Summer Doings

I am writing this post in late August, the 22nd actually, and a large thunderstorm has just passed over the east side of the Cascades.  We don’t often get moisture this time of year, so it was a surprise, lovely and luscious and more than a little bit scary.  Hopefully there is enough rain in the storm to offset any chance of lightning strikes starting more fires.  The temperatures have dropped considerably this afternoon, and I had to actually put on a pair of sweat pants.at Brats Brews and Blues

The month of August seemed to fly by, and somehow one of our favorite little gatherings slipped by without even a mention.  For the past 11 years, Klamath Blues Society has hosted a Brats, Brews, and Blues Festival at the Pelican Marina in Klamath Falls.  It usually runs from early afternoon to about 7 in the evening, with local blues bands on the venue for some delightful entertainment.  The bands come and go and are at various levels of excellence, but for a small out of the way town like Klamath, it is still great fun to go listen to music on the shore of the lake and pay 20 bucks for a bratwurst and 6 beer tickets.  Melody and Kevin emcee=ing at the Brats, Brews, and blues Festival

Each of those tickets buys a very small sampler of beer. but It’s all for a good cause, with proceeds from the event go to Camp Evergreen, a youth bereavement camp run by Klamath Hospice for children who have lost loved ones.  A couple of local breweries are there to peddle their wares and this year the midges were absent and the weather was perfect.  This year the event was in early August, and for once, Mo and I weren’t off traveling somewhere.

 IMG_3671Even more perfect, my daughter Melody and son-in-law Kevin were the emcee’s for the event and my daughter Deborah now lives close enough to join us for a great afternoon.  It was sooo much fun.  We ran into our neighbors, Wes and Gayle, who enjoyed the event as well.  Not as much as I did though, since I had my daughters there to get me up out of my chair and dancing.  Once I started, there was no stopping.  I would try, but then that dang beat would keep me going and laughing like crazy and trying to keep from falling on my face, I just kept on dancing with my girls.  Haven’t had that much energetic fun in a very long time.Sue at Brats Brews and Blues

The other summer doings around here have been a bit less delightful.  Our giant ponderosa pines have very long needles, lots of them, and every summer it is a big job getting them off the roof.  Mo is the ladder climber in the house, since I get wobbly and goofy up there.  I can do the roof part, but that part where you get from the ladder to the roof not so much.  I watched her up there, holding the ladder for her ascent and helping jockey the blower cord around so it didn’t get in the way. Day 5 Summer Lak_036DSC_0038

Other excitement around here has been even more subtle.  I have been watching flowers bloom and trees grow while Mo mows.  She built this place a year before I knew her and I was comparing some of the photos of what it looked like in 2002 and what it looks like now.  It is so much fun seeing tiny little trees that were a foot or so high now reaching for the sky at more than 30 feet.  Something has “grabbed” in the last couple of years and everything is growing like crazy.  Starting to look like a jungle out there in spite of the challenging climate we have here in the mountains. Day 5 Summer Lak_048DSC_0050

Somewhere toward the end of July we traveled a few miles east to the Running Y Resort for their “big” garden tour.  One of the gardens there was carved out of all that rocky basalt with an incredible amount of work and planning.  She won “gardener of the year” for some sort of statewide thing, and said she was amazed that she won over some of those lush Portland landscapes.  We drove through the resort roads from garden to garden, marveling at the variety of stuff that could be grown in a dry rocky landscape. 

The Running Y Garden Tour Winning Flower BedDay 5 Summer Lak_050DSC_0052

I also thought that I should have a garden tour of my own!  Instead, when the kids come to visit, I just take them on the “garden walk”, telling them how things are doing and what is what in my Rocky Point landscape.

My Flower Bedfront south flower bed

I still have issues with the deer, spraying the very smelly Liquid Fence at least every two weeks to keep mama deer and her babies out of my flowers.  When we got back from the last trip she had nipped a couple of flower heads off the rudbeckia sunflowers, a plant I thought deer didn’t eat, but she hadn’t touched anything else.  Next door at Wes and Gayle’s, she even ate all the herbs on the porch.  I didn’t think deer liked strong flavored herbs, but I guess since all my flowers tasted like rotten eggs and old milk she figured something was better than nothing.  Go me!  Sorry, Gayle.

Leaving the prettiest place in the world…

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For the other prettiest place in the world.  Or maybe there are others, but do you remember ever saying “That was the best ever”, and knowing that the next one would definitely be the “best ever”?  Leaving Rocky Point on a clear summer morning seems a bit silly, unless of course you are heading north toward Sisters and a quilt show that probably rivals one of the best ever.  Although I have never been to Paducah, Kentucky or to the Sisters show before either. 
The MoHo is all loaded up and we are ahead of schedule.  Just enough time to write a bit about what has been and what is yet to come.
DSC_0079 Best little trip recently was a quickie north to Collier State Park where I met up with Jerry and Suzy, a couple of RV bloggers I have followed for some time now.  To say they are a delightful couple is an understatement, and as usual, a couple hours of visiting time at their sweet comfy rig in the shade flew by.  We didn’t even have to go out to eat!  You know how you set that one up sometimes….just in case something or another is awkward and you need a table between you and a waitress to mediate.  I am so glad I got to meet the two of them, and look forward to their next trip our way so they can come out to Rocky Point for a visit as well.  Don’t you just love their traditional matching tee shirts?
DSC_0006 The delphiniums finally bloomed in front of the cabin, just in time for the wind and the sprinklers to knock them over.  Soooo glad I got a photo of them the morning before that happened.  Then I decided it was time to entertain some local Rocky Point folks for a nice dinner.  I think the last time I had Wes and Gayle (our next door neighbors who winter in Tucson) over I fed them hot dogs cooked on a pitchfork.  This time I went all the way with a French Country dinner including appetizers and an Apple Galette for dessert.  It was great fun to have someone to cook for, but once a yeIMG_0758ar might be enough for that kind of dinner! 
I invited another local Rocky Point couple to join us, Jim and Mata have lived here for decades.  Jim was the contractor who built Mo’s house and Mata is one of the first members of the local quilt guild of which I am the newest member.  I even had fun!  Isn’t that the point?  Although most women know how hard it is to have fun when you are doing a dinner party with the timing thing always in the back of your mind.
Tomorrow is the quilt show, and we will be meeting up with Roger and Nancy in Lapine for an evening of fun before taking their car to Sisters.  (The MoHo will wait safely back in uncrowded territory!) Nancy and I get to play why Mo and Roger hang out in the park. That way we can look and shop to our hearts content without worrying about them getting bored with the whole thing.
The next day we will all travel east toward Newberry Crater and Paulina Lake for some high mountain forest service camping.  Did you notice no car on the back of the MoHo!  Kind of fun to load the kayaks on that trailer, nice and low!  Hopefully we will get a spot close enough to the lake to make up for the fact that I have yet to order those little wheelie thingies that Sherry and David have.  Oh boy!  camping, kayaking, family, and quilts!!!  Does it get any better anywhere??
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September – a Chatty Catch-up

Crystal Creek on a smoky September day at very low water Being the month of my birth, I am somewhat partial to September.  Here in Rocky Point, and in this part of Oregon in general, September can be the very best time of year in so many ways.  The mosquito population has finally decided to disappear to wherever they go, the midges are at least confined to places you don’t want to be anyway, the skies are blue and bright, the days warm, the nights cool.  Several bloggers that I read regularly have found out just how delightful this part of Oregon can be, with RV Sue hanging around just over our hill on the Rogue River, and Paul and Nina up at Diamond Lake. 

Mo and I have spent some quality camping time in both those places and it’s fun to read about folks finding out just how wonderful this part of Oregon can be.  Everyone seems to know the coast part, and lots of folks travel there, but fewer have found the wonders of the Cascades waterfalls, magical lakes, beautiful forests and SUNSHINE. Welcome to my world.

Once again, Mo and I planned to travel a couple of hours south to camp at our favorite Medicine Lake, and once again we were thwarted.  In the midst of extra work hours for me, some other business needs for two of us, and the smoky skies from California fires, we put off our planned mid-month camping trip for another time.  The month was anything but quiet however, with visiting friends, Rocky Point get-togethers, and of course, my birthday!

jeannejeanne 01 It started off with a visit from Jeanne, long time friend I once worked with here in the basin who has returned to her native New England for good.  Everyone needs a friend like Jeanne, probably the most amazing athletic woman I have had the pleasure of knowing.  Jeanne treks Nepal, climbs the second highest mountain in the word, does back country skiing down the cliffs at Crater Lake, jumps out of helicopters to ski in British Columbia back country, launches her tiny white water kayak over 23 foot waterfalls in Costa Rica.  Yeah, I could go on and on.  She runs and rides her bikes for hundreds of miles and travels the world.  How did I get a friend like Jeanne, you might ask?

IMG_3548 I almost didn’t.  Anyone from New England knows there is a special New England persona.  Anyone from California knows there is also a definite West Coast Persona. Jeanne and I were complete opposites, and on my first day of work in 2002 in Klamath Falls, I met Jeanne, who instantly disliked me.  I was all gushy and open and “chattery”, and Jeanne of course, being from New England, was all reserved and “don’t touch me” and would you please just shut up!? I disliked her almost as much as she disliked me!  All it took was a long day in the field to discover that even with our different ways of being in the world, we had the makings of something deeper that grew into a great, strong friendship.  Of course, I can’t even come close to keeping up with her, but she has a great batch of friends who do that very well.

having fun making wocus sun hats on Crystal Creek with JeanneJeanne came “home” to Klamath for a long visit with all of us, spending time biking, and hiking, and kayaking, and then came out to Rocky Point for a couple of days.  We went kayaking on Recreation Creek, a far cry from the adrenaline pumping kinds of boating she and her friends are used to, but we still had a good time, at least Jeanne and I did.  Some of the other friends thought it was great for a one time thing, but too dang boring to do again.  Me, I love the slowing down part, I love seeing the birds and the wildlife and the reflections.  Adrenaline is not one of my favorite things, and I will avoid it if at all possible!

quilt work In between visits and work time, I managed a bit of quilting,  working on my queen sized quilt that got started from a single jelly roll of fabric my sister picked up for me because I thought it was pretty.  It is kinda scary how a $39.00 jelly roll can morph into a LOT more money by the time all is said and done.  I took a break from the big quilt by piecing a bright little table topper that I have yet to actually quilt because I can’t decide just how I want to do it.

DSC_0058Another fun project was completed when Mo and I worked together removing a bazillion staples from my ten year old dining chairs and recovered them with a gorgeous fabric I found after two years of looking for just the right thing. 

 IMG_2717The greenhouse is a bit later this year, with our tomatoes just barely ripening toward the end of the month, but we have had cute little peppers, lemon cucumbers, lots of green beans and of course lots of good lettuces and greens.  I made a trip over the mountain to Medford to buy some gorgeous sweet tree ripened peaches from the local orchards and made peach jam, froze some peach pie filling and experimented with some hot pepper jellies.  The Peach Habanero is good but the Pineapple Habanero is fabulous.  Some of the Peach Bourbon jam didn’t set up and it is now a quite delicious Peach Bourbon Sauce, ready for waffles or ice cream on a cold winter day.

The very next week I got a call from Maryruth, saying, “Hey, are you and Mo around?  I want to come up for a few days for your birthday.”  What a treat!  She left her husband Gerald at home to take care of everything while she drove the 6 hours north from Oroville for some very much wanted “girl time”.  We usually manage this once or twice a year but this one was an unexpected surprise.  We filled up three days with lots of laughter, lots of “hand and foot” (a game I can’t get Mo to play with me), and good food.  Well almost good food.  Sadly the Rocky Point Resort has changed hands since we were there and I would definitely suggest that folks visiting this area avoid the restaurant if at all possible.  Or maybe just go in for a drink.  The view is gorgeous, the place is historic and charming, it is just the food that is probably the worst I have ever actually paid for.

Maryruth and Sue at Rocky PointMaryruth was barely gone when it was time for my ‘real’ birthday.  Seems as though I celebrated this one for a very long time and it wasn’t even a biggie.  I still have three years to go before I think a birthday is really worth paying attention.  Seventy even sounds scary to me, but I have a bit of time yet.  On this minor birthday, however, I went off to town to have breakfast with my sister, visited with Melody and the jewelry store where I got a FREE bead for my Pandora bracelet, and came home for a nice bit of quilting time before Mo said, “Let’s go out to dinner at Lake of the Woods”.  Whew!  Birthday breakfast,  and dinner on the same day?  Thankfully, our dinner up at the lake was incredible, with the gorgeous view, great service and wonderful food.  It may be a 15 minute drive rather than 5, but oh so worth it.  Thank you, Mo!!

DSC_0049 Then on Sunday, Melody, Kevin and grandson Xavier came out for an afternoon visit bringing even more wondrous presents.  I am the lucky beneficiary of a daughter who works in a jewelry store, so I am sure the “giftie bits” she brought to me are something I never would otherwise have.  Of course, everyone keeps saying no jewelry when traveling, but this pendant is definitely going on my November cruise even if I can’t wear it to Europe! The diamond hoop earrings however, are small and tasteful, and don’t scream “steal me”!  I AM wearing them.

What I didn’t even know yet was that the plant and twist movement I made jumping out of bed that morning had torn my knee cartilage.  In the next couple of days the pain got worse and worse until I couldn’t walk at all, even with a walking stick.  Sigh.  A trip to the doctor, xrays, MRI, another trip to the orthopedist all confirmed my worst fear.  Torn meniscus and a long healing time.  Actually it was my second worst fear.  Surgery was my worst fear, and so far that one has been avoided.  I can’t take pain pills or medication, so surgery isn’t a lot of fun.  Anyway, I have been hobbling around on crutches, and graduated to the walking stick and even a bit of hobbling without anything this morning, so am encouraged. 

jam Mo is dealing with yard work and house work all alone right now while I gimp around like a useless piece of moving furniture.  Sigh.  It is not fun feeling completely useless around here.  I can’t even quilt since that requires lots of jumping up and down from the machine to the iron, so instead I got back to knitting.  I even finished Deanna’s sweater and have it all wrapped up to mail.  Yippee, at last!! I started it back in December of last year.  Guess you could say I am not a fast knitter.

A week from Thursday my daughter Melody and I will drive to Portland to board our overnight flight to Amsterdam and then on to Budapest. I have been planning this trip and looking forward to it for soo sooo long, and am excited to see this part of Europe, but even more excited to see it through the eyes of my daughter.  It will be her first overseas trip, and I remember how incredible I felt on my first such trip with Mo back in 2005.  Everything was so new and exciting for me, as I am sure it will be for Melody.  She is beside herself excited right now.

Deanna's sweater I sent an email to a great photographer (Mark) from Mark and Chris’s Phaeton Place, who knows a LOT about techie stuff and traveling and he kindly wrote some very detailed answers and I learned a lot about traveling with technology. Thank you Mark!  I bought an iPad, and ordered the global data features for both the iPad and the iPhone, bought the photo transfer doohickey for the iPad and the camera (no usb on an iPad), and hopefully I’ll be able to carry all this stuff along with my walking sticks which will be going on the trip for sure!  Once again, the Cotton Carrier I bought for the camera will likely be a lifesaver when I need both hands to manage the sticks.  I will never never never measure up to Erin’s photos, but hopefully I’ll get shots that at least won’t embarrass me. I have learned so much from Erin, from Two to Travel and Two to Travel’s Phaeton Journey about blogging and photography. Thank you, Erin!

And on a final note, I just have to really thank all the blogging friends who saw my post on FaceBook about my knee and sent good wishes.  It is amazing to me that people take the time to pay attention and care.  So many are dealing with really difficult health issues that are about the internal operating system and mine is merely mechanical.  Mechanical issues are a pain but it isn’t life threatening, so I consider myself pretty lucky.  Does everyone have to get all silly when they first discover Apple’s crazy photo stuff? 

Girlfriends

May at Home in Rocky Point

(Remember to hover your mouse over photos for captions or click on them for the larger version)hostas.  I love them.I managed to keep the deer from eating all the buds on the azaleas 

I love May. It seems that no matter where I live, or where I am, May is the month that brings out the best in me.  October is probably a close second. When I make travel plans for the best time to be just about anywhere, it is usually May or October. Sometimes, though, here in the Klamath Basin, May can be a mixed blessing. This year we had beautiful days early in the month, and of course, when Memorial Day rolled around, it decided to snow.  I laughed and thought, “What’s new?” Snow in the basin on Memorial Day is only a touch more predictable than snow on the Fourth of July.

 

Susanne's Earthly Delights....the sign from my flower business from the 90'sOnce we arrived home with the MoHo after our meandering Covered Bridge Tour, life just settled in to a daily routine of gardening, cleaning up “stuff”,  and working at my “real” job.  (I may not have that real job much longer after the end of the fiscal year September 30, so I am trying to appreciate it instead of complaining about having to go to work all the time).  How dare I complain anyway!?  The job is something I love to do and I get to do it from home in my jammies if I want to most of the time.

 

the MoHo was spotless when we tucked it back into the MoHo shed, and we still have several cords of good firewoodI think it took the two of us the better part of a week to get the MoHo completely cleaned up after all our winter travels.  It was nice to get her back home where I could really vacuum and scrub and clean the cupboards out, while Mo washed and shined the outside.  She looks beautiful, (the MoHo) although now the spring pollen is coming and I see a light film of yellow on that shiny exterior, even with her tucked away in her shed.

 Mo is always trying to get the sprinklers properly adjusted In spite of the sketchy weather, May is the month when Mo and I spend most of our time cleaning up what is left of winter and getting ready for the prettiest time of year. We live in a beautiful forest, and that beautiful forest means we have beautiful (or not so beautiful) pine needles everywhere.  Lots of them.  It seems we are raking pine needles year round and my least favorite job is picking pine needles out of the rocky paths that meander around the property under the trees.

love the way the light plays through the aspens In the midst of chores, we took some time off for a little Mom’s day celebration at my daughter’s home. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday and it was wonderful to be treated to a lovely brunch and some delightful family time.  quilt for an as yet to be born baby girlThe following weekend we attended the annual Taste of Klamath celebration. Our little town has a lovely theater, and each year the “Taste” benefits the Ross Ragland and we get to amble around eating amazing little bites of various restaurant tastings and drinking our ten tickets worth of wine.  It is always fun, and as often happens, the sun left and the skies clouded up for the event.  Thankfully, most of the food is now inside the theater and under big tents. 

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park at the Taprock Grill on the Rogue Riversnow over the pass on Memorial Day weekendThe days flew by, faster than we could track, with lots of time spent each day working away in the gardens, raking, digging, planting, cleaning, more raking and more cleaning.  In between, when the skies were rainy, I took some time to quilt and to knit, and even managed to finish a little blanket for an as yet unborn baby girl coming to Mo’s family.

We traveled back over to Grants Pass one day to look around at some ideas for winter storage for the MoHo and pick up some  plants from my favorite nursery, and discovered a magnificent restaurant on the banks of the Rogue River.  The morning we left, the snow was coming down at home, but Grants Pass was sunny and gorgeous and it was a great respite from the cold.  I had no idea there was such a beautiful park right on the north bank of the river and the Taprock Northwest Grill was incredibly beautiful.  I could see why the town is touted as the “Best River Town in America”. 

Finally, as the month drew to a close, the weather started to warm up for real, and on June 1st, the morning dawned sunny and bright with daytime temperatures expected to be in the 80’s.  Plants were waiting to be planted, mulch was waiting to be spread, more needles were waiting to be picked out of the rocks and instead we just said, “It is TIME!”

blackbirds on the wocus at Recreation CreekMo and Abby at the Harriman Springs runThere is nothing quite as wonderful as getting out on the water so close to home.  So little effort, really, just the ability to walk away from the chores and take advantage of our beautiful location minutes from Pelican Bay on Klamath Lake. The snow on Mt McLoughlin was brilliant, the water was clear and the lake is up and the wocus had just started to bloom. 

We heard more birds than we saw, with blue herons, great egrets, and sandhill cranes all calling in the tall bulrushes but staying well hidden except for a single heron feeding along the edge of the marsh. I saw at least 50 white pelicans soaring high in the distance toward the north but none where we were paddling on this sunny morning. It was a perfect time on the water and once back home I happily finished up a few garden chores before relaxing into the evening.

lots of tender annuals that hopefully will survive the June 5th freeze predictionmulching the flower beds This morning we woke to weather alerts saying that the snow level is dropping to 4500 feet on Tuesday morning and the temperatures are dropping to 28 degrees. Sigh. I have just finished planting a ridiculous number of tender annuals in my flower beds and tomatoes and beans are in the greenhouse. The hot tub needed her bi annual cleaning and we thought it might be nice to get it done before the snow hits again. Mo repaired and painted the garden furniture while I finished scrubbing out the tub.

It seems as though I have traveled to town entirely too many times this month, especially with gasoline still running 4.29 per gallon for regular here in Klamath.  What’s with that?!?  Only in the east has the price actually been falling but the news keeps saying how great it is that gas is going down.  Down?  not here! I still have been driving in to work a couple of times a week, and then having to make a few additional trips with the small trailer to pick up loads of nice fine bark mulch for the flower beds.

IMG_2421 On the way home yesterday, I stopped to check out the new interpretive signs installed along Highway 140 on Doak Mountain, my route to and from town.  We do live in a magical area, and the signs reminded me again how special this part of the world really is. When driving that route so often, sometimes I just wish I lived closer to town and forget just how many folks would come to drive the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway for recreation.  Even as many times as I drive this road, every time I come over Doak Mountain and look out over the lake, I feel a tug on my heart.  It is home, it is beautiful, I am so lucky to live here. 

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Wocus just starting to bloom on Pelican Bay with Mt McLoughlin

October Heaven

Home on a quiet Saturday afternoonAs much as I love the delight of Spring, I don’t think there is any time of year in Rocky Point more beautiful than early fall.  Our springs can be wet and cold, and when they warm a bit, the mosquitoes tend to visit.  Mosquitoes bring bats of course, a good thing, except a bit the lawns are still nice and green in the morning lightunnerving when they swoop down from the eaves while we are in the hot tub.  As summer progresses, the frogs proliferate like the proverbial rabbits, tiny little green guys lining up on door sills, and sometimes sneaking into the hot tub for one last too warm swim.

When October comes, however, all is still.  The leaves haven’t yet turned, flowers still in bloom, mosquitoes have gone to sleep and frogs are thinning out.  Morning sunlight filters through the trees lighting up the now lush grass. It takes much of a summer for Mo to get that grass as thick and lush as she likes, with careful attention to dry spots, brown spots, moss, and edges.  She is the lawn person, and am mostly the flower person.  It works well.

I wait very impatiently for October 1st, refusing to put up any kind of fall or Hawedding_190lloween decorating before then.  Then down come the bins, out comes all the fun stuff, the fall harvest flags go up, and we start building morning and sometimes evening fires.  I love the smell of the juniper when it catches, and the feel of that warm glow.  Jeremy loves it as well, lounging in front of the flames stretched to his full length to absorb all the warmth.  The knitting comes out, wedding_310homemade stock for soup on the stove, and the evenings are dark before 7.

Of course before this auspicious day, I had many things to do to fill up the last great week of September.  My grandson, first daughter Deborah’s son Matthew, got married last weekend and I was able to fly to Colorado to share in the wedding.  It was a lovely occasion, held at the only golf course in Sterling, with a sweet ceremony and a sit down supper and dancing afterward. Jessi’s family all live in Colorado, but our family is a bit more scattered and all weren’t able to be there.  As always, weddings are such emotional times, with moments of gaiety and moments of nostalgia all wrapped up together in the tradition.

Sue and Deborah at Edna's for lunchDeb and I had a day long layover in Denver and decided to spent it with Mo’s sister Edna.  We visited at home with a chance to once again have lunch with dear Lucille, now 103 years old.

Lucille comes to lunch in the dining roomThen Edna, Deb and I checked out the Bear Creek Regional Park, a lovely campground not far from Edna’s home where she is planning a big family reunion next summer.  It looks like it will be a perfect spot as long as Colorado doesn’t hit all of us with really hot summer temperatures.  There are miles of biking and hiking trails, some shady escapes from the heat, although not actually in the campground itself.  There is a swimming beach, and three reservoirs for kayaking and dog swimming.  The group site holds 5 rigs with electric hookups and room for tents as well for only $70 per night for all. In addition, for family without RV’s there are two very lovely comfortable yurts, one in beautiful shade. 

Denver (127)After exploring the park, the three of us drove 15 minutes farther east to Morrison and the southern entrance to Red Rocks Amphitheater.  It was Deb’s first time to see the historic venue and she was enthralled. As a lover of music, Deb at Red Rocksshe really enjoyed all the posters and history of so many great artists who have played there in the past. We enjoyed the gorgeous view of Denver from high above the stage, and especially enjoyed reading about the history of Red Rocks.  Again, this is a place that would not exist without the efforts of FDR and the CCC who built the amphitheater around the existing natural stage of red rock.  In the early teens, musicians would play there and the visitor center has some truly great photos of those old performances. The geology of the place is magnificent, with the great unconformity of the Rocky Mountains in full view here below Dinosaur Ridge. As a lover of the wild red sandstones of Utah, I thrilled at the color and beauty of this place carved from the same stuff.

Our flight back to Portland was uneventful, even though we arrived close to midnight and Deborah had to work the next day.  I drove south on the 5, thinking of Russ and Donna, but they were off somewhere else having a wonderful time in Therapy so I didn’t stop in Eugene.

crystal clear water on Harriman CreekThen Tuesday morning Mo’s brother Roger and his wife Nancy came down from Lone Pine to share a few days with us at Rocky Point.  They just bought a brand new motorhome, a 2012 Winnebago Aspect, 28 feet, with a full down queen sized bed, something I do envy! They decided to leave it behind and take advantage of our little cabin instead.  The cabin is really comfortable, with cozy furniture, lots of farm and ranch antiques about, a very good little wood stove, hot water showers, and a composting toilet. My favorite part of the cabin is the light, huge windows on the east bringing in morning sunlight in a way I don’t get here in the main house.  It’s lovely, and it’s always nice when folks choose to stay in the cabin.

visit_35We spent one day kayaking Recreation Creek, and the next day paddled south into Harriman Creek to the springs and back.  It was perfect weather for being out in the boats and we had a great time. 

Thunderbolt CaveAfter our morning kayak on Thursday, we all decided that a trip to Lava Beds National Monument was in order.  Time for a bit of caving!  I was game, although going down into caves isn’t particularly on my list of important life events.  Even in Carlsbad Caverns I didn’t feel particularly comfortable.  I was awed by the beauty and the formations, but still just didn’t want to be down there.  Caves are a place for unearthly beings.  Spirits and ghosts and who knows what.  Bats and white crawly things and dampness.  Ugh.  Oh, right, I am a scientist, who supposedly doesn’t believe in spirits and ghosts.  Ask me again when I am in a cave sometime, which won’t be in the near future!

visit_107Still it was a fun trip.  Lava Beds is a quiet park, in the middle of almost nowhere beyond the Lower Klamath and Tulelake Wildlife Refuges and resting below our favorite Mountain Lake Highlands from which it emerged.  Lava has flowed here for thousands of years, last time was less than 800 years ago, so the area is fresh and hot with jagged a’a lava.  There are many lava caves, some as yet little explored, and only one that has light.  We chose instead to follow the cave loop and see how many caves we could see in the time we had left on this afternoon.

visit_102After checking for our possibility of carrying bat disease, the ranger gave us a brochure that listed all the caves, with check marks for “can walk upright” “Must duck walk in some part” “Must crawl in some part” and the length of the cave.  We started with Thunderbolt, and the very scary, very uneven trail descended some steep steps before crawling off into blackness and low hanging rock guaranteed to give you a serious head bump if you stood up too quickly. Deep into the tunnel, we did the thing all cave tours do and turned off our flashlights.  That lasted just a few seconds before we all creeped out and turned our lights back on!

visit_103The next few caves that we explored weren’t quite as deep and black, but I still wasn’t exactly having fun and was glad when we emerged from the last cave of the day. Even with my heebie jeebies, it was still fun to go exploring and a great thing to do with company who have never been to Lava Beds.  I guess if I have company again who want to see the park, I will have to go down in the caves once more.  Ugh. We topped off our visit with a trip up to Lake of the Woods for a great dinner before the restaurant closes for the season.

I love having company, and I love when I have no company.  Quiet days with a bit of gardening, some knitting, catching up on the DVR recordings, no deadlines, nowhere to be.  Next week will be full again, I will work another 40 hours and hopefully the guys staining the house will eventually complete the prep and get to the actual staining!  Toward the end of the week, another round of excitement will come to Rocky Point with a visit from Laurie and Odel!  Yippee and Hooray!  We are really hoping for a few more perfect kayak days to take them out on the creek, for what I think will be their first time kayaking.