July 23 24 25 Jeanne comes to Visit

Current Location:  Running Y Resort Klamath Falls Oregon Partly cloudy and pleasant

Once again, if you have read my blog in the past, you might recognize the name “Jeanne”.  Jeanne is a friend I made during my soil survey years in the Klamath Basin.  She was a botanist who at the time worked for the Forest Service and we worked together identifying specific soils and the plants that were connected to them.  Our friendship began 15 years ago and in spite of Jeanne leaving Klamath Falls for her native Vermont, it still flourishes.

This is where Jeanne lives now, in a timber frame home that was only a dream when I last visited.

I attended her beautiful wedding with the love of her life in Vermont 3 years ago, and Jeanne manages to get out to Oregon nearly every year for crazy times with her wild bunch of extreme friends, then comes to my house to catch up on some down time.  As you may have noticed over the years, I am a bit in awe of Jeanne.  Her physical prowess is legendary, and she plays like a teenager.  A Jeanne day often includes yoga, a trip to the gym, some laps in the pool, a run, a hike, and maybe a bike ride.  I could never keep up with her or her friends, so I am lucky that Jeanne also likes to go a bit slower, enjoys hanging out and talking and laughing, eating good food, and doing some slow sports.

We had three really great days here at what Jeanne referred to as “La La Land”, the Running Y.  We swam in the pool, walked the path, ate, talked and ate some more.  I cooked a few meals, including some ribs on the BBQ, one of Jeanne’s favorite things that I cook. However, one of the highlights of the week was our second dinner in a week at the Ruddy Duck restaurant.

We planned for dinner a bit later in the evening, hoping the sunny deck would have cooled some by then.  What we didn’t count on was the magnificent thunderstorm that moved in as we were waiting to be served.  The skies got darker and darker and as the huge drops started falling and the thunder boomed all around us with huge bolts of lightning, we decided to at least retreat a bit under the deck overhang.

What a dinner it was!  What a great view, and so incredibly dramatic.  Later, as we retreated to the villa to watch the storm, the sky started turning blood red, with more bolts of lightning streaking across the sky in all directions.  I have never seen a sunset storm quite like this one.  It was Jeanne’s last night in Klamath Falls, and was quite a dramatic sendoff!

Earlier that day, Jeanne’s friend Margo came out to go on a hike on the Skillet Handle, a peninsula that extends northward from the Running Y into Klamath Lake.  Mo and I had kayaked the lake adjacent to the peninsula last month and I was looking forward to seeing the beautiful white oak habitat up close.

It was hot.  Really hot.  The trail was a choice between a gravelly old road and a dusty path through high weeds.  Jeanne and Margo moved quickly, covering a lot of ground once we finally decided to get back on the “real” trail. 

It was way too hot for me, and I bid them farewell about a mile and a half in and walked back slowly trying to keep from getting heat stroke.  Geez, it was hot.  The huge thunderheads above were dramatic, but gave no clue of the show that was waiting in store for us that evening.

On Tuesday, Jeanne and I left early for a morning kayak.  We now have only two boats, and Mo offered to stay home with Mattie while we kayaked.  A week earlier, Mo and I had kayaked the beautiful Spring Creek Run with the Klamath Basin Land Trust.  We have driven to the site in the past, but never actually kayaked the creek.  It was so incredibly gorgeous that I knew it was the place I wanted to take Jeanne for our morning outing.  Jeanne has kayaked Recreation Creek with us many times in the past, so this was a nice change for both of us. 

The morning was just cool enough to be perfect and the skies had just enough clouds to be interesting but not threatening.  It only takes about 2 hours to kayak to the spring and back to the launch.  I think this is the most delightful boat launch I have ever experienced, even if the water was cold enough to put an ache in your feet in just seconds.

We had the entire run completely to ourselves, without another soul on the water the entire time.  On the way back down, a mysterious mist rose from the water, backlit by sunlight, and the coolness was like a river of chill air as we paddled back downstream. 

We took photos of the bubbling springs, of the Mares Eggs, a globular translucent algae that is indigenous to the Basin, of the skies, and of the water which is as clear as any spring run in Florida. 

Such a beautiful morning, such a wonderful experience to share with such a good friend.

Later that day, we took Jeanne to Medford where she checked into a hotel to be ready for her early morning flight.  Mo and I drove back to the MoHo at the new house, checked all the changes that had been accomplished in our absence, and crashed for a nap in the cool dimness of the MoHo for the rest of the evening. 

It was time to pack up the MoHo and head back down with our rig to Valley of the Rogue State Park, where we would meet more friendsfor another few days of fun times in beautiful Oregon, everyone’s favorite summer destination. Next story, Crater Lake with Maryruth and Gerald!


July 17 through 19 Fabulous Fun with Friends

Current Location:  Running Y Resort Klamath Falls Oregon: sunny, pleasant, and a bit smoky from the fires burning in Oregon and California including Crater Lake

If you have read the blog for any length of time, you know we have made some great friends through RV traveling and blogging.  I think most RV people know about this surprising benefit.  We count Jimmy and Nicky, the Intrepid Decrepit Travelers, among our very best friends, and we never would have known them without the blog.  Needless to say, we were delighted when Nickie let us know they would be traveling our way to Oregon during mid-July.

They wanted to see our new house in progress, maybe do some hiking (if you know the two of them, hiking is something they do a lot). However, living in the Rogue Valley in summer can be pretty darn hot, and we thought it might be fun to spend a day on the fabulous Rogue River.  That left a couple more days to spend doing fun stuff.

I sent Nickie an itinerary for a round trip route to Crater Lake, returning via a night with us at the Running Y.  Nickie saw the google map and said, Yikes!  (one of her favorite words), that is much too long to be in the car in one day.  I think the route was something like 185 miles, with planned hikes as well?  Maybe not.  We nixed that plan for a simpler one.

They arrived on Monday afternoon, in time for the 1 pm check in at Valley of the Rogue State Park, a lovely place just ten miles or so south of our place in Grants Pass.  Instead, they were given a new check in time of 4pm, due to “site maintenance”, and had to park their motorhome “Tergel” out in the hot sun until check in time.  We had already arrived at the house, but it was hot there as well, and everyone decided that our original meet up time at 5 pm at the house was still the best plan.

It was hot.  Did I already mention that? With the air going full speed in the MoHo and the Weber Q outside on the picnic table, I managed to put together a meal for the four of us to share in the new house.

After showing them around, talking about all the fun things to come with our house, we set up a table in the “dining room” where the breeze kept us reasonably cool.  Nickie and Jimmy were our second dinner guests in our new home, although they were the first to enjoy walls as well as the subfloor which was all we had when I cooked dinner for Grandson Matthew.

As is always the case when we get together, there was lots of laughter and silliness all around, playing with photos and trying to get selfies of the four of us.  Nickie worked very hard at getting her camera to actually take a time release photo, triggering even more laughter.  Sunset from the porch was lovely, the company was fabulous, and we all looked forward to the next morning’s adventure.

If you live in Grants Pass, the most exciting thing to share with friends and family is a trip down the Rogue in a jetboat with Hellgate Excursions.  We were lucky this year.  Lots of winter rains allowed the boats to run through Hellgate Canyon much later in the season than usual.  Sometimes by mid-July, the boats can no longer make the long day trip and will only travel as far as the canyon.

The Caveman Bridge with the arches and flowers is an iconic Grants Pass landmark

Our trip went through the famous canyon, beyond Graves Creek, and to the beginning of the permit required area of the Wild and Scenic Rogue.  The day gorgeous, a perfect day for enjoying the river. 

Approaching the first real rapids and Hellgate Canyon

We stopped for lunch at the famous Morrison Lodge, along the banks of the Rogue, and well known for a fishing destination since the 40’s

Nickie explores the grounds at Morrison Lodge where we had a great lunch

The Rogue is a magnificent river, emerging from Crater Lake and winding through some of the most pristine wilderness in Oregon on it’s way to the Pacific Ocean emerging at Gold Beach.  From Gold Beach, there are mail boat runs you can take for a day trip up river to Agness, something Mo did a few years ago, but I haven’t yet experienced.

I did take my phone along, deciding that getting the camera wet wasn’t worth it.  Hellgate Excursions promises that you WILL get wet.  I put the phone in a zip lock and only brought it out at safe moments.  Or so I thought.  The boat captains love to do that big spin thing that jet boats do, and we were traveling in tandem with another boat.  A few times we got a bit of spray here and there when they spun, but toward the very end of the trip, at the last place where spinning was allowed, the other captain decided a full on drench was in order. 

The wave that came into the boat wasn’t just spray, but like standing under a big wave in the ocean.  The phone got wet.  Thank goodness I managed to get it under my body upside down, and when it was all over, the phone was OK.  Whew!  I don’t have insurance on that ridiculously expensive Galaxy Note 5.  I did manage to get a few photos at least.

After a long day on the river, hot sun, and all the excitement, the four of us were perfectly happy to retire to our own places for the rest of the evening.

Early the next morning, we drove to the park to pick up our two guests for another day of adventuring, this time driving over the mountains from the Rogue Valley to the Klamath Basin.  We wanted to share the delightful luxuries of our Running Y villa with them. 

 Nickie on the beach near the lodge at Lake of the Woods

On the way, I mentioned I knew of a few nice places to check out along our route, and since this was a “water trip” for The Intrepid Travelers, they like the idea of visiting lakes and another beautiful headwater stream.  Lake of the Woods is right along the High Lakes Pass on Highway 140, the route we have traveled more times than I care to count.  Somehow with friends along, on a gorgeously clear sunny day, it looks all fresh and beautiful again. 

We then traveled north through the Wood River Valley to the beautiful headwaters of the Wood River, and yes, that turquoise is absolutely real.  I love the colors of a pure spring.

Mattie had a great time leaping about in the grass, and while it was hot, the mosquitos weren’t near as bad as they can be.  We had a makeshift lunch of cheese and crackers and veggies that just happened to be in the ice chest I was taking back from the MoHo to the Villa, so that was a lucky break.

Returning to the Running Y, there was time for a lovely cool swim before we took advantage of the lovely Ruddy Duck restaurant located in the main lodge of the resort.  Dinner on the deck overlooking the golf course and the surrounding mountains was amazing.  Mo and I have had drinks on that deck now and then, but until this evening hadn’t had dinner there.  Definitely worth repeating, and thank you Jimmy and Nickie for the great treat!

The next morning the 4 of us took Mattie for a walk on the 3.5 mile path around the golf course before we had breakfast.  I like cooking a big breakfast for company.  Don’t often do that for ourselves, so it is nice to have an excuse for all the trimmings.

In spite of the 4 pm check-in time, there was still a 1 pm check-out at the Valley of the Rogue.  We packed up and loaded into the car for the trip over the mountain by 11 to get our guests back to Tergel sitting at the park waiting patiently for the next leg of their Oregon adventure. 

What a special time to share with good friends. Lucky Us!

July 12 Life at the Running Y Resort

Current Location:  Running Y Resort Ranch; 86 degrees F, clear and sunny

Actually, the clarity is marred only a little bit by smoke from the fires to the south of us in California and to the east in Oregon.  I’m not complaining, as the skies are often smoky in the west by this time of year.  We have been lucky so far with winds keeping most of the smoke away from us.

Back in March, when I wrote this post about why we were being relocated temporarily to the Running Y Resort, I hope I didn’t sound like I was complaining.  Although it was a bit of a pain getting moved for just three months, it also is a rather amazing experience.

In all the years I have lived in Klamath Falls, I have had a different relationship with the Running Y than I have now.  The resort is located not far from town on the highway between Klamath Falls and our old home in Rocky Point.  We pass the gates often.  Just a little thing, but driving by you can see the ponds surrounded by aspens that are part of the landscaping.  Until last week, however, when Mo and I took advantage of the lovely paved bike trail, we had no idea that those ponds were fed by man made springs and waterfalls, surrounded by ferns and flowers, and big artfully place boulders.

The rest of the resort feels much different than I ever imagined.  In the past decade or so, we would occasionally come out here to dinner, to an art show, but never really spent any kind of time here.  Not being golfers, the beautifully done Arnold Palmer golf course was pretty to look at from a distance, but I had no idea how pretty it was when walking the paths around the greens.  I also had no idea that there were so many permanent as well as timeshare residences here.  The extent of the resort isn’t completely visible from the highway, or even with a simple drive-through.

Right on schedule, at the end of June, the EPA relocation contractor had all the bells and whistles in place and Klamath Moving and Storage showed up at our door, ready to move our pre packed boxes to our new temporary home.  We didn’t have a clue where that home would be until the previous Saturday, when we were allowed to pick up the keys and find out where we would be located.

Melody and her family are in another part of the resort, in an area of Worldmark Timeshare townhomes.  Her place is lovely, with a huge deck, all furnished with tables, loungers, and a stainless steel barbeque, a beautiful view of Klamath Lake.

Instead, we are in an area called “the villas” not far from the Pro shop and the beginning holes of the golf course. The are villas somewhat isolated from the busier sections of the resort, and our views from the huge windows and large back patio look toward the west.  We are low enough that we can’t actually see Klamath Lake from here, but we know it is there because we can see Highway 140 as it winds its way west over Doak Mountain, a very familiar route.

Our temporary home is modern, fully furnished down to towels and linens, dishes and cookware, and even a bit of decor here and there.  Of course, it isn’t exactly our style, or our decor, but it is decidedly comfortable.   I did bring a couple of chicken wall quilts, our bird collage from Florida and one of my ceramic chickens to help us feel more at home.

We have a large master suite downstairs, and two more bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs.  There is a large area that is a bit like a loft that overlooks the living room, and is a perfect spot for a craft table and my plastic crafting bins.  I managed to bring cardmaking and quilting supplies so I can have a little bit of hobby time while we are here.

We have the bikes on the back patio, locked up but ready for spontaneous rides on the beautiful pathways, and the kayaks are on top of the Tracker, which we are keeping here for the time being.  No time to kayak while in Grants Pass, and the best kayaking is here around Klamath Lake anyway.

In fact, this morning, after breakfast, we made the short 1 mile drive through the development to the private boat launch right on Klamath Lake.  Most of the time when we kayak in this area, we are in Pelican Bay, or on Recreation Creek.  This morning was one of the few times we have kayaked on Klamath Lake proper and it was surprisingly beautiful. 

We followed the route along what is called the Skillet Handle, a natural area that is part of the Klamath Birding Trail, and one of the best examples of natural oak habitat that occurs east of the Cascades.  You can see it as the low peninsula adjacent to the lake in the photo above.

We saw more birds than we often see on Recreation Creek, with at least 4 eagles, several Great Egrets, a golden eagle, great blue herons, and hordes of Western Grebes, with little ones riding their backs.

It was a lovely two hour paddle, perfect way to start the day.  We were on the water by 9 and home by 11:30, and decided that in this summer heat, we should be out there no later than 8am for future paddles.  So convenient, and so lovely and uncrowded. 

Yesterday afternoon Mo went to town for some errands and I decided it was a great time to try out the paved loop path that surrounds the resort.  Somewhere between 3 and 4 miles of undulating and sometimes hilly landscape, the path is protected and beautiful.  No worries about traffic, or loose dogs, or weird people.  Just a beautiful place to walk in safety and comfort.  Kind of amazing. Mattie loved it, but of course she had to keep checking out all the critters that were scurrying about in the grass. I never felt unsafe, except I paid attention when I walked through the shaded oak forest at the farthest reaches of the trail.  Rumor has it that a cougar has been seen hanging around the 14th hole out there.  Coyotes are also part of the world here, but so far they don’t seem to be aggressive enough to show up in the daytime trying to snatch little dogs off their leash. Bears are also seen in the vicinity of the Lodge, but we have yet to see any down here.

On the Fourth of July, we invited Melody and her family (who only had to meander through the resort to get to us) and daughter Deborah and grandson Matthew (who did drive up from Grants Pass) to a family fourth celebration.  It was a nice time, with our traditional bocce ball tournament on the grassy lawn behind our place, and good picnic food to share.

Fireworks weren’t part of the celebration.  There are none allowed anywhere on the resort grounds due to fire danger and for the Fourth of July, the night was totally silent, not a pop or bang anywhere.  I am sure most dogs around here were happy about that, although Mattie could care less about fireworks.

In the afternoon we meandered up to the pool area for a swim, and a bit of sun on the beautiful patio.  The pool is indoors but has big sliding windows that go out to the patio that overlooks the man made lake below on the golf course and is shaded or sunny based on where you choose to sit.

This is a peaceful place to be, with all the privacy and luxury of a gated community without the gates.  I never really wanted to live in such an environment, but I can see how seductive it can be.  So quiet, so safe, so convenient, so separated from the everyday world. 

Last night as I was falling asleep, I was thinking about the draw of living here compared to our more reasonable, down to earth location in Grants Pass.  We could have probably afforded a smaller home here, for about the same price as our acre and the new house and RV shed, minus the homeowner fees, of course.  I have no idea how much they are.  I thought about what I would do if I had all the money in the world.  Would I choose to build a home like the one we are building in Grants Pass here at the Running Y?

It was a bit like the soul searching I did when thinking about the pros and cons of building a permanent home and simply living on the road and traveling.  The answer was clear.  Nope.  I wouldn’t change it for all the money in the world.  Somehow this world feels unreal, artificial to me, separated from real life.  Instead, in Grants Pass we have neighbor sounds, traffic sounds flow up from the roads below our terrace, the water trucks lumber by, and sometimes a pickup will go by way too fast on our road.

Town is less than 3 miles away.  I love the town of Grants Pass, with its Historic District and the Rogue River, I love that there is very little snow, that I won’t be buried in deep drifts for months, and won’t be slipping on the ice and afraid to walk anywhere because of it.  There is something about that little acre, with the big old oaks and the fruit trees that reminds me of the places where my Grammy Wells lived when I was a kid.  The place where I would climb the apricot trees and eat warm apricots in the summer.  It is a nostalgic feeling that comes over me at the Grants Pass home that is not easily explained.

As beautiful and manicured and lovely as things are here at the Running Y, I wouldn’t choose to live here, even if I won the lottery!  I would still go to our perfect home that we are building in Grants Pass in an old neighborhood that was once a walnut orchard, surrounded by the soft Oregon mountains and trees with big leaves.  All you lovers of the hardwood forests of the east coast will know exactly what I mean.

At the risk of sounding macabre, I can imagine dying there in that light filled bedroom, without sadness.  The thought of dying here in this villa feels incredibly lonely to me.  We are in our 70’s, and aren’t planning on dying any time soon, but the thought that time is limited is often in the background as we make our choices.

In the mean time, I am thoroughly enjoying the pool, the spa, the cardio fitness center, the bike trails, the kayak launch, the paved walking pathways, the beautiful lodge and restaurant, and the local market, fancy enough to carry Rogue Creamery cheeses and 70 dollar wines. It is a good life.  For now.