband, who has worked in our small town of Klamath Falls for insignificant salaries, just landed a job with the big guy!  Kevin is now a Google contractor, and will be heading south to the Mountain View Google Campus for a year long stint with hopes for more permanent employment in the future.  Sad to say, the Klamath Basin just doesn’t offer much for computer geeks, so Kevin and Melody will be managing a long distance marriage for a time, at least until the grandson exits high school in three years or so.  Working at Google is pretty amazing, and Kevin’s brother has been there for some time now.  Melody is in super freak-out mode, knowing it is a good thing and still not excited about being a long distance wife.  Of course. Those two communicate on Facebook when they are sitting in their own living room, so I would imagine they are better equipped than most to handle the apart time.

Time to get busy with the turkey (source for the gravy) and finishing up the complicated quilt blocks that are making me crazy.  Wishing all the US folks a great Thanksgiving celebration.